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Question: Do you like profit?
yes - 41 (74.5%)
no - 14 (25.5%)
Total Voters: 53

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hugolp
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March 24, 2011, 06:06:24 PM
 #41

FatherMcGruder:
I don't think I really see what you're proposing. To help me understand could you:

-define "capitalism"
-give an example of how one would go about avoiding it.
Capitalism is a system wherein one, as a capitalist, tries to gain as much as he can, however he can, from someone else, or some group of people, while giving back as little as possible.

This is the most ridiculous definition of capitalism I have yet read. Come on, you are using all type of subjective concepts as if they were objective. It does not make sense at all.
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March 24, 2011, 07:29:03 PM
 #42

Most people do not know how to manage themselves and each other within a group. Employers allow people to specialize.

/I'm done
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March 24, 2011, 07:57:44 PM
 #43

FatherMcGruder: Interestingly, your solution revolves around the party with power refraining from using it, not so much around the party with less power trying to avoid being taken advantage of. Anyone who refrains from getting the greatest profit from their property on moral grounds puts themselves at a disadvantage in comparison to less scrupulous competitors. In the long run, altruism loses out, unless it is somehow supported. There are many such supports in place in society now, most of them coercive in some way.

What's your stand on coercion? Socialism (I don't use this as a pejorative BTW, your ideas sound pretty socialist in a very classical sense.) requires co-operation which very easily leads to coercion. Much like with Anarchism in general, for things to work out you have to be willing and somehow able to break society down into units small enough for small-group psychology to hold sway - in a larger society, you need guns to keep people altruistic. I'm interested in any counterexamples, of course.

I do think any remotely free society requires its residents to behave altruistically at times. There must be a willingness to make personal compromises in the interest of the society as a whole, otherwise you lose the sense of belonging that is one of the greatest protections against abuses of power. One thing I've never understood about Anarcho-Capitalism is how it wouldn't simply lead to anyone with enough wealth hiring a private army and forming a new government, probably rather less friendly than the ones we have now in some places.

As Chairman Mao said, power grows from the barrel of a gun. You can take that as an endorsement of guns or as a condemnation of power...

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March 25, 2011, 03:10:16 AM
 #44

FatherMcGruder: Interestingly, your solution revolves around the party with power refraining from using it, not so much around the party with less power trying to avoid being taken advantage of. Anyone who refrains from getting the greatest profit from their property on moral grounds puts themselves at a disadvantage in comparison to less scrupulous competitors. In the long run, altruism loses out, unless it is somehow supported. There are many such supports in place in society now, most of them coercive in some way.

What's your stand on coercion? Socialism (I don't use this as a pejorative BTW, your ideas sound pretty socialist in a very classical sense.) requires co-operation which very easily leads to coercion. Much like with Anarchism in general, for things to work out you have to be willing and somehow able to break society down into units small enough for small-group psychology to hold sway - in a larger society, you need guns to keep people altruistic. I'm interested in any counterexamples, of course.

I do think any remotely free society requires its residents to behave altruistically at times. There must be a willingness to make personal compromises in the interest of the society as a whole, otherwise you lose the sense of belonging that is one of the greatest protections against abuses of power. One thing I've never understood about Anarcho-Capitalism is how it wouldn't simply lead to anyone with enough wealth hiring a private army and forming a new government, probably rather less friendly than the ones we have now in some places.

As Chairman Mao said, power grows from the barrel of a gun. You can take that as an endorsement of guns or as a condemnation of power...
I never said achieving proper anarchy would be easy or fast. And it certainly won't happen if the majority of people continue to support capitalism. But I don't think it's too much to suggest that people with access to capital engage in ventures that use cooperative models instead of authoritarian ones. If enough people start to value cooperative relationships and hate authoritarian ones, and raise their children accordingly, an anarchist society will eventually emerge and thrive. A minority of capitalists won't be a problem because they'll have trouble finding employees. Such societies emerged in Spain, but the fascists and the communists, with greater numbers and firepower arrived and killed enough of the anarchists to put an end to that. As such, I don't support violent revolution. The anarchists will probably get beaten again without having changed enough minds. I think anarchism can spread peacefully by setting examples and educating people. Power disseminating technology, like Bitcoin, will help. Currently, the people with the most capital take a lot of it from workers. If enough workers can find cooperative alternatives, they will eventually weaken the large capital holders enough that they will have to start working themselves, or at least make room for more cooperative associations.

If you need to force people to be altruistic, are they really being altruistic?

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March 25, 2011, 03:31:41 AM
 #45

I never said achieving proper anarchy would be easy or fast. And it certainly won't happen if the majority of people continue to support capitalism. But I don't think it's too much to suggest that people with access to capital engage in ventures that use cooperative models instead of authoritarian ones. If enough people start to value cooperative relationships and hate authoritarian ones, and raise their children accordingly, an anarchist society will eventually emerge and thrive. A minority of capitalists won't be a problem because they'll have trouble finding employees. Such societies emerged in Spain, but the fascists and the communists, with greater numbers and firepower arrived and killed enough of the anarchists to put an end to that. As such, I don't support violent revolution. The anarchists will probably get beaten again without having changed enough minds. I think anarchism can spread peacefully by setting examples and educating people. Power disseminating technology, like Bitcoin, will help. Currently, the people with the most capital take a lot of it from workers. If enough workers can find cooperative alternatives, they will eventually weaken the large capital holders enough that they will have to start working themselves, or at least make room for more cooperative associations.

If you need to force people to be altruistic, are they really being altruistic?

The capitalists on this forum are shown to be indifferent to the form of organization and relationship other than the question of voluntary/coercion. They happily form the needed association and organizations to meet the tasks at hand.

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March 25, 2011, 04:06:07 AM
 #46

Reply to everyone who said that nothing immoral occurred in my thought experiment.

What do you think about the idea that a free market requires knowledge/information? I, as a consumer, can buy what I want. But I really only want to buy products that aren't made by slave labor. Difficult, because there is no label on goods that explains whether or not it was made with slave labor or not.* I also only want to buy food that isn't going to poison me, that don't have too much fat or sugar, etc. Now, if it were up to the corporations, I wouldn't be able to know any thing about the food they produce. Why? Because they benefit from consumers only being able to compare products based on price, advertising, and later, after the product is consumed/used the experience. So, that's why governments step in and force corporations to label their goods.

* For the purposes of this post, slave labor has two meanings. One: where someone is forced to work for a certain person/organization. Two: where people are paid a pittance for their labor, compared to the price the product of their labor is sold for.

Now, in this case, the person with the imperfect knowledge is the original producer. They didn't realize that their paintings were "valued" at such a high price compared to what they were selling them for. After finding out, of course, they could now refuse to deal with the original gallery owner without much higher compensation. If they could afford to that is. But before hand, the market failed the painter.

(I would also argue that capitalist free markets will generally, if not always, fail, because it is in the interest of the capitalists to without information so that they can increase their profit, and thus capital. In a non-capitalist market, where resources are not accumulated beyond what can be used, there is less incentive to do this. Where there is no profit motive at all, such as in an anarchist free market, there is more incentive to actually educate consumers about the product.)

Now, as this thread is about profit, I would like to state two things. First, that in the original example, the gallery owner exploited, immorally, the painter. But, that actually, if the paintings only costs the painter $100 to produce (labor, paint, etc.), it would also be immoral for the painter to sell those paintings at $5000. That's because, as I posted earlier, "cost [should be] the limit of price". I.e. it's immoral to sell something for more than what it cost to produce it.

Now, that doesn't work in this capitalist world we live in. But, damn it, I'm allowed to dream about a better world!

(Also, I'm bowing out of the thread now, unless someone offers a detailed response that actually addresses a point I've made.)

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March 25, 2011, 05:20:28 AM
 #47

Reply to everyone who said that nothing immoral occurred in my thought experiment.
So, that's why governments step in and force corporations to label their goods.
So, I as a free market capitalist see a market for "No Slave Labour" products. Since I'm printing lables for my products anyway it costs me next to nothing to add that to the lable.
Now people could always lie, but if the market finds out that my lable is false I lose any advantage my clever little marketing ploy had as they all move to another product.
Just like the painter has the option to raise the price of his work or go somewhere else (or open his own gallery) the gallery that was exploiting him losses in the long term.
Thats how voluntary austracism punishes unscrupulous behaviour

the market failed the painter.
you mean the painter failed in the market Tongue

it is in the interest of the capitalists to without information so that they can increase their profit, and thus capital. In a non-capitalist market, where resources are not accumulated beyond what can be used, there is less incentive to do this. Where there is no profit motive at all, such as in an anarchist free market, there is more incentive to actually educate consumers about the product.)
The incentive to educate consumers about the product is competitive advantage. If I'm the only guy with "Slave Free" chocolate bars I have 100% market share.
Witholding information maximises profits in the short term, true, but building trust and providing what the customer wants maximises profits over the long term.

Now, as this thread is about profit, I would like to state two things. First, that in the original example, the gallery owner exploited, immorally, the painter. But, that actually, if the paintings only costs the painter $100 to produce (labor, paint, etc.), it would also be immoral for the painter to sell those paintings at $5000. That's because, as I posted earlier, "cost [should be] the limit of price". I.e. it's immoral to sell something for more than what it cost to produce it.

Now, that doesn't work in this capitalist world we live in. But, damn it, I'm allowed to dream about a better world!

(Also, I'm bowing out of the thread now, unless someone offers a detailed response that actually addresses a point I've made.)
"cost [should be] the limit of price"
If I spend all day painting a picture and it costs me $100 to paint and I go to the market and sell it for $100 I will literaly will die of starvation
now lets say I factor food into this equation and that $100 covers food and waste (paint washed off the brush is lost) let's also say that instead of painting a picture I could have been performing brain surgery. do I value my time as a lowly painter or a highly skilled surgeon? by making a painting I have foregone the pay of a surgeon which is a lost oppertunity cost.
Is my time painting worth exactly the same as a surgeon? how about a master painter?
No, my time cost is compleatly subjective so if I was to sell a painting worth $5000 in materials it would include $4900 worth of labour
how is that any different from profit or do you plan to force people to value their time equaly in which case how is that different from the state?

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<insert "None of this matters anyway the state is evil" rant here>

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March 25, 2011, 05:49:17 AM
 #48

I am the Tak tse Profit.  It is not a misspelling.  I am here to remind everyone of forgotten or ignored truths of the ancients.  I wish to express my Philosophy via a blog here or in another Bit Coin related publication.

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March 25, 2011, 07:15:32 AM
 #49

Reply to everyone who said that nothing immoral occurred in my thought experiment.

What do you think about the idea that a free market requires knowledge/information? I, as a consumer, can buy what I want. But I really only want to buy products that aren't made by slave labor. Difficult, because there is no label on goods that explains whether or not it was made with slave labor or not.* I also only want to buy food that isn't going to poison me, that don't have too much fat or sugar, etc. Now, if it were up to the corporations, I wouldn't be able to know any thing about the food they produce. Why? Because they benefit from consumers only being able to compare products based on price, advertising, and later, after the product is consumed/used the experience. So, that's why governments step in and force corporations to label their goods.

No, you have it backwards.

If there was a free market consumer presure would force food companies to label their products with the information, and probably there would appear other companies with higher standards hiring employees.

But the governments appears and regulates so companies can avoid competition and dont have to listen to consumer demands. Then politicians go and promote the idea that regulations help you, and its easy since very few voters read and understand the regulations.

You have example after example of this. For example, I remember a one man beer production company that started to get famous locally and started to take a big part of the market. The beer companies came quickly and made the government regulated sending the guy out of business.

It is really naive to believe that government regulations are there to protect you.
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March 25, 2011, 07:27:44 AM
 #50

Now, in this case, the person with the imperfect knowledge is the original producer. They didn't realize that their paintings were "valued" at such a high price compared to what they were selling them for. After finding out, of course, they could now refuse to deal with the original gallery owner without much higher compensation. If they could afford to that is. But before hand, the market failed the painter.

I dont see how the market failed the painter. You just have repeated the history, not addressing any argument. Knowledge will always be imperfect, this is something free marketeers have assumed since always. It was only neoclassicals and keynesians that assumed that information was perfect until recently.

Btw, the art trader also suffers from imperfect information. He is also taking a risk. For example, what if the artist is a pedophile, gets famous thanks to his support and when the news gets out the art traders career gets ruined and all his efforts building a consumer base goes to nothing? Is that the market failing to the art trader?

Quote
(I would also argue that capitalist free markets will generally, if not always, fail, because it is in the interest of the capitalists to without information so that they can increase their profit, and thus capital. In a non-capitalist market, where resources are not accumulated beyond what can be used, there is less incentive to do this. Where there is no profit motive at all, such as in an anarchist free market, there is more incentive to actually educate consumers about the product.)

You are assuming that people will be completely different depending on the name you asign to them. It makes no sense. I have discovered that people that define themselves as austro-free-marketeers tend to be very moral and very consumer driven producers.

Quote
Now, as this thread is about profit, I would like to state two things. First, that in the original example, the gallery owner exploited, immorally, the painter. But, that actually, if the paintings only costs the painter $100 to produce (labor, paint, etc.), it would also be immoral for the painter to sell those paintings at $5000. That's because, as I posted earlier, "cost [should be] the limit of price". I.e. it's immoral to sell something for more than what it cost to produce it.

No its not. Just because you repeat something again and again without justification, it does not become true.

Quote
Now, that doesn't work in this capitalist world we live in. But, damn it, I'm allowed to dream about a better world!

(Also, I'm bowing out of the thread now, unless someone offers a detailed response that actually addresses a point I've made.)

We dont live in a free market world. We live in a social-democrat system. If by capitalism you mean the present system, then yes, we should live in a better world. The problem is that people is very selfish and prefer to believe in fantasies that make their ego feel good and not real solutions.
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March 25, 2011, 02:07:02 PM
 #51

The capitalists on this forum are shown to be indifferent to the form of organization and relationship other than the question of voluntary/coercion. They happily form the needed association and organizations to meet the tasks at hand.
As long as those associations and organizations tolerate their brand of extortion, the state.

Quote
We can assimilate you and your ideas but you could never assimilate us.
I'm not your Borg, bro.

Now, as this thread is about profit, I would like to state two things. First, that in the original example, the gallery owner exploited, immorally, the painter. But, that actually, if the paintings only costs the painter $100 to produce (labor, paint, etc.), it would also be immoral for the painter to sell those paintings at $5000. That's because, as I posted earlier, "cost [should be] the limit of price". I.e. it's immoral to sell something for more than what it cost to produce it.
Let's say the painters material costs (paint, canvas, brush wear) amounted to $25. That means the gallery owner paid the painter $75 for his labor, while the market, if the painter has access to it, would have paid him $4925. Which value correctly represents the painter's labor? I believe that the market, assuming that there is only one for the society and that everyone has access to it, democratically assigns the most correct value. However, exclusive markets, a product of capitalism, give too much power to the gate-keeping middlemen who then take advantage of the workers.

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March 25, 2011, 02:30:27 PM
 #52

Now, as this thread is about profit, I would like to state two things. First, that in the original example, the gallery owner exploited, immorally, the painter. But, that actually, if the paintings only costs the painter $100 to produce (labor, paint, etc.), it would also be immoral for the painter to sell those paintings at $5000. That's because, as I posted earlier, "cost [should be] the limit of price". I.e. it's immoral to sell something for more than what it cost to produce it.
Let's say the painters material costs (paint, canvas, brush wear) amounted to $25. That means the gallery owner paid the painter $75 for his labor, while the market, if the painter has access to it, would have paid him $4925. Which value correctly represents the painter's labor? I believe that the market, assuming that there is only one for the society and that everyone has access to it, democratically assigns the most correct value. However, exclusive markets, a product of capitalism, give too much power to the gate-keeping middlemen who then take advantage of the workers.
The 2 parties came to a volantary arrangement in both cases. The artist assumed the gallery would try to profit from his work going into the arrangement. He took his profits and was happy.
later he finds out that the profit the gallery made was quite large.
in the future the artist knows that the market values his work much higher than he does and can increase his prices to the gallery owner or take his work to another gallery.

wait, why am I arguing about property rights with a communist.... Cheesy in fact why are you even here. this place is the epitomy of free market capitalism  Tongue

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March 25, 2011, 02:33:11 PM
 #53

wait, why am I arguing about property rights with a communist.... Cheesy in fact why are you even here. this place is the epitomy of free market capitalism  Tongue

There is no profit to be had arguing with a commie.  Wink

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March 25, 2011, 03:32:38 PM
 #54

The 2 parties came to a volantary arrangement in both cases. The artist assumed the gallery would try to profit from his work going into the arrangement. He took his profits and was happy.
But not as happy as he deserves.

Quote
later he finds out that the profit the gallery made was quite large.
Yes, he realizes that he has been robbed.

Quote
in the future the artist knows that the market values his work much higher than he does and can increase his prices to the gallery owner or take his work to another gallery.
He may be wiser, but he cannot take back what the gallery owner because he would face punishment from the state for doing so. How can he petition any gallery owner for a fairer deal if they will simply reject him for a more obedient painter?

Quote
wait, why am I arguing about property rights with a communist.... Cheesy
If you take the time to read more of my posts, you will realize that I am not a communist.

Quote
in fact why are you even here. this place is the epitomy of free market capitalism  Tongue
Because I think bitcoin might help to eliminate the state and therefore capitalism. It's funny that you should refer to the "epitomy[sic] of free market capitalism" on the one hundredth anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.

There is no profit to be had arguing with a commie.  Wink
There is no profit to any intellectual debate. Why were you one of the first to engage me in it?

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March 25, 2011, 04:14:56 PM
 #55

FatherMcGruder is onto something there: "government" or "the state" is simply any group of individuals with the ability to subjugate others to their will. Removing government altogether is likely to just lead to someone establishing  a new one, with force perhaps. I still don't see how a truly free market would actually arise, let alone stay free for any significant time.

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March 25, 2011, 04:30:22 PM
 #56

There is no profit to any intellectual debate. Why were you one of the first to engage me in it?

Wrong. There's profit in a fruitful intellectual debate. I gained knowledge, insight, and enlightenment. That is the product when somebody debate each other.

I actually did gain something from you, but the energy spent on it outweigh the gain. So it is an unprofitable debate.

There are interesting opposition that I can gain so much because they are actually smart and intelligent. Even if they are not that smart and intelligent, they have wisdom. I may disagree with them, but I can understand the justification for their arguments.

However, you are nothing more than just a crazy fool. I learned nothing and understand nothing. That is the "gain".

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March 25, 2011, 04:43:25 PM
 #57

Quote
wait, why am I arguing about property rights with a communist.... Cheesy
If you take the time to read more of my posts, you will realize that I am not a communist.
oh, in that case you are just compleatly wrong.  He alienated himself from his property for a fair sum. If the gallery instead burned the paintings for heat would they be entitled to a refund. less the heat generated of course Roll Eyes

Quote
later he finds out that the profit the gallery made was quite large.
Yes, he realizes that he has been robbed.
How so? he sold his property to the gallery. The gallery then sold it's justly aquired property for a profit.
This isn't a zero sum game pal. and if it was there would be no point playing.

Quote
in the future the artist knows that the market values his work much higher than he does and can increase his prices to the gallery owner or take his work to another gallery.
He may be wiser, but he cannot take back what the gallery owner because he would face punishment from the state for doing so. How can he petition any gallery owner for a fairer deal if they will simply reject him for a more obedient painter?
Sorry, I was working under the assumptions of a free market. If the state is involved all bets are off. The painter would probably sue and I don't care to get into a legal (blegh) disscussion

Quote
There is no profit to be had arguing with a commie.  Wink
There is no profit to any intellectual debate. Why were you one of the first to engage me in it?
Intellectual debate is nothing but profit. but kiba said it better while I was posting, lol

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March 26, 2011, 04:03:53 AM
 #58

Removing government altogether is likely to just lead to someone establishing  a new one, with force perhaps.
This part is the hardest, convincing most people that they're better off without government, even small ones of their own creation. The more invested in capitalism they are, intellectually and materially, the harder it is.

I gained knowledge, insight, and enlightenment.
Well, good, but that stuff is free. You can find it while pooping, after all.

Quote
However, you are nothing more than just a crazy fool.
I don't recall ever calling anyone in these discussions names. I refrain because I want my readers to take me seriously. Don't you want the same?

This isn't a zero sum game pal. and if it was there would be no point playing.
Abstractly, we everything about us is a zero sum game. We each don't exist, exist, and then cease existing. No one gets out alive. But since we're all in this together, why not seek cooperative relationships where everyone gains equally according to the work they do?

Quote
Sorry, I was working under the assumptions of a free market. If the state is involved all bets are off.
Ah, but the gallery owner is also the state! Otherwise, she couldn't possibly take the product of the painter's labor without giving something back of equal value.

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