The condition of Postmodernity

There are a few key things that I keep in mind to to assign relevance to the ideas in this reading.  First I approach the ideas presented from what may be considered a critical theory perspective.  In my own terms, I am looking to see if the readings offer insight into the thing I identify as global racism, perpetrated by a minority global collective (Europeans are 10% of world population) against the majority of the world’s people (whom are people of color).  I am careful about over generalizations and over simplifications.  I know that not all Europeans agree with the rational of racism.  However in my estimation, there are global patterns and a long history of global conquests which points to a sustained effort by Europeans to dominate all other peoples.  

 

As I was reading Harvey I was wondering if the mode of thought classified as modernist and postmodernist, could shed light on the motivations, mechanizations, rationalizations, and destinations of racism as it is coupled with the same movements of thought and action vis-a-vis capitalism. 

 

I also add to my frame of reference a point that was made in the book, that the mandate of global capitalism is not a respecter of race, nationality, gender, or any other classification.  Global capitalism is interested simply in expansion and wealth accumulation regardless of bedfellows or who is in line for cooptation or destruction.  I do not think that the constant mandate, a totalizing mandate, of capitalism for wealth accumulation by any means necessary, can fit the strict definition of postmodernism.  That is, if postmodernism is to be taken as a reaction against espousing ultimate aims, guiding principles, notions of ideal self-fulfillment, and planning for future outcomes.  I think both capitalism and global racism (what some call global White supremacy), definitely has a planned outcome (domination of others materially, psychologically, and permanently).  This psychology of racism and greed for power over others, determines the modes of interchange, be they social or economic, between racists and/or capitalists with others. 

If there was no collective motivated by either greed or racism, I wonder if capitalism could exist.  Here is a thought experiment.  Suppose in a parallel universe, all conditions were the same as here on earth, except there was no racism in the slightest (perhaps the entire world population was homogeneous), and the people of this planet utopia were evolved psychically beyond the notions of ego and self centered greed.  All other things remain somewhat equal (there is still the discovery of steam power, gun power, hydroelectric power, and most other inventions).  Would capitalism take hold in such a world?  I don’t think so. Of course some think that the world’s people cannot invent labor saving, life improving technologies in modes of production other than capitalism.  Of course history says otherwise.  Capitalist exploitation of others I think is coincidental with greed and a propensity to view one’s self as superior to the other.

  Yet Indian society arranged itself in a cast system, that had the Brahmans, the worker class, the merchant class, and the untouchables.  I don’t think their pre-colonial society was a capitalist one or a racist one.  I do think a strict caste system is also a misguided system that is based on egotistical mind frames.  Can a class system, ever be non exploitative?  Is there ever good exploitation?  Of course a capitalist thinks so.  I recall asking a Black police officer talking to students at the high school where I teach, “do you think there is such thing as a good gang?”  All gang members think they are good in some profound way… so do capitalist.  But to me any brotherhood that disregards the space, time, and natural growth of another is a bad capitalist gang.  Is there a such thing as a good gang?  Is exploitation ever good?  Can capitalist expansion ever be good for good for Native Americans, good for de facto colonies of Africa?  If capitalism can be separated from exploitation, and be about just innovation, discovery of the wonders of science and human biology, just about positive growth that is never at the expense of others, then and only then can I say that capitalism is good and capitalists are a good gang. 

The other thing I wonder about is, can the push for innovation that capitalism’s leap frog mode of operation takes on, eventuate a great positive in actually removing those great barriers to collective human progress   ( i.e. hunger on a mass scale, disease on a mass scale, ignorance of the ‘other’ on a mass scale, scarcity of energy, and even the dangers of having all of the eggs of life in one planetary basket)?  Despite the great negatives done in the name of capitalist progress, and manifest destiny of a racist collective,  will there be an unintended effect of eliminating world hunger through inventions in biology?  Perhaps the science of the occident will discover cures for cancer, AIDS, and other devastating disease and the cost of these cures will be so minimal that all can be treated.  Perhaps the science of the occident will discover ways to directly harness the energy of the sun so that we will in effect have an infinite energy supply for all to benefit from.  Perhaps the science of the occident will one day terra-form Mars so that if a commet the size of the one that wiped out the dinosaurs visited upon earth again, human life would continue on Mars in ways similar to that on earth. 

 

Harvey echoes the conclusions of Marx in pointing out the inherent contradictions of capitalism with it’s inevitable cycles of crisis, frequent need for devaluation (of workforce or dollar value) and need for expansion of markets (sometimes though violence i.e. colonialism) to sustain growth.  This is a constant that will show in whatever form capitalism takes, Fordism or flexible accumulation.  This is why I espouse a  totalizing view,  what I consider a holistic integral view, that acknowledges the human evolutionary push for harmony, symbiosis, communion, mutual cooperation and appreciation.   A view that always sees a greater unity birthing and supporting the infinite diversity that expresses the unity.  The All is in each one, and each one reflects the All.  Now if we only had an economic system that reflected this ideal.  I guess by Harvey’s definition, I am a modernist, with the exception that I think unity and diversity are two sides of the same coin. 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: