Note: This is a much shorter version of the 3rd Edition of the Red Feather Dictionary. The Complete version is available in hard copy from Westview Press. This greatly shortened version is made available through the courtesy of Westview Press as a sampler to encourage one to purchase the hard copy. TR Young and Bruce Arrigo, Editors.
THE RED FEATHER DICTIONARY
of CRITICAL SOCIAL SCIENCE
Act: Latin: agere = to do. Early philosophers called the Scholastics used the concept, first act, to refer to the form of a thing while second act was used to refer to what it did. In symbolic interactional theory, Mead used the concept of the act to refer to the basis unit of social meaning. An act is not just behavior but behavior which is used to hang meaning on. The gesture is, for Mead, a physical motion with which one conveys meaning to another person who has learned how to interpret it. See Act, Philosophy of.
Act, Philosophy of: One of the more important issues in all of social philosophy centers around the question, ‘To what degree are humans the passive object of history and/or acting subjects which can plan and fulfill their own destiny. The structuralist answer, in its more deterministic claims, is that single human beings are the object [not subject] of social forces. The Interactionist view, in its most reductionist moments, argues that each individual is the object and agent of its own destiny. If a person is rich or poor, it is due to their own merits or failings. In philosophical terms, an act is only an act when there is insight and the conscious use of material goods to change outcomes. For example, McDonald’s claims to sell the same Big Mac in every restaurant in the world and thus defeat both individual action and culture variety. Your assignment, if you care to take it, is to check it out; is Big Mac the same in England, Japan, Nicaragua or Vienna? Do McDonald’s clerks do and say things to customers not scripted and rehearsed and sanctioned by supervisors?? If so, not even a corporation as large and as powerful as McDonald’s can defeat human action. See alienation, the ‘I,’ Praxis.
Acton, Lord (1834-1971): Acton’s dictum on power is basic to all efforts for social justice: power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely. T.R. Young offers a complementary dictum: poverty tends to corrupt; absolute poverty corrupts absolutely.
Advertising: A 200 billion dollar industry (1996) in which market demand is created for products in order to realize profit. Products which are essentially similar to others of the same kind are endowed with special symbolic meaning [sexuality, power, magic, or status] in order to increase demand and thus expand a market enough to absorb all that is/can be produced. In capitalism, markets are made small since workers are not paid 100% of the value of the goods they produce–hence cannot buy back 100% of the product. The too, capitalism disemploys ever more people and the market shrinks more. Then too, the quest for profits lowers qualities; advertizing offers the dramaturgical facsimile of quality or necessity to those who buy time and talent on the mass media. Advertising is usually directed at those who have discretionary income; young, single working professionals (since they have relatively more discretionary income) or the housewife (who must make a choice between items produced under standardized conditions). A major problem generated by the advertising world is the preemption of artistic talent and information media for commercial purposes. A secondary problem is the use of sex, violence and sports to generate publics for products otherwise without special merit. See Realization, the problem of. Aesthetic (Socialist): The socialist understanding of all forms of art is not divorced from everyday life nor restricted to an elite in the form of “high culture.” In socialist thought, art and society as a totality are reunited. Art is at once an affirmation and a critique of social life. While capitalist art aims to celebrate privatism and consumption, socialist art speaks to questions of solidarity, species being, and liberated nature. It is neither one-sidedly subjective nor one-sidedly objectified. It does not tend to freeze social relations. Rather it emphasizes the processual character of society and nature. It does not “redeem” the bitter imperfection of life by diversion, but transforms, illuminates, and mobilizes people to action.
Aged, lmmiseration of: The marxist theory of the problems besetting the aged focuses upon the dynamics of capitalism. Older workers are less productive, more assertive and prone to illnesses-all of which affect costs and profit. The aged (arbitrarily defined as 55+) are forcibly retired since capitalist can make more profit on the labor power of the younger, more docile worker. And when the aged have nothing to exchange for profit, they are excluded from the various delivery systems in capitalism: health and medical, food, shelter, clothing, transport, recreation and education. In a popular democracy, such as the U.S., the state, responding to voting, provides goods and services to the pauperized aged but, in a depersonalized rather than social mode. Thus many people who built the roads, bridges, houses and provided essential services at one stage in their life find themselves miserable as they grow older in the wealthiest country in the history of civilization.
Agency, human: The ability of people to change the institutions in which they live. In both pre-modern and modern sensibility, human agency is absent, minimal or viewed as madness and deviancy. In many pre-modern cultures, there are Gods who know and control every act of every living thing, hence very little agency is possible. In modern science, ‘laws’ are said to regulate all human behavior; sexual, economic, criminal, or political. In postmodern science, human agency has much more room. In Chaos theory, there are moments when agency is possible and times when it is very difficult to change things. Democracy presumes people have both the wit and the ability to change ‘social laws’ to some other pattern. Radical scholarship tries to enhance that capacity.
Agriculture, hydraulic societies: There have been five great hydraulic societies in human history: the first what in Persia along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The second was along the Nile in Egypt; the third along the Ganges in India; the fourth along the Yellow River in China and the fifth in around what is now called Mexico City. Hydraulic agriculture required social differentiation [specialization]; it did not require social stratification as so many historians argue. But both occurred to change forever the ways in which people live. But see the new developments above.
Ahistoricism: The term refers to a scientific trick by which a given social form is endowed with the appearance of being part of the eternal and natural order of things. For example, Weber’s study of bureaucracy ignores the origins, the changes, the many variations produced by historical conditions. Similarly, Hegel and Simmel’s ideas about Ideal Forms tends to destroy the changing, variable historical nature of social realities. All social issues are seen as purely technical questions since the basic form is seen as eternal and unchanging. Ahistorism tends to freeze analysis in the present and to reify the status quo. Bureaucracy, gender, class, racist and other social forms thereby cease to be a human products and begin to be a means of domination (or structural force). (After Goldman).
Alienation: The domination of humans by their own products; material, political, and ideological. The separation of humans from their humanity; the interference with the production of authentic culture; the fragmentation of social bonds and community. Any process which reduces people to their animal nature. Liberal definitions of alienation have to do with feelings; socialist definitions have more to do with relations and positions in a social order. In Marx, a variety of terms are used to capture the flavor and variety implicit in the process of alienation: “Trennung” (divorce or separation), “Spaltung” (division or cleavage), “Absonderung” (separation or withdrawal), “Verderben” (spoiled, corrupt), “sich selbst verlieren” (lost to oneself), “auf sich zuruckziehen” (withdrawn into oneself), “ausserlich machen” (externalized), “alle Gattungsbande zerreissen” (ties with others disintegrated), “die Menschenwelt in eine Welt atomisticher Individuen auflosen” (humanity dissolved into fragmented individuals). Taken together these constructs constitute and create the meaning of the term “alienation” (Entausserung, Entfremung). (From Meszaros).
Alienation (assumptions): A militant humanism makes the following assumptions: (1) that humans may become dominated by their own social and cultural products, (2) that alienation is the chief source of conflict in society, (3) that there is a hierarchy of forms (economic, ideological, political and religious) and 4) that in capitalist societies, alienation is produced by a economic system in which people and cultural products are transformed into a commodity to be sold for private profit. These contrast to the premarxian view that alienation involves separation from God; the Hegelian view that alienation involves failure to understand objective reality or the Freudian assumption that alienation involves separation between different parts of the psyche. Each view entails a different solution; The first social revolution, the second an effort to return to a state of grace by hard work, faith and/or meditation; the Hegelian views calls forth modern, order-oriented science as a solution to alienation, while the Freudian approach requires that one come to terms with one’s own anxieties and compulsions.
Alienation, psychological: Most American sociologists reduce alienation to psychological states: feelings of loneliness, powerlessness, hopelessness. For socialist sociology, happy and well paid workers can be alienated; they can be fired tomorrow, they can lose their pensions overnight, they can be re-assigned from friends and family, they must be polite and helpful to those defined as ‘superior’ in the table of organization of the firm in which they work (after C. Wright Mills). And those at the bottom of a stratification system can live for years with perfect peace of mind: women, slaves, wage laborers, migrant workers are able to fashion both culture and solidarity out of the fragments of wealth they receive (after E.P. Thompson).
Animal functions: Eating, sleeping, dressing, drinking. In general, those activities which keep a person alive physically but not morally. Capitalist society tends to reduce evermore people to animal functions as they become surplus to the productive needs of capitalism.
Anomia: A phrase coined to refer to the psychological feelings produced by Anomie: normlessless. The idea is that a normative order brings security and psychic peace to people. Such a phrase neatly switches attention from the social conditions of alienation to the individual response to that disorder. Those who resist and rebel within racist, sexist, slave or elitist normative structures suffer from ‘anomia:’ they are said to be ill, maladjusted, sinful, or poorly socialized.
Anomie: Normlessness (lit. without order. a=without; nomy=order). A term used by Durkheim to indicate “the collapse of the normative order.” The term implies that conformity to norms is natural and normal; that resistance is pathological. Then too, embedded in the concept is the idea that norms are above and beyond the individuals who are said to organize their behavior in terms of the normative structure. However, there is a marxist position that the normative structure is a product of transacting humans rather than a “superorganic” thing. To imply, as did Durkheim, that the normative structure is a thing apart from the behavior of people actively engaged in producing situated patterns of behavior through judgment, insight, and mutual purpose is a conservative political act. The political character of the act comes from a misleading of students of sociology about the nature of norms, normative structures and norming. Norms are not eternally fixed directives for behavior to which all normal people subscribe and which collapse apart from the understanding of people that the norms are inadequate to deal with the present situation. See alienation.
Appropriation: The practice of defining some part of the wealth produced by the social power of workers as “profit” and using it for private purposes rather than for the common good. Actually, there is no such thing as profit; production always absorbs energy and is a net drain on the larger social and natural system. Profit and therefore appropriation are possible only by transferring the costs of production to the workers, to the consumers, to the environment and/or to the future generation.
Appropriation (Mechanisms): The means by which the surplus value of labor is appropriated directly and controlled by those who do not produce are varied indeed. These mechanisms include sharecropping, tenancy, tribute, debt peonage, slavery, wage relations and impressment into work crews. Indirect ways to appropriate labor power and its products include taxes, profits, interest, rents, tithes, tolls, and fees. Think about the social relations such mechanisms require, and the kind of political apparatus necessary to enforce them as well as the costs to a society to pay for these mechanisms of appropriate of wealth.
Art: Socialist/marxist theory of art is that it should grasp the central contradictions/problems of life; make their sources visible; affirm and politicize workers, students, women and other oppressed minorities. It should be integrated into all aspects of daily life [food, furnishings, clothing, tools, factories, and housing] rather than confined to a museum or gallery to be viewed once in a while. Most capitalist, feudal or bureaucratic socialist art tends to celebrate those in power and defuse political critique.
Artificial Intelligence: A term used to suggest that a machine can be made to think in such a way that it cannot be distinguished from human thought. A.M. Turing gave a proof that a machine could be built that was more complex than the sum of its parts. Today there is much work in artificial intelligence; some chess programs are better than most human chess players.
Artificial Stupidity: A term introduced by T.R. Young in a lecture at the Fielding Institute in 1992 with which to refer to societies which had the technical capacity to develop authentic self knowledge but did not do so for political and economic reasons. Compare to naturally stupid societies which do not have the information technology and so could not be intelligent if they tried. Simple societies could be, however, wise.
Attractor: In nonlinear theory, an attractor is that region in time space to which a system tends to go [seems to be attracted]. There are five generic attractors in Chaos theory, 1) a point attractor so called since simple systems such as a pendulum can be found at a given point at a given time with great precision. 2) a limit attractor so called since a system cannot exceed the upper and lower values for any given measure; think of a thermostat. 3) then nonlinearity sets in; a Torus is a dough-nut shaped region in space within which a system can be found. We can’t tell just where inside the dough-nut the system will be found but we know that the boundaries of the dough-nut set the limits for the movement of the system on selected variables; think of the norms controlling braking at a stop light; most people vary around a mean; few come to a full stop; few dash right through. 4) a butterfly attractor is most interesting since, when these appear, the same system without the addition of any new parts, will suddenly move to two [or more] outcome basins of attraction. Instead of one and only one outcome for a given kind of system [say a drop of water or a gender relations], suddenly new patterns emerge. The drop of water may take up two regions in time-space with very uncertain paths between these two points. Or, in some conditions, men and women may form 2, 4, or more marriage forms quite different from traditional relationships. 5) then there is a region of very unpredictable patterns which we call deep chaos. But even in deep chaos, there are regions of order; it is in deep chaos where one finds qualitatively more life forms, forms of crime, forms of religion, politics, economics or forms of marriage emerging. The factors driving the change to new and more complex dynamics are the text of postmodern science.
Attractor, Strange: The concept refers to the behavior of a system. In modern science, systems are supposed to behave with enough precision such that formal, axiomatic and logical theory can be built. Most complex systems do not behave so predictably; they are strange in terms of the expectations of modern scientists but not in terms of natural occurring dynamics. Author: In postmodern discourse, any one who does physical, natural or social science is an ‘author.’ This usage derives out of the larger notion that all science is a ‘text’ which is one of many stories which could be generated out of the incredibly complex fabric of natural and social dynamics. See ‘writerly.’
Authority: Many societies allocate more social power to some statuses and require those in ‘lower’ status comply with the orders, commands, wishes or expectations of ‘higher’ authority. When social power is vested in an office or person, such person has ‘authority.’ Weber lists three kinds: traditional [that of a parent or priest], legal-rational [that of a formal organization with rules and people to enforce them] as well as charismatic. As Simmel noted, such “power” is always a social product and lasts only as long as the “subordinates” continue to reify the person/office as an “authority.” However, when authority is naively reified, people do give up some of their autonomy and allow others to direct their behavior. Both human agency and personal morality are thereby subverted.
Banditry, social: A form of pre-theoretical rebellion in which particular nobles or capitalists are the target of violence or theft. The bandit steals from, kidnaps, or murders rich and/or famous persons and shares out the wealth to kin and friends. Banditry tends to disappear as social justice increases. Robin Hood and Pretty Boy Floyd are among the better known bandits. Many viewed Jesse and Frank James as social bandits since they robbed the banks which were thought to be robbing the worker and farmer.
Base: The means of production of material culture and the relations of production is found in the economic base. The tools, factories, techniques, and lines of commodity production form one part of the base. The other part of the base consists of the way the producers of value relate to each other and to those who do not produce value. In slavery, the relationship is that of slave and master; in feudalism, of Lord and Serf; in capitalism, that of worker and owner; in socialism, that of worker and state; in communism, that of worker to other workers and to the unpaid but important labor force. In capitalism, there is a tendency to improve the means of production and to destroy the relations of production. See also Superstructure.
Base Communities: Nuns, Priests, Preachers and Ministers who orient their ministry to Liberation Theology (c.f.) help peons, peasants, workers and/or minorities to form strong and mutually supportive communities in which worship extends beyond the situated Drama of the Holy to encompass all of daily life. The idea is to create an approximation of the heavenly City/Community here on earth by opposing and dismantling new and old structures of domination. Behavior modification: A political technique by which the principles of psychology are used to eliminate behavior that is embarrassing, awkward, or irritating to others. By circumventing the self-system and by eliminating interaction, behavioral mod can enable a small cadre of psychologists to manage the behavior of a mass of consumers, prisoners, students, patients, or others. Since authentic therapy is labor-intensive, behavioral mod is a cheap way for the state to solve its problems of an unruly surplus population of reluctant students, workers and abandoned children.
Blanqui, Louis, (1805-1881). A French socialist who gave Marx and socialism several concepts: class struggle, proletarian revolution, dictatorship of the proletariat and the idea that socialists should form a small, secret group to engineer the overthrow of capitalism.
Blocs, Economic: A coalition of several nation-state pursuing common goals and setting forth common rights and obligations of those who reside within the bloc. There are three competing views of how the global economy works: first there is the idea that there are some 160 sovereign nation-states which compete freely among themselves; then there is the view that there is a Capitalist World Order in which the Group of Seven [see which] is at the top and poor nations ranged in layers below that. But recently, nations have been joining into larger economic systems called blocs. The European Common Market, the North American Free Trade Association are the most developed. Over the new 20 to 50 years, we might well see some 10 or 12 such blocs competing for markets, raw materials and for rights to deep sea or outer space resources.
Bloc Formation: There are several factors which call forth large, multi-national blocs and which pattern their composition. First, in unity, there is strength to compete with the more powerful nations; Japan, Germany and the USA are so much stronger in economic and political terms that African, Asian and Latin American nation-states must co-operate if they are to compete/resist them. Secondly, the rich capitalist nations have a common interest in suppressing liberation movements and guaranteeing the free movement of goods and profits around the world. Then too there are many factors which bind people across national boundaries; language, religion, colonial status and such. Blocs are likely to be the largest, most visible and most active social units in the 21st c.
Bourgeoisie: Old English; burg: old French; burgeis, bourges = dwelling; by extension, those who live in town; craftspersons, merchants, officials and such. Now, that sector of the population of a society which, by one rationale or another, expropriates part of the surplus value produced by the proletariat. It carries strong and often negative emotional content in the writings of the Left.
Bourgeois revolution: A political revolution in which the rights of the individual to pursue private goals and to accumulate property is guaranteed. A series of bourgeois revolutions from the English revolution in 1688 to the American revolution in 1775 replaced feudalism with capitalism.
Bourgeois society: One in which exchange relationships replace social relationships; in which cultural items [sex, drugs, foods, loyalty, sports]
become commodities exchanged for profit and in which private profit is the central test of production. Bureaucratic socialism: A distorted form of socialism in which the state holds title to the means of production. Like capitalism, part of the production is extracted by law or by force but unlike capitalism, that surplus is invested in improving the basic health, housing, food, transport, and military delivery systems. A part of the surplus is also used to provide the ruling elite with class privileges. The USSR was the prototype of bureaucratic socialism.
Bureaucracy: French; bureau = writing desk and, later, drawer. It has come to mean any work requiring the keeping of files; later a form of social organization in which order, rationality and hierarchy are key elements. In more general terms, a way of organizing social life such that an elite can control the behavior of a large mass of people by means of a staff (or cadre). Lenin said that a bureaucracy was first a military [police]
apparatus and then a judiciary apparatus; that it corrupts from above and below. It is also an apparatus which locates moral agency in the hands of a few. Marked by formal and uniform application of rules, bureaucracies are supposed to be “rational” instruments by which goals determined by an elite may be achieved. Bureaucratic organization typifies modern industrial corporations, military organizations and a managed society. See McDonaldization.
Cadre: A central core of workers who activate and direct the activities of a larger mass. A bureaucratic organization (school, military, hospital, agency, business) has a paid set of workers who process people as isolated individuals or as faceless blocs through the routines of the system. In elitist societies, the expectation is that the cadre and the mass is a permanent relationship since the point of the bureaucracy is to control workers, customers, patients, students or prisoners and thus reproduce class, status honor, or social power. A socialist revolution establishes cadres to organize the poor and the powerless. In the latter instance the cadre is supposed to arrange for those conditions in which cadres become unnecessary. See also Vanguard. Capital: This term has two very different meanings. (1) Sometimes capital is used to mean manufactured physical objects-machines, equipment, buildings-which are used in the production process, or money available to buy these objects. (2) For Marxists, capital is more than just money or machines. It is a relationship which gives a near-monopoly over money and machinery by a small group of people (capitalists), who are able to hire other people to work for them, in order to make them more money. Capitalism is a social relationship; most people have to work for somebody else in order to survive. In the U.S., about 8% of the people are capitalists and live off of the surplus value of labor while 52% sell their labor power (1977). The rest live on the wages of paid workers, go on welfare or hustle or steal. Capital in the first sense–physical objects–is necessary for production in every economic system. However, capital in the second sense–the ability of the owners of those physical objects to hire others to work for them is unique to one particular system, capitalism (From URPE). Of capital, Marx said that it is ‘…dead labor that like a vampire only lives by sucking the blood from living labor.’
Capital (Das Kapital) (1867): A three volume set in which Marx went outside the capitalist paradigm to criticize it as an economic system. The basic thesis of the work is that capitalism is a dynamic system which (a) destroys community, (b) converts praxis into alienated labor and (c) contains internal contradictions which tend to produce crises. Basically, capitalism is a system of capital accumulation for private purposes. This feature puts it into conflict with the human interest in production for social purposes. The major internal contradiction is that as capitalism succeeds, it has less use for workers. This means there is no one to exploit since unemployed workers can’t buy. “Overproduction” is created thereby even as people are hungry and in need of goods and such a situation programs more conflict into the system. In the good years of capitalism, there was some doubt about the validity of marxian analysis. War, new technology, and Keynesian policies keep the system growing. Recent developments tend to confirm the instability of capitalism as a system of production. For the U.S., loss of markets to Germany, Japan, and socialist liberation movements have produced a crisis centered now in the state sector. The state covers much of the costs of capitalism at present in the U.S. As deficit spending, taxes, and other federal revenue sources are exhausted and as welfare and military costs increase, production overhead must be shifted back to the private sector or political legitimacy is lost. Either the crises is in the state sector or the private sector. Whatever the case, inflation and unemployment increase and more and more sectors of the population grow restive. There are two likely outcomes, fascism or socialism.
Capital, Accumulation of. The transformation of surplus value into machines and technology to produce more goods and services with fewer and fewer workers. All economic systems need to accumulate and improve capital goods; only capitalism tries, as well, to dis-employ more and more people in the process. Marxists, socialists, and communists as well as liberal economists hold that part of surplus value should be set aside for essential but low profit services: child care, health care, teaching, elder care, environment, and such. Capitalists tend to argue that capital accumulation should a)
follow demand and b) be invested in the goods and services which yield the highest profit rates.
Capital accumulation crisis: This idea refers to the problem of securing profits as the number of workers needed in capital intensive production declines (and markets for mass produced goods decline). Capitalism must either find new markets overseas or sell the ‘surplus’ production to the state to give away to those who can’t find work. The first solution requires a “warfare state” and the second a “welfare state.” Both solutions require high taxes and/or deficit spending and thus contribute to a crisis in political legitimacy.
Capital, constant: This form of capital refers to machines, raw materials, buildings, tools, fuel and other physical objects to which labor [variable capital] is added and from which all wealth comes. It is called constant capital since, unlike variable capital [labor power], its value does not change in the production process beyond the wear and tear of producing wealth.
Capital, Organic Composition of: This concept refers to the ratio of workers to machines. The more machines and fewer workers, the higher the organic composition of capital. Some lines of production are capital intensive (they use very few workers); some are labor intensive (they use few machines). Nursing, teaching, parenting, playing and religious activities are labor intensive. Mining, farming, milling, machining, transporting and accounting are ever more capital intensive. A good and decent society tries to keep a balance between capital and labor such that there is full employment in pro-social lines of production.
Capital, variable: That part of capital used to purchase the labor power of workers. It is called variable capital since labor power produces more than enough value to replace itself and more; surplus value [see which]. Labor power also varies over time; workers get tired, sick, angry or hurt; machines don’t; the value workers can produce thus varies much more so than that of machines. The costs of labor can go up or down more rapidly than the cost of capital goods since capital goods come from other capitalists who have more power to control prices than do workers. Capitalism: A system which separates workers from any property rights in the means by which they produce culture by their labor. The system transforms the social means of subsistence into capital on the one hand and the immediate producers into wage laborers on the other hand. Most of the time, capitalism is defined as the private ownership of the means of production but that definition does not encompass the great harm done to humanity by the system. By claiming all (or most) of the means to produce culture as private property, a small class of owners preempts material culture to their own comfort while denying the vast majority the means to subsistence as well as the means to produce ideological culture when they are not working.
Capitalism, advantages of: There are many aspects of capitalism most congenial to the human project: it is the most productive economic system in history, it is the most flexible, it is the most innovative; it responds to human desire and personal preference, it requires a honest and unflinching knowledge process, it often requires merit while it tends…only tends…to destroy the ancient structures of oppression when it cannot use them.
Capitalism, disadvantages of: Marx argued that there were laws within the everyday workings of capitalism which would create misery and lead to its destruction. These include: 1) the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, 2) the tendency of large firms to buy out or destroy small firms, 3) the tendency to transform all goods and services into commodities, 4) the tendency to transfer [externalize] costs of production to workers, consumers or the environment, 5) the tendency to disemploy workers [surplus labor force] in favor of machines and capital intensive production, 6) the tendency to dominate the political process, 7) the tendency to control the production of ideological culture [art, science, music, literature and religion, 8) the tendency toward economic imperialism, 9) the tendency to abandon low profit but essential lines of production [the Law of Uneven Development], and 10) the tendency toward revolution. Compare to the three capitalist economic laws below.
Capitalism (theory of collapse of): With astonishing insight and genius, Marx laid out the dynamics by which capitalism will bring on its own demise. In brief, Marx said that capitalism brings into being productive forces which it cannot control and which will burst asunder the fetters placed on it by capitalism. Capitalism creates a huge productive apparatus at the same time it creates a surplus population by replacing workers with machines. It generates demand for products at the same time it withholds products in order to get higher prices. It cheapens labor at the same time it requires that one labor in order to purchase goods. It brings together industrial armies which then constitute a threat to property relations. It must create waste even as raw materials come into short supply. It must argue for freedom in the market place while growing more bureaucratic in the factory and office. It must dis-empower its employees even as they become better educated. And it must eliminate other capitalists and thus erode its own power base. All these and more create the objective conditions by which social revolution is more likely. Even without a communist conspiracy or social reformers (do-gooders, bleeding-hearts, and eggheads) capitalism outlives its usefulness. The problems of capitalism lay within the system not outside it.
Capitalism (fiscal costs of): It costs the U.S.A. about $150 billion to keep capitalism as a form of production in 1977. Corporate profits were about $110.3 billion; interest costs were 12.2 billion; excessive salaries of top executives about 10 billion more. Depreciation allowances came to about 87.3 billion in 1976 and part of this transferred to owners since it was not all spent to replace worn-out capital. URPE estimates that all together in some combination of profits, interests, and rents the capitalist class takes a 15% cut of national income even though it does nothing in return. (Managers get paid to manage; brokers and money managers get paid to invest). In addition to these direct fiscal costs, the worker also pays taxes to support a military apparatus to protect the overseas markets of American capitalists and to support the surplus population on welfare; to police the surplus population (who steal a lot when they can’t find work and otherwise hustle the worker and each other). All this does not count the social costs of capitalism measured in human misery and despair rather than dollars and profits.
Capitalism, Economics Laws of: There are three ‘laws’ which capitalist economists say are the heart of all economics: 1) the law of supply and demand, 2) the law of marginal utility, and 3) the law of diminishing returns. These are all valid enough within the logics of capitalism as such but do see Capitalism, tendential laws of.
Capitalism, People’s: An economic system in which a large share of the wealth is shared widely in society or is held by a democratic state on behalf of all the people. In this system, democratic freedoms, market dynamics and private property are retained. The state does not represent the interest of the capitalist class but rather the general interest [including future generations]. Social Democracies try to approximate this economic form [England, France, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Australia, Canada and New Zealand]. Many marxists argue that the basic conflicts remain and will re-assert themselves when times get bad [see Kondratieff Cycles].
Capitalism (reproduction of): The capitalist system must be continuously reproduced. This is accomplished by two general means: the reproduction of private/elitist ownership and the management of dissent via ideological hegemony and or outright repression. The ideological process starts in school and college where capitalist ideas are celebrated and socialist ideas are distorted or ignored. The state plays a large role in reproducing capitalism by laws which establish the right to appropriate part of the value of labor by non-workers and by public policy which subsidizes almost all of the “costs” of capitalism. What is required for the continuation of capitalism is a legal system which permits the “free” trade of commodities. By “free” is meant that a necessary social good is withheld unless a seller can make a profit. The state also commits many crimes against rebellious workers and political opposition in the name of law and order. Capitalist corporations commit many crimes which are unpoliced, uncharged, untried, and uncounted in order to increase profits, obtain raw materials, destroy competition or control markets. Many if not most military ventures of the U.S. have no design other than to penetrate and protect markets, provide cheap labor and guarantee access to low cost raw materials to capitalism. Feminists point out that women are charged to reproduce the labor power of their working husbands by providing unpaid domestic service and by rearing/socializing the next generation of compliant workers. They also reproduce capital by ‘super’ exploitation; they are paid 30, 40, 60, or 90 percent of what males get for the same work. Then too, women reproduce the status system while at work via gender based norms and by sexual harassment.
Capitalism (social costs): In addition to a 15% bite out of value of the wealth produced by the working class, capitalism also costs much in the way of human misery. Capitalism withholds the basic necessities of life unless one has something to exchange (so the capitalist can make a profit). Capitalism also systematically degrades work while trying to enlarge the surplus value of labor. And, part of the wealth produced by labor is turned into repressive structures: law, police, prisons, psychiatry and “public relations.” But the conversion of culture and of social relationships into commodities cheapens and destroys a society. Capitalist relations reproduced in the family, the school, or in medicine and sports turns human beings themselves into commodities to be bought and sold.
Capitalism (stages of): The periods of capitalist development differ according to the ways in which the value of labor is appropriated by those who own and/or control the means of production. The first stage was mercantile capitalism which emerged on large-scale in Venice and Genoa in the 13th century. It culminated in the English empire in the 19th c. The second stage was industrial capitalism as factory cities replaced independent commodity production at home by artisans. This stage began around 1730 in England with the factory system and remained dominate until the 20th century by which time finance capitalism began to displace industrial capitalism as the major means by which to extract surplus value. At present (1977), capitalism in the U.S. claims about 15% of the GNP and, of that amount, 8% is rent or profit and 7% is interest. Most corporations such as Sears or Wards or Master-Charge now prefer to sell credit [finance capitalism] rather than merchandise [industrial capitalism] since credit has lower capital costs and higher returns.
Capital intensive production: The use of machinery to produce food, shelter, clothing, electronics, automobiles, or other commodities. Workers cost a lot of money; wages, pensions, vacations, health insurance and such; machines don’t. Workers get ill, get angry, go on strike, criticize management and quit; machines don’t.
Capitalist World System/Economy: Immanuel Wallerstein laid out several helpful points about the capitalism world which is useful to the beginning student: 1. Capitalism is a world economy with a single global division of labor and a lot of differing cultures. It funnels wealth from the poorer countries to the richer. 2. World economies are unstable; they collapse or turn into empires of the strongest state(s). 3. The present world economy emerged in the 19th century as factory production and international division of labor emerged, mostly in Northern Europe and North America. 4. There are two divisions of labor to consider: a. Ethno-nations with 1) an owning class which makes investment and controls state power, 2) a middle class which consumes luxury goods and support the owning class, 3) a large working class which produces wealth and 4) an underclass surplus to the labor market. b. A global division of labor which mirrors the national division: 1) the core industrial countries with military power, 2) the semi-periphery whose fate is tied to the core and 3) the periphery. 5. The state in the core is stable; both industrialists and commercial interests want an open market. The state in the semi-periphery is unstable; the industrialists want a protected market; the merchants want free trade so they can sell luxury items. 6. There are three mechanisms which keep the world system stable: a)
military force, b) ideological commitment by employees in the public and private sector whose jobs and life-style depends upon capitalism, c) a split in the large majority of non-owners between those who benefit and those who live at the margins. See New World Order.
Central [economic] Planning: An economic system in which the state manages the economy through periodic plans, usually 5-year plans. It is used a) to change rapidly to industrial production, b) to improve neglected lines of production, c) to re-employ the surplus labor force, d) re-distribute wealth to housing, hospitals, schools, roads, highways, dams, irrigation systems, electric power plants and other ‘infra-structure’ needs. While rightly claiming many achievements in many socialist countries, still it has several flaws: 1) too inflexible, b) promotes white collar crime as well as a ‘black market,’ c) obstructs more democratic forms of production and puts quantity before quality.
Centralism, Democratic. A fraudulent facsimile of democracy in which a central committee makes all the relevant policy decisions while party members are expected to carry them out in the name of democratic centralism. In USSR, the Central Committee of the Communist Party had effective control of the government; the People’s Congresses were little more than rubber stamps. See also Vanguard, Vanguardism.
Chaos Theory: A body of knowledge about the changing mix of order and disorder in natural and social systems. Modern, newtonian science gives preference to order and stability; chaos theory tends to support the idea that some disorder is essential to all complex, adaptive systems and that change is continuous to the human experience. Chaos theory provides an elegant empirical support for both dialectic theory and for postmodern concern with variety, surprise, contrariety and difference. In Chaos theory, really existing structures have a fractal and temporary geometry; there is a secession of dynamical states; with each bifurcation, more complex dynamics develop, causality is looser and prediction less possible. One should note that all living creatures and societies require some disorder to survive; innovation, creativity, flexibility and revolution are everyday words we use to make this point. Too much order and systems die; too much disorder and systems cannot be planned or trusted to behave as expected. See Science, Postmodern. See also Nonlinear, Fractal, and do compare with other ideas about Metaphysics. Chivalry hypothesis: The idea that females are treated more kindly than are males by police, district attorneys, judges and parole board. This being the case, so the argument goes, women are less likely to be crime statistics; not because they are so much less criminal but because they are treated with the courtesy said to be part of knightly virtue toward women. Feminists make the point that any relation between gender and favorable treatment in the CJS disappears when marital status is factored in: that police and judges are considerate of women when they are single mothers but not when they are single and compete with men for jobs. Patriarchy requires women parent children; men can be sent to prison since they are not expected to parent. Other feminists point out that the CJS leaves control of women to the men in their lives. Civil society: A social order in which the rights of egoistic, atomistic individuals are proclaimed. A system (not really a society) in which the bonds between people are those of physical survival, safety, and preservation of private property. This contrasts to community wherein bonds are social.
Civilization: French; civilis = of or belonging to the citizens. Cililizare: the process by which a criminal matter become a public issue. Now it refers to a social life world informed by the Enlightenment and marked by formal social relations, impersonality and rationality. Mills and Coleridge contrasted civilization with culture and imbued the first with positive emotional content and the later with negative content as in savage, primitive, barbarian. After Raymond Williams.
Class: Class is one of five great systems of domination which affect patterns of health, housing, self esteem, religion, education, recreation and politics. It is based upon one’s relationship to the means of production and distribution. For Marxists, a class consists of people who have the same role in the process of production. The two basic classes under capitalism are the capitalist (or ruling) class called the Bourgeoisie: those who own and control all productive processes-and the working class called the Proletariat [see which], who because they lack that control have to sell their labor for wages. Bankers, major corporate stockholders, top managers and absentee landlords belong to the capitalist class. Factory and construction workers, police, secretaries, hospital workers, teachers, and many others belong to the working class. There are also other classes, such as the middle class of self-employed people (farmers, storeowners, poets, brokers, lawyers, doctors). The Marxist definition of class is different from that used by many sociologists who use terms like middle-class to refer to level of income rather than relationship to the process of production. Many workers do have incomes comparable to middle level functionaries in the U.S. However, since the workers do not own the means of production, their position in terms of wages could change quickly. As factories move overseas, as inflation increases, as taxes increase, the difference in wealth between capitalists and workers becomes more visible. (URPE)
Class Action Suit: A legal procedure in which a number of person harmed by a company or an agency come together to petition a court for remedy. This legal action is very important in controlling corporate crime and/or unconstitutional action by a local governing body. Corporate conservatives try to limit eligibility for class action status; those harmed try to expand it.
Class Collaboration: When elements of the working class or the intelligentsia cooperate with owners or with the state, they are said to ‘class collaborate.’ Many orthodox communists despise class collaboration. Liberals claim that such reform can turn into qualitatively different and more humane economic systems. Liberals make a good case, however, in any capitalist economy, it is a good idea for workers to remain independent and work for the common good rather than cooperate with capitalists to exploit unorganized workers, third world countries and weaker firms.
Class conflict: In class organized societies, there are several conflicts of interest between workers and owners. first and foremost, some of the surplus value of labor produced by workers is appropriated and claimed by capitalists. Secondly, there is the question of how the labor process is to be organized; capitalists want workers to be excluded from management decisions over how fast workers work, when they work; where they work and who they work with. Third, there is the question of what is to be produced; some workers don’t like to produce unsafe toys, foods with dangerous additives, weapons of death, or low quality goods. Indeed, some religions prohibit this kind of labor. However, as long as a lot of workers have access to sufficient material wealth and time to create ideological culture, and as long as the instruments of coercion are in the hands of an elite, the conflict of interests is contained. However, as soon as capitalism faces an accumulation crisis, appropriation of surplus value increases and the capacity of people to create culture is threatened. At this point class conflict transforms into class struggle. Usually the class struggle is over wages and working conditions but success here is short-lived. The marxist position is that the objective of the class struggle is to reclaim ownership of the means of producing culture rather than an increase in wages with which to purchase culture. Some hold that the class struggle is to be seen in absentee rates, turnover rates, wildcat strikes, petty sabotage, shoddy workmanship and grievance rates, quarrels, drug and alcohol use at work. This is more privatized conflict than organized struggle. See class struggle and cultural struggle as well.
Class consciousness: An awareness of one’s own class interests, a rejection of the interests of other classes, and a readiness to use political means to realize one’s class interests (From C.W. Mills). Most people identify themselves as middle class even if they don’t get paid much and even if they can be fired tomorrow with no warning. Many people go to college and learn they are better; more successful than are ‘common laborers’ and thus try to distance themselves from their brothers and sisters who work at unskilled jobs. Workers, too, look down upon the underclass and thus the ‘working class’ is fragmented into sectors with little interest in class struggle. Capitalists too have very different interests but tend to unite in the face of class opposition. Those who produce raw materials have to sell them to industrial capitalists; there is always conflict there. Merchants have to buy from industrialists; there is conflict there as well. Both merchants and industrialists need to borrow money from finance capitalists; so there are more conflicts of interest. Then too, all those in the same line compete with each other. Big business tends to destroy small business as for example, when Walmart comes in and takes customers away from small shops and stores; or when McDonald’s comes in and takes customers away from small restaurants.
Class Consciousness, theory of: Marx’ theory of class consciousness is that industrialism and the factory system brings thousands of workers together in the same place. Being together, they begin to realize their own social power and see more clearly the conflict between workers and owners. Lenin said that workers are not truly class conscious until they respond to all cases of tyranny, oppression, violence and abuse, no matter [who] is affected.
Class Structure: In advanced capitalism, the three significant strata are the capitalist class (1.5% of the adult population), the working class (73.5%) and the surplus population (25% and growing relative to the working class). Allied with the capitalist class are professionals, middle management, and bureaucrats (18.5%) who though they have only their labor power to sell, still support their employers politically and ideologically since they get higher wages, higher status and often, a share in profits. Separated from the unskilled workers (30%) are the skilled workers (15%) and the technical workers (10%) who are organized on occupational lines rather t han class lines. Then there is the reserve army (composed mostly of minorities, women and young people, 15%). The class struggle is to forge class alliance now in order to advance theoretically informed class conflict later. See Underclass.
Class Struggle: A struggle over who controls the labor process; it arises between strata in any exploitative society since each class has different and incompatible differences. The struggle is over a) who owns the means of production; b) the uses to which they are put; c) the labor process itself as well as d) how ‘surplus’ value is to be divided up. Class conflict on the part of the capitalists involves price fixing, black listing, union busting, bribery, pre-selection of candidates for public office, pollution, dis-investment, and cartels. Class struggle by workers include strikes, sit-ins, general work stoppages, unionization and support of political candidates and sometimes rebellion. Sabotage, theft, falsification of time cards and acts of petty rebellion are also tools sometimes used.. Even consumers sometimes engage in class warfare with boycotts, bans, pickets, shop-lifting and political activity. For the socialist, class struggle does not mean the replacement of one elite by another but rather the end of class relationships. See also the role of the State in class struggle.
Commodity: The transformation of a good or service from its meaning as a support for social relationships to a meaning of private profit. Food, sex, housing, medicine, transport could be used to create and affirm social relationships (as is the case in a family) or for profit (as is the case in capitalism).
Commodification: The practice of converting use-value into exchange value. This is a very important idea; think about food. It has a use value but its exchange value may be set so high that people starve when there is a lot of food. The same is true for any essential good or service once it has been commodified. Then too, as Marx noted, all that is sacred can be commodified; sex, friendship, child care, even religion itself can be marketed.
Commune: In marxist/socialist theory a commune is the most human and humane form of social life. The means of production are owned by the whole community while food, shelter, health care, education and recreation are shared out on the basis of social status rather than on the basis of wages/profits/dividends/rents or other non-social grounds. Governance is by direct participation of all adult members. In the former USSR, communal life was mandatory until 1931. Extensive agricultural and industrial based communes exist in China. In modern U.S., an attempt on the part of young people to form an extended primary group in which middle class values of property and commodity are avoided. Most US communes are parasitic on society (or partly so) in that middle class parents fund their children and communes are exploitative of women. Some communes try to avoid elitist, sexist, or parasitic practices but it is difficult in the larger context of capitalism. The term comes from the medieval towns in France which demanded and practiced local self-government. Such was the beginning of the end of feudalism and the rise of capitalism. In these and in the Paris Commune, Marx saw the promise of communism. Communism: Latin: communis = common, universal, public. Communism is now chiefly understood to be an economic system set forth by Marx and a great many other critics of capitalism. For Marx, communism entailed ‘the appropriation of human nature through and for people.’ It was a return of people to human, i.e., social being as well as a system which promotes and enhances the natural and dialectical unity of individual and society. It is a non-alienating humane and human society not to be confused with bureaucratic socialism in some Eastern European states. In advanced communism, the means of production is held in common: this means that what is produced, who produces it and how it is produced is a matter of collective discourse and decision; it means as well that any surplus value [profit] is allocated to serve collective rather than private needs. Not to be confused with bureaucratic socialism.
Communism (the idea): A society without the structures of domination which now debase and degrade so many people. Primitive communism is marked by production and distribution for use [rather than for profit] and by a low-tech means of production. Advanced communism has both an energy efficient and effective means of production as well as a system of distribution based mostly on need but also on merit. It uses surplus value in capital intensive production to provide for labor intensive production lines of production; child care, health care, government and policing, as well as retirement. Surplus value is also used for public goods: parks, art forms, roads, bridges, environment, water, sewage and such. Chinese policy is to set income in a ratio of 4 to 5; four parts based upon need, 1 part of five based upon merit. Compare to advanced monopoly capital in which managers of big corporations in the USA get 500 times as much as the average worker (in Germany the ratio is about 350 to 1; in Japan, about 90 to 1, 1990 figures).
Communism (The Movement): A loose coalition of socialists, marxists, and other radicals bent on the overthrow of any society organized in such a way that the mode of production of culture alienates people from self, from nature and from each other. In capitalist countries, the movement has a bad name for a number of reasons: it puts aside national loyalty in favor of working class unity across state boundaries; it is largely negative in its criticism of a society; its rhetoric is sometimes strident and contrived; it is supported by repressive socialist regimes; and counter-intelligence operations in capitalist societies plant false evidence whereupon members of the movement often discredit each other. See Vanguard/vanguardism.
League which links theory and revolutionary action by providing a brief overview of the social sources of human misery and suggesting a plan of action to eliminate those sources. It was drafted by Marx and Engels. In brief, the Manifesto reviews the history of oppression, lists the positive and negative aspects of capitalism and concludes with a call for the workers of the world to unite and throw off the economic and political chains which reduce their humanity. Compare to the Declaration of Independence which attributes social evil to a single person (George II) and grounds the reasons for action on supernatural law. These two documents have moved many to revolution since their writing.
Communism, Primitive/Communalism: An economic formation in which all persons share on the basis of kinship and/or social status but one in which there is a very simple technology and division of labor. As Hobbs said, in such societies, life is ugly, brutal, nasty and short. Competitive Sector: That sector of the economic institution characterized by many undercapitalized companies with low wages, poor working conditions, transient labor, small work force, arbitrary discipline, and little opportunity to advance. Consisting of small business supplied by the monopoly sector, this sector involves about 1/3 of the work force and is market share to huge corporations such as Walmart or McDonalds. (after O’Connor).
Conflict Theory: A term which includes a wide variety of analyses to the effect that some of the structures in a society are not at all helpful or necessary; class, racist, sexist, or other ‘structures of domination’ can and should be dismantled. Compare to Functionalism, Consensus theory. Hegel, Marx, Darwin, Weber and others have looked at the sweep of history and have seen systematic efforts to exploit/degrade people on the one side and rising opposition to such forms of domination on the other. ‘History is a slaughterbench for the happiness of people.’ Hegel.
Conflict methodology: A method of inquiry which serves the human interest in change and renewal. Conflict theory implies conflict methodology to reduce the conflict in favor of those who are oppressed or excluded. That knowledge required to emancipate humans from alienating social forms is often withheld by a class or a bureaucratic elite. Under such circumstance, an partisan stance is required of a social scientist. Participatory research, action research, standpoint methodology and the new ‘incorporative’ research of M. Wardell and A. Zajicek all take the point of those at the bottom of social hierarchy and try to empower them and democratize the organizations studied. See Consensus Methodology; see Eleventh Thesis.
Conflict theory: There are two varieties, a conservative and a radical view of conflict. The conservative one (after Coser) holds that society is held together by conflict! Conflict is a safety valve which helps solve problems in this school. This approach tends to reduce the hostile contrast between groups: exploitation, oppression, enslavement, depersonalization and such to mere differences of opinion which can be resolved by “men of good will” in reasoned discussion. In marxian theory, conflict arises from a poorly designed social life world and requires social revolution to eliminate the conflict while in Coser’s view conflict is viewed to be symptomatic of healthy and open relations between groups.
Consciousness Industry: The organization of information flow in mass society in such that the human interests in praxis and community are defeated while the content of the media is such that capitalist and/or elitist relations are reproduced. The characteristics of the system includes: 1) the repressive use of the media, 2) centrally controlled programming, 3)
immobilization of isolated individuals, 4) one transmitter, many receivers, 5) depoliticization of content, 6) passive consumer emphasis, 7) production by specialists, 8) control by capitalists or bureaucrats. These conditions obtain both in the U.S. and in the Soviet Union. The U.S. system is “leakier” and, hence political legitimacy suffers. (after Entzenberger). Constitutive Theory: This social psychology blends key insights found in symbolic interactionism, phenomenology, and labeling sociology, along with Marxism and postmodern social thought. The person is a subject in process– not a passive receptacle of social rules, norms, roles and controls. For example: education both constitutes social relations and is constituted in turn by a subject’s use of the educational process. Determining which comes first, individual or society becomes a nonsense goal. Both are in a changing/changeable dialectic process of construction. Constitutive theory further argues that language/discourse is a problem in that constitutive dialectic since language honors the voice of some and represses the voice of many. Consider psychiatry; in order to be released, psychiatric patients must employ only those speech patterns and those coherent thought sequences consistent with medico-legal wellness. By adopting this discourse, mental health systems users re-legitimize and further concretize the power of medicolegal discourse to linguistically (and therefore socially) regulate their lives. If they resist the discourse, patients are defined as ‘mentally ill.’ Core/periphery. A term used by Wallerstein and others to refer to the structure of imperialism; the core countries were European, the colonial countries were called the ‘periphery.’ These were the colonies of England, France, Germany, Italy and now the USA in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and islands in the Pacific.
Core/periphery: At home, this term refers to the division of workers into a relatively secure core group and a much less secure peripheral group. There are two principal contexts for this term: 1. In an entire economy, employees of large corporations may be seen as part of the “core”, and those of small business as the “periphery”. This is particularly the case in discussing Japan, where major “core” companies, with lifetime employment, rely on a “periphery” of workers/subcontractors with much more precarious conditions of employment. 2. In an individual company, the “core” is composed of those workers carrying out its main function, while the “periphery” consists of those whose work is not part of the company’s main business and can be contracted out, such as cleaners, cooks in the factory canteen, and so on.
Corruption, theory of: There are four general rules with which a society maintains a social monopoly on items and behaviors used to reproduce that society: 1) Some supplies and activities are defined as sacred and used to create dramas of the Holy in which persons, roles and institutions are sanctified. Among the supplies are special clothing, psychogenic drugs [beer, wine, marijuana and such], special foods, and special tools. Among the activities are sexual acts, music, gambling, pain/violence as well as eating and drinking. The rule is that these are required; one must do these things; use these things even if unpleasant. 2) The non-social, purely personal use of such items and events is forbidden. Pejorative terms are used to discourage such use; perversion, pathology, addiction, depravity etc. 3) Those psychogens and ecstatic activities used by other cultures to create different dramas of the Holy are also forbidden and defined as deviancy, depravity and degrading. 4). Activities which tend to subvert age, class, gender or other social differentiations/stratifications are also defined as deviant or pathological. Corporate crime: The antisocial activity of corporations to increase profit or reduce costs: adulteration of food, unsafe products, bribery, avoiding taxes, subverting the political process and so on. There is far more corporate crime involving larger amounts of money than petty unorganized crime (burglary, robbery, extortion, embezzlement, and such). The average street crime garners about $150; the average white collar crime over $100,000 and while corporate crime runs into the millions and sometimes hundreds of millions. Corporate crime is seldom policed, reported or punished.
Corporation: A body chartered by the state and consisting of a formal agreement or contract among people joined in a common purpose to hold property, make contracts and share profits. It has the added virtue that, as a legal entity, it enables the people who own the stock to avoid the responsibility for any harm done to the larger society.
Corporativism: An economic variety of capitalism in which a weak state helps achieve integration of workers, capitalists, farmers and other class fragments into a ‘corporate’ whole. A bit different from fascism in that the state is not as central to the process. Japan is the current embodiment of corporativism in the capitalist world. Singapore is a high-tech version of corporativism.
Costs (Socially Necessary): The costs of producing the material base of a society. It includes the cost of capital goods (factories, railroads, etc), of reproducing a healthy labor force, of the extraction of raw materials as well as the cost of repairing any damage to the environment upon which all life ultimately depends. The concept is of interest since it enables an analyst to subtract SNC from gross national product and get the surplus value produced. Once we know surplus value, we can see how it is used (misused) and can judge that society. In the U.S., there are many socially unnecessary costs which restrict the use we make of surplus. Among these unnecessary costs are a) profits, b) selling costs, c) legal services, d)
surplus employee compensation, e) bribes, political donations and such.(After Baran and Sweezy).
Counter-memorializing: A postmodern concept which denies the underlying reality of scientific truth including social science; it rejects impersonal and eternal foundations of standards, morals or enquiry. Claims of origins and endings are, likewise, questioned. After Ashley and Walker.
Creativity: As a moment of praxis, creativity involves thought and action located in history, i.e., produced uniquely in the situation at hand by insightful humans. In contrast to behavior which is identical to that of other persons at other times (thus producing a social life world in which prediction-and-control are possible), praxis requires behavior quite unpredictable and, at the same time, delightful in its aptness and originality. It is not restricted to poetry, painting, or marginal cultural endeavor but is to be central to work, religion, sports and love. (After Crocker).
Crime: From the Sanskrit, Karma, meaning that which a person is responsible in contrast from that over which a person has no choice. In American criminology crime is defined as: 1) a violation of a legal specification, 2)
enacted by a competent law making body, 3) involving both culpable intent and 4) overt action which 5) carries a specific penalty. This definition safely confines the policing of behavior to that which is defined as illegal; itself often under control of an elite. In socialist theory, a crime is that which tends to destroy community or detract from human dignity. In addition to murder and rape, the most serious crimes in socialist theory are: elitist ownership or control of the means to produce human culture, appropriation of the surplus value of labor for and only for private use, objectification of other humans, counter-revolutionary activity. Reductionist Theories of crime demands that the individual change while the socialist theory of crime (q.v.) requires radical social change, intensive socialization to socialist consciousness, primary group (commune, brigade) control and incorruptible policing.
Crime (Forms and Theory of): There are five kinds of crime which are promoted in capitalism as a system. 1 ) Street crime involves theft, burglary, arson, robbery, murder, and kidnapping [see rape separately]. It increases as the surplus population increases and as welfare systems become depersonalized. Marxian theory holds that most street crime is the ‘forcible re-unification of production and distribution by the underclass and under-employed. 2) Corporate crime are those acts committed in order to enla rge market share, lower costs or increase profit rates; it involves conspiracy to fix prices, the use of dangerous ingredients, the sale of dangerous toys and medicines, violation of labor laws, pollution, and tax evasion. It increases as profits fall, demand slackens, competition increases or public laws lower profit. 3) The rackets (organized crime)
produce and distribute sex, gaming, alcohol, drugs and other supplies traditionally used for solidarity purposes. It commodifies sacred supplies. 4) White collar crime involves betrayal in a position of trust; it increases as the middle class attempts to build a retirement ‘portfolio;’ maintain an upper middle class lifestyle and/or when employees come to resent working conditions. 5) Political crime is that crime committed by the state or against the state. State crime increases for two reasons: a) to help the capitalist class realize profits at home or overseas and b) as legitimacy is lost and the state moves to repress criticism and oppress critics. Crimes against the state increase when oppression is endemic and when institutional politics do not work. When migration is difficult or when underground structures are heavily policed, direct political action increases.
Crime, female, theories of: Women are found in courts and prisons much less frequently than are men; Hoffman-Bustamante lists five reasons for this: 1)
differential role expectations, 2) differential socialization and control tactics, 3) structurally different opportunities to commit different kinds of crime, 4) differential recruitment to deviant careers, 5) Sex differences in defining crime categories. Note these are common to patriarchal gender relations. The crimes women are likely to commit are mostly economic crimes; shop-lifting, writing bad checks, prostitution and embezzlement. Looking at these from a structural point of view, one notes the weak/missing connection to the means of production and distribution experienced by women. See also, Needs, false.
Crimes, male: Most crimes are committed by males; violent crimes are predominantly male since patriarchy requires males to be controlling and dominating; absent social power or economic power, male often use physical power on each other or upon women in order to command compliance. See Macho, machismo.
Crime, social location of: Each kind of crime is found in a different part of society and is policed differently. Street crime is located mostly in the underclass, mostly poor males, white and black; corporate crime is located mostly in the upper class, it mostly involves white males; white collar crime is committed in the professional and managerial classes for the most part while organized crime in organized by white males in the middle or upper classes while employees usually come from the underclass and customers from every social class. Political crime is usually committed by the state or by small groups opposed to the state.
“Crimes without victims”: Legally prohibited actions that involve no unwilling, or complaining party: for example, drug addiction, alcoholism, and prostitution. Often injury occurs slowly and is hard to link closely to the acts above. The phrase is often used to promote the privatized use of drugs and sex by decriminalization. This means that anything can be sold as a commodity and is compatible with the principle of free enterprise.
Criminal law: A set of laws which define what is and what is not subject to punishment and incarceration. Criminal law is greatly influenced by class, gender, and racism. French radicals have a saying: ‘The law in all its majesty forbids equally the rich and the poor from sleeping under bridges.’
Criminalization/de-criminalization: Many acts which are not permitted within a system of norms are defined as sin in pre-modern sensibility. In modern times, they have been defined as crime rather than sin as science displaces religion in the explanation of human behavior. Of late, such behaviors have been re-defined as illness rather than sinful or criminal. Postmodern scholarship treats both the prison and the mental institution as social control tactics which reproduce stratified cultural formations [after Foucault].
Criminal Justice: A state-initiated and state supported effort to rationalize the mechanisms of social control in order to solve the problems of advanced capitalism which include an unruly surplus population, political dissent, monopoly and inflation. Most criminal justice systems are based upon pain and degradation. Utilitarianism teaches, incorrectly, that human beings organize their behavior on pain and pleasure rather than upon norms and mor