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Old October 24th, 2009, 05:57 PM   #101 (permalink)
Death Aflame
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In real communism, the State gives each dog one tenth of the meat and keeps the rest for itself. In this way, it gives the dogs just enough to survive and fuel the economic machine, but not enough to make it on their own. Communism decreases individual rights because it relies on the neediness of its citizens to survive; it's a self-perpetuating, recycling monster. It appeals to people's sense of security, which it provides; but it denies them rights in the process.
This is more or less the case with all Communisms of the Marxist-Leninist variety (i.e. statist totalitarianism). However it is important to keep in mind that the original ideas behind socialism and communism (including the theories of Marx and the early Marxists) are inseparable from democracy and liberty in general--the goal being to equalize power, authority, and access amongst individuals in a given society by implementing democratic forms of self-governance in all aspects of life, from the workplace through to the social sphere. Naturally this concept is anti-state as well. Unfortunately though, Bolshevism later came to utterly dominate what is colloquially referred to as communism in typical discourse and is more often than not in direct conflict with many of these ideals and methodologies.
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Old October 24th, 2009, 06:08 PM   #102 (permalink)
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I see communism as inherently problematic. If a communist system wants to survive as a political system, then it has to infringe upon its citizens' rights in order to keep them in economic need so that it has something to provide for them. In its desire to remain, the system has no choice but to limit the rights of those under it.

Now, ideally, once all is equalized and distributed among the people, the political system is supposed to disappear completely, leaving just the proletariat and all their equal shares; but as soon as the governing system dissipates, everything goes back to the way it was. Some people are going to be less fortunate than others; some won't reap as much at harvest time because they don't work the land properly; some aren't capable of learning the proper skills to survive. Then the complaints start, and soon everyone is biting at each other's throats again and people are hoarding what's rightfully theirs.

I don't see any realistic scenario in which this could work.
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Old October 24th, 2009, 09:56 PM   #103 (permalink)
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I am unclear as to what communism you are referring too. If you are talking specifically of statist communism (bolshevism) then I certainly understand your concerns, however communism or socialism more broadly refers to a wide array of political philosophies which have many variants in terms of ideas about economics, politics, work and general social structuration, often, too, many of these diverging ideas are in opposition to one another depending on which camp you fall into.

Interesting points to consider nonetheless, Einherjar.
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Old October 25th, 2009, 01:52 AM   #104 (permalink)
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capitolism is inherently flawed too and we finally see the end results in these recent years as they have run out of ways to manipulate the false economies that got us through the 80's & 90's. All this (what the world is today) came to be under the sole pretence of people spending "money", being good little consumers, making new products/gimickery/junk that people would buy or buy into. I believe this has peeked and implementing and capitolistically perverting the principles of price = supply vrs demand... through realestate and OIL prices they managed to suck expendable income from the majority... all at the same time they eliminated job and productivity sources.

I dont have the answer other than a great reduction in population but at least Im honest enough to admit I dont have the answer where as the powers that be wont admit it, but they dont, they dont have a single honest answer, they just keep looking for the next big boondoggle to manipulate another decade of a false sense of security.

I have heard there currently is a mortage foreclosure rate of one every 18 seconds in this country. Combine that with the job losses and massive immigration/birthrate and it seems free capitolism has taken a big smelly turd.
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Old October 25th, 2009, 12:30 PM   #105 (permalink)
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I am unclear as to what communism you are referring too. If you are talking specifically of statist communism (bolshevism) then I certainly understand your concerns, however communism or socialism more broadly refers to a wide array of political philosophies which have many variants in terms of ideas about economics, politics, work and general social structuration, often, too, many of these diverging ideas are in opposition to one another depending on which camp you fall into.

Interesting points to consider nonetheless, Einherjar.
I was trying to generalize, but the form of communism that I'm most informed on is Bolshevism, so that's probably skewing my view of all forms of the word. I just feel that communism (as a general ideal) doesn't coincide with common human instincts or nature enough for it to work in our modern age. In order for the idea of communism to ever be practical it will take a Heideggerian shift in our understanding of being, which right now prohibits most humans from looking at the world in a communal way. I don't think this is "wrong" or "evil;" it's just the way humanity currently understands itself. It will take a trascendence of epochal proportions to achieve a communistic ideal; because as long as even just one person fails to fulfill his or her purpose in a socialized society, it can never work.

And capitalism definitely has its flaws too; but for the majority of humanity's current understanding, it's the economic/political system that best suits our nature.
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Old October 25th, 2009, 03:54 PM   #106 (permalink)
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I wonder if the ancient tribal systems were closer to communism or capitolism ?
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Old October 25th, 2009, 05:33 PM   #107 (permalink)
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Communism is the most hardest governance form but even so it's the best one.
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Old October 25th, 2009, 06:19 PM   #108 (permalink)
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And capitalism definitely has its flaws too; but for the majority of humanity's current understanding, it's the economic/political system that best suits our nature.
Your conclusion here does not follow, you're basically asserting that since capitalist liberal democracy is the most common form of governance for this age it best suits human kind's 'nature'.

Such an argument could be made at any point in history in which any system was the status quo. Was Nazi Germany the political system that best suited German human nature in the years it was active? Was a policy of institutionalized racism and slavery the best political system at the time since it suited humanity's nature then? I could go on, but I hope you get the point.

Also, your use of inclusive language ('our', 'we') is quite deceptive in the sense that it does not take into account social stratification, degrees of power wielded by individuals in a given society, division of labour, and variance in income across different classes throughout the world. This of course ties in with your assumptions about human 'nature' being some sort of essential, immaterial core as this too fails to take into account real external relations amongst people.

What I am getting at is that before anyone can accept your conclusion here (politics reflecting this intrinsic human nature utterly) you need to define human nature, and how the link between it and the political regimes of today (or any era as I pointed out earlier) is made.

Regarding your stance on Communism, you make some good points, though assumptions about human nature on your part make it difficult to accept your position. I think I do understand what you are trying to get at--i.e. the way the general populace acts under capitalist democracies makes it difficult to conceive of communism in its ideal form working in our current era--but whether or not this has anything to do with human nature (whatever that is, however you define it, etc.) seems to me to almost be beside the point.
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Old October 25th, 2009, 08:43 PM   #109 (permalink)
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Your conclusion here does not follow, you're basically asserting that since capitalist liberal democracy is the most common form of governance for this age it best suits human kind's 'nature'.
That's not why I'm saying it best suits human nature. I believe it best suits human nature because of our current understanding of being.

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Such an argument could be made at any point in history in which any system was the status quo. Was Nazi Germany the political system that best suited German human nature in the years it was active? Was a policy of institutionalized racism and slavery the best political system at the time since it suited humanity's nature then? I could go on, but I hope you get the point.
Again, it has nothing to do with what institution succeeds and prevails. However, all the atrocities you just mentioned stem from humanity's understanding of itself as individual, separate entities in need of defending themselves. We've come to celebrate the indomitable aspect of human nature and place value on our ability to conquer.

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Also, your use of inclusive language ('our', 'we') is quite deceptive in the sense that it does not take into account social stratification, degrees of power wielded by individuals in a given society, division of labour, and variance in income across different classes throughout the world. This of course ties in with your assumptions about human 'nature' being some sort of essential, immaterial core as this too fails to take into account real external relations amongst people.
I don't think it matters what social caste or level people stem from; people from all social strata view themselves in competition with each other. It's a deeply rooted mentality that has been ingrained in Western culture since the Ancient Greeks. Even people who agree with communism as a viable social system are still approaching their existence from a very anthropocentric viewpoint. I'm not saying this is wrong; it's just how modern humanity understands itself.

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What I am getting at is that before anyone can accept your conclusion here (politics reflecting this intrinsic human nature utterly) you need to define human nature, and how the link between it and the political regimes of today (or any era as I pointed out earlier) is made.
As I said, social systems aren't accepted as suitable for human nature simply because they exist widely at a given time. Our modern conception of being lends itself to a capitalistic ideal of government because we've become increasingly more anthropocentric and individualistic. Competition is a relatively new idea, but it has been building for over a thousand years; we've come to recognize ourselves as separate, solid egos rather than as communal entities arising causelessly from a common essence of being.

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Regarding your stance on Communism, you make some good points, though assumptions about human nature on your part make it difficult to accept your position. I think I do understand what you are trying to get at--i.e. the way the general populace acts under capitalist democracies makes it difficult to conceive of communism in its ideal form working in our current era--but whether or not this has anything to do with human nature (whatever that is, however you define it, etc.) seems to me to almost be beside the point.
How people view themselves in reality determines what kind of political/economic/social system they will most closely identify with. Although a large number of people today support socialist ideals, very few people would be willing to adopt a completely socialist system. This is because an idea of Western humanity as a homogeneus, united fabric of being is anathema to our current understanding of existence. We believe that we need to assert our dominance in order to establish ourselves as individual, independent beings; and this has led to humanity's current attraction to capitalism.

As long as we continue to perceive ourselves in this way communism will never succeed as a social system.

EDIT: not sure if this cleared anything up or not; but let me know your thoughts.
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Old October 25th, 2009, 11:42 PM   #110 (permalink)
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Einherjar, you hold an interesting position one that seems to be informed more by metaphysics than politics proper. And while I am critical of your seemingly oversimplistic conception of communism and capitalism as diametric opposites that fulfill distinct and mutually exclusive notions of being (i.e. capitalism = individualism, greed; communism/socialism = communalism, altruism, selflessness etc.) I can certainly understand where you are coming from. Unfortunately this position appears to me to stem more from assumptions regarding communism/socialism than from anything explicit in the theory itself.

Still, your position is duly noted.
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Old October 26th, 2009, 10:27 AM   #111 (permalink)
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How would you go about refining such a position? Or, more specifically, how do you perceive capitalism and communism? I, personally, do see it exactly as you described (i.e. the ideals behind capitalism being individualism, and communism being altruism/selflessness). What faults do you find with this? Do you think that people can still be inherently individualistic and independent whilst living in a socialist society?
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Old October 27th, 2009, 01:48 AM   #112 (permalink)
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Yes.

In actual fact, it's all they do.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 05:18 AM   #113 (permalink)
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Seems the German and Soviet rocket scientists did alright under socialism and communism. What about China? its a superpower that the US can never match in its past or future. It seems to me totalitarism is the problem but who are we to talk, that is what we really have under the disguise of capitolism with our corrupt government and social elite capitolist pigs. Maybe the difference is in one you know your going to get fucked and never truely accomplish or gain much and the other does the same but sugar coats it with false hope. Im not sure what the difference in the quality of my life would have been under communism other than I could have been sure my industry would not have been outsourced and I wouldnt have had to watch others in my country getting rich doing less or even totally unnecessary "services".
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Old October 27th, 2009, 11:31 AM   #114 (permalink)
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Yes.

In actual fact, it's all they do.
I disagree. I don't think that people who reside in (or can reside in) a completely socialist system understand themselves as individual beings. I think they seem themselves as parts of a coherent whole. Furthermore, I believe the reason that we see so few truly socialist systems (not totalitarian governments implementing a socialist system) is because human beings aren't ready to adapt to such a theory in practice yet.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 11:51 PM   #115 (permalink)
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To give a short answer to your question, Einherjar, since socialism is predicated on democracy and a trend toward democratization throughout all social, political and economic realms of life in general it seems to me that it provides, in theory, a superior and far more equitable method for the expression of individualism by all people than what the current capitalist system allows for (which is predicated on privilege, wealth, authority and a general inequitable distribution of power where a select minority get to express their individualism over the majority of citizens, suppressing, in turn, the average person's ability to express their own individuality).

Again this is a short answer, as well as a broad generalization but it may help clarify some things for you.
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Old October 28th, 2009, 06:09 AM   #116 (permalink)
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Communism is for babies and tyrants. It is a philosophy devoid of any principle or science and at it's root it is based on a glaring disregard for the truth and it is altogether evil to the core(more on that in a moment).

Capitalism??? Where does it exist in the US? Maybe between me and my drug dealer. But we haven't been a capitalist country for sometime. We live in a mixed economy; a mixture of capitalism and statism, of freedom and controls.
And there can be no compromise between the two; EVER. For any nation with both forms of systems in existence will ultimately disintegrate as it turns into a civil war of pressure groups trying to loot and devour one another. And that is what we are living in now: a system of cannibalism.

In fact, I'd say we are actually closer to a system of communism than capitalism. How, you ask? Every single one of the ten planks of the Communist Manifesto exists in some form in the U.S. today; starting with the graduated income tax, onwards. I could spell them all out for you guys but would it really make you feel good?

Anyway, Karl Marx based his philosophy on BULLSHIT. Marx may have lived a scholar's life; but in reality he wasn't really a scholar at all and he certainly wasn't scientific. In fact, in all that matters Marx was anti-scientific.

Marx was an eschatological writer from start to finish. The apocalyptic vision of an immense, impending catastrophe on the existing system is through all of his life's work; starting with his poetry. Marx's concept of a Doomsday, whether in its poetic version or later his economic one, is an artistic and not a scientific vision. It was always in Marx's mind, and he worked backwards from it, seeking the evidence that made it inevitable, rather than forward to it, from objectively examined data.

Anti-Semitism is also at the very root of Marxism. He was a jew himself, who then converted to a Protestant, and then secularized. While engaging one day in jubiliant student cafe anti-Semitism, he disagreed that the anti-social nature of the Jew was religious in origin and could be remedied by tearing the Jew away from his faith. In Marx's view, the evil was social and economic. He called money and practical self-interest their God and their profane basis and that "the god of the jews has been secularized and has become the god of the world". So it was necessary to abolish the existing preconditions and the kind of money activities which spawned people of their ilk.
So he broadened his philosophy over the next few years, ultimately deciding that the evil element in society, the agents of the usurious money-power, weren't just the Jews but the bourgeois class as a whole.

The problem with Marx's views is that they have nothing whatsover the fuck to do with the real world. Marx had an ambivalent attitude towards facts. He spent entire decades of his life collecting facts. But these were the facts to be found in libraries, Blue Book facts. The kinds of facts which didn't interest Marx were the facts to be discovered by examining the world and its people with his own eyes and ears. But nobody could ever get him out of the fucking library. Marx wrote about finance and industry all his life but he only knew two people connected with financial and industrial processes. One was his uncle who was a successful business man; but Marx only visited him a few times to borrow money(he had a real problem managing his own money). The other was Engels, but Marx declined an invitation from him to visit a cotten mill, and so far as we know Marx never set foot in a mill, factory, mine, or other place of industry in the whole of his life.

In fact Marx despised and was openly and outwardly hostile against his fellow revolutionaries who had roots and experience in the workplace; or on any leaders who had secured a large following of working men by preaching practical solutions to actual problems of work and wages, rather than doctrinaire revolution.

Marx was highly deceptive. He only chose facts that would only confirm his theories and he would often misuse sources and misquote for effect. He drastically misquoted W.E. Gladstone and Adam Smith. Engels collaborated in the deceptions; though Marx was the more audacious forger.
It all basically amounts to nothing more than political polemics rather than anything empirical.

Karl Marx simply cannot be trusted though. His crimes against the truth fall on numerous heads. First, he uses out-of-date material because up-to-date material does not support his case. Second, he selects certain industries, where conditions were particularly bad, as typical of capitalism. His thesis was that capitalism produces ever-worsening conditions; the more capital employed, the more badly the workers had to be treated to secure adequate returns. The evidence he uses to justify this comes almost entirely from small, inefficient, undercapitalized firms in archaic industries which in most cases were pre-capitalist. In many of the conditions he cites(e.g. baking), conditions were bad precisely because the firm had not been able to afford to introduce machinery, since it lacked capital. In effect, Marx is dealing with pre-capitalist conditions, and ignoring the truth which stared him in the face:*zing* the more capital, the less suffering.

What Marx could not or would not get, because he made no effort to understand how industry worked, was that from the very dawn of the Industrial Revolution, the most efficient manufacturers, who had ample access to capital, habitually favored better conditions for their workforce; so conditions improved, and because conditions improved, the workers failed to rise, as Marx predicted they would. The prophet was thus confounded. What emerges from reading Marx is Marx's fundamental failure to understand capitalism. He failed precisely because he was unscientific- he would not investigate the facts himself, or use objectively the facts investigated by others. From start to finish, not just the Communist Manifesto, but all of his work reflects a disregard for truth which at times amounts to contempt. That is the primary reason why Marxism, as a system, cannot produce the results claimed for it; and to call it 'scientific' is preposterous.

And besides being entirely based on lies and hatred, Marxism is evil in and of itself. One can always opt out of capitalism; but with every form of socialism, one HAS to live that way. There is no choice. And you are living under a system of slavery, any way you slice it.

I guess in short, I would rather live in a society which treats children as adults rather than treat adults as children.

So, CAPITALISM WINS.
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Old October 28th, 2009, 08:11 AM   #117 (permalink)
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Thats a good write Prismatic but capitolism has also been a loser, deceptive, full of misquotes, perverted sugar coated ideals and enslaves the general population, when at the end of the year or life all one accomplishes is keeping a roof over thier head, food on the table and their transportation to and from work so they can make others rich. Capitolism has been so refined and debilerate to a science that we employ "economists" to stimulate peoples money thinking as well as figure out how to milk every last penny out of any given economic demographic... again so that a comparitively small handfull can get rich off the fruit of the labor of others.

In the US during the 80's, 90's and 00's,capitolism became a science of leading sheep to slaughter as we were sold ideals of globalism, overinflated real estate "investments", IRA's and 401K's over company retirement plans, and living off credit. While at the same time these economic scientists realized there could be great profits shown for "investors" and "corporate officers" by selling off piece by piece industrys that took decades of investment to obtain the value they had. It was called "downsizing".

For example, say some pampered lazy rich kid inherits his hard working fathers sucessful business and sells it. He is now wealthy by getting the entire value in his pocket and never has to work again and spends the rest of his life squandering that wealth. In his family the wealth stops with him because he stopped the growth. This is how I view alot of what went on in this country with many profitable industries as those who never had a penny invested came into power and only cared about their own wealth and not the further growth of that industry. It was capitolisms finest hour.

I know nothing about Marx but just because he wrote this Communist Manifesto and was pehaps an ass clown or just humanly flawed, I see no reason to think that its any different than all the crap surrounding the capitolist smoke screen or that some form of a more communally concerned society could not be better than what we have going on here in the US the past 3-4 decades.
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Old October 28th, 2009, 08:58 AM   #118 (permalink)
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The past few decades are irrelevant as far as capitalism is concerned. We haven't had anything remotely close to separation of economics and state since 1913 and the introduction of the Federal Reserve. The New Deal and the elimination of the Gold Standard by Nixon simply heralded the socialist corporate welfare state that we now live in.

Anytime you give banks a certain amount of a commodity(that has intrinsic value) with which to print only a certain amount of bank notes; and then to have a completely foreign entity print money without any gold backing- inflation and financial chaos ensues. As mentioned by other BB'ers, this is not a failure of capitalism; it is retroactive malfeasance via government intervention who can then point their collective finger blaming capitalism and have you believe it.

I know it is hard to fathom, but in a system of 100% pure non-interventionist, laissez-faire capitalism/free enterprise- there would be no monopolies. *gasp*
How can I say this?
Look at history.
Every single monopoly that has ever occured has been through a government privilege of some kind. And as long as any governmental hands exist in the pool of economics, each company will use those hands as a club against their competitors instead of simply making a better product at a lower price.
In a truly capitalistic society, ingenuity determines the flow of currency rather than need. And any company attempting to corner an industry would ultimately be destroyed.
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Old October 28th, 2009, 09:55 AM   #119 (permalink)
Death Aflame
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Just a side note, when I use the term capitalism to describe the current economic system I am referring to what Kevin Carson calls 'actually existing capitalism' (i.e. mixed economies with a corporate welfare state who intervenes in the marketplace) not some fantasy in which the only law is the law of marketplace and ones which property owners create to rule over their lands (i.e. anarcho-capitalism).

In terms of your polemic against Marx, you make some good points as Marx was obviously not right about everything and some of his ideas (centrally planned economies) turned out to be horrible in practice under Bolshevist ideology. However it is pretty clear in his work that his communism is one that is classless and stateless, so it is somewhat of a strawman to decry increased state control/intervention as a core part of Marx's philosophy or economics when his ultimate goal was explicitly stateless. Now, the bolshevists interpreted such vague tenets as 'dictatorship of the proletariat' to mean increased state control and centralization, but this more a result of Leninism and the failure of the Bolshevists to coordinate means and ends in their quest for power. As for Marx being unscientific, one must keep in mind the prevailing ideas in economics of his age such as the labour theory of value, which then was accepted as the means through which value is created as initially envisioned by Adam Smith, Ricardo and later Marx.
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Old October 28th, 2009, 10:04 AM   #120 (permalink)
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In that regard I still cant see a positive to capitolism as it seems to insist workers work cheaper than the competition and bean counters cut corners on materials and quality to show share holders larger dividends and naturally higher salaries for the executives.

The competitive nature of capitolism seems to result in workers working more hours for less as if living life means nothing. I worked production for 20 years and it was a hard life, I enjoyed it because I enjoyed my work, it was my life and I was still living in the smoke screen of the "American dream"... then came the slapage. After leaving that and giving a go at the "real world/real job" I just couldnt believe what I found, employers seemed to demand some kind of ownership of my life, like 12 hour days, 6 day work weeks, working cheap for the first few years because "they were going to lose money on me while I was learning my job". It was all some really laughable line of shit my ears were hearing.

I think more of a society that believes every productive cog in its population is of important value and paid appropriately without this huge gap in wages. How we can have an average annual income somewhere less than 30,000 (as I recall) and yet so many earning 120,000 plus for doing work that is questionable in its necessity to actual life is beyond me. I think this is the end results of capitolism as it empowers certain types to be able to get what they demand their value is... yet I have no use for them or what they do and produce at all. The insurance/healthcare industry comes to mind as one example of this.
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Old October 28th, 2009, 01:10 PM   #121 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Death Aflame View Post
To give a short answer to your question, Einherjar, since socialism is predicated on democracy and a trend toward democratization throughout all social, political and economic realms of life in general it seems to me that it provides, in theory, a superior and far more equitable method for the expression of individualism by all people than what the current capitalist system allows for (which is predicated on privilege, wealth, authority and a general inequitable distribution of power where a select minority get to express their individualism over the majority of citizens, suppressing, in turn, the average person's ability to express their own individuality).

Again this is a short answer, as well as a broad generalization but it may help clarify some things for you.
Indeed, it does. I don't completely agree, but I think we can leave it, civilly, at that.
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Old October 28th, 2009, 04:43 PM   #122 (permalink)
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The much touted claim that capitalism exploits the poor to serve the interests of the rich is historically backward. In the alleged good ol' days of Medieval Europe(idealized by thinkers like John Ruskin and Hillaire Belloc), the overwhelming majority of people either toiled in the fields to which they were bound or they worked at a craft heavily regulated by a guild. All the while, the elite aristocracy had a virtual monopoly on luxury goods.
This all changed with the rise of modern capitalism. Instead of trying to entice a few rich clients, emerging businessmen catered to the newly empowered working class. Think about it, it's silly to build a factory unless you plan on having thousands of customers. The huge increase in production allowed more and more families the luxury of keeping their kids out of the labor force. During this "terrible" transition into the capitalist era, infant mortality dropped and life expectancy rose. An average blue collar worker under capitalism was/is immensely wealthy compared to the kings of the feudal period.

Another source for major economic confusion in many people's minds is the difference between correlation and causation. Like, many of you think that because the standard of living improved for the workers at the same time that gov't interventions have multiplied, you assume that labor unions and gov't regulations are the source of the improvement- mainly because labor unions and big government, and all their fans, relentlessly tell you so. But this is wrong, it is the triumph of capitalism that improved living and economic conditions.

Take child labor, for instance. This is probably the best example of the confusion over correlation and causation. Yeah, kids worked in factories. Many people think the gov't stepped in and mercifully spared future generations of kiddies the grime and misery of grinding as a cog in the capitalist machine.
But does this even make sense? Think about it. If child labor was legalized tomorrow, would you send your 7 year old to the factories to bring home an extra $200 or so a month(after taxes)? No way. If a country becomes wealthy enough that it is "obvious" that kids don't need to work, then parents don't need to elect officials to tell them this. And if a country isn't that wealthy like in many other places in the world- then government bans simply force the children into illegal operations(like prostitution) so their families won't starve.
Yeah, unions were historically among those urging for restrictions on child labor, but their motives were far from benevolent. Concern for their paychecks rather than for the poor kids drove their agitation.

Then of course there is the Law Of Unintended Consequences aka side effects when gov't steps in to solve problems through coercion:
-Welfare benefits may encourage out-of-wedlock births and therefore increase poverty and crime.
-Rent control may make it difficult for poor people to find decent housing
-Laws requiring child-resistant packaging for medicine may cause the elderly to store pills in unmarked containers, leading to more overdoses.
-Curfews may reduce petty crime but increase violent crime as cops are diverted and a large number of eyewitnesses are off the streets at night.

The worst economic depression happened in the 1930's and not in the mid or late 1800's. And capitalism didn't cause it; The Federal Reserve and government mismanagement did. This isn't The Grapes Of Wrath, this is real life.

So you guys think the "robber barons" under unchecked capitalism ran rampant eh? That is also a fallacy. Entrepreneurs like John D. Rockefeller and Charles Schwab achieved their dominance through cutting costs and pleasing customers- like all successful capitalists do. Like Vanderbilt for example, who first achieved notoriety when he (illegally) challenged the monopoly on New York State steamboat traffic that the government had granted to Robert Fulton.

Again, true monopolists must rely on government privilege. In a truly free market, producers cannot force customers to buy their products or prevent others from competing for their business.
Under pure capitalism, a producer can only "control" a market only if he provides a better product at a lower cost and they must constantly improve quality, adjust for variations, and watch expenses lest outsiders enter the market and steal customers away. By contrast, producers who turn to the government for special privileges and regulations, have no incentive for efficiency or customer service. The only thing government was ever good at was being a killjoy.



Now so many people always ask, "So you are saying that if a person arrived in this country, didn't speak english, thought $5 was a lot of money, and got a job picking grapes, bosses would pay them an equal wage?"

To which my reply always is- yes.
That wouldn't matter as competition would prevent this dismal outcome that you imply. If workers were being paid significanltly less than what they added to the bottom line- in economics this is called their marginal revenue product- then outsiders would earn huge profits by jumping into the business and hiring away some of those workers with slightly higher pay. This process would continue until the workers were paid what they were generally worth.


And finally, as for some of you guys' gripes about Big Oil, I know that many Americans were very understandably shocked at the sharp rise in gas prices in the mid-2000's and considered the gains of oil companies to be unfair(especially in a downwardly spiraling economy). Even though prices eventually dropped, politicans and pundits constantly clamored for a windfall profits tax on oil companies or outright price controls. They justified these proposals by claiming the federal gov't has to protect the average car-dependent citizen from the monstrously vicious multinational oil companies.
But this explanation really makes no sense. If the spike in gas prices was due entirely to the greediness of the oil tycoons and the helplessness of the customer, why weren't oil tycoons so greedy and drivers so dependent on gasoline when prices were lower?
Probably because oil company greed and car driver dependence didn't change that much between 2004 and 2005. What changed was supply and demand.

As more countries change and reform their institutions in a free market direction and experience significant economic growth, their demand for oil goes up. Strife and turmoil in the Middle East(along briefly with Hurricane Katrina) led to supply interruptions and the fear of more interruptions in the future. All these factors combined in 2005 and 2006 to push up the price of oil. The price was simply a reflection of economic reality. Taxing "windfall profits" won't repair a pipeline damaged by Iraqi saboteurs; it would actually have the opposite effect. Why the hell would an oil company spend millions of dollars protecting and repairing its supply lines if the government is just going to tax away its profits?
Again, it makes no sense.

Oil companies are in it for the long term. Unlike burger flippers or hair stylists, the people in the oil industry make investments(in drilling, equipment, exploration, etc.) that can take decades to pay off. They justify their investments by making forecasts about the future price of oil. When the prices are high, yes, they will earn high profits, because their infrastructure is already in place. But these are the profitable periods that offset the early years of "losses" when the company pumped money into setting up such an operation.
If the critics truly think this is evil, then they should just start drilling the dirt.
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Old October 28th, 2009, 11:12 PM   #123 (permalink)
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Things have improved, or did improve for the working class but big deal, they should have. Just because we dont still live in a full feudal system doesnt mean a correlation cant be found. Im just saying the wide spred in annual incomes does not represent an individual true value to their society. The top needs to come down and the bottom up. Its all too late anyhow, health of a system should never have been based on spending, sooner or later everyone is going to have all they need or desire or can afford and spending will cease, that happened along time ago and was pushed into an extension by the credit fiasco. We only made it thgough the last two decades due to the "tech" industry getting people to buy computers, cell phones, cordless phones and loading cars with all kinds of weighty electronical gimickry. But guess what that has leveled and boomtown is over. Combined with your oil companies milking every last penny for work transportation.

Oil, sorry but I have been under the impression that the oil companies have been well established and running in black for many decades. I could care less what they have to invest, they had the money to do so and if not could find plenty by simply dropping thier executives wages to a cool million...... though I personally feel 100,000 should be plenty to live a good life. I could care less if Katrina ripped down refineries built in the worst possible part of the country, every business suffers losses and has funds set aside to do so, only certain industries are in the position to get what ever they ask for a product because it has become a necessary part of everyday life. The oil companies are one of them so they suffered NO losses from Katrina, exploration or sabatage... in fact they made record profits during such troubling years... the poor creatures. Wallstreet speculation trading had a huge hand in the inflation as well and many made themselves great revenue playing their little games.

You are correct that these developing countries are demanding more oil, we have "globalization" to thank for that as they now have the money from products that were once made in this country when we were productive. "Globalization" was surely capitolisms finest hour, lots of moola made at the top as they tapped these cheap starving labor resources and avoided environmental concerns.
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 04:06 PM   #124 (permalink)
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I don't see any realistic scenario in which this could work.
Maybe in small countries but for the most part, it looks good on paper but bad in practice.
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Old September 24th, 2010, 01:32 AM   #125 (permalink)
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Maybe in small countries but for the most part, it looks good on paper but bad in practice.

No. It is a JOKE on paper. Read my other posts.
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