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brian madden
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since 05-06-2000
Posts 4532
ireland


0 posted 09-13-2000 04:47 PM       View Profile for brian madden   Email brian madden   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for brian madden

Money

We all want more, in fact it seems that we just slaves to the dollar, the punt, franc etc.

So my question is, is the current economic structure a way of suppressing certain groups, a way of controlling the masses and their actions by making them dependent on money.
A friend of mine claims that capitalism is the fairest system as it gives everyone a chance if they work hard enough, but are there not better systems, socialism for example. My lack of economic study will stop me from making profound statements in fact my only reference is my bible George Orwell's 1984.

In the book the government propagated a war, directing the people's attention towards a single focus, also it allowed the government to ration food supplies and tighten their control over people. Could the same thing not be done with money? It does ironically grow on trees, it is just paper.

I am sure that I will gather my thoughts and make sense of my arguement when this debate is under way.


"I have penned epitaphs on snow, and written my legacy in dust." self quote.

Local Rebel
Member Ascendant
since 12-21-1999
Posts 5742
Southern Abstentia


1 posted 09-13-2000 06:24 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

brian!!

I have a few minutes for this one I suppose...

first of all -- money indeed does not grow on trees -- leaves do.  I'm not even sure anymore that wood pulp paper is used in the printing of money -- at least in the US... last time I looked I think it was cotton fiber based..

but at any rate -- it takes labor to turn wood into the constituent components lignen and pulp -- and then separate it -- process the pulp into paper --et al

so -- even beyond the printed value of money there is an intrinsic value to the product itself... in some cases more than the labor it represents -- ie -- the American penny.

but it is the standard by which we exchange our labor.  and since it is a market economy everything is worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

study pareto and the pareto principle...also the 80/20 rule....
brian madden
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since 05-06-2000
Posts 4532
ireland


2 posted 09-15-2000 05:37 PM       View Profile for brian madden   Email brian madden   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for brian madden

Ok so I guess money does not grow on trees but my point is that we place different values on the same thing a $20 is made in the same way as a $50 it is a symbol of value. As I have cause to rant as inflation is getting crazy in this country, oil, house prices, petrol and in way the government is abusing the system.. captialism might be a nice system if it was run fairly... don't tell me that taxes are not just slightly unfair... it is all about greed as far as I can see. I am just annoyed because as a student I have no money.  

This is the hour when the mysteries emerge
A strangeness so hard to reflect A moment so
moving goes straight to your heart" JOy divison
JP
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since 05-25-99
Posts 1391
Loomis, CA


3 posted 09-18-2000 11:34 AM       View Profile for JP   Email JP   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit JP's Home Page   View IP for JP

Hmmmmm... what does one think of when putting the the ideas of fairness and capitolism vs. socialism together?

I suppose that one would have to determine first what fairness was, does it mean everyone has the same opportunity?  Does it mean all income and material possessions are equally shared (regardless of one's efforts)?

Capitolism is based on opportunity, and supply and demand.  If I have something you want, we agree on a price to exchange that item or service... if we cannot agree on a price, you have no obligation to participate in that exchange.  Thus, you go without what I have and I go without what you have.  If what I have is something vital to your survival (fuel, basic human services, etc.) the government does a pretty good job of regulating what I can demand in exchange.

If what I have is something extranious, cars, clothes, etc.  Then my price demands are regulated merely by what you will pay for them.

The other end of this is that anyone has the opportunity to make, or discover, or offer goods or services in exchange for monetary recompense.  Most of this opportunity is based on will, drive, desire, effort, and some luck.

It is true that the haves try to keep the have nots down, is that fair?  No, is it a requirement of capitolism?  No, just a symptom of greed...

The capitolist government provides the basic human services for those who are without, does it do a great job?  No, not yet.  Is that a basic element of capitolism?  No. Merely a failure of a government to do what is right.

Now, if one looks at socialism, in its most basic forms... If I understand this philosophy correctly, I am supposed to work hard, earn my pay so I can pay the government to give the same services and opportunities to everyone else. All citizens pay the same for food, clothes, fuel, etc., all citizens have the same access to the same goods and services.  If I work harder than everyone else I have the same chance of promoting socially, or economically as everyone else, Including the guy next door who sits at the pub all night, and sleeps all day and lets my hard work and tax dollars support him and his family....  this is fair?

Regardless of the varying definitions one may have of fair I think I like the idea that I have the chance to become rich, or powerful, or famous, or whatever and reap the  benefits of my efforts, and not be penalized for my hard work by the government.

Would I mind paying extra taxes to aid those in need?  Of course not.  Would I mind doing that to support those who could otherwise support themselves?  Absolutely.

When all is said and done, that is what I look at as fair or unfair.


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

"Everything is your own damn fault, if you are any good." E. Hemmingway
Not A Poet
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since 11-03-1999
Posts 4427
Oklahoma, USA


4 posted 09-18-2000 11:57 AM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Eloquently stated, JP.



Pete

Imagination is more important than knowledge
Albert Einstein
Tony Di Bart
Member
since 01-26-2000
Posts 163
Toronto, Canada


5 posted 09-19-2000 10:38 PM       View Profile for Tony Di Bart   Email Tony Di Bart   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Tony Di Bart

Hey Brian

I have not posted here in about six months and what a time to post once again.  In the past, way back when we lived in three room caves, we had to hunt to live.  The fitest survived, had larger families nad often even beat up the smaller humans.  It was the laws of survival.  Money in my opinion is what has be come the commodity of survival. Without it you can not express anybiological fitness.
So you see money is our bow, spear, rock etc that we hunt with. THe smarter you were the more food you had and likewise the smarter you are the more money you earn.

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


6 posted 09-21-2000 02:48 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Tony,
Nice to see you posting again.  

JP,

I was wondering if this thread would move in this direction - I'm glad it did. I've held back a bit because I wasn't sure how I should proceed.

"Capitalism is based on opportunity, and supply and demand."

--Capitalism is based on capital. That's why it's called capitalism. Capital is money or resources used in the investment of enterprises in which the primary goal is to increase capital.

"If I have something you want, we agree on a price to exchange that item or service... if we cannot agree on a price, you have no obligation to participate in that exchange."

--Sure, but this isn't capitalism. This is trade.  Trade has been around a long time and is quite beneficial. Marx thought so.

"If what I have is something vital to your survival (fuel, basic human services, etc.) the government does a pretty good job of regulating what I can demand in exchange."

--Are you arguing that this is what government should do?

"If what I have is something extranious, cars, clothes, etc.  Then my price demands are regulated merely by what you will pay for them."

--Who determines extraneous and necessity? If you live in Los Angeles, I think a car is pretty necessary. Clothes? Computers? Of course, these are variable that change with time.

"The other end of this is that anyone has the opportunity to make, or discover, or offer goods or services in exchange for monetary recompense."

--In capitalism, that anyone must enter the system of capital enlargement. If he/she does not he will be squeezed out through competition.  It's not an issue necessarily of evil owners and innocent workers but of what you have to do to stay in the game.

"Most of this opportunity is based on will, drive, desire, effort, and some luck."

--I don't mean to trivialize these traits but you still have to have capital.

"It is true that the haves try to keep the have nots down, is that fair?  No, is it a requirement of capitolism?  No, just a symptom of greed..."

--I think it is a requirement of capitalism to increase capital. How this is done is irrelevant.

"The capitolist government provides the basic human services for those who are without, does it do a great job?  No, not yet.  Is that a basic element of capitolism?  No. Merely a failure of a government to do what is right."

--But where does the government get the money and resources to provide these basic human services? They have to extract from the domain of capital in the form of taxes. This runs contrary to the aims of the system itself.

"Now, if one looks at socialism, in its most basic forms... If I understand this philosophy correctly, I am supposed to work hard, earn my pay so I can pay the government to give the same services and opportunities to everyone else. All citizens pay the same for food, clothes, fuel, etc., all citizens have the same access to the same goods and services.  If I work harder than everyone else I have the same chance of promoting socially, or economically as everyone else, Including the guy next door who sits at the pub all night, and sleeps all day and lets my hard work and tax dollars support him and his family....  this is fair?"

--This seems to be a very common misinterpretation of Marx's famous, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." It is a slogan of the final stage in Marx's outline, of communism, not socialism. In Marx's theory, human nature is neither good nor evil but malleable.  Communism is the final stage where work and need become indistinguishable (think Star Trek economy). You work is itself satisfying to you in an age where scarcity is a thing of the past. The issue of fairness doesn't even come into the picture because work is no longer seen as an alienating, mind numbing experience but an enriching one.

This is hard for me to see too but that's how I read him.

"Regardless of the varying definitions one may have of fair I think I like the idea that I have the chance to become rich, or powerful, or famous, or whatever and reap the  benefits of my efforts, and not be penalized for my hard work by the government."

--In socialism, each one of these ideas changes.

--to be rich is no longer a goal because it doesn't make any sense

--powerful would be to hold a position in some representative system that is ultimately controlled by those who you have power over (sound familiar?)  

--fame, perhaps, would become more important in that esteem would probably matter more.

I think that covers most of my reaction to what you've said here.


Tony,

"Money in my opinion is what has be come the commodity of survival. Without it you can not express anybiological fitness.
So you see money is our bow, spear, rock etc that we hunt with. THe smarter you were the more food you had and likewise the smarter you are the more money you earn."

--I have to admit that I don't understand this insight. Are you actually equating intelligence with income? It reads almost like a Social Darwinest tract. The best are on top because, well, they are on top.

Thanks guys,
Brad
Tony Di Bart
Member
since 01-26-2000
Posts 163
Toronto, Canada


7 posted 09-21-2000 09:45 AM       View Profile for Tony Di Bart   Email Tony Di Bart   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Tony Di Bart

Dear Brad

All I am saying is that way back when there was no money people who were able to gather and hunt more food had a better opportunity of survival.  Today we gather no food however, money is how we get our food.  Therefore, he who has money has a better chance of surviving.  He who is better able obtain money has a better chance of surviving.  

I do not know if this is clear.
JP
Senior Member
since 05-25-99
Posts 1391
Loomis, CA


8 posted 09-21-2000 11:03 AM       View Profile for JP   Email JP   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit JP's Home Page   View IP for JP

Brad - simply stated, I was arguing the practical application of capitalism and socialism as seen in the world today. NOT the academic or philisophical design of the the two systems.  The ideal and reality are often very different in this world.

--Capitalism is based on capital. That's why it's called capitalism. Capital is money or resources used in the investment of enterprises in which the primary goal is to increase capital.

Seemingly a very narrow view of a system that has run this nation for over 200 years.  In a textbook that may be capitalism, the basic definition of what it is based on and its pimary goal, but the operating philosophy is so much more than that; opportunity, desire, drive, will... those are the elements that make capitalism work.  Mere caplital does not run the system.  If this were true, no one who was poor could have worked their way to the top.

Trade is an essential part of capitalism, it is the basis of exchange that makes the system work.  If we did not trade, we would not have a system - again, you have provided an academic definition that does not truly encompass practical application.

If what I have is something vital to your survival (fuel, basic human services, etc.) the government does a pretty good job of regulating what I can demand in exchange."

    --Are you arguing that this is what government should do?


I made no argument for or against government regulation... perhaps youwould care to state position on this?

If what I have is something extranious, cars, clothes, etc.  Then my price demands are regulated merely by what you will pay for them.

    --Who determines extraneous and necessity? If you live in Los Angeles, I think a car is pretty necessary. Clothes? Computers? Of course, these are variable that change with time.


Basic human needs determine what is a necessity, food, water, fuel (electric, coal/heating oil, etc...) these are the things that government strives to regulate, so that the specific entities that have the capability to provide these things, cannot gouge the consumer.

Cars a necessity in L.A.?  Is there not public transportation?  Don't they have buses and subways, etc.?  

As for the rest... Without being too redundant, I must say that most of your points, while valid in their own right, are seemingly based on academic and idealistic definition.  The incarnations of capitolism and socialism in this world are very different that the academic ideal. My points are based on observation of the system in action, not on the writings of Marx, or anyone else.  Particularly regarding socialism.  In reality, the class differences and the differences between the "haves" and the "have nots" are far greater than they should be.  The government has, the populace has not... not very Marxist is it?

Oh yeah, before I finish, I want to challenge you to respond to one of these philisophical quandries with a position of your own.  As I have read through the other posts I have noticed that you tend to hold off and wait until someone commits to a position and then you jump in and argue that position.  Now, this is an interesting way to go, nothing wrong with it really... I just want to see the mind of Brad put on the firing line for a change  




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

"Everything is your own damn fault, if you are any good." E. Hemmingway
Local Rebel
Member Ascendant
since 12-21-1999
Posts 5742
Southern Abstentia


9 posted 09-21-2000 01:01 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

The only regulations the government (I assume we're talking U.S. here) places on any of the necessities mentioned is electrical power rates.....

there has been talk of investigation into gasoline price hikes -- but there's really very little direct goverment intervention in how our economy works

the principle vehicle for trying to influence the economy is through tax code and trying to steer consumers into less spending in some areas through greater taxation and more spending in other areas through tax relief

the unconstitutional and illegal institution of the Federal Reserve Bank is a shadow arm of the government that controls overall consumption of capitol by regulating interest rates

on an interesting note -- cable television pricing used to be government regulated (it should be noted that regulations only cap prices) as were air-fares -- those regulations were both lifted and consumers saw a drop in airline ticket prices and a rise in cable rates... local telephone services (considered a public service) is also regulated...

the measure for whether or not the government gets involved in regulating prices is not generally based on whether or not something is deemed necessary or unnecessary but in how much choice the consumers have in who will provide their service

in some states the attorney fees for certain court actions are capped and administered by the courts

food prices are not regulated but are subsidized by government support of farmers to some extent--and to the point that the government will actually buy excess production -- the rest is market will bear as any other consumer item

I generally don't subscribe to zero-sum philosophy ie -- there is a fixed amount of wealth in the universe and everyone gets a slice of the pie -- but even in our current circumstance the problems the world faces with poverty, starvation, and hunger is basically one of distribution

even with the recent news of the world population hitting 6 billion we could still stand every man, woman, and child on the planet on a 2 foot by 2 foot square and occupy only an area about the size of Rhode Island...

there is plenty of space, plenty of food, and plenty of materials for shelter, clothing, and fuel

I used to live in the poorest state in this country and even the poorest of the poor have telephones, televisions, vcr's and food --this is why people immigrate to ours -- legally or illegally

the people we call 'homeless' generally in our society are in need of treatment for mental illness

I used to have three mequiladora plants in mexico -- there is real poverty in that country -- I've seen it first hand.... it's not uncommon to see laundry strung up outside abandoned railcars where people have taken up residence... they would be considered lucky compared to the whole villiages of cardboard shacks I've seen --

It boils down to governments, corruption, and distrubution though...  when we try to get food into areas of Africa for instance -- oftentimes the donated goods sit until they spoil because the governments there won't allow the dispersment of the goods (to help maintain their own control) or because they lack the basic infrastructure to actually put the goods and the people together

The United States has about 5 percent of the worlds population yet owns or controls about 25 percent of the worlds wealth....

If you keep breaking it down further you'll find that about 20 percent of the people in the US control 80 percent of the wealth, and among those 20 percent about 20 percent of them have the majortity again...

for instance -- insurance companies own somewhere in the neighborhood of 70% of the privately held real estate in the US....

Pareto discovered this phenomenon in Italy around the turn of the 20th century -- his hypothesis was that if we leveled the playing field -- put equal amounts of wealth in everyones pocket-- and then resumed business as usual -- that it wouldn't be long before the distribution wound up the same again...

incedentally -- intelligence has something to do with it -- but not everything -- only a handful of the people who are 'self-made' millionaires would qualify for mensa -- in contrast there are more broke geniuses than there are rich ones.

access to capitol and understanding how to sell ideas is more important in succeeding in our market than raw intelligence -- probably most of the top minds in the world don't know how to sell --

inventors even -- seldom make money from what they invent -- the inventor of the television for instance -- never saw a penny from it -- large corporations can usually supress ideas until patents run out and then capitolize on them at will --

or -- take the instance of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates -- one invents -- the other copies -- who is richer?  who has more power?
who is more intelligent?

Gates was hooked up with IBM -- and therefore had more access to capitol...wider distribution -- and the rest is history

How many people have Beta VCR's?  even with the power and might of Sony -- superior technology couldn't command dominance of a market where the combined resources of manufacturers who could work in the common platform of VHS created a monolithic block of capitol...

In capitolism, capitol is king.  
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


10 posted 09-21-2000 01:03 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

JP,
Hmmm, you want my opinions. No problem. Let's begin but I don't know exactly where to start:

How do you define academic (I think I know) and idealist arguments. Would it surprise you that I believe that Russian, Chinese, and Cuban "Socialism" is a form of capitalism?

You want my opinions? You want me on the firing line? No problem. I've been told that if the revolution ever does come . . .

Where do I begin?

Politics?

Sociology?

Aesthetics?

Epistomology?

Rhetoric?

Linguistics?

What else?

It's up to you,

Brad


[This message has been edited by Brad (edited 09-21-2000).]
JP
Senior Member
since 05-25-99
Posts 1391
Loomis, CA


11 posted 09-21-2000 04:14 PM       View Profile for JP   Email JP   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit JP's Home Page   View IP for JP

I've been giving serious thought to the subject of philosophy, the study of philosophy, and students of philosophy as opposed to philosophers...

The idea of studying philosophy is where I run into a wrinkle.  I've spent time here, in this forum and we bandy about ideas of what Neitszche, or Russell, or Plato says, etc, etc, etc. and we give credence to the ideas of these thinkers as if theirs is the kernal of truth mankind is seeking.  We quote them, we emulate them, we agree or disagree with them, but seldom have I seen many here talk about what they have thought or believed.

Is the study of philosophy a worthy endeavor?  I believe it is.  But is a student of philosophy a philosopher?  I'm thinking not necessarily.  To contemplate things, to search for wisdom, morals, etc. may not be the same as adopting and relaying the philisophical ideas of another.

Were Russell, Plato, Nozik philosohpers?  Yes.  What made them so?  Plato quoting Socrates (if he ever really existed)?, Russell regurgitating what he read about other philosphers and thinkers? NO.  They were philosophers because they engaged in the process of thought, the search for wisdom, the ability to come to their own conclusions about the way existence is... this is afterall, the essence of philosophy isn't it?

Is there anything wrong with agreeing with Russell's ideas on whether the red spot I see is the same red spot you may see?  No.  But to agree with that idea and to be able to quote it - does that make one a philosopher? Equally NO.

So my quandry lies in the question:  where is the original thought?  Where are the philosophers?  The students of philosophy have spoken, the laymen have questioned, but have the true thinkers shared with us their OWN insights, their own revalations?


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

"Everything is your own damn fault, if you are any good." E. Hemmingway
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


12 posted 09-21-2000 10:54 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Tony,
You're clear. I'd still point out though that you're statement makes some interesting assumptions about 'survival' as opposed to the ethics of 'Survivor'.  

LR,
Good points all around. The question then becomes the questioning of 'business as usual', doesn't it?

JP,
I also believe that philosophy is important.  It's my contention that orignal thought, original ideas are often no more than a paraphrase or a reduction of something some philosopher said a long time ago.  That is, those that say the philosophy or academics are unimportant will turn around (sometimes in the same thread) and espouse an idea that began in the academy or the historical equivalent of one.  I want to bring this to light.  

I wish we had more discussion on Russel, Plato, Socrates, Nietsche or whoever. You say we discuss their ideas, I think we tip toe around them. You mention Nozick. I don't know who he is (unless you mean the historian). A real discussion would be a learning experience for me and that's something I'd enjoy.  

As I read in the alley and other sites on the internet, I still see a strong authoritarian impulse to claim 'truth', to claim a superior form of 'knowing' WITHOUT explanation.

I see this as a rhetorical turn and it's a turn that stifles discussion.

That is, I find 'truth' and 'originality' deeply suspect if presented in a vacuum. I believe, at the same time, that if we advanced more discussion (and more detailed discussion), something that might coincide with the meaning of those two words might actually present itself.

I think you touched a nerve by the way.  


Talk to ya later,
Brad
 
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