: : The capitalist looks around for a need that is not being met
: SDF: "Need" is irrelevant propaganda -- the capitalist looks for money to separate from its owners. That's the essence of effective demand, it's the total amount of money that a product will fetch, price times the number of consumers able to pay it. "Need" is not effective demand. Haven't you been paying attention to the debate around here? Homeless people may need vans to live in, but no capitalist is going to make a living selling vans to the homeless.
DC: Correct! This is the inherent problem within modern capitalism - those that have nothing of value to 'sell' cannot participate in the free-market supply system. Homeless people are invariably unemployed, and have little in the way of job skills. How does one account for their needs, in a society that values productivity?
And what does one do against an army of such 'lumpen proles', armed with AK-47s, and led by some Che Guevara clone? Many leaders in Africa and Latin America would like to know.
So should I. Thus, we capitalists should do something about it, or wait for the Marxists to exploit the resulting avarice.
: : As capitalist societies become more developed, the earning power of the capitalist workforce must naturally rise,
: SDF: In reality, nobody's earning power "naturally" rises -- please see Barry's response -- the working class has had to fight for its meager benefits every step of the way, mostly through union organizing. When the working class has "joined capitalism" in trying to earn more, this results in phenomena such as the Panic of 1837 and the Depression of 1929-1932, so some relief from capitalism is necessary, preferably socialism. As you said above, every capitalist will pay as little as possible for labor.
DC: The modern Germans that "joined capitalism" haven't seemed to suffer all that much. However, the impulse to shaft the "other guy" is as prevalent amongst capitalists as it is amongst Marxists. It's beginning to happen in that haven of capitalism, Japan - with results that have yet to be determined, and aren't likely to turn out well.
Not that anyone is starving in Japan, or any other modern industrial state. The advantage of a 'surplus' economy (again, a byproduct of capitalism).
: : if for no other reason than to provide a market for all that productivity (a resolution to Marx's "shrinking markets"; even Henry Ford picked up on this).
: SDF: Ford paid his employees extra so that they would be willing to work in a Taylorized workplace, where they would have to do the extra work of having their bodily movements monitored and re-positioned by experts on "management science," thus eliminating "goldbricking" -- goofing off on the job. He didn't do it because he was a nice guy.
DC: He also did so, according to his own account, that they might be able to buy the cars that he sold. The extra pay was popular, and these new work techniques increased productivity dramatically. The use of female workers later (during WWII) likewise was not an altruistic move, but had similar results on productivity (and a more egalitarian situation between the sexes as an added extra). Capitalism, in point of fact, works.
Now - if we could but only get past this Marxist dribble, and address practical solutions to the real problems within the Western capitalist economic model, we might be on to something. "Part of the solution, not part of the problem", or thereabouts. Yes?