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Jan 15, 2009


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Dana Ames

A small technicality: "Das Kapital" is more correctly translated as "Capital" rather than "capitalism". Though I haven't looked it up, I suspect "Capital" goes back farther, probably to a "head tax".


Michael W. Kruse

Clearly the Latin “caput” for head is the root of the word but my recollection is that the imagery comes from a head of cattle. In earlier European culture, cattle had the same properties that capital does in our industrialized economy.

1. Cattle are productive. The produce milk, fertilizer in the form of manure, and the produce other cattle.

2. They are consumable. Cattle can be slaughtered and dismembered for food and other products. They can also be sold.

3. They are a store of value. They retain value over time.

Historically, the economy was oriented around land and labor. The amassing of resources to form machines and factories, which have the same properties as cattle, came to dominate. Thus, capitalism.

Pretty heady stuff, huh? :-)

Dana Ames


Dana Ames

That was supposed to be [groan] but the program does not like carats around a word.

Michael W. Kruse

A common occurrence in response to my humor.


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