Regular Feature

Greetings from the Outskirts of Kyoto vol.12

INOUE Shōichi (Director-General)
September 28, 2021

The other day I was invited to the 12th International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS 12), where I made a speech. There was another speech by Director Yamagiwa Juichi of the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature. The two of us exchanged views, but there emerged a slight divergence of opinion between us.

Prof. Yamagiwa said he wanted to see an adjustment to the capitalism we have known till now. I responded that capitalism would claw back any such adjustment. Prof. Yamagiwa did not seem to get my point. I for my part was unable to explain myself with sufficient clarity.

This is what later occurred to me. Capitalist societies endeavor to commodify all things. It is frightening that even the act of denying capitalism is itself commodified. Everything is enveloped in the trickery that is capitalism. Capitalism after all made twentieth century best- sellers of Marx’s books.

(Karl Marx. portræt en face by Unknown - Arbejdermuseet & ABA, Denmark - Public Domain.)

Will Prof. Yamagiwa’s anti-capitalist intentions themselves not in the end become commodified? Indeed, they can only possess real power if they are commodified. This is all I wanted to say. It may be that I am quibbling, but I feel frustrated that I failed to make myself understood.