Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ass clenching and capitalism

From the ongoing IPS anti-capitalism thread where Pascal asks: "Is there a functional parallel between the pattern of unclenching the ego, de-contracting the body-mind, opening the heart and de-centralizing the sites of economic control?"

My response:

Your questions remind me of two recent posts in the comments starting with this one on Loy followed by one on Arnsperger. Both see the clenching, contracted ego as a coefficient of corporate capitalism. For both we must examine our individual autonomy to separate its functionality from its dysfunctionality, its needs from its cravings. Greed and overconsumption are prime examples of the latter and endemic in American culture and expressed through the current stage of corporate capitalism, both feeding on each other.

Loy notes that corporations did not start this way, going though the history. They had to have a social function in their charter and if/when that ceased so did the charter. But greed came in and off they went to bigger and bigger corporations with more centralization via amalgamation (acquisitions) with less and less concern for society and more for their own profit. Hence the point has been reached that it cannot be fixed. A radical move must be made back to a healthy individual autonomy balanced with a healthy social responsibility. And both suggest more local, decentralized economic structures that remain in touch with the concerns of its citizens and motivated by a healthy agency-communion mix.

Arnsperger thinks we need to instill a return to a voluntary simplicity of lifestyle so that we can recognize the difference between healthy needs and unhealthy cravings. If businesses become democratically run by such healthy people then they can instill these healthy values on their companies, returning them to healthy profit-making while balancing this with a community mission. But again, it requires a smaller, more localized company and economy to keep in touch with such concerns.

It seems that for Loy the corporation as is cannot be redeemed, nor for Arnserpger the current form of capitalism, based as they are on such ego-clenching greed and power beyond reform. It seems times to replace them with a more equitable and healthy economic structure.

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