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The Capitalism Discussion Thread


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#41
Omosoap

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^ It also relies heavily on being in the right place at the right time. Anyone is vulnerable to absolute poverty if their investments/choices have the potential of risk (which is pretty much everything). In the United States, the poor's existence is blamed on the individual in poverty, but we have blinders on to the fact that participating in the economy is a lot like Pathologic. People can descend into poverty rapidly just by making one wrong move. Besides, not everybody can be rich, which is why the poor exist in the first place. We are so hypocritical as a society, we say we don't want to support the poor to make their lives just a bit easier, but then turn right around and want help when it is our time to need it, and find everyone has turned a cold shoulder. Many of capitalism's heroes used the very systems they criticized at the end of their life too, another form of irony.



#42
caltrek

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Not to mention that pro-capitalist theorists are often quite willing to rely on brute force to further "free market" capitalism.  This often also involves elevating rights of property ownership well above any other human right and subordinating such human rights to the perpetuation of capitalism.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#43
caltrek

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Because socialism is very often a response to the excesses of capitalism:

 

Why Are Two Old Socialists Like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn Leading the 21st Century Left?

 

Introduction:

 

What does it mean that the left movements in the United Kingdom and United States in 2016 and 2017 are led by old guys—Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn—who happen to call themselves socialists?

 

The answer begins with the power of their analysis and the relevance of their proposals to the present. Even if Marxist movements and parties have long since faded, both men draw from that allegedly obsolescent tradition something young people are learning to prize about it: the ability to “connect the dots” between various problems stemming from capitalism today—inequality, poverty, the political power of the 1%, and climate change—and to propose solutions which, if not removing the underlying structural issues, at least seek to control their consequences.

 

Another old guy, clearly of the left although not self-identified as a socialist, has connected the dots even more strikingly, not only calling for protecting the environment and ameliorating the lot of the poor, but even proposing an end to progress as we know it. I am referring, of course, to Pope Francis.

 

But there is more to the role of these older men than program and ideas. In our obsessively future-oriented societies where the latest new thing matters most, their surprisingly contemporary outlooks and programs also manage to connect the dots between the present and the past. They hearken back to a time when hope for a better society was alive, when it was common to propose policies to improve the lives of the least well off, and when people thought and acted collectively. And this is more than nostalgia. They refer back to an uncynical time when social hope was possible. In these ways it is the past, not the present that points young people to the future. After all, recent surveys show that they have not only become critical of capitalism but sympathetic to something old-new called “socialism” as an alternative.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#44
wjfox

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Private prison demands New Mexico and feds find 300 more prisoners in 60 days or it will close

Friday, Aug 4, 2017 08:58 AM +0100

The nation’s second-largest private prison corporation is holding New Mexico politicians hostage by threatening to close unless the state or federal authorities find 300 more prisoners to be warehoused there, according to local news reports.

[...]

The paper said that county officials issued a statement citing the threatened closure and emphasized that every virtually every politician in the region, from county officials to state officials to congressmen, were scurrying to save jobs—as opposed to shutting a privatized prison by an operator that has been sued many times for sexual harassment, sexual assault, deaths, use of force, physical assaults, medical care, injuries and civil rights violations.

“This is a big issue for us,” Torrance County manager Belinda Garland told the Santa Fe newspaper.

It quoted Jonathan Burns, a spokesman for CoreCivic — formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America — as saying, while, “The city of Estancia and the surrounding community have been a great partner to CoreCivic for the last 27 years . . . a declining detainee population in general has forced us to make difficult decisions in order to maximize utilization of our resources.”

This is a perfect snapshot of what’s upside-down with privatization: the lack of economic opportunities and politicians who genuflect at providing jobs, regardless of the larger social implications, pushing law enforcement into the dirty business of ramping up arrests and convictions so private firms and shareholders can make more money.

Read more: http://www.salon.com...-close_partner/


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#45
Yuli Ban

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You know, if private prisons worked by getting money for not having prisoners, I wonder how that would work. I mean, it makes no sense— they make money off the labor of prisoners— but it would be interesting to imagine.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#46
Raklian

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You know, if private prisons worked by getting money for not having prisoners, I wonder how that would work. I mean, it makes no sense— they make money off the labor of prisoners— but it would be interesting to imagine.

 

Basic income for prisons... but with the condition it gets reduced for every prisoner they add. Hmm....


What are you without the sum of your parts?

#47
wjfox

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Here's what 35 years of neoliberal, market fundamentalist, trickle-down economics has done to the U.S.

And yet, apparently, programs that might be a little more "socialist" and geared towards helping the average person are somehow a terrible crime that make you unpatriotic and a traitor to your country.

How did a so-called Christian nation become so insanely greedy, selfish and delusional? It's something that truly boggles my mind.


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#48
Yuli Ban

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If you look at historical trends, you see the almost exact same sort of spike before you get heads on spikes. 

 

Also interestingly, it's right before revolutions that hostility towards anything that assists the underclass is at its highest and any discussion of what would happen if things don't change is most furiously attacked as "violence fetishism."

 

Sounds a lot like how we talk about Antifa, but the same thing was going on in France in the late 1780s and 1840s; in Russia in the late 1910s; in Germany around the same time (though nothing came of that— at first); in Iran in the late 1970s; in Egypt earlier this decade. Whenever you say "this is probably going to end with people getting guillotined in [Insert national symbol of country's economic center]", you're met with almost psychotically vicious "Why are you losers always so VIOLENT?!"

 

Even suggesting that this could happen gets claims of "scientific socialism" thrown around, like it's heresy to imagine things going wrong. Nothing's wrong; nothing's wrong; YOU'RE what's wrong.

 

And without fail, it all comes crashing down. A lot of people die; a lot of people suffer; a lot of people gloat; a lot of people weep. But the cycle never ends.

 

I'm telling you, if we got to war with North Korea and it doesn't go perfectly smoothly, we'll be living in St. Petersburg and it will be 1905 all over again.

 

 

 

 

I think it also doesn't help that America has become so insanely schizophrenic that it's even attacking capitalism for being too socialistic. I think that's what gets me, when people seriously, unironically, with a straight face, claim that the Democrats are Ultra-Leftist Socialists and that the Republicans are starting to lean Socialist. It's like a person who's only ever seen the color blue thinking that his shadow is the color red. It's a level of being so objectively wrong that it's hard to even dispute it because of how impossibly wrong it is. I can see opposing the Democrats for being liberal authoritarian capitalists, but calling them socialists is dishonest at best. It represents that something is indeed wrong, however. People who say this can tell that something is wrong with the system, but they don't believe it's the system itself, so they instead try removing what seems to be wrong from said system and claiming that it is something it isn't. There's a problem with modern neoliberal capitalism, but for many, the only way to call it out is to call it Socialism. This runs the risk of turning capitalism into a damn-near Godlike thing worthy of worship instead of it being a means of organizing society, with all its variations and flaws.

 

Again, you see the same trends in pre-revolutionary nations. France and Russia? In the days leading up to their most famous revolutions, the aristocracy and hardcore monarchists were attacking anyone and anything that even whiffed of "liberalism" (that's classical liberalism at that), even if those proponents were other aristocrats and monarchists. You were an aristocrat who believed that the underclass needed more rights and freedoms? You're a Marxist, a Jewoid, a lackey of the internationalist cabal! You're a prince who's fallen in love with the peasants and fancy yourself a rebel royal? You're infected by noxious liberalism and socialism, and you're a traitor to your class and your nation!

If something was wrong with monarchism, then it wasn't monarchism that was the problem. It was those capitalists and merchants infiltrating the system and destroying traditional society. A monarchistic America where Democrats were learning more toward reforming monarchism away from absolutism, and Republicans were purely absolutist monarchists would have the same discourse. "Democrats are capitalists! They hate monarchism!"

 

Sure, this existed before then, but it was always at its most fervent in the years and months before a revolution. 

 

 

What also needs to be said is that these revolutions were never violent. Revolutions very, very rarely are, despite how much we keep lauding "Velvet Revolutions". People are thinking of insurgencies and civil wars that are miscategorized as "revolutions" (especially "Revolutionary Wars"). They usually began spontaneously over food, and then they spiraled out of control. Then they were over within a week.

 

They get the reputation of being violent because the regime that arises in the chaos is almost always a powermad group of authoritarians, or at the very best, well-intentioned extremists. That, and remember what I just said— hostility towards reform is at its highest in society before a revolution. A revolution itself might as well be Satan trying to take you away, so of course large swaths of a nation will fight to restore the old Status Quo.

 

I personally don't feel America's near a Revolution. I didn't feel that way during Occupy or the Tea Party either. But that could all change. Most French in 1787 or Russians 1915 couldn't have imagined that, within two years, they'd be ruled by radical regimes utterly hostile to their old worlds.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#49
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#50
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#51
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#52
Jakob

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You know that even a poor person from today would be mind-bogglingly wealthy compared to the average person from before the era of capitalism, right? I see no reason why the trend shouldn't continue.

 

Maybe in a few hundred years the rich will be a million times as wealthy as they are today. But why would that bother you, if the poor were still a thousand times as wealthy as today? Jealousy? Nah, man. It would be a post-scarcity utopia even though 99.9% of the gains are going to the rich.

 

Let's say that in half a millennium, billionaires are a million times wealthier, millionaires a hundred thousand times wealthier, the middle class are ten thousand times wealthier, and the poor are one thousand times wealthier--all of which are possible of capitalism continues as it has.

 

This would mean that the future analogs of Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, etc. would have a net worth running into the tens of quadrillions--$1016 to $1017. Can you imagine the resources that would be available to someone like that--likely a posthuman or high ai? Their wealth would be quite literally immeasurable by today's standards. The entire world economy of 2017 would be chump change for them. One could buy a world for that kind of money and not come close to draining their coffers. They could burn hundreds of trillions of dollars on terraforming a distant planet, providing starships to get there, and building a planetary Type I civilization from the ground up, then over the next few centuries rake in a tidy profit. Hell, even their personal living space could be an O'Neill Cylinder the size of a city.

 

Then there are the equivalent of today's millionaires--people who have multiple income streams and never have to worry about money, but lack the resources to pursue truly grand visions. They would have a net worth ranging from $100 billion to $100 trillion. The people on the higher rungs would have personal wealth on par with the entire planet today, while even those on the low end of the scale would be capable of matching a mid-sized country in economic might. While not having the economic power to shape entire worlds, they would certainly be capable of contributing to the development of various planets, leading interstellar expeditions, and building space habitats--though they may not have an enormous O'Neill Cylinder for personal use.

 

We can say that the middle class--globally speaking--consists of those making five or six figures a year. Scale that up by 10,000 and we have your average middle class citizen of the far future making somewhere on the order of a few hundred million a year. Plenty enough to spend money freely without being concerned about the price, have a space yacht, an army of robot servants, world-class food three meals a day, etc.

 

And what about the poorest of the poor, the people starving in abject poverty? Raise their wealth by a thousand fold and they are making several hundred grand per year. Their biggest complains would not be starving to death while slaving in a mine and watching their children die of disease. Their biggest complains would be not being able to afford a personal space yacht or authentic cuisine from some planet fifty light years away, or having to make do with a single robot servant. There is no way you could be uncomfortable unless you did something monumentally stupid.

 

I have just described income inequality that makes today's look like nothing. I have also described something of a utopia.

 

CAPITALISM.



#53
Alislaws

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You know that even a poor person from today would be mind-bogglingly wealthy compared to the average person from before the era of capitalism, right? I see no reason why the trend shouldn't continue.

 

...

 

I have just described income inequality that makes today's look like nothing. I have also described something of a utopia.

 

CAPITALISM.

 

I'd totally agree that wealth inequality is fine if everyone has enough to meet their needs, as you described above. 

 

I would totally support a UBI system where everyone has their needs met at a minimum level and beyond that is unrestricted* free-market capitalism. 

 

But that's not how things work today, even though we have the resources to set up that kind of scenario.

 

If you took today's systems and let them run for 1000 years, you wouldn't get a nice spread of people of different wealth levels, you get 0.0000001% of people sharing 99.99999% of the wealth and everyone else would be fighting over the scraps, or dead. 

 

IMO capitalism is an amazing system for going from "we don't have enough basic resources to look after everyone" to "we now have enough resources to look after everyone" but once that's done you need to introduce enough elements of socialism to allow people to fail with no truly serious consequences, which will speed up innovation, and allow much fiercer competition in the markets. 

 

*still need to stop monopolies forming as they break the free market. 



#54
Yuli Ban

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If you took today's systems and let them run for 1000 years, you wouldn't get a nice spread of people of different wealth levels, you get 0.0000001% of people sharing 99.99999% of the wealth and everyone else would be fighting over the scraps, or dead.


There'd have been an ultraviolent Marxist revolution before the 2nd century was finished.

That's the one thing tons of ultracapitalists fail to understand or willingly blind themselves to. In the days before capitalism was regulated, socialism was powerful. It was a mainstream thought in America. And at multiple instances, America came close to potentially succumbing to a socialist revolution all because the abuses of capitalism were not kept in check. This was not socialism as we know it, either. 19th and early 20th century socialism wasn't a movement of lazy SJWs demanding free welfare handouts— it was "we're taking control of the factories; you try to stop us, we'll shoot you with your own mass-produced guns". 

 

And yet capitalists seem to have deluded themselves into thinking that if we return to that— a system they themselves admit has flaws and rewards greed but somehow will magically make everyone happy despite this— there will never be anything like what we saw in 1917, or 1959, et al. More than that, doing anything to counteract this possibility is the same socialism we're supposed to be fighting. 

 

It would be an interesting case study of doublethink if it weren't so tragically believed by so many in real life.

 

We'll be living under a red flag and behind the barrels of red guns in the States within 5 years if something isn't done to break this delusion and realize that no, capitalism is not perfect and doing things (yes, even governmental things) to fix it from breaking isn't socialism. It's like recognizing that you're sick but refusing to take medicine because it infringes on your cell's rights.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#55
Jakob

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If you took today's systems and let them run for 1000 years, you wouldn't get a nice spread of people of different wealth levels, you get 0.0000001% of people sharing 99.99999% of the wealth and everyone else would be fighting over the scraps, or dead.

But where does all the wealth of the 0.000whatever1% come from? You can't make a profit if everyone is too poor to buy your stuff, and capitalists (smart ones) are aware of this fact.

 

And of course, cronyism is evil and not truly free capitalism. Yes we need to get the government out of business, but we also need to get the business out of government.



#56
Raklian

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If you took today's systems and let them run for 1000 years, you wouldn't get a nice spread of people of different wealth levels, you get 0.0000001% of people sharing 99.99999% of the wealth and everyone else would be fighting over the scraps, or dead.

But where does all the wealth of the 0.000whatever1% come from?

 

 

Despite what you said afterwards, the government?


What are you without the sum of your parts?

#57
Erowind

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This was not socialism as we know it, either. 19th and early 20th century socialism wasn't a movement of lazy SJWs demanding free welfare handouts— it was "we're taking control of the factories; you try to stop us, we'll shoot you with your own mass-produced guns". 

 

I wouldin't be so sure that those people are gone or that hard radicalism has vanished. It's just that those people understand that in the current climate taking a factory or storming the nearest office building wouldin't accomplish much. There need to a hell of a lot more socialists before this stuff can start happening, they need at least a partially supportive public or else the state will just walk all over them.



#58
caltrek

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 Yes we need to get the government out of business, but we also need to get the business out of government.

 

To "get the government out of business" may sound good as a tweet soundbite, but it leaves me wondering, what exactly does that mean?

 

That property rights of businesses no longer be protected by government?

 

That private entities should no longer be able to sue other private entities to have the government assist in forcing such other entities to compensate for pain, suffering and other damages?

 

That the businesses that providing medical care should no longer be sued in cases of malpractice, negligence, or gross negligence?

 

That agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration no longer perform their regulatory role over the airline business that helps provide for safety for air travel?

 

(Such safety being important both to airline passengers and crew, but also to people on the ground that might be at risk due to airplane crashes.)

 

That safety standards for the automobile manufacturing business no longer be enforced by governmental entities?

 

That regulations designed to protect the public health from businesses that produce polluting by-products all be eliminated?

 

That government no longer play a regulatory role in the food business to be sure that food is not handled in a manner that causes food poisoning?

 

And so on and so forth.

 

 

So please Jakob, explain yourself.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#59
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#60
Jakob

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Is this the Capitalism Discussion Thread or the Anti-Capitalist Memes Thread?






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