How angry are you about politics?

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Not angry at all, though the EU has been disappointing in how authoritarian it has been. I hope more countries follow Poland.

As for US politics, it's so hilarious it's impossible to be angry.

inu-kun:

Should the workers have a say if the company needs to fire a shitload of them?

Yes. That's why unions were originally created (so workers have a say on company decisions).

inu-kun:

More like capitalism being the natural state of humanity, like investing for the next generation and getting returns on investments.

You believe the "natural state of humanity" is an economic system which has existed for approximately 300 years? That's the natural state for a species which has existed for about 2.7 million years?

Do you not realise how ludicrous that is?

Silvanus:

inu-kun:

More like capitalism being the natural state of humanity, like investing for the next generation and getting returns on investments.

You believe the "natural state of humanity" is an economic system which has existed for approximately 300 years? That's the natural state for a species which has existed for about 2.7 million years?

Do you not realise how ludicrous that is?

2.7 million years is a bit of a stretch, that's going right back to Homo habilis, who used primitive stone tools but didn't likely have much of an economy. Neanderthals were 1.8mya, and the first early modern humans (H. sapiens idaltu) were 160kya.

While I wouldn't use the terms "communist" or "socialist" when referring to early human social groups, but as a general rule, the first social structures in humanity were often communal and egalitarian with people participating and sharing everything. It took the development of agriculture and animal husbandry to create specialized labor (and among other things) to where we begin to see unequal hierarchies and economic disparity that would develop into current structures. Capitalism is simply not the "natural" state of humanity, at least in regards to organization and resource management. Individuals that would horde resources and hand them out for labor or something else in turn within the group wouldn't last long.

Ravinoff:

2.7 million years is a bit of a stretch, that's going right back to Homo habilis, who used primitive stone tools but didn't likely have much of an economy. Neanderthals were 1.8mya, and the first early modern humans (H. sapiens idaltu) were 160kya.

Oop, you're right, that's going to prior species. I wouldn't count the presence of an economy as a strong differentiating factor for species, though.

Still, the point stands: capitalism has existed for a tiny fraction of humanity's existence, so it would be ridiculous to describe it as our natural state.

Delicious Anathema:
though the EU has been disappointing in how authoritarian it has been. I hope more countries follow Poland.

You appear to have made a typo, fixed that for you

"though Poland has been disappointing in how authoritarian it has been. I hope more countries follow the EU"

As an outsider from New Zealand looking in all I can think is that America has the politicians their system has been designed to create.

Corruption is an open secret, it's not even illegal in the United States. It's PAR THE COURSE for the country. The people just accept it and the politicians EXPECT it. If someone has the hand caught in the cookie jar the response is just "Well, it's their jar".

I hope American politics serves as a lesson to other countries to not allow the government to make decisions about government in a supposedly democratic society. What I FEAR is that the lesson goes the other way "Look at what we can get away with. If it's good for the Americans it's good for us!"

There is so much wrong with the American political system. No recourse for change, or rather they came close with a genuine socialist in Bernie but their own party tore him down. Nobody is on the side of the people and if someone raises up to BE on the side of the people then the rest of those in government will quickly ensure they raise no higher.

The scary thing is that Bernie needs to find and nominate a successor to his seat. He's not going to be around forever and America needs at least SOMEONE in politics that wants to reform the broken system. The issue is in order to get into the position to do something about the broken system an individual must ABUSE the broken system, likely corrupting themselves in the process. The reason the successor thing is scary is that it starts sounding like a monarchy or imperial in nature to resolve a non-democratic system.

You just can't win and eventually, I fear, violent revolution WILL occur in the United States. The nation can not continue on its current course with the divide between the haves and the have nots being so vast. Bread and Circuses will only sustain them so long, and the country will eventually not be able to afford the bread or the circus soon.

image

More serious: I'm mostly resigned for the moment. Occasionaly, there are moments where governing party just looses marbles that i didn't think they still had, and the opposition still adamantly refuses to come up with any convincing alternative, and that makes me frustrated. But there isn't really much i can do til next electoral period. And i have even less influence over international politics, so... eh.

Gotta laugh. The alternative is to take it seriously. Trump is the worlds new Berlusconi. The EU is struggling to find a way to meaningfully discipline it's adopted Eastern European kids, and is so distracted by that it's failing to notice Spain in the garden torturing ants. The UK Government appears to have gone off for a while to "find itself".

On the bright side, they're all going to be replaced by our robot overlords shortly anywho.

Meiam:

Delicious Anathema:
though the EU has been disappointing in how authoritarian it has been. I hope more countries follow Poland.

You appear to have made a typo, fixed that for you

"though Poland has been disappointing in how authoritarian it has been. I hope more countries follow the EU"

The worst thing about the EU is the inconsistency.

Poland are being taken to task for their reformations. Spain is suppressing members of the public in the street and gets no criticism at all.

Anyone who is angry at politics ts probably being manipulated by propaganda made to convince the sheep that this or that political party is "out to destroy them". The truth is that everything is fine, everything has always been fine, and everything will always be fine. The best cure for political anger is to turn off whatever propaganda machine you're listening to (news, blog, podcast, etc)

cthulhuspawn82:
The truth is that everything is fine, everything has always been fine, and everything will always be fine.

You know, assuming you don't live somewhere like North Korea. Or many regions of India. Or pretty much anywhere in the Middle East. The American South. Venezuela. Ukraine...

BeetleManiac:

cthulhuspawn82:
The truth is that everything is fine, everything has always been fine, and everything will always be fine.

You know, assuming you don't live somewhere like North Korea. Or many regions of India. Or pretty much anywhere in the Middle East. The American South. Venezuela. Ukraine...

I hate to bring the novel up because it is waaaaay overused in political discussions, but cthulu's post screams 1984's government propaganda.

Avnger:
I hate to bring the novel up because it is waaaaay overused in political discussions, but cthulu's post screams 1984's government propaganda.

I thought the government wanted everyone to be all passionate and excited? You aren't supposed to sleep through the Two Minutes Hate or respond with a complacent shrug to government propaganda.

Veylon:
I thought the government wanted everyone to be all passionate and excited? You aren't supposed to sleep through the Two Minutes Hate or respond with a complacent shrug to government propaganda.

The implication was that the Two Minutes Hate functioned a bit like the Purge in the titular movies, in that it gave people a way to vent the frustrations and genuine anger which built up through their horrible lives in Airstrip One. The book is very clear that noone needed to be compelled to take part in the two minutes hate, because everyone had something to hate. The point was to give people a set time, place and hate figure against which to vent emotions which they couldn't express in their everyday lives.

It's what we might now call a form of repressive desublimation. It's a place where people are allowed to "rebel" and to express violent emotions, or even to be physically violent, but in a "safe" way which doesn't actually threaten the social order. In fact, it reinforces the social order by allowing people to feel better even as their lives haven't got any better.

Essentially, the government (although it's probably better to say the system, as most of the characters in the book are technically part of the "the government") in 1984, as with everything, wasn't "pro-emotion" or "anti-emotion", emotion was just another tool of control.

cthulhuspawn82:
Anyone who is angry at politics ts probably being manipulated by propaganda made to convince the sheep that this or that political party is "out to destroy them". The truth is that everything is fine, everything has always been fine, and everything will always be fine. The best cure for political anger is to turn off whatever propaganda machine you're listening to (news, blog, podcast, etc)

Then what are you doing here, man?

cthulhuspawn82:
The truth is that everything is fine, everything has always been fine, and everything will always be fine.

Dear god I don't have the mental strength for this.

evilthecat:

inu-kun:
And the people who run it will misuse to their own ends because we are talking about humanity in the end, not robots.

Sure, but the people who run businesses or staff national governments in a capitalist economic system are also humans and not robots..

Again, I don't think you get the fundamental point. You're alleging that bureaucratic systems of management will inevitably produce corruption, when these systems exist in all forms of politics and corporate enterprise. There are always people who run businesses, there are always people who run government departments, there are always people who run local councils, there are always people who run shareholder meetings. The difference between our society and that of the soviet union is that in our society its considered totally acceptable, indeed normal, for people in many of these situations to act purely in their own interests, or even at the expense of other people. We don't consider that to be "corruption", because corruption implies that something has gone wrong, whereas in our society this is literally how things are supposed to work. Again, we live in a society which considers unrestrained selfishness and screwing other people over to get what you want to be appropriate things for a person in a position of economic authority to do.

It's not just corruption, but inefficency. As well as appealing to government rather than consumers.

inu-kun:
Hmmmmm, bartering always existed since the dawn of humanity.

So, in a barter system, what is "capital?"

Wealth. How many sheeps/land/crop you own.

inu-kun:
Also the aristocracy ruled because they had money to pay their soldiers. Common fucking sense.

They didn't pay their soldiers (certainly not in money). For most of history the idea of a professional army who were paid a salary was unthinkable. Also, they had wealth (not money) because they could own land and force people to work on it. They forced people to work on it using, you've guessed it, the threat of violence.

So no, it's not common sense.

Is there a "king gene" that makes people obey your command? More likely the ancestors of those kings and aristocrats gathered enough wealth to hire mercenaries to keep their wealth. It's different than today as you can't seek merceneries on troublemakers, but lawyers instead.

inu-kun:
Humanity in general awards horrible people,

What actual evidence do you have for this statement as a universal rule?

Also, I love how you assume I'm arguing for "communism" (which is already meaningless, no "communist" society actually described itself as such) because I've mentioned the USSR a few times, in overwhelmingly negative context. Again, my point from the very beginning has been to oppose the dogmatic ideological statement that popular ownership of the means of production (not the same thing as communism) is automatically less efficient.

Also.. three words..

Congo Free State.

People venerating religeous saints who were not the most pure, for example? Mother Teresa, or if we go socialist Che Guevara.

As for going USSR, why not use the easiest example of Communism failing? Though I can give also Venezuela.

inu-kun:
Also stop dehumanizing rich people, it's just childish. People can be good or bad despite getting money.

That largely depends how you define good or evil. The point, which again you seem to have missed, is that resolving to act in a way which results in fair distribution of resources, or which avoids exploitation, cruelty and mistreatment of others is to be inherently anti-capitalist. Under capitalism, exploitation is elevated to the status of a virtue, it is the mark of a "good" capitalist, and thus a "good" capitalist cannot be a "good" person.

Or that is a srawman metric you made up to make up a world view that justifies removing rich people's rights. People still value community and religion in countries with capitalist markets and psychopaths rise to the top even in non capitalist regimes.

But you're right. Living in the West is pretty great. I mean, have you seen the price of rubber? You can't get deals this good in the USSR..

You make the point several times, if any country goes pure socialist they'll still need rubber and they would still get it where it is cheapest (unless you want to go full insanity "marxist world" that will never ever happen) which leads to places abusing moral rights since it's their own decision. So what is the difference? If you want to avert such tragedies then make it illegal under the UN to barter with such countries or conquer them to force them to do it.

Now, if your point is that under communist rule quality of life will dive so far down that the demand to rubber will be lower then you are entirely correct.

CaitSeith:

inu-kun:

Should the workers have a say if the company needs to fire a shitload of them?

Yes. That's why unions were originally created (so workers have a say on company decisions).

Yeah, but life ain't perfect and sometimes mass firing is unavoidable. I can give an example of an insanely strong union ruining the company for the benefits of employees if you want an example.

Silvanus:

inu-kun:

More like capitalism being the natural state of humanity, like investing for the next generation and getting returns on investments.

You believe the "natural state of humanity" is an economic system which has existed for approximately 300 years? That's the natural state for a species which has existed for about 2.7 million years?

Do you not realise how ludicrous that is?

More like natural evolution of the state of humanity, though there are some differences like the lesser availability of violence as an answer and a bit weaker communal part (though through socialism the communal part is far above what was in the past).

Catnip1024:

Meiam:

Delicious Anathema:
though the EU has been disappointing in how authoritarian it has been. I hope more countries follow Poland.

You appear to have made a typo, fixed that for you

"though Poland has been disappointing in how authoritarian it has been. I hope more countries follow the EU"

The worst thing about the EU is the inconsistency.

Poland are being taken to task for their reformations. Spain is suppressing members of the public in the street and gets no criticism at all.

You're comparing apples and oranges here. The problems with Catalonia's push for independence are multiple. First of all it comes at a time where the EU is already unstable and such an event would not help. But, additionally, what the separatist movement did is considered unconstitutional and thus illegal in Spain. One may argue whether or not it should be but considering nations have always considered separatism as something to be quelled and nobody ever argued about it I don't see why now we suddenly should. The EU just doesn't seem to have a novel view on that.

The Polish government however is destroying the independence of the Justice system from the executive which is a strong move towards actual totalitarianism. You're just one step away from the executive actually using the courts to get rid of any meaningful opposition like in Russia.

@cthulhuspawn82: Privilege says "what"

If you really believe that, and I bet you dont and just want to rile people up, then you are the definition of privilege cause clearly you are not any ethnicity but white, you arent poor or even middle class, you arent sick or risk of being sick, you dont live in a rural or urban community, you arent LGBT etc.

generals3:
snip

They are different situations, yes. One is potentially undermining the authority of the court system, therefore making breaches of human rights and the democratic process easier in future. Although as far as I can see, the ECJ would still be the ultimate authority, providing some overseeing / mitigation.

The other is clear breaches of human rights with some very democratically dubious rhetoric coming from Spain. Regardless of the democratic arguments, though, the police response was beyond all reason and deserved a stern criticism if nothing else. The lack of response from the EU members (including the UK) is disgusting. It will be interesting to see the rhetoric directed towards Iran regarding the last few days' protests, for comparison.

inu-kun:
It's not just corruption, but inefficency. As well as appealing to government rather than consumers.

See, this is called moving the goalposts, and my tolerance for it has greatly declined this year because it signals a complete abandonment of intellectual honesty.

Inefficiency. Where? Because, again, the US health service costs literally twice as much per capita as the UK one. The idea that nationalization (let alone popular ownership) produces magic inefficiency out of thin air is devoid of any basic evidence or reasonable sense.

Appealing to government rather than consumers. Like, I'm not sure how to respond to this one because I'm literally not sure what it means. Consumer goods, for example, are always designed to appeal to the consumer, but this doesn't mean the person creating, designing or developing those goods is actually answering directly to the consumer in any economic system. They answer to management, or to their publisher, who themselves answers to shareholders or to whoever is funding the development. It's why corporations spend a lot of money commissioning market research to try and find out what consumers want (and still often end up getting it completely wrong). They don't activate their magic capitalovision powers too see into the consumers mind and build a product around what they find.

inu-kun:
Wealth. How many sheeps/land/crop you own.

So, how do you invest your sheep? Do you feed them into a mincer and then spray whatever business you want to invest in with sheep innards to make it more valuable?

"Capital" is not wealth in the general sense, but wealth which can be transferred between different states easily through the exchange of agreements and promises. Capitalism relies on the ability to convert intangiable wealth into tangiable infrastructure and back again easily. Even hauling wheelbarrows of gold around wasn't really enough to support a capitalist economy. Capitalism relies on a state where two people can agree to exchange the value of commodities without ever having to touch those commodities with their own hands.

See, the problem with saying "capitalism is the natural state of humanity" is that it's not exactly a glowing appraisal of capitalism. Economic systems, for most of humanity's history, have been extremely crude and inefficient. Capitalism is better than those systems because it allows for greater economic centralisation. Instead of working in many small workshops or farms owned by individual Burghers or Yeomen, people work in a few giant factories owned by wealthy investors, or capitalists. The problem with capitalism is that this economic centralization artificially devalues the contribution of individual workers compared to capital invested in the machines and facilities they work in, and leads to extreme concentration of wealth in the hands of a capitalist class whose only contribution to society is providing capital or liquidity.

Ultimately, it does not make reasonable sense that a person's life and value to society be determined by their potential for capital investment rather than, say, their personal qualities, skills or abilities. It makes slightly more sense than having that be determined by blood relation (although in practice it usually has the same result) but it is not a rational or "efficient" economic system to have an entire factory working to pay for the luxurious lifestyle of an investor who has never even touched one of the machines from which he makes a living.

inu-kun:
Is there a "king gene" that makes people obey your command?

I don't know.. is there a "capitalist gene" which makes people not simply cave your skull in, steal your wallet and use the money to buy their own damn machines?

Tell you what.. you put yourself into the role of a member of the medieval minor nobility, or even a peasant. You don't like the king and think he's mean and oppressive and treats you badly. What happens if you don't obey his commands? Heck, what happens to society overall if noone obeys his commands?

Here's a clue..

Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same consequent to the time wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such condition there is no place for industry... no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

inu-kun:
More likely the ancestors of those kings and aristocrats gathered enough wealth to hire mercenaries to keep their wealth.

Is there a "aspiring king" gene which means that those mercenaries won't just kill you and take your wealth for themselves instead?

What's stopping them?

inu-kun:
Or that is a srawman metric you made up to make up a world view that justifies removing rich people's rights. People still value community and religion in countries with capitalist markets and psychopaths rise to the top even in non capitalist regimes.

So what? Who cares who they are and what they value?

The originators of capitalism were mostly Calvinists of the Burgher classes of Northern Europe. They believed absolutely that they were good and moral people, they didn't engage in what they saw as immoral behaviour, like drinking or extramarital sex. In fact, they were far more rigorous about matters of personal morality than either the ordinary peasants or the aristocracy. They still made their money through the systematic exploitation of others, which in fact was justified by their Calvinist belief that most people (people who weren't them, and whom God hadn't favoured with wealth) were inherently evil and sinful.

Again, this is a system founded on exploitation. It's founded on intentionally benefiting from the poverty and desperation of others. Left alone, it inevitably results in conditions of figurative slavery for anyone not fortunate enough to be born into the right middle class family, where people are allowed to believe that they are moral and good.

One can take part in exploitation and still be a "good" person in the sense of believing in the value of community and religion, but the same was true under feudalism. The same was true under totalitarian socialism. The same was true under fascism. The people who spent their days herding people into the gas chambers or torturing enemies of the Khmer Rouge to death went home each night and hugged their children. This should not surprise or confuse us any more, this does not constitute a meaningful basis not to condemn the political and economic systems from which these people benefited by hurting others, and I have no doubt that you would (rightly) take great offence if this standard of reasoning was applied to any economic system other the one you happen to live under.

inu-kun:
You make the point several times, if any country goes pure socialist they'll still need rubber and they would still get it where it is cheapest (unless you want to go full insanity "marxist world" that will never ever happen) which leads to places abusing moral rights since it's their own decision.

Is it?

Also, why is there some absolute compulsion to always buy from the cheapest supplier? That's not even true under capitalism, hence why every supermarket I visit labels their locally grown produce.. Under capitalism, yes, it is "anti-capitalist" or "anti-free market" not to always buy from the cheapest supplier, because capitalism can provide us with no sound reason to do so. Failing to always go for the bottom line is asking to be "out-competed", but the fact that people continue to do this regardless, that people inform their decisions with a whole range of factors entirely separate to economic competitiveness (like animal or human welfare, environmentalism, or preference for investing in local economies) illustrates that this isn't a "need" or a compulsion at all.

In fact, your point is all starting to sound an awful lot like an excuse, isn't it. I'm sure the people over in the USSR were very good at making excuses too..

MrCalavera:

cthulhuspawn82:
Anyone who is angry at politics ts probably being manipulated by propaganda made to convince the sheep that this or that political party is "out to destroy them". The truth is that everything is fine, everything has always been fine, and everything will always be fine. The best cure for political anger is to turn off whatever propaganda machine you're listening to (news, blog, podcast, etc)

Then what are you doing here, man?

Probably trying to tell people that politics is often used as a distraction to keep people arguing among themselves while the politicians do whatever they want. While you are getting your blood pressure up a couple of politicians from the D and the R camps are having dinner together working out a deal that has nothing to do with representing you (unless you are a corporation with deep pockets). Are you accomplishing anything here on the internet by spreading your love or your hate for Trump or any other politician?

NemotheElvenPanda:
While I wouldn't use the terms "communist" or "socialist" when referring to early human social groups, but as a general rule, the first social structures in humanity were often communal and egalitarian with people participating and sharing everything. It took the development of agriculture and animal husbandry to create specialized labor (and among other things) to where we begin to see unequal hierarchies and economic disparity that would develop into current structures. Capitalism is simply not the "natural" state of humanity, at least in regards to organization and resource management. Individuals that would horde resources and hand them out for labor or something else in turn within the group wouldn't last long.

Not that we know this, since those people in their exalted natural state didn't exactly leave a record of their social philosophy, but it does seem like a reasonable assumption that a wandering group of hunter-gatherers were unable to hoard property, since the principal valuable thing (food) would tend to depreciate in value over time. As in "rot". And it's not that tough to be egalitarian when everyone works the same job together, barring the probable division of labor by sex.

Now, the thing about the adoption of agriculture is the so-called "neolithic paradox", the archeological evidence that people were much worse nourished after they settled down to farm. The average height of people apparently went down by several inches quite suddenly, for example. Yet they didn't give it up, suggesting they preferred the trade-off of enabling the development of specialized skills and, yes, property. The stuff of civilization. Was this somehow an unnatural preference, given the option?

As for all this talk of capitalism being a very recent development, maybe so as a governing principle, but exchange, trade and capital have been around for a long time. Capitalism certainly didn't replace any socialist Utopia, but rather a dominant feudal system that delegated the management of (ultimately the Sovereign's) property so that it couldn't be alienated from the person of its holder. Like, say, the Earl of Bollockshire wasn't able to just sell off his estate to anyone who came along and offered enough money, because it wasn't his property to dispense with, but rather his duty and privilege to run it. That's a very rigid social economy, and the emergence of capitalism certainly made society drastically more equal. It's not perfect, but what is? Going back to roaming the land in bands of 100-200 spear-toting neo-primitives?

StatusNil:
It's not perfect, but what is? Going back to roaming the land in bands of 100-200 spear-toting neo-primitives?

Well, let's look at a single example, rather than an entire country. The rail travel industry in the UK, say, since its ownership is so often under debate.

One of the fundamental beliefs of almost all free market philosophies is that competition will drive down prices and drive up quality of service, because consumers could otherwise choose to utilise a competitor. Of course, that is not the case with the rail service. A traveller must use the train company that heads through their station; there is no alternative train company to make the journey.

So, no competition. What does this do to rail fares? Well, rail fares have risen year on year, rising faster than the rate of pay. This year will see another rise, the largest in five years. Rail fares were not rising to make up for greater costs suffered by the company, either-- the rail companies continued to enjoy rising profits, even during the Recession.

And, unlike in a nationalised system, the majority of this money is not even reinvested in the rail itself. It is operated with the profit motive, so it goes to owners and shareholders' private wealth.

What benefit does this privatised system have? There is no competition, less reinvestment, and rising fares (and poorer service) regardless of the profit the company makes.

evilthecat:

inu-kun:
It's not just corruption, but inefficency. As well as appealing to government rather than consumers.

See, this is called moving the goalposts, and my tolerance for it has greatly declined this year because it signals a complete abandonment of intellectual honesty.

Inefficiency. Where? Because, again, the US health service costs literally twice as much per capita as the UK one. The idea that nationalization (let alone popular ownership) produces magic inefficiency out of thin air is devoid of any basic evidence or reasonable sense.

Appealing to government rather than consumers. Like, I'm not sure how to respond to this one because I'm literally not sure what it means. Consumer goods, for example, are always designed to appeal to the consumer, but this doesn't mean the person creating, designing or developing those goods is actually answering directly to the consumer in any economic system. They answer to management, or to their publisher, who themselves answers to shareholders or to whoever is funding the development. It's why corporations spend a lot of money commissioning market research to try and find out what consumers want (and still often end up getting it completely wrong). They don't activate their magic capitalovision powers too see into the consumers mind and build a product around what they find.

Inefficency walks hand in hand with corruption (which is kinda ubnavoidable since you call everything you don't like "corruption" so I need to finetune the meaning). If we go through models of USSR where the government gets companies to give services why should a company work for better service when it can just bribe officials? Also what is better Royal Mail or Fedex?

inu-kun:
Wealth. How many sheeps/land/crop you own.

So, how do you invest your sheep? Do you feed them into a mincer and then spray whatever business you want to invest in with sheep innards to make it more valuable?

"Capital" is not wealth in the general sense, but wealth which can be transferred between different states easily through the exchange of agreements and promises. Capitalism relies on the ability to convert intangiable wealth into tangiable infrastructure and back again easily. Even hauling wheelbarrows of gold around wasn't really enough to support a capitalist economy. Capitalism relies on a state where two people can agree to exchange the value of commodities without ever having to touch those commodities with their own hands.

See, the problem with saying "capitalism is the natural state of humanity" is that it's not exactly a glowing appraisal of capitalism. Economic systems, for most of humanity's history, have been extremely crude and inefficient. Capitalism is better than those systems because it allows for greater economic centralisation. Instead of working in many small workshops or farms owned by individual Burghers or Yeomen, people work in a few giant factories owned by wealthy investors, or capitalists. The problem with capitalism is that this economic centralization artificially devalues the contribution of individual workers compared to capital invested in the machines and facilities they work in, and leads to extreme concentration of wealth in the hands of a capitalist class whose only contribution to society is providing capital or liquidity.

Ultimately, it does not make reasonable sense that a person's life and value to society be determined by their potential for capital investment rather than, say, their personal qualities, skills or abilities. It makes slightly more sense than having that be determined by blood relation (although in practice it usually has the same result) but it is not a rational or "efficient" economic system to have an entire factory working to pay for the luxurious lifestyle of an investor who has never even touched one of the machines from which he makes a living.

If we were in the industrial revolution you might have a point, but it sounds like complaining that you totally deserve a Ferrari. The money might be split unevenly but the quality of life is superior and not so far off.

inu-kun:
Is there a "king gene" that makes people obey your command?

I don't know.. is there a "capitalist gene" which makes people not simply cave your skull in, steal your wallet and use the money to buy their own damn machines?

Tell you what.. you put yourself into the role of a member of the medieval minor nobility, or even a peasant. You don't like the king and think he's mean and oppressive and treats you badly. What happens if you don't obey his commands? Heck, what happens to society overall if noone obeys his commands?

Here's a clue..

Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same consequent to the time wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such condition there is no place for industry... no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

I have absolutely no idea what is your point.

inu-kun:
More likely the ancestors of those kings and aristocrats gathered enough wealth to hire mercenaries to keep their wealth.

Is there a "aspiring king" gene which means that those mercenaries won't just kill you and take your wealth for themselves instead?

What's stopping them?

The king being smart and not letting it being easiely take everything as well as the knowledge that they'll earn more on the long term and have a more stable life.

inu-kun:
Or that is a srawman metric you made up to make up a world view that justifies removing rich people's rights. People still value community and religion in countries with capitalist markets and psychopaths rise to the top even in non capitalist regimes.

So what? Who cares who they are and what they value?

The originators of capitalism were mostly Calvinists of the Burgher classes of Northern Europe. They believed absolutely that they were good and moral people, they didn't engage in what they saw as immoral behaviour, like drinking or extramarital sex. In fact, they were far more rigorous about matters of personal morality than either the ordinary peasants or the aristocracy. They still made their money through the systematic exploitation of others, which in fact was justified by their Calvinist belief that most people (people who weren't them, and whom God hadn't favoured with wealth) were inherently evil and sinful.

Again, this is a system founded on exploitation. It's founded on intentionally benefiting from the poverty and desperation of others. Left alone, it inevitably results in conditions of figurative slavery for anyone not fortunate enough to be born into the right middle class family, where people are allowed to believe that they are moral and good.

One can take part in exploitation and still be a "good" person in the sense of believing in the value of community and religion, but the same was true under feudalism. The same was true under totalitarian socialism. The same was true under fascism. The people who spent their days herding people into the gas chambers or torturing enemies of the Khmer Rouge to death went home each night and hugged their children. This should not surprise or confuse us any more, this does not constitute a meaningful basis not to condemn the political and economic systems from which these people benefited by hurting others, and I have no doubt that you would (rightly) take great offence if this standard of reasoning was applied to any economic system other the one you happen to live under.

"exploitation" is kinda meaningless with the comfort of living in the west. heck, bring me a style of governance which will not end in exploitation besides full anarchy.

[quote="inu-kun" post="528.1030918.24182704"]You make the point several times, if any country goes pure socialist they'll still need rubber and they would still get it where it is cheapest (unless you want to go full insanity "marxist world" that will never ever happen) which leads to places abusing moral rights since it's their own decision.

Is it?

Also, why is there some absolute compulsion to always buy from the cheapest supplier? That's not even true under capitalism, hence why every supermarket I visit labels their locally grown produce.. Under capitalism, yes, it is "anti-capitalist" or "anti-free market" not to always buy from the cheapest supplier, because capitalism can provide us with no sound reason to do so. Failing to always go for the bottom line is asking to be "out-competed", but the fact that people continue to do this regardless, that people inform their decisions with a whole range of factors entirely separate to economic competitiveness (like animal or human welfare, environmentalism, or preference for investing in local economies) illustrates that this isn't a "need" or a compulsion at all.

In fact, your point is all starting to sound an awful lot like an excuse, isn't it. I'm sure the people over in the USSR were very good at making excuses too..

There can be reasons why the country will buy from the cheapest supplier like maybe the country cannot make the thing itself and has to export it from outside and this is the only place, or the country cannot spend too much money since it spends everything on social services.
Also the example is ridiculous the idea that if something doesn't have direct value it is "pointless" like enviromentalism is such a strawman it literally destroys the point that wealthy people will live luxurious lives, after all, what's the value in comfort? They should live in a tiny apartment without furnisures.

As for why I'm "excusing", this is mainly because I'm mainly responding to you rather than countering back. So here are questions:
1) How "pure" are you? After all if you are so afraid of exploitation you must live totally moral life, like never using oil or electronics made in a sweatshop in China.
2) What is your vision? Come on, let's hear a grand tale of a tottaly workable system that cannot be misused in any way that will never ever exploit anyone and is self reliant to not use "dirty" resources.

Mothro:

Probably trying to tell people that politics is often used as a distraction to keep people arguing among themselves while the politicians do whatever they want.

Not arguing that.

While you are getting your blood pressure up a couple of politicians from the D and the R camps are having dinner together working out a deal that has nothing to do with representing you (unless you are a corporation with deep pockets).

Nope, my doctor didn't include that as one of the factors responsible for my high blood pressure. Also, not american, so i don't really think about Dems or Reps that much.

Are you accomplishing anything here on the internet by spreading your love or your hate for Trump or any other politician?

No. Do you or cthulhuspawn accomplish anythin by telling people to stop arguing about politics on a subforum titled 'Politics and Religion'?

Not angry at all.

Disappointed, and perhaps a little bored at times. But, never particularly angry.

I think you kinda have to have little else going on in your life to get actively upset about that sorta thing.

The Lunatic:
Not angry at all.

Disappointed, and perhaps a little bored at times. But, never particularly angry.

I think you kinda have to have little else going on in your life to get actively upset about that sorta thing.

Homelessness is at 4% in my country, more than a fifth of children live in poverty, rents are the highest they've ever been and we're practically reverting to tenement housing with 3 bedroom houses holding 18 tenants while our government, about a quarter of whom are landlords, are saying there's nothing that can be done. The person in charge of homelessness in the capital has said that it's a mistake to feed and shelter the homeless because they won't learn that way. There's a suicide epidemic in this country because so many of our young are losing hope, not helped by our Taoiseach describing €315,000 as "affordable" housing while also lying about the number of homeless. Our mental health facilities are being cut, multinationals are being let off multi-billion euro tax bills while others open up more and more premisses without planning permission and just soaking up the petty fines just long enough to run local businesses out of town. We can't afford to adequately fund our healthcare system but we can spend millions having EU documents translated into Irish to be put in a warehouse. And two disgraced politicians who retired amid massive scandals and allegations of corruption might be our two main parties candidates for president this year. And that's literally just the things I can come up with while I'm sat here taking a shit.

Being angry at the state of politics isn't about having little going on in your life it's about not being a shallow, selfish, pseudo-nihilistic little fuck that doesn't give a shit about anything that happens further away from him than the tip of his cock extends.

CheetoDust:

Being angry at the state of politics isn't about having little going on in your life it's about not being a shallow, selfish, pseudo-nihilistic little fuck that doesn't give a shit about anything that happens further away from him than the tip of his cock extends.

When can we have you take over Labour or the Soc Dems?

Ninjamedic:

CheetoDust:

Being angry at the state of politics isn't about having little going on in your life it's about not being a shallow, selfish, pseudo-nihilistic little fuck that doesn't give a shit about anything that happens further away from him than the tip of his cock extends.

When can we have you take over Labour or the Soc Dems?

When Labour tie Joan Burton to a stake and burn her in front of Leinster house.

Silvanus:

Well, let's look at a single example, rather than an entire country. The rail travel industry in the UK, say, since its ownership is so often under debate.

One of the fundamental beliefs of almost all free market philosophies is that competition will drive down prices and drive up quality of service, because consumers could otherwise choose to utilise a competitor. Of course, that is not the case with the rail service. A traveller must use the train company that heads through their station; there is no alternative train company to make the journey.

So, no competition. What does this do to rail fares? Well, rail fares have risen year on year, rising faster than the rate of pay. This year will see another rise, the largest in five years. Rail fares were not rising to make up for greater costs suffered by the company, either-- the rail companies continued to enjoy rising profits, even during the Recession.

And, unlike in a nationalised system, the majority of this money is not even reinvested in the rail itself. It is operated with the profit motive, so it goes to owners and shareholders' private wealth.

What benefit does this privatised system have? There is no competition, less reinvestment, and rising fares (and poorer service) regardless of the profit the company makes.

Of course we can cherry pick a natural monopoly (since obviously a number of competitors can't simply build rail networks of their own alongside the existing one) and demonstrate the folly of zealous overapplication of generally sound principles. But we don't really have to, not on my account at least. I'm no wild-eyed Free Market fundamentalist, and in fact I would argue for the balancing of public power against private power in order to safeguard the individual from predatory practices.

What I take issue with are the purely sentimental evocations of "socialism" as the magical panacea for all that ails society. I used to do that too, you know. I did fancy myself something of a "democratic socialist". But in the end, you have to give up the smug superiority of your fantasies in order to make however modest a serious contribution to the political process in the real world. I mean, a while back I was really struck by something someone (can't remember who, but one of the regulars) said here, which was something about socialism achieving the "optimal allocation of resources". Which to me demonstrates a remarkable estrangement from the everyday praxis of human living. Even aside from the obvious corruptibility of any would-be Commissars of Dispensation of Goods and Services, it would have to manage without the seriously crucial information aspect of market data, and presumably set up some other channel of monitoring demand, scarcity and such. Which would certainly appear to sacrifice too much efficiency to be considered potentially "optimal".

In the end, that's what "left" and "right" should be about, economic arrangements that work to promote wellbeing, rather than about your reflexive disposition towards aspects of identity. And since this thread is about anger about politics, that's what drives me nuts, that whole sideshow.

StatusNil:

Of course we can cherry pick a natural monopoly (since obviously a number of competitors can't simply build rail networks of their own alongside the existing one) and demonstrate the folly of zealous overapplication of generally sound principles. But we don't really have to, not on my account at least. I'm no wild-eyed Free Market fundamentalist, and in fact I would argue for the balancing of public power against private power in order to safeguard the individual from predatory practices.

Well, you asked about alternatives to capitalism. For the utilities, at least, nationalisation would seem to be it.

StatusNil:

What I take issue with are the purely sentimental evocations of "socialism" as the magical panacea for all that ails society. I used to do that too, you know. I did fancy myself something of a "democratic socialist". But in the end, you have to give up the smug superiority of your fantasies in order to make however modest a serious contribution to the political process in the real world. I mean, a while back I was really struck by something someone (can't remember who, but one of the regulars) said here, which was something about socialism achieving the "optimal allocation of resources". Which to me demonstrates a remarkable estrangement from the everyday praxis of human living. Even aside from the obvious corruptibility of any would-be Commissars of Dispensation of Goods and Services, it would have to manage without the seriously crucial information aspect of market data, and presumably set up some other channel of monitoring demand, scarcity and such. Which would certainly appear to sacrifice too much efficiency to be considered potentially "optimal".

Why would a socialist system operate without market data? People will still be buying various things, and that can be analysed just as well.

In truth, just as often as socialism is held up as a panacea, capitalism is, too. Adherents of both systems, if they know what they're talking about, admit the faults and believe it's better than the alternative. The potential for corruption exists in both, but as actively encouraged by the profit motive in a purely capitalist system.

StatusNil:

In the end, that's what "left" and "right" should be about, economic arrangements that work to promote wellbeing, rather than about your reflexive disposition towards aspects of identity. And since this thread is about anger about politics, that's what drives me nuts, that whole sideshow.

Well, yes, function should be above all. That's the very source of my belief in democratic Socialism. I believe that capitalism motivates people to prioritise profit over the functioning of the industry, just as the train companies continue to squeeze more and more money from commuters, and yet don't reinvest it in the railway.

inu-kun:
Inefficency walks hand in hand with corruption (which is kinda ubnavoidable since you call everything you don't like "corruption" so I need to finetune the meaning).

Ah, I see, so we're not really talking about actual inefficiency at all, just as we weren't talking about actual corruption. Both are just code for abstract 'badness'.

inu-kun:
If we go through models of USSR where the government gets companies to give services why should a company work for better service when it can just bribe officials?

Well, because it's illegal. Just like falsifying your financial data to persuade people to invest under false circumstances is illegal. Just like insider trading is illegal. Just like price fixing is illegal. Again, you're assuming that corruption is a function of nationalisation, when like all of the above it's a function of how rigorously the law is enforced, how heavily corruption is culturally stigmatized and what level of oversight exists on the decisions of people in office.

In other words, the best way to avoid corruption is more bureaucracy. The best way to avoid corruption, like all forms of fraud or exploitation of positions for personal gain, is by keeping detailed records, by gathering enough information to spot patterns, by distributing important decision making across multiple levels of oversight, and by maintaining rules which enforce transparency.

I mean, if I wanted to make a really asinine point..

And no, this is not causal, but it's also not a coincidence. It's because the countries with more per government health expenditure tend to have larger, more bureaucratic and pluralistic governments which are more resistant to corruption.

This is also why, when someone promises to "drain the swamp", some of us know what they're really talking about.

inu-kun:
Also what is better Royal Mail or Fedex?

Royal Mail is wholly privately owned company.

inu-kun:
If we were in the industrial revolution you might have a point, but it sounds like complaining that you totally deserve a Ferrari. The money might be split unevenly but the quality of life is superior and not so far off.

Well, you know, unless you happen to be the one actually making the Nike trainers..

Your entire argument seems to be based on some kind claim that hiding the exploitative practices of capitalism means they've gone away, which is what draws the comparison with King Leopold's bold little experiment in private enterprise in the Congo.

Another bizarre belief you seem to have is assuming that the reason we aren't living in the Industrial revolution is because the naturally benevolent practices of capitalism decided it was suddenly time to make everyone's lives better. We've had eight labour governments in the UK. We had a general strike in 1926 which brought the entire economy to a halt for one week. Every quality of life improvement which working people have experienced under capitalism is one they have either fought for, or which someone else has paid for (generally in blood, since capitalism generally isn't so restrained in its treatment of people who aren't white and therefore don't matter). This life we enjoy isn't a natural process of capitalism, it's the inevitable counterreaction which capitalism creates because it doesn't work and never has.

inu-kun:
I have absolutely no idea what is your point.

The point is, you seem to be suggesting that noone will obey a social order which isn't "rational" or in their self-interest (you know, like capitalism is rational or in their self-interest), which is probably one of the most genuinely absurd things I've ever heard you say.

Until the late 18th century, there was never a successful attempt to get rid of aristocratic rule. There was no reason to believe it could work, or that it would ever be a viable alternative to just letting the king tell you what to do. Doubtless, if you went back in time and told people they didn't have to listen to the king, you would be met with a chorus of "ugh, well come back when you've got a working system and not just an idealistic dream". In practice, interregnums or times when kings lost their authority could be some of the worst disasters a country could face.. there was thing thing in Russia called the "time of troubles", as the name suggests it wasn't all that fun.

And this is putting aside the fact that individually, not listening to the king tended to result in you being publicly tortured to death, dismembered and your various body parts nailed up as a warning to others. Again, it's a system where violence is what compels obedience, not money, and naturally they developed some pretty advanced ways of inflicting violence on people.

inu-kun:
The king being smart and not letting it being easiely take everything as well as the knowledge that they'll earn more on the long term and have a more stable life.

Why will they earn more and have a more stable life?

I mean, in one scenario, they get to work for the king and be paid a handout (the smallest handout he feels he can get away with giving them, of course, because this is capitalism and noone is ever less selfish than they absolutely need to be) and in the other one of them becomes the king and the rest get paid anyway, with the added bonuses that the new king now knows he has to pay them more to avoid being murdered.

See, eventually what you end up with is a system called feudalism, where all the mercenaries (who are mostly related to each other, because this is a kinship society and most people who know each other tend to be related) get to be kings of their own small kingdoms on the condition that they take oaths to provide military support to the biggest king and not try to kill him. Sure, the king is a lot weaker than this hypothetical capitalist king who rules a centralised kingdom with his mercenary army (which would eventually happen.. but only in the 17th century) but what's really important here is that they can coexist without murdering each other with pointy iron objects.

Also, monarchies can never rely on the king being smart (and certainly not knowing how to engage in old school asset fraud) because the king isn't selected by competence, they're selected by being son or other close relative of the previous king. A monarchy has to be able to function even if the king is completely unfit, which did happen.

inu-kun:
"exploitation" is kinda meaningless with the comfort of living in the west. heck, bring me a style of governance which will not end in exploitation besides full anarchy.

Right, but we don't all get to live in the West, do we..

We certainly don't get to live in your imaginary version of the West where noone is poor, where everyone can afford to feed their families or pay their medical bills, where noone sleeps homeless in the street, where we're never told there just isn't enough money to provide everyone with a decent standard of living by people who could afford to spend as much a day as most spend in a year and still earn more. Where we're never told that people who rely on state benefits are parasites and scroungers who are spending our money but people who started their own business with their parents money are "self made men" who deserve every cent. Where migrant workers who move from countries where they work in sweatshops to try and earn a better quality of life for their families genuinely are are scrounging vermin who must be kept out, and it's pure coincidence that those trainers are so damn affordable!

inu-kun:
1) How "pure" are you? After all if you are so afraid of exploitation you must live totally moral life, like never using oil or electronics made in a sweatshop in China.

Well, if I didn't I would literally die, wouldn't I.. the food I eat was brought here using petrol, which is made from oil.

I mean, I can see why you'd want me to die to prove a point, but nah.. I don't think that's necessary. This argument is just a bad meme at this point, back here in real life one can participate in an economic system and still critique it, especially when there literally is no other choice. There's certainly no other choice if you want to reach a position of influence where you can actually make a difference to anything.

inu-kun:
What is your vision? Come on, let's hear a grand tale of a tottaly workable system that cannot be misused in any way that will never ever exploit anyone and is self reliant to not use "dirty" resources.

That's really not required, is it. I don't need a "vision" in order to critique how something works (or doesn't work, as the case may be). If I did, it certainly wouldn't need to be perfect, it's enough to be better or less exploitative. Heck, who said I have to have all the answers anyway. Maybe merely inciting others to critique will lead them to the answers we all need. Maybe you could contribute yourself, if you stopped trying to defend the indefensible.

I mean, it almost sounds like you're asking me to sell you a utopia so that you can point out that it is a utopia. Not that you are, of course, since no intellectually honest person would do that.

inu-kun:

Inefficency walks hand in hand with corruption (which is kinda ubnavoidable since you call everything you don't like "corruption" so I need to finetune the meaning). If we go through models of USSR where the government gets companies to give services why should a company work for better service when it can just bribe officials?

Let's look at another example: The current USA. It has a president that has proven to be all manners of incompetent and who loves to funnel public money into his own business as well as pass government bills that benefits his own business empire. The reason he hasn't abolished general elections, renamed the USA Trumpland and spent all those sweet taxpayer dollars on a massive wall facing Mexico?

Bureaucracy. See, when the founding fathers set up the US government back in the day they realized that power corrupts and that anyone who came to power would risk being corrupt or turning corrupt. That's why there's a balance between the Presidency, Congress and Supreme Court, so that George Washington wouldn't be able to turn himself into a King Assassin's Creed style. It is the reason why Trump's most heinous decisions keep getting overturned, because as corrupt and inefficient as he is there is a bureaucratic system in place that oversees the power balance of the USA and prevents too widespread a corruption.

As for the USSR, it was also a country known for imprisoning the leaders of industry or design bureaus that didn't live up to their quotas or failed to deliver a design to specification. Fear of losing everything and having your family moved to Siberia is a powerful motivator in making sure your industry is at its' peak. The USSR was corrupt as fuck, and that had a lot to do with the fact that the Soviet system relied on a powerful Prime minister and his cabinet that had largely unfettered power to do as they pleased while having plenty of ways to go against the wishes of the (largely for show) Duma. The USSR is a great example of what happens when you don't use bureaucracy to reign in people in power.

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