# Question for strident capitalists...

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

1. ### The MarquisOnly want the best for NigelValued Senior Member

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2,562
Laugh it up.
And then tell us all what you would have it realistically replaced with.... under any system.

Advocating tearing down the entire system without a single clue as to what it might be replaced with, is why people like you are rarely successful - other than by accident.
Which does, I suppose, go a long way to explaining your attitude toward it.

It's all about you, isn't it?
You tell yourself why you're unsuccessful, rather than asking. Therefore you have no answers.

Again, under any system.
I wonder how aware you are, that what you think of the system you live under has absolutely no impact whatsoever on the human race or its potential.

Fancy having such leisure time, in this day and age, and then sitting around whining about how you came by it.
Constructive whining, of course, would be actually welcome. As things stand, however, there is very little difference between you and a destructive anarchist.

aaaand there goes the cart.

aaaaaaaaaaand there goes the horse.

3. ### SeattleValued Senior Member

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That's not going to happen under any system however capitalism just refers to who owns the means of production. Socialism still needs a monetary system.

If you don't like money you are free to try to go though life by bartering.

I think you have bigger problems however such as dealing with reality in the sense that whatever problems you see aren't because we have a monetary system.

5. ### cosmictotemRegistered Senior Member

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Yes and imagine how much further we'd be with a work force that didn't have to concern itself with monetary compensation but only with production. Or a production industry that didn't have to concern itself with making payroll or hiring limits. Imagine where we'd be with a workforce of workers unconcerned with losing hours to someone else since people would be guaranteed a set amount of resources and the more people that could do a job, the better the system worked and the more free time people could be granted.

7. ### The MarquisOnly want the best for NigelValued Senior Member

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And how do you imagine all of this is going to be achievable, other than as slow progress within the confines of the system we already have?

Can you advocate another system where it will be more easily achievable? Given that the issues you have with it, as I've already pointed out, are in the main human issues and not economic ones?

8. ### The MarquisOnly want the best for NigelValued Senior Member

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Where is the incentive to produce? Most men, given the knowledge that they must only achieve this in order to produce that, and the gain will be exactly the same as it always is regardless of effort, will choose to do as little as possible to satisfy that requirement in terms of productive effort.

This leads only to the type of worker who usually ends up a public servant, if he can by some stroke of luck or design manage to gain his dream job.
The evidence of your misunderstanding of humanity is right in front of your face, and yet you choose to ignore it.

Free time to do what?

Here is another issue with your thought. There are those out there, millions of them, who actually enjoy working. The man who has millions of dollars, enough to guarantee not only his own wealth, but that of his descendants for centuries to come, is an example of this. You appear to assume that all everyone ever wants to do is... frolic. This is not the case. If it were, the rich would simply retire, and leave everyone else to it while they swam on the beach on their private island in the Bahamas.
But they don't, do they?

I'm not denying that under a more communistic system there would be eureka moments, just as there are under capitalism... but there are certainly plenty less of them. Simply because there is no incentive other than personal desire for improvement, or the acquisition of knowledge. That desire exists and is little different in any system, where such men are concerned.

But capitalism can buy it, as well. More avenues to the same path.
It's an advantage, and the results can be clearly seen - all over the world where some nations are more powerful than others, with wealthier citizens, and more of this leisure time you value so highly, but see only in one way.

9. ### cosmictotemRegistered Senior Member

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It's not my concern whether it's achievable or not. Given the current intelligence and competitiveness of humanity I would say it's certainly not something that can be consciously and cooperatively implemented on a national or global scale.

I think our only chance is to accidentally evolve into a more technologically advanced version of it, most probably through a singularity in the robotics industry. Once full automation arrives, I imagine it will be obvious to everyone by then that Capitalism has the opportunity to phase itself out.

What other advocacy do you need other than the ideas I've been advocating in this thread? There's no formalize economics theory like this that I know of. Socialism, while close, still exposes its citizens to an unacceptable degree of dependence on others, as does Capitalism. Socialism also prohibits its citizens from experimenting with Capitalism on their own. I feel a proper economics would not prohibit such experimentation as long as it wasn't imposed on anyone who didn't want to participate.

P.S. I know I still have to reply to your other longer post but I will leave that until tomorrow, if you don't mind.

10. ### RandwolfIgnorance killed the catValued Senior Member

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Careful with absolutes. I happen to know of two, I often get garden vegetables from the farmers - they have less than three acres of farmable land each yet live nearly entirely from the proceeds of those three acres.

Your statement was one that caused a "hmmmm...", so I went digging. Difficult to find data, admittedly, but this is what I came up with:

First, some definitions:

Definition of Small Farms
The concept of small farms can be approached from a variety of angles. Small-scale agriculture is often, albeit not always appropriately, used interchangeably with smallholder, family, subsistence, resource-poor, low-income, low-input, or low-technology farming (Heidhues and Brüntrup 2003).

The following examples of definitions illustrate the diversity of conceptual approaches to the term: 

• Lipton defines family farms as “operated units in which most labor and enterprise come from the farm family, which puts much of its working time into the farm” (2005); 
• The World Bank’s Rural Strategy defines smallholders as those with a low asset base, operating less than 2 hectares of cropland (World Bank 2003); 
• A recent FAO study defines smallholders as farmers with “limited resource endowments, relative to other farmers in the sector” (Dixon, Taniguchi, and Wattenbach 2003); 
• Narayanan and Gulati characterize a smallholder “as a farmer (crop or livestock) practicing a mix of commercial and subsistence production or either, where the family provides the majority of labour and the farm provides the principal source of income”
Next, the numbers for the US (admittedly from 18 years ago - I was unable to find any more recent data):

Census Year: 1997
Average farm size, hectares: 197.2
Total area of holdings, hectares: 377,088,222
Number of farms under 2 hectares: 66,012
I doubt that 66,000 tiny farms (a hectare is less than 2 1/2 acres) disappeared entirely in less than twenty years.

It's possible that only a relatively small subset of the owners of these properties live almost entirely off of their land (as the two families I happen to be aware of do).

Even if it is only ten percent... 6,000 farms hardly equates to "nobody owns a subsistence farm in the US".

Source: http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/pubs/events/seminars/2005/smallfarms/sfbgpaper.pdf

(Bold emphasis mine)

11. ### cosmictotemRegistered Senior Member

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I'm glad you asked. The incentive to produce is, the production itself. If a society doesn't exert the energy to produce a technology, it doesn't get that technology or its supply becomes limited. So what would be the point in ceasing providing your regular share of work to the effort? You'd only ultimately be denying yourself.

On the contrary, I believe your interpretation of exactly what I'm saying, whether your fault or my own, has been, unfortunately, poor through much of your replies.

Great. More workers for my cooperative resource and production management system. You see? You thought that would be a monkey wrench in my hypothesis when it wasn't at all, which further makes me conclude you are having difficulty interpreting exactly what I'm advocating or are having trouble extrapolating its implications and application.

12. ### The MarquisOnly want the best for NigelValued Senior Member

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Um hmm. And yet so many choose to do as little as possible to earn what they are paid.

Those who put in only their share of work as necessary would not be denying themselves, would they?
They're getting exactly what everyone else is.

How long do you think it would take, in your ideal world, before the rumblings began about who wasn't putting in their fair share, and why should he get the same as I do?
Money or resources being the outcome of providing labour, that does not change.

You have a very idealistic view of life. People, unfortunately, simply don't function they way you seem to think they would.

13. ### iceauraValued Senior Member

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30,617
No, they don't. They feed themselves. Beyond that they trade with the big economy, in small but absolutely essential ways.

Hence the "almost" part, and the fact that they deal with money, taxes, and so forth. You basically can't subsistence farm in the US, if for no other reason than because you would have no way to pay your taxes. And that is directly connected to the private ownership of said hectare - private ownership of land and subsistence farming do not align well, or run smoothly in the same circumstances.

Between 1935 and 2007 4.6 million farms disappeared from the census roles - that's about 64,000 per year.

Small ones were the bulk of the vanished, of course. And it was ordinarily a percentage thing - a certain percentage every year, so the absolute losses have been smaller of late.

Last edited: May 9, 2015
14. ### cosmictotemRegistered Senior Member

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"And yet so many choose to do as little as possible to earn what they are paid."

"There are those out there, millions of them, who actually enjoy working."

Well, which is it? You seemed to be going back-and-forth on this one.

As for the former sentence in bold, if someone is so disinclined and unmotivated to provide the minimum of effort that such a system would ask of them in exchange for their regular supplies, maybe they would prefer to experiment with a more individualistic centered system, one that allows them to contribute as little of their energy to others as possible and keep everything they produce on their own for themselves? Such an option would be made available to them, as my ideal socio-economic system would not prohibit isolated economic experiments, as long as no exploitation of those unwilling to voluntarily participate occurred. A limited amount of land is provided freely to each and they may experiment as they see fit with it. But I doubt they'ed have much success with selling land or anything else when the system at large guarantees enough freely for everyone.

Of course, if too many decided to phone in their effort to the cooperative system the only thing that would happen is the slackers, along with everyone else, would lose their access to a steady and high quality stream of goods and services. Things like food (if they haven't been growing their own), clothes, electronics, life-saving medical care, vision care and eyeglasses, diapers, and on and on and on…

Well, putting aside those who are intentionally trying to game the system, which I already addressed, there is, of course, going to be a mismatch of skills, abilities and interests in any system. Some will feel motivated to provide more of their energy, talent and intelligence, some less, but the point is that everyone is putting some of their energy back into support the system. In a system where hiring limits and economic competition is not an issue, how in danger of overwork would anyone be? Yes, some will have interests in fields that require more effort and training such as the sciences but it's virtually guaranteed anyone entering science in such a system will be there because they have a genuine interest in producing an innovation or solving a problem regardless of the promise of a pay check or extra resources. And yes, some will find their way into tough and more menial jobs because they haven't found a genuine interest or talent in a more prestigious occupation. But it will be energy freely given because people will know for a modern society to function and for they themselves and their family to have the services and luxuries we all enjoy, certain things have to get done. So I can fully picture those citizens not called to a higher purpose but still feeling they must contribute some energy back into the system, freely taking on the jobs where the most energy is lacking and needed as a way of giving back to the system that helps support them and provide the necessities and luxuries they need and want.

As to natural inequities of labor, again, how overworked will people be in a system where there are no hiring limits or fear of professional rivalry? Everybody is welcome to contribute as it only makes it easier on everyone else. And then, of course, you will have those who are obsessed with seeing a technology or solution or medical cure to its fruition and give no thought or care to freely contributing more of their energy to it. The reward of having been the one to have accomplished it being enough for them.

Yes, the production and access to resources depends on providing labour but personal resources do not have to necessarily follow or match any extra energy an individual freely contributes. If you feel your energies are being exploited as a scientist or medical researcher for the amount of resources you are provided by the cooperative management of resources, you can devote your energies to something you find easier. But you will lose out on the access you had to all the technology and scientific or medical equipment in your former field and the possible chance to do something significant. And maybe if you weren't motivated by that possibility but rather the amount of personal resources you were getting, perhaps it's best you left the field.

Last edited: May 9, 2015
15. ### cosmictotemRegistered Senior Member

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Certainly, humanity has other issues unrelated to a monetary system but I reject the idea that a monetary system is faultless.

We are so sold on the idea and use of money and even the exchange of goods, we forget that the real economy of the planet is the direct exchange and application of energy. Now I realize money is supposed to symbolize energy or work but money is not like energy and so it helps to distort our thinking and behaviors regarding the production , use and distribution of resources in extreme and unhealthy ways. It doesn't solve the problem of resource gluttony. It doesn't solve the problem of environmental impact and misuse. It doesn't solve the problem of inequitable access to resources. It makes these problems worse. Only being conscious of how we manage resources and energy solves them. And that involves questioning the impact of building insane amounts of personal wealth instead of collective wealth has had on our thinking and behavior.

Just as an example, it is very hard for people to understand and disect exactly what I am proposing because our minds have been so programmed by the notion that "we always need to make money" and "we always need to exchange a proportional value of something for our energy" or civilization stops.

Says who?

What we always need is an input of resources and services to make our lives comfortable and allow us the energy to function.

That's it.

How money and amassing ridiculous amounts of personal wealth and resources got all wrapped up in that is nothing short of a bizarre and disturbing phenomenon of our primitive selves.

It is on par with the thinking of a lower solitary animal, who, unable to see the survival advantage of cooperating on resource distribution, elects to fight the fellow members of his species over every resource and defend every scrap he acquires as entirely his own at the risk of either his own death or injury in fighting and his own continued isolation.

Last edited: May 9, 2015
16. ### RandwolfIgnorance killed the catValued Senior Member

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4,188
That's a little disingenuous, don't you think ice? While it is technically a correct statement you are using it to imply a misleading conclusion. The number of farms in the USA declined from six and a half million to two and a half million between 1935 and 1975. From 1975 to present the number of farms has remained relatively constant. So, once again, I doubt that 66,000 tiny farms (a hectare is less than 2 1/2 acres) disappeared entirely in less than twenty years.

Furthermore, this from a 2010 USDA report...

Ninety-one percent of U.S. farms are classified as small—gross cash farm income (GCFI) of less than $250,000. About 60 percent of these small farms are very small, generating GCFI of less than$10,000.
While you have a point that there may be very few subsistence farmers left in the US that are entirely self sufficient you are getting into definitions and semantics. I'm not sure by your definition that a single "subsistence" farmer still exists in the entire world - if you define the word as pertaining only to those that do NOT "trade with the big economy, in small but absolutely essential ways". Doesn't exist, unless perhaps some last remaining "undiscovered" tribe in Borneo or something. This would be why I included definitions in my post - I'll stick with the one provided by World Bank’s Rural Strategy rather than iceaura.

My overall point still stands - there are people farming very small plots of land in the US and surviving solely from these efforts - no "other" income. I am not saying that they only use the barter system when they trade, that is your strawman.

17. ### cosmictotemRegistered Senior Member

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That's very encouraging. Kudos.

18. ### SyneSine qua nonValued Senior Member

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The thing about capitalism is that it does not require, nor assume, any proper behavior by anyone. The only assumption in capitalism is that each individual will act in their own, selfish, best interest. The consumer buys what they like and can afford, the wise producer makes products that are desired and at a price the market will bear, and the workforce earns the most it can to increase its buying power which increases the costs of production and prices. Every point relies on every other, and all interactions are voluntary.

Poverty is a relative term, usually defined as some lowest percent of earners in an economy. In the US, the majority of those in "poverty" have a car, TV, microwave, smart phone, etc.. This is nowhere near what is considered poverty in most of the world.

Economies are not zero-sum games. There is not a limited amount of wealth where those with more necessarily have taken from those with less. Wealth is created by creating new desire. And new wealth enriches everyone, including those in "poverty". Yes, there is income disparity, but there is also effort and marketable skill disparity. As much as we may wish people were all of equal potential, it is not actually the case.

In the US, historically, poverty had been decreasing quite steadily until LBJ's Great Society welfare programs.

Poverty has remained relative stable since then, regardless of how many welfare programs we implement.

19. ### cosmictotemRegistered Senior Member

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That the predominant system no one can really opt out of has improved leisure time ratios isn't really saying much. Plus I've addressed why a non-monetary, non-competitive system might be able to address it better, considering there would be no hiring limits.

Oh, I'm sorry. Capitalism is not further enslaving anyone. It's just a more evolved form of the slavery humanity has always already imposed upon each other. So in other words, Capitalism has nothing to offer that might improve this situation? Very well.

I'm sorry. Is enslavement not a problem for you? It's a problem for me because it leads to conflict between the enslaver and enslaved and societal dysfunction.

The reliability of either option is dependent upon how strong, technically evolved and certain one's relationship is to it.

But one thing is for sure, an employer represents an extra step between an individual's access to resources.

You seem to be under the erroneous impression (a number of them, actually) that because I do not agree with the need for a monetary system that I somehow do not believe in mass production or specialization. I believe in mass cooperative production. I just do not think money or merit-based reward is a healthy incentive.

I would disagree. Except for her atheism, Miss Rand had no sense in the minutia or the holistic. I mean, individualism? Please.

I couldn't have read more carefully. I am a former student of Objectivism and have read everything by Ayn Rand multiple times. She and her characters do not understand the difference between an individual economics and a group economics. There is a difference. Ultimately, her ideas, if taken to their conclusion, would fracture the social contract humans have with each other.

Hehe. And again, for someone so ready to challenge me, you misinterpret me. You seem to continually be doing battle with an opponent that does not exist. lol. What makes you assume I believe cooperation is an unselfish act? I'm sure I've stated somewhere in this thread (and implied it multiple times elsewhere) that there is a "survival advantage to increased cooperation" for both the group and the individual.

Yea well the thing about that is he and everyone like him should be happy to know they do not need to cooperate with anyone to get the world they want. In fact, what is preventing them from realizing their selfishness-is-good, individualistic, economic dream is their insistence in trying to impose their resource management preferences on everybody else. If you really think everyone should keep only what they earn by their own effort to themselves, why even bother with other people? Why bother trying to convince a group, many of whom are socialists, when you can just pursue your selfish-man dream by yourself without anyone challenging you? Renounce your citizenship and you can keep everything you produce without the interference of anyone else or any legal responsibilities to the government or any other type of freeloader out to grab your stuff.

But no, instead you make it harder than it has to be by trying to impose Capitalism on capitalist and socialist alike. By trying to impose a selfish, individualistic resource management theory on a group. Now why doesn't that make any sense?

Oh, he sells it, does he? Oh, how inventive of him. So he imposes capitalism where originally it wasn't? Originally, land wasn't bought or sold, right? If it was empty, it was available to be occupied and used. And when it was already occupied and/or being used, if someone or some creature still wanted that land, they had to pay for it in blood. But the capitalist comes along with his genius and he figured out a way to dispense with the bloodshed and still achieve a transfer of land. Oh, goody. Instead of claiming land through blood and risk, we can now claim it through these new things called "money" and "selling." Don't pay attention to any of those other ways of dealing with the situation over there. Money and selling is the best.

Yes, but Capitalism is particularly hypocritical in this respect with its insistence on the rights of the individual over the group while depending on the group to defend and protect his rights. You've got some nerve.

It can, at times, be a human problem related to human psychology and/or evolution. And it can, at times, be related to the relationship between industry and labour. Are you assessing the problems between industry and labour that plague capitalism are entirely unconnected to the realities and structure of that relationship? Because that's quite an assessment if you are. In other words, you're basically asserting labor has these periodic bouts of disgruntlement because they are having their period which they are unaware of having any influence on their present dissatisfaction with industry. So all the complaints about wages and hours are really a transference of unconscious psychic energy due to some unconscious biological or evolutionary behavior which is the real cause of the discontentment? So "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair was just a product of his unconscious desire to lash out blindly at labour, which had done nothing to deserve such criticism?

Um, I don't think so. I think you're a bit off on that point. You might want to reconsider all that.

Oh, please. As someone who is well antiquated with the "philosophy" of Ayn Rand and not proud of it, I'm telling you, you need to lay off her. Trust me on this one.

20. ### cosmictotemRegistered Senior Member

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Okay. Then explain to me how someone who doesn't want to participate in a Capitalist monetary system can still live on Earth without doing so?

21. ### exchemistValued Senior Member

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You are confusing behaviour with motive or desire.

22. ### cosmictotemRegistered Senior Member

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Autocorrect is murdering my posts...I meant aquainted, not antiquated.

The admin might consider that when they set the time limit for editing posts.

23. ### cosmictotemRegistered Senior Member

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SOB, I meant "industry", not "labour". Pissing me off now.