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Author Topic: Defending Capitalism  (Read 48350 times)
NghtRppr
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April 10, 2011, 08:04:56 AM
 #41

If all humans are selfish, why do you suppose this is the case?

I didn't say they are purely selfish.
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April 10, 2011, 11:03:25 AM
 #42

That's not anarchy. It's just capitalism at work. Anarchism opposes capitalism.

Again, Anarchy can co-exist with any economic form, as it doesn't have one. Anarchy doesn't oppose anything there.

I second most of ffe, including that I'd still prefer capitalism to the known alternatives, thus the need for "parts" of others ideologies.

@bitcoin2cash,

You just talk about Capitalism as it looks to you personally and how you'd been affected by it so far. Capitalism at "personal level", forgetting that Capitalism is more a State and Global movement.
A trades a bike with B... A can trade a bike with B on every circumstance in any given economic model. You forget for an instance, by your initial post, "the value of the 500 bucks".

OK, say that I've the bike and accept those 500 bucks, because I'm up to buy a skate for 250 later on. Now... what are or how much worth 500 bucks? In the current status of capitalism, they're just printed paper issued by a private bank, the FED, not indexed to anything at all (In God we trust... and we better because on the notes you're wasting your time). Back on Mercantilism, trade was ruled by bullion; silver, gold...; now it's ruled by worthless paper.
Back on our business, I said I want to buy a skate for 250, but... my bad... I let it pass one month and now they sale for 550. As you see, by holding worthless paper the values float without much control as you can never redeem such paper for nothing.

To the end, in Anarchy, the Capitalism we've at the moment couldn't exist. Without a government to hold the currency value, and anyone able to print how much he pleases, it would be zeroed.

NOTE: Bitcoin is a form of electronic bullion, as it has its own way to control its issue, btw.
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April 10, 2011, 12:23:50 PM
 #43

Ahem, originally posted in the wrong thread. Let's try again.

I haven't read the thread. I haven't even read the first post. I'm just going to put a few thoughts down about capitalism and anarchism, and leave the thread again. I.e. don't expect a response.

Capitalism, where individuals can accumulate resources beyond (far beyond) what can be used by an individual requires a government like structure. I'll explain. A capitalist is one who owns resources beyond what can be used by the capitalist on their own. So, the capitalist either rents out the resources for others to use, or hires others to work these resources. (I would suggest these, and lending money at interest, are basically the same. The capitalist lets others use the resources, in exchange for taking a percentage of what is produced. The difference between renting and hiring is the structure, and how much the capitalist takes.) If the person to whom the capitalist is renting the resources to refuses to pay the capitalist, the capitalist will then use force to evict the person from the {factory; land; etc.}.

Anyway, I'll stop now, because Robert Nozick said it better in the first two parts of his book [rl=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchy_State_and_Utopia]Anarchy, State and Utopia[/url]. Basically, all those little private defence agencies that would spring up to defend the capitalist's interests, would merge by necessity and by reason of efficiency. Eventually you would be left with multiple rather large defence agencies that would be big enough to enforce their world-view on all the people in a particular geographical area. Oh wait, that's a state.

I fundamentally disagree with Nozick's conclusions in his book, but I can't fault his reasoning that in any "state of nature" (as he puts it) which is a state-less capitalism, a state will inevitably emerge.

---

Now, contrast this to a anarchism where resources do not accumulate beyond what can be personally used, and rent, interest and profit are all rejected. I would argue (and have done elsewhere) that a state would not emerge from such a society. Mainly because without capital, individuals and groups of individuals would not be able to accumulate enough power to form a state.

I prefer that utopia, thank you very much. (And I would argue, as I have done else where, that it is a utopia that permits more utopias than the so call "anarchist"-capitalism.)

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State-less capitalist society = Mafia run society. Capitalist apologists who support such this, are not anarchists.
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April 10, 2011, 08:45:54 PM
 #44

You just talk about Capitalism as it looks to you personally and how you'd been affected by it so far. Capitalism at "personal level", forgetting that Capitalism is more a State and Global movement.

That's just a story people tell.  There is no state, there are only individuals.  Arbitrarily lumping certain individuals together does not change their nature.

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April 10, 2011, 09:14:25 PM
 #45

You just talk about Capitalism as it looks to you personally and how you'd been affected by it so far. Capitalism at "personal level", forgetting that Capitalism is more a State and Global movement.

That's just a story people tell.  There is no state, there are only individuals.  Arbitrarily lumping certain individuals together does not change their nature.

Actually it does, an individual alone doesn't have the strength of a collective body. Other than that you've the group and mob mind. An individual may act one way when alone and the same individual may act in a totally different way within a group and yet another within a mob.

@左:

Mafia doesn't run societies, it's the other way around; Mafia is a private business resembling the Governments... the only reason why Governments don't like Mafia is because they don't get quite along with concurrence.
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April 10, 2011, 09:29:52 PM
 #46

You just talk about Capitalism as it looks to you personally and how you'd been affected by it so far. Capitalism at "personal level", forgetting that Capitalism is more a State and Global movement.

That's just a story people tell.  There is no state, there are only individuals.  Arbitrarily lumping certain individuals together does not change their nature.

Actually it does, an individual alone doesn't have the strength of a collective body. Other than that you've the group and mob mind. An individual may act one way when alone and the same individual may act in a totally different way within a group and yet another within a mob.

@左:

Mafia doesn't run societies, it's the other way around; Mafia is a private business resembling the Governments... the only reason why Governments don't like Mafia is because they don't get quite along with concurrence.

There is no such thing as a collective body.  There are a bunch of individuals.  If you turn into a mindless blob with no opinions outside what the group 'thinks' (seriously, how does a group think?  Does a new, collective brain appear?), that's not something I've ever experienced.  It's the existence of a collectivist mentality in the first place that allows people to shut their brains off while chanting things like, "USA! USA! USA!" or any other 'collective identity' people adopt because they have no self-esteem and choose to identify themselves through a geographic accident rather than anything they've ever done.

If you stick a bunch of trees together, it's called a forest, but the trees inside do not change their individual nature in anyway.  If you're saying two people will together have more physical strength than one person or two people (generally) have more brainpower working together than separately, well no kidding.  That still doesn't contradict anything I've said.

And the reason people who make up the government don't like the mafia, when they are just a legitimized mafia, is because they don't like competition.  If they did, they wouldn't back up their edicts with force.

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April 10, 2011, 09:32:33 PM
 #47

If every US citizen were to die, there would be no more USA. Therefore, the USA is nothing above and beyond the people that it is comprised of.
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April 10, 2011, 09:37:18 PM
 #48

I didn't say they are purely selfish.

A few years ago there was a science radio show about generosity and human nature. Can't provide a link unfortunatly but from what I recall the conclusion is quite the opposite what you claim. People are inherently generous, and give more than they "have to". The study was done on isolated tribes all over the world. Tribesmen who didn't manage to get enough food or shelter were aided by their peers, and in every single study the peers gave more than what was needed. The "cheapest" society gave about 20% surplus, the more generous societies gave well over 100% more.

Believe it or not, but there you have it.

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April 10, 2011, 09:45:29 PM
 #49

@Gluskab;

Being a social animal, humans want to fit in to something; a "society" and its spheres of identity. Starting with your family to your country, to your race, to your religion to whatever one can "hold in to" to grab his "identity". Depending on the group you choose or by accident decided to join for this purpose you get the "group mind", a set of rules you learn to not contest at the expense of be expelled of such group and therefore lose your group identity or be considered as an outcast by your group. This is what sets the group mind.
Depending on the group, the reasons can be various and either rational, accidental or plainly irrational, jersey colors on sports, place of birth on nationalism and patriotism... still and even if you don't contest, it doesn't mean you think about it an agreed, to many of them you just accept by a single reason; you don't even bother to think about it.
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April 10, 2011, 09:49:14 PM
 #50

@Gluskab;

Being a social animal, humans want to fit in to something; a "society" and its spheres of identity. Starting with your family to your country, to your race, to your religion to whatever one can "hold in to" to grab his "identity". Depending on the group you choose or by accident decided to join for this purpose you get the "group mind", a set of rules you learn to not contest at the expense of be expelled of such group and therefore lose your group identity or be considered as an outcast by your group. This is what sets the group mind.
Depending on the group, the reasons can be various and either rational, accidental or plainly irrational, jersey colors on sports, place of birth on nationalism and patriotism... still and even if you don't contest, it doesn't mean you think about it an agreed, to many of them you just accept by a single reason; you don't even bother to think about it.

So, when you pull that person out of the group, you no longer have a person?  Just a 1/n of a group?

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April 10, 2011, 10:18:47 PM
 #51

I didn't say they are purely selfish.

A few years ago there was a science radio show about generosity and human nature. Can't provide a link unfortunatly but from what I recall the conclusion is quite the opposite what you claim. People are inherently generous, and give more than they "have to". The study was done on isolated tribes all over the world. Tribesmen who didn't manage to get enough food or shelter were aided by their peers, and in every single study the peers gave more than what was needed. The "cheapest" society gave about 20% surplus, the more generous societies gave well over 100% more.

Believe it or not, but there you have it.

Selfish meaning they care about themselves first and others second. Who would deny that?
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April 10, 2011, 10:36:56 PM
 #52

So, when you pull that person out of the group, you no longer have a person?  Just a 1/n of a group?

It's the other way around... you don't "pull persons out of the group", instead they join themselves groups and, depending on the kind of the group, abide by its rules (strangely on some groups, as religious ones, they tend to not "abide by their rules" but instead acting dualistic being very intransigent for others to abide the god or gods given rules - even those outside the group - whereas themselves believe to have a sort of "god's chump discount").

You see, the "group mind" is way too complex to be a simply put in and pull out... and groups themselves can come in all flavors and colors. Humanity is weird... like you said, as when people switch off the brain to call out the name of the geographical accident where they, by totally random reasons, happened to born.
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April 10, 2011, 10:40:16 PM
 #53

So, when you pull that person out of the group, you no longer have a person?  Just a 1/n of a group?

It's the other way around... you don't "pull persons out of the group", instead they join themselves groups and, depending on the kind of the group, abide by its rules (strangely on some groups, as religious ones, they tend to not "abide by their rules" but instead acting dualistic being very intransigent for others to abide the god or gods given rules - even those outside the group - whereas themselves believe to have a sort of "god's chump discount").

You see, the "group mind" is way too complex to be a simply put in and pull out... and groups themselves can come in all flavors and colors. Humanity is weird... like you said, as when people switch off the brain to call out the name of the geographical accident where they, by totally random reasons, happened to born.

So, people's minds cannot be individually changed.  You should just join a group that sort of matches your philosophy and hope people accidentally join that group?

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April 10, 2011, 11:14:11 PM
 #54

So, people's minds cannot be individually changed.  You should just join a group that sort of matches your philosophy and hope people accidentally join that group?

...or a group whose philosophy matches your own... if we were talking about rational groups, which not all of them are.
I understand your point, yet you're putting it to black & white, be individual vs be in group... there's a gray-scale in between of those two extremes.
At some point you may find the individual unwilling to change, even if the change is reasonable, if it could put his place in a particular group at stake, or vice-versa. Not all groups are the same or aim for the same. Like the poster on X-Files said «I want to believe», pretty often people just «want to believe»... even if the belief is totally senseless.
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April 11, 2011, 01:37:05 AM
 #55

So, people's minds cannot be individually changed.  You should just join a group that sort of matches your philosophy and hope people accidentally join that group?

...or a group whose philosophy matches your own... if we were talking about rational groups, which not all of them are.
I understand your point, yet you're putting it to black & white, be individual vs be in group... there's a gray-scale in between of those two extremes.
At some point you may find the individual unwilling to change, even if the change is reasonable, if it could put his place in a particular group at stake, or vice-versa. Not all groups are the same or aim for the same. Like the poster on X-Files said «I want to believe», pretty often people just «want to believe»... even if the belief is totally senseless.

But that doesn't change the nature of the person.  Of course people are social creatures and tend to interact with other people, and people who have similar interests or beliefs.  I never claimed people had irrational beliefs, I just didn't take the view that you have to change a group to change the viewpoint of any of the people 'within' it.  From the start, the comment I replied to said:

Quote
You just talk about Capitalism as it looks to you personally and how you'd been affected by it so far. Capitalism at "personal level", forgetting that Capitalism is more a State and Global movement.

Which, maybe if you're talking about the 'capitalism' that is in the world today (read: corporatism), that might make a little more sense, but capitalism that means only voluntary interactions happens on a person by person basis, and that's the only real way to frame it philosophically.  You can extrapolate out from that how things might happen with larger groups of people, but that doesn't mean you can't talk about capitalism or any other economic/political system in the context of individuals interacting.  In fact, I think that's exactly how you should frame the discussion philosophically because you can't interact with a group, a group cannot interact with another group, only people can interact with other people; even if those people are also speaking on the behalf of a group or any number of individuals.

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April 11, 2011, 01:57:08 AM
 #56

Some groups are irrational, like team supporters. They just like the colors... probably... or the father was of that team, or the best friend. But there's no rational/philosophical grounds about that. I don't say is that irrational groups aren't ok...
OTH, yes, the group has to change for its members to change, at least if such change requires core modifications. If you don't manage to do the change in a group level individuals from such group will simply ignore you - no matter how right or wrong you may be.

As for Capitalism, it's not "just trade between two or more people", for that many other economic theories can apply, specially because all of them are designed exactly to conduct trade between people.
The differences are set on other grounds; i.e. Communism and Socialism decides you shouldn't keep what you don't need if some else needs it, Capitalism has a straight view on property, you "own" and it's "yours", regardless if you need it or not, Distributism sets limits to property, you can own with some surplus but not accumulate as in Capitalism, ancient American indigenous people totally lacked the sense of property, you belong to the land not the land to you. Who's wrong, who's right... hard to tell.
Anyway, Capitalism is more than just a "free market" or A trading with B, Capitalism per definition is an economy based on the strength of the capital. We can say however that free market is the major improvement from Capitalism's predecessor, Mercantilism, by causing the guilds to become extinct.

Groups DO interact with groups and individuals. Wars are exactly the proof of such, group leaders disagreed and their groups goes after them against each other. Reason why it turns easier when a group has a known leader, you just need to change the leader's view for change almost everybody within it - at this point you'll have dissidents; people for which one of the main reasons to be in the group was exactly the one that changed.

Never underestimate the power of groups... they're the reason we've a society in the first place.
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April 11, 2011, 05:21:44 AM
 #57

...

OK, say that I've the bike and accept those 500 bucks, because I'm up to buy a skate for 250 later on. Now... what are or how much worth 500 bucks? In the current status of capitalism, they're just printed paper issued by a private bank, the FED, not indexed to anything at all (In God we trust... and we better because on the notes you're wasting your time). Back on Mercantilism, trade was ruled by bullion; silver, gold...; now it's ruled by worthless paper.
Back on our business, I said I want to buy a skate for 250, but... my bad... I let it pass one month and now they sale for 550. As you see, by holding worthless paper the values float without much control as you can never redeem such paper for nothing.

...

Say you mowed our neighbour's lawn for the extra 50 bucks you needed and bought the skate, but the day after that some volcano chain started erupting and dipped the world in volcanic winter,  covering all the parks, ramps, sidewalks etc with snow so you can't use your skate in most places you would; now your skate isn't worth all that much for anyone. You mentioned backing by metals, tomorrow someone could find a vein of gold of continental proportions and and the price of the gram would drop so much you would make more money selling a gram of cancerigenous air out of the exhaust from a old poluting combustion engine.

It's pretty hard to find somthing that has an "inherent" value that can't be changed drasticly.

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April 11, 2011, 08:43:44 AM
 #58

Anyone asking how things get their prices is pretty much asking a question with a known answer. It's not how much it costs to produce or obtain X. It's not how important X is to general human welfare. It's based on marginal utility. Let's say you have 3 loaves of bread and you have different goals you'd like to accomplish with that bread in order of importance to you. Maybe you want to eat the first one, give the second one to your family and sell the third. If you're forced to give up a loaf of bread, you're going to have to give up one of your goals. Which goal? The least important goal. The value you place on achieving that last goal is the value you place on a loaf of bread. As you have fewer loaves of bread, you can achieve fewer goals and the value increases on the remaining loaves. Nothing has intrinsic value. All values are subjective but are reflected in prices which are objective, we can observe prices, not values.
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April 11, 2011, 09:10:50 AM
 #59


Selfish meaning they care about themselves first and others second. Who would deny that?

Selfish, as defined by Merriam-Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/selfish
": concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others"

My emphasis. Clearly noone denies your definition, but what I was saying was that people aren't selfish according do Marriam-Websters definition. People DO care about others. More than they have to. And it's a good thing imho.

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April 11, 2011, 09:12:57 AM
 #60

The fact that price has nothing to do with value doesn't mean that there is no such thing as intrinsic value.

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