- Capitalism and Alternatives -

rosy histories

Posted by: Gee ( si ) on December 07, 1999 at 11:07:41:

In Reply to: More for Gort (better) posted by Stoller on December 06, 1999 at 20:57:58:

: People have been motivated to 'create businesses and even whole industries' long before businesses and industries (as we know them now) existed. Labor has been collectivized since the beginning of human relations.

Are you suggesting some 'righteous' socialist ethic in operation in pre-capitalist societies? I would sooner suggest the relative bleakness and harshness of life is an encouragement to be productive too - as can be fear of tribal overlords and your local Baron.

Don't put all your guesses about the motivations of people in the past in one basket. I contend that is was never a rosy socialist paradise, nor that the motivations were what you would call 'noble'.

: Marxist socialism requires no 'sacrifice' of anyone; it only posits that each person works to the best of their ability, receiving in return all that they need.

Therein lies the root to its failure in attempts to get it going.

: You assert that the 'profit motive' is the creator of wealth (like so many other pro-capitalists). Then why the EMPLOYEES, Stuart? And do not those employees who receive no 'profit motive' CREATE MUCH WEALTH (for their bosses)?

This is probably better worded as 'gain motive' rather than something so specific as profit. In this light you can consider the motivation of millionaires and paupers alike.

: While that certainly is a flattering notion for the capitalist appropriators, that theory omits some important details. One is that, as Shaw put it, 'It is not the man who is singular, but the position.'(1) How many bosses are really required?

You'll be amused that Rand, via her novels at least, offers the theory that boards of directors are run by 1 or 2 business men and a dozen hangers on.

: Plus, as Marx observed: 'Science, generally speaking, costs the capitalist nothing, a fact that by no means hinders him from exploiting it. The science of others is as much annexed by capital as the labor of others.'(2) Think of the incredible amount of industry R & D that is SUBSIDIZED by taxpayers;

Given that capital pays all taxes how is the capitalist incurring costs of 'almost nothing'?

:Inventors are almost never those who profit from inventions.

Except for Dyson (vacuums), The fellow who invented clockwork radios, the fellow who invented rubiks cubes (remember them!), and more 'exceptions' minor and major than can properly be called exceptions.

Ofcourse the point is well taken - I could easily conclude that inventors never gain their 'due profit' as even the tiniest % of the wealth they create is not theirs. To bring in Rand yet again, I believe she did say that an inventor of the calibre of Edison could not have been rich enough even as a billionaire compared to the wealth he created. That those as he, and those who invented and organised the necessary production of goods are mankinds greatest benefactors.

I do keep thinking that your 'beef' can only be with lazy inheritors of fortunes - but somehow it isn't - its with hard working and productive people like Stuart Gort! I think I understand - it is the likes of him that you would see harnessed for the service of majority decided goals, whilst the lazy inheritor cannot be so used.

: : [I]f pressed I'll start listing all the wonderful statistics there are on the overwhelming percentages of millionaires in this country who started in the lower and middle classes.

: Please do. (But don't use Stanely & Danko’s Millionaire Next Door, as Gee once did. The methodology of that 'study' went splat here and here.)

Please do Stuart, and don't forget to visit here too, so as to see why 'splat' isnt quite the right expression

: No, I'll concede nothing on this point. The comparison is apt: only A MINORITY succeeds. Sure one activity requires skill (forgetting about the large personal fortunes of idiots like Dan Qualye) AND luck, the other ONLY luck---but BOTH requires luck (in most instances***).

Thats a 'must believe' for some socialists - a gross exageration of the role of luck in wealth. Its very revealing.

: Again you wish to NEGATE the majority of instances with ONE EXCEPTION.

It shows that staying poor is contingent upon *not* doing whatever Stuart did do - that, I believe, is his point. Now insult him by saying it was all down to luck.

: What if ALL OF THEM wanted 'more than that'?

Why do you think there *must* be a level of 'no good jobs' from here to eternity? That statistic which you believe shows 75% people are educated poorly in order to have them do crappy jobs may show it the other way round - not as conspiracy by some elite, but as self repeating consequence of poor education. In other words the more people who genuinely want more then the more who can get more. Youre placing an arbitrary limit on the amount of people who can 'rise' which has no defence.

: : When did my labor cease to be mine during the course of my business investment and growth? I notice you skip this every time I ask the question because it forces you into a quandary of jargon juxtaposition.

: 'Skip it each time'? Are you deaf? Each tedious debate we have, I say: 'Your' labor is always predicated upon the labor of OTHERS. We can never separate 'your' labor from the labor of 'youR' employees except by monopolizing the means of production and forcing most people to accept 'your' terms of separation---under penalty of hunger and homelessness. If THAT is 'a quandary of jargon juxtaposition,' then I suspect you are simply clinging to an ideology that 'conveniently' justifies your appropriation of other people's work.

You omitted that Gort worked for others prior to becoming a business owner. I think he is asking you when his savings from previous work (whilst he was presumablty a noble victim of exploitation) became the vicious capitalist evil pile he sits upon now.

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