# Capitalism is freedom?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by shichimenshyo, Dec 29, 2009.

1. ### shichimenshyoCaught in the machineRegistered Senior Member

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Capitalism is defined as:

an economic and political system in which property, business, and industry are owned by private individuals and not by the state.

I would like to discuss whether or not a capitalist society constitutes a free society. Do you think a purely Capitalist Society would be a free one? Why or why not?

O. W. Grant likes this.

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It is the beginning of freedom. For evidence, simply consider history - it's practically full of examples. In all of Europe - including the U.K. - when capitalism began evolving, the powers of kings/queens and the upper class started to erode. The people started to establish free markets based on competition so that prices and the distribution of goods (including food) were no longer dictated strictly by the state. Even Russia, taken alone, proves the concept.

And for an even more recent example, look to China and what has happened there over the past 15 years. Even North Koreans have discovered capitalism and it's quickly eroding the oppressive power of the Jung dynasty.

5. ### shichimenshyoCaught in the machineRegistered Senior Member

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OK my post then I'll respond to yours read...

Capitalism cannot possibly lead to a free society as it puts the acquisition of wealth above all other priorities. In a society that idealizes wealth and personal gain how can there be a semblance of freedom at all?

Lets look at America and our subsequent wealth distribution as an example of the great social divides that a personal wealth based ideology creates:

“In the United States at the end of 2001, 10% of the population owned 71% of the wealth, and the top 1% controlled 38%. On the other hand, the bottom 40% owned less than 1% of the nation's wealth.” If this vast gap in the wealth distribution of our Capitalistic society wasn’t enough of an inidcator know that 13-17% of Americans live below the poverty line at any given time.

And percentages of Americans below poverty line:
Poverty in the United States is cyclical in nature with roughly 13 to 17% living below the federal poverty line at any given point in time, and roughly 40% falling below the poverty line at some point within a 10 year time span. The poverty line in America differs according to persons in family but are as follows according to ASPE.Gov:

The 2009 Poverty Guidelines for the
48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia
Persons in family Poverty guideline
1 $10,830 2 14,570 3 18,310 4 22,050 5 25,790 6 29,530 7 33,270 8 37,010 For families with more than 8 persons, add$3,740 for each additional person.

A giant contrast when you compare those numbers to the income of the top 1% which is \$384,000+ according to the New York Times.

Capitalism Favors personal Profits over individual rights and freedoms, or rather it supposes that an individuals rights and freedoms are based on the profits that they can produce.

Sources:

http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/09poverty.shtml

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

Last edited: Dec 29, 2009

7. ### shichimenshyoCaught in the machineRegistered Senior Member

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Capitalism may be a change in direction for a society but just because it brings the beginnings of a free society does not mean it has the power to bring about an actual free society.

I guess we should try and define what we each view as a free society. What do you think constitutes a free society?

8. ### fellowtravelerBannedBanned

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REPLY: You are asking a lot of responders but I will make quick work of it. The MAKE BELIEVE CAPITALISTS DO NOT BELIEVE IN THIS OBSOLETE SYSTEM. My proof: They are the FIRST and ONLY ONES IN LINE RECEIVING Government hand outs. EXECUTIVE BANKERS AND INSURANCE COMPANY EXECUTIVES. I COULD GO ON BUT I HAVE MADE MY POINT. ...fellowtraveler

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Oh, really? While I won't attempt to deny any of that, you've simply dug yourself in a hole from which you cannot escape.

Please produce the same type of numbers for a country that doesn't allow capitalism AND has more freedoms than the citizens of the U.S.

10. ### NorsefireSalam Shalom SalomRegistered Senior Member

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Yes. Capitalism is emergent, instead of centralized; i.e, it is about the voluntary interactions and associations among people. Everyone is entitled to the sweat of their own brow, and the right to their legitimate property; they are entitled to not be obligated, by force, to do anything against their will; they are entitled to determine how and with whom they will associate and interact. They are entitled to keep what they earn. i.e, there is no such thing as involuntary authority in capitalism

Wrong. Capitalism puts voluntarism as a thing above all others, and wealth naturally flows from the work and labor of individuals. In my opinion, the 'market' is not the defining aspect of capitalism; the defining aspect of capitalism is voluntarism, freedom of association, and freedom from obligation. The market is simply that thing where demands are met.

This doesn't have anything to do with freedom.

Nonsense. The person without any money is just as free as the person with a lot of money. Free to associate, free to interact...and free to not do so.

Freedom of interaction, freedom of association; freedom from obligation.

11. ### shichimenshyoCaught in the machineRegistered Senior Member

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If you are going to make a counter point how about you provide me with this information, it seems like you want to have a debate but don't want to do any of the research.

Pretty please a link to support your claim, just for the reason that it will allow us to continue a discussion based on information not supposition and conjecture.

12. ### shichimenshyoCaught in the machineRegistered Senior Member

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How do we define legitimate property? In a capitalist system everything is for sale, so the idea that there is a voluntary opt in or out is mute. What do you do when all the land is owned by a group of wealthy individuals who tell you to pay X amount or face punishment? How do you have the option to opt out of that? That is not freedom, that is subjugation.

How does wealth not measure freedom in a society were wealth measures well everything?

Unless interaction is forced upon them. What about freedom from subjugation or poverty? Does a capitalist system provide those freedoms?

I asked for links with supporting documentation so we could have a debate on this matter and so far you have given me no supporting links or information. Care to provide them please?

13. ### NorsefireSalam Shalom SalomRegistered Senior Member

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Property that is legitimate; there have been many theories and ideas about what makes a property legitimate.
No, it isn't.
No, it isn't. You can opt in or opt out.

They would not have a right to punish me, under a free market system; furthermore, why would this group of wealthy individuals own the land? In all chances, it'd be illegitimate ownership.

If they do own the land legitimately, then it is their call, like it or not. You have the option to not interact or associate with them, however, so long as you do not violate their property rights.

Wealth has little, if anything, to do with freedom.

There is no such thing as a 'freedom from poverty'. You are assuming one man's poverty is another man's concern, and while it is certainly noble to help the needy, that can't be an obligation. You fail to take into account that to provide this 'freedom from poverty' requires that you violate the freedom for a man to keep what he earns, and opt out and his freedom to associate; in essence, you are sacrificing freedom for security. If you yourself do believe that people ought to be protected from poverty, then you are free to work to that end so long as you do not violate others' rights to property and their right to freedom of association.

In other words, you are free to be charitable and organize with others to provide charity; but you are not free to tax people against their will.

http://www.ozarkia.net/bill/anarchism/faq.html

Though I pray you to open your mind and be receptive to the possibility of change; because often times, we argue but we know deep down that we will not change our opinions. So if you are not going to be open-minded, then this debate is pointless.

14. ### shichimenshyoCaught in the machineRegistered Senior Member

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Perhaps you would care to enlighten me?

Who determines whats for sale and whats not?

Why would they not be aloud to punish you? What exactly is a legitimate ownership? Please explain that to me,as I am having trouble determining how exactly that kind of thing would be regulated. :shrug:

How are property rights determined or regulated?

If you create a system where the control of wealth allows certain individuals to attain more wealth and thus more power than others, then yes wealth certainly does have alot to do with freedom.

I see freedom from poverty hunger and illness as rights far more fundamental to our human existence then keeping what you feel you are entitled to. :shrug:

You have given me one link with a wealth of information that you did not use or cite in your argument so as far as I'm concerned a debate hasn't even started yet. I do have an open mind, I am merely taking one side of the debate and asking that you provide me with examples that prove your point.

:shrug:

15. ### NorsefireSalam Shalom SalomRegistered Senior Member

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I rather agree with this
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_theory_of_property

The people that own the property. This one is obvious, don't you think? Who determines whether your computer is for sale or not? You!

I would not be violating any of their rights, and as I said unless I was trespassing, they couldn't punish me.

Though you then have to understand that what you described, an elite that holds a monopoly on land and demands payment or else punishment, is a great description of government.

This is where I have to disagree with a complete anarcho-capitalist view; I do believe that this is where, and only where, the government comes in: to recognize property and enforce legal contracts.

How so? You have to explain exactly how a wealthy man on his property is affecting me, not on his property.

Okay, but then you are sacrificing freedom for security, because you just said freedom from poverty, hunger, illness (clever wording, but it isn't freedom, it should be translated as 'guarantee against poverty, hunger, illness) is more important than a man keeping what he is entitled to and remaining autonomous.

Further, as I said, it is entirely possible to work to that end, the end of helping the poor and sick, without violating a man's right to what he deserves. It's called voluntary charity and donation as opposed to taxation.

16. ### kmguruStaff Member

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It is a free society for the rich, the media and the gullible. The poor still remain poor and do not consider themselves as free. But everyone tells them they are free to do whatever they want. But they can not.

17. ### shichimenshyoCaught in the machineRegistered Senior Member

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So land becomes yours when you start using it as a means of producing something..interesting.

So as long as you are using the land for some type of production it cannot be taken from you in your opinion?

So what about areas of residence? Nothing is being produced so no one can sell or buy those properties because no one owns them right?

I realize that yes.

What constitutes a legal contract and how would this government be paid for?

Well that really depends on how much property he owns and whether or not you had a choice in being on it or not.

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Agreed

19. ### Baron MaxRegistered Senior Member

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Why can't they do anything they want?

Do you mean, perhaps, that they haven't worked hard enough, or saved enough money, to do what they want?

Or maybe the poor can't do what they want because they have lots of babies that they need to support, so they can't save enough money to do those things they want?

See? Why can't they do what they want? What's stopping them? And who caused that stoppage?

Baron Max

20. ### shichimenshyoCaught in the machineRegistered Senior Member

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Could people please provide supporting evidence or GTFO of my thread. :bugeye:

21. ### iceauraValued Senior Member

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The most free people are not agricultural or industrial, of course. But given an agricultural or industrial society:

Capitalism increases freedom to the extent that it erodes and distributes inherited political power - to the extent that through capital any given person can gain political control over their own life, and any given person has a reasonable chance of gaining capital and through it a range of free action.

It reduces freedom to the extent that accumulations of capital themselves acquire political power over people, thereby resisting too much their own erosion and distribution among people, and becoming themselves a central establishment of tyranny and support of tyrants.

So there's a medium level or best arrangement of capital's role in political power, capitalism in an industrial society - as an analogy, think of bracing and friction: too little and no action is possible, too much and no action is possible, the greatest range of possibility found in the middle somewhere.

22. ### kmguruStaff Member

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Intellectual exercise does not work here. First become poor or go find some poor and homeless person and work with him/her to make them rich. If you can do that then setup a school to do the same. After making 100 homeless people rich - then we will all have the real answer. And you may get a Nobel Prize in Economics.

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There are various degrees of capitalism. One side of the spectrum is complete hands-off approach, on the other, some government intervention. And "free", of course, is an abstract idea.