Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 92

Thread: Faith and Force: The Destroyers of the Modern World

  1. #1
    All League
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    4,112
    Post Thanks / Like

    Faith and Force: The Destroyers of the Modern World

    OK...not to interrupt the threads here dealing with very useful ideas of 'How to start each day out right' and all, but I thought this would be a interesting topic, maybe even pseudo-intellectual.

    By way of introduction, some might remember that I started a thread regarding the morality of human 'rights' as it pertained to health care...I assert that there exists no 'right' to any service that needs to be provided by the labor of others. It garnered some interesting replies, even some differing opinions from posters from outside the US (hey CanadaSteve!). I thought the discussion useful and enlightening.

    What I am posting below are excerpts from a lecture given by a well-known individual at various universities about 1960...the speaker will be well-known to some, an unknown to others. If you want to necessarily know who it is, I'll tell you..but for now it is unimportant.

    It is long, but worth the read.

    [QUOTE]What is morality? It is a code of values to guide man's choices and actions -- the choices which determine the purpose and the course of his life. It is a code by means of which he judges what is right or wrong, good or evil.

    What is the morality of altruism? The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to live for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value.

    Do not confuse altruism with kindness, good will or respect for the rights of others. These are not primaries, but consequences, which, in fact, altruism makes impossible. The irreducible primary of altruism, the basic absolute, is self-sacrifice -- which means: self-immolation, self-abnegation, self-denial, self-destruction --- which means: the self as a standard of evil, the selfless as the standard of the good.

    Do not hide behind such superficialities as whether you should or should not give a dime to a beggar. That is not the issue. The issue is whether you do or do not have the right to exist without giving him that dime. The issue is whether you must keep buying your life, dime by dime, from any beggar who might choose to approach you. The issue is whether the need of others is the first mortgage on your life and the moral purpose of your existence. The issue is whether man is to be regarded as a sacrificial animal. Any man of self-esteem will answer: "No." Altruism says: "Yes."

    Now there is one word -- a single word -- which can blast the morality of altruism out of existence and which it cannot withstand -- the word: "Why?" Why must man live for the sake of others? Why must he be a sacrificial animal? Why is that the good? There is no earthly reason for it -- and, ladies and gentlemen, in the whole history of philosophy no earthly reason has ever been given.

    ...............................

    Make no mistake about it -- and tell it to your Republican friends: capitalism and altruism cannot coexist in the same man or in the same society.

    Tell it to anyone who attempts to justify capitalism on the ground of the "public good" or the "general welfare" or "service to society" or the benefit it brings to the poor. All these things are true, but they are the by-products, the secondary consequences of capitalism -- not its goal, purpose or moral justification. The moral justification of capitalism is man's right to exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself; it is the recognition that man -- every man -- is an end in himself, not a means to the ends of others, not a sacrificial animal serving anyone's need.

    There is a tragic, twisted sort of compliment to mankind involved in this issue: in spite of all their irrationalities, inconsistencies, hypocrisies and evasions, the majority of men will not act, in major issues, without a sense of being morally right and will not oppose the morality they have accepted. They will break it, they will cheat on it, but they will not oppose it; and when they break it, they take the blame on themselves. The power of morality is the greatest of all intellectual powers -- and mankind's tragedy lies in the fact that the vicious moral code men have accepted destroys them by means of the best within them.

    So long as altruism was their moral ideal, men had to regard capitalism as immoral; capitalism certainly does not and cannot work on the principle of selfless service and sacrifice. This was the reason why the majority of the nineteenth-century intellectuals regarded capitalism as a vulgar, uninspiring, materialistic necessity of this earth, and continued to long for their unearthly moral ideal. From the start, while capitalism was creating the splendor of its achievements, creating it in silence, unacknowledged and undefended (morally undefended), the intellectuals were moving in greater and greater numbers towards a new dream: socialism.

    Just as a small illustration of how ineffectual a defense of capitalism was offered by its most famous advocates, let me mention that the British socialists, the Fabians, were predominantly students and admirers of John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham.

    The socialists had a certain kind of logic on their side; if the collective sacrifice of all to all is the moral ideal, then they wanted to establish this ideal in practice, here and on this earth. The arguments that socialism would not and could not work, did not stop them: neither has altruism ever worked, but this has not caused men to stop and question it. Only reason can ask such questions -- and reason, they were told on all sides, has nothing to do with morality, morality lies outside the realm of reason, no rational morality can ever be defined.

    The fallacies and contradictions in the economic theories of socialism were exposed and refuted time and time again, in the nineteenth century as well as today. This did not and does not stop anyone; it is not an issue of economics, but of morality. The intellectuals and the so-called idealists were determined to make socialism work. How? By that magic means of all irrationalists: somehow.

    It was not the tycoons of big business, it was not the working classes, it was the intellectuals who reversed the trend toward political freedom and revived the doctrines of the absolute State, of totalitarian government rule, of the government's right to control the lives of the citizens in any manner it pleases. [b]This time, it was not in the name of the "divine right of kings," but in the name of the divine right of the masses. The basic principle was the same: the right to enforce at the point of a gun the moral doctrines of whoever happens to seize control of the machinery of government.[/b]

    There are only two means by which men can deal with one another: guns or logic. Force or persuasion. Those who know that they cannot win by means of logic, have always resorted to guns.

    Well, ladies and gentlemen, the socialists got their dream. They got it in the twentieth century and they got it in triplicate, plus a great many lesser carbon copies; they got it in every possible form and variant, so that now there can be no mistake about its nature: Soviet Russia -- Nazi Germany -- Socialist England.

    This was the collapse of the modern intellectuals' most cherished tradition. It was World War II that destroyed collectivism as a political ideal. Oh, yes, people still mouth its slogans, by routine, by social conformity and by default -- but it is not a moral crusade any longer. It is an ugly, horrifying reality -- and part of the modern intellectuals' guilt is the knowledge that they have created it. They have seen for themselves the bloody slaughterhouse which they had once greeted as a noble experiment -- Soviet Russia. They have seen Nazi Germany -- and they know that "Nazi" means "National Socialism." Perhaps the worst blow to them, the greatest disillusionment, was Socialist England: here was their literal dream, a bloodless socialism, where force was not used for murder, only for expropriation, where lives were not taken, only the products, the meaning and the future of lives, here was a country that had not been murdered, but had voted itself into suicide. Most of the modern intellectuals, even the more evasive ones, have now understood what socialism -- or any form of political and economic collectivism -- actually means.

    Today, their perfunctory advocacy of collectivism is as feeble, futile and evasive as the alleged conservatives' defense of capitalism. The fire and the moral fervor have gone out of it. And when you hear the liberals mumble that Russia is not really socialistic, or that it was all Stalin's fault, or that socialism never had a real chance in England, or that what they advocate is something that's different somehow -- you know that you are hearing the voices of men who haven't a leg to stand on, men who are reduced to some vague hope that "somehow my gang would have done it better."

    The secret dread of modern intellectuals, liberals and conservatives alike, the unadmitted terror at the root of their anxiety, which all of their current irrationalities are intended to stave off and to disguise, is the unstated knowledge that Soviet Russia is the full, actual, literal, consistent embodiment of the morality of altruism, that Stalin did not corrupt a noble ideal, that this is the only way altruism has to be or can ever be practiced. [b]If service and self-sacrifice are a moral ideal, and if the "selfishness" of human nature prevents men from leaping into sacrificial furnaces, there is no reason -- no reason that a mystic moralist could name -- why a dictator should not push them in at the point of bayonets -- for their own good, or the good of humanity, or the good of posterity, or the good of the latest bureaucrat's five-year plan. There is no reason that they can name to oppose any atrocity. The value of a man's life? His right to exist? His right to pursue his own happiness? These are concepts that belong to individualism and capitalism -- to the antithesis of the altruist morality.
    [/b]
    Twenty years ago the conservatives were uncertain, evasive, morally disarmed before the aggressive moral self-righteousness of the liberals. Today, both are uncertain, evasive, morally disarmed before the aggressiveness of the communists. It is not a moral aggressiveness any longer, it is the plain aggressiveness of a thug -- but what disarms the modern intellectuals is the secret realization that a thug is the inevitable, ultimate and only product of their cherished morality.

    [/quote]

    Thoughts? Any guesses as to the speaker/author?

  2. #2
    All League
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    608
    Post Thanks / Like
    Ayn Rand

  3. #3
    Hall Of Fame
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Van down by the river
    Posts
    22,376
    Post Thanks / Like
    Ayn Rand is a de-dee-de.

    I stopped reading [B]her[/B] books when in one of them [B]she[/B] says that modern building codes are bad for the housing industry. [B]She[/B] believes that the "market" wouldn't allow a builder of crappy sub-par homes to do business and that the goodness of the "market" would ensure that ALL homes were built in such a way as to be architecturally sound.

    What a f*cking [B]bozoette[/B]...
    Last edited by PlumberKhan; 07-04-2007 at 10:18 AM.

  4. #4
    All Pro
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    6,871
    Post Thanks / Like
    [QUOTE=PlumberKhan]Ayn Rand is a de-dee-de.

    I stopped reading [SIZE=5]his[/SIZE] books [/QUOTE]

    She Plumb, she....


    Greenwave, when I have a few minutes, I would love to discuss this with you....sounds interesting.

    Did you ever find Small is Beautiful, the book I suggested?

  5. #5
    Hall Of Fame
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Van down by the river
    Posts
    22,376
    Post Thanks / Like
    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]She Plumb, she....
    [/QUOTE]


    :dunce:

  6. #6
    All League
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    4,112
    Post Thanks / Like
    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]She Plumb, she....


    Greenwave, when I have a few minutes, I would love to discuss this with you....sounds interesting.

    Did you ever find Small is Beautiful, the book I suggested?[/QUOTE]

    Gladly.

    I haven't found that book yet, but I did find this Wiki page with multiple quotes from it and a synopsis (taken with a grain of salt as I have no idea who wrote it): [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_is_Beautiful[/url] . Does the Wiki page present an adequate representation?

    To be honest, I would have great difficulty reading that book (unless it is exceedingly short) based on the quotations presented, as I disagree with just about every premise made by the author in those quotations and would abhor any system that would allow or permit some entity or 'group' to define what is necessary for my life.

    Look at these two quotes:

    [QUOTE]The most striking about modern industry is that it requires so much and accomplishes so little. Modern industry seems to be inefficient to a degree that surpasses one's ordinary powers of imagination. Its inefficiency therefore remains unnoticed." [/QUOTE]

    and

    [QUOTE]"Ever bigger machines, entailing ever bigger concentrations of economic power and exerting ever greater violence against the environment, do not represent progress: they are a denial of wisdom. Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology towards the organic, the gentle, the non-violent, the elegant and beautiful." [/QUOTE]

    Now I supposed without reading the book he gives some examples of what these mean, but for the life of me I cannot think what they might be....I mean, that second quote is pretty far out there in left field.

  7. #7
    All Pro
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    6,871
    Post Thanks / Like
    [QUOTE=Greenwave81]What is morality? [/QUOTE]


    What indeed? Einstein said that "Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to our lives... C.S. Lewis said this of morality: "Humans...have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it."
    While there is a list a mile long of atheists (Richard Dawkins at the head) who like to pronounce the idiocy in the belief of any God, none in my opinion can give a decent reply to why we all feel this way. If pure Darwinism was true, then why do we not act on it? Why do we care what we do, so long as our actions produce the greatest pleasure within ourselves, for there is nothing prior to our existence, and nothing after? If I choose to rape 10 year old girls and steal money from weak grandparents, why can't I? This question begs an answer to the oldest question of all: Does God exist, and if He does, what is He/She/It all about?

    Let us then go from now on to presume that "something" exists outside of ourselves, for I find it inconceivable that "intellectuals" like Dawkins cannot within their realm of logic conceive of the idea that with all the possible things to know in this life, and all the things that we know currently as humans, and then all the things one individual can possibly know, Dawkins cannot concede the simple fact that it is impossible to make a statement like God does not exist...guaranteed. That is human arrogance at its finest.

    [QUOTE=Greenwave81]What is the morality of altruism? The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to live for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value.[/QUOTE]


    Right off the get-go, Ayn has a problem. Her definition is incorrect. Altruism has NOTHING to do with man having no right to exist.

    A better definition would be that of the American Heritage dictionary:
    The unselfish concern for the welfare of others.

    Also, found in the definition is the following:

    Zoology Instinctive cooperative behavior that is detrimental to the individual but contributes to the survival of the species.


    So there is a flaw in thinking this way about Altruism. If we look at many religions, they look at self-sacrifice as honorable, but I believe part of their thinking is flawed, especially in Christianity. In Christianity, I would agree with what Ayn has to say about this subject. However, the teachings of Christ, I believe, have been either misconstrued, or altered to "fit" into someones personal belief.

    To me, his ideal on this is clear: If we as individuals embraced the ideals of altruism, and truly had an unselfish concern for all of humanity, the world would look a great deal different than it does. For within the ideal, ones individual needs will get met by the others who are living the ideal. Christ himself took extended periods of time to pray, sleep, eat....This does not have anything to do with completely giving all your time and resources to others while doing nothing for oneself. It is the changing of a mindset of selfishness to that of service...

    So, her whole argument is on shaky water without having a true understanding of the word...




    [QUOTE=Greenwave81]Make no mistake about it -- and tell it to your Republican friends: capitalism and altruism cannot coexist in the same man or in the same society.[/QUOTE]


    I would agree with this statement, but not for reasons Ayn believes (at least, I don't think anyway).
    Capitalism, by definition, cannot work for the majority of people. Funk and Wagnall's definition states the following of capitalism:
    "Capitalism is the economic and social regime in which capital, as a source of income, does not belong to those who make it through their labor."

    How exactly can an economic system ever hope to succeed for the masses when the majority of people that make the capital do not share in it? 10,000 years ago, cultures did not exist like this. The accumulation of "things" is only a recent phenomenon in geological time.

    However, this can then come back to our question of morality (in a way). Does capitalism play on our inherent nature of greediness, or does the system itself create this tendency to buy things? Advertising itself has changed over the years to promoting a product by what it is and does, to that now which includes the previous philosophy, but including the idea that a specific product is a need...something you cannot live without.

    I have had this argument ad-nauseum with numerous posters, and I am not saying capitalism is not responsible for some great things. However, in the end I do not believe it to be the system the world must embrace. Let me try and give an anecdote as to why:

    If capitalism, to my understanding of the limited studying I have done of it, was to look like this, I could not see as great a flaw:

    A man builds or grows something with his hands, and then sells the product or service to create wealth that he may in turn buy the items necessary to feed himself and his family...

    However, we do not see this anymore. In fact, we are getting so far from this idea we do not know virtually anything about the product. A term I have heard to explain this is the "black box of capitalism." People invest money into a company, and so long as the "black box" churns out a respectable profit, the investor does not care how it was made.

    But in the grand scheme of things, the system fails the majority. If I am buying my shirt that I need from the local tailor, I can know a great deal about who is making my garment. When I go to a store and buy a shirt from Tommy Hilfiger, do I know that the shirt I have paid less money for was produced in a sweat shop that employs children and pays them less than a dollar a day, while working in very unsafe conditions?

    Many who faithfully support this system deny this a problem, however, if we are bringing morality into the picture, why can I as a consumer not have this information? Why can I not know on a label how this garment was produced? Are they afraid that I would not purchase their product because they are doing something immoral? Does this system collapse if their was a level playing field for all businesses, one that included the assurance of fair wages (whatever that means), safe working conditions, and laws (to include child-labor, women, etc...)


    Socialism as quoted by Ayn Rand do not "get" what socialism is about, and constantly point to its failed attempts in Russia, Germany....

    These are NOT examples of what, say, Karl Marx was talking about, nor do I believe what Christ ever taught (even though I disagree with Christian socialism at its core).

    HOw is this for a definition of Socialism:
    "System of social organization in which property and the distribution of income are subject to social control rather than individual determination or market forces."



    This is getting long, so let me just finish with this:
    Capitalism, to me, cannot do anything but fail, for it is completely focused on the individual, and in so doing, creates a society that is selfish. On the contrary, Socialism, to me, will fail because ultimately you see an example of something like Russia, in which everything eventually is accomplished by force.

    To me, somewhere in the middle is where we should strive for. I am not saying this because I am "Christian" (God I hate that word), but I believe in the ideal that Christ suggests. A society in which we strive for an unselfish concern of others, while taking care of ourselves and knowing that others will meet our needs if they need to be met.

    How do we accomplish that? Not fully in capitalism and not fully in socialism...what would it look like? Well, I think that would make another great discussion, and is something we could strive to create.


    Flame away critics....you know who you are! :cool:

  8. #8
    All League
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    4,112
    Post Thanks / Like
    [QUOTE=PlumberKhan]Ayn Rand is a de-dee-de.

    I stopped reading [B]her[/B] books when in one of them [B]she[/B] says that modern building codes are bad for the housing industry. [B]She[/B] believes that the "market" wouldn't allow a builder of crappy sub-par homes to do business and that the goodness of the "market" would ensure that ALL homes were built in such a way as to be architecturally sound.

    What a f*cking [B]bozoette[/B]...[/QUOTE]

    Well, let's see...

    If someone built 'crappy' homes that would say cost less, and someone that was living in crappy apartment or flophouse wanted one, how would that necessarily be bad? We don't stop people from selling 'crap' made in China jsut because it might be of inferior quality, do we?

    I'm certain Rand's point with housing (not that I think she should have gone out of her way to apply her philosphy to the housing market in particular) is that if the houses are 'crappy', left alone in the market, either one of two things will happen:

    1. People want the 'crappy' houses and will keep buying them or;
    2. People won't buy them and the builder will go out of business.

    When the government sets any standards, it artificially places a floor on pricing levels which may price some potential homebuyers out of the market.

  9. #9
    All League
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    4,112
    Post Thanks / Like
    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]
    So there is a flaw in thinking this way about Altruism. If we look at many religions, they look at self-sacrifice as honorable, but I believe part of their thinking is flawed, especially in Christianity. In Christianity, I would agree with what Ayn has to say about this subject. However, the teachings of Christ, I believe, have been either misconstrued, or altered to "fit" into someones personal belief. [/quote]

    Well of course religion thinks of self-sacrifice as honorable...but the chief difference is that the self-sacrifice is self-offered and not demanded by a government or any organization of society...that is when giving of one's self produces the greatest personal benefit. For society to demand 'altruism' and self-sacrifice only breeds contempt and hatred..it is simple human nature.

    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]To me, his ideal on this is clear: If we as individuals embraced the ideals of altruism, and truly had an unselfish concern for all of humanity, the world would look a great deal different than it does. For within the ideal, ones individual needs will get met by the others who are living the ideal. [/quote]

    That's just peachy, if everyone plays the game...inevitably, some do not, and left to their own devices, most will as little as possible to survive. Why bother to work hard to produce more when all you are doing is contributing to all the other lazy bastards who aren't working as hard as you? Also, who gets to determine what everyone's 'needs' are? Is there a 'needs' conclave? Is it one person? Five? one hundred? How do you get on the committee? What if I do not believe my 'needs' are being met...do I have someone to complain to?

    Rand's point is that maximum efficiency in human endeavors is only achieved when one acts in his own self-interest, and I find it hard to argue that point outside of extremely unique circumstances, say like in a war when the unit is more important than the individual...but that would make an awful system to base routine life on. What if everyone decided they were going to wait for someone else to produce any food?

    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]Christ himself took extended periods of time to pray, sleep, eat....This does not have anything to do with completely giving all your time and resources to others while doing nothing for oneself. It is the changing of a mindset of selfishness to that of service...[/quote]

    You aren't talking about 'service' which is voluntary, you are talking about compulsory 'service', and there's a difference...compulsory 'service' in the name of the common good is called socialism.

    Name ONE socialist system that has prospered over time or that hasn't denigrated into chaos and butchery. Maybe with the great socialist minds in the US (Hillary) it will work this time, right?

    You define [b]selfishness[/b] in the above sentence as the complete disregard for others and a synonym for evil, and it means nothing of the sort; it is defined as an individual having 'concern for one's best interests' and says nothing of what that person may or may not do with the fruits beared while watching out for his own best interest...the concept of selfishness does not include a moral evaluation, except when mistakenly (and purposefully) applied by people who follow collectivist thought patterns.

    In contrast, [b]altruism[/b] declares that any action taken for the benefit of others is good, and any action taken for one's own benefit is evil....therefore, the only criterion of moral value is that someone other than yourself is a beneficiary of your action. There is a fundamental moral difference between someone who is 'selfish' in his self-interest in production and someone who is 'selfish' in his self-interest in doing as little as possible and robbing from everyoen else.




    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]Capitalism, by definition, cannot work for the majority of people. Funk and Wagnall's definition states the following of capitalism:
    "Capitalism is the economic and social regime in which capital, as a source of income, does not belong to those who make it through their labor." [/quote]

    Now, I have read a lot of definitions of Capitalism, but that one I ain't seen...and I am certain that that definition of capitalism is not what Rand is referring to.

    Here's a better one:

    capitalism
    Definition

    Economic system characterized by the following: private property ownership exists; individuals and companies are allowed to compete for their own economic gain; and free market forces determine the prices of goods and services. Such a system is based on the premise of separating the state and business activities. Capitalists believe that markets are efficient and should thus function without interference, and the role of the state is to regulate and protect.



    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]How exactly can an economic system ever hope to succeed for the masses when the majority of people that make the capital do not share in it? 10,000 years ago, cultures did not exist like this. The accumulation of "things" is only a recent phenomenon in geological time.[/quote]

    Are you saying that the entire middle class of the US does not exist? Are they better off now, or were they better off in the 1800's? How can you say that they do not share in teh income production? You can argue they don't share equally, but that isn't the point...not everyone produces equally either.

    10000 years ago, people lived in caves...so what? The industrial revolution changed many things...and most would argue for the better. We eat better, live better, live longer..isn't that the point?

    As far as the accumulation of 'things', once again you are making a value judgement. Maybe I want 'things'...who are you to tell me that that is bad?

    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]I have had this argument ad-nauseum with numerous posters, and I am not saying capitalism is not responsible for some great things. However, in the end I do not believe it to be the system the world must embrace. [/quote]

    No one is saying the world needs to embrace it...live the way you want. it was the system (albeit with some restraints) adopted by the US that has lead to our prosperity. Anyone who wants to live in a country with a tin-pot dictator telling them to toil in the fields for the common good can go reight ahead.

    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]If capitalism, to my understanding of the limited studying I have done of it, was to look like this, I could not see as great a flaw:

    A man builds or grows something with his hands, and then sells the product or service to create wealth that he may in turn buy the items necessary to feed himself and his family...

    However, we do not see this anymore. [/quote]

    What are you talking about? We see it EVERY DAY...that is how we live.

    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]In fact, we are getting so far from this idea we do not know virtually anything about the product. A term I have heard to explain this is the "black box of capitalism." People invest money into a company, and so long as the "black box" churns out a respectable profit, the investor does not care how it was made.

    But in the grand scheme of things, the system fails the majority. If I am buying my shirt that I need from the local tailor, I can know a great deal about who is making my garment. When I go to a store and buy a shirt from Tommy Hilfiger, do I know that the shirt I have paid less money for was produced in a sweat shop that employs children and pays them less than a dollar a day, while working in very unsafe conditions?[/quote]

    Then buy all of your shirts at the local tailor...no one's stopping you.

    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]Many who faithfully support this system deny this a problem, however, if we are bringing morality into the picture, why can I as a consumer not have this information? Why can I not know on a label how this garment was produced? Are they afraid that I would not purchase their product because they are doing something immoral? Does this system collapse if their was a level playing field for all businesses, one that included the assurance of fair wages (whatever that means), safe working conditions, and laws (to include child-labor, women, etc...)[/quote]

    So, instead of the laborer in China getting paid a dollar, he loses his job? Maybe that dollar is important to him...maybe that is what he needs to survive. How are you going to change the politics and economic systems of a couple hundred foreign nations? You cannot.

    You can however refuse to support those businesses that you find out are acting in ways you feel immoral.

    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]Socialism as quoted by Ayn Rand do not "get" what socialism is about, and constantly point to its failed attempts in Russia, Germany....

    These are NOT examples of what, say, Karl Marx was talking about, nor do I believe what Christ ever taught (even though I disagree with Christian socialism at its core).

    HOw is this for a definition of Socialism:
    "System of social organization in which property and the distribution of income are subject to social control rather than individual determination or market forces."[/quote]

    Great, now we are all slaves.

    No thanks...unless of course I get to be the 'social control'.

    That system has been tried many times, and it always ends badly.

    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]This is getting long, so let me just finish with this:
    Capitalism, to me, cannot do anything but fail, for it is completely focused on the individual, and in so doing, creates a society that is selfish.[/quote]

    Name failed capitalistic societies...if a capitalistic society fails, it does so after assuming socialist tendencies, which is what we are seeing here in the US. And, once again, you are defining 'selfish' as evil.

    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve] On the contrary, Socialism, to me, will fail because ultimately you see an example of something like Russia, in which everything eventually is accomplished by force.

    To me, somewhere in the middle is where we should strive for. I am not saying this because I am "Christian" (God I hate that word), but I believe in the ideal that Christ suggests. A society in which we strive for an unselfish concern of others, while taking care of ourselves and knowing that others will meet our needs if they need to be met.[/quote]

    There is no middle ground...it has been documented in the annals of history that the most beneficial system is a capitalist one, and then trusting the basic goodness of the human soul to share the abundance in instances of charity. Is everyone taken care of? Doubt it, but to do the most good for the most people, individuals need to be left to self-determination..it is the system that nurtures the most production and efficiency.

    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]Flame away critics....you know who you are! :cool:[/QUOTE]

    Interesting discussion.

  10. #10
    All League
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    3,554
    Post Thanks / Like
    In my opinion 2 points must be made clear:

    1) Socialism doesn't really work because it's inefficient in nature. If you beleive in self-government then you cannot believe in socialism, because socialism holds out the hope that a man may quit his preferred work and be better off. Not to mention true capitalists (the ones who actually control capital flows) love socialism because the 5th plank of Marx's manifesto is a "central bank" which is organized wealth's best friend. Socialism consolidates wealth among the already-established elite, as we are seeing today.

    2) Modern capitalism as it evolved has very little to do with freedom and moriality and a lot to do with economic feudalism. Capitalism as it actually manifested itself in reality, not in theory, is small group of rich white men in a back room deciding where to go war profiteering next and creating money out of thin air and lending it at interest, burdening those who don't have capital with debt.

    A much truer solution can be found by merging labor and capital by means of the government creating money free of debt and regulating its value to satisfy the current level of commerce (not paper-chasing-paper as markets currently are).

    As Abraham Lincoln said in his 1861 State of the Union Address, capital is entitled to its proper protection, nor is it to be denied that a mutually beneficial relationship exists between labor and capital, but the error is in assuming that the whole labor of the community exists within that relation towards being subservient to capital. The wages of men should be seen as more important to the social order than any interest rate determined by a lending institution.

    It would be impossible to adopt such a scenario immediately which would put labor on an equal foot with capital, but if we ever truly want freedom and justice for all this is what must happen. What we really need is the education to make this happen over the long-term.
    Last edited by JetsCrazey; 07-04-2007 at 04:48 PM.

  11. #11
    flushingjet
    Guest
    [QUOTE=JetsCrazey]In my opinion 2 points must be made clear:

    1) Socialism doesn't really work because it's inefficient in nature. If you beleive in self-government then you cannot believe in socialism, because socialism holds out the hope that a man may quit his preferred work and be better off. Not to mention true capitalists (the ones who actually control capital flows) love socialism because the 5th plank of Marx's manifesto is a "central bank" which is organized wealth's best friend. Socialism consolidates wealth among the already-established elite, as we are seeing today.

    2) Modern capitalism as it evolved has very little to do with freedom and moriality and a lot to do with economic feudalism. Capitalism as it actually manifested itself in reality, not in theory, is small group of rich white men in a back room deciding where to go war profiteering next and creating money out of thin air and lending it at interest, burdening those who don't have capital with debt.

    A much truer solution can be found by merging labor and capital by means of the government creating money free of debt and regulating its value to satisfy the current level of commerce (not paper-chasing-paper as markets currently are).

    As Abraham Lincoln said in his 1861 State of the Union Address, capital is entitled to its proper protection, nor is it to be denied that a mutually beneficial relationship exists between labor and capital, but the error is in assuming that the whole labor of the community exists within that relation towards being subservient to capital. The wages of men should be seen as more important to the social order than any interest rate determined by a lending institution.

    It would be impossible to adopt such a scenario immediately which would put labor on an equal foot with capital, but if we ever truly want freedom and justice for all this is what must happen. What we really need is the education to make this happen over the long-term.[/QUOTE]

    oh great.
    the ron paul fanboy doll is wound up and chatters again

    feudalism...wage slaves....war profiteering...rich white men....central bank...

    socialism holds out the hope that a man may quit his preferred work and be better off?

    true capitalists (the ones who actually control capital flows) love socialism because the 5th plank of Marx's manifesto is a "central bank" which is organized wealth's best friend?

    socialism consolidates wealth among the already-established elite, as we are seeing today?

    merger of labor and capital?

    more proof positive that

    a) libertarians are as risible as liberals

    b) before ron paul fever kills you from class envy,
    it causes severe, crippling mental illness

  12. #12
    All League
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    3,554
    Post Thanks / Like
    Are you trying to deny the fact that there is upper class exploitation in this country? Fact is, if you believe that, you are straight-up delusional.
    Right now, the hedge funds with subprime bonds and OTC derivatives are about to wreck the economy, and the paper-chasing-paper economy of Wall Streetis to blame...yet every American will suffer.

    Ron Paul has studied economics more than any other candidate in this election buddy. Better recognize and stop listening to the puppet candidates.

    And why is it Vladimir Lenin said that a central bank in 90% of communizing/socializing a nation? I wonder....
    Last edited by JetsCrazey; 07-04-2007 at 09:12 PM.

  13. #13
    All Pro
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    6,871
    Post Thanks / Like
    [QUOTE=Greenwave81]Gladly.

    I haven't found that book yet, but I did find this Wiki page with multiple quotes from it and a synopsis (taken with a grain of salt as I have no idea who wrote it): [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_is_Beautiful[/url] . Does the Wiki page present an adequate representation?

    To be honest, I would have great difficulty reading that book (unless it is exceedingly short) based on the quotations presented, as I disagree with just about every premise made by the author in those quotations and would abhor any system that would allow or permit some entity or 'group' to define what is necessary for my life.

    Look at these two quotes:



    and



    Now I supposed without reading the book he gives some examples of what these mean, but for the life of me I cannot think what they might be....I mean, that second quote is pretty far out there in left field.[/QUOTE]

    Remember, we come from different philosophies, in some regards, so the book is going to come from a different perspective than you are used to. Don't take the quotes out of context. The author is E.F. Schumacher. THere is a website for him (his ideas anyway)...I think it is e.f. schumacher society.org or something like that.

  14. #14
    flushingjet
    Guest
    [QUOTE=JetsCrazey]Are you trying to deny the fact that there is upper class exploitation in this country? Fact is, if you believe that, you are straight-up delusional.
    Right now, the hedge funds with subprime bonds and OTC derivatives are about to wreck the economy, and the paper-chasing-paper economy of Wall Streetis to blame...yet every American will suffer.

    Ron Paul has studied economics more than any other candidate in this election buddy. Better recognize and stop listening to the puppet candidates.

    And why is it Vladimir Lenin said that a central bank in 90% of communizing/socializing a nation? I wonder....[/QUOTE]

    straight-up? better recognize?
    never studied wiggabonics....

    having two business degrees and a lifetime of experience
    in small business and dealings in and with corporate america
    i have no need to consult with any presidential candidates
    or anyone else on economic matters,
    especially not the subservient followers of the anti-statist,
    anti-american, anti-military, paleo-libertarian cult of
    the wizened, elfin ronpaulstiltskin

    ron paul has studied economics-wow, just wow
    mustve been a dual major in economics and gynecology

    sure, i understand libertarian concerns in a broad sense
    re: govt control, smaller govt, taxes, wall st
    manipsination/speculating and so on

    but i also dont believe in trade unions, high tariffs, protectionism,
    or fettering currencies to scarce metals that can be hoarded
    gresham's law works like a charm - in reverse

    central banks were conceived centuries ago, long
    before the concept of marxism was dreamt up

    last time i checked we dont have a centrally planned economy
    just a central monetary policy

    sometimes centralized control and provision of any
    resource, in this case money and
    monetary policy is the most efficient system

    we dont need a replay of post-jacksonian bank
    runs and monetary anarchy like the
    panic of 1893 thats for sure

    there were plenty of market
    booms and busts in the 19th century
    no thanks to a central bank

    how will gold, a scarce, precious metal, get magically
    redistributed economically for the good of all americans

    just who is to determine the exact, "correct"
    level of domestic economic activity
    to set the value of the dollar against gold

    in fact the little guys of old,
    the rural farmers, were dead set against a
    gold standard-they believed it devalued
    their wages and prices of their goods-
    and they were correct

    increased savings/decreased consumption (ie demand) does
    not imply increased investment, foreign or
    domestic in american means of production or
    american businesses

    but decreased consumption certainly leads to
    business failures and higher unemployment overall

    and for the last time no im not your "buddy",
    i dont befriend "crazey" rupaul cultists

    theyre like transformers - mindless, soulless robots in disguise

  15. #15
    All League
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    4,112
    Post Thanks / Like
    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]Remember, we come from different philosophies, in some regards, so the book is going to come from a different perspective than you are used to. Don't take the quotes out of context. The author is E.F. Schumacher. THere is a website for him (his ideas anyway)...I think it is e.f. schumacher society.org or something like that.[/QUOTE]

    OK...

    I spent time perusing/reading the ef schumacher society website, and about 10 other sites that detailed his life, theories and teachings.

    I have to say, I do not agree with any of it...they are all based to a large degree on collectivism and society (whatever that may be composed of, or however it is arrived at) dictating the parameters of economic life based on the views of the chosen few over the individual.

    All this talk about theories of 'economic unit development', 'Intermediate Technology', 'community land trusts' (where private property rights are not recognized) are an antithesis to me.

    If an individual is not autonomous (or able to live in the manner that reflects his own best interests), then he is nothing more than chattel for whomever happens to be setting the rules of the game (life in this case) at that particular time. If I exist in this life purely for the benefit of others, and supposedly others exist purely for the benefit of me, can you not see this for the utopian nonsense it is? How can you enact that system without the consent of ALL involved, without the use of force (which it will ultimately come down to)? What I don't want to be a part of your utopia?

    Collectivist systems do not work unless EVERYONE willingly accepts the parameters OR force it used to enforce the parameters...it cannot be any other way.

    Capitalistic (or individualistic) systems cannot operate within the framework of a collectivist system, but the converse is not true; examples of communes existing within a capitalistic society are not uncommon (here in the US the Amish would be an example)...heck, even Schumachers followers here in the states have set up communes...but these are communes based on mutual acceptance. In a collectivist system, if people were able to 'opt out' and choose to live a capitalistic existence if they desired, the majority of the 'producers' would leave so as not to be taken advantage of in the collectivist system.

    Tying ths back to the health care debate we had earlier, it is why Canadian )and other foreign) Doctors come to the US in greater numbers than American Doctors moving to Canada or elsewhere.

    The supporters of altruistic/collectivist doctrine fail to recognize that there are MAJOR differences between altruism/collectivism and free exhibiton of basic human ideals such as kindness, good will, charity and benevolence....which cannot be demanded at the point of a sword without enslaving everyone.

  16. #16
    Hall Of Fame
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    11,692
    Post Thanks / Like
    [QUOTE=Greenwave81]OK...

    I spent time perusing/reading the ef schumacher society website, and about 10 other sites that detailed his life, theories and teachings.

    I have to say, I do not agree with any of it...they are all based to a large degree on collectivism and society (whatever that may be composed of, or however it is arrived at) dictating the parameters of economic life based on the views of the chosen few over the individual.

    All this talk about theories of 'economic unit development', 'Intermediate Technology', 'community land trusts' (where private property rights are not recognized) are an antithesis to me.

    If an individual is not autonomous (or able to live in the manner that reflects his own best interests), then he is nothing more than chattel for whomever happens to be setting the rules of the game (life in this case) at that particular time. If I exist in this life purely for the benefit of others, and supposedly others exist purely for the benefit of me, can you not see this for the utopian nonsense it is? How can you enact that system without the consent of ALL involved, without the use of force (which it will ultimately come down to)? What I don't want to be a part of your utopia?

    Collectivist systems do not work unless EVERYONE willingly accepts the parameters OR force it used to enforce the parameters...it cannot be any other way.

    Capitalistic (or individualistic) systems cannot operate within the framework of a collectivist system, but the converse is not true; examples of communes existing within a capitalistic society are not uncommon (here in the US the Amish would be an example)...heck, even Schumachers followers here in the states have set up communes...but these are communes based on mutual acceptance. In a collectivist system, if people were able to 'opt out' and choose to live a capitalistic existence if they desired, the majority of the 'producers' would leave so as not to be taken advantage of in the collectivist system.

    Tying ths back to the health care debate we had earlier, it is why Canadian )and other foreign) Doctors come to the US in greater numbers than American Doctors moving to Canada or elsewhere.

    The supporters of altruistic/collectivist doctrine fail to recognize that there are MAJOR differences between altruism/collectivism and free exhibiton of basic human ideals such as kindness, good will, charity and benevolence....which cannot be demanded at the point of a sword without enslaving everyone.[/QUOTE]

    GREAT response Green, damn.

    CanadaSteve,

    You had an example back somewhere about a person growing something or building it "with his hands" and then selling it to buy the things he "needs" for he and his family. What you are describing reflects a thinking that has not adapted to the modern world. Malthus and many others have also failed to account for the almost unlimited scope and force of humanity's capacity to innovate. A lot of economic theory that has been passed down in the general understanding of many people who are not formally trained (and many who are, sadly!) reflects an understanding of a firm and capitalism in which capital represents physical goods and labor represents physical toil. Your descriptions of capitalism reflect that your understanding is also mired in the past, when factories and firms that sold manufactured goods were the basis of economic understanding. You've mentioned in the past that capitalists merely buy something and sell it for more than cost...which isn't true at all.

    You'll notice that many people think investors have not rightfully "earned" their money as much as, say, a farmer has, because they haven't "created" anything. Or, that some people don't truly "work" if they don't break a sweat or actually build/grow something....as if earning money through physical labor is more virtuous than earning money through sophisticated risk-taking and econometric analysis and investnig, and, curcially, they don't understand exactly what it is that these investors provide to people who run companies and what effect that has on the economy as a whole. Futures traders are similarly imsunderstood. However, there is a fundamental lack of understanding of what human capital is, what risks and services are and how they all interact in a modern, developed, mature, robust and flexible economy...the economy and markets overall is/are unbelievably comlpex, so much so that even the most sophisticated economists barely have a grasp of it/them. The short descriptions of capitalism and markets that many people use to detract from a capitalistic society do not capture them at all.

    Anyway - sorry for going off on a tangent. I think what you are saying, again, is that capitalism is not perfect. All you've said is that socialism has flaws and that capitalism has flaws, but that they both have benefits and some sort of hybrid of the two would be ideal. But, alas, the devil is in the details. It is not enough to merely point out that a system is less than perfect. You have to propose an alternative system and demonstrate why that system is better. We do not judge systems relative to perfection, but rather relative to one another. And capitalism is the best system that has ever been used.

    And I am trying to find a way to say this delicately, but the "ideal" world of altruism is just hippie nonsense that shouldn't be taken seriously by someone as bright as you. If people don't voluntarily buy into and practice the ideal, as determined by some quasi-ruling elite, in order for the ideal to be "effective" that practice will have to be compelled, by force upon the unwilling. WHo defines the ideal and adapts it? Individual freedom (rights, property) is not consistent with this "ideal" and thus wealth will not be created and living standards will suffer because people will not be incentivized to be productive if they don't respect reasonable compensation. Then you would have the dual unpleasantness of being (1) poor and (2) oppressed. It is why Castro, Chavez, The Soviets, etc - all ended up impoverishing and oppressing their people. Not to mention the stifiling effect this would have on innovation. Now, yes, granted that if everyone at all times practiced the ideal of altruism, it would work...but that is like saying that the world would be better if everyone was nice and polite all the time. It's so obvious that even saying it is redundant and everyone with a brain knows that it's hopelessly unrealistic.

    You're in school, right? Imagine if everyone in the class was guaranteed a B in the class, regardless of how much work they did. Now, perhaps you would still work and take it seriously and all, but many people wouldn't. And imagine further that your "excess" grades were distributed to those who "needed" them, such that no matter how hard or little you worked, you still got a B. You may likely not study as hard as you would. The value of a B would plummet and the overall knowledge base of the students would stagnate. Let's say over time that everyone stopped studying and no one had enough grades to even earn a B, let alone acheive excess grades that could be distributed to people will less than a B. So the school could drop the grade everyone gets to a C (or lower) or they could just redefine what a B is. Everyone would be equal, sure. But the class will be worse off. Surely it is better to have an individualistic approach to education, even if it leads to some inequality of results. (There is a huge difference between inequality of opportunity and inequality of results). And yes, some kids have to study 25 hours a week just to get a B while others can blow off class completely and still pull off A's because they are smarter. That is a reality that is genetic and cosmic and no system can account for it without making things worse overall and it is inefficient to even try.

    'Selfishness' like Green said is not the same as evil or callousness towards others. Look at families for an example. I earn money but I give a considerable amount of it to my wife and son for food and shelter. She doesn't work, she stays home with him. So I have a house and a mortgage and a college fund. I make sacrifices in terms of foregone money and time for them. But I am still being "selfish" because doing so makes me happy. Sure, I have a sense of duty to my son and wife and I love them and their happiness and well-being makes me happy, which is why I do what I do. Is my suport of them any less valid or moral because I do it to benefit myself (i.e. make myself happy)? Regardless of the reasons, my wife has a loving husband who is around and spending time with her and supporting her and my son has a father who is in his life and spending time with him and buying him food and clothes.

    Similarly, Pfizer spends billions on research and development to create drugs for things like arthritis pain. My mom has terrible arthritis and takes medicine and her life is much more enjoyable because of it. Does it matter that Pfizer is motivate by a selfish desire for profits? My Mom's life is literally much improved thanks to Pfizer's profitability. If we were to take away the rewards that Pfizer gets for developing and selling drugs, they will be less willing to spend the billions necessary to create new ones. One way of doing this is forcing them to sell drugs at prices far lower than they want to, or removing patent protections. Thus, everyone will be able to afford drugs, but we will forgo the innovations and improvements created by the profit motive. Had we done that decades ago, arthritis medication would likely not be as good as it is now and my Mom's quality of life would be far, far lower...and many other people would simply die because medications that exist now wouldn't. So this "equality" comes at a cost, just like it did in my classroom example. For example, 80% of the world's new drugs are developed in the USA, largely because we allow the profit motive to exist.

    I'll write more when I have more time.....
    Last edited by jets5ever; 07-05-2007 at 06:44 PM.

  17. #17
    All Pro
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    6,871
    Post Thanks / Like
    [QUOTE=jets5ever]



    And I am trying to find a way to say this delicately, but the "ideal" world of altruism is just hippie nonsense that shouldn't be taken seriously by someone as bright as you. [/QUOTE]


    Hey George...congrats on the new child that is coming. HOw are you going to manage two kids, a job and rock stardom?

    Anywho...Again, we see things differently, and I honestly think it to be a good thing. I am not naive about an "ideal" world. Again, I do believe in the teachings of Christ, and I was more explaining how I see what Christ was trying to teach, in the sense that if our lives were fully committed to service of others, our needs would be met by others. Of course, where this gets off course, and has got off course with the history of the church is the fact that somewhere down the line, either through teaching or through physical means, people are "forced" into doing this. IT DOES NOT WORK!

    I FULLY FULLY understand where you guys come from when you talk about capitalism in this regard. I agree one hundred percent, and would probably be shocked to hear that I don't agree with things like graduated income tax.

    To me, capitalism as an economic philosophy has gotten us to this point in history. MANY cultures have succeeded without it, although I think we might have a differing opinion on what success means. That said, we are moving to an era where I believe the way we do things must change.

    Now, I guess my way of trying to say this politely is this: Why is it MY responsibility to come up with the new way? I think people working collectively can come up with better ideas than an one individual...and I know you didn't mean ME in particular, but I was just pointing out more for emphasis.

    Again, I point to tribalism as a very successful means for how people live. And this does not just mean native Indians hunting Buffalo on the open plains. The whole concept of a group of individuals who have a vested interest in the common goal of a collective. In some tribes, they wouldn't think of worrying about individual rights because they get what they need from working collectively, not from "doing their own thing." Their very survival is tied into the survival of the collective.

    There is a delicate balance between collectivism and individualism. Too much one way, people are forced to conform, too much the other way, people are only living for their own pleasure and good. When I take of balance, this is what I have hinted at all along.

    Modern tribalism could take many forms. A group of twenty individuals who run a business for the sole purpose of that business creating a means of living for the twenty people. That book I suggested to Greenwave, to me, was more about that very concept. Instead of great big impersonal companies and corporations with the sole intent of making as much profit as possible just does not sit well with a majority of the people. I don't think that is how people are wired. We are a paradoxical species, really. We are all complete individuals, with our own values, ideas, feelings. Yet we work best, create more, and yearn to be with others.

    Anywho....Let me ask you a question. Us bantering back and forth gets long winded and tiresome, don't you think? We both seem to be stream of conscious style writers (ala Hunter S.), so how about we try this.

    In your opinion, what are one of the flaws of capitalism that you see needs to be "improved" on or "evolved" in order to improve the system itself?

  18. #18
    All League
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    4,112
    Post Thanks / Like
    First, I'd like to say, that your response was well-reasoned and well-stated, but of course, I have a somewhat different opinion.

    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]Anywho...Again, we see things differently, and I honestly think it to be a good thing. I am not naive about an "ideal" world. Again, I do believe in the teachings of Christ, and I was more explaining how I see what Christ was trying to teach, in the sense that if our lives were fully committed to service of others, our needs would be met by others. Of course, where this gets off course, and has got off course with the history of the church is the fact that somewhere down the line, either through teaching or through physical means, people are "forced" into doing this. IT DOES NOT WORK![/quote]

    I'm not of the belief that Christ wanted us to necessarily be man-servants to the world...that is, to achieve salvation we need to enslave ourselves to the common good over ourselves. I believe Christ presented a set of ideals and a code of ethics to live by, and encouraged VOLUNTARY service to others as being exemplary, noble and encouraged...but the key word is voluntary. Self-made people are usually more able to give of themselves and their assets (not all do, but that's to be expected). What of people like Bill Gates and Ted Turner, who most collectivists would argue were 'selfish' in garnering their mega-wealth...but who both have now bequeathed BILLIONS to charity?

    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]To me, capitalism as an economic philosophy has gotten us to this point in history. MANY cultures have succeeded without it, although I think we might have a differing opinion on what success means. That said, we are moving to an era where I believe the way we do things must change.

    Now, I guess my way of trying to say this politely is this: Why is it MY responsibility to come up with the new way? I think people working collectively can come up with better ideas than an one individual...and I know you didn't mean ME in particular, but I was just pointing out more for emphasis.[/quote]

    When you put a group of individuals together to come up with an economic system, what you are going to get is an economic system that favors their individual self-interests...this is inate in human nature, unless every member of the group is Jesus himself. And honestly, who wants commit to live under a system where someone else makes the rules?

    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]Again, I point to tribalism as a very successful means for how people live. And this does not just mean native Indians hunting Buffalo on the open plains. The whole concept of a group of individuals who have a vested interest in the common goal of a collective. In some tribes, they wouldn't think of worrying about individual rights because they get what they need from working collectively, not from "doing their own thing." Their very survival is tied into the survival of the collective.[/quote]

    Going back to what you mentioned earlier, we have a much different definition of what 'successful' means.

    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]There is a delicate balance between collectivism and individualism. Too much one way, people are forced to conform, too much the other way, people are only living for their own pleasure and good. When I take of balance, this is what I have hinted at all along.[/quote]

    Sort of...there can be no 'balance' between collectivism and individualism (capitalism)...at least not for long. The problem with collectivism is that it will ALWAYS fail unless the individuals who are being 'collective' all voluntarily joined the group AND can peaceably leave if desired...and if that's the case, what's the point? You can do that right now if you want, definitely in the US, and probably in CA...go find 30 like minded individuals and set up a collectivist commune, and let us know how it goes.

    When you reduce individuals to simply being the servants of others, as I stated earlier, it inevitably breeds contempt and hatred and destroys any impetus to achieve personal greatness..people become stagnant, vacuous shells.

    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]Modern tribalism could take many forms. A group of twenty individuals who run a business for the sole purpose of that business creating a means of living for the twenty people. That book I suggested to Greenwave, to me, was more about that very concept. Instead of great big impersonal companies and corporations with the sole intent of making as much profit as possible just does not sit well with a majority of the people. I don't think that is how people are wired. We are a paradoxical species, really. We are all complete individuals, with our own values, ideas, feelings. Yet we work best, create more, and yearn to be with others.[/quote]

    Then do it...but to subject everyone to that particular system (which is collectivist) because you or a group of people like you deem it best is bound ot fail.

    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]Anywho....Let me ask you a question. Us bantering back and forth gets long winded and tiresome, don't you think? We both seem to be stream of conscious style writers (ala Hunter S.), so how about we try this.

    In your opinion, what are one of the flaws of capitalism that you see needs to be "improved" on or "evolved" in order to improve the system itself?[/QUOTE]

    Well, I've got an answer for you...

    The answer is that TRUE capitalism has NEVER been tried...so how do we know it wouldn't work? In a way, it's hard to find a fault with a system that has never been tried.

    The US instituted a near-flawless system of capitalism at it's inception which led to it's unmatched prosperity...that all drastically changed in the early-to-mid 1900's (actually, it may have begun slowly as early as 1865ish with Lincoln) and we have been on an ever escalating course toward socialism since and if we do not change our ways, the end will not be pretty.

    Assuming you mean a fault with capitalism as practiced in the US, I would say that a fault is the lack of separation between the state (government) and the markets...state involvement does not allow the markets to be truly 'free' and introduces variances or 'favorites'. The founding fathers went out of their way to ensure the separation of church and state; they should have proscribed similar restrictions with the markets (not the the modern USSC would have heeded the restrictions, but it might have staved it off).

  19. #19
    All League
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    4,112
    Post Thanks / Like
    [QUOTE=jets5ever]GREAT response Green, damn.[/quote]

    Thanks. I enjoyed your response too...it highlights a lot of important points regarding the systems we are discussing.

    [QUOTE=jets5ever]Anyway - sorry for going off on a tangent. I think what you are saying, again, is that capitalism is not perfect. All you've said is that socialism has flaws and that capitalism has flaws, but that they both have benefits and some sort of hybrid of the two would be ideal. But, alas, the devil is in the details. It is not enough to merely point out that a system is less than perfect. You have to propose an alternative system and demonstrate why that system is better. We do not judge systems relative to perfection, but rather relative to one another. And capitalism is the best system that has ever been used. [/quote]

    While capitalism is not a 'perfect' system (can one possibly be designed? I doubt it), there is not a history of capitalist systems degrading into dictatorships and tyranny such as with sollectivist/socialist systems.

    And, I agree, capitalism is the best system that has ever been used (to the extent it was allowed to operate).

    [QUOTE=jets5ever]And I am trying to find a way to say this delicately, but the "ideal" world of altruism is just hippie nonsense that shouldn't be taken seriously by someone as bright as you. If people don't voluntarily buy into and practice the ideal, as determined by some quasi-ruling elite, in order for the ideal to be "effective" that practice will have to be compelled, by force upon the unwilling. WHo defines the ideal and adapts it? Individual freedom (rights, property) is not consistent with this "ideal" and thus wealth will not be created and living standards will suffer because people will not be incentivized to be productive if they don't respect reasonable compensation. Then you would have the dual unpleasantness of being (1) poor and (2) oppressed. It is why Castro, Chavez, The Soviets, etc - all ended up impoverishing and oppressing their people. Not to mention the stifiling effect this would have on innovation. Now, yes, granted that if everyone at all times practiced the ideal of altruism, it would work...but that is like saying that the world would be better if everyone was nice and polite all the time. It's so obvious that even saying it is redundant and everyone with a brain knows that it's hopelessly unrealistic.[/quote]

    Great synopsis..more eloquent than I stated.

    [QUOTE=jets5ever]'Selfishness' like Green said is not the same as evil or callousness towards others. Look at families for an example. I earn money but I give a considerable amount of it to my wife and son for food and shelter. She doesn't work, she stays home with him. So I have a house and a mortgage and a college fund. I make sacrifices in terms of foregone money and time for them. But I am still being "selfish" because doing so makes me happy. Sure, I have a sense of duty to my son and wife and I love them and their happiness and well-being makes me happy, which is why I do what I do. Is my suport of them any less valid or moral because I do it to benefit myself (i.e. make myself happy)? Regardless of the reasons, my wife has a loving husband who is around and spending time with her and supporting her and my son has a father who is in his life and spending time with him and buying him food and clothes.

    Similarly, Pfizer spends billions on research and development to create drugs for things like arthritis pain. My mom has terrible arthritis and takes medicine and her life is much more enjoyable because of it. Does it matter that Pfizer is motivate by a selfish desire for profits? My Mom's life is literally much improved thanks to Pfizer's profitability. If we were to take away the rewards that Pfizer gets for developing and selling drugs, they will be less willing to spend the billions necessary to create new ones. One way of doing this is forcing them to sell drugs at prices far lower than they want to, or removing patent protections. Thus, everyone will be able to afford drugs, but we will forgo the innovations and improvements created by the profit motive. Had we done that decades ago, arthritis medication would likely not be as good as it is now and my Mom's quality of life would be far, far lower...and many other people would simply die because medications that exist now wouldn't. So this "equality" comes at a cost, just like it did in my classroom example. For example, 80% of the world's new drugs are developed in the USA, largely because we allow the profit motive to exist.

    I'll write more when I have more time.....[/QUOTE]

    Great job. This is exactly what I meant when I stated that being 'selfish' is not evil...

  20. #20
    Hall Of Fame
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    11,692
    Post Thanks / Like
    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]Hey George...congrats on the new child that is coming. HOw are you going to manage two kids, a job and rock stardom?

    Anywho...Again, we see things differently, and I honestly think it to be a good thing. I am not naive about an "ideal" world. Again, I do believe in the teachings of Christ, and I was more explaining how I see what Christ was trying to teach, in the sense that if our lives were fully committed to service of others, our needs would be met by others. Of course, where this gets off course, and has got off course with the history of the church is the fact that somewhere down the line, either through teaching or through physical means, people are "forced" into doing this. IT DOES NOT WORK!

    I FULLY FULLY understand where you guys come from when you talk about capitalism in this regard. I agree one hundred percent, and would probably be shocked to hear that I don't agree with things like graduated income tax.

    To me, capitalism as an economic philosophy has gotten us to this point in history. MANY cultures have succeeded without it, although I think we might have a differing opinion on what success means. That said, we are moving to an era where I believe the way we do things must change.

    Now, I guess my way of trying to say this politely is this: Why is it MY responsibility to come up with the new way? I think people working collectively can come up with better ideas than an one individual...and I know you didn't mean ME in particular, but I was just pointing out more for emphasis.

    Again, I point to tribalism as a very successful means for how people live. And this does not just mean native Indians hunting Buffalo on the open plains. The whole concept of a group of individuals who have a vested interest in the common goal of a collective. In some tribes, they wouldn't think of worrying about individual rights because they get what they need from working collectively, not from "doing their own thing." Their very survival is tied into the survival of the collective.

    There is a delicate balance between collectivism and individualism. Too much one way, people are forced to conform, too much the other way, people are only living for their own pleasure and good. When I take of balance, this is what I have hinted at all along.

    Modern tribalism could take many forms. A group of twenty individuals who run a business for the sole purpose of that business creating a means of living for the twenty people. That book I suggested to Greenwave, to me, was more about that very concept. Instead of great big impersonal companies and corporations with the sole intent of making as much profit as possible just does not sit well with a majority of the people. I don't think that is how people are wired. We are a paradoxical species, really. We are all complete individuals, with our own values, ideas, feelings. Yet we work best, create more, and yearn to be with others.

    Anywho....Let me ask you a question. Us bantering back and forth gets long winded and tiresome, don't you think? We both seem to be stream of conscious style writers (ala Hunter S.), so how about we try this.

    In your opinion, what are one of the flaws of capitalism that you see needs to be "improved" on or "evolved" in order to improve the system itself?[/QUOTE]


    Thanks for the kind words. The band is actually relocating to Chicago and I am not going with them. They are all much younger than me...about 22 (I'm 32). Our drummer is from Chicago and it's a great city, so they got jobs and moved there. We recorded the second CD in June -- the basic tracks, anway -- and should finish it up by the end of the summer to release and shop around to labels and radio stations. (We actually just signed a licensing agreement with MTV, so you may hear our tunes during cheesy shows like Laguna Beach or The Hills, or a see a video of ours on MTVU...too funny). In any event, it was getting to be too much for me...and I had fun and they are a well-oil machine nowadays, so they will be fine without me and (ha ha) I handled the business end of our publishing and legal structure and don't worry, I still have an equal 25% interest in the first two albums that I participated in and they agreed to give me a 16% interest in everything produced after my departure (I get 16% and they other four get 21%...all they have to do is find a fourth person to play bass, which they haven't done yet).



    Green answered well to your post, so I will focus on your last question. The biggest risk/flaw with regards to capitalism is that it can cause too much social upheaval and disruption if it does not exist within a framework of a strong sense of family, a strong sense of respect for property and individual rights (rule of law, stable currency, enforced contracts, etc) and, crucially, a group of citizens that is well-educated (meaning, they understand what capitalism is and how it works) and able to adapt because they have a basic, broad skill set which allows them to keep pace.

    Capitalism has a churn, as old things and jobs and skills become obsolete and new ones take their place. For people who only possess these "old" and increasingly obsolete skills, this churn can be deeply unsettling and it can have a large impact on social stability if they lacy the proper support networks of families and a basic skill set which allows them to change courses midstream, as it were. Many people who lack a broad basic education can get lost in this shuffle, which is why, for example, a vocational education is risky compared to a general education because your skill set is not as diversified and more subject to the churn...however, the benefit is that your skill set, though less diversified, is more developed with regards to that single skill. Liberal arts students learn a little bit about a lot of things, while vocational students learn a lot about one thing. There are tradeoffs involved in both approaches.

    One of the ironies of being a conservative who supports capitalism, which by definition only succeeds when change and disruption are constant is one that you have correctly alluded to -- the focus on the individual, even as the fruits of capitalism are largely enjoyed by the whole...capitalism makes the group better off, but the pathway to this is through individual concerns...with the benefits of self-sufficiency come the costs.

    ...which brings me to my point (I do have one!). And that is that culture, tradition and values play a huge role in the success of capitalism. The disruption and churn of capitalism can be violent for people, as I said. It is possible for people to fall for hyper-philosophical nonsense like Ayn Rand who takes the concepts of individuality, productivity and value to extreme yet perfectly logical conclusions. What societies need, aside from the order and education and stable families I mentioned earlier, is a sense of duty, of obligation, of respect, for other people, even as they go about working in a capitalistic society. In my experience, the best way for a society to gain these things is through religion and a belief in God. It is through religion that we learn the importance of duty, of living an examined life, of being grateful for what we have, of not expecting to be handed things but rather working hard for them, of giving back to those that are less fortunate, etc. Religion is a form of coercion, and some may argue force, since one of the many complaints about Christianity, for example, is that people are essentially scared into believing, lest they burn in hell. IMO, that treats believers as children. A child may "believe" because he is scared of Hell, but I would argue that that belief is invalid since it is unexamined and immature. Religious values are a good, stabilizing influence on society and are needed for the people to handle the churns associated with capitalism, to better handle the "costs" of capitalism while still enjoying the benefits, and to ensure that the inequality of results that capitalism creates will be mitigated by each individuals' own sense of charity. I have no data to support this, but I suspect that the US being (1) more capitalistic and (2) more religious than many other western cultures has been an advantage to us and that the two things are very much related to one another.

    The last bit is freedom. When in doubt, all things being equal among various systems, each with flaws, IMO the way to go is to pick the one that allows the most freedom for individuals. Humans are smart and are amazingly good at figuring out solutions to difficult problems. Give them the freedom and incentives to do so!

    Now, western culture and the US are becoming less religious and more secular...even anti-religion in some ways. Our pop culture has coarsened, and our families have broken down. These are risks. I would say that capitalism is responsible for some of this, but I would argue that the bigger culprit is the expanding power of the State and things like welfare and other redistributive policies. It's like piglets competing to suckle off the teat of the mother...the government controls more and more milk and we become piglets who have to compete for it, rather than think/work to produce our own. The sense of entitlement of many in the US is astounding...we have lost the work ethic, the sense of self, the sense of higher purpose, that we had 100 years ago, 50 years ago. The breakdown of the family unit is a far more complex thing. I don't have any 'answers' for that, but I do think that in a general sense, a focus on being non-judgmental and doing whatever feels good has added to this problem, as has the virtual loss of shame in our society. Shame is a very useful societal tool. I think capitalism can feed a desire to do whatever you want, but if that is tempered with a grounding in religious values and a strong devotion to family, it can be the best of all worlds. However, the irony is that in order to be truly free and for capitalism to work, we cannot compel people to live "proper" lives by force. Freedom is a messy thing, and you take the good with the bad. All we can do is try to engage, educate and persuade, we should NOT coerce.
    Last edited by jets5ever; 07-06-2007 at 09:43 AM.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Follow Us