capitulate

metafrastria

New Member
Greek
Hi everybody! I' m trying to underestand the meaning of the following expression: all politicians place economic facts at the center of their business, not in order to alter them but in order to capitulate them before their historical inevitability. I can't underestand how the verb capitulate is used here. Do you have any idea?
 
  • Spagbol

    Member
    England, English (UK)
    My understanding of "capitulate" is "to surrender". In this quotations the sense I get is that the politician are surrendering the economic facts to the historical inevitability. This use of the word "inevitability" goes well with the word "capitulate" (surrender) as what more can one do other than surrender before something that is inevitable. That said I am not keen on this quotation as it is vague and unnecessarily verbose. Hope this helps.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    It sounds to me like a back-formation from "recapitulate". Not a word.

    Sort of like "gruntled" from "disgruntled".

    "I was a disgruntled employee; now I am happily gruntled."

    "I don't want to recapitulate the minutes of the meeting; hell, we haven't even capitutaled them yet."
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    It sounds to me like a back-formation from "recapitulate". Not a word.

    Sort of like "gruntled" from "disgruntled".

    "I was a disgruntled employee; now I am happily gruntled."

    "I don't want to recapitulate the minutes of the meeting; hell, we haven't even capitutaled them yet."
    Do you mean in this context or in general? "Capitulate" is definitely a word in its own right.

    In this particular context, I think we're missing a "to":

    ...in order to capitulate to them before their historical inevitability.


    It's still an odd sentence. I can't quite grasp what the point might be.
     

    Kevman

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Hi metafrastria,

    I agree with James; without that other "to" capitulate doesn't make much sense here. It's supposed to mean συνθηκολογώ (that's Greek for, well, "capitulate" ;)).
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I've been thinking about this all morning. I wonder if they meant "capitalize on them before their historic inevitability." This sounds more like what a politician would do. :)
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Do you mean in this context or in general? "Capitulate" is definitely a word in its own right.

    In this particular context, I think we're missing a "to":

    ...in order to capitulate to them before their historical inevitability.


    It's still an odd sentence. I can't quite grasp what the point might be.

    I was reading "capitulate" to mean "list" (a verb) as a back formation of "recapitulate" and if that were the case, it would not be a word in that sense.

    "Capitulate" meaning surrender is most certainly a word, but I could not get it to work within that sentence. I could get "list" to work, hence the "back formation" suggestion.

    Neither sense works too well for me. It is understandable with the addition of "to", but sounds strained to me.

    "...all politicians place economic facts at the center of their business, not in order to alter them but in order to surrender to them before their historical inevitability..."

    Does this now make perfect sense to you? It does not to me. I think I get a sense of what they are saying, but what does "surrender to economic facts" mean?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Got it, chaps!

    There's actually a superflous 'them' in metafrastria's quotation: it should read
    ...not in order to alter them but in order to capitulate them before their historical inevitability.
    (original here)

    So the word "capitulate" has its normal meaning of "surrender".

    What the whole sentence means, I'm less sure;)
     

    metafrastria

    New Member
    Greek
    Thank you very much! i just visited the link above and get a clearer idea, because i have to work with a manuscript that encompass some highlights of this book, propably not so accurately transcribed. Anyway, thanks again all for your time. But if capitulate have the meaning of surrender, how can the economic facts be surrendered before their historical inevitability? the truth is that the verb capitalise makes much more sense, don't you agree?
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    In the context provided by Packard "capitulate" makes perfect sense. The sentence before the one you quoted is:

    "According to the Marxist theory economic forces are the motor of history: laws and institutions are merely the effect of them."

    In other words, politicians are surrendering themselves to the inevitability of economic forces, according to this theory. (The author is disputing the theory.)
     
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