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The Dirty Secret of Capitalism

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by Evangelicalhumanist, Jan 27, 2020.

  1. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...
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    Here's something that I would really like to have a discussion about. This is a TED Talk, only 17 minutes long, that seems to be getting to the heart of much that I've been thinking. (Those of you who've read my posts know that while I believe in capitalism per se, I'm much less of a fan of the neo-liberal, absolutely unregulated free-market capitalism, because I think it does way more harm than good and is thus, eventually, unsustainable.

    Anyway, I'll reserve further comment until I hear from anyone who might be interested in this topic. I especially look forward to hearing from the libertarians, if they'd care to weigh in.

    The Dirty Secret of Capitalism
     
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  2. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Right wing fabrication regurgitator...so they say.
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    No videos for me at the moment.
    Questions....
    Who proposes "absolutely unregulated free-market capitalism"?
    I wonder if this is something real or hypothetical.
    In your opinion, what's the difference between classical liberalism,
    neo-liberalism, & libertarianism?
     
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  3. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...
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    This will take me some time to answer...patience, please.
     
  4. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Right wing fabrication regurgitator...so they say.
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    No hurry.
     
  5. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    LOL! -- I watched that video only a few hours ago.

    Of course, he was preaching to the choir.
     
  6. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    Not really about capitalism but about neo-liberal economics. So not really an attack on capitalism but on best theory practice. Capitalism is not defined by neoliberalism. It's been associated with it for so long I guess folks forgot that.
     
  7. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...
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    Though I'm not prepared to write a lot at the moment (in deference to @Revoltingest ) my fundamental point is not whether or not capitalism is a good or bad thing (I'm on the good side, mostly), but whether there's room for a society -- including it's governance, it's laws, etc. -- has any place in regulating it. And, of course, I'm on the yes side of that question.
     
  8. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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  9. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    Reciprocity, inclusion, and cooperation are the driving forces of a fair, and productive economy as the man in this video said.

    Imagine that good morals makes for a thriving productive society.

    Its hard to argue against that. People are literally the economy. The more law abiding citizens you include in the economy the more opportunity, and wealth you have for more, and more people.

    If we don't exercise those principles he mentioned then blind selfishness will produce more rot, and decay.

    If money represents values, then it's time people incorporate strong moral values into our economic systems.

    And again he is right about the idea that selfishness alone is what drives these extremes of inequality. Selflessness, and cooperation is the better side of humanity. And I love it that the man in the video effectively communicated that what he is saying is backed by empirical, scientific research.

    Now the question becomes who is running for office that supports what this man just said.

    How long have we heard that selfishness, and competition drive prosperity. Totally false!

    Everything he said stands to reason.
     
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  10. Nowhere Man

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

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    Capitalism out of control.

    Even I say that's not good, and I eagerly support capitalism quite a bit. The out of control aspects are actually destroying our country imo.

    It seems even some of the one percenters are starting to realize that although I'm not too sure if they're sincere or not about it to actually be bothered to do something to bring things back into balance.
     
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  11. 74x12

    74x12 Well-Known Member

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    Current capitalism is run by central banks. Control the money; control the world. Every modern country has one.

    Andrew Jackson said the greatest thing he did was that he killed the "bank". That was a bank that tried very hard to become the first central bank in the USA long before the Federal Reserve. If Andrew Jackson hadn't been president they would have been. This was the same Andrew Jackson who was the hero of the war of 1812 --to Americans-- and defeated the British army at the battle of new Orleans. So that's saying something that the greatest thing he did --in his view-- was killing the bank. Unfortunately they --a group of filthy rich bankers--weaseled in another bank in 1913. The Federal Reserve which we've been stuck with ever since. They paint "National Debt" as a step forward for the modern nation-state; but it's not. How is debt a good thing? According to the Bible it's slavery.
     
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  12. exchemist

    exchemist Well-Known Member

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    I think we all are, though. I've never come across anyone who advocated repealing anti-monopoly legislation, or the regulations on health and safety in the workplace, product standards and consumer protection.

    Surely the argument between free market libertarians and interventionists is a matter of degree of regulation, rather than being pro- or anti- it per se, isn't it?

    (Like others here I don't do YouTube videos: they take far too long to watch and normally the key point can be made in words in a single paragraph.)
     
  13. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    This article was six years ago, but it sums it up very nicely.

    Mr. Hanauer is among the top 1% of the 1% of our wealthy plutarchs. And he is addressing his fellow plutarchs in this article.

    The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats
     
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  14. exchemist

    exchemist Well-Known Member

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    Yes I think you are onto the real issue here: the apparent failure of the "trickle down" effect that has been the standard, easy - and highly convenient for some - justification of laissez-faire capitalism for the last 30 years.

    That is what we should be talking about. People like Trump trumpet (haha) economic growth, but it mostly seems to get siphoned off into the pockets of a few CEOs........who are big donors to the US political parties, while for the masses jobs become more insecure and any gains they make get eaten up by the out of control costs of US healthcare, thus ending up back in the pockets of the same CEOs.:confused:
     
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  15. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Under Clinton, the republicans eliminated the Glass-Stegall Act kept banks from gambling on Wall Street with other people's money, which cause the Great Depression. And not long afterward our economy crashed, and George Bush bailed out those same banks using our money. And the banks are still gambling on Wall Street because the Glass-Stegall Act was never reinstated.

    Donald Trump just rolled back 50 years of environmental regulations protecting our air and water from industrial pollution, and republicans are constantly whining and complaining about how governmental regulations, including those protecting the health and safety of workers and consumers is hurting the economy (meaning that it's hurting the profit margins of the investor class).

    So every time you meet a suppotrer of the republican party you have "come across someone" who agreed with and supported the repeal of anti-monopoly legislation, and who agreed with and supported the roll-back of health and safety regulations for both workers and consumers.
    No. The fundamental problem with capitalism is that it gives control over commercial enterprise to the capital investor, who is the least effected by how that commercial enterprise is operated. The capital investor's only concern is gaining a maximum return on the money invested. Whereas everyone else engaged in the enterprise, including the workers, the consumers, and the society in which the enterprise operates, is being directly effected by the capitalist's decisions. And the capitalist is considering those entities need and desires as anathema to his own goal, which is the maximization of profits returned on the capital invested.

    The basic argument against capitalism is not fundamentally based on the degrees of regulation. It's based on the fact that it requires so much regulation because it is a fundamentally flawed concept to begin with.
     
  16. exchemist

    exchemist Well-Known Member

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    But surely none of the regulations you mention that have been relaxed are about monopolies, or health and safety at work, product standards or consumer protection, are they? I chose my list for a reason, namely that it seems to be even the most ardent economic libertarian tacitly accepts such things are being for the common good.

    Arguments about the degree of financial regulation and pollution control are something else.
     
  17. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    As you say, this has been going on for decades now, under both Democratic and Republican administrations. They both spout off the same pro-capitalist propaganda which embraces a variation of the just world fallacy.

    They say "those who are wealthy got that way through intelligence and hard work, while those who are poor got that way through being stupid and lazy." It's this kind of misinformation which is the greatest discredit to capitalism and its ideologues. Capitalist ideologues also disingenuously deny the existence of corruption and organized crime.

    The interesting thing about it is that, if capitalist ideologues were actually honest and forthright about what it is they actually support, then there would be far less support of it. Notice how the guy in the video has to call it a "dirty secret" of capitalism, meaning that capitalists have been disingenuously hiding what they stand for and ducking any real challenges.

    But if one examines how capitalists typically communicate (mainly through advertisements and lawyers), then it's easy to see that honesty and openness are not very high priorities for them.

    The speaker in the video also noted something I have suspected for a long time, namely that neo-liberal economists are nothing more than mouthpieces for the ruling class. They're the moral equivalent of scientists who work for tobacco companies and claim that cigarette smoking isn't harmful.
     
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  18. exchemist

    exchemist Well-Known Member

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    I find you unduly cynical, actually. For many years I too bought the trickle-down argument. It did after all seem to make a lot of sense and for while, after Margaret Thatcher's reforms of union power and state intervention the UK did seem, as a whole, to be doing better. I think many of the people who espouse the trickle-down theory do so in good faith and it is not all nonsense by any means. Free market capitalism is in principle a good way to allocate resources, since customers "vote" with their money for what they need most.

    People have a natural human tendency to inhabit comfort zones that justify their own way of life. It takes real effort to find out how others live and see things from their point of view. I am as guilty of that as anyone. Demonising "capitalists" is not sensible in my view. There is still this lazy stereotypical myth of the fat man with the top hat and the cigar, off to the races. But in reality, anybody with a pension plan is a "capitalist". That includes most people that belong to a trade union, for a start. And also people like me, who were middle managers in a corporation.

    In the UK what, in retrospect, was overlooked by people like me in prosperous London was that the North, S Wales etc were deindustrialised painfully and market forces did NOT act through Schumpeter's "creative destruction" to replace the jobs lost with ones of similar quality. What we got instead was a lot of delivery fulfilment warehouses, call centres, McJobs, part time working and zero hours contracts.

    What I think we have learnt, in the UK, is that the market can't just be left to get on with it if you want to avoid pockets of deprivation in the country.

    In the US, you do raise an issue we don't have in the UK, namely the moral judgement that the poor have only themselves to blame. The UK class system, which we inherited from the Norman Conquest, has always made it apparent that we don't really live in a meritocracy. People are not as a rule blamed for being poor, as it is generally understood that if you come from a poor background, in an area with no decent jobs, it is pretty hard to break out of that. Continental Europe - which also has or had an aristocracy - is the same. The myth of living in a true meritocracy is very much a New World thing, it seems to me.
     
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  19. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    I think that a Keynesian style system with strong labor unions and a resolute commitment to workers' and consumers' rights would be a happy medium which could allow capitalism to continue to exist in its basic form. We seemed to be heading in that direction in the late 40s, 50s, and 60s - and America's economy flourished and our standard of living improved by leaps and bounds.

    It was certainly good for business, good for capitalists. But at some point, the Powers That Be didn't want that any more. They had a good thing going, and they decided to louse it all up. That's when Reagan came on the scene. He wanted to "fix" something that wasn't even broken. I don't know if it was the same with Thatcher or what the state of affairs was in Britain at the time, but not only did Reagan louse up the economic system, he also led a resurgence in US warmongering which appeared to decreasing in the intervening years of the late 70s after Vietnam.

    Believe me, I don't really want to demonize capitalists, and I don't think I'm as cynical as all that, although I'll admit that I might come across as a bit frustrated because after years and years of debating topics like this with pro-capitalists and other conservative ideologues, I can never get anything resembling a straight answer from them on anything. It's like having a religious debate with an evangelist.

    If they'd just be honest and look at the problems in our society objectively, then I think sensible, mutually-beneficial solutions can be found. That's how things would ideally work in a democratic, lawful, cooperative, and politically harmonious society.

    The problem now is that we don't seem to have much political harmony these days, as you might have noticed. There are a variety of reasons for this, but economics is generally an underlying cause in most political discord that happens - even if it may be dressed up as something else.

    A lot of the same thing happened in the US. There has been some concern about this, even if one doesn't really care about the plight of the workers or the lower classes. It's about the diminishment of the US industrial base to the point where we've grown increasingly dependent upon foreign manufacturers for just about everything we use. If we were suddenly cut off, what would happen? (And given the uncertain state of world affairs at present, who knows what could happen?)

    US schools are lagging woefully behind in math and science, when compared to the rest of the industrialized world.

    This isn't just about "bleeding hearts" crying for the poor or those who have been thrown out of work, nor is it about "class envy" as others might charge. There are serious questions about whether this is a wise policy for the country as a whole.

    I think a lot of it is rooted in propaganda that many have been raised in and conditioned to believe. It's a significant part of Americana - the stories of rugged individualists who went into the wilderness and made their fortunes purely off the sweat of their brow. Of course, significant parts of the story tend to get left out, since that would somehow taint the mythos that we've built up about ourselves and our political/economic system that we're all raised to worship.

    My sense is that Europeans tend to look at things differently largely because they've faced numerous revolutions, upheavals, and world wars over the past two centuries - whereas the US was largely spared these events - at least in terms of how much happened on our own soil. I think the European perspective has been tempered by that somewhat, whereas the last major upheaval we've had in the US was the Civil War. And in many ways, we're still fighting the Civil War in the US.

    Even capitalists seem to get put off by some of the political factionalism. I've heard some pro-capitalists express their misgivings at being in agreement with conservatives on economic issues, but then find themselves in the same big tent as the religious right and the patriotic right (and further towards the extremist "alt-right" as they call it). They seem to be embarrassed by that. But they seem to fear the dreaded "socialism" more than they fear Bible-thumping patriotism and quasi-nationalistic militarism.

    As I said, I don't demonize all capitalists, especially if you expand the definition to include people getting a pension. In that sense, one could say that everyone who votes is a "politician," but when we speak of the "politicians," we're generally referring to those who hold influence and power over society - just like the wealthy capitalists. When I refer to "capitalists," I'm referring to the big shots, the movers and shakers - not the small fry.
     
  20. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Well, surely, you are smart enough to know that the republicans, and the Trump administration in particular, have been staffing the many agencies charged with regulating capitalism for the protection of the public, and making sure that abusive and exploitive monopolies aren't being created or sanctioned, with leadership that have the specific intention of hamstringing those agencies, and making them ineffective. And they've been doing it for years, since before the "W" administration.
    Libertarians in general are just infantile adults who resent being told what to do and are too stupid to see why it's necessary.
    Not really. It's all part-and-parcel. Just ask yourself why monopolies are bad, and you'll very soon see why capitalism is antithetical to collective human health and well-being.
     
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