- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Continuing with Gee....

Posted by: Nikhil JAikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on January 11, 19100 at 18:30:52:

I don't

Posted by: Gee ( si ) on January 10, 19100 at 18:41:02:

In Reply to: I doubt that. posted by Nikhil JAikumar on January 10, 19100 at 10:25:08:

: Do you really want to suggest that they were no worse off spending their lives cutting cotton
and being flogged to death than they were in their home villages?

GEE: Slavery is not measured by the comfort of the cage, but by the either / or principle.

OK. Why not ASK the people in African villages today if they're slaves?
I think we both know what they would say. Poor, yes, but not slaves.

: As a member of society, you benefit from the work that you do for society asa whole. If you
think forced labor is slavery, then how do you explain that slavery is illegal under human rights
law today, while forced labor (with certain limitations) is legal?

GEE: Its a a contradiction. I also challenge the first assumption. If I work to make a home for a
stranger how am I benefitting? Unless I wanted to do it whats in it for me, as they say. That is
the thing people will think.

First of all, everyone benefits froma healthy and harmonious society. Second of all, we are the rational animal with a soul, to wuote....someone or other, and tehrefore we can display real altruism, unlike teh self-interested "altruism" that is characteristic of aniamls. Altruism si a real human motive, and I think governments ought to cultivate it. freedom does not mean doing whatever you choose. Third of all, when you work for society, you do benefit,a s a part of society. By building a hospital, you might need the medicines therein one day.
: if peopel choose not to commit the behavior, they won't be punished.

GEE: What kind of argument is that? Imagine a curfew law, which if broken results in death. what
do you say to the man caught out at 10:01PM? "if you weren't out here you wouldnt get

Not equivalenbt. In one case you're merely preventing the evildoer from having the means by which he committed his (economic) crime. The appropriate analogy would be that the curfew-breaker had his car keys impounded.

: No, because teh net effect is to reduce everyone to nearly the same level, not to broaden
social differentiation.

GEE: Interesting that you said reduce, appropriately.

Reduce was a careless usage. I mean in the chemist's or mathematical sense, to 'simplify', to make more straightforward. Like you 'reduce' an atom by adding electrons.

: I have always wanted a socialist to have the honesty to admit that they simply want other
fingers on the triggers, but that the principle of results by force will be extended.

: Good point. But it doesn't render your own argument any stronger, in fact it weakens it. If
you concede that property laws are based on the threat of implied force, then you can no
longer criticize the force implicit in state socialism.

GEE: Exceot that the force required in the first is self defence "defending *my* life and *my*
property as reaction to invader whilst the latter is invasion. Both require force, observe the
above difference though.

No, but you make the claim for it being your property on the groudns of force in teh first place, tehrefore you initiate the violence. When you fence in land you're introducing the threat of implied force- befroe it was no one';s land, so tehrte was no quetsion of force. You commit the action that initiates force.

: It is both 'at the same time', in the sense that it appears to change its nature omn teh basis of
which experiment you choose to do; which is clearly a logical impossibility. Science has
learned to live with minor contradiction.

GEE: What it is is not fully understood - hence the contradiction is maintained until its been resolved
- rather than accepted as an actual contradiction.

That's probably as good an explanation as any. I certainly don;t know what light "really" is, maybe someone else does...

: Well, like you just said, parents have no right to abandon tehir child, so let's reason

GEE: And a poor person in Ghana is not Mr Jones' son.

But the content of his chromosomes is, as John Rawls says, a 'moarlly arbitrary' fact. Should we base our entire ethocal system on degrees of relatedness? That's what rodents do. We aren't rodents.

: No, because no one will fall below teh level of teh grape pickers. We're going to narrow teh
range of inequality, not reverse it.

Thats the standard? As long as its not worse than the worst its ok what we do to peoples
lives? I can count the votes for that one!

But we're reducing the suffering, because after we're done no one will have to ednure the grape picker's misery. While some may sufer as a result of what we do, they won't suffer as much as teh grape pickers do if we don't do anything. So strictly from teh point fo view of indivoiduals suffering, socialism is teh better option.

: By that logic no one is ever fere, because we all have obligations...

GEE: The difference being between chosen by you and imposed by others on pain of forceful

Economic penury,however, is not freely chosen.

: I think correlations can be drawn between poverty and inequality.

GEE: If the measure is relative (relaitvely poor compared to relaitvely rich) then ofcourse it will
appear as inequality. If by objective standards then a very equal people can be all

I don't remember the context in which I said it, sorry...

: But is it so unlikely that a socialist state could have a good medical industry? What about
Cuba or Scandinavia?

GEE: The latter is simply a very modified / perverted form of free market anyway - so a govt can
use tax to buy medicine at the expense of goodness knows what. Cuba is likely the same -
with the tech and knowledge largely borne of mixed market nations.

: GM made a calculated decision to accept a few deaths, they decided it was better that
peopel should die than that tehy should lose money. I can't think of anything more atrocious.

GEE: What about a decision not to include side impact bars in order to make a car affordable to its
market? - im hunting for a principle here.

Doesn't it bother you that they actually EXPECTED people to die? That they actually PLANNED for that? That they set a PRICE on human life? Thta they treated human life as PROPERTY?

: The increase in suffering for teh 'rest of teh world', in raising the standard of living of ONE
country, woudl be marginal.

GEE: But because you consider it acceptable you must accept any permutation of the same
principle - so the rest of the world can suffer for the sake of 30 countries or 100 countries,
by the same logic - there is no end to the suffering imposed upon nations bound over to 'help'
because there is no principle to deal with it - its all whim.

No, you asked a specific question and I answered it. Now you have to show why that example can be broadened to the case under discussion. What are the similiarieties and the differences.

: Even if they do lose a bit of freedom, the gain for teh destitute mroe than counterbalances it.

GEE: By what standard? The destitute? The one who lost freedom? Yours? what?

By rationally determined standards that are agreed upon after reasoned argument. At least, according to the Rawls / Sen argument from freedom that I'm working with here.

: YEs, I don't much approve of teh Baader Meinhof gang either, but bear in mind that there
are differences bewteen semi-judicial assassinations, which punish specific peopel for
specofoc crimes committed, and the kind of random, fear-spawning targeting of civilians

GEE: Both are terrorism, just one has better aim.

Is the death penalty terrorism? I don't think so. Extreme, perhaps, but permissible in the case of heinous crimes.

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