Comment 30266

By LL (registered) - website | Posted April 20, 2009 at 00:31:35

A Smith said:

Just establish your target and move towards it. It may take a few tries to find the correct course of action and people to talk to, but your path will open up in front of you if you keep moving towards it.

Great. So you wish me luck with anti-capitalist organizing then.

I'm still having trouble with the concept of "transactions". In my experience with direct-democratic organizing, the number of communications does not increase geometrically with the number of people involved. In fact, up to a point it gets much more efficient, then you branch off and start another collective. People get better at cooperating collectively as they gain more confidence, skill and experience, and get to know each other better.

I'm sure Ronald Coase never studied industrial collectives in anarchist Spain, Israeli Kibbutzim, Mondragon etc.

I read the wikipedia entry for Ronald Coase. It said that he was trying to explain why "firms" (corporations) emerge. In the ABSTRACT - "why they emerge".

It's a worthy analysis for business managers and maybe even to a certain extent grassroots org's. But its of limited value for people trying to change the world for the better. It assumes a priori the structure of a capitalist economy, with its rational utility maximizers, and them proceeds to analyze it in the abstract. This is the deep methodological flaw in economics.

Another way to approach this question is to look at the CONCRETE history of "why big business emerged". This approach tells quite a different story : the use of state force to break up local markets and gift economies embedded in communities.

Pre-capitalist peoples didn't necessarily have the same focus on accumulation and competition as most people today, and most people today don't even value them as much as the economist presumes. People didn't necessarily have the same trouble in cooperating in groups.

Heck: the wage system itself a pretty recent invention in history. So how can one make a universal statement about behaviour of wage workers?

Not to romanticize the past, but just acknowledge the mutability of human nature. Organizational behaviour evolves with society is what I'm saying. That's an important point for activists to remember. Wasn't it Ryan or Jason who once quoted Karl Polanyi on this site?

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