- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Here's a scenario

Posted by: David ( USA ) on January 20, 19100 at 22:33:42:

In Reply to: Capitalists are an utterly superfluous term in the equation. posted by Nikhil Jaikumar on January 20, 19100 at 17:16:53:

: : I disagree. Our society is now one of consumerism. Think back to Henry Ford, he offered a $5 dollar a day wage to workers who worked in his factory. People were lucky to find half of that at other jobs that were just as bad (working condition-wise). His belief was that since he could make the model-t so cheaply he could afford to pay his workers higher wages, and witht he higher wages, they would be able to buy a model-t for themselves. It basically changed automobiles from being a luxury for the rich to a practicality that everyone could afford.

: Actually, henry Ford did this because the assembly line was a worker's nightmare (apparently) and no one would work for him unless they received wages substantially above the norm.

Probably a healthy portion of both. But if I recall correctly in his (auto?)biography there is a mention about his theory of consumerism.

: Henry Ford started his system in the ;30s. Correct me if I'm wrong, but cars didn't become widely available till the '50s.

You also need to keep in mind that there was a depression in the 30s and the war effort during the 40s had most resources tied up (factories included).

: : : We have to remember that our only power is labor power, and the only thing we have over the capitalists' is our ability to withold that labor power (i.e. go on strike). If the average workers had, say, six month's salary the bank--imagine the strike potential there!

: : Now, think about all those wealthy industrialists, many of them have enough money to survive for the rest of their life without any more income. Imagine what would happen if they suddenly decided to close down all the factories and liquidate their assets.

: Actually, very little would happen, IF we made sure that the equipment, factory, etc. remained in the hands of the workers who righfully owned it. The state can supply capital, the workers will continue sppkying their labor power, and state-employed technicians can supply expertise.

: Capitalists are an utterly superfluous term in the equation.

Sorry NJ, I am going to have to strongly disagree with you on that point. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the entire economic structure of this country would collapse and you would see nation-wide (if not world wide, [think about how much the U.S. drives the world economy]) famines, chaos, and general disorder. The stock market would crash, causing all the other worlds stock markets to crash, and you would end up with a depression that made the 1930s seem like a golden age.
Even if the workers were able to "take back" the capital (factories, machines, etc.) it would be like a bunch of chickens running around with their heads cut off, running a company is exceptionally complex and requires a lot of learned skills. However, I would say that this scenario is unlikely, you would not see this kind of AD HOC congealing of labor. No, what you would see is a lot of looting and violence.

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