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Is capitalism good?

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Theocrat
    I wonder if it's just a 'flu' due to the fact that wages are increasing in most parts of the, at least, northern world.
    You got me thinking here (my pay certainly isn't increasing, but as a public service worker I guess I'm just seen as a non-productive drain on http://www.finfacts.com/biz10/global...laries2005.htm resources). Found a few interesting facts here:

    Globally, salaries are predicted to rise by an average of 1.9 percentage points above inflation next year, according to a study by Mercer Human Resource Consulting. In the European Union (EU), pay is likely to rise by 2.1 percentage points over inflation.

    In almost two-thirds (62%) of the countries surveyed, including the UK and US, pay is forecast to rise between 1 and 3 percentage points above inflation. However, a handful of countries can be found at the extremes. In Lithuania, India, and Bulgaria, for example, salaries are expected to outpace inflation by 7.7%, 7.2%, and 5.6% respectively.

    Mark Sullivan, European Partner at Mercer, said: “As economies strengthen and unemployment rates fall, it is surprising that companies are resisting wage inflation. Next year’s pay increases are likely to be the same as or lower than this year’s. The question is, how long can corporations keep the lid on pay rises when the job market is becoming increasingly buoyant?�

    European Union

    In Western EU countries, average pay increases are predicted to be highest in Greece, at 5.2%. Meanwhile, inflation is likely to be 2.4%. Employees in Italy, Spain, and Portugal are also expected to receive large pay rises of 4.3%, 4.3%, and 4% respectively, while inflation is forecast to be 2.2%, 2.6%, and 3%. Pay is predicted to increase by 3.4% in the UK , and inflation is likely to be 1.8%. Germany is expected to have the lowest pay growth, at 2.3%, with inflation predicted to be 1.5%.

    Pay levels in many Eastern European countries are likely to rise significantly next year. In Lithuania and Latvia, salaries are forecast to rise by 9.9% and 9.1% respectively. These countries will also experience comparatively low inflation, at 2.2% and 3.5%. However, while employees in Hungary and the Czech Republic can expect pay rises of 6.7% and 4.2% respectively, inflation is likely to be 5.4% and 3.2%.

    Mr Sullivan commented: “Despite high pay rises in Eastern Europe, manufacturing is still migrating from the West to East to exploit the much lower labour costs. Going forward, there will be greater wage pressure for key skills in Eastern Europe as multinationals compete for the same pool of talented employees.�

    North America

    While salary increases in the US and Canada are likely to remain in line with recent years, at 3.5% and 3.3% respectively, inflation is likely to rise to 3.1% in both countries.

    “Contrary to expectations, the strengthening economy and corporate profits in North America have not led to excess wage inflation. Annual wage increases in real terms are actually declining,� said Mr Sullivan.

    Central/South America

    Predicted pay increases in some Central and South American countries are amongst the highest in the world. However, these rises are likely to be offset by high inflation rates. In the Dominican Republic employees are forecast to receive pay rises of 22.5%, while inflation is likely to be 35%. Large salary increases can also be expected in Costa Rica, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil, at 10.8%, 10%, 10% and 8.3% respectively. Inflation in these countries is forecast to be 9.6%, 8%, 12% and 6.5%. In Mexico, pay rises are forecast to be 4.8% while inflation will be 3.6%.

    Asia/Pacific

    Salary increases in many Asian/Pacific countries are expected to be high next year, outpacing inflation rates. Employees in India and Indonesia are likely to receive pay increases of 11.4% and 11.3% respectively, against inflation of 4.2% and 7%. In Singapore and Hong Kong, pay is predicted to rise by 3.6% and 3.2% respectively and inflation is likely to be around 1.6% and 1%. Meanwhile, pay in Japan is expected to go up by 2.3% which will be set against negative inflation, at -0.1%.

    In Australia , employees can expect to see their pay rise by 4.3%, while inflation is predicted to be 2.6%. Those in New Zealand are likely to see slightly lower increases, at 3% and inflation at 2.8%.

    Mr Sullivan said: “Pressure on pay is likely to be high in Asia next year due to improved business sentiment following the recovery from the SARS epidemic and political and economic stability.� He added: “Companies are paying premiums to attract and retain experienced, qualified staff in the employment hot spots of India and China.�
    So it looks like the pay is increasing at a higher rate in some of the developing countries than in the US and EU, but outsourcing is still attractive... I think that possibly, though, it's not happening to the extent that people sometimes think it is. There are still a growing number of crappy call centre jobs in the UK, despite some of them going to India.
    \"...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

    Comment


    • #47
      Originally posted by Mikey_C
      So it looks like the pay is increasing at a higher rate in some of the developing countries than in the US and EU, but outsourcing is still attractive... I think that possibly, though, it's not happening to the extent that people sometimes think it is. There are still a growing number of crappy call centre jobs in the UK, despite some of them going to India.
      Well... I still wonder if Wallerstein is right about a "capitalist crisis".
      I have a good link here to his commentaries:

      http://www.faculty.rsu.edu/~felwell/...s/Wallerstein/

      Those people at the call-centre's. They are a real pain getting ridd of.
      Even though I'm listed on the no-phone list, they still get through lying that their "server is down" etc.. Still i pity them having to go through all that hell. I play hardball with them because, I have to, or they will call again. I say in a *low mellow Raymond Burr kinda voice*
      "Don't call here again!". And they whimper..

      Maybe i should say plainly "Tell your employer to go f**k himself! Then i'l buy whatever you are selling!".
      Just kidding! :lol:

      Comment


      • #48
        Cheers for the Wallerstein link. We touched on him in 'globalisation' - but at no great length.

        Call centre operators cause me great stress and guilt. They are always tasked with telling me something I don't want to hear, or else are completely unhelpful. They are the interface with an evil corporation. But when I start to get cross and angry I have to restrain myself and remind myself that I am speaking to some poor serf who cannot make decisions and does not need abuse from obnoxious members of the public, i.e. me. If only the CEOs would answer the 'phone so I could really let rip at them! :twisted:
        \"...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

        Comment


        • #49
          To give a view on out-sourcing in IT - we were dealing with Indian contract firms in the late 90s, when they would send staff to the UK.

          These days the same firms aren't even interested in us - they don't want to do contract development but the big outsourcing contracts - i.e. they want the added value - the services bit that companies like EDS used to charge for. In addition, the rates have rocketed. That's actually market economics for you - why undercut Western firms by 70% when 25% will still get the deal - if there is a shortage, rates will rise to the maximum the market will bear. Indian salaries have certainly risen, but I would wager not as quick as the rates the companies are charging.

          This has had two effects for us - (1) we've started winning business back in head-to-head competition with Indian companies. Not on cost, but on our ability to deliver to deadlines, and the speed with which we can react - the big Indian IT firms are now victims of their own success in terms of size. (2) we're having to talk to the next generation of emerging Indian firms to find partners for contract work (and British graduates!).

          Additionally, as someone who has worked with Indian contractors (either in the UK or offshore) since 1997, I'd say that there has been a noticable downturn in calibre over the last couple of years - they're presumably going through their equivalent of the late 90s tech bubble when anyone who could wiggle a mouse could get a job in IT.

          I think this is only a temporary thing - just by population size and the investment they are making in education and training, they will eventually 'win' (then again, US competition has probably destroyed more of the UK IT capability than anything else).

          What has also happened in India is that the creation of this middle class has created a demand for doctors, etc - the NHS is suffering as it cannot recruit Indian doctors as it did in the 60s and 70s; they can have a far higher standard of living staying in India (lower hours, relatively better pay, etc).

          That's not to say all is well in India - there is still massive and crushing poverty, the jobs can still be crap (for instance, we are farming out the work our developers don't want to do as they consider it repetitive and low-skilled. Call centre jobs are as crap as they are in the UK).

          But it is a very different country to China, or neighbouring Pakistan. It has a government that was far-sighted enough to invest in education rather than peddling itself as a cheap location for real sweatshops rather than code sweatshops. 2nd and 3rd generation Indians in the UK are also putting a lot back into their home country - we had a table at the Prathan ball last year, which is an event organised by Anglo-Indian millionaires to raise funds for universal education in India - again, it's education.

          (Interesting to hear the Anglo-Indians at work complain about how much their parents pushed them into education and how they won't do the same with their kids - one of them wants his kid to be a footballer rather than programmer. I said that it's only because of that education they're in the position to be like that with their kids).

          Comment


          • #50
            I would agree on the idea of a minimum global standard. The protectionist arguement is often rolled out, along with the hypocrisy one - i.e. it is better not be hypocritical, than to try and encourage developing nations not to follow our environmental errors.

            We just shouldn't be trading with countries that use violence to combat organised labour, which is why China should have been frozen out of the WTO for longer. Instead we get the ridiculous situation of a right-wing Western government shielding a Communist leader from the sight of left-wing protest.

            It's obviously impossible to make companies guarantee to repay the damage they make while operating (i.e. abandoning mines, toxic land, etc, and leaving it to the locals to pay for the clean up) but I think something like car insurance would work. i.e. the more responsible you show yourself to be, the lower your environmental insurance premium would be.

            But I still think that overall, free trade is a good thing. If I was a coffee bean grower in Africa I would want to be able to sell my goods to Europe under the same tarriffs as Costa Rica, or to be able to roast, grind and tin it, and export those tins without paying extra duties.


            But this will have direct affect on Western jobs. Processing coffee in Africa would affect jobs in Holland (which I think is the European capital for coffee processing??). Removing subsidies to European farmers will cause an uproar in France, as it will certainly force farms and vineyards to close.

            That's what I mean by sharing our jobs - it's economics and politics that dictates that we plough European produce into the ground or dump it on third world markets, undercutting local farmers and undermining their economies just to keep Western farmers in jobs.

            That's why it's a thorny issue. I do wonder what the protestors at the G8 complaining about the long timescale for ending subsidies wanted? An end to subsidies AND no job losses for farmers?

            Comment


            • #51
              Capitalist civilization will not survive because it cannot violate the laws of thermodynamics. It takes millions of years for energy from the sun to create the biodiversity which life depends on. Life is a complex and diverse system with a comparitivly high level of order. It takes only a few hours of bulldozing and the order of the natural system becomes much more entropic. In capitalism the bulldozing is driven by the profit motive

              Capitalists and the leaders of the associated nation states believe they can have unlimited growth and control over labour and resources. But this is impossible in the same way a perpetual motion machine is impossible.

              We're led to believe that a consumer lifestyle of will fill the inner void. This isn't possible because alienation in capitalist society is caused by the lack of control over our own labour power. *[footnote Karl Marx here]* Intelligent and sustainable utilization of resourses doesn't happen because there isn't even a democratic discussion at the base of production.

              In this context radical protests at the G8 are highly appropriate. If you are not a capitalist why follow the capitalist way of thinking? The majority of people do because that is the culture around us. Get involved with some culture that is outside the capitalist way of life and you will develop different ways of thinking.
              :-) flamingo

              Comment


              • #52
                Originally posted by TheAdlerian
                I have known a good number that come off psychotherapy! The suffer from a lot of stress related stomach problems and whatnot.

                I usually say to call center people, “Hey, I know it’s not your fault, but I’m really annoyed about...� and then that removes them from the equation. They are more helpful too afterward. Try it!
                As always.. You're right!
                At least in the way of treating and dealing with people. :)
                Thanx..

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by Mikey_C
                  Cheers for the Wallerstein link. We touched on him in 'globalisation' - but at no great length.
                  Well all I can say is that he's good at analysing things from a world perspective. Someone wrote in an essay preferring Collins over Wallerstein at least in analytical methods. But all I understood from the article is that Collins uses other 'fluffier' definitions and isn't as "deterministic" as Wallerstein(?).

                  How can a sociologist be "deterministic" when all he does is analyze?
                  Determinism craves action, doesn't it?

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by flamingo
                    In this context radical protests at the G8 are highly appropriate. If you are not a capitalist why follow the capitalist way of thinking? The majority of people do because that is the culture around us. Get involved with some culture that is outside the capitalist way of life and you will develop different ways of thinking.
                    The thing is.... I wonder what comes after capitalism? The present world-systems integrity is crumbling and capitalism is turning more and more brutal. And even to the capitalist it seems?..

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Any thoughts on 'market socialism'? As an alternative to a fully planned economy, you could have worker-owned cooperatives functioning in a market system. So, without having capitalists creaming off the surplus value, you can have the benefits of the market as a means of conveying information.

                      That's one of the options...
                      \"...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

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Mikey_C
                        Any thoughts on 'market socialism'? As an alternative to a fully planned economy, you could have worker-owned cooperatives functioning in a market system. So, without having capitalists creaming off the surplus value, you can have the benefits of the market as a means of conveying information.

                        That's one of the options...
                        "you can have the benefits of the market as a means of conveying information."

                        I don't get this.. Please clarify?

                        There are more options i think.

                        Well worker cooperatives is an idea that has been going around for some time now. But i don't think it has been implemented fully and to the point.
                        The cooperatives in argentina are feeling the heat from the previous owner and don't want to go back to that old system or hierarchy.
                        And in feeling an outside threat maybe why they are more united in that respect. The problem is when everything is "fine and dandy" and other workers would scheme to oust some other worker(s) out of the workforce out of any number of reasons or disputes they may have.

                        The problem with mediation, if that would be implemented, would probably give rise to more bureaucracy and meddling. Which was a problem to begin with.

                        And would a worker get payed more if he had to work more than some of the other workers? I think overtime should be implemented when 'needed' instead of being unplanned and ineffective to a real need somewhere else on the globe.

                        I heard an argument from a liberal daring socialists to "start their own company and implement socialism as it suits them". The problem is resource and capital is needed to start a company large enough to provide for the needs of every worker.
                        And who is the one guy or group to decide the other workers needs?
                        And that was also a problem with a planned economy.. 'Who' decides my needs? But i think it's a dare to be heeded.

                        But I also hear socialists arguing that "latching on to capitalism when we are in fact out to get rid of capitalism is to fail the revolution", yadda yadda...

                        The thing that i think is needed is the 'networking' of workers internationally. Which is no small task. And would involve workers learning from each other of the production processes, the problems and solution, could be worked out by them instead of polyester suit clowns who take all the surplus value. If people want "an open and free society", they should ask if a workplace is entirely free and open.
                        A place in which we live a big part of our lives..

                        I think workers and people could be thankfull if patents where opened up and implemented in various ways and let the inventor get both the credit and a really nice bonus.

                        But socialism 'IS' right when is says we need to 'democratize' the workplace.

                        As Lao Tzu said... "Don't Compete".

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Theocrat

                          "you can have the benefits of the market as a means of conveying information."

                          I don't get this.. Please clarify?
                          This has been one of tne of the chief arguments in favour of markets. The idea is that, through the price mechanism, markets communicate to producers what they need to produce. It's the law of supply and demand - if an item is in short supply, the price goes up and there is more incentive to produce it.

                          Hayek argued that planning is inevitably going to be inefficient. I wonder if this argument will still hold water in an era of advanced information technology: still, it's an attractive idea (to me at least) that you can have markets without capitalism.
                          \"...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

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Mikey_C
                            Originally posted by Theocrat

                            "you can have the benefits of the market as a means of conveying information."

                            I don't get this.. Please clarify?
                            That might be a good idea... I think it should be tested in some way on a micro economic level first. But are the shareholders to be a part of that system?

                            This has been one of tne of the chief arguments in favour of markets. The idea is that, through the price mechanism, markets communicate to producers what they need to produce. It's the law of supply and demand - if an item is in short supply, the price goes up and there is more incentive to produce it.

                            Hayek argued that planning is inevitably going to be inefficient. I wonder if this argument will still hold water in an era of advanced information technology: still, it's an attractive idea (to me at least) that you can have markets without capitalism.
                            Well Hayek was wrong about many things. You don't have to be a genious to know it. I understand his sentiments but I just can't agree with his solution. I kept feeling like Keynes (a friend of Hayeks) maybe did, having an argument with him.

                            I wonder.. If we should have a planeconomy it should be controlled democratically, I don't want some tyrant or bereaucratic fool to controll my needs. I should be able to buy a new guitar of my choosing without filling a bible of forms and other papers. And that the price is right and that a level of quality could be assured.

                            Therefore I think that the issue of supply and demand is a tricky one to solve. Although we should always try new methods.

                            I wonder what a world without a 'stock' market would be like, and is it possible? I find stockmarkets to be corrupt and inefficient, prone to panicky speculation, and a lack off insight towards society.

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Shares on the stock market can be bought by anyone with enough money to do so. It is likely that large parts of the economy are owned by organised criminals. (I don't have any evidence or statistics for this idea - its just a hunch of mine). If this is true then our employers really are criminals and thieves.

                              Does Capitalism mean freedom and democracy? The answer is no and no. China is now capitalist and there is little freedom or democracy. Companies are lining up to do business, yet an estimated 300,000 people are in forced labour camps for "re-education."

                              In the so called West rhetoric about freedom and democracy is being bandied about yet biometric identity cards are on the agenda for all citizens in both the UK and Australia.

                              Look at the police response to G8 protesters: 10,000 cops in helicopters bashing hippie teenagers for daring to disagree with the capitalist leadership.

                              Biometric identity cards will make it easier to keep an eye on citizens and messy protests can be curtailed more effectively.

                              New levels of control and obedience will become normal in the future. All in the name of "fighting the war on terror."

                              As in society, so to in the workplace. Monitoring of employees thoughts and opinions is an important part of the corporations power. You've got to be carefull what you say (especially in emails). Not only are you stepping off the treadmill for a few minutes, you're thinking and acting indepedently of management.

                              In the modern capitalist idea framework owning a 200cm plasma television with 745 digital channels is mistaken for freedom. But every channel has the same program.

                              The market is allegedly a system of trading commodities and allocating scarce resouces. In actual practice there is no pure market, the state always intervenes. Capitalism cannot exist without intervention by the state - whether balancing a budget or quelling unrest. Corporations which act in the market are themselves hierarchical command economies full of petty tyranies, inefficiency and waste.

                              The alternative is democratic planning from the grass roots level. Efficient mechanisms for intelligent allocation of scarce resources can only take place through democratic discussion of the people involved in their production and consumption. In contrast, currently, such issues are "managed" to achieve a predetermined outcome for the owners - commonly a maximum profit.
                              :-) flamingo

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by flamingo
                                As in society, so to in the workplace. Monitoring of employees thoughts and opinions is an important part of the corporations power. You've got to be carefull what you say (especially in emails). Not only are you stepping off the treadmill for a few minutes, you're thinking and acting indepedently of management.
                                Well... I'll let Lao Tzu do some talking here which seems to be the most natural response to such madness:

                                "There are two ways of government.
                                One is to be cunning, to act with guile,
                                and to contrive to cheat the people.
                                When this way is used to rule,
                                the people grow in cunning,
                                and contrive to cheat the ruler.
                                The second way to govern the land,
                                is to do so without contriving.
                                People so governed are truly blessed,
                                for they are governed with virtue,
                                and virtuous government is fair to all,
                                thus leading to unity."

                                I hope history also vindicates this assumption?

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