Wednesday 10 April 2013

Selling Kidneys, God and Primitive Capital Accumulation.

"The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord". Job 1:21 (KJV)

That was the word of the Lord.

Hökarpanna, Swedish pork
and kidney stew. [A]

"Make organ sales legal
"Your editorial states paying for organs 'devalues the dignity of life' ('Encouraging more to donate organs not without difficulties', April 9). What devalues the dignity of life is for some to impose disability and suffering on others when a cure is available. Australians should have the right to sell their kidneys. This would help assist some out of poverty, reduce the burden on the budget and most importantly remove the psychological slavery of what it means to be 'married' to a dialysis machine. It's about time the Australian government kept its nose out of the operating rooms of this country." Peter Lloyd, Asquith (Letters to the Editor, SMH, April 10, see here; emphasis added)


Perhaps God acts like the quote from Job says: giving, first, and only later taking it away.

The Divine Market, however, is wiser. It takes away your livelihood, first; then it throws you into the scrap heap, making sure you stay there, and only then it gives you the freedom -indeed, the right!- to sell yourself, piece by piece.

And among those requiring merely your labour, or even your spare parts -and the Omniscient Market and his prophets know there are many- only those truly deserving, anointed by the Market itself, will receive your kidney, being able to afford it.


Marx identified in British history a similar process, the enclosure process, when the landowners, striving to become capitalists, evicted their, until then, serfs. He called it primitive capitalist accumulation:
"The immediate producer, the labourer, could only dispose of his own person after he had ceased to be attached to the soil and ceased to be the slave, serf, or bondsman of another. To become a free seller of labour power, who carries his commodity wherever he finds a market, he must further have escaped from the regime of the guilds, their rules for apprentices and journeymen, and the impediments of their labour regulations. Hence, the historical movement which changes the producers into wage-workers, appears, on the one hand, as their emancipation from serfdom and from the fetters of the guilds, and this side alone exists for our bourgeois historians. But, on the other hand, these new freedmen became sellers of themselves only after they had been robbed of all their own means of production, and of all the guarantees of existence afforded by the old feudal arrangements. And the history of this, their expropriation, is written in the annals of mankind in letters of blood and fire". (See here)
Of course, most readers, being as knowledgeable about economics as they are, don't need to read that old fool. They know him mistaken without reading him.

Neither would they read modern authors, like Mathew Forstater (University of Missouri-Kansas City), who identified a similar process elsewhere. I mean, people like Forstater only embarrass themselves by reading Marx.


But, in all fairness, Marx was only partially right. In his optimism, he was speaking metaphorically of people selling their bodies.

People (I suspect wealthy people) have reached the stage of talking very literally about your right to let them buy your body, bit by bit. Like a pig carcass.

Try to find that in your economics textbooks.

Image Credits:
[A] "Hökarpanna, Swedish pork and kidney stew". File licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license. Wikipedia. Author: Jonathan Koertge. My use of the file does not in any way suggests its author endorses me or my use of the work.

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