What exactly is Capitalism? If it's solely defined as private ownership of capital and/or the means of production...

What exactly is Capitalism? If it's solely defined as private ownership of capital and/or the means of production, wouldn't that make almost all past economic systems Capitalistic? Didn't blacksmiths in 14th century France or carpenters in 1st century Palestine privately own their respective MoS for profit, while also privately owning the capital it generated?

How exactly did Capitalism appear in the late 18th century when the definition of it was met previously? Is it a faulty definition or one not used by leftists, or is there another key aspect that makes Capitalism unique from anything else, other than traits it has like ubiquitous wage labor?

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I'd come up with something like, "Production for commodity exchange in the service of capital accumulation, characterized by exclusive ownership of the means of production."

How do those definitions uniquely fit modern Capitalism and not the pre-Capitalist examples I mentioned?

learn what mercantilism is then read the wealth of nations then you'll know

Private ownership
Commodity form
Law of value

Also remember coops eliminate these all 3 so they are not capitalism, ok?

Praise proudhon

Not helpful tbh

What is commodity form and law of value and how/why is it exclusive to capitalism?

"Capitalism" is and has always been the natural way humanity flourishes when not subdued

Capitalism is a mode of production consisting of two primary parts: production for exchange, and wage labor. There are a whole bunch of other things too which developed along with it: private property, for example. But those two things ensure commodities are produced for sale on the market, and are produced by workers who do not actually own the products of their labor. Wages ensure only a portion of the value produced by the worker are received, production for exchange ensures commodities are not made for use but to be sold – together, this means surplus value can be accumulated as capital, hence capitalism.

Commodity production, money, private property, markets, even wage labor are all features of past modes of production – even capital is too. Merchant capitalism was the effective precursor to modern capitalism. What separates capitalism then to now is that commodity production using wage labor is generalized – it is how things are produced in general, not specific to a region or culture or whatever.

We have yet to escape the capitalist mode of production. It took a blow when commodity money – backed by gold – collapsed into fiat, which is backed by the state. I.e. production for exchange was threatened because the medium of exchange became valueless. The US serves as the world reserve currency but it's still fiat, though I've yet to read up on the petrodollar and how that figures into this. So at best half of capitalism collapsed last century and is on life support through state intervention. Wage labor has yet to collapse in any form. When it does, capitalism will be rocked with what will be, hopefully, its final crises.

How does communism handle people who don't work?

Planned production for use, would be a basic answer. Things like food, healthcare, etc. should not be difficult to provide as the forces of production are, well, very productive by virtue of technological progress and scientific knowledge. A lot of labor worked today is simply unnecessary, wedded to producing things for exchange – manufacturing human desires rather than responding to them – and reproducing capitalist social relations. Eg. corporate lawyers and other bullshit jobs. I don't really want to go beyond that because a) I'm still learning, and b) it's speculative, and I don't like speculation.

Why distinguish between money backed by specie and fiat currency? Are they not both depositories for exchange value with no use-value?

Capitalism already has millions of people who do not work. Both socialism and communism incentivise work in a way that capitalism does not which should lead to a marked increase in production. People work harder when they actually benefit from what they produce.

Add to the fact that less alienation = more productive, as seen with worker coops:


If they were in a city, maybe. If they were living in a feudal lord's demesne then not only themselves, but their tools, equipment, house, resources, and everything they make belong to that lord.

Of course this varies from place to place and time to time, with serfs and peasants being relatively more free in places like England and basically chattel in places in Russia.

Specie has a socially necessary labor time whereas fiat does not. Behind commodity money is a commodity, behind fiat there's nothing but a claim to value, not value itself. I haven't delved into the literature concerning this. And money does have a use value insofar it can be exchanged for any other commodity; it's the universal commodity, the measure of value. But, IIRC, Marx didn't consider fiat to be money in the true sense of the word, only commodity money. Anything more complicated than that is above my understanding atm.

The most "inclusive" and easy to grasp definition(the one you generally see on Holla Forums) regards capitalism as a system where the dominant relationship of production is the one between a capitalist and worker(compare feudal landlord-serf or slave societies' master-slave), based on wage labour and perpetuated by the existence of private property rights. It's pretty shit though

its not speculative, its quite basic: how does communism handles does who don't work? the answer to this question will lift up a veil of confusion from your eyes

Solutions are:

1) Kill those who doesn't work.
2) Gib more to those who work.

If you chose 2, then Communism becomes a Capitalistic system. If you chose 1, it does too, only that you are exchanging "the right to live" for labor instead of a wage.

Also corporate lawyers are not bullshit jobs, if it wasn't for fucking corporate lawyers and sharks all that sublimated aggresion would have manifested itself in wars, corporations ultimately are armies of people who sublimate violence into legal competition for the benefit of the nation's wealth.

No it won't, capitalism =/= meritocracy.

No it won't, capitalism =/= exchange.

There is nothing to "handles" here. Under communism a worker will get the full product of his labor, but that doesn't mean that people will work 24/7, especially since robots can do, most of the productive labor necessary for our survival. If you don't want to work then that's ok but don't expect people to share their stuff with you. There won't be welfare, and there won't be money either. You want to eat? Go to the communal farm and farm your stuff. You want a t-shirt? Go to the clothing factory and do it yourself etc…

Commodity form is production solely for exchange value, the law of value is the idea that prices are a representation of human labour time

Wait, what? That would be incredibly inefficient, how do you expect people to learn everything they need to live?

Division of labour has it's use, and (if I am understanding you correctly) it would be very inconvenient and harmful to abolish it.


If Smith came to life he'd probably be a commie or mutualist tbh

Maybe not to that extreme, I don't want to force people to do everything, there can be mutual aid to reduce workload. For example, books can be put in a huge library since reading a book doesn't destroy it, so you can pass it around. Cars may not even exist since people could decide that bikes or public transports are more efficient.

Lol why should we, the will is obviously not there


Bruh we're communists, we're kinda defined by our will to escape the capitalist mode of production.

Yeah and I am caappitlaist, property comes before your feels

Fuck ur property, taste some fucking concrete/lead.

though guy

no u, mister "my spooks come before the well-being of the rest of the world"

property is not a spook

Capitalism is defined as that society in which production for market exchange is dominant. What this requires (commodification of labor and production, exclusionary ownership, property rights or coercive action against its impedement, market relations, et cetera) are all the results of this principle.

Watch the Kapitalism 101 series by McCooney here for a more comprehensive understand of this: kapitalism101.wordpress.com/law-of-value-the-series/. It's probably the best place to start outside of reading introductions to Capital, or Capital outright.

The problem still is, that even to make a simple book, you need quite a few people, and quite some time. Yes, more books could be kept in some digital format, machines could help, etc., but when one wants to produce a book, it isn't just that easy, as that one could make it by himself.

And regarding cars, they still have their uses, maybe not to the degree they are used today, but they certainly aren't worthless, see Transportation of goods or people in places with less infrastructure.

It would just make much more sense to coordinate these things, as long as they are necessary for society. I don't want to start with agriculture and plant some seeds, just to get a sandwich a few months later. Having some communal service for these kinds of things (food, water, shelter, …) isn't unimaginable.

Actually, to better reword this: these are not all its consequences, but even its principles, the first being commodification.

Can you justify (private (-ly owned)) property then?

Capitalism is when you can earn money simply by owning capital.

This geographical area is mine because I do stuff on it.
You don't like it then fuck off
These instruments that produce stuff are mine because I bought them by cash that I got from doing shit on the property that was profitable. You can be lucky enough to come and work on them and get the crumbles.
if you don't like it then fuck off

Not the person you are responding to, but barring anarchism such an outcome would fall against a fundament of socialism: to each according to their need.

When life and food is a right, there usually need checks against freeriders, the true threat of parasitism isn't just 1 lazy guy/bad guy who is just a dick, it comes in two forms one is lowered trust, social cohesions and commitments as we evolved to be successful organisms, so we avoid systems that steal from our labor and will stop investing into society. And the other form is more insideous, actual groups that prey on society, these groups function by creating different moral framework and ingroups and exclusion of the mainline culture to justify stealing through hatred, as they don't see it as taking from people. I understand Israel is a sore subject but the people who have been labeled most as parasites throughout history actually suffer from 2 of the most identifyable groups: Ultra Orthrodox Jews and Palestinians. The natives of Palestine are oppresed but due to the containment and suppression of backlash Israel has a large hostile population in gaza that they have to feed and will not support the state they are currently inhabiting (like it or not barring radical change palestine lands are Israeli merely due to power disparities a softer way of saying is that they are the vassal of Israel, but due to land claims such a title is in name only) and the Heredi Jews that refuse to pay taxes or join the military they see it as a religious obligation to only focus their energies towards their ingroup and religion; these guys are actually a major threat as you can't form a 2nd state and get rid of them and they are wielding more and more democratic power as they were a demographic time bomb that the government enabled and gave privilieges to counter arabs by demographics and to bump the numbers of Jews in occupied lands.

That is commonly called possession, not property.
Make me
Nice description of how you acquired those MoP, but not a justification. I, and most rational people, wouldn't like living on crumbles either.

You say your geographical area is yours because you use it. But don't the workers similarly use what you call your property? How would you be the justified owner of instruments you don't use, or someone else's product of their labor?
The truth is, you aren't the one who owns it. You own capital you acquired and make money by only owning it. Is money not something that ought to be earned? That ought to be the result of making something of value, but you, as an owner, does not produce! What madness would it be to allow a parasite like this to continue on with this BS?


These people worked in guilds. Even though they might have had assistants, they largely made their products themselves. They didn't have a large number of employes under them.

Marx stated that the above mentioned guilds couldn't meet the demands of the market and as such capitalism was born out of this dilemma.
With this in mind you can see how feudalism evolved into proto-capitalism and mercantilism. Then during the 18th century you see monolithic capitalist industry.

This isn't even some deeply considered critique, but a genuine question about what you think. You say your labor is what caused you to own it, but if other people's labor become the primary force of work on it how can you say you own it anymore? Let's say you produced some $500 of profit by working a farm on your own, and then you hired day laborers who produced $5000 dollars of profit on the land. They've worked it far more than you now, at what point are you an arbitrary lord of the land who is asserting a "right" to it because "I was here first"? If labor is an indicator of ownership, is it only the first labor? If I run a rake across the ground in unclaimed land and fence it off, is it mine in perpetuity?


We had just defined capitalism as

You can't start moving goal posts now.

Communism is Capitalism