Modernity and capitalism

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The relationship between 'modernity' and 'capitalism' and its implication in the context of South East Asia including Thailand, especially in the recent contemporary political context (Thailand deep polarizing and political struggle : 2006 - 2014 and going on...)

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Modernity and capitalism

  1. 1. Modernity & Capitalism Kan Yuenyong @sikkha Siam Intelligence Unit (SIU) Marxism 2014 : March 21, 2014
  2. 2. Outline • What’s modernity • The hangover effect in Southeast Asia • The contradiction of faith & reason • Role of Buddhism in Thailand & Mainland ASEAN • Modernity & Capitalism • What is to be done?
  3. 3. What’s modernity • Is this society modern? Modern world can't make them modern with instrument? What's modernity? • "modernity" must be a relative concept. In other words: "modern" in respect to what? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLrtzktKJt0
  4. 4. The age of “enlightenment” : 1st wave • The Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) -> Peace of Westphalia • The Glorious Revolution (1688) -> Leviathan, The two treatises • The American Revolution (1765–1783) -> Voltaire, Rousseau, Kant • French Revolution (1789 - 1799) -> Hegel
  5. 5. The age of “enlightenment” : 2nd wave • American civil war (1861 - 1865) -> Pax Americana • Russian Revolution (1917) -> Soviet Union • German Revolution (1918–19) -> Nazi • World War II (1939 – 1945) -> Decolonization
  6. 6. Asian “revolution” • The Meiji Restoration (1868 – 1912) -> Japanese Empire -> WW 2 • Taiping Rebellion (1850 - 1864) -> Civil War -> People’s Republic of China • King Rama V (1868 - 1910) -> 1912/1932 -> 1947/1957 • [The Meiji Restoration accelerated industrialization in Japan, which led to its rise as a military power by the year 1905]
  7. 7. What’s the core thinking of Enlightenment • condition of possibility and freedom of choices • the statesman lives in time, necessarily reflecting accident and contingency, hoping only for relative security. • free your soul from the recent superstructure by achieving at the boundary of the limitation of humanity, thus a true dignity.
  8. 8. The colonial hangover effect • Nationalism in South East Asia • Binding nationalism with the superstructure = taboo issue • Lèse majesté, Bumiputera, Communist party, etc. A brief of the colonial hangover effect in South East Asia to NISTPASS' staff from Vietnam
  9. 9. The leaf & the root of the bamboo • The root = Asoka ideal • The leaf = A decoration of “universal value” (i.e. human rights and democracy) • The different side of the same coin : Monarchy & Buddhism • The Revisions (สังคายนา) • A protection of the core ideology (A blowing of the bamboo in the wind) King by virtue: Reflections on the Life-long Endeavor of King Bhumbol of Thailand, published by the Thai Khadi research institute, Thammasart University, Thailand. First published September 2013: 2,000 copies.
  10. 10. The Buddhism Revisions • #1. 956 B.E. • #2. 2020 B.E. • #3. 2331 B.E • #4. (unofficial) Dhammayuttika Nikaya • #5. (unofficial / mass movement) The Trio (Suan Mokkh, Santi Asoke, Dhammakaya) Thailand’s parties have failed in democratic duty to unite nation. http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/834808.shtml
  11. 11. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/713591/TimeLine.xls
  12. 12. The failure of ‘secular’ state? • Suan Mokkh & Buddhadasa Bhikku (Reason in Buddhism) • Faith as an imperative is a veto against science -- in praxi, it means lies at any price. – Nietzsche • It was not easy to 'reconcile science and belief' when it came to 'religious phenomena'. -- Gustave Belot p.598 Durkheim's biography. • A democracy would be untrue to itself if it did not have faith in science. -- Durkheim p.23 • A country that aspires to governing itself needs 'enlightenment' above all else. -- Durkheim, ibid.
  13. 13. Questions of modern society • Moral value? • A contradiction between Liberalism & Democracy? • A sustainable of capitalism? • Or a problem of the “modern” itself?
  14. 14. ‘Capitalism’ • Capitalist = Wealth accumulation (1709, 1792) • Original idea of ‘capitalism’ was in Thackeray’s novel The Newcomes (1854) • Karl Marx further developed an idea: ‘The circulation of commodities is the starting point of capital. Commodity productions, and developed commodity circulation, trade, start from the historical pre- conditions under which it arises. World trade and the world market open up in the seventeenth century the modern life-history of capital’ (from : Capitalism and Modernity : The great debate)
  15. 15. Japan rich list : A Proof of Information revolution? • Young generations and new type of businesses are emerging in Japan. • Yoshikazu Tanaka : GREE Inc. (Internet Media) • Yusaku Maezawa : Zozotown (Online retail website) • Tadashi Yanai : Fast Retailing, of which Uniqlo ( ユニクロ, "unique clothing") is a subsidiary
  16. 16. Character of Information Goods • Near zero marginal cost • Network externalities • Critical mass • Public goods • Consider OSS based business model
  17. 17. Thailand’s megatrend • The ‘double play’ : Political reconciliation & Infrastructure reform • The rising of governance : Efficiency & Participatory government • The rising of China & US’ Asia pivot strategy • ASEAN reality & architecture
  18. 18. Thailand double play (2013 – 2023) • I. Political Reconciliation • II. Infrastructure Reform • Why?
  19. 19. High-Velocity Network
  20. 20. END Modernity & Capitalism by Kan Yuenyong (@sikkha)

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