Collective Life Capital: The Lost Ground of the Economy

By John McMurtry

In this analysis, the author definitively explains collective life capital as the missing base of the economy under systemic attack by life-blind market globalisation, and exactly defines the life-value standards and compass to steer out of a cumulatively eco-genocidal disorder to real economic sustainability.

Sometimes value assumptions are so deeply ingrained they govern thought automatically. For example, “Columbus discovered America” presupposes that only Europeans exist. But who notices the deep false assumption? A more systemic example is that all values are assumed as money values so that life value itself is only what people are willing to pay for. Private money gain or loss is the ruling substance, yardstick and unit of account of all worth. Life value is assumed as what money can buy – the fundamental premise of marginal utility theory.

What is not recognised is that this understanding of ‘the economy’ is life-blind in principle. There are no life coordinates at any moment of money-value exchanges. There is no life need in the economy, only market demand. They are falsely equated so that life necessity at any level – even of climate stability or green-space – is abstracted out. The accumulating life-ground crash going on underneath is thus absurdly conceived as an economic “externality”.

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About the Author

Professor John McMurtry is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada whose work is translated from Latin America to Japan. He is the author of the three-volume Philosophy and World Problems published by UNESCO’s Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), and his last book is The Cancer Stage of Capitalism/ from Crisis to Cure.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The Political Anthropologist.


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