Communists, Socialists, Marxists, and all around Anti-capitalists; explain yourselves

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Whenever the topic of capitalism (and whatever anti-capitalist ideology is on the table) comes up, on any website, ever, there are always at least two people who say that "you guys don't really know what communism/socialism/Marxism is" or that "you're confusing them with one another."

Well okay then, I should give anti-capitalism a closer look and discussion. So please, people who don't believe in capitalism or think it needs to be changed: explain, thoroughly and plainly...

1: What your proposed economic/government system is and the basics of how it works
2: What this system/ideology is called
And preferably, 3: How it could be realistically established and maintained in society

Take your time.

"Regulation".

Use the tyranny of The State to offset the tyranny of the Market.

It seems to work reasonably well, on the rare occasion that it's been tried.

Bymidew:
"Regulation".

Why, that's not anti-capitalist at all. =D Get out of this thread you smart little bugger.

UltraHammer:

Bymidew:
"Regulation".

Why, that's not anti-capitalist at all. =D Get out of this thread you smart little bugger.

Spoken like someone who doesn't read much Libertarian ranting.

[libertarian]
You puny FOOLS don't comprehend that ANY limits upon the Free Market are EXACTLY the same as allowing Joseph Stalin to start putting people in gulags! And ALL taxation is ARMED ROBBERY BY JACKBOOTED THUGS![/libertarian]

Okay, I'll stay out of this and let the starry-eyed idealists explain how their One True Political/Economic model can FIX EVERYTHING, once we create a better sort of human being who can actually live by it. :-P

I find extremes of both sides to be really silly.

Bymidew:
[libertarian]
You puny FOOLS don't comprehend that ANY limits upon the Free Market are EXACTLY the same as allowing Joseph Stalin to start putting people in gulags! And ALL taxation is ARMED ROBBERY BY JACKBOOTED THUGS![/libertarian]

Yeah it seems some people don't understand that regulation is needed to make capitalism work.

RedEyesBlackGamer:
I find extremes of both sides to be really silly.

What is the correct ballance, then?

UltraHammer:

Bymidew:
[libertarian]
You puny FOOLS don't comprehend that ANY limits upon the Free Market are EXACTLY the same as allowing Joseph Stalin to start putting people in gulags! And ALL taxation is ARMED ROBBERY BY JACKBOOTED THUGS![/libertarian]

Yeah it seems some people don't understand that regulation is needed to make capitalism work.

RedEyesBlackGamer:
I find extremes of both sides to be really silly.

What is the correct ballance, then?

A mixed economy that allows the government to have a steadying hand on the market. Just my opinion, of course.

Seeing as you think socialism is anti capitolism you obviously DONT understand it. Did you privately pay for the road outside your house? Your parks? Your street lamps? You didnt? You mean society contributed what it could in the form of taxes and EVERYONE benefited? YOU HAVE A SOCIALIST LAMP! It must be anti capitolist!

A silly point. But the thing is socialism and capitolism are NOT mutually exclusive. They can form a balance. You can have a capitolist society where not EVERYTHING is privately run, as a total capitolist state would look like, but where basic neccessities for society are provided communally. Saying all socialism is 100% is saying the peasant/aristocracy state should be brought back. You think poor people could privately fund roads or housing or anything? You would have rich people living in real society and the pooer people living in hovels with dirt roads and no water supply The piping and such wouldnt be covered by the government because having a communal find is socialism. It would be terrible, a terrible terrible place. Comparable to the class structure of medieval england.

People are dicks. Some people deserve to not have someone act like a dick towards them. Some people would work if they had a job. Those people deserve subsistence until they can properly find a job. thus socialism.

More specific response: health care and unemployment dictated by government, occasionally add/subtract services as needed. A government by the people should do something to, you know, support the people.

My opinion on capitalism:

It certainly is an interesting idea. Turning greed from a destructive force to a constructive one is clever. Unfortunately, it does not work as intended 100% of the time (human greed being what it is). Therefore, I think that government has to regulate the markets so as to keep the system working (preventing monopolies, protecting and educating consumers, etc).

Well, very few people actually want a totally free market economy (or at least once they've sat down and thought about it, rather than spouting a few catchy phrases). Likewise, very few people really want everything to be government controlled. Especially if you disqualify those people who only want everyone who isn't them to have to play by those rules.

The government is supposed to meddle in things for the benefit of its citizens, and keep its nose out otherwise. When and where it is doing one or the other, however, isn't a simple matter.

Marxism:
the theory by Karl Marx stating that society has always been controlled by thous who owned the means of production(whatever/whoever makes stuff e.g a farmer makes food or a factory/factory worker makes cars etc) yeah so whoever owns them. in past it was nobles owning he peasantry and slave-owners owning slaves etc his point was that people who controlled society did so by exploiting the people they controlled and in capitalism that is the CEOs and executives who are exploiting the workers who are being so underpaid that they can't do anything else but be exploited. to escape from this workers must unite and overthrow such systems to create a purely socialist society.

Socialism:
something done by the government its actual opposite is when something is done privately by something like a corperation as in anything not by the government or a community of any kind.
a socialist society:
where governments or communities regulate everything as best they can towards a common goods and equality

communism: the supposed evolved version of socialism where values of equality and the common good are so integrated into society that there isn't even need for a government to organize it as people generally pursue helping and doing jobs without any actual incentive to do so other than i'm gonna do my part too.
(minor note the USSR and China weren't/aren't communist countries in Marxist sense they just made their own versions government and called themselves communist.)

will this ever happen?.... probably not
will these systems work? they could but it would be radically different from today's society

Bymidew:

UltraHammer:

Bymidew:
"Regulation".

Why, that's not anti-capitalist at all. =D Get out of this thread you smart little bugger.

Spoken like someone who doesn't read much Libertarian ranting.

[libertarian]
You puny FOOLS don't comprehend that ANY limits upon the Free Market are EXACTLY the same as allowing Joseph Stalin to start putting people in gulags! And ALL taxation is ARMED ROBBERY BY JACKBOOTED THUGS![/libertarian]

Okay, I'll stay out of this and let the starry-eyed idealists explain how their One True Political/Economic model can FIX EVERYTHING, once we create a better sort of human being who can actually live by it. :-P

None shall infringe on my right to fight our tyrannical government by forming a potentially tyrannical local one while destroying society at large through neglect and naivete... *takes breath, raises finger in air* You fascist swine!!!!

That a system simple to a Technocracy would be my goal.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technocracy
Although in truth a post scarify economy is the best way to achieve maximize happiness for society.

For society to flourish and become utopic we need to end all non-desirable jobs. This is of course the issue all people face when building a society, how to get these jobs filled.
I propose robots do them all.

This is not some kind of sci-fi fantasy and we have the technology to eliminate almost all manual labor if we put our minds to it. This applies even to the energy output needed to sustain this. We can fully automate farms, power plants etc.

This would be bad for the poor (and business but their needs are overshadowed by the needs of society) so a minimum standard of living will be introduced to all peoples. You get base levels of food, water shelter, etc. based on what society can make with no human input and can get more/better quality if you work hard(at least during the transition from capitalism)

As the amount of goods you can get are increased people will have little monetary incentive to work, but people are motivated by more. Social status, helping the community, expressing yourself, or discovery are all valid reasons to work.

The goal is less to end work but end a person's reliance on work to survive. In capitalism you are theoretically given more happiness based on how hard you work, but here how you get happiness is your own choice.

Capitalism will always be a factor in getting some goods- like front place super bowl tickets but as time goes on will be an almost destroyed system.

The whole system will be democratic, and with people having more time (and mandatory more education) will be very efficient. Science and knowledge will run the country, not lies and slander.

This system could be easily achieved if more funds were put into science and technology and education, with full automation being the goal. The technology is less of an issue, but the infrastructure is.

I don't have a good name for the system but lazyisim sounds ok (bases on the systems goal of maximizing happiness not work.

The above is very simplified, but I will gladly answer questions.

UltraHammer:
1: What your proposed economic/government system is and the basics of how it works
2: What this system/ideology is called
And preferably, 3: How it could be realistically established and maintained in society

1) Well no one group is allowed to put up barriers to entry for other groups. Abolish Copyright laws. No group is allowed to buy another group or merge with another group. All businesses must only operate within the confines of supply and demand. Groups are not allowed to work together, nor are they allowed to work against another, they must only compete, not colluded or have a "trade war".
2) Free Market Capitalism
3) An honest political system to enforce these rules and a significantly higher level of average human intelligence for mis-information, scare-moungouring "think"tanks to not work.
In other words... impossible as we're too corrupt and stupid.

............................. I'm not left at all or strictly "anti-capitalist"... however if the bullshit we have now is "capitalism" to you... then I'm fucking against it as it breeds inefficiencies and is far from the most productive and effective method of reaching the goals of economics which is the distribution of resources. Currenctly those in high places can pull strings and hoard wealth while not actually improving anything at all... they get more for themselves while taking from those beneath them... because... they can...

America went from free market to protection racket... Europe has never really been a free market.

I apologize for not getting back to this for several days. It's just that I knew it would take over an hour to read and respond to everything, so I waited until I really felt like doing it.

This post is responding to Ricky and Cowdude; find your part of the message and feel free to only read that part. Commando, I will be getting to you shortly.

++++++++++++++++++++++++

Ricky 49:
Marxism...society has always been controlled by thous who owned the means of production(whatever/whoever makes stuff e.g a farmer makes food or a factory/factory worker makes cars etc) yeah so whoever owns them. in past it was nobles owning he peasantry and slave-owners owning slaves etc his point was that people who controlled society did so by exploiting the people they controlled and in capitalism that is the CEOs and executives who are exploiting the workers who are being so underpaid that they can't do anything else but be exploited.

So, for example, if you screw a light bulb into a lamp and turn it on, that lamp belongs to you?

Ricky 49:
a socialist society:
where governments or communities regulate everything as best they can towards a common goods and equality

What is the common good? And what must be done to get closest to equality?

Ricky 49:
communism: the supposed evolved version of socialism where values of equality and the common good are so integrated into society that there isn't even need for a government to organize it as people generally pursue helping and doing jobs without any actual incentive to do so other than i'm gonna do my part too.

So it's John Lennon's "Imagine", essentially?

Ricky 49:
yhe USSR and China weren't/aren't communist countries in Marxist sense they just made their own versions government and called themselves communist.

What type of government were they, then?

Ricky 49:
will this ever happen?.... probably not

I agree.

Ricky 49:
will these systems work? they could but it would be radically different from today's society

No kidding. If communism is the way you described it; I think it would take probably over a million years--when evolution could have potentially changed basic human nature--until it would work.

++++++++++++++++++++++++

cowdude13:
Although in truth a post scarify economy is the best way to achieve maximize happiness for society.

The definition of economics is: the allocation of scarce resources which have alternative uses. So when and if scarcity is no more, there wouldn't be such a thing as an economy. I must say, that sounds quite nice to me. Although it also sounds very boring. Would we really want life to be like Fallout 3 after you've pretty much beaten everything and have so many bullets and caps that nothing poses a threat or a challenge?

But furthermore, I don't know if it's even possible theoretically to completely remove scarcity. Scarcity is defined as: not everyone getting everything that they want. So let's say we have unlimited food and water and healthcare, we can live forever and build an unlimited number of man-made planets in space. All those things I think can be made in an unlimited volume, theoretically. But what if someone wants to die? Well then they could choose to be euthanized. But what if someone they know wants them to live? Someone will have to have less than what they want here.

cowdude13:
For society to flourish and become utopic we need to end all non-desirable jobs. This is of course the issue all people face when building a society, how to get these jobs filled.
I propose robots do them all.

That certainly is where we're going. Technological advancements rid us of crappy jobs, and/or make them a lot easier or more entertaining. I, for one, am extremely personally affected by this. I have a job in handyman-ish services, and being able to listen to audiobooks, podcasts, music, standup comedy and everything else turns the job into a tedious time waster into an activity I enjoy greatly. And this is something that would have been impossible until about the early 2000's, and wouldn't have been nearly as good, easy and varied until the revolution of mobile devices starting around 2006.

cowdude13:
This would be bad for the poor

I don't know about that; I think it wouldn't hurt them at all. With more labor intensive jobs torn away from the hands of man, that just gives man more time to do something else, am I correct? After all, 200 years ago, farming required people tediously plant and harvest with their bare hands all by themselves. Today, it can all be done dozens of times faster by machines--operated by
just one person--and yet poverty is significantly lower now than it is today. (I didn't get the numbers on the farming stats I just talked about, so I'm sure I'm not totally right on that, but I know the basic jist is true.)

cowdude13:
(and business but their needs are overshadowed by the needs of society)

Hmm... well shouldn't that overall make businesses better off? Shouldn't the reduction of labor costs allow them to lower the price of their products, thus allowing more people to afford those products, thus increasing the companies' sales and profitability?

cowdude13:
so a minimum standard of living will be introduced to all peoples. You get base levels of food, water shelter, etc. based on what society can make with no human input and can get more/better quality if you work hard(at least during the transition from capitalism)

Well that would only be feasible if and when we're able to make things in unlimited quantity, right? Even if--say--plastic could be made with absolutely no human input, there would still be a finite volume of resources available from which plastic is made. So we could only give plastic products out for free if we are able to produce it without scarcity, am I correct?

cowdude13:
As the amount of goods you can get are increased people will have little monetary incentive to work, but people are motivated by more. Social status, helping the community, expressing yourself, or discovery are all valid reasons to work.

That's true. Although if someone could afford everything they need (and much of what they want to the point of being satisfied) by working very little, that would be okay, right? And if everybody decided to work very little all at the same time, the production of goods and services would decrease, thus raising prices, thus re-incentivize everyone to work hard. Tell me if I'm wrong.

cowdude13:
The goal is less to end work but end a person's reliance on work to survive. In capitalism you are theoretically given more happiness based on how hard you work, but here how you get happiness is your own choice.

Well, in capitalism, the more you work, the more money (which is really just a representative of actual wealth) you make. With that money, you can theoretically purchase things that you want, and if those things make you happy, then yes; work makes you happy. But even in capitalism, happiness is still a personal responsibility; in practice and in theory, and I feel that anyone who thinks otherwise (which is unfortunately many people) is misunderstanding it. I know I am being much more assertive here, but this is something I know for a fact.

cowdude13:
Capitalism will always be a factor in getting some goods- like front place super bowl tickets but as time goes on will be an almost destroyed system.

Okay, so then you agree with what I said earlier in the post; about how there cannot truly be a complete removal of scarcity.

cowdude13:
The whole system will be democratic, and with people having more time (and mandatory more education) will be very efficient. Science and knowledge will run the country, not lies and slander.

Huh? Oh I'm sorry I just don't understand what everything being run by machines really has to do with corruption and selfishness. Certainly, someone who lies can still potentially benefit, even in this theoretical technocracy, right? Please elaborate more on this.

Also, democracy--from what I understand--is, in its purest form, simple mob control; the majority always wins. So if, say, several years into this new system working perfectly, 50.1% of the population wanted it to be dismantled, thrown out and divided, even if 49.9% of the population were wholly against it, would that be allowed? Or would it have to be a little bit different than pure democracy?

cowdude13:
This system could be easily achieved if more funds were put into science and technology and education, with full automation being the goal. The technology is less of an issue, but the infrastructure is.

I think that's already happening, but I'll assume for now that it isn't. What do you think is keeping it? Once again you can correct me if I'm wrong, but I would think the incentive to invent cheap, automated labor is already present in our society; such technology benefits corporations greatly, and would pay a lot of money to those who can sell it to them or develop it on their behalf.

cowdude13:
I don't have a good name for the system but lazyisim sounds ok

Heheh, that name sure wouldn't fly here in America, I'll tell you that. ;)

cowdude13:
(bases on the systems goal of maximizing happiness not work.)

You're kind of saying that like the two are mutually exclusive. I suppose the rest of your post says otherwise, but I, personally, feel very happy when I work. Especially the feeling of being home after a day of work; it's the time of the day/week I feel the absolute best.

cowdude13:
The above is very simplified, but I will gladly answer questions.

Please do. Again sorry for the delay.

UltraHammer:

1: What your proposed economic/government system is and the basics of how it works

A parliamentary democracy governed by Social-liberalism. It functions by allowing capitalism to exist and utilizing social reforms to permit a dignified and reasonable existence to all classes of society, minimizing social disorder and still letting capitalism do its thing. Capitalism will be allowed to exist until it inevitably destroys itself with its own success. I view capitalism as a natural development of human society wherein we attempt to maximize what we gain from the resources extracted and minimize the necessary resources for our existence. It is not a moral or rational thing but it is needed to speed us to the stars where infinite space and resources are available to us.

UltraHammer:

2: What this system/ideology is called

I believe it would be communism as the "economy" will be run by the workers rather than the capitalists, and the thing will exist purely as a vehicle for personal betterment.

UltraHammer:

And preferably, 3: How it could be realistically established and maintained in society

As it is a natural process people will come to desire it, and it appears to be what is happening.

I reject capitalism as a permanent mode of existence, it is a part of our ascent, not the destination.

Istvan:
Part 1

What exactly is it that capitalism does wrong right now?

Istvan:
I believe it would be communism as the "economy" will be run by the workers rather than the capitalists, and the thing will exist purely as a vehicle for personal betterment.

Wait, who is it that runs the economy right now? Isn't anyone who believes in capitalism a capitalist? And isn't anyone who buys or sells anything part of the economy?

Istvan:
As it is a natural process people will come to desire it, and it appears to be what is happening.

I agree; a movement for something along those lines seems to really be rising up in America right now. Although, from my immediate perspective, it looks like this isn't anything new. Communist Russia tried what seems to be more or less what people are trying in America now. Whether it be in America right now or not, people have demanded something similar to what you're talking about for thousands of years. But are the right ideas finally coming together to make it work?

UltraHammer:

What exactly is it that capitalism does wrong right now?

I would prefer to state that capitalism is not yet perfect as we still see poverty and suffering. The ultimate goal of human economic development should be to completely eliminate these and still motivate humanity to map and tame the cosmos.

UltraHammer:

Wait, who is it that runs the economy right now? Isn't anyone who believes in capitalism a capitalist? And isn't anyone who buys or sells anything part of the economy?

At present the economy is run by a mixture of capitalists and the people (via social programmes and public companies run through elected assemblies) - Ultimately it should all come down to the people, but we are not yet at a stage where this is viable, as the vanguard communists have demonstrated.

I would say that capitalists are people who view the classical liberal capitalism of the 1800s as the ultimate destination for human society. I find this notion foolish, but just because an ox is not a goal in itself does not mean it cannot be put to use.

UltraHammer:

I agree; a movement for something along those lines seems to really be rising up in America right now. Although, from my immediate perspective, it looks like this isn't anything new. Communist Russia tried what seems to be more or less what people are trying in America now. Whether it be in America right now or not, people have demanded something similar to what you're talking about for thousands of years. But are the right ideas finally coming together to make it work?

I would say that in the United States you already have social-liberalism, albeit it has been stuck since Lynden Johnson due to concerns about public order and overconfidence on the part of the left in America.

I contend that humanity is a part of nature, and as such its development is a natural process, including the economic one. We may not understand all of it yet but it seems to be a natural process towards the most effective utilization of resources.

I do not think that there are many parallels between Lenin's Union and the United States. Contrary to Lenin's USSR there is no dictatorship, there is no vanguard party, there is no war communism, there is no civil war, there is no abolition of religion, and the social and economic conditions are far better than in the ruins of Nicholas II's Russia.

It is understandable to desire to live in exciting times but [thankfully] the ages where hundreds of millions die in war each century seems to have passed.

One thing which strikes me all of a sudden is that Americans never had a class system in the way most European countries did. This is not to say that I think America has more social mobility, in fact I would argue that in many cases America has less social mobility, because where you fit in in society has historically been so bound up in issues like race. But nonetheless, there is a basic realization which I think is self-evident to most British people aware of social history, that your opportunities in life are in most cases utterly determined by what opportunities your parents had, not even necessarily their wealth, but what they can give you and impart to you which will socially advantage you in the world. This doesn't seem to have been inherited in American culture, there always seems to be an accessible cultural example, however irrelevant it is to your own life, of someone who made it on their own and an idolization of the completely unrealistic dream of the "self made man". It bothers me to see people bet against themselves on aspirational dreams of wealth and success which almost all of them will never stand a chance of achieving, and I think ultimately that's why I abandoned the whole neoliberal laissez faire ideal.

Ultimately, I think as I've got further into adulthood I've become increasingly sceptical of the idea that the world around me represents any kind of meritocracy where social success is determined by merit. Moreover, even over my short life income disparity has increased monstrously, not along the lines of the old class system its true, but the social cracks are starting to show. Since the 80s, we've lived a dream that 1% of the population can earn wealth purely from exploiting the global market and the other 99% can make a good living serving them champagne, and it fundamentally doesn't work. It hasn't worked. The money just hasn't materialized, because developing economies and the citizens who live in them don't generally want to expose themselves to fickle global financial markets.

So I suppose if I had to put my macropolitics on the line, I'm a social democrat. I believe that society should be regulated to safeguard the the principle of equal opportunity and an ethic of equal power, if needs be through wealth distribution, but that this regulation must be subject to the democratic process. Precisely because any change must be democratic, I don't really see this position as politically realistic in the current cultural climate, so I think any move towards such a position will need to walk hand in hand with gradual cultural change. I think Anglo/American culture fundamentally needs to get over its extreme fixation on aspiration and obsession with the lives of a small number of enormously wealthy people. This is an issue of cultural growth though, and not something you can really campaign for except by pointing out that it's destructive to sell people an unachievable dream as a social ideal.

I'll confess I'm not a very constructive political thinker, not in the macropolitical sense, so I must confess I haven't really thought through what my position exactly is. But it's definately closer to Marx than it is to Fukuyama.

BreakfastMan:
My opinion on capitalism:

It certainly is an interesting idea. Turning greed from a destructive force to a constructive one is clever. Unfortunately, it does not work as intended 100% of the time (human greed being what it is). Therefore, I think that government has to regulate the markets so as to keep the system working (preventing monopolies, protecting and educating consumers, etc).

I think most capitalist countries figured out that laissez-faire capitalism doesn't work about a century or so ago.

Anyway, with the others (communism, socialism, marxism, etc.) I can sort of how people could get behind them in theory. I feel they don't really have a grip on how people and the world work, but I can at least get it in theory. What I really don't get is anarchism. I don't really get how anyone can get behind anarchism, unless they understand and are willing to completely give up all aspects of civilized living.

evilthecat:
One thing which strikes me all of a sudden is that Americans never had a class system in the way most European countries did. This is not to say that I think America has more social mobility, in fact I would argue that in many cases America has less social mobility, because where you fit in in society has historically been so bound up in issues like race. But nonetheless, there is a basic realization which I think is self-evident to most British people aware of social history, that your opportunities in life are in most cases utterly determined by what opportunities your parents had, not even necessarily their wealth, but what they can give you and impart to you which will socially advantage you in the world. This doesn't seem to have been inherited in American culture, there always seems to be an accessible cultural example, however irrelevant it is to your own life, of someone who made it on their own and an idolization of the completely unrealistic dream of the "self made man". It bothers me to see people bet against themselves on aspirational dreams of wealth and success which almost all of them will never stand a chance of achieving, and I think ultimately that's why I abandoned the whole neoliberal laissez faire ideal.

Possibly. I'd agree that the American Dream tends that way, and that it doesn't work too well in reality[1]. I'm not sure if it's teh cause, or if you could even hope to pin down one cause, but that's not really relevant.

In regards to trickle down economics, that seems wilfully ignorant at best, and at worst, all but saying "fuck you" to people with less than you. Likewise, trickle down rights, which are the same thing, I guess.

There may be some element of truth to it, but "later" tends to equate to "never" and "shut up".

[1] By analogy, if you want to make your money at the goldfields, you want to run a shop selling stuff to miners. You'll never make it as big as that one guy everyone wants to be, but you can set yourself out quite comfortably

I might be communist if I knew what day to day life in communist America would be like. The only reference I have is the U.S.S.R and North Korea. China seems to be doing pretty well. I like how they are doing.

But I also like Gordon Gekko's "Greed is good" speech, so who the hell knows.

Human Civilisation as a whole has demonstrated that it is incapable of self-regulation on literally any capacity. Rules are not only helpful, they're down right necessary for the survival of man kind.

There are Laws that stipulate how I must behave in regards to other people.
There are Laws that dictate how I must dress or appear around other people.
There are Laws that regulate how I express my opinions.

Why is the concept of Laws regulating how a business or industry conducts it's business considered evil? Oh, because money.

De-regulation of any market precedes abuse in the aforementioned market. This isn't a theoretically claim based on human psychology - it's a statically inevitability demonstrated by decades of life.

Okay, I can respond to another two people right now; Istvan and evilthecat.

Istvan:
I would prefer to state that capitalism is not yet perfect as we still see poverty and suffering.

Would you say, however, that capitalism has yet to be truly, fully implemented to its greatest capacity, even in America?

Istvan:
The ultimate goal of human economic development should be to completely eliminate these and still motivate humanity to map and tame the cosmos.

Oh boy is that an dream-like thought; one I passionately think about. Hypothetically speaking, if the basic technology to achieve that were made a reality, what would best incentivize humanity to colonize most efficiently?

Istvan:
At present the economy is run by a mixture of capitalists and the people

But who are the capitalists? CEO's and stockholders? Politicians? Lawyers? All of the above?

Istvan:
Ultimately it should all come down to the people

Aren't CEO's and lawyers people too? Are we controlled by robots? I'm sorry, but I can't understand what you mean here.

Istvan:
I would say that capitalists are people who view the classical liberal capitalism of the 1800s as the ultimate destination for human society.

What, more specifically, is it about the business practices and economic system of the nineteenth century that embodies capitalism? Elaborate some. This is a fascinating definition I've never heard before.

Istvan:
It is understandable to desire to live in exciting times but [thankfully] the ages where hundreds of millions die in war each century seems to have passed.

What do you think changed or occurred that finally made that happen?

*******************************************
*******************************************
*******************************************

evilthecat:
...your opportunities in life are in most cases utterly determined by what opportunities your parents had, not even necessarily their wealth, but what they can give you and impart to you which will socially advantage you in the world.

I agree; it is primal to humans that very much of our identity comes from our parents, that your relationship with them can empower you or deflate you as a person, possibly more than anything else.That's why I like it when certain politicians and social activists talk about how important it is to uphold traditional family values in America. While I'm not yet mature enough to know if I agree with the idea that having two mommies or two daddies is somehow bad, I appreciate that they're at least going vaguely in the right direction.

Said values, I feel, have become somewhat unpopular among certain groups of people in the country, so not very many politicians bring them up, so I respect the ones who are brave enough to do so anyways.

evilthecat:
This doesn't seem to have been inherited in American culture

While like I said, there does seem to be a dislike for 'family values' among certain USA'ers, I think the vast majority of them have always held the concept in very high respect and continue to do so now.

evilthecat:
It bothers me to see people bet against themselves on aspirational dreams of wealth and success which almost all of them will never stand a chance of achieving, and I think ultimately that's why I abandoned the whole neoliberal laissez faire ideal.

Being American myself, I've never really felt that the American Dream was "get rich", personally. I've always felt that it was "carve your own path to happiness". And getting rich is of course exactly what some people will want, but I think for most Americans it is a second-tier motivation. Many want to get a job that they love and do it with excellence; they love making the money, but they love doing what they're doing a lot more. And it sure as hell isn't just Americans who are like this; everybody is mature enough to know that owning a mega-yacht and three-story mansion won't automatically make them happy; the happiness comes from earning those tresures; that's living the American dream, the way I see it.

evilthecat:
Ultimately, I think as I've got further into adulthood I've become increasingly sceptical of the idea that the world around me represents any kind of meritocracy where social success is determined by merit.

Firstly, could it be that the culture of the UK is simply not the same as America, to high enough a degree that it can affect the way you see things?

Secondly, I don't know if I completely understand your definition of 'social success'. Are you talking about ones acceptance by the general society, or is that another phrase for 'personal happiness'? If your answer is the former, then I would like to say that acceptance and happiness don't have to ride together.

A great example would be--a person who I've constantly wanted to bring up as I talk about achievement and happiness--Rush Limbaugh. Listening to him, he loves doing what he does more than anyone I've ever heard speak into a microphone. Yet, he has millions of people writing him hate mail, ripping him apart in blogs, TV news and casual conversation.

evilthecat:
Moreover, even over my short life income disparity has increased monstrously, not along the lines of the old class system its true, but the social cracks are starting to show.

What are some stats on this I could read?

evilthecat:
Since the 80s, we've lived a dream that 1% of the population can earn wealth purely from exploiting the global market and the other 99% can make a good living serving them champagne, and it fundamentally doesn't work. It hasn't worked.

Well I thought it made pretty good sense to me; a guy makes money, the guy spends that money to acquire the standard of living he worked to obtain, that money all goes to other people. And if a guy made a bunch of money, he would spend it; what would have been the point of making the money otherwise?

evilthecat:
The money just hasn't materialized, because developing economies and the citizens who live in them don't generally want to expose themselves to fickle global financial markets.

So, the amount of wealth and prosperity in the world--and therefore the standard of living--hasn't improved in the last, say, hundred years or so?

evilthecat:
I'll confess I'm not a very constructive political thinker, not in the macropolitical sense, so I must confess I haven't really thought through what my position exactly is. But it's definately closer to Marx than it is to Fukuyama.

I must disagree; that post was very thorough and well-thought out. Have you ever heard of Thomas Sowell? I insanely highly recommend you check out his most famous book, "Basic Economics". I'm only two thirds done listening to it on audiobook, and I've got to say that it is absolutely fascinating. If you find it to be flawed or wrong, well, please come back here and tell me why.

I'm ideologically a communist, but I'm also enough of a realist to accept that pure communism is not viable.

Realistically, I suppose that makes me a socialist.

Now, if you want to see socialism working in a real-world environment, Sweden would be a very good example.

I think Australia has a pretty good system in place. However, I would change a few things.

I would limit the amount of profit a company could make to a rather small amount. The company would need to seek permission to collect more profits (if they wish to expand.) The excess money would be split between taxes, better wages, and cheaper products.

The taxes can help the government improve society where needed (better education and healthcare, etc) Better wages and cheaper products means more spending and consuming. Money presumably becomes less important to society because it's not so important to collect anymore.

Additionally, the government would team up with companies in order to improve technology, medicine, etc... Basically anything that would be compromised by eliminating the profit factor. Ideally people will create and produce not for profits but because they want to.

This would ideally eliminate 'rich' and 'poor', making everyone a single class (somewhere between middle and upper class.)

I don't know the name of this system or what it would more closely represent. It seems more socialist just with privately controlled companies still in the picture.

RedEyesBlackGamer:
I find extremes of both sides to be really silly.

Summed up in one sentence.

The best way to work, in my opinion, lies somewhere in the middle.

UltraHammer:
Said values, I feel, have become somewhat unpopular among certain groups of people in the country, so not very many politicians bring them up, so I respect the ones who are brave enough to do so anyways.

See, I am one of those people.

The basic problem of defending the "traditional" family is that not everyone has one, in fact very few people ever did, and beyond the rhetoric there's a good reason for that.

I don't think it's fair to tie social success or failure to something which not everyone has, which is sometimes abusive or at least highly conformist and which, in the form those conservative politicians are talking about, requires one person to forgo their independence and future employability to make it work.

I was raised in a role-segregated nuclear family. It didn't make anyone involved in it happy, and because of that it didn't impart any values to me except the knowledge that if I ever did end with a spouse or children I would never want the same thing for them.

The consequence of removing the state from the equation is that people become utterly dependent on the family for basic support, be it financial, care related or whatever. The only way to play down social inequality, I think, and actually to build the sense of community conservatives feel we should have to is to minimize the role of the family in society as much as possible. The family was never "good", even when it was "traditional", there was always betrayal and violence and sexual abuse and adultery and extreme poverty, it was just hidden below the surface.

UltraHammer:
While like I said, there does seem to be a dislike for 'family values' among certain USA'ers, I think the vast majority of them have always held the concept in very high respect and continue to do so now.

Yeah, and I think that's part of the problem.

If you had a "good" family, or you aspire to have a "good" family, it's very easy to turn around when someone gets sick, for example, and say "why should the state tax me to provide healthcare, that's so unfair on me! Those people's families should take care of them!" The flipside of family values is that it operates on the assumption that everyone has a family and doesn't mind being dependent on it and that as long as families pull together they will be able to afford an equal standard of basic services.

In British culture people still advocate this position, but it's very subtle because our social history is a good example to the contrary. We have lived in a system where your family outright determined the kind of job you could get, your education, even how tall you would end up being and how long you could expected to live, people have talked about these differences as if they were racial rather than socio-economic, ascribing particular attributes to particular classes of people based on what their parents did.

UltraHammer:
Many want to get a job that they love and do it with excellence; they love making the money, but they love doing what they're doing a lot more. And it sure as hell isn't just Americans who are like this; everybody is mature enough to know that owning a mega-yacht and three-story mansion won't automatically make them happy; the happiness comes from earning those tresures; that's living the American dream, the way I see it.

Go watch television for a bit.

Mass culture is increasingly aspirational, it's increasingly about providing a window (however distorted) into the lives of small numbers of highly rich people, real or imagined. I don't think it's a coincidence that this has occurred in the face of spiralling income disparity.

You talk about how it's all about happiness, but I don't think that's the message which goes out any more. Mass culture increasingly follows the idea that wealth creates happiness, even if it's just in the sense that our cultural icons, be they actors or sports stars or musicians, earn far more money far more visibly than they did in the past.

UltraHammer:
What are some stats on this I could read?

As a phenomenon, it's called the "Great Divergence". I'm not familiar with the numbers, but it has definately happened, especially in America.

UltraHammer:
And if a guy made a bunch of money, he would spend it; what would have been the point of making the money otherwise.

So, the amount of wealth and prosperity in the world--and therefore the standard of living--hasn't improved in the last, say, hundred years or so?

I'll deal with these two together.

All of the increasing wealth and prosperity in the world has been generated in developing countries. Developing countries like China and India have set up hugely successful export economies to provide consumer goods to developed countries, making a lot of money in the process and by extension raising the standard of living in the developed world by providing cheap consumer goods.

The issue is this, places like the US and the UK increasingly don't produce anything. The vast majority of the population is employed in the service industry. Now, the idea was that a small number of people would invest in the growing economies of the developing world and thereby make back the money lost buying consumer goods, while also allowing the developing world to develop more infrastructure more rapidly through borrowing.

The problem is that it fundamentally hasn't worked. Countries like China and India haven't embraced the idea of borrowing to fuel growth, actually it's the developed world which has really embraced a culture of borrowing to fuel consumption and to maintain an unsustainable level of growth, which is why we now suddenly hit a crisis whereby there's just not as much money in the system as anyone thought because so much of it was borrowed simply to allow people to maintain an unrealistic standard of living.

This is a grotesque oversimplification rendered in very broad strokes, but fundamentally I don't see how anything can be right about a country producing nothing and merely selling things to itself while maintaining constant growth rates fuelled by debt. I don't think that's a transitional problem, and I don't think it will simply go away. Growth is meant to reflect an increase of resources into the system. That's not happening in the developed world, and the chance to benefit from it happening in the developing world is already slipping by.

You can't magic the kind of high tech industry which is supposed to be the next big thing to salvage the situation from nowhere. If it's going to happen, it requires enormous investment in things like education, and it requires a culture which values education rather than expecting instant wealth to come out of business savvy or honest hard work. Again, it wouldn't surprise me if the developing world actually got there first, because "capitalism" here has become so fixated on the financial services industry that I don't see the ability to adapt fast enough.

UltraHammer:

Would you say, however, that capitalism has yet to be truly, fully implemented to its greatest capacity, even in America?

(I view 'capitalism' as an economic system as the idealized end goal of classical liberalism, namely a minimalistic government that only concerns itself with the defence and courts)

Nope, I am not entirely familiar with laws in America but I know that capitalism was enshrined legally in Denmark at the abolition of serfdom. Minimal state intervention in the economy (aside from the defence). In the United States I remember Lincoln encouraging settlers but otherwise I have little knowledge of federal social programmes prior to Teddy Roosevelt's efforts.

The issues naked capitalism faced were quite serious, economic distruptions, corruption, massive social issues and class warfare. Reforms, regulations and social programmes helped alleviate this.

UltraHammer:

Oh boy is that an dream-like thought; one I passionately think about. Hypothetically speaking, if the basic technology to achieve that were made a reality, what would best incentivize humanity to colonize most efficiently?

At present the value of enjoyment is quite high, though once that can be sated fully and instantly I would assume it loses much of its appeal the same way that once you can do something the ability of doing it becomes a lot less important to you.

Once humanity grasps interstellar travel and terraforming our resources will literally be infinite, and the same will go for the amount of living space. One can live out any dreams one might have and the universe will be completely open to us. It would be a simple matter to integrate ones dream into something beneficial for our overall goal of expansion, and with all of our base needs covered it would just be our curiosity and perhaps our pride tugging us into the unknown, just as it has been so far.

UltraHammer:

But who are the capitalists? CEO's and stockholders? Politicians? Lawyers? All of the above?

As I've said I would note capitalists as being anyone who supports returning to the classical liberal economic state of the 1800s with little to no government intervention in the economy. When I note "The people" I mean the entirity of the populace acting via elected assemblies like parliaments or congress.

UltraHammer:

Aren't CEO's and lawyers people too? Are we controlled by robots? I'm sorry, but I can't understand what you mean here.

The end goal for CEOs and lawyers isn't to ensure that all of humanity's needs are sated, their goal is to increase the amount of capital available for investment for themselves. I view this as a necessary component of our development the same way killing and breeding is necessary for evolution, but I don't hold it to be something sacred.

UltraHammer:
What, more specifically, is it about the business practices and economic system of the nineteenth century that embodies capitalism? Elaborate some. This is a fascinating definition I've never heard before.

I'm sure you have but it goes under many definitions, and the proponents of naked capitalism are somewhat hesitant to bring it up given all of the misery and problems that its implementation brought. It is just the classical liberal economic model of minimal government intervention in the economy that I view as capitalist. Mind you this does not simply include letting go of public companies, it means letting go of all work safety laws and all social programmes.

UltraHammer:

What do you think changed or occurred that finally made that happen?

Numerous things. Economic interdependence via free trade has put a dampener on our lust for conquest, as peace seems more profitable. We have an international cooperation to attempt to facilitate peace everywhere as much as possible to avoid destructive conflicts, and finally with the advent of nuclear weapons humanity has reached a stage where our capacity to destroy is so many orders of magnitude beyond our capacity to create that large scale war can never be return a profit.

evilthecat:

I'll deal with these two together.

All of the increasing wealth and prosperity in the world has been generated in developing countries. Developing countries like China and India have set up hugely successful export economies to provide consumer goods to developed countries, making a lot of money in the process and by extension raising the standard of living in the developed world by providing cheap consumer goods.

The issue is this, places like the US and the UK increasingly don't produce anything. The vast majority of the population is employed in the service industry. Now, the idea was that a small number of people would invest in the growing economies of the developing world and thereby make back the money lost buying consumer goods, while also allowing the developing world to develop more infrastructure more rapidly through borrowing.

The problem is that it fundamentally hasn't worked. Countries like China and India haven't embraced the idea of borrowing to fuel growth, actually it's the developed world which has really embraced a culture of borrowing to fuel consumption and to maintain an unsustainable level of growth, which is why we now suddenly hit a crisis whereby there's just not as much money in the system as anyone thought because so much of it was borrowed simply to allow people to maintain an unrealistic standard of living.

This is a grotesque oversimplification rendered in very broad strokes, but fundamentally I don't see how anything can be right about a country producing nothing and merely selling things to itself while maintaining constant growth rates fuelled by debt. I don't think that's a transitional problem, and I don't think it will simply go away. Growth is meant to reflect an increase of resources into the system. That's not happening in the developed world, and the chance to benefit from it happening in the developing world is already slipping by.

You can't magic the kind of high tech industry which is supposed to be the next big thing to salvage the situation from nowhere. If it's going to happen, it requires enormous investment in things like education, and it requires a culture which values education rather than expecting instant wealth to come out of business savvy or honest hard work. Again, it wouldn't surprise me if the developing world actually got there first, because "capitalism" here has become so fixated on the financial services industry that I don't see the ability to adapt fast enough.

I think one major problem too with modern economy in general is that economy isn't a very valid measure of what 'can' or 'is' being done. It's more this phantom economy that's made up entirely of perspective that is somehow dictating, like some bizarre religion, what we can and can't do.

Plenty of places here are being boarded up and masses of people are out of work that realistically could do a lot of work just selling shit to each other. You said that an economy that just sells stuff to itself can't exist, but it could work.

The problem arises when people become too concerned with stock market type 'phantom' economies; where sustained profit isn't 'enough' to continue to invest, only growth, massive growth, is an investment possibility.

Nobody is willing to tie for 'second best'. A similar thing happened with Blockbuster. Many people were still using the service, for many various reasons. Yes, a massive amount of its customers had moved on to Red Box machines and their online Netflix devices, but the stores were still turning profit, even if they weren't growing at the retarded and unmaintainable 'a store every 35 feet' rate they were in the late 90's. So suddenly all their investors backed right out because they can't be making a billion dollars when they can be making 3 billion, and then next thing you know, half it's stores are gone and it's filing bankruptcy and selling everything it owns.

As long as the economy is concerned with "What we made last year, and 10% of that" every quarter, it's eventually doomed to collapse when that goal isn't feasible (and there is always a point where that goal won't be feasible).

And of course, when stuff does collapse, and they're making a buck, then 2 dollars next time sounds like a lot of money and.. suddenly all the fake stock prophets think that expecting 10% growth every year is feasible again, and the last collapse was a total fluke!

But the thing is, the amount of 'work ability' never really changed, through the up or down. That's why the economy is a bad judge of the.. well, economy.

Part of a major reason why the 'invisible hand' of the economy can't just, by itself, regulate everything is because the desires that lead the hand aren't rational or realistic, therefor anything that is produced by the invisible hand is either going to be irrational or unrealistic.

It requires people to stand back and evaluate things realistically.

Ill go with socialism. We can start by having EVERY man, woman, and child in the U.S(Everyone)pay 45,000 dollars each, needed to bring our debt to zero. That does not count future debt that is already in place. But just to bring our current debt to zero!

Im all for it! Since you know, we make up the government! That way everyone can be a part of it! The worker class. Dont worry, we can have a enigma like Obama making sure "Everyone" will have future debts to pay off. Since we are all socialists, there is no "Class Warfare".

As such, those class warfare warriors(you know those protesters) can finally disband. As such there is no class system. We are one, solidarity, and all that jazz!

So, lets begin!

All right, confess. Who pulled the stake out of xpowderx's heart?

I have been accused of being socialist on another site...

Basically, I just want capitalism in order to generate wealth, and have some regulation and socialist policies so that the excess wealth (people/companies who make ridiculous amounts of money, for example) gets redistributed so that the general standard of living goes up.

Alright Comando, I'm finally getting to you. This post also contains my responses to,

SaladFork,
F4LL3N,
And most prominently EvilTheCat

Once again, feel free to only read your own section. Also, you don't have to go through the trouble of putting all my quotes in the HTML code, just using "quotes" will suffice.

Comando96:
1) Well no one group is allowed to put up barriers to entry for other groups. Abolish Copyright laws. No group is allowed to buy another group or merge with another group. All businesses must only operate within the confines of supply and demand. Groups are not allowed to work together, nor are they allowed to work against another, they must only compete, not colluded or have a "trade war"

So... if one wants to own and operate a grocery store, they must plant and harvest their own wheat on their own land, process the wheat into bread, then package it and put it on their shelves? Oh and they'd also have to grow and process all the other ingredients required to make bread. Is this what you mean?

Comando96:
2) Free Market Capitalism

That's interesting, I know most other people who identify themselves as capitalists would disagree with you. Just saying.

Comando96:
however if the bullshit we have now is "capitalism" to you... then I'm fucking against it as it breeds inefficiencies and is far from the most productive and effective method of reaching the goals of economics which is the distribution of resources

So companies working together creates inefficiency?

Comando96:
Currenctly those in high places can pull strings and hoard wealth while not actually improving anything at all... they get more for themselves while taking from those beneath them... because... they can...

How does one hoard wealth? If people with millions of dollars don't spend their money, they certainly wouldn't be living the luxurious lives they can afford, correct?

**************************************************************************************
**************************************************************************************
**************************************************************************************

Saladfork:
I'm ideologically a communist, but I'm also enough of a realist to accept that pure communism is not viable.

I agree, that if we were all able to 'just get along', we would have established communism a long time ago.

Saladfork:
Sweden would be a very good example.

What's good about Sweden in relation to their economic condition and government? Elaborate.

**************************************************************************************
**************************************************************************************
**************************************************************************************

F4LL3N:
I would limit the amount of profit a company could make to a rather small amount. The company would need to seek permission to collect more profits (if they wish to expand.) The excess money would be split between taxes, better wages, and cheaper products.

Hmm that's an interesting proposition I haven't heard before. So basically, companies don't already have reasons to encourage them to lower prices and raise wages, so the government being involved is the only way in which to make them do it?

F4LL3N:
The taxes can help the government improve society where needed (better education and healthcare, etc)

What is it about the government that allows it to be able to provide things like education and healthcare that companies in the private market cannot accomplish as well?

F4LL3N:
Better wages and cheaper products means more spending and consuming.

Naturally.

F4LL3N:
Money presumably becomes less important to society because it's not so important to collect anymore.

Or rather that it's not as important to obtain as much money as before, correct? Like for instance, a person of average wealth in the 1800's might have to work tirelessly around the clock in order to provide basic necessities like food, water and shelter, but in America today, someone can obtain those necessities with much less work, and then spend their new free time pursuing a hobby (or working harder to obtain luxurious wealth).

F4LL3N:
Additionally, the government would team up with companies in order to improve technology, medicine, etc...

But are companies not already copiously incentivized to do such things on their own? The first company to invent a new machine or develop a life-saving drug will most certainly make lots and lots of money, after all.

F4LL3N:
Basically anything that would be compromised by eliminating the profit factor. Ideally people will create and produce not for profits but because they want to.

What is the problem with profits? I'm sorry but I don't understand. One thing I'm sure you already know is that many people work to earn money, but also because they enjoy doing it.

F4LL3N:
This would ideally eliminate 'rich' and 'poor', making everyone a single class (somewhere between middle and upper class.)

What would happen in the event that someone refused to work?

F4LL3N:
I don't know the name of this system or what it would more closely represent. It seems more socialist just with privately controlled companies still in the picture.

People call Barack Obama a socialist, and it is true that his administration is working with big companies and working together closely, like GM. He has also sent subsidies directly to certain 'green energy' companies. This seems to be going in the direction of what you're talking about, so if America is heading in the direction of socialism, then what you talked about is socialism.

**************************************************************************************
**************************************************************************************
**************************************************************************************

evilthecat:
See, I am one of those people. The basic problem of defending the "traditional" family is that not everyone has one...

So, because not all people are born with a good family, the whole idea of families should be thrown out?

evilthecat:
...in fact very few people ever did...

Oh. Really? I was born with and raised by a biological father and a biological mother, and I know many people who did as well. So I'm misunderstanding what a traditional family is?

evilthecat:
...and beyond the rhetoric there's a good reason for that...

Oh I see. I'll read on, then.

evilthecat:
I don't think it's fair to tie social success or failure to something which not everyone has, which is sometimes abusive or at least highly conformist...

So it IS partially about the fact that not everyone gets to have a family then, yes?

evilthecat:
...in the form those conservative politicians are talking about, requires one person to forgo their independence and future employability to make it work.

So the politicians are telling everyone to find a mate, make a baby and raise it?

evilthecat:
I was raised in a role-segregated nuclear family. It didn't make anyone involved in it happy, and because of that it didn't impart any values to me except the knowledge that if I ever did end with a spouse or children I would never want the same thing for them.

Do you feel that is the ultimate result of any nuclear family, as a result of the foundation of the concept?

evilthecat:
The consequence of removing the state from the equation is that people become utterly dependent on the family for basic support, be it financial, care related or whatever.

Well I would argue that people rely on other people all the time, even if they don't know one another. Like relying on a store employee to place food on a shelf that you need to eat to live, or relying on other people to not crash into your car, or a better example would be insurance companies; which for a (preferably small) sum of money, allow you to transfer the risk of something bad happening to you, onto the company.

So I would think that a private economy is similar to a family; the difference being that money and wealth are transferred in the former, while love and emotional support are (ideally) transferred in the latter.

evilthecat:
The only way to play down social inequality, I think, and actually to build the sense of community conservatives feel we should have to is to minimize the role of the family in society as much as possible.

So, you would advocate lessening the trade of the aforementioned love, companionship and emotional support, and expand the volume of trade that consists of monetary wealth?

evilthecat:
The family was never "good", even when it was "traditional", there was always betrayal and violence and sexual abuse and adultery and extreme poverty, it was just hidden below the surface.

Are you saying that this is a constant and automatic part of the traditional family? I don't think you are, but if you aren't, are you saying that because the family has--many times in history--failed horribly, that it's importance should be diminished?

evilthecat:
If you had a "good" family, or you aspire to have a "good" family, it's very easy to turn around when someone gets sick, for example, and say "why should the state tax me to provide healthcare, that's so unfair on me! Those people's families should take care of them!" The flipside of family values is that it operates on the assumption that everyone has a family and doesn't mind being dependent on it and that as long as families pull together they will be able to afford an equal standard of basic services.

That is a very good point. Do you, though, that the proposed remedies to children without families--adoption/foster parenting and birth control/abstinence--do not suffice fixing the problem enough to make the institution of nuclear families worth upholding?

evilthecat:
In British culture people still advocate this position, but it's very subtle

So in your country, you don't feel 'traditional family values' are very highly regarded? I guess neither of us could measure that confidently for our own respective cultures, since we haven't lived in one-anothers countries and thus can't sense the contrast upon which to measure. (I assume you have lived in the UK the majority of your life, as have I in America.)

I know! Here's a good way I think to try and feel the contrast: how much do your elected officials emphasize their loyalty to family values; how much they bring up their children, fidelity or other related things, particularly when running for elections? Think about it for a minute before going on to the next paragraph.

Here in America, it is usually a very important aspect of elections. Especially for the role of president, candidates tend to campaign with pictures of their whole family, they tend to bring up and mention their children during TV ads and debates, and candidates with a poor 'family' record are inevitably going to be attacked and scrutinized for it.
And in result, I think the vast majority of American elected officials are good family people and/or lived sexually tame lives (or at least have convinced everyone of being such), especially at the presidential level. Bill Clinton was this crazy exception that I don't think happened before in a long long time, although it may happen again--to a much lesser degree--if Newt Gingrich wins this year.

evilthecat:
...because our social history is a good example to the contrary. We have lived in a system where your family outright determined the kind of job you could get...

That certainly is an influential factor in America today, but my parents and most that I know are generally very open to letting their kids decide what they want to do with their lives. Or are you referring just to financial and social status, in which parents can only give their kids what they themselves have? Again I do believe and know that children of modestly successful families can go on to be extremely successful themselves.

What I'm trying to say is that, neither the state of 'family values' in your culture today, or from years past, appear to have much in common with the state of FV in America, from my personal perspective.

evilthecat:
your education

Well I guess that's something American parents still have much control over. I mean for the most part, Americans surrender much of their power over their children's education to the federal government (what do you think of that, by the way?), but those who have the money and will can choose a private school for their kids, or--if they have the money, will and time--homeschool them. Which, for the record, is what my parents chose to do.

evilthecat:
even how tall you would end up being and how long you could expected to live,

Uh... well, that still applies, pretty much everywhere, right? I mean it's genetic, right?

evilthecat:
people have talked about these differences as if they were racial rather than socio-economic, ascribing particular attributes to particular classes of people based on what their parents did.

Again, I know that the majority of Americans--and I guess from the UK, based on what you describe, or maybe not, I don't know--believe that human beings need families, and that's why they often like political and social entities that encourage things in the traditional family values (TFV, as I will now call it before I puke from typing the full phrase again).

Okay, I notice that I'm getting progressively more and more vague here, and I'm getting closer and closer unfair generalizations. So I'm a little relieved that (I think) I've reached the end of this part of the topic.

evilthecat:
Go watch television for a bit. Mass culture is increasingly aspirational,

About obtaining or achieving something? What's wrong with that?

evilthecat:
it's increasingly about providing a window (however distorted) into the lives of small numbers of highly rich people, real or imagined.

So what is the implication here? That the culture has become more fixated on achieving goals and defeating obstacles, or that the culture has become more comfortable with the idea of the impoverished many and the wealthy few?

evilthecat:
You talk about how it's all about happiness, but I don't think that's the message which goes out any more. Mass culture increasingly follows the idea that wealth creates happiness, even if it's just in the sense that our cultural icons, be they actors or sports stars or musicians, earn far more money far more visibly than they did in the past.

Oh I understand now; the culture is becoming more fixated on money alone. Well I guess that might be true, but I dunno, greedy people have always existed, and it still only takes a little maturity and foresight to know that money doesn't buy happiness.

Okay so dammit, I'm getting into really vague generalizations again already.

evilthecat:
As a phenomenon, it's called the "Great Divergence". I'm not familiar with the numbers, but it has definately happened, especially in America.

Tell me more about it. Oh, I think you do just below... do you? I don't know; my brain is just about fried after having made a post this long.

evilthecat:
This is a grotesque oversimplification rendered in very broad strokes, but fundamentally I don't see how anything can be right about a country producing nothing and merely selling things to itself while maintaining constant growth rates fuelled by debt. I don't think that's a transitional problem, and I don't think it will simply go away. Growth is meant to reflect an increase of resources into the system. That's not happening in the developed world, and the chance to benefit from it happening in the developing world is already slipping by.

So tell me if I've got this straight: America, the UK and other wealthy nations have borrowed and loaned money to buy things from China, India and other (progressively less) poor nations, and therefore, it won't be long before this system collapses, because we do not create enough wealth ourselves to ever pay the debt off?

Secondly: are you referring to the debt of our governments, or are you talking about the debt of individual people and/or companies, or both?

Thirdly: how is this related to capitalism as a concept, and not rather to the way capitalism has been practiced or abused in recent history? Maybe you cleared this up earlier but I'm just about catatonic right now so I'm not able to focus very well.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked