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Passions in Poetry

Socialism and its Enemies

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Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


0 posted 11-17-1999 01:37 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Angel's post has moved in so many different directions that I think it's time to start another thread. Personally, I think she is doing a great job in arguing her position but some people have expressed and interest in Communism and if nobody's noticed this yet; I have certain sympathies in that direction and have been told that I have a pretty good handle on the theory (at least that's what professors and fellow graduate students used to tell me ) .

As a short aside, I should mention that one of my socialist friends has said to me, "Brad, you know if the revolution does come, you'll be the first on . . ."

You know the rest. I'm a heretic to the orthodox theory.

Two points I want to make first: I am not a Communist (although some call me a pinko Commie) and I could be jailed in the country I live in for expousing such a faith (more about that later). I do not and will not defend the current system of government in North Korea; it's murdering it's own people for the sake of an idea. The problem is I don't think that's Socialism.

Second, I want to discuss theoretical Socialism, not actual existing socialism as practiced in Europe and/or China and Cuba (as eventually you'll see; I don't think that's Socialism). That may just may be me of course; I have no intention of controlling this or any other thread for that matter.

I suppose the first thing to consider is that there are many different types of socialism. Some are concerned with redistribution of wealth, some are concerned with the democratization of the economic sector, and some are concerned with the creation of a utopian society. Of these, I want to discuss the second because the first one is more or less a stopgap measure and the third is ludicrous. If people want to move in a different direction, that's fine with me. My hope is that eventually we can discuss this stuff right now to the everyday language we use (and thus may have some value to writers).

Engels said that socialism is running a country like a factory. I disagree. It's the other way around. Socialism is about running a factory like a democratic country. It's about giving control to people who spend most of their waking lives at a place where they have little or no freedom. What's wrong with that? Hasn't anybody else wondered why we are alowed to vote for the people who will send us to war but not the people who determine whether we will have a job tomorrow?

It seems that there is therefore a moral justification for socialism for if you believe in democracy in politics, why not in business?

Ah, man I gotta stop now but I hope someone responds to this. My last post seems to have failed miserably,
Brad
JP
Senior Member
since 05-25-99
Posts 1391
Loomis, CA


1 posted 11-17-1999 02:16 AM       View Profile for JP   Email JP   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit JP's Home Page   View IP for JP

Just a short note, to feed the fires.

Socialism in business? Positively senseless to think that is possible. I will not tout the virtues of Capitolism other that to say that history and America has proven that business can only succeed through capitolistic ideals - show me an economically vibrate socialist country.

The US, while drifting painfully towards a socialist government (the news just reported that here in CA they are proposing a law that would make it illegal to smoke in YOUR OWN car if children are with you), is powered and supported by the capitolistic pigs of business.

Carl Marx called for the workers to unite, the funny thing is, when they did, the nature of man took over and kabashed the whole thing.

------------------
Yesterday is ash, tomorrow is smoke; only today does the fire burn.
JP


Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


2 posted 11-17-1999 08:22 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Hey, I got one post. Thanks, JP. Show me a true socialist country and then we can talk. Centralization around a small group and/or one man is not socialism. Actually, you can look at it, I think productively, by seeing a Communist country as an attempt to create one big factory. The old USSR was attempting to compete with the US and so forth in international politics.

But if we talk about representative democracy, what's a stockholder's meeting? Originally, you had to own land in order to vote in America (as well as male and white). Most people argue that the trend to open up the political process is a good thing. My suggestion: why not open up the business sector as well?

Karl did indeed want workers to unite. The funny thing about Karl though is that he never really studied the working class; he just assumed that they would be revolutionary. I always thought that was pretty funny. Rosa Luxumbourg (Red Rosy), on the other hand, did a Marxist analysis of trade unions that seems to me to be a pretty good analysis of relations within any particular union.

So, your from California? What part? I'm originally from Magic Mountain country (Saugus).
JP
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since 05-25-99
Posts 1391
Loomis, CA


3 posted 11-17-1999 11:34 PM       View Profile for JP   Email JP   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit JP's Home Page   View IP for JP

Well technically, I only live in California - the Sacramento area - I am from all over (father in the Army, I was in the army).

This is my family's 'home base', since my mother's family migrated from Oklahoma to central CA in the 40's and my dads family migrated from New Mexico to the Lancaster area in the 50's.

But what the heck does that have to do with Marxist philosophy? I dunno. I don't know much about Socialism really (I'm more of a Plato, Nietzche, Buddah kinda guy) - I just wanted to give this thread a kick in the pants. However, I do stand behind my words. Capitolism may be ugly, it may be divisional and seperatist, but it is the only true motivation for economic success. Which is the true strength of political success.

------------------
Yesterday is ash, tomorrow is smoke; only today does the fire burn.
JP


Lolita
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since 11-09-1999
Posts 42
Buffalo, NY, America


4 posted 11-18-1999 04:40 AM       View Profile for Lolita   Email Lolita   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Lolita

All thoeries on anything to do with human behaviorand interaction are useless. You cannot run a country to the democratic, communist, socialist ar any other way of thinking because we are a diverse and benign race. We are, really quite dumb. The problem is not the way you run a society, but that you try to run a society. When ever something becomes organised it begins to self destruct naturally. It happens in all overgrown structures, even cell structers will hari kari if they are overpopulated. Why? To give the remaining cells the oppurtunity to survive. This does work in nature, not in human nature. We are too selfish to step aside, we are proud. It is this pride and selfishness, this ' if he won; why should I?' philosophy that means no society will be able to operate properly. I am actually dying here so you will have to finish the train of thought for me.
Brad
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Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


5 posted 11-18-1999 06:03 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Well, that was a rather blanket statement. So, we should just give up on theorizing all together, shall we? The problem is that just isn't what people do. On a personal level, we make goals and try to manipulate people all the time to further those goals.

Believe it or not, at the same time you've condemned theory in one grand sweep you have also contradicted yourself. If we are so diverse that all theory is bunk, how can you describe us as 'benign' and 'dumb' at the same time?

I agree that if you take theory as the word of God, no questions asked, you're only getting yourself into trouble. Theory is really just a few simple questions: what kind of society do we want to live in? What is the best way to get there? At best, I suppose you could argue that it's more or guideline than a cookbook for good government.

Still, with those limitations already understood, it doesn't make any sense to me to give up on all thinking.

And that's no fun anyway.

Brad
jbouder
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since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


6 posted 11-18-1999 09:12 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

I think Lolita touched on an excellent point regarding our selfishness. Correct me if I am wrong, but, as I understand it, Communism/Socialism/Marxism rests on the basic assumption that a collective will work for the betterment of the public utility. I know this is also part of Mill's premise and smells a bit of Humanism as well.

I am admittedly more of a historian than a philosopher but it seems that failures in the such social experiments were direct results of those within the collective (particularly, but not limited to, the leadership) being more concerned with obtaining more power than with working for the benefit of the greater good.

History demonstrates to me that man is everything BUT the altruist by nature. Altruism is a lofty goal and may even be obtainable by a few, but most people do not have the discipline to overcome selfishness and their "will to power" (especially without moral restraints in place in secularist societies). And this, I believe, is precisely why the Communist/Socialist model is unworkable.

As far as mankind being "benign" ... NOT demonstrable historically. Without a strong moral conscience in place to restrain undesirable or harmful behavior, strong laws must be in place and this requires more power to law enforcement and it only watersheds (power corrupts) from there. As (moral) restraining forces weaken in a culture, government becomes more intrusive and begins to resemble the actual (as opposed to theoretical) Socialist or police state model.

I think Nietzche's Ubermensch (Super Man) best describes the direction we human beings gravitate ... we end up better resembling Bram Stoker's Dracula in our hunger for power than Hesse's Sidhartha in our quest for harmony. This, Brad, is why I have serious doubts that the theoretical Socialist model will ever be reality.

Good talk, folks. Comments?



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

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

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


7 posted 11-18-1999 09:55 AM       View Profile for Angel Rand   Email Angel Rand   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Angel Rand

Jbouder, having read both books you mention- Dracula and Siddartha- I must wonder why you think that humans are like the first and should aspire to be like the second. Siddartha found his "enlightenment" by leaving his human nature behind. He aspired to become more soul than body. Yet IMHO humans are both, body and soul, and to deny one is to not live as a human but to sin against your nature.
Greed is as much human nature gone astray as when you chastise your body for needing food.
Let's define capitalism here. Capitalism and greed and power-hunger are NOT the same thing. Greed is just interpreted as such and too often used as an attack point against rich ppl from more socialistically motivated ppl. But then again, not all rich ppl are capitalists. Some of them are just idle moochers who do not deserve the money cause they have not done anything to earn it. Capitalism and motivated productivity are what I would call synonyms. Capitalism is not the absence of a social way of thinking, it only doesn't promote the lawful stealing of other ppl's possessions.

I would also like to include something I wrote a while ago for a debate club in London who dealt with the same issues for a few sessions. Sorry if it covers more or less the same issues I discussed in my own threat but it seems to fit here so excellently.

Scenario:
A beggar sits at the corner of a street asking for pennies. Another man passes by and refuses to give him those pennies. The police come and arrest that man. They tell him: Give the beggar the money with a certain percentage as a punishment for not paying immediately. The man still refuses. He is thrown into jail.

Ridiculous? I agree. And I agree that the man could well have given the beggar a few pennies, but if he chose not to, does he deserve to go to prison for it? Yet this IS socialism of which some of you think it is not so bad!
I know ppl do not like to live of charity but then why would they rather live of FORCED charity?
It is a nice idea that should you get ill the state pays for your treatment. But did you ever consider where the state gets that money from? Yes that is right. From taxes. Ppl are forced to pay taxes so that others may have operations. Ok you say but what is bad about helping your fellow man? Nothing, I agree, I myself would immediately try and help a person in need. But do I want to be STRONG-ARMED to do such? NO!

The constitution of America states that a man is free and has the right to possessions. If that is so, is it not also up to him to decide how to spend his money? How can any Government claim that its citizens are free if they are forced into paying for other ppl's lives? This forced charity doesn't stop at the medical care. No, nowadays it also pays for the sloppy and the lazy. And how? By the money of hardworking citizens. You wonder why everything is getting more and more expensive? Consider this: the more you tax a company the more expensive its products get. Inflation is a natural occurrence of socialism. You tax the oil companies out of existence yet you scream the ppl need more gas.
You complain that your economy is sluggish. Oh? Not enough work-willing rich cows to milk? Why should any one WANT to work if from what he earns he may keep far less than even half? Why should any one want to work if he can get a good living from the "state" without doing a thing? You might say but ppl ought to want to work for their fellow men's upkeep, it would be the altruistic thing to do. Sorry, but my family and I is whom I worry for first and if I have enough I might want to give to a charity cause I am a feeling and kind person. I don't want to be MADE to "give" to charity FIRST and then see how I can live with the little I am allowed to keep.
As for doctors leaving Canada… if I were a doctor I'd get the heck out of there too! In most cases a man or a woman wants to become a doctor cause they want to help ppl. Now with a national health system they not only work everyday to save lives but with the money they earn for it they also have to PAY for lives? And on top of that they are not even free to choose whom they want to treat and whom not? A doctor would hardly turn away a suffering person but to not even have the RIGHT to if he so chooses?
Socialism is supposed to mean for the greater good of society. But what is society? It is not an entity, not an individual. Yet only individuals have rights. How can the right of that individual be trampled on for the good of "society"? How can any individual be asked to make a sacrifice for "society"? Society is after all just a collection of INDIVIDUALS. No group should have more power OR rights than the single rights of each of its members. You say what then about the minorities? Well, the individual is the smallest minority there is!
As for the constitution being outdated? How can you possibly think that the right to freedom, possession and the pursuit of happiness could EVER be outdated?
The RIGHT to a car? You only have the right to freedom, possession and the pursuit of happiness. You do however NOT have the RIGHT to a car. Unless you are willing to work and pay for it that is. Of course it will get harder and harder to earn enough money to buy that car if other ppl think just cause you have a car they have the RIGHT to a car too...

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
jbouder
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since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


8 posted 11-18-1999 10:29 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

To clarify my point in my last paragraph above, I did not suggest that the aspiration to be like Sidhartha, as opposed to the Nietchean ideal, was something one "ought" to strive to attain ... my statement was to be understood in the context I wrote it. A society of Sidharthas would be what it would take, in my estimation, for the Socialist/Humanist model to be a working one and this is precisely why I believe "true" Socialism to be fantasy. To broaden my statement beyond that context creates a bit of a straw man. Its the selfishness of men that prevents Socialism from working, in my opinion. If men were by nature selfless, then that would be an entirely different matter.

I, personally, think that it is noble of a man to both look out for his self and, at the same time, exercise an ability to restrain himself from abusing any power and influence he attains along the way. I don't think governing bodies should police his actions unless those actions amount to criminal offenses (fraud, defamation, extortion, etc ...).

Replys?

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

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

Alicat
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since 05-23-99
Posts 4277
Coastal Texas


9 posted 11-18-1999 12:29 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

Very interesting points on all sides. If I may, I would like to present some case-in-points.

1) While in Budapest, Hungary, 1990, the majority of taxi drivers were medical doctors. They chose to drive taxis as a way of making more money, for medicine is socialized, and the rates, if any, are set.

2) The present shortages in our American system stem mainly from special interest contracts and favored nation statises. Instead of growing our own coffee, we pay another country to grow it for us; same with cane sugar, bananas, coconuts, rubber, etc. These programs, started during the 30's and 40's as a means of gaining local economic control in another territory or country still live and thrive today, and Heaven help the man who dares to mess with it. We have scads of oil and natural gas deposits in Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska, to name a few areas in the U.S. Yet, due to wheeling and dealing, most of our oil comes via OPEC, who has in the past placed a strangle-hold on the flow to shore up personal revenues, while bankrupting local oil businesses. Farmers are subsidized, and paid not to grow certain crops...and they comply...easy money. Instead of trying a different crop and selling it on the open market, they sit back with their usual fields and suckle on the government teat.

3) The democratic socialism within this country during the 60's and 70's...even deep in the 80's, made it more profitable to sit at home, act belligerant at job interview, stay in jail, and have a profligacy of illegitimate children. Welfare then had a lot more perks than did the working man's rut. Due to the welfare reforms, this is starting to come to an end, much to the dismay of those who had a good life coasting on the government's coat-tails.

Now, I'm in no way trashing this country. It is not the best in the world, nor is it the worst...more like somewhere above middle. One of the few ways to escape this constriction upon national growth would be to dissolve ineffectual bureaucracies, combining some of the others, and downsizing and streamlining the rest. I realize this would mean higher temporary unemployment, and noone likes to be fired. But sooner or later, draconian measures are going to be needed to pull this stagnant country out of its self-made mire...

...hmmm...I seem to have gotten carried away, not to mention meandering off the topic's path...oops...


Alicat the gruntled
Angel Rand
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since 09-04-99
Posts 140
London UK, and Zurich Switzerl


10 posted 11-18-1999 02:50 PM       View Profile for Angel Rand   Email Angel Rand   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Angel Rand

Jbouder I only jumped on that cart cause selfishness/selflessness has extensively been discussed in my own thread. I wondered if you were thinking of Dracula as the embodiment of Capitalism and Siddartha as the embodiment of Socialism? Hesse is one of my favourite authors and ironically to all those who have read my posts ( ) Siddartha is one of my favourite books. It is a beautiful fairytale and I love the descriptiveness in it. But (and I have argued this before) I do not see what it promotes as a virtue but as a bad waste of potential. Weirdly enough Siddartha is a very self-centred person yet he is also totally selfless. At least in the beginning and the end. He searches for a way to fulfil his "self" by leaving precisely that self. Yet by doing that he concerns himself only with him SELF. Does that somehow not sound like socialism? People think that fulfilment of the soul is to be found in catering to others. And for a very rare few this might even work. But for this to work your own ego must have no other inherent wish than to live for others. Yet as soon as your ego demands this of you, you are no longer selfless. So I say: soul know thy self and do not accept the ways of the "saints" as your own. Besides if we WERE all Siddarthas and would follow the rules of being humble and not catering for ourselves, who would we beg to put food in our pail? We would still be gatherers and live like our ancestors, in caves.
Totally off the subject, I know and I apologise to Brad for that
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 11-18-1999).]
Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


11 posted 11-18-1999 07:14 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Nothing wrong with tangents in my opinion. When I first started this thread (I had been thinking about it ever since you began your Objectivist one), I was simply unsure where to begin. Basic Marxist theory? How Socialists actually see themselves? Why doesn't socialist economics work? Do I complain about the total reliance on 'nature' when it comes to extolling the strength of capitalism when really that's nothing but ideology (in a Marxist sense)? Do I try to maintain an orthodox stance as some sort of devil's advocate game? It's a tough call.

I just hope that we can all work on a number of different threads, on a number of different discussions and maybe a few of us can hear or think things that maybe we haven't thought before.

For now, I just want to talk about the doctors versus taxi drivers argument. Socialism, or my understanding of it anyway, is not about making everyone equal but about allowing everyone to pursue their potential (Marx often talked about people with 'ability' rising to leadership positions). In a socialist system, the question would be put to the people asking if they thought this was a good thing? If not, resources within the economy would be redirected to improve the welfare of doctors and health care in general.

The immediate problem here, of course, is people rarely mean what they say or say what they mean. It's always easy to say more, more, more without any understanding that any one 'more' is going to mean 'less' somewhere else. It's not that simple but I'll leave it like that for the moment.

If you follow this argument, then aren't you in a sense saying that democratic government is also wrong. Heinlein has argued, for example, that any democratic government will eventually fail as soon as the people realize they can vote for anything they want.
It becomes one big party.

Socialism means taking responsibility for your actions. Capitalism is the illusion that you and other people don't control your lives. What is a market but a lot of people making decisions? Why pretend it's different? Socialism asks you to make those decisions before any particular production process begins. Not after. If you want clean, efficiency you are not going to get it in the initial stages of socialism. It's a democratic process and that's messy.

Okay, why do I feel I've just way oversimplified all of this stuff,
Brad

Trevor
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since 08-12-99
Posts 744
Canada


12 posted 11-21-1999 03:50 AM       View Profile for Trevor   Email Trevor   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trevor

Wow, I got here a little late Brad, I almost let the capitalist pigs overrun you

Brad:
"Engels said that socialism is running a country like a factory. I disagree. It's the other way around. Socialism is about running a factory like a democratic country. It's about giving control to people who spend most of their waking lives at a place where they have little or no freedom. What's wrong with that? Hasn't anybody else wondered why we are alowed to vote for the people who will send us to war but not the people who determine whether we will have a job tomorrow?"

Well said Brad....and if any of you capitalist dogs out there mention the dollar vote, I'll snap Nothing worse than having to pay people to employ you, which is what big businesses seem to be doing to all of us not only in product but in taxpaying dollars.

Paying is the burden and priviledge of the middle class yet all the sympathy goes to the poor and all the rewards to the wealthy.....that's it, I'm starting a revolution that is for the middle class....no more helping the poor or getting the wealthy more money.....from now on, I'm pro-middle class!!!

JP:

"I think Lolita touched on an excellent point regarding our selfishness. Correct me if I am wrong, but, as I understand it, Communism/Socialism/Marxism rests on the basic assumption that a collective will work for the betterment of the public utility."

Yes and Capitalism assumes that the workers will be submissive and passive for the betterment of the company. The world has already tried capitalism....it used to be called monarchy...the people didn't like it so most of the kings and queens died or died out....sometimes it was even called dictatorship.

"History demonstrates to me that man is everything BUT the altruist by nature."

I agree that we are not altruists but is that because of human nature or history/upbringing/and/or forced competative environment? Most animals are minimalists and don't practise greed....are we just the exception or has history brainwashed us into forgetting our instinctive societal protectiveness?

"As far as mankind being "benign" ... NOT demonstrable historically."

There are more examples of benevolent acts then there are malevolent(sp?) acts throughout history, maybe not on a country scale, but I believe on an individual level this to be true. Instinctively I believe we try to do more good than evil.....but I have no solid proof so I will try and keep and open mind.

"Without a strong moral conscience in place to restrain undesirable or harmful behavior, strong laws must be in place and this requires more power to law enforcement and it only watersheds (power corrupts) from there. As (moral) restraining forces weaken in a culture, government becomes more intrusive and begins to resemble the actual (as opposed to theoretical) Socialist or police state model."

Can't that also be said about capitalist business? As they become more powerful the gov't begins to resemble the company's ideal corperate model?

"I think Nietzche's Ubermensch (Super Man) best describes the direction we human beings gravitate ... we end up better resembling Bram Stoker's Dracula in our hunger for power than Hesse's Sidhartha in our quest for harmony. This, Brad, is why I have serious doubts that the theoretical Socialist model will ever be reality."

Personally I think all humans show all sides of humanity, that which makes us human. Sometimes we are good, sometimes bad, sometimes charitable, sometimes selfish and I think that's why the theoretical Socialist model may never work, because we don't give much lee-way for each other's sides and allow for human error....though they once said a man in space was impossible (BTW, socialism put the first person into space ).... leave the dreaming up to the idealist and the nuts and bolts to the realist....though the realist should thank the idealist for the idea of nuts and bolts

Angel:

"Scenario:
A beggar sits at the corner of a street asking for pennies. Another man passes by and refuses to give him those pennies. The police come and arrest that man. They tell him: Give the beggar the money with a certain percentage as a punishment for not paying immediately. The man still refuses. He is thrown into jail.

Ridiculous? I agree. And I agree that the man could well have given the beggar a few pennies, but if he chose not to, does he deserve to go to prison for it? Yet this IS socialism of which some of you think it is not so bad!
I know ppl do not like to live of charity but then why would they rather live of FORCED charity?
It is a nice idea that should you get ill the state pays for your treatment. But did you ever consider where the state gets that money from? Yes that is right. From taxes. Ppl are forced to pay taxes so that others may have operations. Ok you say but what is bad about helping your fellow man? Nothing, I agree, I myself would immediately try and help a person in need. But do I want to be STRONG-ARMED to do such? NO!"

Angel how would you feel if the scenario was like;

A wealthy man overturns his car and is hurt badly and will die unless he is taken to a hospital. A beggar passes by and refuses to help him unless he pays the beggar a thousand dollars in cash. The wealthy man doesn't have that kind of money on him so the beggar refuses to help him. The wealthy man unnecessarily dies....The police find the beggar and throw him into jail.

Is that fair in any society? Is it fair a doctor can charge money to save a life and unfair a beggar do the same? Should that beggar be thrown in jail or looked upon as a true capitalist or just a plain old bastard? In some societies people do die because they lack the money for medical bills and doctors are allowed to refuse treatment unless paid in advance.

"The constitution of America states that a man is free and has the right to possessions."

Wasn't that constitution written when possesions also included human slaves as well??? I don't know, I'm not a big historian but I do know that following the past doesn't always bring about a happy future and vice versa as well.

"Consider this: the more you tax a company the more expensive its products get. Inflation is a natural occurrence of socialism. You tax the oil companies out of existence yet you scream the ppl need more gas."

Taxes don't usually make products more expensive, it's the profit margin that usually deems the price. Shareholders and company owners rarely are willing to take a decrease in salary yet they often ask it from the workers....In Canada some rich gov't tit had the gaul to tell Canadians having a hard time making ends meet to "suck it up a bit and start buying tuna."

"As for doctors leaving Canada… if I were a doctor I'd get the heck out of there too! In most cases a man or a woman wants to become a doctor cause they want to help ppl. Now with a national health system they not only work everyday to save lives but with the money they earn for it they also have to PAY for lives?"

I've never seen a doctor beg for change yet. Believe me no Canadian doctor lives like the poor unless by their own doing.

"And on top of that they are not even free to choose whom they want to treat and whom not? A doctor would hardly turn away a suffering person but to not even have the RIGHT to if he so chooses?"

I thought we had God and judges to determine who shall live and who shall die. I guess next you'll be saying police should be able to decide who to help and who not to help.....if they had a choice who do you think would get the best police coverage??? The people who need it the most???? Should they not stop murders if it's poor people killing poor people????

"Socialism is supposed to mean for the greater good of society. But what is society? It is not an entity, not an individual. Yet only individuals have rights. How can the right of that individual be trampled on for the good of "society"?"

How can you justify one person's rights over many people's rights?....I mean if society is nothing more than a group of individuals, who agree on certain issues, then doesn't the thousand individual's rights, who agree on the same thing, super-ceed the singular individual? If we were to solely protect the individual then million's of rights would be violated to protect one person's rights. If a singular person should be protected at the expense of millions then I see no need for a democracy of anykind to exist.

"As for the constitution being outdated? How can you possibly think that the right to freedom, possession and the pursuit of happiness could EVER be outdated?"

Please refer back to my slavery comment. Times change and so should laws governing the limitations of people for people don't always practise good and good doesn't always make people happy....perhaps it should be changed to the pursuit of goodness???

BRAD:
"Socialism means taking responsibility for your actions. Capitalism is the illusion that you and other people don't control your lives. What is a market but a lot of people making decisions? Why pretend it's different? Socialism asks you to make those decisions before any particular production process begins. Not after. If you want clean, efficiency you are not going to get it in the initial stages of socialism. It's a democratic process and that's messy."

I agree and will elaborate a bit as well, each are trying to achieve the same thing but by different means. One values society as the greatest assest and the other, the individual. Both should rely on true democracy and let the decision rest on the people's sholders. I just hope no one out there is just trying to justify greed.

Anyways, I hope I didn't rub you all the wrong way too much, thanks for the inspiration and take care,
Trevor


Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


13 posted 11-22-1999 02:34 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Trevor,
You don't have to worry about me, comrade. I 'm used to those Imperialist running dogs and their brainwashing techniques.

I just want everybody to understand that Trevor and I are not talking about nationalization of industries as such nor are we talking about a non-democratic form of government. We are talking about giving more responsibility to people to decide their collective welfare. This, as far as I can tell, doesn't mean you have to force anybody to do anything. Is it difficult? Is representative democracy difficult?

Now, there are some big time problems with the model presented so far but nobody has yet touched on them. One: do people truly believe in representative democracy? I suspect they do not. Otherwise, why do so few people vote and why do even less people vote in local elections which have in theory more direct impact on your everyday lives. Do people, in general, even want to control their own lives (or at least have a say) or do they prefer to do nothing and then complain. National and state elections aside, you can make a difference locally.

Two: Are there still residual side effects of an authoritarian system in the West where people implicity believe that those in power are somehow more competent to run things than they are? I'm not talking about the 'nuts and bolts' or someone who demonstrably has a stronger argument for a position but a sense of mysticism. A sense that 'they' somehow 'know more than you'.

Three: Believe it or not, this system allows people to excell in a number of different positions individually. It's really about allowing people to reach their potential, not bringing them down (although there is a strand of socialism that does argue for this type of equality, I'll talk about that later). The problem is do people really want that kind of freedom. I recently asked a friend what was the question that seems to be asked by high school students. They are told, in the USA, that they can do anything, be anything, and yet how many people don't know what that is in the first place? They ask: What do I want to do? Objectivism (just an example Angel ) tells us to fulfill ourselves but doesn't tell us what that fulfillment should be. This 'freedom' combined with the idea that there is only one path, one goal that must be reached, one decision that must be made is terrifying to many people. Socialism in an ideal form is really an attempt at diversity, of allowing people to (I don't remember the exact quote) to farm in the morning, fish in the afternoon, work in the factory before dinner, and talk philosophy in the evening (or something like that). If you know what you want to do and can convince other people that you can do it well, then socialism, within limits, would allow you to do that as well.

Four: Is socialism about a collective? Sure, but what nobody seems to realize is that you already live in a collective. A collective ruled by an owner (within limits -- hard earned limits in America which had, believe it or not, the most violent labor relations of any country). Can you start another collective in socialism? Again, I don't see why not. Convince people that what you do is a good thing and you'll get financing like any good capitalist. If it succeeds, can you still get voted out of office. Isn't that what happens in a representative democracy? A lot of people have had good ideas in democracies and then lost their jobs (and sometimes regained them).

Five: Language. I don't know about anyone else here but I read and hear language everyday that props up a capitalist system. Ron (know your busy) has mentioned that capitalism most directly mimics nature. I want to see a concrete example of how capitalism mimics nature. What equilibrium (if there is one in nature. I'm not yet convinced by either you or Trevor on that one) exists in capitalism? It is either expanding or contracting; I don't believe that there can ever be any equilibrium in capitalism although Friedman would disagree with me. Other people have discussed that human nature won't go for socialism; we're too greedy. But socialism is about all of us trying to understand that we are greedy but that it is in our best interests to decide, discuss, and argue over what is best for us in the long and short terms. And now were back to Objectivism.

I would go so far to argue that Angel Rand's definition of Objectivism and my (and almost Trevor's) definition of socialism go hand in hand.

But I could be wrong

Brad
jbouder
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since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


14 posted 11-22-1999 11:26 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Trevor:

You assume far too much. I believe my statements were a critique of the theoretical socialist model, not an apology for capitalism. Capitalism, however, unlike socialism, does not rely on the assumption that individuals in a collective will work for the betterment of the public utility. As a philosophy (as it pertains to human nature), I believe it is, therefore, a more valid system than theoretical socialism. This does NOT mean that I am a capitalist.

Capitalism is most definitely NOT free of unsightly boils and sores. Abuses of the Robber Barons and immoral labor practices are unsightly chapters in American history. In many ways, I agree, corporate America resembles totalitarianism. But this, I believe, is not a result of the Capitalist model but, rather, a result of human nature. Citizens of Communist/Socialist nations are just as selfish as citizens of Capitalist ones.

I agree that "nurture" plays a role, but it plays a subordinate role to "nature". Capitalism may compound our tendency toward Dracula-likeness but is not the cause of it. That same nature, I believe, is what brings out the Dracula-likeness of Socialist leaders in every case of which I am aware.

As far as human benevolence is concerned, I concede that there are many benign actions. I, had I the data, would even concede that benign actions outweight malevolent actions. But this does not address the question of "selfishness". How many "benign" acts are also truly selfless? Very few, I am willing to wager. Many of the good things we do are done in hopes of recognition or reward. Without these incentives, I would argue that you would see drastic reduction in the benign acts. The "selfless" benign acts would, I believe, be the exception rather than the rule.

So what? Theoretical Socialism stands or falls, I believe, on the human capability to put the collective over self. Capitalism doesn't. But BOTH systems, without moral restraint, result in abuses of power. This does not make Capitalism better than Socialism as a model, just more valid philosophically speaking, I believe. Selflessness is not a necessary element of Capitalism. If it was then I believe that Capitalism, like theoretical Socialism, would fail.

I, like Brad, "could be wrong". I know it is very unphilosophic of me to want to see "evidence" (God forbid!) of theoretical Socialism's merits but, oh well, just a personal flaw, I guess . It (Socialism), I believe, makes the same "oops" as humanism, that mistake being their understanding of human nature. You commies are in good company, though. Pelagius and Erasmus both made the same mistakes . The Puritans even tried a form of Socialism in America in the 1600's and almost starved when food was gathered and cultivated by families for the collective rather than by families for families (nobody wanted to work ... nature or nurture? Interesting, huh?)

Thanks for the thoughts, guys. This is fun. There truly is nothing new under the sun, as the Preacher says (see Ecclesiastes)!

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

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



[This message has been edited by jbouder (edited 11-22-1999).]
Angel Rand
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since 09-04-99
Posts 140
London UK, and Zurich Switzerl


15 posted 11-22-1999 03:15 PM       View Profile for Angel Rand   Email Angel Rand   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Angel Rand

Trevor,
From your tone in recent postings I get the impression that you might be feeling a little aggressive toward my ideas and me. I am sorry if I stated my opinions in a way that offended you. That was never my intention. However, although I am sure you mean this as a joke, I would rather not be referred to as a dog or pig. I am a capitalist that much is true so call me that any day .

" Most animals are minimalists and don't practise greed....are we just the exception or has history brainwashed us into forgetting our instinctive societal protectiveness?"
No animal is altruistic and they are all supremely selfish.

"... leave the dreaming up to the idealist and the nuts and bolts to the realist....though the realist should thank the idealist for the idea of nuts and bolts"
I think you need a very practical mind to come up with anything that works today. So no I think it is the realist who is to be thanked for nuts and bolts. The idealist would WISH his car to stay together and would wonder why it wont, where as the realist will know exactly why and how to fix it too.

" Is that fair in any society? Is it fair a doctor can charge money to save a life and unfair a beggar do the same? Should that beggar be thrown in jail or looked upon as a true capitalist or just a plain old bastard? In some societies people do die because they lack the money for medical bills and doctors are allowed to refuse treatment unless paid in advance."

You think a doctor should not charge money for his services? And why do you think doctors need to be paid? Maybe cause otherwise they cannot pay their taxes AND live decently? And yes it does suck that ppl die if they cannot pay in advance. Better (voluntary!) charity should be available.

" Wasn't that constitution written when possessions also included human slaves as well??? I don't know, I'm not a big historian but I do know that following the past doesn't always bring about a happy future and vice versa as well."

Yes that is true. But was it not also written by the very countrymen who fought a war to abolish slavery? And just cause it was written in an imperfect time doesn't make its meaning or its content absolete. The constitution of the US is IMHO the greatest philosophical achievement of humankind.

" Taxes don't usually make products more expensive, it's the profit margin that usually deems the price. Shareholders and company owners rarely are willing to take a decrease in salary yet they often ask it from the workers..."

I do agree that taking it from the workers who would make your product is wrong and not in the companies best interest. But it IS the taxes that make this happen. And profit margin is really up to the company. If they get too expensive ppl will stop buying. That is the only thing that will and should keep companies in check. Japanese companies have seen this long ago and taken over the market by offering cheaper products. And ppl buy that. No one can afford American products cause taxes make production too expensive. (but to be truthful I know very little about Japanese business strategies or social programs so I won't get into that.)

" Believe me no Canadian doctor lives like the poor unless by their own doing."

Here in England the NH doctors live decently too. But not one of them above decent.

" I thought we had God and judges to determine who shall live and who shall die."

The Hippocratic oath determines that a doctor has to help ppl. And that oath is taken of your own FREE WILL. Those in breach of that oath should be tried and judged by fellow doctors but not by a normal court as the oath is of ethical and not lawful concern.

" How can you justify one person's rights over many people's rights"

Name one incident where one person's inalienable rights were put above the right of the many. And I am not talking about the current abuse of what ppl LIKE to call rights but what truly IS an inalienable right.

"I mean if society is nothing more than a group of individuals, who agree on certain issues, then doesn't the thousand individual's rights, who agree on the same thing, super-ceed the singular individual?"

Oh so if I rally round a thousand ppl and we all vote to have a person killed cause we don't like him or her, the poor individual is voted out of his or her right to life? But would that not also mean that ANY ONE of those thousand voting ppl could also be voted out of his or her life. So you see if you ensure the rights of an individual you ensure the rights of the many. But if rights apply only to the many, the ONE has no rights on his or her own. But then the question is how many ppl do I need around me to get some rights? Would just my family be enough or does it have to be the whole village? When do the "I alone have no rights" become " we have rights cause we are the ppl? Does it have to be the majority of the citizens of any given country? Or what?

"perhaps it should be changed to the pursuit of goodness???"

So in the face of overall goodness its ok that some ppl might suffer and live like in a prison? Again this would say that you are only allowed to feel happiness when everybody else is. That would also say if you alone out of your circle of friends fell in love for example, you would not be allowed to feel happy cause they do not. You may only be happy when you have produced a girlfriend for each of your friends. Must say who needs enemies if he has friends that would expect that of you.

"I just hope no one out there is just trying to justify greed."

As I stated in my own thread capitalism is not about greed. And those who are greedy are as close to capitalism as Marx.

Brad
"But socialism is about all of us trying to understand that we are greedy but that it is in our best interests to decide, discuss, and argue over what is best for us in the long and short terms. And now were back to Objectivism.
I would go so far to argue that Angel Rand's definition of Objectivism and my (and almost Trevor's) definition of socialism go hand in hand.

No sorry Brad. Objectivist will tell you that greed is a symptom of an irrational mind. Money takes the place of true fulfilment. But that will never bring self-fulfilment. Cause money in itself is not an achievement but a by-product of achievement (sometimes). A capitalist is not after money but after free production. And no, not production of money but of products. And why? Cause production and marketing is what makes him happy. But this is just an example. I am an artist and I want nothing more than to paint. Yet I am a capitalist. Cause I believe that production is what makes the economy go 'round and what makes most ppl in this world achieve a decent living standard.

Jbouder:

"Capitalism is most definitely NOT free of unsightly boils and sores. Abuses of the Robber Barons and immoral labor practices are unsightly chapters in American history. "
Abuse and capitalism are not the same. I maintain that capitalism is the only political standpoint that would never step on anyone's right and therefore not on a society's right either.

As a final statement, IMHO no philosophy that would be implemented by the human race and that could only work in theory is worth the paper it is written on; unless it never pretended to be anything but a science fiction or fantasy novel.

from 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).]
Trevor
Senior Member
since 08-12-99
Posts 744
Canada


16 posted 11-23-1999 11:36 PM       View Profile for Trevor   Email Trevor   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trevor

Hello everyone,

ANGEL:

"Trevor,
From your tone in recent postings I get the impression that you might be feeling a little aggressive toward my ideas and me."

I'm sorry if you feel that way, I like you, am just trying to express my thoughts on a subject and unfortunately at the present our thoughts are at different ends of the spectrum. I'm not trying to be right nor am I locked in a competition with you. I have nothing against you and will readily admit you have brought up some great and interesting things throughout this debate and I owe you a thanks for making me think and inspiring many of my thoughts. So with all that said, please except my apoligies if you feel that I have been attacking you for this is not my intention, I have enjoyed this conversation immensely. And now to begin my bashing....ooops I mean rebuttal

"However, although I am sure you mean this as a joke, I would rather not be referred to as a dog or pig. I am a capitalist that much is true so call me that any day."

All I can say is lighten up a bit Angel, it was most definetely a little joke.

"No animal is altruistic and they are all supremely selfish."

Yes but I don't think Communism is altruistic. In a Communist society people are still working for themselves. They work hard so others will work hard for them, working to make a better society for themselves. People would still invent things, they'd invent it so they could have one and so others could build it and have one as well. If everyone's quality of life goes up, so would yours, not just financially but also concerning all aspects of society.

"I think you need a very practical mind to come up with anything that works today. So no I think it is the realist who is to be thanked for nuts and bolts. The idealist would WISH his car to stay together and would wonder why it wont, where as the realist will know exactly why and how to fix it too."

Actually throughout history many an invention had been read about in fiction long before someone actually invented it. ONe example is 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, the submarine hadn't even been considered a possibility before the dreamer thought of it first. The idealist would dream of a car and the realist would build it....was a vehicle written about first or built first?

"You think a doctor should not charge money for his services? And why do you think doctors need to be paid? Maybe cause otherwise they cannot pay their taxes AND live decently? And yes it does suck that ppl die if they cannot pay in advance. Better (voluntary!) charity should be available."

Not once did I say a doctor shouldn't charge money for their service in a capitalist/socialist society....the question was trying to present was, should anyone be allowed to charge money to help someone if they want, should a "bum" be allowed to charge a doctor, money in advance, if the doctor is in dire need of the "bum's" assistance? Is that not the same as what some doctors do? No one's stopping these doctors from doing more charity work.


"Yes that is true. But was it not also written by the very countrymen who fought a war to abolish slavery? And just cause it was written in an imperfect time doesn't make its meaning or its content absolete. The constitution of the US is IMHO the greatest philosophical achievement of humankind."

Were the founders of the constitution still alive for the civil war? I think most of them were dead by then? Honestly I don't know, I don't know a lot about American History, just curious. And I agree, the constitution is a great piece of paper and philosophy that still holds some water and I think when we all turn communist it will make a fine addition to our gov't I believe the same human rights and privilages could be had in a true communist society.

"I do agree that taking it from the workers who would make your product is wrong and not in the companies best interest. But it IS the taxes that make this happen."
Personally I think both of us are a little off on this one, I think there is more to the cost of products then just taxes and profit margins....especially when dealing with a world market.


This is a little off topic but a thought just occured to me. You've said in the past about fair exchanges, work for pay, item for pay. Now say you work for a comp. that makes one million in profit and pays you 20 dollars an hour, that's a pretty good exchange, I would even call that fair. Now if that is a "fair" exchange then is it still fair if the company the next year makes 3 million in profits and your wage only goes up one dollar. If twenty at a million is fair then how can 21 at 3 million be fair, shouldn't the worker's wage co-relate with a company's profit in order to keep it fair? If a book price is a fair exchange at 7.50 for a 200 page novel then if the book price goes up to 8.50 shouldn't ya get a few more pages in order for the "fairness" to remain? I don't know...just thought I'd ramble this out.

"Here in England the NH doctors live decently too. But not one of them above decent."
And if you'd just embrace Communism we could all live above decent Ya I know, it wasn't a very good rebuttal but I'm running thin on material

"The Hippocratic oath determines that a doctor has to help ppl. And that oath is taken of your own FREE WILL. Those in breach of that oath should be tried and judged by fellow doctors but not by a normal court as the oath is of ethical and not lawful concern."

Yeah I agree, only a heatless doctor could let someone die for the sake of money. But I think it should be a written law and not just a boy-scoutish pledge and they should be tried in a court of law. It's pretty close to murder, maybe it is murder?? but that's debatable.

"Name one incident where one person's inalienable rights were put above the right of the many. And I am not talking about the current abuse of what ppl LIKE to call rights but what truly IS an inalienable right."

Hitler, Pinochet, slavery, Tianimen Square....it was actually a few gov't officials squashing demonstrators and not the people squashing the students (there is sometimes a difference between gov'ts and the people), Bill Clinton, Jean Chretian, all the fat cat MP's in Canada, the Queen of England, the Pope, and anyone else who has too much power for their own good. I don't know if this really falls into your definition of what rights and inalienable rights are....shouldn't it be open to interpretation in order to protect the rights of the individual?....rights are just words, we all think we deserve different ones but do we really? I don't know, thought I'd just pop out that question? What do you think the gov't would be like in a true capitalist society? Who would own them? I'm pretty sure the businesses would (as if they don't already) and then they would become the gov't (as if they aren't already). This is what scares me most about capitalism, the profiteers deciding on how and how much profit they can make. Now I'm all for protecting the rights of the individual and the rights of a society, both at the same time and I believe that in a communist society it could work.....same laws could apply. Why do you think that in a true capitalist society the rights of the individual would be secured? History has shown that it has failed to protect the rights of the individual in a capitalist society...ie. Monarchy(think of it as a monopolized company)....land barons, etc.

"Oh so if I rally round a thousand ppl and we all vote to have a person killed cause we don't like him or her, the poor individual is voted out of his or her right to life?"

Not a fan of the death penalty? If someone causes more harm then good should they not be put to death for the benefit of all people and should not all have a decision in this process. Lets take Charles Bundy, who is now dead, should he have been allowed to live because it is his right? Or does one forfiet their right to life when they unjustly take anothers? Now I don't know how you've come up with the idea that in a true communist society people would just begrudge people and try to vote them to the death penalty for nothing....hurting individuals without just cause in a true communist society would only be detramental to all within the society. That is to say, killing unnecessarily in any society is harmful to all and in a communist society you'd only be lowering your living standard. USA is a democratic country (or masquerades as one, just like Canada) yet no one goes around voting for the average person to be put to death because they've done nothing wrong.

"So you see if you ensure the rights of an individual you ensure the rights of the many. But if rights apply only to the many, the ONE has no rights on his or her own. But then the question is how many ppl do I need around me to get some rights? Would just my family be enough or does it have to be the whole village? When do the "I alone have no rights" become " we have rights cause we are the ppl? Does it have to be the majority of the citizens of any given country? Or what?"

I would like to ask you specifically what rights are you referring to when you say the rights of the individual? and what rights does a society have that does not apply to an individual? Honestly I'm just curious. I guess you don't like the democratic process....any other suggestions for change? How would a true capitalist country make decisions for it's people...based on profit???? Would this ensure the individual's rights or would there be a lot of sacraficial lambs for the sake of the company? I think (and forgive me if I'm wrong) we are both fans of self gov't but do you think that most people would be up to the task? Is it the laws that make people kill and steal right now? I dunno.

"So in the face of overall goodness its ok that some ppl might suffer and live like in a prison? Again this would say that you are only allowed to feel happiness when everybody else is. That would also say if you alone out of your circle of friends fell in love for example, you would not be allowed to feel happy cause they do not. You may only be happy when you have produced a girlfriend for each of your friends. Must say who needs enemies if he has friends that would expect that of you."

Where are you coming up with this prison thing and all people having to be happy at the same time and all people thinking the same? That's not what communism is about. All I said is that people should be pursuing "goodness", and perhaps they'll achieve their happiness that way. You are starting to make it sound like a cult, all communism is share the workload, equally and share the product, equally. It has nothing to do with if you are in a good or bad mood or if one person is married and one isn't (people aren't product and neither is emotions). Does an inventor work more than a builder or do they just work differently?

And yes for overall goodness it is okay for some people to rot in prison if they deserve such....should we let Charles Manson out because we are violating his rights???? In Canada, a youth under 18 is protecting from having their name in print so that his rights of privacy are protected...what about the rights of the victim? Should people's rights be squashed for the individual or are their instances when the individual must suffer so that a whole society doesn't?

"As I stated in my own thread capitalism is not about greed. And those who are greedy are as close to capitalism as Marx."

I believe capitalism and communism are both about greed but take very different paths. I do believe that everything we do is selfish even if it is a "selfless" act....but what is better, being selfish and helping a lot of people so that a lot of people will help you or being selfish and pretty much just helping yourself or selected individuals who are deemed worthy of help.

Anyways Angel there's my rant, I honestly am not attacking you are your beliefs....I thought this was a subject open to debate so if I've offended you some how please accept my apoligies but don't ask me to change my opinions if you don't care for them. Take care.

BRAD:
"You don't have to worry about me, comrade. I 'm used to those Imperialist running dogs and their brainwashing techniques."

Just repeat after me buddy....Sharing is good, sharing is good, sharing is good,sharing is good. There that ought to brainwash....ummmm, I mean help you stay focused

"Now, there are some big time problems with the model presented so far but nobody has yet touched on them. One: do people truly believe in representative democracy? I suspect they do not. Otherwise, why do so few people vote and why do even less people vote in local elections which have in theory more direct impact on your everyday lives. Do people, in general, even want to control their own lives (or at least have a say) or do they prefer to do nothing and then complain. National and state elections aside, you can make a difference locally. "

Personally I do think people believe in a representative democracy but I think people are just fed-up with the fact that it seems they are not being represented by anyone, anymore....perhaps they practise the "NO-VOTE" as an expression of their leariness of greedy little politicians. I think people do want to control their own lives but feel they can't and are disallusioned that they can't make a difference....how many times have you heard during elections, "Who you voting for?" the reply, "I'm not because it doesn't matter who is elected, they're all the same.". I know I've heard things like that thousands of times.

"Two: Are there still residual side effects of an authoritarian system in the West where people implicity believe that those in power are somehow more competent to run things than they are? I'm not talking about the 'nuts and bolts' or someone who demonstrably has a stronger argument for a position but a sense of mysticism. A sense that 'they' somehow 'know more than you'."

They do don't they??? Actually I just wanted to say that this was an excellent point and I do believe that people have been conned into thinking that they don't make a difference and that big-brother knows best...it creeps into the workplace as well....like no one here can do their boss's job.

"Socialism in an ideal form is really an attempt at diversity, of allowing people to (I don't remember the exact quote) to farm in the morning, fish in the afternoon, work in the factory before dinner, and talk philosophy in the evening (or something like that). If you know what you want to do and can convince other people that you can do it well, then socialism, within limits, would allow you to do that as well."

....and write poetry on the weekends ...and it can be yours for the introductory low price of $19.99...and with socialism we'll throw in, for absolutely no extra charge, a greedy leader to botch it all up

"Five: Language. I don't know about anyone else here but I read and hear language everyday that props up a capitalist system. Ron (know your busy) has mentioned that capitalism most directly mimics nature. I want to see a concrete example of how capitalism mimics nature. What equilibrium (if there is one in nature. I'm not yet convinced by either you or Trevor on that one) exists in capitalism? It is either expanding or contracting; I don't believe that there can ever be any equilibrium in capitalism although Friedman would disagree with me. Other people have discussed that human nature won't go for socialism; we're too greedy. But socialism is about all of us trying to understand that we are greedy but that it is in our best interests to decide, discuss, and argue over what is best for us in the long and short terms. And now were back to Objectivism."

Well I've been pondering this whole nature thing again....If man exists, he is part of nature and all his actions are natural even though they are sometimes extremely different from all else that exists in nature. So all our thoughts and schemes and trinkets are a natural extension of man. It's as natural for a bird to fly as it is for a fish to swim.....am I making any sense, I'm being pretty vague but I think ya get the picture.
And that's that my pink friend, I'll talk to ya later, take care.

JBOUDER:

"You assume far too much. I believe my statements were a critique of the theoretical socialist model, not an apology for capitalism. Capitalism, however, unlike socialism, does not rely on the assumption that individuals in a collective will work for the betterment of the public utility."

Yep, I admit I do assume too much sometimes and you're right about my statement regarding why people work in a capitalist society...what I said there wasn't very well thought out...oh well, I communicate to learn.

"But this, I believe, is not a result of the Capitalist model but, rather, a result of human nature."

I must agree too, but all things both good and bad within human society is a direct result of human nature. But capitalism is all about having more than everyone else, so with that in mind, how doesn't this promote the "evil" side of humans. That is to say if one company has 200 trillion in assests then the other companies strive to make 300 trillion and so forth and so on. It promotes monopolies and a belief that one must have it all to "win"....but the thing is I don't think there is a winner.

"I agree that "nurture" plays a role, but it plays a subordinate role to "nature". Capitalism may compound our tendency toward Dracula-likeness but is not the cause of it. That same nature, I believe, is what brings out the Dracula-likeness of Socialist leaders in every case of which I am aware."

Nuture is natural just as is a "Dracula" likeness but I'd like to see nuture become more prevelant than the other. Unfortunately it seems either "absolute power corrupts absolutely" or we don't have enough laws preventing the "blood suckers" from getting so much power in any society.

I gotta cut it short but I'll finish my thoughts a little later. Thanks for your response and take care.

THANK YOU ALL,
Trevor

Ron
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17 posted 11-24-1999 01:19 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Brad said:
quote:
I want to see a concrete example of how capitalism mimics nature. What equilibrium (if there is one in nature. I'm not yet convinced by either you or Trevor on that one) exists in capitalism? It is either expanding or contracting


Obviously this is going to depend a great deal on your definition of equilibrium. You're right - scientifically, the only true balance is "heat death," where entropy has run its ultimate course. If you look at any natural phenomenon at any given second in time, it is going to be out of balance. But, generally, we look at statistical averages rather than discrete moments. For example, your body, at this precise instant in time, is almost surely out of balance. It has too much or too little insulin, too many or too few hormones, too many or too few growing cells. But it also has feedback mechanisms in place to cure those ills. Take a bite of a donut and your body squirts a little extra insulin into your blood system to help process the sugars. Looked at over the course of a few minutes, a few hours, and certainly over a 24 hour period, a healthy human body is in almost perfect balance. If it's not, and nothing is done to correct the balance, the body dies - which is just another type of balance.

Indeed, everything in the Universe is in balance by this definition. It's just a matter of the time factor you use. If you believe in a Closed Universe, as many scientists do, then the Universe is in balance. It's been expanding for about five billion years, will probably do so for another five billion years, and then will begin to contract for about 10 billion years. Perfect balance - but over a very long period of time.

I think that capitalism more closely mimics nature than socialism does because it has built in regulators (natural laws recognized but not made by man) that accomplish two things: they lessen the time factor between swings, and insure to a far greater extent that the originating system is maintained.

Let me give a concrete example. The majority of people get together and decide that doctors are money-hungry golf fanatics and don't deserve a few hundred grand a year. They vote that all doctors will now make $20 an hour. The results are fairly predictable: without the motivation of personal gain and esteem (equally important, I think), few people will devote 12 years of their life to becoming doctors. Within six years (statistically) there will be serious shortage of health care. The laws will either be changed (and you still have six more years of shortages) or the entire socialist system will collapse under its own ineptitude. In either case, a balance will be reached. But the balance takes a long time and can result in a lot of destruction.

The flip side: I own a hospital and decree that all doctors that want to work for me will make $20 an hour. Fifteen minutes later I'm either out of business or have changed my tune rather drastically, 'cause all my doctors have taken a hike. Balance is achieved again - but more quickly and with far less destruction (except, of course, to my ego).

The Law of Supply and Demand that both insures I pay my employees what they are worth and don't charge too much for my product or service is the same natural law that determines the growth of an organism in the wild. If there are too many wolves and not enough deer this year, you can be real sure there'll be less wolves next year. Supply and Demand. Now, if you happen to be a wolf, you're probably going to think that law sucks. And on a microscopic level, say within a few square acres of your wooded area, you might get away with adjusting it. You might even save a few furry lives. But on a macroscopic level there are still going to be less wolves next year.

The problem with socialism is that it thinks it can make adjustments to the laws of nature. It can't, any more than Congress can pass a statute limiting gravity (I'd love to lose a few quick pounds). Of course, I'll quickly add that science doesn't understand Supply and Demand as well as it does gravity (and we know almost nothing about that). We don't always know what is going to work - so we have to experiment. We do, however, know a whole passel of things that absolutely won't work (on that macroscopic level). And we are very foolish wolves, indeed, when we keep passing man-made laws that conflict with natural ones. 'Cause Nature always wins.
Angel Rand
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18 posted 11-24-1999 02:31 AM       View Profile for Angel Rand   Email Angel Rand   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Angel Rand

Hi Trevor
As I said, I knew it was meant as a joke and I am not at all asking for you to change on my account. After all that would be curtailing you right to freedom of expression . It was just a friendly request. And on my part I do not feel the least bit aggressive. You have presented me some interesting points too, I would not so eagerly write if I did not enjoy exchanging ideas with you and the others in this forum. So no hard feelings on my side either.

So now for the debating:

" Where are you coming up with this prison thing and all people having to be happy at the same time and all people thinking the same?"
Maybe I am not clear on what you mean by pursuit of goodness. I thought you mean to be good is to make sure everybody is happy and that way you can be happy too? If that is the case I just like to state that I believe that you can only make ppl happy when what you do makes you happy. And you can only make those ppl happy who can make themselves happy. In my life I have seen all too often that person A cannot give person B something person B lacks in him or her self.


" Now if that is a "fair" exchange then is it still fair if the company the next year makes 3 million in profits and your wage only goes up one dollar. If twenty at a million is fair then how can 21 at 3 million be fair, shouldn't the worker's wage co-relate with a company's profit in order to keep it fair? If a book price is a fair exchange at 7.50 for a 200 page novel then if the book price goes up to 8.50 shouldn't ya get a few more pages in order for the "fairness" to remain? I don't know...just thought I'd ramble this out."
Interesting question. I am not an economist. But I would say that it would have to depend on what the company does with its profit. Do they want to expand, reinvest etc. Also how much did the workers input have to do with their increase in profit, how many workers are there, can the products be continuously sold at the same price and what not else. As for the book thing… It again comes down to production costs and taxes. Probably a lot of other things too but I don't know that so well. I don't think that a few pages more would make a difference in price but a huge difference to context. Sometimes a novel is just finished. BTW I recently re-bought War and Peace and I noticed that the price HAD gone up but I was kinda relieved that it wasn't due to the increase of pages (Please take that tongue in cheek)

"Yeah I agree, only a heatless doctor could let someone die for the sake of money. But I think it should be a written law and not just a boy-scoutish pledge and they should be tried in a court of law. It's pretty close to murder, maybe it is murder?? but that's debatable"
You are right of course to be able to save someone's life from immediate danger and to not to cause of non-payment is murder (in some degree). And it should be tried in a court of justice. No matter if you are a doctor or a bum. I wasn't referring to life threatening scenarios but more to the everyday ingrown toenail GP kinda thing.

" Not once did I say a doctor shouldn't charge money for their service in a capitalist/socialist society....the question was trying to present was, should anyone be allowed to charge money to help someone if they want,"
If your job is to help ppl then yes, you should be paid for it. Think of it this way: "I want to get some help for my backache. You Mr.Doctor can help me. But cause you can help me and I need your help you should not ask money for it." Errr…

" Were the founders of the constitution still alive for the civil war? I think most of them were dead by then?"
They probably were. But then again philosophy is a process and not ready-to-eat-microwaveable meal. It builds up on each other. And just because the ppl were flawed does not make the objectivity of that paper flawed. But I would be very interested to learn which one if any of these rights you find outdated?

" The idealist would dream of a car and the realist would build it.... was a vehicle written about first or built first?"
Nothing against dreamers, am one myself , but who should get the credit? Gene Roddenberry or the person who will make warp drive come true (if ever it will)?

Name one incident where one person's inalienable rights were put above the right of the many. And I am not talking about the current abuse of what ppl LIKE to call rights but what truly IS an inalienable right."
Hitler, Pinochet, slavery, Tianimen Square....it was actually a few gov't officials squashing demonstrators and not the people squashing the students (there is sometimes a difference between gov'ts and the people), Bill Clinton, Jean Chretian, all the fat cat MP's in Canada, the Queen of England, the Pope, and anyone else who has too much power for their own good.

Before we go on I would like to say that the Queen of England has no power what so ever. In fact she is the most unfree and most powerless person I can think of. She lives a life in prison. Poor thing.

Anyway, these ppl did not use their inalienable rights to get that power. That is precisely what I mean by:
"And I am not talking about the current abuse of what ppl LIKE to call rights but what truly IS an inalienable right."
The ppl who got killed by these horrors did not get killed because their killer's right was above theirs but because their rights never were inalienable. They got killed not because their killer made use of his inalienable rights but because he never recognised them.
Your inalienable rights are as I stated in my own thread written down in the Declaration of Independence: "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."
Which also ties in with your statement of monarchy. A monarchy is the absence of these inalienable rights. If men are born equal and free, this cannot be:
"History has shown that it has failed to protect the rights of the individual in a capitalist society...ie. Monarchy (think of it as a monopolized company).... land barons, etc."
I want to make it quite clear that I am an Objectivist (or an apprentice of it at least) first and a Capitalist second and only as a result of Objectivism. I am not saying that Capitalism gives you the rights I am talking about. I am saying that being an Objectivist and believing that the quoted paragraph of the Declaration of Independence is true, I can only see Capitalism that would be in keeping with this philosophy and the afore mentioned rights. I do wholeheartedly agree with anyone who says that as long as we do not have these rights "written in stone" Capitalism can do a lot of harm. As can democracy. Which brings me to another of your statements in your second last post:

"I mean if society is nothing more than a group of individuals, who agree on certain issues, then doesn't the thousand individual's rights, who agree on the same thing, super-ceed the singular individual?"

No. Inalienable rights mean just that. Inalienable. We are not talking about things like community building votes here. We are talking about votes that might strip a human being of his or her BASIC INALIENABLE rights. Hitler for example did not recognise his victims' rights. He never saw them as equal, nor free, nor in fact as human.
Democracy very basically means that you make up rights as you go along. That what the majority deems as good is what is right. The minority can just "stuff" it. A democracy is a great and good thing as long as the rights of each of its citizens can not be outvoted. So when I put:
"Oh so if I rally round a thousand ppl and we all vote to have a person killed cause we don't like him or her, the poor individual is voted out of his or her right to life?"
You very rightly replied:
" USA is a democratic country (or masquerades as one, just like Canada) yet no one goes around voting for the average person to be put to death because they've done nothing wrong."
But why can't they? Cause ppl have an inalienable right to life. And I am not talking about criminals, although yes I am against the death penalty. But that would be subject for another thread (hey what a good idea! ) I am talking about those ppl who will respect the rights of others as much as their own. That is what Objectivism is all about btw. But the only reason I did put that statement there is to show you that if we have certain inalienable rights, these can and may not be superseded by the wishes of a majority. Or it might very well result in someone innocent being outvoted of their right to life.

PHEW have to go and put some ice on my poor fingers. Shall be back later today, eagerly awaiting new thoughts.
Hugs to ya all from your 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

Brad
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19 posted 12-03-1999 05:17 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Gee, where do I begin:

Ron your argument that there is balance in the universe doesn't persuade. By your definition 'balance' is, well, anything that happens because there is 'balance'. Give me a definition that doesn't include everything. When is something out of balance (by your definition, everything is out of balance at the same time -- hey, are you trained in dialectics?

By the same definition, of course, socialism is also in 'balance' with respect to the universe. Events will still revolve around a certain 'equilibrium' as you pointed out in your own example. The hospital that pays 20$ an hour will eventually change because people will want to have higher quality health care.

Your argument seems to be saying that capitalism is better because it is faster. Yet, what was the primary recovery stimulus for the Great Depression? It wasn't FDR's New Deal, it was the war. Now, things were restored and the economy became stronger but I'm not so sure I want to go through that if there is ever a crisis on that scale. Still, things will end up in balance again I guess.

Some people will argue that we know enough now to be able to control capitalism, that we can, if not altogether eliminate the boom and bust cycle, dampen the excesses enough to make it palatable. This may be true but doesn't that mean that we are controlling the market and supply and demand that capitalists so love to believe are just magic potions compared to the evils of planning and democratization? Angel would argue that we have never really had capitalism and I have at times thought (when I was younger) that we should just get rid of the controls as well and see what happens. Although for me, it seemed fairly obvious that the working classes would band together and we finally would have the revolution. Oh, it's fun to play with people's lives when you're younger.

Under a State Socialist economy, you're example would be correct as Alicat has already pointed out but in a democratic socialist economy, wouldn't people want quality health care? The first instinct would be to pay nothing for an infinite amount of health care but that's pretty unworkable (unless you really believe professionalism is that altruistic. I don't.) So what happens? As I see it, you have elections that determine the amount of money that goes into the health care system each year. This may go down or up dependent upon whoever wins the election but never enough to truly shake the working of the system as a whole. A radical departure from any one point is very unlikely (possible however) because most people seem to be inherently middle ground or main stream in any society. Why shake the boat if it's working? To argue differently is basically to argue that political democracy is a fraud. A socialist argues that people should be allowed to determine their own lives, not follow some ideological hoax called Marxist/Leninism or to have faith in the eternal perfection of the market (which is nothing more than people making decisions masked).

State Socialism or Communism (I don't care what term we use) was flawed for a number of reasons but I think a prime one is that people weren't allowed to make decisions for themselves. They were told to give with nothing in return:

"You pretend to pay us, we pretend to work" --Soviet proverb

Given the obvious meaning that people were simply not getting paid in the Soviet system and therefore had no incentive to work, doesn't it also imply a hierarchy? Doesn't it imply that people were not working for themselves but working for a boss just as they do in capitalism? The difference then is not the system itself but the amount of money and the ability to use that money on a variety of things. Good old fashioned materialism if you as me.

I saw a show recently that focused on some of the best companies today. These companies are not top down managements systems (the Soviet way) but, in essence, are bottom up systems -- they give more responsibility to each employee who in turn excells at his job because of that responsibility. There's still an owner of course but what if that owner were not one man but a democratic voice saying do this for this price? The internal mechanism of management would be worked out by the employees themselves -- they would vote on the management but would have as much personal responsibility to innovate and to work as they see fit. Innovation would be encouraged because that helps everyone. Status would be given to those with the best ideas. Furthermore, the system would have a more egalitarian feel because to help all would be to help me and so forth. If you want to have competition, you create two competing systems that deliver similar products and then you see what happens. The winner keeps producing (and innovating) and the loser starts to work on the next project. Ever heard of the military industrial complex? Doesn't seem all that different to me except that you wouldn't build weapons as much as build things that people want. If this system doesn't work then why in the world are we procuring weapons this way?

Angel's concern with personal freedom is a valid one but to my way of thinking, there is no reason that one's personal freedom should be any more infringed upon than in a capitalist one; people should still have private lives (it is ironic that so few cultures in this world actually believe this but I suppose I'm still an American at heart). Again, this is done because people who do work for themselves (and not just for an owner or the state) do indeed seem to work harder and to find ways to make that work easier or more fulfilling. Socialism allows more people, in my opinion, to fulfill there potential than capitalism does because of the inherent IMBALANCE of the system. A person has one good idea, a person has a lot of capital already, a person works harder, or ,shoot, a person just gets lucky and they move to extremes of wealth and power. If a person does or has or gets any one of these aspects should they be recompensed? Of course. Is there anybody in this world who doesn't believe that? The question is how good is that idea, how much more work and so forth than other people? It is the imbalance of capitalism, the all or nothing mentality, that limits the majority in this world. Socialism would bring more of a balance and more of a rational balance to capitalism. It may not be as romantic as winning the lottery (capitalism) but it does make more sense.

I have no problems with people being more intelligent, more talented, more determined, and more willing to make sacrifices to succeed. They should succeed and 'earn' more than I do. They should be more respected than I am. But how much more is the question. In capitalism, people will fall upon reified words like 'market', 'supply and demand', and 'owner' to justify this. In socialism, they will have a chance to think about it and ultimately realize that it is they who decide. They do this anyway.

Hope people aren't getting tired of this topic yet.

Brad
Angel Rand
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20 posted 12-07-1999 09:16 PM       View Profile for Angel Rand   Email Angel Rand   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Angel Rand

Brad sorry I haven't been here a lot recently.
What you say has of course some validity. BUT (LOL you knew there would be a "but" I assume?   ) when you say:
"There's still an owner of course but what if that owner were not one man but a democratic voice saying do this for this price? The internal mechanism of management would be worked out by the employees themselves -- they would vote on the management but would have as much personal responsibility to innovate and to work as they see fit."
Do you mean to say that private business would no longer exist? Let's say one man or woman has a great idea for a business, should he or she in your view submit the idea to the "people" and if they are in favour be allowed to work in the then created company? He or she should not be allowed to keep that company as their own and manage it according to how they wanted and envisioned it but rather turn the running over to the employees? HOW can that be fair? Is it not a great contribution to society to actually have such an idea and to therefore offer jobs to ppl? You make it sound like something bad to be the boss of a company. You would probably argue that if one person didn't have the idea, another would. Well if that were so why are there so many jobless ppl? We need more private businesses, not less. And does it even matter that someone else could have had the same idea? The fact is that THAT person had the idea and not someone else. It's like standing in front of a Picasso or Kandinsky and say: " I could have done that just as well". Yeah well, but you didn't. HE did.  
You state an awful lot:
"not working for themselves but working for a boss just as they do in capitalism"
Even if I am employed in a privately owned company and there is a boss, I do still work for myself and not the boss. I do not work like a slave for a master who relies on me to change his diapers. I work for a man who gives me a job and the opportunity to earn money to support myself. Yes it is his company; yes he may fire me if he so sees fit but I do not "work FOR him", I work for myself. He gives me money; he does not take it away.

"Again, this is done because people who do work for themselves (and not just for an owner or the state) do indeed seem to work harder and to find ways to make that work easier or more fulfilling."
I believe that this actually ties in with something you said in your previous paragraph:
"they give more responsibility to each employee who in turn excells at his job because of that responsibility"
It is not that ppl work harder for themselves than for a boss but rather that most bosses nowadays do not seem to see that their employees could work even better if they were let to develop their entrepreneurial ambitions. Most companies seem to work on what I call "microwave food syndrome". "There is your slab of food, follow instructions to cook and eat." They do not let you experiment or innovate. You have to keep work interesting to your employees, make "growth" possible and don't just expect them to work like dumb machines. But that is not an ill of Capitalism. I believe real Capitalism would see the potential in their employees and further their innovative ideas, cause that indeed would further not only the "idea-guy" but the whole company. In Socialism of course you'd have to vote first and probably miss out on the fresh hot brainstorm of an employee… but then if every company had to go through that I guess progress would just slow down. But then so what if ppl have to wait for years for their new car like in the former East Germany…

"Your argument seems to be saying that capitalism is better because it is faster. Yet, what was the primary recovery stimulus for the Great Depression? It wasn't FDR's New Deal, it was the war. Now, things were restored and the economy became stronger but I'm not so sure I want to go through that if there is ever a crisis on that scale. Still, things will end up in balance again I guess."
Hmm… do you think that redistribution of wealth (i.e. REAL Socialism) would have got the US out of the depression? Fact is you need to have money to make money. Taking it away (in form of higher taxes) from those who would invest it into a new company would result in equality of poverty yes. But no chance to get out of it.

" A person has one good idea, a person has a lot of capital already, a person works harder, or ,shoot, a person just gets lucky and they move to extremes of wealth and power. If a person does or has or gets any one of these aspects should they be recompensed? Of course. Is there anybody in this world who doesn't believe that? The question is how good is that idea, how much more work and so forth than other people?"
I think that would best be answered by how many ppl rush out to buy your product. BUT I do not agree that with money should come power. Money and power mentioned in one sentence, suggests a system of favours and of connections. In real Capitalism money could not buy governmental support, as the government would largely be kept out of the economy. REAL capitalism would work on production and not on string-pulling.
"I have no problems with people being more intelligent, more talented, more determined, and more willing to make sacrifices to succeed. They should succeed and 'earn' more than I do. They should be more respected than I am. But how much more is the question. In capitalism, people will fall upon reified words like 'market', 'supply and demand', and 'owner' to justify this. In socialism, they will have a chance to think about it and ultimately realize that it is they who decide. They do this anyway."
So all the ppl who didn't come up with the idea are to decide how much the inventor is allowed to earn according to how much, if indeed at all, the product is needed? Matel wrap up your Barbies and Action Men! Sorry gals and boys, you don't "need" that doll. No more Oreos cause we don't need those either. They make ya fat, attack your teeth and besides we have Standard Wheat Cracker #1 and #2 to make tea time nice… How awful…

"It may not be as romantic as winning the lottery (capitalism) but…"
Winning the lottery and Capitalism are not the same! Capitalism and Money are NOT synonyms. According to Webster's Dictionary Capitalism means:
"An economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market"
Money comes into this only as a secondary benefit or as a tool if you will.

Oh well…
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 12-07-1999).]
Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


21 posted 12-12-1999 07:20 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Angel,
I have the same problems you do; I'm just glad you're still interested in talking (and if there wasn't a 'but' this wouldn't be very interesting would it?   )

Do you mean to say that private business would no longer exist? Let's say one man or woman has a great idea for a business, should he or she in your view submit the idea to the "people" and if they are in favour be allowed to work in the then created company? He or she should not be allowed to keep that company as their own and manage it according to how they wanted and envisioned it but rather turn the running over to the employees? HOW can that be fair? Is it not a great contribution to society to actually have such an idea and to therefore offer jobs to ppl? You make it sound like something bad to be the boss of a company.

--That happens now because the basis for the economy is capital, not good ideas.  People have to persuade banks for example to loan them money and good ideas are not materialized or taken away from 'good bosses' for a number of reasons.  A good idea is determined by the 'market' which is just another way of saying that people choose and decide what good ideas are anyway. Why not formalize it a bit more and take away the clouds of obfusication that we have now?

You would probably argue that if one person didn't have the idea, another would.

--No, I don't mean that at all. I mean that we should be more honest in our dealings with each other.

Well if that were so why are there so many jobless ppl? We need more private businesses, not less.

--We need more production, more ideas, and more discussion. Not less.
And does it even matter that someone else could have had the same idea? The fact is that THAT person had the idea and not someone else. It's like standing in front of a Picasso or Kandinsky and say: " I could have done that just as well". Yeah well, but you didn't. HE did.

--I agree.
  

"not working for themselves but working for a boss just as they do in capitalism"
Even if I am employed in a privately owned company and there is a boss, I do still work for myself and not the boss. I do not work like a slave for a master who relies on me to change his diapers. I work for a man who gives me a job and the opportunity to earn money to support myself. Yes it is his company; yes he may fire me if he so sees fit but I do not "work FOR him", I work for myself. He gives me money; he does not take it away.

--the question is if this situation is an equal or an unequal one.  If I make a mistake, I get fired.  If the owners or management make a mistake, he or she loses their job AND I lose my job.

"Again, this is done because people who do work for themselves (and not just for an owner or the state) do indeed seem to work harder and to find ways to make that work easier or more fulfilling."
I believe that this actually ties in with something you said in your previous paragraph:
"they give more responsibility to each employee who in turn excells at his job because of that responsibility"
It is not that ppl work harder for themselves than for a boss but rather that most bosses nowadays do not seem to see that their employees could work even better if they were let to develop their entrepreneurial ambitions. Most companies seem to work on what I call "microwave food syndrome". "There is your slab of food, follow instructions to cook and eat." They do not let you experiment or innovate. You have to keep work interesting to your employees, make "growth" possible and don't just expect them to work like dumb machines. But that is not an ill of Capitalism.

--but what if an employee has a good idea? Who reaps the profits over the course of time?  The employee should, of course, but the employer will as well by virtue of that wonderful little thing called capital.

I believe real Capitalism would see the potential in their employees and further their innovative ideas, cause that indeed would further not only the "idea-guy" but the whole company. In Socialism of course you'd have to vote first and probably miss out on the fresh hot brainstorm of an employee… but then if every company had to go through that I guess progress would just slow down. But then so what if ppl have to wait for years for their new car like in the former East Germany…

--because in former East Germany, the people, the employees, and individuals were ignored in favor of an ideology.  I say give more responsibility to everybody and see what happens.

"Your argument seems to be saying that capitalism is better because it is faster. Yet, what was the primary recovery stimulus for the Great Depression? It wasn't FDR's New Deal, it was the war. Now, things were restored and the economy became stronger but I'm not so sure I want to go through that if there is ever a crisis on that scale. Still, things will end up in balance again I guess."
Hmm… do you think that redistribution of wealth (i.e. REAL Socialism) would have got the US out of the depression? Fact is you need to have money to make money. Taking it away (in form of higher taxes) from those who would invest it into a new company would result in equality of poverty yes. But no chance to get out of it.

--That's what I see too.

" A person has one good idea, a person has a lot of capital already, a person works harder, or ,shoot, a person just gets lucky and they move to extremes of wealth and power. If a person does or has or gets any one of these aspects should they be recompensed? Of course. Is there anybody in this world who doesn't believe that? The question is how good is that idea, how much more work and so forth than other people?"
I think that would best be answered by how many ppl rush out to buy your product. BUT I do not agree that with money should come power. Money and power mentioned in one sentence, suggests a system of favours and of connections.

--Well, that's what I see. Money buys influence; money buys censorship; and money buys power.

In real Capitalism money could not buy governmental support, as the government would largely be kept out of the economy. REAL capitalism would work on production and not on string-pulling.

--When you have time, why not start a thread on theoretical capitalism?  Be interesting to hear your thoughts on that.

"I have no problems with people being more intelligent, more talented, more determined, and more willing to make sacrifices to succeed. They should succeed and 'earn' more than I do. They should be more respected than I am. But how much more is the question. In capitalism, people will fall upon reified words like 'market', 'supply and demand', and 'owner' to justify this. In socialism, they will have a chance to think about it and ultimately realize that it is they who decide. They do this anyway."
So all the ppl who didn't come up with the idea are to decide how much the inventor is allowed to earn according to how much, if indeed at all, the product is needed?

--It's called the market.

Matel wrap up your Barbies and Action Men! Sorry gals and boys, you don't "need" that doll. No more Oreos cause we don't need those either. They make ya fat, attack your teeth and besides we have Standard Wheat Cracker #1 and #2 to make tea time nice… How awful…
--Why wouldn't people want these things?  Essentially, you are arguing for advertising. I have no problems with advertising in theory because persuasion is still the key to socialism as it is to capitalism.

"It may not be as romantic as winning the lottery (capitalism) but…"
Winning the lottery and Capitalism are not the same! Capitalism and Money are NOT synonyms. According to Webster's Dictionary Capitalism means:
"An economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market"
Money comes into this only as a secondary benefit or as a tool if you will.

--No, they are not the same thing.  My use of the lottery is based on someone who has one idea, has the capital and then can gain far more than other people.  I question the equilibrium factor of capitalism; a factor that most people, I think, would consider to be unreasonable.  By lottery, I simply meant that you buy one ticket and get a chance to multiply your money astronomically.  Is this fair?  No, it's lucky.  The question I ask and the issue that I think all this revolves around is something you've brought up several times: value.  How valuable is one person's work versus another?  Again, I have no problems with one person's work being worth more than another (capitalists work hard; they're not all 'fatcats') but how much?  It's a question that no one asks but everyone decides everyday.  Let's bring this question out into the open.

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


22 posted 12-12-1999 09:07 PM       View Profile for Angel Rand   Email Angel Rand   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Angel Rand

Hi again Brad, was wondering where you had got to  

"That happens now because the basis for the economy is capital, not good ideas.  People have to persuade banks for example to loan them money and good ideas are not materialized or taken away from 'good bosses' for a number of reasons.  

--Banks are there to make money for the ppl who entrust their money to them and of course to earn "some" themselves along the way. Of course you have to persuade a bank to give you money. You have to convince them that investing money into your company is in their own best interest and through that in the best interest of their investors.

" Let's say one man or woman has a great idea for a business, should he or she in your view submit the idea to the "people" and if they are in favour be allowed to work in the then created company?"
"A good idea is determined by the 'market' which is just another way of saying that people choose and decide what good ideas are anyway. Why not formalize bit a bit more and take away the clouds of obfusication that we have now?"
" So all the ppl who didn't come up with the idea are to decide how much the inventor is allowed to earn according to how much, if indeed at all, the product is needed?
" --It's called the market."

--I didn't mean the people as in the free market but rather the ppl who would work in that company. Or maybe even something like having to hand your idea into some kind of evaluation court with 12 or so jurors or judges.
From my own experience there is an example how such a committee can go dead wrong with such an evaluation. A cosmetics company (I had a summer job with them then) came up with a new kind of soapy liquid and wanted to test it out on their employees to see what they thought of it. Most ppl said that it was too much like something they already had and that ppl would not buy that new one, as the old one was so very good. Well the boss said I think you are wrong and went ahead putting it on the market. It turned out to become their best seller without reducing the sale of the other soapy stuff.
So you see, anything is worth a try and I think we would cut deeply into ppl's right if we were to say that a committee has to judge the value of your product and therefore maybe even letting it die before it is even on the market. Should you have meant that ALL ppl on the free market should be able to decide on things like that (BEFORE the product goes on the shelves) I really wonder how that would be accomplished without severe costs to the poor chap who had the idea.  

" They make ya fat, attack your teeth and besides we have Standard Wheat Cracker #1 and #2 to make tea time nice… How awful…"
" --Why wouldn't people want these things?  Essentially, you are arguing for advertising. I have no problems with advertising in theory because persuasion is still the key to socialism as it is to capitalism."
--So how did you mean ppl should vote if they want a thing or not? What would their judgement be based on? Ppl's needs? That is why I mentioned Standard Wheat Cracker #1 and #2. We don't NEED another cookie brand but MAN do I like variety!

" No, I don't mean that at all. I mean that we should be more honest in our dealings with each other."
--Very objective of you   .

"-We need more production, more ideas, and more discussion. Not less."
--Yes to production and ideas but discussion among whom? Between the idea guy and his workers?
"Yes boss you pay us to work those machines, no we are not unhappy with the pay we receive but we feel that your idea wont sell so we don't want to produce your "post-its" (or what ever)" Errr…

" The question is if this situation is an equal or an unequal one.  If I make a mistake, I get fired.  If the owners or management make a mistake, he or she loses their job AND I lose my job."
--Yep true. They shoulder a lot more responsibility than their workers do, as they are responsible for so many jobs and so many ppl. Maybe that too is why they earn more? How should this happen in your view? Should ppl be "unfireable"? Or that companies should be supported by society no matter how often they make mistakes, how foolish their manager is at decision making or how badly their employees work? Surely not?

" But what if an employee has a good idea? Who reaps the profits over the course of time?  The employee should, of course, but the employer will as well by virtue of that wonderful little thing called capital."
--I see several answers to this.
First of all you probably got that job precisely to come up with ideas and therefore your job is to be inventive and that is for what you get your salary. No one could pretend under these circumstances that they are treated unfairly when the company makes money out of their idea.
Secondly: when you get a job and you sign your contract make sure that it says in this that you should get royalties or market shares or what ever just in case you did come up with something truly or even half way "cool".
OR thirdly you leave your employment and start your own company so you yourself can sell that product you so cleverly came up with.

" Well, that's what I see. Money buys influence; money buys censorship; and money buys power."
--Precisely. And that is why I am so in favour of laissez-faire capitalism.

"No, they are not the same thing.  My use of the lottery is based on someone who has one idea, has the capital and then can gain far more than other people.  I question the equilibrium factor of capitalism; a factor that most people, I think, would consider to be unreasonable.  By lottery, I simply meant that you buy one ticket and get a chance to multiply your money astronomically.  Is this fair?  No, it's lucky.  The question I ask and the issue that I think all this revolves around is something you've brought up several times: value.  How valuable is one person's work versus another?  Again, I have no problems with one person's work being worth more than another (capitalists work hard; they're not all 'fatcats') but how much?  It's a question that no one asks but everyone decides everyday.  Let's bring this question out into the open."
--Not all successful ideas ppl come up with are based on luck. Some of them come into being after a lot of market research and loads of hard development work.
But what I would like to know is how you think it should be determined what a person is allowed to earn and what is too much? And who determines that? The ppl on that before mentioned committee or all the ppl in the same line of work who didn't come up with the idea or the ppl who rush out and buy his product? What about stocks and shares? Should those also have a law on them on how much you as a person are allowed to make from them? And how would that be controlled? By letting ppl only buy a certain amount of shares? And then what will the company do who would use your investment to produce? Or should you be allowed to first earn the money and then be told how much you are allowed to keep? Like in a tip for your efforts?  And the rest would go to ppl who have less and/or never even bothered to invest?
Well this line of thought makes it kinda obvious why capitalism breeds hard work… and why socialism breeds parasites…

Greetings from a capitalistic lil cherub  
Angel
PS: for all who have not read that masterpiece of Ayn Rand's called Atlas Shrugged (or would like to refresh their memory) and are interested in reading about the true virtue of money, here is a link to a wonderful excerpt. http://www.danconia.com/money.htm


 "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 12-12-1999).]
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


23 posted 12-13-1999 05:58 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Angel,
Good points all around but remember that socialism from my point of view would still keep basic individual and minority rights.

"A cosmetics company (I had a summer job with them then) came up with a new kind of soapy liquid and wanted to test it out on their employees to see what they thought of it. Most ppl said that it was too much like something they already had and that ppl would not buy that new one, as the old one was so very good. Well the boss said I think you are wrong and went ahead putting it on the market. It turned out to become their best seller without reducing the sale of the other soapy stuff. So you see, anything is worth a try and I think we would cut deeply into ppl's right if we were to say that a committee has to judge the value of your product and therefore maybe even letting it die before it is even on the market."

--How many products die that you've never even heard of that didn't go to market?  Now, imagine there's no boss as you speak of but an elected manager.  He proposes an idea that is voted down.  What does he do? It seems to me that he should be able to do the same thing in capitalism on a trial run.  If it gains profits for the company, people will agree with him.  If it doesn't and it was a serious mistake, he is voted out of office.  It it's an employee with the idea, he is rewarded in some way as the representative management sees fit.

"Should you have meant that ALL ppl on the free market should be able to decide on things like that (BEFORE the product goes on the shelves) I really wonder how that would be accomplished without severe costs to the poor chap who had the idea."

--I used to think that was the way to go but it just seems unworkable.  At each level of collective groups, a certain portion would (probably) be put aside for those new ideas. Angel, you see capitalism as the great diversifier and I see it as the great homogenizer (state socialism is even worse than capitalism in this respect).  People do indeed seem to like the new and the novel so part of each level would go to experimentation on a constant level (R & D).  Why not?  

"So how did you mean ppl should vote if they want a thing or not? What would their judgement be based on? Ppl's needs? That is why I mentioned Standard Wheat Cracker #1 and #2. We don't NEED another cookie brand but MAN do I like variety!"

--And so do a lot of other people.  I want more variety. After four years in Japan, I was schocked by the size of an American supermarket and then immediately disappointed at the overall lack of variety there.

"Yes to production and ideas but discussion among whom? Between the idea guy and his workers? "Yes boss you pay us to work those machines, no we are not unhappy with the pay we receive but we feel that your idea wont sell so we don't want to produce your "post-its" (or what ever)" Err"r…
--Remember, the company is collectively owned like a democratic country. The 'boss' is the manager who must simutlaneously keep the workers satisfied and placate other people's needs and demands.  The discussion is everyone's responsibility.  
                  
"They shoulder a lot more responsibility than their workers do, as they are responsible for so many jobs and so many ppl. Maybe that too is why they earn more? How should this happen in your view? Should ppl be "unfireable"? Or that companies should be supported by society no matter how often they make mistakes, how foolish their manager is at decision making or how badly their
employees work? Surely not?"

--Surely not. The reasons Unions often make this case is the fear of losing a job, of one's livelihood.  However, it seems to me that an unproductive company can be redirected into a different form of production.  This would not be done overnight as in capitalism but gradually over time.  In such a situation, you won't get the massive boom and bust cylcles in capitalism -- and they still happen just not to the degree of say fifty or sixty years ago.  Everyone has to work.  Marx's base  for the whole system was work not leisure; his point or at least as I see it is that a tremendous amount of things are not done because there is no immediate profit in them. People have to eat and if they want to eat they must do something that is productive  for society. There is no welfare system as such in socialism.  Welfare mothers?  This is  such an insane concept to me.  Isn't being a mother or being a housewife a form of work? The hardest job in the world as Oprah would say.  Should they be compensated for that responsibility? Of course, they should.


"First of all you probably got that job precisely to come up with ideas and therefore your job is to be inventive and that is for what you get your salary. No one could pretend under these circumstances
that they are treated unfairly when the company makes money out of their idea.
Secondly: when you get a job and you sign your contract make sure that it says in this that you should get royalties or market shares or what ever just in case you did come up with something truly or even half way "cool".
OR thirdly you leave your employment and start your own company so you yourself can sell that product you so cleverly came up with."

--I see the same possibilities when it comes to socialism.  The third, however, is based on one's own work (whether through your own and then through persuasion -- a small business -- or through persuasion and then work).  In either case, the moment the 'business' begins to succeed you must ask someone to join your success.  Should they get equal to your share?  It depends on how much they work and improve the store, business, whatever.  This is demonstrable through 'profits'and the amount of person each person does-- the community has decided that we would like more of your product; if the project works better then everybody succeeds. So let's say you have two new employees (they're not employees) who don't like you and scheme to take over the company but what is there to take over?  How do they take it over?  Why would they take it over?  They can't buy you out.  They are not going to make any more money by voting you out. It's your idea and you're making it work.  It's in their best interest to keep you working because you know the idea better than they do.  On the other hand, if you have an idea and then relax, take some time off, you don't reap the rewards either just because it was your idea.  The person, whoever that may be, who is doing the work is reaping the reward.  You reward productive work.  My model is really nothing more than a slightly modified stockholder's meeting.  But, there's no big pay off at the end; there's no 'grand slam' for someone who works slightly more.  Is there some reward? Yes, incentives should be there but I am not convinced that the extremes that you see in capitalism are in any way rational.  Do you remember in the late '80's when company managers were getting raises while the company itself was actually losing money?  (I know, I know -- that's not real capitalism)  

"Not all successful ideas ppl come up with are based on luck. Some of them come into being after a lot of market research and loads of hard development work."

--Yes, and that work, by definition, is made by more than one person.

"But what I would like to know is how you think it should be determined what a person is allowed to earn and what is too much? And who determines that? The ppl on that before mentioned committe or all the ppl in the same line of work who didn't come up with the idea or the ppl who rush out and buy his product?"

--Who determines that now?  Economics is about people to people transactions.  Somebody is determining that now.  No, it doesn't have to be a conspiracy or a cartel but it is determined by a lot of different people. Again, I, contrary to Marx, think it is possible and beneficial to have a certain amount of competition in the field.  Let's find out what they should earn, let's study what is in the best interest of the society and the individual.  Look at Ron's example of a doctor again: Would people be willing to pay more for a doctor or less for a doctor so that you motivate the best qualified people into that profession?  I think people would pay more on the average to have quality people in that specialization. In most specializations.  Such compensation would change over time depending on the immediate and long term needs of the society.

"What about stocks and shares?"
--Why would this system be in place in socialism?

"And then what will the company do who would use your investment to produce? Or should you be allowed to first earn the money and then be told how much you are allowed to keep? Like in a tip for your efforts?  And the rest would go to ppl who have less and/or never even bothered to invest?"

--Socialism isn't based on investment like this.  Your reward is based on your work and your contribution to that society as determined by representative democracy and a controlled market (Okay, Marx said no market; that's my idea).

"Well this line of thought makes it kinda obvious why capitalism breeds hard work… and why socialism breeds parasites"

--There will always be people who try to beat the system but capitalism breeds just as many  parasites; I call them owners who don't work.  No, I don't hate owners but what I don't understand is how owners and families that own can do nothing productive for society and still claim that status and wealth that they do.  As Trevor has pointed out, this is akin to the fuedal system.

Every once in a while, I feel I have to point out that I'm not red through and through here  (although I think I'm tentatively right on most of this).  The question is not how an establised socialist system can work; I think  it can.  The question is how do we get there?  Do we want to go there?  And I disagree with Marx on this one.  No revolution but only through gradual change is it possible.  This gradual change is not the increased power of the state but the continual gaining of responsibility in the workplace by each individual.  Only through responsibility will people begin to see that they have a stake, that they should have a say in their own lives.  Why doesn't anybody vote?  Because it doesn't matter when they spend the majority of their lives in a place where that vote will change very little.  This is still another fallacy of course because it has indeed changed quite a bit for  workers in say the last one hundred and fifty years.

There is also some confusion with regards to owning private property and owning private property that you use productively in an economy.  That's a really tricky one and I don't know if I can give a satisfactory answer right now.  I'm tired.

Waiting eagerly to be told I'm completely wrong,  
Brad
Angel Rand
Member
since 09-04-99
Posts 140
London UK, and Zurich Switzerl


24 posted 12-14-1999 08:19 AM       View Profile for Angel Rand   Email Angel Rand   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Angel Rand

Hi Brad,
Yep you are totally wrong  

"Socialism from my point of view would still keep basic individual and minority rights."
--How would that be possible? You state that private property would still be there (as in that ppl may own houses, cars etc I assume?) yet you do not seem to agree with me that property means that you may use your property according to your wishes. If you REALLY own a strip of land then surely you are allowed to use it as you seem fit (provided of course that with it you do not violate the constitutional rights of another). So why do you make a difference with intellectual property? Why should your invention, your brainchild, automatically belong to the people when it starts to pay off? Doesn't that imply that you may use your strip of land only in accordance to what the state (i.e. other ppl) sees fit? Only as long as no one else can profit from your property? So in other words you have the responsibility for that strip of land but not the privileges. And the state has the privileges but not the responsibilities. You may "own" the land but you may not use it. Nice "property" rights you advocate there. So property is not property at all but a loan from a government that can be infringed upon according to their wishes. Or are you saying that all rights EXCEPT property rights would still be in place? That would imply that nothing you have is yours. The clothes you wear that you bought from your salary too are just rented. In fact the very money in your pocket is just by the good will of the ppl. They can claim it as soon as they seem fit. They can also claim your brain and your very soul as theirs. As soon as you infringe on property rights you infringe on freedom. So there goes the second of your rights. You are nothing in the face of the community. You are but an arm to a body or a cell in.
Let me see if I got this right: You are not allowed to start your own business as long as the state doesn't agree with you (if starting a new business doesn't have to be ordained from the government anyway). Should they agree with you, you have no right to run that company as you seem fit but rather have to by law take ppl in who would share in your material and intellectual "property". Furthermore when you make a mistake your employees can vote you out of the "drivers chair", stripping you of your right to your invention. And all this, why? Cause your work has to profit the ppl first and claiming anything was done for your own benefit and not others is like robbery. Robbery from all the ppl who didn't have the idea. So in other words again, if someone makes an invention and dares to want that invention to profit primarily himself, he makes that invention at the expense of everybody who didn't have that same idea? Or are you stating yet again that the factory worker should profit as much from your invention as you do cause he physically produces your work? And the fact that your invention gave him his factory job and his salary in the first place makes it legal for him to be rewarded by your idea as much as you yourself? In yet other words and using an analogy I used before: the hand deserves the same credit for turning the pages of a book as the brain that absorbs and re-uses the gained knowledge? And it does not make a difference that the hands already profit from the brain's intellect by the very thing the brain learns? The hands have that same claim because the brain could not absorb the knowledge without the hands turning the page and therefore the hands are equal to the brain in the claim for credit? Do I have that right? You don't think that the hands provide a service for which yes they should be rewarded well but that it is the brain that deserves the most credit?

"Angel, you see capitalism as the great diversifier and I see it as the great homogenizer (state socialism is even worse than capitalism in this respect)"
--No, I just see that ppl are diverse to start with. Some are inventors and producers and others are workers. Both have their value and both deserve respect. Yes indeed workers are needed and work couldn't be done without them. And they should take pride in that and do their jobs as well as they can. Not only for their own monetary benefit but also out of respect to themselves. But to state that they have the right to more than a job and a decent salary (to be got through their best abilities and not just cause they need the paying job), that they have in fact claim on the intellectual property of their employer is so much in breach with human rights that it makes my hair stand up on end.

"Remember, the company is collectively owned like a democratic country. The 'boss' is the manager who must simultaneously keep the workers satisfied and placate other people's needs and demands.  The discussion is everyone's responsibility."
--So indeed there would be no private businesses as no one is allowed to start their own business but must surrender their ideas, their brain to society.

" In either case, the moment the 'business' begins to succeed you must ask someone to join your success."  
--What, and if doesn't you're on your own, huh? Or rather yet again rely on those who DO make their businesses work to support you. Where is the incentive here to MAKE it work? If you fail or not, there is no real difference except that when you succeed your earnings and profits are taken away and if you fail you GET money. You really think that ppl should be forced by law rather than by choice as it is now to take on a business partner?
And on another thought, what if you are an ingenious painter? Let's say you are new Picasso? Ppl under socialism of course do not own great works of art, as it is the property of everybody, right? Yet again, what your talent comes up with is not your property but everybody else's. So if you are Picasso you should be glad if a museum gives you some money for your materials so that everybody is able to continuously enjoy the ingenuity of your work of course...

"Should they get equal to your share?  It depends on how much they work and improve the store, business, whatever."
--Well in capitalism of course a hired manager who makes a business work better is very highly paid and if he is not, he is free to find another employment. So I don't quite see your point there except yet again a lack of freedom. Cause surely in socialism neither employer nor employee could freely choose who they hire/work for. Otherwise an employer (who doesn't even exist as such in socialism) would also be free NOT to hire anyone if he so wishes.

"People have to eat and if they want to eat they must do something that is productive for society. There is no welfare system as such in socialism."
--So if you want to survive you must first of all give in order to receive? Like if you are a farmer you are not allowed to first take food off your land for yourself but rather have to sell ALL your products and then see what society gives back to you as a little loan for your effort in feeding them? You really are for a credit system of "To each according to their needs and not according to their abilities" eh Brad? So what happens if someone is too lazy to work but not too lazy to "multiply" and he or she has many children? Surely their need would be greater than that of a single professor even if he invents such things as cold fusion? His whole profit in that really should be the satisfaction of having given this heat to the mother with 15 children? Talk about socialism NOT being altruistic…

"Welfare mothers?  This is such an insane concept to me. Isn't being a mother or being a housewife a form of work? The hardest job in the world as Oprah would say. Should they be compensated for that responsibility? Of course, they should."
--Oh yes? Who by?
   "Listen you childless hard working neighbour of mine. I brought into this world a wonderful present to society in form of 15 children. I therefore command you to give me your money for this wonderful gift as a reward for my having these kids and bringing them up in the first place."

" So let's say you have two new employees (they're not employees) who don't like you and scheme to take over the company but what is there to take over?  How do they take it over?  Why would they take it over?  They can't buy you out.  They are not going to make any more money by voting you out. It's your idea and you're making it work.  It's in their best interest to keep you working because you know the idea better than they do.  On the other hand, if you have an idea and then relax, take some time off, you don't reap the rewards either just because it was your idea."
--Yeah cause as we already established there are neither property rights as to the grounds where your business stands, nor intellectual property rights.
But as to "knowing your idea better than others" I am afraid it doesn't take an Einstein to understand how to run a paper shop. So in reality for a business like that you could be stripped of your right to it because it is so mundane and obvious. Only physicists and mathematicians maybe can claim to understand their idea better than others do. And these poor chaps have to be on the run all the time as to come up with new ideas as to not lose their right to at least work in their own project… what a rosy world you dream of Brad…

" "Not all successful ideas ppl come up with are based on luck. Some of them come into being after a lot of market research and loads of hard development work."
   -Yes, and that work, by definition, is made by more than one person."
--Yes but only one person had the initial idea. Again, why should an idea become public property just cause it gives other ppl work?

" Let's find out what they should earn, let's study what is in the best interest of the society and the individual."
--Yeah cause we are all children who need to be given pocket money by our parent "mother state". Once again the right to freedom is out of the window. We are subjects to the government. And that we can supposedly elect our rulers doesn't make us any less subjects.

" There will always be people who try to beat the system but capitalism breeds just as many parasites; I call them owners who don't work.  No, I don't hate owners but what I don't understand is how owners and families that own can do nothing productive for society and still claim that status and wealth that they do.  As Trevor has pointed out, this is akin to the fuedal system."
--In capitalism you either work or drown. You are rewarded for ability and effort. In socialism you are rewarded according to your need. Why work if you can just have more kids instead? In capitalism you work harder if you want more kids cause it is your responsibility and not your neighbour's to provide for your kids. And yes I agree owners who do not work are as much looters and moochers as the persons living of welfare cause they can. But no way should therefore all owners be stripped of property rights flat out. Besides I would like to point out that there are more ppl who would suffer under abuse of welfare than there are who suffer under lazy owners. At least these owners own businesses that employ and pay ppl. And should you not like to work for them or they pay you too little you are (in a capitalistic society that is) free to find another job or to strike along with your union.

" Only through responsibility will people begin to see that they have a stake, that they should have a say in their own lives."
--How do they have a say in their own lives if they are neither free nor have the right to own anything?
  
"Why doesn't anybody vote?  Because it doesn't matter when they spend the majority of their lives in a place where that vote will change very little."
--Precisely. They are controlled by the state and one individual has no say. You only have a say if you are a collective and unfortunately ppl are starting to resign themselves to that.

Socialism is not a synonym with freedom. Quite in the contrary. It not only makes you a slave to society but also asks you to give up your individuality, your soul and your brain willingly and cheerfully for the "good of society". And if you don't then they take you by force. How like the Borg…

If I seemed harsh in this I apologise but the one thing that gets this peaceful Angel going is a threat to her individuality. Just ask my primary school teacher on how "willing" I was "to fit in"  

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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