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Angel Rand
Member
since 09-04-99
Posts 140
London UK, and Zurich Switzerl


25 posted 11-15-1999 11:34 AM       View Profile for Angel Rand   Email Angel Rand   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Angel Rand

PS: I grew up in Switzerland, one of the most capitalistic and therefore wealthiest countries in Europe. We have no NH there; everybody pays for their own health insurance. There are however hospitals which run charity practices. Ppl with no insurance may go there and get treatment. Do you know who pays for the bigger operations should they be needed? Either a charity fund existing for that purpose or the surgeon himself (they usually became surgeons in the first place to help ppl). He can afford to do that cause he has no state curbing his income as if to say being a surgeon and helping ppl is reward enough for your 18 to 20 hour shifts and the saving of lives. But then in Switzerland such charity is up to the individual surgeon. I wonder if that is the reason why they do it so gladly...
Angel


------------------
"I swear -- by my life and by my love of it -- that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
"Any alleged "right" of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right." Ayn Rand
Trevor
Senior Member
since 08-12-99
Posts 744
Canada


26 posted 11-15-1999 05:32 PM       View Profile for Trevor   Email Trevor   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trevor

Hello Angel,
Are your fingers getting as bloody as mine from our long written responses? Well here goes another long one....

"And yes we kill with a conscious thought but if we are honest our survival doesn't depend on it, neither as a species nor as individuals. Especially not nowadays."

Actually I believe our survival does depend on killing things constantly and on a conscious level. One example is when we clear a forest for natural resources, farming or for living space we also wipe out many an animal in the process. Sure we don't have to wrestle bears anymore but what about their living space? The larger the human population the greater need for space, farming, food, food for our food (cows, etc.). We kill all the time to survive. Everytime you buy a hamburger, a cow had to die, everytime you buy vegetables, a plot of land had to cleared and some animals died and we usually try to kill anything that tries to eat our human food supply. When a new subdivision goes up, another animals living space has just been taken over. Our pollution kills and kills and kills so that we may live and live the way we so chose. We all are responsible for other animals dying.

"I did not mean to say the human race will not evolve further but that survival of the fittest no longer applies. (Although it would be an interesting study to find out what part of our evolving over the last 4000 or so years is actually due to natural evolution and what is due to learning) In our society your survival no longer relies on your being faster or stronger than your neighbour."

It seems you believe that intelligence does not apply to survival of the fittest. A monkey is niether stronger, or faster than a jungle cat but it is probably more intelligent and perhaps that could play a large role in how monkeys have survived. Would the dolphin have survived if it wasn't so intelligent? I don't know but I personally believe that intelligence has a larger role in Darwinism then it is being credited for. I agree usually you don't have to be faster or stronger than your neighbor to survive but we do have to be more intelligent (and at least maintain our intelligence and knowledge) than the other species of animals to survive. Humans also have to keep building on their knowledge and intelligence to figure out ways of overcoming the natural obstacles and the ones they have created. I do believe that it is possible for the human race one day to not have to evolve further and there is no survival of the fittest or competition but I don't think we are there just yet.

"And to bring up war as one of the dangers that might wipe us out as a species is to say that war is beyond our choice. We do have a choice if we want to make war or not."

Unless of course a society and/or individuals felt it necessary for the survival of their life and/or way of life and decided war was needed in order to survive. I remember reading an article years ago about an African nation that was involved in a civil war. Warlords were created and controled different parts of the country. At certain times some Warlords and their soilders controled food supplies and the other sides involved would have to attack in order to get food in order to survive.....perhaps forced charity would have worked there Fortunately for us in Westernized society, war is most likely a choice and not a necessity.

"And should you say that many ppl still die of diseases I would like to mention, that the diseases you DO die of nowadays can be found in the strongest and most resilient examples of our species. AIDS for example is an illness that no one can survive no matter how strong the sufferer. Cancer doesn't just attack the physically weak either, nor are its survivors only ever the very strong and initially healthy."

Yes Aids does not just affect and kill the weak or strong but I don't see how this fact makes this scenario irrelevant to natural selection. Maybe its just that we have finally met our match in diseases. BTW some people do survive AIDS. Quite a few cases have been documented where the affected have gone into complete remission and not a trace of the virus has been found again. Whether or not that is due to medical treatment or genetics or a flaw in the strain of virus I do not know, nor do the doctors. Just because we don't have a choice of which diseases affect us and which don't and if we can or can not cure them does not eliminate them or us from "survival of the fittest". That is what we are talking about here isn't it. Our ability to survive when confronted by our environment and/or another life form (the life form in this example being a disease and us for the lack of cures). Everytime we think we have diseases beat a new one appears or an old one reappears. We either find a cure or treatment or perish, that's why we are still involved in the "survival of the fittest game". Survival of the fittest doesn't mean we are going to get wiped out or in the process of dying out but in our case it means we have elvolved and are still evolving enough to ensure our survival. How long this will last, who knows. It all depends on how other things evolve and how much we evolve. I do believe though if humans were to stop evolving then we would probably become extinct sooner than later. And yes our success is largely due to our intelligence just as our failures are usually from lack of it, which is as natural as a tail on a monkey or teeth on a shark.

"As for capitalismů we have never had a true capitalistic society and what ppl call capitalism today is really only a mixed economy. But I would still like to point out that the more capitalistic countries in the world have a wealthier overall society than the ones that call themselves socialistic governments."

I agree that there has never been a true capitalist society (maybe early humans were closer to this) nor has there been a true communist society as well and most capitalist countries are a lot more rich than socialist countries (though China is a good example of a fairly well-to-do socialist country, but even now they are beginning to lean towards a more capitalist and democratic society).

"The perfect example has to be the former East and West Germany. One was semi-capitalistic, the other more or less communistic. Germans in general are hard working ppl and both sides of The Wall started off from the same basic work ethic. One side made it to decent living standard for all its citizens; the other side gave its ppl all they needed to survive- but no more. Why would that be? Why would it not work? Only because ppl are greedy and do not want to share, or is it that making sharing a LAW is unfair and unjust?"

I hope I haven't portrayed myself as a communist nor as a capitalist. I don't have much faith in either system as currently practised. I'm only trying to show the other side to your points to try and see if something is learned form this discussion. You've been saying that current socialist and communist societies are bad because there is no reward factor for working hard and because it destroys the individual and I'm saying, "Yes",I agree completely." But where are opinions different is that you believe there should be no forced social responsibility and that it should be all for one unless by choice. I believe there should be forced social responsibility because I don't think people have the sense enough to give enough in order to maintain a healthy society. Do you think everyone would give enough to maintain education if this was not forced? What about health care? Would there be enough doctors doing charity work to keep up with the demands of the sick if there wasn't forced taxation for health care? This is only specualtion and in order to truly prove this point we would have to cut taxation and cut social programs and see what happens. But you said the "child forced to school" analogy doesn't work because children don't have the forsight enough to know how education will benefit them, and I'm saying a lot of adults lack the forsight to realize how forced taxation is needed to maintain a healthy society. I'm sure you're a very generous person with both your time and your money and do good deeds and charity but your assuming that all people are decent generous people who care enough to give when not forced. Do you think a lot of people, especially the wealthy (and I'm not against being wealthy just against wealth without responsibility) would give money if there wasn't a tax break? I guess you could speculate and say if taxes were lower they'd have more money and give more, and be able to give more but lets face it the people with the money DO get the most tax breaks and DO lobby for the most tax breaks and still don't increase percentage wise what they give in charity. Should they be let off the hook by having the choice to give or not to give?
I think perhaps you think the reason you are so over taxed is because you are paying for social services. You talk of cutting them yet they provide a real and undeniable benefit to you, or at least I hope I have shown this yet you don't mention the other reasons you are taxed. These, I believe are the real reasons for the burden on the taxable class, the irresponsible use of tax dollars that go towards things that don't benefit the many or even benifit no one. For example, the Pillsbury Dough Company was given 10 million dollars two years ago to promote its product in a third world country. How does a society benefit by promoting a product in a country that no one in it can afford to buy? Are they creating ten million dollars worth of productivity in either country? New ten million dollars worth of revnue to be shared? I mean the tax payers were footing the bill for this expenditure, what benefits did they reap? In Canada there are many grants given out to artists to build art that no one ever sees? Is it fair for them to be able to get money to pursue their art fantasys while the rest of us have to work? Should the taxpayers have to pay for this? The list goes on and on....I'm sure most people have heard of the US gov't paying 200 dollars for each hammer they bought and something like a dollar a nail, that money was siphoned off somewhere else and did not benefit society yet was collected from society. Many large companies will get roads and sewers built, hydro power lines put in place, etc. at the cost of the tax payer and on top of all of this they get tax breaks. Sure they create jobs but do the figures even out, is it always a fair trade, could this be one of the reasons for over-taxation? Even after all a society does for some companies they will relocate when they are making record profits in order to increase profits. Is this fair to the society that helped pay for them to come to their communtiy by giving them tax dollars? If a society has given 100 million in tax breaks, and tax dollars and the company has only forked out 50 million in salary, doesn't that company still "owe" society something? You could argue that a company also gave by inventing or manufacturing needed products, but wouldn't another company appear if there was a need for something? Another point is many of these larger companies that do recieve tax perks do engage in supression of ideas. Many companies practise in the art of buying small blossoming companies and destroying good ideas. There's a movie about one such incident called "Tucker". It's the true story (well at least Hollywood's version) of a man who started a car company. His car was superior to all on the market and needed next to no maintenance. It was basically a car that needed no spare parts unless of an accident because everything was built to near perfection. I believe Tucker got to build about 50 of his dream cars before the major car manufacturers squashed him. Why? Because of money, because they didn't have to be accountable to society for their actions. People would love a car that lasted forever, just no money in it for a few rich guys. So money without a social conscience lives as greed and the greedy will find a way to supress the good unless a forced social conscience is in place. I don't know if what I said is totally on topic, so many thoughts, hard to organize and focus 100 percent on the topic and not get sidetracked on sub-issues that co-relate.

My point is that I am also against the current taxation rate in society (probably all societies, and especially in regards to the middle class) but I don't think social programs cost as much as everyone thinks it does, I believe taxes are as high as they are in Western society because gov'ts aren't responsible with the tax dollars. Economists have said that in Canada it costs three dollars to put one tax dollar to work.....that's a frustrating thing. I feel people should be able to reap the benefits of hard work and their ideas, but I also think that some of the benefits are currently found in some social programs and would be a step back in society to lose them. Maybe a revamping should be done and make them less expensive or more beneficial (I don't believe just handing money is the answer to help the poor but then again it does help some of the poorer people to keep on their feet so that eventually they don't need social assistance). Now if we were to cut out some social programs and give you tax breaks, thereby freeing up more money for everyone would that still ensure you would have a job. Lets say that there were no social programs, and you lost your job due to company downsizing. You are out of work and can not find a job. You know you will find a job eventually because you are a hard worker and have good skills, it's just that the economy is a little slow right now. A month goes by and your savings are gone, your mortgage payment is due, you have no money, you have no friends or family that can lend you the kind of money you need to pay your mortgage. You could have squeeked by if there was at least a little bit of income, say one that social services would have provided. What do you think the bank will do? Let ya off the hook or forclose on your house? Say you didn't have anyne to turn to for accomodations, where would you be living then? There are situations that occur like this. There was a need by society for programs like this, that is why they were created, and there is a need to force taxes on society to maintain it, that is why new taxes were created. Is it really fair that someone who has played by all the rules, worked hard all their life, be squashed when have contributed to society and they still have so much left contribute to society? Social services are loan by society based upon the theory that the individual has and will contribute back to society at least an equal amount of time, effort and money. Do you think all people on welfare stay on welfare forever? We only hear from the media about the worst case scenarios of social assistance abuse. No one reports on the majority that are on social assistance and end up being somewhat successful and give back to social programs and society. Did you know that Whoopi Goldberg was once on Welfare for about three months? She now gives, and gives both time, energy and money to charity after charity. If she was denied such a program because lack of funding, would she have been able to be as successful as she is and contribute back to society? She has given more financially back to society then society has given to her.
If everything was privatized do you think even with the tax breaks you'd recieve, things would be cheaper? If private companies and charities(which by the way make ridiculous profits, I know North American charaties, by law, only have to give 25 percent to the actual cause, the rest can be kept to cover overhead..plus they get foolishly large tax breaks) built all the hospitals, paid all the doctors, bought all the supplies,etc. do you really think even with the tax money saved it would be cheaper? Would everyone get the health care they deserve? Or would you be paying more because a company acts on what's best for the company, and what's best for the company is profit.

Until the time comes where we all are responsible enough to want to maintain a healthy society and to want to rise with and not above others by being individuals and by being successful at what we choose to pursue, then I believe that a forced tax and laws are necessary in maintaining society thereby maintaining the individual and ensuring survival for all humans. No one is above another no matter what great accomplishments they have attained because they could not have done so nor even survived without.

I gotta run and get to my job. I will respond to the rest of the issues you have presented me and this forum with. My apoligize for not being able to fully address all of your response, I will try and finish after work tonight. And thanks for making me really have to think hard and close, you bring up some very interesting points. Also sorry if my response is all over the place, orginizing my thoughts is not one of my stronger points. Take care ,
Trevor
Trevor
Senior Member
since 08-12-99
Posts 744
Canada


27 posted 11-16-1999 07:54 AM       View Profile for Trevor   Email Trevor   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trevor

Hello again Angel and anyone else who is reading this, I'm back to complete the rant that I was working on, I hope I can get back into my train of thought and hopefully maybe write something that someone will enjoy. Here we go....

"The perfect example has to be the former East and West Germany. One was semi-capitalistic, the other more or less communistic. Germans in general are hard working ppl and both sides of The Wall started off from the same basic work ethic. One side made it to decent living standard for all its citizens; the other side gave its ppl all they needed to survive- but no more. Why would that be? Why would it not work? Only because ppl are greedy and do not want to share, or is it that making sharing a LAW is unfair and unjust?"

I don't think it's because the people were forced to share, I think it was because they had a gov't that did not work for the people. The Eastern German gov't didn't really practise communism, nor did the people. I will state again for the record, I don't think current communist practises are the answer, nor do I think current capitalist practises are either. And maybe the pure form of each aren't the answer to societies problems as well. Maybe the answer is that we all have to begin to realize we are all in it together, we are all on the same planet and should act resposible for our actions, for ourselves and for each other.
You say that making a sharing law is unfair and unjust, what about a law that promotes greed? is greed fair? Do you know what would happen in a true capitalist society? You'd probably be living in Microsoft's Europe right now. I'd be living in MacDonald's Canada. Brad would be living in Sony's Korea. There'd be signs that say "Welcome to MacDonald's Canada, smiles are free"...you are now entering the town of "Ronald". Let's face it with out restrictions on the practises of big business things would run amok. Do you think Bill Gates gives because he is a charitable man? Do you think he would help pay for a hospital if he wasn't getting a tax break? Do you think a man like Bill Gates deserves 500 billion dollars in assests(I believe that is what he is worth now, not 100 percent sure). Has he really changed the world that much? If no one bought his operating system and went with another one, do you think society would be worse off? Under the current operating system of the American gov't one person can be more valuable then an entire country. Is that what you call fair? Say someone saved his life while he was growing up, say a stranger grabbed his arm and stopped him from walking in front of a car thereby preventing his death, does that mean she is worth 500 billion because without her intervention there would have been no Bill Gates? Is it fair that Bill Gates has enough money to bribe the devil while some people who work just as hard as he does scrape by? How long would he survive if there was no one to collect garbage, no one to harvest the food he eats, no one to fix the electricity that powers his little gadgets? How long would they survive without Bill Gates? Don't get me wrong, a person like Bill Gates has contributed to society, as much as a lot of people and he does deserve to live well, but then again doesn't everyone? So with that in mind how can someone defend a system where one may live like a king and the other a slave and call them equal and call this fair? Now you may say that everyone would be able to pay their own way if taxes were cut, everyone would and could pay what they owe to maintain a healthy society.
You've talked briefly about give and take and the fairness of such a system. You said in an earlier comment,
"I write a book, you buy the book to learn what I know and I get the money for it. I sell and get the money and you buy and get the info I can share. We both benefitted and that is how it should be in all things."
Yes but can one benifit more than another. Say it's a book you need, it is a book that is vital to your education. The manufacturers know this and decide to set the price at a high level. But you must have it in order to complete your studies so you buy it. Is this what fair is? Haven't you ever bought something you needed or felt you needed, like food for instance and said something like, "This price is ridiculous." Why is that? Is it because the company, suppling the goods you need or want, are giving you a fair exchange or is it because you are paying more than it's worth. Is someone capitalising on your needs? This is what capitalism is, is this a healthy way of life? Should not the exchange be more equal? Should someone have to work all week to be able to afford what one can buy with a minute's worth of work? Are some people really that more superior and more necessary than others? I don't ever remember one person dying and the world changing all that much (maybe Jesus if He actually was the Son of God is an exception). If Bill Gates had died at birth do you not think that another computer operating system would have taken Window's place, invented by someone else? So with that in mind has he contributed enough to warrant being the richest man in the world, that is to say is it fair the majority of one country starves while one person in another country could buy and burn a million dollars of grain a day until death and never be cold? I do however believe that a person with a good idea should be allowed to benefit from it especially if it impacts society positively, but where does it stop? In capitalism, it never does until all is owned by one. Should Mother Theresa have made 500 billion dollars? Could she have? I don't think she even raised half that amount to help with the poor. Is this fair? Was Mother Theresa worth less than Bill Gates or do people just value the wrong things? What about the cop who dies in the line of duty protecting a wealthy man's wealth? How much is he worth? 50,000 dollars a year? Less, more. Is the 100 000 dollar life insurance a good enough comfort for his widow and fatherless children? Is that what fair is? God doesn't even deserve 500 billion for His idea of creation.

If people are charitable enough to maintain a healthy society then why are there so many problems? Is it because we are forced to share? Is that why the space between the rich and the poor begin to once again widen. Do you think with more capitalism this will change for the better or worse. Will the poor once again become the slaves to the rich? Should a profitable company be allowed to pay a worker less than the poverty line for a forty hour work week? Or is it the workers fault, not being able to make ends meet, for not working an 80 hr work week? If taxes were cut, and this worker had more money, would he still be able to afford helath care, education and other necessities? Would companies raise their prices if they knew people could afford to pay more?

There is a cruel philosophy that is practised by both gov'ts and businesses, that philosophy is "keep them hungry". Pay them (the majority) enough to get by and have a couple of extras but not enough to not need the company anymore. That way you ensure they have no other choice but to work and do as you say in fear of losing their job.

"As for downsizing a company. I wonder what you would do if you owned a middle-sized company (cause it's these that get hit hardest) and a socialistic government put the thumbscrews on you so tightly in form of taxes that you will lose your business if you do not let some ppl go? Will you stay the same size and not relocate to a tax-wise cheaper neighbourhood and in the end lose the whole business, make all your employees lose their jobs? I think not."

Of course I'd relocate to a cheaper neighborhood or lay off people. It would be ridiculous not to. If one did not then all of the company would be unemployed. It would make no sense to not relocate. But why do you think mid-sized companies are taxed so high,( mid-sized companies in total pay more than the large corporations yet their total combined profits are less, kinda like the social classes, the top five percent of the world make more and pay less taxes then the total combined forces of the middle and poor classes combined) , could it be because the larger companies pay little to no taxes so the smaller sized companies, who don't have the power and clout like the big-guys, have to pick up the slack. Capitalist gov'ts bow to the will of very successful companies and not hard working people.

"Besides a company is not a charity organisation. You get your salary because you do work in exchange."

Is it a fair exchange? In today's society do a lot of people have the option of not working if they don't feel they are being paid what they are worth? Does the individual usually dictate what he is worth or does a company? Do we now value a comapany over an individual? If it was a fair exchange, would profitable companies be paying a worker less than the poverty line? In Canada the minimum wage on a forty hour work week is less than the gov't standard poverty line. Is this a fair exchange? MacDonald's restaurant boasts over "x" amount of billions served, I guess that means that MacDonald's restaurant has become somewhat of an important thing if so many people have used it. If it's important then the people who work there must be as well. How come then the people who work there barely make enough to stay alive? Perhaps wages are often dictated by how many jobs people need and not the profit of a company. Perhaps because a company knows that there are enough desperate people who need jobs they can lower the wages because there will be someone who is desperate enough to take the job. Has McDonald's really made the world a better place to justify their profits and lack of decent wages? Look at Western civilization before unions, before companies had to be accountable for the communities they were based in and got their labor from and made their money from. During those times there was companies, and the company's town. Was the standard of living better or worse? It was worse. At the end of one's life, which they had to work up until they died, they still ended up with nothing and got to leave behind nothing for their family. Was this because they didn't work hard enough? Were they really, really lazy back then and didn't deserve much money? Not until enforced pension contributions and enforced holidays and holiday pays, and enforced wage levels, and enforced working conditions and enforced working hours did the standard of living increase to a decent level. Would the rich people who owned and controled the company have changed without an uprising? Why would they have, they never did before, they saw nothing wrong with keeping people poor if they were wealthy. Would it have been fair to keep things the way they were? The workers were still getting paid, there was still money paid for work done, an exchange taking place.

"Or do you think that just because someone made it on lets say the stock-market, he or she should have employees who do un-needed work just cause they can afford to keep them on?"

Sure why not if it benefits society, thereby benifiting him or her. If they were a billionaire, would it really hurt to dish out an extra million a year (that's not even the interest they make on that money) to employ another 40 people? I mean you did say these people were working, they may not be completely necessary but they are working for their money which helps give a person a sense of purpose. Why do you think he or she shouldn't? Is it just because you think they don't have to so they shouldn't bother?

Do you think it's fair that a profitable company downsizes for the sake of a few extra dollars and forces the workers to now work twice as hard in the same period of time and for the same wage? I read in the paper that a place was looking for a person who was efficient in carpentry, plumbing, and electrical work and would pay 10 to 12 dollars an hour (that's roughly about 4.5 to 5.5 pounds). Is that a fair wage? Maybe the company can not afford to pay more? Fair enough (can't pay what you don't have) but if the company becomes successful do you think that worker's wage will reflect the work he or she did and compensate them for the low wage? Maybe the company can pay more but doesn't because they know someone will fill the job because someone is desperate enough? Does that still mean there was a fair wage paid for work provided? Was it a good exchange?

"Any kind of wealth is made by productivity and not through charity."

I'm sorry that you don't see charity as wealth or as helping productivity. Lets say a Man A owns a bread shop and Man B owns nothing. Man B is starving and asks A if he has work for him. Man A says no he doesn't need anyone. Man B says "no one needs work done right now. Could I have some bread because I'm starving." Man A says, "No, wealth is created through productivity and not charity." Man B says, "I agree." and picks up a stick and beats Man A to death then has a loaf of bread to supress starvation. Of course this is an exageration, but it doesn't mean this nor similar things don't happen now (but probably not in first world countries) or didn't happen before charity was enforced and social programs were created....There really still are people in the world who would kill you for a bowl of rice and a piece of fish....do you think they do it because they want to or because they have to? Tell you what, how about you go over there, eat a steak dinner in front of them and explain the benefits of a few having too much and many having too little? I'm sure they'll be fascinated Because poverty is not only created from people doing nothing but also by a few people having too much.

"Do you really think that someone who has an idea for a company should pay all their employees the same salary as she or he gets from their invention?"
No I don't think they should pay all their employess the same salary as he or she gets. The inventor has taken the risks, got together the money, come up with the idea and organized it all, that's a lot of work. I think a person should benifit greatly from setting up their own company and be allowed to make more money than those he/she employs. But do you think an employer should be allowed to set a wage at whatever he or she feels like? Do you think minimum wage was set up on a whim or because people weren't getting paid enough when the responsibility was left up to company owners? Do you think enforcing such laws breaks the rights of the owner or do you think not enforcing these laws breaks the rights of the worker? Are the workers being exploited through their productivity by feeling they're not being paid enough or is the owner being exploited through his/her invention by feeling he/she is paying too much ? Should one persons rights super-ceed the rights of many? Is not the many just individuals who happen to agree on an issue at a certain time? With that in mind should the rights of one be more important than the rights of many? Should many die so that one may live? None of us agree completely with one another. Everyone has a different take on life. Should there be laws to which govern every individual so that no ones rights are ever compromised? Are people responsible enough to make fair laws for themselves and enforce these laws? Or should your neighboor do that?

"And btw, only wealth is man-made. The keyword being: MADE. Poverty is the natural state in which you are if you do nothing."

Oh is this why there is so much poverty in the world? I guess I'll tell all the poor people they are poor because you said they do nothing. They'll be glad to finally know the reason why they live so poorly. Wealth and poverty are the effects of a competative barter system. Were North American Indians poor before or after Europeans came to their country? They did practise socialism or a form of communism where everyone in the tribe was taken care of.

"And yes some can be millionaires and some can't. But what is so bad in not being a millionaire? "

So then what's wrong with "forced tax". Is that the only thing preventing you from being a millionaire? Is that what is really supressing you from making a fortune, or is your stance against forced tax solely based upon that the principle of people being forced to be responsible for the society they've created is wrong because even without this forcing, people would still pay? Is it really wrong to ensure that people pay for what they've created? Individuals created society and society creates the individual because society is nothing more than individuals creating each other.

"Do you realise that you can work your hiney off in a socialistic society and make LESS than someone who doesn't work at all? And that you will NEVER EVER "make it" in such a society cause the law prohibits individual wealth?"

Yes the current socialistic societies are not fair but not because it prohibits individual wealth but because it prohibits most individuals from becoming wealthy. Do the leaders of a socialist country make the same wage as a factory worker and have the same standard of living? If all of a sudden the people in power in a socialist country, were forced to live the same as everyone else, then you can be assured everyone else would have a higher standard of living then they are used to.

"So I take (true) capitalism any day. At least there you have the legal chance at least to try and make it."

And at least in a true capitalistic society people have the legal chance to stop you from "making it" so that they can make more and more. Tell ya what, in a true capitalistic society try and set up a company that competes against Microsoft, then try to stop monopolies (they're ok in true capitalism), then try and stop the monopolies from controling the gov't (like big business doesn't pull strings already ), then try and stop the monopolies from owning you. The world did try true capitalism, that was when it was called monarchy and feudalism, where by your own effort or by birth you could become a king or queen and you decided how much you wanted to make and how much you wanted to give because you were the governing body, you were your own conscience. You could "capitalize" fully on any situation within your realm. We progressed past that, it didn't seem to work or sit to well with the general population.

"Communism cannot work cause again it forces ppl to put the needs of unknown ppl before their own. I do not believe that altruism is noble. I think it is a sin and perverse. You only have one life and to live it primarily for someone else is as sad as to throw it away."

Why is it sad to live for someone else if that someone else is living for you? Would that not make for a happy mariage? Both working for each other and happy when you both strive ahead? Is not a marriage a mini-society? Would you say the "marriage" would be a healthy one if both couples were to compete who made the most money and keep it all for themselves? Or do you think a "marriage" would be healthier if both sides shared what was earned by both? Should they pay equal shares of all expenses even if one could not afford to? If one could not afford to should they get a divorce? Would you rather have a million people working for you or one person working against you? Perhaps you do not love society like I do, perhaps that's where the disagreement lies. For I do love society, though some of it's faults I could live without and I am, in a sense, in a marriage with society. I love the people I don't know because I might have a chance of meeting them and learning from them some day. I love the fact that a person can try there best and fail and still be caught before they hit the ground. And I love the fact that some people still care enough about society to not mind giving up a little, to give something to those with less and in return only ask that they keep on trying. I still have this notion that you think all the poor people are poor because they are lazy and only want your money so they can continue to do nothing and that you don't think everyone has played some part in it.

"Do you really want a whole state to have a legal claim on your life and soul??"

I don't mind if I can have legal claim to the state's life and soul.

"Your point on taxes. Of course I benefit from schooling and education of children. And that is actually the only payment point I can gladly live with."

So you don't care that you haven't been murdered for your purse because there are social "nets" like welfare and unemployment insurance (at least there is unemployment insurance in Canada...what about over there) giving people an alternative to crime in order to stay alive. Are 10 percent of Canadians out of work because they are lazy or because there isn't enough work? What would 10 percent of Canadians do if they had no way of providing for themselves or their families? Would the majority turn to crime? Could the top 10 percent of the wealthiest companies that make their home in Canada, without going bankrupt or cause a huge change in their owners standard of living, afford to employ all those who wanted to work, thereby giving them a chance to at least earn their living? Could this only be done by "force"? I agree that people do need to feel like they are providing for themselves, they need to feel they have a purpose, without available work, how can this be done?
One suggestion that someone had for Canada was "Work-fare". This is where an able bodied person on welfare would be forced to do some kind of community work a few times a week. Small but loud groups screamed and yelled and kicked saying it was degrading and forced work was against their constitutional rights, they won and "Work-fare" unfortunately was quashed? Was the rights of the individual protected by the constitution? Should they have been forced to work just like we are forced to pay? Is sometimes forcing someone a good thing?

"I have a private health insurance, cause I want to pay for my own treatment rather than have someone pay for me. Plus I want to be allowed to choose my own doctor, which I may not under NH. But this coincidentally means I can give my place at the NH to some one who cannot afford private insurance and making services that little bit faster for them. But do I get a NH tax reduction for paying for myself? No."

You probably should get a tax break and I think that there is an injustice going on. But lets face it, the poor can not afford to pay for the poor. There are more poor than there are rich and there is more money with the rich then there is with the poor. They need your "forced tax" dollars to help keep them alive. If you don't want to be part of paying for a stranger's health then I'll do my best to cut you NH taxes if you'll go to the hospital and pick out the ones you want to live and you want to die. Yeah, I know, you'd still give even if it wasn't forced (I honestly do believe that you practise charity), but would you have the time, energy or inclination to give to the things that needed funds the most if it wasn't already organized for you? How would you feel if everyday you got 20 letters in the mail saying we were wondering if you could help out the hospital, we are trying to collect 2 dollars from everyone to keep our doors open, anther would be addressed from another hospital, a few from schools, some from the welfare, from shelters, etc...and everyday you keep sending them a dollar...or whatever they ask for....would you just eventually stop because of the sheer aggravation of having to deal with charities all the time on top of everything else that goes on in your life? What do you think most would do? How often do you think people think about the funding of schools and police and firemen and health care and so on? A system is not only set up to maintain a system but also to ease the burden on the hard working taxable class so they don't have to burden themselves with constant worring about the state of social programs within their society.

"Don't get me wrong, I do not earn much money. I can give you the exact figure if you like and you will see that I am no where near wealthy. In fact I could claim help from the government. That I do not however doesn't make things easier for me as far as council tax goes."

Do you think this is because of forced tax used for social programs or because or irresponsible use of tax dollars by the gov't? Do you think a true capitalist society would make your situation better or worse? Do you think you would have the same standard of living if those who were money hungry were to be let off their leashes, do you honestly think you'd be making more money? Do you think you could compete with the people who could walk into a hospital room and choose the ones to die if there was a profit to be made legally or would you become a slave to them? Most can't, and those that could are one in the same and that's why we "leash" them and give them set boundaries. And they are just as important to society as everyone else and that's why we give them a long leash.

"Let me tell you a little story as to that. Last year I got my new council tax bill (that is for firemen, police, road works, public library etc in my area) and they had come significantly up in price. I went to the community hall and asked if there was anyway I could possibly get a reduction, as I only earn a certain sum every month. The nice lady behind the counter explained to me that with that salary I could ask for income support. When I told her that I don't want any support, she looked up my files and saw that I own my apartment. She said that as I own the apartment I live in I had to pay the full sum unfortunately. When I explained to her that just cause I own my apartment doesn't make me have that kind of money loose to spend every month on council tax, she said that I had two options open to me. Either claim income support OR sell my apartment and move into a smaller apartment in a cheaper area so that I would be able to afford the taxes! So in other words they were willing to give me income support but they would not give me a lower tax rate, even though the tax reduction would have cost them less than the income support. I declined and now I just grit my teeth and pay."

Yeah I'd have to say that is a little mixed up. I wonder how gov'ts decide on which stupid law they should use first?

"Under socialistic policies your are punished for doing well enough to not claim support and rewarded for living off the state. This is what it boils down to for the individual. Now tell me again that the rights of the individual outweigh the rights of the many."
If welfare is such a reward then why isn't everyone trying to get on it? I do agree with you that the law you explained is a little unfair and kinda of just "plain old stupid". I don't think the individual should be crushed to protect the many nor the many to be crushed to protect the individual but in certain cases both sides must compromise. However like I said earlier that law makes no sense, it seems a misuse of tax money and doesn't benefit either society as a whole nor the individual in the long run (misuse of tax dollars is harmful to everyone, except maybe to those who are misusing it). But please don't tell me you can't honestly say that there are no scenarios where the good of the many should not come before the good of the one. Would you kill off all of society or sacrafice one innocent person? I'm guessing one, especially if that one was not you. Why, because to destroy a lot for a little would make no sense. And I'd sacrafice all the rapists and murderers that live in the world today instead of one new born baby. Perhaps sometimes the society is more important than any particular individual but not more important than individualism. Perhaps it was an individuals who created society thereby creating individualism which is needed for the survival of both the individual and society. Perhaps you can be an individual and not think diversely enough (individualism) to seperate you from the majority. To be honest I don't know the true definition of individualism so I should probably shut my big yapper until I get the facts straight on it

"You say if there was a dying person in the street should one not help? Of course one should! I did say that I am all for helping! I just don't see how a government may throw me in jail if I refuse to give to someone who I never saw and never will see."

Yeah I have to admit that maybe my person dying scenario wasn't a very good...umm let me correct myself, was a very bad analogy. But how can a gov't throw you in jail if you refuse to give to someone who you will never see, easy, the same way they'd throw someone in jail that you will never see for not helping you (P.s. it isn't just your tax dollars that built the hospital where one day you may have to be rushed to for an emergency, a lot of people you don't know chipped in too, they're were probably just as unwilling ).

"Paying taxes and helping a beggar in the street are no where near the same! One I help out of the kindness and compassion of my heart; the other one I am forced to pay because I do not want to go to jail!"

Well I do both out of the kindness of my heart. I do however not enjoy being forced to pay for the misuse(not benefiting society) of tax dollars because I do not want to go to jail.

"I earn my money and I think that should give me the right to decide who is to have a share in it and who not."

Do you really have enough time on your hands to go and figure out who really deserves and needs it the most?

"As for pensions: do you think it is right that soon it will be one pensioner to every 2 working adults? I don't. Do I want to let them starve? Of course not. But I do say that we should let pensions die out with the old ppl now claiming it. Besides, what foolery is it to not have a private pension plan! How can you possibly rely on society doing well by the time you get old? Ppl should look out for them-selves and not rely on the state to look out for them. If we all did, we would all be MUCH better off and all our living standards would increase dramatically."

Yes pensions are in trouble and you are a fool if you do not contribute to a private fund if possible. But is it or would it be possible for everyone to fund their own retirement? Would there still be a need for welfare? Even with pensions a lot of elderly people live in poverty. Could pensions be better if there wasn't so much misuse and waste of tax dollars? Or has the retired elderly so greatly surpassed the working class and will continue this trend? Should we not work for those who worked for us? Do we not owe something to those who came before us?....well maybe we owe some of them....the person/s who invented the Atomic bomb shouldn't have gotten a pension. Is it fair that the rich are allowed to collect a pension when their standard of living is not affected by having or not having a pension?

"As for your final point on the individual having more rights than society? Eh? How is that even possible? Do you mean to say that if one individual is doing well and ten million aren't, the individual is treating the ten million unfairly?"

So you don't think a dictator such as Pinochet had more rights than the society he controlled. You don't think monopolies favor the individual, I guess the price fixing of the few who control the oil supplies is fair especially since oil has become a necessity in our society?

"Consider this: let us say there was only one person who invented the computer. That person would by now be super rich."

How could I consider this when that is completely untrue. The person/s who invented the modern computer used mathematic formulas that were invented by someone else and taught to him by a society, they also used materials that were invented by someone else....etc. without the help, both intentionally and unintentionally the people involved in making the computer would have never succeeded. Do you think the Wright brothers invented human flight all by themselves? Were there not other people working on the same things? Would flight not be discovered eventually if the Wright brothers hadn't done so? Would it have made any real difference if someone figured it out a month later?


"All of us would not have earned a bean from his initial invention. BUT don't forget what other ppl have earned by USING his invention?! One man's genius might not bring society as a whole the same wealth as him personally and initially but he does give you something for the money you pay for his invention. And usually the advantages to society that come with any invention of this magnitude far outweigh the money he earned for inventing it. People all too often measure success by money and never see what a difference one successful man can make in the upping of general living standards."

I agree that sometimes people do invent things that effect society grateful. Whether or not these things would have still been invented, or better things would have been invented if such a person didn't create it, I believe is open for debate and is possibly unprovable. I also agree that a person should benefit financially from such inventions but to what extent? I also agree that too many people do base success on money but in a true capitalistic society that is exactly what success is based on. I also agree that often people don't realize the contributions of the individual to society but I also feel that often the individuals don't realize the contributions of society to individualism. One builds the other.

"Capitalism as we know it is all about is inequality, I agree. But the scale is tipped away from the wealthy man. Society too wins every time some person gets rich by coming up with a new idea. But does the inventor get applauded? No. He gets hounded for getting rich on the fruit of his mind."

If you can tell me how the invention of say something like, G.I. Joe has furthered the human race I will applaud for the man who got rich from that idea. You are basing your statement on the idea that every invention is a great benefit to society or every invention is original. And does a rich person solely get rich from the fruit of his mind or did the sweat of others help him? Sometimes the rich get rich by exploiting the workers and by having ridiculous tax right offs....if you don't believe me please fly down to Indonesia and check out the sweat shop factories that major label supply clothing and other products such as Nike shoes and Television parts. They barely pay enough for the workers to survive there (many stories resembling slave labour have surfaced) and the work conditions are horrendous? Is this part of the beauty of capitalism? If so I want no part, I'd rather be forced to give up some of my salary to live with a cleaner conscience. Nike shoe company two years ago, spent 400 million dollars on advertising and the total sum of it's overseas labor overhead was one percent of that. Not a single Nike shoe is manufactured in a Western society. Is it because Nike is sooo socially conscience that it wants to give Third World countries jobs or is it because they can do what they please and act how they please and pay what they please in these countries? Would Nike crumble if they were to triple the workers salary? Would they even notice? Is that the beauty of capitalism? Is the beauty of capitalism where the company comes before society and the company comes before the individual and society caters the company and the individual lives for the company? Yeah I guess that is a beautiful thing if you are at the top of one of these pyramids. Lets go ask the workers in Indonesia who are occasionally beaten for not working hard enough and see if this is the beauty of capitalism. Yes many aspects of capitalism is unfair, but do the injustices equal the results? You keep mentioning the rights of the individual yet in capitalism the individual has no rights, the company does, the company becomes the governing body based on monetary issues of a few rather than the issues of the many or is it when you talk of the individual and the violation of individual rights you just are talking about yourself?

"As for your signature: 1) tell me, what right of one individual violates the rights of many individuals?"

See somewhere above for that answer.

"2) Do you really want the state and any and all persons to have a legal claim on your life? Do you really want any beggar to have a legal claim on the contents of your pocket? Do you really want to go to jail if you want to keep your pennies to yourself?"

Well in a true communist society it wouldn't really matter then because we'd all be beggars so neither of us would have anything in our pockets to claim. I don't want to rise above anyone, I want to rise with, I am in competition with no one but myself. I can't stand to see everything suffer just because of foolish greed and everyone claiming that they're individuals, so it becomes a me, me, me society. I'd like to invent things and share them with people and I'd like to have a decent standard of living but I don't want a billion dollars nor do I think that no matter what I invented would I deserve such a reward. Don't you think people could clean up the environment? They don't because there is no money to be made? The wealth of a healthy environment is pushed aside by the wealth of MONEY. Perhaps that really is the root of all evil....in a true communist society would money even exist? Communism is just a country practising equal profit sharing, if the country does good then so do the people, if the country does bad, so do the people (at least in theory that's what it's supposed to be). If you want a company to do good, why can't you want a country to do good? If you can work for a company, why can't you work for a country if you still can have a good standard of living? If gov'ts are not already controlled by corporations, would they be if true capitalism was practised? Is it fair that a few, with only interest in themselves, control the many?

Now I'm not screaming hooray! for communism, it does have it's flaws, especially where human nature is concerned and also in regards to work versus rewards but I also feel that capitalism doesn't work for the same reasons. Greed usually is the downfall for both and the cause of work hard and recieve nothing, one's rewards are set by a company and the other a gov't. Oh well, I never claimed to have the answers only the curiousity for them. Congrats to anyone who actually read this, and congrats to anyone who made any sense of this cause I sure as hell didn't. Thanks again for all the thoughts that this discussion has inspired and I look forward to reading your comments Angel, or anyone else's for that matter. Take care everyone,
an exhausted Trevor
Alicat
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28 posted 11-16-1999 01:41 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

After having read the above responses, I was interested in delving more into the aspect of Communism. Now, in theory, as proposed by Locke, Communism works, and works well. However, in practice, this is not the case. Things might have been different in Mother Russia, had she made all men equal, but raised the bar or standard. Instead, they choose the lowest common denominator, and made everyone equal to that...everyone except the peoples who were given the onerous duty of maintaining structure and the bureaucracies, who, by and large, lived like their despised Capitalist counterparts. And the head of this growing party, starting with Stalin (who placed Lenin in home exile for disagreeing with him) became the very Tzars they ousted and killed. But, since the yoke of power is heavy indeed, a little extravagance was needed to ease the inner turmoil such power presents. *tongue in cheek*

And the easiest way that Stalin, and others following, kept the common man common, was by exile, slavery, imprisonment, or most common, death. They are still finding mass graves.

Now, I realize that the acts of one man do not make a country. But I can't help but wonder what the Soviet Union could have been if they had only raised the common denominator. Yes, it would have been harder, and initially cost more, but I think the returns on such an investment in people would have been worth it in the long run...say, 70 years down the road.

Alicat
Ron
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29 posted 11-16-1999 02:59 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Have you ever watched, over time, the freezing of alcohol? The liquid at the top of a container freezes first, then slowly begins a descent to the bottom, freeing that top layer that it too might freeze. Why does the alcohol sink? Quite logically, the solid form is denser and heavier than the liquid form. So it sinks. That's true of alcohol, ammonia, nitrogen, even mercury. It's true, in fact, of every liquid known to science, save one. Water is the only substance that when frozen is lighter than its liquid state. Water is the only ice that floats within itself.

Important? Were this quirk of nature to not exist, every body of water on Earth would have frozen solid at one time or another in history. Most would have remained frozen, protected by its own mass and temperature. Life might still exist in spite of this (for we all know how tenacious life can be), but certainly not in the profusion we know it. And certainly not in the complexity we know it. But then, we wouldn't really be here to know it any way.

Whether you assign it to happenstance or to God, one of the greatest marvels our Universe is balance. Change one decimal point of the Gravitational Constant and either planets and suns would never be able to form or all matter would be crushed into a universal black hole. Change the energy output of nuclear fusion by the smallest fraction and Earth becomes a barren waste, our atmosphere burned away, or a frozen tundra devoid of life. Nature is so delicately, precisely balanced that the smallest alteration in the tiniest scientific principle would destroy all we know.

But Nature isn't always kind. Introduce an organism into an environment with a food supply and few or no predators, and the organism will grow. It will grow until its consumption outstrips its food supply, then it will either die, becoming extinct, or its growth will be curtailed to match the rate of growth of its food. Individuals will die in either case. Like everything else in the universe, a balance is reached.

Economics is just another facet of Survival of the Fittest. And capitalism is simply the closest answer mankind has found to mirror the reality of Nature. Objectivists would argue for laissez-faire capitalism, what they call "true" capitalism, with the same lack of constraints imposed by Nature. Socialist would contend that Nature is cruel, with no compassion for the individual, and we must impose limitations. Both are right, I think. And both are horribly wrong.

Objectivists disregard the lessons of nature. Survival of the Fittest cares little for the individual and almost solely for the organism. Survival of the Fittest isn't even about Life, but rather about the passing on of genes, ceasing to be a factor in evolution after a child-bearing age has been passed. An organism will grow until its consumption outstrips it food supply. Uncontrolled. Laissez-faire capitalism would result in monopolies, as Trevor has pointed out, and in cruel injustices as each monopoly fought for survival. Individualism would cease to exist. In the end, the organism's uncontrolled growth would result in either its own death (change) or in the death of humanity.

Socialists, unfortunately, do no better. They forget that Nature is in a delicate balance, one currently beyond our understanding, perhaps forever beyond our wisdom. In an effort to mitigate the cruelty of Nature, they constrain it. And when the one constraint doesn't cure the evils, they place another. And another, and another. They discover that price-fixing results only in shortages and unrestrained altruism leads not to redistribution of wealth, but only to more poverty for more people. And their answer to this unwanted discovery? More constraints.

Trevor, your arguments for socialism are perhaps the strongest arguments I've ever seen against socialism. "Do you think a man like Bill Gates deserves 500 billion dollars in assets?" I don't think that's up to me to determine. That's determined by the economic laws of supply and demand. By the laws of Nature.

"But you must have (the book) in order to complete your studies so you buy it. Is this what fair is?" "Is it a fair exchange? In today's society do a lot of people have the option of not working if they don't feel they are being paid what they are worth?" "If they were a billionaire, would it really hurt to dish out an extra million a year?" "Should they have been forced to work just like we are forced to pay? Is sometimes forcing someone a good thing?" "You probably should get a tax break and I think that there is an injustice going on." "Yeah I'd have to say that is a little mixed up. I wonder how gov'ts decide on which stupid law they should use first?" "The person/s who invented the Atomic bomb shouldn't have gotten a pension." "If you can tell me how the invention of say something like, G.I. Joe has furthered the human race I will applaud for the man who got rich from that idea." "God doesn't even deserve 500 billion for His idea of creation."

The biggest problem with socialism is that upsets a balance. The second biggest problem is that it's judgmental as hell. This man deserves help. This woman doesn't. This company is good. This company is evil. Making judgements is human and, in the case of socialist reform, totally unavoidable. But whose judgments should I accept. Yours, Trevor? Angel's? Or should the judgements be the inevitable compromises of the mythic majority? When it comes to understanding the balance we are all ignorant savages - and a majority of ignorant savages are still ignorant savages.

Unrestrained capitalism cannot work. It results in a mathematical certainty that all power will inevitably rest in the hands of a few, resulting in change or death. But capitalism, with its innate checks and balances, balances that are determined not by judgements but by natural selection, is still the closest model we have to reality. It works.

Yes, we must mitigate the cruelties of that reality. Monopolies cannot be allowed to go unabated lest their power consume us. But, in every single instance a government has toppled a monopoly, the results have been a painful shift in the balance, with the cost born by the consumers. We must do it, but we pay a price. That same price, though less evident, is incurred every time we help one person survive to the detriment of another. As the socialists pile one price on top of another price, the balances within Supply and Demand shift precariously. At some unknown point, when the prices become too high to pay, the unbalanced economy will topple. The "good" that was done will inevitably be balanced by the cruelty that results.

Is there an answer? I think the answer is maybe to realize we simply don't know the answers. We are ignorant savages, without the skill or wisdom to duplicate the balances of Nature. Every attempt we make to lessen cruelty and injustice brings with a price. At times, we must be willing to pay that price. In some cases, our survival as an organism requires it. In others, our dignity as humans demands it. But in all too many instances we tinker with the balance for self-serving reasons, for na´ve and seemingly altruistic reasons, for reasons that prove unworthy of the price.

And Nature, we are discovering, can be very unforgiving.
Trevor
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30 posted 11-17-1999 08:25 AM       View Profile for Trevor   Email Trevor   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trevor

Wow, think,think,think,think, think.....that's all I can do on this thread. So much food for thought, simply wonderful.

Ron:

I liked your ice analogy, well said ans not to be picky but...
"Were this quirk of nature to not exist"
I don't think there are quirks in nature. Maybe how we percieve it because I agree, we don't yet understand the balancing act that nature is. And if we were to know of it on our planet, would it be relevant to the balancing of all existence?

"But Nature isn't always kind. Introduce an organism into an environment with a food supply and few or no predators, and the organism will grow. It will grow until its consumption outstrips its food supply, then it will either die, becoming extinct, or its growth will be curtailed to match the rate of growth of its food. Individuals will die in either case. Like everything else in the universe, a balance is reached."

Well it would be a good guess that with the current world population growth rate that this is not too far off, I'm not talking about next year, or next ten years but what about 100 yrs, 200 years. The good thing about humans is that often we have the power to "force" ourselves from one instinct into another. Such as stopping our drive to reproduce by applying our drive to survive as a species. Slow our reproduction down to balance better with food supplies so their is less death caused by starvation. I have yet to hear of another organism that does such, they will overrun their food supply and a bablance will be achieved through death, maybe that is what really makes us standouts in earth's animal kingdom, we have foresight. Wolves will continue their breeding practises regardless of how many deer are in the woods, but then again that is how they practise balance and continue to survive though their populations flucuates dramatically in a short period of time.

"Objectivists would argue for laissez-faire capitalism, what they call "true" capitalism, with the same lack of constraints imposed by Nature. Socialist would contend that Nature is cruel, with no compassion for the individual, and we must impose limitations."

I don't believe nature lacks constaints nor do I believe that nature is cruel if one was to know its laws. You could get a million different people to jump off the top of a 200 foot building, chances are they would all die, the constraint being gravity, the consequence of not knowing of this balance is death, some may think it cruel of gravity to force things in place but if one knew the reasoning behind having gravity they would think it fair.
Perhaps capitalism is one with the power of many and socialism is many with the power of one. What is the power of one person? If in a capitalist society one can live like a king, then logically, if resources available, all people in a socialist society could live like kings. The problem with Socialism is that if the world was to have a massive food shortage, all society would die unecessarily because everyone's food portions would continue to decrease equally until there was no food for anyone (yes this is an exaggeration of what would happen because people would change their form of gov't and begin to kill one another for food). With capitalism, if there was food shortage, one could let others die unnecessarily and horde food well beyond their needs and profit from the lack of food, making the already strong even stronger, giving one the power to control and decide the fate of many. Capitalism gives one, too much power over the many and communism gives the many, too much power over one.

A good example showing that neither capitalism nor communsim works is that countries practising either or have begun a slide towards the other. America continues to impliment new social strategies where as China and Russia begin to develop more capitalistic economic policies. I don't believe either were ever the "true" form of capitalism or communism (I don't think that has been practised since early man).

I don't think there is much of a difference in what can be achieved in either state of gov't. I believe that the potential of the human race enormous. I think that either form can work if everyone in that society acted responsibly. But then again if everyone acted responsibly there wouldn't be much of a difference in either. In a responsible Capitalistic society the rich would gladly help the poor to achieve a decent standard of living that was rivaled to theirs (still below but closer and there would be a better blending of social classes) and in a responsible communistic society there would be no abuse of power by the gov't and citizens would all "pull their weight" to ensure that everyone could have a decent standard of living that would be reletively the same for all. Both forms would also have to be responsible for their environment, a responsibility that doesn't seem to be found (at least not in great depths) in any current society, and become their own balance.

"They discover that price-fixing results only in shortages and unrestrained altruism leads not to redistribution of wealth, but only to more poverty for more people. And their answer to this unwanted discovery? More constraints"

One of the greates faults in current communist pratices is that is relies on currency. But it has to for the people aren't responsible enough to practise self control. For example, in a responsible non-currency based society televisions could be available to all if people would practise self control and limit themselves to one television per household, it would only get out of line if one household decided to aquire two or more televisions before everyone had one. Then after all had one T.V., people could responsibly ask for more than one television if they indeed did need more than one. Others would not ask for more televisions unless needed and would not try to aquire more out of a "keeping up with the Jones" mentality. People would have to control their needs and wants and excessive wants (and that would be the hardest task).

"Trevor, your arguments for socialism are perhaps the strongest arguments I've ever seen against socialism. "Do you think a man like Bill Gates deserves 500 billion dollars in assets?" I don't think that's up to me to determine. That's determined by the economic laws of supply and demand. By the laws of Nature."

The human laws of supply and demand only resemble nature and are not nature though they are a part of it (just like anything else human). Let me ask another question along the same lines, and this is more or less the point I was going for with that question, if law is meant to make all men equal, is it fair that one should have so much more power (monetarily, economically and socially) than the majority of the population? That is to say would it be fair then for Bill Gates to own and control everything in the world if supply and demand in current economics policies deemed such? Would it not be fitting to say that the more powerful one gets the more control they have on economic policies and supply and demand thus ensuring they become stronger and perpetuate themselves to the top? I guess he does deserve it if we all do though. No one deserves to live like a king if we are all forced to pick pebbles for and from him. For you to say that is not up for you to determine such affairs is for you to say the laws in which we govern our society is not up for you to determine, your opinion is not part of the process in how society should conduct itself and it will always conduct itself according to the laws of Nature. I guess your right, there is no escaping the Laws of Nature, but there are smoother ways of transition from one Natural Law to another other than extremes, other than letting everything run a course of action to the end. Say Bill Gates was to control the world (sorry Bill, gotta use someone as an example ) eventually there would be a revolution to unset his power (or complete control, though I doubt that for all organisms fight instinctivly against repression), many would die in the process and gov'ts and new societies would emerge and there would be more death and more war and choas, then repeat steps one through a million for the duration of human existence.

I don't see how my arguments that are for socialism seem to be against it. I guess if you are to read all the questions out of context and not actually apply them to situations they could be. Also a lot of my questioning wasn't just for the purpose of leaning towards communism (though a lot of it did TRY to lean in order to present the oppisite side of Angel's arguments) but were for the purpose of inspiring thought (and I know I don't have the solutions, but I still would like to be a part of the process in helping to look for them). I have said before that I am not for nor against any current idealogy of societal gov't but rather that I am still open for I don't believe a good solution to equality has been found yet....yeah I know that sounds a lot like fence sitting, that's because it is...for now

"But you must have (the book) in order to complete your studies so you buy it. Is this what fair is?" "Is it a fair exchange?"

I was trying to show that any price could be set for this book and you would have to pay for it in order to survive. Capitalism not only goes by wants and needs but preys upon them and creates them as well.

"In today's society do a lot of people have the option of not working if they don't feel they are being paid what they are worth?"

If the employers decided to cut wages from 8 dollars an hour to 4 dollars an hour, and there were no other jobs available, then people would either have to revolt or continue working, for anyone making 8/hr doesn't have the luxery(sp?) of picking and choosing like someone who may make 30/hr and might have a secure savings to move around and find better work. One is a slave by necessity, one isn't.

"If they were a billionaire, would it really hurt to dish out an extra million a year?"

That's my definition of self-enforced socialism. The redistribution of wealth through a conscience.

"Should they have been forced to work just like we are forced to pay? Is sometimes forcing someone a good thing?"

I don't think in any society, socialist, capitalist or otherwise it is fair that able bodied people do not contribute. In a true communist society one would not have to worry about "free loading" because everyone would be responsible enough to contribute what they could....ahh yes...utopia

"You probably should get a tax break and I think that there is an injustice going on.Yeah I'd have to say that is a little mixed up. I wonder how gov'ts decide on which stupid law they should use first?"

If there was a true capitalist she would either have the money or not where as in a true communist gov't there would either be that service or there wouldn't be that service. The problems Angel was having was because of a bad law inside a mixed gov't and that is where my comment was directed. A stupid law is a stupid law in any society(in Texas, there is a train law {and this is completely true}, if two trains are heading for one another on the same track, both shall stop until the other one passes, in theory neither train would ever move again) and a stupid is one which has no logic. The solution for her could have been found in true communism or true capitalism but it could also be found in a good law within a mixed gov't.

"The person/s who invented the Atomic bomb shouldn't have gotten a pension."

What I meant to say is the people who had a part in making the atomic bomb should have been murdered. One of the worst creations ever, yet were they charged with mass murder like Hitler was? A few scientists killed as many people as Hitler did. People are still being affected by the A-bombs dropped in Japan. A scientist without a conscience is probably one of the most dangerous things to spring from society. If the A-bomb was a good thing, which one of us could say we could have opened the bomb-bay doors? So that statement really wasn't directed at either socialism nor capitalism....but in true communism they would get a pension if everyone else did and in true capitalism they would have become the richest people in the world because they could have sold the bombs to whoever for whatever price or hold the world at their mercy and wouldn't need RRSP's or a pension.

"If you can tell me how the invention of say something like, G.I. Joe has furthered the human race I will applaud for the man who got rich from that idea."

Well, here's my point, toy manufacturers prey upon the needs of a child, the needs of a child(which are sometimes only wants) preys upon the needs of the parent(which in this case are actual needs, the need to ensure their child is happy and healthy, that is what a good parent tries to do isn't it?). The more a child cries and screams for something the more the parent feels obligated to get that for them. Toy manufacturers see this and exploit it....why else would parents literally beat up each other around Christmas time to get their child a "Tickle me Elmo" doll? Is it fair for the many to be the prey of the few? In a capitalist society it is. They create the needs rather than the needs creating themselves. The supply and demand is controled by those who profit from supply and demand thus making the strong, stronger.

"God doesn't even deserve 500 billion for His idea of creation."

Okay a bad joke....comedy is a hit and miss thing man But, in a joking way, I was kinda saying that someone with the power of say a Bill Gates does live like a god and has the power to create and destroy his environment. If he wasn't such a stingy bastard he could have bought the U.S. gov't by now and wouldn't be having the legal problems he is (unless of course the gov't does have some morals or others have paid before him). Maybe his cheapness will be his own undoing...."I'm not going to buy that judge, he doesn't deserve my money! I'M THE ONE WHO CREATED WINDOWS!!!!! ME, I DID IT!!! NOT HIM!!!!!I CAN KILL HOWEVER I WANT, I AM GOD!!!!!!!"

"The biggest problem with socialism is that upsets a balance. The second biggest problem is that it's judgmental as hell. This man deserves help. This woman doesn't."

And capitalism isn't? It's just a company saying you deserve this and you don't deserve that, rather than a gov't. Lets face it, the people in charge in any current society decide your salary and therefore decide what you may or may not have, what you are worth and what you are not worth.

"This company is good. This company is evil. Making judgements is human and, in the case of socialist reform, totally unavoidable."

Is that not what current companies do in capitalism right now? That company is good because it supplies us with something and that company is bad because it competes against us. One we shall try and maintain a relationship with and the other we shall try to crush. And yes making judgements are human and in any current society, totally unavoidable.

"But whose judgments should I accept. Yours, Trevor? Angel's? Or should the judgements be the inevitable compromises of the mythic majority?"

If I were you I'd go with mine

"When it comes to understanding the balance we are all ignorant savages - and a majority of ignorant savages are still ignorant savages."

Finally a complete agreement between both of us.

"But capitalism, with its innate checks and balances, balances that are determined not by judgements but by natural selection, is still the closest model we have to reality. It works."

Isn't that the exact same as socialism with more individual freedom? Hong Kong still seems to be thriving even though it is now considered somewhat a Socialist gov't. Lets all not get hung up on titles but rather concentrate on the theories.

"Yes, we must mitigate the cruelties of that reality. Monopolies cannot be allowed to go unabated lest their power consume us. But, in every single instance a government has toppled a monopoly, the results have been a painful shift in the balance, with the cost born by the consumers. We must do it, but we pay a price."

I agree for if a shift did not occur sooner than later the price would be even higher.

"That same price, though less evident, is incurred every time we help one person survive to the detriment of another. As the socialists pile one price on top of another price, the balances within Supply and Demand shift precariously. At some unknown point, when the prices become too high to pay, the unbalanced economy will topple. The "good" that was done will inevitably be balanced by the cruelty that results."

That would be true only if the socialists did not impliment a shift in a policies as well. It seems you are trying to say that capitalism is flexible and socialism isn't. They both are, but one implies that individuals are flexible where as the other implies that all acting as one are flexible for maintaining survival. A true communist society would not help one person survive to the detriment of another, it would help many survive to the detriment of another because in theory one is not chosen over another(all are equal and to choose would be to go against the whole theory), if one fails they all fail(in an economic sense that is).

"Is there an answer? I think the answer is maybe to realize we simply don't know the answers. We are ignorant savages, without the skill or wisdom to duplicate the balances of Nature. Every attempt we make to lessen cruelty and injustice brings with a price. At times, we must be willing to pay that price. In some cases, our survival as an organism requires it. In others, our dignity as humans demands it. But in all too many instances we tinker with the balance for self-serving reasons, for na´ve and seemingly altruistic reasons, for reasons that prove unworthy of the price."

Beautifully said Ron. One must remain open enough (to know they don't know) to let in the truth, yet, remain confident enough (to know they may find the truth) to capture it and act upon it. But how does one determine the cost and price of something. To some millions dying to protect one is okay, especially if it is the one, and to some one dying is okay to protect the millions. There really are some people who'd kill millions to ensure they'd live and there really are millions who would kill someone just because of a difference in beliefs (and afraid these beliefs would destroy their way of life).....strange world it is.

Thanks for the input Ron and I look forward to reading more of your thoughts on this subject....quick question though....Hypothetically, if forced (no choice God says choose or I'll send you to hell) to choose a gov't that would rule for your lifetime, and you only had the choice between a true capitalist society and a true communist society, which one would you pick?

Anyhow, thanks again for the thought provoking discussion, take care,
Trevor
Angel Rand
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since 09-04-99
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31 posted 11-17-1999 12:37 PM       View Profile for Angel Rand   Email Angel Rand   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Angel Rand

Oh golly! Indeed a lot of thoughts here. I had half an answer prepared for Trevor but then read these new postings and decided that I have to rewrite the whole thing.
First of all Ron my compliments: beautifully written! Wish I could be so precise and to the point. I agree with you on most points, except for the one you make about monopolies and laissez-faire capitalism. A true monopoly can only occur if the government supports it. And in a laissez-faire capitalistic state the government would not rule the economy but only intervene when unlawful acts would be committed, such as breach of contract. And then again that would only be the juridical side of the government. I am in serious doubt whether we have even nowadays a real monopoly. Microsoft might or might not have used unlawful means to topple any competition but them being by far the strongest on the market, is as such not proof enough for a monopoly. Laissez-faire capitalism doesn't advocate the total absence of laws. There would have to be laws for nature preservation as it is in everybody's best interest to have enough air to breathe. So no, Trevor, it isn't the socialistic governments who ensure a healthy environment, but rather rationally applied thinking. Objectivists are all for that btw. Objectivism is ruthless only when it comes to the right of each individual and it is most unwilling to compromise those rights. You seem to misunderstand that when it says that everybody has the right to property it doesn't mean that you have a right to a car but rather that you may own a car if you can buy one! No one owes you a car.
"With capitalism, if there was food shortage, one could let others die unnecessarily and horde food well beyond their needs and profit from the lack of food, making the already strong even stronger, giving one the power to control and decide the fate of many. Capitalism gives one, too much power over the many and communism gives the many, too much power over one."
This is an example that rather works for my point actually. Imagine you were a farmer. And as farmers do you work from sun up to sun down. You sell your products at the local market and keep what you need for yourself and you family. Now, a famine breaks out and your farm like all the rest produces less than usually. Yet you still sell your products at the market in order to be able to buy all the other essentials that your farm doesn't produce. Now, as all the ppl who have no farm are in constant need of eggs and milk, they take what you wanted to keep for your family and distribute that among themselves. You have no supplies for your family lest you keep what you wanted to sell. But now the ppl say you HAVE to sell cause ppl need it. So you sell and starve. Your farm goes under and the ppl have less than before cause you are no longer there to make products available. My point is: you cannot have a goose roast AND the golden eggs. In order to keep the economy going you cannot kill the ppl who make the economy go.
"America continues to implement new social strategies where as China and Russia begin to develop more capitalistic economic policies."
I am sorry to hear that you think that America's changes in economical policies will result in something good. Maybe you on that American continent are too far away to see what socialism does to countries. Germany is but one example. In the last election they voted for a more socialistic government. Our chancellor Kohl who had done so very much for this country cried openly when he lost his campaign. And my mother who was watching him on TV and who is German cried along and said Good-Bye Germany. Do you actually believe that Germany does better now? Oh no and ppl see it already and have voted Christian-Democrat (the more capitalistic party in Germany) in all the smaller district elections again. Let's face it: Socialism is for the ppl but against economy. Yet economy is what gives the ppl what they want and need. You cannot expect production when you put restrictions on production.
There was one thing that I wanted to say about your point on China in your second last post:
"Though China is a good example of a fairly well-to-do socialist country, but even now they are beginning to lean towards a more capitalist and democratic society"
China's citizens kill their baby girls cause they are only allowed one child and they all want a boy so that they can have his support when they grow old. China has no fathom of human rights! Ppl do NOT live well if they have to resort to killing their children for survival means! Besides a country that massacres its student when they peacefully demonstrate for change is a country beyond contempt!
Please never bring China up as an example for good working socialism. "Social" is all that that country is not!
"Then after all had one T.V., people could responsibly ask for more than one television if they indeed did need more than one. Others would not ask for more televisions unless needed and would not try to acquire more out of a "keeping up with the Jones" mentality. People would have to control their needs and wants and excessive wants (and that would be the hardest task)"
I am sorry to say Trevor but that statement made me really angry! The state should decide how many TV's a family needs?? I am not allowed to have more than one TV unless the whole nation has a TV? Excessive needs? WHY on earth should I work for ANYTHING if I am not allowed to reap the benefits from it! So that other ppl might do well too? And how is that achieved?? By my working harder so that the government can take more from me and give more to more ppl who have less? That should be my incentive?? But don't you see that by my working hard so that I can buy nice things for my family I will make other ppl earn more too? I buy more of their products so that they can make a decent living too. How do you think the money is made that you so freely want to distribute among the ppl? It is made by selling products and if I have to wait till everybody can afford that product the product will never be sold and no other products will be produced cause there isn't anything to cover production costs. What would be- no correction- what IS the result of that? Mass starvation. Why is it when we enter a recession that we go down deeper and deeper? Cause ppl are scared and they stop buying. And by stopping to buy the economy grinds to a halt. And ppl starve! Do not look towards the rich ppl who live in luxury for an explanation of starvation. Look towards those ppl who would curb the economy by strangling producers and buyers!
"if law is meant to make all men equal, is it fair that one should have so much more power (monetarily, economically and socially) than the majority of the population"
Again men are born equal. They have the same rights. They do however not have the right to another man's achievements. How hair raising would it be if one man is called a olympic gold medalist and therefore ALL the population of the world is an olympic gold medallist! Money is the same thing. You make it why should everybody have a share in it? Or do you think only men who achieve something with only their own two hands are allowed to keep the whole benefit to only themselves? Does the brain and the organisation of an idea not count as ONE man's idea for you? Do you really think that as soon as he requires staff to pull off an idea he has to share it with all the world?
"If the employers decided to cut wages from 8 dollars an hour to 4 dollars an hour, and there were no other jobs available, then people would either have to revolt or continue working, for anyone making 8/hr doesn't have the luxery(sp?) of picking and choosing like someone who may make 30/hr and might have a secure savings to move around and find better work. One is a slave by necessity, one isn't."

Ever heard of Unions? Yes if you feel unfairly treated you need to strike. As long as you have that option no employer can treat you unfairly. Not to use that option is the workers own fault and choice.

"The person/s who invented the Atomic bomb shouldn't have gotten a pension."

The person who threw that first atom bomb should not have got a pension! We are beings of choice! And no it is not the gun that kills but the person who pulls the trigger!

"The more a child cries and screams for something the more the parent feels obligated to get that for them. Toy manufacturers see this and exploit it....why else would parents literally beat up each other around Christmas time to get their child a "Tickle me Elmo" doll? Is it fair for the many to be the prey of the few?"
I would say that is down to the parents. My boyfriend's little daughter would never throw a tantrum for anything she wants. But then he knows how to properly bring up a child.

""The biggest problem with socialism is that upsets a balance. The second biggest problem is that it's judgmental as hell. This man deserves help. This woman doesn't." And capitalism isn't?"

Capitalism judges ppl by their ability not their inability. Over here in England there are lots of little corner shops that in no way can compare to the big grocery shops yet they live really well. WHY? Cause they have their corner of the market by being close by and friendly and personal. These shops are often run by Indians and they come here with the willingness to work hard and make a decent living. They succeed!

That is all for now. I have to go out and put some money into circulation. Need food LOL


------------------
"I swear -- by my life and by my love of it -- that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
"Any alleged "right" of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right." Ayn Rand
Ron
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32 posted 11-18-1999 12:19 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I don't have a lot of time this evening, but I do want to respond to a few things mentioned. And I actually want to start by backing up a bit, not to Angel's last post, but to a prior one.

But I say that we do not need a "Guru" to tell us of things he went through to see the truth. We can come to the same conclusion any one with experience made, if we only use our common sense. Common sense is the most flagrant oxymoron in the English language. But I agree, we don't need a guru - we need a whole passel of them. Not to tell us what to do, but to give us the benefit of experiences and insights none of us will ever live long enough to garner directly for ourselves. Fortunately, we have that passel. I might even be so bold as to suggest some are posting at Passions even as we speak.

Are you suggesting that we cannot know or are you saying that we do not know at present? Never did Rand say that scientist DO know all there is to know. She only said that they CAN know. Actually, I'm suggesting - very strongly - that it is indeed impossible for us to know everything. The Principle of Uncertainty is clear on that, and in the past two decades science has extended it into realms Heisenberg never anticipated. But even setting aside impossibilities, there still remains improbabilities. And those are likely more germane at any rate. There is a whole class of phenomenon, from weather to economics, that is governed by Chaos Theory and attendant complexities that boggle the imagination.

Let's put it another way: Is it in your best self-interest to carry an umbrella six weeks from tomorrow? Okay, it's a stupid question - there's no possible way for you to know the answer (and science is decades or centuries from being any help) and you really don't have to make a decision today. But there are equally complex and long-term questions that we do have to make decisions about today. My analogy is simplistic and it's easy to quip "well, it would hurt to take an umbrella." But sometimes the question isn't simplistic. And sometimes the wrong answer can be harmful. I'm not suggesting we shouldn't be rational or not "think" about such problems. I am suggesting that Rand was wrong and there are serious dangers to believing we can "know" everything.

To say being human means to make mistakes is a good excuse to too many ppl not to even try. Agreed. But because a truth is misunderstood or misused doesn't make it any less a Truth.

Mysticism is the reverse of Objectivism. While Objectivism looks to the outside to see and understand reality, mysticism looks to the inside. But your inside is only made up of things that have been brought in from the outside.Intellect and reason does not come from the outside. Indeed, Angel, I could probably spend a few thousand words arguing that, by your definitions, Mysticism and Objectivism are merely different sides to the same coin. I might even be tempted to argue, by those definitions, that they were equally valid ways to interpret reality.

You can only experience reality through your senses and the evaluation of their input. I maintain that feelings are not a guide to action as long as you do not analyse WHY you feel something. And I would maintain that rational thought is only a guide as long as you analyze HOW it impacts your feelings. One might even begin to suspect the two were more intricately entwined than Rand would have us believe (Brad, you listening to this? ).

Okay, let's address some of Trevor's issues:

The good thing about humans is that often we have the power to "force" ourselves from one instinct into another. Such as stopping our drive to reproduce by applying our drive to survive as a species. I certainly haven't seen any evidence of this. The only places in the world where the increase in population has decreased is where we actually have more resources and could better support children (suggesting there are other reasons for the decrease) or where people have forced others (and the key term is "others") to limit childbirths. On the contrary, in places where infant mortality is the highest the traditional response is to have more children.

One of the greatest faults in current communist pratices is that it relies on currency. Currency is really just a way to keep score, and only relevant to an economy in terms of inflation or deflation. If we agree that two sheep are worth one cow, that's not really any different than agreeing that two sheep are worth $500 and so is the one cow. With or without currency, it's still a barter system.

If law is meant to make all men equal, is it fair that one should have so much more power (monetarily, economically and socially) than the majority of the population? Law is not meant to make all men equal. All men are already equal (IMHO), regardless of what any law says. The law is meant to guarantee equal opportunity - a really, really big difference.

I don't see how my arguments that are for socialism seem to be against it. Each of the quotes I presented, Trevor (and I wasn't disagreeing with any of them, btw), were selected as being judgmental. They were based entirely on your personal concepts of right and wrong, entirely on what you believe to be the best way to help others. And, as I indicated, I think that's the biggest single problem with socialism.

I'll even carry that a step further. Not only can we disagree about who should be helped, but I think people are going to have fundamental disagreements on how others should be helped. Socialism, in my opinion, takes the easy answers, probably because it's implemented through that infamous majority we were discussing. You've heard the arguments before: Do you feed a starving man or do you teach him how to fish? Or do you carry it even farther and reverse the impact of his childhood, giving him the motivation to become the best damn fisherman he knows how? You and I agree on one important thing: Laziness is often not the root cause of poverty. I personally believe attitude and the conviction you don't have to be poor play a greater role. But that's just one more judgment among many.

And capitalism isn't? It's just a company saying you deserve this and you don't deserve that, rather than a gov't. Lets face it, the people in charge in any current society decide your salary and therefore decide what you may or may not have, what you are worth and what you are not worth. On the contrary, under capitalism YOU decide what are you worth. If you want to increase your worth to "the company" and earn a better wage, then you simply give more in return - more loyalty, better training, increased skills. Under socialism the judgements of who is deserving are arbitrary, always biased, and don't always reflect reality. Capitalism may not seem fair to the individual (who thinks they're being paid too much?), but the criteria is very simple - what have you done for me lately? The more you do (can do), the more you are worth.

Hypothetically, if forced (no choice God says choose or I'll send you to hell) to choose a gov't that would rule for your lifetime, and you only had the choice between a true capitalist society and a true communist society, which one would you pick? First, let me prelude my answer with something I didn't make clear before: All of my comments in this and previous posts were about socialism within the context of a capitalistic system, much as we see it in the US, Canada, and most of Europe (though to much different degrees). I say that because Angel and I are in complete agreement on at least that one thing: socialism/communism cannot possibly work in human society.

Why? Because we really do act, in every single instance, out of our own self-interest (though we've skipped a very important discussion about what that really means). Take away a person's motivation to excel and the result is inevitable mediocrity. Communism doesn't promote equality as much as it mandates homogeneity. It doesn't just discourage individualism, it encourages sameness. It takes all that is good in Taoism and twists it into something bad. It destroys what makes us human, reducing us to the level ants and termites.

Uh, does that answer your question?

Back to Angel, now:

A true monopoly can only occur if the government supports it. Obviously that depends on your definition of "support." A monopoly can't exist, I'll agree, without the tacit support of government; i.e., government must do nothing to discourage it. But without government intervention, monopolies are as inevitable as two plus two equals four. We'll discuss why in a few moments.

I am in serious doubt whether we have even nowadays a real monopoly. Likely not, not in the true sense, but of course neither do we have Laissez-faire capitalism. In the US, we have regional monopolies, sanctioned and regulated by the government, and we call them utilities. If I don't like the service I get from my cable company my only option is to move to another area. Not too many years ago we had a national monopoly called AT&T, but the government divided that up into smaller (less efficient) regional monopolies. Whether Microsoft is or isn't a monopoly is certainly questionable, at least in my mind, but - again - we'll discuss why in a moment.

Laissez-faire capitalism doesn't advocate the total absence of laws. There would have to be laws for nature preservation as it is in everybody's best interest to have enough air to breathe. And is it in everyone's best interest to mandate seat belts in cars, if not for adults then at least for children? Is it in everyone's best interest to force companies to provide workman's comp insurance so those injured on the job are covered? Is it in everyone's best interest to insure that drugs and food are inspected for safety, that other products are warranted for safe use?

You see, Angel, you just completely did away with "true" capitalism. Under pure capitalism a company would adhere to environmental concerns because we, the people, would refuse to buy from them if they didn't. No laws. No punishments. Simple, pure economic force.

Your definition of capitalism simply replaces the judgements of socialism with another set of judgments.

Capitalism judges ppl by their ability not their inability. Okay, now we get to talk about those issues from above. Because capitalism doesn't judge people just on their ability, but rather on their contribution (of which ability is only a small part). We've all heard it said before: It takes money to make money. We don't call it Abilityism or Workism, because those actually play a minor role in our economy. We call it Capitalism - because it is capital that moves the economy and determines the winners.

Economy of scale is an economic term that simply means some things can be done more efficiently by larger organizations. "More efficiently" usually means cheaper, and "larger" always means more investment. Companies don't become monopolies simply because no one wants to compete with them. They become monopolies because no one can compete with them. In the case of AT&T, it was obvious. The communication infrastructure had taken years and billions of dollars to build. No one was large enough, not even the government, to duplicate that investment and reach the "economy of scale" necessary to effectively compete. The US has regional monopolies because economy of scale precludes competition. For a utility to be efficient it must be large. That means division of the market (competition) is not in the best interest of the consumer (prices would go up). That is exactly what happened when the government broke AT&T into the Baby Bells, in spite of all their efforts to maintain economy of scale.

In this sense, Microsoft is not a monopoly. A smaller company could realistically write a better piece of software and still sell it for less (and make a profit). Whether the consumer decides to buy it or not has nothing to do with the definition of monopoly. However, Microsoft was deemed a monopoly (rightly or wrongly) because it has so much power (again - capital) that it can control and dominate the supply of its competitors. It does me no good to write better software and sell it more cheaply if my competitor won't allow me to get it in front of the people.

Economy of scale (and to a lesser extent "economy of scope") virtually guarantees that - in any completely free enterprise system - certain sectors (utilities, agriculture, and most manufacturing) will eventually result in a single, all-controlling company rising to domination. It's as inevitable as two plus two.
Ben Pike
Junior Member
since 11-14-1999
Posts 23
Southwestern Virginia


33 posted 11-18-1999 01:32 AM       View Profile for Ben Pike   Email Ben Pike   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ben Pike

Okay, by the numbers:

1) The principle by which I live is that to be alive is a privilege which obliges me to do so in the most worthwhile fashion.

2) This is valid because the moments closest to the cessation of this privilege have not totally been wasted, their lessons have been partially retained.

3) Purpose: chiefly to survive. Secondly: in the manner best suited to the situation, which always changes. So goals and purposes are only worthwhile if they are as flexible as the milieu, which in this world is constantly in flux. Which means that in some strict interpretations of what a goal is, I have none.

4) Good is fulfilling one's capabilities and evil is falling short, usually by making excuses for one's lot, situation. There is no devil but what one creates for oneself. The only god is what one accepts as such.

5) Anarchy. Self-determination. In the context of the available choices of the here and now, independent candidates who buck the status-quo, mavericks who think serving is a duty, an obligation, and would rather not but feel that they should for the best of all. Names? None jump out at me.


Hey, thanks for asking!



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"There are no survivors on this earth" -Juan Matus
Trevor
Senior Member
since 08-12-99
Posts 744
Canada


34 posted 11-18-1999 01:33 AM       View Profile for Trevor   Email Trevor   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trevor

Oh Angel, must we bicker I have to say this is getting to be an interesting topic.

"A true monopoly can only occur if the government supports it."

And they do, all across Canada there is only one cable company per town and is privately owned....they have the gull to send you "thank you for choosing their cable company"...as opposed to not having cable. Some companies when the do get to be a monopoly are allowed to split up their company and create their own competition.

"So no, Trevor, it isn't the socialistic governments who ensure a healthy environment, but rather rationally applied thinking."

I agree, a socialist (but lets move away from socialism, I thought we were talking about hardlined capitalism and communism) gov't doesn't ensure a healthy environment nor does a capitalist gov't. One will only do so if it is the want of the people and the other will only do so if their is profit to be made (a growth industry in North America is environmentalism).

"You seem to misunderstand that when it says that everybody has the right to property it doesn't mean that you have a right to a car but rather that you may own a car if you can buy one! No one owes you a car."

Then who owns the land? Should I have to pay someone because they've decided to claim soveriegnty over a chunk of land and call it their own? On a planet that is all of ours? By birth I am entitled to an equal piece of land like all else who are born. Does not a bird get a branch? Why don't we start charging animals rent? We would if they had a wallet. Are you telling me that it's okay that a handful of people own the earth and control its natural resources? That they have more legal claim to a planet, to the land on that planet and to its water and to the trees? Only the within capitalism can someone say with a straight face they own a part of the world. Your telling me I should have to pay someone to go camping in the wilderness, that if I wanted to move to where no one lives and build a house of mud that I'd still have to pay for it? Only in capitalism does someone have the balls enough to tell me they own the sky, the water, the trees, the water, everything that is beneath the earth and everything that lives in its environment. Don't you see the odacity and oddity of such thinking. NO ONE owns the earth, no one has more legal claim to be on this planet then the next person. Now if it is everyone's planet then why don't we try and find a more leveled balanced of equality. I mean we are all on this planet together, why do we want to destroy each other?

"This is an example that rather works for my point actually. Imagine you were a farmer. And as farmers do you work from sun up to sun down. You sell your products at the local market and keep what you need for yourself and you family. Now, a famine breaks out and your farm like all the rest produces less than usually. Yet you still sell your products at the market in order to be able to buy all the other essentials that your farm doesn't produce. Now, as all the ppl who have no farm are in constant need of eggs and milk, they take what you wanted to keep for your family and distribute that among themselves. You have no supplies for your family lest you keep what you wanted to sell. But now the ppl say you HAVE to sell cause ppl need it. So you sell and starve. Your farm goes under and the ppl have less than before cause you are no longer there to make products available."

I don't think you fully understand what happens in a famine, I mean a real one, not a hypothetical one where the farmer gladly shares in a communist society or sells at a great price in a capitalist society....but lets go hypothetically, hypothetically in a true communist society, all the food is shared equally, the people equally starve and only those more physically fit (and not anything to do with how much money they have for all would be of equal value) would survive until the end of the famine. The longer the famine lasted, the more people would die until a balance of food to people was reached. Hypothetically capitalism in the same situation: people who controlled the food, would control who, how much and how often people could eat. A few people would be playing God and dictating who would live and who wouldn't and not by natural selection but by the worth of a human life, set by the supplier. Whatever the supplier thought life was worth that day he could make it.....he could say your family is worth a car today....your family is worth your house today....everything you worked for is worth your family today and after you had nothing left to give him he could say you are worth nothing today and let you starve to death....then a big business would come around and give the farmer a huge amount of money for all his product and land....the farmer seeing how much money he could make sells it....then the company charges him for the food he once owned until he is too broke to pay for it because the company will charge whatever is the most they can get for it.....whatever the people will pay the company will charge.....especially if there is only a single unit left.....but life would go on(a lot less people though), but everyone would have to start anew because everyone had to pay everything they've had just to eat a little bit and everyone would be even more impoverished and become even more of a slave. Hooray for capitalism, the only society that will let you die not because your good or bad or because you didn't work as hard as anyone else but because you weren't paid as much as someone else. In our hypothetical society one sounded more natural than the other. In communism, everyone had an equal chance of survival, nature determined who would live, much like natural selection, and in capitalism, one or a few persons determined who would live, hey, let's all play God type of thingy.

Let me ask you a question. How important is a minimum wage worker? What is their worth? What is their value? Does the clerk at a MacDonalds deserve to die and their manager deserve to live even though a MacDonald's restaurant can't operate without either? Is a life worth whatever money they can get regardless of the quality of person? Is that how you want your life to be judged, by what you own? In a true capitalist society a charitable person would be called a "sucker" and thank god one is born every minute. If a president of a company is making a million dollars a year and all his warehouse staff combined is making 800, 000 a year, yet the company can function for a day without the president being there but can't without the warehouse workers, who would you say is more important? The single president? Or the warehouse workers? Yet why would they be paid less????? I mean Capitalism is all about worth isn't it??? Is the president worth more just because he makes more money????

"In order to keep the economy going you cannot kill the ppl who make the economy go."

In a true communist society there isn't really the same conceptual economy that your trying to picture....everyone has or doesn't have, there is no monetary exchange, new ideas and inventions are fueled by the want of the individual to give to society because society has given to him. A person would want to invent a car for society because society has invented a televison for him and also because they think a car would benefit society or the need for a car is present. You wouldn't care that you weren't more wealthy than the guy who worked building your car because you'd realize he is just as equally important as you.

"I am sorry to hear that you think that America's changes in economical policies will result in something good."

Not half as sorry as I am that you want America to continue it's current trend of furthering the distance between social classes but then I guess the poor folks in America are poor because they are lazy.

"Maybe you on that American continent are too far away to see what socialism does to countries."

I guess you don't know much about Canada nor it's social policies. We are one of the most socialized countries in the world....and yes we still have a lot of problems....and why does it seem they have begun to grow as we begin to loosen the straps on capitalism?

"Socialism is for the ppl but against economy."
Only if the economy is monetarily based. If its people based then that is something entirely different. It must base itself upon what is society as a whole capable of and what each individual is capable of giving to society. Not what the individual is capable of and what it can take away from society(I'd say the individual gives good ideas in capitalism, but really, do you actually need a good idea to get rich these days or just a greedy nature? Has anyone really invented something so fantastic lately? Other than the computer and the internet? How many times can you reinvent the television set???).

""Though China is a good example of a fairly well-to-do socialist country, but even now they are beginning to lean towards a more capitalist and democratic society"
China's citizens kill their baby girls cause they are only allowed one child and they all want a boy so that they can have his support when they grow old. China has no fathom of human rights! Ppl do NOT live well if they have to resort to killing their children for survival means! Besides a country that massacres its student when they peacefully demonstrate for change is a country beyond contempt!
Please never bring China up as an example for good working socialism. "Social" is all that that country is not!"

I was talking in a economic sense, not a social sense, and may I remind you just because they call themselves socialists doesn't mean they are true communists. I think China has acted very poorly when addressing human rights.

I hate to cut it short right now but I must go. I'll get back on track to turning you and Ron into Pinko's as soon as I can Take Care.
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


35 posted 11-18-1999 03:09 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I don't have the time to go in to all of this right now (where do you guys find the time for all this stuff )

Ron,
uh, well, work is minor in a capitalist economy?

Angel,
China kills little girls because of a cultural preference for boys (they take care of you when you get old. Women go to a different family and therefore don't count) -- Communism, even in China, actually promotes equality of the sexes (at least on paper). It is the conflict (dare I say contradiction) between a cultural value system and their 'rational' socialism (I'm being facetious here, don't you know?). The Communist party asserts that it is infallible because it has a 'science' of history -- Marxist/Leninism.

Trevor,
There is a real life example of famine in a 'socialist' country. I live next to it: North Korea. How do they rationalize it? Independence, sovereignty, and a 'pure' socialist system are more important than the people.

Maoism says that changes in attitude and 'spirit' can change material conditions; Marx says it's the other way around. Well, they call it Chinese socialism anyway.

Comrade Brad
Angel Rand
Member
since 09-04-99
Posts 140
London UK, and Zurich Switzerl


36 posted 11-18-1999 09:07 AM       View Profile for Angel Rand   Email Angel Rand   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Angel Rand

Found a rather good piece on monopolies. Hope you wont object to my posting it here.
Angel

The Brain Thieves
The FTC's Suit Against Intel Is an Attempt to Steal Intellectual Property
By Robert S. Getman

Horror movies terrify us with nightmarish plots in which aliens take over humans' brains and thus enslave their bodies. Today, Intel Corporation is a victim of just such a nightmare - with the Federal Trade Commission cast as the real-life "brain thief."
The FTC claims that because Intel is the "dominant" manufacturer of personal computer CPU's (the computer's "brain"), the company must be forced to give actual and would-be competitors a "fair" share of its patented technology and know-how. Intel is being compelled to give away what it has created - its brainchild - because the other companies are needy. The FTC's position is tantamount to this: the more that competitors need Intel's technology, the less Intel owns it.
What is the FTC's legal weapon in this case? It is an obscure antitrust concept, the "essential facilities"
doctrine, which holds that if so-called monopolists produce something supposedly unique or "essential," it will effectively be declared public property, to which all comers must be given access. As unjust as this doctrine is (and our courts have rarely invoked it), it is particularly inappropriate as applied to patents - intellectual property established by our Constitution - which by their nature are meant to confer a "monopoly," in order to recognize an owner's exclusive right to his invention and thereby do him justice. Yet even the FTC doesn't claim that Intel's market "dominance" was attained by force or fraud; it simply argues that Intel is too successful at inventing technology that is in great demand by customers. When not referring to coercive, government-sheltered franchises, the term "monopoly" boils down to: success in a free market. For this "sin" of success, says the FTC, Intel must be made to sacrifice. It must be forced to share its creations with any have-not, on the FTC's terms. Indeed, the FTC even declares that if sued by its competitors, Intel cannot treat them less favorably than before - which means that the government is seeking to establish in law the tenet of turning the other cheek. There are few starker examples than this lawsuit of our legal system's adoption of Marx's slogan "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." Yet Americans would certainly oppose Thomas Edison's being hobbled for "over-invention." We would never support cutting Edison's patent rights on his lightbulb - because it is so "essential" - at the urging of gaslight-makers. Surely, it isn't part of the "American Dream" that too much success is a sin, or that a government agency is morally entitled to prosecute those it deems guilty of that sin. Such egalitarian leveling poisons the "pursuit of happiness" which lies at the heart of that dream. Worse, because antitrust prevents our most successful producers from acting to maintain (let alone enhance) their "monopolies," we are forcing them destroy their own achievements.
The evils of antitrust law are magnified enormously by its deliberate ambiguity. Most people do not realize the virtually unlimited powers government grabs as a result of the law's failure to precisely define unlawful conduct. As Alan Greenspan wrote, antitrust "is a world in which the law is so vague that businessmen have no way of knowing whether specific actions will be declared illegal until they hear the judge's verdict - after the fact."
Crucial terms like "unfair competition" and "monopolist" are kept vague on purpose, to accommodate the government's demand that antitrust law be "elastic." This subjectivity empowers the state to find almost any thriving business guilty of an antitrust infraction - and makes antitrust laws incompatible with the principles of a free society. (Such laws flagrantly violate our Constitution, under which ex post facto, or retroactive, punishments are barred and undefined laws are ruled "void for vagueness.") The FTC's attempted brain theft imperils not just Intel, but anyone with proprietary knowledge or intellectual property. It threatens anyone who has ambition enough to enjoy "too much" success. We must awake from this legal nightmare. In the name of whatever ambition you hold dear, urge lawmakers to revoke the FTC's antitrust powers and to reject its cynical strategy to "have the producers and eat them too." Else the next brain the bureaucrats steal - if you're productive and successful - could be yours.




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"I swear -- by my life and by my love of it -- that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
"Any alleged "right" of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right." Ayn Rand
Angel Rand
Member
since 09-04-99
Posts 140
London UK, and Zurich Switzerl


37 posted 11-18-1999 09:31 AM       View Profile for Angel Rand   Email Angel Rand   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Angel Rand

I guess my political beliefs can be summoned up in one quote, the one I use as my signature:
"Any alleged "right" of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right."
Laissez-faire capitalism is the only form of government that will ensure that right being observed and, yes, enforced.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

If we believe in these, communism and it's "mini-me" socialism is obviously in breach with those ideologies.
Plus, if we are for the people (which I am wholeheartedly) we need to recognise what ppl need. And that is a working economy. Socialism and worse, communism will never achieve that. Why? Cause they work against human nature and not for it. Compassion is not bred on a dissatisfied but on a fulfilled soul. Let me be free and happy and I will gladly share what I can. Chain me up and make me unhappy and I will not be able to spread my wealth of heart cause I have none to give.
Angel

------------------
"I swear -- by my life and by my love of it -- that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
"Any alleged "right" of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right." Ayn Rand
Trevor
Senior Member
since 08-12-99
Posts 744
Canada


38 posted 11-20-1999 07:04 PM       View Profile for Trevor   Email Trevor   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trevor

Well I've been doing a lot of pondering still with this whole thingy that we are talking about....people at work are starting to call me a communist....I've asked for their forgiveness for wanting to share. It's kinda of funny, as children in a playground we are told to share with the other children even if we don't know them, as we mature we build friendships around sharing, a give and take that's not based on money and we learn to compromise for friendshhip's sake, and when we marry we share the majority of things (at least we are supposed to) with our partner and still don't mind compromising. It seems to me all successful relationships are based on sharing and I will be bold to say that in a relationship if the sharing is not close to equal then often it fails.

Angel:


Human Rights and the Socialism:
It's pretty funny how everyone screams and points at Socialist Countries about human rights, I agree that there are a lot of human rights problems in Socialism but don't democratic and capitalist countries participate in human rights violations as well??? Take America....does slavery in a capitalistic-democratic country ring a bell still??? Sanctions against Cuba resulting in contributing to their poor economic situation....was/is that really necessary? South Africa, what a great capitalist country that is and was....great humanitarian country....what about all those third world capitalist countries....I'm sure all the people love working in the sweat shops (because they are treated so fair there..no personal rights violated) for next to no money while the owners get gluttonously rich....I guess that's what you call a fair exchange?


The flaw in your violation of personal rights by society, is that society is just a way of saying the congregation of many individuals, so what about their rights, each of their rights? So what if they agree with each other, does that make their rights worth less?....does one persons rights weigh more than a thousand person's rights?

"Plus, if we are for the people (which I am wholeheartedly) we need to recognise what ppl need. And that is a working economy."

Actually what people need is a democracy, then they'll tell you what they need. I still don't see how an economy can't work in communism if the people have a say as to what they want to produce. I believe that for a successful communist country to work it must have a democracy and a responsible gov't (which is probably the key for any good working society).

"Compassion is not bred on a dissatisfied but on a fulfilled soul."

How can one's soul be fullfilled when there is so much suffering? I know I'm sad, not because I'm broke (which I am) but because everyday I hear about death and suffering. How come the middle class gives more money, in both percentage and amount, to charity, then the wealthy? If money made the soul satisfied and a satisfied soul breeds compasion, why don't the well-to-do help out more? I guess they weren't taught to share in the sandbox.

"Chain me up and make me unhappy..."

Why do you think true communism is sooo confining? Why do you think you'd be chained to something, in true communism, you could still speak your mind, you could vote on leadership, you could have a vacation, you could invent things.....everything would still be the same, you'd pay for what you have in working hard (and maybe in a job you always wanted to....or perhaps you'd have the opportunity to become multi-skilled) and not in dollars. You'd work hard for others and they would work hard for you. Now in a perfect world this would all work but I'm not naive enough (though close ) to believe this could work in our current world because people have to grow up a bit and realize that we don't all have to be friends but we should all at least be friendly towards one another. It's about time we practise the humble morals we preach to our children.

BRAD:

"Trevor,
There is a real life example of famine in a 'socialist' country. I live next to it: North Korea. How do they rationalize it? Independence, sovereignty, and a 'pure' socialist system are more important than the people."

I was speaking more of a true communist society than a "socialist" society. I don't see how people can look at people being less important than the society, when the people are the society....I hope the leaders of North Korea are starving as well Probably not though. Some communism there


Now Ron:

"The good thing about humans is that often we have the power to "force" ourselves from one instinct into another. Such as stopping our drive to reproduce by applying our drive to survive as a species. I certainly haven't seen any evidence of this. The only places in the world where the increase in population has decreased is where we actually have more resources and could better support children (suggesting there are other reasons for the decrease) or where people have forced others (and the key term is "others") to limit childbirths. On the contrary, in places where infant mortality is the highest the traditional response is to have more children."

So we are not even in control but rather plain instinctive, in all aspects? So that would mean the killer is not really guilty themselves but is only acting on instinct? That would mean we are not creatures of thought but rather creatures of instinct. We have no choice but only instinctive responses. When we have babies it's only because of the environment and when we don't have babies it's only because of the environment. Maybe people have babies in less resourceful countries to ensure they have some males to help with crops or getting water or money? Maybe in more resourceful countries people choose not to have children because of their careers or because they feel the world is not a healthy place anymore, or is over crowded, or they want to adopt for other reasons than infertility. Are these not choices?

"One of the greatest faults in current communist pratices is that it relies on currency. Currency is really just a way to keep score, and only relevant to an economy in terms of inflation or deflation. If we agree that two sheep are worth one cow, that's not really any different than agreeing that two sheep are worth $500 and so is the one cow. With or without currency, it's still a barter system."

I understand the barter system and the evolution of such, but my thing was, would a true communist society really base worth on anything other than the whole of society? What is our world worth to us instead of what is a cow worth? I don't know....communism sounds so good on paper.

"If law is meant to make all men equal, is it fair that one should have so much more power (monetarily, economically and socially) than the majority of the population? Law is not meant to make all men equal. All men are already equal (IMHO), regardless of what any law says. The law is meant to guarantee equal opportunity - a really, really big difference."

Yes it is and that is what I was trying to say, thanks for the correction....still doesn't change my point...If law is to guarantee equality than why don't we have equal opportunities and why do some people have so much more power....or is it that we all have the same opportunity to bend the laws and screw people over to get to the top? Even with hard work their is no guarentee of success. If the rich and powerful want to squash you, they usually can and do. The current laws which govern society and economics are not only set up for the rich and powerful but also by the rich and powerful. Some may say we have laws in place to control the monopolies, etc. but they are set up by the rich as well, for example, the only reason Bill Gates is getting the warm chair right now is because some of the wealthy are afraid that he will be able to crush them, not that they're afraid of what he can do to the general public. If the other rich people and companies didn't have anything to lose they probably wouldn't give a damn,

ANGEL:
So do you really think being wealthy breeds compassion and that once a person achieves great success they begin to care more about the "have not's"?

RON:
"I don't see how my arguments that are for socialism seem to be against it. Each of the quotes I presented, Trevor (and I wasn't disagreeing with any of them, btw), were selected as being judgmental. They were based entirely on your personal concepts of right and wrong, entirely on what you believe to be the best way to help others. And, as I indicated, I think that's the biggest single problem with socialism."

I still feel there is a place in any society for personal opinion. People not only should help others but also decide who needs the most help....otherwise how will anyone get that helping hand? I believe democracy should decide all of these things and I was only expressing my vote

"I'll even carry that a step further. Not only can we disagree about who should be helped, but I think people are going to have fundamental disagreements on how others should be helped. Socialism, in my opinion, takes the easy answers, probably because it's implemented through that infamous majority we were discussing. You've heard the arguments before: Do you feed a starving man or do you teach him how to fish? Or do you carry it even farther and reverse the impact of his childhood, giving him the motivation to become the best damn fisherman he knows how? You and I agree on one important thing: Laziness is often not the root cause of poverty. I personally believe attitude and the conviction you don't have to be poor play a greater role. But that's just one more judgment among many."

Well personally communism isn't really about just giving the poor money but rather giving them equal living standard for equal work....I'm not saying for the rich to become poor and the poor not work, I'm saying everyone works and everyone becomes rich....."the old back-scrathcing". I'm against hand outs. If I had the decision how to help a starving country I would teach them about farming and irrigation, about crop rotation and fertilization, digging wells and clean water, I would teach them medicine so they could heal themselves, I wouldn't just dump a bit of grain and say there you go....anyways I understand what you are saying and a true democracy would take care of that in a pro-society based system. BTW I disagree with you on the "mythic majority", I think there is one whether we can poll it or not...unfortunately we can only currently rely on represantations of the "majority".

"And capitalism isn't? It's just a company saying you deserve this and you don't deserve that, rather than a gov't. Lets face it, the people in charge in any current society decide your salary and therefore decide what you may or may not have, what you are worth and what you are not worth. On the contrary, under capitalism YOU decide what are you worth. If you want to increase your worth to "the company" and earn a better wage, then you simply give more in return - more loyalty, better training, increased skills. Under socialism the judgements of who is deserving are arbitrary, always biased, and don't always reflect reality. Capitalism may not seem fair to the individual (who thinks they're being paid too much?), but the criteria is very simple - what have you done for me lately? The more you do (can do), the more you are worth."

Then why are you afraid of monopolies? If a warehouse worker is just as essential as a manager (and I believe that the majority of jobs can be learned on the job with the exception of highly skilled workers such as doctors...though the first doctors did learn that way ) then why are they not paid the same? The average worker is more skilled and does more than ever before with relatively the same or less pay. In the general labour field this is especially noticable. Perhaps you are right about this subject when dealing with the more specialized fields such as doctors but as far as workforce numbers go, they are the minority. The general labor force has the largest pool of manpower (and I know this plays a huge role into the income of general laborers) but I can't help having this feeling they are still being taken advantage of. Why else wouldn't a general laborer's income fluctaute(sp?) appropriately with the revenue of a company? If the company does a little poorly, they are fired, if the company does well, they might get to keep their job, with the same pay though the work load would increase. Why do jobs that pay the most, recieve the most benefits? Why should the manager of a warehouse get medical coverage and the general laborers don't? Yet the higher paid person could more easily afford the medical coverage whereas the poorer paid person couldn't? Why does a Canadian Member of Parliment get a 500,000 dollar pension after five years of service? Why does a billion dollar profit company pay less taxes than a hundred thousand dollar company? WHYWHYWHY???? Yep I'm snapping If we are all equal, and laws are supposed to guarentee equality, why do I get the feeling that a lot of people are being ripped off by capitalism? I say it falls into the lap of the gov't (and the gov't into our lap) because it is supposed to serve the people and look after the "rights" of the "majority"....for the majority is just another way of saying a group of individuals...and individual rights are important.

"Hypothetically, if forced (no choice God says choose or I'll send you to hell) to choose a gov't that would rule for your lifetime, and you only had the choice between a true capitalist society and a true communist society, which one would you pick? First, let me prelude my answer with something I didn't make clear before: All of my comments in this and previous posts were about socialism within the context of a capitalistic system, much as we see it in the US, Canada, and most of Europe (though to much different degrees). I say that because Angel and I are in complete agreement on at least that one thing: socialism/communism cannot possibly work in human society."

I do agree that a true communist society is a looooong-shot in being implamented and especially in working, but hey, anythings possible...I remember hearing about people saying television was a fad and they'd never put a man in space. But I also think capitalism can work as well, both in great success rely on not only the gov't as a whole conducting itself appropriately but also relying on the individual being responsible... responsible for their actions, responsible to and for themselves, responsible for their neighbor and responsible for the environment, which may include their neighbor.


I don't know what the answer is....I'm not totally sold on any of the ideas. I believe that a person's rights are important but I also believe that the good of the many do outweigh the good of the few and that circumstance and opinions and logic (unfortunately) should dictate who's rights comes first, the few or the many...ie. If the many are "evil" (say Hitler and company) and the minority are "good" (say the Jews) then the rights of the few should outwiegh the many.

Perhaps a communistic approach is what's needed to slow technology down a bit. Hasn't technology kind of surpassed societies ability to deal with it responsibly anyways? Maybe we all need to grow up a bit, share a bit and care for one another. Maybe we need to have gov'ts that are more reflective of who we are (are they not supposed to be the creme-de-la-creme of humanity).

Personally I just don't understand why everyone has such a problem with sharing. Why are so many against it? Are they afraid of being taken advantage of? Do they think the majority of people are just leeches or hang-abouts (if this was true wouldn't unemployment be a lot higher than it is in capitalist/socialist countries like Canada?)? I believe the majority to be hard workers and the only reason true communism doesn't/hasn't worked is because of the greedy and not because of the lazy. Because of corruption and not because of the "average person".

Both capitalism and communism have had their shots in society, so has dictatorships and democracy and monarchy, and even anarchy, so where do we go from here. I think it starts with the individual. If we all act a little more responsible, I guess just about any system would work.

I find it actually funny that the majority of the Western world is Christian/capitalist and that christianity teaches love thy neighbor, do onto others as you would have done onto yourself and of course about sharing, sharing and more sharing, yet everyone is soooo afraid to....ohhhh, oh no I gotta win the race....even though it all ends in a tie....so if no one wins, why don't we stop to pick up those who have tripped?

Now I'm not speaking for myself, nor in bitterness because I feel I don't have enough and that somehow I'VE been struck down by the rich, because I don't and I haven't (I do have a decent living standard, I have a computer, I have a roof over my head and food in my belly and a nice bed to sleep on), but I am trying to speak for those unfortunate enough not to be able to represent themselves here. The ones who by circumstance live in poverty for no other reason than circumstance, being born into poverty, being born into famine, being shut out and shot down, these are the people's viewpoints I am trying to express, those whose greed is a necessity for survival and not a privilage of justifying wealth.

I really don't know what a good solution to the "ills" of society would be. Capitalism sounds good sometimes but I don't think everyone is responsible enough with money and power and Communism sounds good sometimes but I don't think everyone is responsible enough with work ethics and power. I only hope that through communication and discussions we begin to not only understand one another better but also begin to have more compassion for one another. There shouldn't be anymore walls between worlds. Thanks to all who have taken the time to discuss things with me and have been able to translate my sporadic format. Take care,
Trevor



[This message has been edited by Trevor (edited 11-20-1999).]
Angel Rand
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since 09-04-99
Posts 140
London UK, and Zurich Switzerl


39 posted 11-22-1999 01:43 PM       View Profile for Angel Rand   Email Angel Rand   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Angel Rand

Trevor,
You kinda gave the answer yourself, you said:
"It's pretty funny how everyone screams and points at Socialist Countries about human rights, I agree that there are a lot of human rights problems in Socialism but don't democratic and capitalist countries participate in human rights violations as well???"
Human rights violations in Socialism versus human rights violations in democratic and capitalistic countries. In Socialism the violations are pre-ordered by design, where in democratic and capitalistic countries they CAN happen cause democracy is not ensuring your rights not being violated and as for capitalistic countries, well we have none. Only countries with capitalistic tendencies. What do I mean with democracies not ensuring your rights? In a true democracy you can vote yourself into slavery PLUS the majority can violate the rights of the minority. To me a democracy can only work in accordance to human rights when the laws of each individual are carved in stone and cannot under any circumstances be breached and violated. Only this way can we make sure that the minority in votes doesn't get "screwed" over.
"Why do you think true communism is sooo confining? Why do you think you'd be chained to something, in true communism, you could still speak your mind, you could vote on leadership, you could have a vacation, you could invent things..... etc"
Because there is no "I" in communism. You as an entity are nothing in the face of the community. You are not a person but an arm or a leg of machinery that can spare a few arms and a few legs when necessary. Ever seen Star Trek's Borg? These beings are pure Communism. And like Communism they cannot produce so they have to steal and take by force from those who do. Well, resistance is NOT futile.
"So do you really think being wealthy breeds compassion and that once a person achieves great success they begin to care more about the "have not's"?
Never once said that. But then again I also never said that wealth fulfils you. I only ever stated that if you cannot fulfil your ambitions cause you are not allowed to by the government you CERTAINLY will never feel happy and complete. You just assumed that everybody could only be made happy by money I guess.
"If a warehouse worker is just as essential as a manager (and I believe that the majority of jobs can be learned on the job with the exception of highly skilled workers such as doctors...though the first doctors did learn that way) then why are they not paid the same?"
Ah well lets compare a company to the human body. Management would be the brain and workforce would be the arms and hands and legs and feet. Who deserves more credit? The brain for knowing what to do or the hands who carry it out? You might say that the brain would look really silly if the hands refused to work. And yes you are right. If you overstrain your hands with manual labour, your hands will hurt and stop working for you (call that the power of unions). Yet remove the brain and what do you have? Sounds nasty but I'll say it anyway: A vegetable. And no I am not saying that some of the workers could not have the same abilities as management but as soon as they rise to be management we would start over again with the problem, wouldn't we.
"why do I get the feeling that a lot of people are being ripped off by capitalism?"
Cause we do not have real capitalism, only socialism that milks the work willing masses from which the power hungry are exempt by wheeling and dealing. But these are no more true capitalists than Marx.
"I believe the majority to be hard workers and the only reason true communism doesn't/hasn't worked is because of the greedy and not because of the lazy. Because of corruption and not because of the "average person"."
The only ones enforcing communism so far were the greedy and corrupt and power-hungry. The average person who wants to wok hard and achieve a decent living standard and who thinks that their voice should account for something is precisely who makes communism impossible.

"I find it actually funny that the majority of the Western world is Christian/capitalist and that christianity teaches love thy neighbor, do onto others as you would have done onto yourself and of course about sharing, sharing and more sharing, yet everyone is soooo afraid to....ohhhh, oh no I gotta win the race....even though it all ends in a tie....so if no one wins, why don't we stop to pick up those who have tripped?"
First of all they are not capitalistic but mixed economy. And second, ppl do GOOD when they help others and they want to be able to feel good for doing it. And not just not bad for not doing it. It is a good and generous thing to help and not something that one does anyway to just not be bad. So therefore as soon as you force ppl to share you take away their ability to freely give and feel good for it. Besides the point that it is breaching individual's rights of course.

"Now I'm not speaking for myself, nor in bitterness because I feel I don't have enough and that somehow I'VE been struck down by the rich, because I don't and I haven't (I do have a decent living standard, have a computer, I have a roof over my head and food in my belly and a nice bed to sleep on), but I am trying to speak for those unfortunate enough not to be able to represent themselves here. The ones who by circumstance live in poverty for no other reason than circumstance, being born into poverty, being born into famine, being shut out and shot down, these are the people's viewpoints I am trying to express, those whose greed is a necessity for survival and not a privilage of justifying wealth."

I will say this again: the rich who would keep ppl and workers in poverty so they can be more powerful, are NOT capitalists! Same as the Brain in my Brain/Hands analogy a true capitalistic entrepreneur would recognise that it s in his best interest to treat his workers (hands) well. He would make sure that any innovative idea they might come up with is rewarded properly so that innovations is flowing rather than being stemmed. And should he slack in his good leadership, the unions would soon put him on the right track again.
The only way you can actually tell me that capitalism is a bad idea is when you present me with a new set of human rights that spring not from the "ought to" but from the "is" of human nature. And to say that we are bad cause true altruism is an impossibility for us by nature, is like to say a whale ought to be a fish cause it swims in water. (Well kinda anyway )
Angel


------------------
"I swear -- by my life and by my love of it -- that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
"Any alleged "right" of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right." Ayn Rand

[This message has been edited by Angel Rand (edited 11-22-1999).]
jbouder
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since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


40 posted 11-22-1999 03:13 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

This is a truly interesting question. Particularly because of how my answer has changed over the years.

I am a Protestant Christian aligned doctrinally with Reformation Lutheranism. The Reformers understood the chief end of man as being "To know God and enjoy Him forever." This, I believe, is my chief end.

Evil is that which is contrary to the revealed law of God, whether it be a general revelation through nature and conscience, or a special or specific revelation through the written Scriptures, summarized by the Ten Commandments in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Lutheran Protestantism sees man as being sinful by nature (by nature prone to violate the Ten Commandments) and incapable of reconciling himself with an offended God. Lutherans also understand that this reconciliation was done vicariously through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The good things we do, we do in response to God's graciousness rather than to attempt to merit God's graciousness (because even our best deeds are only imperfectly good). In other words, we bark because we are dogs, we don't bark to become dogs. We do good things because we are Christians ... not to become Christians. Law is what we must do, but cannot, in order to know God and Gospel is what was done in our behalf by Christ so that we can know God.

I believe this perspective is correct for several reasons. Lutheranism over other Christian dogmas because of its approach to the interpretation of the Bible (exegetically ... getting meaning out of ... rather than isogetically ... placing meaning in ...). Christianity over other world religions for reasons including, but not limited to, the verifiability of many of its claims by means of legal/historical reasoning (See Testamony of the Evangelists by 19th century Harvard Evidence scholar, Simon Greenleaf), and conformity of its historical claims to much of the archeological data recovered in the Middle East to date (see the classic The Bible as History by Werner Keller).

My political viewpoints tend to be conservative but I have many problems with the approaches of certain conservative (particularly religious conservative) groups in trying to influence public policy. Many confuse theological concepts of Law and Gospel (as I understand them) and misuse (albiet unintentionally at times) political clout as a bully pulpit. But this is an American problem not limited to the Christian Right (or Left for that matter).

------------------
Jim

"If I rest, I rust." -Martin Luther



[This message has been edited by jbouder (edited 11-22-1999).]
Ron
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41 posted 11-22-1999 03:17 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Trevor:

I still feel there is a place in any society for personal opinion. Of course there is. I just don't want to be forced to structure my life around your opinions. The history of socialism in the past 100 years has repeatedly shown that the majority is composed of ignorant savages far more capable of harm than good. I would feel far more comfortable with socialism if it were based on scientific principles rather than on whims of conscience.

Then why are you afraid of monopolies? Because monopolies have a very similar effect as communism. If I don't pay my workers enough the best of them can - and will - go to work for my competition. A monopoly doesn't have any competition.

Hasn't technology kind of surpassed societies ability to deal with it responsibly anyways? NO!

Personally I just don't understand why everyone has such a problem with sharing. I don't think we do. I think the problem is not with sharing but rather with being forced to live under someone else's definition of sharing. I'll give you just one example out of a possible thousand. I completely agree that an unemployed single mother should have financial help. I do not agree that mother should be rewarded with additional help should she have another child while still unemployed. That's just one opinion on one example, but it highlights my point: the "rules" of sharing make little sense to me.

Angel:

The rich who would keep ppl and workers in poverty so they can be more powerful, are NOT capitalists! I think you are in serious danger of mixing your philosophies: Objectivism may depend upon capitalism, but the obverse isn't true. Capitalism existed - in a much truer form than it exists today - long before Ayn Rand took her first baby steps. And early American history suggests there were excesses. What you are speaking of is economic competition - and that ain't always the same as capitalism.
Angel Rand
Member
since 09-04-99
Posts 140
London UK, and Zurich Switzerl


42 posted 11-22-1999 03:27 PM       View Profile for Angel Rand   Email Angel Rand   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Angel Rand

Even though I stated that all opinions and beliefs are welcome in my thread (and they are) I will not argue religion with anyone. I gave my promise to someone and I intend to keep it. Suffice to say that I am deist at best and that an attempt to sway me will fail. So please respect my wishes on this.
Thank you
Angel

------------------
"I swear -- by my life and by my love of it -- that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
"Any alleged "right" of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right." Ayn Rand
Angel Rand
Member
since 09-04-99
Posts 140
London UK, and Zurich Switzerl


43 posted 11-24-1999 02:51 PM       View Profile for Angel Rand   Email Angel Rand   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Angel Rand

Ron, I guess I should have stated that as in all things I think real capitalism only exists along with real objectivity. I do believe that anything that isn't rational will eventually backfire. If it doesn't you are extremely lucky cause it is not the order of things. So therefore the capitalism of days gone bye could not work for long as it was not being applied rationally. It is in the interest of an employer to keep his workers happy and satisfied but greed often makes rational thought impossible. So therefore I state again that capitalism and powerlust and greed are not the same thing.
Angel

------------------
"I swear -- by my life and by my love of it -- that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
"Any alleged "right" of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right." Ayn Rand

 
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