Monday, August 28, 2006

A Critic Replies: 'Monastries were not Property'!

I posted yesterday’s Blog entry on Stumbling and Mumbling too, and Emmanuel Goldstein replied, first quoting the following paragraph and then blasting, succinctly:

We know this because, in all cases in the history of humankind, over several millennia, no other system of organisation without property was selected by human societies to arrange for the production and distribution of produce.”

“Rubbish. Counterexamples: medieval monasticism, early christian communities, etc

Emmanuel Goldstein misses the point about the nature of property surely. Its characteristic is that somebody or some institution owns it to the exclusion of all others. That was its historical and necessary role in the development of society from ‘Rude’ to its successors: shepherding, agriculture and commerce (and now 'capitalsim').

But why rewrite on this fundamental point about the intrinsic nature of property when another contributor, ‘Chris Y’ responded so brilliantly, and succinctly, and asks Emmanuel:

In what universe did mediaeval monasteries not own property. The monks as individuals may not have, but that's completely beside the point. There's a strand of opinion which holds that the Carthusians were catalytic in transforming primitive accumulation into systematic capitalism.”

You can read the entire discussion, including the original contribution on 'Reading Marx' at:

You can (should) read the initial posting by Brad De Long at his daily and prolific Blog:


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