Capitalism is Opposed to Human Happiness Debate
Date: 07-24-2010, 03:42 PM
Wow, I bet you typed that with a straight face as well. We are where we are because the government intruded improperly into the free market by promoting massive risk.
Date: 07-24-2010, 03:45 PM
I would say exactly the opposite.
Date: 07-24-2010, 07:36 PM
Is that really so terrible, though? I mean, as opposed to the alternative, where people have to work regardless of the weather or their physical condition because if they don't they'll starve to death.
I don't see a big lack of hard work in the world. Looks to me like people are working too hard for too little return.
Date: 07-24-2010, 07:37 PM
Isn't that the old "the government intruded by not intruding!" argument? You're blaming the government for allowing the banks to take risks, not the banks for taking those risks.
Date: 07-28-2010, 01:28 PM
What's the definition of "illegal"? Something the government doesn't allow. Your statement of "government allowing illegal activity" is a contradiction. That's like saying a "married bachelor" or a "square circle." You basically said, "The reason why the economy is broken is because the government is allowing what they don't allow!" What?
If the government allows an activity, it is de facto legal. U.S. corporations hiring terrorists to lead dictatorship coups in Iran, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Indonesia, China, etc., etc., etc.. Yes, this is all de facto legal, like the use of violence and sexual abuse as a disciplinary measure in factories run by Walmart in the underdeveloped world.
Haven't you noticed that I'm the only one here who quotes historians and economists like Adam Smith and David Hume? I won't make any accusations -- I'll just allow that fact on its own to speak for itself.
Yes, I suppose I should go read more about history. My recommendation to you: read a thread before you post to it. I already pointed out several historical examples of Socialism, from the British movement of the Levellers in the 1600's, to the Anarcho-Syndicalists in Spain in 1936, in Ukraine in 1920, and in Korea in the late 1920's. Or, to quote myself...
Wow, Socialism, or workers' control of the means of production, really produced some hellish things.... wait, nope, not seeing that. I'm seeing a largely harmonious social order that provides better for everyone than any other system conceived in humanity.
And so-called "State Socialism": I'm seeing Capitalists call themselves liberals, socialists, communists, nazis, and fascists, and then using the means of production to exploit the workers. This is Capitalism, whether it calls itself Socialism or not. After all, China calls itself a Democracy. Are you now going to say, "Look at how horrible Democracy is! You see the gulags in China? Get out of here with all that philosophy of Democracy garbage!" Just because China calls itself Communist, or Russia did, does not make it so; even Lenin called Russia Democratic. Are you going to believe everything that Pravda and Marx tell you? Apparently you believe it much more so than I, and yet I need to go research about what you believe because you listened some Leninists.
According to the Monetarist Milton Friedman, three quarters of the globe faces starvation on a daily basis. (See "Economics of Under-developed Countries.") Please explain to me how happiness is achievable when you are watching your children starve to death. Please explain to how maximum happiness is achieved when those who work the most, the laborers, receive the smallest portion of production -- while those who do absolutely nothing except act as parasites, the Capitalists, receive the absolute bulk of it all?
Socialism is about equality of bargaining positions. And if you disagree, then don't argue against Socialism -- argue against what I have been saying this entire time, that inequality of bargaining positions necessarily leads to serious, class inequalities. You may not read much economics or history, so let me break it down for you...
"....we understand by class-dominance the social dependency relations which result from the customary industrial connections between the upper and the lower classes, between masters and slaves, between entrepreneurs and laborers, between creditors and debtors, between the strong merchants and the weak buyers."
"The phenomenon of child labor is the inevitable accompaniment of low wages, and low wages result from a condition of land monopoly..."
"Unless the worker accepts the exploitative conditions of capitalist production, he is ‘free’ only in the sense that he is free to starve."
"With the transformation of the average person to the level of an industrial worker, a pronounced shift in relative bargaining power is also accomplished through the industrialization process. As the average employing unit becomes larger in size, its bargaining power also expands while, at the same time, the bargaining power of the individual worker shrinks and eventually becomes almost meaningless for all practical purposes. Therefore, the individual worker loses control over the determination of factors quite basic to him, such as his wage, the length of time he works per day or per week, and the environment within which he carries on his assigned work."
"We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters, though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labour above their actual rate. To violate this combination is everywhere a most unpopular action, and a sort of reproach to a master among his neighbours and equals. We seldom, indeed, hear of this combination, because it is the usual, and one may say, the natural state of things, which nobody ever hears of."
"Civilization, therefore, or that which is so-called, has operated two ways: to make one part of society more affluent, and the other more wretched, than would have been the lot of either in a natural state."
"...the want of freedom in the market of labour, which occurs more or less in all communities, either from parish laws, or the more general cause of the facility of combination among the rich, and its difficulty among the poor, operates to prevent the price of labour from rising at the natural period, and keeps it down some time longer; perhaps till a year of scarcity, when the clamour is too loud and the necessity too apparent to be resisted."
"He no longer produced a complete work, but merely the part of a work; in which he required not only the cooperation of other workmen, but also raw materials, proper implements, and a trader to undertake the exchange of the article which he had contributed to finish. Whenever he bargained with a master-workman for the exchange of labour against subsistence, the condition he stood in was always disadvantageous, since his need of subsistence and his inability to procure it of himself, were far greater than the master's need of labour; and therefore he almost constantly narrowed his demand to bare necessaries, without which the stipulated labour could not have proceeded; whilst the master alone profited from the increase of productive power brought about by the division of labour."
I am not sure at all what you mean when you say that I am referring "to a type of person who is at an economic disadvantage as having the same benefit of an economically sufficeint person." Rather, in terms of material existence, I am simply stating that material existence is necessary to happiness and life. Naturally, you should be aware, those who possess the land and machinery did not make the land usable, nor did they create the machinery. They are the ones who have us working for them, not the other way around.
To quote John Locke, "...labour makes the far greatest part of the value of things we enjoy in this world; and the ground which produces the materials is scarce to be reckoned in as any, or at most, but a very small part of it; so little, that even amongst us, land that is left wholly to nature, that hath no improvement of pasturage, tillage, or planting, is called, as indeed it is, waste; and we shall find the benefit of it amount to little more than nothing." ("Second Treatise on Government, Chapter 5.) All that we value today, is the product of labor, and where capital is involved, such as machinery or land, that too is the product of the very same labor.
Actually, that is not true. Early artisans, who used hand tools, were their own business owners and laborers, just like small, independent farmers. Besides, even in our own age, there are a thousand examples of industries that are directly owned, managed, and worked by the people there: worker cooperatives, worker councils, factory occupations, etc., etc.. From Mondragon to the Lipp Factory to the ten million workers of France who seized industry and temporarily abolished Capitalism in 1968. It is only impossible if you close your eyes to the rising tides of evidence.
Actually, you provided absolutely no reasoning to disprove that (a) inequality of bargaining power between worker and boss leads to socially unjust distribution of wealth, so that those who work possess nothing and those who are idle possess all; and, (b) that workers, when they manage and control industries for themselves, are on an economically equal footing, and therefore, such a reorganization prevents exploitation of the many by the very few.
I'm very familiar with your system, but what I have pointed out over and over, is that it has done nothing to end unemployment, poverty, and starvation. It has not led to a situation in which each member of society is most benefited, since if you want to work, you have to pay the profits that fill the pockets of the Capitalist. And if it's not enough, they won't let you work the land. Under monopoly or oligopoly, it is more profitable to let land sit still than to use it. Workers must sacrifice food that would go to their children so that Capitalists can have mansions. Yes, your system is well-known around the world. Perhaps you do not see that it tends to help a very few, perhaps 1%, and works to explait the vast majority. As in Britain, where 70% of the land is possessed by less than 1% of the population. (See "Who Owns Britain?" by Kevin Cahill.)
You are forgetting that Capitalism intervenes in the free market, always on behalf of the Capitalist system. Read Eugene V. Debs or Mother Jones, and you'll see police used to beat protesters and military to shoot striking workers. Read Henry D. Lloyd or Ralph Nader, and you'll see that all of the so-called regulatory agencies are controlled and dominated by the wealthy. (Titles like "The Lords of Industry," "The Workers," or "Hot War on the Consumer.") To quote Thomas Hodgskin from "Labour Defended Against the Claims of Capital," 1825: "They have made also a law handing us [the unionists] over to the magistrates like vagabonds and thieves, and we are to be condemned almost unheard, and without the privilege and formality of a public trial." Or, as the sociologist Gustav Schmoller put it...
As you can see, it should be very obvious that government does not corrupt Capitalism, it is the reverse. Democracy is impossible when the majority of wealth is possessed by a few, because any candidate can be propped up with enough wealth -- just as aristocrats and noblemen used their wealth to intervene in the hereditary succession of kings to prop up their own favorites, as in the case of the Carlist Movement. The system of representative government dominated by Capitalists has its distinct similarities to the monarchist system dominated by noblemen.
There is no need to look at corporations today as though they are anything different than what they always have been: the wealthy using the law to violently oppress and exploit the common, working poor. Or, as Jean Jacques Rousseau said, "What is most necessary, and perhaps most difficult, in government, is rigid integrity in doing strict justice to all, and above all in protecting the poor against the tyranny of the rich. The greatest evil has already come about, when there are poor men to be defended, and rich men to be restrained." ("A Discourse on Political Economy," 1755.)