Question for strident capitalists...

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

  1. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Because they have the choice to spend their time pursuing those luxuries. Slaves cannot make that call.
    Definitely. But that's wasteful of people's time and energy. To be a subsistence farmer with no access to fertilizers, tractors etc allows you to "obtain our resources for our survival directly from the earth" - but that also enslaves you. You work hard, 50-80 hours a week, or you die.
    Again, you can do that - but you have then relegated people to lives of misery, since most people cannot create their own steel, or antibiotics, or fuel.
    Exactly. In fact, if you have two people, one a good fighter and one a good harvester, then it makes a whole lot of sense for one to protect the forage and the other to harvest it. That, of course, "enslaves" the fighter (using your definition) and removes him from ensuring his survival directly from the earth - but it makes a lot more sense in a community.
    The capitalist allows access to his property. In your first example, the fighter allows the harvester access to "his" property to harvest. The harvester "pays" the fighter in food. They, of course, both really own the bush.
    Right. But capitalist do not (and do not claim to) work alone. They work within an economic community, and in fact depend on it.
    Most solitary animals claim as much territory as they can hold. Their limits are not their requirements, but rather the limits placed upon them by the limits of their bodies.
    Of course you can, and every society the Earth has ever seen has had elements of both.
    And yet we do have both - quite successfully.
    Because you pay them to cooperate with you. Instead of giving the good fighter some berries to get him to defend your forage bush, you are giving him money to design your widget. He is free to leave if he does not like the trade he is making - and you are free to fire him if you don't like the trade you are making.
    And if you wanted to be a subsistence farmer you should have thought of that before you got that mortgage.
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    There are no subsistence farmers in my area. And yes, "they" used to give farmland away, or sell it for token amounts of money, or bequeath it in wills, or divide it up among cooperative colonists, or establish it as community resource communally owned and later divided among the farmers who worked it, etc - that's how most family farms in the US got started.

    And the end of that era of giveaway marked the beginning of their disappearance, by 90% these days.

    The fact that to begin farming one must purchase farmland at capitalist market prices these days is a major reason we are losing the family farm - money compounds exponentially, farmland fecundity rises linearly at best, farmland itself does not grow at all. As with all insufficiently restricted capitalist enterprises, farms had to grow or they died, and since land doesn't grow that means expand - which means taking on debt, which means having access to capital in large amounts and paying for risk as well as mechanization.

    Without government intervention and socialist modifications of economic organization, that ends with a small number of winning capitalist concerns in possession of the great majority of agricultural resources, as in the aptly named "banana republics".

    The major reason we have not lost all the small or "family" farms in my area is that the local government has somewhat restricted capitalist enterprise in farming operations, for example forbidding corporate ownership of farmland.

    If capitalists could be depended upon to recognize that, and the degree of it, and the obligations incurred by that fact, we'd have much less trouble keeping capitalism in check.

    And if you want to keep open the option of subsistence farming you should think of that before you turn all your farmland over to capitalist ownership.
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  5. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Agreed. And that goes for both owners of companies and the workers at those companies.
    "Capitalist ownership" is individual ownership. Indeed, ownership of land is what caused the end of the feudal system and the beginning of the mercantile system, the precursor of capitalism. You can't subsistence-farm if you have to rent your land from the government, or if your neighbors are free to graze their goats on your corn. But you can if you own it, and keep it as a possession.
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  7. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

    On the contrary, most participants in the capitalist monetary system, whether they realize it or not, have little choice about it. If you consider the manner in which you or I must access land or any living space on which to exist, most of our options require the participation in a Capitalist monetary system. Even if we live for free on someone else's property, that property was acquired, whether directly or somewhere down the line, through the participation of someone in the Capitalist monetary system. In other words, although there maybe be other ways than monetary exchange to ensure the non-forceful distribution of land, the current capitalistic paradigm largely does not allow it. Even property taxes are an extension of the capitalist system. There are minor exceptions, of course, as in some far off boondocks in Montana but, other than some wholly unworkable and disconnected options wholly unsuitable to the formation of cooperative social exchanges, your participation in the Capitalist monetary system is, indeed, forced upon you and all of us.

    Right. And the pooling of energies to produce technology is one way humans make life easier on them themselves. But the pooling of energies to produce technology useful to the mass of humanity does not have to necessarily entail the pooling of energies to make capital or the inequitable distribution of that technology. One does not have to imply the other. Production of useful technology for the sake of a society having that useful technology is enough. There is no reason to attach a monetary reward, usually balanced in favor of an artificial concept we call an "employer", to the production of technology. The reward of having the technology is ample reason enough. If people want a technology they can pool their energies to produce it. And if a lot of people want a technology a lot of people can pool their energies to produce it. If people don't pool their energies, the technology doesn't get produced and a societies' lack of that technology is its own "punishment" for not pooling and applying its collective energies. I see no reason people need to pool their energies because one or a few people want to produce money for themselves. That is completely beside the point.

    Actually, in your example that doesn't make sense since the whole problem of protecting territory adequately is dependent upon numbers. If only one of the two cooperating over territory is relegated to its physical defense, the fighter is right back to where he started before there even was any cooperative agreement. However, it doesn't "enslave" the fighter if that is what he was going to do anyway for his survival. There is a difference between having to abide by what is required to secure one's continued existence from the Earth and what may be required by an employer. Certainly, in a good case scenario, an employer can make less demands but an employer can also be arbitrary and vindictive and corrupt and engage in all sorts of artificial deceits and deceptions and control tactics and threats. Threats because by tying an individual's survival to an employer, rather than to the Earth, the employers whims now dictate an individual's survival. This is what opens the whole can of worms between the industrialists and labor and is precisely what we are trying to avoid here.

    I think also you are falsely setting up my argument as a choice between full self-sufficiency or full subservience when, in actuality, my goal is collective cooperation to enhance individual self-sufficiency. For instance, two people can cooperate on helping each other build their gardens so neither has to forage anymore. And once the gardens are built, they need not be dependent on each other after that. this reduces the possibility of friction between people than if their dependence upon each other was deeper and more constant.

    Well, I'm glad you recognize they "both really own the bush" because it seems to me once you get to the point where two parties are cooperating on maintaining access to territory we are now talking about the joint management of territory. Certainly, there can be boundaries and rules set on respecting individual space within that territory , but the territory as a whole, would be under joint management at that point.

    The problem arises from in what way the capitalist sees the territory as 'his property." Does the capitalist see it as his property because he is using it or because he has claimed it? Because under a capitalist monetary system, you can claim a lot more territory than you can use. Whereas in the lower animals claim mostly (not entirely but mostly) goes out the window when use is abandoned… or at least a claim doesn't have to really be respected when the claimant is not present….I mean, to the extent a lower animal can "claim" anything, of course. This means the benefits and resources of the land can be distributed amongst a wider range of users than just one with a legally recognized monopoly on it. Also attaching any claim on land only to its immediate use allows for its recovery.

    But there is still a problem with this territorial "claim" both the capitalist and the solitary lower animal have in common. Now it's understandable that every animal needs a certain amount of resources for their sustenance. And no one's trying to deny anyone that. But this claim seems to arise out of both the solitary lower animal and the capitalist from an aggressive position to resource management or from the point of view of an animal besieged by threats and challenges. Now, it's understandable why that would be in a lower animal. A lower animal is going to be aggressive in holding territory because it's access to resources, and therefore continued survival, can be threatened by the aggressions of other animals who are incapable of a sense of proportion in terms of resource management. What's puzzling is that the capitalist's insistence on this "all mine or fight" land management paradigm seems to be directly related to this more primitive one lacking any sense of proportion. It's as if the concept of the non-violent but equitable use of land is an impossible concept to him. The capitalist has just exchanged blood for money. Or in other words, money is an evolved transformation of territorial violence but still lacking in a sense of proportion.

    I'm not saying capitalist's claim to work alone. But they expect results as if they have.

    Okay, I concede that point without it disturbing my other points. And of course, a capitalist is not limited by their physical strength but by artificial concepts we call "laws" that grant them the right the hold vast swaths of land far above and beyond what a lower animal could ever claim, use, misuse or deny other members of their species from accessing and using. This is not a point that bodes well for capitalists or capitalism.

    Yes. And every society on earth has had antagonisms between its members and classes. And it's because these two competing approaches to resource management - the individual vs. the social - have been locked in a death struggle.

    "Successfully" is a relative term. Successful compared to what? If the comparison is pack of wild hyenas, I would agree with you. Certainly, we would not have been able to produce all this technology and rise to prominence without being successful at cooperating and recognizing individual resource requirements. But we clearly have a long way to go and viewing resources through a capitalist framework is not going to produce anymore cooperation that we already have and we need more.
    Last edited: May 8, 2015
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

    I disagree. We choose to use such a system because it is more convenient. There is nothing illegal or proscribed about trading goats for a house, and indeed a sales contract calling that out would be as enforceable as a standard mortgage.
    As mentioned above, it _does_ allow it.

    Other than taxation, what are you forced to do that you cannot do via barter?

    Agreed. They are generally related but do not need to be.
    That's fine; you do not need to see a reason. Nor do people demand you give reasons for what you do.
    That's fine. It works just as well with one fighter and one harvester as it does with 100 fighters and 100 harvesters.
    Just as today's workers were probably going to do something similar for their survival.
    Absolutely true. So can employees, via unions. The best approach to abuse of such relationships is to sever them, which both parties are free to do.
    Are you saying that employers can have employees killed? That seems silly. Surely you are not claiming that if a company fires a person, they will die?
    An excellent goal - and capitalism allows that to happen on a larger scale.
    Exactly. The owners of the company/bush all work together to make decisions about it.
    Well, a rich capitalist could claim that if he bought property and used it exclusively. However, the vast majority of companies in the US are publicly owned, and thus the capitalist must bow to the will of the people who own it.
    Right. And keep in mind that in the wild, most animals die of starvation. Fortunately we have a somewhat better system.
    Are you claiming that most capitalists participate in violence to acquire land and/or resources? I think you may be confusing the governments of capitalist countries with capitalists. They are not the same.
    Successful compared to every other economic system ever attempted.
    I disagree there. For example, I think that solar power is critical to our future; it is the only long term renewable source of energy we have that can be scaled up to our needs. And capitalist forces have made solar power systems affordable for almost everyone. That is an example of a capitalist framework producing ever-increasing levels of cooperation.

    That being said, the opposite is also true - people use capitalism to promulgate diriter forms of energy as well. But that's because capitalism is simply an economic system, not a system of morality. It is merely a tool used to encourage and promote commerce. It works better than most, but is not (in and of itself) any kind of a substitute for morality, nor should it be.
  9. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I'm not seeing anyone propose a system, other than capitalism, that works better for their vision. If you don't want private ownership of "the means of production" then you want the state to own it.

    That doesn't seem to solve any of the issues being raised.

    Also, "you" are a capitalists as well of all of the other's that you talk about.
  10. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

    Hehe. I see you missed my point completely. Who says we should have to pay or barter for land at all? Certainly, there are better ways to handle the distribution of land. As long as we are making up arbitrary rules, why not just forget monetary or barter exchange for land entirely and just limit private use of land to no more than 5 acres per adult individual/family? Seems a perfectly sensible and efficient alternative. That way, no private individual can have a monopoly on too much land and resources. And while we're at it, why not prohibit private occupation of beachfront land just to make sure nobody has too much of a desirable property than anyone else? And if you want to live on a different 5 acres, you have to abandon the current 5 acres you're living on. If you're worried about leaving a nice house behind, don't build a house. Just live in something you can take with you. Much more efficient and much less environmental impact and waste.

    Well, not necessarily. They might not have planned to be under the direction of someone else.

    No, I'm saying most people's livelihood depends on a hierarchal form of employment to another of some kind and it is, largely, not optional.

    It does to a degree but because of the preponderance of a monetary system of exchange it leaves such cooperative application of energies open to abuse and fluctuations that may not meet an individual's survival requirements or meet them poorly. $5.00 worth of carrots can change depending upon a market. But a set supply of carrots based on the factual nutritional requirements of the individual human body cannot leave an individual in danger of not getting enough.

    No. I'm saying money is a way to hold on to land, individually, that was previously held by violence. Again, I understand an individual requires a certain amount of land to live on but money, backed up by some artificial laws, has allowed individuals to monopolize large sections of land than they otherwise would not be able to hold by their own force alone and limit the access of others to that land. Governments merely sanction this behavior and approach to land management and helps enforce it with, of course, the threat of violence. So, ultimately, there's really been no progress here. Money is just a cover for the underlying violence of our land management system. But if Capitalism ensures a fair distribution of land and resources, why is the threat of government violence even needed? Why bother with money at all? Why not just make laws that leave a certain amount of land accessable for each individual at a time available to all and leave it at that? Instead we have this complicated monetary exchange system that allows for abuse.

    But that does not preclude the possibility of something better or the flaws of the current system from being identified.

    Capitalism has no monopoly on the collective management and application of energy. Almost any system that applies cooperative industry can produce a technology. That it happens to be people living under a capitalist structure that gave us solar panels (well, really wasn't it the socialist program of NASA that first produced the solar panel?) is just a coincidence. Humans are going to produce technology no matter what economic system they live under. I'm glad you see the need for increasing cooperation. Unfortunately, Capitalism imposes a limits upon cooperation, just as the other systems have, through its emphasis on the centralization of capital and wealth over the inherent and direct rewards of cooperative production.
  11. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

    Why not? Wouldn't that depend how the state applies it's power?
  12. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Feudalism was based on individual ownership of land. What killed feudalism was capital ownership of land and other resources - land bought by a pile of money, and owned not necessarily by an individual but by the pile of money however controlled.

    Many, probably most, subsistence farmers throughout history have been members of communities that owned and managed and distributed farming privileges according to community law and tradition. It's not individual ownership of land that keeps the neighbor's goats out, but community regulation of goat herding and community settlement of disputes.

    I can't think of any examples of capitalist subsistence farming cultures.
    Or the tribe, town, family, county, watershed district, foundation, university, club, trust, etc etc etc.

    There's nothing wrong with capitalism in its place - honest market exchange of goods and services mediated by money, say, which covers a whole lot of ground in people's daily life. It doesn't work very well as an exclusive and stand-alone community economic system because market exchange doesn't work for the distribution of some kinds of economic goods. One must employ political distribution means, and giving a pile of money political power is a bad idea.
    cosmictotem likes this.
  13. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    No 5 acres can not support many people - most every body would be farmers - like 200 years ago. That is not an acceptable alternative to efficient, large scale agriculture production where for most, feeding small family requires less than an hour of your labor, not more 10 hours each day.
  14. billvon Valued Senior Member

    I didn't say that; you could inherit it as well, or be granted it free of charge. The means of transferring it is somewhat secondary to the larger issue, which is that you need a means to apportion it. Ownership is a good way.
    I don't think that's all that sensible. I own about half an acre, sufficient for a house and a yard for my kids to play in. I don't need more. The CSA I buy most of our vegetables from, though, is family operated - and I want them to be able to own more than 5 acres, so they can be better equipped to supply me and my neighbors with local produce. Further, since the half acre I own is close to where I work, it makes sense for me to live there - and since the 120 acres that our CSA owns is near a river (=water) it makes sense for them to farm there. Thus it makes sense for me to "trade" some of my land to them. I could do this directly, or indirectly via money (which is effectively what we did.)
    It would make no sense for them to give me 4.5 acres of their land. If they did, I would just ask them to farm it anyway and give me the vegetables, because otherwise it's useless to me. Likewise, if my land was removed and given to them they would likely decline, since it is in a terrible location for farming (side of a hill.)
    So prohibit private ownership of seashore? Done. Generally in the US it is illegal to own land below the high-tide mark.
    Prohibit ownership of land near the shore? Done in many places; there are hundreds of miles of national seashore that no one can own.
    Divide the land near the shore evenly amongst everyone? In that case we have ~320 million people in the US and about 12,000 miles of shoreline. That means each person gets 2.37 inches of shoreline. Doesn't seem all that useful. Heck, you'd be trespassing just standing on your own property.
    I don't know what you have experienced, but in my experience trailer parks are generally not paragons of environmental sensitivity. For example, we'd have to abandon our solar power system, greywater system and battery load-shifting system. We also wouldn't be able to compost or harvest from our garden or fruit trees - at least for a few years. And if someone is staying on a plot of land they know they will have to leave in a year, there's not much incentive to take care of it.
    That's fine. They can change that situation if they so choose.
    It is entirely optional. Slavery is illegal and people are free to leave their jobs to take another job or go into business for themselves. Or become subsistence farmers. Or live on a commune. The reason this doesn't happen for most people is they like the idea of freedom from working but then decide "wait, I want a big screen TV! And I want to be able to post my opinions on the Internet. And I like my nice condo. So maybe I'll keep this job, because it's not so bad, and all the stuff I get makes it worth it." That is their decision, and is nothing like slavery.
    Agreed! Fortunately we've come a long way since then.
    Yes. You do that, too.
    A Southern slave circa 1850 would disagree, as would someone living in a company town in the early 1900's.
    It is almost never needed. It rarely is, since criminals would use violence to take that which is not theirs.
    Google "the tragedy of the commons" for a very simple answer.
    Sure, I'm all for that.
    Nor does it pretend to. It is not an energy management planning system; it is simply an economic system that places value on labor and goods, and apportions them among people who desire those things.
    I agree that the "goal" of capitalism is not solar power, just as the "goal" of a hammer is not a house. Both are merely tools. (BTW the solar cell was invented in the 1800's; you are probably thinking about Bell Labs, which created the first solar cells for satellites. Bell Labs was a private organization that was paid quite handsomely for their products.)
    Again, capitalism does not have such goals. It neither stifles nor encourages cooperation; it neither advances nor detracts from alternative energy development. It merely provides a means to value the products of cooperation and the alternative energy industry.
    Last edited: May 8, 2015
  15. billvon Valued Senior Member

    The opposite is true. Under feudalism, a noble (and his vassals) owned all the land around him, and the people who lived there had no rights to it. They were merely tenants, obliged to work as their lords and vassals instructed. With the rise of mercantilism came resident farmers, who owned (and fenced) their land to protect it for themselves, and sold their crops for something of value.
    Once you reach the point of "communities that owned and managed and distributed farming privileges according to community law and tradition" you are getting well away from subsistence farming and into community farming, whether that is valued by capitalism, communism or some other economic system. Because then, of course, you have someone to put up fences to keep the goats out, and someone to adjudicate the issue of the errant goat that wiped out a family's garden. That work is valued, and that person is compensated by food or other payment. And that means that the system is moving away from subsistence farming into a more conventional economy.
  16. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

    I'm not suggesting the land necessarily be used for the total support of a family. The land would simply be a guarantee of a habitable space for and individual and/or family. What they do with that space would be largely up to them.
  17. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    The same people that you don't currently agree with are the same people who would now be "the State".

    Changing the system doesn't change the people or human nature.

    Just about everything that you would agree for can be done under Capitalism with a government that agrees with your goals.
  18. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    The noble was an individual, and owned the land as an individual. He didn't need a nickel to buy it - it was his as an individual human being, by right, simply because of who he was. If you are talking about individual ownership of land, feudalism is a classic example of a system based on exactly that.

    The innovation of capitalism was to have land be owned by a pile of money, rather than an individual. The pile of money could be under anyone's management, or no one's in particular, a corporation even.
    Historically and now, subsistence farmers seldom own the land they farm independently of their community. Community farming and subsistence farming are so often one and the same way of life that the exceptions - Israeli kibbutzim, Mennonite communities - are worth noting and generally modern innovations.

    The inability of anyone in the US to purchase a farm and then live on it as a subsistence farmer is a general property of the world - purchasing power and subsistence farming tend to exclude each other.
  19. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    You are making the problem bigger than it is. Sure, farming is largely corporate farming these days due to the greater efficiencies involved. It's why food is relatively cheap.

    However, there are still family farms. I own 120 acres of which 60 acres is plowed farmland. I inherited it. It's not worth anymore than my house so not insignificant but not unobtainable either.

    I have no interest in farming so I rent the land out but the family who does farm it is a local (to the farm) family that rents out land from several other people with land who aren't interesting in farming (like me).

    By doing this they can have the working lifestyle that they want and can put more into capital equipment than any one person could efficiently do.

    You could do the same (or anyone else) if this was a great enough desire for you.

    Times have changed however. We're not bringing back the days of a largely agrarian life in the U.S. anymore than the peak days of the cotton mills are coming back to the U.S.
  20. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

    But again, with all due respect, you are missing my point. Inheriting it still implies someone down the line had to participate in the capitalist monetary system to acquire the land. I am suggesting we dispense with that entirely, which is a major part of why Capitalism is an imposing system and not the free one its advocates are suggesting it is..

    Well, I'm not suggesting large scale farms on more than 5 acres don't get created. I'm just saying any large scale production where workers outside one's immediate family are required be considered a public undertaking monitored but also supported by the state.

    I said each adult individual or family be limited to 5 acres of land. I'm fine if someone wants less.

    I'm not suggesting environmentally unfriendly trailer parks. If you are interested in a portable, environmentally friendly solution, look to the tiny house movement. Tiny houses can, logistically, be parked anywhere, not just trailer parks but raw land, as well. It would be up to their user. But the point is, a change in laws would certainly be followed by more portable low impact living solutions from a public industry. But again, the tiny house movement, while not the ideal solution for everyone, is already a viable option. And again, that's if you even plan to move. If you don't plan to move, you don't have to worry about it. Or you could even, as you suggested, give your land to your relative, thus preserving some semblance of access to your old home after you leave.

    Done. We have laws now that don't allow dumping on your own land so I wouldn't expect a non-monetary economy to be any different.

    Maybe but what they can't so easily change is their participation in a monetary system.

    Again, with very few exceptions, it is not optional for the vast majority of the population. As I explained, the procurement of land is irrevocably tied to participation in the capitalist monetary system most everywhere. In other words, you must pay someone to access land to live on. That is not a valid choice for someone who doesn't want to participate in a capitalist monetary system. If you inherit land, somebody before had to but it down the line. You can't subsistence farm without buying land. There can be no commune if the land the commune exists on isn't purchased. That is the imposition of the capitalist monetary system.

    That is in no way applicable to what I'm suggesting. 1.) I'm not suggesting private citizens regulate themselves. The management of large resource production and land use would be regulated by the state without regard for private gains and competition between private citizens. The tragedy of the commons was a bunch of private citizens falling into conflict with each other precisely because they were engaged in a capitalist monetary system and in competition with each other for resources. That has nothing to do with what I'm suggesting. And, 2.), Large scale production, as I am suggesting, would be a non-competitive endeavor in order to provide the society with the resources it needs, not to compete over them. So it wouldn't be a case of "this person is encroaching on these resources". It would be a case of people concentrating on providing as much as the resource as possible.

    More precisely, capitalism doesn't stifle the kind of cooperation that it approves of but, as I've made clear, it does impose participation through limiting access to land to only those who play its game. But in fact, the reverse should be happening: Land should be free and if someone wants to play capitalist with the land they are using, they can try, as long as others are not subjected to their little experiment.
    Last edited: May 9, 2015
  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    So you do not own a family farm. Neither do your neighbors. And neither, actually, does the guy who rentfarms your land.

    Fewer people do, every year. And nobody owns a subsistence farm in the US.

    Not exactly. Depends on your definition of "efficiency". The measure used in corporate farming is capital return on capital invested, measured at the landholding. External costs of various kinds - such as those of the Iraq Oil War - are not entered into the spreadsheet.

    Somewhere on the net there's probably a copy of a total efficiency analysis some guy did comparing Amish horse farming with standard corporate farming in I believe Indiana - the results were a bit of an eye-opener, especially if one factors in the extraordinary amount of scientific research devoted to refining the corporate approach while the horse and buggy methods have been neglected.
  22. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

    I'm for the abolishment of the monetary system. Can that be achieved under capitalism? Heh.

    Neither am I sure how anything I advocate can be done under a system I regard as exploitative and imprisoning.

    And you forget a big part of why human nature is what it is now, has been reinforced by the entrenchment of exploitative relationships partially promoted by capitalism through its in ability to ever fully address them as long as it refuses to cede ground to a more cooperative resource management system.
  23. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    Is that not exactly what is happening?
    You are aware that the ratio of leisure time to work time has been steadily growing since the industrial revolution? There are bumps in that road, of course, as a result of cultural and other factors, but the line on that graph is heading in only one direction.
    Capitalism is the system in place at the moment where that line on the graph is rising more sharply than any other.

    Capitalism is not "further enslaving" anything. We have always been enslaved, and to one extent or another will probably always be. The goal should be less enslavement.
    I completely fail to see how you think Capitalism, in the form in which it exists, is further enslaving anyone at all, other than those who simply choose to see themselves as such.What one deems as slavery, given that we are and always have been slaves to something, is an aesthetic question and not an economic one.

    Change your point of comparison.
    Why do you think that enslaving yourself to others is necessarily a problem?

    Actually, I'd choose to deny that until the cows come home (heh).
    All you're doing here is changing the focus of dependance from one which is more or less reliable, to one that is not.

    That shattering has been necessary for advancement. Because what you deem to be, in effect, the "noble savage" is in fact one who is tethered to the earth as much as, if not more than, capitalism tethers one to his work. Not only that, but one who is far more susceptible to the vagaries of that earth than the industrialized man is.
    Where, as a point of contention, do you think that technology is going to come from?
    There is no point in knowing how to make a pin, if the factory does not exist which is capable of making it.

    Have you ever heard the term "first world problems"?
    These are, by and large, the problems one deems himself as having only when he lowers himself to comparing his own wealth and well-being with his neighbors.

    There are many problems with Ayn Rand. I will acknowledge that whenever one brings her up, one is laying himself open to criticism based on minutia rather than holistic content.

    Is she? Or does she rather, if you read more carefully, and with your top lip unfurled, paint the "selfish" man in a different light to the one in your imagination?

    And therefore, out of the desire to survive and requirement (selfishness), cooperation is born. I'm quite unclear as to why you believe co-operation is an unselfish act.
    Unless your definition of the word selfish has a negative, personal overtone... which is, as a point of fact, usually the exact problem in arguments of this nature.

    The man who stands and farms, for himself and either by himself or in co-operation with others, is very definitely a necessity in the great tapestry. I'm well aware of that. He is, in effect, that switch operator I mentioned earlier - the difference perhaps between my switch operator and yours is that mine recognizes who and what he is, acknowledges his place in all of this, and does not demand what everyone else has... he has what he has earned, and does not compare himself with those who have more solely on that basis.
    Perhaps the reality is that this man does not exist to that extent of perfection, other than as a hero in a book. But he should.

    No, he doesn't "deny" anything. He sells it. The buyer gains it. And whoever is in ownership of it can share or not as he pleases, with whom he pleases.
    Whereas the socialistic man doles out or receives resources according to his own understanding of need, which is, as Rand so aptly demonstrated on many occasions, a rather large leak in your bucket.
    What you're actually missing, is that the man who stands up and demands as his right what others are more capable of providing, and as a result of providing it being subsequently rewarded for their efforts, is in fact more a selfish man than one who seeks to provide for himself.

    These arguments are not about Capitalism as a system - they are about the nature of man himself.
    Anyone could apply them, a little tweak here and there as necessity requires, to any economic system you care to name.

    What you think it requires. The fact is, animals require exactly what they require, when they require it. If a thing comes up in opposition to those requirements, it flees or it fights.
    Most animals have no capability of thinking beyond those requirements; and that is why they are still only animals, where man has becomes a thinking animal... of sorts.

    Immediate requirements and potential requirements are not the same thing, and distinguish man further from animal.
    Man might be either lion or squirrel, or both at once, dependent upon circumstance and requirements.

    Antagonism has, once more, very little to do with Capitalism as an economic system. It's a human problem.

    Most of the arguments you are making here are, in fact.
    Again I will say - you could apply these complaints to anything.

    You say that, but observation would indicate otherwise.
    There is no mutual exclusion factor, here. None at all. You should stop trying to create one, or buying into that hard exclusion others have created.

    But when the sun does the big kablooey in a few billion years, your "unselfish" man is going to still be standing on his farm... for a short moment.
    Whereas those who have used those tools, and taken those steps necessary to raise us out of the mud in the hope of someday no longer needing them, to take us beyond and above all that and having survived those momentary lapses of reason which result in the Gordon Gekkos of fiction, will look back at that bright point of light in the sky, and say to themselves "perhaps you should have come with us".
    Selfish bastards.

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