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This is part of the reason I have a problem with capitalism

Discussion in 'The Political World' started by Stevicus, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. Stevicus

    Stevicus Well-Known Member
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    Every time I read the standard arguments in support of capitalism (and usually against socialism), I think of the plethora of examples where capitalists behave badly - such as in this article here:

    Former Minnesota grain elevator manager sentenced to 8 years in prison for bilking small farmers

    I would wager that, at some point during this man's life, he very likely has had discussions about the merits of capitalism, and no doubt he would argue that capitalism is the superior system because it "rewards hard work." Yet this guy is a thief, an embezzler, a swindler, and a tax cheat. Not to mention the fact that he's a big game hunter - someone who hunts endangered species just for trophies.

    This guy had been doing this since 2003, well over a decade before he finally got caught.

    The article also mentioned that he had paid big bucks for big game safaris in Africa, New Zealand, and Alaska.

    If the truth of his dirty dealings had not come out, then other capitalists would look at this guy and say "Yes, he is wealthy solely due to his hard work, and he is undoubtedly worth every penny he has received."

    But...he's a crook - and the fact that he was able to get away with it for as long as he did would indicate that there are probably many other crooks out there who fly under the radar and haven't been caught yet.

    Of course, someone out there may chime in and say "But, not all capitalists are crooks!" Yes, there are some honest and ethical ones out there. Yet still, ideologically, they'll still protect and run interference for those who are dishonest and crooked. There is minimal, lax enforcement, along with ridiculously light sentences for white collar crime and other crimes involving fraud, misrepresentation, cheating, along with various other forms of flim-flammery. This is why it happens.

    This is just a typical example, and such things seem to happen quite a bit.

    My beef with capitalism is not so much on a theoretical level (which is how most capitalists argue their position), but it's that they're far too quick to turn the blind eye to this sort of thing - or treat it with a nod and a wink. All this crooked BS goes on because capitalists resist enforcement and/or any real punishment for these kinds of crimes.

    I also take issue with the general pattern of dishonesty when capitalists say some highly-paid executive is "worth it," yet they refuse to show the math which leads them to that conclusion.
     
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  2. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    Lately our Government is trying to pass a law about the minimum wage. The former Minister of Labor had the audacity to say : 9€ per hour is too much. A steelworker cannot gain more than 1500 euros a month.

    This means that certain ministers support the profit maximization of big corporations whose owners gain millions of Euros exploiting workers who, with their salary have to pay food, bills, taxes for them and their families.

    Evidently there are Capitalists who have suicidal thoughts if they cannot gain enough millions to spend on gambling, luxurious boat trips and so on...
     
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  3. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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  4. icehorse

    icehorse Well-Known Member
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    Economic systems are complex, man-made machines. As with any complex, man-made machine, economic systems need tweaking and adjusting.

    Recently, capitalism has been warped and overrun by oligarchs. Our system is in desperate need of adjustments, but I don't think we should "throw the baby out with the bathwater".

    That said, I'm open to alternative suggestions.
     
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  5. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    Capitalism = Competition

    There are two essential problems with competition. The first is that there must be winners and losers. That's not a problem if we are talking about team sports in which the only thing lost is a game; but it's a major problem when people must compete for survival and the losers might be people willing to work hard if they could only find a job.

    As the OP suggests, the other problem is that cheating on the rules is part of a winning strategy in all competition if you can get away with it. Can anyone name a professional sport that hasn't had a cheating scandal? Top flight coaches in the USA scout the officials and teach their players how to cheat on the rules of their game and get away with it.

    However, fully cooperative (Socialist) systems require governments that are competent decision-makers and free of corruption; and we haven't yet invented a government like that. So, for now, the free market is useful to produce products that can be shopped and compared by well-informed consumers spending their own money. Where those criteria aren't met, even poorly managed socialism is better than rampant fraud. Thus, since the free market limits the power of lousy governments, the mixed economies are the best we can do right now.
     
    #5 joe1776, Jun 24, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
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  6. Stanyon

    Stanyon WWGTD?

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    He is sentenced to 8 years in federal prison for what he did, I'm pretty sure it wasn't worth it.
    Corruption and thievery are everywhere regardless of the political or economical situation. One example of this is former East German STASI members saying they used to get forbidden products regularly that they would arrest others for having, not all as there were some true believers but overall many were trying to "get theirs".
     
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  7. icehorse

    icehorse Well-Known Member
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    I think we deny our humanity if we deny that competition is essential. That said, we know enough these days to protect those who don't compete well and to rein in those who compete too well. E.g., social security at one end of the spectrum and progressive, loop-hole-free taxation at the other end.
     
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  8. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    I think the bad side of humanity is driven by our unconscious need to prove ourselves superior to others -- which explains our need to compete as well as most of our other human failings.

    So, I agree that to stop competing we would be denying an aspect of our nature but I think that's a good thing.
     
  9. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    Uncontrolled Capitalism benefits from uncontrolled growth.
    The American population doubled throughout less than 50 years...
    Thus should make us reflect
     
  10. BSM1

    BSM1 Who's a good boy?

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    Well strike up the brass band! There is no corruption, dishonesty, or "bad behavior" in any other economic model.



    Uhhh....even if that is true, the rest of the world seems to be infected by the same disease...just sayin'.
     
  11. Nowhere Man

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

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    I'm a huge proponent of capitalism. Still am.

    However you will find that I agree wholeheartedly that people can certainly be taken for a ride in a capitalist system.

    It's still better than any alternate system I can think of.
     
  12. shmogie

    shmogie Well-Known Member
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    There is true capitalism, then there is crony capitalism, not the same at all.

    Before I get to the difference, I want to address your example. You are not detailing flaws in an economic system, you are detailing the crime of fraud and or embezzlement. The crime is no different than if it occurs in a bank or gas station. A person in a position of trust steals. It happens thousands of times a day, in hospitals, restaurants, amusement parks, etc, etc etc. The flaw is a human one, not a flaw of a system, though I will concede that crooks in high places with a lot of money in play have the chance to steal a whole heck of a lot.

    A true capitalist economy gives the consumer the ability to control those producer and sellers within that economy.

    A true capitalist economy requires transparency of a producer and seller.

    A true capital economy requires strict enforcement of the law regarding producers and sellers at any level, including CEO´s and owners,

    Finally, and most important, a true capitalist economy requires strong market competition, no monopolies.

    If a company pollutes and the citizenry objects, the market will express the need for change, that, or the business suffers.

    Your executive that in your eyes makes too much money, if others agree, you can go to another company to express your displeasure.

    In a true capitalist economy, market forces are extremely powerful forces, for the good of the company or to itś detriment.

    However, crony capitalism allows secrecy, manipulation, monopolies , and collusion between the government and companies, and flat out bribery in the form of direct cash, or political contributions.

    If there were actually politicians who were concerned about this problem, busting up the many monopolies would be a great start.

    Don hold your breath.
     
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  13. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    But this consumer control is only possible if the consumer is well-informed, able to shop and compare and is spending his/her own money.

    None of those criteria apply to government spending, services...especially financial services and healthcare. That's why in a "free market" there is massive fraud in these categories.

    So, the control of which you speak is limited to consumer products that can be seen, shopped and compared.
     
  14. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    All that is true. Without using a trigger word, the only system that I think works pretty well is regulated capitalism. If there's a balance of power, checks and balances, that ensures an open market, enforces general societal requirements such as clean water, clean air etc, then we have as good a system as possible right now.

    Social Capitalism also has much that is attractive to me.
     
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  15. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    Usually the ones against capitalism are the ones who
    are not very good at it.

    As for your crook we could bring up pedophile
    priests, who prove religion is bad, corrupt commies
    who prove that communism causes badness.

    I too take issue with the "general pattern of dishonesty
    of capitalists" but as an undemonstrated calumny.
     
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  16. shmogie

    shmogie Well-Known Member
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    No, in a truly free and transparent market, the voters would determine if politicians were in place who would attack the fraud and waste. The agencies involved, the amounts of money, the names of those who are supposed to deal with fraud, all the information would be published, not buried, and the voter can decide the importance of the matter.

    Most people shrug their shoulders and say nothing can be done, the typical response of someone who has been battered by the government peanut under the shell game.

    It doesn´t have to be that way.
     
  17. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    You think a "free" market that had much more regulation would work well? I doubt it. Regulation restricts markets.

    Moreover, in the USA, this regulation would have to be managed by the same group of people who can't agree on a budget that would keep the government running from one session to the next.
     
    #17 joe1776, Jun 24, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
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  18. Shad

    Shad Veteran Member

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  19. Shad

    Shad Veteran Member

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    All politicians need to put the logo of their sponsors on their clothing. Like NASCAR
     
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  20. icehorse

    icehorse Well-Known Member
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    Another way you can look at this is that competition helps us in pursuit of skills acquisition and expertise and excellence. Let's say you want to be in the healing professions - you want to be a nurse, you should strive to be the best nurse you can be. And if you do, you will end up being a better nurse than some other nurses.
     
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