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OfflineDigitalDuality
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Registered: 04/29/04
Posts: 354
Last seen: 10 years, 6 months
Poverty, Capitalism, and Epicurus
    #2638182 - 05/04/04 08:31 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

In light of discussing poverty in the "Everyone here in an extremist" thread in PA&L with some libertertarians.. i thought i'd post this here about poverty in a capitalistic system.

Poverty isnt a flaw in the system, its a corner stone of it, its designed into the system and maintained by it. Poverty allows for the contrast that distinguishes the rich and creates price structure, without it this system wouldnt work, though its not to say other economical systems could work without poverty and they have in the past.


One interesting this is the philosophy of Epicurus who said happiness is brought on by three things-

1. Friends (included family).
2. Freedom.
3 Rational thinking (helps overcome fear, self-imposed limitations etc).


He said as long as you have that your happiness level will rise, no matter how much money you earn, but without those things no amount of money will create them. He was against commercialism, saying that a product is often associated with one of those things, but that the product in itself will never provide them. So infact people go out and buy a lot of things they do not need, thinking it will gain them something they do need. Anyway, there was a show created about him by Alain de Botton. His whole philosophy was centered around this notion, though his many books were all destroyed long ago, but there is still a group of people who follow his doctrine as a way of life. I think it still makes sense today.

*note for the italics on the word "designed".. Even though capitalism was not willfully designed, it is a system of definite social relations which constrain behavior in specific ways and lead to a varity of consequences specific to capitalism.


Discuss.


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Offlinecadran
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Registered: 05/04/04
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Re: Poverty, Capitalism, and Epicurus [Re: DigitalDuality]
    #2639552 - 05/05/04 01:56 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

It makes all the sense in the world. Humans are naturally curious due to their strange ability to discern what they perceive to be "I" from the rest of what they perceive to be "everything else."
In order to quench curiosity, one must explore. One could argue that exploration can happen without rational thinking, but I doubt it would be much fun.
You then explore the world freely and try to rationalize it.......and share what you've learned with other celestial beings (friends).
Using this system, there is no need for money (it's paper, stupid), or social classes, or government or anything like that. The government wants you to believe that they are the only thing keeping you safe from utter chaos. I believe, especially by this point, that humans could exist peacefully without a government using the wide array of information we've collected thus far in our journey through history.
here's an example of why capitalism is bad: Scream at the top of your lungs, as loud as you possibly can. Did you? Why or why not? Feeling.........claustrophobic????


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OfflineBleaK
paradox
Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 1,583
Last seen: 3 years, 1 day
Re: Poverty, Capitalism, and Epicurus [Re: cadran]
    #2640348 - 05/05/04 06:00 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

"here's an example of why capitalism is bad: Scream at the top of your lungs, as loud as you possibly can. Did you? Why or why not? Feeling.........claustrophobic???? "

Yes.... i am feeling that very much so.


--------------------
"You cannot trust in law, unless you can trust in people. If you can trust in people, you don't need law." -J. Mumma


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OfflineBleaK
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Registered: 06/24/02
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Re: Poverty, Capitalism, and Epicurus [Re: BleaK]
    #2640353 - 05/05/04 06:03 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

im tempted to quote some kaczynski


--------------------
"You cannot trust in law, unless you can trust in people. If you can trust in people, you don't need law." -J. Mumma


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OfflinePhred
Fred's son
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Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 12,949
Loc: Dominican Republic
Last seen: 1 year, 10 months
Re: Poverty, Capitalism, and Epicurus [Re: DigitalDuality]
    #2643539 - 05/05/04 11:58 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

DigitalDuality writes:

Poverty isnt a flaw in the system, its a corner stone of it, its designed into the system and maintained by it.

Actually, no. Laissez-faire Caitalism neither requires poverty in order to operate nor is it designed into the "system" nor does it maintain it.

Capitalism isn't even properly speaking a system -- rather it is a lack of system. Under Capitalism, people do whatever they choose and are allowed to do so until they initiate force (and by extension, fraud) against another human at which point the government steps in and restricts their freedom to act.

Poverty allows for the contrast that distinguishes the rich and creates price structure...

The fact that a "contrast" as you put it, is allowed to exist does not mean that it must exist.

... without it this system wouldnt work...

Incorrect. Demonstrate how "this system" would stop working if there were no poor folks. While you're at it, define your terms. What is your definition of poverty?

... though its not to say other economical systems could work without poverty and they have in the past.

Until you define poverty, there is no point attempting to address this statement. I will however point out that historically under Feudalism, Socialism, Communism and Fascism (all of which are political systems) there has been no shortage of people any reasonable person would agree were mighty damn poor, while others under those same systems were mighty damn rich.

*note for the italics on the word "designed".. Even though capitalism was not willfully designed, it is a system of definite social relations...

"Social" relations? Such as?

... which constrain behavior in specific ways...

Could you point out how leaving someone free to do whatever he damn well pleases until such time as he attempts to initiate force against another human could be called "constraining" behavior?

... and lead to a varity of consequences specific to capitalism.

Yeah. Consequences like freedom, for example. I thought Epicurus was down with that.

pinky


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Invisiblesilversoul7
Chill the FuckOut!
 User Gallery

Registered: 10/10/02
Posts: 27,301
Loc: mndfreeze's puppet army
Re: Poverty, Capitalism, and Epicurus [Re: Phred]
    #2643626 - 05/06/04 12:17 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

I was waiting for your reply, pinky. Excellent job as usual. One thing, though: About capitalism and the requirement of povery--as you pointed out he does not define poverty. However, capitalism does require lower-income unskilled laborers. There is nothing wrong with this, of course, and many people are perfectly content earning that amount of money.


--------------------


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


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OfflinePhred
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Registered: 10/19/00
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Re: Poverty, Capitalism, and Epicurus [Re: silversoul7]
    #2644059 - 05/06/04 03:10 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

silversoul7 writes:

I was waiting for your reply, pinky. Excellent job as usual.

Thank you, sir. *bows*

However, capitalism does require lower-income unskilled laborers.

Actually, no it doesn't. Capitalism does provide (or more accurately allow private individuals to provide) ways by which such individuals may support themselves and even to flourish, but it does not require unskilled laborers in order to function.

pinky


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OfflineGazzBut
Refraction

Registered: 10/15/02
Posts: 4,733
Loc: London UK
Last seen: 4 months, 4 days
Re: Poverty, Capitalism, and Epicurus [Re: Phred]
    #2644458 - 05/06/04 08:34 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Quote:

Laissez-faire Caitalism neither requires poverty in order to operate nor is it designed into the "system" nor does it maintain it.





Apologies if I have asked this before. But can you give us an example that exists outside of a textbook?


--------------------
Always Smi2le


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