tools of capitalism


I had the honor of talking with a class of students at the Arthur Morgan School recently.  (The Arthur Morgan School is a small, alternative middle school, located in the Celo Community in North Carolina.)
This class was studying political and religious ideologies and I spoke -- along with someone else -- about capitalism.  I had been asked to discuss a bit of the history of capitalism and I drew from Fernand Braudel's three-volume work on capitalism and material life, which made a strong impression on me when I read it years ago.

Braudel emphasizes that capitalism is not an economic system, and I underlined this concept by discussing the history of the tools of capitalism:

numbers and writing
bookkeeping
money and credit
forward financing
trade and banking

Also briefly discussed was the development of cities/city-states/and the rise of the nation-state by brief accounts of the 12th century Italian city-states, Venice, Amsterdam, and London (England).  The topic provoked lively discussion in class and outside among ourselves.

It is important to understand that capitalism uses one set of tools and that we now need another set of tools, on a political level, tools like the Green Party's Ten Key Values.  These tools enable citizens to start concentrating on what we can each do, on the local level, with our families and neighbors.

Indeed, the remarkable community and school in Celo are already using, in their small way, some of the tools many more people will need to use in the future.
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