Question for strident capitalists...

Discussion in 'Business & Economics' started by cosmictotem, Apr 5, 2015.

  1. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    Under any system poverty and starvation happens so no system is ever going to be perfect for large, millions of people within, societies. Now if you had a small society that would work out much better. As an example the Native Americans didn't have million people societies and were of one ilk basically so people helped each out and always gave what was needed to those who had nothing. The sharing society can work with a small amount of people but wouldn't be able to work with millions.

    I'd think that government welfare should be there to help those who really need it like very ill or mentally unstable people who can't work. There's also help from private sources like religions and non profit groups like the Salvation Army.
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  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    In small societies family takes care of all the problems mentioned in this thread. Poverty is also a larger society "construct".

    You can be below the poverty line in the US and be better off than most of the rest of the world in many regards. There really is no need for anyone to be starving in the U.S.

    If you are defining poverty as a certain percentage of the collective income then you will always have poverty as there is just that much variation in individual outcomes.

    Unless you simply take from some people to give to others.
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  5. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Poverty in America is far different, from poverty in fourth world countries. The term poverty does not have one objective measure for all humans, like height or weight. The Congo is the poorest country of the world. If the average poor America, lived in the Congo, with the resources provided by the USA government, they would be considered rich. Poverty has an element of subjectivity, due to no one standard.

    The average poor person in America has more and better creature comforts the average middle class person had 50 years ago. Fifty years ago, the average middle class had one car, no AC, a small black and white TV, a landline phone, computers were only in universities, etc, yet the average middle class did not feel poor, because they were called middle class. There is a subjective element to poverty. This subjective element makes poverty harder to deal with, via resources, since you can't make everyone feel not poor, even with all the comforts, if they are defined as poor. PC should change the word poor; into a warmer term.

    Say we had a world wide definition of poverty, based on objective standards that are the same for all humans. The poverty rate in America would go way down, using an objective world wide standard based on human needs. This change of definition, would subjectively allow American poor, not to feel quite as poor. The poor America Family moving to the Congo, in their minds, with all the resources still in place, would feel quite well off. A uniform definition would work on the subjectivity of poverty.

    The feeling of inadequacy due to poverty, stems from the same basic feeling an upper middle class person, with his 5000 ft2 house, feels when all his new neighbors build houses that have 15,000 ft2. The guy with the large yet smaller house, can't appreciate what he has, due to their envy. If we move his house to where everyone has only 2000 ft2, the feels well off; warmed his ego in the glow of the envy of others. Maybe people from the Congo could inspire the poor americans, so they can appreciate what they have in comparison to poor.

    India deals with the poor in a clever way. They have a social class that is even lower than the poor. This makes the poor feel more like a middle class, since they are not at the bottom of the social subjective ladder of classes. There is dignity in being poor.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2015
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  7. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

    I'm not talking about those who truly desire and are satisfied with exchanging their work for monetary compensation. I'm sure there are a great many who are happy in their employment situation. But, I'm sure you realize, throughout history the predominant mood of the mass of labor has been one of a grudgingly reluctant acceptance of their fate. Face it, who would rather not be the millionaire industrialist over one of his (or her) low level employees? Let's not forget industrialization and the employment paradigm that took off with it, basically has phased out and removed older and more traditional survival options from humanity. Mass industrialization has made the choice for people by stripping the environment raw that once (and still would if we managed it intelligently) enabled people to support themselves directly. In this respect employment was very much forced upon humanity, in the very least, by eliminating the older and more traditional option through poor planning. (Incidentally, I think taxes are the least modern industry should pay for taking humanity's ability to survive directly off the Earth from the vast majority of us.)

    Yes, interdependence is a hallmark of civilization, not dominance of some over others. "We grow richer..."? Yes, but unfortunately, not at the same rate and certainly not as a "we" but as interdependent "I's", with some getting a better deal than others.

    Well, in addition to the destruction and industrial "monopolizing" of natural resources, breaking of eco-systems and poisoning the environment, as stated above, we've invented the price tag for a great many things and behaviors that were once free and could have remained free with better management. That you don't immediately see these barriers is a testament to how deeply you (and most of us) are under the current paradigm's spell. There once was a time when resources could be acquired directly from the environment without the necessity of the host of steps we go through now to procure our resources. Yes, there are benefits to paying for many of our resources and services today (as there are benefits to not) but that's not really the point, now, is it? The point is an option has been taken away from humanity and the vast majority must reluctantly work for someone else to survive to pay for things they once could just get themselves. The environment can no longer support most of humanity because our industrialists have trashed it. There also was once a time when land could be occupied without payment. Certainly, the monetization of land procurement solved a great many disputes but who says such disputes could not have been solved in other ways that merely limited the expanse and number of such land that one family could occupy without the introduction of an exchange of money? In this way and many, many others, capitalism has forced itself upon humanity in a very unnatural manner.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015
  8. Trooper Secular Sanity Valued Senior Member

    Which system has starved more people, capitalism or communism? Does anyone know?
  9. billvon Valued Senior Member

    The "myth of the noble savage" claims that Native Americans lived in harmony with the environment and in peace with their brothers. This myth has been largely proven false. From RationalWiki:

    "A good deal of colonial histories and perceptions of indigenous people were based on myths, legends, and pseudohistory. In America, James Fenimore Cooper's Last of the Mohicans, while considered a classic, is considered to have helped spread the noble savage stereotype. In modern times, Disney's Pocahontas is an example of a pseudohistorical account of Native Americans. Post-colonial historians and anthropologists have attempted to revise and dispel these stereotypes.

    Explicit and implicit claims that "uncivilized" indigenous peoples lived peacefully with one another and in harmony with nature is not well supported. Violence within and between indigenous peoples was a common occurrence, and often unrestrained by norms against harm to non-combatants. The environmental damage inflicted by them was often limited only by their technological capacity . . ."
  10. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Well, the Ukrainians would say Communism. Stalin did that to break them. I would say capitalism overall, just because it's been in place longer. I just can't accept the bowing of will and fate to the forces of the free market and the ass-clowns that run it. Remember Too Big to Fail? Well, they weren't.
  11. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    I think you idealise what life was like for most people, before industrialisation.

    There is something rather odd about people in centrally heated houses, with cars, TVs and computers, yearning after the lifestyle of barefoot peasants trying to grow cabbages in the snow.
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  12. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

    I certainly don't idealize it but it was an option that was once available that has largely been taken off the table by mass industrialization.

    Whether you choose to work for an employer or live off the land, let's agree that both have their advantages and disadvantages but should one have been allowed to predominate our lives and society at the price of the other?

    So yes, an element of freedom and choice has been taken away from most of humanity and that is a kind of poverty to which people are subjected to in itself.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015
  13. wellwisher Banned Banned

    The hippy era of the 1960-70's and love generation was about a return to love your neighbor and natural simplicity. This was based on the Christian teachings of love and blessed are the poor. The long hair, robes and beards of the men were connected to the fashion of Jesus and his time. There was no shame to be simple, living poor in worn clothes with sewn on patches. The more patches the more prestige among the youth; showed the born to be wild/natural side.

    Poor is not objective, but rather is based on the subjectivity of the ego. The small poor child will still has fun, unless the adults program them to be sad. If the ego bases its self esteem on a material makeup job, and the envy of others, then lack of these things makes the ego deflated; can't fly. The hippies showed this was all in the mind. They were quite happy and content breaking away from the material rat race. They were poor by all standards yet rich in spirit.

    The poverty industry is big business for both government and business. They all benefit by maintaining subjective distinctions. This allows poverty to remain in the mind, no matter how much material goods one adds. Blessed are the poor was an early way to help the poor break the subjective yoke. Unless you become as children, who don't understand the game of poverty, you will be forever its prisoner.
  14. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

    The biggest problem in the USA is the opposite of starvation, it's obesity. I don't think I've ever heard of someone literally starving to death due to lack of available calories in the USA. By choice? Yes. But not because they couldn't find a $1 for a hamburger happy meal. The average size of house (sqm) for a "poor" person in the USA, is larger than for the middle class in France. Not to mention, most "poor" in the USA have aircon.
  15. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    I was bringing up tribes individually and how they helped each other within each separate tribe. I never brought up fighting but you did but would say that Native Americans did fight allot with each other but many times in ways the whites never saw. As an example many tribes would sneak into another's encampment at night and steal a horse, food, clothing or what ever and bring it back to their camp. That would show the other tribe that they are not going to win anything if the sneaky tribe can get in and take things without being caught. That way tribes had respect for each other and did not always have to fight to get what they wanted.

    It is always interesting that it is what the white man writes about Native Americans that we learn about their ways but forget that when many exaggerations and spins were put on those stories were to sell books not always to state facts. Few Native Americans wrote books because few could read nor write back then which was caused by the whites never trying to help them learn so they could keep the Native Americans ignorant and drunk to take advantage of them and commit genocide which you never seem to mention nor any other whites whenever you speak about the Native Americans..
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    It's called malnutrition, and its effects kill lots of people in the US every year. Stillbirths and maternal deaths in childbirth, for example. Obesity is another side effect.
    Gotta love the fantasy life of the American reactionary - the poor in the US live in houses, apparently, and have a choice about the size of their dwelling.
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Capitalism, but the comparison is not quite fair - it had a head start.

    As a percentage of the population, which seems like the way to figure because a larger population is a credit to a system even if it leads to larger famines when they happen, feudalism takes them both. "Starving" and "peasant" go together like one word sometimes.
  18. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    You can live off the land now if that's what you want. Buy a piece of land and live off of it. Everyone can't do it but everyone doesn't want to do it. If you want to do it there are plenty of smaller, family sized farms that can be purchased.

    You might (or might not) find that your current lifestyle takes a hit but that's the choice that you say you want to exist. It does exist.
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    You cannot subsistence farm in the US, even if someone gives you the farm - let alone purchasing one. You have to generate thousands of dollars a year in cash income.

    As far as purchasing a "smaller, family size" farm - are you talking about a "hobby farm"? Because if you aren't, you are talking about going hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt. One hundred and sixty acres of decent farmland in my area, which would be about the minimum for a family farm, is going to cast you about half a million dollars.
  20. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Do you think they used to give farms away? Do you see any family farmers in your area? It can be done.
  21. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    thats not that bad for a farm that size.
  22. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    Which is why people should pay more attention to Ayn Rand's switch operator in "Atlas Shrugged" than they do... perhaps more than Rand herself ever did.

    Don't ever limit yourself to a "thirst for knowledge". While that is admirable, it is not necessary other than as a tool, for those who aspire only to provide for their families, to contribute, and to be rewarded appropriately for that contribution.
    The thirst for knowledge, among those who have it, is a driving force for improvement. Those who have that, are to be admired rather than condemned.
    There is a very good reason that the "intellectual elite" are targeted by idealists of any persuasion. History will teach you that those intellectuals are among those first up against the wall.
    Ask yourself why.

    There are several realisations critical to "capitalism", or whatever you wish to call it. One of those is that the survival and well being of the workforce is imperative.
    This is the thing. If one wishes to ensure the well being of a populace, one does not achieve that simply by saying it is is critical, nor by legislating overly much toward that ideal.

    One does that by adhering to a system of belief that demands it.
  23. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

    I'm not sure how Ayn Rand's social darwinistic variant of individualism is helpful at this point in the conversation. The problem with her employer-based glorifications is a system that necessitates a dependence on others, the very ideals Rand's claims to despise. The employer-laborer relationship does not promote independence or self-sufficiency. It promotes dependence for one's own survival upon a middle-man. If you really want to promote independence while maintaining a cooperative population, you would use technology to provide more self-sufficiency and independence to the populace, not use it to enslave them further in order to produce relationships of recurring dependence and consumption.

    Capitalism may provide people with more luxuries but if, in addition to the technologies and luxuries capitalism and consumer culture is providing them, it is further enslaving more of their time and energies to others, rather than freeing that time and energy up for themselves, how is that an evolved system? Despite whatever luxuries we gain from an employer-labor monetary-based system, there is no denying obtaining our resources for our survival directly from the earth, rather than through a relationship with an employer, is a far more independent relationship. A relationship that could be improved in other ways beside the authoritarian and hierarchal authority and direction of an employer. We've shattered the relationship the average humans has to the Earth and their resources by placing an employer and a monetary system between the individual and this traditional relationship…when what we really should be putting between the individual and their direct relationship to the Earth's resources is the technology to make is easier for the individual to extract their survival directly from the Earth, rather than go through someone else. Who can be a less corrupt resource supplier than the Earth?

    The problem with Ayn Rand is she is trying to attach a solitary species economic mindset to a cooperative species. Humans and proto-humans didn't rise out of the cave (or form cooperative groups) by gauranteeing the "Alpha-male" silverback's right to his "property". In fact, it's probably safe to conclude sharing first appeared in land animals through the cooperative defense of territory by one species against the encroachment of another. Two can protect a good water or forage source better than one and so on… And so the territory being defended gets subsumed under the claim of two or a group rather than the previous one. There is survival advantage in sharing resources and cooperating. From there, you can extend the same principle to any resource and relationship...So even as a Capitalist tries to deny anyone else's right to access to "his" land or resources or "property", he is dependent on a vast cooperative group to help him ensure that continued access. He wants his cake and to eat it too. He wants the claim of a solitary species with the help of the cooperative group. In this sense, the modern free market capitalist is in even more denial than the territorial solitary animal. The animal at least doesn't expect anyone to come to the aid of his territorial greed. And neither is the animal out to claim more territory or resources than it requires.

    The problem is you can't have an individualistic, solitary species approach to resources tied to a society where the ties that bind its population are cooperative. You can choose one or the other but you can't successfully or non-antagonistically have both. If you get more and other people get less while working harder than you and under your direction and authority no less, while in the mean time your monetary system is the basis for the taxes you complain about, what is the basis for them to cooperate with you on anything?

    An individualistic-cenetered economy is not compatible with a species cooperating on the basis of their mutual survival. If you wanted more for yourself you should have thought about that before you entered a cooperative relationship with others.
    Last edited: May 8, 2015

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