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InvisibletrendalM
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The United States is NOT Capitalist...
    #570143 - 03/05/02 02:45 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

This started in another thread, here:

*** oops -- I tried to shorten the link so it wouldn't widen the window and make us all scroll indefinitely, but goofed it up entirely. Mea Culpa. (pinky)


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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.


Edited by pinksharkmark (07/12/03 07:27 PM)


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: trendal]
    #570144 - 03/05/02 02:46 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

The United States of America is not Capitalist.

In a Capitalist society:
-there is total separation between economy and State
-there is no taxation
-the government's only purpose is to protect it's citizens from force or fruad

In the United States:
-the economy is interfered with by the government
-lots of taxes
-the government infringes upon individual rights and freedoms in the name of "good"


--------------------
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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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: trendal]
    #570199 - 03/05/02 04:26 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

yeah, no shit.

Similarly, the Soviet Union was not Socialist, rather state-capitalist.

The United States is, however, certainly capitalist (lower case) or rather pro-capitalist despite state intervention in the market, etc. Likewise, the Soviet Union was pro-socialism.

What's your point?


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InvisibleLallafa
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: trendal]
    #570353 - 03/05/02 10:08 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

z


--------------------
my tax dollars going to more hits of acid for charles manson


Edited by Lallafa (05/04/10 03:06 PM)


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Lallafa]
    #570431 - 03/05/02 12:35 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Yes, I do think that pure capitalism would be a good thing. For starters, drugs would be completely legal in a true capitalist society.

Imagine having the freedom to do whatever you want so long as it doesn't infringe upon the rights of another.

And you're entirely right, Agent Cooper. The US was founded on capitalist principles, and some of those principles exist to this day.

My point is that it is extremely unfair when people blame our society's faults on capitalism, when it is the capitalist spirit that is responsible for advancing our society as far as it has.

It was capitalist ideals that allowed a handful of pioneers, refugees, outcasts, and slaves to create one of the largest and most successful coutries in the world in the space of only a couple hundred years. It is capitalism that has consistantly pushed our standard of living ever higher. It is capitalism that continually advances the medical sciences that we take for granted.

Our society's current "problems" are not the result of capitalism, they are the result of the government's interference in both the market and society. If the US government had stuck to pure capitalism from the start...I can not imagine how far our society would have come.

An excellent example of what happens in the near opposite of capitalism is the former Soviet Union. When the State interferes with the Economy to this extent, poverty results. Progress, both scientific and social, slows to a crawl.

Competition is a vital part of humanity. Any attempt to subdue man's inate competitive nature will inevitably fail, and it always has. Capitalism is the only form of government which allows total freedom of competition, which in turn drives standard of living and social/technological advancement ever higher.

So yes, pure capitalism would be a wonderful thing.


--------------------
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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InvisibleLallafa
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: trendal]
    #570488 - 03/05/02 01:51 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

z


--------------------
my tax dollars going to more hits of acid for charles manson


Edited by Lallafa (05/04/10 03:06 PM)


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Lallafa]
    #570573 - 03/05/02 03:34 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

"the US has never been purely capitalist"
What I meant was that the US was founded on Republic and Capitalist ideals, but somewhere along the way Democracy took over (at least in part).

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 so what if it's not a "level playing field"? Life isn't a level playing field. Having an advantage over others isn't a bad thing, and it's not bad for a person to use his or her advantage. Advantage is a natural part of life, and is the driving force behind evolution (both in a biological and social sense). Are you trying to imply that because some have a greater advantage than others, they should be brought down to the level of "the norm"? Read "Harrison Bergeron", by Kurt Vonnegut.


--------------------
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]
    #570590 - 03/05/02 03:58 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Yeah but you end up with the situation we had in the 1900's - a handful of big buisnessmen paying workers nothing and forcing children to work down the mines at 10 years old. Just like what's happening now in the third world now where corporations are free to run riot.

It took a hundred years of struggle by ordinary men against big business, in the face of murder, extreme violence and intimidation to get basic human rights. The corporations, with government help, are now destroying them again. It's time to get organised and take these ruthless bastards on again for our childrens sake.


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... *DELETED* [Re: trendal]
    #570607 - 03/05/02 04:32 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Post deleted by Lallafa

Reason for deletion: i dont really know what im talking about



--------------------
my tax dollars going to more hits of acid for charles manson


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: trendal]
    #570610 - 03/05/02 04:34 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

i am repeating what someone else said, none of this is my own viewpoint


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my tax dollars going to more hits of acid for charles manson


Edited by Lallafa (05/04/10 03:07 PM)


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InvisibleAgent Cooper
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Lallafa]
    #570620 - 03/05/02 04:48 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

In reply to:

One of the basic ideas behind capitalism is that everyone gets what they work for.




Wrong. Remuneration according to effort and sacrifice does not generate upperward-flowing capital. Such remuneration is a concept of participatory economic theory and certain forms of libertarian socialism, not capitalism where the owners of private property absorb capital from the work of others who are lower in the workplace hierarchy. Essentially, one's labor does not necessarily determine the amount or the type of renumeration, rather one's proximity and relation to ownership does.

In reply to:

Advantage is a natural part of life, and is the driving force behind evolution.




So is mutual aid.


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InvisibleAgent Cooper
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: trendal]
    #570631 - 03/05/02 04:59 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

In reply to:

Any attempt to subdue man's inate competitive nature will inevitably fail, and it always has.




So mankind is inherently competitive? Prove it - please demonstrate how in every culture and every society past and present mankind has competed. Show me one society that was based upon competition and I'll show you 20 that were based upon and functioned via cooperation.

Human nature is incredibly complex, my friend. Simplisitic explanation of human nature such as yours usually do not fly. Very few things can be certain.

You know what else does not fly? The airline industry without state intervention.


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Agent Cooper]
    #570636 - 03/05/02 05:04 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

z


--------------------
my tax dollars going to more hits of acid for charles manson


Edited by Lallafa (05/04/10 03:07 PM)


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Lallafa]
    #570678 - 03/05/02 06:13 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Well our opinions are devided, I suppose.

I am not a fan of Democracy. "Mob rule" does not defend the rights of the individual at all, because whatever "the mob" wants, the mob gets. What the mob wants isn't always right.

I find the ideals behind Capitalism, specifically it's roots in Natural Law, to be fair and just. And that's my opinion.


--------------------
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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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: trendal]
    #570764 - 03/05/02 08:02 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)



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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: trendal]
    #570817 - 03/05/02 09:10 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

z


--------------------
my tax dollars going to more hits of acid for charles manson


Edited by Lallafa (05/04/10 03:07 PM)


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Lallafa]
    #570843 - 03/05/02 09:43 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Lallafa writes:

"the US has never been purely capitalist"

Technically true. But they were ALMOST purely capitalist for roughly a century, and certainly by far the closest thing the world has seen yet to pure capitalism. The two major flaws in place from day one that led to the destruction of capitalism in the US were:

1) the federal government was given the power to regulate interstate commerce

2) the federal government was given the power to mint the official currency.

"pure capitalism would create a situation where a very few own everything, and the vast majority own nothing."

And you base this groundless assertion on...? This comment is one of the most commonly parroted "truisms" that opponents of capitalism reflexively spout. When I ask, "Please explain how this would occur", I am met with silence, or something like "If you are too stupid to figure it out on your own, I am not going to explain it to you. It is obvious!" Well, I guess I AM too stupid to figure it out on my own, because to me it is far from obvious. Can you help me out?

"you need to remember that its not possible to begin with."

Not so. It IS possible to begin with. Imagine the first century of the existence of the US, but with gold or silver as a medium of exchange, and the federal government keeping its hands off interstate commerce (which it pretty much did anyway until the invention of railways).

"also, it would be a "wonderful thing" if it was a level playing field, which it is not.
some are born with certain advantages that are not a product of their genetics"

This is true in ANY society. No one can pick their parents. Some individuals are also born into single-parent homes, or abusive homes, or are orphaned at an early age. By the laws of nature, some individuals will ALWAYS be more capable than other individuals. No system of government will ever change that metaphysical fact. Besides, there are intelligent, beautiful, physically-fit individuals born into wealthy families who are simply not ambitious. These are the ones who get puking sick of hearing parents and teachers constantly wail "You could do so much MORE!" Despite all their advantages, these trust-funders will simply fritter away their inheritance. They are just drones.

There are also individuals who are butt-ugly weaklings of mediocre intelligence born into poor families but have the ambition and determination to be able to amass substantial sums of wealth by the time they are forty.

What does that say about level playing fields?

"pure capitalism would fucking suck."

Why? Exactly what is wrong with a system that leaves you free to do whatever you please as long as you don't violate the rights of others? I honestly don't get what "sucks" about it.

pinky


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Agent Cooper]
    #570872 - 03/05/02 10:15 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Trendal writes:

"One of the basic ideas behind capitalism is that everyone gets what they work for."

Not exactly true. It is more accurate to say that under capitalism, individuals can KEEP the products of their efforts.

Agent Cooper writes:

"Wrong. Remuneration according to effort and sacrifice does not generate upperward-flowing capital."

Who cares whether the capital flows up or down? The point is that under capitalism, the capital earned by the individual --ANY individual-- remains the property of that individual. Whether he chooses to let it flow "upward" by reinvesting it in some productive enterprise or let it flow "downward" by buying consumer goods or donating to charities is his choice, and his alone.

"Such remuneration is a concept of participatory economic theory and certain forms of libertarian socialism, not capitalism where the owners of private property absorb capital from the work of others who are lower in the workplace hierarchy."

A fancy way of saying that under capitalism those who choose not to run a one-man business (and therefore need workers) agree to enter into a mutually voluntary contract wherein they will exchange capital (usually currency) for labor.

"Essentially, one's labor does not necessarily determine the amount or the type of renumeration..."

True. Someone who cleans toilets 8 hours a day will not earn as much as someone who fixes automobiles 6 hours a day.

"...rather one's proximity and relation to ownership does."

Not true at all. 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.

pinky


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Lallafa]
    #570890 - 03/05/02 10:37 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Lallafa writes:

"im trying to imply that fools such as george w. inherit all of their wealth and stay filthy rich without working for shit. thats why its not level"

So what? How does some fool in Beverly Hills who has been a trust-funder from the day he was born --guzzling champagne, snorting cocaine, being overcharged by interior decorators for some enormous mausoleum of a mansion with a garage full of Ferraris and Bentleys-- prevent me from living my life as I see fit? His good fortune does not prevent me from achieving my goals. He is irrelevant to me.

"when monied interests..."

Please define what or who you mean by "monied interests".

"... begin to take precedence over the wellbeing of the people..."

Who decides what is "wellbeing"? Who decides who comprises "the people"?

"... you cease to have any form of a democracy"

Good. Democracy (by definition majority rule) is demonstrably unjust.

"without liability..."

Corporations are liable under a capitalist system. If they do harm they can be brought to court just as can individuals.

"... and without laws to keep jobs here rather than overseas..."

So it is the right of a government to limit their citizens to forming businesses with no employees outside the country? How is this not a violation of individual rights?

"... in the name of profits..."

No one sets up a business to be unprofitable, just as no one takes a job in order to LOSE money.

"... a corporation can easily become reckless"

Define "reckless". If they violate the rights of others, they can be prosecuted. If they recklessly lose money, they will go bankrupt.

pinky


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #570908 - 03/05/02 10:53 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

z


--------------------
my tax dollars going to more hits of acid for charles manson


Edited by Lallafa (05/04/10 03:08 PM)


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #570915 - 03/05/02 10:59 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

z


--------------------
my tax dollars going to more hits of acid for charles manson


Edited by Lallafa (05/04/10 03:08 PM)


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Lallafa]
    #570956 - 03/05/02 11:51 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Lallafa writes:

"capitalism is ultimately based on resource consumption.
is this agreed?"

Only to the extent that virtually ALL productive human effort involves consuming resources. Does a paper mill in a hippy commune not consume trees? Do their potters not consume clay? Do the sheep they raise for the wool they shear to make homespun weavings not consume grass?

"vulture capitalism, as practiced in the us..."

Whoa, whoa, whoa! YOU are the one that said that the US has never been capitalist. It certainly isn't now, that's for sure. If you are going to start using examples of government-subsidized corporations, call it something else, but DON'T call it capitalism, because it isn't.

"these resources are finite yet owned by private people, thus they do not benefit the common people like they should"

Which resources? Land? Does that mean that no one has the right to build a house on a 1/4 acre plot of land because that land now no longer benefits "the common people"? Who the hell are "the common people", anyway?

"if one person wants to buy resources it should benefit the people because these resources are not unlimited"

WHICH people? Those who don't own the resources, live nowhere near them, and would never miss them even if they knew about they existed? How does my mining of gadolinium in the middle of North Dakota somehow deprive someone of some "benefits"?

"there is no reason for one person to reap windfall profits because they simply own an oil field"

And there is no reason why they shouldn't. Two centuries ago, the owner of that oilfield was fucked... the land was worthless, couldn't farm on it, couldn't build anything on that icky goo either. Maybe two centuries from now the owner will be fucked again, because we'll be running on fusion power and using synthetic lubricants churned out from carbon dust by nanobots.

"pure capitalism requires pure private property"

ALL human existence requires private property. If everytime you acquire something it is taken from you, you cannot exist. Your clothes are your private property. Your eyeglasses are your private property. The ramen noodles in your pantry are your private property.

"we need a system where resources in the vast part benefit the state..."

Why? The only reason you need a "state" in the first place is to keep people from fucking with other people.

"...and money is made through services and the services to produce goods..."

Sounds like capitalism to me.

"the idea of capitalism is basically the people who work hard get rich"

Not true. The idea of capitalism is that people are free to do as they please as long as they leave others free to do as THEY please.

"but what happens is one person hits it fucking crazy and gets an assload of wealth and passes it down to some jackass who just grows it and does nothing"

Who is harmed? Are you saying that someone who works his ass off all his life, maybe finds the cure for cancer or something, does not have the right to leave this money to his children? Or to whoever he damn well pleases, for that matter? If not, why not?

"they changed the inheritance tax, lowered it"

Good. About time.

"that had the socialists clamoring"

Good.

"normally it would get taxed 40% every 30-40 years family fortunes whenever people died
now it is different"

Excellent. I would rather have some rich kid piss it away on fast cars and divorce settlements than have the government use it to fund the WOD. Wouldn't you?

"capitalism is an economic system,
it is not taking into account the political system"

Absolutely dead wrong. Capitalism is in fact a POLITICAL system where the government is specifically prohibited from having even the slightest thing to do with the economy... it is not even allowed to print currency, for pete's sake. It is completely up to each INDIVIDUAL to decide if he wants to use abalone shells or gold as currency, whether he wants to join other individuals who pool their resources and live in small hippy communes using barter as their economic system, or to form hierarchical interlocking corporations using electronic credit chits as currency, or whether he wants to live by himself in a cave in the wilderness somewhere and forage for nuts and berries. The government and the economy are COMPLETELY separate.

"our current economic system is one where people with an overabundance of capital do the moving and shaking"

And, as has been pointed out countless times, by countless people, YOURSELF INCLUDED, our current economic system is NOT capitalism.

"the top 1% takes 1.4 trillion, the next 9% take 2.6 trillion
then the other 255 million americans get 6 trillion"

Exactly. Without government intervention in the economy (bail-outs, subsidies, pork-barrel government contracts, protective tariffs, etc.), the mega-corporations generating the wealth of the ten per cent you refer to would not BE mega-corporations. Remember the Chrysler bailout? In a pure capitalist society, Chrysler corporation would have gone tits up in the 80s, and Chrysler stock would be worth squat.

"if we were purely capitalist, it would be much worse."

Quite the reverse. All those trust-fund babies (who you seem to think are such a threat to the poor) who are now living off proceeds from the Chrysler stock their daddies invested in would have to get a job.

"right now, we have a lot of non-profit government type things
mail
police
school
roads"

The government properly must provide a police force. The rest should not be the business of government.

"it's not pure capitalism, it is vulture capitalism
brainwashing the subjects into thinking it is freedom and democracy"

Agreed. That is trendal's whole point. America is NOT capitalist.

"a change is needed, but pure capitalism would not be the answer"

What is the answer then? Pure socialism?

pinky


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


Edited by pinksharkmark (03/06/02 12:09 AM)


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InvisibleLallafa
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #570970 - 03/06/02 12:02 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

z


--------------------
my tax dollars going to more hits of acid for charles manson


Edited by Lallafa (05/04/10 03:08 PM)


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Lallafa]
    #570973 - 03/06/02 12:04 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Lallafa writes:

"if you cant understand how these people keep the common people poor, i cannot help you"

I have invariably found that when people say "If you cannot understand... blah blah blah" rather than defending their position, it is because they CAN'T defend their position.

"look at the "economic stimulus" bill for fucks sake"

Oh... so when you said "im trying to imply that fools such as george w. inherit all of their wealth and stay filthy rich without working for shit", what you REALLY meant to say was that once fools of this kind become president, they then arrange to keep the common people poor. My bad.

I thought when you said "fools SUCH AS george w." we could have substituted in any old fool who inherited wealth, not the specific fool who is currently the president of a NON-CAPITALIST country.

pinky


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #570976 - 03/06/02 12:08 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

"capitalism is an economic system,
it is not taking into account the political system"

"Absolutely dead wrong."

definition of capitalism: an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

there are two types of economic systems: privitization and nationalization
the capitalism you know uses privitization
economic systems are irrelevant to the political system; you can still be a 'capitalist' economy and be an autocracy or a democracy or a monarchy
like in england
capitalism revolves around private property where as socialism revolves around state property


who is absolutely dead wrong


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #570983 - 03/06/02 12:12 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

z


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my tax dollars going to more hits of acid for charles manson


Edited by Lallafa (05/04/10 03:09 PM)


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Lallafa]
    #570985 - 03/06/02 12:14 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Lallafa writes:

"yeah, i sure want things such as waste disposal in the hands of private businesses, without any laws to regulate how they dispose of it."

Who says there would be no laws? Clearly dumping toxic waste into a river that runs through the properties of countless other individuals, for example, is a violation of the rights of those individuals and therefore against the law.

pinky



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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Lallafa]
    #571012 - 03/06/02 12:41 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Lallafa writes:

"definition of capitalism: an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market"

Would you care to quote the source of that definition? Any Poli-Sci professor (even a SOCIALIST Poli-Sci professor) will tell you that it is incomplete. But, even so, let's run with it for a while and see what it logically implies:

"...characterized by PRIVATE or CORPORATE ownership of capital goods..."

As opposed to what? COLLECTIVE or STATE ownership, presumably. In other words, the government has no say in the economy, just as I have maintained all along.

"... by investments that are determined by PRIVATE decision..."

As opposed to what? COLLECTIVE or STATE decision, presumably. In other words, the government has no say in THIS area of the economy either.

"...and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a FREE MARKET"

As opposed to what? Pricing, production and distribution of goods determined by the COLLECTIVE or STATE, presumably. In other words, the government has no say in THIS area of the economy either. So, even though this definition does not specifically point out that in a capitalist system there is no government iinvolvement in the economy, it is quite clear by implication that this is the case.

"economic systems are irrelevant to the political system..."

Not at all. If all industry and property is owned by the State, then by definition it is a Socialist political system, regardless of whether the rulers choose to call it a "People's Republic" or not.

"... you can still be a 'capitalist' economy and be an autocracy or a democracy or a monarchy
like in england"

For once, you are correct. The method by which the members of the government are chosen is irrelevant to whether or not a given government is capitalist. The determining factor is not whether the head cheese was voted into office or inherited it from his father, the determining factor is whether or not the government is forbidden to mess with the economy.

"capitalism revolves around private property where as socialism revolves around state property"

Agreed.

"who is absolutely dead wrong"

You are. Capitalism by definition (even the incomplete definition you quoted above) means the absence of government intervention in an economy. If that is not a political connection, what the hell is?

pinky


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Lallafa]
    #571024 - 03/06/02 12:52 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Lallafa writes:



"the soviets didn't have private property for over 70 years

nothing they had was THEIRS"



Not so. They owned their clothes, their eyeglasses, their ramen noodles, their refrigerators, their bicycles. Even hardcore Soviets realized that private property is essential to human existence.



"the common people are the wage laborers. the ones who go to work and make the monetary unit worth something"



Ah. So if I work for Xerox and get paid $45 an hour ($90,000 a year) to fix copiers I am one of the common people. But the owner of the corner store I buy my cigarettes from on the way home from work who clears maybe $20,000 tops in a good year is not one of the common people. Got it.



pinky   


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #571039 - 03/06/02 01:05 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

In reply to:

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.




Are you speaking of wages or some other "outside" benefit such as tips? How many employees would such a small business have - one, two? What is the relationship between owner and uber-employee - family, good friends? Please provide real world examples of small businesses in which employees earn more than the owners. In my experience, most small business-owners pull in more than their employees. In your bar, pinksharkmark, do you pay your bartenders more than you pull in? If not, why not?

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. This is due to hierarchial status and proximity to ownership - nothing more. Some would claim that those at the top have "more at stake" than the common worker, but I believe this is a incorrect. A billionaire has much less to worry about than a lower-middle class man working two jobs and trying his hardest to feed his family; not to deny that the billionaire has "nothing to worry about" but considerably less than others. What is the ratio of billionaires who loss their fortunes and go hungry vs. workers who are "downsized" and go hungry? Why the disparity? Why are people working more and more for less and less, while those at the top pull in more and more?

And I am curious - how voluntary is wage labor and external command?

"Some people giving orders and others obeying them: this is the essence of servitude. Freedom means more than the right to change masters." ~ Bob Black

If history is examined, one will learn that wage labor was regarded only a step above slavery. Only recently have wages become commonplace. A race to the bottom, if you ask me.

I personally am not too concerned about small businesses - capitalism at a local level is not very insidious. But once capital expands like cancer on a national level and then later on global scale and ownership of private property narrows, a global regime of immensely powerful top-down authoritarian institutions reign. Once again, people are powerless in the face of monolithic, hierarchial institutions. Yet again, a handful of men determine the economic life of billions.

Corporations, the crown and bastions of Capital, are totalitarian institutions. How "libertarian" are they? How much individuality does one possess within a corporation?

In reply to:

It is more accurate to say that under capitalism, individuals can KEEP the products of their efforts.




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.

[image]http://burn.ucsd.edu/images/france/f9.jpeg[/image]


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InvisibleAgent Cooper
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #571049 - 03/06/02 01:17 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

In reply to:

ALL human existence requires private property. If everytime you acquire something it is taken from you, you cannot exist. Your clothes are your private property. Your eyeglasses are your private property. The ramen noodles in your pantry are your private property.




No, those objects are possession. Private property is the medium through which labor creates capital. Ownership of private property determines who receives that capital.

In reply to:

The government and the economy are COMPLETELY separate.




Good luck separating the two since they both developed side by side, mutually supporting and re-enforcing each other and continue to do so in the present time.


Edited by Agent Cooper (03/06/02 02:09 AM)


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Agent Cooper]
    #571176 - 03/06/02 04:10 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Agent Cooper writes:

"No, those objects are possession."

Ah. The infamous "anarcho-syndicalist libertarian socialism" false distinction between "property" and "possession".

Let me see if I have this right. An individual has the right to keep something ("possess" it) only if it is an end product, and cannot be used to create something else, because if it CAN be used to create something else then it is not really a "possession", but "property".

So, if I go down by the riverbank, find a flint nodule, spend all day carefully chipping it into a knife blade which I then use to carve a bow from a fallen branch, that lump of flint is no longer my "possession", but instead must be considered "property", and everyone has as much right to it as I do. If I manage to conceal the existence of the knife long enough to use it to slice thin strips of linen reed, which I then dry and braid into a bowstring, then not only may my knife be confiscated from me, but my bow as well, since obviously the bow can be used to create capital (meat in the form of an animal killed by an arrow shot from the bow).

Similarly, a wild cob of corn which I gather from a field is my "possession" as long as I intend to eat it. But if instead I strip out the seeds, plant them, water the seedlings, fertilize them, protect them from being eaten by animals, and harvest the final crop, then that cob of corn is not my "possession" any more. It is "property".

Is there a common thread here? It would seem that by differentiating between an individual's "property" and an individual's "possessions", the inescapable conclusion is that an individual has the right to CONSUME, but has no right to PRODUCE. Production is reserved exclusively for the Collective.

"Private property is the medium through which labor creates capital."

Correct. In a capitalist society, sometimes the labor is provided solely by the owner of the property, as when a potter does everything from gathering the clay to throwing the pot to building the kiln to gathering the firewood for the kiln to firing the pot to selling it or trading it to the end user who can then rightfully own it because it is a "possession". But, sometimes in a capitalist society, a potter may decide that he would rather hire someone to gather the clay for him, since he loves shaping pots, but hates trudging back and forth to the riverbank's clay deposits. Similarly, he may decide that it makes sense to hire someone to gather firewood for him, and yet another person to take his finished pots door to door and sell them.

But wait! This potter has now become a greedy "exploiter" of the poor! He "dominates" his clay-gatherer, his firewood-gatherer, and his pot-seller by telling them what they must do in order for his pottery business to profit so that he can afford to pay them what they have agreed to accept in exchange for their labor. He has established a "hierarchy" in which he is the one at the top. Worse, he reserves "property" (the kiln HE designed and built) for his exclusive use.

Never mind that he is the one who thought up the design for this particular kiln, gathered all the materials necessary for its construction, and built it from scratch unaided. Never mind that the clay-gatherer and the firewood-gatherer were begging scraps from passersby before the potter decided to expand his business, and the pot-seller was foraging for roots and berries in the forest to keep himself alive. In the eyes of anti-capitalists, this potter is a bad man. And it can get even worse!

He could choose to cease production for a week or two, give his faithful employees a paid vacation, live off his savings during that time, and construct a second kiln so that he can produce even MORE pots and and hire even MORE clay-gatherers and firewood gatherers and pot-sellers. He can do this over and over again. He can even hire someone and teach them how to shape pots! The more kilns he builds, the more pots he sells, the more employees he hires, the more depraved he becomes.

Can it get any worse than this? Certainly! On hearing that he has contracted a fatal disease that will surely kill him in six months, he can make a gift of his property (his house, his kilns, his inventory of unsold pots and his savings from the sale of his pots) to a close friend, and spend the last months of his existence peacefully fishing for pleasure on the riverbank near his beloved clay deposits. This friend is even MORE depraved than the potter himself, since he did nothing to deserve this "windfall" except to be a cherished companion and occasional chess opponent throughout the potter's life.

The potter had clearly exploited both irreplaceable resources (the clay deposit) and human beings (his employees). His friend, who inherited the pottery business, sees the devastation that the potter has caused and decides that he doesn't want to be an exploiter. He donates the last of the pots to an orphanage and informs the employees that he is lifting the yoke of the oppressor from their necks and freeing them from their wage slavery. No longer will they have to be "dominated" and "exploited", because from this day forth "Percy's Pottery" is no more!

He dismantles the kilns so no one else will be tempted to use them to exploit others. He burns down the potter's home so he won't be tempted to live in it, thereby flaunting his wealth, and uses the potter's savings to live out the rest of his life modestly in a cheap boardinghouse, amusing himself with the odd game of chess and the occasional philosophical debate.

"Ownership of private property determines who receives that capital."

Of course. Anything else would be a blatant violation of individual rights.

pinky


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Lallafa]
    #571356 - 03/06/02 10:06 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Where did this idea come from that capitalism is the exploitation of the mass (the poor) by the few (the rich).

In a democracy, the "poor" are always exploited. If I own a house and peice of property, it should be mine and mine alone, shouldn't it? In a democracy, this isn't true. The government forces me to continue to pay them "property tax" for the land that I purchased. Never mind the fact that I had to work hard to get the money to buy the land. So if I will have to continue paying for something after I have already bought it...I am forced to continue working. So is everyone else. In a democracy you either work, or you lose everything. If people are forced to work, companies do not necessarily have to treat their employees in any just form. Democracy allows for the exploitation of workers.

In capitalism, once something is mine (when I buy it)...it is mine as long as I want to keep it. If I worked my ass off so that I could buy a couple hundred acres of land somewhere, then that land is mine. I don't have to continue paying the government for the land, so I don't necessarily have to continue working for anyone. So now the company I used to work for has to find someone else to do the job that I used to do. Or they might try to keep me working for them. Either way, the company has to give a good reason for anyone to work for them. If a company is known to exploit their workers, who would work for them? Since I don't need a job at all, why work for a company that doesn't treat me right? I can just quit working.

In a capitalist system, workers have a value attached to them. If a company wants people to work for them, they had better provide working conditions at least as good as their competitors. If they don't, their competitors will get all the workers.

There's a reason we have a "minimum wage". Because we are all forced to work (or lose all our posessions), companies will always have someone to hire, because there will always be someone who needs a job. If a company is guaranteed to have a workforce, they can choose to pay that workforce whatever they want, and treat them however they want. So the government has to step in and create a minimum wage, create laws to protect workers, ect, ect, ect. That's what happens in a democracy (or most any economic/political system).

In capitalism, a worker is valuable. Companies have to pay better and treat their workers better than their competitors. Competition for the workforce drives employee benefits, salaries, and working conditions ever higher.


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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]
    #571539 - 03/06/02 02:01 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

RE the discussion on 'pure capitalism' I think its worth pointing out that capitalism in its purest form is communism. Exactly why the great thinkers of the proliteriat thought communism (i.e. unbridled capitalism) would be a good thing is beyond me.


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Instead of the dove as the symbol of peace we should have a pillow. Its got more feathers but doesnt have that nasty sharp beak......


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: TwelveThousand]
    #571545 - 03/06/02 02:09 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

In reply to:

Ah. The infamous "anarcho-syndicalist libertarian socialism" false distinction between "property" and "possession".




Actually, this distinction predates anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism.

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

Your examples are incredibly extreme and obnoxious. 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.

But once capitalism expands and the means of existence are held in the hands of the few and in order to survive one must rent his time and labor and one must use wages to feed himself or live, this is when capitalism becomes a problem (save those at the top of the pyramid). 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.

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.

In reply to:

Similarly, a wild cob of corn which I gather from a field is my "possession" as long as I intend to eat it. But if instead I strip out the seeds, plant them, water the seedlings, fertilize them, protect them from being eaten by animals, and harvest the final crop, then that cob of corn is not my "possession" any more. It is "property".




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.

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

In reply to:

It would seem that by differentiating between an individual's "property" and an individual's "possessions", the inescapable conclusion is that an individual has the right to CONSUME, but has no right to PRODUCE.




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

In reply to:

Production is reserved exclusively for the Collective.




No, production is democratically managed by freely-associating members of the inclusive collective. Direct and free democracy is thus active in the workplace, eliminating the top-down hierarchial and masked authoritarian nature of capitalism and returning decision-making processes to the individual and his or her community.


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: madscientist]
    #571551 - 03/06/02 02:15 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

"I think its worth pointing out that capitalism in its purest form is communism"

Are you insane? Communism is nearly the exact opposite of capitalism. In communism the economy is controlled by the state. Individual rights no longer have any meaning in communism, because everything is for "the greater good" (which is whatever the state decides it to be). There are no individuals in communism. Everyone is just another small part of the collective, and everyone must devote their work to the good of the collective.

In capitalism the economy and the state are completely separated. Individual rights are the basis for law. Every individual is seen as separate, and every individual is allowed to do what they want, provided it does not infringe upon the rights of another individual. Each individual can work for whatever they want and keep their possessions (be it money, land, or goods) to themselves without having to give any away to "the greater good".


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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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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: trendal]
    #571557 - 03/06/02 02:22 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

In reply to:

Where did this idea come from that capitalism is the exploitation of the mass by the few?




I think it has something to do with working your ass off and hardly being able to survive and having little voice in the workplace while the masters are off snorting coke in their yachts.

In reply to:

The government forces me to continue to pay them "property tax" for the land that I purchased.




Sorry, that is representative democracy at work - not Democracy. There is no state nor taxes in a real democracy.


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InvisibleAgent Cooper
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: trendal]
    #571559 - 03/06/02 02:27 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

In reply to:

In communism the economy is controlled by the state.




Wrong again. That is an example of state-capitalism.

In reply to:

There are no individuals in communism. Everyone is just another small part of the collective, and everyone must devote their work to the good of the collective.




Again, state-capitalism ala the Soviet Union. In real Communism, association is free.

In reply to:

In capitalism the economy and the state are completely separated




Good luck separating the two (outside of privileged, insular, academic circles of course).


Edited by Agent Cooper (03/06/02 02:59 PM)


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InvisibleAgent Cooper
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Agent Cooper]
    #571588 - 03/06/02 03:13 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Again, how voluntary is wage-labor? And how libertarian is working on external command?



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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: trendal]
    #571608 - 03/06/02 03:47 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Capitalism is a vampire of people born into a lower social level and of the environment. There is no point in a few people hoarding the goods that their pseudo-slavery produces. There are an "elite" few who don't have to do shit and are not at all concerned with the well being of their fellow humans. These little Richey Rich wanna be's are a leach upon the world as long as they are allowed to exist in this state. Have you ever seen those little African kids in the commercials that practically look like living corpses? Is capitalism a good thing? Hell no!!! The ideal of capitalism is that the harder you work the more you get. Is the sweatshop worker who has to work seven days a week often being forced to work multiple shifts getting more money than the oil company CEO that sits an his fat ass getting his cock sucked by his secretary? Hell no!!! I say fuck capitalism and anyone who promotes it. In the words of Zack da la Rocha, "Know your enemy!" This world cannot harbor a species that acts as if the world??s resources are unlimited. And this member of that species will not actively tolerate anyone who tries to exploit their fellow human being for their own selfish gain. Fuck the man!!!


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Our quest for discovery fuels our creativity in all fields, not just science. If we reached the end of the line, the human spirit would shrivel and die. But I don't think we will ever stand still: we shall increase in complexity, if not in depth, and shall always be the center on an expanding horizon of possibilities.
-Stephen Hawking


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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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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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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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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


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


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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Registered: 08/04/00
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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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OfflinePhred
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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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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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OfflinePhred
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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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InvisibletrendalM
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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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OfflineBlueShroom
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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


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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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To make a contribution to the Society for Restructuring Your Lives please contact me. We accept contributions of the following types: capital, capital producing systems, information deemed vauable to the society. Please direct all inquiries to me.


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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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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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OfflinePhred
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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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InvisibleAgent Cooper
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capitalism is loneliness [Re: Phred]
    #580705 - 03/16/02 06:15 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

In reply to:

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."




No, if the factory owner continued to maintain his ownership of the means of production, the factory would be shut down. No customers, no workers, no public support - market forces. Strong pressure would continue and continue until the owner had lost any reason to own the factory (no profit and accumulating losses). At this point he could either absorb his losses and take a bus over to Capital City or negotiate with the workers and maintain some sort of role in the ongoings of the factory (a balanced job complex, of course). He would work.

I consider "robbery" and "human sacrifice" on different planes than workers taking over a factory. Do I support seizure by force of the workers themselves? Not necessarily. I can, however, understand that in some instances it would justifable - a private electrical company, for example, that is the only source of electrical power in the present time.

In reply to:

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 believe I have posted links only to the parecon site and the Anarchist FAQ. The parecon site is less revolutionary and more about creating alternatives in society that would act like gravity. The FAQ advocates revolution via general strikes, education, and worker's self-management. Now, do the websites simply state as you claim "you may not...?" Nope. All in all, the writings say, Here is an alternative to psycho capitalism that we like and think you should like to. Via democratic struggle and participation, we shall makes these alternatives a reality.

In reply to:

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




Either we constructed them or they were abandoned by land-lords or previous occupants. As time passes and houses eventually wear away, more and more of the houses would be constructed by us. Where else would a house come from?

In reply to:

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




Anyone who wants to help out in problem solving and advice can help out; in more populated areas the community can form such a council via delegation and in less populated areas those who volunteer to help out would; same standards as anyone in today's world who is an advisor (neutral observance of facts and rational opinion). Following the judgements are optional.

In reply to:

So force is okay as long as it doesn't kill?




Force is a last resort, reserved for extreme instances. Even though anarchists are hostile to authority, we do recognize the need for self-defense - we are not generally pacifists. Like I stated before, force in housing situations would be highly unlikely given the social environment, and the consequences of such force would be almost not worth the trouble.

In reply to:

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?




Houses are either built by the individual or the community itself or left abandoned. The principle is occupany and use. In a capitalist world, purchasing a house is a major investment, but in a libertarian socialist world, there would be no land-lords, no comission agencies, no possible property taxes, no land held privately for profit, etc. A comparsion of housing in today's semi-capitalist world to what we envision is not accurate.

This provides homes for those who need homes without having to maintain a welfare-state.

In reply to:

...the automobile was a "possession", because you didn't make your living from it.




Correct.

In reply to:

In the GANG'S opinion, it is "property" because they use it as a means of production.




Just because the potential for minimal production latently exists in a "thing" does not automatically give them the green light to steal my possessions to exploit that potential. My right to my possessions comes first. Besides, I doubt they would even desire to operate a taxi service for profit due to a lack of a market and public disapproval of their theft. And I can always reposses my possession.

This is different than a factory that was already a means of production and had a thousand employees dependent on the owner for a living. Good try though.

In reply to:

To have your farm seized is hardly "voluntarily sharing" it.




Look at the Spanish Revolution - those who chose not to include their farms in the collective did not and lived as they pleased.

In reply to:

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.




A free association would not be interested in some guy making his own widgets and trying to sell them so as long as his actions do not effect us.

In reply to:

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?




A neutral body does not decide who keeps what. They would just try to settle the problem through advice. Whether the individuals at hand choose to follow their advice is their decision. Such bodies as a "housing council" are not authorities, rather facilitators that help you have a house. Think of them as realitors without the profit motive.



Edited by Agent Cooper (03/16/02 06:21 PM)


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #580972 - 03/17/02 12:55 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

"In other words, you claimed that majority rule is the ONLY option available to human societies."

No I didn't. Minority rule is also an option, and one I don't find very attractive. The other option is to have completely homogeneous communities, like your example of the Amish. This obviously has no relevance to contemporary, multicultural, industrialized societies. My point was that in situations of majority rule, those who do not share the opinions of the majority will feel their rights are being impinged upon, and that, unfortunate as this is, it is an inescapable fact of majority rule. Unfortunate it may be, but still preferable to minority rule. You then countered that you were for NO rule. This doesn't make much sense, because you DO support courts, cops, and military. This leaves the question of who formulates the laws and who interprets them--this is a form of rule, the only form recognized by democracies. "The rule of law, not of men." Still, somebody has to draft those laws. Which once again brings you back to square one, of who decides what those laws should be--the majority, or a minority. It's really an inescabable problem, unless you do away with laws altogether.

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

I left that one unaddressed because I didn't want to embarass you. That was the lamest of the lot. Why not ask African-Americans about the protections of minority rights and opinions in the US from 1776 to 1909? Or maybe you could ask the Native Americans. Oh, I know, how about asking the Jews? The US didn't attain its growth during the 19th century by being a bastion of FREEDOM--it attained it through SLAVE LABOR, not only among the the actual slaves, but among the sweatshop workers as well. The fact that you can hold up 19th century America as an example of how things SHOULD be is a pretty damning example of your distorted view of history.

"You see the two worldviews expressed here as identical. I see them as diametrically opposed. "

I don't see the two worldviews as identical. They're self-evidently quite different. Where I see the resemblance is in the impatience with complexity, the belief that one sweeping prescription can cure a host of ills.

"Neither you, nor any group, has the right to force me to support any random individual."

No group has the right to force you to remain within a given nation and a given political system. Once you make the choice to remain within that nation and receive the benefits therefrom, you are making an implicit agreement to abide by the laws of that nation. If the laws of that nation, reflecting the wishes of the majority, include taxation for a variety of uses, including defense, including public works and infrastructure, and yes, including aid for those individuals who for whatever reason may be incapable of supporting themselves, you are free to take it or leave it. If you leave it, you also relinquish the benefits of living in that society: access to public health or public education, access to wealthy consumers who have the werewithal to purchase your products, access to parks and libraries and other public resources, access to an educated workforce to work in your businesses, etc. etc. All of these factors, tangible and intangible, make up "public society" and reflect the fact that if you make the CHOICE to live in a certain society, you have responsibilities to that society. If you don't like the way tax dollars are being spent, you can leave, or you can make TAX DEDUCTIBLE donations to the charity of your choice. Or you can play the tax evasion game, a game which becomes easier the more money you have.

In my last post, I listed three different political/economic systems under which I would be willing to live. One place I would never be willing to live, one place that would match my definition of a living hell, is a hypothetical nation in which all the citizens have extremely well-though-out rationales for their rights but have barely any idea of the meaning of the word "responsibility."


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OfflinePhred
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Re: capitalism is loneliness [Re: Agent Cooper]
    #580983 - 03/17/02 01:11 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Agent Cooper writes:

At this point he could either absorb his losses and take a bus over to Capital City or negotiate with the workers and maintain some sort of role in the ongoings of the factory (a balanced job complex, of course). He would work.

Or he could ship his machines to Capital City, strip the wiring and plumbing out of his building and collapse the empty shell.

(March 13) -- ... even a seizure of the factory by the workers themselves... is not fairly likened to "robbery".

(March 16) -- Do I support seizure by force of the workers themselves? Not necessarily. and Force is a last resort, reserved for extreme instances.

So which is your final position re the seizure of the businessman's factory? That of March 13 or that of March 16?

(March 16, 5:10 am) -- And if you produce a mass abundance of pottery... while the community is in the process of building their own kiln, even better. You can even try selling them, but I'm sure you'll just receive funny looks from people...

(March 16, 7:15 pm) -- I can, however, understand that in some instances it [seizure] would justifable - a private electrical company, for example, that is the only source of electrical power in the present time.

If the community can ignore my private pottery company (the only source of ceramics at the present time) while they build their own kiln, why can they not ignore the private electrical company (the only source of electricity at the present time) while they build their own electrical source? Why must they seize an existing one?

The (Anarchist) FAQ advocates revolution via general strikes, education, and worker's self-management. Now, do the websites simply state as you claim "you may not...?" Nope.

The Anarchist FAQ does more than simply state it, it repeats it ad nauseum, with elaborate "rationalizations", abundant quotes from prominent anarchists, and links to the works of writers who claim "property is theft" and "property is homicide".

Following the judgements are optional.

Then why bother to consult the council in the first place? Wouldn't a letter to Dear Abby be less trouble?

Houses are either built by the individual...

Which individual? The one who was expecting a free house? Does he get free tools and materials and free training on how to build a house? Where does he live until the house is complete? Or do you mean the houses are built by an individual who builds houses as a hobby in his spare time?

... or the community itself ...

Ah. A group of hobbyists, then.

... or left abandoned.

Abandoned by whom? Those who have moved to Capital City?

In a capitalist world, purchasing a house is a major investment, but in a libertarian socialist world, there would be no land-lords, no comission agencies, no possible property taxes, no land held privately for profit, etc.

Even in a society with no landlords, commission agencies or property taxes, building housing is a VERY expensive undertaking. After 75 years of practice, the Soviets never got the hang of it.

This provides homes for those who need homes without having to maintain a welfare-state.

EVERYONE needs a home. If one citizen is entitled to a free home, denying ANY citizen a free home cannot be justified. And providing the "necessities of life" with no charge to the recipients of these necessities is the defining characteristic of a welfare state. Even though your home builders do not pay taxes to provide free homes for others, they provide their labor that otherwise would have provided their families with goods. Same difference... either their bank account is taxed or their time is taxed.

Just because the potential for minimal production latently exists in a "thing" does not automatically give them the green light to steal my possessions to exploit that potential. My right to my possessions comes first.

Unless your possessions are things (wires, magnets, an engine etc.) with the latent potential to be used to generate electricity, apparently.

And I can always reposses my possession.

How? Through the judgement of a council whose advice can be ignored? Or through the use of non-lethal force? What if the gang decides to re-repossess your possession the next time you leave it unattended?

This is different than a factory that was already a means of production and had a thousand employees dependent on the owner for a living. Good try though.

I'm confused. In the factory example of March 13 and March 16, the thousand employees seemed to have no difficulty going on an extended strike, destroying the customer base for the factory's products, and risking having the owner move his stuff elsewhere... certainly not a process that will happen overnight. Now these same thousand employees are "dependent" on the owner for a living? Why don't they just build a new factory? A thousand of them should be able to accomplish the task pretty rapidly. They certainly seem to have no difficulty building houses.

Look at the Spanish Revolution - those who chose not to include their farms in the collective did not and lived as they pleased.

Then you WOULD object to having your farm seized by a People's Committee. Oh, dopey me! *smacks self* I forgot... the People's Committee WOULDN'T seize it, even though a farm is a tool of production (a farm produces food), because they didn't do so in the Spanish Revolution. But the People's Committee WOULD seize a soup factory (a soup factory produces food) because a factory is a tool of production. Once again I am confused. Wait, wait... I think I've got it now. The People's Committee would simply organize a strike of your farmhands, convince all your customers to refuse to buy your crops, and wait till you moved to Capital City. THEN they would seize the farm. I think I'm starting to get the hang of this.

A free association would not be interested in some guy making his own widgets and trying to sell them so as long as his actions do not effect us.

But as soon as the guy has employees, his actions DO affect you? For example the factory owner who has a thousand employees who have no way to support themselves without him. I think I am finally beginning to grasp the fundamental principles here:

You are permitted to own "property" (tools of production) as long as you can run that "property" by yourself -- a kiln or a fully-automated computerized electrical generator, for example. In this case, the generator is not truly "property". But if your tool of production is too primitive to be run by you alone, and you hire some employees, then your tool of production is transformed into "property", you are transformed into an "exploiter" and you are to be driven out of business through strikes and boycotts and public censure. Unless, of course, it is one of those instances where it is justifiable to seize your tool of production outright. I really DO think I am finally grasping this!

Such bodies as a "housing council" are not authorities, rather facilitators that help you have a house. Think of them as realitors without the profit motive.

I must confess I fail to see the need for such bodies if all one needs to do is a pick any house and move in.

pinky


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #581044 - 03/17/02 03:29 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

echovortex writes:

My point was that in situations of majority rule, those who do not share the opinions of the majority will feel their rights are being impinged upon, and that, unfortunate as this is, it is an inescapable fact of majority rule. Unfortunate it may be, but still preferable to minority rule.

Not necessarily. For example, my rights would be less impinged upon if I were ruled by a king who stayed strictly within the boundaries of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights as defined by the Founding Fathers, rather than by a President, Senate, and Congress who ignore both, as is the case in the US today.

You then countered that you were for NO rule. This doesn't make much sense, because you DO support courts, cops, and military.

I agree that one of the frustrating things about the English language is that the same word spelled the same way has different meanings depending on the context in which it is used, but since I was responding to your point about majority rule vs minority rule, I thought it was apparent that I was using it in the same context you were : "rule" as in "to rule", "to command", as does a king or a dictator, rather than "a rule" in the sense of "a regulation" or "a law". I will try to make it plainer next time.

This leaves the question of who formulates the laws and who interprets them--this is a form of rule, the only form recognized by democracies. "The rule of law, not of men."

Actually, it is not a form of rule (command) at all. It is a protection from being ruled (commanded). But what if the laws are blatantly unconstitutional, or violate the Bill of rights? Such as the drug laws, the military draft, the segregation laws, and even slavery? All of those laws were enacted in the US. And, by the way, the US is not a Democracy. It is a Constitutional Republic, in which the members of the legislative body are elected by a (supposedly) democratic method.

Still, somebody has to draft those laws. Which once again brings you back to square one, of who decides what those laws should be--the majority, or a minority. It's really an inescabable problem, unless you do away with laws altogether.

It is an inescapable problem if one believes that fundamental principles and individual freedom are irrelevant, agreed. And the majority never gets to vote on the laws that are passed in the US. Further, even when a majority of voters DOES get to vote on a State law through a referendum, the federal government may strike it down. (Medical marijuana referendums).

Why not ask African-Americans about the protections of minority rights and opinions in the US from 1776 to 1909?

The rogue southern states (the agrarian slave states) were the ones who violated the rights of others, not the northern states (the industrialized capitalist states). The southern states even tried to secede from the union over this issue. A civil war was fought over it, if I recall correctly.

Or maybe you could ask the Native Americans.

The same Native Americans who used to torture and murder farmers? The same Native Americans who used to capture, torture, and enslave members of other Native American tribes? But let's put those instances aside, since by no means did the majority of Native Americans tribes indulge in these practices.

It must be remembered that most of this activity took place in parts of the continent that were NOT PART of the US at the time, hence not yet subject to Washington's authority. Some of these areas were not yet even Territories, let alone States. However, the way that private individuals, and some US cavalry commanders and even the US government behaved towards Native Americans is a national disgrace. A long legacy of broken treaties is something that must never be forgotten.

Oh, I know, how about asking the Jews? The US didn't attain its growth during the 19th century by being a bastion of FREEDOM--it attained it through SLAVE LABOR, not only among the the actual slaves, but among the sweatshop workers as well.

The sweatshop workers were not slaves. They sought employment voluntarily, even eagerly. Life in Capitalist America was no bed of roses, but it was infinitely better than in the Statist European countries they had fled. It was so much better that they would make every possible effort to bring as many relatives as they could across the ocean to what they called "The Golden Country".

The fact that you can hold up 19th century America as an example of how things SHOULD be is a pretty damning example of your distorted view of history.

Again, you seem to miss the point. You prefer to compare the relatively harsher conditions of the 19th century, when the Industrial Revolution and Capitalism were just getting started, with the relatively easier conditions of the 20th century. It is much more realistic to compare 19th century capitalist countries (England and America) with 19th century Europe. Or to compare 19th century England and America with 18th century England and America. You seem to respect empirical evidence and statistics. It just so happens I have a ton of them from this era. If you like, I can make a separate post to show whose view of history is distorted.

Where I see the resemblance is in the impatience with complexity, the belief that one sweeping prescription can cure a host of ills.

There may at first glance be a superficial resemblance, but that is all it is. The fundamental PRINCIPLE -- no man or group of men has the right to violate the rights of any individual -- is not complex at all. But the successful IMPLEMENTATION of this basic principle in every aspect of human interaction IS complex. Incredibly so. As you correctly pointed out, the formulation of an objective body of law flexible enough to cover all existing and possible future permutation of that principle is difficult, demanding, and requires minds of great intelligence, integrity, and foresight. Further, it must be an ongoing process, as new technologies such as birth control, the internet, and cloning (to name but three) have demonstrated.

No group has the right to force you to remain within a given nation and a given political system.

No group has the right to force me to flee the place of my birth in order to prevent my rights from being violated.

Once you make the choice to remain within that nation and receive the benefits therefrom, you are making an implicit agreement to abide by the laws of that nation.

Does this hold true of all nations? Like the African nations where the tribe in power systematically murders other tribes? Or like when Belgium introduced socialized medicine in the early 60s and thousands of doctors trying to flee the country were forcibly inducted into the army by a hastily passed law?

If the laws of that nation, reflecting the wishes of the majority, include taxation for a variety of uses, including defense, including public works and infrastructure, and yes, including aid for those individuals who for whatever reason may be incapable of supporting themselves, you are free to take it or leave it.

Of course. That does not mean that your rights are not being violated, or that you would not be better off if the government would obey its own constitution.

If you leave it, you also relinquish the benefits of living in that society: access to public health or public education...

I would rather pay a doctor when I need him. I prefer to be privately educated, and I have no children.

... access to wealthy consumers who have the werewithal to purchase your products...

I make pottery. I don't need wealthy consumers (who would be even wealthier if they weren't being taxed to death).

... access to parks and libraries...

I live in the country where there are tons of trees, and the library I use was endowed by Andrew Carnegie, not the government.

... access to an educated workforce to work in your businesses, etc. etc.

I don't need high school graduates to run my kiln.

All of these factors, tangible and intangible, make up "public society"...

All of those things are nice to have. But none of those things require tax dollars or government intervention in order to exist. Doctors, teachers, wealthy consumers, parks, libraries, and educated people willing to work for wages all existed before government decided that it had the right to involve itself in those areas. As a matter of fact, all those things exist in the Dominican Republic today, and no tax dollars are spent on their production. If the only way I can obtain those things is through the violation of the rights of others, I prefer to do without.

... and reflect the fact that if you make the CHOICE to live in a certain society...

Babies don't get to choose where they are born.

... you have responsibilities to that society.

My responsibility to the individuals who comprise that society is to refrain from violating their rights.

If you don't like the way tax dollars are being spent, you can leave, or you can make TAX DEDUCTIBLE donations to the charity of your choice. Or you can play the tax evasion game, a game which becomes easier the more money you have.

Or you can refuse to pay your taxes, and have other people's tax dollars support you in a federal prison.

In my last post, I listed three different political/economic systems under which I would be willing to live. One place I would never be willing to live, one place that would match my definition of a living hell, is a hypothetical nation in which all the citizens have extremely well-though-out rationales for their rights but have barely any idea of the meaning of the word "responsibility."

Since the majority of those currently living in those three systems have never even bothered to ask the questions "Does man need government at all?" and "If so, under what principles should it be organized?" much less expend the effort to find the answers, I think you will probably have all three options available to you for a long time to come.

pinky


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Invisiblemykal dylburt
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: trendal]
    #596068 - 04/02/02 02:49 AM (18 years, 10 months ago)

you are seriously deluded.

your idea of capitalism is known as laissez-faire and has little to do with what capitalism actually is. capitalism is an economic system, not a political system, just as is socialism. the idea of them being linked can only be attributed to your (i presume) Western education (communism = autocracy, capitalism = freedom and democracy, etc.)

capitalism is an economic system based on private property (private ownership of production) whereas its antithesis, socialism is based on public property (public ownership of production.) there is nothing else under the nation-state: privatization and nationalization. a combination of the two is what most countries are. profits from private production are used for welfare, roads and the like.

the United States of America is _THE_ capitalist country of the world, in fact, the only reason why capitalism still exists to this day. there is not a single for-profit company in the US that is state owned--everything is private. that's capitalism. the political aspect is simply what the country has evolved into.

have you read "Wealth of Nations" ?

once again, capitalism = economic system , not political system. the false link created between these political and economic systems is the cornerstone of Western education.

capitalism : an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: mykal dylburt]
    #596151 - 04/02/02 04:59 AM (18 years, 10 months ago)

mykal dylburt writes:

your idea of capitalism is known as laissez-faire...

Whenever I use the word "Capitalism" with a capital C, it is to indicate that it is the pure, laissez-faire capitalism to which I refer... the kind that the Founding Fathers envisioned. It should not be necessary to use "laissez-faire" since it is a redundant prefix -- Capitalism is by definition laissez-faire -- but so few people today have even the vaguest idea of what Capitalism was that it is necessary to throw in the "laissez-faire" reminder every now and then, otherwise you get people arguing that the US of today is Capitalist.

...and has little to do with what capitalism actually is. capitalism is an economic system, not a political system, just as is socialism.

Wrong. Both are politico-economic systems. Ever taken a Poli-Sci course? Or even a grade school Civics class?

the idea of them being linked can only be attributed to your (i presume) Western education...

The Soviets and the Chinese and the Taliban consider Capitalism to be a political system as well. It is not a strictly Western point of view.

...(communism = autocracy, capitalism = freedom and democracy, etc.)

As for autocracy vs freedom, that is a given. If the State controls all means of production, there is by definition an autocracy. And, as I have pointed out before, it is not necessary for a Capitalist government to be a democracy. It is irrelevant whether the members of the government are chosen by popular vote, by drawing colored balls from a hat, or by inheritance. As long as the government restricts itself to the protection of its citizens and stays completely out of the area of commerce it is by definition a Capitalist government.

a combination of the two is what most countries are. profits from private production are used for welfare, roads and the like.

Correct. As the title of the thread indicates, the US is NOT Capitalist. Politically and economically it is a mixture of freedom and controls, of State-owned (or State-protected) commercial ventures and privately-owned commercial ventures.

the United States of America is _THE_ capitalist country of the world, in fact, the only reason why capitalism still exists to this day.

Sadly, it is true that the US is today the most capitalist of the major countries. There are other smaller countries that no one cares about who are closer to pure Capitalism than the US is today. Hong Kong was certainly a prime example, but Hong Kong is no more.

there is not a single for-profit company in the US that is state owned--everything is private.

Utility companies are owned by the various States. If they are not owned outright, they are protected from competition. Same difference... the only players in that field are those sanctioned by the State.

have you read "Wealth of Nations" ?

Yes.

once again, capitalism = economic system , not political system.

Once again, you are incorrect.

the false link created between these political and economic systems is the cornerstone of Western education.

It is no false link. Capitalism is as much a politico-economic system as is Socialism or Anarchism or Fascism. In a way, it is ironic to call it a politico-ECONOMIC system at all, since in a Capitalist system the government has no say in commercial transactions whatsoever. If anything, Capitalism is not an ECONOMIC system at all, since the government has nothing to do with the economy. It is STRICTLY a political system.

capitalism : an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

Would you care to quote the source of that definition? Any Poli-Sci professor (even a SOCIALIST Poli-Sci professor) will tell you that it is incomplete. But, even so, let's run with it for a while and see what it logically implies:

...characterized by PRIVATE or CORPORATE ownership of capital goods...

As opposed to what? COLLECTIVE or STATE ownership, presumably. In other words, the government has no say in the economy, just as I have maintained all along.

... by investments that are determined by PRIVATE decision...

As opposed to what? COLLECTIVE or STATE decision, presumably. In other words, the government has no say in THIS area of the economy either.

...and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a FREE MARKET

As opposed to what? Pricing, production and distribution of goods determined by the COLLECTIVE or STATE, presumably. In other words, the government has no say in THIS area of the economy either. So, even though this definition does not specifically point out that in a Capitalist system there is no government involvement in the economy, it is quite clear by implication that this is the case.

pinky


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #596678 - 04/02/02 05:03 PM (18 years, 10 months ago)

Uh, pinky, if you'll notice the guy was responding to trendal, not to you. Of course if you want to jump in you're free to do so, but when he asks questions like "Have you read The Wealth of Nations?" it's slightly absurd when you proudly step forward to answer yes, since the question was intended for somebody else.

By the way, I have a question for you. You maintain that taxation is theft and morally wrong. Yet you also accept that there is a need for a legal system, police, and national defense. Which begs the question: where is the revenue to support those government functions supposed to come from?

If it is from taxation, you should probably revise your condemnation of taxation to something like "taxation is morally wrong except in those cases when it is used to protect a nation's citizens from force, either internal or external." That, however, would be a logical contradiction because force is being used to collect those taxes in the first place. So you'd have to say, "taxation is morally wrong except in those cases when I say it is okay." But if you start attaching such qualifications, your position loses moral coherence. And of course, it opens the field wide open to debate, and you can be sure that everybody is going to bring his or her own agenda to the table. Many people will even dispute the necessity for police or the military, or argue at the very least that those functions receive far too much of the pie. Others will have a whole shopping list of instances when taxation is "okay."

So what other options are there? Should the government have bake sales? Or maybe the government should initiate state-owned enterprises? Or perhaps the government should play the stock market?

I really can't see how a Capitalist (with a capital 'C') such as yourself would accept such propositions. But let's assume, for the sake of argument, that you would approve, given the stipulation that the government is merely another market player, like any other, on an even playing field. That is to say, state enterprises won't be allowed to pull strings and jiggle the works in their own favor. This means that government revenues will be subject to all of the vagaries of the marketplace--which could very well mean that, oop! sorry! this neighborhood will only have police service four days out of the week. Or maybe we'll have to pull in our aircraft carriers for a month because we can't afford the jet fuel. Or that court cases will be even more backlogged than they are now. In other words, in times of economic uncertainty this could mean disruption of very essential state functions. A good recipe for disaster.


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #596820 - 04/02/02 06:58 PM (18 years, 10 months ago)

Uh, pinky, if you'll notice the guy was responding to trendal, not to you.

Oops. So he was. My bad. I guess he read only the first post in the thread. That explains a lot.

By the way, I have a question for you. You maintain that taxation is theft and morally wrong. Yet you also accept that there is a need for a legal system, police, and national defense. Which begs the question: where is the revenue to support those government functions supposed to come from?

There are a number of alternatives. The proceeds from existing State lotteries alone would easily handle all police and court functions, and probably leave enough surplus to handle virtually all military expenditures as well... especially if the military were restricted to legitimate national defense functions, as opposed to "police actions" such as Viet Nam or Panama.

Voluntary contributions would continue to be accepted, of course. Today it is not uncommon for people to leave substantial chunks of their inheritance to hospitals, museums, universities, and other institutions.... including the IRS. People have left their entire fortunes to the government in the past, and more would likely do so in the future if they paid no taxes. Believe it or not, even today the IRS is the sole named beneficiary of a surprising percentage of wills. From the sentiments expressed in this thread and other similar threads in this forum it is reasonable to assume many Shroomerites will leave their money to the IRS, since they find inheritances and trust funds to be immoral.

Another source of revenue would be "contract insurance". Whenever a written contract, regardless of size, is executed between two parties, a percentage may (or may not) be paid to the government. The vast number of contracts executed daily, and the sums involved, would yield a considerable amount of revenue even at very low percentages... almost certainly less than half a per cent. If you choose to insure your contract, you may use the court system to adjudicate disputes arising from it. If you choose not to pay, then you are on your own in seeking redress for any perceived breach of contract.

These are three sources of income which involve no taxation. There are probably others I am too unimaginative to think of.

If it is from taxation, you should probably revise your condemnation of taxation to something like "taxation is morally wrong except in those cases when it is used to protect a nation's citizens from force, either internal or external." That, however, would be a logical contradiction because force is being used to collect those taxes in the first place. So you'd have to say, "taxation is morally wrong except in those cases when I say it is okay."

I have said already in this thread that any taxation used to support other functions is morally wrong. To presume that taxation will be required to support these functions is to presume that lotteries, contract insurance, voluntary contributions and other methods of raising revenue will be insufficient to cover their costs... something that has yet to be proven.

But if you start attaching such qualifications, your position loses moral coherence.

How so?

And of course, it opens the field wide open to debate, and you can be sure that everybody is going to bring his or her own agenda to the table.

What agenda? The only thing left to decide is exactly how many cops, judges, and troops are required.

Many people will even dispute the necessity for police or the military...

Those people are called Anarchists.

... or argue at the very least that those functions receive far too much of the pie.

In a Capitalist society, those functions receive ALL of the pie, if by pie you mean the government budget. No one else receives a dime.

Others will have a whole shopping list of instances when taxation is "okay."

As they do today. In a Capitalist society, their shopping lists are irrelevant.

pinky



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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #597024 - 04/02/02 10:24 PM (18 years, 10 months ago)

"I have said already in this thread that any taxation used to support other functions is morally wrong. To presume that taxation will be required to support these functions is to presume that lotteries, contract insurance, voluntary contributions and other methods of raising revenue will be insufficient to cover their costs... something that has yet to be proven."

It is also yet to be proven that they WOULD be sufficient. Let us assume, charitably, that the 200 million adults in the US were all stupid enough to spend $5 per week on lottery tickets. That would bring in about 52 billion per year. State lotteries typically make a profit of 30-35 cents on the dollar, so the actual revenue from said lottery would be about 18.2 billion, assuming a 35% profit margin. The Defense budget alone of the US in FY2002 was 343 billion. Even if we assumed that the defense budget could be pared in half (an impossibility, but just to help you out) and assumed that lotteries could bring in 100 billion per year, there would STILL be a shortfall of over 70 billion dollars. This is to say absolutely nothing, of course, about the costs of police and courts. If you really think that contract insurance and voluntary contributions will make up the difference, fine, but why should I or anybody else believe it without any hard numbers? Besides which, the revenues from lotteries, voluntary contributions, contract insurance, etc. would be subject to the same fluctuations as state industries. There would still be the danger of disruption in services.

You say that there are other possible sources of income that you are "too unimaginative to think of." That is obviously an ingenuous statement: if you really believed you were that unimaginative, why would you be making proposals for the upheaval of government as we know it in the free world? It's easy to make sweeping proposals based on abstract arguments: the hard part is actually getting anything to work. This is a problem you seem to prefer to leave to others. This is also true of most Libertarian political candidates, which is why they're STILL never elected to national office despite the advent of the internet and other public access sources of media dissemination. It is not, as you suggested some time ago, that 99% of the people in this country are living with some kind of medieval mindset (i.e., the earth is flat) and that the Libertarians are the misunderstood Copernicuses of the 21st century.


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #597198 - 04/03/02 01:36 AM (18 years, 10 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

State lotteries typically make a profit of 30-35 cents on the dollar, so the actual revenue from said lottery would be about 18.2 billion, assuming a 35% profit margin.

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal a few years back that gave figures on the lottery industry. I don't know if the article is online anywhere. If not, there are probably figures out there somewhere. At any rate, the figures given in that article were substantially higher than 18.2 billion profit a year. You are the one who insists on empirical data and hard statistics. There is no point in either of us trying to GUESS what lottery revenues may be.

The Defense budget alone of the US in FY2002 was 343 billion. Even if we assumed that the defense budget could be pared in half (an impossibility, but just to help you out)...

A lot of people feel US military spending is much higher than it needs to be in order to provide for national DEFENSE. Could the US be defended from foreign aggression for less than $170 billion a year? It probably could, if the Pentagon stopped buying $600 dollar toilet seats and $125 screwdrivers, and maintaining overseas military bases on every little pissant island. What's the annual budget for the base at Guantanamo? Does anyone really believe Castro is going to invade Florida? How much did the Viet Nam war cost? The Gulf War? Did either one have anything to do with national defense?

This is to say absolutely nothing, of course, about the costs of police and courts.

In a Capitalist society, costs for police, courts, and prisons would be substantially lower. Gambling, prostitution, and drug offenses currently consume enormous amounts of money. I can't remember what the direct costs of the WOD alone are annually in the US, but I know it's higher than 18.2 billion dollars. Then there are all the subsidiary crimes... what percentage of burglaries, robberies, and murders are a direct result of the trade in illegal drugs?

If you really think that contract insurance and voluntary contributions will make up the difference, fine, but why should I or anybody else believe it without any hard numbers?

I am not in a position to provide hard numbers. Others more familiar with the US economy may be able to do so. What was the value of the contracts signed in the US last year? A trillion dollars? Ten trillion? More?

As for voluntary contributions, I can only speak for myself, but if I had to pay no taxes at all, I would have no trouble coughing up twenty bucks a week or so to pay for police and military -- I pay more than that right now on cigarettes alone. In the last year I paid income tax, (1987) I paid just under a thousand bucks a week in income tax and various compulsory "payroll deductions". In 1987, a thousand bucks a week was considered to be a fair amount of money. I would have no difficulty paying a fiftieth that amount today. Hell, in the 1980s I used to donate a hundred and fifty bucks a year to PBS and I hardly even watched TV. I gave 100 bucks a year to the local college radio station and I listened to it even less than I watched TV.

If a cheap single bastard like me would gladly pay twenty bucks a week for legitimate government protection, how much do you think someone with a nice house and two cars and a family and a successful business would pay voluntarily?

... if you really believed you were that unimaginative, why would you be making proposals for the upheaval of government as we know it in the free world?

I freely admit I am not particularly imaginative when it comes to novel ways of making money. But just because I personally am unable to think of new ways to make money doesn't mean that the mass violation of individual rights is correct. As for "upheaval", the erosion of liberty in the US was a gradual process. The restoration of liberties does not need to occur overnight. Just as so-called government "services" were introduced bit by bit, they can be eliminated bit by bit.

Finally, if you really believe the US is "free", there is no point in continuing. The US government controls countless aspects of your everyday existence. You wake up each morning on a mattress that bears a tag imprinted "do not remove under legal penalty" to the sound of your clock radio playing a station regulated by the FCC. The clock radio itself must meet numerous government standards for electrical devices. You brush your teeth with FDA approved toothpaste, then use a toilet that has a government-mandated low capacity water tank (unless you illegally smuggled an old-style one in from Canada, as so many people do these days). You eat your cereal with milk that comes from government subsidized cows (milk that hasn't been poured into the sewer systems to stabilize prices), then drive your kids to a government run school in your car equipped with government-mandated airbags, hoping the airbags don't malfunction and kill your kid. You stop to fill up with gas that brings the station owner a profit of maybe a cent or two per gallon, but 60 cents profit (taxes) to the government. You hope you don't get pulled over for your expired license plates, because a friend might have left a roach under the back seat. You get to work and piss into a cup and hand it off to the lucky shmoe who gets to test it for illegal drugs. I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

This is considered "the Free World" ?

It's easy to make sweeping proposals based on abstract arguments: the hard part is actually getting anything to work.

They worked just fine in the US for well over a century. And, as I have said before, anyone incapable of thinking in abstract principles is incapable of deciding which form of government is the best.

It is not, as you suggested some time ago, that 99% of the people in this country are living with some kind of medieval mindset...

When did I ever say that?

I do, however, believe that most of the people living in the world today are pretty much indifferent to politics. Even people who are opposed to the WOD, for example, continue to vote for Republocrats, or choose not to vote at all.

pinky


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Edited by pinksharkmark (04/03/02 01:41 AM)


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #598874 - 04/04/02 07:28 PM (18 years, 10 months ago)

"At any rate, the figures given in that article were substantially higher than 18.2 billion profit a year. You are the one who insists on empirical data and hard statistics. There is no point in either of us trying to GUESS what lottery revenues may be. "

If you'll look closely, just to give your argument a fighting chance, I assumed a profit of 100 billion a year, even though it was 5.5 times what I think can reasonably be raised. Even if I assumed an annual 200 billion profit, it would hardly suffice to support even the most minimal government imaginable (The US federal gov't budget alone was 2 trillion--ten times that. This doesn't cover most police and court costs, which are part of state budgets. Even with massive across the board cuts, there's no way that courts, cops and police could be paid for with 200 billion a year).

As for contract insurance, isn't that what courts are for? So it's like saying you can only use the courts on a "pay-as-you-go" basis. If you don't buy contract insurance you have no redress in case of breach? And wouldn't that put an inordinate share of the government funding burden on business? I tried to do some research on contract insurance, only to find that it's exceedingly uncommon, if not entirely a hypothetical concoction of Libertarians.

"It probably could, if the Pentagon stopped buying $600 dollar toilet seats and $125 screwdrivers, and maintaining overseas military bases on every little pissant island. "

There was a big furor over that in the 80's. I haven't heard anything about $600 toilet seats for over 15 years. What I HAVE heard a lot about is low-ranking enlisted men whose families are below the poverty line because they don't get paid enough. Who knows? Maybe it's a media conspiracy. Anyway, 15-year-old soundbites hardly make for convincing debate.

"In a Capitalist society, costs for police, courts, and prisons would be substantially lower."

Thanks, Nostradamus. Yet another unfounded prediction. These costs could just as well be more expensive, as more consumers have to take take unregulated producers to court to seek redress for dangerous/deadly products, useless products, environmental pollution, and other forms of force and fraud which are averted to some extent today by federal oversight.

"If a cheap single bastard like me would gladly pay twenty bucks a week for legitimate government protection, how much do you think someone with a nice house and two cars and a family and a successful business would pay voluntarily?"

This is all anecdotal and therefore worthless. Neither of us may have the reams of hard facts necessary to build an airtight case, but in the final analysis the burden of proof falls upon your shoulders because you're the one arguing for radical (even if drawn out over time) change and arguing that it is feasible. Even in order to raise 200 billion/year every adult in America would have to contribute $1000/year through some combination of lotteries and voluntary donations--which may be less than they're paying now, but it is still not a given that they would pay it.

There will certainly be many people who will refuse to give ANYTHING. Sooner or later the existence of such people will come to the attention of those who DO voluntarily contribute to keep essential government functions afloat. Human nature being what it is, sooner or later those people are going to resent the fact that large numbers of their countrymen are enjoying the benefits and protections that should be a SHARED burden, but not carrying their share of that burden. In other words, freeloading. Sooner or later, those people will begin to insist that the freeloaders pay their share--in other words, COERCING those people to pay. In other words, reinstituting a non-voluntary tax. That tax may be a fraction of what it is today, but it will still be a tax. This is the way democratic (notice I'm using a lower-case 'd'--I know you're really picky about those things) societies work. You like to put words into the mouths of the Founding Fathers of this country that you don't even live in--well, I'll indulge a bit of that myself and tell you quite plainly that Democracy, in the final analysis, was a much higher priority to them than Capitalism.

"Finally, if you really believe the US is "free", there is no point in continuing. "

I apologize, I simply used the "free world" epithet in the standard sense of industrialized, democratic nations. No, I don't think the US is "free," nor do I think that any other country on this planet is "free." If it isn't the government breathing down your neck it's the warlords, the landowners, the vulture capitalists, etc. If I were a black person in the Dominican Republic, I would certainly feel a lot less free than you do, or than the hereditary white landowners (many of whom, by the way, go to socialist Cuba, not Florida, for their medical care, even though they could afford the US if they wanted it). It's true that DR mulattos have some upward mobility (certainly more than the blacks) but I doubt they feel extremely free either, or why would they be migrating in such large numbers to the US? Whether YOU feel free there or not is irrelevant; you are white (obviously, although I've never seen your face), you brought a lot of hard currency with you, and you're always free to run back to Mama Canada's socialist apron if the shit hits the fan. They'll take you back too, ingrate though you are.

"They worked just fine in the US for well over a century. And, as I have said before, anyone incapable of thinking in abstract principles is incapable of deciding which form of government is the best."

Anyone incapable of understanding that an expanding, rural, sparesely populated agrarian-economy nation is not the same thing as an economically saturated, urban, densely populated service-economy nation is also incapable of deciding which form of government is the best. You seem to have confused "thinking in abstract principles" with "applying rules or maxims without consideration of qualifying or mitigating factors." They are not the same thing. There are also various, and often conflicting, defintions of various abstract notions such as "justice," "fairness," "rights," "responsibilities," "natural law," "morality," etc. The very existence of the philosophical enterprise rests on the fact that even axiomatic abstract principles are contested. Just as an example, we can take the Kantian categorical imperative: "Act only according to the maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law." This sounds good until one stops to consider the fact that the 9/11 terrorists would have no trouble willing that the killing of people they consider to be accomplices and agents of evil become universal law. The categorical imperative would have done nothing to stop them from doing what they did. So perhaps we should revert to a simpler formulation such as "don't kill another human being, ever" but then what do you do if some madman is about to gun down a bus full of schoolchildren and the only way to stop him is to kill him? So perhaps then the rule has to be revised to say, "don't kill another human being unless it is to protect another human being" but what do you do then when some terminally ill patient begs you to help him take his own life because the pain is excruciating and he only has a month left anyway? So perhaps one should say, "don't kill another human being unless it is for a higher good," but one is left begging the question of how to define that higher good.

Individual rights are essential and good, but that doesn't mean that society has to write a blank check for every individual alive within its borders. For example, should a small child have the right to own a handgun? Or a battery of chemical and biological weapons for that matter? Let's say the small child has done nothing wrong and has never stated any intention of doing anything wrong with those weapons. Does he have a right to them? Perhaps using a child is not a fair example. Okay, should adults have the right to OWN nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons? Let's say a friendly, mild-mannered accountant with no criminal record wants to purchase anthrax, sarin, and weapons-grade plutonium. Does he have the right to own those things? After all, he hasn't hurt anybody--yet. He is not using force or fraud to obtain those things. He is not violating anybody else's rights in order to obtain them. He just feels that he would be happier if he had a basement arsenal of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. The Libertarian doctrine that people should be free to do what they want as long as they do not infringe on the rights of others would say, YES, he does have a right to own those weapons of mass destruction. I realize this is a reductio ad absurdum, but you yourself have said such extreme examples are necessary to test the validity of a philosophical position. What this example demonstrates is that the Libertarian position is sheer insanity.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #599085 - 04/04/02 11:29 PM (18 years, 10 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

As for contract insurance, isn't that what courts are for?

Not exclusively, no. Courts also handle criminal cases.

So it's like saying you can only use the courts on a "pay-as-you-go" basis. If you don't buy contract insurance you have no redress in case of breach?

Correct.

And wouldn't that put an inordinate share of the government funding burden on business?

Far less than they currently pay in taxes (plus the overhead they spend filling in government forms). Any businessman would choose contract insurance over taxes in a second, believe me. Besides, businesses could choose to do without the insurance, just as many businesses today choose to operate without fire insurance or hurricane insurance or whatever.

... the burden of proof falls upon your shoulders because you're the one arguing for radical (even if drawn out over time) change and arguing that it is feasible.

And it falls upon your shoulders to prove it is correct to continue the mass violation of human rights by using an economic justification. It seems you are saying, "Government is allowed to violate your rights because it's cheaper than respecting them."

Even YOU can't deny that a government restricted solely to police, courts, and military would have an operating budget of far less than 2 trillion dollars a year, even if there were more civil suits being pressed by consumers. And, by the way, it is normal for the loser in a civil suit to pay court costs. No need to use funds raised by lotteries, voluntary contributions, etc.

Even in order to raise 200 billion/year every adult in America would have to contribute $1000/year through some combination of lotteries and voluntary donations--which may be less than they're paying now...

It's a LOT less than they are paying now. Less than a tenth, when you add State taxes, taxes on gasoline, booze, cigarettes, etc., and if your figure of 2 trillion for the federal budget is correct.

... but it is still not a given that they would pay it. There will certainly be many people who will refuse to give ANYTHING.

True. Just as today there are organizations and individuals who pay no income tax.

Human nature being what it is, sooner or later those people are going to resent the fact that large numbers of their countrymen are enjoying the benefits and protections that should be a SHARED burden, but not carrying their share of that burden. In other words, freeloading.

You mean like how some people resent the "freeloading" welfare recipients in today's society? How much of the burden do these recipients share? At least in a Capitalist society, those "freeloaders" aren't RECEIVING someone else's hard-earned money, they are just not chipping in.

Sooner or later, those people will begin to insist that the freeloaders pay their share--in other words, COERCING those people to pay. In other words, reinstituting a non-voluntary tax.

How would they do that? Mug them and send the money to the government?

You like to put words into the mouths of the Founding Fathers of this country that you don't even live in--well, I'll indulge a bit of that myself and tell you quite plainly that Democracy, in the final analysis, was a much higher priority to them than Capitalism.

Have you ever read the works of the Founding Fathers? I'll bet I am more familiar with them than the majority of Americans are. One doesn't have to live in the United States to recognize the brilliance of their work. And a foreigner can mourn the death of their achievement as keenly as any American citizen. Apparently more keenly than some Americans citizens.

The Founding Fathers were very aware that majority rule (democracy) is tyranny. That is why the US was set up as a constitutionally limited Republic rather than a Democracy. They took great pains to restrict what government could do, because they understood that the biggest threat to liberty is not criminals, but government. They designed a brilliant sytem wherein individuals can do anything not expressly FORBIDDEN, while government may do only what is expressly PERMITTED -- no matter how many people may wish the government to do more. In my opinion, it is no exaggeration to say the Founding Fathers created the greatest accomplishment in the history of the human race.

If I were a black person in the Dominican Republic, I would certainly feel a lot less free than you do, or than the hereditary white landowners (many of whom, by the way, go to socialist Cuba, not Florida, for their medical care, even though they could afford the US if they wanted it).

Ummm... so it's not okay for me to espouse the well-documented ideas of the Founding Fathers of the US, but it is okay for you to make assumptions about a country whose history you've never read? I doubt you are as familiar with the way things are in the Dominican Republic as someone who has lived here for a decade and a half. There may be some who go to Cuba for medical care, but I've never met one. Why would they? There are excellent doctors here in the DR. Most of the clinics in Cuba are lucky if they have aspirin.

It's true that DR mulattos have some upward mobility (certainly more than the blacks)...

The blacks here have as much opportunity as the mulattos. There are many black business owners I know personally here who have more money than I do. A LOT more.

... but I doubt they feel extremely free either...

You are really good at deciding how other people feel, aren't you? Dominicans DO feel free. The older ones all remember life under Trujillo, and the younger ones have heard about him from the time they could talk. We have the textbook contrast of Haiti right across the border, and Cuba is just a hop skip and a jump across the water. Not all Dominicans are well educated, but they are not fools. Damn right they feel free.

...or why would they be migrating in such large numbers to the US?

If Sweden and Canada and all those other countries on your Top Twenty lists are so great, why do so many Canadians, Britons, and Europeans migrate "in such large numbers to the US"?

Whether YOU feel free there or not is irrelevant; you are white (obviously, although I've never seen your face)...

Now that is an interesting statement. Actually, I am not white, although some of my ancestors were. Why did you presume I was? Because I am articulate, well-read, and I believe in freedom? Do you think only white folk can have those attributes? As an aside, I run into a lot of prejudice here sometimes because I was not born here. The blackest Dominican feels superior to any non-Dominican, white, yellow, or black. They are a very proud people.

... you brought a lot of hard currency with you...

I could have brought a hell of a lot more and employed a hell of a lot more jobless people if I hadn't had it stolen from me by government.

... and you're always free to run back to Mama Canada's socialist apron if the shit hits the fan. They'll take you back too, ingrate though you are.

Of course they would take me back! The Canadian government LOVES childless taxpayers who pay a thousand bucks a week in taxes year after year while never drawing a dime in unemployment insurance, welfare, or medical services (except for a checkup every few years). It's a sweet deal for them.

Anyone incapable of understanding that an expanding, rural, sparesely populated agrarian-economy nation is not the same thing as an economically saturated, urban, densely populated service-economy nation is also incapable of deciding which form of government is the best.

It was not the agrarian accomplishments of the US that made it the top dog. It was its industrial and scientific prowess. This industrial might developed in the century and a half that the US was still very close to pure Capitalist. How do you think it went from an empty, hostile wilderness to an "economically saturated, urban, densely populated service-economy nation" ?

You seem to have confused "thinking in abstract principles" with "applying rules or maxims without consideration of qualifying or mitigating factors." They are not the same thing.

What qualifying or mitigating factor is there for violating the rights of a peaceful individual?

There are also various, and often conflicting, defintions of various abstract notions such as "justice," "fairness," "rights," "responsibilities," "natural law," "morality," etc.

That is so. Obviously, some of those definitions are incorrect.

Just as an example, we can take the Kantian categorical imperative: "Act only according to the maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law."

Kant was not a philosopher, he was a mystic, and a self-contradictory, incoherent one at that. He stated repeatedly that his mission was "to save fair faith from cold reason". Have you ever read Kant? I have. It was sheer torture. Not only was the man a loon, but an execrable writer to boot.

So perhaps then the rule has to be revised to say, "don't kill another human being unless it is to protect another human being" but what do you do then when some terminally ill patient begs you to help him take his own life because the pain is excruciating and he only has a month left anyway? So perhaps one should say, "don't kill another human being unless it is for a higher good," but one is left begging the question of how to define that higher good.

If you phrase those questions as an abstract principle rather than as specific concretes, the answers are clear. The fundamental principle is -- No human has the right to force another to act against his will except in retaliation to the initiation of force, and then only against the initiator. So, yes, one may shoot a hostage taker to prevent him from killing his hostage. And yes, if it is the wish of a terminally ill patient to have his life ended, one may end it.

Individual rights are essential and good, but that doesn't mean that society has to write a blank check for every individual alive within its borders.

Then why do you insist "society" has the right to force ME to write a blank check for any individual living within its borders? Who has the right to proclaim that MY life, MY effort, is to be used to support some crackhead who is too lazy to find a job? And WHO is society? Society is nothing more than many individuals. If any single individual doesn't have the right to take my money against my will for whatever he feels is a worthy cause, how do several individuals magically gain this "right"?

Okay, should adults have the right to OWN nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons?

No, because there is a clear difference between a sword or a pistol or a shotgun, which can legitimately claimed to be instruments of self defense, and WMD (weapons of mass destruction), which cannot. Since the fundamental principle I outlined above states that the only acceptable use of force is in retaliation, and then only against the initiator, clearly simple possession of WMD establishes intent to initiate force. In this case, the government has the right to confiscate them, just as they would have the right to pre-emptively disarm a man with dynamite strapped around his waist from entering a day care center.

What this example demonstrates is that the Libertarian position is sheer insanity.

What the example demonstrates is that faulty conclusions can be reached when fundamental principles are ignored.

It is easy to figure these things out when you think in PRINCIPLES rather than making decisions based on "whatever most people feel is right this week".

pinky


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #599640 - 04/05/02 02:55 PM (18 years, 10 months ago)

"As for contract insurance, isn't that what courts are for?

Not exclusively, no. Courts also handle criminal cases."

My point was that there is no need for contract insurance if that is what courts are for.

"Besides, businesses could choose to do without the insurance, just as many businesses today choose to operate without fire insurance or hurricane insurance or whatever."

Ah . . . thereby making it even harder for the government to raise the needed revenue.

"And it falls upon your shoulders to prove it is correct to continue the mass violation of human rights by using an economic justification."

Does any international organization or legislative body define taxation as a "violation of human rights"? Perhaps you do, perhaps Libertarians do, but most people, most human rights organizations, and most people who actually pay taxes, would not go so far as to call it a "violation of human rights." If I don't feel that my "human rights" are being violated, it's a bit absurd for you to insist to me that I should feel that way.

"You mean like how some people resent the "freeloading" welfare recipients in today's society? How much of the burden do these recipients share? At least in a Capitalist society, those "freeloaders" aren't RECEIVING someone else's hard-earned money, they are just not chipping in."

Yes, people DO resent freeloading welfare recipients, which is why, in the US at least, there has been a thoroughgoing welfare reform, carried out by a Democrat president no less. That resentment was translated into political action. It took time, but it happened.

"How would they do that? Mug them and send the money to the government?"

Do I need to spell everything out? They would do it by electing leaders who would reinstitute taxation, that's how.

"Have you ever read the works of the Founding Fathers? "
Yes I have. They recognized that "taxation without representation" was a great evil, and they fought it. They never said, however, that taxation WITH representation is a violation of human rights.

"If Sweden and Canada and all those other countries on your Top Twenty lists are so great, why do so many Canadians, Britons, and Europeans migrate "in such large numbers to the US"?"

Certainly not in the same numbers with respect to percentage of the population.

"Now that is an interesting statement. Actually, I am not white, although some of my ancestors were. Why did you presume I was? Because I am articulate, well-read, and I believe in freedom? Do you think only white folk can have those attributes? "

No, I thought you were white because you are smug, miserly (by your own admission), and believe that those who do not agree with you do so because they are intellectually impaired. These are attributes I associate with white people. I didn't mean it as a compliment. Call me a reverse racist if you want.

"Kant was not a philosopher, he was a mystic, and a self-contradictory, incoherent one at that. He stated repeatedly that his mission was "to save fair faith from cold reason". Have you ever read Kant? I have. It was sheer torture. Not only was the man a loon, but an execrable writer to boot."

I have read Kant. He is (and this is not just my opinion) one of the most important and seminal thinkers in the Western philosophical tradition. I'm not particarly enamored of his prose style, but he was an extremely methodical thinker who cut through a lot of rationalist claptrap by circumscrbing the limits of human intelligence. I'm sorry if you have trouble following his arguments, but your frustration gives you neither the right nor the authority to claim, ridiculously, that he was "not a philosopher." You betray serious misunderstanding here, just as you did when you claimed that Nietzsche is the philosopher of fascism. That the Nazis used and perverted Nietzsche's writings for their own ends is an undeniable fact (even the devil can quote the Bible for his own ends), but only the shallowest and most fragmentary reading of Nietzsche would lead one to believe that he would have supported Nazism.

"If you phrase those questions as an abstract principle rather than as specific concretes, the answers are clear. The fundamental principle is -- No human has the right to force another to act against his will except in retaliation to the initiation of force, and then only against the initiator."

So let me get this straight. If I own a store, for example, and a shoplifter steals my goods (without the use of force--this is shoplifting, not a holdup) I can't detain him? If somebody wants to sell crack next to an elementary school, I can't stop him? If a monopoly corporation or a group of oligopoly corporations engage in price fixing, they can do so? Give me a break.

"If any single individual doesn't have the right to take my money against my will for whatever he feels is a worthy cause, how do several individuals magically gain this "right"?"

How do human beings get rights in the first place? What magic or alchemy brings this about? In nature, "red in tooth and claw," might is the only right. In a state of nature, he who brings the most force to bear does whatever he damn well pleases, and those who are weaker answer to him. Rights only exist because a group of people have magically come together to agree that they should, and agree that they will protect those rights. Rights emanate from society. Either that, or they emanate from God. That's what the Founding Fathers believed ("endowed by their Creator . . ."). If one doesn't accept the existence of God, one must accept that rights emanate from society and a social contract. They certainly don't emanate from nature. I find it amazing that, as someone so concerned with rights, you have thought so little about their fundamental justification.

If rights emanate from society, then it only stands to reason that society can define certain responsibilities that accompany those rights.

"No, because there is a clear difference between a sword or a pistol or a shotgun, which can legitimately claimed to be instruments of self defense, and WMD (weapons of mass destruction), which cannot. Since the fundamental principle I outlined above states that the only acceptable use of force is in retaliation, and then only against the initiator, clearly simple possession of WMD establishes intent to initiate force"

If our friendly accountant believes that some foreign invasion is imminent, or that vast segments of the population are "out to get him," he can argue that pistols and shotguns will not suffice for self-defense. So, he would like to own just enough sarin to take out a thousand people, just for self-defense. The difference is simply one of scale, not necessarily of intent. The vast majority of firearms sold in this country are NEVER used for self defense. This is an established fact. They are used for recreation. The second largest use of firearms is for criminal acts. Self-defense (in terms of the actual number of times a firearm has actually been used) comes in a distant third. Since firearms are used far more often for criminal activity than for self defense, one could argue that simple possession also constitutes enough intent to justify limiting the ownership rights of recreational and "self-defense" owners. Anyway, I'm not interested in arguing gun control, but my point is simply that once you introduce the concept of "intent" you then create a need for interpretation. Interpretation is the act of applying fundamental principles to specific instances. It is not a clear and easy process, which is something you seem to be unwilling to accept.


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Invisiblecarbonhoots
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #600246 - 04/06/02 02:28 AM (18 years, 10 months ago)

holy fuckin shit man...

there's just so many great replies on this thread, covering so many areas,

Such staunch defences of capitalism!
Such intelligent rebukes of capitalism!

It's like reading a good book!

This is something I've much passion for, this phenonemon of society.

Capitalism, or whatever you call the present "system of America", seems to me like reincarnation of the old slavery. There's a lot of working poor people in the states. People who WORK HARD, yet only have just enough shelter and food. While the managers and shareholders can be multi-millionaires. Why can't we all share in the bounty? We should.





--------------------
  -I'd rather have a frontal lobotomy than a bottle in front of me

CANADIAN CENTER FOR POLICY ALTERNATIVES


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OfflinePhred
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: carbonhoots]
    #600365 - 04/06/02 07:53 AM (18 years, 10 months ago)

carbonhoots writes:

Capitalism, or whatever you call the present "system of America", seems to me like reincarnation of the old slavery.

The current system of America is certainly not Capitalism. It is neither fish nor fowl. It is a mixture of ever-decreasing freedom and ever-increasing government control.

Opponents of Capitalism blame the ills of modern day America on the tattered remnants of Capitalism. Supporters of Capitalism attribute these ills to the rising tide of government control.

People who WORK HARD, yet only have just enough shelter and food.

Would there be less of these people or more of them if the government were to relinquish its stranglehold on the economy and on the personal choices of its populace?

While the managers and shareholders can be multi-millionaires.

Or lose everything.

Why can't we all share in the bounty? We should.

You DO share in the bounty. As just one of countless possible examples, the computer you typed your post on and the internet that directed it to this website were made possible by the productive effort of people who are now millionaires.

pinky


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #600414 - 04/06/02 10:12 AM (18 years, 10 months ago)

echovortex writes:

My point was that there is no need for contract insurance if that is what courts are for.

Your original question was not what should courts DO, but how were they (and police and military) to be FINANCED.

Does any international organization or legislative body define taxation as a "violation of human rights"?

Of course they don't. It would be contrary to their interests to do so. Observe that the government violates human rights in more ways than by simple taxation. Is depriving someone of their freedom because they choose to eat a mushroom picked from a cow patty not a violation of rights? The WOD is financed by tax dollars. The Viet Nam draft was financed by tax dollars.

If I don't feel that my "human rights" are being violated, it's a bit absurd for you to insist to me that I should feel that way.

The fact that you don't feel your rights are being violated does not mean they aren't being violated. I don't insist that you should FEEL any way whatsoever. If you are comfortable with having your rights violated, fine by me. Others are NOT comfortable with having theirs violated.

Do I need to spell everything out? They would do it by electing leaders who would reinstitute taxation, that's how.

Ah. The tyranny of the majority once again. This is precisely why the Founding Fathers realized the necessity of a Constitution... to limit the power of government. In a Capitalist society, it wouldn't matter if one year the trendy thing to do was to elect representatives who were in favor of violating the rights of the populace, because the Constitution prohibits these violations.

No, I thought you were white because you are smug, miserly (by your own admission), and believe that those who do not agree with you do so because they are intellectually impaired. These are attributes I associate with white people. I didn't mean it as a compliment. Call me a reverse racist if you want.

Tsk, tsk... personal attacks again rather than addressing the issue at hand. Smug? How am I smug? I am CONFIDENT (not smug) that my points are correct, just as you are confident that yours are correct. How does that me make more "smug" than you? Miserly? I never "admitted" I was miserly... I have stated repeatedly that I donate VOLUNTARILY to individuals of my own choosing who are less fortunate than I. That is, however, irrelevant to the basic principles under discussion. As for "intellectually impaired", those who base their belief system on what "most other people feel is right this week" rather than using their own faculty of reason are not using their intellectual capacity to its fullest.

I have read Kant. He is (and this is not just my opinion) one of the most important and seminal thinkers in the Western philosophical tradition.

I have read Kant. He was (and this is not just my opinion) the inventor of one of the most hare-brained philosophical "systems" ever written down on paper.

I'm not particarly enamored of his prose style, but he was an extremely methodical thinker...

Kant may have been wordy, but he was hardly methodical. He is self-contradictory, disorganized, repetitive, arbitrary, and his theories bear absolutely no relation whatsoever to the observable facts of the universe. His entire edifice is based on faith rather than reason. I must admit I am astonished to hear one who insists on "empirical proof" express admiration for Kant, who offers not a single iota of proof anywhere in his work.

... who cut through a lot of rationalist claptrap by circumscrbing the limits of human intelligence.

Perhaps because he was a little shortchanged in the intelligence department himself.

I'm sorry if you have trouble following his arguments...

Oh, I have no trouble following his arguments. I had trouble DECIPHERING them, but that was just because I chose to read his works in their entirety. I had been told that most people's understanding of his "philosophy" was flawed, and that the only way to really know what he meant was to read him rather than read abstracts of his work by other commentators. Well, guess what... he really DID say all those things I had already read elsewhere, and the commentators were not misrepresenting his assertions at all.

... but your frustration gives you neither the right nor the authority to claim, ridiculously, that he was "not a philosopher."

A bit of poetic license there. It would have been better to say that he wasn't a SERIOUS philosopher.

You betray serious misunderstanding here, just as you did when you claimed that Nietzsche is the philosopher of fascism.

I never said Nietzsche was a Fascist. He was not. He was a Romanticist and a proto-Pragmatist.

... only the shallowest and most fragmentary reading of Nietzsche would lead one to believe that he would have supported Nazism.

Agreed. Nazi philosophy (such as it was) owed more to Kant and Hegel than to Nietzsche. I think it unlikely that Nietzsche envisioned all the potential ramifications of his philosophy.

If I own a store, for example, and a shoplifter steals my goods (without the use of force--this is shoplifting, not a holdup)...

Certainly force has been involved. The shoplifter has seized your property without your permission.

... I can't detain him?

You may choose to detain him until the police arrive. You may not shoot him.

If somebody wants to sell crack next to an elementary school, I can't stop him?

In a Capitalist society, drugs would not be illegal, therefore you may insult him, picket him, try to persuade him to move his business elsewhere, but you may not forcibly prevent him.

If a monopoly corporation or a group of oligopoly corporations engage in price fixing, they can do so?

Coercive monopolies cannot exist under Capitalism. They can exist only with government assistance. This has been demonstrated over and over again. The owner of a product has the right to decide at which price he will sell it.

How do human beings get rights in the first place? What magic or alchemy brings this about?

Man possesses rights by his metaphysical nature.

In nature, "red in tooth and claw," might is the only right.

This is true of organisms whose means of survival is instinctual. It is not true of organisms whose means of survival is rational thought.

In a state of nature, he who brings the most force to bear does whatever he damn well pleases, and those who are weaker answer to him.

Which is why the Founding Fathers were so careful to devise a system wherein individuals did NOT have to answer to those whose preferred method of human interaction was through the exercise of force.

Rights emanate from society.

Ah! The lightbulb illuminates. Now things become clear. If you believe rights "emanate" from society, then it is no wonder you hold the opinions you do. This deserves a separate post.

Either that, or they emanate from God.

If by God you mean the metaphysical universe, you are fundamentally correct.

If one doesn't accept the existence of God, one must accept that rights emanate from society and a social contract. They certainly don't emanate from nature. I find it amazing that, as someone so concerned with rights, you have thought so little about their fundamental justification.

Rights are neither a religious construct nor a societal one. They are a metaphysical attribute of each individual, just as are consciousness and volition.

If rights emanate from society, then it only stands to reason that society can define certain responsibilities that accompany those rights.

But since rights DON'T emanate from society, "society" has no right to define any such responsibilities. Your rights impose no responsibilities or obligations on me or anyone else except in the negative sense... I have an obligation not to violate your rights.

If our friendly accountant believes that some foreign invasion is imminent...

He should make this knowledge available to the military. It is their obligation to protect him from such an invasion.

... or that vast segments of the population are "out to get him," he can argue that pistols and shotguns will not suffice for self-defense. So, he would like to own just enough sarin to take out a thousand people, just for self-defense. The difference is simply one of scale, not necessarily of intent.

Not so. It is not a matter of "scale" at all, but one of "selectivity". WMD are by definition incapable of being used selectively, therefore by their very nature their use cannot help but violate the basic principle involved... the retaliatory use of force may be applied only to the initiator(s) of force. This is why all civilized nations have rejected the use of WMD.

Since firearms are used far more often for criminal activity than for self defense, one could argue that simple possession also constitutes enough intent to justify limiting the ownership rights of recreational and "self-defense" owners. Anyway, I'm not interested in arguing gun control, but my point is simply that once you introduce the concept of "intent" you then create a need for interpretation. Interpretation is the act of applying fundamental principles to specific instances.

The fact that firearms may be used for criminal acts does not make simple possession of a firearm proof of criminal intent. Possession of a Sarin gas bomb does. Yes, there is a need for interpretation, but one does not need to be a rocket scientist to make a correct interpretation in this case. Other cases may not be so clear cut, which is why the creation of an objective body of law is such a difficult task.

It is not a clear and easy process, which is something you seem to be unwilling to accept.

I agree that it there is some difficulty involved, and that great care must be taken to apply the principle correctly. However, if no principles at ALL are involved (other than such Pragmatist pseudo-principles as "whatever works", or "whatever is cheapest" or "whatever the current USA Today Poll says") then the task becomes not difficult, but IMPOSSIBLE, and mob rule wins again.

pinky


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Edited by pinksharkmark (04/06/02 10:19 AM)


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The Founding Fathers on Rights and Democracy [Re: EchoVortex]
    #600421 - 04/06/02 10:35 AM (18 years, 10 months ago)

echovortex writes:

You like to put words into the mouths of the Founding Fathers of this country that you don't even live in--well, I'll indulge a bit of that myself and tell you quite plainly that Democracy, in the final analysis, was a much higher priority to them than Capitalism.

and:

How do human beings get rights in the first place? What magic or alchemy brings this about?

and:

Rights only exist because a group of people have magically come together to agree that they should, and agree that they will protect those rights. Rights emanate from society. Either that, or they emanate from God. That's what the Founding Fathers believed ("endowed by their Creator . . ."). If one doesn't accept the existence of God, one must accept that rights emanate from society and a social contract. They certainly don't emanate from nature.

Okay, then... Let's see what the Founding Fathers' position was on the nature of individual rights and Democracy.

Prior to the formation of the United States of America, the State had been held to be the ruler of the individual, logically antecedent to the citizen and to which he must submit. The Founding Fathers reversed this hierarchy. Their starting point was the primacy and sovereignty of the individual. They held that the individual logically precedes both the group and the institution of government. Whether or not any social organization exists, each human possesses certain individual rights. And "among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" -- or, in the words of a New Hampshire state document, "among which are the enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; and in a word, of seeking and obtaining happiness".

These rights were regarded not as an arbitrary collection, but as corollaries derived from a single fundamental right. Man's rights, declares Samuel Adams, "are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature." Man's rights are natural -- they are warranted by the laws of reality, not any arbitrary human decision; and they are inalienable -- absolutes not subject to renunciation, revocation, or infringement by any individual or group. Rights, according to John Dickinson, "are not annexed to us by parchments and seals... They are born with us, exist with us; and cannot be taken from us by any human power without taking our lives. In short, they are founded on the immutable maxims of reason and justice."

And "to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..." The powers of government are, therefore, limited on principle: government is forbidden to infringe man's rights. It is forbidden because, in Adams's words, "the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defence of those very rights..."

In the view of the Founding Fathers, the State is the servant of the individual. It is not a sovereign possessing primary authority, but an agent possessing only delegated authority, charged by its citizens with a specific practical function, and subject to dissolution and reconstruction if it trespasses outside its assigned purview. Rather than being the ruler of man, it exists to prevent the division of men into rulers and ruled. It exists to enable the individual, in Locke's words, "to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of men, but to have only the law of nature for his rule."

"I have sworn upon every altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." Jefferson -- and the other Founding Fathers -- meant it. They didn't confine their efforts to the battle against theocracy and monarchy. They fought, on the same grounds, invoking the same principle of individual rights, against democracy, i.e. the system of unlimited majority rule. They recognized that the cause of freedom is not advanced by the multiplication of despots, and they didn't propose to substitute the tyranny of a mob for that of a handful of autocrats.

We must bear in mind, says Jefferson, that the will of the majority "to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate which would be oppression." In a pure democracy, writes Madison, " there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or the obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths."

When the framers of the American republic spoke of "the people", they did not mean a collectivist organism, one part of which was authorized to consume the rest. They meant a sum of individuals, each of whom -- whether strong or weak, rich or poor -- retains his inviolate guarantee of individual rights.

"It is agreed," says John Adams, "that 'the end of all government is the good and ease of the people, in a secure enjoyment of their rights, without oppression'; but it must be remembered that the rich are people as well as the poor, that they have rights as well as others; that they have as clear and as sacred a right to their large property as others have to theirs which is smaller; that oppression to them is as possible and as wicked as to others."

The genius of the Founding Fathers was their ability not only to grasp the ideas of the period (the Enlightenment) but to devise a means of implementing those ideas in practice, a means of translating them from philosophical abstractions to political reality. By defining in detail the division (and limits) of powers within the government and the operating procedures, they established a system whose operation and integrity were independent, so far as possible, of the moral character of any of its temporary officials -- a system impervious, so far as possible, to subversion by an aspiring dictator or by the public mood of the moment.

The heroism of the Founding Fathers was that they recognized an unprecedented opportunity, the chance to create a country of individual liberty for the first time in history -- and that they staked everything on their judgment: the new nation and their own "lives, fortunes, and sacred honor." Since liberty requires the principled recognition and practical implementation of man's individual rights, Lord Acton spoke the truth when he said that liberty "is that which was not, until the last quarter of the eighteenth century in Pennsylvania."

pinky


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #600541 - 04/06/02 02:38 PM (18 years, 10 months ago)

"I have read Kant. He was (and this is not just my opinion) the inventor of one of the most hare-brained philosophical "systems" ever written down on paper."

Don't you mean Ayn Rand?

"Certainly force has been involved. The shoplifter has seized your property without your permission. "

He has exerted force on my property, not on my person. You may argue that my property is a metaphysical extension of my person. I could argue, in turn, that my psyche is also a metaphysical extension of my person. If someone were to insult me and hurt my feelings, that would also be a "metaphysical" expression of force, to which I could try to respond, physically, by tying him up and stuffing a rag in his mouth. This is where metaphysical definitions of "force" lead us.

"His entire edifice is based on faith rather than reason."
His entire edifice is based on defining what is, and is not, available to reason and human understanding through the mediation of the senses. You cannot even describe what his project is, so you resort to meaningless and slanderous labels. Kant was concerned primarily with epistemology; political philosophy contents itself to operate at grosser levels of understanding without considering the truly fundamental issues of ontology and epistemology that underpin everything else. Without those fundamental considerations, political philosophy winds up being kindergarten philosophy. I don't agree with everything Kant has written; I nonetheless recognize the scope of his achievement.

"In a Capitalist society, drugs would not be illegal, therefore you may insult him, picket him, try to persuade him to move his business elsewhere, but you may not forcibly prevent him."

I would rather spend my time working and making a productive contribution than picketing every single demented person who comes near my children. The society you describe is a patent absurdity.

"Coercive monopolies cannot exist under Capitalism. They can exist only with government assistance. This has been demonstrated over and over again. "

No Capitalist economy has yet to exist. How is it possible, then, that this has been "demonstrated"? More promises, promises.

"This is true of organisms whose means of survival is instinctual. It is not true of organisms whose means of survival is rational thought."

It has, unfortunately, been true of humanity for most of its history. It is still true today in many places in the world. The only thing that keeps it at bay is social cooperation.

"If by God you mean the metaphysical universe, you are fundamentally correct."

Please demonstrate the existence of the metaphysical universe.

"Rights are neither a religious construct nor a societal one. They are a metaphysical attribute of each individual, just as are consciousness and volition."

Consciousness and volition and verifiable facts, phenomena that are open to observation. Rights are a metaphysical construction, and such constructions, like monetary currency, only hold weight if enough people concur in their existence and essential character.

"Not so. It is not a matter of "scale" at all, but one of "selectivity". WMD are by definition incapable of being used selectively, therefore by their very nature their use cannot help but violate the basic principle involved"

Anthrax can be used selectively, as can certain chemical agents. So perhaps they should be legalized?

As far as your long disquisition on the Founding Fathers goes, it is very well put, very eloquent, and draws nicely on the words of the Founding Fathers themselves. In and of itself it is a wonderful statement of principles. The only problem is that nowhere does it directly address the issue of taxation, and how they felt about THAT.

Here is a quotation from the online Tax History museum project (http://www.tax.org/Museum/1777-1815.htm):

"Government inefficiencies encountered during and after the Revolutionary war, particularly with respect to matters of taxation and finance, frustrated a growing number of influential public figures. This group of nationalists ? George Washington, Robert Morris, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and John Adams, to name a few ? advocated a stronger central government to administer fiscal and commercial policies directly, rather than devolving control to the individual states. Nationalists had several concerns. The intransigence of states like New York and Rhode Island prevented the passage of a tariff, impeding the national government's ability to pay its bills. Furthermore, a number of states had decided to discharge some of the national debt on their own, undermining Morris's plan for the Confederation government to assume the debt burden unilaterally. But without a revenue raising mechanism of its own or timely contributions from the states, the Confederation could not hope to pay even the interest on the national debt. As early as 1780, Hamilton had warned that "without revenues, a government can have no power. That power which holds the purse-strings absolutely, must rule.""

The Founding Fathers, too, had to confront the daily realities of governance. Although the income tax as we know it in the United States is less than a century old, the government of this nation, throughout its history, has had to resort to various means of revenue generation, of which the most popular in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was the import tariff--which is certainly a form of taxation, akin to sales tax. This served two purposes: protectionism and revenue generation. Let this be clear though: simply because it is not a direct income tax, it is still a tax.


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The source of Rights [Re: EchoVortex]
    #600548 - 04/06/02 02:47 PM (18 years, 10 months ago)

echovortex writes:

Rights only exist because a group of people have magically come together to agree that they should, and agree that they will protect those rights. Rights emanate from society. Either that, or they emanate from God. That's what the Founding Fathers believed ("endowed by their Creator . . ."). If one doesn't accept the existence of God, one must accept that rights emanate from society and a social contract. They certainly don't emanate from nature. I find it amazing that, as someone so concerned with rights, you have thought so little about their fundamental justification.


I have already posted some quotes from the Founding Fathers illustrating their views on the source of rights. Here is MY position on their fundamental justification.

The source of rights is neither divine law nor congressional law, but the law of identity. Aristotle said "A is A" -- and Man is Man.

Rights are conditions of existence required by man's metaphysical nature for his proper survival. If man is to live, it is RIGHT for him to use his mind, it is RIGHT to act on his own free judgement, it is RIGHT for a man to work for his values and to keep the products of his work. If his own life is a man's purpose, he has a RIGHT to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational. Any individual or group who attempts to negate a man's rights is WRONG.

A right is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man's (or woman's) freedom of action in a SOCIAL context. There is only one FUNDAMENTAL right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): an individual's right to his own life. Since life is maintained through a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action, the right to life means the right to engage in such action. It means the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, furtherance, fulfillment and enjoyment of his (or her) own life. Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The concept of a "right" pertains only to action -- specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men... ANY other men.

Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a POSITIVE -- of his freedom to act on his own judgement, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a NEGATIVE kind: to abstain from violating his rights.

The concept of "rights" is the concept that provides the logical transition from the principles guiding an individual's actions to the principles guiding his relationship with others. It is the concept that preserves and protects individual morality in a social context -- the link between the moral code of a man and the legal code of a society, the link between ethics and politics. Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law.

An individual holds rights, not FROM "the Collective" nor FOR the Collective, but AGAINST the Collective -- as a barrier which the Collective cannot cross. Rights are a man's protection against all other men.

pinky


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #600595 - 04/06/02 04:11 PM (18 years, 10 months ago)

echovortex writes:

He has exerted force on my property, not on my person. You may argue that my property is a metaphysical extension of my person.

That is exactly what I argue.

I could argue, in turn, that my psyche is also a metaphysical extension of my person. If someone were to insult me and hurt my feelings, that would also be a "metaphysical" expression of force...

An insult is not the initiation of force, it is an opinion you could choose to ignore. If I call you a fool, you may become annoyed. You may also laugh your head off, because my opinions are meaningless to you. On the other hand, if I steal your food, you die.

... to which I could try to respond, physically, by tying him up and stuffing a rag in his mouth. This is where metaphysical definitions of "force" lead us.

The initiation of force in the context of human affairs is easy to define metaphysically. If an individual is physically prevented by another individual from carrying out the actions he deems necessary to further his survival (always providing of course that such actions do not violate the rights of others), then force has been used. If I call you a dolt for carrying out those actions, it does not prevent you from carrying them out. Communication is not force.

You cannot even describe what his project is, so you resort to meaningless and slanderous labels.

You cannot even describe what Ayn Rand's philosophy is, so you resort to meaningless and slanderous labels.

Kant was concerned primarily with epistemology...

And it is precisely his epistemology which is fundamentally flawed. His epistemology is flawed because his theory of metaphysics is flawed. As you yourself say: "Consciousness and volition and verifiable facts, phenomena that are open to observation." Kant's "noumena" are neither verifiable facts nor open to observation.

If you wish to delve deeper into Kant's arbitrary constructs, I suggest we open a separate thread.

... political philosophy contents itself to operate at grosser levels of understanding without considering the truly fundamental issues of ontology and epistemology that underpin everything else. Without those fundamental considerations, political philosophy winds up being kindergarten philosophy.

Correct. This is why a proper political system must be based on a proper system of ethics, which must rest on a proper method of epistemology, which must be based an objective grasp of metaphysics. The political views one holds are ultimately a reflection of one's metaphysics.

No Capitalist economy has yet to exist. How is it possible, then, that this has been "demonstrated"?

If one has yet to exist, where is your empirical proof that monopolies are the inevitable result of Capitalism?

It has, unfortunately, been true of humanity for most of its history. It is still true today in many places in the world. The only thing that keeps it at bay is social cooperation.

In the societies where individual rights are most fully realized, it is kept more at bay than in societies where these rights are less fully recognized.

Please demonstrate the existence of the metaphysical universe.

The only way to do so is ostensively. *Gestures all around himself* There... there is the universe. It exists. You can perceive it with your own senses. You are currently engaged in debate with another inhabitant of the universe.

Consciousness and volition and verifiable facts, phenomena that are open to observation. Rights are a metaphysical construction, and such constructions, like monetary currency, only hold weight if enough people concur in their existence and essential character.

Rights may be violated by those who choose not to acknowledge their existence, and even by those who do. That doesn't change the fact that rights exist.

Here is a quotation from the online Tax History museum project (http://www.tax.org/Museum/1777-1815.htm):

"Government inefficiencies encountered during and after the Revolutionary war, particularly with respect to matters of taxation and finance... [snipped] ... As early as 1780, Hamilton had warned that "without revenues, a government can have no power. That power which holds the purse-strings absolutely, must rule.""


The Founding Fathers were new at the game of government. I imagine the concept of national lotteries and contract insurance never occured to them. Further, as early as 1780, it is unlikely that the treasury had yet had much in the way of bequeathments left to it.

The Founding Fathers, too, had to confront the daily realities of governance. Although the income tax as we know it in the United States is less than a century old, the government of this nation, throughout its history, has had to resort to various means of revenue generation, of which the most popular in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was the import tariff--which is certainly a form of taxation, akin to sales tax. This served two purposes: protectionism and revenue generation. Let this be clear though: simply because it is not a direct income tax, it is still a tax.

It is a tax, true. But there is a fundamental difference between taxing the productive efforts of every citizen (income tax) and skimming a commission on an imported product (tariff). In the first instance, property is being seized from its rightful owner -- the American citizen. In the second instance, the citizen retains all his property (currency), and is free to choose among several alternatives. I am partial to pottery, so let's use a clay pot as an example. Our citizen may use his currency to: buy an untaxed domestic pot, buy a taxed imported pot, buy some clay and make his own pot, rent a pot.

pinky


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #600679 - 04/06/02 06:06 PM (18 years, 10 months ago)

Holy land of the long posts. Concision is a main key to getting an effective message across or else you will lose your audience. My communications class is very proving to have some use, Hurray.


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #600701 - 04/06/02 06:47 PM (18 years, 10 months ago)

"The source of rights is neither divine law nor congressional law, but the law of identity. Aristotle said "A is A" -- and Man is Man."

This is a tautology. It means nothing.

"Rights are conditions of existence required by man's metaphysical nature for his proper survival. If man is to live, it is RIGHT for him to use his mind, it is RIGHT to act on his own free judgement, it is RIGHT for a man to work for his values and to keep the products of his work. If his own life is a man's purpose, he has a RIGHT to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational. Any individual or group who attempts to negate a man's rights is WRONG."

You have yet to demonstrate the metaphysical universe. Your attempt at a defintion ("*Gestures all around himself* There... there is the universe. It exists. You can perceive it with your own senses. You are currently engaged in debate with another inhabitant of the universe") was simply a demonstration of the physical universe, NOT the metaphysical. Metaphysical refers to that which is supersensible, that which transcends the mere physical, a world of pure ideas.

If nature "forbids him the irrational" why have so many people through so much of history been precisely that? If that is the case, nature is supremely incompetent.

Everything you have argued so far is NOT, emphatically not, a demonstration. These are first principles that are grounded in opinion. They are assumptions. They are articles of faith. I don't have a problem with that: every system of belief will have to start at some point with an assumption which cannot necessarily be proven, with an ariticle of faith. It is unavoidable. The only honest thing to do is to admit it as such. To be unable to do so is a symptom of absolutist and dogmatic thinking.

"You cannot even describe what Ayn Rand's philosophy is, so you resort to meaningless and slanderous labels."

Her philosophy skips all the thorny epistemological and ontological issues and takes as its starting point the very tautology you resorted to above. She asserts that man's senses and reason give him full access and understanding of objective reality. From there on in her arguments mirror yours almost to a "t". She was not interested so much in asking questions, which is what "serious" philosophers do, as in creating a philosophical edifice (and a shaky one at that) to justify her economic and political beliefs, which were the product not of some omniscient reason but of her childhood experiences in Soviet Russia. She ripped off a lot of ideas from Nietzsche, but none of his really good ones. Her philosophy spawned a cult, all of whose members claim to be free-thinking rationalists but who are terrified of deviating from her conclusions because they believe, more as an article of faith than anything else, that her own claims to infallibility are correct. Her followers tend to suffer either from delusions of grandeur, or from some strange self-hatred arising from the fact that they cannot live up to the standards set by the comic-book-type heroes described in her novels. Said characters also have really stupid names, like Dagny Taggart (it should be Vaginy Braggart). Rand had no sense of humor, which says a lot. Rand also believed that every man is an island. I'm surprised she didn't take credit for her own conception, carrying herself to term, and raising herself. Or did she?

There's a lot of internecine and factional fighting within Objectivism. Once they have a falling out, objectivists never deign to forgive one another. They just accuse each other of "evasion" and "irrationaity" endlessly, working themselves up into a lather over nothing much. Because Objectivism encourages egotism, absolutism, and incessant moralizing, it tends to put a damper on human relationships in general.

The man of whom Ayn Rand once said, "you understand my philosophy better than anybody" later turned apostate and rethought many of his prior assumptions. His balanced take on her philosophy ("The Benefits and Hazards of the Philosophy of Ayn Rand") can be found at http://www.nathanielbranden.net/ayn/ayn03.html
I personally think he takes it much too easy on her, but anyhoo.

I know this is "appealing to authority," but for what it is worth, Ayn Rand is not taken seriously as a philosopher by the vast majority of those who make the study of philosophy their main occupation in life. She is not taken seriously as novelist by the vast majority of those who make the reading and writing of literature their main occupation in life. That said, her books are phenomenal bestsellers (in America), making her, you could say, the "Wal-Mart" of philosophers.

"And it is precisely his epistemology which is fundamentally flawed. His epistemology is flawed because his theory of metaphysics is flawed."

No, epistemology is prior to metaphysics in that it establishes whether we have access to the metaphysical realm in the first place or not.

At any rate, I think we know where the other stands. Given a choice, I prefer to live in a society in which individual rights and the common good are both valued and preserved. I prefer to live in a society in which people are conscious of their responsibilities, first to their children and parents, then to their extended family and friends, and finally to the polity in which they live. The cultivation of that consciousness, it is true, is not a matter of social engineering: it is foremost a product of how one is raised, but it is essential for a society if it is to be humane, peaceable, and livable, that such consciousness exist. It is also necessary in intellectual life that one remain open to possibility while at the same time skeptical of easy certainties. My greatest objection to your pronouncements is that they seem to me devoid of that suppleness that marks a vibrant and breathing intellect. Most everything you say seems like something out of the Ayn Rand or Libertarian playbooks; which is a shame, because you're clearly an intelligent man. I personally think you could put your intelligence to better use than by being a Libertarian cyber attack dog.


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #600992 - 04/07/02 03:09 AM (18 years, 10 months ago)

echovortex writes:

Metaphysical refers to that which is supersensible, that which transcends the mere physical, a world of pure ideas.


Says Kant. Let's see how neutral references sources define metaphysics:

American Heritage Dictionary: The branch of philosophy that examines the nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, substance and attribute, fact and value.

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary: The science of real as distinguished from phenomenal being; ontology; also, the science of being, with reference to its abstract and universal conditions, as distinguished from the science of determined or concrete being; the science of the conceptions and relations which are necessarily implied as true of every kind of being; philosophy in general; first principles, or the science of first principles.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: The science of the ultimate principles and properties of real beings.

highered/McGraw-Hill.com:?The branch of philosophy that studies the nature and fundamental features of being.

utas.edu.au: The study of reality, going beyond the empirical sciences; the study of the nature of things in the broadest sense. Asks questions such as 'what is there?' and 'what is it like?'.

answers.org/apologetics: The study of the nature and structure of "being," or reality.

websyte.com: The branch of philosophy that attempts to understand the fundamental nature of all reality, whether visible or invisible.

I don't have a problem with that: every system of belief will have to start at some point with an assumption which cannot necessarily be proven, with an ariticle of faith. It is unavoidable.

It is not an article of faith that the universe exists. It is, to paraphrase you, a verifiable fact, open to observation. It's existence need not be derived from first principles, it can be demonstrated ostensively.

Her philosophy spawned a cult...

That can be said of almost every philosopher in history, secular or religious.

...all of whose members claim to be free-thinking rationalists but who are terrified of deviating from her conclusions...

"ALL" of them? Hardly. Besides, the fact that SOME of her adherents feel bound to limit themselves strictly to her conclusions does not necessarily prove those conclusions (as far as they went) were wrong. I have said before that I personally find her work incomplete, and that I am not convinced to a certainty of some of her conclusions. Certainly her ideas of psychology are (even by her own tacit admission) erroneous.

Her followers tend to suffer...

What her "followers" are like is irrelevant. Were HER philosophical treatises correct or incorrect? Many of her "followers" have read only her novels, not her philosophical treatises.

She ripped off a lot of ideas from Nietzsche...

Rand (by her own admission) originated very little philosophical theory of her own, with the notable exception of her seminal work in epistemology, specifically her brilliant theory of concept formation. But she was unsurpassed at sifting, extracting, and systematizing coherently the essentials from previous philosophers (Aristotle, Locke, and many others... even Neitzsche). Interestingly enough, though she disagreed with much of Nietzsche's work (as she did with Aristotle's and Locke's as well) she more than once expressed a grudging admiration for many of his ideas.

His balanced take on her philosophy ("The Benefits and Hazards of the Philosophy of Ayn Rand") can be found at http://www.nathanielbranden.net/ayn/ayn03.html

I thank you most sincerely for this link. Seriously. I hadn't come across it before. I agree with virtually everything he says in that article. It is heartening to see someone other than myself come to pretty much the same conclusions I had reached.

No, epistemology is prior to metaphysics in that it establishes whether we have access to the metaphysical realm in the first place or not.

Sorry, but no philosophy course I know of will agree with that priority. The progression (in EVERY philo course I am aware of) is: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, esthetics. Since epistemology is the study of knowledge -- more specifically the METHODOLOGY of knowledge -- HOW we know what we know -- it logically follows that there must first be something to know (existence as a whole and the entities which comprise it... i.e. the metaphyical universe) and an entity capable of knowing (the "self", which is also one of the entities of the metaphysical universe) before epistemology can be applied.

My greatest objection to your pronouncements is that they seem to me devoid of that suppleness that marks a vibrant and breathing intellect.

And what suppleness have you demonstrated in your pronouncements? I have stated that what I believe today is not what I believed thirty years ago. It is probable that my beliefs thirty years from now will differ from those I hold today.

Most everything you say seems like something out of the Ayn Rand or Libertarian playbooks...

Probably because most of what they say is just common sense, and relies on neither faith nor public opinion polls.

... which is a shame, because you're clearly an intelligent man.

I will say the same of you.

I personally think you could put your intelligence to better use than by being a Libertarian cyber attack dog.

I personally think you could put your intelligence to better use than by being a Pragmatist-Kantian cyber attack dog.

I also believe that we have digressed far enough from the original topic of this thread: "The US is NOT Capitalist". I would be delighted to continue debating the more fundamental philosophical issues in a separate thread, but not this one.

pinky


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: sir tripsalot]
    #600995 - 04/07/02 03:16 AM (18 years, 10 months ago)

sir tripsalot writes:

Concision is a main key to getting an effective message across or else you will lose your audience.


Concision is for the OTD forum. Complex concepts are not always amenable to soundbites.

My communications class is very proving to have some use.

LOL! "Very proving?" C'mon... 'fess up, Crobih. How did you manage to get sir tripsalot's password?

pinky


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Edited by pinksharkmark (04/07/02 03:21 AM)


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #601094 - 04/07/02 06:57 AM (18 years, 10 months ago)

Your posts are boring me, can I be more obvious?


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: sir tripsalot]
    #601095 - 04/07/02 06:58 AM (18 years, 10 months ago)

Maybe if you'd "sum it up" I'd give A shittaroony. Fancy words and long paragraphs make your point no more valid MMKAY??


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: sir tripsalot]
    #601219 - 04/07/02 11:24 AM (18 years, 10 months ago)

sir tripsalot writes:

Maybe if you'd "sum it up" I'd give A shittaroony.


Summary: The United States of America is not Capitalist because its government regulates the economy and uses force against its peaceful citizens.

Fancy words...

I'm sorry you don't know the meaning of metaphysics, epistemology, ostensive, or empirical.

... and long paragraphs...

The longest paragraph in my post you replied to is seven lines. The average paragraph is less than three lines.

... make your point no more valid MMKAY??

Nor do they make it less valid. If you have difficulty understanding my posts, feel free to disregard them.

pinky


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #601446 - 04/07/02 06:20 PM (18 years, 10 months ago)

Thanks for summin it up. :smile: That's your first post I read through. I still stand by my advice. BTW my first post was directed at anyone who was making huge posts , but hey I had to click on someones reply button. Guess your just lucky Marky pooh.


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: trendal]
    #642662 - 05/24/02 04:50 AM (18 years, 9 months ago)

Trendal, I have to disagree with you. Pure Capitalism would not be a good thing. Coporations would be free to wage war upon consumers, other coroporations, and probably the government, which would be severely weakened if it was only capitalist.

In fact, the government would likely cease to function, leaving the corporations in power. I don't know about you, but I don't want to live under laws decided by Coca Cola.

Pure Capitalism would further drive a wedge between the ordinary citizen and the wealthy elite, which has never been a good thing, historically.

The US is so Capitalist already that Microsoft can basically just ignore the government and do whatever they want. Their arrogance never ceases to amaze me.

There is no ideal society, and history has shown that moving too far towards one extreme usually ends in disaster. Even if moving to that extreme has good intentions.


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Just a Punk]
    #642871 - 05/24/02 08:29 AM (18 years, 9 months ago)

yes justapunk!

i was going to stay completely out of this discussion in the beginning, because i feel very strongly against capitalism... but i clicked (i was bored) and here i am.

Here's how the free market is supposed to work: people are free to seek their fortunes as they choose, and the ones who work the hardest and provide the greatest value to society are rewarded with the greatest wealth. This system, however, has a crucial flaw: it doesn't actually offer equal opportunities for everyone. Success in the 'free market' depends almost entirely on how much wealth you already have.

When capital is privately owned, an individual's opportunities to learn, work, and earn wealth are directly tied to the amount of wealth she has. A few scholarships can't offset this. It takes resources of some kind to produce something of value, and if a person doesn't have those resources herself she finds she is at the mercy of those who do. Meanwhile, those who already have those resources can make more and more wealth, and eventually most of the wealth of the society ends up in hands of a few. This leaves everyone else with little capital to sell other than their own labor, which they must sell to the capitalists (those who control most of the means of production) to survive.

This sounds confusing, but it's actually pretty easy to understand.

Take Nike for example... Nike is a corporation that has plenty of extra dough to open up a new shoe factory, buy new advertisements, and sell more shoes. This has Nike earning themselves more money to invest. A poor sucker like you or I barely have enough money to open up a lemonade stand, and even if we did we'd probably be run out of business by a larger, more established company like Pepsi which has more money to spend on promotion (sure, there are success stories of little guys triumphing over the competition, but you can see why that doesn't usually happen). Chances are you'll end up working for them if you need to earn a "living." And working for them reinforces their power: for although they pay you for your work, you can be fucking positive they're not paying you for its full calue. That's how they make a profit!

If you work at a factory and you make $1000 worth of machinery parts every day, you probably only will get paid 100 bucks or less for that day's labor. This means someone is cashing in on your efforts. The longer they do that, the more wealth and opportunities they have, at your expense.

-
Oh yeah and just so you guys know... I looked up some definitions for y'all:

capital: wealth (money, property, or labor)... which can be used to create more wealth.
example: factory owners who profit from selling goods created by the labor of workers
in their factories are able to purchase more factories.

captalism: the "free exchange of goods and services"... in which those who have capital
are able to collect more, at the expense of those who do not.
-

That was alot.... heh... I've got more ammo if anyone wants me to write more...


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<pants> "WTF UR PIKTUR IS SO STIPID WTF FUCK U"


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OfflineJust a Punk
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Abudiwa]
    #642884 - 05/24/02 08:35 AM (18 years, 9 months ago)

Exactly. A capitlist system makes us all slaves to the corporations. Totally reliant on them for survival, we must buy their products because there is no alternative. America is not supposed to be Capitalist, but they are. Example, Microsoft's monopoly.

There isn't a piece of land these days that isn't owned by someone. You can't just go live somewhere. You have to own something first. And if you own nothing, you are nothing. You are treated like dirt. Can't get a job if you don't have a home, education, car... the list goes on.


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Just a Punk]
    #643396 - 05/24/02 02:17 PM (18 years, 9 months ago)

I think that alot of people are missing the point here. Firstly, corporatism has historically seemed to work best with Facism, this should not be a surprise look a the internal structure of corporations. A classic example of this would be Mussolini's Italy, as he and the corporations were in bed with one another ( and I might add that the corporation did and do very well under Facist or totalitarian regimes).
Take a look at what the US has done in Central America, put in puppet regimes in order to ensure that US economic interests are met. Not to mention training, supporting and suppling some very anti-democratic rulers. Corporations are concerned with profits and competative advantage (including sweat shops and things like the lack of environmental regulation), so I guess that I tend to agree with Just a Punk when he says that we all could become slaves to the corporate agenda.
Perhaps a better approach would be to look at how we distribute wealth rather then the Corporate line which tends to stress how much $$ is made total without regard to how it is distributed in society. Just a few thoughts...


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Just a Punk]
    #644728 - 05/25/02 01:12 PM (18 years, 9 months ago)

Just a Punk, you only read the first few posts in this thread, didn't you?

you write:

Coporations would be free to wage war upon consumers, other coroporations, and probably the government...

Wage war with what? Advertising slogans? In a Capitalist society, the government controls the military. Tough to wage war without weapons. Besides, WHY would a corporation want to wage war on its customers? No customers, no profits.

...which would be severely weakened if it was only capitalist.

Weakened how?

In fact, the government would likely cease to function, leaving the corporations in power.

Why would it cease to function? Its only legitimate function is the protection of its citizens. In a Capitalist society, government would control the agencies which allow it to perform those functions: police, courts, military.

I don't want to live under laws decided by Coca Cola.

You wouldn't have to. In a Capitalist society, the government makes the laws. Corporations don't.

Pure Capitalism would further drive a wedge between the ordinary citizen and the wealthy elite

How would that occur? Please explain.

The US is so Capitalist already that Microsoft can basically just ignore the government and do whatever they want. Their arrogance never ceases to amaze me.

Microsoft does what it does not because the US is Capitalist, but because it believes it can beat the rap in court.

There is no ideal society...

Correct. Capitalism is however superior to any other system.

... and history has shown that moving too far towards one extreme usually ends in disaster.

Do you have a historical example of a society that has moved too close to the extreme of Capitalism that ended in disaster? Just one will do.

pinky


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Abudiwa]
    #644768 - 05/25/02 01:54 PM (18 years, 9 months ago)

Abudiwa writes:

This system, however, has a crucial flaw: it doesn't actually offer equal opportunities for everyone.

Which system does?

Success in the 'free market' depends almost entirely on how much wealth you already have.

Not even close to being true. How much wealth did Michael Jackson have? Roy Kroc? Steve Jobs? The guy who invented whiteout? The guy that invented the zipper, Rubic's cube? The guy that started MacDonalds (Roy Kroc?) or WalMart?

On the flip side of the coin, there are countless stories of people who won the lottery and were bankrupt a few years later, or those who inherited great wealth and healthy corporations who managed to piss it all away in less than a decade.

When capital is privately owned, an individual's opportunities to learn, work, and earn wealth are directly tied to the amount of wealth she has.

Or to the amount of wealth that individual can persuade others to donate or invest.

It takes resources of some kind to produce something of value...

True. Resources need not always be tangible, however. A good singing voice is a resource. A new idea (velcro) is a resource.

... and if a person doesn't have those resources herself she finds she is at the mercy of those who do.

If you mean she must work in order to support herself until she can accumulate enough capital to risk opening her own business, you are correct.

Meanwhile, those who already have those resources can make more and more wealth...

And the production of wealth is wrong because....?

...and eventually most of the wealth of the society ends up in hands of a few.

How does this follow? Who defines "a few"?

This leaves everyone else with little capital to sell other than their own labor...

Labor is a valuable form of capital. Arguably THE most valuable form of capital. Wealth is produced by HUMAN EFFORT, not by slabs of gold bullion. If I have a million dollars and no laborers to build a new house, the house doesn't get built.

...which they must sell to the capitalists (those who control most of the means of production) to survive.

In a Socialist society, who would they sell their sole capital (their labor) to?

Nike is a corporation that has plenty of extra dough to open up a new shoe factory, buy new advertisements, and sell more shoes. This has Nike earning themselves more money to invest.

True. How does this prevent you from starting up a shoemaking business? Is Nike the only shoemaking company in the world? Nope. As a matter of fact, there are hundreds (maybe thousands) of new shoemaking companies starting up every year.

A poor sucker like you or I barely have enough money to open up a lemonade stand, and even if we did we'd probably be run out of business by a larger, more established company like Pepsi which has more money to spend on promotion

How does that figure? Pepsi hasn't succeeded in running out of business the hundreds of other soft drink making companies that exist today. What makes you think they would run your lemonade stand out of business?

...although they pay you for your work, you can be fucking positive they're not paying you for its full calue. That's how they make a profit!

No human endeavor can exist for any length of time without a profit. That holds true in Socialist systems as well as in Capitalism.

If you work at a factory and you make $1000 worth of machinery parts every day, you probably only will get paid 100 bucks or less for that day's labor.

The only reason your labor is capable of producing $1000 worth of machinery parts every day is because of the factory. If you had to produce them yourself by hand at your blacksmith's forge, you can be certain you would produce less than $100 worth of those same parts in a day, IF you could produce them at all.

This means someone is cashing in on your efforts.

Just as you are cashing in on theirs.

The longer they do that, the more wealth and opportunities they have, at your expense.

The longer you work for them, the more wealth you accumulate. If you feel you are not accumulating capital rapidly enough at the auto factory, you are free to seek other opportunities. Or to create your own.

Oh yeah and just so you guys know... I looked up some definitions for y'all...

Which website supplied those laughably incomplete and obviously biased definitions? Commies 'R' Us?

pinky


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #644778 - 05/25/02 02:03 PM (18 years, 9 months ago)

Thank you Pinky, it's amazing you were able to shovel all that manure aside.


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Just a Punk]
    #644785 - 05/25/02 02:12 PM (18 years, 9 months ago)

Just_a_Punk writes:

A capitlist system makes us all slaves to the corporations.

How so? The Board of directors makes forays into suburbia, rousts people from their beds, chains them together and frogmarches them off to work in their factories?

Totally reliant on them for survival, we must buy their products because there is no alternative.

You are not reliant on them for your survival at all. Billions of people on this planet live their entire lives never buying a single thing that was produced by a corporation.

America is not supposed to be Capitalist, but they are.

You've got it exactly 180 degrees out of alignment. Modern America is presumed to be Capitalist, but is not.

Example, Microsoft's monopoly.

Microsoft's monopoly on what? Operating systems? I don't use Microsoft's operating system. Application programs? I don't use Microsoft's application programs (except Outlook Express, and I COULD choose to use another e-mail program. Plenty to choose from).

There isn't a piece of land these days that isn't owned by someone.

That has nothing to do with Capitalism, that has to do with how long humans have been inhabiting the planet. If you had lived 150 years ago in the "Capitalist" United States, you could have had free land. Ever heard of the "Homestead Act"?

Can't get a job if you don't have a home, education, car.

You don't need an education or a car or even a permanent address to work in a car wash or bus tables in a restaurant or dig ditches.

pinky


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OfflineJust a Punk
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #644811 - 05/25/02 02:49 PM (18 years, 9 months ago)

Pinksharkmark:

It really doesn't matter if you use Microsoft's operating system, or their email client for that matter. 95-99% of computers (not includings Macs) use Microsoft Windows in some form. Microsoft has been using anti-competitive business practices for years. Wake up and smell the silicon.

"You are not reliant on them for your survival at all. Billions of people on this planet live their entire lives never buying a single thing that was produced by a corporation."

Please back this up with some real facts. Western civilization is entirely dependant upon corporations for survival. There aren't many people who can live without a supermarket or a Walmart. Can you? I am sure that there are people in the world living without corporations but the majority of people in this world have been to McDonald's, or if not that have probably worked in a Nike sweatshop.

Large corporations feed off the misfortunes of third world countries by employing desperate people at disgusting wages. Western civilization banned this over a hundred years ago, yet it still happens abroad where government controls are lax.

The Capitalist's dream is to opiate the average citizen, so he will toil night after night in an office. They offer us big screen TVs, alcohol when life's got you down, nicotine for when you need a pick me up. Those two not working? Try a little valium, which by the way is marked up more than 100,000%.

I admit that I have not taken the time to read your extensive and undoubtedly riveting posts in this thread. I am not going to try to push my point on you because I can see that you have already formed your opinion and are not willing to change it.
jHowever, just remember, next time you are filling up your gas tank, or paying $7 for a coffee that you are a slave like everyone else, for we are all enslaved by money. Money is the addiction that nobody likes to talk about. Most people cannot go a day without spending money.

Did you ever stop and think where it all goes?


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Just a Punk]
    #644864 - 05/25/02 03:32 PM (18 years, 9 months ago)

Just_a_Punk writes:

Microsoft has been using anti-competitive business practices for years.

Yet they still don't hold a monopoly on operating systems or on application programs.

Western civilization is entirely dependant upon corporations for survival.

No, it's not. Western civilization existed for centuries before there were any corporations to speak of. Even in the US it's only in the last half century or so that there have been mega-corporations, and one can survive quite handily without ever purchasing a thing from one.

There aren't many people who can live without a supermarket or a Walmart. Can you?

I have for the last 14 years. I have never even SEEN a Walmart, much less set foot in one.

...the majority of people in this world have been to McDonald's, or if not that have probably worked in a Nike sweatshop.

The majority of people in this world have probably never SEEN a MacDonald's or a Nike. Majority means greater than 50%. The "Western World" you refer to comprises a minority of the earth's population.

Large corporations feed off the misfortunes of third world countries by employing desperate people at disgusting wages.

Why do you think those people choose to accept such employment? Because the alternatives are worse -- literal starvation, in many cases. If the large corporations were to decide "We should stop exploiting these people. Let's close up our factory and go home," I presume you would approve?

The Capitalist's dream is to opiate the average citizen, so he will toil night after night in an office.

No, a Capitalist's dream is to run a profitable business. In actual fact, due to the way the government handles things these days, the more people he employs the less profitable he becomes. Therefore, a Capitalist's dream is not to employ as many "average citizens" as he can (or "exploit" them, if you prefer), but to automate his business as much as possible.

They offer us big screen TVs, alcohol when life's got you down, nicotine for when you need a pick me up.

The key word is "offer". No one says you have to acept the offer.

I admit that I have not taken the time to read your extensive and undoubtedly riveting posts in this thread.

Or those of the other posters either, apparently.

I am not going to try to push my point on you because I can see that you have already formed your opinion and are not willing to change it.

If you had read my posts, you would know that the opinions I hold today are not the ones I held thirty years ago, when I was your age. If a convincing argument is offered to me that one of my currently-held opinions is incorrect, I will change it. I'm not proud.

As for being willing to change opinions... how willing are YOU to change opinions if you won't even make the effort to read the posts in a single thread?

...you are a slave like everyone else, for we are all enslaved by money.

I am not a slave, I am a free man. I am not enslaved by money, money is my servant.

Most people cannot go a day without spending money.

Human life is sustained by human effort, so if you mean that most people cannot go a day without expending effort, you are correct. Money is nothing more than human effort concretized in a coin or a bar of gold bullion. At least my money was earned by ME, not scrounged from the government (who stole it from someone who DID actually earn it).

Did you ever stop and think where it all goes?

Yes. Did you ever stop and think where it came from?

pinky


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OfflinePhred
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: trendal]
    #889589 - 09/17/02 10:01 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Bump


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #890181 - 09/18/02 04:57 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Forgot about this thread :-)

I still stand by my topic.


--------------------
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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InvisibleRationalEgo
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: trendal]
    #11087452 - 09/19/09 09:02 AM (11 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

trendal said:
Where did this idea come from that capitalism is the exploitation of the mass (the poor) by the few (the rich).
 




It came form that twisted bastard Karl Marx.


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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: RationalEgo]
    #11092110 - 09/20/09 12:38 AM (11 years, 5 months ago)

:thumbup:


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Offlinethe_conservatarian
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Just a Punk]
    #11092589 - 09/20/09 02:01 AM (11 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

Just a Punk said:
Exactly. A capitlist system makes us all slaves to the corporations. Totally reliant on them for survival, we must buy their products because there is no alternative. America is not supposed to be Capitalist, but they are. Example, Microsoft's monopoly.

There isn't a piece of land these days that isn't owned by someone. You can't just go live somewhere. You have to own something first. And if you own nothing, you are nothing. You are treated like dirt. Can't get a job if you don't have a home, education, car... the list goes on.




Huh? You're very uninformed, apparently. If you can't find a piece of land that isn't owned by somebody, then you are a complete under-achiever. It shouldn't take anyone more than 2 hours to find a piece of land that isn't owned by someone. Wow!

And to your other points (about being slaves to corporations) - Actually, I have the freedom to join a company, and work from 9-5 everyday. I also have the option to free-lance, and work my own hours. I also have the option to start my own business. I also have the option to stand in the middle of an intersection with a cardboard sign and ask every driver-by for a hand-out. I also have the option to not work and become a socialist-leech to society.

I think your problem is that you don't want to contribute to society. You want a free pass. You want to sit around and do nothing useful. If you have to do any kind of work, then you consider yourself a victim. Quit your crying about society and figure something out.  You sound like a baby, who can't survive without a little baby's bottle in your helpless little mouth. Wake up...


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Invisiblebuckwheat Happy Birthday!
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: the_conservatarian]
    #11095753 - 09/20/09 06:34 PM (11 years, 5 months ago)

Damn this place had a lot more marxtards 7 years ago.


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OfflineTGRR
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: the_conservatarian]
    #11095783 - 09/20/09 06:36 PM (11 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

the_conservatarian said:
Quote:

Just a Punk said:
Exactly. A capitlist system makes us all slaves to the corporations. Totally reliant on them for survival, we must buy their products because there is no alternative. America is not supposed to be Capitalist, but they are. Example, Microsoft's monopoly.

There isn't a piece of land these days that isn't owned by someone. You can't just go live somewhere. You have to own something first. And if you own nothing, you are nothing. You are treated like dirt. Can't get a job if you don't have a home, education, car... the list goes on.




Huh? You're very uninformed, apparently. If you can't find a piece of land that isn't owned by somebody, then you are a complete under-achiever. It shouldn't take anyone more than 2 hours to find a piece of land that isn't owned by someone. Wow!

And to your other points (about being slaves to corporations) - Actually, I have the freedom to join a company, and work from 9-5 everyday. I also have the option to free-lance, and work my own hours. I also have the option to start my own business. I also have the option to stand in the middle of an intersection with a cardboard sign and ask every driver-by for a hand-out. I also have the option to not work and become a socialist-leech to society.

I think your problem is that you don't want to contribute to society. You want a free pass. You want to sit around and do nothing useful. If you have to do any kind of work, then you consider yourself a victim. Quit your crying about society and figure something out.  You sound like a baby, who can't survive without a little baby's bottle in your helpless little mouth. Wake up...




Brilliant collection of ad hominem bullshit you have there, sir.

Did you think it up all by yourself, or did you get all torqued up listening to Rush?


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What can we do to help you stop screaming?

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Offlinethe_conservatarian
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: TGRR]
    #11122750 - 09/25/09 01:03 AM (11 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

TGRR said:
Quote:

the_conservatarian said:
Quote:

Just a Punk said:
Exactly. A capitlist system makes us all slaves to the corporations. Totally reliant on them for survival, we must buy their products because there is no alternative. America is not supposed to be Capitalist, but they are. Example, Microsoft's monopoly.

There isn't a piece of land these days that isn't owned by someone. You can't just go live somewhere. You have to own something first. And if you own nothing, you are nothing. You are treated like dirt. Can't get a job if you don't have a home, education, car... the list goes on.




Huh? You're very uninformed, apparently. If you can't find a piece of land that isn't owned by somebody, then you are a complete under-achiever. It shouldn't take anyone more than 2 hours to find a piece of land that isn't owned by someone. Wow!

And to your other points (about being slaves to corporations) - Actually, I have the freedom to join a company, and work from 9-5 everyday. I also have the option to free-lance, and work my own hours. I also have the option to start my own business. I also have the option to stand in the middle of an intersection with a cardboard sign and ask every driver-by for a hand-out. I also have the option to not work and become a socialist-leech to society.

I think your problem is that you don't want to contribute to society. You want a free pass. You want to sit around and do nothing useful. If you have to do any kind of work, then you consider yourself a victim. Quit your crying about society and figure something out.  You sound like a baby, who can't survive without a little baby's bottle in your helpless little mouth. Wake up...




Brilliant collection of ad hominem bullshit you have there, sir.

Did you think it up all by yourself, or did you get all torqued up listening to Rush?




Hmm, I suppose your right. My comments were a little torqued up on Rush - 'Working Man', followed by 'Bastille Day' causes that adrenaline effect I guess. How did you know? My last paragraph was a bit judgmental, but the first 2 stand.

It just gets so annoying to read the "slave to capitalism" argument. I suppose some people would prefer to become slaves to dictators, and slaves to radical religions, rather than have the freedom to choose their own paths. Capitalism isn't perfect - and it's a lot easier to find flaws in things, than to realize how good things really are. What's the alternative? We let some "master dictator" decide what is best for everyone. No thanks...


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Offlinerobcypher
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: the_conservatarian]
    #11130188 - 09/26/09 10:03 AM (11 years, 5 months ago)

This is where your conservative thought fails, in that you assume that one must be a "slave" or subservient to something. As long as you think like that you will be forever fighting the forces of change in an unwinnable war on reality.

Give peace a chance. For once.


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InvisibleRationalEgo
Principium Individuationis

Registered: 06/15/09
Posts: 2,071
Loc: Boston
Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: robcypher]
    #11130566 - 09/26/09 12:14 PM (11 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

robcypher said:
This is where your socialist thought fails, in that you assume that one must be a "slave" or subservient to something. As long as you think like that you will be forever fighting the forces of change in an unwinnable war on reality.

Give peace a chance. For once.




Corrected.


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Offlinethe_conservatarian
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: RationalEgo]
    #11135120 - 09/27/09 03:16 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

RationalEgo said:
Quote:

robcypher said:
This is where your socialist thought fails, in that you assume that one must be a "slave" or subservient to something. As long as you think like that you will be forever fighting the forces of change in an unwinnable war on reality.

Give peace a chance. For once.




Corrected.



Quote:

robcypher said:
This is where your conservative thought fails, in that you assume that one must be a "slave" or subservient to something. As long as you think like that you will be forever fighting the forces of change in an unwinnable war on reality.

Give peace a chance. For once.




My thought doesn't fail.
Quote:

RationalEgo said:
Quote:

robcypher said:
This is where your socialist thought fails, in that you assume that one must be a "slave" or subservient to something. As long as you think like that you will be forever fighting the forces of change in an unwinnable war on reality.

Give peace a chance. For once.




Corrected.




Rational Ego - you're reply can be interpreted in so many ways... :smile:
*******

But to reply to robocypher directly - I'm a slave to survival. We are  slaves to time. And you and I are slaves to death. That's the un-winnable reality. I can accept that. How about you?

Regarding politics... I think capitalism is very natural. It springs from nature and the constraints of our physical world. Many other forms of government have come from various man-made desires to obtain control over others. Capitalism fosters control over your own environment, and allows peaceful interaction among multiple parties.

Also, I assume that your "give peace a chance" comment is completely generic. I most always give peace a chance. Now tell me that I'm the slave to an unwinnable war on reality.


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Offlinerobcypher
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: the_conservatarian]
    #11140829 - 09/28/09 01:35 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

you wish to change reality but the fact is reality is changing you. your actions are futile. that is the conservative's curse


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Offlinerobcypher
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: the_conservatarian]
    #11140943 - 09/28/09 01:55 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

do you support mindless war? It appears Bush left Obama with a whopper of one.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: robcypher]
    #11141579 - 09/28/09 04:14 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Back on topic, please. There are only about eleventy-thousand threads in this forum dealing with the Iraq war. Let's not drag it into THIS thread as well.





Phred


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Offlinerobcypher
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: Phred]
    #11141983 - 09/28/09 08:21 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

actually I was talking about the afghanistan war, which has been a farce so far according to what I've seen. But I digress.

How can it be argued that the united states is not capitalist? wow. I'd like to see the people who want to argue that one.


Edited by robcypher (09/28/09 08:23 AM)


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OfflinePhred
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Re: The United States is NOT Capitalist... [Re: robcypher]
    #11143043 - 09/28/09 01:34 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

How can it be argued that the united states is not capitalist? wow. I'd like to see the people who want to argue that one.




*Rolls eyes* You are joking, right? In a thread of epic length filled with contributions from over a dozen people illustrating in considerable detail just exactly why the United States is not Capitalist, you have the balls to ask that question?

Did you just read the thread title and stop there?




Phred


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