- Capitalism and Alternatives -

A concern for rights.

Posted by: David ( USA ) on January 23, 19100 at 11:35:22:

In Reply to: Plenty of countries have socialized their economies in the past posted by Nikhil Jaikumar on January 21, 19100 at 11:55:06:

: : : 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).

: Actually, the '50s ecconomic boom stememd from the war expednitures in the '30s and the New Deal. Of course, the much touted '50s boom left behind many areas like Appalachia, but that;s another story.

: : 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,

: Not at all. Plenty of countries have socialized their economies in the past, and (as long as it was done in a marginally rational and humanitarian way) saw an INCREASE in standard of living and general well-being, not a decrease. Think about this: Between 1980 and 1984, Socialist Nicaragua had the second highest growth rate in teh Western Hemisphere. That means higher than rapidly developing Brazil, higher than 'stable' Costa Rica, higher than that free-market paradise, Chile. The only country with a higher growth rate was Panama, and they don';t count becasue their economy was propped up by American expenditures in the Canal Zone. All this in spite of teh fact that between '81 and '84, the Sandinistas were being targeted by the world's most powerful administration in a duel to the death that took teh form of economic sabotage, resource destruction, trade embargoes, random terrorism and sowing of instablilty.

I think we got our ideas crossed here. I am not talking about socializing a nation, I am talking about a nation-wide strike on the part of the industrialists. Two very different things. In the former there is a group planning on taking control of all the industries and factories while the latter is all of the industrialists throwing up their hands in frustration and resounding in a loud cry of "You don't like us? Fine! We're outta here!"

: If communism / socialism are such bad ideas, then how do you explain the growth rate in early-'80s Nicaragua? or for that matter, the fact that Zaimbabwe managed to remain a socialist, semiindustrialized, democracy on a continent which at the time had little industry, little democracy, and even less socialism?

Similarly, I could say that if communism/socialism is such a good idea than why were so many millions killed in the U.S.S.R. and China?
Of course, this will not get us anywhere. What concerns me the most is not the growth rate of an economy or how prosperous it is. What concerns me the most is how well their citizenry's rights are protected. Now, when I mention rights, I do not mean the self-contradicting rights of the U.N. No. What I mean are these rights:

1. Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions may be founded only upon the general good.

2. The aim of all political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression.

3. The principle of all sovereignty resides essentially in the nation. No body nor individual may exercise any authority which does not proceed directly from the nation.

4. Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law.

5. Law can only prohibit such actions as are hurtful to society. Nothing may be prevented which is not forbidden by law, and no one may be forced to do anything not provided for by law.

6. Law is the expression of the general will. Every citizen has a right to participate personally, or through his representative, in its foundation. It must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes. All citizens, being equal in the eyes of the law, are equally eligible to all dignities and to all public positions and occupations, according to their abilities, and without distinction except that of their virtues and talents.

7. No person shall be accused, arrested, or imprisoned except in the cases and according to the forms prescribed by law. Any one soliciting, transmitting, executing, or causing to be executed, any arbitrary order, shall be punished. But any citizen summoned or arrested in virtue of the law shall submit without delay, as resistance constitutes an offense.

8. The law shall provide for such punishments only as are strictly and obviously necessary, and no one shall suffer punishment except it be legally inflicted in virtue of a law passed and promulgated before the commission of the offense.

9. As all persons are held innocent until they shall have been declared guilty, if arrest shall be deemed indispensable, all harshness not essential to the securing of the prisoner's person shall be severely repressed by law.

10. No one shall be disquieted on account of his opinions, including his religious views, provided their manifestation does not disturb the public order established by law.

11. The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law.

12. The security of the rights of man and of the citizen requires public military forces. These forces are, therefore, established for the good of all and not for the personal advantage of those to whom they shall be intrusted.

13. A common contribution is essential for the maintenance of the public forces and for the cost of administration. This should be equitably distributed among all the citizens in proportion to their means.

14. All the citizens have a right to decide, either personally or by their representatives, as to the necessity of the public contribution; to grant this freely; to know to what uses it is put; and to fix the proportion, the mode of assessment and of collection and the duration of the taxes.

15. Society has the right to require of every public agent an account of his administration.

16. A society in which the observance of the law is not assured, nor the separation of powers defined, has no constitution at all.

17. Since property is an inviolable and sacred right, no one shall be deprived thereof except where public necessity, legally determined, shall clearly demand it, and then only on condition that the owner shall have been previously and equitably indemnified.

These were taken from the Declaration of the Rights of Man penned by the French National Association.

: :[think about how much the U.S. drives the world economy])

: Actually, America produces products taht mainly feed elites in the third world, not teh people. Cubans seem to be doing pretty well, on average, in spite of teh fact that our 40-year embargo has attempted to make them scream. I doubt your average Nepali farmer is too greatly impacted by the meaningless fluctuations of paper profits on Wall Street.

Ahh, but it does. Depressions do not just affect the wage laborers and capitalists, it affects everybody. If people do not have a lot of money, then they buy less food--your nepali farmer finds that he can't sell his produce at the local market. This happened during the great depression, farmers purposely dumped milk so that they could get a decent price for it as no one was buying.

: :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.

: Again, let me ask; how come none of this happened when country after country socialized their economy?

Again, I was not talking about the socialization of a country.

: Famines, by teh way, aren't caused by a lack of food, but by choosing the wrong criteria for distribution. Famiens will ocuur whenever food is distributed on teh basis of money (as in America) or ideological loyalty (as in China) or ethnicity (Rwanda) or any criterion other than need. Your beloved capitalist system seems to be doing quite a good job at perpetuating famines as we speak. There are an estimated 1.2 billion hungry people in the world right now, up from 850 million a couple of years ago. So much for teh 'economic boom'.

Ah yes, and everybody was well fed in Russia....What about the massive famine last year in North Korea?

: : 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.

Do you mean to tell me that ten capitalists are smarter than ten thousand workers? Think about that for a moment, and its implications. If you DON"T agree with that piece of elite-aristorcartic wisdom, then the logical conclusion is that workers, collectively, can do a better job of running things than a couple of capitalists.

You are trying to back me against a wall. If I say, "yes ten capitalists are smarter than ten thousand workers" than you will probably call me a bunch of names, while if I were to say "Ten thousand workers are smarter than ten capitalists" than my entire argument and support of the current system would be hypocritical.
So, I will answer neither of them. In fact, I will present option C: Ten capitalists will be more effective at running a successful company than ten thousand workers. In fact, one capitalist would be more effective than ten thousand workers, simply by virtue of the fact that I do not believe people get any "smarter" when they get into groups. Of course, I do not judge people by their "class" or any other superficial quality. Basically, one intelligent person is still "smarter" than ten ignorant people.

: : 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.

: The same thing the German Kaiser said to his fermenting labor unrest in the early part of this century. Ironically, at very the same moment, his army was engaged in the conquest of Namibia- bringing about an orgy of 'looting' and 'violence' that rivals anything the world has ever seen. The Junker-capitalist genocide in Namibia killed a greater fraction of the population than the Jewish Holocaust.

Have I ever supported monarchy? I am not familiar with the German Kaisers, but I can safely bet that they weren't exactly capitalistic. I do not condone the actions of any heavy-handed, agressive, hyper-regulating government. Which is why I do not condone the current American government. I like the system, but I don't like the government.

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