Capitalism is Opposed to Human Happiness Debate
Date: 07-18-2010, 09:46 AM
I disagree. Rather, I believe it is inequality of bargaining power between the great masses and a very few that leads to exploitation, poverty, starvation, etc.. To quote the economist Simonde de Sismondi...
It is something almost of a conspiracy to keep the vast majority exploited as workers and without any recourse to justice. As Adam Smith pointed out...
If there is a relationship between humanity's material existence and our happiness, then Capitalism may not be the ideal system for maximizing the happiness of each of society's participants.
Date: 07-18-2010, 09:58 AM
Yes, but place a patent on that cabin model and issue a deed for the lake -- how happy is our camper going to be then?
And I know plenty of artists; good paint supplies are not cheap. Again, take away their brush and paint, and how happy are they?
I didn't say that wealth is the key to happiness, but it seems to be 100% instrumental. There is always a way that property can be used to increase or decrease happiness, such as the difference between drinking a cure and a poison. Look at Gandhi -- for all that he lived in poverty, he was only claiming one thing as property: the entire subcontinent of India for the Indian people. Even with a meak heart, an immense amount of property may be the only thing that leads to happiness. Or, perhaps, I should say to greater happiness.
Date: 07-18-2010, 10:38 AM
Capitalism isn't opposed to happiness; in fact it makes the claim happiness is achieved with the concentration of wealth into the hands of a tiny minority of individuals who use heritable wealth toward two ends: first, to ensure the vast majority becomes and remains dependent on them for life's commodities, and, second, to do everything possible to make sure the condition of their control over the what the majority depends on never passes into the hands of any outside the wealthy class.
This second point is demonstrated by examples of the superwealthy buying the businesses of up-and-coming commodity-suppliers, whether they produce a physical product or a virtual one. It's akin to the saying about feeding a man a with fish versus teaching him how to fish: when an up-and-comer sells his company to a corporate conglomerate or wealthy individual, all he's gained is money; more importantly, he's handed over control of his ability to produce to the monied interests that want to keep their little club of producers of goods an exclusive one.
Date: 07-18-2010, 01:23 PM
There seems to be a conflict in this reasoning. You pointed out how big businesses, by their wealth, can impose whatever they want on smaller businesses. Does it not naturally follow with workers and their employers? After all, my argument has simply been that we should improve the happiness of all, not just some way to increase economic idea. If you think that big business has so much bargaining power that they exploit small businesses, where is your sympathy for workers who have so little bargaining power that they must content themselves with such a small portion? To quote Peter Kropotkin,
Besides, this leads to a greater problem: if the laws are always and have always been manipulated by the rich, why should we put up with an economic system that drains away Democracy? After all, I hardly doubt the state stepped in and demanded to corrupt the situation; rather, I think the state was propped up by corrupt interests.
Date: 07-18-2010, 01:43 PM
Your entire argument stems from the idea that happiness involves material happiness, and that all people should be materially equal. That is not the case.
Happiness does not stem from material goods, happiness stems from stimulation of the mind. Those who stimulate their minds, use their minds, are generally those who are rewarded with material things. Yet, the cause of their happiness is not in the material, it is in the mind. The material is merely the by product of a useful mind.
Furthermore, the laborer is not worth as much as someone who uses their mind to create happiness. The laborer is a dime a dozen: the majority of people willfully choose not to use their mind to create happiness but instead demand that happiness (in the form of material goods) be given to them by those who have created those goods. The laborer believes that (s)he is entitled to those goods, entitled to the same happiness, as (s)he who has created those goods with their minds, under the assumption that all (wo)men are created equal.
And, all people are created equal. All people are created with a mind, which they can choose to use from an incredibly early age. If many choose not to use their mind, but instead to indulge in pleasures of material goods, then who are they to demand true happiness from those who have worked hard? For you see, the only truly indispensable people in this world are those who do not complain about things being unfair, who do not demand that others provide for them, or give to them. The only truly indispensable people are those who use their minds with the pure motive of furthering their life, of creating happiness for themself through the stimulation of their mind. Those are also, coincidently, the only people in this world not to issue demands on others, the only people in this world who are persecuted in the press for being 'un-caring' and 'selfish'. But, is it really selfish to live your life without demanding anything from others? All this group of people do is trade, value for value, with others who have accepted the offer of trade. They present no demands to humankind, they make to claims of entitlement on the profits of others. And, they also meekly submit to those demands when they are demanded of them by those who believe happiness lies in the material.
Capitalism, as we know it today, is a farce. (Wo)men of the mind are made to feel ashamed of their ability, of their triumphs, of their happinessl. They are told that they must give back to others who are less fortunate. But, those who are less fortunate are that way through their own choices. They have chosen not to use their mind to create happiness for themselves, but instead to demand material goods from others. Therefore, those people can never truly be happy, so they continually demand more and more from those few who are truly happy. In true capitalism, the only things law needs do is enforce contracts between parties. One need not worry about monopolies, as someone else of the mind will always come along and do something better than the prior person did, creating competition. One need not worry about laborers being unable to get food, as the less they are paid the cheaper prices will be. It is the demands of the many on the few that create embalances, as the many demand material happiness instead of happiness of the mind.
As long as you believe happiness to stem from the material, you will never be happy. If you accept that happiness comes from the mind, and that you have the exact same ability to be happy as anyone else, you will see the choice before you. Because, happiness IS a choice. One can choose to use their mind and find happiness, or one can choose to not use their minds and demand from others while never finding happiness.