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Anonymous

Re: The myth of monopolies [Re: Phred]
    #498338 - 12/22/01 01:34 AM (20 years, 1 month ago)

Capitalism is not a political system any more than farming
is a political system. Different political systems allow
capitalism to be practiced to varying degrees by various
entities. Communism involves monopoly collective/state
ownership of everything and the state/collective is the only
entity allowed to practice capitalism. Socialism and fascism
allow a mix of government and private "ownership" but with
government control of what the private sector can do with their
property, the result being that the government is the de facto
owner of property while the legal owner is allowed to get
whatever remaining benefits that ownership entails.
Monarchy/dictatorship can be whatever those in charge
decide, pure capitalism may be allowed, pure communism
may be demanded or any varying degree of capitalism.
Democracy is a means of decision making whereby the
majority of voters decides, a pure democracy would simply be
dictatorship of the majority. Anarchy is the absence of
government and hence will allow pure capitalism to exist, but
that doesn't mean that everyone would be use capitalism, it
also MIGHT entail an absence of a peaceful means of settling
disputes and protecting property rights.

As to what political system is the best... "freedom puts my
faith in none of the above." A purely free society would allow
voluntary capitalist segments to co-exist with voluntary
communal segments without either of them being allowed to
force their way of life on each other. Problems arise when
either the capitalists buy favors from the government with
money or the populace or political factions buy favors with
votes. Either way individual freedom is taken from some to
pay for the favors to others (freedom of property ownership is
one type freedom that can be taken away).

I know, this really doesn't answer the original question, but
no society in history ever has been a pure capitalist society
nor will there ever be a pure capitalist society. It is one
system humans use which serves as a means for people
to get the things they need or want and provide others with
the things they need or want. Some things just can't be
provided for through capitalism and people use various other
ways to satisfy their desires/needs for these things. What
I think would be best would be a truly free society where
communists, socialists, capitalist, religious groups, atheists,
homosexuals, heterosexuals, white supremacists, black
supremacists, anti-drug people, pro-drug people, Amway
sales people and all others aren't allowed to force their ideas
of utopia on anyone else.

"Political tags - such as royalist, communist,
democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative,
and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human
race divides politically into those who want people
to be controlled and those who have no such desire."
-- Robert A. Heinlein,
"The Notebooks of Lazarus Long"


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OfflinePhred
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Re: The myth of monopolies [Re: ]
    #498391 - 12/22/01 02:37 AM (20 years, 1 month ago)

evolving writes:

"Capitalism is not a political system..."

Not so. Every dictionary, every encyclopedia, every Poly-Sci 101 textbook, every politician -- even Karl Marx for crying out loud! -- defines capitalism as a political system.

"Different political systems allow capitalism to be practiced to varying degrees by various entities. Communism involves monopoly collective/state ownership of everything and the state/collective is the only entity allowed to practice capitalism."

You seem to be defining Capitalism as "the act of doing business", or "producing and selling stuff" or some similar concept. That is a subset of Capitalism, not Capitalism qua Capitalism.

"Democracy is a means of decision making whereby the majority of voters decides, a pure democracy would simply be dictatorship of the majority."

Correct. What so many people fail to realize is that the United States of America is not a Democracy, it is a constitutionally limited Republic.

"Anarchy is the absence of government and... also MIGHT entail an absence of a peaceful means of settling disputes and protecting property rights."

No "might" about it. That is the fatal flaw of anarchy. There is no way to settle disputes, as there is no universally-recognized authority to decide, "Jones is right. Smith is wrong. Smith, give Jones back his money."

"A purely free society would allow voluntary capitalist segments to co-exist with voluntary communal segments without either of them being allowed to force their way of life on each other."

Sounds like pure Capitalism to me. Under pure Capitalism, any group that chose to voluntarily pool their resources and "share and share alike" would be allowed to do so.

"Problems arise when either the capitalists buy favors from the government with money or the populace or political factions buy favors with votes."

That's the beauty of pure Capitalism. There are no favors to be bought, either with money or with votes, since the government is limited to the protection of its constituents, not the practice of doling out favors. It has no ABILITY to hand out favors. The government fills the role of cop, not Santa Claus.

"Either way individual freedom is taken from some to pay for the favors to others (freedom of property ownership is one type freedom that can be taken away)."

Under pure Capitalism, property ownership is guaranteed, and no freedom is taken from anyone.

"I know, this really doesn't answer the original question, but no society in history ever has been a pure capitalist society nor will there ever be a pure capitalist society."

There has yet to be a purely Capitalist society, but the United States in its first century of existence was within a hair's-breadth of being so, and its non-Capitalist aspects (the big kicker was slavery in the rogue states) were so non-influential at the beginning that for practical purposes it can be considered pure Capitalism (at least in the slave-free northern states).

"Some things just can't be provided for through capitalism..."

Such as?

"I think would be best would be a truly free society where communists, socialists, capitalist, religious groups, atheists, homosexuals, heterosexuals, white supremacists, black supremacists, anti-drug people, pro-drug people, Amway sales people and all others aren't allowed to force their ideas of utopia on anyone else."

Sounds like pure Capitalism to me. Under pure Capitalism, the initiation of force is strictly forbidden.

"(from Robert A. Heinlein) The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire."

Exactly. Capitalism is the political system which has no desire to control any aspect of its constituents' existence, but rather to protect its constituents from those who would.

pinky




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Offlinejihead
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Re: The myth of monopolies [Re: Phred]
    #498647 - 12/22/01 04:29 PM (20 years, 1 month ago)

"It has already been established that our current political system is NOT pure Capitalism. This thread is about pure Capitalism, not about the quasi-Socialist Welfare State into which the United States of America has degenerated. Let's stay on topic, shall we? "

my point was that even in our socialist state, the powerful are the only ones in control so what makes you think that it would be any better under a system of nearly unlimited wealth and power?

"Excuse me? I don't know how you define left and right, then. I prefer my linear explanation, since the criterium for arranging the various political philosophies along the spectrum is easy to understand: least amount of government power = Anarchy. Most amount of government power = Dictatorship. "

ok, you got the linear part, now just imagine the ends curving towards each other to create almost a circle, youll see what i mean :) and by the way, dictatorship isnt a form of government, its the form of a single person in power over a different form of governance (facism, communism).

"How so? Under pure Capitalism, no one enslaves anyone. Everyone is free to deal with others or not to deal with others as they see fit, on a purely voluntary basis. This is the complete antithesis of slavery. Please elaborate on how possessing total and complete freedom from coercion is "as good as slavery"."

its known as wage slavery. if you dont work everyday, you dont eat and neither does your family. you want that new electronic gizmo coming out? work harder. wage slavery is probably the worse than regular slavery, in fact if you look at political cartoons from 1840's/50's america, youll see a ton comparing england and the norths wage slavery to that of the south. at least slaves always had food and shelter, you loose your job at the factory, your family starves.

"Why do you keep insisting that only a few corporations would exist? You have never explained why this would happen, never outlined even the minimum logical basis to support your statement, merely asserted baldly that this WILL happen. I call you on it."

one simple fucking reason, scarcity of resources. natural, human, and financial. its what drives our present day economy, the fact that people control resources that others dont and therefore depend on them to continue their lives.
you keep refering to 18th century america as the utopia of capitalism, so ill use the example of standard oil again. because of their sheer size, they could control the transportation RESOURCES (trains) to undercut smaller opponents and buy them out, therby gaining more and more control over amerika's oil. when standard oil was broken up by our government, they controlled 90% of amerika;s oil supply. if he was left to continue unabated, why wouldnt he just take more and steadily raise prices until he maximized profit and product sold? and who would spring up to stop him?? with enough money to own a VAST amount of oil resources (land, drilling equipment, men to hire, transportation of the oil, places to sell it, etc.) ?? and even if they did in theory, what's stopping standard oil from cutting their prices enough to still maintain profit but undercut the competitor until he is bankrupt? its called scarcity and until we as humans stop being so wasteful and dependent on scarce resources, we are at the whim of the people who control them.

"ANY one you care to pick, doesn't matter to me. Go ahead. I dare you. "

well i just got back from work with my uncle who installs floors for a living and yes, owns his own business. does he complain aboot the paperwork? no, most trade jobs have nothing of the sort to deal with on a small scale. and if you think that is the reason why most people dont start their own business than you are really oblivious to reality. most businesses fail after the first 3 years, its a risky adventure and you can loose a lot, most people dont have the skills or the resources to start and succeed. its tough to compete against the big guys ;) btw, what type of business do you own?

"It was government that put a stop to that, not Capitalism. "

uhmmm, no. ever heard of the industrial revolution? as close to pure capitalism as america ever got and what did we get out of it?? the worst living conditions in american history. seriously, if you think that time period was so great, id like to see you survive a week in the life of a poor immigrant living in a tenament house and working 80 hours a week for 3 dollars a day.

"No one can force you to buy ANYTHING you don't want to buy. "

right, until the whole scarcity theory comes back into play. so you say your 2 month old son is sick? well shit, the only company that makes the drugs he needs is charging 200 dollars a dose and you, working in the factory for a living wage cant afford that. why, oh why must my son die when another company could make the drug for half the price? because capitalism says the ideas and knowledge can be copyrighted and patented, that they are property and their use and dissmination can be restricted. same with the other examples you use, if you cant afford a plot of land close to your job, can you build your own house? you seem to think that pure capitalism would mean prosperity for all when ever time period where capitalism has been strongest has seen the greatest disparity between the rich and poor.

"And division of labor is a hallmark of ALL human societies, from prehistoric villages in the Tigris-Euphrates valley to hippy communes to modern Communist China. "

the difference being is that in all systems up until feudal times, the workers and producers (artisans) owned what they produced and sold it for their own profit. now workers produce for a boss who, by the very nature of capitalism, must exploit their labor and pay them less than it is worth to make a profit for himself. basic marx there. the workers owning what they produce is the basis of socialism/communism/anarchy instead of being exploited.

peace.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: The myth of monopolies [Re: jihead]
    #498911 - 12/22/01 11:30 PM (20 years, 1 month ago)

jihead writes:

"my point was that even in our socialist state, the powerful are the only ones in control..."

You are correct to say that under any form of Statism (socialism, fascism, communism, totalitarianism, etc.) the powerful are the only ones in control. They don't even need to be wealthy... they just need to occupy a powerful political office.

"...so what makes you think that it would be any better under a system of nearly unlimited wealth and power?"

Your logical flaw is that you insist on equating wealth with power. People can be wealthy without being powerful, and powerful without being wealthy. Under Capitalism, the wealthy have no political power whatsoever. They cannot force anyone to do anything. If they are the IDLE wealthy (living off an inheritance, for example), they swill champagne and sail yachts, neither contributing anything to humanity nor asking anything of it. They are essentially irrelevant economically.

On the other hand, the PRODUCTIVE wealthy (such as factory owners) provide both goods and the means to obtain those goods (jobs). This does NOT mean they are powerful... far from it! The lowest-level bureaucrat in a Statist society has infinitely greater power. If no one cares to accept the jobs the productive wealthy provide, they cannot produce goods. If they have no goods to sell, they have no wealth. The fact that they are wealthy does not give them the POWER to force people to accept the jobs they offer... they must PERSUADE workers to work for them.

"dictatorship isnt a form of government, its the form of a single person in power over a different form of governance (facism, communism)."

Point taken. Substitute "Absolute Monarchy" for "Dictatorship", then.

"if you dont work everyday, you dont eat and neither does your family."

Well, duh! Welcome to reality. Even Anarchists must work. Even a castaway completely alone (hence free from ANY coercion from ANY other humans) must work. Work is not necessitated by any political system, it is necessitated by the laws of the universe. The easiest way to prove that work is a METAPHYSICAL necessity is to simply lie on the ground hoping for food and water to drop into your gullet.

"you want that new electronic gizmo coming out? work harder."

Or do without. People who lived half a century ago did just fine without any electronic gizmos.

"wage slavery is probably the worse than regular slavery..."

Nonsense. A free man always has options: change jobs, scrimp and save long enough to start his own business, say "the hell with it all" and live off the land in the Alaskan bush, whatever. A slave does what he is told or is killed.

"in fact if you look at political cartoons from 1840's/50's america, youll see a ton comparing england and the norths wage slavery to that of the south"

I choose not to base my political philosophy on the dubious intelligence of cartoonists. Cartoonists make their living through exaggeration and satire, not through deep thinking.

"at least slaves always had food and shelter..."

Unlike many people living in Statist regimes.

"you loose your job at the factory, your family starves."

How were you feeding your family before the factory opened for business?

"one simple fucking reason, scarcity of resources. natural..."

Forests are not scarce. Oil is not scarce. Iron is not scarce.

"...human..."

No lack of humans, either. Sure are a lot of people out there looking for employment.

"...and financial..."

Financial resources are dependent on the first two. No resources and no workers to create goods from those resources equals no wealth.

"its what drives our present day economy, the fact that people control resources that others dont and therefore depend on them to continue their lives."

Well, since this thread is about Capitalism vs. Socialism, let's take a look at that, shall we? If a Capitalist controls a tract of land sitting on top of an iron deposit, odds are that he will open an iron mine, and maybe a steel mill as well. The resources are extracted from the land (where they were of no use to anyone, rich or poor) and turned into goods that people need "to continue their lives". Let's examine the other side of the coin, shall we?

A government has control over that same tract of land. They turn it into a national park. The only ones who now benefit from that tract of land are those who are sufficiently wealthy to afford a vacation in the park.

"ill use the example of standard oil again. because of their sheer size, they could control the transportation RESOURCES (trains) to undercut smaller opponents and buy them out"

And how did they gain control over trains and keep competitors out? THROUGH GOVERNMENT GRANTS! Exclusive rights-of-way, subsidies, restrictions on new entrants... all thanks to government legislation. This is a matter of public record, by the way. Several fascinating books have been written about the era of the "Railway Tycoons" and the political corruption associated with them. It was the beginning of the era of the professional lobbyist.

"when standard oil was broken up by our government, they controlled 90% of amerika;s oil supply."

Not quite true. They perhaps controlled the majority of America's oil PRODUCTION, but they owned only a fraction of the oil deposits in the country.

"if he was left to continue unabated, why wouldnt he just take more and steadily raise prices until he maximized profit and product sold? and who would spring up to stop him??"

Under Capitalism, he could raise his prices only until the price of oil was high enough to make the oil business attractive enough for other businessmen to jump into the market.

"and even if they did in theory, what's stopping standard oil from cutting their prices enough to still maintain profit but undercut the competitor until he is bankrupt?"

Under Capitalism... nothing. I guess I don't understand how it is bad for those who need oil being able to buy at it a rock-bottom price. What does it matter if there are ten oil companies or two or even one, if the price is the same?

"its called scarcity and until we as humans stop being so wasteful and dependent on scarce resources, we are at the whim of the people who control them."

I'd rather deal with a private individual who wants to provide as many of the resources as I care to buy than be at the whim of the governments who comprise OPEC.

"well i just got back from work with my uncle who installs floors for a living and yes, owns his own business."

You work for a family member who is a businessman? Does that make you a wage slave? Do you feel he is exploiting you?

"does he complain aboot the paperwork? no, most trade jobs have nothing of the sort to deal with on a small scale."

He doesn't have to fill in Social Security forms for his employees? Workman's Compensation? Medical insurance? Unemployment insurance? Proof of compliance with OSHA regulations? He doesn't withhold union dues? Forward payroll withholding taxes? Renew his contractor's license? Provide proof of compliance with building permits? Does he not have to file annual reports for his company? Fill out tax forms for the company? Does he do all this himself or does he hire an accountant to do some of it?

"if you think that is the reason why most people dont start their own business than you are really oblivious to reality. most businesses fail after the first 3 years, its a risky adventure and you can loose a lot, most people dont have the skills or the resources to start and succeed."

Yes, it is risky. That's why most people would prefer to be a "wage slave" and let the boss assume all the risk and the seventy hour work weeks. I have seen more than a few businesses where the top employees make more than the owners do.

"btw, what type of business do you own?"

Past tense. Specialty boutiques (similar to Sunglass Hut) and windsurfing equipment rental and instruction.

"ever heard of the industrial revolution?"

Yep.

"as close to pure capitalism as america ever got and what did we get out of it?? the worst living conditions in american history."

Nonsense. Utter tripe. This is the biggest myth of all, that the industrial revolution made things WORSE. In the first 100 years of the industrial revolution, the population of Europe (where the industrial revolution began -- America was still largely an agrarian country for the first half of the industrial revolution) increased by 300%, after centuries of increasing 5 to 10% per century. The industrial revolution was a BENEFIT to humans, not a curse, at least if you go by how many were able to live long enough to reproduce. Before the industrial revolution, those folks died.

"seriously, if you think that time period was so great, id like to see you survive a week in the life of a poor immigrant living in a tenament house and working 80 hours a week for 3 dollars a day."

And why do you think they WERE immigrants? Because the alternative was helplessly watching their families starve to death in some peat bog in Ireland. Was the life of a factory worker in nineteenth century America a bed of roses? Hell no. But at least it was LIFE. How many farmers back in the old country worked 100 hours a week for maybe 50 cents cash, watched ten of their twelve kids die before age six, then died themselves at age forty?

"right, until the whole scarcity theory comes back into play. so you say your 2 month old son is sick? well shit, the only company that makes the drugs he needs is charging 200 dollars a dose and you, working in the factory for a living wage cant afford that."

What about those who had sick children before the drug was invented? What did they do?

"why, oh why must my son die when another company could make the drug for half the price? because capitalism says the ideas and knowledge can be copyrighted and patented, that they are property and their use and dissmination can be restricted."

One cannot patent an IDEA. One cannot patent KNOWLEDGE. One can only patent products. Don't take my word for it, check it out. Maybe another company might have produced the same drug first and chosen to sell it for less. BUT THEY DIDN'T. The inventor of a product sets the price he feels compensates him fairly and hopes that enough people will agree to buy the product at that price to repay his investment in time and materials spent developing the product. Maybe he sets the price too high to properly maximize his return on investment, maybe he sets it too low... but that is HIS prerogative. It is HIS product, after all. He doesn't HAVE to sell it to anyone if he doesn't want to.

"same with the other examples you use, if you cant afford a plot of land close to your job, can you build your own house?"

So live further out in the country where the land is cheaper, and pay more to commute to work. Many do just that. Or, don't buy a house at all. Rent an apartment. Many do just that. Or take a job closer to where you live. Many do just that. My point was, that under Capitalism, you are not FORCED to buy anything from a giant, soulless, money-grubbing corporation. You can buy from a small businessman, or make your own, or do without.

"you seem to think that pure capitalism would mean prosperity for all..."

Of course I don't think that. There will always be people who are less well-off than others, no matter what political system is in place. But I am addressing the question that was asked in the beginning of this thread: "Would the US of A be a better place if we were a purely capitalist society? " The key word here is "better", not "perfect". Since humans are fallible, NO social system can be perfect.

"when ever time period where capitalism has been strongest has seen the greatest disparity between the rich and poor."

Actually, not so. Someone in this forum recently posted that Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Jack Walton had a combined net worth greater than the poorest hundred million Americans. Study after study has shown that decade after decade the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest Americans is widening, at the same time that government power is increasing. Hardly an indictment of pure Capitalism.

"in all systems up until feudal times, the workers and producers (artisans) owned what they produced and sold it for their own profit."

Why do you think there would be no artisans under Capitalism? There certainly were in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth century. And, under Capitalism, if you choose to go into business for yourself and produce widgets, they are yours to keep. If you agree to work for the owner of a widget factory instead, you don't get to keep the widgets, but you do get to keep the wages.

"now workers produce for a boss who, by the very nature of capitalism, must exploit their labor..."

Loaded word, "exploit". Let's use a for instance... a large clothing manufacturer sets up a factory in a dirt-poor region where the inhabitants have been eating nuts and roots and pimping their daughters to get cash to pay the rent. The inhabitants can continue their lives as they were, in which case the factory goes bankrupt for lack of workers, or they can work at the factory. Please tell me how offering an alternative that people can accept VOLUNTARILY is exploiting them. After all, if the workers get tired of being exploited, they can always go back to doing what they were doing before the factory opened.

"and pay them less than it is worth to make a profit for himself."

Everyone who works, whether for himself or for another, must generate profit. In the case of a corporation, most of that profit is re-invested in increasing production. In the case of the one-man business, most of the profit goes into savings against the time when old age prevents him from working any longer. But the eventual disposition of the profits doesn't alter the fact that they ARE profits.

"basic marx there. the workers owning what they produce is the basis of socialism/communism/anarchy instead of being exploited."

Ah! I see. You don't object to working. You object to voluntarily trading your work for cash. By the way, under Statism, the workers don't own what they produce, the State does. And under Anarchy, since there are no laws (everything is permitted... total freedom... that's what makes it Anarchy after all), there is nothing to stop anyone from agreeing to work for another for cash.

pinky





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Edited by pinksharkmark (12/23/01 10:36 AM)


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Offlinejihead
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Re: The myth of monopolies [Re: Phred]
    #499492 - 12/23/01 07:36 PM (20 years, 1 month ago)

ok, there is just way too much there for me to respond to all of, so ill pick out some favorites. lots of good shit though, you make some really solid points.

"Your logical flaw is that you insist on equating wealth with power. People can be wealthy without being powerful, and powerful without being wealthy. Under Capitalism, the wealthy have no political power whatsoever."

i dont see how wealth doesnt equal power in a system that is essentially existant upon the premise of making money. lets just simplify this and say that wealth=resources. if someone controls the resources of a certain group (the country say) and everyone in the control lives their lives in pursuit of these limited resources (because you agree that the system would need a limited money supply?), how are those people not more powerful than those who dont have the resources? and maybe im just naive, but eventually those resources are going to be hoarded to the point that a very few control virtually everything.

"they must PERSUADE workers to work for them."

if its a choice between slave wages and starving, there is very little persuasion needed.

"Work is not necessitated by any political system, it is necessitated by the laws of the universe."

i see your point, but the concept of "work" is really more modern. i dont really consider hunting/gathering/farming work when you are providing yourself with food, but thats just me. we need to "work" to buy all our luxury items.

"A slave does what he is told or is killed. "

but by your logic, a slave could run away and live in the alaskan brush too, its all a matter of what people are willing to tolerate and the lifestyle they wish to pursue. just because you have the freedom to escape the system doesnt mean its a viable alternative.

"Unlike many people living in Statist regimes."

thats exactly my point, almost all statist regimes are capitalist.

"Forests are not scarce. Oil is not scarce. Iron is not scarce. "

what? are you being serious here? all natural resources are scarce but maybe air.. thats why they can be exploited for profit. you dont see people charging for air do you? well, that stupid oxygen crap they sell at the bars, but thas another story.

"No lack of humans, either. Sure are a lot of people out there looking for employment. "

but they sure do cost money...

"turned into goods that people need "to continue their lives".

to use your logic, what were they doing before the steel mill opened up?

"A government has control over that same tract of land. They turn it into a national park. The only ones who now benefit from that tract of land are those who are sufficiently wealthy to afford a vacation in the park. "

why would this happen? and what if the owner doesnt put up a steel mill, but makes it a vacation resort if the land is beautiful enough to be a national park? now only the very wealthy can afford to see what was once something that belonged to no one, beatiful nature, packaged up, bought and sold to the highest bidder. capitalism cares not for what it destroys.

"THROUGH GOVERNMENT GRANTS! Exclusive rights-of-way, subsidies, restrictions on new entrants... all thanks to government legislation."

you might be right on this, but i recently watched a movie on this and i remember seeing that the standard oil cut personal deals with the railroads to get discounted rates because of the sheer volume of product that he transported on those lines.

"Under Capitalism, he could raise his prices only until the price of oil was high enough to make the oil business attractive enough for other businessmen to jump into the market. "

this is still the one thing you havent explained to me. where is he going to be able to get the resources to start a company able to compete with such a giant?

"I guess I don't understand how it is bad for those who need oil being able to buy at it a rock-bottom price."

do you buy your clothing from sweatshops? own a lot of nikes? do ethics and morals play a role in your consuming? the fact is, things would get dirt cheap until competition is stiffled and profit can be maximized again. how would they get so cheap? exploitation of said resources.

"I'd rather deal with a private individual who wants to provide as many of the resources as I care to buy than be at the whim of the governments who comprise OPEC. "

whats the difference? and by the way, the existence of OPEC and you being at the whim of them shows that oil is scarce

"You work for a family member who is a businessman? Does that make you a wage slave? Do you feel he is exploiting you? "

honestly, yes, im a wage slave when i work with him. and yes, by the nature of business, i am being exploited. he doesnt underpay me or anything, but this is a whole different ballgame than factory work.

"He doesn't have to fill in Social Security forms for his employees? Workman's Compensation? Medical insurance? Unemployment insurance? Proof of compliance with OSHA regulations? He doesn't withhold union dues? Forward payroll withholding taxes? Renew his contractor's license? Provide proof of compliance with building permits? Does he not have to file annual reports for his company? Fill out tax forms for the company? Does he do all this himself or does he hire an accountant to do some of it?"

im not sure, but most of this, no. he works with one other guy most of the time, pays and gets paid in cash, very little government bullshit because of his size. no store either so all of that garbage isnt applicable.

"That's why most people would prefer to be a "wage slave" and let the boss assume all the risk and the seventy hour work weeks."

exactly, its the basis of capitalism.

"Specialty boutiques (similar to Sunglass Hut) and windsurfing equipment rental and instruction. "

heh heh, say it with me now, booodeeeega. j/k.

"The industrial revolution was a BENEFIT to humans, not a curse, at least if you go by how many were able to live long enough to reproduce. "

well im gunna say curse, i think half our current problems are because of overpopulation. again, we feel free to destroy the planet without regard to consequences.

"And why do you think they WERE immigrants? Because the alternative was helplessly watching their families starve to death in some peat bog in Ireland. "

and what system was in place in ireland at the time? capitalism. and what does the us have that almost every other country in the world doesnt? natural resources out the asshole, thats the real reason we;'re so prosperous, not capitalism.

"What about those who had sick children before the drug was invented? What did they do? "

how is that relevant? the fact is a treatment exists and is unavaible to dying people because of its cost.

"One cannot patent an IDEA. One cannot patent KNOWLEDGE. One can only patent products. Don't take my word for it, check it out. "

ok, your right on that, but the fact remains that the idea and knowledge can be restricted and withheld from other competitors who would be able to reproduce complex goods cheaper and thus offer up more competition.

"Study after study has shown that decade after decade the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest Americans is widening, at the same time that government power is increasing."

less restriction on big business. ever heard of the imf, wto, world bank, ftaa, nafta? less regulation, period.

"Loaded word, "exploit". Let's use a for instance... a large clothing manufacturer sets up a factory in a dirt-poor region where the inhabitants have been eating nuts and roots and pimping their daughters to get cash to pay the rent"

why wouldnt they just grow food? well it seems like your talking about a third world country, setting up factories in places were people have successfully lived for thousands of years and we have to come in and make sure they wear amerikan clothing and eat at mcdonalds.

"Please tell me how offering an alternative that people can accept VOLUNTARILY is exploiting them."

well by taking land through the factory itself and all the roads, houses, etc, that would also be needed. all of this land could have food grown on it instead of the inhabitants having to buy food from another place.

"Ah! I see. You don't object to working. You object to voluntarily trading your work for cash."

no, i dont, i just see two different kinds of work. there is mind numbing service/manufacturing/any wage/salary work and then there is physical labor that can be used to create things for ones self and self sufficience. so yea, i do pretty much object to the whole wage system and relying on the labor of others to provide me with the things i need to live. you are a slave to that person. one of the rothschilds said that.

ppppeace.


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Why wealth is not equivalent to power [Re: jihead]
    #499875 - 12/24/01 04:04 AM (20 years, 1 month ago)

jihead writes:

"ok, there is just way too much there for me to respond to all of, so ill pick out some favorites."

You're right. I guess it's time this was subdivided into separate categories, since it has strayed afield from the original subheading "The Myth of Monopolies". Check the new headings in these next few posts for an indication of which of your points is covered.

jihead writes:

"i dont see how wealth doesnt equal power in a system that is essentially existant upon the premise of making money."

First of all, Capitalism is NOT based on the premise of making money per se, but on the premise that individuals have the right to be free from coercion. It follows that one who is free of coercion is free to try to make money, if that is what he chooses to do. An individual is also free to BEG for money, or to marry another who will provide the necessities of life in return for companionship.

But, under Capitalism, an individual only has the power to try to MAKE money, not to STEAL money. He has no right to steal directly from a single individual -- i.e. through mugging an honest citizen -- or indirectly from a group by using an agent -- i.e. having the government steal the money from a whole BUNCH of honest citizens and give it to him so he can swill beer in front of the TV rather than work.

Secondly, under Capitalism, wealth does not equal power, it equals time.

You seem to be convinced that in a Capitalist society an individual with a lot of money has the power to make anyone do whatever he wants. This is manifestly untrue, and easily demonstrated.

For instance, a billionaire has no power to force a faithful woman to betray her husband by sleeping with him. Even if he offers her a million dollars she will refuse out of principle -- the benefits of the money she will receive are not worth the anguish her guilt will cause. A billionaire cannot pay a committed Pacifist enough money to kill a business rival. No amount of money will suffice, even if the Pacifist is starving. Similarly, a billionaire cannot pay the Pacifist enough money to make him accept a job at his arms-manufacturing plant. A billionaire cannot pay an Anarchist enough money to accept a salaried position with his accounting firm, because to an Anarchist this would mean he was being "dominated" and "exploited".

A billionaire cannot pay a politician a million dollars to enact legislation to drive a competitor out of business, because the politician doesn't have the power to do so. A billionaire can't pay a retired woman of simple wants enough to persuade her to sell the house she's lived in all her life, because she derives more pleasure from the comfort the house provides than the goods that the money will buy. She has enough for her needs; the money is just not important to her.

A billionaire cannot lower the prices of the mink coats his company produces to the point where a member of PETA will buy one. A billionaire who owns a string of MacDonald's franchises can't persuade a vegetarian to buy his Big Macs, even if he sells them for ten cents each. A billionaire who runs a non-union "sweatshop" in a third-world country producing women's sportswear cannot force an indignant labor organizer to buy his products, no matter how much cheaper they may be. A billionaire who sells mahogany furniture will never see a single purchase from a tree hugger.

The only real power that his wealth gives him is the power to use his time for pursuits other than providing the necessities of his continued existence. As I said earlier, wealth is not power, it is TIME. A poor person must spend all his time producing food and shelter. A rich person can buy food and shelter by using his accumulated wealth, so he can spend all his time playing computer games and watching tv.

pinky


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Resources and Wealth [Re: jihead]
    #499909 - 12/24/01 07:12 AM (20 years, 1 month ago)

jihead writes:

"lets just simplify this and say that wealth=resources."

Not correct. Resources are not wealth. They are, at best, the starting point from which potential wealth might eventually be created.

A ton of iron ore buried half a mile down equates to exactly zero wealth, especially if no one has yet discovered that it is there in the first place. Even once discovered, it isn't worth squat until it is brought to the surface and refined into iron ingots. This requires an investment of time and money and physical effort and knowledge. Moreover, an iron ingot is still worth squat if no one cares to buy it, and worth LESS than squat if the only one interested in buying it won't agree to pay more than what it cost to produce it in the first place.

And we are STILL not done yet. That ingot is not yet wealth, since an ingot as an ingot is useful maybe as a paperweight or a doorstop, but not much else. An ingot will not further a human's existence. People don't need iron, they need products MADE from iron. Until that ingot is turned into horseshoes and nails and kitchen knives, it has about as much value as a chunk of granite. Probably less, since granite at least won't dissolve into rust over time, so it can be used to build the wall of a house.

As a final kicker, resources representing a given amount of potential wealth today might represent a lot less tomorrow, as technology advances. For example, copper dropped substantially in value once the technology of working iron was developed (Stone age, Copper Age, Bronze Age, Iron age), and the price of iron took a dive once the technology for working with aluminum was developed. Coal mines that were once profitable were shut down as people switched over to oil.

"if someone controls the resources of a certain group (the country say) and everyone in the country lives their lives in pursuit of these limited resources (because you agree that the system would need a limited money supply?), how are those people not more powerful than those who dont have the resources?"

First of all, it is extremely unlikely that in a Capitalist country anyone would even attempt to corner the market on raw resources. Under Capitalism, it just doesn't make sense for anyone to spend enormous effort to try to corner any single resource. Any individual (or corporation) who has managed to produce enough wealth to be able to buy up, for example, the mineral rights to every known and undiscovered deposit of iron ore in a given country obviously has enough smarts to understand that his wealth is better invested in diversification of his holdings. Much less risk, much better ROI (return on investment). Besides, even if someone DID manage to control all of a given resource in a Capitalist country, it would do him no good at all.

You say let's use a country as an example. Let's even make it a very small country, with all deposits of iron ore already discovered, so that it might actually be possible for a single entity (individual or company) to gain control of all of them. Let's say that some billionaire in Lichtenstein (a Capitalist country) actually does manage to buy the mineral rights to all of those deposits, then immediately bumps the price of the iron ore his mines produce. "Everyone needs iron," he reasons. "I can't lose! This was the best move in the history of finance!"

The iron mines of neighboring Switzerland immediately get wind of the fact that they can sell some of their stockpiled ore to Lichtenstein steel mills for less than the billionaire will. Remember that Lichtenstein is a Capitalist country, so the government has no power to prevent its citizens from buying iron ore from whomever they choose. The billionaire is left staring at a mountain of unsold ore.

In frustration, he slashes his price to even lower than that of Swiss ore, and decides to buy out the Swiss. He manages to sell off his stockpile at just above cost so he will have enough cash reserves to persuade a bank to loan him enough money to buy out every single Swiss iron mine. He has to get a loan because he spent all his original money buying the Lichtenstein iron mines, and the Swiss moved in so quickly that he was only able to sell a few hundred tons of ore at his higher price.... the rest he sold at cost in order to regain his customers from the Swiss.

He manages to get a bank loan, and buys out every Swiss iron mine. He then bumps his price again and waits for the cash to come rolling in.

But now those damn Germans decide it makes sense to undercut him, and once again he is staring at unsold ore... by now a pretty substantial pile of it. He cuts his prices yet again, and finally manages to recoup some of his losses, but he doesn't have enough cash to buy out all the German ore producers, for two reasons:

1) So far he has just barely made a profit on the ore he mined, because he had to slash prices to fight off the Swiss and German competitors. That profit hasn't even come close to repaying his original investment in Lichtenstein, let alone the additional vast sums owed to banks for the money he spent in Switzerland. There certainly isn't enough to even BEGIN buying out the vastly larger German iron mining companies.

2) The Germans have figured out what he is up to, and have raised the asking price for their iron mines. The law of supply and demand has kicked in. This is exactly what happened to the Hunt brothers when they tried to corner the world's silver market in the late Seventies.

And while all this is going on, the people of Lichtenstein are happy because they are buying iron for less than they ever were. The Swiss are happy because they sold their firms at a fat profit and never have to work again in their lives.

So who has been harmed? Whose rights have been violated? Who has been prevented from doing what they chose to do? You asked "how are those people not more powerful than those who dont have the resources?" Let me now ask you just exactly how did this billionaire's "power" damage the lives of the citizens of Lichtenstein?

"eventually those resources are going to be hoarded to the point that a very few control virtually everything."

Hoarded resources do no good to anyone, especially not to the hoarder. Until those hoarded resources are converted to goods the hoarder can use personally, or to currency, it is no more advantageous to have a mountain of iron ore in a warehouse than it is to have a mountain of buggy whips, especially if industry switches over to aluminum while he is sitting on his iron mountain. Besides, the above example illustrates that even if he hoards all the iron in Lichtenstein, iron consumers will buy their ore from Germany or Canada or Argentina or Uganda. In a Capitalist society, the only way anyone can control the price of iron is to first buy all the iron in the world. Even you have to admit that no one will ever be able to accomplish that.

" because you agree that the system would need a limited money supply?"

Currency is not wealth. Goods are wealth. Currency is a medium of exchange. This should be handled in detail in another thread, since the question of money supply is relevant not only to Capitalism, but to all forms of society.

"all natural resources are scarce but maybe air..."

This is simply not true. There is plenty of oil available... so much so that the fuel oil to heat your house and run electrical plants is being sold for pennies a gallon. And more than half the cost of that gallon goes into government taxes. Under Capitalism, the oil would cost even LESS than it does today. It is true that as easily-tapped reserves diminish, it will be necessary to invest more to extract it from shale or marginal fields, or to synthesize it from coal, but that does not mean oil is scarce, just more expensive to get at. By that time alternative energy sources will have become economically more attractive (solar, tidal, geothermal, wind power) and the oil can be used to actually produce hard goods rather than energy.

Similarly, there is plenty of wood available (enormous stretches of Canada and Siberia are nothing BUT forest), plenty of sand available (for glass and silicon chips), plenty of iron and copper and nickel and aluminum available.

"the existence of OPEC and you being at the whim of them shows that oil is scarce"

No it doesn't. It shows that a large portion of known deposits of easily-pumped, high-quality natural "sweet" crude oil is in the hands of authoritarian regimes. When OPEC went nuts in the early Seventies and lineups at gas pumps were common, the immediate reaction of American oil producers was to re-open marginal oil fields that had previously been unprofitable, and to invest in exploration for more deposits. When OPEC came to its senses and dropped the price of its oil again, those marginal fields ceased production. But the oil is still there.

"what does the us have that almost every other country in the world doesnt? natural resources out the asshole, thats the real reason we;'re so prosperous, not capitalism."

Not so. It doesn't matter how many resources a country has if it doesn't have the ability to convert them into goods. The Soviet Union had FAR more resources in Siberia alone than the USA does in the entire country. The Ukraine has enormous stretches of the most fertile soil on the planet. Yet tens of millions of people died of famine in the Ukraine, and the USSR had to buy wheat every year from the Western countries. People lined up for blocks for the chance to buy safety razors and shoes. The standard of living in the USSR was far below that of the USA.

Or compare East Germany to West Germany. Or Communist China to Taiwan. Or Japan to almost anywhere. How many resources does Japan have? Practically zilch. Yet the Japanese are much more prosperous than the Soviets were, despite the enormous resources the Soviets enjoyed.

If you think it's unfair to compare a quasi-capitalist country to a Statist country, let's compare a quasi-capitalist country to a quasi-socialist country. Let's take a look at the resource situation in the USA vs. its good neighbor Canada.

Canada has tremendous resources: the entire Canadian Shield is one big chunk of nickel and iron ore, there are enormous prairies for growing wheat, vast stretches of forest for wood, thousands of rivers for hydroelectric power to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, big oil deposits in Alberta and the Arctic Ocean, high grade coal out the wazoo in the maritime provinces.

Yet Canadians are significantly less prosperous than Americans, and falling further behind all the time. The Canadian dollar is now worth about 63 cents US. When I was in high school it was worth a little bit MORE than the US dollar. And Canadians pay a LOT higher percentage of their income in taxes than Americans do.

To make it even more obvious that Capitalism, not resources, is the source of wealth, ask yourself how it was possible for America to piss away truly mind-boggling amounts of tax dollars (money confiscated from productive Americans) rebuilding Europe after WWII, developing sophisticated and hugely expensive weapons of mass destruction (nuclear warheads), sending men to the moon, providing foreign aid to ungrateful third-world countries who default on their loans, and bombing Southeast Asia with trillions of dollars worth of ordnance, and STILL be the most prosperous of all.

Canada spent no money on any of those things, yet the per capita net worth of Canada is WAY less than it is in America, despite Canada's enormous resources. How is it that the US can literally throw away such stupefying amounts of money yet still be so wealthy while Canada, who never burned even a tiny fraction as much money, is not?

Simple. Because the USA, despite its slide down the slippery slope towards Socialism, is STILL the country that is closest to pure Capitalism, and Canada is a Welfare State. It's a direct connection... the closer to pure Capitalism a society is, the more prosperous its citizens are. The greater the amount of government control, the worse off its citizens are.

Resources or no resources.

pinky










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Edited by pinksharkmark (12/24/01 08:23 AM)


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You're joking, right? [Re: jihead]
    #499930 - 12/24/01 08:33 AM (20 years, 1 month ago)

jihead writes:

"almost all statist regimes are capitalist."

WHAT??? *Dope-slaps self* You wanna run that by me again?

By definition, a Statist society (Socialist, Fascist, Communist, Monarchist) is the antithesis of Capitalism. Capitalism leaves property and the economy in the hands of private individuals. Statism delivers property and the economy into the hands of the State. That's why it's called Statism, after all.

Try telling the politburo in Beijing that they are Capitalists. Have a friend take a video of the occasion as a favor to me.

pinky



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Work, "exploitation" and "wage slavery" [Re: jihead]
    #499974 - 12/24/01 11:15 AM (20 years, 1 month ago)

jihead writes:

"i dont really consider hunting/gathering/farming work when you are providing yourself with food, but thats just me. we need to "work" to buy all our luxury items."

You don't just need to work in order to obtain luxury items. You need to work to obtain every single item you need to continue to live. The universe doesn't drop food or clothing or housing into your lap. You have to make a conscious effort to perform the correct series of physical actions, expending energy in the process, to achieve your goals. This requires both mental effort and physical effort, otherwise known as work. The Oxford dictionary of Current English has this to say:

work -- application of mental or physical effort to a purpose, use of energy.

"i just see two different kinds of work. there is mind numbing service/manufacturing/any wage/salary work..."

How mind-numbing do you think it might be to guide a plow behind a water buffalo from dawn till dusk for your entire life? Or stooping to plant thousands of rice shoots in a paddy fertilized by human feces? Or operating a spinning wheel to fashion wool thread and then weaving bolts of cloth on a hand loom? Not exactly intellectually stimulating pastimes, are they?

"...and then there is physical labor that can be used to create things for ones self and self sufficience."

Unless you are the most competent human the world has ever seen, you will never be able to create on your own all the things you need to live in modern society. Do you know how to make a pencil from scratch? Probably there is no single human being on this planet who could be dumped in the middle of a resource rich area, and make a pencil from scratch.

Maybe you yearn for a more pastoral existence where pencils are not necessary. Do you know how to make a hunting bow? Or a plow? I don't. Do you know how to locate iron ore, construct a blast furnace, extract the iron from the slag, convert it to steel, forge it into a blank, anneal it so it will hold an edge, fashion a suitable handle, and end up with a hunting knife or a sickle? Even if you did possess all those skills, would you choose to spend literally years of effort to produce that single knife, or would you rather do a few hour's work reaping grain for a farmer at harvest time and buy a better knife from a blacksmith with the money the farmer paid you? Oh, wait... I forgot that this would mean being exploited by the farmer.

Maybe you feel it's too much trouble to make a steel knife from scratch. A flint knife should be good enough for your purposes. Do you know how difficult it is to make a flint knife? It's a lot harder than it looks, trust me. For that matter do you even know how to find and identify the flint to make it from?

"so yea, i do pretty much object to the whole wage system and relying on the labor of others to provide me with the things i need to live. you are a slave to that person."

So it is okay to produce things to trade for what you need, as long as you do all the work yourself? It is wrong to hire someone to help you with your task because then you would be reliant on the labor of others? After all, if it is wrong to work for a wage, it follows that it is also wrong to provide work to others for a wage.

"why wouldnt they just grow food?"

Not every inhabited area of the world has enough arable land to support the population. Food must be imported, and is paid for by other goods and services.

"well it seems like your talking about a third world country, setting up factories in places were people have successfully lived for thousands of years and we have to come in and make sure they wear amerikan clothing and eat at mcdonalds"

We didn't HAVE to come in. American clothing was manufactured domestically for a very long time before Nike set up business in Southeast Asia. And the inhabitants don't HAVE to accept jobs in the factory, nor do they HAVE to buy its products. They are perfectly free to ignore the factory and do whatever they were doing before it existed. If they did in fact live successfully there for thousands of years, what possible motivation could they have for abandoning their traditional way of life to be "exploited" in a mind-numbing environment? Why would they prefer to wear a Tommy Hilfiger shirt instead of their traditional garment, and eat Big Macs rather than their traditional (and healthier) rice and beans?

"well by taking land through the factory itself and all the roads, houses, etc, that would also be needed."

A factory to produce clothing takes very little space. I live in the Dominican Republic, which is definitely considered a third-world country. A lot of clothes and shoes are produced here for export. I have seen these factories and they are not all that large. The factories were built adjacent to existing roads, because it's just common sense to do so. And the workers live in the same houses they lived in before the factories were built.

"all of this land could have food grown on it instead of the inhabitants having to buy food from another place."

The land the factories were built on was worthless for food production. Hell, even a goat would be hard-pressed to survive on it. Why on earth would a company spend extra money purchasing farmland to build their factory on when they can buy a piece of scrubland for a fraction of the price? After all, the whole reason the company is setting up in a third-world country rather than in mid-town Manhattan is to lower costs.

You explain why people can be persuaded to accept what YOU classify as "slave wages" by saying:

"if its a choice between slave wages and starving, there is very little persuasion needed."

If the conditions in the area were so bad that people were starving before the factory opened, then it's a damn good thing that the factory opened, isn't it? If providing people with jobs so they can feed themselves is an evil act, then let's only build factories in developed countries. That way shoes and clothing will be more expensive, so people in the developed countries won't be tempted to buy such frivolous items, and the third-worlders can continue to starve to death with no interference from evil Capitalist exploiters.

On a personal note, let me say that living in the Dominican Republic for the last decade and a half has been very instructive. There are lengthy waiting lists for the most menial jobs in every one of those "sweatshops", and the opening of each new factory is greeted with genuine elation. These people were selling coconuts to each other to get by before the factories existed. Many of their friends and relatives still do just that. Literally.

"but by your logic, a slave could run away and live in the alaskan brush too..."

A slave could try. If captured, he would be beaten and put back to work.

...its all a matter of what people are willing to tolerate and the lifestyle they wish to pursue."

A slave is not "willing" to tolerate his slavery. He is FORCED to tolerate it. He is not "wishing to pursue" a life of slavery, he is forbidden by force to pursue any other lifestyle.

"just because you have the freedom to escape the system doesnt mean its a viable alternative."

BINGO! You finally grasp the key concept that invalidates the whole hackneyed myth of "wage slavery". Whatever course of action the inhabitants of a blighted area were following before the factory opened was quite literally not a viable alternative. Oxford Dictionary again: viable -- capable of living or existing or sustaining life.

Of course the starving inhabitants are free to continue this course of action. But what rational person would choose to do so? True, factory wages will not enable them to buy a Mercedes Benz for many many years to come, if ever, but those wages WILL enable them and their children to live. I ask again... what would been the future for these starving people you refer to if no businessman ever decided to build a factory that they could work in?

"do you buy your clothing from sweatshops? own a lot of nikes?"

Not as a rule, but I know that at least some of the T-shirts I own were produced right here in the D.R. No Nikes, but I do own a single pair of Reebok Tennis Classics and a pair of Reef sandals, but the labels say both were made in Taiwan.

"do ethics and morals play a role in your consuming?"

Yes. I refuse to knowingly buy any product that was manufactured in a totalitarian country. This can be quite difficult in the Dominican Republic because we import a tremendous amount of hardware and such from Communist China. The quality sucks, but the price is low. In the local hardware stores it is almost impossible to buy a kerosene lamp or a padlock that didn't come from China, so I often buy a bunch of non-Communist ones on my infrequent trips to Santiago, or even buy the smaller items in Canada, on my annual vacations to visit my parents.

pinky




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Re: You're joking, right? [Re: Phred]
    #499976 - 12/24/01 11:20 AM (20 years, 1 month ago)

"By definition, a Statist society (Socialist, Fascist, Communist, Monarchist) is the antithesis of Capitalism. Capitalism leaves property and the economy in the hands of private individuals. Statism delivers property and the economy into the hands of the State. That's why it's called Statism, after all. "

well, maybe im wrong or confused here, but your telling me nazi germany wasnt capitalist? or facist italy? is not most of the middle east capitalist? i think your confusing the type of government with the social system in place. just because a country isnt a democratic republic doesnt mean that they arent capitalist.


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Life or Death, which is it? [Re: jihead]
    #499979 - 12/24/01 11:40 AM (20 years, 1 month ago)

jihead writes (re newly-developed medical treatments):

"the fact is a treatment exists..."

The RELEVANT fact is that this treatment DIDN'T exist until someone INVENTED it! Before that inventor developed that product, people died. Period. It wasn't beamed down from the mothership. It took hard work and in many cases true genius to create the products of modern medical technology.

"...and is unavaible to dying people because of its cost. "

Before the inventor CREATED that treatment, it was unavailable to dying people at ANY cost. Besides, the biggest cost of bringing a new medication to market is not the actual research work, it is the years and years of endless clinical studies required by government regulations. The final cost to the consumer has been enormously inflated thanks to government, not to Capitalists.

And, probably for humanitarian reasons, patents on new pharmaceuticals have the shortest duration of all patents: fifteen years.

"i think half our current problems are because of overpopulation."

If you feel population is such a problem, why are you upset that life-prolonging medication is more expensive for the first fifteen years of its existence than it is after the patent has expired? For that matter, why do you feel that ANY life-prolonging medication is a good idea at all?

pinky


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Norway [Re: jihead]
    #499981 - 12/24/01 11:58 AM (20 years, 1 month ago)

Hi

Have been reading some of the posts above,
and wanted to give you some inside information!

I`m a 17 yr guy who lives in Norway. Norway has both
capitalism and socialism integrated. In a somewhat good way.
My personal opinion is that capitalism sucks. Its the son of
the devil. The snake in the garden of eden. BUT I do know
a pure communist society wouldn`t work. A working
communist society is UTOPIA. It would never work. Most
humans are so greedy that they would never bust theire
asses of in a top-position job, while the immigrants who
washes theire toilets gets the same wage. Anyway, back
to norway.

Hospitals: Mostly free. If you get really sick, you get treated,
no matter what.

School: When we get 16 we have to pay for SOME of our school books. Everybody can affort to go to school, because people with lesser money get money from the state to help them pay.

Food: The state pays for some items to be less expencive, like milk, and adds a percentage on most food(23% i belive
(not sure))to help pay for all the above and MOUCH more.

Summary: I live in Norway an I`m very happy to be so lucky. I don`t have a problem with paying high taxes when i grow up. I dont mind paying mouch for my booze, tobacco and stuff
like that. The system in norway is good. Ofcourse there are people who take advatage of this. I belive there is to be a minimum wage in Norway soon of about 10.000 dollars per person! This will ofcourse be missused, but for the single mother who has 3 children to support, its a blessing.
AND we have rich people here to.


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Re: You're joking, right? [Re: jihead]
    #499990 - 12/24/01 12:18 PM (20 years, 1 month ago)

jihead writes:

"well, maybe im wrong or confused here, but your telling me nazi germany wasnt capitalist? or facist italy?"

I just got tired of typing "pure Capitalism" over and over again, when it has already been established that the whole thread is aimed at answering the question "Would America be a better place under pure capitalism?"

I just presumed that by now whenever I refer to "Capitalism" people would recognize that I am referring to "laissez-faire Capitalism" or "pure Capitalism". I even said exactly that when I described Capitalism in a nutshell for krispyfi, that I would henceforth abbreviate "pure Capitalism" to just "Capitalism". To avoid further confusion, it might be better if I capitalize the entire phrase.

So no, in the context of PURE CAPITALISM, which is after all, what this entire thread is dedicated to discussing, neither Fascist Italy nor Nazi Germany were Capitalist regimes. The very word "Nazi" is actually a contraction of "National SOCIALIST" (in German, of course).

"is not most of the middle east capitalist?"

Not PURE CAPITALIST, no. Even the United States of America is currently not PURE CAPITALIST. In fact, even the United States of 1776 was technically speaking not PURE CAPITALIST. Under PURE CAPITALISM, the government is authorized only to provide protection for its constituents: i.e. it handles the police, the military, and the courts. It has no power over the economy whatsoever. Feel free to reread my reply to krispyfi for more details.

Since Fascist regimes DO control the economies of their countries, they are no more PURE CAPITALIST than Cuba or China or North Korea or the ex-Soviet Union.

"i think your confusing the type of government with the social system in place."

They are inseparable. Individuals living under any kind of social system are either free of government control or they are not. "Social system" and "government" are synonyms.

"just because a country isnt a democratic republic doesnt mean that they arent capitalist. "

And just because a country IS a democratic republic doesn't mean that it is a PURE CAPITALIST country, either. The USA, for example is a democratic republic but it is not PURE CAPITALIST.

I'm tired. I'm going to sleep now.

pinky



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Edited by pinksharkmark (12/24/01 12:54 PM)


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Norway [Re: norwegianwood84]
    #500011 - 12/24/01 12:47 PM (20 years, 1 month ago)

norwegianwood84 writes:

"I`m a 17 yr guy who lives in Norway. Norway has both
capitalism and socialism integrated. In a somewhat good way.
My personal opinion is that capitalism sucks. Its the son of
the devil. The snake in the garden of eden."

Almost everything you describe about Norway sounds pretty much identical to the way things are in Canada.

When I was a 17 year old guy living in Canada (which has both capitalist and socialist elements, too) I also thought that PURE CAPITALISM sucked. Of course, I was three decades younger at that time, was still going to school and living at home, had yet to pay taxes since I had no job, and I spent most of my time out of school getting high with my friends and trying to get laid.

I also had not yet had the time to think about whether PURE CAPITALISM really WAS evil, or if I just assumed it was because I didn't care for some of the things I saw on the news, such as film footage from the Viet Nam war. I was so naive that I even thought that the USA was actually a PURE CAPITALIST country.

I don't mean to say that you are anything like I was, by the way. I am only describing myself, nothing more.

Fourteen years ago I quit my job and left Canada to live in the Dominican Republic. At the time I left I had a very high-paying job with the third-largest computer company in Canada. I was a regional manager of retail operations and I was VERY good at what I did. I turned down offers to move to the head office in Toronto several times, and I turned down many offers from "headhunters" trying to recruit me to even higher-paying jobs with other companies.

I gave that all up and left Canada because I no longer wanted to live in a Welfare State. I know of many others who left for the same reason, and countless more who wish with all their hearts to leave but feel they can't. I feel very fortunate to have left, and have no desire whatsoever to return.

I hope you remain as content in Norway three decades from now as you do today.

pinky







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Property rights [Re: jihead]
    #501202 - 12/26/01 12:44 AM (20 years, 1 month ago)

jihead writes:

"the fact remains that the idea and knowledge can be restricted and withheld from other competitors who would be able to reproduce complex goods cheaper and thus offer up more competition."

I repeat, ideas and knowledge cannot be patented. There are countless examples of a new gizmo being marketed that embodies a new idea, and within weeks there are reverse-engineered knockoffs on the market that utilize the same idea in a slightly different form. That is because the IDEA can't be patented, only the product.

This happens regularly in the pharmaceutical field. One example is the migraine medication developed by Glaxxo-Wellcome called Imitrex (Imigran in Europe). The chemical name is sumatriptan. Sumatriptan is basically sulfonated DMT. Interestingly enough, psilocybin is phosphorylated DMT. This is probably why psilocybin is so effective at stopping migraines.

Anyway, there are now at least three other companies marketing triptans that are just slightly different from sumatriptan. There is rizatriptan, zolmitriptan, and a new one whose name escapes me at the moment. All of them work as well as sumatriptan (some work even better), all of them were developed using the same knowledge used to synthesize sumatriptan, none of them violate any patent laws.

The relevant concept involved here is one of ownership. The inventor OWNS his new product. No one has the right to take it from him. It is his property, and he has the right to use it or not, lend it or not, sell it or not, destroy it or not. The owner of property, any property, has the right to say who can use it.

If you worked for five years to buy a car, then used that car to open your own courier service, would it be right for me to steal that car and use it to deliver packages for half the price? I would then be using YOUR property to provide people with the same benefits that you were, after all, but for half the price that you were. I'm a hero! Hundreds of people would benefit from my lower prices. And who is hurt? Just you... the one who provided the means to deliver the messages in the first place.

"what if the owner doesnt put up a steel mill, but makes it a vacation resort if the land is beautiful enough to be a national park?"

If he feels that is a better use of his property than a steel mill would be, then what's the problem? It's HIS property. He can let it sit idle or develop it as he sees fit.

"now only the very wealthy can afford to see what was once something that belonged to no one, beatiful nature, packaged up, bought and sold to the highest bidder."

So it is only okay to build things on land that is ugly? Who decides what is ugly enough? The government? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all. Some say there is no such thing as "ugly nature"... that all natural vistas have an inherent beauty. If the only place that new development can take place is on existing developed land, sooner or later we will all be living in gigantic hives stretching miles underground and into the sky.

"capitalism cares not for what it destroys."

It has yet to be established that Capitalism destroys, but it is a certainty that anti-Capitalists dismiss out of hand all that Capitalism creates.

"you might be right on this, but i recently watched a movie on this and i remember seeing that the standard oil cut personal deals with the railroads to get discounted rates because of the sheer volume of product that he transported on those lines."

Historical knowledge gleaned from movies is as suspect as that acquired from cartoons, unless the movie you refer to was a documentary (grin).

However, I have no doubt that he was able to negotiate lower rates for higher volume. How is that different from you paying less per ounce of weed when you buy a pound at a time rather than a quarter ounce? Or a gallon jug of milk instead of sixteen half-pint cartons?

Bulk disounts are not exclusive to Capitalism, you know. Again, the key question is "Who owns the trains?" Do the owners of those trains have the right to charge a higher rate per pound to Joe Littleguy who ships maybe three crates a year (contributing virtually zero revenue to their business) than they do to a company who fills hundreds of their tanker cars daily and guarantees millions of dollars of revenue per quarter? Of course they do. They can carry freight for free, charge ten cents a pound, charge a hundred dollars a pound, let the trains sit empty, or just ride all over the country in them, sticking their heads out the windows and making "Choo-choo" noises like little kids.

pinky


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Capitalism and the Immigrants [Re: jihead]
    #501217 - 12/26/01 01:02 AM (20 years, 1 month ago)

jihead writes: (about Irish immigrants)

"and what system was in place in ireland at the time? capitalism."

Hardly. Ireland had been conquered by Imperialist England, who parcelled out enormous chunks of it to noblemen. Some of these Barons and Counts and Viscounts kicked the peasants off the land, others allowed them to stay and try to eke out an existence as best they could. This is why the Irish "Troubles" continue to this day.

You will note there are no "noblemen" under PURE CAPITALISM.

But hey, if you don't like the example of Irish immigrants, feel free to substitute Italian or Russian or some other nationality if you like. Almost any country you care to name was a source of immigrants. How many Americans emigrated to Russia or Ireland or Italy in the same time period?

The point is, these immigrants were not rounded up at the point of a gun and forced into exile in the Evil Capitalist America as some kind of punishment. They hoarded and scrimped and saved to buy their passage, or nearly died stowing away in the hold of a freighter to get to America. Once there, they saved their money and paid for the passage of as many of their relatives as they could. Why do you think they did that?

pinky




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Entering an established market [Re: jihead]
    #501236 - 12/26/01 01:30 AM (20 years, 1 month ago)

jihead writes: (about the oil business)

"this is still the one thing you havent explained to me. where is he going to be able to get the resources to start a company able to compete with such a giant?"

Obviously anyone who wants to build an oil refinery (or manufacture jet airliners or supertankers) will be hard-pressed to do so on the savings from his summer job between junior and senior year. But that is because those businesses by their nature require a large investment up front. This is not the case in every field.

Just because I might WANT to go head to head with Esso doesn't mean I CAN. Just because I want to be a major-league pitcher doesn't mean I can, either. For someone who wasn't born rich, they will have to make their seed money in another field before they take a stab at the oil business. But that is not true of other fields. MacDonald's started life as a just another of thousands of burger shacks in post-war America.

Steve Jobs started with squat, but he could start an oil company tomorrow if he wanted. So could bill Gates or Jack Walton or Roy Krock or Colonel Sanders or Michael Jackson or Reggie Jackson or Julia Roberts. None of them were born rich.

There's a guy I know pretty well who retired to the Dominican Republic a few years back. He was from a Texas family with lots of kids and no money at all. His first job was breaking horses. He was good at it. He eventually became ranch foreman, saved enough to start buying bits of land piece by piece and putting small single family homes on them. He gradually moved up to small subdivisions, then shopping malls, then office buildings, warehouses, etc. This did not happen overnight, of course.

The guy is now a multi-millionaire, and even dabbled in the oil business for a while a few decades back. He has a grade nine education, can't write a business letter to save his life, looks and talks like a hick from Oklahoma. But he could turn a profit in the oil business if he chose to.

pinky


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