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Consider that Capitalism is the Real Problem

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by Sunstone, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. Corvus

    Corvus Feathered eyeball connoisseur

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    Debt driven economies do not equal capitalism. In a capitalist system, innovation is rewarded, as is efficiency and productivity, in all areas but those where better proficiency is had by the public sector, since profit should be the ONLY consideration of non charitable private interests (aside from complying with the law) and as such this disqualifies them on grounds of human dignity and prevention of suffering, from being allowed to contractually provide vital or key public services. IMO.
     
  2. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    Well, I do love chocolate cake, but I've been known to turn down an extra slice or two.
     
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  3. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    That was true even when I was a kid. My mom used to tell us how the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, but there seemed to be some hope in what she said. She passed away never seeing an end to that hope.
     
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  4. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Regurgitating right wing propaganda since 2010
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    So far, so good.
    Anyone found a good alternative yet?
     
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  5. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    Socialism isn't an answer either. Like the law of physics there's the law of supply and demand. You give in one place and you take away from another.

    It's survival of the fittest that reigns supreme no matter what form of government is instututed. I hate it, but it's the reality if how things are and it's clear this isn't going to change for a loong time to come if ever givin the disposition by which nature and the universe operates for that matter.

    Best is a system of checks and balances that stems capitalism that dosent suppress what drives it. I don't think that's realistic though in how we are hardwired by evolution to obey those who take or are placed in alpha positions.
     
  6. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    We're social animals. That is how we evolved. We don't survive because "I" am strong, we survive because we are strong. We survive and flourish as groups, not individuals.
     
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  7. Muslim-UK

    Muslim-UK Well-Known Member
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    Yes, in my opinion, embrace capitalism if you wish, accumulate wealth, make time for God a central theme in your life. Keep 1/3 of the wealth to cover your living costs, 1/3 to reinvest into business, and 1/3 give to the needy, the poor. Help spread the wealth to better the lives of the less fortunate. Currently we have less than 10% of the World's elite sitting on over 90% of the wealth, whilst Billions struggle to get by.
     
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  8. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    There is a lot of truth to what you say here, although I've noticed that even capitalists aren't entirely consistent when it comes to recognizing this. Capitalists rely far more on the moral obligations they impose on others than they do on "survival of the fittest." For example, if a group of striking workers forcibly takes over a factory or some other enterprise, the capitalist will not gracefully concede defeat and say "Well, they were more numerous and stronger, so...survival of the fittest."

    Capitalists are more dependent on the social contract than any other group, since it's vital to capitalism that property rights be recognized and honored by most or all in society. That's a moral obligation, not survival of the fittest, yet capitalists want to have things both ways. That's where the problems come in.
     
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  9. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    I would say it's more of a legal obligation than moral, as what was moral to John Locke was that once property become privatized, no one be left with less than they had under common ownership. The tremendous wealth gap we have today clearly does not meet this moral obligation.
     
  10. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Regurgitating right wing propaganda since 2010
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    About that God part....not happening.
     
  11. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    In that moment, I assume you're wanting something else more. In my case I want to avoid the sugar blues.
     
  12. Enoch07

    Enoch07 It's all a sick freaking joke.
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    Venezuela seems to disagree right now. Another failed socialist state. 82% of the population below the poverty line, famine, little to no medical care due to lack of supplies. But the party leaders are fat happy and safe.
     
  13. Laika

    Laika Well-Known Member
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    I have a pretty strong suspicion that some of the data on Socialism in the US came from the Victims of Communism Foundation which was trying to assess the "threat" of Communism in America. If that's the case the authors of the article have been extremely selective in their use of the data and greatly exaggerated the strength of opinion in the US. If you look at the survey, the results show that there is considerable levels of ignorance as to the history of Communism and Socialism, and that the depth of conviction and willingness to actively pursue alternatives is very limited. Even if you take into account the recent spike in membership of the Democratic Socialists of American (DSA) and the Communist Party (USA), neither Socialism nor Communism are mainstream even if a level of sympathy is there.

    As @Nous pointed out the article doesn't not make any specific or verifiable claims as to what problems Capitalism is actually responsible for. Its characteristic of the state of opinion that, yes, people will oppose capitalism, but they will not explicitly support alternatives or actively try to find them or create them themselves. It is very popular to attack Capitalism but it is driven by moral concerns about the immortality of Greed rather than any specific problem with Capitalism. If we want to lift people out of poverty, any alternative has to harness what Capitalism got right even as they try to fix what went wrong.

    Capitalism is easily the most successful engine of economic growth, technological innovation and scientific discovery the world has ever known (especially if you include government assistance to private enterprise as a source of investment such as through the military and government contracts). The large scale alternatives to a Capitalist Mixed-economy that have existed are Fascism, Democratic Socialism and Soviet Style Communism (all of which are to a greater or lesser extent mixed economies with government and corporate economic planning).

    Until people start to commit themselves to a specific model to reform or replace capitalism, articles like that will be very popular and widely read because they entail no risk or commitment to any practical programme. It is far easier to criticise the status quo than to actually change it or create a new system from scratch. I'm inclined to believe that one of the models tried historically will be tried again at some point. Ideally, it would be democratic socialism but as "democracy" is so weak right now and it took two world wars and a great depression to get the ruling class to concede even the need for basic social rights, it would appear unlikely.

    A completely new alternative could be developed by an explosion of utopian thinking, but it requires independent and radical intellectuals, whereas most are now firmly within the corporate networks. As Mark Fisher put it "It is easier to imagine the end of the world, than the end of Capitalism" and it would seem to be a position widely held amongst intellectuals as opinion-formers and potential radical thinkers. If we are to avoid either Fascism or Soviet Style Communism as model of the future, we need to get working on an alternative and fast. there's maybe a few decades before the environmental problems converge and create one huge mess in which our opportunity to invest in new ideas and develop a new system. In terms of the history of ideas, society and politics- we are one or two generations away from collapse and that is a blink of an eye as far as history is considered. After that- we'll just have to go with whatever we've got to work with to make sure some form of civilisation is still standing. I favour the Soviet model over Fascism or Nazism but its hard to tell the difference sometimes.

    The far left in the West is at a historic low-point and has yet to recover from the collapse of the Soviet Union 28 years ago. They haven't even started to scratch the surface of dealing with libertarian criticisms that Planned economies are "inefficient" or necessarily "totalitarian" and changed public opinion definitively for something. the problem with mere anti-capitalism perpetuates the complacency and self-satisfaction of Capitalism because it continues to treat it as a natural inescapable product of human nature. So I'm more inclined to agree with conservatives and capitalists until evidence of a viable alternative is forthcoming. It is not enough to admit that Capitalism is the problem- we need the confidence in humanity to believe we can come up with the solutions and are not prisoners of circumstance or market forces, but can be the masters of our own destiny. There aren't enough dreamers or thinkers to build an alternative now. we need to be alot more ambitious.
     
  14. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    Or it could be he just wants no more. You don't have to keep insisting someone wants something if they say "no thanks."
    What we need is to kill god again, and not resurrect him again through any other entity again, much like how we killed Jehovah, but in his place we turned Capitalism into our god. We also need to embrace the fact we are social animals, and our chances of survival are much higher in a group and we prosper and benefit more as a group. Capitalism, however, pits people against each other, forcing them to compete for jobs that will give them the resources (money) to live, rather than these things being a given due to social contributions.
    And hopefully we do this, very quickly, before the resource depletion problems grow, before more and more people lose their jobs to technology developments, and before people have finally had enough and the only solution left is armed revolution.
     
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  15. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    The thing about the West, unlike Russia or China prior to their communist revolutions, is that we don't really have the extreme levels of deprivation and suffering that those other countries had. Their version of communism became much more extreme because they were facing extreme conditions that we haven't really faced in the West - not lately anyway. The labor movement flourished in the 20th century and brought about massive reforms which were enough to satisfy most working class people and turn them away from more extreme ideologies. There were many liberal reformers, such as FDR, Truman, LBJ, who found a balance between helping the working classes without rolling over capitalism completely. A new level of affluence, along with a vastly improved standard of living, made much of the country relatively content. Plus, there were more distractions, more leisure activities.

    The far left was hard pressed to find that much support, since there weren't as many disgruntled workers as there once was. They also had difficulty making any inroads in the Civil Rights movement, since anti-communist liberals such as Truman, Ike, JFK, LBJ and many others were all supporters of the Civil Rights movement. That's really the key to keeping extremism at bay, by moderates favoring needed reforms before it gets to the point where people start talking about revolution.

    The far left may have gained somewhat in the sense that McCarthy and his ilk fell out of favor to the point where communists weren't hounded quite so badly as before. The country's obsession with being anti-communist led to a counter-reaction which might be called "anti-anti-communism." That is, people who weren't necessarily communists were reacting against the obsessive and overzealous nature of the extreme anti-communist elements in the political culture. This led to hard, serious questions about the Cold War, Vietnam, and other aspects of our policies - both foreign and domestic.
    But once the Vietnam War had ended and Nixon was out of office, a lot of the political verve and zeal had started to peter out. The far left almost seemed irrelevant in US politics. Most people were already disillusioned about the Soviet Union and China. Plus, a lot of people were genuinely afraid of the nuclear missile build-up and other brinkmanship associated with the Cold War. It was no longer a "workers of the world" struggle as much as it was superpowers vying for world domination. The actual reasons seemed less important than that it's simply a struggle of "us vs. them."

    I think the far left took a further tumble when Reagan came to office and preached a different form of capitalism than the Keynesian-style economics they had grown accustomed to since FDR. Reagan became somewhat of a demigod for free-market capitalists who had generally opposed the New Deal and other economic reforms they deemed "communistic." They wanted to reverse over 40 years of reforms which had brought about the greatest level of affluence, wealth, and economic gain for America. Meanwhile, he stepped up US military policy and pushed for a resurgence in US military power. The far left was in dire straits. The Soviet Union was bogged down in Afghanistan, all the while still trying to maintain parity in the arms race with the West (and with China). Reagan's SDI is what is commonly credited as pushing the Soviets into the edge of bankruptcy as they couldn't afford their own system to counter the US. (I'm not sure that we could have afforded it either.)

    And China was moving towards a more capitalistic path, and their enmity with the Soviet Union was also a serious rift which divided the far left in other countries as well.

    Within the US, anything deemed "socialist" was pretty much automatically discredited by the very word itself. It wasn't really the same as McCarthyism, but one got the feeling that if one did not support pure free-market capitalism, one would be considered "disloyal" and "unpatriotic" - which is a mindset which still exists today to some extent - although not as much as it did back in the 80s.

    That's where the far left may face a giant hurdle, since it's gotten to the point where "national loyalty" and "patriotism" are based on supporting a particular economic system - and having an unquestioned loyalty to and blind faith in that system. Regardless of whatever political system one supports. This is exemplified in how many dictatorial regimes we've supported in the name of capitalism and anti-communism.

    I'm not sure what the future holds in terms of the world's economic and geopolitical status - the haves and have-nots both on a national scale and a global scale. Since the capitalists have gone global, then perhaps the far-left also needs to think more globally. If it's about the workers of the world uniting, then that's what they should do.
     
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  16. Laika

    Laika Well-Known Member
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    The West had levels of deprivation sufficient to gain a widespread interest in Socialism in the late 19th century as a consequence of industrialisation. That included the US with Eugene Debbs getting 6.0% of the vote in the 1912 Presidential Election for the Socialist Party of America. The First World War produced a radicalisation of politics in Europe and around the World, so between about 1917 to 1923, it was give or take whether Communist Revolutions would succeed in many countries (especially Germany). The high point of American Socialism and Communism was the Great Depression, but since the end of world war II Socialism and Communism have not been a factor in US politics (except perhaps on Student campuses in the 60's and 70's).

    I think JFK said "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable". Perhaps it was an effect of the trauma of the great depression and two world wars had on a generation, but they did seem to be smarter in recognising the need for reforms, even just to save capitalism from itself. They were of course right, and the problem now is that our so-called "democratic" institutions are fixated on free market solutions that they won't (or perhaps can't) reform them. For the ruling class, they could still save this system but we are getting to a point where "some kind" of crisis is becoming almost inevitable. its not that one thing is going wrong- its that you've got lots of things behaving erratically and are dysfunctional all at once. The environmental problems are the biggest and most important for the habitability of the planet, but they aren't the only ones.

    I'm just going to agree with you here. :)

    It may well have been the right policy to "derive truth from facts" as Deng Xio Peng put it and look for less ideological methods of achieving economic growth. It has made China an economic powerhouse, but there is a semi-serious possibility that an economic crisis could lead to a Maoist revival or democratic resistence. Its hard to tell.

    The relationship between Patriotism and Capitalism is pretty bizarre now you mention it. It may well have something to do with the place of the US constitution in defining what it means to be "American". As a nation of immigrants there wasn't a single ethnic group to define nationhood, so perhaps personal liberty and limited government became the underpinnings of US national identity since the Cold War.

    I suspect there is a structural problem in the far left which means we're "stuck" going round in circles. That's not universally true as you have Communist insurgencies in Nepal and India, but there really isn't that much going on globally. Whilst the world's attention is focused on ISIS, there is also a leftist style revolution going on next door in Syria/Kurdistan. I'm not really that well informed on either of them, but those are the ongoing ones I'm aware of.
     
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