- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Economic Hedonism

Posted by: Dr. Cruel on November 24, 1999 at 13:20:31:

In Reply to: Your 'morality' is morally reprehensible posted by Stoller on November 21, 1999 at 23:52:53:

: Fact: '71% of households own no shares at all or hold less than $2,000 worth in any form, including mutual funds, 401(k)s, and traditional pensions.' (Business Week, 1 Setember 1997, p. 67.)

DC: This is me. I'm not wealthy, either (but I hope to be).

: Fact: Market returns only 'fatten the wallets of the top quarter of households, which own 82% of all stock.' (Ibid.)

DC: Hmm. 82% of stock ends up "fattening one's wallet". Perhaps I should start putting some money into the stock market, after all ...

: Fact: 'The right defining statistic for the last two years is the negative savings rate [for average Americans] first recorded in September 1998. Negative savings rates hadn't been seen since 1933.' (New York Times, 18 January 1999, sec. A, p. 17.)

DC: I'm guessing that this takes into account inflation. Ayn Rand didn't like this sort of thing either, you know. Neither does Mr. Greenspan.

: Fact: Total household debt is 98% of total disposable annual income. (Business Week, 1 November 1999, p. 40.)

DC: They are referring to something called a "house mortgage", I think. I hope so, anyway - since the average per capita GDP in the U.S. is over $30,000. I know I don't owe anybody that kind of money. (Except, presumably, the Communists, as the rightful representatives of the proletariat's interests. Of Course.)

: : I'm saying if you went hungry for a while you'd learn to appreciate what is good about a job - any job. You'd be happier to have that job and less inclined to bite the hand that feeds you.

: So said the prætorian guard to the slaves of the Roman Empire!

DC: No, they probably said something different in Latin. It likely would be similar to what one hears in mainland CHina nowadays, and likely would not mention that "boogeyman" of capitalism, the seductive lure of the robber barons of the West ... pay.

In any case, someone feeding me might very well expect to get bitten. Someone selling me food, at my request, is another matter entirely. A much easier arrangement to be made for those gainfully employed, but you might as well chalk that up to exploitation as well. Or, as Henny Youngman might say, "Exploit me ... please!"

: : Tell me what is compassinate about creating an ever growing dependancy class - as is all we have ever seen of socialism.

: That statement is a CRASS DISTORTION. (DC: Uh oh. I think Gort just bit Stoller. A good Christian boy like that … for shame!)

: Sure, Stalinism created a bureaucratic elite. But it's income was inconsequential compared to the wealth usurped by the capitalist elite. (DC: In a totalitarian society like Stalin ran, EVERYONE was poor. What an egalitarian concept.)

: For example, Stalinist bureaucrats received only 4 times as much as rank and file Soviet workers. In America, bosses earn up to 200 times that of average American workers. (In Stalinism, everything was owned by the Party apparatus. Money had lost its meaning, as its value meant little in a society with no markets to give it one.)

: You attempt to paint socialism as some sort of welfare state. That is PATENTLY UNTRUE. (DC: Or not. For example, when the party runs out of capitalists, it becomes a slave state. Someone has to work, you know.)

: Socialism is predicated upon EVERY ABLE-BODIED INDIVIDUAL WORKING. Even the darkest of Stalinist regimes adhered to that principle. (DC: Damn straight. The question was: What’s valuable, and what will we make? In bourgeois-ridden America, it was fancy cars and goofy clothes, and other consumer trifles. In the good old U.S.S.R., it was steel and cement production. The big problem became motivating those ‘good socialists’ with factory statistics. Not nearly as easy as PAYING your workforce, then LETTING THEM BUY WHAT THEY WANT. Thus, the ‘revolutionary need for terror’ that Lenin quipped about, and Stalin put into practice so enthusiastically.)

: On the contrary, it is HERE that there are TWO parasitic segments of the population: 1) the reserve army of the proletariat thrown a few table scraps every now and then to purchase their docility; and 2) the capitalist class which monopolizes the means of production but doesn't actually WORK it.

DC: Give me my table scraps, please. "I want my MTV", or thereabouts. Where does one join the ‘lumpen’, if you please? (And if there’s a capitalist that doesn’t work, I’ve yet to meet the fellow.)

: : Tell me what is compassionate about convincing people that work which sustains them is not good enough for them.

: Do you have ANY idea how 18th century that statement sounds? (DC: They called it "The Enlightenment", kid.)

: Your aristocratic morality is a disgrace. (DC: This, coming from a apologist for Stalinism. Impressive.)

: If this country was as'great' and as 'wealthy' as you claim it is, then EVERYONE would do some interesting work once in a while---instead of laboring like farm animals. (DC: Good idea. I think I will, if that isn’t too much trouble. So can anyone else, from what I’ve picked up at the unemployment office.)

: Enjoy your cavier and moet while you can.

DC: I’d rather munch on a cheeseburger and fries, if you please. Perhaps a nice vanilla shake, too. Mmm.

Nice to live in a free-market society. I’d better pop down to the local fast-food joint and enjoy it while I still can, eh?

"Doc" Cruel

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