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2020年8月29日 (土)

Seki Hirono, Plato and Capitalism (1982), summarized by the author (1996)

Seki Hirono, "Plato and Capitalism," Revised 1996, Hokuto Publishing, pp.429-32, "Postscript to Revised New Edition"
Translated by Google site

  Although Max Weber once said that it was the ethics of Protestantism that formed the "spirit" of modern capitalism, this book only adds a small hypothesis to this famous Weber thesis. What characterizes the spirit of modern capitalism is the pursuit of wealth for self-desired wealth, and of the abstinence of this world that abandons the enjoyment of life today to invest and accumulate capital for that purpose. It is a habit. And in Weber's view, the origin of this spirit lies in the ethics peculiar to Protestantism, found in its archetype in the life and labor of a monastery in the Middle Ages of Western Europe. It was planned to go back to ancient Judaism in search of such a source, and from there to the primitive bush of Christ. It can be said that the relationship between Christianity and capitalism was his lifelong theme. But Weber seems to have taken too much of Luther's statement that Christianity is purely a matter of faith. From the point of view of its theology since the ancient church, Christianity is the successor to Greek philosophy since Plato, which is not ancient Judaism. And here is the key to solving the problem of the origin of the spirit of capitalism.

  The archetype of the pursuit of wealth for capitalist wealth is actually in Plato's "love of knowledge" Philo-Sophia, a philosophy as an attempt to enthusiastically seek and pursue knowledge for knowledge. As can be seen from the word "love for knowledge", Plato's submission was a theory and a dialectic of one desire. The object of this desire is the purely abstract knowledge that I lack, and the human who acquired this knowledge, which is the opposite of the body and the desire, becomes immortal beyond the finiteness of the body. And what is called eros is originally a desire for immortality, so what governs Plato's philosophy is a self-regressive desire for desire itself. This desire is, in principle, infinite and unaware of others as the limit.  Therefore, Platonic Eros is essentially a desire for money. The desire for the abstraction of money, which fulfills all desires, is the desire for the abstract general possibility of satisfying the desire itself, and the pursuit of wealth for capitalist wealth. What makes it possible is the purely abstract and quantitative nature of money. Thus, at the beginning of the European logos, which began with Plato's idea, there is a special desire defined by the abstract possibilities of money. Logos' metaphysics, at its root, is nothing more than a capitalist theory of money use.

  But needless to say, the philosopher Plato himself was neither a capitalist nor an economist. Plato's importance lies in creating ethics and laws that fit the theory of its use of money, which in turn prepares for the later rise of capitalism in Western Europe, through medieval monasteries and Protestantism. It has become. By the way, Weber also questioned the historical origins of legalism and methods of production and management that fit capitalism, but he could not identify their common origin. However, if we read Plato's writing without prejudice, the logos show that human motives (ethics), law, and methods of production and management are unified according to the logic of capitalist monetary use. It's plainly white. However, in order to interpret Plato's text as such, the traditional prejudice over Plato and philosophy must be collectively ruled out.  To do so, first dismantle the concept of "Greece-Rome", which is a hyphen that connects the Greek police and the world of the Roman Empire with hyphens. I must admit that I am a welcome thinker. And Plato's greatest concern was the formation of legal ideas against Sophist, and he expelled the poet from his ideal country because the Sophist ancestor Greek poet was the one who spoke the law. I must admit that. To that end, I had to evoke the history of Greece from Homer, which is why this book became so big.

  By the way, if you read the third chapter of this book, I think that economy (market), law (court), and culture (theatre) are independent entities with their own dimensions. The economic determinism. And if we take the position of repelling economic determinism and placing importance on human creativity in history, Plato's conception of law and culture that fit the logic of money becomes so important. The aristocrat Plato, who was deprived of the Athenian democratic revolution, envisioned such law and culture as a personal revenge. For him, the market was a horrifying system that led to democratic victory, but instead of denying the market-as the King of the Philosophers- he sought to take revenge on his country of Athens by conquering it.  Thus he accepts the logic of the market that governs the world of police as an obvious premise, and the organization and He envisioned a law and culture that would enable such an organization. And the fictional state born from his conception is projected on the state of the state as the "subject" in Plato's philosophy of becoming immortal by the erotic pursuit of money called absolute knowledge. It is nothing but an expanded version. This <subject> arises from the “dialogue of the soul with itself” (“Phaedrus”), and the soul and its graveyard, the desire to absolutely own money and the finiteness of the body, Torn between. Similarly, Plato's nation is organized solely on the basis of the abstract desire to own.

  And this Plato state is the archetype of a capitalist corporate organization. The essence of this kind of corporate organization is that there is an immortal existence that keeps itself the same against all fluctuations in the market, and companies must conquer the market to survive as immortal. Plato submitted the theory of an immortal organization, a corporation, that survives life and death of its members by possessing and accumulating money, that is, the theory of a corporation, and the theory of this corporation, which is an inevitable consequence of the idea theory, is the mother of the modern state. And companies appeared. But he didn't create a corporate theory from scratch without any model. The model of an organization that survives the life and death of its members in the face of constant fluctuations and crisis lies in the armed forces, and in the case of Plato, the military state Sparta.  So it must be said that the archetype of capitalist states and companies is the army. This fact can be verified historically. Plato's work became an intellectual resource for the aristocrats of the military nation Rome, and the Roman Church then inherited both Plato's philosophy and the organization of the Roman army from the Roman Empire. And European nations and corporations have developed with many suggestions from this organization of churches and monasteries as the army of God.

  By the way, since the fall of the Soviet Union in the early '90s, a phrase that simply equates capitalism with the general market economy has swept around us around the world. This view is completely wrong, and it is merely a flipping over of the ridiculous Marx-Leninist dogma, who called state-controlled gambling "socialism." There can be any number of non-capitalist models of the market economy, and even in the current situation of capital-dominated countries, economic activities that do not aim at the pursuit of profits and capital accumulation occupy a large part of the national economy. What characterizes capitalism is the system of "factories" rather than the general market economy, and Plato is the first capitalist ideology in history in that it formulates the logic of factories and firms. The issue of military commanded and controlled production in factories is also the reason why I dare to write this book on capitalism in the mid-eighties, when the death of Marxism was already apparent.  In this book, I use Weber as the guiding thread, not Marx, and collectively reject Marxist views of history and so on. But for me, capitalism has always been criticized. This is because war and the armed forces are deeply intertwined in the history of capitalism, and it is unavoidable that the element of violence is inherent in its essence. In considering the problems of capitalism and violence, Marxism's naive economic determinism is merely an obstacle. The dismantling of Plato's philosophy was the starting point for a fundamental rethinking of this question. And if my view that violence is inherent in the essence of capitalism is correct, capitalism and democracy should be mutually exclusive. This is why I dared to write this book against the tide.

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« 関 曠野『プラトンと資本主義』(1982)の、著者自身による要約(1996) | トップページ | 関 曠野『プラトンと資本主義』1982年、の評価について »