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OfflinePhred
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: BlueShroom]
    #577837 - 03/13/02 01:34 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Blueshroom writes:

"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" . "

In a Capitalist society, if you wanted to help those people, no one would stop you.

Capitalism does not prevent people from helping others. One of the richest Capitalists in history, Andrew Carnegie, gave away ENORMOUS amounts of money to charities. He set up charitable foundations, endowed libraries and universities... he was one of many. Ever hear of the Rockefeller Foundation? The Mellon Foundation? Hell, even the arch-fiend Bill Gates contributes to charities.

"And with no taxes the government would not be able to do shit."

Perfect! Most of what they do now IS shit.

"Law and order would be up to Police Services.Inc and The Military.Inc. "

Not so. Inc.s are expected to be profitable. Police, courts and military are not.

"True capitalism sounds more like anarky with big corporations mixed in there. "

Laissez-faire Capitalism has sometimes been described as "minarchy", in that it involves the minimum possible involvement of government in the lives of its citizens.

"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."

If Norway is anything at all like the other countries of the world with socialized medicine, you are paying twice the price (in taxes and payroll deductions) for half the product (in terms of quality of health care). As an ex-Canadian who has many friends and relatives trying to struggle with the abysmal nightmare that is Canada's health care system, I can assure you that you would pay less and get more with Blue Cross.

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

The biggest single problem any society faces is that the rights of the indivduals within that society are routinely violated by the government. The simplest way to fix this problem is to restrict the government to a very rigidly defined function: the protection of the rights of its citizens.

Complexity has nothing to do with it. Either you are free to live your life without the forcible interference of others or you are not. Nothing complex about that.

pinky


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


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: trendal]
    #577879 - 03/13/02 02:46 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

The arguments for libertarianism and anarchism respectively are all very interesting but purely academic. Most people in the world would choose security over "freedom," abstractly defined, any day. Take a look at the case of the United States after the WTC attacks: the Bush administration has suspended a whole raft of civil liberties, instituted policies which are blatantly unconstitutional, all in the name of homeland security, and the public at large has barely made a peep about it. The same holds in economic matters in many advanced nations: people are willing to have their property "confiscated" (as the Libertarians put it) in the form of taxes so that they and the society at large are protected by some kind of safety net. They do this by choice. If they found it intolerable they would elect leaders with different policies or they would, like pinky, move to Caribbean island nations. Most of them don't.

The anti-democratic sentiments that have been expressed by both sides on this thread are disturbing. It's sort of like saying, "I'm going to shove 'freedom' down your throat whether you want it or not!" Which sort of negates the very definition of freedom. It is true that majority rule impinges on the freedom of people with minority opinions, but that's just an inescapable reality. Minority rule would soon collapse from internal tension and would be even more unjust. If people of minority opinions find the situation insufferable, in democracies they are always free to leave. There are plenty of people from other countries who would be happy to take their place and work hard within the balanced system of free enterprise combined with government oversight that the industrialized world has found, from a very long process of trial and error, to be most effective.

The issue of freedom within the bounds of not harming others is far more complex than the reductionist arguments of Libertarians make it out to be. A lot revolves on how you define "harm." Libertarians tend to define it as the direct application of force, but there are many cases, such as environmental pollution and the stripping of natural resources, where harm and impinging of freedom (such as the fredom to breathe clean air) are very real but hard to trace back to the source of original agency. At the moment people still don't take the problem too terribly seriously, but after a major environmental catastrophe or two you can bet that there will be broad support for environmental measures that will be as draconian as the ones the Bush administration has taken to fight terrorism. Once again, the desire for security will tip the balance against "freedom."

The beauty of democracy is that it enforces a kind of prudent pragmatism. Politicians create policies. People wait to see what happens. If things, taken on average, get better or at least stay the same, the politicians get to keep their jobs and their policies. If things take a marked turn for the worse, no amount of rhetoric or drum beating is going to save their hides. Bush the first had to find this out the hard way. The world is full of people of all political persuasions who have plenty of prescriptions on how to remedy society's problems. Most of these prescriptions are based on purely theoretical and ideological grounds, most of them have little to no empirical support, and most of them are completely out of touch with the messy nitty-gritty of day-to-day governance. The people who hold these views are free to air them, but democratic societies are by nature conservative and will never take radical measures to dismantle systems that work for most people, most of the time. Revolutions only occur in societies where misery and injustice have reached intolerable proportions, which is the case neither in the relatively lassiez-faire US nor in the welfare states of Western Europe. Yes, you can say "Oh, but things would be SO much better if we did this, and this, and this" but the fact is that you (anarchists and Libertarians both) have very little hard evidence to corroborate this--you only have your inviolate axioms and first principles (Authority is bad. Taxes are bad. Etc.) which you embrace with the faith of true believers. Whenever the going in the debate gets a little rough, you always return, in circular fashion, to the first principles. But in order to prove those first principles, you would need hard factual evidence. The only hard factual evidence that would convince most people would be the fact that nations that embrace your ideologies have the happiest, most contented, longest-living, best educated, most productive people anywhere. Unfortunately for you, those laurels belong to nations that do NOT embrace your principles.


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: BlueShroom]
    #577981 - 03/13/02 05:33 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

"And what about those who can`t work (people with downs, crazy people etc...)?
In the true capitalist paradise they would be royaly fucked.
"

What do they do right now? What support does our government provide these people at present? Most of the "sopport" for people who "can't work" comes from private organizations, charity, and non-profit groups. These groups exist primarily through human compassion. In a Capitalist society there would still be human compassion, so those groups would still be around.

It may sound cold, but in a "fair" society no one should have to unwillingly pay for another person's life. I should not have to pay for you to go to the doctor if I don't want to.


--------------------
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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Invisibleiglou
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Registered: 03/08/02
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: trendal]
    #578266 - 03/14/02 12:23 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

oh by the way, the United States is capitalist! Get your heads out of the sand. Next time you think otherwise, see what happens when you cannot afford rent or pay your waterbill.

Fuck capitalism.


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Anonymous

Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: iglou]
    #578277 - 03/14/02 12:44 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

The United States has Capitalist elements, it is by no means purely Capitalist.
Try being self employed and having to pay the Federal "Self Employment Tax"
on income of over 15% in addition to the regular income tax. Having to shop
with coupons, buy generic items and then while your standing in the checkout
counter seeing some parasites buying all the most expensive name brand
items with foods stamps!

Marx was wrong about the two classes, the real classifications should be
the 'Parasite Class' and the 'Producer Class.'


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Invisibleiglou
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: ]
    #578280 - 03/14/02 12:50 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

yeah, whatever you say Newt. Do all welfare recipients do this? What percentage? Prove it.

I would attribute this to both individual stupidity and corporate advert bombardment.


Edited by iglou (03/14/02 12:56 AM)


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Invisibleiglou
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: ]
    #578282 - 03/14/02 12:54 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

The U$ is more capitalist than anything. More than just 'elements'


Edited by iglou (03/14/02 12:57 AM)


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Anonymous

Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: iglou]
    #578293 - 03/14/02 01:13 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

iglou the asshole wrote:
"yeah, whatever you say Newt.....I would attribute this to both individual stupidity and corporate advert bombardment."

I am self employed, I buy groceries and I see it right in front of my own eyes
when I shop, you fucking self righteous socialist asshole. Next time I'll bring my
camera, take a picture and shove it up your ass so you can see what developes.


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: iglou]
    #578300 - 03/14/02 01:20 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

I said this already in this thead.

The US is not Capitalist. If it were, we wouldn't have to pay taxes, drugs wouldn't be illegal, and the government would not have the control that it does.


--------------------
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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Invisibleiglou
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Registered: 03/08/02
Posts: 295
Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: ]
    #578303 - 03/14/02 01:21 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

calm down big boy. who said anything about socialism? and why dont you talk to these 'parasites' yourself instead of venting anonymously on the freakin internet? Are you afraid to call people 'parasites' to their face? In fact you should take your camera along next time and take pictures of when you do that. haha


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OfflinePhred
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Registered: 10/19/00
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #578467 - 03/14/02 06:20 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

"The arguments for libertarianism and anarchism respectively are all very interesting but purely academic."

They weren't academic in America in 1776. Or in France in 1793. Or in the Soviet Union in 1991. What makes them more academic today?

"Most people in the world would choose security over "freedom," abstractly defined, any day."

Most people will accept any handout the government chooses to give them without stopping to think of where those handouts come from. That's how American members of Congress and the Senate get re-elected.

"The same holds in economic matters in many advanced nations: people are willing to have their property "confiscated" (as the Libertarians put it) in the form of taxes so that they and the society at large are protected by some kind of safety net. They do this by choice."

That is not exactly true. First of all, it is the "frog in a pot of boiling water" syndrome. Toss a frog in a pot of boiling water and he will immediately leap out again. Put the same frog in a pot of cold water, and slowly heat the water to boiling over a period of 24 hours or so. The frog will stay in the pot till he dies. This is what happened in the US. The erosion of individual freedoms and the increase of the tax burden took place bit by bit, always with some semi-palatable rationalization why it was "for the better". But if you were to somehow exchange today's American population with those who lived 80 years ago, there would be immediate armed revolution.

Secondly, people do NOT really do this by choice. More than once they have elected representatives who promise one thing, then deliver another. Does the phrase, "Read my lips! No more taxes!" sound familiar?

"If they found it intolerable they would elect leaders with different policies..."

Again, what is promised and what is delivered are two different things. Secondly, everyone is aware that the current campaign laws (enacted by the Republicrats) are heavily biased in favor of the Demopublican party. As just one example, when is the last time you saw a Presidential debate with anyone other than Republicrat and Demopublican candidates?

"...or they would, like pinky, move to Caribbean island nations. Most of them don't."

I had the financial resources, language skills, emotional makeup and lack of family ties to enable me to make the move. Many people don't. The "Love it or leave it" argument is not valid. "Love it or change it" is.

"The anti-democratic sentiments that have been expressed by both sides on this thread are disturbing."

I find it infinitely more disturbing to envision a truly Democratic society, where the majority do whatever they please to the minority.

"It's sort of like saying, "I'm going to shove 'freedom' down your throat whether you want it or not!" Which sort of negates the very definition of freedom."

Umm... what? I am genuinely puzzled by this statement. I am not being facetious at all, here, I am being serious. How can you "force" someone to be free? All you can do is to not fuck with them. If they want to pay some some huckster or group of hucksters to tell them what they can and can't do, they are certainly FREE to do so -- I am sure there will never be a shortage of takers for a sweet deal like that. But the fact that they want to be enslaved does not obligate the rest of us to enslave them.

"It is true that majority rule impinges on the freedom of people with minority opinions, but that's just an inescapable reality."

It is far from inescapable. Both Libertarians and anarchists have pointed out numerous examples of real life societies (current and historical) who exist(ed) with no minority freedoms being impinged.

"Minority rule would soon collapse from internal tension and would be even more unjust."

Of course. But neither anarchists nor Libertarians advocate minority rule. We advocate NO rule.

"If people of minority opinions find the situation insufferable, in democracies they are always free to leave."

See the above comment re: "Love it or leave it".

"... a balanced system of free enterprise combined with government oversight that the industrialized world has found, from a very long process of trial and error, to be most effective."

It could perhaps be argued (unsuccessfully) that it is effective, but it is not the MOST effective. It is certainly not moral. Justifying a political system by its "effectiveness" is a slippery slope. Who defines what is "effective"? The slave-based societies of ancient Egypt, Rome, et al. were considered to be pretty effective by the slave owners. The human sacrifice-based societies in Meso-America and Africa were considered to be pretty effective by those who weren't sacrificial victims. Hitler was pretty effective at making the trains run on time. The Soviet Union was pretty effective at putting things in orbit and providing a decent life for the commissars.

As for "trial and error", that is nonsense. When a government (any government) passes some legislation that has harmful effects, they almost never repeal that legislation (with rare exceptions such as prohibition), instead they pass more legislation. When that fails, they pass even MORE. When the only tool you have is a hammer, you see an endless forest of nails. That is not trial and error, that is error compounded by error. Further, no government in the history of civilization has ever voluntarily relinquished control of anything.

"The issue of freedom within the bounds of not harming others is far more complex than the reductionist arguments of Libertarians make it out to be."

No, it is not complex at all.

"A lot revolves on how you define "harm." Libertarians tend to define it as the direct application of force, but there are many cases, such as environmental pollution and the stripping of natural resources, where harm and impinging of freedom (such as the fredom to breathe clean air) are very real but hard to trace back to the source of original agency."

The application of force is the underlying PRINCIPLE from which laws covering specific instances of harm are derived. Fraud, for example (which Libertarians define as a crime) is an extension of the application of physical force. So is pollution. The fact that in some cases of pollution it is difficult to trace it back to the original source does not change the fact that it causes harm, and therefore must be dealt with by the legal system, just as the fact that it was difficult to catch the Ted Bundys and Charlie Mansons of the world doesn't change the fact that they were causing harm.

"The beauty of democracy is that it enforces a kind of prudent pragmatism."

Pragmatism, "prudent" or not, is a very dangerous (and fundamentally flawed) philosophy to base your personal life on, much less a political system that affects an entire society. Nazism, Fascism, and Totalitarianism are all "pragmatic" -- do whatever "works" regardless of where the chips may fall.

"If things take a marked turn for the worse, no amount of rhetoric or drum beating is going to save their hides. Bush the first had to find this out the hard way."

It makes no difference whatsoever when a specific politician fails to get re-elected, because the Demopublican standing behind him in line is 99% identical to the one who just got the boot. The only difference is that he has not YET fucked you over.

"The world is full of people of all political persuasions who have plenty of prescriptions on how to remedy society's problems. Most of these prescriptions are based on purely theoretical and ideological grounds, most of them have little to no empirical support, and most of them are completely out of touch with the messy nitty-gritty of day-to-day governance."

Most DO lack empirical support. However, Libertarians and Laissez-faire Capitalists do not fit that description. There is plenty of empirical evidence to support the validity of the systems they propose. How can anyone who has read even a little bit of history fail to note the textbook examples of East Germany vs West Germany, or Hong Kong vs Maoist China, or Czechoslovakia vs the rest of the Eastern Bloc, or the United States of America and England vs every place else in the world during the nineteenth century?

"Revolutions only occur in societies where misery and injustice have reached intolerable proportions, which is the case neither in the relatively lassiez-faire US nor in the welfare states of Western Europe."

I would say, "... which is not YET the case..."

"Yes, you can say "Oh, but things would be SO much better if we did this, and this, and this" but the fact is that you (anarchists and Libertarians both) have very little hard evidence to corroborate this --"

See above comments on East Germany, Hong Kong, etc.

"--you only have your inviolate axioms and first principles."

Those who cannot distinguish between an axiom and an arbitrary statement will have a pretty difficult life. Those who don't understand the difference between a first principle and a derivative of that principle should not be placed in a position of authority. Those who can't distinguish between a fundamental concept and a specific are hardly likely to be able to distinguish between a welfare-state candidate's flowery phrases and a religious right candidate's flowery statements.

"(Authority is bad. Taxes are bad. Etc.) which you embrace with the faith of true believers. Whenever the going in the debate gets a little rough, you always return, in circular fashion, to the first principles."

Faith has nothing to do with it. Of course one must look to first principles; to do otherwise is stupid. The laws of the universe obey first principles. To follow any course of action that flies in the face of REALITY is self-destructive. No amount of "wishing it weren't so" will change the metaphysical FACT that "it IS so." The universe is supremely indifferent to your (or my) wishes. "Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed."

"But in order to prove those first principles, you would need hard factual evidence."

There is ample evidence that the less government interference a country has, the more successful it is. Many, many examples PROVE this. Pre-socialist England vs Labor Party England. Pre-1997 Hong Kong vs PRC Hong Kong. Post-Revolution France vs Monarchy France. Pre-Kaiser Germany vs Post WWI Germany. Pre-Johnson United States vs Post Watergate United States. Post-Trujillo Dominican Republic vs Colonial Dominican Republic, or Papa Doc Haiti. Czechoslovakia vs Romania. West Germany vs East Germany. Liberia vs Uganda. Parliamentary Japan vs. Imperial Japan. Canada under Diefenbaker or Pearson vs Canada under Trudeau or Chretien. Hell, even the politburo of the People's Republic of China has finally realized that it must turn a blind eye to internal capitalist activity in order to survive.

"The only hard factual evidence that would convince most people would be the fact that nations that embrace your ideologies have the happiest, most contented, longest-living, best educated, most productive people anywhere."

And those nations would be? Got a list of the top ten nations that are "the happiest and most contented"? How the hell can you measure such a subjective state of mind, anyway? I am sure that a public opinion poll of Stalinist Russia would have shown people were happy:

Party pollster -- "So, Comrade, are you happy?"

Peasant on a Collective Farm in the Ukraine -- *cringes* "Oh, yes, Comrade Commissar! Very happy indeed! Happy, happy, happy! A little hungry, maybe..."

Party pollster -- "Excellent answer, Comrade!" *makes checkmark on list, moves on as peasant collapses from starvation*

As for "longest-lived", that is more heavily influenced by genetics, exercise, climate and diet than by political systems, and you KNOW that. Best-educated? How can that be determined without worldwide standardized tests and mass testing? I've met holders of Bachelor degrees from diploma mills who were more poorly educated than others with high school diplomas, and I have met home-schooled people and autodidacts who were even better educated than that. Most productive? By what measure? Per capita GNP adjusted for inflation? Per capita GDP divided by man-hours worked? What role do government "services" play in the ranking? Who decides the relative weight of the factors involved -- a Socialist, a Libertarian, or a Republicrat?

"Unfortunately for you, those laurels belong to nations that do NOT embrace your principles."

The most successful countries of today DID embrace those principles in the past. The only reason they have those laurels today is that they are coasting on the momentum generated from those times. Some will slip faster than others did, as England and Canada did. Others will take longer to decline.

You claim (like all pragmatists) that all that matters is what you see in front of your face TODAY. You say that any examples from a time before you started reading newspapers are invalid because "Things are different today". You say that it is useless to speculate that we might be better off if we weren't hobbled by government fetters, and hold up a list of "Top 20" countries in various categories to "prove" it, ignoring the fact that every country in the world is hobbled and the names on the list are merely the "best of a bad lot". They are not the most successful, they are the least fucked. Your justification is that we ARE hobbled by government fetters. Who is using circular arguments here?

That's like claiming the Olympic records from 1900 are invalid but the results from the "Special Olympics" of 2000 are.

pinky


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


Edited by pinksharkmark (03/14/02 12:40 PM)


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OfflinePhred
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: ]
    #578642 - 03/14/02 12:09 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

evolving writes:

"Marx was wrong about the two classes, the real classifications should be the 'Parasite Class' and the 'Producer Class.' "

Ooooohhhh! Good one! That would make an outstanding sig.

pinky


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #578723 - 03/14/02 01:44 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

"Most people will accept any handout the government chooses to give them without stopping to think of where those handouts come from. That's how American members of Congress and the Senate get re-elected. "

So be it. People get the leaders they deserve.

"As just one example, when is the last time you saw a Presidential debate with anyone other than Republicrat and Demopublican candidates?"

Ross Perot.

"I find it infinitely more disturbing to envision a truly Democratic society, where the majority do whatever they please to the minority."

You tend to push your examples to the reductio ad absurdum. Democracies recognize the need to protect the expression of minority opinion and basic human rights. Unlike you, people in the real world recognize that there are shades of gray.

"It is far from inescapable. Both Libertarians and anarchists have pointed out numerous examples of real life societies (current and historical) who exist(ed) with no minority freedoms being impinged."

Remind me which those might be.

"Of course. But neither anarchists nor Libertarians advocate minority rule. We advocate NO rule. "

Which is why they both qualify as possessed of a juvenile mentality (i.e., I want my rights without responsibilities). You yourself have stated that authority is inescapable in any organization, be it a small business or a school. Why should the polity be any different?

"Pragmatism, "prudent" or not, is a very dangerous (and fundamentally flawed) philosophy to base your personal life on, much less a political system that affects an entire society. Nazism, Fascism, and Totalitarianism are all "pragmatic" -- do whatever "works" regardless of where the chips may fall."

No, they weren't pragmatic in the long-term sense because they all failed, very often ending in disaster and the loss of millions of lives. There are short and long-term types of pragmatism, as there are of everything else. Those political systems took a short-term view and jettisoned morality in the process. Pragmatism and morality can exist side by side. Please don't browbeat me about morality--you're hardly a paragon of compassion, as your numerous posts make clear.

"Most DO lack empirical support. However, Libertarians and Laissez-faire Capitalists do not fit that description. There is plenty of empirical evidence to support the validity of the systems they propose. How can anyone who has read even a little bit of history fail to note the textbook examples of East Germany vs West Germany, or Hong Kong vs Maoist China, or Czechoslovakia vs the rest of the Eastern Bloc, or the United States of America and England vs every place else in the world during the nineteenth century?"

Uh, hello? None of the examples you give are Libertarian. West Germany is a social welfare state, for god's sake. Hong Kong was a colony and is still "exceptional" in a number of ways in the context of the PRC. Czechoslovakia wasn't and isn't laissez-faire either. The US in the 19th century didn't need to worry itself over defense and was bursting at the gills with natural resources. The British Empire had its entire empire to pillage. As usual, you overlook all mitigating factors and qualifications that don't support your oversimplified views.

"There is ample evidence that the less government interference a country has, the more successful it is. Many, many examples PROVE this. Pre-socialist England vs Labor Party England. Pre-1997 Hong Kong vs PRC Hong Kong. Post-Revolution France vs Monarchy France. Pre-Kaiser Germany vs Post WWI Germany. Pre-Johnson United States vs Post Watergate United States. Post-Trujillo Dominican Republic vs Colonial Dominican Republic, or Papa Doc Haiti. Czechoslovakia vs Romania. West Germany vs East Germany. Liberia vs Uganda. Parliamentary Japan vs. Imperial Japan. Canada under Diefenbaker or Pearson vs Canada under Trudeau or Chretien. Hell, even the politburo of the People's Republic of China has finally realized that it must turn a blind eye to internal capitalist activity in order to survive."

This grab bag of examples is too confused to be relevant. Too many factors are at play in each case. Just one example: Japan. Parliamentary Japan (I assume you mean pre-war--post-war is a completely different case of being an American protectorate) was NEVER laissez-faire, and actually, neither was post-war Japan. Japan practices convoy capitalism, in which government bureaucracy and industrial conglomerates work hand in hand in something that very closely resembles a planned economy. Imperial Japan's problems were founded in its belligerence, not in its economic policies. As usual, you oversimplify and distort issues beyond recognition. Futhermore, your memory of history is selective. How do you explain the fact that the US and the UK under Clinton and Blair have done relatively better than they did under Reagan/Bush and Thatcher/Major? You're right about Canada, but all that proves is that the issue is much too complicated to be decided simply on the basis of the old Left/Right divide. Global growth cycles, technology cycles, etc., etc. all come into play.

As for "fundamental principles" etc., the study of people and human societies is not the study of physics. Physical objects possess neither intelligence nor volition: their behavior is predictable. Humans possess both, as well as a good deal of irrationality (contrary to what economic theorists claim). Their behavior is unpredictable, both in the case of individuals and in the case of societies. This makes it very difficult to run societies that WORK--the fact that the vast majority of societies on earth barely function at all is indication enough of that. Radical changes in societies that DO, for the most part, work entailsrisks that you blithely ignore but that most reasonable people are acutely conscious of.




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InvisibleIncognito
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: trendal]
    #578975 - 03/14/02 07:35 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

neither is the USA a true democracy. and to say the officials are elected is rubbish. the electoral processes in the united states is flawed. one could say that the "capitalist" states sold out their own selves, or the gov did it for them.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #579389 - 03/15/02 05:48 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

echovortex writes:

"So be it. People get the leaders they deserve."

The problem is that not only are the people who voted for them stuck with them (always a minority of eligible voters), everyone else is, too. Did those who voted for Gore or Nader deserve to get Bush? Besides, we don't need "leaders". We need protectors.

"Ross Perot."

Exactly. A decade ago. And that was the ONLY time a televised presidential debate included three candidates. Furthermore, Andre Marrou, the Libertarian candidate, was excluded from the debate by the Commission on Presidential Debates, even though -- just like Ross Perot -- Marrou was on the ballot in all fifty states.

"You tend to push your examples to the reductio ad absurdum."

Of course. That is the only way to test whether something which appears reasonable at first glance actually holds up under scrutiny. Anyone who understands how to use logic understands that.

"Democracies recognize the need to protect the expression of minority opinion..."

Expressing your opinion means nothing if your rights are violated. "We will violate your rights, but we won't punish you for protesting it."

"...and basic human rights."

They may claim to protect basic human rights, but they don't. Who gave them the right to tell you that you can't pick a mushroom from the forest and eat it?

"Unlike you, people in the real world recognize that there are shades of gray."

I recognize shades of gray. For example, unlike anarchists, I realize that there must be SOME commonly-recognized agent to whom is deputed the monopoly on the use of retaliatory force in order to protect the members of a society. But, unlike you, I also recognize there are some issues where things ARE black or white. You are either pregnant or you or not. You either have the products of your efforts taken from you forcibly to finance the violation of your own rights or you voluntarily give some of those products to support causes you believe in.

"Remind me which those might be."

Hunter gatherer societies, the Paris Commune, Spanish Civil war Barcelona (I won't vouch for these last two myself, just thought I'd help out the Anarchists), nineteenth century America (excepting the pre-Civil War Southern States, who tried to secede so they could continue to violate minority rights), the Amish, the Mennonites, innumerable hippy communes both in the US and elsewhere.

"Which is why they both qualify as possessed of a juvenile mentality (i.e., I want my rights without responsibilities)."

Rights are not magic beans that are created by governments and doled out to their constituents. Rights are an inherent attribute of every human, and cannot be "granted" by anyone. They can only be curtailed, and then only by other humans. The only responsibility you must fulfill in order to continue to exercise the rights you were born with is to refrain from violating the rights of others.

"You yourself have stated that authority is inescapable in any organization, be it a small business or a school. Why should the polity be any different?"

Do you really not grasp the difference? Let me spell it out for you -- because you submit yourself VOLUNTARILY to the narrowly limited authority of a business owner or a school principal. And, if the owner or the principal changes the rules on you in the middle of the game, you can remove yourself from his authority. Enormous difference between the two.

"No, they weren't pragmatic in the long-term sense because they all failed, very often ending in disaster and the loss of millions of lives."

So not only are political systems based on pragmatism immoral, they have been proven to fail catastrophically with massive loss of human life.

"There are short and long-term types of pragmatism as there are of everything else. Those political systems took a short-term view and jettisoned morality in the process."

The Nazis were certainly thinking long-term. Does "The Thousand Year Reich" ring a bell? Pragmatism is a well-defined philosophical system which holds, in a nutshell, that the ends justify the means. "Whatever works". Nietzsche was the prototypical pragmatist.

"Pragmatism and morality can exist side by side."

Only by accident, and only till the next perceived "crisis". The War on Poverty. The War on Inflation. The War on Drugs. The War on Terrorism. What is that famous pragmatist slogan? Oh, yeah... "You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs". In a political context, the eggs are humans.

"Please don't browbeat me about morality--you're hardly a paragon of compassion, as your numerous posts make clear."

Morality and compassion are not equivalent. One can be compassionate without being moral: a mugger beating the crap out of a dozen people and stealing their stuff so he can buy an orphan kid a ticket to the Knicks game is acting out of compassion. "But it was for a good cause! The poor little nipper had never seen a Knicks game!"

Further, you know NOTHING about my compassion. You have no idea how much of my time, work, advice and money I have given away VOLUNTARILY, nor to whom I have given it. Government enforced "compassion" is no compassion at all.

"Uh, hello? None of the examples you give are Libertarian... As usual, you overlook all mitigating factors and qualifications that don't support your oversimplified views."

I never said they were. Since there has never been a 100% Laissez-faire Capitalist society in recorded history, I very carefully chose to present my examples as opposing PAIRS... the MOST free from government interference vs. the LEAST free, and carefully restricted them even further to examples that were as close together geographically and in time as possible, thereby minimizing all other factors but the system of government. I had hoped that people would be able to grasp the obvious contrast, and make the connection. I guess I failed. Do you deny the enormous disparities between the most free of each pair and the least free?

"This grab bag of examples is too confused to be relevant. Too many factors are at play in each case."

Which is why I started with the less confusing and more clearcut examples above. But just for shits and giggles, since you seemed sure I couldn't produce even one example, I stopped at a dozen.

"Parliamentary Japan ... was NEVER laissez-faire, and actually, neither was post-war Japan."

I never said Japan (or ANY of my examples) was Laissez-faire.

"As usual, you oversimplify and distort issues beyond recognition."

As usual, you seem incapable of recognizing basic principles, even when presented as simply as possible.

"How do you explain the fact that the US and the UK under Clinton and Blair have done relatively better than they did under Reagan/Bush and Thatcher/Major?"

Any economist (whether of Libertarian or Socialist leaning) will tell you there is a substantial lead time between the initiation of a particular economic policy and its results. That is one of the very few areas of agreement in economic theory. Also, Clinton and Blair had the luxury of operating in a post Cold War world where the Soviet Union no longer existed, enabling reductions in expenditures on military and intelligence gathering.

"You're right about Canada, but all that proves is that the issue is much too complicated to be decided simply on the basis of the old Left/Right divide."

That's the conclusion you have leaped to. But the truth is that the US and England have recently been governed by alternating groups of relative "Liberals" and relative "Conservatives", while Canada has been exclusively governed by Liberals (with the exception of the brief Mulroney period) for four decades. As well, the key economic powerhouse provinces (Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia) have been governed by outright Socialists for extended periods of time. BC has been Socialist for longer than I have been alive, I believe.

This is why Canada, despite its incredible richness in natural resources, and despite never having wasted money on nuclear weapons or putting a man on the moon or any standing military to speak of, or pissing it away in wars (such as Viet Nam, Panama, Falkland Islands, Grenada, Nicaragua, the Irish troubles, the Gulf War, Afghanistan) has been steadily declining for those four decades while the US and Britain have been seesawing a bit from time to time. Canada is the closest thing to a Socialist country you will find outside Europe.

"Physical objects possess neither intelligence nor volition: their behavior is predictable. Humans possess both, as well as a good deal of irrationality (contrary to what economic theorists claim). Their behavior is unpredictable, both in the case of individuals and in the case of societies."

Agreed. Thank you for making my point for me. This is precisely why the limits of government power must be as narrowly drawn as possible... so the consequences of unpredictable and irrational behavior by those with the legal monopoly on the use of force (politicians) will do as little damage as possible in case some of them go haywire from time to time.

"This makes it very difficult to run societies that WORK..."

It is not necessary to "run" societies at all. Societies run themselves just fine if left alone. It is clear you hold a pretty dim view of humanity. You have convinced yourself that people will not help others unless FORCED to by government, and that people are too stupid to survive without a government to tell them what to do.

"...the fact that the vast majority of societies on earth barely function at all is indication enough of that."

The vast majority of societies on earth are so clogged with government interference that it is a miracle they run AT ALL, let alone "barely function". Again, thank you for making my point so neatly. Whose side are you REALLY on anyway? People will think you're my sock puppet if you keep doing my work for me.

"Radical changes in societies that DO, for the most part, work..."

My, how we have fallen. We no longer strive for excellence, or even proficiency, or even competence, nay, not even for mediocrity. Now we are content if things "for the most part, work". And even then at the expense of wholesale and ever-increasing violations of individual rights.

"... entails risks that you blithely ignore ..."

Nothing blithe about it at all. I take these topics extremely seriously, I assure you. I don't post my opinions reflexively. Philosophy -- political philosophy in particular -- has been my main area of interest (my passion, if you will) for over three decades. I have been reading and thinking about and debating these risks with people from all walks of life, and over a dozen countries (including but not limited to: politicians, labor leaders, university professors and political refugees), for longer than you have likely been on the planet. Whatever you may think of my opinions, you must admit that I am not an ill-read yokel of sub-par IQ. Due to the effort I put into this area, the opinions I hold today are significantly different from those I held three decades ago.

"... but that most reasonable people are acutely conscious of."

Reasonable people? I leave it to the readers to decide for themselves which contributors to this thread have reason on their side.

pinky


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #579802 - 03/15/02 05:10 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Earlier you wrote "I had the financial resources, language skills, emotional makeup and lack of family ties to enable me to make the move. Many people don't. The "Love it or leave it" argument is not valid. "Love it or change it" is."

If "love it or leave it" is not valid, why did you leave? Why didn't you stay to fight the good fight and live by the "love it or change it" creed? You're doing a hatchet job on your own character here.

""Remind me which those might be."

Hunter gatherer societies, the Paris Commune, Spanish Civil war Barcelona (I won't vouch for these last two myself, just thought I'd help out the Anarchists), nineteenth century America (excepting the pre-Civil War Southern States, who tried to secede so they could continue to violate minority rights), the Amish, the Mennonites, innumerable hippy communes both in the US and elsewhere."

Your examples are feeble--no, they're utterly besides the point. These are all self-selecting communities where there ARE no minorities per se, because all members subscribe to the same essential bedrock values. That includes hunter gatherer societies which didn't have competing ideologies to speak of.

I'm perfectly open to the possibility that the measures you endorse may work in some places at some times. I'll watch the situation in the Dominican Republic closely over the next 10 to 20 years to see how things turn out. I'm not closed minded about it. What I object to, however, is your monomaniacal insistence that your favored political system is the only one for all times and all places. This is sheer dogmatism, and it belies all of the careful consideration you claim to have put into your thoughts on political philosophy. In the course of these debates you have implicitly compared me to everybody from Stalinists to Nazis, but the fact of the matter is that in your single-mindedness you are actually far closer to their way of doing things. They too, had a single-problem/single-solution view of the world. Nazis: "All our problems are due to: Jews. Solution: get rid of them." Communists: "All our problems are due to: capitalists. Solution: get rid of them." Libertarians: "All our problems are due to: government interference. Solution: get rid of it."

Totalitarians, etc. are not true pragmatists. Anybody whose goal is global or continental domination is simply delusional, not pragmatic. Fascism is not a species of pragmatism, it's a species of romanticism nationalism, full of dreams of a return to "natural" society and the organic links of "Blut und Boden," blood and soil. I'm sorry, but your grasp of intellectual history is extremely shaky on this point.

Your thirty years' reading in political philosophy doesn't really mean much. You simply have your chosen ideology and any empirical evidence that casts doubt on it you conveniently dismiss. If you're still doing that now, I have no reason to believe you haven't been doing it for the past thirty years. Okay, you've made the evolutionary step up from anarchism and into liberatarianism. Hardly a great deal of progress for 30 years' time, if you ask me.

When it comes to compassion, you certainly don't exhibit much on these posts. When others give examples of people who have fallen on hard times, laid off, fallen ill, etc. your standard reply is something like "well, let 'em find another job," or "in a capitalist society, you're allowed to help those people." When it comes to taxation, however, you completely lose your can-do attitude and become a whiner: "It's not fair!" or something like that, despite the fact that you yourself have pointed out countless times that the world is not fair. If people don't like being taxed, let 'em make more money. If they get bumped to a higher bracket, let 'em keep making more money until they're making enough so that they're satisfied with what they have after taxes. One could argue, in fact, that taxation provides a kind of psychological economic stimulus by forcing people to be more productive to attain the lifestyle they want.

As far as Canada's failings go, what can say? They're not Scandinavians. Scandinavians seem quite happy with their way of doing things, and despite their small sizes and limited natural resources, they've made quite an impact on the global economy.

As I said before, I'm open to seeing what happens. I would be satsified living in the relatively laissez-faire US (where I reside), in convoy capitalist Japan (where I lived for three years), or in the social welfare states of Western Europe (where I have also spent extended periods). All three of these seem viable possibilities to me, each reflecting the values and priorities of the people who live in those societies. If the Dominican Republic becomes the mini-powerhouse that you think it is destined to be, I'll be open to the implications.


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Invisibleiglou
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #580116 - 03/16/02 12:03 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

So how do we reach this utopian capitalist world?
Cuts to subsidies to fuel and to food in a variety of countries, the privatisation of wide sectors of government, cuts to social spending, creating competitive practices by ensuring flexible labour or by getting rid of a variety of standards, right? Sounds like the IMF's Structural Adjustment Policies. Haha, gee what a world of good that did to Argentina...up until recently regarded by many as a "free market heaven" and "working example of the capitalist vision." Haha. And there are many, many, many more examples of countries who have gone thru such changes in the last 25 or so years & were fucked royally. Chile, anyone?

The definition of insanity is doing the same damn thing over and over again expecting different results. I'm glad pinksharksmark is living far away on an island.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #580131 - 03/16/02 12:24 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

echovortex writes:

If "love it or leave it" is not valid, why did you leave? Why didn't you stay to fight the good fight and live by the "love it or change it" creed? You're doing a hatchet job on your own character here.

One is not forced to dedicate one's life to political activism if there are other options available. I didn't say that "love it or leave it" wasn't a valid OPTION, I said it isn't a valid ARGUMENT.

"Your examples are feeble--no, they're utterly besides the point. "

The history of the US from 1776 till 1909 is beside the point? Okay, then.

The POINT was that you first claimed: "It is true that majority rule impinges on the freedom of people with minority opinions, but that's just an inescapable reality." In other words, you claimed that majority rule is the ONLY option available to human societies. I gave examples of societies that were organized on something other than majority rule. If you think my response didn't address the point, maybe some other readers of the thread will disagree.

"What I object to, however, is your monomaniacal insistence that your favored political system is the only one for all times and all places. This is sheer dogmatism, and it belies all of the careful consideration you claim to have put into your thoughts on political philosophy."

I insist that freedom from force is the essential prerequisite for all humans, at all times, in all geographical locations. I didn't always think that way. If someone can come up with a convincing argument as to why I am wrong, I will change my mind. So far no one has brought such an argument to my attention.

"In the course of these debates you have implicitly compared me to everybody from Stalinists to Nazis, but the fact of the matter is that in your single-mindedness you are actually far closer to their way of doing things."

Where did I ever do that? My only comments re Nazis and Stalinists regarded the fact that their political systems were pragmatic. Oh, and I used an example of a Stalinist poll-taker to illustrate how impossible it is to decide which are the top ten countries with the "happiest" populace. I didn't do so to imply that YOU are a Stalinist -- I am fully aware that you believe majority rule is the best way to decide how societies should be ruled. You have made that abundantly clear. I (unlike you) refrained from any personal attacks ("over-simplified", " sheer dogmatism", "monomaniacal", "juvenile mentality", "hardly a paragon of compassion") until your virulence got irksome, so I allowed myself a few return snipes.

But the truth of a proposition is not dependent on WHO utters it. It doesn't matter to me if you think I am a shithead. What is important is whether or not my POSITION is correct or incorrect. For example, I find the majority of Proudhon's observations are sound, convincing, and cannot rationally be disputed. His ultimate conclusions are flawed, but there is still a tremendous amount of value in his writings.

Rather than excoriate each other over perceived personal shortcomings, why not address the topic at hand embodied in the title of this thread... the fact that the US is not Capitalist.

"They too, had a single-problem/single-solution view of the world. Nazis: "All our problems are due to: Jews. Solution: get rid of them." Communists: "All our problems are due to: capitalists. Solution: get rid of them." Libertarians: "All our problems are due to: government interference. Solution: get rid of it."

You see the two worldviews expressed here as identical. I see them as diametrically opposed. The Statists see HUMANS as the problem, and advocate the initiation of force against humans to try to solve the problem. Libertarians see the initiation of FORCE as the problem, and advocate freeing humans from force.

As you can see from the above example, it is important to reduce a statement to its first principles in order to determine its validity, rather than rely on its grammatical arrangement.

"Totalitarians, etc. are not true pragmatists. Anybody whose goal is global or continental domination is simply delusional, not pragmatic."

It is not necessary to think past the borders of your own country to be a totalitarian. Hitler and Stalin were not the only totalitarians in history. Pol Pot, Papa Doc, Trujillo, Idi Amin, Ayatollah Khomeini, The Royal House of Saud, Czieczescu, Mao, and many more were perfectly content to dominate their own citizens.

"Fascism is not a species of pragmatism, it's a species of romanticism nationalism, full of dreams of a return to "natural" society and the organic links of "Blut und Boden," blood and soil. I'm sorry, but your grasp of intellectual history is extremely shaky on this point."

It is possible to be both a romantic nationalist and a pragmatist. If you had had time to read Shirer's "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich", Hitler's "Mein Kampf", "Essays in Pragmatism" (A. Castell, editor), "The Voice of Destruction" by Rauschning, "National Socialism" by Raymond Murphy et al., "The Mind and Face of Nazi Germany" by John Murray, "Escape from Freedom" by Erich Fromm, "Nazi Culture" (translated by S. Attanasio), "The Crisis of German Ideology" by George L. Mosse, "Mussolini's Italy" by Herman Finer, "The Doctrine of Fascism" (Enciclopedia Italiana, 1932), "Three Faces of Fascism" by Ernst Nolte, "Mythus. The Nazi Years" (J. Remak, editor), Goering's speeches in Rader's "Germany Reborn", "Eichmann in Jerusalem" by Hannah Arendt, "The Origins of Totalitarianism" by Harcourt et al., "The Spirit and Structure of German Fascism" by Wilhelm Stapel, "Communism, Fascism and Democracy" (C. Cohen, editor) as well as Nietzsche, Kant, Hegel, Engels, Schopenhauer etc., you would see the connection more clearly.

"Your thirty years' reading in political philosophy doesn't really mean much. You simply have your chosen ideology and any empirical evidence that casts doubt on it you conveniently dismiss."

Who is dismissing empirical evidence? You conveniently dismiss the entire nineteenth century.

"If you're still doing that now, I have no reason to believe you haven't been doing it for the past thirty years."

I don't dismiss empirical evidence, but I interpret it differently than you do, possibly because I can distinguish between cause and effect.

"Okay, you've made the evolutionary step up from anarchism and into liberatarianism."

I was never an anarchist. I was the Canadian version of a Liberal, which is pretty leftist by American standards. I once voted for Pierre Trudeau (may God forgive my soul).

"Hardly a great deal of progress for 30 years' time, if you ask me."

I guess some of us are slower learners than others.

"When it comes to compassion, you certainly don't exhibit much on these posts."

Because my personal level of compassion is irrelevant to the topic under discussion, as is yours. As I said before, submitting to government extortion is not an indicator of compassion.

"When others give examples of people who have fallen on hard times, laid off, fallen ill, etc. your standard reply is something like 'well, let 'em find another job,' or 'in a capitalist society, you're allowed to help those people.' "

And your standard answer is "Take money from some stranger by force (through an agent - the government) and give a fraction of that money to them".

"When it comes to taxation, however, you completely lose your can-do attitude and become a whiner: "It's not fair!" or something like that, despite the fact that you yourself have pointed out countless times that the world is not fair."

You seem to miss the distinction between the metaphysical (the nature of the universe and the nature of man as a living being) and the man-made. I have NEVER said that world is unfair. I said the universe (the world) is indifferent. To take my property from me against my will and hand it to another (taxes) is more than unfair, it is WRONG. To persuade me to voluntarily hand it to another (charity) is NOT wrong. It has nothing to do with a "can do" attitude or unfairness, it is THEFT, pure and simple. The fact that another is in a less fortunate position than me does not obligate me to support him. If I CHOOSE to support him (and, for what it is worth, I DO routinely freely donate not insubstantial sums to the less fortunate here, but even if I personally did not do so, it would not change the principle under discussion) that is MY decision and MY decision alone. Neither you, nor any group, has the right to force me to support any random individual.

"If people don't like being taxed, let 'em make more money. If they get bumped to a higher bracket, let 'em keep making more money until they're making enough so that they're satisfied with what they have after taxes."

LOL. I'll let that well-reasoned solution stand without comment.

"One could argue, in fact, that taxation provides a kind of psychological economic stimulus by forcing people to be more productive to attain the lifestyle they want."

*Gasp* ROFLMAO! *Wipes tears from eyes* Stop it! *Hee-hee-hee* You're killing me, here.

"As far as Canada's failings go, what can say? They're not Scandinavians. Scandinavians seem quite happy with their way of doing things, and despite their small sizes and limited natural resources, they've made quite an impact on the global economy."

You might want to sit at the bar I used to work at here in the Dominican Republic and talk to some of the Swedish young people who are here on vacation. The ones who move here a few months later. Or are trying desperately to get a green card so they can move to the US. Or even (believe it or not) move to Canada. It might change your opinion of just how happy they are.

"If the Dominican Republic becomes the mini-powerhouse that you think it is destined to be, I'll be open to the implications."

Unless the current government is replaced in the next election, I'm out of here myself. Fortunately, I believe they'll be thrown out... maybe even before their term is up. Even the poorest Dominicans here are pretty disgruntled with how the current government has managed to pretty much shut down the economy.

pinky


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InvisibleAgent Cooper
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fire your boss [Re: Phred]
    #580270 - 03/16/02 04:10 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

In reply to:

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.



I would suggest the workers themselves go on strike if they had not already joined the general strike. And because of the revolutionary climate, the workers could not be significantly -if at all- replaced. And if they somehow were replaced by, say, scabs from abroad, a boycott would be in order. Eventually, the owner would tear up his deeds and private owernship would nullified - not through "robbery" but via good ol' market forces (workers freely-deciding not to work and the public at large deciding not to support the factory). After ownership is canceled, self-management would be activated.

In reply to:

If the factory owner voluntarily agrees to a compromise, no problem....Businesses change their way of operating due to boycotts, strikes, mass resignations or threatened resignations, public opinion.



Exactly. See there is no "robbery" involved, no "nationalization," no state-bureacracy assuming power. So you can put that boogey-man to rest.

In reply to:

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?



You can have a kiln if you so desire. In fact, I wish you the best of luck unlocking your knack for ceramics. And if you produce a mass abundance of pottery that you could never possibly use and voluntarily choose to donate a few while the community is in the process of building their own kiln, even better. But if you decide to not participate in the community and just let them plates stack up to the sky, so be it. You can even try selling them, but I'm sure you'll just receive funny looks from people would rather not engage in such an obselete means of survival. Good luck finding someone willing to submit to wages and your part-time command in Anarcheland...but if you do find someone, that's your fetish man. I would just think you're an oddball. "That pinksharkmark and his wage-slave are is trying to sell me those plates again...they are so 19th century."

In reply to:

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?



Occupancy and use, my comrade. My house was both occupied by my possessions and was currently in "use" even if I was away for the weekend. I would ask who they were and what they needed. Perhaps they are a family who has recently moved to the region and was not hip to how to everything worked in Anarcheland. I would let them rest if needed and then direct them to the either the local housing council where they would easily receive keys to their own empty and free house - they of course get to decide which house out of those available, not the council.

However, if they decided they liked my house better and refused to leave, I would either a) agree or b) disagree. If they still did not budge after I openly disagreed, I would perhaps bring the issue to a neutral body who could perhaps settle the dispute.

If the family decided not to follow the judgement of the neutral body and I still had enough energy to give a shit about an easily replaceable free house, my options are as follows: a) present the issue to the local housing or utility councils who could turn enact a "strike" of electricity, water, cable television, etc. b) convince the community to shun the family or c) remove them by non-lethal force. These advanced options are strictly last resorts - and rather extreme for Anarcheland, especially for such a benign issue. Personally, I probably would not take this to such an extreme level and just let the stubborn bastards have the free house, much like I would let someone continue to sit in the chair that I was just in before I got up to use the restroom in today's world.

That is the basic layout of all of my options. Which one I choose is up to me.

In reply to:

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"?




An automoble is a possession, so I would have a problem with this gang stealing it. I would approach this issue much in the same way as I would the squattin' family.
In reply to:

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?



I would not have a problem with voluntarily sharing my farm.

In reply to:

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.



No force involved.

In reply to:

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.




They can do whatever they want. However, if these same workers decide to reorganize their workplace in accord with democratic principles, they can do that too. You'll never see me storming into a corporate office today and demanding anarchism. I am a proponent of change from below, not from above.

In reply to:

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.




The capitalist says: the labor of others should benefit me primarily because I have a state-enforced deed of ownership.

The libertarian socialist says: Individuals are better off in a self-managed non-hierarchial workplace that is in a constant dialogue with my surrounding community and the federation at large. The community does not direct our labor, nor does our workforce come before the community. We have rational dialogue of what is needed.

In reply to:

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




And who is the collective? Individuals who freely-associate to work in cooperation. This association is neither authoritarian nor removed the community. So put that boogie-man to rest too.

In reply to:

"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.




Right on, comrade. Now you're on the right path.

In reply to:

...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.




Again, who is the collective? The producers themselves.

Yes, islands of anarchism are possible within capitalism - just the same as islands of capitalism are possible within anarchism. Just dont expect either islands to fully progress.

In reply to:

But you DO believe in government?




Not at all. Less than you do, in fact.


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Re: fire your boss [Re: Agent Cooper]
    #580442 - 03/16/02 10:50 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Agent Cooper writes:

"Exactly. See there is no "robbery" involved, no "nationalization," no state-bureacracy assuming power. So you can put that boogey-man to rest.

Not so fast, Comrade. You ignored your final statement: "... 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."

So when non-violent methods (strikes, boycotts, public censure -- none of which I objected to, you will note, since none involve force) of obtaining the businessman's belongings (his building and his machines) fail, your ultimate solution is to use force. "The ends justify the means."

"Good luck finding someone willing to submit to wages and your part-time command in Anarcheland... but if you do find someone, that's your fetish man. I would just think you're an oddball. 'That pinksharkmark and his wage-slave are is trying to sell me those plates again...they are so 19th century.' "

If you leave me free to keep my kiln, and free to try to persuade others to work for me, and free to try to exchange my products for those produced by others, I have nothing to object to. It is not the responsibility of the People's Committee to provide me with either workers or customers. Those are MY tasks. However, the websites to which you keep directing me do not agree with your largesse. THEY would not allow me to keep my kiln (or factory or farm). I guess this means you are not an anarchist. Glad to hear it.

"I would let them rest if needed and then direct them to the either the local housing council where they would easily receive keys to their own empty and free house - they of course get to decide which house out of those available, not the council."

Who built the houses that are left sitting empty and given away for free?

"If they still did not budge after I openly disagreed, I would perhaps bring the issue to a neutral body who could perhaps settle the dispute."

Who comprises this neutral body? Who chose the members of this body? By what standards do they reach their judgement?

"If the family decided not to follow the judgement of the neutral body and I still had enough energy to give a shit about an easily replaceable free house, my options are as follows... c) remove them by non-lethal force."

So force is okay as long as it doesn't kill? Zap 'em with a stun gun and pitch them onto the lawn and hope no one has a heart attack? Pump the house full of chloroform, drag 'em outside, and hope no one dies from an allergic reaction? Then it must be okay for the squatters to resist forcefully as well, right?

Your comment about "an easily replaceable free house" intrigues me. In today's societies, a house is virtually always the largest single expenditure a person will make in their lifetime. None of the websites to which you have directed me explain where free houses come from. Can you?

"An automoble is a possession, so I would have a problem with this gang stealing it."

Here (surprise, surprise) we yet again run smack up against the artificial distinction between "property" and "possession". In YOUR opinion, the automobile was a "possession", because you didn't make your living from it. In the GANG'S opinion, it is "property" because they use it as a means of production. Depending on whose opinion is correct (who decides this, by the way?), either you have the right to keep your car or anyone who feels he has a more productive use for it may take it. The fundamental principle involved here is that something of yours was taken from you by force, whether you called it "property" or "a possession" or "stuff" or "a belonging" or whatever. You can use it for personal enjoyment or to make your living or let it sit idle, but it is still YOURS.

"I would not have a problem with voluntarily sharing my farm."

Nor would I. The key word is VOLUNTARILY. To have your farm seized is hardly "voluntarily sharing" it.

"No force involved."

Not so. If the factory was "seized" from the owner, clearly force was involved.

"They can do whatever they want."

You left something out. According to the websites you link, they can do whatever they want only until the People's Committee decides their enterprise has become valuable enough to seize, since the People's Committee does not recognize the right of the creators to KEEP the product of their efforts, i.e. the business they created.

"The capitalist says: the labor of others should benefit me primarily because I have a state-enforced deed of ownership."

Incorrect. The Capitalist says, "The labor should benefit me because I paid the agreed-upon price for the labor."

"And who is the collective? Individuals who freely-associate to work in cooperation. This association is neither authoritarian nor removed the community. So put that boogie-man to rest too." and "Again, who is the collective? The producers themselves. "

According to the websites you link, The Collective is the sole owner of the means of production. If an individual prefers to create and utilize his OWN means of production, it may be seized from him at any time by The Collective, since The Collective does not recognize his right to own it. To The Collective, there is no difference between a naturally-occurring raw material and a tool created by an individual. In the eyes of The Collective, a clay deposit and a kiln are equivalent. An dune of silica sand and a glassblower's furnace are equivalent. A forest and a bandsaw are equivalent. An ocean and a fishnet are equivalent.

PSM: But you DO believe in government? AC: Not at all. Less than you do, in fact.

What is the "local housing council" if not a government? Or the "utility council"? Or the "neutral body" who decides whether or not you get to keep your house?

pinky


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


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