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Is capitalism good?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Jules
    Another thought - if the world was homogenised in terms of shops, products and media tommorow, how long do you think it would take for the different and local to emerge?
    آ¨

    I argue against "Top - Down" economics أ،la IMF WTO et al.
    Because they go behind the political scenery of a country without the majority of the populace not even knowing about it.

    A homogenized shops! You mean franchises i hope?

    I'm not sure what you mean about "different and local to emerge"?

    Comment


    • #17
      Franchises and the like (i.e. KFC and the endless number of 'random state fried chickens' they beget), but equally TV, films, music - the big players ideally want to sell the same product in every country, using the same advert, etc - cut costs and maximise profits. The idea that the world will become 'greyed' into the same thing everywhere.

      Now imagining they 'won' and did so - how long would it last, before local flavour would re-emerge?

      The pessimistic view is that things are being irrecoverably lost, but everything changes - what's the odds on Walmart being here in another 100 years?

      Comment


      • #18
        As anybody who has ever watched Star Trek will know, Enlightened Free Market Capitalism is a Universal Constant, like The Speed of Light, or Gravity and is everywhere, except where deviance lurks.

        :roll:

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by Jules
          Franchises and the like (i.e. KFC and the endless number of 'random state fried chickens' they beget), but equally TV, films, music - the big players ideally want to sell the same product in every country, using the same advert, etc - cut costs and maximise profits. The idea that the world will become 'greyed' into the same thing everywhere.

          Now imagining they 'won' and did so - how long would it last, before local flavour would re-emerge?

          The pessimistic view is that things are being irrecoverably lost, but everything changes - what's the odds on Walmart being here in another 100 years?
          You seem to be describing Monopolies and other variances of it. People have free will (if their coffers allow it) and would think it just as controlling and decadent to buy from franchises and monopolies. I tend to choose the store and shop where i can connect to the workers, i.e. smaller stores, who are up and coming with their business. I also ask about wages and treatment sometimes.

          Monopolies are fragile and tend to desintegrate over time (at least according to I. Wallerstein).

          And media and other creative ideas are started, somewhat altruistically, by friends and smaller interest groups.
          The same goes for cultural "new waves" which capitalists are always eager to exploit to get kids to spend their allowance money on hijacked periphernalia associated with that culture or media based hype.

          Capitalists needs subcultures which they can't create by themselves. But are always trying recklessly to do just that, and at some levels are today succeeding. Remember "Wazzup" and other stupid and meaningless hypes? They are very sneaky at it.

          The thing that i reckon will happen know, and seems to be happening, is new interest groups for social change seem to be springing up everywhere with social ideas rather than claiming to be socialists or adhering to any one ideology.

          The thing is... Everything 'HAS' to start from the ground up. That's why i hate organisations like IMF and WTO setting 'top down' and neoliberal economic rules that benefit only the 'core' countries. This is getting more and more transparent everyday in the news and people should be getting tired of the destructive overconsumerism going on.

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by AndroMan
            As anybody who has ever watched Star Trek will know, Enlightened Free Market Capitalism is a Universal Constant, like The Speed of Light, or Gravity and is everywhere, except where deviance lurks.

            :roll:
            So Star Treks economy is 'neoliberal'?

            Comment


            • #21
              Well......................

              ...........I don't think capitalism as we mean it today can, will or would ever lead to a better society than the one we live in presently.

              Our standards of life are based on the very FACT that the vast majority of THE HUMAN race lives in utter misery.

              Just think what would happen if in 10 years millions and millions (and millions) of chinese, haveing bettered their standards of living by having embraced the more BRUTAL tenets of aggressive capitalism (coupled with an authoritarian, regimented society), would decide to own their private motor car, or even a SCOOTER!

              Can you figure it?

              Give it a tought.

              Pretty scary perspective.

              Capitalism had a sense from late 1700 to early 1900, with the ascent of the middle class to power (French and u.s. revolutions and so...) now the middle class is dying out, capitalism is producing some real rich people and huge downtrodden masses...

              ...it has to be substituted with something better.

              see you on the moonbeams

              KapriKornKlyde

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by Theocrat
                ....
                You seem to be describing Monopolies and other variances of it. People have free will (if their coffers allow it) and would think it just as controlling and decadent to buy from franchises and monopolies. I tend to choose the store and shop where i can connect to the workers, i.e. smaller stores, who are up and coming with their business. I also ask about wages and treatment sometimes.

                Monopolies are fragile and tend to desintegrate over time (at least according to I. Wallerstein). ...
                You could probably argue that unbridled, free market capitalism tends to monopoly, rather than variety. As a capitalsit organisation (i.e. corporation) becomes more and more successful, it gains more and more power within the market. This power is used to cement its position and undermine the position of competitors. This is why there are laws and regulations governing anti-competitive behaviour.

                As corporations tend toward monopoly, they can also expand into wider and deeper market spheres. So while there appears to be choice in the market, the flow of capital is back to a diminishing number of sources. As examples of this, look at the car manufacturing industry or Microsoft.

                There is a gravitic nature to capital - the more you have the more you attract. Monopolies are essentially black holes of capital. Monopolies only get broken up when the laws of their universe change - government regulation, revolution, changes in external and dependant market conditions.

                So smash the market!!!
                Does it follow that I reject all authority? Perish the thought. In the matter of boots, I defer to the authority of the boot-maker.
                Bakunin

                Comment


                • #23
                  Well... I argue that both "plan economy" and "neoliberal economy" are both extremely prone to greed and are extremely unstable. Look at it as 'law' vs 'chaos'. But they seem to reach to the same result.

                  Some people compare the living conditions in the most parts of the US to the USSR. I'd have to hear that from someone living there first.

                  Neoliberal economy creates some major controlling "flim-flam bureaucracy" within the corporation it seems. And it probably justifies some of those who are social-liberal and their subtle statement that "neoliberalism is right-wing communism".

                  I wonder if we will see a NEW type of socialism emerge on the horizon.
                  One thats 'really' democratic and preserves individual freedoms.
                  Communism 'thankfully' is dead in the water. At least the older leftist
                  vein of it.

                  I. Wallerstein seems to think so. He argues that America lost it's hegemony ca. 1968. And that it's having real trouble to maintain that hegemony, culturally and economically. But he fears that conservatism might be the next thing in the 'world system'. And I wonder if Gramsci 'might' hold some subtle clues to getting rid of stale hegemonies in societies.

                  Have you guys heard of a guy named G. Soros? A billionaire(?) who puts forth ideas that would make the capitalist society fairer than it is today.
                  He also scorns GWB and I also think the IMF gets heat from him.

                  The media is at least starting to wake up here in the north. And i hope people see the fallacy of pure economic capitalistic freedom before it's too late.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Soros is famous in the UK as the man who broke the bank of England - basically took a bet that the bank would not continue to subsidise an unstainably high valuation of the pound. He's an interesting fella, although not good news for those of us living in the West.

                    My view is that Western workers ought to start taking a real interest in the welfare of workers in emerging nations. On a cynical level, getting them health-care, welfare, etc, will undercut their competitiveness, but otherwise 'we' are only going to find our own being eroded, with the constant exortation from our owners that we need to 'be more competitive'.

                    Then again, I was never very competitive at sports day either, would rather have read a book.

                    Proper free-market economies don't tend towards monopolies - for Microsoft, simply look at IBM from the 60s to the early 80s. In the consumer market, it's only been the dominant player for something like 10 years - before about 92, most home computers were from likes of Atari, Commodore, Apple.

                    The commercial and government marketplace is already looking at alternatives (if you want to see the real Linux fans, it's not the geeks but the accountants in firms running servers supporting hundreds of users). I'm not saying they will dissapear, but like IBM I don't think MS long term business will be based around the Windows monopoly. For the same reason, I wouldn't invest in Google.

                    You only need to look at the way Firefox is eating into Internet Explorer's 'marketshare' (if a free product can have marketshare) to see how volatile these monopolies are - we could all move off Google overnight if someone comes up with something better (and I already use other engines as Google's results are often too commercially biased - i.e. type in a band name and you will get 50 CD shops before a home page for the band).

                    What we've had is a period where there hasn't been a free market, but the move to the Internet and web services is restoring that - it is an inevitable correction. Just as happened with computer hardware.

                    I would say that free markets allow monopolies to emerge in new markets, but they will be historically (10-20 years) short term. Monopolies tend towards exploiting their markets to maximise profit (maximising the benefit of being a monopoly). That creates room for other players to undercut or out-innovate them.

                    Finally - I'm with Mike in that I'm not averse to trade - trading would exist in an anarchist system. I'm not even averse to capitalism - i.e. I want to develop some software, I want to eat while I do it, party B has capital to invest, so he invests in me and we split the proceeds, having entered in the contract with eyes open. What's wrong with the current system is that Party B has the capital and Party C has a bunch of armed policemen to beat up the workers if they complain.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      The problem as I see it is the criticisms here (and elsewhere) are arguing apples and using oranges as the example.

                      For instance: one cannot in any way, shape or form point to South America and say "that is free market capitalism". True free market capitalism only exists in a few, specific instances and for a finite time. In many of those cases, the market HAS worked when allowed to work as it is intended (that is, no artificial controls on currency valuations, no artificial trade regulators such as tariffs and quotas implemented, etc.). China, while a great example of a burgeoning market (1.3 BILLION new consumers!) is NOT an example of a developing free market. In fact, China is something to watch, since the chafing between the "capitalist" economy and the socialist government philosophy is only going to continue to create friction.

                      To avoid or decry economics as a sham is missing the point. Is it science like genetics or medicine? No. But it does, implicitly or otherwise, incorporate an element of human nature - or sociology if you will - that renders it difficult to quantify as hard science. THAT is the essence.

                      I will not deny nor excuse the cultural "smoothing" that the initial stages of capitalist markets inflicts, though there is no reason why that has to continue unabated or result in the elimination of other cultural inputs. What does one think of when one thinks "fast food" in America? McDonald's. Maybe Burger King, maybe Wendy's though neither has developed internationally to the extent Mickey D's has. But how long did it take to develop fast food - using the same paragigms, the same models, the same processes - with an alternative cultural bent? Not long at all. As cultural regions get up to speed in a true free market enterprise system, those examples will increase dramatically (I think one of the previous posters was alluding to this when they said "how long until culture rises up" or something like that). Rap is another great example, at least within the confines of the US.

                      Monopolies are not a direct, inevitable or necessarily negative result of free market capitalism. On the contrary, the opposite is true. IBM/Microsoft/Apple is only one example. The absence of trade regulations and trade controls tend to make true monopolies fragile, monolithic entities that are very vulnerable to new technologies and new markets.

                      Finally, the analysis is not static and the change is not instantaneous. One cannot look at China and say that the worker making $5 in a day (as compared to $5 in a week) is still bad because they can't buy the shirt they are making. That is as specious an argument as the original post. Free market capitalism does NOT require that producers (either individually or in the collective) use the product; it does require that the producer be producing something they can produce more efficiently than that producer - or another producer - can some other product. In other words, there is no question that the US can develop software and can provide higher education, but it can clearly provide higher education more efficiently than it can develop software. India can develop software much more efficiently than it can provide higher education. The free market says that India should develop its software and trade that (either directly or indirectly) for the higher education of the other producer.

                      Free markets do not destroy the environment; constricted markets do. In a true free market, the producer of a limited natural resource will have no choice but to innovate and replace its finite resource in an effort to maintain economic parity in the marketplace. Failure to do so will result in either a) some other producer innovating, or b) exhaustion of the resouce and a loss of parity.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        By the way, Bill, if you're interested in contributing work to Prototype X, we'd be interested in seeing it.

                        Sorry for the interruption.

                        LSN

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Culture Jamming Not To Be Tolerated

                          Originally posted by Bill
                          The problem as I see it is the criticisms here (and elsewhere) are arguing apples and using oranges as the example.
                          Future posts that address posters arguments, as has occurred here, will result in access by offending account to this forum being limited. You are welcome to propose counter arguments without characterising other people's arguments beforehand. Trolling is unwelcome at MM. If you're confused about what a troll is, read this:

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

                          The post that I refer to in this thread, quoted above, is an example of "culture jamming" and will not be tolerated.

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

                          Specifially, the poster has attempted to warp the discussion into an analysis of the participants' methods of argument rather than addressing the actual argument with a counter argument or supporting statement.
                          The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is The Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Bill
                            The problem as I see it is the criticisms here (and elsewhere) are arguing apples and using oranges as the example.

                            For instance: one cannot in any way, shape or form point to South America and say "that is free market capitalism". True free market capitalism only exists in a few, specific instances and for a finite time. In many of those cases, the market HAS worked when allowed to work as it is intended (that is, no artificial controls on currency valuations, no artificial trade regulators such as tariffs and quotas implemented, etc.). China, while a great example of a burgeoning market (1.3 BILLION new consumers!) is NOT an example of a developing free market. In fact, China is something to watch, since the chafing between the "capitalist" economy and the socialist government philosophy is only going to continue to create friction.
                            And who says that "freemarket capitalism" would improve distribution of wealth. Which is what socialism is all about. I don't see that ever having happened in China.

                            Total "freemarket capitalism" will never happen, because it will upset the status quo and create more uncertainty for the wealthy to accumulate capital. Which is why i think communism never has happened period.

                            I agree that states mostly stand in the way for a more "free" society. But it depends on the state and how it works. Also one needs to remember the real world and that "one mans freedom is another mans oppression".
                            Which is what i think the status quo is all about.

                            The original agenda of the french revolution has never been fully implemented to society. I find it stupefying that the right-wingers in Europe and SA dare claim "solidarity" as a party social agenda.
                            All in all. I think politics is dying slowly as a creative (state) medium with which the people can voice their oppinions and demands. What we will see in the future is more "groupism" to try and confront issues which the states, and interstate system, have failed to confront with the help of popular support. One thing happening right now is "democratization" of the people, or the people are "democratizing" sounds like a better way of saying it.

                            Originally posted by Bill
                            To avoid or decry economics as a sham is missing the point. Is it science like genetics or medicine? No. But it does, implicitly or otherwise, incorporate an element of human nature - or sociology if you will - that renders it difficult to quantify as hard science. THAT is the essence.
                            I see economy as not a "hard science", I frown at those who do with equations and what not, but I tend to view it in the sociological point of view. The fact is that it is human nature that is affecting the market and I, to tell you the truth, am seeing a road towards fascism again, maybe fascism-lite but still fascism. The legitimate position of the state is diminishing and that also creates havoc for capitalists.
                            It's time for another "world system" to enter the world arena.
                            Maybe this time it's one thats based on ecology. Maybe ecologism's the next thing :o

                            Originally posted by Bill
                            I will not deny nor excuse the cultural "smoothing" that the initial stages of capitalist markets inflicts, though there is no reason why that has to continue unabated or result in the elimination of other cultural inputs. What does one think of when one thinks "fast food" in America? McDonald's. Maybe Burger King, maybe Wendy's though neither has developed internationally to the extent Mickey D's has. But how long did it take to develop fast food - using the same paragigms, the same models, the same processes - with an alternative cultural bent? Not long at all. As cultural regions get up to speed in a true free market enterprise system, those examples will increase dramatically (I think one of the previous posters was alluding to this when they said "how long until culture rises up" or something like that). Rap is another great example, at least within the confines of the US.
                            I don't really know what you are really alluding to here. But Rap is one of those things to rise up from cultural and economic deprivation i.e. "rise up". It's cool to be "the underdog", although there are variances, is one of the major themes that reaches audiences.
                            The Message by GMF is a root example of this. I don't know if one can say that it's a "great example", because Rap has turned into a thing of Gangsta Rap and created an aura of virtual helplessness. Other branches of Rap have turned pretty sexist. In which we have varying degrees of social degredation, although rap is not alone in this.

                            Originally posted by Bill
                            Monopolies are not a direct, inevitable or necessarily negative result of free market capitalism. On the contrary, the opposite is true. IBM/Microsoft/Apple is only one example. The absence of trade regulations and trade controls tend to make true monopolies fragile, monolithic entities that are very vulnerable to new technologies and new markets.
                            i.e. Monopolies need states to help them out. Problem is, a race to the bottom cuts wages for the workforce, thereby you lose purchasing power.
                            International union action (sympathy strikes), which is going on in scandinavia, is getting scorned by the private sector i.e. the state.

                            Originally posted by Bill
                            Finally, the analysis is not static and the change is not instantaneous. One cannot look at China and say that the worker making $5 in a day (as compared to $5 in a week) is still bad because they can't buy the shirt they are making. That is as specious an argument as the original post. Free market capitalism does NOT require that producers (either individually or in the collective) use the product; it does require that the producer be producing something they can produce more efficiently than that producer - or another producer - can some other product.
                            So you are saying that they are victims of 'competition'?
                            You are missing the point about that "specious" argument.
                            The argument about the wage level is that it isn't enough for the workers to feed both themselves and their families. i.e. "wage-slaving" the people of another country and working them to death is considered a viable low-cost option for capital accumulation. Of course it doesn't mean that they must use the product. But it means that they can't have a better life and more social freedom that comes with a higher wage level.

                            Go see that documentary 'The Corporation', if you haven't seen it already?

                            Originally posted by Bill
                            In other words, there is no question that the US can develop software and can provide higher education, but it can clearly provide higher education more efficiently than it can develop software. India can develop software much more efficiently than it can provide higher education. The free market says that India should develop its software and trade that (either directly or indirectly) for the higher education of the other producer.
                            So you are promoting developmental hegemony of a country? i.e. national specialization. I think you are disregarding cultural boundaries and for a country to be able to produce it's own brands or educational variants. i.e. you are promoting dependency?

                            Originally posted by Bill
                            Free markets do not destroy the environment; constricted markets do. In a true free market, the producer of a limited natural resource will have no choice but to innovate and replace its finite resource in an effort to maintain economic parity in the marketplace. Failure to do so will result in either a) some other producer innovating, or b) exhaustion of the resouce and a loss of parity.
                            "Externalization" of cost is what is pestering the enviroment as a result of the freemarket. What makes you think that the stock-holders market wants to uphold any sort of "parity" when it is a dog-eat-dog world?
                            I bet you haven't heard of the "Wise Use Movement"?

                            I have a "freeweek" now before my 5 week vacation (i.e. 6 weeks) as a result of our social-democratic reforms. And a nice monthly payment so that i and others can help local stores try and keep there wages steady and growing.

                            Have a nice weekend! :)

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by TheAdlerian
                              Plus, Bill has over a thousand posts. Is he a troll or just sharp with the words?
                              Oh, Bill's quite sharp with words, yes. I agree with your assessment, Adlerian, of the apples-and-oranges thing. Bill's [broken link]anarchist comment in another thread was worse, IMHO.

                              What gets me about Bill is that he pops in, writes a bunch of flame-bait, then leaves for another couple months. If he'd stick around, I would see his participation as a much-needed conservative view for the debate, but his current modus operandi is nothing more than stirring the pot.
                              Last edited by Rothgo; 04-09-2010, 11:24 AM.
                              "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
                              --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Bill
                                Free markets do not destroy the environment; constricted markets do. In a true free market, the producer of a limited natural resource will have no choice but to innovate and replace its finite resource in an effort to maintain economic parity in the marketplace. Failure to do so will result in either a) some other producer innovating, or b) exhaustion of the resouce and a loss of parity.
                                Puts me in mind of Bush's speech today that the environment is destroyed by 'extreme' poverty (note the stress on 'extreme' - Bush has no problems with poverty per se). Very true of course, but economic growth and excess wealth can also destroy the environment, and what is GWB gonna do about that :?:

                                As regards Bill's argument, there's the old collective action problem:

                                1. RATIONAL (in the Economic Sense) = to Maximize One's Expected Return (Total Expected Benefits Less Total Expected Costs).

                                2. COLLECTIVE ACTION PROBLEM = A situation in which everyone (in a given group) has a choice between two alternatives and where, if everyone involved acts RATIONALLY (in the economic sense), the outcome will be worse for everyone involved, in their own estimation, than it would be if they were all to choose the other alternative (i.e., than it would be if they were all to "irrationally" (in the economic sense)).
                                Regulation is the only way, folks.
                                \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

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