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Re: capitalism?
by kjkhoo
17 March 2002 17:33 UTC
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At 10:34 AM -0500 17/3/02, g kohler wrote:
>What I mean is that a sociologist-as-a-baby looking at the world
>for the first time and describing the present world would
>describe it differently from the way Marx and Engels did at
>their time. I am referring, in particular, to the paragraph in
>CM where they say that in the old days there were many
>gradations of rank in society, but that in their own time this
>had reduced itself to a dichotomy. I think that was a fair
>description of English, French or German society around the
>middle of the 19th century. However, you cannot say that our
>contemporary world society is equally dichotomous. The US
>government is trying to artificially a create a global
>dichotomy, but in fact there are "many gradations of rank" in
>contemporary world society, rather than a dichotomy.

First, one doesn't have to go back 150 years. One need only go back 
50 years, and a sociologist-as-a-baby would describe the present 
world quite, quite differently from a sociologist-as-a-baby in 1950.

Second, was it really an accurate _empirical_ description of English, 
French or German society to characterise them as dichotomous, at 
around 1850? Even the dichotomous characterisation of feudal Europe 
cannot be said to be a truly accurate empirical description -- it 
represented a reduction to what was said to be the defining 
structural relationship.

Thirdly, depending on how one is looking at contemporary world 
society, it can be, if one wishes, rendered in a dichotomous fashion. 
In the aftermath of Sep 11, from my admittedly distant view, it seems 
to me that there is an underlying distinction between "white" and 
"coloured", the US Taliban boy notwithstanding, an easy assumption 
about the constitution of the nation. I may be wrong, but something 
similar seems to have happened in Australia as well; in Rotterdam, 
where half the population is non-native born, the right has won the 
largest number of seats; in Germany, it looks like a revival of the 
right; across Europe, the short-lived revival of a bastard social 
democracy is, it seems, coming to an end; etc.

kj khoo

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