Chapter 3. In order to have power, capital is necesary.

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As we have seen, power is the materialization of collective desires through work for the transformation of the environment for the common benefit. In addition to the organization and collaboration of the members of a network, it also requires the availability of resources, which depend on the environment in which the network is located. In turn, the technology used to transform this environment is fundamental for obtaining resources. This is precisely where both the economy and technological development come into play, giving rise to the organization of labor.

Labor, as an intellectual and physical force applied to the transformation of the natural environment for the manufacture of goods or merchandise, is a central axis for collaboration and power, since it creates a new form of social relationship. Work, like all other relationships, involves the creation of time-varying and functional bonds in a given environment, subject to adaptation over time. The labor relationship is characterized by the estimation of prestige based on managerial capacity, forms of organization of work and technology, efficiency in programs and the ability to work. Depending on the scale of organization of the network, these labor skills will be valued differently. Here the relevance of labor and technology with popular power.

The greater the resources available and the better the capacity to exploit them through a given mode of production, the greater will be the power of the one who holds the profits arising from labor and technology. In a slave society, for example, the technology lies in the skills of the slaves to handle tools, but the profits will remain with the slave master. In a feudal society, the master rents the land, the tools and the profits produced by the serf. In a capitalist society, the owner of the enterprise keeps the surplus labor produced by the worker from the unpaid work performed, which in turn forms part of the profit he concentrates in a competitive, interrelated and global mode of production.

However, when the organization of labor ceases to rely on consensus and instead establishes links based on coercion, power begins to diminish or disappear. It can be produced without popular power, it is produced in a system of domination. When this occurs profit, surplus and capital tend to concentrate in a small group of people at any scale of the network. When the establishment of relations of domination or power predominates, they tend to be reproduced in all spheres to the extent that they seem “natural” and “perennial” to any member of the network when they are seen in all the relations it establishes at any of the scales.

Any mode of economic production as a form of relationship is variable in terms of structuring institutions based on the forms of linkage on smaller scales. This is fundamental to describe a social system and to distance it from the naturalism that assumes that a type of social relation is inherent to human “nature” and therefore unalterable. Such is the case of racism, slavery, machismo or capitalism that maintain that domination, violence, segregation by skin tone, gender or poverty are natural. In short, the importance of the availability of resources (labor + technology + capital + raw materials) for a network is fundamental to the establishment of power relations.

The greater the availability of these resources, the greater the achievements of popular power. However, when it is produced around relations of domination the gain is concentrated and the work of popular power is supplanted in a reduced group of people or sub-network. However, there are different types of resources that may or may not be articulated. As we will see in the previous course, they are the reason why the poor and marginalized tend to use them to survive.