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OfflinePhred
Fred's son
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Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 12,949
Loc: Dominican Republic
Last seen: 6 years, 1 month
Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Agent Cooper]
    #572250 - 03/07/02 06:14 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Agent Cooper writes:



"Care to actually educate yourself on the subject? I suggest What is Property? by Proudhon"



It is arrogant in the extreme to imply that anyone who has not read Proudhon does not grasp the nature of property. Like all philosophers, Proudhon has his adherents and his opponents. But, shocking as it may seem to you, I actually DID read this, and read it carefully, and read parts of it more than once, many months ago, when you and I first debated over various aspects of anarchy.



Proudhon attempts to prove that property cannot exist by quasi-mathematical means, using a false axiom as his starting point, and ignoring metaphysics. There are flaws in his "proof", just as there flaws in the mathematical "proofs" that a bumblebee cannot fly.



Further, virtually all of Proudhon's examples and reasonings (such as they are) revolve around LAND and LAND USE, ignoring the much more pertinent issue of TOOLS. It is not LAND per se that produces wealth, but TOOLS (combined with purposeful human action, of course). In Proudhon's world, tools are not property. This is perhaps not surprising since he was writing at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, in a society that was still predominantly agrarian. To him, "tools of production" were probably hammers and saws and hand looms, rather than sheet-metal stampers, chemical refineries and injection molders.



Once again, we seem to be hung up on definitions. Perhaps rather than "property", or "possessions" we should use TWIM or TWIY from now on --That Which Is Mine or That Which Is Yours-- i.e. my money, my car, my computer, your kiln, your workshop, your house.



"Your examples are incredibly extreme and obnoxious."



Extreme? Please explain how my example of the potter is "extreme". Do you not admit that there are thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of potters alive today that would closely fit my description?



As for obnoxious... do you find it obnoxious because it proves that capitalism qua capitalism does NOT in fact need "exploitation", "expropriation", "theft", "dominance", "hierarchy" and "wage slavery" in order to exist?



"Like I stated before, these minor instances of private property (a hunting bow, a kiln, a small field of corn), employment, and exchange are of little consequence. I am not concerned."



Then when DO you become concerned? At what point does "Percy's Pottery" become of consequence? When it has 5 kilns and employs 20 people? When it expands and opens a subdivision that sells glazes to other potteries? When it diversifies by buying a struggling business called "Betty's Baskets"?



"But once capitalism expands..."



Expands to... what? Is your contention then that a little bit of capitalism is okay, but too much is bad? Where does one draw the line? More importantly, WHO draws the line?



"...and the means of existence are held in the hands of the few..."



How few is "few"? Ten per cent of the Earth's population? One per cent? WHO decides what is "the few"?



"...and in order to survive one must rent his time and labor and one must use wages to feed himself or live..."



Human existence requires human labor. The only thing left to debate is WHOSE labor supports WHICH individual. As for "renting time and labor" in exchange for wages...



If one happens to be born on a small Caribbean island where the soil is too sandy to grow much in the way of food, and the surrounding sea is relatively barren, then the standard of living is pretty precarious. Until a resort hotel opens. Now, the inhabitants of this island have a choice... continue to survive by harvesting coconuts and parrotfish, or work at the hotel and trade their wages for the food and clothing imported by the hotel owners (or for the coconuts and fish produced by the labor of their neighbors). Some choose to continue as farmers or fishermen. Some choose to "rent their time and labor" to the hotel owners.



Note that both groups are still laboring, and both groups are still obtaining TWIM from their labors... in one case coconuts and parrotfish and clothing made from palm fronds, in the other case rice and beef and potato chips and t-shirts with corporate logos on them.



"...this is when capitalism becomes a problem (save those at the top of the pyramid)."



How odd that the people directly affected (the inhabitants of the island) see the opening of the hotel as an opportunity, yet you see it as a problem.



"There is little recourse other than "changing masters" or becoming a master himself, thus perpetuating the economic system that fucked him other in the first place."



Or returning to the existence that one had before the hotel opened in the first place. Doubtless some do exactly that.



"And the solution to this cancerous problem is free-association, something you are either not aware of because Ayn Rand never mentioned it nor choose not to acknowledge."



Sigh. As I have said in the past, and will say again, Ayn Rand invented neither capitalism nor Aristotelian logic. I have read the works of many, many philosophers, economists, and political writers, some of whom cover certain areas of interest to me far more thoroughly than does Ayn Rand. There are parts of Rand's philosophy which are incomplete, and other parts of her philosophy which I find logical but not proveable. However, "free-association" or "libertarian-socialism" or "anarcho-syndicalism" or whatever other phrase you choose to trot out in your next post to describe what is, at the root, merely another variant of "collectivism", is not the answer. All forms of collectivism necessarily involve the violation of individual rights. Capitalism does not.



"No, that is not private property. That is the cultivation of corn because you are hungry and curious. But once your grow massive amounts of corn that you could never possibly consume while others in your locality are hungry and do not have the means to grow their own you have pretty much three options: 1) sell or 2) distribute on a mutual aid basis or 3) stockpile the corn."



Or 4)... hire some hungry locals to work on the farm.



"If you decide to engage in wage-labor and sell the surplus corn, then your operation becomes private property."



The farm became TWIM when I took the initiative to clear the land, plant the corn, fertilize it, weed it, protect it from animals, harvest it, and replant the next crop. It remains TWIM whether I choose to work it alone or hire others to aid me in working it.



"No, the individual has every right to produce and enjoy the full fruit of his or her labor. That is why we oppose capitalism."



Odd. Since capitalism is founded on the freedom of individuals to produce and to keep the fruits of their labor, and to voluntarily enter into contracts with others as either partners (if both parties agree) or as employees (if both parties agree) I am at a complete loss to understand your opposition to it.



"No, production is democratically managed..."



Democracy being the right of nine like-minded individuals to tell the tenth what he may or may not do.



"...by freely-associating members..."



And someone who agrees to rent his labor to another for $X per hour is not freely associating? I guess that means the end of the babysitting and dogwalking professions.



"...of the inclusive collective."



And what of the EXCLUDED collective? The excluded tenth individual, for example. Or the excluded owner of TWIM... someone who worked for years to buy an injection-molding unit and set up his own business which would provide jobs for those currently sucking off the public tit.



"Direct and free democracy is thus active in the workplace, eliminating the top-down hierarchial and masked authoritarian nature of capitalism..."



Thus making impossible any enterprise of a complexity sufficient to require anything more than unskilled labor. Any business requiring even a modicum of planning and direction (i.e. a supervising, directin, or managing) necessarily involves a hierarchy in order to function.



"...and returning decision-making processes to the individual and his or her community."



Why should ANY individual or community have the right to decide what another individual may or may not do with his TWIM?



What your system boils down to, in principle, is that the majority gets to restrict the actions of the minority. The good of "the group" supercedes the rights of the individual.



Look, I can understand why Anarchists are against the State. It would be wonderful if there was no need for any coercive agency in human affairs. This is why I am such a staunch advocate of minimal, constitutionally handcuffed government, one that is restricted to the protection of the rights of its constituents through the agencies of the police, the military, and the courts. Period.



But I cannot for the LIFE of me understand anarchists' rabid opposition to free enterprise. For a group of people who are so vehement in their professed love of freedom, it strikes me as contradictory that they oppose the right of one individual to voluntarily accept employment from another individual who needs employees. Anarchists are all for freedom in fringe areas such as drug use or marriage or sexual preference, but they are dead set against freedom in that most FUNDAMENTAL of all areas... the freedom to choose how best to apply their effort in order to EXIST. "Freedom for all in all things! Umm... except, of course, in the area of commerce."



Speaking of commerce, let's see what Proudhon has to say on the subject, shall we?



"Every transaction ending in an exchange of products or services may be designated as a commercial operation.



Whoever says commerce, says exchange of equal values; for, if the values are not equal, and the injured party perceives it, he will not consent to the exchange, and there will be no commerce.



Commerce exists only among free men. Transactions may be effected between other people by violence or fraud, but there is no commerce.



A free man is one who enjoys the use of his reason and his faculties; who is neither blinded by passion, nor hindered or driven by oppression, nor deceived by erroneous opinions.



So, in every exchange, there is a moral obligation that neither of the contracting parties shall gain at the expense of the other; that is, that, to be legitimate and true, commerce must be exempt from all inequality. This is the first condition of commerce. Its second condition is, that it be voluntary; that is, that the parties act freely and openly.



I define, then, commerce or exchange as an act of society."



Who else can spot the logical flaws in the above quote?



pinky



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


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InvisibletrendalM
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Registered: 04/17/01
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Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #572468 - 03/07/02 02:13 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

"If one happens to be born on a small Caribbean island where the soil is too sandy to grow much in the way of food, and the surrounding sea is relatively barren, then the standard of living is pretty precarious. Until a resort hotel opens. Now, the inhabitants of this island have a choice... continue to survive by harvesting coconuts and parrotfish, or work at the hotel and trade their wages for the food and clothing imported by the hotel owners (or for the coconuts and fish produced by the labor of their neighbors). Some choose to continue as farmers or fishermen. Some choose to "rent their time and labor" to the hotel owners."

Thank you! That made my point exactly. In your example, the inhabitants have a choice of who they will work for and what the immediate results of their labour will be: food and clothes or money which can be used to buy food and clothes. Each inhabitant attains the same result: what they need to survive. Each inhabitant also has the freedom to choose which way he will attain sustinance.

For those who are arguing against capitalism:

But let's say a few of the inhabitants decided to band together and form a government for the island. They begin taxing the other inhabitants, under the name of "property tax". They decide that this property tax must be paid in currency: the same currency that the hotel pays it's workers. No the inhabitants have a choice: to work for the hotel...or attempt to flee their home.

How can that be called "just"? The inhabitants are no longer free. They are forced to work, and forced to give away some of what they have earned. They are slaves to the few: the government. Now, because of human greed (which I will not debate the existance of), a particularely greedy hotel manager realizes that because he will always have available islanders who need work, he can do whatever he wants with their wages. He lowers them again and again, forcing the islanders to work longer and longer shifts. He starts cutting corners, reducing working conditions to horrid levels. Why does he do it? Because he can. Why can he? Because he knows that the islanders have no choice but to work for him. If they don't, they can't pay taxes and will be punished by the government. So the government eventually steps in and creates laws for a minimum wage and to protect working conditions.

Capitalism forbids the taxation of citizens. If the island had formed as a capitalism, the inhabitants would still have a choice over who they devote their immediate labour to. As long as they have a choice, the hotel manager (who is still the same greedy person) has no choice but to provide incentives (such as higher wages and excellent working conditions) to get the islanders to come work for him.

Now imagine a rival hotel opens up on the other side of the island. Now there is a definate competition between the two. Not only are they competing for tourists, but they must compete for the labour of the islanders. The islanders now have three options: Hotel 1, Hotel 2, or self-support. Now each of the hotel managers must provide a better incentive for work than his rival manager. Wages go up. Working conditions go up. The standard of living goes up.

Why does this happen? Because of capitalism. Yes, the hotel managers might have $1,000,000 more than the islanders, but is that wrong in any way? The islanders now have three choices of employment, instead of one (hotel 1, hotel 2, or self employment). Their standard of living has gone way up, because of the incentives the hotel managers must provide them.

No inhabitant of the island is forced to work for anyone but imself.

Now tell me how that is wrong.


--------------------
Once, men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free.
But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.


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InvisibleAgent Cooper
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Registered: 08/04/00
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workers are under the coordinator's boot [Re: Phred]
    #572495 - 03/07/02 03:01 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

In reply to:

Then when DO you become concerned? At what point does "Percy's Pottery" become of consequence? When it has 5 kilns and employs 20 people? When it expands and opens a subdivision that sells glazes to other potteries? When it diversifies by buying a struggling business called "Betty's Baskets"?




I am concerned when the individual is so trapped in an institutionalized overarching net of wage-labor that he must rent his labor in order to survive without recourse. Engage in wage-labor or starve - this is when simple "voluntary mutual agreements" degenerates into a form of slavery.

The difference is a mother telling her child not to cross the street and a government telling its citizens what to do. The difference is institutionalization.

An incredibly common example: an assembly line worker spends a vast majority of his time working upon external command at the manufacturing plant. With his paycheck he feeds his family, pays rent and utilitizes, purchases clothing, pays off his car insurance, etc. Even though these basic responsibilities are met, he is left unfulfilled and alienated and feeling like a cog (and in many ways, he is). He knows how much wealth that he and his co-workers produce, but yet they only receive table-scraps while the owners of the plant (who by some state-enforced deed) are feasting like kings. He has no voice in the plant even though he has spent a vast majority of his time there. As the years pass, he realizes how little time he has spent with his family and how many orders he must obey on the job. He is not happy on the assembly line as his talents and convictions are not being exercised, but the plant job was the highest paying in the area with decent benefits. What are his options? Continue and die unhappy, quit and risk eviction and starvation, quit and find another master, or somehow become a master himself.

Let's examine plantation slavery of the past. Slaves were traded as a commodity and put to work on the plantation. Popular culture has warped how these slaves were treated, when in reality the slaves were fed, clothed, received medical assistance, allowed time for socializing and family-building, etc. Of course, there were instances of beatings and rape, but that was not the norm. They receieved benefits because their owners wanted to maintain their health so they could maintain productivity. Sound familiar?

Slaves worked on external command. They basically worked during the day and were with their families at night. Slave owners adamently defended slave economy as being moral, and it was not uncommon for a slave to be content being "owned."

The essential difference between a slave economy and a wage-labor economy is the ability to change masters or become a master. Regardless of one's choice, there are still slaves and masters abound.

"The liberals and conservatives and Libertarians who lament totalitarianism are phoneys and hypocrites. . . You find the same sort of hierarchy and discipline in an office or factory as you do in a prison or a monastery. . . A worker is a part-time slave. The boss says when to show up, when to leave, and what to do in the meantime. He tells you how much work to do and how fast. He is free to carry his control to humiliating extremes, regulating, if he feels like it, the clothes you wear or how often you go to the bathroom. With a few exceptions he can fire you for any reason, or no reason. He has you spied on by snitches and supervisors, he amasses a dossier on every employee. Talking back is called 'insubordination,' just as if a worker is a naughty child, and it not only gets you fired, it disqualifies you for unemployment compensation. . .The demeaning system of domination I've described rules over half the waking hours of a majority of women and the vast majority of men for decades, for most of their lifespans. Anybody who says these people are 'free' is lying or stupid." ~ Bob Black

Corporate totalitarianism - the crown and full-fruitation of capital.

In reply to:

Expands to... what? Is your contention then that a little bit of capitalism is okay, but too much is bad?




Kinda like smoking cigarettes. One pack will not kill you, but after chain smoking for 40 years, chances are you'll develop cancer. What is the exact date of when cancer cells begin to spread? What is the exact equation of how many cigarettes will initiate this problem? Give me a break.

In reply to:

If one happens to be born on a small Caribbean island where the soil is too sandy to grow much in the way of food, and the surrounding sea is relatively barren, then the standard of living is pretty precarious. Until a resort hotel opens. Now, the inhabitants of this island have a choice... continue to survive by harvesting coconuts and parrotfish, or work at the hotel and trade their wages for the food and clothing imported by the hotel owners (or for the coconuts and fish produced by the labor of their neighbors). Some choose to continue as farmers or fishermen. Some choose to "rent their time and labor" to the hotel owners.




Why are those the only options?

In reply to:

How odd that the people directly affected (the inhabitants of the island) see the opening of the hotel as an opportunity, yet you see it as a problem.




Okay - a real world example. Remember the U.S. food-drop campaign over Afghanistan? These are starving people who obviously need food - any food. I'm sure they were quite please to find one those yellow packets of poptarts and apple pie squares. I am sure they searched desparately for those packets amid all of our unexploded cluster bombs and landmines, risking death. Sure, something is better than nothing, but could have their situation been better? Yes. Our bombing campaign of Afghanistan effectively stopped international food agencies from more sufficiently feeding these people. The amount of packets dropped were not enough - despite what the goddamn War Department says in PR statements. The food agencies would have provided substantially more in quantity and quality - plus they would have received medical aid. There were [better] alternatives to either starvation or US food drops.

Margret Thatcher once proclaimed with a grin, "there are no alternatives!"

My point is there are alternatives. Sure, the inhabitants might be better off working for the hotel, but that does not negate other options - more moral, social, sustainable and empowering options.

In reply to:

Or returning to the existence that one had before the hotel opened in the first place. Doubtless some do exactly that.




I am not arguing against employment. Nor am I advocating the inhabitants returning to their previous barren existence.

In reply to:

Democracy being the right of nine like-minded individuals to tell the tenth what he may or may not do.




As opposed to one person commanding the other nine what to do...tyranny of the minority? Again, I do not support "majority rules."

In reply to:

...capitalism is founded on the freedom of individuals to produce and to keep the fruits of their labor, and to voluntarily enter into contracts with others as either partners (if both parties agree) or as employees (if both parties agree)




Generally speaking, capitalists do not produce - workers do. Capitalist manage everyone and delegate responsibility and then pocket profits because of some state-enforced deed that says he can. Sound familiar? I'll give you a hint...IRS.

For every man who gets a dollar he didn't sweat for, someone else sweated to produce a dollar he never received.

In reply to:

Thus making impossible any enterprise of a complexity sufficient to require anything more than unskilled labor. Any business requiring even a modicum of planning and direction (i.e. a supervising, directin, or managing) necessarily involves a hierarchy in order to function.




Creativity, initiation, skill, intelligence, and social abilities fulfill complexity and makes institutionalized hierarchy unnecessary. One alternative to hierarchy is balance-job complexes.

In reply to:

What your system boils down to, in principle, is that the majority gets to restrict the actions of the minority. The good of "the group" supercedes the rights of the individual.




Wrong. The individual is protected. I have already covered this. Here: What would the social structure of Anarchy look like?

Why do ya'll so-called Libertarians oppose the state? Same reason anarchists oppose unfettered capitalism and state-capitalism - unnecessary and illegitimate authority. The same defining characteristics of the state are inherent in capitalism -hierarchy and important decisions being made those who are not affected in proportion to the effects of these decisions. Why continue with the same old stagnant nonsense? Why create yet another ruling class? Kings, feudal lords, papal authority, czars, emperors, capitalists, vanguards, parties, dictators, etc - same essential structure, different fashions.

Out with the old, in with the new.


Edited by Agent Cooper (03/07/02 11:32 PM)


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OfflinePhred
Fred's son
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Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 12,949
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Re: workers are under the coordinator's boot [Re: Agent Cooper]
    #573105 - 03/08/02 02:09 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Agent Cooper writes:

"I am concerned when the individual is so trapped in an institutionalized overarching net of wage-labor that he must rent his labor in order to survive with no recourse. Engage in wage-labor or starve - this is when simple "voluntary mutual agreements" degenerates into a form of slavery."

It would be nice if every human being on the planet was born in a fertile area that was sparsely-populated enough that he could support himself as a hunter-gatherer, or walk a kilometer or two to a likely-looking area of brush, clear the land, learn all the tricks of agriculture from his neighbours and become a self-sufficient farmer. This is presuming, of course, that he has the physical capacity to perform such labor, the skills and knowledge required to construct the necessary farm implements from raw materials at hand, and the intellectual capacity to grasp the surprisingly complex concepts involved in farming. Ever worked on a farm? I did, for a short time, and it is hard work, and a lot trickier than I had realized. Farming is definitely not for those who want to put in forty hour weeks, I can assure you.

But the metaphysical REALITY is that most individuals are not fortunate enough to be able to choose these options... they are born in CITIES. The only way they can obtain their food is through commerce. Is it the fault of a business owner that the people coming to him to seek employment were born in Detroit rather than in the center of an African plain? Of course not. Would those people be better off if he were to close his business down and move to Africa and farm a small patch of land, supporting only himself entirely by his own labor with no surplus left over? Of course not.

"The difference is a mother telling her child not to cross the street and a government telling its citizens what to do. The difference is institutionalization."

In a Capitalist society, the government is not allowed to tell people what they must do... only what they must NOT do: they must not violate the rights of others. The rest is up to them. They can even cross the street if they choose.

"An incredibly common example: an assembly line worker... is left unfulfilled and alienated and feeling like a cog... As the years pass, he realizes how little time he has spent with his family and how many orders he must obey on the job. He is not happy on the assembly line as his talents and convictions are not being exercised, but the plant job was the highest paying in the area with decent benefits. What are his options? Quit and risk eviction and starvation, quit and find another master, or somehow become a master himself."

Well, boo hoo hoo! Life is hard, assembly line worker. Doubtless he would leap at the chance to change places with a peasant farmer in Asia, where he could work his own plot of land, with no master, and feel more fulfilled and less alienated trudging behind a plow drawn by a water buffalo, or crouched in a leech-infested rice paddy fertilized with human dung utilizing his talents and convictions transplanting rice seedlings from dusk till dawn until his knees finally give out on him. His wife could spend her days unravelling silkworm cocoons and making homespun cloth on her handloom. He wouldn't have to pay insurance or buy a car or pay rent or utilities, he would just have to pray that the next monsoon doesn't wipe out his crop.

Instead, he has to endure the boredom of sitting on a bus after an eight-hour shift (with a lunch hour and paid breaks), and spend yet another dreary night in front of the TV or in a local tavern or bowling with his buddies on the company team. He is separated from his family for 40 hours out of the 168 hours in a week. He only gets to be with them 2 days out of 7, and during his vacation time. He must spend several hours every year filling in medical insurance forms so he can realize the company benefits. "If only I were a peasant farmer!" he moans. "All the goods my labor produced would be mine and mine alone. And I wouldn't have to take any orders." Except of course, from Mother Nature.

"The essential difference between a slave economy and a wage-labor economy is the ability to change masters or become a master. Regardless of one's choice, there are still slaves and masters abound."

One does not have to become a "master" in a Capitalist society. One is perfectly free to set up a one-man business, or for that matter a ten-man or one hundred-man partnership with all members of the business receiving equal shares of the profits (and absorbing equal shares of the losses). In a Capitalist society no one will prevent you from doing so.

"The liberals and conservatives and Libertarians who lament totalitarianism are phoneys and hypocrites. . . You find the same sort of hierarchy and discipline in an office or factory as you do in a prison or a monastery. . . A worker is a part-time slave. The boss says when to show up, when to leave, and what to do in the meantime. He tells you how much work to do and how fast. He is free to carry his control to humiliating extremes, regulating, if he feels like it, the clothes you wear or how often you go to the bathroom. With a few exceptions he can fire you for any reason, or no reason..."

Bullshit. It is a lot easier to quit a job than it is to fire someone. Workers sign contracts all the time, then leave the instant a better opportunity presents itself, knowing full well that the business owner would rather go to the trouble of finding another employee than haul his ass into court for weeks at a stretch to try to successfully prosecute a suit for breach of contract.

"He has you spied on by snitches and supervisors, he amasses a dossier on every employee. Talking back is called 'insubordination,' just as if a worker is a naughty child, and it not only gets you fired, it disqualifies you for unemployment compensation. . .The demeaning system of domination I've described rules over half the waking hours of a majority of women and the vast majority of men for decades, for most of their lifespans. Anybody who says these people are 'free' is lying or stupid." ~ Bob Black

And you accuse ME of using "extreme and obnoxious" examples? Puh-leeze!

"Kinda like smoking cigarettes. One pack will not kill you, but after chain smoking for 40 years, chances are you'll develop cancer. What is the exact date of when cancer cells begin to spread? What is the exact equation of how many cigarettes will initiate this problem? Give me a break."

Not even remotely similar analogies. YOU give ME (and the rest of the people with a brain who are reading this thread) a break. Either supply a milestone at which Capitalism stops being beneficial and starts becoming harmful, or admit that there is no such milestone. If it is okay for Dave Thomas to own one burger joint, is it okay for him to own two? Ten? At which point does he become a danger to society? When he puts up his first billboard? His first radio ad? His first TV ad? When he starts providing uniforms for his employees? When he names a burger after himself? When the owner of another burger joint who is ready to retire offers to sell him HIS burger joint and Dave agrees to buy it? When he opens up a burger joint in Canada? When he decides to issue shares and give others the opportunity to own a piece of the business he built?

"Okay - a real world example. Remember the U.S. food-drop campaign over Afghanistan?"

Are you SERIOUSLY trying to compare a food drop to refugees in wartime to Capitalism? Agent Cooper, you have really outdone yourself this time. Come on... even YOU have to admit that this "real world example" has absolutely no relevance to the question of whether Capitalism is moral. I repeat... you call MY examples "extreme and obnoxious"? It is to laugh. At least MY examples have a direct bearing on the issue under discussion.

"My point is there are alternatives. Sure, the inhabitants might be better off working for the hotel, but that does not negate other options - more moral and sustainable and empowering options."

And if there are other options, then the inhabitants of the island are certainly free to follow them, even if they "might be better off" working for the hotel. The hotel owners are not going to round up employees at the point of a gun and manacle them to the front desk.

"I am not arguing against employment."

Actually, yes you are, and so are all the links that you keep directing me to, because in your (and their) worldview, working for wages is "slavery".

"Again, I do not support "majority rules."

In a Capitalist society, no one, neither the majority nor the government, is allowed to tell people what they must do... only what they must NOT do: they must not violate the rights of others.

"Generally speaking, capitalists do not produce - workers do."

Nonsense. Your assertion holds true only of the very small percentage of Capitalists who make their living strictly through investing. It is false when it is applied to managers, supervisors, directors, etc.

"Capitalist manage everyone..."

Only those who agree to be managed. Any worker who feels he is being over-managed is free to leave at any time.

"... and pocket profits..."

Just as workers pocket paychecks. Note that the workers get paid regardless of whether the company is profitable or not. Let's take a look at some of the Dotcoms whose managers were basically compensated in stock options... stocks like OCD which was trading at $44 a year ago and is now trading at $0.62. The workers at OCD who were paid by the hour have all their money. The capitalists who invested the money to start OCD lost it all.

"... because of some state-enforced deed that says he can. Sound familiar? I'll give you a hint...government taxation."

In a Capitalist society, the only taxes (presuming sufficient revenue cannot be raised in other fashions) the government may levy are those required to support the military, the police, and the courts. Period.

"Creativity, initiation, skill, intelligence, and social abilities fulfill complexity and makes institutionalized hierarchy unnecessary. One alternative to hierarchy is balance-job complexes."

This doesn't change the fact that in any complex business organization, you can't leave every decision in the hands of the janitors. Janitors don't typically have a whole lot of creativity, initiative, skill or social abilities. If they did they wouldn't be janitors. One of the reasons there are so many unskilled laborers is that many people (through no fault of their own) lack the intelligence, ambition, and nerve to be involved in making critical decisions. This does not mean they are inferior in any way -- far from it. They don't WANT to make these decisions. They just want to put in their eight hours and go home. They don't resent the boss, they realize that someone has to make the tough calls and they are happy it doesn't have to be their ass on the line.

"Wrong. The individual is protected. I have already covered this. Here: What would the social structure of Anarchy look like? "

Okay... that site is SO ludicrous that it deserves a separate post. Let's move on.

"Why do ya'll so-called Libertarians oppose the state?"

We oppose any government that claims the right to involve itself in anything other than the protection of the individual rights of its constituents.

"Same reason anarchists oppose unfettered capitalism and state-capitalism (commonly known as "socialism")..."

Once again, typical anarchist crypto-definitions. This is THE standard anarchist tactic... almost their defining characteristic. Can't prove your point? No problem. Assign new meanings to words, the more blatantly contradictory the better. Socialism has absolutely NOTHING to do with Capitalism, as any bright ten year old can tell you, since in Capitalist societies the government is forbidden to have anything to do with commerce, while in Socialist societies the government is inextricably involved in commerce. You can call Socialism "State Capitalism" till the cows come home, just as Communist China calls itself a "People's Republic", but it doesn't change the fact that Socialism and Capitalism are at opposite ends of the political scale.

"... - unnecessary and illegitimate authority. The same defining characteristics of the state are inherent in capitalism -hierarchy..."

The defining characteristic of the State is not hierarchy. Neither dictatorships nor absolute monarchies have much in the way of a hierarchy. The defining characteristic of the State is that it is the body in society with a legal monopoly on the use of force.

"...and important decisions being made those who are not affected in proportion to the effects of these decisions. Why continue with the same old stagnant nonsense?"

As always, you are speaking of Statist (Collectivist) governments, NOT Capitalist ones. And, in a Capitalist society, a business owner who makes the WRONG important decision IS affected directly in proportion to the effects of his decisions: he goes bankrupt. There is no government to bail him out. He is on his own.

"Out with the old, in with the new. Rejection of the coordinator class (kings, feudal lords, priests, czars, so-called representatives, capitalists and so-called socialists) is the historical key to sustainable human development, not re-instituting the same basic structure in a trendy, palatable fashion."

Right. Let's all return to the golden age of peasant farmers and guild-socialism. I will say one thing in favor of anarchy... it would very quickly make over-population a non-issue.

pinky


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This site is a MUST read! [Re: Agent Cooper]
    #573128 - 03/08/02 02:34 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Okay... this site that Agent Cooper recommended is SO ludicrous that it deserves a post of its own. You just GOTTA check it out!

http://www.infoshop.org/faq/secI5.html

From Agent Cooper's link: Kropotkin -- "A new society based on equality of condition, on the collective possession of the instruments of work."

Equality of condition rather than equality of freedom? Sounds like communism to me. Collective possession of the instruments of work? Sounds like collectivism to me.

"The gigantic metropolis with its hierarchical and impersonal administration, its atomised and isolated "residents," will be transformed into a network of humanly scaled participatory communities (usually called "communes"), each with its own unique character and forms of self-government, which will be co-operatively linked through federation with other communities at several levels, from the municipal through the bioregional to the global."

So Manhattan is balkanized into thousands of communes, all of whom will choose to co-operate with each other? Yeah, like THAT'S gonna happen.

"Simply put, the state is centralised to facilitate minority rule by excluding the mass of people from taking part in the decision making processes within society."

This is true of communist regimes. It is not true of Capitalist countries, since in Capitalist countries the government does not rule -- it protects. The government is in essence a bodyguard, not a master, nor a nanny, nor a charity dispensing alms.

"The specific need of the ruling class is to rule and that means marginalising the bulk of the population. Its requirement is for minority power and this is transformed into the structure of the state"

Again, this is applicable to totalitarian governments, not to Capitalist ones. In a Capitalist society there will be wealthy citizens and not-so-wealthy citizens and almost certainly outright poor citizens, but there is no ruling class.

"... this marginalisation of the public from political life ensures that the wealthy can be "left alone" to use their power as they see fit. In other words, such marginalisation is a necessary part of a fully functioning capitalist society."

In a Capitalist society, the wealthy have no political power, unless they choose to run for office, when (if elected) they then have the awesome power to decide who becomes the next police chief or which construction company gets the contract for the new courthouse or which bidder gets to supply the army's uniforms.

"Deterring libertarian alternatives to statism is a common feature of our current system."

Our current system is not Capitalist.

"By marginalising and disempowering people, the ability of individuals to manage their own social activities is undermined and weakened. "

Precisely: in these anarchist communes, you can manage your own SOCIAL activities to your heart's content -- just don't ever dream of handling your FINANCIAL affairs the way you see fit... such as offering someone a job.

The above-quoted distortions, exaggerations, misrepresentations and outright lies are taken from merely the first dozen paragraphs of this lengthy screed. Next, it goes on to trash the concept of the "city"...

"... the city must be seen as (1) a transportation hub for importing raw materials and exporting finished products; and (2) a huge dormitory for wage slaves, conveniently locating them near the enterprises where their labour is to exploited..."

This conveniently ignores the fact that the Earth's current number of inhabitants necessarily creates areas of high population density, also known as "cities". It also conveniently ignores the fact that cities existed long before the invention of either Capitalism or factories. Again, note the acceptance as axiomatic that anyone who voluntarily chooses to rent his labor to another at a mutually agreed upon price for as short a period of time as he chooses is a "slave."

"Such "town meetings" will bring ordinary people directly into the political process and give them an equal voice in the decisions that affect their lives."

Have you ever been to a town meeting in a small rural community? I have. The vast majority of the citizens never show up, and the ones who do show up can never come even close to unanimous consent on issues of any importance. There is bickering, back-stabbing, ego-stroking, obstructionism, petty grudges that originated (in some cases) in feuds begun generations ago... it ain't a pretty sight. So the decisions get made by... you guessed it! "Majority" Rule. In a town council meeting in a town of 500 people, a bylaw is passed by a vote of 6 in favor and 3 opposed. Six people decide the fate of 500. It would be no different in an anarchist commune.

"However, such communities assemblies can only be valid if they can be organised rapidly in order to make decisions and to mandate and recall delegates. In the capitalist city, many people work far from where they live and so such meetings have to be called for after work or at weekends. Thus the key need is to reduce the working day/week and to communalise industry."

Oh, now THAT makes a lot of sense. Let's justify reducing the work week and communalizing industry by claiming that it is crucial we all get to the endless fucking political meetings on time!

There is scarcely a paragraph (and in some cases scarcely even two consecutive phrases) in this appalling screed that does not contain some glaring contradiction, logical fallacy, baseless assumption, twisted definition or other idiocy.

Further, it seems no two anarchists can agree on how to handle anything. Worker's Councils or Community Assemblies? Agreement by consensus or agreement by majority vote? Restrain malefactors in mental institutions or remote islands or get them together with their victims for healing sessions?

I will stop here, but I STRONGLY URGE everyone who is reading this thread to click on the link Agent Cooper provided. It is hilarious reading, and does more to destroy the anarchist's position than I could ever manage to do if I devoted the rest of my life to the task.

Seriously, PLEASE click his link and read as far as you can manage before you can no longer see your monitor through the tears of laughter. You won't be disappointed, I promise you.

pinky


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Edited by pinksharkmark (03/08/02 03:59 AM)


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Invisibleiglou
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Re: This site is a MUST read! [Re: Phred]
    #573149 - 03/08/02 03:06 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

notice how emotional pinksharksmark is. he's full of shit. capitalism is a joke. sorry your absurdly long rants (do you even have a life? jesus h christ man!) is not convincing me. have fun with your capitalist fantasy world.


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Re: This site is a MUST read! [Re: iglou]
    #573166 - 03/08/02 03:48 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

iglou writes:

"notice how emotional pinksharksmark is."

Not emotional. Emphatic. There's a difference.

"he's full of shit. capitalism is a joke."

Well, that certainly is a well-reasoned and downright convincing argument. I am converted! Praise the Lord!

"sorry your absurdly long rants (do you even have a life? jesus h christ man!) is not convincing me."

My "absurdly long rants" are made possible by the fact that I am an absurdly quick typist. It actually takes surprisingly little time to whip one out.

"have fun with your capitalist fantasy world."

Thanks for the kind wishes. I'm sure I used to have at least as much fun with my capitalist fantasy world as Agent Cooper does with his anarchist fantasy world... probably even more. But those days are behind me, now that you have convinced me that capitalism is a joke. I guess I will have to find something else to amuse myself with.

Hmmm... religion, perhaps?

pinky


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Re: This site is a MUST read! [Re: iglou]
    #573286 - 03/08/02 10:50 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

iglou:

Don't post in this thread if you aren't going to post something worth reading.

I started this thread to have a discussion, not to have a flame war. If you have something to add to the discussion, then by all means post it. If not, then don't.

Agent Cooper:
There is one thing that I see in all of your posts that really doesn't work. You give examples of the problems with capitalism by refering to our current society's problems. Our society (North America) is not capitalist. Yes, there are some elements of capitalism in our society, but that is not the same as being capitalist. Canada (where I live) is not socialist, but it can be said (and is said) that Canada has some elements of socialism. See my point?

The examples of wage-labour you've given as proof of the "worker-slavery" of capitalism are the result of the non-capitalist elements in our society. You included the IRS in one example: there wouldn't be an IRS in a capitalist society.

Yes, our society has elements of capitalism. No, that does not make us a capitalist society. A better description might be that "we live in a democratic society in which the capitalist spirit motivates the market".


--------------------
Once, men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free.
But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.


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Offlinethreejaguar
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Re: This site is a MUST read! [Re: Phred]
    #573973 - 03/09/02 04:32 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Equality of condition rather than equality of freedom? Sounds like communism to me. Collective possession of the instruments of work? Sounds like collectivism to me.

Nice try. Your pet economic model does not neccessarily equal freedom. And using emotionally charged words like "communism" and "colectivism" to describe economic models you happen to disagree with is also intellectually dishonest. Try rational argument for a change.

So Manhattan is balkanized into thousands of communes, all of whom will choose to co-operate with each other? Yeah, like THAT'S gonna happen.

Manhattan is already balkanized into thosands of economic units... each one controlled by a single person who is good at playing the money game ... manipulating artificial symbols in oder to get written permission to control a given resource by the State.

This is true of communist regimes. It is not true of Capitalist countries, since in Capitalist countries the government does not rule -- it protects. The government is in essence a bodyguard, not a master, nor a nanny, nor a charity dispensing alms.

Bull. Just try to make use of an abandoned piece of property that some corporate entity has that magic piece of associated paper called a deed. The State will step in pretty damned quick.

Yea, it protects all right....it protects the right of persons who are good at manipulating symbolic tokens ( money ) to decide who lives and who dies.

Again, this is applicable to totalitarian governments, not to Capitalist ones. In a Capitalist society there will be wealthy citizens and not-so-wealthy citizens and almost certainly outright poor citizens, but there is no ruling class.

Read your own statement again please. Just because you personally decide to not consider economic control to be an example of ruling, doesn't mean it isn't one.

In a Capitalist society, the wealthy have no political power, unless they choose to run for office, when (if elected) they then have the awesome power to decide who becomes the next police chief or which construction company gets the contract for the new courthouse or which bidder gets to supply the army's uniforms.

You are really living in fantasyland here. Big money capitalists buy politicians like poker chips. And explain to some third world peasant, who, in the process of trying to organize, is getting killed by some death squad that was bought and paid or with corporate bribe money and support, exactly how powerless these capitalist folks are.

Precisely: in these anarchist communes, you can manage your own SOCIAL activities to your heart's content -- just don't ever dream of handling your FINANCIAL affairs the way you see fit... such as offering someone a job.
The above-quoted distortions, exaggerations, misrepresentations and outright lies are taken from merely the first dozen paragraphs of this lengthy screed. Next, it goes on to trash the concept of the "city"...


Communes are voluntary. If you don't like the way one operates, find another. In a capitalist society, you don't have that option, as they all use the same economic model.

This conveniently ignores the fact that the Earth's current number of inhabitants necessarily creates areas of high population density, also known as "cities". It also conveniently ignores the fact that cities existed long before the invention of either Capitalism or factories. Again, note the acceptance as axiomatic that anyone who voluntarily chooses to rent his labor to another at a mutually agreed upon price for as short a period of time as he chooses is a "slave."

Conveniently for whom? The folks who want to tax them, or use the capitalist economy to force them to drudge in factories for subsitance. You seem unwilling to address the issue of why work should be considered voluntary if the alternative is to be free to starve...

Have you ever been to a town meeting in a small rural community? I have. The vast majority of the citizens never show up, and the ones who do show up can never come even close to unanimous consent on issues of any importance. There is bickering, back-stabbing, ego-stroking, obstructionism, petty grudges that originated (in some cases) in feuds begun generations ago... it ain't a pretty sight. So the decisions get made by... you guessed it! "Majority" Rule. In a town council meeting in a town of 500 people, a bylaw is passed by a vote of 6 in favor and 3 opposed. Six people decide the fate of 500. It would be no different in an anarchist commune.

People can be petty and stupid at times, can't they? So how is this relevent? Decisions need to be made at times, regardless. Concensus is the least bad way to do it.

Oh, now THAT makes a lot of sense. Let's justify reducing the work week and communalizing industry by claiming that it is crucial we all get to the endless fucking political meetings on time!

You deliberately miss the point. People who are whacked from working all fucking day, and then compressing their commute, family duties and recreation into the remaining waking hours are not able to do much more than that. And they die early as well.

Why in the bloody hell should a person be expected to work himself to death, like some japanese salaryman, in order to be taken seriously as a human being? Managing the basic maintenance of a large inherited fortune takes about 10 hours per week. I see no reason why I should be expected to do more than that for the persons the current economic model expects me to support like feudal lords.

Any economic system that expects a person to spend more than half his life working at the command of others, or supporting the process of working at the command of others, is badly broken.

There is scarcely a paragraph (and in some cases scarcely even two consecutive phrases) in this appalling screed that does not contain some glaring contradiction, logical fallacy, baseless assumption, twisted definition or other idiocy.

Hmmm. you don't even try to argue your point here. You just fall back to perjoratives without bothering to justify them. Heh.

Further, it seems no two anarchists can agree on how to handle anything. Worker's Councils or Community Assemblies? Agreement by consensus or agreement by majority vote? Restrain malefactors in mental institutions or remote islands or get them together with their victims for healing sessions?

You have a problem with debate? I guess you only approve of your personal dogma. I suppose it's set in stone enough for your taste. Pity....

I will stop here, but I STRONGLY URGE everyone who is reading this thread to click on the link Agent Cooper provided. It is hilarious reading, and does more to destroy the anarchist's position than I could ever manage to do if I devoted the rest of my life to the task.
Seriously, PLEASE click his link and read as far as you can manage before you can no longer see your monitor through the tears of laughter. You won't be disappointed, I promise you.


Hmmm. Something I actually agree with. Yes... click the link.... you might actually learn something.




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Re: This site is a MUST read! [Re: threejaguar]
    #574085 - 03/09/02 10:32 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

threejaguar writes:

"...using emotionally charged words like "communism" and "colectivism" to describe economic models you happen to disagree with is also intellectually dishonest. Try rational argument for a change."

Communism and collectivism are no more emotionally-charged words than are capitalism or socialism. They are words that describe specific, well-defined political systems. And, unlike some others who have contributed to this thread, I have never tried to distort their meanings. I use them in accordance with their commonly-accepted definitions.

"Just try to make use of an abandoned piece of property that some corporate entity has that magic piece of associated paper called a deed. The State will step in pretty damned quick."

At what point does a piece of property become "abandoned"? If you decide to retire to Florida, and move everything out of your house in Chicago but can't find a buyer for a year, is your house abandoned? WHO decides when it is abandoned? You or the first squatter to break a basement window and move in? 

"Read your own statement again please. Just because you personally decide to not consider economic control to be an example of ruling, doesn't mean it isn't one."

Economic "control" is not an example of ruling. If you choose not to engage in commerce with a given individual or corporation, the individual or the corporation cannot force you to do so. Only governments can do that.

"Big money capitalists buy politicians like poker chips…"

Under the political sytem currently in place, this is true. The political system currently in place is not Capitalism.

"And explain to some third world peasant, who, in the process of trying to organize, is getting killed by some death squad that was bought and paid or with corporate bribe money and support, exactly how powerless these capitalist folks are."

Again, you are speaking of some other system than Capitalism. In a Capitalist system, the police and the military are forbidden from preventing individuals from forming a labor union. 

"Communes are voluntary. If you don't like the way one operates, find another."

Ah... the old "love it or leave it" argument. Odd that this not considered a valid argument when uttered by a Capitalist, but it is valid when uttered by an opponent of Capitalism.

"In a capitalist society, you don't have that option, as they all use the same economic model."

Incorrect. Even under the system currently in place in the United States, there are examples of communes in existence that use different economic models. "Hippy" co-ops and the Amish, to name two.

"Conveniently for whom? The folks who want to tax them…"

You missed my point. My point is that cities are not a creation of Capitalism, they are a creation of population density. Cities exist in societies that never have been Capitalist and never will be.

"... or use the capitalist economy to force them to drudge in factories for subsitance."

No force is involved. I have yet to see a factory owner herding unemployed people into his plant at gunpoint.

"You seem unwilling to address the issue of why work should be considered voluntary if the alternative is to be free to starve..."

I did address that issue. Human existence is impossible without human effort... universally defined as "work". That is not a political theory, it is a metaphysical fact. The only thing left to debate is WHOSE labor supports WHICH individual. 

"Decisions need to be made at times, regardless. Concensus is the least bad way to do it."

Even anarchists admit that there are situations where consensus cannot be reached, if "consensus" is defined as "unanimity". If it is not defined as "unanimity", then what is it? Majority rule. There are no other options.

"You deliberately miss the point. People who are whacked from working all fucking day, and then compressing their commute, family duties and recreation into the remaining waking hours are not able to do much more than that. And they die early as well."

How is this different from a peasant farmer in Asia who works his own plot of land from sunup till sundown every day of his life and dies early? Is he not "whacked from working all fucking day?" This peasant is not a "wage-slave", and he has no boss. He probably also has less time for recreation than a mechanic at a Ford dealership or a clerk at WalMart.

"Why in the bloody hell should a person be expected to work himself to death, like some japanese salaryman, in order to be taken seriously as a human being?"

It's not necessary to work yourself to death to be taken seriously as a human being. I take a mechanic or a cook or a receptionist who works 40 hour weeks every bit as seriously as I take a lawyer or a sales rep who works seventy-five hour weeks. The amount of hours a person needs to work each week to support himself is not a measure of his worth as a human being.

"I see no reason why I should be expected to do more than that for the persons the current economic model expects me to support like feudal lords."

The current economic model is not Capitalist. And, no one EXPECTS you to work for people like that. If you don't want to work for people who expect to be supported like feudal lords, don't.

"Any economic system that expects a person to spend more than half his life working at the command of others, or supporting the process of working at the command of others, is badly broken."

In a Capitalist society, no one will force you to work for someone you dislike. You are free to attempt to support yourself by whatever means you choose, as long as you don't violate the rights of others. 

"Hmmm. you don't even try to argue your point here. You just fall back to perjoratives without bothering to justify them. Heh."

I did pull out several examples to support my point, but the pickings were just so rich that I decided I could go on forever. That is why I urged (repeatedly) everyone to check the site on their own, so they could decide for themselves and save me a shitload of typing.

"You have a problem with debate?"

Clearly I have no problem, or I wouldn't get involved with this forum.

"I guess you only approve of your personal dogma. I suppose it's set in stone enough for your taste. Pity...."

And exactly how does this make me different from Lallafa or mr_minds_eye or Agent Cooper or iglou? Or threejaguar?



pinky
     


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InvisibleAgent Cooper
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smash it up [Re: Phred]
    #575452 - 03/11/02 02:40 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

In reply to:

It would be nice if every human being on the planet was born in a fertile area that was sparsely-populated enough that he could support himself as a hunter-gatherer, or walk a kilometer or two to a likely-looking area of brush, clear the land, learn all the tricks of agriculture from his neighbours and become a self-sufficient farmer.




When did I ever advocate, much less mention, a hunter-gatherer existence? I support self-management in the workplace and a break from the hierarchial power structures and cooperation not competition. These principles are compatable with industrialized, urban society (Barcelona during the Spanish Revolution - population 3 million).

Is Manhattan and its inhabitants ready for revolution at the present date? Ummm, no. Is there potential for a sane economic sphere much like I've described functioning in urban environments? Yes.

In reply to:

"The difference is a mother telling her child not to cross the street and a government telling its citizens what to do. The difference is institutionalization."

In a Capitalist society, the government is not allowed to tell people what they must do... only what they must NOT do: they must not violate the rights of others. The rest is up to them. They can even cross the street if they choose.




You completely missed my analogy of institutionalization - the difference between a local business and a global net of wage-labor. I guess your craving to spew capitalist doctrine is overwhelming, heh.

In reply to:

Well, boo hoo hoo! Life is hard, assembly line worker.




Yes, life for those who do not own the means of production and have no voice in the authoritarian capitalist workplace is difficult. Glad you agree.

In reply to:

Doubtless he would leap at the chance to change places with a peasant farmer in Asia...




And your point is...? We are speaking of labor in a capitalist society, not agrarian society. I'm sure the cavemen had it rough staying warm.

In reply to:

Are you SERIOUSLY trying to compare a food drop to refugees in wartime to Capitalism?




I provided an example of how the either-or/binary rationality of power-hungry men often overlooks sensible alternatives and then how they stupidly proclaim the superiority of the least-worst outcome.

In reply to:

And if there are other options, then the inhabitants of the island are certainly free to follow them.




Yes, individuals should be free to determine their economic and social lives. Glad you agree with me again, comrade.

Ok - extreme example: Perhaps the inhabitants decide to organize their workplace democratically and create balanced job-complexes (effectively nullifing hierachy - the boss/worker relationship). Perhaps a hurricane sweeps the island and this new "hotel collective" decides to federate with the local fishermen (who have retained their social conscience) and offer food and housing for those who need it. During this activity, the people re-discover solidarity and mutual aid and love it. The hotel transforms into a free housing complex and the reception area that once held higher-up businessmen using company money to schmooze and talk about golf under the guise of "a convention" becomes a free school of thought. Word spreads of this mini-revolution, and similar-minded individuals visit from around the hemisphere. Skills are exchanged. The inhabitants learn irrigation techniques and how to build greenhouses. Equipment is sent in by distant organizations in solidarity. Councils are set up to democratically facilitate economic activity. Government is voided and avoided.

Are they free to do this? Or does the tyranny of the minority supercede, despite this progress?

Please anwer this question: Why shouldn't communities have a dominant voice in running the institutions that affect their lives?

In reply to:

Nonsense. Your assertion holds true only of the very small percentage of Capitalists who make their living strictly through investing. It is false when it is applied to managers, supervisors, directors, etc.




The capitalist hierarchy: the lower in the pyramid, the more rote and dangerous labor with no voice in the decision-making and low wages. The higher in the pyramid, work becomes mere delegation (or deflection) of responsibilities but yet decision-making is concentrated. Yes, there is middle-management. And they work more than their superiors and less than their employees.

In reply to:

Only those who agree to be managed. Any worker who feels he is being over-managed is free to leave at any time.




Employment is more than just some simple agreement. The ramifications of either being fired or quitting are numerous and often devastating.

In reply to:

This doesn't change the fact that in any complex business organization, you can't leave every decision in the hands of the janitors. Janitors don't typically have a whole lot of creativity, initiative, skill or social abilities. If they did they wouldn't be janitors.




A balance job-complex would eliminate janitors...and CEOs.

In reply to:

Once again, typical anarchist crypto-definitions. This is THE standard anarchist tactic... almost their defining characteristic. Can't prove your point? No problem. Assign new meanings to words, the more blatantly contradictory the better. Socialism has absolutely NOTHING to do with Capitalism, as any bright ten year old can tell you, since in Capitalist societies the government is forbidden to have anything to do with commerce, while in Socialist societies the government is inextricably involved in commerce. You can call Socialism "State Capitalism" till the cows come home, just as Communist China calls itself a "People's Republic", but it doesn't change the fact that Socialism and Capitalism are at opposite ends of the political scale.




I did not coin the phrase "state-capitalism" nor did an anarchist. Know who did? A guy named V.I. Lenin.

ok - I'll play your silly game. Let's simplify everything and avoid accurrate and truthful descriptions...call the Soviet Union socialist and the United States capitalist just like a jr. high survey class.

I will not, however, play the old capitalist game of "hey, that's not complete 100% CAPITALISM, that's not Milton Friedman's wet dream, because anything in the present time that even slightly manifests capitalism is not capitalism therefore it is beyond any form of reproach or scrutiny." Nigga please.

In reply to:

The defining characteristic of the State is not hierarchy.




And how is this legal monopoly structured? Hmmmm...

In reply to:

As always, you are speaking of Statist (Collectivist) governments, NOT Capitalist ones. And, in a Capitalist society, a business owner who makes the WRONG important decision IS affected directly in proportion to the effects of his decisions: he goes bankrupt. There is no government to bail him out. He is on his own.




So, if this guy makes a bad decision, his company goes bankrupt, right? I can dig that. But you forget who else is affected by this guy's dumb decisions. Perhaps the company was a substantial source of employment in the area - lots of people being affected by this one guy and they have no power to counteract his poor mistake. How libertarian is that - being subjected to the will of one dude?

Do you agree with me that responsibility refines an individual's character? I'm sure you do. Then why concentrate the responsibility of decisions in the hands of a few? Why not spread responsibility around, empower the community, and make those in the community more responsible for their own affairs?


Edited by Agent Cooper (03/11/02 02:51 AM)


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Re: smash it up [Re: Agent Cooper]
    #575550 - 03/11/02 05:44 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Interesting choice of title for your reply... "smash it up". It has always been easier to destroy than to create, and always will be. That is why individual rights must be protected. What's the point of working hard at creating an honest business as a means of supporting oneself and family if any envious thug (or group of thugs) is left free to "smash it up" if he decides you have become too successful?

Agent Cooper writes:

"I support self-management in the workplace and a break from the hierarchial power structures and cooperation not competition."

In a Capitalist society, any group who chooses to pool their resources and create a workplace that operates under such principles is free to do so. Further, in a Capitalist society, everyone is free to buy (or not buy) the goods or services produced by that workplace.

"You completely missed my analogy of institutionalization - the difference between a local business and a global net of wage-labor."

I didn't miss it. Simply pointed out that it is irrelevant, at least in terms of FREEDOM, which is what government (or the lack thereof) is all about. Institutionalization exists in virtually all forms of human organization. Institutionalization does not necessarily involve a violation of an individual's rights. Unless, of course, you are once again using a special definition of "institutionalization" that only anarchists can interpret.

"I guess your craving to spew capitalist doctrine is overwhelming, heh."

No more overwhelming than your craving to spew anarchist doctrine.

"Yes, life for those who do not own the means of production and have no voice in the authoritarian capitalist workplace is difficult. Glad you agree."

Life is difficult. Period.

"And your point is...? We are speaking of labor in a capitalist society, not agrarian society. I'm sure the cavemen had it rough staying warm."

My point is that the elimination of Capitalism will not eliminate the angst your hypothetical assembly-line worker is suffering. Some jobs are numbing, repetitive, unchallenging, shitty jobs, whether in a socialist system, a capitalist system, or an anarchist commune. The guy that cleans the septic tanks is ALWAYS gonna hate his job.

"Ok - extreme example: Perhaps the inhabitants decide to organize their workplace democratically and create balanced job-complexes... (section omitted by PSM to save space)...Government is voided and avoided. Are they free to do this? Or does the tyranny of the minority supercede, despite this progress?"

With the consent of the owner(s) of the hotel? Of course. That is certainly allowed under a Capitalist system.

"Please anwer this question: Why shouldn't communities have a dominant voice in running the institutions that affect their lives?"

Anyone has the right to do whatever he pleases with his TWIM, as long as he doesn't violate the rights of others. But, no one (individually or communally) has the right to tell another what he must do with his TWIM. All commercial transactions must be voluntary. Of course I agree that communities can (MUST, actually) have a dominant voice in running the institutions that are communally-owned.

"The capitalist hierarchy: the lower in the pyramid, the more rote and dangerous labor with no voice in the decision-making and low wages. The higher in the pyramid, work becomes mere delegation (or deflection) of responsibilities but yet decision-making is concentrated. Yes, there is middle-management. And they work more than their superiors and less than their employees."

What is your point? As near as I can figure out from reading the various websites you have directed me to, the anarchist position is that HIERARCHY in and of itself is a violation of individual rights. But none of those sites shows HOW they reach this conclusion. It is merely stated (and re-stated vehemently and at tedious length) as a self-evident axiom.

"Employment is more than just some simple agreement."

Actually, no it is not. You agree to do X, Y and Z for Company A. In return, Company A agrees to pay you a sum agreed upon in advance. It's that simple.

"The ramifications of either being fired or quitting are numerous and often devastating."

The ramifications of virtually every decision you make in life are numerous and often devastating. Whether to smoke, or drink, or drive, or quit school before receiving a diploma, or get married, or have children, or stay where you were born or move to another town. What's your point?

"I did not coin the phrase "state-capitalism" nor did an anarchist. Know who did? A guy named V.I. Lenin."

He coined it for the same reason that anarchists continue to use it... to try to make more palatable an unworkable system. Intellectual dishonesty.

Agent Cooper writes, in reply to: The defining characteristic of the State is not hierarchy --

"And how is this legal monopoly structured? Hmmmm..."

It would most likely have some kind of a hierarchical structure, but that is not the DEFINING characteristic of government. Human beings have two eyes, two ears, and an anus, but those are not the DEFINING characteristics of human beings. YOU claimed that what MAKES a government a government is its hierarchy. That is simply not true. The Red Cross and the Salvation Army have hierarchical structures, yet neither organization is a government. Conversely, a tribe subject to the commands of its chieftain has no hierarchy, but it has a government: the chieftain.

"So, if this guy makes a bad decision, his company goes bankrupt, right? I can dig that. But you forget who else is affected by this guy's dumb decisions. Perhaps the company was a substantial source of employment in the area - lots of people being affected by this one guy and they have no power to counteract his poor mistake. How libertarian is that - being subjected to the will of one dude?"

Whose will were they subject to before the one dude showed up? Whose will were those who decided not to accept employment from the one dude subject to? Whose will are they subject to now that the one dude has vanished? Before the one dude showed up, there were X less jobs in the area. After the one dude went bankrupt, there are X less jobs in the area. It's a wash. But for the time the one dude was there, X people who otherwise had no means to support themselves had a source of income. Net result... everyone wins except the bankrupt one dude.

"Do you agree with me that responsibility refines an individual's character? I'm sure you do. Then why concentrate the responsibility of decisions in the hands of a few?"

Because each individual has the right to decide what he should do with his TWIM.

"Why not spread responsibility around..."

No need. Everyone else already has enough responsibility deciding what to do with THEIR TWIM.

"... empower the community..."

The community has the power to decide what to do with communally-owned TWIM.

"... and make those in the community more responsible for their own affairs?"

They are already responsible for their own affairs. They have no responsibility over MY affairs, as long as I don't violate their rights.

pinky


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Re: smash it up [Re: Agent Cooper]
    #575557 - 03/11/02 06:09 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Agent Cooper writes:

"Yes, there is middle-management. And they work more than their superiors and less than their employees."

Which middle-management position did you hold where you worked less than your employees? Is that position still available? I might just apply for it.

I have held several positions that would be classified as middle-management, and I always worked harder than those I was responsible for. Everyone else I know who was ever a middle manager will say the same.

pinky


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InvisibleAgent Cooper
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catch a tiger by the tail... [Re: Phred]
    #575911 - 03/11/02 04:04 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

"The desire for destruction is, at the same time, a creative desire too." ~ Bakunin on the driving force of dialetics.

Yes, I believe that capitalism can only be reformed up to a certain point, whereby revolution becomes necessary. Kinda like when those colonial dudes revolted against the English who had protective deeds and every right to the colonies. The founders of the US decided to disregard English claims in order to establish their preferred economic and political system.

In reply to:

Life is difficult. Period.




Life is difficult for some, easy for another. What decides who'll have to overcome obstacles and who wont? What creates advantages for a few, and disadvantages for the rest? Genetics aside, could it be the economic model that people live is a major factor? And do you agree that the economic life is not eternal and can be altered?

I believe individuals have the full right to determine their economic lives. If 99% of society believe that private property rights are illegitimate (say the ownership of a factory) and should be dismantled, but yet that remaining 1% believes their private property is sacred and does not consent, that amounts to tyranny of the minority (and a mass violation of everyone else's rights to determine their economic lives).

In reply to:

My point is that the elimination of Capitalism will not eliminate the angst your hypothetical assembly-line worker is suffering. Some jobs are numbing, repetitive, unchallenging, shitty jobs, whether in a socialist system, a capitalist system, or an anarchist commune. The guy that cleans the septic tanks is ALWAYS gonna hate his job.




I believe receiving the full-fruit of one's labor will reduce alienation, but not entirely. As you point out, there will always be shitty jobs. I agree. And in order to reduce the alienation that accompanies having a lower-class shitty job, organization based upon balanced-job complexes are necessary unless there is some voluntary committee devoted to shitwork.

In reply to:

What is your point? As near as I can figure out from reading the various websites you have directed me to, the anarchist position is that HIERARCHY in and of itself is a violation of individual rights.




Hierarchy is the delivery system of authority. It is the gun to the bullet. I believe individuals are better off and more able to fully develop as the social and creative beings when there is not someone giving them orders, even if joining this chain of command was "voluntary." A boss telling his employee what to do and how to do it (and the employee not agreeing inside, but following orders anyway because he does not want to lose his job) is hierarchy in action. Is all hierarchy fundamentally bad? I do not think so. Up to a point, family hierarchy is not bad.

The very core of capitalism is obedience, external command, directors, bosses, orders, etc. Does not sound very libertarian to me.

In reply to:

You agree to do X, Y and Z for Company A. In return, Company A agrees to pay you a sum agreed upon in advance. It's that simple.




So, I guess when someone loses their job, their family should have nothing to worry about? Try explaining that to someone who has mouths to feed.

In reply to:

He coined it for the same reason that anarchists continue to use it... to try to make more palatable an unworkable system. Intellectual dishonesty.




I think it is an accurate description. Instead of private ownership holding a near monopoly on decision-making, the party owns everything and makes decisions for everyone. Both systems have elites that absorb the fruits of everyone else's labor in the name of some right (right of private property/right of power) and then exchange the goods for their own benefit (capitalist profit/party expansion) while giving back only a small portion of what the worker's created (wages/central planning "needs" - both of which are insufficient and unjust).

Capitalism being palatable in revolutionary Russia circa 1917? I think not! Maybe put that crackpipe down before you madly type away. If Lenin wanted to make things easier to swallow, he would have used the term socialism...wait. He did use the term socialism to please "the masses" but later in his dense, unapproachable writings would admit that what he helped created was nothing but state-capitalism. hmmmm...

In reply to:

It would most likely have some kind of a hierarchical structure, but that is not the DEFINING characteristic of government.




Okay - perhaps DEFINING was not quite the phrase. But you cannot deny that hierarchy is the "active ingredient" in all top-down power structures. Othewise, if all were on equal footing, then there would no one to command or receive orders. Without hierarchy, government ceases to exist. Without a gun, the bullet just sits.

In reply to:

Whose will were they subject to before the one dude showed up?




Another capitalist, most likely.

In reply to:

Whose will were those who decided not to accept employment from the one dude subject to?




Another capitalist, most likely.

In reply to:

Whose will are they subject to now that the one dude has vanished?




If they find another job, most likely it will be another capitalist.

In reply to:

Before the one dude showed up, there were X less jobs in the area. After the one dude went bankrupt, there are X less jobs in the area. It's a wash. But for the time the one dude was there, X people who otherwise had no means to support themselves had a source of income. Net result... everyone wins except the bankrupt one dude.




Wrong. Perhaps the people decided to switch jobs to this new company that this dude started up because the other job sucked. They effectively lost their old jobs. So they start working at the new place and many years pass. The dude who holds a near monopoly on decision-making, fucks up and now everyone is unemployed. Great, well, they can go back to their old jobs, right? Nope, that place went out of business as well due to some other dude making bad mistakes. The net result: the dude is bankrupt, the majority of the people are without income.

The dude's decisions affected other people. Face it - the decision-making process was not held by those who are affected by the decisions. People, therefore, pay for someone else's decisions.


Edited by Agent Cooper (03/11/02 05:32 PM)


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Re: catch a tiger by the tail... [Re: Agent Cooper]
    #576272 - 03/11/02 11:41 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Agent Cooper writes:

"The desire for destruction is, at the same time, a creative desire too." ~ Bakunin on the driving force of dialetics.

Catchy phrase, but some would call it contradictory hogwash. Dialectic certainly is.

"Life is difficult for some, easy for another. What decides who'll have to overcome obstacles and who wont? What creates advantages for a few, and disadvantages for the rest? Genetics aside, could it be the economic model that people live is a major factor?"

Many people are placed at a disadvantage not only by their genetic heritage, but by the family (or lack thereof) that rears them, the fertility (or lack thereof) of the surrounding land, the technological level of the country of their birth, the population density of that country, the number of endemic diseases in the area, the religious restrictions in place in their society (women in a Muslim country, for example, or "low-caste" inhabitants of India), and other factors. The economic system in place is certainly also a factor - there wasn't a lot of upward mobility in the USSR - but it is by no means the ONLY factor.

"And do you agree that the economic life is not eternal and can be altered?"

Certainly. I believe that it is possible for every country to eventually alter their current economic systems. The question is: alter it in which direction?

"I believe individuals have the full right to determine their economic lives. If 99% of society believe that private property rights are illegitimate (say the ownership of a factory) and should be dismantled, but yet that remaining 1% believes their private property is sacred and does not consent, that amounts to tyranny of the minority (and a mass violation of everyone else's rights to determine their economic lives)."

No it does not. All it means is that the 99% of society who don't agree with private ownership can do whatever they want with everything except the property of the 1% who do. Once again, you are using "Majority Rule" to justify the violation of another's rights. At one point in time, 99% of the members of a certain society believed it was moral to burn heretics at the stake. In another hemisphere, 99% of a different society believed it was moral to sacrifice humans to the rain gods. How is that any different from your example of 99% of a society agreeing that it is moral to rob another of his factory?

"I believe receiving the full-fruit of one's labor will reduce alienation, but not entirely."

And I believe that "alienation" is a non-issue. What counts is FREEDOM. What matters is that the individual's rights are not violated.

"Hierarchy is the delivery system of authority. It is the gun to the bullet."

It is not necessary to have a hierarchy to violate an individual's rights; that can be accomplished by a single individual. Nor does a hierarchy qua hierarchy violate individual rights.

"I believe individuals are better off and more able to fully develop as the social and creative beings when there is not someone giving them orders even if joining this chain of command was "voluntary."

Before an individual can develop as a social and creative being, he first must SURVIVE. Some individuals lack the initiative, or physical or intellectual skills, to do a very good job of that. Recognizing this fact, they quite gladly enter into a contract wherein they are told what to do, how to do it, and when to do it, in exchange for a far higher standard of living than they could accomplish by themselves.

"A boss telling his employee what to do and how to do it (and the employee not agreeing inside, but following orders anyway because he does not want to lose his job) is hierarchy in action."

So what? In most jobs, with most employees, the boss gives directions once or maybe twice, then the employee has a pretty good idea of what needs to be done, and does it. It's not like the boss is riding in a harness on his employee's shoulders eight hours a day. And, if the employee takes the job, then finds that he is disagreeing with the orders he is being given, he can quit. Where is the problem?

"The very core of capitalism is obedience, external command, directors, bosses, orders, etc. Does not sound very libertarian to me."

You misrepresent Capitalism. Capitalism does not require organizations in order to exist. All that Capitalism requires is that the government stay out of the economy. All commercial transactions are accomplished voluntarily, whether you deal with a one-man shop or a multi-billion dollar corporation. But, even in a large and complex corporation, "obedience" does not necessarily equal subservience. The members of a football team obey their quarterback. "External command"? External to what? If you join an organization voluntarily, your "commands" come from others within that same organization. "Directors, bosses, and orders" exist in any organization; or at least in any organization that ever accomplishes anything.

"So, I guess when someone loses their job, their family should have nothing to worry about? Try explaining that to someone who has mouths to feed."

Of course the family should worry. He should find another job right away. Or start his own business. Or join a commune. In a Capitalist society he is free to attempt any of those things, and more.

"I think it is an accurate description. Instead of private ownership holding a near monopoly on decision-making..."

Why shouldn't the owner of a thing get to decide what to do with that thing? You have the right to decide what to do with your own stuff. You don't have the right to decide what others should do with their stuff. The chairman of the Hudson's Bay Company can't tell me I have to buy his blankets, though. I can buy them from WalMart or from the First Nation's Co-Op or I can make my own.

"...the party owns everything and makes decisions for everyone."

By first stealing it from those who created it in the first place.

"Both systems have elites that absorb the fruits of everyone else's labor in the name of some right (right of private property/right of power)..."

But there is the crucial difference. First of all, a business owner does not absorb ALL the fruits of everyone else's labor. He pays wages. A profitable business might make 4% or 5% profit margin. If that 4% or 5% were paid out in wages, there is no point in having the business in the first place. Secondly, there is an enormous difference between having people volunteer to work in your business (ownership) and forcing people to work on a State-owned tractor factory (power). Thirdly, people have a right to keep stuff (ownership). They don't have a right to force others to do their bidding (power).

"...and then exchange the goods for their own benefit (capitalist profit/party expansion)..."

Just as the employees exchange the goods (wages) for THEIR own benefit.

"...while giving back only a small portion of what the worker's created (wages/central planning "needs" - both of which are insufficient and unjust)."

I can tell that you have never read an annual report in your life. The vast majority of businesses run on profit margins of less than 10%. In a typical "goods-oriented" business, expenses are roughly one third raw materials, one third labor costs, and one third marketing, shipping, rent, utilities, finance charges, insurance, taxes, etc. In a typical "services-oriented" business, the percentage of labor cost is even higher. This is HARDLY "giving back only a small portion".

"...later in his dense, unapproachable writings would admit that what he helped created was nothing but state-capitalism."

That is what HE chose to call it. That means exactly zero, just as those countries calling themselves "People's Republics" are neither republics nor the people's.

"Without hierarchy, government ceases to exist."

Without hierarchy, charitable organizations cease to exist. Movies don't get produced. Football games don't get played. School systems disintegrate. Railroads don't get built. Medicines don't get produced.

"Wrong. Perhaps the people decided to switch jobs to this new company that this dude started up because the other job sucked. They effectively lost their old jobs. So they start working at the new place and many years pass. The dude who holds a near monopoly on decision-making, fucks up and now everyone is unemployed. Great, well, they can go back to their old jobs, right? Nope, that place went out of business as well due to some other dude making bad mistakes. The net result: the dude is bankrupt, the majority of the people are without income."

No undertaking in life has a cast iron guarantee. People spend a lot of time and money educating themselves to become lawyers or doctors, only to find that there is a glut on the market by the time they graduate, so they work as pizza-delivery dudes and bicycle messengers instead. Others pour their life's savings into designing world's best fax machine, only to have the invention of e-mail make their product obsolete. Others decide to open a bar or restaurant, only to see their business drop by a third when the government prohibits them from allowing their customers to smoke. Are you saying that somehow once you choose to work for a company, SOMEONE has the responsibility to ensure that this company will always remain profitable? No... that can't be it... you don't believe in profit, nor do you believe that government taxes should be used for business subsidies, since you don't believe in government. Hmmm. I'm stumped.

"The dude's decisions affected other people."

Yes... that one bad decision, or sequence of bad decisions, affected other people negatively. Just as his decision to hire them in the first place affected them positively... maybe for a year, or ten years, or forty years. But that one bad decision placed them all in the same boat. At least he is now no longer "dominating" and "exploiting" his "wage-slaves". And, now that he is bankrupt, there is an empty niche for another business to fill... perhaps one that is better-managed and hence can afford a better pension plan or more comprehensive medical benefits or higher starting salaries.

"People, therefore, pay for someone else's decisions."

As is the case in ANY society, whether Capitalist, socialist, totalitarian theocracy or anarchy. Human society is interconnected; we don't live in a vacuum.

Is Capitalism perfect? Of course not. No social system constructed by imperfect beings can be perfect. But it is the least IMPERFECT of any known system, because its members, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, its government, are forbidden to violate the rights of others. All are free to choose the course of action they feel is best for them. There is of course no guarantee that every member will make the right decision every time. That is why many people prefer to work as a one-man business: they do not want to risk having their business collapse because their bonehead partners made the wrong decision -- "Too many cooks spoil the broth". Conversely, others want to be part of a larger group, because they feel there is less chance of the wrong decision being made if there is more input. "Two heads are better than one" is their motto. Capitalism has room for both kinds, and more.

pinky


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InvisibleAgent Cooper
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the poverty of all nations [Re: Phred]
    #577565 - 03/13/02 03:10 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

In reply to:

Many people are placed at a disadvantage not only by their genetic heritage, but by the family (or lack thereof) that rears them, the fertility (or lack thereof) of the surrounding land, the technological level of the country of their birth, the population density of that country, the number of endemic diseases in the area, the religious restrictions in place in their society (women in a Muslim country, for example, or "low-caste" inhabitants of India), and other factors. The economic system in place is certainly also a factor - there wasn't a lot of upward mobility in the USSR - but it is by no means the ONLY factor.




The economic climate of a region will certainly affect families (financial issues are a major reason for divorce), fertility of the surrounding environment (industrial pollution, for example), population (impoverished nations have much higher birth rates than 1st world industrialized nations - lack of funds for sexual education and birth control, perhaps?), technological level (this is a given), diseases (this is a given), etc.

Yes, you are correct - the economic climate is not the only factor, but I believe it is a incredibly major factor. Economics are quite high up on the list, probably next to culture and government. But I believe, as I'm sure you do, the standard of living in the top industrial nations has very little do with the governments or the culture, but rather economy.

Everything is connected to the economy with varying degrees of severity.

In reply to:

Certainly. I believe that it is possible for every country to eventually alter their current economic systems. The question is: alter it in which direction?




I strongly hold the belief that economic systems should generally promote the positive aspects of man, while neutralizing the negative aspects. With that in mind, I believe that an economy should be just, social, sustainable, and with active concern for human needs and for the individual (and one should not supercede the other; balance is key). That is the direction that I believe we should turn.

"The task for a modern industrial society is to achieve what is now technically realizable, namely, a society which is really based on free voluntary participation of people who produce and create, live their lives freely within institutions they control and with limited hierarchial structures, possibly none at all."

In reply to:

At one point in time, 99% of the members of a certain society believed it was moral to burn heretics at the stake. In another hemisphere, 99% of a different society believed it was moral to sacrifice humans to the rain gods. How is that any different from your example of 99% of a society agreeing that it is moral to rob another of his factory?




Seizing the factory is not the only option. Settlements, compromises, public pressure, gradual loss of business and employees, etc. can all achieve the same end. I do not believe private ownership of the means of production is some eternal right, therefore even a seizure of the factory by the workers themselves and the subsequent democratic management of that factory is not fairly likened to "robbery" or "human sacrifice" in my eyes.

As for the now factory-less capitalist, I would utter the same words once uttered to the workers (as transmitted by pinksharkmark) "Boohoo. Life is tough. Deal with it."

In reply to:

And I believe that "alienation" is a non-issue.




Yes, and I believe some state-enforced deed glorified as an eternal and unchallengable right is a non-issue.

In reply to:

It is not necessary to have a hierarchy to violate an individual's rights; that can be accomplished by a single individual.




Correct. However, hierarchy makes abuse easier to reign down and for the abuse to be more accepted. Hierarchy also makes illegitimate authority that much more difficult to challenge and/or abolish.

In reply to:

Without hierarchy, charitable organizations cease to exist. Movies don't get produced. Football games don't get played. School systems disintegrate. Railroads don't get built. Medicines don't get produced.




Nonsense. Charities can and do exist in fashions as I've described. Movies? I do not see why hierarchy is absolutely necessary to create a film. I would argue that artistic freedom would be more so than in contemporary Hollywood because you would not have some profit-seeking distribution director saying "take out this and that or else we wont distribute your film." Consider independent films. Football? Hierarchies are kinda hard to reduce in a football team because that is the nature of the game. Schools? Hierarchies are relatively necessary in school, especially for the young classes - but recall what I said about families and hierarchy. Railroads and medicine production? Same thing as running a business in a non-hierarchial fashion.

In reply to:

Before an individual can develop as a social and creative being, he first must SURVIVE. Some individuals lack the initiative, or physical or intellectual skills, to do a very good job of that. Recognizing this fact, they quite gladly enter into a contract wherein they are told what to do, how to do it, and when to do it, in exchange for a far higher standard of living than they could accomplish by themselves.




I would argue that the lack of initative or intellectual skills (keep in mind how complex and amazing the human mind can be if stimulated and exercised properly) can be attributed to living in a world of in which decision-making processes are far removed from the individual and his community. Is this the only reason? Of course not. I would argue, however, it is a major and active reason.

But anyway, is income better than no income? Usually. But in my opinion, wage-labor is the least-worst option.

In reply to:

So what? In most jobs, with most employees, the boss gives directions once or maybe twice, then the employee has a pretty good idea of what needs to be done, and does it. It's not like the boss is riding in a harness on his employee's shoulders eight hours a day. And, if the employee takes the job, then finds that he is disagreeing with the orders he is being given, he can quit. Where is the problem?




The problem is the fact that all of this is completely unnecessary.

In reply to:

Capitalism does not require organizations in order to exist.




How how successful would this operation be?

In reply to:

The members of a football team obey their quarterback.




If you recall, I believe some hierarchy is necessary in life. In the political/economic realm, I believe it should be completely avoided or at least reduced to a minimum.



In reply to:

"External command"? External to what? If you join an organization voluntarily, your "commands" come from others within that same organization.




Again, employment in our contemporary capitalist society and in Capitalism-land is more necessary than voluntary. Work or starve. This is true for a majority of the population. No income check equals homelessness and no food. "Voluntary" to me means doing something because you want to not because you have to. Ask anyone who works why they work and 99% of them will respond "because I have to."

As covered before, some amount of work is pretty much necessary in life. The point is to make it more participatory and just.

In reply to:

"Directors, bosses, and orders" exist in any organization; or at least in any organization that ever accomplishes anything.




There are countless human endeavors that function in a non-hierarchial fashion and accomplish much. I have initiated and worked with organizations that possess characteristics that I have been describing and we have been successful. Under the radar - yes. But just because something has not happened in the past does not mean it cannot happen later. The world changes, progresses. Paradigms shift.

In reply to:

Why shouldn't the owner of a thing get to decide what to do with that thing? You have the right to decide what to do with your own stuff. You don't have the right to decide what others should do with their stuff.




Conversely, why should not communities have a dominant voice in running the institutions that affect and define their lives?

I do not consider economic institutions to be in the realm of "stuff." There is a major difference between a watch and a watch factory.

In reply to:

First of all, a business owner does not absorb ALL the fruits of everyone else's labor. He pays wages. A profitable business might make 4% or 5% profit margin. If that 4% or 5% were paid out in wages, there is no point in having the business in the first place.




Exactly.

In reply to:

In a typical "services-oriented" business, the percentage of labor cost is even higher. This is HARDLY "giving back only a small portion".




Wages are tablescraps compared to what CEOs pull in. In fact wages, in the last 30 years wages have either declined or have become stagnant while top executives pull in vastly more than before.

In reply to:

SOMEONE has the responsibility to ensure that this company will always remain profitable? No... that can't be it... you don't believe in profit, nor do you believe that government taxes should be used for business subsidies, since you don't believe in government. Hmmm. I'm stumped.




I do not believe in capitalism.

In reply to:

As is the case in ANY society, whether Capitalist, socialist, totalitarian theocracy or anarchy. Human society is interconnected; we don't live in a vacuum.




Exactly. We are social creatures that live on a finite planet with finite resources. Individuals do not live in a vacuum. The point is create (or re-model) economic institutions that reflect that truth. Capitalism ignores this.

http://www.parecon.org


Edited by Agent Cooper (03/13/02 03:15 AM)


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OfflinePhred
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Re: the poverty of all nations [Re: Agent Cooper]
    #577699 - 03/13/02 09:58 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Agent Cooper writes:

"Seizing the factory is not the only option. Settlements..."

What if the factory owner doesn't want to "settle" (by settle I presume you mean he agrees to sell his factory)? If he voluntarily agrees to sell his factory to a People's Committee, then clearly there is no problem. This can occur under a Capitalist system. Businesses get sold all the time.

"...compromises..."

If the factory owner voluntarily agrees to a compromise, no problem. Again, this can occur under Capitalism.

"... public pressure, gradual loss of business and employees, etc. can all achieve the same end."

This occurs under Capitalism. Businesses change their way of operating due to boycotts, strikes, mass resignations or threatened resignations, public opinion.

"I do not believe private ownership of the means of production is some eternal right..."

But you believe private ownership of the FRUITS of production is an eternal right? You have the right to own a pot, or many pots, but you do not have the right to own a kiln?

"... therefore even a seizure of the factory by the workers themselves and the subsequent democratic management of that factory is not fairly likened to "robbery" or "human sacrifice" in my eyes."

Then presumably you would not object to returning home from a weekend visit to a relative to find your house occupied by a group of squatters? Or find that your car has been stolen and is now being used as a "means of production" by some needy street gang members who prefer running a gypsy cab service to being "wage-slaves"? Or have the farm that has been in your family for generations -- ever since it was nothing but rocky, swampy brushland -- seized by a People's Committee?

"As for the now factory-less capitalist, I would utter the same words once uttered to the workers (as transmitted by pinksharkmark) "Boohoo. Life is tough. Deal with it."

Not even remotely equivalent. The factory worker is upset because he finds certain aspects of his means of livelihood to be unpleasant. The factory owner is upset because his means of livelihood has been forcibly taken from him.

"The problem is the fact that all of this is completely unnecessary."

There are many things that people do that are completely unneccessary. The question is, if several people get together and decide that this is how they want to expend their effort, whose rights are being violated? Your belief that the organizational structure they chose is "unnecessary" is irrelevant. They don't hold the same opinion.

"How how successful would this operation be?"

Again, the issue of "success" is irrelevant. What is relevant is that no individual's rights be violated. But, just for shits and giggles... many successful businesses are one-man operations. "Structureless" Co-Ops feel that they are successful. The Amish feel they are successful. Can such organizations exist in a Capitalist system? Certainly.

"Again, employment in our contemporary capitalist society and in Capitalism-land is more necessary than voluntary. Work or starve."

Work or starve? That is the fundamental choice that all humans must make. All human existence is made possible by human effort, commonly known as "work". The only thing left to decide is WHOSE effort supports WHICH individual.

"This is true for a majority of the population. No income check equals homelessness and no food."

On a desert island with no government at all no work also equals homelessness and no food.

"Voluntary" to me means doing something because you want to not because you have to."

It has already been amply demonstrated that anarchist definitions require a secret decoder ring. "Voluntary" to the rest of the world means "chosen" as opposed to "forced". I do lots of things that I don't really WANT to do, but I do them of my own free will rather than being forced to.

You continue to exist because you want to, not because you have to. At any point in time, if you decide the effort you expend to remain alive is too burdensome, you are free to stop expending effort. But if you decide you want to remain alive, you must expend effort, distasteful though it may be. Not because some Capitalist "boss" says so, but because the nature of reality demands it.

"Ask anyone who works why they work and 99% of them will respond "because I have to."

Then 99% of them are capable of understanding the nature of reality. No matter what political system is in place, in order to exist one must either work, or somehow obtain the products of the work of others (which, strictly speaking, also involves work).

"As covered before, some amount of work is pretty much necessary in life. The point is to make it more participatory and just."

Why? And who decides what is "more participatory?" Who decides what is "just"? Let me guess... The Collective.

"Conversely, why should not communities have a dominant voice in running the institutions that affect and define their lives?"

Communities should of course have a dominant voice in running those institutions which are communally owned.

"I do not consider economic institutions to be in the realm of "stuff." There is a major difference between a watch and a watch factory."

Yes, I know that is your belief. Although you keep denying it, and trying to evade or gloss over or side-step the fundamental principle involved here, what you are saying is that individuals have the right to own strictly the end products of production... i.e. a watch or a pot. In other words, INDIVIDUALS have the right to be strictly CONSUMERS. But no individual has the right to PRODUCE anything... i.e. set up a watch factory or a pottery. Production is reserved for The Collective.

"Wages are tablescraps compared to what CEOs pull in."

True. And the money that a top surgeon makes is more than what a hospital orderly makes. Julia Roberts makes more money than a bit actor. Fernando Valenzuela makes more money than a farm team outfielder. So what? I started my life in the world of commerce as a minimum-wage sales clerk, with nothing more than a high school diploma. Five years later I was one step below VP level in the third-largest computer corporation in Canada. At the time I left, I was being pestered constantly to move to head office, with the firm commitment that I would be made a VP within two years. I decided I would prefer to live in a country with more freedom than Canada, so I moved to the Dominican Republic in 1988, but I have no doubt that if I had wanted to, I could eventually have become a CEO. Others who started as sales clerks at the same time I did are still sales clerks. I have no doubt that if THEY had all wanted to, they could have become CEOs as well, but most of them were quite content to remain sales clerks. My story is far from unique, nor is theirs.

"I do not believe in capitalism."

But you DO believe in government? Then why are you always linking Anarchist websites in your posts?

pinky


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


Edited by pinksharkmark (03/13/02 12:27 PM)


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Agent Cooper]
    #577781 - 03/13/02 11:54 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

On March 5, I wrote:

There are countless cases where some employees of a given business make more than the owners of those businesses do. This is more often seen in small businesses than in large publicly-held corporations.

Agent Cooper replied:

"Are you speaking of wages or some other "outside" benefit such as tips?"

Could be both, as in the case of a good bartender or waitress. But there are many cases where the top salespeople working on commission will clear more in a year than the owner of the company. This often happens even in large publicly-held corporations. Who is the "owner" of a corporation whose largest single shareholder holds at most around 15% of the stock, as is often the case? There is no single owner, there are a multitude of owners. It is not unusual at all for a corporation to pay no dividends on the shares for years at a time (if ever). So none of the owners are receiving any income at all, while the top sales people are making six figure incomes, and even the janitors are making five figure incomes. It is also not unusual for the market price of those shares to decline over time, and for the company to operate at a deficit for years at a stretch. The top salespeople are still hauling in six figure incomes, the janitors are still making five figure incomes, yet all of the owners will LOSE money if they sell their shares. It is also not unusual for the company to go bankrupt. The shares are then worth exactly zero. All of the owners have lost money, yet all of the employees have made money.

"In my experience, most small business-owners pull in more than their employees."

This is not always the case in countries with minimum-wage laws. In Canada, I know of several owners of garages, restaurants and corner stores, for example, where there is at least one key employee who makes more than the owners do. In some cases ALL of the employees make more, because there is a minimum wage guarantee for employees, and no guarantee whatsoever for owners.

"In your bar, pinksharkmark, do you pay your bartenders more than you pull in?"

Actually, it is not my bar. I started working there as a bartender, and after a few years reluctantly accepted the position of bar manager (although I would still work at least one shift a week behind the bar), and got laid off ten months ago. In the last year I worked there, my salary (US $1250 per month for six day weeks of ten to twelve hours per day... no tips... all the tips I made while I was behind the bar were left for the employees to split) was higher than the profit left over for the owner. I know this for a fact since I was the one doing all the accounting. My only benefits were one free meal a day, half-price meals after that, free soft drinks or water, and half-price alcoholic drinks. Since I don't drink on the job and didn't feel like spending my one free day a week at the bar, I didn't take much advantage of the free drink thing.

All the bartenders and almost all the waiters made more (salary, government-decreed "profit-sharing" -- in reality it is actually REVENUE-sharing -- and tips) in almost any given month than the owner did. In the off-season, (roughly seven months a year) EVERY employee, including the night watchman, made more than the owner did. Even without the "profit-sharing", they still would have made more.

I also owned a small boutique, with three employees. For the first few months, I made some okay money... always considerably less than my monthly payroll, but still acceptable. But by the end of the first year some competing boutiques had opened, and the minimum wage level and business taxes increased when the new (quasi-socialist) government was elected. I was then making less each month than any single employee, then nothing at all, then I started losing money every month. By the time I finally closed the boutique, I had lost thousands of dollars. I would quite literally have been better off burying that money in a coffee can in my back yard rather than dealing with all the hassle of running a small business (in addition to working at the bar).

Yet I provided a livelihood for four years for three people who are now unemployed. I paid each of them thousands and thousands of dollars, while losing thousands myself. They all got paid vacations, I got none. They all got free meals and transportation to and from work while I ate my meals at the bar and walked to work. They all had their social security benefits paid in full, while I am not covered by social security. They all received a percentage of the sales they made, whether the boutique made money or not.

When they goofed up by accepting traveller's checks that were not signed, or screwed up the change, or accepted counterfeit money, or didn't make even a minimal effort at salesmanship, or didn't show up for work on time (or at all), or allowed shoplifters to walk off with goods, did I deduct the losses from their salaries? Nope. I ate the losses every time.

They all cried when I informed them that I had no choice but to close the business. Were they crying for me? Nope. They were crying because they had lost a cushy job with no worries, and now they had to look for work as a laundress or a hotel maid or a hooker. Two of them had the nerve to demand that I pay them severance pay, threatening to report me to the Department of Labor, since they were not capable of understanding the difference between being fired and having a job evaporate due to bankruptcy. The third one eventually managed to explain to them that even the new government wouldn't force me to pay one peso more.

Who sacrificed more in this situation? Me, or the employees I was "exploiting"? Who was I "dominating"? Whose rights were being violated?

Is my story unique or even uncommon? Not at all.

"Obviously, within a multinational corporation those at the top of the pyramid receive much, much more than those lower than him even if the worker puts forth 10x more effort and sacrifice."

I have yet to meet a bottom-level employee in any corporation who puts forth 10x the effort and sacrifice of someone higher up.

"This is due to hierarchial status and proximity to ownership - nothing more."

Not true. It is due to the value of the service performed and the relative scarcity of the skillset required to perform the service. Anyone can sweep out the stockroom. Few can run an effective sales campaign.

"If history is examined, one will learn that wage labor was regarded only a step above slavery. Only recently have wages become commonplace."

This is because prior to the Industrial Revolution, societies were largely agrarian. Workers were paid in crops as opposed to currency. Or they made their living (such as it was) in a guild-socialist hierarchy of apprentice, journeyman, master artisan, etc.

"It is more accurate to say that under capitalism, private property owners can KEEP the products of their employees' efforts, handing out only a small percentage back to them in the form of wages."

Just as I managed to keep the products of my employees' efforts. I would be ecstatic to find a way of sharing those "products" (losses) with them, but I can assure you that's not what THEY wish.

pinky


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


Edited by pinksharkmark (03/13/02 01:49 PM)


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Re: the poverty of all nations [Re: Phred]
    #577787 - 03/13/02 12:05 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

I just want to say that I never expected this thread to grow to the size that it has or the level of intelligent discussion that I'm reading.

pinksharkmark: Excellent posts, and I agree with you 100%

Agent Cooper: Very thought-out posts (for the most part) and while I don't agree with what you are saying...I love reading your opinions.

There's not much else I can post to this thread. I believe that Capitalism is a fair, just, and free alternative to our current Republican-Democratic society (as I see it). That's my opinion, and if the points I've made are not enough for any of you, well too bad. We are all entitled to our opinions, and I think that this may be one of those areas where no one is technically "wrong". I guess it all boils down to what each of us is looking for in a "perfect society". What any of us look for is necessarily different, even if the difference is only minor, than anyone else.


--------------------
Once, men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free.
But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: trendal]
    #577812 - 03/13/02 12:37 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

In reply to:

And no, in a true capitalism (which, I know, is something of a pipe-dream) the vast majority would own what they worked for. One of the basic ideas behind capitalism is that everyone gets what they work for. No more, and no less. The only people who would own "nothing" are the ones who don't try. If you want something, you work for it. If you work for something, you will get it (at least in capitalism). If you don't work for anything, you don't deserve anything and you won't get anything. Plain and simple. Capitalism "distributes" wealth justly: the harder you work, the more you get.





And what about those who can`t work (people with downs, crazy people etc...)?
In the true capitalist paradise they would be royaly fucked.
You would see massive amounts of homeless people and general poverty.
If you broke your leg and had no insurance the hospital would not treat you.
"Sorry no money no medical assistance" - "But I`ll die!" - "That`s not our problem" .
And with no taxes the government would not be able to do shit.
Law and order would be up to Police Services.Inc and The Military.Inc.
True capitalism sounds more like anarky with big corporations mixed in there.
Thank God we have a social democracy where you don`t need insurance up your ass
to feel safe and not having to worry about if your bank-account could handle it if
a medical emergency should occur.

A society is a very complex thing and easy solutions don`t always work
very well for complex problems.



--------------------
Things can only get better from now on!


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