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It's ALWAYS Oligarchs, an open challenge

Discussion in 'Political Debates' started by icehorse, Mar 13, 2021.

  1. icehorse

    icehorse Veteran Member
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    First a definition: I use the term "oligarch" to include anyone and everyone who is super rich and/or has huge wealth. Maybe it's a true oligarch, maybe it's an undertaxed CEO.

    My claim is that "oligarchs" exacerbate EVERY ill in our society. Name a societal ill, and with one or two degrees of separation, I can show how oligarchs are making things worse for us all.

    The gauntlet has been thrown down :)


    Now, if I'm right, or even mostly right, don't you think that the other 99.9999% of us ought to be working together to undo these oligarchs? Something radical like getting them to pay their fair share of taxes?
     
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  2. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue The gentle embrace of twilight has become my guide

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    While your at it, blame the rampant infestation of lawyers in society these days as well.

    I agree though. Those who have the money control everything. Even the laws and policies.

    Unfortunately it's so much out of control and entrenched, I think we are past the point of no return of any type of remedying.
     
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  3. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Yes, but unfortunately, it's like living in a dysfunctional family. Sure, dad's a tyrant and a bully that abuses his whole family whenever and however he feels like it, but the oldest son can't wait to grow up and be just like him. While the middle boy just stays drunk and high, living his life in a chemical cloud of oblivion. And the youngest son hides and tries to keep out of dad's way as much a possible until he's old enough to 'make a run for it'. Meanwhile mom, who's supposed to be protecting them all from dad's abuse is in total denial and pretending to herself and everyone else that dad's horrible behavior is just 'normal and inevitable dad stuff ... nothing to be done about it'.

    And should anyone from outside the family dare to point out the insanity of this family's abusive and dysfunctional behavior, they will all close ranks and defend it to the death.

    The INEVITABLE result of capitalism is oligarchy. And yet go ahead and DARE to tell the American people this. Watch them fight you tooth and nail insisting that capitalism is freedom and justice and opportunity and apple pie and all things good and proper even as the oligarchy that it's created strip them of everything they hold dear: their livelihoods, their dignity, their autonomy, and their children's dreams.
     
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  4. icehorse

    icehorse Veteran Member
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    Large hurdles, I agree! But I can't bring myself to agree that it's inevitable. But to that end, I've been trying to wrap my brain around free-market-ism vs. capitalism. I'm hoping that free-market-ism might be easier to keep on an even keel?
     
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  5. Kooky

    Kooky Freedom from Sanity

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    It's not inevitable, but all evidence points to it being an end goal capitalist societies tend to drift towards unless people are actively working to counter said tendency, or a major catastrophe happens to set the wealthy back a few steps.

    If you want to learn more about the issue of wealth inequality I strongly recommend Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century.Despite the usual smear campaigns from the usual suspects (Heritage Foundation members etc.) Piketty is emphatically not an anti-capitalist firebrand*, and near the end of the book actually argues for a variety of policy proposals in order to slow down or halt the trend towards oligarchy that seems to dominate capitalist societies.


    *) If you are looking for the words of an anti-capitalist firebrand, then the original Capital by a certain duo of German theorists and political activists may be a better fit for you. While some of its data and conclusions are somewhat outdated, as an analytical tool it is still absolutely on point.
     
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  6. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    A "free" market is code for an unregulated market just as a "free" society is code for an unregulated society. And BOTH are lawless anarchy trying to pretend it's not what it is. And both invite the rise of the 'bullyboys'.

    The only truly "free" market is a market that sells things that we don't need to buy. Luxury markets. So that we are "free" to refuse to participate in it if it seeks to exploit and abuse us for it's own profit. Which EVERY market seeks to do, if it can. Yet in our modern and highly inter-dependent societies, we need to buy pretty much everything that we need to live, making all those markets CAPTIVE markets, and not "free" markets. And captive markets are fundamentally exploitive. They seek to deliver the least value for the highest price because they know we have to participate, to live. And they are going to take everything we have and give us as little in return as they can get away with. Which inevitably results in a few very rich people controlling the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. Economic enslavement.

    Welcome to the new world order: the rule of the most greedy, few.
     
  7. icehorse

    icehorse Veteran Member
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    I really enjoyed a book called "Who Owns the Future?" by the "inventor" of virtual reality, Jaron Lanier (interesting character).

    One key idea I took away from Lanier, is that we should view all economic systems as man-made machines. Like ALL man-made machines, they need monitoring and tweaking. So I find discussions of "pure economic systems X vs. Y vs. Z" to be not very helpful. None of them are perfect if left unattended!
     
  8. Kooky

    Kooky Freedom from Sanity

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    I beg to differ. In a capitalist regime, "free" markets require rule by violence and authority in order to preserve all-important private property and capital.

    Conversely, a free society might as well do away with the oppressive system of capitalism altogether - and arguably has to, if it wants to pursue genuine freedom for every single one of its members.
     
  9. icehorse

    icehorse Veteran Member
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    My current, incomplete, understanding of free-market-ism is that the ownership of companies shifts away from uninvolved "capitalists", and more towards the workers. We but a lot of organic foods, and as an example, many of these organic food companies are "employee owned".
     
  10. Kooky

    Kooky Freedom from Sanity

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    The problem I have with this analogy is that machines are designed for specific purposes, whereas nobody went and designed an economic system like capitalism - and arguably, even its true purpose can only be discerned by observation.

    This may be perhaps the only flaw I see with the proposal of a true libertarian society - it's easy to design a new economic system that just works in one's head, while actually bringing about a change in people's economic behavior that is natural and self-governing seems extraordinarily hard.
     
  11. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    And even more importantly, it would be 'insane' to build a machine that then enslaves and exploits us. And yet this is what we have done. We have created an economic 'machine' that forces us to serve it, rather than it serving us.
     
  12. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    The problem still remains. Regardless of who "owns" the business, they all would rather sell 10 widgets for $10 each than 100 widgets for $1 each. The income is still $100, but the cost of production is far less in the former trade, than the latter.

    ALL trading seeks to exploit us for it's own gain. And that's what has to be mitigated by the 'trading systems' that we set up and engage in. "Free" trading does not address this problem except by allowing us to refuse to engage in it. Which is an extreme and very impractical method of mitigation. What we need are trading systems that increase our control relative to our need to participate in them. If, for example, we have to have some form of transportation to survive in a modern society, then we have to control the transportation market relative to that need, so that everyone can reasonably afford it. Thus, the transportation market cannot be "free" to do whatever it pleases for the sake of it's own profit.
     
    #12 PureX, Mar 13, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2021
  13. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    Thanks to silver spoon, I control wealth
    enough to put me in the top .0001
    or so percent.

    So I must be truly dreadful.

    You figure some social ills would be
    prevented if all but enough to live on
    were seized and distributed?
     
  14. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    The essence o
    The essence of trade is both parties being
    better off for the transaction.
     
  15. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
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    It takes violence to prevent free economic association, ie, capitalism.
    We've no better examples of this than historical attempts, eg, China,
    N Korea, USSR. There will always be property, wealth, & income.
    But under anti-capitalist regimes, the state must oppress the
    populace in order to keep them from economic activity outside
    of the state.
     
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  16. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    I have a fun one for you, @icehorse - connect the dots between oligarchy and human overpopulation.
     
  17. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    Fair challenge. Start with Elon Musk, since he's famous for giving things away.. How is his wealth making everything worse?
     
  18. Kooky

    Kooky Freedom from Sanity

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    I'd say it depends a lot on who is doing the seizing and the distributing here.
    An authoritarian regime is only going to use these actions to increase its power and support among the powerful, especially when they simply give capital away to their supporters and cronies.

    An autonomous, libertarian community arming itself and seizing an oligarch's wealth for common and collective use by all - for example, seizing real estate to be used for communal housing, or seizing factories or businesses to turn them into worker-controlled cooperatives - would be a rather different issue.
     
  19. Kooky

    Kooky Freedom from Sanity

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    For example, he skimps on worker's pay in his factories, and forces his employees to ignore necessary safety standards, which endangers the exact workforce that actually designs and builds "his" cars.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/12/fire-broke-out-at-tesla-factory-in-fremont-california.html

    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/01/tesla-factory-paint-shop-fires-worse-than-revealed-workers.html

    (edit)
    And that's on top of forcing his employees to work during a global pandemic, causing multiple COVID-19 cases.

    After Elon Musk opened Tesla's Bay Area factory against local rules, around 450 workers got COVID-19


    Do you believe the same would have happened if Tesla had been a worker-controlled operation?
     
    #19 Kooky, Mar 13, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2021
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  20. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
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    I once estimated that about 30% of his car's cost is taxpayer
    subsidized (because electric cars are so fashionable).
    His company is a mooch.
     
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