Chapter 3 of Joseph Harris’s Rewriting discusses how to use countering in your writing. According to Harris, “to counter is not to nullify but to suggest, a different way of thinking. Its defining phrases are On the other hand… and Yes, but” (Harris 56). There are three main ways to counter someone’s idea, arguing the other side, uncovering values, and dissenting. The strategy which I will be addressing is arguing the other side, which Harris defines as, “showing the usefulness of a term or idea that a writer has criticized or noting problems with one that she or he has argued for” ( Harris 57). To fully understand and utilize this technique, I will argue against Anthony Giddens’ idea that a capitalist society is a society only because it is a nation-state.
Giddens is saying that the nation-state is an embodiment of the people who live within its borders, and if the nation-state was not officially established, then capitalism wouldn’t be able to function properly and there wouldn’t be society. Giddens states “For, given its expansionist characteristics, capitalistic economic life is only in a few respect confined to the boundaries of specific social systems. From its early origins capitalism is international in scope. A capitalist society is a “society” only because it is a nation-state” (Giddens 57). He is stating that capitalism wouldn’t function in a society without well established nation states like the pre-modern states.
Giddens argument is correct in the fact that capitalism runs on an international scale, and it defines the societies that live within each nation-state as actual societies, but I believe that without nation states capitalism would be a society. Capitalism is defined as an economic system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. The owners are the people, not the government. I believe that this establishes a social hierarchy, in the fact that owners of capital, are high than those who own no capital. This in itself is a society. Society finds a way to create itself in almost all types of systems, because as humans we long for a sense of community, and try to establish our own communities. Even in an anarchist system, people will group to each other in order to survive, thus creating a society. Humans don’t need definitive borders to establish a society, especially if they have the foundations of capitalism to build on.