Taking stock of our life capital and life goods and their decouplings



In Professor John McMurtry’s article entitled, The “Cancer Stage of Capitalism”: The Ten-Point Global Paradigm Revolution‘, life capital is explained as follows:

“…The moving line of the war of liberation begins with what we are able to control, our own lives. Here we can recognise that every value we enjoy, lose or gain has a bottom line – its life capital, that is, the life wealth that produces more life wealth without loss and with cumulative gain. We defend it by life goods to ensure our life capacities are not reduced but grow through time. Most are unpriced – the sun and air, the learning, the home environment, the delight in nature, the play, the love, the raising of children, the fellow arts, and so on. On the social level, the same holds and any well-governed society provides for them in many ways. All may recognise the principle of life capital in their own lives as self-evident, and that all which lasts through time that is worthwhile is life capital….”

“…Collective life capital is the long-missing principle of the common interest and collective agency. The life capital code goes deeper than gender, culture or individual differences, and includes past as well as future generations by definition. It is objective, impartial, and universally applicable. It is the ultimate regulator of the economic principles of efficiency, productivity and development. It grounds political legitimacy and supersedes ruinous man-nature, economy-environment splits and individual-social conflicts of interest. By its regulation, freedom is made responsible to its own conditions of possibility. Life capital defines an inner logic of life value which cannot in principle go wrong within or beyond economics.

Collective life capital is the missing common ground and measure across the lines of death itself. It is the this-worldly bridging concept across the impasse of global culture wars, economy-versus–environment thinking, present-versus-future interests, male versus female conflicts, and all other warring dichotomies wrenching us from our shared life ground beneath property lines and the mors immortalis of reality on earth.

The difference from received ultimate principles of value across time and theories is in the objective precision of meaning and direction when value judgement and decision are governed by its laws of: (1) life value regulator from start to finish, (2) production of more life value capacity through generational time, (3) life-value measure to tell greater from lesser in any domain by margins of capacity loss or gain, (4) cumulative life gain as the organizing goal of the process throughout, and (5) the meta principle: the more coherently inclusive any decision or action is in enabling life capacities, the better it always is for the world…”

In his other article entitled ‘Human Rights versus Corporate Rights: Life Value, the Civil Commons and Social Justice‘, he goes on to explain in more detail what our life goods are:

“…In the unifying life-value framework of needs/goods defined below, each is a universal life necessity and good because no-one across cultures can be deprived of it without losing life capacity towards disease and death. All are distinct from each other because none can be provided for by any or all of the rest. These general facts may be tested through every one. In life-value social justice, the universal necessity of each confers a universal human right of all to it, linked to the corresponding obligation of all to work for this provision…”

“…Whether any of these life needs are met, or are violated root and branch, is a matter of indifference to its value code. Yet provision of these universal life goods, and only access to such life goods, enables the “good life” for anyone. Conversely, deprived of any of these universal life necessities/goods, and to the extent of this deprivation across the italicized categories below, human suffering and social injustice demonstrably follow.

(1) the atmospheric goods of unpolluted air, sunlight, climate cycles, and seeing-hearing space;

(2) the bodily goods of clean water, nourishing food, fit clothing, and waste disposal;

(3) the home good of shelter from the elements and noxious animals/materials with the means to sleep and freely function;

(4) the environmental good of natural and constructed elements contributing to a life-supporting whole;

(5) the social goods of reliable care through time by supportive love, work-day limits/safety, accessible healthcare, and security of person;

(6) the cultural goods of language, the arts, participant civil rights, and play; and

(7) the vocational good of enabling and obliging each to contribute to the provision of these universal life goods consistent with the enjoyment of them…”

The fact that our life capital and life goods are not primary in all of our rules of engagements in the spheres of religion, politics and economics is a telling indictment of our rules of governance. As a result, almost all of our deliberations are not life-coherent and they serve to undermine the life capacities of the life goods enumerated above.

As a result we have lost the sense and awareness of the power of these life goods to cohere and reinforce in each other the life-supporting networks within our bodies (for example the circulatory and immune system), the life-supporting networks across that connect bodies to each other (the social, cultural and vocational goods), and ultimately the life-supporting networks without that support our individual and collective bodies (the atmospheric, bodily, home and environmental goods).

Interestingly, the capacities, integrity and sustainability of the life-supporting networks within and without are totally dependent on the life quality of our social, cultural and vocational goods across boundaries. When our social, cultural and vocational deliberations and rules of engagement are life-enabling, then both the networks within and without are also life-enabling. When our constitutions, treaties, policies, laws, and religious, scientific and economic theories decouple from being life-enabling and hence life coherent, then these life goods are compromised and our life capital becomes debased and our rules of governance life-disabling.

In the next blog article, I hope to show what is at the root of this decoupling and what needs to be recognized and appreciated before our life-supporting networks within and without can be made coherent and whole again.