- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Been reading too much Locke?

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on January 23, 19100 at 23:43:08:

In Reply to: A concern for rights. posted by David on January 23, 19100 at 11:35:22:

: 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!"

Mankind only sets itself such problems as it can solve, to quote Barry Stoller's favorite philosopher. If the capitalists suddenly removed themselves, nothing would happen; most of the engineers and technicians, the ones who REALLY manage the economy (mmost of them are salaried workers by teh way) would continue doing what they do, and where they didn't, people's management committes would immediately be formed to take up teh slack. I thinka nationwide strike, paralyzing teh capitalists, would be one of the best things that could befall us.

: 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:

Your noble sentiments in the first sentence are obviated by teh second, where you deny the most comprehensive, universal, and modern set of rights yet devised by man. Instead, you make reference to a document which was written over 200 years ago.

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

Absolutely. The best summation of socialism I could think off. Communists like Barry go even further and say that teh 'free and equal' bit is so important it overrides even teh general good, so you can't have social distinctions of any kind, even for efficiency's sake.

It really makes me wonder how you can keep arguing. Doesn't that one line destroy your entire pro-capitalist stance? Can anyone say that distinctions between people in capitalism are based on 'the general good'? of course not. It's obvious such distinctions are based on WEALTH.

: 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.

Dangerous ground here- you speak of 'liberty, security, and property'. I thought that conception went out with John Locke, poster boy of aristorcracy and slavery.

: 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.

Doesn't capitalism 'injure someone else', namely the poor?

: 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.

Isn't the existence of social disparities caused by capitalism "hurtful to society"?

: 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.

I would disagree with taht last clause., Civil disobedience is an important and time-tested tool.
Skipping over the rest, mostly truisms taht I agree with....

: 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.

Dangerous. Who defines 'public necessity', and on what basis is this 'right to property' granted- dpoes that make it unjust, for exampole, to own land collectively?

: 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.

'Ah, but it does?'

Can I have some proof of that?

Specifically, taht a starving Nepali farmer gives a fuck about what happens in Wall Street?

Remember teh phrase 'subsistence economy'? E.g. people surviving OUTSIDE the global trade network?

: 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.

Actually, most countries today price-control food to some extent, and with good reason. Second of all, I really doubt what you're saying. Next time tehre's a recession in teh US< let's see if starvationrates in Nepal go up. REcessions actually effect predominantly teh elite which aprticipates in teh global economy. Soviet Russia was untouched by teh Great Depression.

: 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?

Everyone WAS well fed in Eastern Europpe; that would explain why livbing standards have plummeted tehre every year since capitalism was adopted. As for North Korea, note I talked baout socialism when employed in a 'marginally rational and hmanitarian' manner.

: : : 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.

Can you give me any evidence for this? If the workers are 'smarter' tahn teh capiatlist, why do you still think they're not capable of running the business?

: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.

The belief in natural intelligence rears its ugly head....

: : : 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?

Monarchy, republic....how you choose your leaders doesn't affect teh ECONOMIC system you ahve. The murders in ANmibia were done to pave the way for capitalism, not for legitimist monarchy.

:I am not familiar with the German Kaisers, but I can safely bet that they weren't exactly capitalistic.

Yes they were. Hence the name, "Junker-Capitalists". The Herero and Nama were killed because tehy were using in a collective manner large tracts of land which German settlers wanted to divide up into private plots. I.e. they were killed to make way for capitalism.

Germany at teh time CERTAINLY WAS capitalist- it was Karl Marx's very inspiration for writing about capitalism! It was his PROTOTYPE of a capitalist society. How can you say it wasn't capitalist?

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