A quote about Capitalism/Racism

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Closed
Oct 2009
3,556
San Diego
#11
I think the romans thought precisely that way..... Its just that the "other" as far as romans were concerned, were not black africans (of whom they saw extremely little especially in the early days of the republic) but gauls, then germanic tribes and others..... Julius Caesar bragged about killing a million gauls and enslaving another million... You dont brag about doing that sort of thing to equals, clearly to Julius and other romans, the gauls were "untermensch"
Yes- but again- that was only based upon "culture"- Not upon any concept of "race".

race as a flag for less than human status does not show up until the age of discovery- when Capitalist ventures were seeking economic returns.
 
Jan 2011
13,499
#12
"all conceptions of race in the modern world are grounded in predatory capitalism"


See 40:50 for the approx time when he makes this statement.

Anyway, I'm wondering what to make of this claim. It sounds problematic to me. For instance, how does capitalism work in a place like Japan, where there is seemingly just only one single "race," or at least Japan has a much more homogeneous population than does a place like the US. Are his words/arguments just sophistry? Is he being emotive, describing capitalism as "predatory?"

On the other hand, maybe I'm misunderstanding him. I tried to have this conversation elsewhere and someone responded to my criticism with the reply of: "He didn't say capitalism is grounded in race relations. Of course you can have capitalism without race relations."

Thoughts?

Racism has nothing to do with capitalism (on the contrary the "capitalist" is happy to sell to everyone, which is why you have "united colors of benetton" or all kinds of brands happy to sell burkinis or many other examples of "capitalists" catering to just about every minority ).... To the "capitalist" everyone is a consumer

Racism is a feature of human beings, who are quick to notice differences (it seems humans are "programmed" in this way)..... kids in school who are "different" (fatter, smaller, bigger etc..) are immediately made fun of - if not worse... as they grow older, group identity becomes important and "race" is one possible common denominator for a group... Another factor is that resources being usually limited, it is convenient to give less resources to one group in order that another group may have more of them.... Again "race" is one possible criteria for this resource distribution ...

Another interesting separation was the "nobles" vs the "pesantry" (with probably a similar logic in the indian caste system, but I am not very familiar with it), where the implication was that nobles were inherently superior human beings that "deserved" to get more, while the rest were inherently inferior and had to make do with less..... Discrimination vs other "races" in essence is not much different from the discrimination of nobles vs others....
 
Jan 2011
13,499
#13
Yes- but again- that was only based upon "culture"- Not upon any concept of "race".

race as a flag for less than human status does not show up until the age of discovery- when Capitalist ventures were seeking economic returns.
I am not so sure about that.... the fact that they did not call it "race" does not change much..... Not sure when the concept of "race" first came up, but it certainly existed for millenia before someone came up with a name for it....

Also I am quite sure there were plenty of return seeking capitalists in the roman world (but again the word "capitalist" did not exist back then)
 
Likes: Menshevik
Dec 2012
9,245
here
#14
I am not so sure about that.... the fact that they did not call it "race" does not change much..... Not sure when the concept of "race" first came up, but it certainly existed for millenia before someone came up with a name for it....

Also I am quite sure there were plenty of return seeking capitalists in the roman world (but again the word "capitalist" did not exist back then)

Racism has nothing to do with capitalism (on the contrary the "capitalist" is happy to sell to everyone, which is why you have "united colors of benetton" or all kinds of brands happy to sell burkinis or many other examples of "capitalists" catering to just about every minority ).... To the "capitalist" everyone is a consumer

Racism is a feature of human beings, who are quick to notice differences (it seems humans are "programmed" in this way)..... kids in school who are "different" (fatter, smaller, bigger etc..) are immediately made fun of - if not worse... as they grow older, group identity becomes important and "race" is one possible common denominator for a group... Another factor is that resources being usually limited, it is convenient to give less resources to one group in order that another group may have more of them.... Again "race" is one possible criteria for this resource distribution ...

Another interesting separation was the "nobles" vs the "pesantry" (with probably a similar logic in the indian caste system, but I am not very familiar with it), where the implication was that nobles were inherently superior human beings that "deserved" to get more, while the rest were inherently inferior and had to make do with less..... Discrimination vs other "races" in essence is not much different from the discrimination of nobles vs others....
I'm inclined to agree with you here, on both counts.


And I had a thought, maybe not pertinent or well thought out, but here goes: Couldn't it be argued that during the American Civil War the North was a more capitalistic (industrious, open to free enterprise, etc.) society than the South? I think one thing we could all agree on is that the South was certainly more racist (and exploitative). Yet the South seems much more rigid in the way they viewed economics, wasn't it the Southerners who coined the term "carpet-bagger?" Being rigid when it comes to economics seems to be the antithesis of "capitalism," to me anyway.
 
Last edited:
Mar 2013
7,843
România
#15
Cornel West you mean?
Yeah, it's his style. It's influenced by this:
Black sermonic tradition - Wikipedia
These two are also influenced by that, tho Barber is more natural, while Dyson is using too many big words to sound smart (for example, he did that during his debate with Jordan Peterson and it felt really weird).
Michael Eric Dyson - Wikipedia
William Barber II - Wikipedia

There are a lot of others, but those are the memorable ones. West is probably the best at it. I disagree with most of the things he says, but he's still interesting to listen to.

Also, sometimes the message is more important (to him) than the exact words he uses. From 28:21 - 29:21, you can find plenty to criticise (using "socialist" and "democratic socialist" interchangeably to imply that all American socialists were and are democratic socialists -useful for his later point about Communism being scary, since socialism sounds scarier than democratic socialism-, he just declares that some people were the best in their fields in order to make them more important -incredible how not even one of them was the second best in their field- and his examples didn't support the conclusion that "democratic socialism is as American as apple pie"), but you can hear Joe Rogan being impressed (and audible Rogan "wow") and I'm sure a part of the audience found it convincing.

Good anecdotes are also memorable. You can take every single example and see how easily it can be used in a conversation: "hey, did you know the person who wrote the pledge of allegiance was a socialist?" or: "that guy referenced in Breaking Bad, Walt Whitman, he was a socialist!". You'll probably remember some of those examples for some time. So, it's very effective. That doesn't really mean he's a sophist, because he's genuine. That's how he always talks and that's how he thinks. He actually does believe that all those people were the best in their fields (he talked about Dewey and Whitman plenty of others times and said that about them), he does believe that all (or virtually all) American socialists were and are democratic socialists (expressed that in other arguments) and he does believe his conclusion (he also read a ton of American socialist literature and that can easily warp someone's perception about how common it was). In that example, the message is that democratic socialism has been part of American culture for a very long time and shouldn't be feared as something alien and new. I think he managed to get that across efficiently, regardless of how wrong he was.

He talks about predatory capitalism a lot (he's influenced by Marx's critique of capitalism), so I'm sure he believes in what he said about it and he was being emotive only because that's genuinely who he is. He usually also talks about racism, colonialism and imperialism when he talks about capitalism.

Sophism is usually defined as: "a clever but false argument, especially one used deliberately to deceive" (first google result). I'm certain he wasn't doing that.

I think that if someone is always emotive, it's not that relevant to describe a specific argument he made as emotive, since all of his arguments are like that. Obviously, just because all his arguments are emotive, it doesn't mean one of them being emotive is irrelevant. It is, however, far less relevant than when we are talking about someone who is only sometimes emotive, when it's clear he's using it as a tactic.

Btw, I just randomly clicked a few times to get an example I could use and I found that in a few seconds. I didn't watch the interview beforehand. Part of why I wrote a long post is because I'm sure some people are unfamiliar with him.
 
Last edited:
Jan 2011
13,499
#16
And I had a thought, maybe not pertinent or well thought out, but here goes: Couldn't it be argued that during the American Civil War the North was a more capitalistic (industrious, open to free enterprise, etc.) society than the South? I think one thing we could all agree on is that the South was certainly more racist (and exploitative). Yet the South seems much more rigid in the way they viewed economics, wasn't it the Southerners who coined the term "carpet-bagger?" Being rigid when it comes to economics seems to be the antithesis of "capitalism," to me anyway.
Indeed... The North was far outproducing the South....

Not sure the South was "less flexible" though....To this day the southern states are poorer... It has to do with the fact that the cheap, easily accessible resources such as iron and coal were mostly in the North, so heavy industry had (and still has ) an easier time there (plus before the invention of air conditionning in some southern states the climate was really tough during hot months)
 
Aug 2016
4,065
Dispargum
#17
"all conceptions of race in the modern world are grounded in predatory capitalism"

Anyway, I'm wondering what to make of this claim. It sounds problematic to me. For instance, how does capitalism work in a place like Japan ...
He exaggerated when he said "world." He's just talking about the US. America's race problem is derived from predatory capitalist practices like slavery, Jim Crow, red lining (which kept Blacks out of certain neighborhoods to elevate property values), etc. I don't think he's exactly right, but I think he's on to something. If there never had been a financial incentive for racism in America, the race problem today would be a lot smaller than it is.
 
Apr 2010
34,429
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#18
He exaggerated when he said "world." He's just talking about the US. America's race problem is derived from predatory capitalist practices like slavery, Jim Crow, red lining (which kept Blacks out of certain neighborhoods to elevate property values), etc. I don't think he's exactly right, but I think he's on to something. If there never had been a financial incentive for racism in America, the race problem today would be a lot smaller than it is.
What about the European colonial empires? I think you could characterise these as predatory capitalism.
 
Likes: Chlodio
Jan 2011
13,499
#19
He exaggerated when he said "world." He's just talking about the US. America's race problem is derived from predatory capitalist practices like slavery, Jim Crow, red lining (which kept Blacks out of certain neighborhoods to elevate property values), etc. I don't think he's exactly right, but I think he's on to something. If there never had been a financial incentive for racism in America, the race problem today would be a lot smaller than it is.
what is the financial incentive for racism ?
 
Aug 2016
4,065
Dispargum
#20
And I had a thought, maybe not pertinent or well thought out, but here goes: Couldn't it be argued that during the American Civil War the North was a more capitalistic (industrious, open to free enterprise, etc.) society than the South?
There has been some recent research (I can't cite names or sources) that the planter economy was capitalistic. Maybe we have to define capitalism as the use of money to make money. Capitalism concerns itself mostly with how you raise money to start a business and how you use money (profits) to measure the success of the business. Anyway, Southern planters bought slaves on credit (they had investors and lenders who had to be paid off). To convince the investors that the plantation was doing well, planters used sophisticated accounting techniques. Planters had strong opinions on questions of political economy such as tarriffs (some were for, some were against based on the effect tariffs would have on their bottom lines), etc.
 
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