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OfflinePhred
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Is worldwide Capitalism impossible?
    #1687529 - 07/05/03 07:13 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

In a recent thread, GazzBut wrote about Capitalism:

The way I see it, it is impossible for everyone to be inside the system as there has to be those outside of it who can be exploited to maintain the system.

In other words (please correct me if I am misrepresenting your position, GazzBut), GazzBut's premise is that a Capitalist society can survive (be maintained) only as long as there are non-Capitalist societies in existence to trade with. It follows then that if every nation on Earth were to become Capitalist, at least some of them would soon fall apart and have to change over to some other system of government.

I think this is a premise worth examining in more detail, so I decided to open a new thread.

Comments?

pinky


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: Is worldwide Capitalism impossible? [Re: Phred]
    #1687531 - 07/05/03 07:16 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

I think there is definitely some merit to it. I think we need to celebrate difference and diversity. For every Yin there must be a Yang.


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"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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OfflineGazzBut
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Re: Is worldwide Capitalism impossible? [Re: Phred]
    #1687608 - 07/05/03 09:31 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

Well I think it could be possible to create the illusion of a capitalist world, I think there would still need to be those players on the fringe, the perenially exploited who would always have a much lower standard of living to those central to the capitalist syststem.

Capitalism is about acquiring as much as you can. So you end up with the Bill Gates types who are worth more than the combined GDPs of several countries. Obviously at the other end of scale you will get the opposite extreme those living on less than a a dollar a day. This is why third world countries face so many difficulties trading with us in the shape of subsidised imports and unweildy trade regulations. There are many countries who could theoretically trade themselves out of trouble but are prevented from doing so as the west makes sure that the situation is ripe for us to make the money instead.
Minus any unfair trading restrictions and minus obscene greed I think some form of capitalist system could exist worldwide and include the whole within it. But they are a couple of big asks!


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OfflineRhizoid
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Re: Is worldwide Capitalism impossible? [Re: Phred]
    #1687654 - 07/05/03 10:24 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

I know some antiglobalists claim that capitalism must always involve that "insiders" take an unfair advantage of "outsiders". I think this has its roots in marxism, and the erroneous marxist idea that it is possible to define a metaphysical absolute exchange value for any commodity that is sold, and that capitalists always sell for a higher price than this metaphysical exchange value and therefore take all the profit in any trade. If that were true, it would certainly be exploitation.

Since Karl Marx defines this exchange value as "the socially necessary labor time" to produce the commodity, there will be no trading profits made from the creation of non-labor values (like capital dividends) in a marxist economy. And that removes the incentives to create such values, which is exactly why marxism sucks.

Now of course people still take unfair advantage of others anyway in capitalist societies, even though the marxist explanation is wrong. This happens in all types of societies, and there is no reason to think that the problem can be magically made to disappear just by abolishing capitalism. We should instead try to fix the real problems in our markets, like for example find out how to create stability in financial markets. Because as George Soros said a long time ago, and as everyone else noticed three years ago, the financial markets are inherently unstable.


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OfflineBetMomIsProud
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Re: Is worldwide Capitalism impossible? [Re: Rhizoid]
    #1687828 - 07/05/03 12:37 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

If everyone was a capitalist you'd begin to see the huge clumps of wealth we have now grow to unreasonable levels. The money would collect in these few huge pools to the point where it would cease to be valuable to those who didn't have it, defeating the idea of capitailism. It's like if you ever found a genie and wished for all the money in the world, everyone else would have to find other forms of money and that would make yours useless...


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OfflineMalachi
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Re: Is worldwide Capitalism impossible? [Re: BetMomIsProud]
    #1687838 - 07/05/03 12:50 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

it's impossible as long as there are people who care about each other.

capitalism is a phase, when amerika matures we'll be alot like europe. hopefully.


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The ultimate meaning of our being can only be fulfilled in the paradoxical leap beyond the tragic-demonic frustration. It is a leap from our side, but it is the self-surrendering presence of the Ground of Being from the other side.
- Paul Tillich


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OfflineGazzBut
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Re: Is worldwide Capitalism impossible? [Re: Rhizoid]
    #1687840 - 07/05/03 12:52 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

Just for the record im not anti-globalist. Im anti greed.


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OfflineGazzBut
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Re: Is worldwide Capitalism impossible? [Re: Malachi]
    #1687843 - 07/05/03 12:57 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

when amerika matures we'll be alot like europe. hopefully.




As a European I wouldnt say thats such a great thing to look forward to. We are all playing the same game. The US happens to be "winning" right now. Give any of the European states that much power and they would act in the same way except we'd all be eating McPierres!


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OfflineRhizoid
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Re: Is worldwide Capitalism impossible? [Re: BetMomIsProud]
    #1687852 - 07/05/03 01:09 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

But you can have capitalism and redistribution of wealth at the same time. It's impossible only in laissez-faire capitalism without any taxation at all, but I don't think such a system exists anywhere. Check out the writings of Buckminster Fuller and Robert Anton Wilson on the idea of a "national dividend", or Milton Friedman's proposal for a negative income tax. Both are ways to redistribute wealth without implementing expensive and counterproductive welfare schemes.

It is still capitalism, not socialism, because trade is still done on free markets, and it still gives economic rewards to entrepeneurs and individual investors, who can invest in corporations. The problem with socialism is that power is handed over to the representative of some collective, instead of directly to the individuals themselves.


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OfflineMalachi
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Re: Is worldwide Capitalism impossible? [Re: GazzBut]
    #1687929 - 07/05/03 01:46 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

I wouldn't say we're all playing the same game.  sweden?  common.  sweden doesn't play games :smile:


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The ultimate meaning of our being can only be fulfilled in the paradoxical leap beyond the tragic-demonic frustration. It is a leap from our side, but it is the self-surrendering presence of the Ground of Being from the other side.
- Paul Tillich


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OfflineGazzBut
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Re: Is worldwide Capitalism impossible? [Re: Malachi]
    #1688167 - 07/05/03 04:40 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

Swedes play curling alot!


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Offlinesomebodyelse
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Re: Is worldwide Capitalism impossible? [Re: Malachi]
    #1688177 - 07/05/03 04:46 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

With capitalism you need a healthy consumer class to keep the cycle rolling. Even in the US where we don't have many low income manufacturing jobs, we still have a rapidly dividing society, which the current Junta is attempting to fix with a trickle-down patch. For two years they've been saying the recession will be over "in 6 month's time"...with no results so far. Does the recession represent a flaw in the system, a flaw in our culture, or just an unfortunate fluctuation?

Take this world wide and how could it happen any differently?

Worldwide capitalist democracy I don't think is possible. Capitalist fascism, on the other hand, seems quite tenable, although not desirable.



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Offlineatomikfunksoldier
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Re: Is worldwide Capitalism impossible? [Re: somebodyelse]
    #1688256 - 07/05/03 05:22 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

worldwide capitalism is most definitly "possible", but is it probable? no, not in our current situation. In our current situation, rich countries, specifically the US protect corporate interests by impeding democracy in poor countries, so that labour costs and production can be controlled. but that has nothing to do with the theoretical possibility of world-wide capitalism.

if everyone was allowed to play on the same level, that would be great, too bad all the greedy fucks have all the military and economic influence.


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Offlinerommstein2001
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Re: Is worldwide Capitalism impossible? Quic-reply [Re: atomikfunksoldier]
    #1689124 - 07/06/03 01:00 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

I'd say it is very much possible, but not through many individual capitalist governments, but one large one. Trade would still be very possible. That's sounding pretty creepy if u ask me.


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OfflineGazzBut
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Re: Is worldwide Capitalism impossible? [Re: Phred]
    #1690446 - 07/06/03 05:17 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

I would be interested to hear your opinions on this pinky! Congratulations on being made a moderator - I must have missed that vote!  :grin: 


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Is worldwide Capitalism impossible? [Re: GazzBut]
    #1691118 - 07/06/03 10:07 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

GazzBut writes:

Congratulations on being made a moderator - I must have missed that vote!

Thanks. I was asked to accept the position. There was no vote of general members, so you didn't miss anything. I don't anticipate having to do much, since most of the posters here are pretty good about following Rono's guidelines in the sticky post at the top of the page.

I would be interested to hear your opinions on this pinky!

Whenever I speak of Capitalism, I always speak of Laissez-faire Capitalism. In the interest of saving keystrokes, I usually just write "Capitalism" with a capital C. It is important to bear that in mind when reading my reply.

It must be noted that there is currently no Capitalist nation on Earth, and in actual fact there never has been, although the United States of America in its first century or so of existence was the closest thing to it yet seen. Many of the objections posters here raise to "Capitalism" are not in fact objections to Capitalism at all, but to policies promulgated by the mixed-economy interventionist governments in charge of all "free" nations today. As just one of many examples, notice the frequency of the term "corporate welfare" in this forum. Corporate welfare is no more a part of Capitalism than is individual welfare or other forced income redistribution schemes. In a Capitalist society, the government has no power over the economy at all -- not even the authority to coin an official currency.

With that preamble out of the way, let me comment on the question at hand -- is the existence of non-Capitalist nations essential to the survival of Capitalist nations?

No.

Any nation of sufficient size can survive quite readily with no need of trade or even contact with other nations. As long as there are all the necessary resources within its borders (arable land, potable water, energy resources, minerals, and a population of productive individuals), the nation can survive and even thrive. Free trade between nations is of course advantageous, but not essential.

pinky


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Is worldwide Capitalism impossible? [Re: GazzBut]
    #1691157 - 07/06/03 10:20 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

GazzBut writes:

Capitalism is about acquiring as much as you can.

Incorrect. Capitalism is about being left alone.

If you choose to dedicate your entire life to acquiring as much as you possibly can, you are left free to attempt to do so. If you choose to instead acquire the bare minimum needed to eke out a subsistence lifestyle, you are likewise left free to attempt to do so. The point is that in a Capitalist society, whatever you acquire honestly is yours, not part of a common pool to be "redistributed" as others see fit.

Minus any unfair trading restrictions and minus obscene greed I think some form of capitalist system could exist worldwide and include the whole within it.

As I pointed out in my previous post, under Capitalism there are no trading restrictions, "unfair" or otherwise. As for "obscene greed" (as personified in your example by Bill Gates), could you please explain to us how Bill Gates's greedy possession of three enormous mansions, seven Ferraris and bathtubs full of champagne prevents anyone else from acquiring enough to live well? Thanks.

pinky


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Anonymous

Re: Is worldwide Capitalism impossible? [Re: Phred]
    #1691182 - 07/06/03 10:26 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

excellent, as usual.


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Offlinehongomon
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Re: Is worldwide Capitalism impossible? [Re: Phred]
    #1691233 - 07/06/03 10:58 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

...Could you please explain to us how Bill Gates's greedy possession of three enormous mansions, seven Ferraris and bathtubs full of champagne prevents anyone else from acquiring enough to live well? Thanks.

Gates' purchase, as well as mine and anyone's can prevent someone else from acquiring enough to live well. For example, if I buy a Persian rug and don't inquire about how it was made--or check for a "RugMark"--I might be passively supporting slavery or other work situations that are immoral by my own views of morality. With products coming to a Western market from all over the world, it isn't easy to be sure just what that product "represents" in terms of equity and the environment.

That is, I confess, a different matter than the actual volume of goods a person buys, but I just wanted to throw it in--in this thread on Capitalism, and you and others hashing it out, I'd like to read some comments on how this matter should be addressed. The market is so spread out, it's a many-tiered, many-fold system, and even if a consumer wants to be responsible (take ethical considerations when purchasing a product) it is difficult.

(This subtopic came up recently in another thread discussing consumer groups.)

hongomon


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Is worldwide Capitalism impossible? [Re: hongomon]
    #1691328 - 07/06/03 11:29 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

hongomon writes:

Gates' purchase, as well as mine and anyone's can prevent someone else from acquiring enough to live well. For example, if I buy a Persian rug and don't inquire about how it was made--or check for a "RugMark"--I might be passively supporting slavery or other work situations that are immoral by my own views of morality.

How does your purchase of a product prevent the worker involved in making the product from taking a job with better working conditions?

in this thread on Capitalism, and you and others hashing it out, I'd like to read some comments on how this matter should be addressed.

Well, I hesitate to point out the obvious, but if every nation were Capitalist, there would be no slave labor.

Until such a situation comes about, those who wish to avoid buying products from producers with objectionable practices must expend effort on research. Fortunately, the proliferation of advocacy "watchdog" sites on the web makes it easier all the time. You will remember that I myself go to considerable lengths to avoid knowingly purchasing products manufactured in Communist countries.

To bring this thread back on track, what is your opinion on the possibility of worldwide Capitalism?

pinky


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