the end of capitalism?

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brothermatt
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the end of capitalism?

Postby brothermatt » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:08 am

this article has generated a lot of good discussion among some of my friends. i extend it here to you.

http://www.joebageant.com/joe/2010/07/waltzing.html

the sustainability argument here rings true, but i don't know if there's something in economics to project what kinds of changes to the current structure might right the ship, so if there's a rebuttal for the argument he's making about primary economy being neglected i'd be curious to hear it.

the iphone/food image is also one that has stuck with me. it fits in with the recent trend of the omnivore's dilemma, food inc., king corn, fast food nation and other critiques of our subsidization of food to reduce costs to absolute minimums (which requires reducing the value of "labor.")

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torn_aclu
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Postby torn_aclu » Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:24 pm

There are definitely some weaknesses in capitalism. We all realize that. In an article that says some important things, there is so much purely idiotic material in it that it really isn't worth much as a whole. I just can't stand anyone who lauds Chavez - the same guy who takes away the power of the press and television stations in Venezuela. The abuse of capitalism (what we are seeing now) must not be mistaken for capitalism itself.

Capitalism is the least-worst economic system.

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i saved latin
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Postby i saved latin » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:59 pm

this line of thinking worked awesome for bolshevik russia...

torn put it nicely: "Capitalism is the least-worst economic system."
"Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition. "

-Thomas Jefferson

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milk
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Postby milk » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:44 pm

torn_aclu wrote:Capitalism is the least-worst economic system.


This is what the defense of Capitalism has been reduced to, which is a good indication that the jig is finally up.

Its practically a given now that Capitalism is threatening the very survival of humanity. Unless the major issues we're facing(depleting resources, global warming, nuclear proliferation) are dealt with via collective, cooperative planning, they could potentially end life as we know it for future generations.

Apart from the threat to our species' survival, the system is unjust, inequitable, and inherently exploitative. The richest 1% of Americans own about 40% of the country's wealth, and the richest 10% account for about 90% of the country's wealth. This disparity is unjust and definitely unsustainable. I can't see how anyone would argue otherwise. The usual defense is that 'the richest are the hardest workers and deserve it, etc.' However, it is not their labor that is being rewarded, but their ownership of Capital (the means of production). So long as the means of production are privately owned by a highly concentrated group of society (and not democratically controlled) this disparity will continue and widen, and the working classes of the world will be exploited and forced to rent themselves into wage slavery.

This is classic Marxism, of course, but Marx has become so vilified and distorted in America, that you can't even mention his name without being called a Communist or Fascist or Bolshevik or whatever. Cold War Propaganda is still so much in our bones as Americans, that its as if there are exactly two economic models to choose from: American Capitalism or Soviet Communism. What's missing from the entire mainstream discussion, for obvious reasons, are the strands of Leftist-Marxist thought (libertarian socialism, anarcho-syndicalism, democratic socialism) that seek to create an economic model which values: equity, worker self-management, solidarity, shared work-loads, and diversity. Economic models which are entirely possibly if you buy the assumption that 'ordinary' working people are capable of running their workplaces and organizing society by themselves, with no need for authority.

Marxism + Anarchism

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Postby i saved latin » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:31 pm

as we look back through history it's important to realize that capitalism as an economic policy and way of life has been met with the most success when looking at quality for the greatest quantity...there was the oligarchical city-states of greece that depended on an even harsher social strata, then the roman republic and later empire (the polity divided up into plebeians and patricians) , the feudal system of the middle ages with lords and vassals (Marx does at least give credit to capitalism for doing away with this form of life), then there are more modern attempts at perfecting the economic way of life such as the marx described "reactionary socialists" of the French Revolutions and the contributors of the bolshevik revolution between the bourgeois the proletarians (which ended in a blood bath)...

since the first days of man to this very second this social class dichotomy has existed, so it really is quite necessary and effective to define capitalism as the least-worst system and saying this by no means implies that the jig is up...looking back at history it would seem as though capitalism is very sustainable compared to other systems...

all of these aforementioned groups/coups have attempted and failed to meet an appropriate, balanced standard of life...so really, kudos to capitalism for increasing the standard while decreasing violence and oppression which have been prevalent in so many of the past government/economic policies...
"Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition. "



-Thomas Jefferson

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milk
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Postby milk » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:58 pm

The reasoning that you're using here is the same reasoning that was used to justify feudalism, chattel slavery, and every other brutal economic model at various stages in human history. Chattel slavery was an improvement upon feudalism, and up until that point was the least violent/oppressive model going; why didn't we just stop there? 200 years from now we'll likely look back on Capitalism as another failed, brutal, violent, authoritative, anti-democratic economic model just as we view feudalism now. That's the nature of human progress. It's easy for us as Americans/Westerners to give kudos to Capitalism, and think it is the end-all be-all of human progress, because we're the ones benefiting the most from it. Those benefits come via the exploitation/oppression of others.

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Postby i saved latin » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:54 pm

milk wrote: It's easy for us as Americans/Westerners to give kudos to Capitalism, and think it is the end-all be-all of human progress, because we're the ones benefiting the most from it. .

let me be clear that i don't think this...

on another note, this dunce of an author states that colonialism was a "lucky break" for capitalism- as though the two are intimately tied and one is unique to the other...colonialism/imperialism has been around since classical antiquity- through all forms of government and economic policies yet this guy treats it as capitalist's little secret spawn/weapon...as though soviet russia and fascist germany didn't attempt to get away with unlawful invasions and foreign provisional governments during the twentieth century!
"Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition. "



-Thomas Jefferson

FatalWound
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Postby FatalWound » Wed Jul 28, 2010 6:36 am

milk wrote:
torn_aclu wrote:Capitalism is the least-worst economic system.


This is what the defense of Capitalism has been reduced to, which is a good indication that the jig is finally up.


I might go deeper into this at some point, but for now I'll just say that this is a ridiculous statement. It's widely argued that democracy is the least-worst form of government, and yet that is no indication that 'the jig is up' for democracy.

The jig is only up if there's an obviously better system available, which there isn't. Libertarian socialism and anarcho-syndicalism both suffer from what I'll call a coercion paradox, meaning they are systems rooted in the notion that coercion is largely an illegitimate function for a state, but that they are also systems that require the assent of an overwhelming majority of the governed to function. Maybe you're positing that it's possible for a huge majority of people want something like that, but I think history is against you in that regard.

'Democratic socialism', such as it is, in reality usually just turns out to be a modified version of capitalism where the state owns and/or provides certain things that are private under a more purely capitalistic system. If you're going to let the people vote, then there are going to be times they aren't going to vote for 'socialist' policies.
I'm just one too many mornings and a thousand miles behind.

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torn_aclu
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Postby torn_aclu » Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:31 pm

milk wrote:Economic models which are entirely possibly if you buy the assumption that 'ordinary' working people are capable of running their workplaces and organizing society by themselves, with no need for authority.


And that is exactly why democratic-socialism is not possible. The founding fathers realized that John Calvin was right: mankind cannot live without some form of authority because he is individually and communally evil and the separation of powers the Constitution describes is the best way to spread out authority.

Democratic-socialism sneaks in its own form of nation-building into the US. Let's make the US, which was never designed to be a democratic-socialist state, into one because capitalism obviously is not working all the while forgetting that the US has in some ways become extremely capitalistic and democratic-socialistic at the same time already. The supposed solution is the problem. Yes you can look at certain eastern European countries that are thriving under socialism. But I am convinced that their general way of life, not their economic policies, are the reason they are successful. Capitalism or democratic-socialism would work there.

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Postby soonersrule07 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 7:23 pm

FatalWound wrote:
milk wrote:
torn_aclu wrote:Capitalism is the least-worst economic system.


This is what the defense of Capitalism has been reduced to, which is a good indication that the jig is finally up.


The jig is only up if there's an obviously better system available, which there isn't.


thank you. the success of capitalism (I'm talking pure capitalism here, not it's current state in the U.S.) hinges on the individual's natural desire to pursue his/her best interest and I really can't see any system (and I would vehemently oppose any such system) that could "correct" this.
It's the last Noah's ark, so everything has got to fit.

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Postby FatalWound » Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:45 pm

soonersrule07 wrote:
FatalWound wrote:
milk wrote:
torn_aclu wrote:Capitalism is the least-worst economic system.


This is what the defense of Capitalism has been reduced to, which is a good indication that the jig is finally up.


The jig is only up if there's an obviously better system available, which there isn't.


thank you. the success of capitalism (I'm talking pure capitalism here, not it's current state in the U.S.) hinges on the individual's natural desire to pursue his/her best interest and I really can't see any system (and I would vehemently oppose any such system) that could "correct" this.


I should clarify two things. First, I do not actually agree that a 'purer' version of capitalism than that found in the US would be at all desirable, if that is the implication. Frankly, I think we're already a little too pure for our own good sometimes. But I honestly believe capitalism is the best available plausible underpinning. Second, if I'm getting wild-eyed and idealistic, my actual views on the ideal society are extremely radical, and not in any of the ways mentioned in this thread so far. I just consider myself too much of a pragmatist to really want to discuss them in much depth.
I'm just one too many mornings and a thousand miles behind.

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Mike McCusker
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Postby Mike McCusker » Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:09 pm

What a dim view of human nature you have Tom. I see self sacrifice and individuals making sacrifices for the communal good everyday.

The freaks.

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torn_aclu
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Postby torn_aclu » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:06 pm

Mike McCusker wrote:What a dim view of human nature you have Tom. I see self sacrifice and individuals making sacrifices for the communal good everyday.

The freaks.


It all depends on what the definition of a good person in. As a Christian I think I have to say that while people can do "good things," they can't do anything ultimately good apart from being given new life in Christ.

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Postby GyGu » Thu Jul 29, 2010 6:59 pm

torn_aclu wrote:
Mike McCusker wrote:What a dim view of human nature you have Tom. I see self sacrifice and individuals making sacrifices for the communal good everyday.

The freaks.


It all depends on what the definition of a good person in. As a Christian I think I have to say that while people can do "good things," they can't do anything ultimately good apart from being given new life in Christ.


Wait. Do you say things just to provoke the non-believing masses here? Just curious. I mean, obviously it's cool to believe whatever you want, but it seems like you are just trying make us all cringe at this point.

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Postby Mike McCusker » Fri Jul 30, 2010 8:18 am

torn_aclu wrote:
Mike McCusker wrote:


It all depends on what the definition of a good person in. As a Christian I think I have to say that while people can do "good things," they can't do anything ultimately good apart from being given new life in Christ.


Lolz


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