출처: The economy as a polity: the political constitution of contemporary capitalism
Chapter 2. The Varieties of Accumulation: Civilisational Perspective on Capitalism
Johann P. Arnason
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The following discussion will mostly be of the meta-theoretical kind: a refelction on ways of thinking about capitalism, and more specifically on ways of theorising capitalism as a civilisational phenomenon. (...) A whole series of recent changes are unmistakably indicative of a new twist to capitalist development andㅡby the same tokenㅡof an urgent need for new analytical approaches. The trends in question can easily be read as signs of inventive and adaptive capacities, unrecognised by earlier observers; on closer examination, however, their implications seem ambiguous enough to raise basic questions about ways of defining and understanding capitalism as a socio-historical phenomenon.
It is a commonplace that the capitalist form of economic life now faces no visible challenge from any alternative projects. The collapse of the only serious rival with global ambition is an accomplished fact (...) ; it may, however, be less obvious whether this victory justifies the triumphalist narratives that took off after 1990. (...) However, if the failed model was no more than a deviant and dependent alternative within the historical horizon of capitalism, centered on the ambitious but ultimately incoherent proect of a politicized and mobilised economy, the lessons to be drawn are less straightforward. The Communist experience might be seen as a remainder of the broader historical contexts in which capitalist development unfolds and as an extreme example of the ideological and political factors (in this case fused in a combination of imperial and revolutionary traditions) that diversify its paths and give rise to more or less radical counter-projects. (...)
The fin-de-siecle transformations of capitalism pose problems which go far beyond short-term perspectives and link up with the most basic points at issue in debates on modernity. Theoretical responses have so far been less than adequate. It is widely agreed that the critique of capitalism has been disarmed and disoriented by developments during the last quarter of a century. Ambitious attempts to reformulate a critical frame of reference are in progress, but it would be premature to speak of a new paradigm. As for the affirmative approaches that might seem to have done better, there is no doubt that the claim to embody the logic of a triumphant system has strengthened the interdisciplinary appeal of economic models; however, when it comes to explaning the concrete workings of economic structures and processes, defenders of capitalism will often admit insufficient knowledge.
A brief glance at more specific alternatives will highlight the shortcomings of both sides. World system theory, represented by the work of Immanuel Wallerstein and his associates (including some markedly heterodox variants), has been the most influential late 20th century version of the critical approach. There is no denying that it make some significant moves beyond the classical Marxist framework. The very idea of a capitalist world system, operating as such from the 16th century onwards, went much further than Marxian intimations of globality and pre-empted a challenge from the non-Marxist theories of globalisation. The classical Marxist version of revolutionary alternative, growing out of the internal dynamic of capitalism, was abandoned; on this level, world system theory brought contingency back in and rejected the belief in guaranteed progress. Last but not least (and with particular reference to the present theme), its effort to grasp capitalism as a total social-historical phenomenon led to interesting but in the end inconclusive reflections from a civilisational angle. The capitalist world system appeared as a specific civilisational formation, striving to impose its distinctive patterns and transfigure them into universal principles of civilisation as such. The civilising influence of capital, conditionally accepted by Marx, was thus subjected to a more critical scrutiny. However, these theoretical innovations did not add up to a sustainabe paradigm. The model of an early modern world system has not withstood historical criticism: it turned out to be a vastly oversimplified picture of the complex interaction between European expansion and developments in other parts of the world. The idea of capitalism as global system provided no less conductive to functionalist short-circuit explanations than the less explicitly transnational model had been. An unvarying emphasis on the primacy of economic factors (even if world system theory took their political expressions and intermediaries more seriously than classical Marxism had done), in line with the reductionistic basis-superstructue model, undermined the civilisational approach.
On the other side, the most significant intellectual manifestation of the new pro-capitalist ^Zeitgeist^ is a full and unreserved integration of capitalist economic institutions into the authoritative models of liberal order. Before the 1980s, theorists of political liberalism often tried to avoid unconditional alignment of that kind and insist on compatibility with a variety of economic regimes. It would be an overstatement to say that this position is no longer represented in theoretical debates, but the shift is massive and unmistakable. The enhanced self-legitimising capacity of capitalism, mentioned above, has thus been registered at the level of political philosophy. In this context, the decisive role of Hayek's work is well known. It is much less obvious that his ideas have had any major impact on the comparative study of capitalism as a social-historical phenomenon. The new fusion of political and economic liberalism has not found much of an echo in historical sociology. To the best of my knowledge, the only major exception is Jean Baechler's ambitious but idiosyncratic treatise on capitalism(Baechler 1995). For Baechler, capitalism is the economy of democracy andㅡas suchㅡa defining feature of modernity. However, so far, his work has not attracted a large following.
To conclude this preliminary survey, let us note a last twist to the changing fortunes of pro- and anti-capitalist ideas. The apparent zero-sum game between themㅡthe manifest decline of the latter and the somewhat insubstantial triumph of the formerㅡshould not obscure latent affinities. It has often observed that latter-day defenders of capitalism are as committed to economic determinism as the Marxist critics were, but put it to very different ideological uses. The point can perhaps be made in more specific terms. Classical Marxism expected the systemic logic of capitalism to take a self-destructive turn and culminate in anti-capitalist revolution; this scenario has lost all credibility, but a similar self-contained systemic logicㅡmanifested in adaptive innovation and creative destructionㅡcan be invoked to explain the survival and triumph of the capitalist economy. With appropriate modifications, classical Marxism can even be fitted into a genealogy leading to better understanding and unreserved acceptance of the capitalist order. If the tenuously grounded predictions of social polarisation and revolutionary mobilisation are subtracted from ^Communist Manifesto^ , the remainder can easily be read as an early prophecy of global capitalism. Such exercises may be more effective on the level of popular imagery than in scholarly work. However, the affinity mentioned above is strong enough to suggest that a widespread and ^prima facie^ plausible way of thinking about capitalismㅡas an economic system with clear-cut defining features, intrinsic law and inbuilt long-term trendsㅡhas been a common ground of advocates and critics. In view of the most recent ideological turn, it might be more apposite to speak of a slippery slope from critique to conformism.
It seems to be precisely this common ground that Fernand Braudel has in mind when he writes:
The worst mistake is to assume capitalism is an 'economic system', and nothing more; in fact, it depends on the social order, and exists from the outset on equal footing, adversarial or complicit, with the stateㅡa particularly weighty player. For even if culture is unequally distributed and split beween contrary currents, its main role isㅡin the last instanceㅡto support the existing order. It is also inseparable from ruling classes that defend themselves by defending it. (Braudel 《물질문명과 자본주의》 1977판, 3권: 540)
If we take the civilisational approach to begin with the rejection of economistic illusion denounced by Braudel, it is critical in the elementary sense that it contests a distorted self-image which is rooted in the real history of capitalism but is not an adequate reflection of it. The positive side of the critique is, to put it briefly and broadly, a reconstruction of the cultural and political frameworks of capitalist development. There is no good reason to equate this civilisation perspective with critique in any more specific sense. It is compatible with widely divergent views on the capitalist economy, its impact on social life, and its implications for the human conditions. Capitalism may be seen as an integral part of a more comprehensive civilising process, with no rationale for any critique going beyond the ongoing problems of adjustment within that framework. However, from a more critical point of view, the tensions and imbalances inherent in capitalist development represent a challenge to social order, and the response should be a long-term effort to civilise capitalism (this formulation has been used by advocates and historians of social democratic reformism). Finally, the most uncompromising kind of critique, that is, the search for a non-capitalist alternative, can take a direction which redefines the goal as an alternative civilisation. These positionsㅡand other existing or conceivable onesㅡwould have to confront each other within the civilisational frame of reference. The present paper will not go beyond prolegomena to that debate.
2.1. Classical Landmarks
2.1.1. Karl Marx
Having drawn on Braudel's work for a provisional outline of the civilisational approach, it seems appropriate to add some comments on older classics, and thus to align the present agenda of civilisational analysis with a longer intellectual history. As is well known, capitalismㅡperceived as a revolutionary force of the first orderㅡwas a key theme of classical sociology, whereas the idea of civilisationㅡinherited from the 18th centuryㅡremained under-theorised, and sustained interest in the problmatic of civilisations in the plural was the exception rather that the rule. We may nevertheless note some significant points of contact between these two unequally developed fields of inquiry. Karl Marx, the most ambitious theorist and most influential critic of capitalism, had no doubt about its civilisational credentials. In the ^Grundrisse^, concluding one of his most emphatic statements about the capitalist mode of production as an engine of progress, he refers to what he calls 'the great civilising influence of capital'(Marx 1973: 409). This is not simply a sign of general affinity with 19th century ideologies of industrialism. Marx's understanding of the main trends of his times was grounded in a specific vision of history and civilisation; its essentials were spelt out in earlier writings, perhapsㅡ...ㅡmost clearly in the ^German Ideology^, where the distinction between 'civilized' and 'quasi-natural' modes of production is more or less equated with the historical dividie between capitalist and pre-capitalist forms. For Marx, the unfolding and cultivation of human abilities is the driving force and defining telos of the civilising process; capitalist development takes this dynamic to a higher level and can therefore be seen as a civilising breakthrough. A strongly value-laden conception of civilisation in the singular is thus directly linked to anthropological assumptions and ideals in a way that leaves no space for significant variation between civilisations in the plural. As Marx's ^obiter dicta^ on the 'Asiatic mode of production' show, he could only interpret major civilisational divergences in terms of stagnation on one side and progress on the other. The slightly more differentiated treatment of pre-capitalist forms in his later writings did not break withe basic presupposition of unilinear progress.
This approach has far-reaching consequences for Marx's theory of capitalism. Dialetic of productive work and creative self-realisation is central to the civilising mainstream of history; it opens up the utopiam perspective of a complete transformation of work into free activity, but it also reproducesㅡin changing formsㅡthe tension between the two poles. Marx always envisaged a future enlargement of the realm of freedom, but the radical utopia outlined in the ^Grundrisse^ gave way to more moderate expectations in the last phase of his work. His analyis of capitalism was, however, consistently based on the idea that this form of social and economic life enhances both sides of the dialectic. Capitalist development increases and highlights the liberating potential of the productive forces, while at the same time imposing new constraints and reductive mechanisms in addition to those inherent in the basic structures of production. In the most elaborate version of Marx's model, the labour theory of value serves to clarify the latter aspect. The value form of wealth, developed to the highest degree in the capitalist mode of production, is interpreted as an embodiment of labour, in its capacity as the most elementary and universally necessary social resource. The 'law of value' is thus ultimately rooted in the anthropological imperative of organised labour. This line of argument, with its strong emphasis on anthropological infrastructures, marginalises the question of institutional framewroks, beginning with those of monetary wealth. By the same token, the focus on elementary and universal patterns of meaning, inherent in the human condition (and never fully thematised as such), obscures the whole question of more specific cultural orientations as constructive elements of capitalism.
2.1.2. Max Weber
Despite Marx's explicit concern with civilisational dimensions, his approach thus leads to a systematic minimisation and de-differentiation of the issues noted above as germane to a civilisational perspective. This shortcoming does not ^ipso facto^ devalue other aspects of his work: as we shall see, a more fully articulated civilisational frame of reference might allow us to reclaim some Marxian insights in a new context, and thus to strengthen the case for critical use of civilisational theory. However, a balanced assessment of Marx's strengths and weaknesses is impossible without reference to other classics, most obviously to Max Weber, and his more genuinely comparative historical sociology. Recent studies of Weber's work have gradually clarified his complex and evolving conception of capitalism; here I can only summarise the points most directly related to the present theme, beginning with the implications of a shift towards more emphatic and sustained use of the very term 'capitalism'. The affix 'ism' points to an orientation, and thus (21쪽의 끝...)
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(...) rationalising discipline; and modern captalism channels the rationalising trend into the organisation of production. However, this analysis of stages on the road to modern capitalism can also be read as an account of layers or components. The autonomy of the economic sphere in relation to other 'world orders' is, in the modern context, predicated on the generalised pursuit of wealth, which in turn presupposes the monetarisation of economic life. The dynamic of the economic order creates new openings for other kinds of capitalism, developing alongside the type which Weber saw a the most distinctively modern.
In recent and forthcoming writings on the 'rise of the West', seen from a revisionist perspective, Jack Goldstone questions the prevailing emphasis on accumulation as the motive force and formative principle of the modern economy. This view has, in his opinion, not only led to misunderstandings of the historical process that put the West ahead of the rest; it has also translated into misguided models of development and prescriptions for concrete development strategies. As he argues, the decisive Western achievement was the 'marriage of entrepreneurship and scientific engineering'; the result was an economy of permanent innovaton. Neither the original breakthroughㅡthe industrial revolutionㅡnor the landmark innovations of later stages seem to have depended on significant prior accumulation of capital. This emphasis on innovation, in contrast to accumulation, raises questions that relate to our discussion of the classics. A key corrective is implicit in Goldstone's own analysis of the background to the industrial revolution. Drawing on the work of Joel Mokyr(2002), he stresses the crucial role of an 18th century 'industrial enlightenment'; this subculture, which brought together craftsmen and scientists, drew on early modern philosophical visons of knowledge as a guarantee of mastery over nature. The 'industrial enlightenment' gives a more concrete historical shape to the imaginary signification of rational mastery in infinite progres(Castoriadis). The accumulation of knowledge andㅡthrough knowledgeㅡpower over nature thus becomes an indispensable complement to the accumulation of wealth. This aspect of capitalist development was not unfamiliar to the classics; Marx's reference to the world becoming a 'system of general utility' sums up a widely shared understanding of changing relations between humanity and nature. Comparative perspectives may help to clarify the point at issue. Among permodern and non-Western economies, innovative capacities were clearly more pronounced in some cases than others, and the Chinese record is by common consent the most impressive. However, in the Chinese tradition, there was no parallel to the 'industrial enlightenment', no cultural reorientation towards the infinite expansion of rational mastery.
2.1.3. Fernand Braudel
To round off this part of the discussion, let us briefly return to Braudel's work. The above quotation from his concluding reflections on capitalism served to indicate the general direction of civilisational approaches to this field; a more detailed summary of his conceptual scheme will be useful when it comes to integrating ideas extracted from the classics with contemporary debates. He begins with a distinction between three levels of economic life.
- The most elementary one is the cycle of production, distribution and consumption; Braudel refers to it as 'material civilisation'. As the terminology indicates, we are dealing with basic components of civilisation in the singular, but there is also an opening to the plural: civilisations differ in regard to ecological contexts and the patterns of needs and activities that develop in response to environmental conditions.
- The second level is that of economy in the more specific sense, that is, the networks of exchange. Here the pluralistic perspective becomes more important: although the market economy is part and parcel of the civilising process in the most general sense, its forms and levels of development vary greatly from one civilisation to another. Braudel never attempts to a systematic study of such variations; he makes it clear that all aspects of civilisational patternsㅡfrom ecology to religion and form political power to kinship structuresㅡaffect the dynamics of markets.
- Finally, capitalism, as Braudel understands it, constitutes a third level which stands in a dependent as well as an antagonistic relationship to the second. Capitalism presupposes a market infrastructure, but it always entails efforts to break through or move beyond the routines and constraints of institutionalised exchange. It is, in other words, based on strategies of accumulation that easily shade into visions of windfall profits. In pre-industrial societies, long-distance trade is its privileged domain. Its breakthrough into the sphere of production marks the beginning of a great transformation which lies outside Braudel's field of inquiry (his work is explicitly focused on the period from the 15th to 18th century).
Let us note to implications of Braudel's approach.
- First, capitalism is not a system, but an orientation of economic life and, as such, it is always linked to other orientations (those that prevail on the two other levels); its relative weight varies, but it never reaches the level of total takeover.
- Secondly, there is a threefold civilisational connection. The capitalist push beyond local or regional limits is inherent in the civilising process as such; although Braudel disagree with Weber on many fundamental points, he seems to agree on the need for a genealogy that traces the metamorphoses of capitalism back to the beginnings of civilisation. On the other hand, a comparative analysis of capitalism must pay attention to different civilisational contexts; Braudel outlines a research programme that would deal with different configurations and destinies of capitalism within the major civilisational complexes.
- Finally, the crystallisation of cross-civilisational 'economic worlds' (this seems a better translation of 'économies-mondes' than 'world economies') is crucial to capitalist development, and no formation of that kind was more important than the one spearheaded (but not unilaterally dominated) by early European expansion.
The early modern economic world also exemplifies another important feature of capitalism. The international trading companies were state-protected monopolies; as such they embody the convergent accumulation of wealth and power and, for Braudel, this is the rule rather than exception. His emphasis on the early modern international trading companies might seem open to a standard objection from economic historians: they argue that the transfer of wealth through monopolistic trading practices was not of critical magnitude. However, this does not affect Braudel's main point: early modern capitalism evolved in a mutually reinforcing relationship to political (more particularly geopolitical) processes that for the first time created a global civilisation constellation and opened up possibilities for new economic developments, not least through the new division of labour established between Europe and the Americas.
2.2. Contemporay Debates
As will be seen from the above survey, the classics of historical sociologyㅡwhether they defined themselves as historians or sociologiestsㅡwere keenly interested in capitalism as a civilisational phenomenon, and their insights as well as their unsolved problems and inconclusive explorations can still serve to guide further discussion. However, since the primary focus of this paper is not on the history of ideas, I will not pursue the question of unity, diversity and implicit convergence in that context; rather, the next task is to test the relevance of ideas drawn from classical sources to key themes of contemporary debates. The civilisatinsal approach, as roughly defined by Braudel and reinforced through critical use of ideas inherited from the sociological tradtion, will be confronted with issues that have more recently come to the fore. A successful combination of classical legacies on this level would be more convincing than purely analytical models of convergence (in the vein exemplified by Parsons Structure of Social Action)
The three controversial themesㅡor sets of themesㅡare most pertinent to our purposes: the spirit of capitalism, the changing relationship between the states and markets, and the varieties of capitalism. In all these cases, the cultural, social and political contexts of the capitalist order are brought into focus, but in divergent and contested ways. It remains to be seen whether civilisational perspective can strengthen the separate strands of discussion further and bring them closer together. The following reflections on that question will centre on the basic concept of accumulation and its broader socio-cultural implications. This historical-sociological line of inquiry can also be seen as a step towards renewal of critical theory. It is now beyond dispute that an earlier version of critical theory based on internal contradictions or transformative dynamics attributed to capitalismㅡin other words: a self-destructive twist to its systemic logicㅡhas been found wanting. The cunning of reason which it attempted to impose on capitalism seems to have been trumpted by the cunnung of capital. A less vulnerable alternative would have to begin with more sustained attention to the points highlighted by Braudel: the cultural premises, the social embeddedness and the historical variety of capitalist institutions. Critical perspective must be grounded in closer analysis of these contextual aspects, rather than in constructs of intra-systemic transcendence. (...)