- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Exactly! You're coming around.

Posted by: Stuart Gort ( USA ) on November 29, 1999 at 12:25:02:

In Reply to: (Marxist) Socialism has nothing to do with altruism posted by Stoller on November 27, 1999 at 13:12:44:

:: Rights---as I told NJ here are ultimately determined by the dominant mode of production in conjunction with class struggle.

"Dominant mode of production" and "class struggle" are the jargon of the intellectual Marxist, Barry. Try answering the question in plain English so my little brain can process it. You will have to learn how to do it sometime if you really hope to prevail in the arena of ideas - for your beloved proletariat cannot process Marx any better than I. Reading your link, all I can say is that I agree. Rights, and the concept of rights are human constructs that reflect a current consensus of opinion or are administered by humans who act as conduits of a morality that emanates from a higher source - which you reject. So, if rights are a simple human construct, state why the general underlying morality of collectivism, which venerates economic equality, is superior to a morality which venerates freedom. I believe the historical implementation of these concepts has shown them to be, in practice, mutually exclusive of each other.

And if there really is no God, please state why natural law shouldn't dictate my actions. Why shouldn't I live solely for myself?

:: Yes, in a way I do advocate 'everyone owning stock.' Only I would call 'stock' the means of production.

Barry, when you buy stock in a company, what exactly do you think you are doing if not purchasing the means of production? When a company is mismanaged, is antiquated, or suffers any other type of decay the stockholders may pull out which often results in the means of production being liquidated. If employees, under your plan, owned the company outright, they lose everything because they are emotionally and physically tied to it and can't sell. I know you think a company is going to be better managed by employees with a stake and therefore won't suffer the above turmoil but that is speculation at best. Your system ignores that fact that the world is, at best, unpredictable. It also ignores the fact that all humans are equally capable of greed, envy, and avarice - even the proletariat.

:: Presently the only way a worker can 'own stock' is by selling his / her labor-power---which generally fetches only enough to keep labor-power maintained (according to socially determined historical needs). A pyramid scheme prevents 'everyone owning stock' in the capitalist paradigm---just as it prevents everyone from becoming a boss.

No, Barry. You are quite wrong. Stock can be purchased and owned by anyone at all. Ours is not a caste system as you are constantly implying. I encountered no law, social moiré, or any external
pressure that blocked my way in my travels. Indeed, the only impediment was my own inertia. Once understanding that, I set out to accomplish my goals and achieved them. I am far from embracing the positive thinking nonsense that is marketed today but I will say this much; it is quite easy to rationalize not working hard, not risking security (or the illusion of it), and not aspiring to more than the first tier of Maslov's pyramid.

My contention with you is that our system gives one the freedom to climb the stairs of Maslov's pyramid. Your system would provide them with a helicopter ride up there. But the helicopter won't get built in your system so it rationalizes stealing it from mine.

:: The measured success of the American stock markets is a far more stable thing than a Marxist revolution could ever hope to be.

: See above quote. It's only a 'success' for the MINORITY who own stock.

Yet with the freedom we all enjoy to own stock, the integrity of this system is intact. Let people choose what they want, Barry. Quit trying to shove what is obviously an altruistic and egalitarian ideal down everyone's throats.

Stu: The only possibility of creating real economic equality is to disregard the natural variance in human aspiration and expression of ability.

Barry: And, once again, you have to fall back on obscurantism---in this case a crude Spencerian human nature. Yuk!

Rather than address the fact that people are different in many ways that work against collectivism, you ignore and dismiss it with more jargon. "Obscurantism"? "Spencerian"? What is that? If you could only argue a point without this kind of arrogant dismissal I might conclude that you are capable of original thought. You know this point is perfectly valid yet you won't engage it.

:: You've misunderstood something. I've consistently insisted that socialism must be predicated on the capitalist mode of production.

Well, at least we are clear on something. Socialism can't produce wealth by good intentions. It can, however, steal it with bad ones.

Stu: What ennobles the proletariat?

Barry: 'Ennobles' is a term I categorically reject. Dialectical materialism, put simply, is the idea that each epoch produces its own mode of production and its own corresponding social relations. When the social relations become a fetter upon the mode of production, class struggle arises to alter the social relations and to release the creative potential of the mode of production.

You spin your wheels like mad and go nowhere - if not in reverse. Are you backpedaling and suggesting that you are not morally judging capitalism and its entrepreneurs as inferior to labor? Or are you merely pointing out the mechanical properties of mankind in the above statement? You are taking a moral position against capitalism when you ennoble (dignify, elevate in degree, qualities, or excellence) labor with the LTV - and you know you are. You must have that moral component in play to rationalize revolution. You don't want me to embarrass you with links to your stated support of armed revolution and moral judgements of capitalism - do you? If you do, let the reader merely read the links Mr. Stoller has provided for support of his positions (especially his lovely poem) and decide for himself.

Stu: Why is my labor not my own if I invest it and hire employees?

Barry: We've done this song and dance over and over before, Stuart. You also OWN the labor of 'your' employees.

You may be singing and dancing, Barry but I'm actually working pretty hard. My employees own all of their labor until they sell it to me. We agreed what they would exchange it for when they hired on. We continue to negotiate that verbal contract as time goes on.

Once again, I invested $120,000 worth of my labor into this enterprise. When exactly did it cease to be my labor and become theirs, Barry? Draw that line in time for me or tell me who will so they might draw it.

Stu: What entitles you to interesting work?

Barry: Again: dialectical materialism. The capitalist mode of production---with its rationalization, automation, and incredible productivity---IS capable of freeing people from drudgery. Only the PROFITS of the minority prevents this from happening.

Stu: How can socialism create wealth?

Barry: By putting that section of productivity eaten up as PROFIT (i.e. mansions, aged wines, trophy wives) back into INVESTMENT. Also by rationalizing resources, plant, and skill; why have 20 factories making the same stuff when it would be more cost-effective to centralize those factories? After all, that IS the general idea behind capitalist MERGER.

So much for construction workers, vineyard workers, and the entire cosmetics industry. This is simply intellectual nonsense having no basis in reality. If you wish to attempt to motivate the masses to revolution with that kind of unsubstantiated, theoretical tripe, be my guest. If the profits of capitalists were somehow spirited away (not stolen, mind you) and redistributed to the masses I can guarantee they won't be reinvested in the means of production.

I know something of human nature, Barry. No one is going to do what I had to do to succeed motivated by the tenets of Marxism or any other egalitarian system I know of. Indeed my creative impulses which resulted in this business would have been thwarted within any known socialist system in existence.

But I know you can do it, Barry. Goals 40,000 might be a better theme though. Evolution is going to have to work a miracle to turn us into gods before next month.

Stu: Where is the biblical mandate for the implementation of secular socialism?

Barry: Ask some kook on the street with a sandwich board that says JESUS SAVES.

Well, that wouldn't be Lark - would it!

Stuart Gort

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