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Is capitalism good?

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  • #61
    Shares are another thing I don't think are particularly bad.

    They were a great idea in the first place - instead of having to find a single patron for your voyage / mine / invention, you could find a number of investors who could all take smaller risks, and 'share' any profits or loss. Equally they allowed the merchant class to invest their smaller sums rather than royalty. They were strongly associated with protestant cultures (Amsterdam, the Nordic and Hapsburg cities, and later London), which to my mind means some of the greatest city states. (I would say that trade is an even bigger factor. Venice's great wealth was based on a dominance of the Mediteranean, and London only became a 'great' city when it became a great port).

    I think the problems have always come from speculation (and this happened very quickly after the introduction of shares in the UK - the South Sea Bubble being legendary) - i.e. the trading of shares on their future value rather than for the purpose of investment. Of course, all shares are valued on their future performance, but people know when a bubble has set in (when you know something will never be worth that much but simply hope to sell to a greater fool).

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

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    • #62
      >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?..

      My understanding of Marx is that this was an inevitable stage - capitalism would tend to increase to wherever it can find cheaper labour, etc, but eventually (resources being finite) it will reach a crisis. We are still some way off - the 'crisis' is being felt amongst the discarded labour in the West, but not amongst the newly wealthy in the developing world.

      I would have to say, however, that the analysis that Capitalism is purely about the exploitation and destruction of natural resources for profit is incorrect; that is it's most negative aspect. Dwelling on that is like making a racist statement - in my experience there are people running businesses with lots of different motives. Equally, there is very little to stop most people in the West from 'siezing the means of production' - it is just that most of us are risk averse, and prefer to sell our labour to others, than try and sell it directly.

      (The number of genuinely self-sufficient people I've known has been very small. I don't have a lot of time for anyone who talks about doing away with the capitalist system who takes state benefits - they'd be the first to starve when us workers have a revolution!).

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      • #63
        Flamingo - again, there is nothing to STOP people organising themselves locally to achieve that level of control except their own apathy. .

        I'm always amazed by the Miners Institute in my wife's hometown - this was built by subscriptions from the miners. Now people would expect 'the government' to build it.


        I always liked the suggestion that the reason why the UK has never had organised crime on the scale of the Mafia is that we had the City of London. (i.e. it was far more profitable to do legal but immoral business).

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        • #64
          Originally posted by Jules
          Equally, there is very little to stop most people in the West from 'siezing the means of production' - it is just that most of us are risk averse, and prefer to sell our labour to others, than try and sell it directly.
          hold on here. The only means of production everyone is equally able to "seize" is one's own body and brains. Potential rentability of the latter being in great part dependent on social circumstances, and that of the former never being very high... I just don't buy the "risk culture" thing. Yeah, dude, it was so courageous of you to invest one tenth of your inheritance in that business you created with those friends you met a the posh university daddy paid for - where you were taught the bases that led to your "genially creative idea" you're so courageously willing to make reality.....of course i'm being caricatural, but still - give me a break.

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          • #65
            Originally posted by Jules
            again, there is nothing to STOP people organising themselves locally to achieve that level of control except their own apathy. .
            agreed, but there are a lot of social mechanisms that help create/maintain apathy. Being a free thinker is usually easy to link with socio - cultural data, i.e. can be seen as a privilege and not so much a personal achievement . Don't get me wrong: I'm not advocating complete determinism. Just i'm extremely weary of those who advocate meritocracy and define merit as "being someone like me" in the same breath.

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            • #66
              Originally posted by mordenkainen
              Originally posted by Jules
              again, there is nothing to STOP people organising themselves locally to achieve that level of control except their own apathy. .
              agreed, but there are a lot of social mechanisms that help create/maintain apathy. Being a free thinker is usually easy to link with socio - cultural data, i.e. can be seen as a privilege and not so much a personal achievement . Don't get me wrong: I'm not advocating complete determinism. Just i'm extremely weary of those who advocate meritocracy and define merit as "being someone like me" in the same breath.
              Hehe.. After Sweden entered the depression of '89, We had a word that started circulation in the mid 90's. It was something called "social competence" aka "social engineering", and was desired from workers by management of any company during hiring. Who should decide that competence anyway? I thought the phrase invented just to marginalize certain people in society. And get ass-kissing employees who won't talk back or criticize management decision.

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              • #67
                Originally posted by mordenkainen
                Originally posted by Jules
                Equally, there is very little to stop most people in the West from 'siezing the means of production' - it is just that most of us are risk averse, and prefer to sell our labour to others, than try and sell it directly.
                hold on here. The only means of production everyone is equally able to "seize" is one's own body and brains. Potential rentability of the latter being in great part dependent on social circumstances, and that of the former never being very high... I just don't buy the "risk culture" thing. Yeah, dude, it was so courageous of you to invest one tenth of your inheritance in that business you created with those friends you met a the posh university daddy paid for - where you were taught the bases that led to your "genially creative idea" you're so courageously willing to make reality.....of course i'm being caricatural, but still - give me a break.
                *prepares to show off a bit of trivia just obtained from Doc*

                Ahem - it' s the old, ya know, Horatio Alger myth at work.


                And all that.




                .....dude.

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                • #68
                  I apologize to Jules for the ranty tone of my last posts. My debating style really gets awkward when someone triggers my anti-rothbard alarm...which is admittedly a bit too sensitive.
                  I hope my points get through somehow. Most of yours I actually find valid against conventional leftist thought.
                  No hard feelings...ok?

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                  • #69
                    Originally posted by Theocrat
                    Hehe.. After Sweden entered the depression of '89, We had a word that started circulation in the mid 90's. It was something called "social competence" aka "social engineering", and was desired from workers by management of any company during hiring. Who should decide that competence anyway? I thought the phrase invented just to marginalize certain people in society. And get ass-kissing employees who won't talk back or criticize management decision.
                    yup. I'm such a positive-thinking winner, I'd sacrifice my dignity and my private life to get closer to the top. Man, I don't even want my 100 weekly extra hours paid if they'll buy me some "responsibility" charge. who wants to be happy anyway? -when they can be an overachiever!!!!

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                    • #70
                      Originally posted by mordenkainen
                      Originally posted by Theocrat
                      Hehe.. After Sweden entered the depression of '89, We had a word that started circulation in the mid 90's. It was something called "social competence" aka "social engineering", and was desired from workers by management of any company during hiring. Who should decide that competence anyway? I thought the phrase invented just to marginalize certain people in society. And get ass-kissing employees who won't talk back or criticize management decision.
                      yup. I'm such a positive-thinking winner, I'd sacrifice my dignity and my private life to get closer to the top. Man, I don't even want my 100 weekly extra hours paid if they'll buy me some "responsibility" charge. who wants to be happy anyway? -when they can be an overachiever!!!!
                      Maybe I should start reading Schopenhauer and dive into pessimistic philosophy . I get a cold chill when people say "start thinking positive! And everything becomes easier and lighter".
                      Sure... I can be positive but I don't agree on being positive to 'blind' myself of the obviousness of exploitation and it's hells. There is a major difference in being naturally positive and self-fabricating a mental disposition which is just plastic and fake!

                      Happy? Ever heard of "The human condition"? "Happiness is hell"?
                      "The problem of happiness"?...

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by Jules
                        I'll reply more on this tommorow, but I know self-employed musicians, plumbers, sound engineers, video editors. There's a guy who comes around once a week at work and valets your car while you work. He charges 3 quid ($5) for a wash. I reckon it takes him 10 minutes tops. That's $30 an hour which isn't an insulting wage. That's a great simple idea (his equipment costs are very low) you'd think would be everywhere. It requires no more skill than the guys who stand at traffic lights and wash windscreens, or a drive-thru car wash, but by bringing the service to you, he wins.

                        Personally, I'm happy to let the boss have his cut of what I earn for the firm, because I'm not the sort of person who wants to be out there hustling to sell my talents - but what I'm trying to say is that it's possible to even make a self-employed living out of 'unskilled' labour.
                        Until word gets out and competition steps in and prices go down and he has to work his ass off to maintain a decent living. But if they organize they would have better prospects for wagelevels.

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                        • #72
                          I'll reply more on this tommorow, but I know self-employed musicians, plumbers, sound engineers, video editors. There's a guy who comes around once a week at work and valets your car while you work. He charges 3 quid ($5) for a wash. I reckon it takes him 10 minutes tops. That's $30 an hour which isn't an insulting wage. That's a great simple idea (his equipment costs are very low) you'd think would be everywhere. It requires no more skill than the guys who stand at traffic lights and wash windscreens, or a drive-thru car wash, but by bringing the service to you, he wins.

                          Personally, I'm happy to let the boss have his cut of what I earn for the firm, because I'm not the sort of person who wants to be out there hustling to sell my talents - but what I'm trying to say is that it's possible to even make a self-employed living out of 'unskilled' labour.

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                          • #73
                            That's true Theo, but then that's the case in any job. Unionisation can't protect you against your labour being devalued by more people being able to do the job, especially in a totally self-employed environment like that.

                            It's different in sound engineering or camera work or other contracting jobs (where you are generally still selling your labour to a company) - in that situation a union can threaten employers with withdrawing unionised labour, but you're not looking at someone with 'employers' that can be threatened in that way - you're looking at someone more like an ice-cream man - selling a service to lots of customers.

                            And ice-cream men have always had their own methods of defending their pitch. . .

                            'They' don't need to organise, they just need not to undercut each other to destruction (see Farmers, PC manufacturers, Chinese DVD Player firms).

                            May as well also throw into the mix : Hairdressers and beauty parlours - if competition was purely on price, hairdressers should be very cheap and very low paid.

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                            • #74
                              Corporations Are Psychopathic...

                              I have to admit to not having read every post in this thread, so please don't flame me if this has already come up or if it is too far off-topic. [broken link]

                              I was just informed of a documentary entitled The Corporation which apparently makes a well-supported argument that corporations, when placed under the scrutiny of the common diagnostic tools used by psychologists, turn out to be psychopathic in their nature.

                              The operational principles of the corporation give it a highly anti-social "personality": It is self-interested, inherently amoral, callous and deceitful; it breaches social and legal standards to get its way; it does not suffer from guilt, yet it can mimic the human qualities of empathy, caring and altruism. Four case studies, drawn from a universe of corporate activity, clearly demonstrate harm to workers, human health, animals and the biosphere. Concluding this point-by-point analysis, a disturbing diagnosis is delivered: the institutional embodiment of laissez-faire capitalism fully meets the diagnostic criteria of a "psychopath."
                              Whadda you think? (I'm looking in your direction, Adlerian.)
                              Last edited by Rothgo; 04-24-2010, 06:54 AM.
                              "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
                              --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

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                              • #75
                                Re: Corporations Are Psychopathic...

                                Originally posted by PsychicWarVeteran
                                I have to admit to not having read every post in this thread, so please don't flame me if this has already come up or if it is too far off-topic. [broken link]

                                I was just informed of a documentary entitled The Corporation which apparently makes a well-supported argument that corporations, when placed under the scrutiny of the common diagnostic tools used by psychologists, turn out to be psychopathic in their nature.

                                The operational principles of the corporation give it a highly anti-social "personality": It is self-interested, inherently amoral, callous and deceitful; it breaches social and legal standards to get its way; it does not suffer from guilt, yet it can mimic the human qualities of empathy, caring and altruism. Four case studies, drawn from a universe of corporate activity, clearly demonstrate harm to workers, human health, animals and the biosphere. Concluding this point-by-point analysis, a disturbing diagnosis is delivered: the institutional embodiment of laissez-faire capitalism fully meets the diagnostic criteria of a "psychopath."
                                Whadda you think? (I'm looking in your direction, Adlerian.)
                                I saw that documentary and really think it should be viewed by the corporate leaders themselves.
                                Last edited by Rothgo; 04-24-2010, 06:55 AM.

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