8-Bit Philosophy: Is Capitalism Bad For You?

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inu-kun:
My main problem with american capitalism is that it's less capitalism and just people taking advantage of the system, it's like comparing Stalin's russia to socialism.

In Marxist thought that is what they say capitalism is. It is the antithesis of the the owners of the means of production with is depended on how desperately the workers need their jobs.

Also, Stalin's Russia was... weird. It wasn't fully blown communism or socialism. I could go on and on about this but I don't want to bog things down.

Edit: Fuck yea philosophy on the Escapist. I am in love.

This guy knows nothing of capitalism or how it even works. What he describes is bad working conditions which has nothing to do with Capitalism or Socialism. At least in a Capitalist society you can move up and get better jobs, you can go from dishwasher to chef if you have the skills and ambition. With Socialism the state tells you what to do, if the state tells you to be a factory worker you will be a factory worker. With Capitalism you are rewarded for hard work, and if you don't like the conditions where you work you can seek out a new job or start a business. In Socialism you can work 60-70 hours a week at one job and be better at it than anyone else, you won't get rewarded for your hard work and if you don't like it too bad.

Tell me which is worse now?

LysanderNemoinis:
My main problem is that once again, The Escapist is putting up a completely one-sided argument without even mentioning the possibility that there's another side or that communism is far worse.

Um, the video wasn't an argument at all, let alone a one-sided one. It didn't contrast capitalism with socialism, just gave a brief (if possibly inaccurate) history of the religious origins of capitalism. As such, I don't find it a take-down of capitalism any more than studying the origins of Communism is a take-down of communism. It's just history.

The fact that a few people use it to take pot shots means nothing meaningful. It's like condemning the United States because of the slavery of the founders. What is important is not the history, it's how the history informs the present.

The fact that you feel defensive about capitalism is odd. After all, there's pretty much nowhere on the planet that gives serious consideration to deviating from a market based system. (If you're talking pure capitalism, that's different. But nobody has tried it.)

CaptainBill22:
This guy knows nothing of capitalism or how it even works. What he describes is bad working conditions which has nothing to do with Capitalism or Socialism. At least in a Capitalist society you can move up and get better jobs, you can go from dishwasher to chef if you have the skills and ambition. With Socialism the state tells you what to do, if the state tells you to be a factory worker you will be a factory worker. With Capitalism you are rewarded for hard work, and if you don't like the conditions where you work you can seek out a new job or start a business. In Socialism you can work 60-70 hours a week at one job and be better at it than anyone else, you won't get rewarded for your hard work and if you don't like it too bad.

Tell me which is worse now?

well its a bit unfair , capitalism is better than the level of communism or socialism humans are capable of, if only we were not such flawed creatures those models would be better. its a pretty sad state really.

Capitalism and so does democracy , both were good step ups from what went before but they are hardly ideal.

would love to see democracy scrapped for a model closer to the scientific method and our economy abandon money and wealth for a sustainable resource allocation based economy

Less politics, more geek culture related content. The existing commentators here already bring more than enough left wing spin to the site just in trying to do their job. Anti-capitalist rants being presented as features are the last thing this site needs. Especially when this was a poorly researched piece to begin with, the guy writing it seems to have no practical idea of what a Calvinist is (as someone already pointed out in detail).

That said, at the end of the day someone has to dig the ditches, and society needs far more people at the bottom holding it up than on the top. The man who is at the bottom is always going to want a change in the status quo in feeling it will benefit him. In a capitalist society, the guy at the bottom looks at those on the top and demands different distribution of wealth because that benefits him. After all from his perspective it's not his fault that he isn't as smart, talented, or gifted, or descended from someone who was. In a socialist system the man at the bottom thinks that if he could compete more freely he would be better off. At the end of the day in a capitalist system the most gifted and ruthless rule alongside the merchants and traders. In a socialist society the government that is responsible for distributing everything "fairly" occupies the same position. Either way on the bottom your either envying the businessmen and independently wealthy, or those in high powered government positions who will inevitably use their status to benefit themselves and lead lavish lifestyles that benefit both them and their favored. No system or social philosophy will ever be utopian, even a perfect system on paper will not survive contact with human nature.

For the most part I'm content with the American balance on Capitalism and the limitations and safeguards it puts into force. Things could be better and like everyone there are changes I'd make (some in directions of socialism as I'm a big believer in worker's rights) but I think right now we've got a pretty decent balance.

Life is stress, to be honest I don't think social philosophy changes that. Those in communist regimes don't have any less stress. Indeed the grass is always greener on the other side of the pasture, and no matter what side your on, you at least envy some aspects of the other... it's human nature.

The world generally sucks, and honestly even if we develop limitless resources and transcend any need for us to do anything but pleasure ourselves, we'll still find reasons to be stressed... even if it's over whether we have the latest model of auto-masturbator, and if there will be enough produced fast enough to get the newest one when it first comes out. Stress is based on the environment, just because people's concerns are trivial compared to yours does not mean they are any less real or stressful. Sure worrying about an auto-masturbator seems petty compared to say clean drinking water, but if it's the only thing you are concerned with do to having everything else, people will stress about it. This is one of the reasons why I tend to be dismissive of people complaining about "First world problems" just because other people have bigger problems does not mean the other problems concern the people involved any less. You look at the guys in the US concerned about IP laws and the guy in Africa concerned about not having water, and all it shows is that no matter where you are on the scale something is always going to stress people, even when the concerns become increasingly petty.... and let's be honest, when people are involved conflict will likely always arise, even if all we have to do is pleasure ourselves, we'll still find reasons to fight each other over lube... and if millions die in the lube wars the reason doesn't effectively make it any different than World War II... all that matters is that enough people disagreed about things important enough from their perspective for massive violence to break out. When lube is a big part of your life, it becomes important.

I personally hate it when people demonize or attack the other side, it's always a with us or against us mentality. If you're not for capitalism, you're a dirty socialist/commie. If you're not for socialism, you're a greedy capitalist pig.

Frankly, I think we need to look at both systems objectively, recognize their benefits and drawbacks, and settle on a system that'll make as many people happy and productive as possible.

I saw this in the feed and though "oh great more "game theories rehash" but i saw it and i LOVED it. this is great. please continue.

Lightknight:
I've considered this quite a bit lately. The notion that automation should eventually put people out of work. Ideally, this would mean a future where people don't have to work but are free to direct their attention to whatever pursuits they desire. But there's a lot of things in-between that could wreck us.

I imagine that the government will eventually have to legislate a certain ratio of human works be maintained for companies. That could side step the issue of massive layoffs with fewer consumers to buy things (because, again, layoffs).

We'll have to see how that turns out. What's sad is that robots will inevitably out-pace us eventually. There will be a day when there's nothing we can do that they can't do better. Everything from innovation to humor.

the main problem with automation is that capitalism is broken by design. it is heavily in favor to capital owners rather than equality based on effort, this means that automation, instead of allowing people to work less and still make same amount of added value results in income disparity getting larger. Now, government regulation coming in here usually helps, but in US government has long ago gave up on doing anything for its people.

Gorrath:

Starving the population is a really good way for those in power to get their heads lopped off and stuck on poles. Also, I'd say that a population is really only excessive (within the scope of this conversation) if it is difficult to house or feed said population, something which automation should make easier to do. You'd have excess population in comparison to work that you needed done, but I imagine you'd see a shift to jobs created for arts, sports and customer service rather than a summary round-up and extermination of those who can't find jobs. Not impossible of course, as the tactics you suggest have been used before. I just don't think it's all that likely to happen, and surely not likely to succeed.

assembly line bashing during industrial revolution didnt work.
Nor did people protesting against millions starving in US right now.

As long as the general population is above certain treshold in items they own they wont dare a revolt in fear of loosing what they already have. just keep the population above that line and you got a willing slave.

LysanderNemoinis:
Wow...and here I thought after certain members of the staff being let go, maybe The Escapist would have a little bit less political bullshit. Guess I was wrong. Though I'm really looking forward to the "Is Communism Bad For You?" episode, and hear how more people have been killed because of that oppressive system than have ever died or been negatively affected by capitalism. Wait, what am I talking about? This is The Escapist, the Pravda of gaming. Carry on, comrades.

there is a total of 0 people that died because of communism. this is because communism has never been attempted outside of small scale. What the world wrongly refers to communism sometimes is actually authoritorian planned economy capitalism.

This is a topic where I'm ignorant as it's just too far up there with large and widespread consequences...

My impression is that a lot of it is necessary evil, like planned obsolescence. Nobody likes having to buy a necessary item over and over again, but the upsides include competitive prices and increased jobs.
On the other hand you have stuff like the printer industry where you're charged obscene amounts of money for ink AND you have to replace your printer every couple of years...
For all I know it's actually fair, but my (admittedly) uninformed opinion says that it's pure bullshit.

In the car industry it's having a negative effect on people, as newer cars rely you on going to a workshop just to have a lightbulb changed due to complicated design. Such as having to strip a panel off as well as remove components before you get access to the housing.
It's complicated enough to deter people from doing it themselves, which in turn leaves them incapable of fixing their own things. This seems like a very bad development to me as we need confidence in our lives and that comes along with being able to handle ourselves in most situations, including fixing our car if needed.

-

Since this is about the actual workers, the point that I understand is that the "work hard - live when you're old" mentality is out of habit due to traditions (and smart business owners).
For those of us who don't go out and start our own companies, the lesson is to live your life while you can and not fall into the materialistic trap unless that's actually something you wish for (something that gamers usually are).

I have a sizeable inheritence coming up which will enable me to buy some great things, such as a new motorcycle (looking at a Suzuki M1800R/M109R for those who are curios), but having spent a few months thinking about all the things I could get or how to to be smart about that money I've realized that the best thing for me is to change my life as much as possible with it.
Move to another country, start a company, invest in an apartment and sell it off, take a trip on my motorcycle across the world and have an amazing experience...

There are lots of ways not to be stuck in a 9 to 5 life and not be stomped on by capitalism for the worker.

CrystalShadow:

3. Sort out a means of supporting this population without requiring anything from them in return

Got any other potential options? because that's about all I can think of as alternatives...

Dont need any more than this. Let machines do the work and support us and let us do with the time as we please. would solve most of workforce related problems just like that. and the level of automatisation rising may one day will very well be able to do it.

Of course, population is much too large nowadays, but thats the fault of capitalism that runs the best when there is a surplus of cheap slave labor.

inu-kun:
My main problem with american capitalism is that it's less capitalism and just people taking advantage of the system, it's like comparing Stalin's russia to socialism.

Also, americans like to point fingers and whoever they think is responsible at their state, which is anyone but them. Even the entertaiment industry lives on it, the big evil guy is the rich white american tycoon, not the branch manager who lays off workers to make the end year look more positive and gives the guy's salary to himself.

American capitalism is one of the purest forms of capitalism. the capital controls everything, including the government. Its just that the system is flawed, and when not regulared by outside party you have, well, US.

As far as your example, you do understand that the branch manager has no choice because of the rich tycoon's demands, right?

LysanderNemoinis:

Hell, America wouldn't even exist without people who were determined to be able to live as they wanted, to work for themselves, and not have a government tell them what to do, how to work, and what to think.

Ah, yes, a country that is built on stealing land, killing the natives and then backstabbing the country that allowed them to do this, then profiteering from two world wars (selling guns to both sides is fun isnt it) and profiteering from the destruction afterwards (its easy to be economic superpower when you are the only one with economy not destroyed by war) and whose every public sector is collapsing on itself now is such a great example of the "good" things personal freedom has lead to.

Zato-1:
What is this drivel? Video should be titled "Max Weber's take on Capitalism", there's no real discussion about whether Capitalism is good or bad for you.

This is 8-bit phylosophy. as you know, 8-bit format is extremely limited, which is why the world has moved on to 64 bits. As such, any product made with it is also extremely limited.

Armadox:

That being said, it's no worse for you then any economic system, as you have an ability, no matter how slim to score riches for your efforts as long as those efforts pay you back the time spent. Where as other systems can grant everyone the base living safety net, but your labor will not give you any means more then that...

Ah, the american optimism at its worst. you have a lower chance to make it big than being hit by lightning, twice but that somehow excuses all the flaws of the system!
And that chance also exists only because those that already made it big lets you.

Smilomaniac:

On the other hand you have stuff like the printer industry where you're charged obscene amounts of money for ink AND you have to replace your printer every couple of years...
For all I know it's actually fair, but my (admittedly) uninformed opinion says that it's pure bullshit.

your not paying for ink. you are paying for a microchip in the catridge whose manufacturing costs are only a few cents and only purpose is to not allow competing brand's cartridges to be used in that printer so they could price-gouge more. printer ink is the second most expensive liquid on earth as a result.

In the car industry it's having a negative effect on people, as newer cars rely you on going to a workshop just to have a lightbulb changed due to complicated design. Such as having to strip a panel off as well as remove components before you get access to the housing.

I have no such problems replacing lightbulbs in Kia Ceed from 2012. Might be different in other cars. i know some manufacturers are better at it than others.

But yes for the most part cars are too complicated for regular user nowadays. this is due to their attempt to increase efficiency and safety though and not so much for service gourging.

Strazdas:

CrystalShadow:

3. Sort out a means of supporting this population without requiring anything from them in return

Got any other potential options? because that's about all I can think of as alternatives...

Dont need any more than this. Let machines do the work and support us and let us do with the time as we please. would solve most of workforce related problems just like that. and the level of automatisation rising may one day will very well be able to do it.

Of course, population is much too large nowadays, but thats the fault of capitalism that runs the best when there is a surplus of cheap slave labor.

It is one of the best of the options I listed, but it also flies in the face of how our current culture functions.
Just look at the countries that have welfare states, and how much resentment and nastiness gets aimed at the parts of the population recieving 'handouts'.

Some places are even actively trying to demonise everyone that gets welfare payments.

Now consider what we'd have to do as a society to get from that attitude to one where it's considered normal, and acceptable for people to get stuff just because, without any expectation behind it...

It's a pretty big leap. And that was kind of my point. We need to encourage that shift in ideals, and preferably before automation renders massive chunks of the existing workforce completely redundant.

Yet look at mainstream accounts of automation and this is rarely if ever brought up. Concerns about job losses are brought up all the time, but the concept of it actually being OK not to do anything 'productive' is never even vaguely hinted at.

Things like universal basic income also routinely get panned as either unreasonable, unworkable, or just... 'wrong'...

We don't seem ready for option 3, even tough it seems to be the best choice in some ways, our culture seems quite intent on taking one of the other three choices I listed...

IOwnTheSpire:
I personally hate it when people demonize or attack the other side, it's always a with us or against us mentality. If you're not for capitalism, you're a dirty socialist/commie. If you're not for socialism, you're a greedy capitalist pig.

Frankly, I think we need to look at both systems objectively, recognize their benefits and drawbacks, and settle on a system that'll make as many people happy and productive as possible.

Meh. People are stupid. Pretty much every western nation has a mixed economy. This is called "Neo-Liberalism" by a lot of people and basically it means some aspects of free markets (Liberalism) with some various levels of state control and regulation. In some countries it's entirely possible to look at them as instead of having a capitalist economy with some socialism, that it's a socialist economy with some capitalism. The world is funny that way, it's just a change of perspective.

I pretty much fall in this boat as well. I like free markets, but I think some services really ought to be socialized. We do this in the united states already with things like police, fire, schools and libraries because it provides an obvious benefit for society. Inversely I hate over-regulation that makes it near impossible for people to start or run small businesses. Try starting a restaurant or some other food service business in the USA. Your will shit bricks once you realize all the money you have to pay due to government regulations - but again we justify that by taking care of the "public health". Too bad the cost is shifted onto the people trying to start the tiny business then huh?

CrystalShadow:

It's a pretty big leap. And that was kind of my point. We need to encourage that shift in ideals, and preferably before automation renders massive chunks of the existing workforce completely redundant.

Yet look at mainstream accounts of automation and this is rarely if ever brought up. Concerns about job losses are brought up all the time, but the concept of it actually being OK not to do anything 'productive' is never even vaguely hinted at.

Things like universal basic income also routinely get panned as either unreasonable, unworkable, or just... 'wrong'...
...

people do shift eventually, most people wouldn't glady run off to war in the name of queen and country like they would 100 years ago nor would they abide by archaic notions of nationalism in regards to cowardice and fighting (well some people would for that)

people will have to (at some point) capitalism doesn't work when most of your population can't get jobs, before or after it blows up in their face

ideally you'd want to instill an attitude of motivation to do productive and rewarding things for the sake of it...rather than because society tells you. Some people are definitely more inclined to this than others.Given the fact that a lot of people merely tolerate their jobs and always have things they'd rather be doing its not totally out of the question

on the ohter...a population placetated on netflix/twitter/VR isn't out of the question eather

but youre right in that its going to take a rethinking of things we take as fundamental, even if you are in "yay utopia" camp we still to some extent pride ourselves on our ability do to things...make that ability arbitrairy..well there's some exestensial angst for you

LysanderNemoinis:

Hell, America wouldn't even exist without people who were determined to be able to live as they wanted, to work for themselves, and not have a government tell them what to do, how to work, and what to think.

aand you know the exploitation of uh-...I mean OOOOOHHH SAY CAN YOU SEEEE....BY THE DAWNS EARLY LIIIIIIGHT!!! MURRRRICAAAAA

yes we all enjoy our nice things but lets not pretend they didn't come at a cost

LysanderNemoinis:
Wow...and here I thought after certain members of the staff being let go, maybe The Escapist would have a little bit less political bullshit. Guess I was wrong. Though I'm really looking forward to the "Is Communism Bad For You?" episode, and hear how more people have been killed because of that oppressive system than have ever died or been negatively affected by capitalism. Wait, what am I talking about? This is The Escapist, the Pravda of gaming. Carry on, comrades.

Wait. Are you talking about the imaginary Marxist/ Leninist communist wanted or the what happened in reality under Stalin. Yes, Marx recognised that you might need to be Fascist to make a transition to communism, but nothing that happened could really be claimed as communist. To not meant to be the rich take from the poor because they think they need the resources. Even Lenin, the verbal manipulative person that completely unshakable from his beliefs recognised (after many years) that Stalin, even though his was useful for the guerrilla warfare against his own party (and sometime against the Tsars.)

Just like Capitalism is in no shape or form represented by what shows up today. A best we have crony capitalism, but more like corporate and institutional feudalism. Only a couple individual ideas are important, and everyone else is whitewashed. Our current "capitalism" has made us more like automatons, like the way we feared communism would do. And been more effective at it.

Adam Smith thought the "enlighten self-interest" would be the way forward to capitalism (and would use it more effectively than other beliefs). I think it broke it.

CrystalShadow:
That's one solution. But an especially awkward one assuming the work would normally be done by machines for the sake of efficiency.

I would imagine a more viable solution longterm would be to remove all work related taxes, (primarily income tax), and try to ensure the remaining taxes can be distributed to the population.

More and more people living on government assistance wouldn't be awkward?

Artificial employment levels are to help during the interim where human workers are still necessary compared to when technology can just take care of our needs as necessary. The real question is how our economy functions without the need for human interaction. Do we just become the moochers of a robot civilization that is at the same time subservient to our needs while also vastly superior to us and dragging us forward in technology along with them? Do we assimilate in pursuit of immortality? Is the future of mankind entirely robotic? With computers powerful enough to emulate even our DNA in real time?

Hmmm. I'm not sure that's even a bad thing.

Unfortunately, with current trends I rather fear the handful of people with enough wealth and power to control the automated manufacturing systems are more inclined to attempt mass irradication of the 'excess' population, either directly, or through starvation.

Pessimistic I suppose, but that's what I expect to see if we don't radically alter our value system before automation truly starts to take over everything...

Aside from ideological motivations there isn't much reason to eradicate populations. As technology increases so too will the means to support people. I've seen indoor hydroponics systems that produce many times as much food per square foot than regular soil does. Just using LEDs without the use of soil so it sustains water in a controllable fashion. From there it's really just an issue of housing and entertainment which wouldn't be that hard to produce with an automated work force.

Strazdas:
the main problem with automation is that capitalism is broken by design. it is heavily in favor to capital owners rather than equality based on effort, this means that automation, instead of allowing people to work less and still make same amount of added value results in income disparity getting larger. Now, government regulation coming in here usually helps, but in US government has long ago gave up on doing anything for its people.

This will eventually be in everyone's best interest to regulate. Businesses and people alike. This is sort of like Hockey regulations making all players wear helmets. Everyone benefits if everyone wears a helmet while some players would be better without the helmets at the risk of serious injury. So too would it maintain equality to force this sort of thing across the board to maintain some kind of economy. The thing is, the workforce is the consumer market. Everyone loses if either of those groups disappears. So if you can't trust the government to do good for people, at least trust it to do good for its businesses (aka financial backers).

Strazdas:

assembly line bashing during industrial revolution didnt work.
Nor did people protesting against millions starving in US right now.

As long as the general population is above certain treshold in items they own they wont dare a revolt in fear of loosing what they already have. just keep the population above that line and you got a willing slave.

\

The abuse of the word "slave" in this context is preposterous. We may be forced by circumstance to do things we'd prefer not to but this does not make slaves of us. Of course people won't revolt if they have nice things because there isn't a need to revolt if you have nice things. Tearing down the system that supports your lifestyle makes no sense if your lifestyle is decent. And for most people living in the U.S., they live a decent lifestyle.

My comment was made in a specific context, that is that an attempt to starve the majority of people to death does not tend to work. The second part of your comment illustrates why the first part of your comment takes my point out of its context. Also the "millions starving in the U.S." requires its own context in that it's only true if you consider "food insecure" to be "starving." The two things are not as interchangeable as some would have people believe. Anyone who's food is subsidized by the government can be considered "food insecure" but to say that they are "starving" is ridiculous.

That is not so suggest that we don't have problems with poverty and hunger but characterizing those problems with hyperbole does nothing to solve them.

EDIT: I saw this part after and wanted to reply to it as well:

Strazdas:

CrystalShadow:

3. Sort out a means of supporting this population without requiring anything from them in return

Got any other potential options? because that's about all I can think of as alternatives...

Dont need any more than this. Let machines do the work and support us and let us do with the time as we please. would solve most of workforce related problems just like that. and the level of automatisation rising may one day will very well be able to do it.

Of course, population is much too large nowadays, but thats the fault of capitalism that runs the best when there is a surplus of cheap slave labor.

Please provide evidence for this claim. I can honestly say I've never heard anyone blame an economic system for the desire of humans to reproduce. It is fair to say that different economic systems create different environments in which humans may be more or less willing to try for reproduction but nothing about capitalism in the U.S. suggests what you say is true. Our native population is shrinking year over year, not growing. The only reason why our over-all population goes up is due to immigration.

Also, I take exception to your last sentence specifically. Capitalism runs best where there are a variety of workers at different skill-levels. This does include a need for low-skilled labor. But as above, your use of the word slave is nonsensical. A slave is a person who is owned as property, not someone who has to work to feed themselves.

inu-kun:
My main problem with american capitalism is that it's less capitalism and just people taking advantage of the system, it's like comparing Stalin's russia to socialism.

Also, americans like to point fingers and whoever they think is responsible at their state, which is anyone but them. Even the entertaiment industry lives on it, the big evil guy is the rich white american tycoon, not the branch manager who lays off workers to make the end year look more positive and gives the guy's salary to himself.

Oh? And how is your country's economy and average standard of living? I can only assume that if you're discontent with American capitalism that your country must be absolutely kicking ass and taking names where that average standard of living is concerned. From where I'm sitting, my wife and I have middle-income jobs (combined we do not breach six figures) and yet are able to own two homes and live very comfortably. That's coming from a low middle class family with a single income so that's certainly not having anything handed to me. Social mobility seems remarkably easy if you're willing to learn hard jobs or do difficult work. I haven't taken advantage of the system in any way. Just worked hard and capitalism paid off and is paying off. If you honestly believe that socialist and communist economies don't have people mooching off the system then you're entirely missing the point of those economies that are built to assist the moochers.

So it's quaint to think of American workers as having a high power distance with a ham fisted greedy dirtbag on top with minions at his feet but that simply isn't the case. Companies are pyramids in which people may climb if they devote the time and effort into it. We may never get to the top of the pyramid, but at some point we can always start our own.

Anyways, according to the HDI the US is number 5 in the world. Just behind Norway, Australia, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Which one of those four do you hail from? Please note that Switzerland, the US and the Netherlands are within .003 points from each other so I guess I should be asking if you live in Norway or Australia? If Norway then I certainly agree that your HDI is better than pretty much anywhere and you have reason to boast.

Lightknight:

CrystalShadow:
That's one solution. But an especially awkward one assuming the work would normally be done by machines for the sake of efficiency.

I would imagine a more viable solution longterm would be to remove all work related taxes, (primarily income tax), and try to ensure the remaining taxes can be distributed to the population.

More and more people living on government assistance wouldn't be awkward?

Artificial employment levels are to help during the interim where human workers are still necessary compared to when technology can just take care of our needs as necessary. The real question is how our economy functions without the need
for human interaction. Do we just become the moochers of a robot civilization that is at the same time subservient to our needs while also vastly superior to us and dragging us forward in technology along with them? Do we assimilate in pursuit of immortality? Is the future of mankind entirely robotic? With computers powerful enough to emulate even our DNA in real time?

Hmmm. I'm not sure that's even a bad thing.

I don't see how government assistance is any more awkward than any other means of keeping a 'useless' population going.

The problem with current welfare systems isn't that they are government run, it's a mismatch between the source of government income (largely taxes related directly to people being paid for doing work), and needing to provide for people. (Benefits are a double blow to government finances because of the work=taxes thing being the primary source of government income).
Other issues with it are vast bureaucratic requirements, though many of those have to do with assessing if people have the right to benefits, whether they are meeting their end of the (conditional) agreements, such as spending enough time looking for work or whatever else they may be obligated to do in order to get a handout in the first place.
Finally, there's the resentment factor, again related to taxes (why should I work hard and pay my taxes so others can sit around doing nothing.)

So we have one problem related to how taxation is done, and two related to cultural issues and attitudes towards the very idea of giving people handouts.

But I have to ask, as a counter-point, why giving people 'useless' jobs is going to help? Who do you imagine is going to deliberately choose to pay wages to someone who they know isn't doing anything directly helpful to your business?
Who but a government could really arrange a system like that anyway?

And if I had to choose between a government administered work scheme (especially knowing the work done isn't even useful), and a government administered benefits system... Eh.

(I don't know about anyone else, but I find the idea of work for the sake of itself, knowing it to serve no purpose, to be beyond soul-crushing. It is absolutely abhorrent to me to think that people might imply that a 'useless' job is better than no job at all. - And I don't mean useless as in you're doing poor quality artwork, or writing bad stories, but useless as in moving stuff from one shelf to another and back again just because. Literal busywork, that creates nothing, is in no way interesting to do, and serves no purpose, and if it weren't done nobody would even realise the difference)

Unfortunately, with current trends I rather fear the handful of people with enough wealth and power to control the automated manufacturing systems are more inclined to attempt mass irradication of the 'excess' population, either directly, or through starvation.

Pessimistic I suppose, but that's what I expect to see if we don't radically alter our value system before automation truly starts to take over everything...

Aside from ideological motivations there isn't much reason to eradicate populations. As technology increases so too will the means to support people. I've seen indoor hydroponics systems that produce many times as much food per square foot than regular soil does. Just using LEDs without the use of soil so it sustains water in a controllable fashion. From there it's really just an issue of housing and entertainment which wouldn't be that hard to produce with an automated work force.

Keep in mind, if the differences in power are large enough 'eradicating the population' could amount to as little as not giving anyone any means of getting food...
It doesn't actually require active attempts to get rid of people.

And the ability to grow food and provide other resources in this context still requires the will to distribute those items essentially without any real conditions imposed on it.

As a Calvinist seminarian, I just want to point out one thing with the whole "work for salvation" thing: Calvinism (as stated by someone else in this thread) is actually positioned as a direct rebuttal to the idea that you work to achieve salvation. Nor is the way "predestination" is presented terribly true. The point in the Calvinist doctrine of predestination is that, ultimately, it's God who chooses who will be saved and who won't, not that few will be saved so you better work as hard as you can to be one of them.

All this being said, the point on "anxiety" is fair to a degree (not that I agree, but for the sake of argument), more as a function of "assurance" of salvation instead of actual achievement of salvation. The traditional difficulty w/ Calvinism is that, if it is ultimately God who chooses those who will be saved, how can I, as an individual, know that I indeed have been chosen? There has been a strain that runs through historical Calvinism which says basically what Weber's saying here - if you're really a true believer, you can know that because God gives you material blessing (through your hard work).

The point I'd like to make is that this "social gospel," or in its current form, the "prosperity gospel" (see Joel Osteen), is a distortion of genuine Calvinism, not its true heart. I'm not sure Weber draws that distinction, and the video certainly does not. The video is clearly positioned to place religion, specifically Calvinism, as the root of all evil in society, which, for obvious reasons, I might disagree with :)

CrystalShadow:

It is one of the best of the options I listed, but it also flies in the face of how our current culture functions.
Just look at the countries that have welfare states, and how much resentment and nastiness gets aimed at the parts of the population recieving 'handouts'.

Some places are even actively trying to demonise everyone that gets welfare payments.

Now consider what we'd have to do as a society to get from that attitude to one where it's considered normal, and acceptable for people to get stuff just because, without any expectation behind it...

It's a pretty big leap. And that was kind of my point. We need to encourage that shift in ideals, and preferably before automation renders massive chunks of the existing workforce completely redundant.

Yet look at mainstream accounts of automation and this is rarely if ever brought up. Concerns about job losses are brought up all the time, but the concept of it actually being OK not to do anything 'productive' is never even vaguely hinted at.

Things like universal basic income also routinely get panned as either unreasonable, unworkable, or just... 'wrong'...

We don't seem ready for option 3, even tough it seems to be the best choice in some ways, our culture seems quite intent on taking one of the other three choices I listed...

The reason resentment of welfare happens is because only particular group of people are getting it. if EVERYONE would get the object and as much of it as they want, there would be no resentment for people getting it because everyone would be getting it.

Yes, current automation is not concerned about human wellbeing but about profit of capitalists, hence why it takes a lot of change to go from capitalism to something thats beneficial to society in automated world.

the only people that are against minimum wage are people who want to profit from slave labor.

Humanity isnt ready for any big change that happens, we adapt and learn, lets try to do it in best way we can then. the change is coming whether you like it or not.

Lightknight:
This will eventually be in everyone's best interest to regulate. Businesses and people alike. This is sort of like Hockey regulations making all players wear helmets. Everyone benefits if everyone wears a helmet while some players would be better without the helmets at the risk of serious injury. So too would it maintain equality to force this sort of thing across the board to maintain some kind of economy. The thing is, the workforce is the consumer market. Everyone loses if either of those groups disappears. So if you can't trust the government to do good for people, at least trust it to do good for its businesses (aka financial backers).

One would think that, but just look at what happens with, well, pretty much every public US sector. to use your hockey analogy you are now only allowed to use a helmet made 40 years ago by a company that went bacnrupt and no longer can fox the lack of features in the helmet that are required by same regulations..

The pressure to upgrade is going to increase the closer to collapse the current system goes, however how violent the solution will be is uncertain. Personally ive seen too much stupidity around to be an optimist here.

The thing is though that financial backers are no longer investors. instead of investing into it they want quick profit and burn the future prospects. the focus on short term does not allow them to see that the consumer group is disappearing.

Lightknight:

Anyways, according to the HDI the US is number 5 in the world. Just behind Norway, Australia, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Which one of those four do you hail from? Please note that Switzerland, the US and the Netherlands are within .003 points from each other so I guess I should be asking if you live in Norway or Australia? If Norway then I certainly agree that your HDI is better than pretty much anywhere and you have reason to boast.

HDI is highly flawed for your comparison for multiple of reasons. its hardly representative of peoples incomme process or theri ability to move between social brackets. also it puts a massive imporatance to access to clean water which is good comparing to africa but is useless comparing the top countries. HDI is good "General idea" but that hardly means that US is 5th or even 10th country in what you are trying to compare.

I would have to view more of this video series to see if it addresses the gaps left open here. Like, "What is capitalism?"

People get into these "Capitalism vs Communism/Socialism" arguments, without actually saying what they mean by any of the words. As if "capitalism" means "You know, that thing _we_ all have!", whoever "we" are. And "communism/socialism" is "That other thing, which for some reason there are two words for!"

It's pointless to have those arguments. And it's foolish to just assume everyone agrees on what the words mean. They mean a lot of different things in different contexts.

This video is cute. But it's also propaganda. Right up front, it fails to explain why, even for the sake of the argument, the guy has to pick "more turnips". More than who? More than he did the day before? More than ten turnips? What's the alternative here? That a guy should just pick one turnip and retire for life? That turnips should just sit there and not be picked? That he should get someone else to do it? If he didn't want to pick all those turnips, why did he plant them?

This isn't a metaphor that explains or illustrates a point -- it's just an attention-grabbing idea that is used to trick the viewer into saying, "Hey, that one guy is being forced to pick a lot of turnips! And it looks like hard work!" If this was an image of Sonic picking up rings, we'd say, "Damn! That looks like fun! He sure loves those rings, and it looks easy!"

This isn't really philosophy and it's not educational. Maybe more context would help, but this video is just "telling the viewer what they're supposed to think". It's propaganda, targeted to its audience effectively.

For an entertaining and modern approach to this material that isn't so terse and slanted, I'd recommend reading Slavoj Zizek's books about economic ideology (or see his recent movie).

CrystalShadow:
I don't see how government assistance is any more awkward than any other means of keeping a 'useless' population going.

The alternative is to not have a consumer base which is bad for everyone in a time of transition. In this event, the 'useless' population would just be a basic wage distribution system in which the goods and services they buy keep the economy going until such a time where they don't have to work to have an agreeably high quality of living.

The problem with current welfare systems isn't that they are government run, it's a mismatch between the source of government income (largely taxes related directly to people being paid for doing work), and needing to provide for people. (Benefits are a double blow to government finances because of the work=taxes thing being the primary source of government income).
Other issues with it are vast bureaucratic requirements, though many of those have to do with assessing if people have the right to benefits, whether they are meeting their end of the (conditional) agreements, such as spending enough time looking for work or whatever else they may be obligated to do in order to get a handout in the first place.
Finally, there's the resentment factor, again related to taxes (why should I work hard and pay my taxes so others can sit around doing nothing.)

I would generally boil it down to efficiency. Agencies are specifically rewarded for spending as close to their budget as possible. They pay inflated fees to contractors and have no mindset to save money and come in under budget because that would mean a smaller budget the following year. Incentivize the decision makers to save on costs without reducing quality or quantity of goods/services produced and a lot of the other issues go away. Companies are far better at this because they want a profit which means low costs. Government agencies only care about the next pay check and getting larger. If I were to ever run for office it would be a mainstay of my campaign to improve efficiency of spending to make what tax dollars we get go further.

But I have to ask, as a counter-point, why giving people 'useless' jobs is going to help? Who do you imagine is going to deliberately choose to pay wages to someone who they know isn't doing anything directly helpful to your business?

Employees are customers. People who make money from other companies buy your product and people from your company buy products from those other companies.

Having an established labor market is having an established consumer base. As long as this is something implemented across the board then everyone benefits from maintaining the consumer base. Additionally, having a huge discontent and unemployed mass of people is basically storing a black powder keg near the fire place.

Who but a government could really arrange a system like that anyway?

Because it has to be regulated across industries and enforced it would have to be the government.

The alternative is a mass of unemployed people who have no hope of mobility and no income to sustain their quality of life beyond what the government distributes. This is a problem.

Keep in mind, if the differences in power are large enough 'eradicating the population' could amount to as little as not giving anyone any means of getting food...
It doesn't actually require active attempts to get rid of people.

And the ability to grow food and provide other resources in this context still requires the will to distribute those items essentially without any real conditions imposed on it.

And the motivation to not do so is...?

jerubbaal07:
As a Calvinist seminarian, I just want to point out one thing with the whole "work for salvation" thing: Calvinism (as stated by someone else in this thread) is actually positioned as a direct rebuttal to the idea that you work to achieve salvation. Nor is the way "predestination" is presented terribly true. The point in the Calvinist doctrine of predestination is that, ultimately, it's God who chooses who will be saved and who won't, not that few will be saved so you better work as hard as you can to be one of them.

All this being said, the point on "anxiety" is fair to a degree (not that I agree, but for the sake of argument), more as a function of "assurance" of salvation instead of actual achievement of salvation. The traditional difficulty w/ Calvinism is that, if it is ultimately God who chooses those who will be saved, how can I, as an individual, know that I indeed have been chosen? There has been a strain that runs through historical Calvinism which says basically what Weber's saying here - if you're really a true believer, you can know that because God gives you material blessing (through your hard work).

The point I'd like to make is that this "social gospel," or in its current form, the "prosperity gospel" (see Joel Osteen), is a distortion of genuine Calvinism, not its true heart. I'm not sure Weber draws that distinction, and the video certainly does not. The video is clearly positioned to place religion, specifically Calvinism, as the root of all evil in society, which, for obvious reasons, I might disagree with :)

Good, I was concerned that my criticisms would go unknown.

Calvinism's focus on salvation by God's mercy alone is in direct opposition to salvation by works. Protestantism in general was in opposition to works based faiths so they'd have to go to Roman Catholicism at best if they wanted to blame Christianity or faith. But remember, this is an article depicting the propaganda of a communist philosopher. The writer's ignorance of the area is surprisingly vast considering how authoritative the writer is being. I'm not sure if whoever made this video was intending to critique or support the philosophy or what.

Strazdas:

Lightknight:
This will eventually be in everyone's best interest to regulate. Businesses and people alike. This is sort of like Hockey regulations making all players wear helmets. Everyone benefits if everyone wears a helmet while some players would be better without the helmets at the risk of serious injury. So too would it maintain equality to force this sort of thing across the board to maintain some kind of economy. The thing is, the workforce is the consumer market. Everyone loses if either of those groups disappears. So if you can't trust the government to do good for people, at least trust it to do good for its businesses (aka financial backers).

One would think that, but just look at what happens with, well, pretty much every public US sector. to use your hockey analogy you are now only allowed to use a helmet made 40 years ago by a company that went bacnrupt and no longer can fox the lack of features in the helmet that are required by same regulations..

The pressure to upgrade is going to increase the closer to collapse the current system goes, however how violent the solution will be is uncertain. Personally ive seen too much stupidity around to be an optimist here.

Sure, there are certainly some very negative possibilities. The failure of the government to do anything to stop its own demise would be one of them.

The thing is though that financial backers are no longer investors. instead of investing into it they want quick profit and burn the future prospects. the focus on short term does not allow them to see that the consumer group is disappearing.

The unemployment is viewed very closely. I think we'd know it pretty damn fast if something was wrong and what was causing it.

As long as the regulation is there across the board then it being in place won't harm competition. The alternative is to tax the companies the same amount and then the government would be in charge of distribution which would be terrible as you already noted.

Lightknight:

Anyways, according to the HDI the US is number 5 in the world. Just behind Norway, Australia, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Which one of those four do you hail from? Please note that Switzerland, the US and the Netherlands are within .003 points from each other so I guess I should be asking if you live in Norway or Australia? If Norway then I certainly agree that your HDI is better than pretty much anywhere and you have reason to boast.

HDI is highly flawed for your comparison for multiple of reasons. its hardly representative of peoples incomme process or theri ability to move between social brackets. also it puts a massive imporatance to access to clean water which is good comparing to africa but is useless comparing the top countries. HDI is good "General idea" but that hardly means that US is 5th or even 10th country in what you are trying to compare.

It's one of many such numbers. But the vast majority of measures puts America in the top ten in the world. Our system is flawed but it so is everything else and our is just one of the least flawed. Now, we are loud. We do complain about problems the loudest so it seems like things are worse. But our disposable income is the highest of any nation and our housing conditions are some of the best including personal safety: http://www.businessinsider.com/top-countries-on-oecd-better-life-index-2013-5#6-united-states-10

I'd say our biggest problem in the US is moreso healthcare than anything else. It's no less vital to human life than military or water and yet there aren't any good regulations to prevent price gouging like there is for other things in similar circumstances. Healthcare is generally the thing that knocks us down a few pegs on the studies. Not our capitalism like those other countries typically also have.

But seriously, if you or anyone things the quality of life here in the US is worse than a significant number of other nations then that's very very wrong. Even our homeless have it better than the poor in a non-trivial number of other nations.

I'm surprised they choose this video as their first on the escapist as it seems very bias. I checked their youtube channel and the other 8-Bit episodes seem to present two differing philosopher's points of view on a given topic and then ask which you thought was right.

As for the topic at hand it's amusing to hear all the misconceptions on what capitalism is and the misuse of the term to point out it's supposed flaws or wrong doings. Imperialism is NOT capitalism, the mere act of seeking personal gain is NOT capitalism. Whenever war, conquest, or other means of force are used it is NOT capitalism.

Capitalism is a system where people are allowed to freely choose which transactions involving their own private property will best satisfy their own Utility. Utility is an Economics term which represents how much of a person's wants and needs are met. The common mistake that people make is in thinking that because money allows you to purchase much of what a person might want or need that Utility=Money and since a person is working to maximize their utility they are thus working to maximize their money or profits. While it's true that most businesses work to maximize profits it doesn't encompass the whole of a capitalistic system as every transaction made by every person is part of that economic system.

Another common mistake that is made when discussing economic theory is the assumption that a person will act in their best interest. Which is another flaw as again this is a common misinterpretation as what maximizes a person's utility may not be in their best interest. Utility is also refereed to as happiness in economics, as what makes someone happy in the short term could be detrimental to their long term interest. But that person values the present more than some imagined future and it is their choice to make.

Many people like to point to the early poor conditions in factories during the start of the industrial revolution as examples of the potential evils of unregulated capitalism but much of these were a product of times and not capitalism itself. There was a huge influx of workers which meant labor was cheap and thus no need to compete by raising wages, second many early attempts at collective bargaining (aka unions) were met with intimidation and violence, again something not permitted in a capitalistic system or any civilized society as all transaction must be voluntary without the threat of violence.

Monetary and Governmental systems also have an effect on economic systems which can appear to be flaws in system when in reality they are not. Property tax is an example of this, if you lived in a house that was completely green so you had no outside utility and enough land to grow your own food you would still need to make money because if you can't pay your property tax the government will come and take your home. So regardless of how free and stable you try to make your life there will always be that lingering pressure that if you don't earn you can't live.

Regulations also prohibit competition, as is very evident in the broadband market these days where cable company lobbist have actually gotten laws to pass in various areas outlawing fiber companies, such as google, from laying their fiber cables because it would completely out class them and they would lose tons of business. This again is not capitalism but many view it as such because someone was basically "paid" to make a law. Other regulations create so much red tape in fees that smaller companies can't even get started which further reduces competition or in one case the CEO of a major company said it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars more to open a factory in the US than over seas because of regulations, it was not a wage issue that caused him to make the move as if often claimed to be the case in similar cases.

There are many other governmental examples but let's switch to monetary policy. The Federal Reserve routinely changes the interest rates which has an effect on how much capital is available for loans to allow businesses to start-up or grow and expand. This has a very real impact on the economy and this along with other policy set forth are pointed to as issues caused by capitalism when in fact they are caused by the monetary system. Things like always needing to earn more to keep up with inflation, where the reason we have inflation is because they keep printing more money and thus is really a hidden tax.

As someone who started as an Accounting Major and then switched to Economics it always amazes me at how many mistakes people make when talking about economic systems, such as Capitalism vs Communism. As many of the issues they see as problems with the system are caused by other factors as we have never really had a pure system of either. There has always been some governmental body manipulating things. But government is sadly often needed because of human fallibility. In the case of Capitalism it's often need to protect the people from violence against those who want to forcible take what is yours. Where as in Communism it's needed to ensure greedy people don't take more than want they truly need.

These misconceptions of where the true issues arise from reminds me of the "Survival of the Fittest" comment which people often use to justify things. The quote most people think came from Darwin but in reality it did not, it was made by Herbert Spencer who clearly failed to understand Darwin's book. As no where in the book does Darwin say that and in fact he actually undermines that by saying "It's not the strongest or fittest that survive but rather those most responsive to change." Another words those that are able to adapt to changing environment survive and those who specialize, while very efficient in their area, don't survive in the long run.

Let's take heed of the Escapist name and escape the world we know to enjoy entirely new universes, he said.
Let's eschew the curmudgeon mentality, he said.
Let's focus on finding the good in the geekspace rather than focusing on the bad, he said.
Let's talk more about the things we love and less about the things we hate, he said.

And yet not even a month later: "Is Capitalism bad for you?".

Goddammit, Vanderwall. God freaking dammit.

On the topic of Automation making it so no one has to work, I think this is highly unlikely. What instead you see is a shift to more technical jobs as they need people to run those machines. The mass unemployment however comes from lots of unskilled labor jobs being replaced with skilled labor jobs. The unskilled people can't get jobs because they lack the skills for the new jobs and often have issues obtaining those skills as often they lack the fundamental education for those jobs.

After all it's hard to bring people who can barely read and have only basic math skills up to speed in a relatively short time. Even some of the decently fast courses which expect people to have many of the fundamental high school level skills could take several months or more, and they often take money. Plus once they get their certificate their is no guarantee they will get a job. Plus most certification programs cost money, and for someone just looking to make ends meet that's not really an option. Though still lots of people are doing it as you often hear how many people are going back to school these days.

Unless we develop a truly independent AI that can learn and self improve than some form of human work will be required. It's just there is a large reduction in manual labor jobs so people are free to pursue other things. The rise of youtubers, blogs, and other alternative media personalities who make a living off these new forms of entertainment are just one example. After all you don't have to make it big to be a success and earn enough to live on. Someone could easily have a decent size following and make $30-50K a year, they don't need to be the next major star and earn millions. So instead of having several dozen major celebrities earning millions it will be more likely to have several hundreds of thousands of minor celebrities making a live able wage. Same goes for lots of other areas in the media and arts.

Odds are in a society where everything is automated by a super intelligent AI so that human work is no longer required at all, because the system can self maintain, an entertainment driven society would practically be expected. Because people have needs beyond the biological. They have a need to socialize, a need for a sense of accomplishment, and a need for fun. Often people tie their sense of accomplishment to their jobs, but sometimes they tie it to a hobby instead such as learning to play a musical instrument. So in some sense most people would spend much of their time improving themselves. Kind of like what the Federation in Star Trek claimed was Humanities motivating factor even though it was a militaristic state with basically everyone else on one side and then those in Star Fleet work in a typical military organization on the other.

I think the closest thing I've seen to everything being almost fully automated in a Scifi series was on Andromeda, because on Star Trek it's made clear several times the ship needs it's crew for regular maintenance even though they have things like replicators. The ship's AI on Andromeda, named Rommie, was able to harvest raw materials from asteroids then use it's manufacturing bays to create what it needed. Though the process is never shown in full it is mentioned a few times by Rommie on how "happy" she is to have the resources or how when they have a shortage she would like to "resupply" in an asteroid belt. Most of the crew end up dealing with politics, issues off ship, training, side projects, or engaged in combat. The engineer often spends time tinkering just for fun to either create something new or try to improve Rommies system, though often with mixed outcomes. The times you see the crew helping with repairs are when the ship is heavily damaged and it's often to speed things along more than actually being required since the ship has humanoid robots for maintenance.

The transition to automation it seems lots of people fear because fewer jobs to go around but odds are there will be fewer people as well. In nearly every developed nation the population growth rate has become negative. The only countries where it hasn't, like the US, is due in large part to immigration. People are having fewer children or waiting much later in life to have them. The result is the number of old people to young people has been increasing. In order to sustain that the younger generations need to be even more efficient than the previous generation to pay for the upkeep of social programs that support the elderly. So automation is the perfect solution to this as fewer people can produce more goods.

The other thing is we don't know what kind of jobs will be created in the future. It's one of the problems the education system faces as how do you prepare the youth of a nation for a job you know nothing about? Thanks to the advances in technology many of the jobs today didn't exist 20 years ago and even trying to describe them would of sounded unbelievable.

Heck go back to the 1980s and tell an economics professor that you want to get together with a bunch of people and make a product then give it away for free. They would of thought you crazy and yet that's what open source projects do. Linux is one of the leading OS for servers and yet it's made and distributed for free. And while the software is free the hardware is not so people still make money off it by using it on their servers.

This was disappointingly poorly researched shallow and poorly implemented/presented I hope the show isn't going to continue to be this obtuse while feigning the educational capabilities of its videos.
The concept of Anxiety isn't even given a basic definition the statement of Clavinism was incorrect as repeatedly explained in this thread.
Though what really gets me is the terrible presentation if you come in completely oblivious to the concepts being talked about you will be completely lost and misinterpret the message of the video

Many here see it as some sort of damnation of capitalism while promoting communism when its actually a presentation of the possible mental health drawback of the capitalist system presented through the ideas of Weber whose ideas may be a little outdated for modern applications.

Spyre2k:
snip

Yeah I know man its pretty painful to listen to someone who doesn't even understand the basic concepts of economics to speak about it

I'm fairly sure capitalism isn't alone in trying to produce tireless and focused workers, in fact Weber, while not busy misrepresenting Calvinism spent his time theorizing about the perfect hard working state bureaucracy

What capitalism has a lot more of than other economic systems though is social mobility, capitalism has beaten the competition severely in regards to social mobility, it also out competed every other economic system that tries to oppose it, in Venezuela shit has hit the fan last time I checked

I'm not familiar with Weber's work but I'm somewhat unsure about the parallel struck between modern capitalism and Calvinism. Maybe I'll write a reply essay when I've finished the copies of Thus Spake Zarathustra and The Road To Serfdom I got today.

Lightknight:

But seriously, if you or anyone things the quality of life here in the US is worse than a significant number of other nations then that's very very wrong. Even our homeless have it better than the poor in a non-trivial number of other nations.

Certainly not the 700 homeless who die from the cold each year.

Lightknight:
If you honestly believe that socialist and communist economies don't have people mooching off the system then you're entirely missing the point of those economies that are built to assist the moochers.

What communist economies?

Lightknight:

Anyways, according to the HDI the US is number 5 in the world. Just behind Norway, Australia, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Which one of those four do you hail from? Please note that Switzerland, the US and the Netherlands are within .003 points from each other so I guess I should be asking if you live in Norway or Australia? If Norway then I certainly agree that your HDI is better than pretty much anywhere and you have reason to boast.

Since you like statistic that much, have a look at this one If you can't find USA, keep scrolling down.

um, exactly what version of calvanism is this guy talking about!? (this is sarcasm, there's only one)
What happened to "sola fide" and "sola gratia"?? faith alone and grace alone...?

SNCommand:

What capitalism has a lot more of than other economic systems though is social mobility, capitalism has beaten the competition severely in regards to social mobility, it also out competed every other economic system that tries to oppose it, in Venezuela shit has hit the fan last time I checked

A capitalist country is doing better than another capitalist country, what a surprise!

Also if you want fair comparisons you should compare economies of the same periphery and culture, that means Venezuela with other South American countries. Also the same country with its own past, that's way more logical than comparing Venezuela with the USA that have had little in common during their history.

Full Metal Bolshevik:

SNCommand:

What capitalism has a lot more of than other economic systems though is social mobility, capitalism has beaten the competition severely in regards to social mobility, it also out competed every other economic system that tries to oppose it, in Venezuela shit has hit the fan last time I checked

A capitalist country is doing better than another capitalist country, what a surprise!

Also if you want fair comparisons you should compare economies of the same periphery and culture, that means Venezuela with other South American countries. Also the same country with its own past, that's way more logical than comparing Venezuela with the USA that have had little in common during their history.

Fairly sure Venezuela has a planned economy, in fact I just checked and both wikipedia and Venezuela's own webpage both confirm they practice planned economy instead of free market, which isn't communism, but it isn't capitalism either, a country that nationalized an entire industry with government mandate would never be called capitalist

Also if you compare Venezuela with other Latin American countries they still fall short, best at the moment would probably be Chile, enjoying a standard of living comparable to western nations, and not surprisingly also scores higher than their neighbors on competitiveness and ease of doing business

Seems like betting on Pinochet was smarter than Chavez

SNCommand:

Full Metal Bolshevik:

SNCommand:

What capitalism has a lot more of than other economic systems though is social mobility, capitalism has beaten the competition severely in regards to social mobility, it also out competed every other economic system that tries to oppose it, in Venezuela shit has hit the fan last time I checked

A capitalist country is doing better than another capitalist country, what a surprise!

Also if you want fair comparisons you should compare economies of the same periphery and culture, that means Venezuela with other South American countries. Also the same country with its own past, that's way more logical than comparing Venezuela with the USA that have had little in common during their history.

Fairly sure Venezuela has a planned economy, in fact I just checked and both wikipedia and Venezuela's own webpage both confirm they practice planned economy instead of free market, which isn't communism, but it isn't capitalism either, a country that nationalized an entire industry with government mandate would never be called capitalist

Also if you compare Venezuela with other Latin American countries they still fall short, best at the moment would probably be Chile, enjoying a standard of living comparable to western nations, and not surprisingly also scores higher than their neighbors on competitiveness and ease of doing business

Seems like betting on Pinochet was smarter than Chavez

The degree of competition, role of intervention and regulation, and scope of state ownership varies across different models of capitalism.[5] Economists, political economists, and historians have taken different perspectives in their analysis of capitalism and recognized various forms of it in practice. These include laissez-faire capitalism, welfare capitalism, crony capitalism and state capitalism; each highlighting varying degrees of dependency on markets, public ownership, and inclusion of social policies. The extent to which different markets are free, as well as the rules defining private property, is a matter of politics and policy. Many states have what are termed capitalist mixed economies, referring to a mix between planned and market-driven elements.

Still capitalist, maybe not the one you like the most.

Is eating vomit smarter than eating shit? I'd really prefer something else.

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