1:1 Clashing Perspectives: Keep what you worked for or keep what you need more?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by garbonzo, Mar 16, 2013.

1. garbonzoRegistered Senior Member

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790
So I'm thinking about philosophical stuff and it got really complex, so I was perplexed.

I don't know if I'm a simpleton, but I do this just for fun. (wow, those things rhymed? lol)

So I'm thinking about fairness, and arrived to a clash that I can't get over.

You sometimes see this perspective:

Give it to the person who needs it more.

And also this perspective:

Let a person keep what they have earned.

So what happens when both perspectives could be applied to the same thing? Isn't this the very basic clashing of socialism and capitalism? Both perspectives make sense, so how do you figure out which is better? It's hard.... I was also thinking about this subject in a scenario where maybe you take an extra peppermint when it says "take one" at the office of Microsoft. Is this really wrong? Yes, it is stealing, but Microsoft doesn't need to save 1c on a peppermint, so it's kind of ridiculous to say it is immoral. In this scenario, it would say "Give it to the person who needs it more." But yet, a lot of people don't like the idea of not keeping what they rightfully earned. I mean, HOW do you figure this out? I can't.

To sum it up, I like this phrase I made up:

Keep what you worked for or keep what you need more?

3. GrumpyCurmudgeon of LucidityValued Senior Member

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1,876
Look around the world and find the countries with the happiest, most prosperous people. While your in the Scandinavian countries notice they have a mix of socialism and capitalism, universal health care, secure retirement benefits, etc. Then notice their tax rates(about 40-50%), their corporate tax rates(40-50%). It isn't that hard, if you take care of your country as a whole, everyone benefits. If you let the capitalists get control of the government they do very well, but everyone else suffers. If you let the socialists get control you end up with a welfare state where everyone pretends to work and the government pretends to pay them. If you balance the two you get prosperity for all. In America today the capitalists have their hands around the throat of the country and if not stopped we will be back to the era of the trusts and robber barons, if the greedy bastards don't bring it all down on our heads again.

Grumpy

5. wellwisherBannedBanned

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5,160
The definition of fairness is different for capitalism and socialism. With capitalism fairness means we all play by the same rules. With socialism fairness is thought of in terms of results, which often means different rules; dual standard.

If we use the example of a sport, capitalists fairness is everyone plays by the same rules. This leads to natural selection, with some of the players able to score more points. This is due to hard work, practice and skills. The socialist version of a fair sport, would have more than one set of rules so everyone can score the same points. That might means the worse players get to cheat or the best players get a handicap. This is unnatural selection since there is no basis for this in evolution; artificial.

Martin Luther King had a dream where a man would be judge by the content of character and not color of skin. He was for the capitalists approach where the same rules would apply to all instead of two sets of rules; segregation. Liberalism ignored him and made fairness based on the color of skin with two sets of rules; quotas. In the America the Democrats were the original part of the clan. So they did not change their approach; dual standard, but simply swapped the rules. Instead of evil black it is evil white.

The NBA is under the capitalists approach of fairness, where the rules are the same for all and therefore individual work and skill determine who will become the MVP. If we apply the socialism model, we could add women and children to the NBA, since we can create different rules to make it look fair even for a 5 year old child. The result would the watering down of the sport.

In high school, going into college, everyone takes the same SAT exams, with the scores reflecting the capitalists system. The rules are the same for all with natural selection assuring the best students score the best; natural selection. A socialist approach wants equal results for preferred groups, so it would prefer more than one test, or to score the test differently; unnatural selection.

Say you were playing a sport half the year under the same rules for all, and the second half the year under point quotas. You would approach the sport differently each half of the year. The first requires more work and effort since the future depends on you. The second will either discourage work (not allowed to get too good) or if you are bad at the sport, you don't have to try since your quota of points is set. Which of the two half-year will better demonstrate the human spirit?

7. wellwisherBannedBanned

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5,160
The definition of fairness is different for capitalism and socialism. With capitalism fairness means we all play by the same rules. With socialism fairness is thought of in terms of results, which often means different rules; dual standard.

If we use the example of a sport, capitalists fairness is everyone plays by the same rules. This leads to natural selection, with some of the players able to score more points. This is due to hard work, practice and skills. The socialist version of a fair sport, would have more than one set of rules so everyone can score the same points. That might means the worse players get to cheat or the best players get a handicap. This is unnatural selection since there is no basis for this in evolution; artificial.

Martin Luther King had a dream where a man would be judge by the content of character and not color of skin. He was for the capitalists approach where the same rules would apply to all instead of two sets of rules; segregation. Liberalism ignored him and made fairness based on the color of skin with two sets of rules; quotas. In America, the Democrats were the original part of the KK clan. Yhey did not change their approach; dual standard, but simply swapped the rules. Instead of evil black it is now evil white.

The NBA is under the capitalists approach of fairness, where the rules are the same for all and therefore individual work and skill determine who will become the MVP. If we apply the socialism model, we could add women and children to the NBA, since we can create different rules to make it look fair even for a 5 year old child. The result would the watering down of the sport.

In high school, going into college, everyone takes the same SAT exams, with the scores reflecting the capitalists system. The rules are the same for all with natural selection assuring the best students score the best; natural selection. A socialist approach wants equal results for preferred groups, so it would prefer more than one test, or to score the test differently; unnatural selection.

Say you were playing a sport half the year under the same rules for all, and the second half the year under point quotas. You would approach the sport differently each half of the year. The first requires more work and effort since the future depends on you. The second will either discourage work (not allowed to get too good) or if you are bad at the sport, you don't have to try since your quota of points is set. Which of the two half-year will better demonstrate the human spirit?

8. GrumpyCurmudgeon of LucidityValued Senior Member

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1,876
wellwisher

What utter drivel. Pure Capitalism is "I've got mine. Now get off my lawn!", there are no rules for those at the top and slavery for everyone else. Pure Socialism is everyone shouting "Gimmee, gimmee". Everyone(but the the apparatchiks)bumping along the bottom of the economic ladder. Neither works for long. It's like wings, you must balance the forces between them to be able to fly. The Scandinavian countries have done this very well. We are getting ever closer to Pure Capitalism, too close.

So the New York Yankees don't dominate because they have the most money and can hire the best players?(of course they do) Baseball is a Capitalist system that gives all the advantage to the richest before we even start talking about the rules of the game that apply to all.

Football has always been a Socialist system, money is spread more equally between teams. Else the Green Bay Packers, from a very small, relatively poor city, would never have had a chance to win a Superbowl, much less more than one.

We really don't want to live in a society based on some idea of social/economic Darwinism. You forget that in natural selection most of the population dies. Not exactly the outcome we want.

Grumpy

9. garbonzoRegistered Senior Member

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790
Yeah, I really agree. Isn't it called a Social Democracy? I've been a supporter of that because it's so obvious that it works.

Some say this wouldn't work for the USA. Why not? Is this true?

Still, this doesn't answer the question of which is more fair? I guess the answer would be: depends on the context.

10. wellwisherBannedBanned

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5,160
One way to maintain the utility of both capitalism and socialism has to do with subjectivity. Both systems are somewhat subjective in terms of what each define as important. This is easier for the other to see. Since subjective is somewhat arbitrary why not use this arbitrary for the common good in a way that also creates wealth.

For example, advertising is very important to capitalism because you need to subjectively create desire and demand for new stuff people may not need and have lived their entire life without. If you market a pet rock and can create an excitement, people will buy. The pet rock is useless in terms of any objective standard of value, but will nevertheless have a value based on a subjective standard; keeping up with the Jones via new subjective cutting edge. The subjectivity may have a self life.

With that in mind, since we can subjectively pitch any product and service, and some people will buy and others will create wealth, why not pitch in a way that benefits the poor. The poor get resources and someone still gets wealthy.

In terms of jobs, why do some jobs get paid more than others? Sports stars make a lot of money for playing a game. These jobs are rewarded as VIP important because they have a subjective appeal. They don't create products but excitement. Why not make a bum a superstar using market manipulation? You only have to figure out how to create excitement. Hollywood is good at creating stars from pigs ears. It is all based on a smoke and mirror of subjectivity. Why not harness the bull for socialists goals while also creating capitalists wealth?

If you look at reality TV, common people now have high paying jobs all due to viewer subjectivity. It does not provide any form of objective service but was all about Hollywood making stars out of wood. The first law of BT Barnum says, there is a sucker born every minute. Why not harness these suckers and use them to help pay for the poor, but in a way that gives them subjective products people love. Money is made and good is done.

I often wondered why one job is paid more than another or why the value of jobs will change. At one time, actors were always poor. There was not yet that subjective demand created using the first law of BT Barnum. Once that was tapped into, the wages subjectively rose to levels that rival even the highest paid CEO's who have to make objective product.

11. wellwisherBannedBanned

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5,160
There are two things that make the world go round; money and power. Capitalism is connected to creating money, while socialism is all about creating centralize government power. The old Soviet Union had a huge government monopoly of power.

Socialism likes the idea of redistributing wealth and money, via taxes, to those with less. This sounds good and noble. Socialism, in terms of power, would also like to redistribute power, by shifting power away from the central monopoly, back to the states and people. We never address redistribution of power, since those in power tend to fixate the discussion on money.

The Democrats don't wish to cut anything since this reduces their power. It is not about caring but about power. They are rich in power and are too cheap to share the power with the states, individuals and free market. We should tax those who are rich in power, so those low in power get more; power socialism.

Right now we have a capitalists power system, where power is based on hard work and survival of the fittest. It has nothing to do with an utopian ideal of equal power for all where all voice are the same. We need to tax the capitalism system of power like we tax the capitalism system of money and wealth. Those who earn the most money or power have to share.

Picture this scenario. Say we taxed power at the same rate as we tax wealth; access and money. We then return much of this money and power to the people.

Those who work for the government are called public servants. These words sound good like the people have the power, but this is a con job. The public servant gets a better deal, than the tax payer, due to too much untaxed power to feather their own nests. For example, public sector unions get to negotiate deals without the taxpayer being present. It is all done via the power monopoly. This allows a bad socialist deal since we all don't get the same deals. The tax payer gets a bankrupted social security while the power gets fat pensions. Socialism is about equality and would redistribute these fat pensions back into the general social security fund, to help the fund and make us all equal.

12. iceauraValued Senior Member

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30,994
Bill Maher is right: Americans are not against socialism, they just can't define it.

Who was the French guy who pointed out the fairness of the rules under capitalism - that the rich, as well as the poor, were forbidden to sleep under bridges, steal food, obtain medical care and drugs from black markets, abandon or fail to school their children, sneak into countries without official permission, prostitute themselves, work "off the books" for less than minimum wage, and so forth.

Everybody playing by the same rules, see?

13. Fraggle RockerStaff Member

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24,690
That's not the result of capitalism. It's the result of democracy.

Capitalism is merely an economic system in which the people who create surplus wealth (or "capital") are granted considerable leeway in managing both the projects that create the capital and the capital itself.

Capitalism arose during the Industrial Era because the enormous projects necessary to get it moving (steel mills, railroads, etc.) required so much investment of capital that A) no one person or family had enough money to launch the project, B) they also didn't have enough assets to put up as collateral so no bank would loan them the money, C) the projects were so big that if enough people pooled their money and formed a partnership, there'd be so many of them that they wouldn't be able to efficiently manage it, and D) nobody was dumb enough to let the government try to build those things!

So the government created the concept of the corporation in order to solve this problem. Hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of people invested small, affordable amounts of their own surplus wealth. In exchange they got a share of the profits, but even if the project failed all they stood to lose was their investment; the bank would not seize their homes and their kids' college money. This was called "owning stock," a hallmark of the Industrial Era. (There are other ways to invest in a project such as buying bonds, but let's keep this discussion simple.)

For all its faults, capitalism has endured for the simple reason that it works. No other economic system has facilitated the advance from the Iron Age (when 95% of the earth's population were doomed to lifelong "careers" in the food production and distribution "industry") to the Industrial Era, during which the economies of the capitalist countries toggled from scarcity-driven to surplus-driven, to the point that we had to invent the advertising industry and Santa Claus to make sure everybody got as much stuff as possible.

The socialists have tried an alternative, and it works modestly well, but only in an extremely small nation like Sweden or Bulgaria where everyone truly regards everyone else as family so cheating is uncommon.

The communists tried an alternative supposedly suited to larger countries, and it was a dismal failure. As my friends in the former Czechoslovakia put it: "We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us." Everyone figured that since everyone else was pulling their weight, he could just goof off; cheating was rampant. Communism is unique for its consistent production of a negative surplus. Eventually they dissipated the surplus wealth left over from the former government, then they annexed the neighboring countries and dissipated their surplus wealth, and finally they imploded for lack of capital.

The USA and the Western European nations are far too large for socialism to work. We simply don't regard the people on the other side of the country as family, so we'll goof off and let them do all the work.

However, social democracy is not the same thing as socialism. That's what almost all of the European countries practice. Inequalities in wealth occur, but the national philosophy and the laws keep them from becoming too large. The average German corporate executive makes about ten times the income of his average employee; in the USA the ratio is about 300:1. (When I was a kid it was only about 30:1, which most people considered fair enough since the economy was booming.) They also do a better job of helping the people who fall through the cracks. They have impressive training programs to help people whose jobs no longer exist get new ones, instead of using the money to bail out failing corporations. Their healthcare systems are generally much more cost-effective than ours, because their countries are not infested with attorneys who require patients to get dozens of expensive, unnecessary tests before surgery, to protect the surgeon and the hospital against malpractice suits.

So if you want to see capitalism at its best, look on the other side of the Whaleroad. Those countries have corporations and stock markets, but they work better because they believe in social democracy. I don't think there's a party analogous to our Republican Party in any of them. Except perhaps the Neo-Nazis.

14. DinosaurRational SkepticValued Senior Member

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4,885
Consider the basic socialist/communist principle:
This is a promise to steal from the best & the brightest by not paying them for the value of their efforts. It is also a system which rewards whiners & deadbeats who do not do their fair share of work.

It requires a vast dictatorial bureacracy to adminster such a principle. The best & the brightest expect to be rewarded for their efforts. Why should they voluntarily give up what they have earned by their efforts?

Those with a socialist/communist POV often claim that the USSR perverted socialism/communism, which they claim should result in a utopian system. Actually the USSR was the logical consequence of trying to implement such principles.

There is an inherent flaw in a strong central government. A modern economic system is too complex to be run by a strong central government. We do not know enough about the economics of a nation with a large population. Even if politicians tried to run it properly, they would not know enough to make the correct decisions. The average voter can be influenced by sound bites. A politicians trying to advocate rational legislation will not get elected because clever sound bites are very appealing & sensible proposals are difficult to understand.

With voters not able to make good decisions, the politicians & lobbyists cater to those who provide the money to finance election campaigns.

A politician is motivated to win the next election. That is is only real goal. Isaac Asimov once wrote a SciFi novel which showed the true nature of a politician. An Einstein/Bohr calibar scientist advocates some legislation to finance a project & stop using a technology that is very good in the short run. The politician tells him:

15. Buddha12Valued Senior Member

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2,862
So people living in a tribe in Africa aren't happy because they aren't anything like these other countries that you say are? I'd disagree with you because happiness can be found wherever anyone might live in any conditions and with or without governmental controls. You see happiness is a state of mind, a sense of being at peace within yourself and with whatever you might have available to you. Even those tribes people are happy if only you would ask them but many people think they must not be because they don't use up the resources that "advanced" nations do to become happy.

16. wellwisherBannedBanned

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5,160
If you look at small children, they can find fun anywhere if their basic biological needs are met. The child in Africa does not need an X-box to be happy, since that need is all due to conditioning and peer pressure not natural need. If you never had a mango you would not need or miss it. But if I constantly tell you how good this is, I can hook you into needing it.

An interesting irony is the mainstream media is slanted to the left; liberal. Liberalism has certain beliefs. Yet if you do the calculations, they collectively make more money pitching capitalist products in the free market due to their higher proportion of market share. They promote anti-capitalism and anti-rich with lip service, while also pitching products for money to benefit these various capitalists groups. It is like saying I hate chocolate while eating the entire box.

Conservative media pitches capitalism and self reliance. They also sell advertising for free market product, with the same hope of addiction, but their action is consistent with their position on the goodness of capitalism. There is no dual standard. The lack of a dual standard does not attract those who like their leaders to be two-faced.

Conservative says you need to be self reliant, as they pitch product on TV with the hope of demand. The lesson taught is this stuff is all very cool but if you want it, you need to work and save. If that is too much work, learn to live without by resisting the media programming that works best with small minds.

The liberals teach there are haves and have nots. They then sales pitch products to get people addicted since no business can survive if people only buy once. Once there is the addiction, but without the checks and balance of self reliance. Now we need government to provide the addicts their daily dose of appeasement to the liberal media marketing.

Do a home experiment over a week. Go to each liberal and conservative national media outlet and count ads over the day. Who is making the most money in the capitalist free market, and who helps businesses the most via the ad count? The second part of the experiment is see whose propaganda pitches against capitalism.

This part is controversial but it follows logically. The stereo-type associates the Jewish businessman with knowing how to make money. What I never understood is why do the Jews prefer the democrats, if they pitch anti-capitalism? I always assumed this may have been due to altruism or empathy for the needy. But once you do an ad count, the liberal media outlets control most of the ad bridges to the capitalist free market.

This is actually very smart, and took me a while to figure out the capitalist angle. The largest bridge to the evil free market turns out to be via the liberal media outlets. Since the liberal media pitches the opposite, the audience is clueless to the manipulation. They assume all this is part of being a good liberal who cares and can't see the capitalism subliminal to buy.

17. iceauraValued Senior Member

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30,994
No, Fraggle, it was an example of the workings of capitalism, specifically the legal infrastructure installed and maintained by the influence of powerful capitalist interests in France around the time of the Revolution. The example I chose was of capitalism under monarchy, but similar observations can be made of capitalism under dictatorships and oligarchies and plutocracies of all kinds, as well as malfunctioning democracies that fail to curb their financiers.

Under democratic government (nothing works under authoritarian government) it's worked better than unregulated capitalism wherever it's been tried, to the extent it's been tried, including the US for several decades after the Great Depression taught even the well-off that capitalism was not going to govern itself.

The problem is that in reality important areas of wealth employment cannot be set up as "free" markets. Health care, for example. Resource extraction. Roads and waterways. Military defense.
If you actually watch conservative media programs on TV, or listen to them on the radio, you will find yourself bombarded with ads for powered wheelchairs provided at government expense, legal firms offering to sue people for you and obtain money you have not earned, pills you can take to lose weight without onerous diet and exercise programs, lotteries and casinos you can obtain windfalls of unearned money from, and so forth.
That should be yet another clue for you, that your comprehension of "Democrats" and "anti-capitalists" and "liberals" and so forth (also Jews, of course) is simply nonsense, a fantasy world some bad people have sold you, unworthy of an adult with political responsibilities. This, for example, is utter bullshit:
This is no longer excusable. Forty years ago one could excuse some confusion in the matter, if somebody wasn't paying attention, but too much sewage has gone under the bridge since then for the smell to have been overlooked.
It's a typo - you meant "to each according to their needs" - and it's not a promise: it's a description of an economic and political system that is not malfunctioning.

A system that does not employ people's abilities, or meet their needs, is a failed system. Like so many leftist and "liberal" observations, this is just simple common sense written down. The fact that it has been a damning critique of so many capitalistic systems is an indictment of naive capitalism - the kind of immature and ignorant and inexperienced and just plain foolish approach that we saw, for example, in Alan Greenspan's testimony before Congress about why he had not thought it necessary to regulate or even monitor the banks, the hedge funds, and the credit derivatives market in the US.

18. DinosaurRational SkepticValued Senior Member

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4,885
It is interesting to note that Laissez Faire Capitalism in the USA from circa 1750 to circa 1915 generated an industrial engine which resulted in an amazing increase in the standard of living of the average person. The establishment of the income tax in 1913 & the growth of government at all levels (local, state, & federal) was the beginning of the end of that system.

I have reprints of Sears & Roebuck mail order catalogues from 1897 & 1909 which indicate items affordable to factory workers & farmers.

Piano: $125 in 1897;$89 in 1909 --- Organs were cheaper

Violins without case: $2.85 to$47.95 in 1987 (cheaper ones were mentioned, but not sold by Sears due to unferior quality; $1.95 to$22.45 in 1909

100 piece English dinner set: $7.95 in 1897;$3.98 in 1909

100 piece set of Haviland Chinaware: $33.75 in 1897;$19.98 in 1909

Note that prices went down from 1897 to 1909. I remember (not sure I trust this memory) reading somewhere that income for factory workers & farmers did not change much from circa 1800 to circa 1900, but purchasing power increased dramatically.

Sears catalogues were used by those with ordinary incomes. The wealthy bought from Department stores or importers who specialized in various items. These people bought tailor made clothes rather than ready made.

In 1800, items available via 1897 & 1909 Sears mail order were beyond the purchasing power of the average farmer or worker.

The industrial engine was responsible for the above. The so called robber barons had a net positive effect on the standard of living of the typical worker & farmer.

Note that circa 1750 to circa 1820, most quality iron/steel items (not cast iron) were made using a forge & open dies. The worker stood in front of the forge & used a heavy hammer.

By 1900 most quality iron/steel items were made by forging machines using steam power.​

In additon to the increased standard of living, the industrial engine improved working conditions.

The above was accomplished with few effective unions.

It is interesting to note that the union movement evolved as industry became more productive & profitable. The first successful strike came prior to 1800 in the Philadelphia printing industry. It was successful due to the profitability of that industry: Management could better afford higher wages than lost profits due to a prolonged strike.

Increased government income, bureaucratic overhead, & regulatory power started to erode the industrial engine. Momentum & increasing productivity kept the engine running very well until well past the middle of the 20th century.

The current middle class (early 21st century) seems to be the first whose children will be worse off than their parents. While net worth was always extremely concentrated, income was spread out better. Overall statistics on this are difficult to obtain & analyze. General Motors at its peak is an easy to analyze example.

Its gross income was circa 10 billion dollars & its net worth was much than the sum of the net worth of its employees, including its executives. Its pretax profits was circa one billion.

It employed circa 500,000 factory workers at circa 5000 per year (perhaps more), which is 2.5 billion & I think I underestimated the workers' salaries.

Above is from memory of an analysis done many decades ago.

Income is becoming more & more concentrated, with the major decline being in the income of the middle class.

19. JeevesValued Senior Member

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5,028
Are those the only perspectives in play? I'm wondering how fairly you can evaluate what each person has worked for.

Does Mitt Romney really deserve one thousand times as much as a Virginia salt miner? Should a drug dealer keep all the proceeds of his work, or should some of it go toward rehabilitating his victims so that they can become productive again? How did the needy become needy? How did the owners of great wealth come by it? What is the effect on society of different kinds of work, and should that effect be calculated into distribution?

The dollar value of anything is arbitrary to begin with, and the more power money has, the more abstract valuations become.

It might be more useful to think of a very small society - say a dozen castaways on some island. Everyone has to work for the survival of all, and everyone can see how useful their own and the others' work is. If one member of the group is injured or ill and unable to work, the rest have to pick up the slack and help him recover, so that he will be an asset again. If he's beyond recovery, they might throw him in the ocean... if the rest were convinced it could never happen to them. More likely they would keep feeding him in recognition of past service, or simple fellowship. What about second generation? Would you consider other castaways' children a potential asset to the group and thus worth contributing to their welfare, or should the burden of raising them be on the parents alone - and if the latter, what happens to the childless in old age? If, an able-bodied guy just sat around giving orders and hoarding coconuts, would you consider him an asset to the group or a liability?

Human communities have been managing to work this kind of thing out for 300,000 years before the invention of money.

20. iceauraValued Senior Member

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30,994
That's not true.

Among the problems: 1) The amazing increase in standard of living was in comparison with specific prior societies, such as the oppressed classes of the earlier industrializing (becoming more capitalistic, with much attendant misery) European continent, or the people enjoying the backhand of capitalism before 1750 in the colonies (there's a reason wingnut history picks the dates it does). The plantation slaves and their originating peoples enjoyed nothing of the kind, to point to the most obvious example. Neither did many Red tribes - their standard of living dropped precipitously, in many cases.

2) The major economic structures in play then bore little resemblance to what we now take to be laissez faire capitalism - for example, the formation of a joint stock company or permanent corporation in the modern sense would have been seen as organized crime, and punished accordingly, in most of the communities in the US at that time.

3) There is no correlation between increased standard of living and capitalism, among the various capitalist and socialist and theocratic and feudalist and so forth and so on societies present - they all prospered, and the key factors seem to have been the benefits of the Columbian Exchange (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbian_Exchange).

4) Government projects (wars, roads and railroads, ports and waterways, immigration subsidies and encouragements, etc) and such uncapitalistic notions as eminent domain, government granted monopolies, and community control over business practices and goals, dominated the economy.

5) Much of the gain in prosperity that was achieved was at the expense of the resource base - the fisheries, whales, virgin timberlands, never-plowed fertile farmland, herds and flocks of game animals, easy-reach coal deposits, gold and the like lying around on the ground waiting for someone to notice it - were all feasted upon, rapaciously and shortsightedly over-exploited by capitalists in particular; but they were finite.

And so forth.

The notion that the US enjoyed a century or more of Ayn Rand free market exchange in a sustainable economy prior to WWI is wingnut bullshit. The notion that the largest gains in standard of living took place in that time is meaningless where it is not wrong - huge gains followed antibiotics and vaccinations, electricity and plumbing, fertilizer and modern breeding, all in the years after WWI.

The gains did not plateau until the late 1960s, did not begin to reverse until 1980 or so.

21. DinosaurRational SkepticValued Senior Member

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4,885
IceAura: Are you denying that buying power in the USA did not increase dramatically from circa 1750 to circa 1900? The items available via Sears mail order surely supports the claim of a dramatic increase in buying power.

Can you refute the evidence provided from Sears catalogues? Did you notice that buying power increased from 1897 to 1909? Did you notice that the items available from Sears via mail order circa 1900 were not available to the ordinary worker/farmer of 1750 to 1800?

Do you think that from circa 1750 to circa 1900, the average farmer/worker did not have dramatically increased buying power indicating a definite increase in standard of living?

Do you think that the worker/farmer of 1750 to 1800 could purchase items like those offered in Sears catalogues dated 1897 & 1909?

You seem to be ignoring evidence presented by me in order to merely parrot standard liberal BS.

22. rodereveRegistered Member

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216
I don't think you can hold both ideals to the same level. You can certainly value both sentiments, but you can't value one as much as the other. One has to give.

1: Give X to the person who needs it more, unless a person wants to keep X they have earned.
2: Let a person keep X they have earned, unless a person needs X more.

I'm sure you agree with one more than the other. I usually agree with 1 more, but I'm sure others can agree with 2. But it also changes depending on the thing involved. For e.g.

Give money to the person who needs it more, unless a person wants to keep money they have earned.
Give food to the person who needs it more, unless a person wants to keep food they have earned.

It's subtly different because we can just buy food with money. But the second one is more pressing because people NEED food, they don't need money. But also that people earn money, and with that money they can spend it on entertainment or luxuries, whereas people that are in need may not deserve the choice of luxury, ie beggars cant be choosers is a popular sentiment.

23. iceauraValued Senior Member

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30,994
Of course not. I didn't even mention it. Why would I?

There are plenty of examples of the great increase in world wide prosperity following the Columbian Exchange, and in the US in particular - with its roads, government subsidized railroads, vast networks of ports and waterways and other public infrastructure; with its increasingly efficient and useful Post Office; with its successful wars and territorial expansions and huge quantities of exploitable virgin resources gained; with its Homestead Acts and government licensed monopolies and strong trade establishment and forceful use of eminent domain - we see a clear example of progressive and far-sighted government seizing the day and providing golden opportunities for its citizens.

But I was more concerned with the issue at hand, which was the supposedly temporarily and uniquely and dramatically beneficial role of laissez faire capitalism in the US economy at the time and not since; that supposition requires a serious revision of the apparent historical record, including the dismissal of a large body of inconvenient physical facts.