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Anti-Capitalist Sentiment (with some morality)

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  1. #76
    Quote Originally Posted by boost View Post
    This is all patently wrong. Millions of Russians died due to an avoidable famine caused by Stalin's enthusiasm for a misguided botanist who couldn't have reversed his position if he realized his error, because it wouldn't only mean his fall from the grace of the inner party, but likely his death. This was repeated over and over. Innovation was not stymied because of communism, it was squashed because there were megalomaniacs running the show, there was a culture of suspicion, and disagreeing with the states opinion on nearly anything meant a vacation in the gulag, if not death.

    It was indeed doomed to failure at the time, you're 100% right. But that's because there was no possible way to transition from a system which dependent on vast bureaucracies and a powerful inner party.

    For a further rebuttal, see #72
    The famines were certainly tragic, but I'm not sure what the relevance is. Sovkhoz made up to 45% of USSR farming, and they did not do well. Stalin was a terrible guy, but he implemented some srsbsns communist reforms. But none of them worked well
  2. #77
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    I read a book a while back called the Shock Doctrine which suggested that Socialism was working in Latin America and then the US interfered when its business interests were threatened by leaders nationalizing things like copper mines that US businesses owned. It gave examples of how radical free market reforms actually drove the economies into the ground and hoovered up all the wealth to the dictators and a few others at the top. This happened in Russia too, since I read that book I have thought that's why Russia's economy was fucked. It's worth a read imo.
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  3. #78
    I don't know enough about businesses in Latin America to comment. It didn't happen in Russia though. Some would say it did since Gorby gets a lot of undeserved blame for destroying the country. The writing was on the wall before he assumed office. He tried to save it through market reforms. Shit was too far gone by then. That's what happens when factories and farms are structured around what people "need" instead of what creates a product that can bring more value than it costs
  4. #79
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    It actually centres around Yeltsin not Gorby.

    Off wikipedia:

    He vowed to transform Russia's socialist command economy into a free market economy and implemented economic shock therapy, price liberalization and privatization programs. Due to the method of privatization, a good deal of the national wealth fell into the hands of a small group of oligarchs.[2] Much of the Yeltsin era was marked by widespread corruption, inflation, economic collapse and enormous political and social problems that affected Russia and the other former states of the USSR. Within the first few years of his presidency, many of Yeltsin's political supporters turned against him and Vice President Alexander Rutskoy denounced the reforms as "economic genocide".[3]

    Ongoing confrontations with the Supreme Soviet climaxed in the October 1993 Russian constitutional crisis in which Yeltsin illegally ordered the dissolution of the parliament, which then attempted to remove Yeltsin from office. The military eventually sided with Yeltsin and besieged and shelled the Russian White House, resulting in the deaths of 187 people. Yeltsin then scrapped the existing constitution, temporarily banned political opposition and deepened his economic experimentation.
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  5. #80
    The Yeltsin time was certainly one of great turmoil and corruption but it has little relevance to communist ideology. That was when they were trying to pick up the pieces from the fall of communism. I assumed Gorby because that's the only time where it makes some sense to blame market reform on problems in Russia, because it appeared on superficial glance like it could have been the fault of reform
  6. #81
    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    This is a common view. I disagree with it, however, for a few reasons. It's sorta like a goalpost shifting or no true Scotsman fallacy. "Why didn't it work? Because it wasn't the real thing!" I think we don't need a pure form to analyze the elements, and then better judge what a pure form would look like. Regardless, why even ask for a "pure" form anyways. What does that even mean?
    Again, illustrating my point, the exact same argument can be made in defense of a pure free market system. Renton has done so itt.

    I think I'm gonna have to disagree that "pure" socialism hasn't been tried. I think Russia tried it. Socialism was basically a counter to the bourgeoisie as contrasted to the proletariat. Russia did everything it could to create a classless society that empowered the proletariat and eliminated the bourgeoisie
    Again, patently false. The USSR never made it but a step past the violent revolution phase, a phase which was thought to be necessary, but likely isn't-- and in actuality probably serves as an obstacle of the ultimate goal. The USSR pushed the idea of a classless society in propaganda, as that was the ideology which allowed the power hubs to entrench themselves. Reading anything about the Soviet era will make it clear that if that was ever a goal of people capable of pushing the society towards it, it wasn't a goal for long.

    A good modern day parallel to Stalin's USSR is N. Korea. It's the same "classless" nonsense being drilled into the public, but with no action to back it up. You wouldn't make the same statements regarding N. Korea, so I'm not sure why you'd make them about Soviet era Russia.

    I think the trend may be opposite of this, but I honestly don't know, and it will probably always be about a balance. It's like how I think economies work best when they start out as state capitalism and gradually move to free market capitalism. The more dynamic the economy gets and the greater the technology, the easier the markets can provide for wishes and needs. We don't live in a world where it provides for all, but it provides for way more it otherwise would. The only real problems I can see with free market capitalism is it doesn't seem to work well when resources are fixed and limited (truly fixed and limited, not just perceived as such) or when there are no incentives for something. My two main examples would be health coverage for the chronically ill and anything that requires a whole bunch of land

    Perhaps the future will be about a mix of free market and cooperative capitalism with virtually no state intervention. I could see this happening, as the value of cooperative efforts is increasing now like it didn't in the past
    This is intriguing to me, and I'd be interested in exploring this idea, as well as seeing it explored by those with the relevant expertise.
  7. #82
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    Capitalism is a clever system. If you do something someone else will trade you for, you're doing well. It brilliantly incentivizes people to produce for other's consumption. There may be a better system, and I doubt I'll have the deep pleasure to see what it is.

    All the bullshit that falls from it isn't necessarily a result of it so much as the same bullshit any system which aims to incentivize a whole people would deal with.

    This thread is fun because it calls for people to come after capitalism and that's like asking people to come after God. People craft their lives around these things because they have a fluid chameleon like property to seemingly fit all sorts of needs. Capitalism doesn't fully encapsulate human tendency though it can seem to if you're not careful.

    Capitalism is great, but not Great.
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  8. #83
    Quote Originally Posted by boost View Post
    A good modern day parallel to Stalin's USSR is N. Korea. It's the same "classless" nonsense being drilled into the public, but with no action to back it up. You wouldn't make the same statements regarding N. Korea, so I'm not sure why you'd make them about Soviet era Russia.
    Um, I partly would, but NK is very different from the USSR. USSR didn't destroy its farms and it wasn't set up to serve one man. The USSR grew its primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors a whole bunch. It grew them through socialist means. But it wasn't sustainable because costs weren't set to value. Eventually the chickens came home to roost. It really is that simple. It isn't the manufactured famines that killed the Soviet economy, it was the command economics

    Check out these two pics







    What we're looking at here is an awesome distinction between capitalism and socialism. The US map shows how the manufacturing belt was grown on capitalist principles. All factories were built for peak efficiency. Raw materials for production and energy are in the Minnesota region and the Erie Canal was dug to the New York harbors. This allowed every area around the Great Lakes peak efficiency in transportation for all necessary material. It kept costs as low as possible and value as high as possible. The results are evident today, and this is still the most powerful region in the world.

    Compare that to the USSR map, where manufacturing regions make no sense. They're in a stupid inefficient line topography that's more spread out than the map suggests, far away from any consumers, far away from energy and raw materials. In addition, the US factories functioned on what could be sold for a profit, while the USSR factories did not. Why didn't the USSR operate on costs and values? Because they were socialist. Socialism ignores costs and values, it ignores the rules of supply and demand. When it was more expensive for these USSR factories to make more shoes than the value they received after distribution, they still did it because of the "need" for those workers to work. It took a few decades of this for the greatest national failure of modern history.


    Perhaps the pro-socialist counter is that socialist economies don't have to operate on inefficiencies. But that isn't true because the principle of socialism is to prop up the workers regardless of inefficiencies. This means that a pure socialist society is by definition inefficient and doesn't apply supply and demand

    My response to your claim that USSR wasn't classless due to Stalin and the corrupt ruling class is that Stalin et al still created that classless society. There was still an enormous mass of USSR citizens operating on socialist principles. If those principles worked then we would have seen it, regardless of whether or not there was a Stalin and cronies to initiate it
  9. #84
    Quote Originally Posted by a500lbgorilla View Post
    Capitalism is a clever system. If you do something someone else will trade you for, you're doing well. It brilliantly incentivizes people to produce for other's consumption. There may be a better system, and I doubt I'll have the deep pleasure to see what it is.

    All the bullshit that falls from it isn't necessarily a result of it so much as the same bullshit any system which aims to incentivize a whole people would deal with.

    This thread is fun because it calls for people to come after capitalism and that's like asking people to come after God. People craft their lives around these things because they have a fluid chameleon like property to seemingly fit all sorts of needs. Capitalism doesn't fully encapsulate human tendency though it can seem to if you're not careful.

    Capitalism is great, but not Great.
    And others to produce for your consumption.

    Overall I tend to agree. Don't treat things like God.

    If I had to guess at a better system, it would be just a more refined capitalism. I mean, this system creates technological advancements unlike any other we can think of, and those tech advancements are what ultimately will be responsible for individual autonomy and communal equality
  10. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    If I had to guess at a better system, it would be just a more refined capitalism. I mean, this system creates technological advancements unlike any other we can think of, and those tech advancements are what ultimately will be responsible for individual autonomy and communal equality
    A beddar thread would be to lay odds on American free market space cowboys mining asteroids against the careful Chinese government mining the moon. Who will find the wealth to build the Empire? Who will manage to overcome the tidal forces of our upturning world? Stay tuned for The Future.
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  11. #86
    Quote Originally Posted by a500lbgorilla View Post
    A beddar thread would be to lay odds on American free market space cowboys mining asteroids against the careful Chinese government mining the moon. Who will find the wealth to build the Empire? Who will manage to overcome the tidal forces of our upturning world? Stay tuned for The Future.
    South Korea

    Final answer
  12. #87
    post #83 is absolute rubbish.

    N Korea is more extreme and it's blunders which it's despots' blunders, which it's people unfairly have to shoulder, are more extreme. Nonetheless the Soviets did essentially destroy their farms during Stalin's reign.

    Your maps mean nothing without further context. Do you have a source, or are you an expert on the topography and population densities of not only the United States, but also Soviet Russia? At a glance, the distribution of manufacturing, in what I'm assuming is a map of the USSR (which curiously has St. Petersburg instead of Leningrad), seems to make sense. Roughly two thirds of manufacturing being in Western Russia, the rest is distributed among the the populated outposts in the East, which to my knowledge are resource rich, and they're all connected by waterway, rail, or both.

    And again, you assert that a classless society was achieved, yet in the very same sentence speak of a ruling class. Gtfo...
  13. #88
    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    And others to produce for your consumption.

    Overall I tend to agree. Don't treat things like God.

    If I had to guess at a better system, it would be just a more refined capitalism. I mean, this system creates technological advancements unlike any other we can think of, and those tech advancements are what ultimately will be responsible for individual autonomy and communal equality
    Why do you think a more refined capitalism is towards a pure free market on the spectrum? This seems like a convenient assumption made by libertarians and the like: everything good that has happened in society in the past few centuries is due to the free market elements; everything bad is due to not being far enough on the path to free marketopia.
  14. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by boost View Post
    Why do you think a more refined capitalism is towards a pure free market on the spectrum? This seems like a convenient assumption made by libertarians and the like: everything good that has happened in society in the past few centuries is due to the free market elements; everything bad is due to not being far enough on the path to free marketopia.
    So if you had to guess at a better system?
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  15. #90
    Quote Originally Posted by boost View Post

    N Korea is more extreme and it's blunders which it's despots' blunders, which it's people unfairly have to shoulder, are more extreme. Nonetheless the Soviets did essentially destroy their farms during Stalin's reign.
    You suggest achieving communal rules without centralization how? I'm not trying to be terse and I'm not keen on discussing NK because it has a host of other more significant issues going on with it, but there is a striking trend by the pro-socialist to disregard any negative socialist examples. A society doesn't have to be 100% socialist to examine its socialist elements.

    Your maps mean nothing without further context. Do you have a source, or are you an expert on the topography and population densities of not only the United States, but also Soviet Russia? At a glance, the distribution of manufacturing, in what I'm assuming is a map of the USSR (which curiously has St. Petersburg instead of Leningrad), seems to make sense. Roughly two thirds of manufacturing being in Western Russia, the rest is distributed among the the populated outposts in the East, which to my knowledge are resource rich, and they're all connected by waterway, rail, or both.
    They're straight out of my textbook, and the topography is awful. Really awful. It doesn't look too terrible at first glance because the map resizes area, but there are basically incredible distances between most of the manufacturing, the materials, energy, and cheap transport. Notice how the US manufacturing belt stops when the Great Lakes do, but the Russian one just keeps going and going and going. It's not even a belt. The manufacturing zones were not built with adherence to economic principles. Simple geography like this may not seem like much of a big deal, but it is

    And again, you assert that a classless society was achieved, yet in the very same sentence speak of a ruling class. Gtfo...
    I'm unconvinced that you read what I said. Even though there was a central government that was a class above the proletariat, the USSR had a mass of single class citizens. The experiment happened
  16. #91
    Quote Originally Posted by boost View Post
    Why do you think a more refined capitalism is towards a pure free market on the spectrum? This seems like a convenient assumption made by libertarians and the like: everything good that has happened in society in the past few centuries is due to the free market elements; everything bad is due to not being far enough on the path to free marketopia.
    Earlier I said both free market and cooperative. But the main reason why free market over state capitalism when economies are more dynamic is something history has played out. Like a previous example I made, Japan increased its dynamism through state capitalism, but in the face of increased competition, it has been unable to keep growing due to lack of free market capitalism. China is similar except instead of sticking with just state capitalism, it is introducing free market elements when it can.

    Look at it this way: what would better create the internet, private businesses or the government? The answer is the government. But what would better innovate the internet, private businesses or the government? The answer is private business. We have seen this exact thing play out in our society. Generally speaking, state capitalism creates entirely new things well (things where there would be no incentive for private interests), but private businesses innovate those things well. As the economy becomes more and more dynamic and as private wealth hubs increase, we see more private interests engage in original creation, like Elon Musk with SpaceX.
  17. #92
    An apparatus capable of facilitating a communal society is certainly conceivable with current technology. Hell, this is actually happening right now. Look into Share Economy or Shareconomy.

    But I'm kinda curious if you're trolling at this point, because you're attacking communism, yet blind that the same critiques work for the libertarian promise land. Free market advocates are super quick to dismiss all the negative consequences of capitalism-- blaming it on other forces, insisting there hasn't ever even been a true free market, etc. I'm doing the exact same thing with communism, you spot the god of the gaps, but you can't see your reflection...

    The maps are from your text book? Did you scan them? There isn't something you can link to? If so, cool, but I am curious to read a bit more about this. If you don't have more info, I'm ok accepting this point as true, but I still think it was a side point as we still haven't established that Soviet Russia is a proper example of the experiment.

    I read what you said-- I'm unconvinced you understand the word classless.

    Again, I am showing that it's a two way street. If "it's never been truly implemented" works as a defense of the free market, and if everything that's gone wrong can be blamed on impurities in the system, then the same defense can be made for communism. You've consistently been shown to make allowances which favor your bias.
  18. #93
    We have Elon Musk because the public sector has dropped the ball. Or maybe it's your way.. but I'm not convinced this isn't a chicken or the egg setup..
  19. #94
    Quote Originally Posted by boost View Post
    An apparatus capable of facilitating a communal society is certainly conceivable with current technology. Hell, this is actually happening right now. Look into Share Economy or Shareconomy.
    This appears to be what I was referring to when I stated that cooperative capitalism is becoming more of a thing in recent times and is likely to grow. It's important to note the foundation of what capitalism is. It's really just using resources to make more resources. It could be called resource-ism for all I care. Cooperative resource-ism is a thing. I think we have little of it now, but I think in the future we will have more of it, and I think that will be largely due to the integration of technology.

    But I'm kinda curious if you're trolling at this point, because you're attacking communism, yet blind that the same critiques work for the libertarian promise land. Free market advocates are super quick to dismiss all the negative consequences of capitalism-- blaming it on other forces, insisting there hasn't ever even been a true free market, etc. I'm doing the exact same thing with communism, you spot the god of the gaps, but you can't see your reflection...
    I'm not a libertarian and I'm not expressing libertarianism. Everything I have proposed assumes a strong welfare state. Perhaps Renton considers himself libertarian, but his agreement with the subsidized wage OP I made is in alignment with capitalism that assumes strong welfarism.

    The maps are from your text book? Did you scan them? There isn't something you can link to? If so, cool, but I am curious to read a bit more about this. If you don't have more info, I'm ok accepting this point as true, but I still think it was a side point as we still haven't established that Soviet Russia is a proper example of the experiment.
    Those were screenshots from class slides pulled from my textbook. It's a cultural geography course.

    What do you think a proper example of socialism would be?

    I believe it would be any society that can perpetuate an economy based on centralized command and production and distribution based on need. I think the USSR exemplifies this. We're taught little about the Cold War in school, but it was the biggest showdown of all time, between opposing ideologies: capitalism and a more philosophically pure form of socialism in communism. I think it's important to note the validity of this since so much of the modern era is defined by it, as well as socialism never actually caught on until it was appropriated by the communists. The popular opinion is that regions like Scandinavia are socialist, but I disagree. They're capitalist and welfarist.

    If you look up "socialism" on Wikipedia, the first line says this "For the concept where the state promotes the social and economic well-being of its citizens sometimes mistaken with socialism, see Welfare state."

    I think that's telling



    I read what you said-- I'm unconvinced you understand the word classless.
    The proletariat was effectively classless. The idea of total classlessness is ridiculous, but the USSR represented about as practically classless a society as we could get.

    Again, I am showing that it's a two way street. If "it's never been truly implemented" works as a defense of the free market, and if everything that's gone wrong can be blamed on impurities in the system, then the same defense can be made for communism. You've consistently been shown to make allowances which favor your bias.
    I've been referring to the elements. I don't care about "true" implementation because I don't think it will happen or that it matters. Also I've never said the free market hasn't been truly implemented. It's implemented in a lot of ways. There is a stark contrast between the capitalist and the socialist, and we can examine these. My position isn't that welfarism doesn't work, but that it doesn't work when it's assumed what creates resources.

    We have Elon Musk because the public sector has dropped the ball. Or maybe it's your way.. but I'm not convinced this isn't a chicken or the egg setup..
    In ways, I agree. I think we simply need both. The play between public and private sectors has played out quite well over the years, and I think it has shown that both work
  20. #95
    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    This appears to be what I was referring to when I stated that cooperative capitalism is becoming more of a thing in recent times and is likely to grow. It's important to note the foundation of what capitalism is. It's really just using resources to make more resources. It could be called resource-ism for all I care. Cooperative resource-ism is a thing. I think we have little of it now, but I think in the future we will have more of it, and I think that will be largely due to the integration of technology.
    I like that term, Coop resource-ism. This is pretty much what I had in my head. The interesting thing though, is that, while ownership still can be a real thing, it could be predicted that over time the cult of ownership would diminish. People would be celebrated for the skills they contributed to society, not for the goods they stockpiled for themselves.

    You could have a bio, which is peer reviewed by those you interact with, and the person who hooks it up with a pop-up soup kitchen once a week on skid row would have no problem getting people to share or discount produce.

    It's almost like a commune, except with current technology, there isn't a need for the commune to be self contained. And it's something that can grow organically, without the need for revolution or any other sort of shock to the system.

    I'm not a libertarian and I'm not expressing libertarianism. Everything I have proposed assumes a strong welfare state. Perhaps Renton considers himself libertarian, but his agreement with the subsidized wage OP I made is in alignment with capitalism that assumes strong welfarism.
    Fair enough. But I still think your bias has you critiquing one end of the spectrum, while staying mum about the same sort of stuff when it's closer to being aligned with your views.

    Those were screenshots from class slides pulled from my textbook. It's a cultural geography course.
    Fair enough. I really didn't mean to nit it up, but you just kinda put them out there with no context except wuf wuffing.

    What do you think a proper example of socialism would be?

    I believe it would be any society that can perpetuate an economy based on centralized command and production and distribution based on need. I think the USSR exemplifies this. We're taught little about the Cold War in school, but it was the biggest showdown of all time, between opposing ideologies: capitalism and a more philosophically pure form of socialism in communism. I think it's important to note the validity of this since so much of the modern era is defined by it, as well as socialism never actually caught on until it was appropriated by the communists. The popular opinion is that regions like Scandinavia are socialist, but I disagree. They're capitalist and welfarist.
    I'm not sure there is one, and I think that case can be made more honestly with communism than with capitalism. The communist experiments where controlled by a very small group who pushed their view of how it should work-- this stunted any possibility for varied solutions to problems in the system. Again, I insist the reason for failure was similar to the central reason the Nazi's failed. Dissenting opinion was not tolerated and those with power were overstepping the extent of their expertise.

    Communism may have been prone to these problems with the tile-set we had to build with at the time, but the same could possibly be said for capitalism in the middle ages.

    And no, it was not in the least bit a showdown between ideologies. Perhaps it started that way, but I'm even weary of that. It was a showdown between the two world superpowers which emerged after the war. Rival ideologies are just a convenient avenue for propaganda.

    If you insist on pushing that notion, you'll have to prove that it holds validity over a claim that the Cold War was a showdown between totalitarianism and democracy.

    If you look up "socialism" on Wikipedia, the first line says this "For the concept where the state promotes the social and economic well-being of its citizens sometimes mistaken with socialism, see Welfare state."

    I think that's telling
    I did conflate Scandinavian welfarism with socialism. I'm glad to have learned the difference from this discussion.

    The proletariat was effectively classless. The idea of total classlessness is ridiculous, but the USSR represented about as practically classless a society as we could get.
    The classlessness of a class is a nonsensical measurement. The society had distinct classes. The closest you could come to a classless society, in my opinion, would be the most egalitarian society. That is, the poorest of the poor are a close in status and ability to access goods as the richest of the rich. In the USSR, this was undeniably far from the case.

    If you'd like to push this point, then I'd like you to explain how the same cannot be said for Europe in the middle ages.

    I've been referring to the elements. I don't care about "true" implementation because I don't think it will happen or that it matters. Also I've never said the free market hasn't been truly implemented. It's implemented in a lot of ways. There is a stark contrast between the capitalist and the socialist, and we can examine these. My position isn't that welfarism doesn't work, but that it doesn't work when it's assumed what creates resources.
    I also don't care about true implementation, but many people do and they use it as a defense of the free market. If you're not, fair enough, but I think it is worth presenting the other side.

    As for comparing the two systems, as they have been implemented-- fine, but capitalism has been implemented in democracies across the world. These democracies have been free to experiment with it as they see fit, and change has been fluid. Communism has really only been tried in one rigid way. Even if you want to say that China, Russia, Latin American countries, etc had their own brands of communism, we still only get a hand full of rigid experiments due to dictatorships. Totalitarian regimes are not implicit cogs in a communist state. They actually are a hindrance to a true communist state.


    In ways, I agree. I think we simply need both. The play between public and private sectors has played out quite well over the years, and I think it has shown that both work
    Yeah, for sure. I think that other elements can be folded in as well though. Like the "shareconomy", which is really neither public or private, and is more akin to true communism. The problem is, communism needs to be made palatable, because it has gotten such a bad wrap because of how it has been misconstrued. Hybrids in all sorts of applications have been shown to be the best solution-- the problem is, hybrids are nuanced and need balancing, but people crave simple ideological solutions.
  21. #96
    Holy walls of text, Batman!
  22. #97
    Boost, a common theme I see you sticking with is socialism doesn't work when it's totalitarian. I used to believe that too, but I don't think I still do. I now think that socialism necessitates totalitarianism, because embedded in the philosophy is means of production for the communal need. I don't see any way that this can be implemented without a totalitarian government. The means of production in the USSR were very much based on communal need. It's why many farms were collectivized, factories manufactured many things that had no purpose other than the sake of manufacturing, and the service sector involved a lot of redundancy. Everybody "needed" a job, and the central government made it so.


    Perhaps a thesis I would start with to explain why socialism doesn't work but capitalism-welfarism does is that socialism tries to kill two birds with one stone, and in doing so, kills neither bird. Whereas, capitalism kills its own bird and welfarism kills the other. Socialism's attempt to kill two birds with one stone is means of production based on communal need, because this is an attempt to not only create new resources, but also redistribute them in just one move. Capitalism-welfarism (which every modern country is, even Singapore) bases its means of production on arbitrary desire (capitalism) and its redistribution based on need (welfarism).

    Does this make sense? I'm trying to make the point that socialism jumps the gun when it bases production on welfare. It's cart before the horse, because welfare is what we do after the resources have been created. It isn't the means by which we create more resources


    A few other comments. I would argue that the Nazis failed because they invaded Belgium and France, which opened the western front, which did enough damage to Germany to keep them from killing as many "Asiatics" as they wanted. I don't really know though. They were the biggest military power in the world at the time and could have taken some land and stopped and maintained power and Germany might be Nazi today, but they didn't

    I think it's fair to say that the Cold War was largely one of ideology. Not exclusively, but capitalism vs communism was one of the most significant factors, if not the most. Other reasons include Russia's expansion doctrine that dates back to Ivan the Terrible and still exist in remnants today. Those are for the purpose of natural borders, strategic depth, and a warm water seaport. The US counter to this was largely based in the Heartland doctrine, that says whoever controls the heart of Asia will control the world. The counter became the Truman doctrine, and it has all sorts of facets like West vs East hegemony, nuclear arms race, etc

    This is probably my favorite of the World History videos, which goes into detail about some of this

  23. #98
    About cooperative efforts for the economy: somebody has to own the stuff. Even though I think the future may see an elimination of state capitalism and a rise in both free market and cooperative capitalism (coop is still technically free market), I don't have a reasonable theory for what that would look like. Workers are totally capable of owning the businesses they work in, but that doesn't extend into communes, where every aspect of society must be addressed. In an economy, certain people have to own certain things, and I don't see any way to rid us of hierarchies. Honestly, I think a lack of hierarchies would be terrible anyways. I don't want popular opinion or average people to run the Federal Reserve. I don't want a "board of our peers" to be selected each year to chair the FOMC. It's obvious why this would be an utter disaster. The reason I make the point is that this is the logical extension of philosophically pure socialism

    Additionally, moving towards this is a legal nightmare. Socialism isn't democratic. It doesn't grant individual rights the way we view them. If it did, then it would mean that individuals can be sole owners of production, and thus the economy would be trending away from socialism towards capitalism. If the US wanted to move to socialism, we'd have to completely overhaul the constitution in ways that would frighten almost everybody
  24. #99
    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    I now think that socialism necessitates totalitarianism, because embedded in the philosophy is means of production for the communal need.
    I think it's more fundamental than that even - embedded in socialism is the idea of people as a group; "society", but as someone once said, there's no such thing as society - there are individuals, and respect for the individual is at the root of the right to own stuff.
  25. #100
    Quote Originally Posted by BorisTheSpider View Post
    I think it's more fundamental than that even - embedded in socialism is the idea of people as a group; "society", but as someone once said, there's no such thing as society - there are individuals, and respect for the individual is at the root of the right to own stuff.
    I would say that society does exist, but I understand the point. It's basically saying that society is an abstraction, while the individual is real. Which is true
  26. #101
    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    Boost, a common theme I see you sticking with is socialism doesn't work when it's totalitarian. I used to believe that too, but I don't think I still do. I now think that socialism necessitates totalitarianism, because embedded in the philosophy is means of production for the communal need. I don't see any way that this can be implemented without a totalitarian government.
    Your lack of imagination has no bearing on the truth of falsehood of any statement. You know this.

    The means of production in the USSR were very much based on communal need. It's why many farms were collectivized, factories manufactured many things that had no purpose other than the sake of manufacturing, and the service sector involved a lot of redundancy. Everybody "needed" a job, and the central government made it so.
    "Everybody needs a job" is not a cornerstone of communism. Some megalomaniac decided it was the case-- we still have this "everyone needs to do their fair share" principle, which is simplistic and leads to all sorts of damaging policy, like the defunding of good welfare programs. It's simply not an error solely owned by communism, nor is it an inherent flaw; the belief just happens to have had the favor of the Soviet regime.

    As for the Nazis, you're essentially agreeing with me, but spinning it so that it was the fault of "the Nazis" and not Hitler. Pretty much every major blunder is traceable to Hitler. And then there are ones which cannot be proven, but the lack of room for dissent meant that qualified people were discouraged from speaking up and saying "hey, look, dude, endless expansion, without pause to regroup, is just not going to work."

    Capitalism vs Communism may have framed the conflict, and they were certainly the ideologies pushed by the two factions, but claiming that because the victor was victorious, the victor's ideology was correct is a utterly poor logic. Look at it like this-- manifest destiny steam rolled the North American continent, and if you asked most people in the first sea to shining sea century, they'd tell you that the natives were overcome because they had a primitive pagan ideology, while they themselves adhered to a Christian ideology.

    How is your rendering of history any different? The victory of the west over the Soviets could potentially be a comment on the viability of communism, but first we'd have to agree that the Soviets actually had a communist society, and second you'd have to show some work and not just say "lolwewon!"

    And let it be clear, I know that Soviet "communism" is not viable. My point is that there are still valid lessons to be learned aside from "lolcommunism". And further, their failure to implement the system successfully only tells us that they failed to implement the system successfully. Scoffing at anything which could be considered "communism" simply because they failed is to sell ourselves short on potential avenues to a better society.
  27. #102
    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    I would say that society does exist, but I understand the point. It's basically saying that society is an abstraction, while the individual is real. Which is true
    Meh, if we want to play this game, the individual is an abstraction too.

    Society is real unless we want to go down some lame post modernist track wherein nothing can really be known to be real. And to that, I say, get fucked.
  28. #103
    Quote Originally Posted by boost View Post
    "Everybody needs a job" is not a cornerstone of communism.
    How do you figure? The logical extension posited by Marx is a classless society, which means everybody needs a job, because if somebody didn't he would be of a different class. We can get to this point through many other logical extension of socialism though. For example, one tenet is distribution based on contribution. This means that nobody can end up contributing more than any others because classes would form. Another example is the production for use tenet. Under this, everybody has to have a job because they have to able to use the production, but they can only receive products based on contribution.

    Socialism is a failed philosophy. If Marx and Engels were alive today, I think they would agree
  29. #104
    Quote Originally Posted by boost View Post
    Meh, if we want to play this game, the individual is an abstraction too.

    Society is real unless we want to go down some lame post modernist track wherein nothing can really be known to be real. And to that, I say, get fucked.
    The point is that you can touch an individual but you can't touch society.
  30. #105
    Well, let's not get to discussing what's real or not. That wasn't the point, the point was, that at the heart of socialism is the idea that the individual must sacrifice for the sake of others - I mean, for example, that they must work some proportion of their time for the sake of others, that they must give some proportion of their wealth to others, or, to put it another way that an individual is not entitled to their own life/wealth but that others are entitled to a piece of them. This idea that the individual is subordinate to the group is the root of the various other abuses of the individuals right to their own mind, views, freedom of expression and association etc that various incarnations of socialism have been responsible for.

    It's this idea which underlies some of the attitudes Renton alluded to in the OP - that some people consider that there can be such a thing as "too much profit", or that it can be wrong to pay someone $1 an hour.
  31. #106
    Quote Originally Posted by BorisTheSpider View Post
    Well, let's not get to discussing what's real or not. That wasn't the point, the point was, that at the heart of socialism is the idea that the individual must sacrifice for the sake of others - I mean, for example, that they must work some proportion of their time for the sake of others, that they must give some proportion of their wealth to others, or, to put it another way that an individual is not entitled to their own life/wealth but that others are entitled to a piece of them. This idea that the individual is subordinate to the group is the root of the various other abuses of the individuals right to their own mind, views, freedom of expression and association etc that various incarnations of socialism have been responsible for.

    It's this idea which underlies some of the attitudes Renton alluded to in the OP - that some people consider that there can be such a thing as "too much profit", or that it can be wrong to pay someone $1 an hour.
    This is mainly a critique of welfarism, not socialism. Socialism doesn't really take your wealth and give it to others; instead, it organizes production in such a way that what you (and others) make are for direct use by others (and you). Almost every time westerners discuss socialism, however, it's not viewed like this. Probably because westerners don't know what socialism is.

    What you said is also a critique of democracy and the US Constitution. People like thinking that those two things are all about the individual, but they're not. You could probably say they're mostly about the individual but the collective has to be addressed in order to maintain the individualism.

    And the answer is, yes, as a member of society, you are entitled to give up some of what you have to that society. Exactly zero societies in human history have successfully operated otherwise. Many Americans tend to not wanna acknowledge that welfarism is a fact of life. This is probably the main thing that keeps libertarianism from exiting the fringe. The ideology focuses too much on what the individual is entitled to have and not enough on what the individual is entitled to give. They would probably say that the individual is entitled to give nothing, but there is absolutely zero evidence any society can function that way
  32. #107
    This is mainly a critique of welfarism, not socialism. Socialism doesn't really take your wealth and give it to others; instead, it organizes production in such a way that what you (and others) make are for direct use by others (and you). Almost every time westerners discuss socialism, however, it's not viewed like this. Probably because westerners don't know what socialism is.

    Meh, I think this is kind of a fine distinction - if you're organising production for the benefit of everyone, that implies that the group is the highest priority, that the individual must put themselves second to that.

    What you said is also a critique of democracy and the US Constitution. People like thinking that those two things are all about the individual, but they're not. You could probably say they're mostly about the individual but the collective has to be addressed in order to maintain the individualism.
    Democracy is not at all about the individual, and I think we have altogether too much of it in many parts of the world - what I mean by that is, that democracy when taken to its endpoint is just mob rule, on the other hand, if a system of law fundamentally recognises certain inalienable rights that even a large majority can't take away, then democracy serves very well indeed in deciding public/civic matters.

    The ideology focuses too much on what the individual is entitled to have and not enough on what the individual is entitled to give.
    Yeah, just because someone should have the right to keep their wealth entirely for themselves doesn't mean I believe they should. Socialism and welfarism seek to redistribute that wealth according to "need" though, as such the individual is forced to be charitable indiscriminately with no regard to who his/her money is going to and what projects/aims/ideas it is supporting.

    How can an act of charity/philanthropy be moral? If it is compelled, it can never be - it has also long been my intuition that in socialism/welfarism there is a lack of faith in the human capacity for decency - if people must be compelled to do things for others, that implies that without that compulsion we'd live in a fundamentally selfish world where no-one would give a shit about anyone but themselves, I'm more optimistic than that about people on the whole.
  33. #108
    Quote Originally Posted by BorisTheSpider View Post
    if people must be compelled to do things for others, that implies that without that compulsion we'd live in a fundamentally selfish world where no-one would give a shit about anyone but themselves, I'm more optimistic than that about people on the whole.
    I think there is another option: what people don't understand, they don't change. Humans could be the most naturally charitable organisms there ever was (which I believe we largely are), but the more disconnected a circumstance is, the less able to empathize we are. This is why most of us would physically do something to stop an animal get tortured in front of us, but will think little of eating an animal that may or may not have been abused someplace else during its life.

    We have very strong tribal instincts, not to be confused with objectively moral instincts. The ability to do good beyond what our tribal instincts provide is how welfarism can work in ways charity can't.

    Do you see my point? It's about how the more disconnected a group is from another group, the less appeal there is for charity. People can suffer but if it's not right before us, we tend to not have strong enough empathy to do something about it. Welfarism tries to fix that
  34. #109
    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    We have very strong tribal instincts, not to be confused with objectively moral instincts. The ability to do good beyond what our tribal instincts provide is how welfarism can work in ways charity can't.

    Do you see my point? It's about how the more disconnected a group is from another group, the less appeal there is for charity. People can suffer but if it's not right before us, we tend to not have strong enough empathy to do something about it. Welfarism tries to fix that
    I do see your point, but I also have issues with welfarism in this sense - the disconnectedness or distance you talk about is sometimes a complete disconnectedness at the level of world-view, morals/virtues and values. There are some people/groups I don't want to help. I think that, rather than seeing that as a mean or insular way of viewing the world like some people would portray it, it's actually an entirely moral way of thinking - if charity is given indiscriminately it doesn't really mean much, because it's not then being given because the giver sees something worthwhile or deserving in the recipient but simply because they can't stand to watch something suffer, ultimately I think charity/philanthropy is a selfish act in a sense - we help the people we want to help because it gives us pleasure to do so, it's not a burden, it's a pleasure. When people are compelled to help everyone who "needs" help indiscriminately, for me, that sucks all the moral decency out of the act of giving.
  35. #110
    I agree with wuggy. All these years I thought I lived in a socialist country and thus was a socialist, but it turns out I'm a firm believer in somewhat regulated capitalism with some welfarism mixed in.
  36. #111
    Quote Originally Posted by BorisTheSpider View Post
    I do see your point, but I also have issues with welfarism in this sense - the disconnectedness or distance you talk about is sometimes a complete disconnectedness at the level of world-view, morals/virtues and values. There are some people/groups I don't want to help. I think that, rather than seeing that as a mean or insular way of viewing the world like some people would portray it, it's actually an entirely moral way of thinking - if charity is given indiscriminately it doesn't really mean much, because it's not then being given because the giver sees something worthwhile or deserving in the recipient but simply because they can't stand to watch something suffer, ultimately I think charity/philanthropy is a selfish act in a sense - we help the people we want to help because it gives us pleasure to do so, it's not a burden, it's a pleasure. When people are compelled to help everyone who "needs" help indiscriminately, for me, that sucks all the moral decency out of the act of giving.
    I don't believe in indiscriminate welfare. Probably only a handful of people do
  37. #112
    Quote Originally Posted by BorisTheSpider View Post
    ultimately I think charity/philanthropy is a selfish act in a sense - we help the people we want to help because it gives us pleasure to do so, it's not a burden, it's a pleasure. When people are compelled to help everyone who "needs" help indiscriminately, for me, that sucks all the moral decency out of the act of giving.
    Human philanthropy is just a biproduct of the benefit that cooperation provided humans over mutations that didn't want to cooperate. Strength in numbers etc. So yeah it's selfish in the sense that I feel better, but I also become stronger for helping you. In a modern sense this plays out in more complicated ways than it did in tribal humans where this evolved from. But it doesn't matter if it's selfish because that's just the way we are, it's the basis for all our common morality.

    A selfish motive for welfarism is a safer society for me. Desperate people do scary things, so if a reasonable baseline standard of living can be maintained for everyone, there will be less desperate people, less scary neighborhoods etc.
  38. #113
    Safety is an underrepresented benefit to welfarism. Another is how it improves the ability to innovate by allowing people to be more comfortable taking risks since they know that if they fail they won't be homeless and destitute
  39. #114
    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    I don't believe in indiscriminate welfare. Probably only a handful of people do
    Yeah but that's the whole thing about collectivising things like this - what's indiscriminate to you or me is not to someone else. Everyone has their own individual feelings about who deserves and doesn't deserve help. Trying to arrive at some average set of values that everyone could largely agree with in terms of deciding who/what should receive help seems a pretty fruitless task to me given the great variety of cultures and values even in relatively similar groups of people.
  40. #115
    Quote Originally Posted by BorisTheSpider View Post
    Yeah but that's the whole thing about collectivising things like this - what's indiscriminate to you or me is not to someone else. Everyone has their own individual feelings about who deserves and doesn't deserve help. Trying to arrive at some average set of values that everyone could largely agree with in terms of deciding who/what should receive help seems a pretty fruitless task to me given the great variety of cultures and values even in relatively similar groups of people.
    I see the problem, but I don't think it's insurmountable. The US Constitution, for example, is a bunch of liberties that we have all effectively agreed upon, and even if some disagree, because we're all one society, we can overrule them and be right about it

    It will always involve compromise. We tend to view things as black and white, but the truth is that all the things we take for granted as true are really just compromises.
  41. #116
    To put it in a much more simple and clearer sense: there are things we can agree upon as a society. Welfare distribution is one of them
  42. #117
    Boris. Get out of your bubble. The world is going to pass you by.
  43. #118
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    Sorry I've been busy and have lacked internet and now I finally have a chance to respond to some of these.

    Quote Originally Posted by a500lbgorilla View Post
    All of these questions hold that certain taboos of the current generation will never be broken, but if we're going to explore true unfettered capitalism and lay blame at the governments feet at each opportunity, let's get a little cutthroat about it.


    A recently privatized town has monopolist fire-service. A man so wealthy and scrupulous that he has kept any competition from lifting a head. Is it fair that when your house catches on fire, firefighters will come and bid to buy the home from you at a heavily discounted price? And if you refuse, they move on to the neighbors and bid to protect their homes from the fire that will likely destroy yours?


    Two men in good standing agree to an MMA style duel. Each has agreed to submit himself into the service of the other for the remainder of his days, forfeiting all rights and properties to him. Is this fair? After the fight, the man seeks to attain the fair market value of his slave at auction, is this fair?


    Can armies be instruments of profit? If not, what will stop them?


    This is less about making a point and more about coloring in this hypothetical world.
    In your fire-service example I'm skeptical of the ease with which a local monopoly like that could ever emerge in a modern capitalist society. Yeah I'm sure its possible for a really wealthy asshole to waste massive amounts of resources just to spite his local neighbors, but is this something that really ever would happen?

    The MMA example interests me greatly. First of all, no matter what you or I think of the fairness or humanity of that, they did both agree to it. The second part of the example violates the non-aggression principle that most anarcho-capitalists find to be a bedrock principle. The two MMA fighters agreed to the servitude so it's not coercive or aggressive, but it seems to me like the sale of the slave isn't legal. I guess it depends on the exact stipulations of the agreement.

    What it sounds like to me is not slavery, but indentured servitude, which IMO should be legal. Indentured servitude would most likely greatly benefit the people that agree to it, 99.999% of which would be people in third world shitholes. Again, this is all assuming the non-aggression principle is followed.

    Can armies be instruments of profit? Of course. But in a completely private society there would be no need for offensive armies, and where there isn't a need, there isn't a service. Armies can only profit where there are those that are willing to pay them. Currently, societies are coerced through taxation and poor representation, and convinced through state-based propaganda, to pay for armies.
    Last edited by Renton; 12-14-2013 at 10:13 AM.
  44. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by seven-deuce View Post
    Here's what I think. Everyone deserves a certain standard of living. Why should the billionaire businessman and the penniless homeless man be treated differently when it comes to the standard of healthcare they receive? Does the homeless man not have a right to live because he has no money? A certain standard of healthcare should be provided for everyone, if the billionaire wants to pay for better healthcare over and above the standard given to all that's fine.


    I don't think you would be preaching free market doctrine with such gusto if you were the one in desperate need of food or medicine. Would you be telling your starving friends and family to "stop whining, aren't you aware the earth has scarce resources? We have no money to pay for food so we don't deserve to live. How is this not obvious?" I doubt it.

    If I were poor I'd obviously be in favor of anything that would make me not be poor. But that doesn't make it a good argument. That resources are scarce is a fact. That scarcity will express itself one way or another. When a state has a heavy hand in distributing resources, massive amounts of resources invariably get wasted. That's not an opinion, but another fact. States attempt to blunt poverty by deciding what prices of essential goods and services ought to be with a woefully insufficient amount of expertise on such matters, or by taking money from the some people to give to others. This tends to result in more poverty, not less. Capitalism naturally addresses poverty by distributing resources in a highly efficient way which results in increased standard of living for all, including and especially the poor.


    Quote Originally Posted by seven-deuce View Post
    I think that pure capitalism breeds inequality and corruption. Not furiously competitive markets and scrupulous businessmen. The greed and constant drive for ever increasing profit makes businesses ignore externalities one of the most important being the environment, that's not my opinion, it's scientific fact. Big fossil fuel companies pump out propaganda trying to influence public opinion and cast off claims from the scientific community that climate change is a real and imminent problem so as to protect their profits. This cannot be justified, the continuation of the species and health of the planet is more important than a companies profits/share price.

    We've already addressed in this thread and in others that states have done no better a job of internalizing costs or protecting the environment. The environment will get wrecked regardless of how free the market is, until people start to attach a value to clean air. However, in a completely private society that gives greater property rights to individuals, a building that pollutes the air of surrounding properties would be liable for the damage that pollution causes to those properties. This is unlike the current scenario in America, where pollution must be addressed at the state level and a tragedy of the commons scenario is very tough to avoid.




    Quote Originally Posted by seven-deuce View Post
    Finally this might come across as snarky but it's not intended to be, my view is just as valid as yours regardless of how much you think you know.

    You actually weren't snarky at all until that sentence. I attempt to be civil in these discussions, but I will apologize for my blunt dismissal of your Bangladesh clothing company. I just thought the idea of state takeover of an entire country's clothing industry was demonstrably absurd.
    Last edited by Renton; 12-14-2013 at 10:38 AM.
  45. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by boost View Post
    Costco is a great example of how pro business and pro labor go hand in hand. Henry Ford also recognized this. Sure you can pay bottom dollar for your labor pool, have high turn over, and a weak corporate culture, or you can pay top dollar and have your pick of the best labor, who will stick around and ensure stability in your business. Both can be viable strategies, but the idea that a busboy is a busboy is a busboy ridiculous. Sure, labor acts like a commodity in some ways, but it also resembles business's infrastructure in other ways. Labor is far to dynamic to simply slot into the "commodity" column and forget about it. Your models will not be representative of reality if you do so.
    1) If the costco business model is so much better than the wal-mart one, then we can expect other businesses to copy it. Seems fine/optimal. No one is stopping companies from taking what they feel are more proactive measures than the standard minimize costs at any costs model. There is no need to mess with a system that is already working.

    2) I never said that a busboy is a busboy. Labor can be a commodity and still be dynamic. A fresh, plump, and juicy apple from the fruit stand is worth more and should cost more than the withered wormy apple in the adjacent basket. A busboy that is far more productive than the average should have an easier time finding a job and be paid more than average to do that job. And if he isn't, he reserves the right to demand that pay, and the company reserves the right to reject, and another restaurant in dire need of a quality busboy can take him on at a wage he'd be happier with. Nothing in capitalism inherently disallows or even discourages this kind of activity from happening. And a busboy's union only serves to punish the quality people by strongarming companies into paying an arbitrary wage to any busboy regardless of quality.

    Quote Originally Posted by boost View Post


    Renton, "The milk is going ot taste better and better"


    Actually, no, the milk, and most mass produced food we eat tastes worse and worse. Yield and visual aesthetics come far before any consideration of flavor in much of the food industry. The exception is when the goal is to engineer foods which trigger our evolved cravings for things rare in nature, like fatty, salty, sweet, etc. The concentrated triggers are often given a cheap filler delivery method, such as the puffed corn which carries the salty "cheese" coating in a Cheeto. These taste "better and better" only in the sense that they work on a very base level to encourage the consumption of stuff which should not be consumed in any quantity. They're essentially lacing Styrofoam with crack. Mmmm, better and better.
    I know better than to go head to head with j-dawd on food but I will refute as best I can.

    For one, what I said is true and what you said is true as well. The point is that where theres a market for something, the market will become better and better at providing that something. Something being whatever people see value in and are willing to buy.

    Staying with the milk example, yes I'm sure theres a market for delicious organic milk and suppliers are competing over that market by innovating in various ways, either by reducing their costs (and thus the price) or increasing the quality. There's also probably a market for cheap but bare-minimum quality milk, and respective suppliers making respective innovations to that product as well.

    The point of my milk rant was that a state-based milk industry has far less incentive to innovate in any way, thats all.
    Last edited by Renton; 12-14-2013 at 11:08 AM.
  46. #121
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    Another question for the lefties:

    How do you feel about inner city parking garages? Should the prices of parking in central business districts be regulated in some way?
  47. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renton View Post
    Can armies be instruments of profit? Of course. But in a completely private society there would be no need for offensive armies, and where there isn't a need, there isn't a service. Armies can only profit where there are those that are willing to pay them. Currently, societies are coerced through taxation and poor representation, and convinced through state-based propaganda, to pay for armies.
    I can't fathom a society where no one finds that destruction generates personal wealth. I mean, it would require everyone to look at the world through the lens of free trade and understand fully the method behind theirs and others lives. People won't ever be on the same page. Someone is going to appreciate how they can improve their lot by taking forcefully from another.

    If Ann Rand builds a neutron bomb, can she charge rents for everyone in the calculated blast radius to not detonate? If not, who is going to stop her?
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  48. #123
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    The major problem with the capitalism in America (and maybe even the problem with unchained capitalism) is that it rewards the most sociopathic behaviors and redistributes wealth in such a way as to cause increasing disparity.

    When legislator's get their data from lobbyists, who pay legislators for their attention, then the money which buys lobbyists becomes the effective constituency of the legislators. Which is, in itself, not a problem.

    When 1% of the population owns 42% of the wealth... that's a problem.
    When 80% of the population own 5% of the wealth... that's a problem.

    This puts severe controls on who can afford to effectively lobby their legislators. Is it any wonder that the idea of socialized health care is anathema in Washington DC? Is it really surprising that "corporations are people"?

    The statistical majority is out-voiced by the fiscal majority. Could there be any more un-American idea?


    So let's acknowledge that the American experiment of capitalism has some imperfections. I'm not saying capitalism is wrong, I don't think that. I think that it's done some great things and some terrible things to our society. If the terrible things are not acknowledged and corrected, then it's going to fail.


    If the wealth keeps funneling out of the poor and to the already rich, then the endgame is a filthy, diseased lower AND middle class, who cannot support themselves without "welfare". The only reason they need welfare in the first place is because they were slowly, and insidiously mugged over a couple of generations. It's a crime of ignorance to suggest that a system whose only logical conclusion is to increase disparity and hardship for the greatest number of people is in any way utilitarian.

    Quote Originally Posted by Renton View Post
    Another question for the lefties:

    How do you feel about inner city parking garages? Should the prices of parking in central business districts be regulated in some way?
    I don't consider myself a "lefty", so I'll let those people answer.
  49. #124
    Quote Originally Posted by MadMojoMonkey View Post
    T
    If the wealth keeps funneling out of the poor and to the already rich, then the endgame is a filthy, diseased lower AND middle class, who cannot support themselves without "welfare". The only reason they need welfare in the first place is because they were slowly, and insidiously mugged over a couple of generations. It's a crime of ignorance to suggest that a system whose only logical conclusion is to increase disparity and hardship for the greatest number of people is in any way utilitarian.
    What you've said isn't a problem with capitalism. It's a problem of a variety of things that has been best addressed through welfarism.

    You've got your causalities backwards or something. It's hard to say exactly. Regardless, capitalism isn't just a way to be greedy, it's also the only known way for poor people to become less poor. I keep going back to understanding what the system is definitively for a reason. Capital is not money, it's resources. Your ability to labor is your human capital. Your ability to study a textbook and learn skills for work is your human capital. Without capitalism, you don't even have the ability to use your own resources to make things better. In the socialist model, you wouldn't use your brains or your elbow grease to make your life better because the idea of "yours" isn't compatible with the ideology. Instead, you would only use your brains or elbow grease if the community decided it's better for everybody.

    The issue of too much wealth concentration is addressed inherently through the markets through the most part, but not entirely. The rest is addressed by welfarism. It's ironic that those who rail against this the most are those who benefit immeasurably from first world privilege or capitalist privilege or whatever sort of privilege we want to call it. The system works incredibly well. We have some entire countries that don't even have a poor class. How did they get that? From capitalism-welfarism. That's it. We're not in a socioeconomic existential crisis; instead, we're reaping benefits at far greater levels than in the history of civilization
  50. #125
    Quote Originally Posted by a500lbgorilla View Post
    I can't fathom a society where no one finds that destruction generates personal wealth. I mean, it would require everyone to look at the world through the lens of free trade and understand fully the method behind theirs and others lives. People won't ever be on the same page. Someone is going to appreciate how they can improve their lot by taking forcefully from another.

    If Ann Rand builds a neutron bomb, can she charge rents for everyone in the calculated blast radius to not detonate? If not, who is going to stop her?
    Even the most hardcore libertarians believe in property rights, which implies a bunch of necessary and proper type clauses to maintain those rights. In Libertopia, nobody could make money by threatening property like this.

    One of the main problems with libertarianism is that most of its advocates aren't that libertarian and are just looking for a soapbox for their pet issues. Once you get into the gritty of what libertarian ideology necessitates, you find a pretty big government protecting all sorts of property rights. Nobody wants to admit that though, so it's easy to point out silliness in arguments libertarians make
  51. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    Even the most hardcore libertarians believe in property rights, which implies a bunch of necessary and proper type clauses to maintain those rights.
    That's still assuming everyone will play by the rules; what if Ann doesn't want to play by the rules? What will keep her in line?
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  52. #127
    Quote Originally Posted by a500lbgorilla View Post
    That's still assuming everyone will play by the rules; what if Ann doesn't want to play by the rules? What will keep her in line?
    The government. Most of what our current government does is protect property rights.

    A lot of libertarians say Libertopia would look super different than things do today, but they're wrong. Property rights extend to all sorts of things, and we need all sorts of enforcement agencies and the judiciary to keep it so. The FBI and FDA both exist in Libertopia even if many libertarians don't think they would
  53. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    In the socialist model, you wouldn't use your brains or your elbow grease to make your life better because the idea of "yours" isn't compatible with the ideology. Instead, you would only use your brains or elbow grease if the community decided it's better for everybody.
    "Many libertarian socialists argue that large-scale voluntary associations should manage industrial manufacture, while workers retain rights to the individual products of their labor.[44]" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism

    What do pro-capitalists think of these ideologies?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-syndicalism

    Professor Noam chomsky has some interesting videos on YT as well regarding Anarchism and Capitalism.
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  54. #129
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    I had to delete a post because I way crosspost miss-posted.
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  55. #130
    Quote Originally Posted by seven-deuce View Post
    "Many libertarian socialists argue that large-scale voluntary associations should manage industrial manufacture, while workers retain rights to the individual products of their labor.[44]" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism

    What do pro-capitalists think of these ideologies?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-syndicalism

    Professor Noam chomsky has some interesting videos on YT as well regarding Anarchism and Capitalism.
    I think it's a lot of poor usage of words. Basically the main thing going on is people redefining socialism so it's more like capitalism, but doing so without acknowledging why that doesn't work.

    Capitalism and socialism are opposites. A phrase like "libertarian socialism" is an eyebrow raising oxymoron. Reading the wiki, this doesn't look any different than communism. It may say it respects things like private property, but the details say otherwise. The definitions are contradictions like when it says "non-bureaucratic society without private property in the means of production". Um, no. Did this just say means of production can be private without a bureaucracy? I'm not sure whoever wrote this knows what these words mean.

    Regardless, every modern state in existence today operates on the paradigm of private property with the ability for the government to tax to provide services for the welfare of its citizens. The socialist examples all failed. I don't see any way for socialist ideology to squeeze its way into this, because it's a diametrically opposed system. In capitalism, there's "yours" and the government takes some of it for the "everybody", but in socialism, there's "everybody's" already, so the government has no role but to keep everything has everybody's. This is really cart before the horse because it doesn't acknowledge we're all individuals first and we all truly do have what is considered "ours" and that must be adhered to in order to make a functioning system

    I don't feel like I explained this that well. It is very abstract

    Regardless, the take home point is socialist ideology failed every single test its had, capitalist-welfarist ideology has succeeded in virtually every region its taken hold, and trying to merge the antipodal ideologies of capitalism and socialism seems an impossible task. This is one reason I often point out that what many people call socialism is capitalism-welfarism. The current populous dichotomy is some kind of crony capitalism (called regular capitalism) vs welfarism (called socialism), and this makes people misconstrue what's really going on. We can have everything we need with capitalism and welfarism together. Socialism isn't a part of the equation
  56. #131
    Also anarcho-syndicalism is something that could only work at super high tech levels, as Chomsky points out. Basically post-scarcity era stuff. We are not currently close to being able to do without centralization of governments
  57. #132
    Fantastic, but long, presentation given by Gabe Newell (Valve) about lots of economic stuff. Dude is a visionary beyond most top visionaries. It's interesting to note that Valve is not publicly traded, and his explanation for why, I think, is a good argument against the idea that co-op corporations are somehow better than privately owned ones. I don't think it's a coincidence that a large portion of companies that do the most good for society are ruled pretty much with an iron fist by private owners instead of being subject to the desires of a large number of shareholders and board members

    Also he's totally a market monetarist. Reps NGDP level targeting late in the video.

  58. #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by a500lbgorilla View Post
    That's still assuming everyone will play by the rules; what if Ann doesn't want to play by the rules? What will keep her in line?
    I want to start by saying that I've only argued for pure anarchy as a theoretical contrast to the way things currently are. The hardest-core libertarians haven't quite convinced me that pure anarchy would be good. I'm just arguing for less government than exists now.

    That said, there are loads of good talks on youtube about how security would be handled in a private society, and how it would probably be far less corrupt and more effective than public law enforcement.
  59. #134
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    Mice eat their own poop. They have to. Their digestive systems are somewhat maladapted to their diets.

    I only mention this to introduce the concept of a fitness landscape. They're a way to visualize why it is that a species will settle on adaptations which are not optimal but will get the job done. In broad strokes, the fitness landscape is not just a simple, smooth mountain where every evolutionary step-up can be followed by another. Sometimes you'll hit a minor peak of fitness which is not the regional maximum, and in order to evolve in any direction, you'll have to sacrifice fitness.

    I mention this because I think it's a good analogue to the problem I'm seeing with this idea that anarcho-libertarianism is a good direction to head in. As the world segways from how it is today to how you imagine it to be, it may have to occupy less than ideal configurations. If ever anyone finds a way to raise an army and threaten progress, a counter army will need to be raised, and once the fighting is settled, an army will need to stand to protect against future threats to progress. And that army would somehow need to be private and valued only against the rare and disasterous threats and not as a mode toward conquest and coin. Or somehow everyone would need to be properly incentivized not to have an army. So when you say that you're arguing for less government, I'm wondering where you trim and where you grow and how you think you might get from Here to There because less isn't enough.

    Anyway, did a quick search on youtube and Bob Murphey said that Prudential will defend your property because they'll sell insurance against a foreign army carpet bombing your stuff. Prudential would then have an incentive to spend on defense. That's incredibly fun to think about. (Even just how they figure out the competitive and profitable rates to charge) He then says that people wouldn't have huge standing armies because of their expense and this circles right back to my initial point. The inherent assumption is that everyone sees the world through an accountant's eyes. People are a bit less rigorous than that. How do you whittle down the world's armies and boost up the insurers?
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  60. #135
    A lot of those questions are simply not answerable with our current knowledge. All I really have to say on the issue is that it has been demonstrated that we need centralized governments, and if the day ever comes when we don't, it will likely be a day when there either couldn't be an incentive or the fail-safes are in place for countering extreme disturbances like you mentioned. That day would probably come at a certain tech level and cultural integration

    It's like how there was once two world wars started in Europe, but today there couldn't be. Certain things have happened between now and then that have changed the European dynamic. At some later date, the same will happen for the globe as a whole, but not now. We're still hugely dependent on powerful centralized governments
  61. #136
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    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCCD88F93892BEBDD

    i haven't watched all of these, but here's a playlist of short clips about free market topics. The videos are very succinct and to the point, usually by econ professors. A lot of good stuff to casually watch that won't bore you to tears.
  62. #137
    Quote Originally Posted by Renton View Post
    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCCD88F93892BEBDD

    i haven't watched all of these, but here's a playlist of short clips about free market topics. The videos are very succinct and to the point, usually by econ professors. A lot of good stuff to casually watch that won't bore you to tears.
    Video on the minimum wage is good but the one on the US debt shows he has some homework to do. Government debt is no more comparable to household debt than a chicken is to a hydrogen molecule
  63. #138
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    I'm surprised I haven't had more interest in this thread, but I think there's a reason for it. I am fiercly anticapitalist, I know the system is fucked, immoral, very unfair, flawed, and most likely illegal. But like most people who feel the same, I can't really put my finger on why, and, more importantly, I have no solution, not even a theoretical one.

    What I do know is this -

    capitalism stifles human technological evolution;
    capitalism encourages, rather than punishes, immoral practises;
    capitalism rewards scarcity and thus discourages abundant resources from being used in favour of scarce resources;
    capitalism promotes an every man for himself mentality, and thus destroys community;
    captialism causes envy between peers, and thus breeds crime.

    But solutions I have none. I just know this isn't the best we can do.
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  64. #139
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    I watched something the other day, and it started with this guy talking about how his Mother taught him how to play monopoly. It took him years to get better at it, good enough to beat his Mother. But the biggest lesson of all he learned last - when the game is over, it all goes back in the box. The hotels, the houses, the money, none of it is yours, it all goes back in the box.

    That is pretty powerful stuff.
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  65. #140
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    Quote Originally Posted by OngBonga View Post

    capitalism stifles human technological evolution;
    capitalism encourages, rather than punishes, immoral practises;
    capitalism rewards scarcity and thus discourages abundant resources from being used in favour of scarce resources;
    capitalism promotes an every man for himself mentality, and thus destroys community;
    captialism causes envy between peers, and thus breeds crime.
    Man I was going to do a point-by-point rebuttal but it would probably be a waste of time. I'll just say that I believe your claims are 100% baseless and in most cases the exact opposite of the truth. Can you give me something, some example of capitalism stifling technology, discouraging the use of abundant resources, destroying community or the need to cooperate with others, breeding crime? Capitalism encourages 100 moral practices for every immoral one.
  66. #141
    Yeah Ong none of those points are accurate. Would you like a rundown on them?
  67. #142
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    capitalism stifles human technological evolution;

    So oil companies aren't buying out energy patents?

    capitalism encourages, rather than punishes, immoral practises;

    So a corporation that dumps hazardous toxins in the Ecuadorian rainforest is not saving more money than one that disposes of it responsibly?

    capitalism rewards scarcity and thus discourages abundant resources from being used in favour of scarce resources;

    http://captaincapitalism.blogspot.co...ood-thing.html

    capitalism promotes an every man for himself mentality, and thus destroys community;

    Explain how this is false please.

    captialism causes envy between peers, and thus breeds crime.

    This is perhaps arguable, but human nature is not genetic, it's nurtured.
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  68. #143
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    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    Yeah Ong none of those points are accurate. Would you like a rundown on them?
    Fire away.
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  69. #144
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    As for breeding crime, I'm on my knees financially. My options -

    1. Get a dead end job that will make me unhappy with my life.
    2. Continue to be a bum, living on benefits, but at least be happy.
    3. Crime, in my case grow weed.

    I'm at #2 right now. How long that continues depends a great deal on my poker success.
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  70. #145
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    renton, do you think that community spirit is strong in our current economic system?
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  71. #146
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    The term "co-operate with others" is kind of misleading. I think I prefer "attempt to take advantage of others", because that's what gets people places. Co-operation will only get you so far.
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  72. #147
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  73. #148
    Quote Originally Posted by OngBonga View Post
    capitalism stifles human technological evolution;

    So oil companies aren't buying out energy patents?
    They may be. I'm not sure what the relevance is. Whole lots of different people buy up whole lots of different patents

    There has been tremendous innovation in the energy industry over the years. Like super crazy mega lots of technological evolution. It isn't that other non-fossil sources of energy sources aren't big because of the oil and coal industry stifling them. They're weak because the populace is afraid of the word "nuclear" and virtually everything else is still too expensive. Regardless, there is still a shitload of tech evolution in energy in just about every form. Even though we don't use nuclear even though the most powerful companies want to, it still has evolved tremendously. Both fossil and renewable forms are constantly, rapidly improving

    capitalism encourages, rather than punishes, immoral practises;

    So a corporation that dumps hazardous toxins in the Ecuadorian rainforest is not saving more money than one that disposes of it responsibly?
    A company that does this is likely saving money, but the cause and effect relationship isn't about capitalism. All forms of governments do this, and when they do it, it's usually much worse. Banana republics are great examples of this, and they did not operate on capitalist principles as much as they did mercantile and feudal ones (mainly feudal). The ecological destruction caused by BP is noooooooothing compared to regular non-capitalists in, say, Somalia. Even if capitalism did encourage immoral behavior, how do you know it's more than the other options? Regardless, how can it be said capitalism doesn't punish immoral practices when your right to property (possessions, land, your body) are protected by capitalist principles? This one could get really drawn out so I'll just end it there

    capitalism rewards scarcity and thus discourages abundant resources from being used in favour of scarce resources;

    http://captaincapitalism.blogspot.co...ood-thing.html
    It just straight up doesn't. Look around. Virtually everything is about growth upon growth upon growth of resource use, and not just use, but creation of new resources. Even in those companies that people dont like, like oil, they're pulling out as much of it as possible. They're evolving tech so much that they can pull out even more. Within the system, there are a handful of outliers, like diamonds or farm subsidies, but they're not the capitalist model. They're caused by unique outlying factors, and should probably be dealt with.

    But even then, diamonds remain the monopoly it is because nobody actually needs them. People are willing to shell out 4k for something that costs just a couple hundred bucks and is not necessary for anything. This isn't really a problem. I mean, it's sort of a problem in that it shows how malleable and myopic humans are, but De Beers isn't fucking you over with the price gouging. They're letting you fuck yourself over. Now, in the examples where this sort of gouging is for things that people actually need, it always gets dealt with. You can guarantee that if our cars were fueled by diamonds, De Beers' monopoly would get crushed, and the cost of diamonds would plummet to a more natural level

    capitalism promotes an every man for himself mentality, and thus destroys community;

    Explain how this is false please.
    Maybe if you said every company for itself or every class of companies, it could look true on the surface. I don't really know how to respond to this statement because it's so demonstrably false. The workforce and enterprise are dynamic. People have to use their capital to get things, but this isn't what "every man for himself" looks like

    captialism causes envy between peers, and thus breeds crime.

    This is perhaps arguable, but human nature is not genetic, it's nurtured.
    History didn't start with Adam Smith. This stuff was far worse before, and crime reduction correlates with capitalism very well. The ability to labor and stuff requires a secure environment, after all.

    People who resort to crime don't do it because of capitalism, they do it for other reasons. Capitalism has made it easier not to resort to crime, because it has created more resources and is the only known way for you to create more resources.

    renton, do you think that community spirit is strong in our current economic system?
    This sort of thing is more about how populations interact than capitalism. We don't have a "community spirit" because we're not horticulturalists or pastoralists or foragers whose main power structure is through lineages

    But even then, we do have a lot of strong community oriented stuff. I hear tales of otherwise agnostic folk who convert to Mormonism just because they see how strong and charitable the community. Everybody loves their football team. Family ties are still strong, but obviously not nearly as strong as they used to be, but this change, like with all the changes on this issue, are about population size, economic dynamism, and transportation growth
  74. #149
    About the scarcity thing: it is but one factor in an equation of many. Attempts to overuse scarceness in a capitalist economy will not go well for you. One of the last things companies want to do is rely on scarcity of their product. Some do, but they're usually niche or boutique and their target demographic is a specific one that desires the scarcity.
  75. #150
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    They may be. I'm not sure what the relevance is.
    Oil companies are deliberately using their wealth and might to stop humans from advancing into a post-oil economy. There's no reason for us to be so heavily dependant on oil, other than to keep oil companies in business.

    and virtually everything else is still too expensive.
    Why?

    Both fossil and renewable forms are constantly, rapidly improving
    Then why are we still reliant on fossil fuels?

    Even if capitalism did encourage immoral behavior, how do you know it's more than the other options?
    I don't, refer to my earlier comment about me having no solution. But we're smart animals, we can surely do better.

    Regardless, how can it be said capitalism doesn't punish immoral practices when your right to property (possessions, land, your body) are protected by capitalist principles?
    Land isn't yours. You merely own the rights to land. Just like copyright, or a webpage. It all goes back in the box, remember? They can take away your land if you fail to pay your debt, and the debt is enforced on you when you take on a mortgage. Where does the money come to provide your motgage? Your deposit (your time and work), plus the money they already created through previous debt. The fact is, the baks don't even have to put anything up as deposit themselves, yet they still have the power to repossess your land if you fail to pay your dues.

    It just straight up doesn't.
    It straight up does. Take truffles as a basic example. I read somewhere here recently that truffle can be mass produced and be sold at a fraction of the cost. But why would they want to do that when they can sell it for more if it's rarer? The very fact that we use oil instead of solar power demonstrates the important role that scarcity has on capitalism. If we used solar energy, then energy would be abundant, not scarce. But if energy was more or less free, then large oil companies can't make money.

    Scarcity form the basis of capitalism. Something that is scarce is worth more than soemthing that is abundant. Thus, maintaining scarcity increases long term revenue. And capitalism is all about profit, so capitalism encourages scarcity over abundance because it's more profitable.

    Diamonds are a great example, actually. What would happen if somebody created a method of creating perfect artificial diamonds? Their value would plummet. Thus, they won't be in any hurry to release such technology. That's two of my points supported in one.

    Maybe if you said every company for itself or every class of companies, it could look true on the surface. I don't really know how to respond to this statement because it's so demonstrably false. The workforce and enterprise are dynamic. People have to use their capital to get things, but this isn't what "every man for himself" looks like
    Of course it's every man for himself. Let's give you a hypothetical moral dilemma -

    You are a self employed used car salesman. A new rival business opens half a mile from your business, and your profits plummet. You then discover that the person who runs the business has served time in prison for attempted murder. He's served his time and is trying to turn his life around, but you could ruin him and restore your profits by smearing him in public. Do you go to the press with this information? How many people do you suppose would compared to those who won't? Ultimately most people will put themself and their familes first. That's every man for himself. No-one gives a flying fuck about Bob and his family, except for Bob and his family.

    People who resort to crime don't do it because of capitalism, they do it for other reasons.
    This is fundamentally false. The vast majority of crime is committed as a result of money, or more the desire for money. That's a direct result of the economic system imposed on us. If everyone had equal wealth, then what reason is there for crime? People will still fight over love, or steal things they want, but the vast majority of crime would be negated.

    If only abundant resources were used, then products and services would be cheaper. And if that's the case, then corporations make less money. Scarcity underlines capitalism at its most basic level. Human greed and corruption is the consuqeuence.
    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
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