- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Freedom is a necessity of capitalism

Posted by: David on January 25, 19100 at 23:22:37:

In Reply to: You just said that 'social distinctions' are unfair if not founded 'on the general good'. posted by Nikhil Jaikumar on January 25, 19100 at 17:27:52:

: : (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

: Indeed.

: : Now, if I have the right to work, then couldn't I accuse anyone of not giving me a job as violating my rights? Do I have protection from unemployment even if I do not work to satisfaction of my employer? What if I am habitually late? Am I still protected? Or are these rights subject to certain conditions....

: EVERY right is 'subject to conditions'- in other words, you lose your right to life if you commit heinous crimes.

: And no, I don't believe 'laziness' is an adequate reason for you to be deprived a job. How sanctimonious you sound tehre. Do you think that the millions of hard workers who are ladi off every year are 'lazy'? Do you think that a job sweeping up grease at McD's is the best that these people deserve, just because they're poor, African american, and grew up in the inner city? Good God, man deserves better than that!

I don't think that laziness itself is an issue. In fact, in some instances laziness can pay off, especially if because of your laziness you decide to find a better, easier, way of doing something. However, companies have the right to fire people just as people have the right to quit. If the owner of the company decides that they are going to stop marketing a product and consequently lays off workers, then that is perfectly within his rights. Obviously I do not like the idea of a million workers (most of whom probably have families) being laid off, but then again, I also don't like the idea large quantities of wealth being spent on frivalous endeavors. The point is though, is that I have no right to tell them how they should run their lives or spend their money. Similarly, I have no right to tell them how they should run their businesses.
Honestly, Nikhil, I do not think that we can get any further on this issue simply by virtue of our beliefs.

: : : : 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.

: : In a perfectly free society, where wealth is made by the sweat of one's brow and their ingenuity, I would say that allowing people to amass wealth is not an issue.

: 'Not an issue'????!

: What a fucking dodge!

: You just said that 'social distinctions' are unfair if not founded 'on the general good'.

: What the hell are social distinctions cause by, if not by wealth?

: Wealth is ALL ABOUT making social distinctions.

: Wealth 'distincguishes' the type of shelter, food, medicine, justice, education, etc. that everyone receives.

: Wealth is teh most diabolically effective method of inventing social disticntion that man ever though up.

: Talk about avoiding the question!

: :I would also argue that any social distinctions made by wealth would not matter either. However, we do not live in such a society.

: You just SAID social distinctions are wrong, if not founded on the general good.

: How come you defend the social distinctions caused by wealth?

: You just contradicted yourself.

No, I said social distinctions may be founded only the general good. Now, here is where opinions come into play. I do not recognize a zero-sum game, I am not of the belief that just because one person has a lot of wealth than another person must necessarily have very little wealth. Based on this, I believe that a person becoming wealthy does not "injure" anyone else, therefore it is not against the general good. In fact, I believe that having wealthier people in a country promotes the general good by allowing more resources to be invested into production and raise the standard of living for everybody. Wealth created honestly is NOT wrong and I will defend it vehemently.

: : : : 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.

: : You cam never read too much Locke. I think that property is a sacred right and should be protected.

: Sacred according to whom?

According to me, that is why I said "I think that..."

: Where in the Bible does it say you have an absolute right to property?

Since when does the Bible have any authority?

: Incidentally, Locke wasn't too big a fan of freedom and property for teh Native Americans. Or for Africans, for that matter. He also supported the LTV, as do most people when they stop deluding themselves. Maybe you should read some socialist or communist thinkers once in a while. I read Locke (and disagreed with everything he said); why don't you read Marx? (I'm not a Marxist either, but that's not relevant....)

Well, unfortunately people tend to have some good ideas and some bad ideas. Like Batolomo De Las Casas, he was all for native american rights, he just had a problem with Africans. I have read the communist manifesto and a little bit of Das Kapital and I disagree with Marx. He was a very intelligent guy but I disagree with the concept of profit being expropriated labor, I also disagree with the LTV (this is where Stoller strikes me down with his thunderbolt).

: : : : 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?

: : No. Capitalism has produced more wealth to be spread around than any other system,

: Not true. The poorest of the poor are generally better off in socialist countries, regardless of how the 'average' citizen may fare; (the average is often higher as well). Anyway, the last time I proved that socialist Nicaragua did a better job of generating wealth than market-capitalist countries in Latin America, you neatly dodged by saying 'wealth creation wasn't the issue." What's it gonna be? You can't eat your cake and have it too.

My point was that capitalism has not injured anyone. It has helped a lot of people and has made people better off in this country.
The issue I was getting at however is that socialism is incompatible with what I consider to be mans natural rights and that is why I oppose it. Just like I would rather be free and starve than be fed and clothed yet kept in chains.

: : it has raised the standard of living in ways that people could have never imagined.

: Which would explain the formation of slums throughout capitaliszing countries in LAtin America; the lack of decent living standards for teh poor in any capitalist counrty; etcetera....

Those are caused by workers leaving their farms to go to the city so they can work in factories and make more money. Not to mention that the growth rate increases and immigration usually becomes a problem.

: :I believe that capitalism is what makes this world great. It is capitalism that allows us to enjoy all the freedoms that we do.

: Blatant falsehood. The freest counrty in the ear;ly '90s, using a narrow definition (only civil and political freedoms) was social democratic Sweden, not capitalist America (we were #33 on the list). Socialist Nicaragua was in many ways freere and more democratic than Reagan's US. There have been PLENTY of socialist states that were both free and democratic, often freer and more democratic than the US- Kerala, Bengal, Nicaragua, Burkina Faso, Chile, Zimbabwe, the Seychelles, Guyana, &c. Do you deny the existence of these counterexamples? BEcause your argument is that capitalism is what leads to freedom, not anything else; tehrefore the presence of freedom logically implies the presence of capitalism. Unfortunatly, these counterxamples disprove your point. So which is it going to be?

Freedom by what standard? I do not consider a country to be free if I am forced (coerced) into paying money so that it can be redistributed to other people. I do not consider it a free country if I cannot do what I want with my own life. I do not consider it a free country when I am coerced into associating with people with whom I do not want to associate.
Freedom is not freedom from necessity. It is not freedom from responsibility.

: : : : 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"?

: : I do not think so. However, you are entitled to your opinion. I think that social disparaties are neither harmful nor helpful/

: Well, gee, thanks; in a real capitalist society like Guatemala, Id' be up against the wall right now, so thanks for your socialist tolerance. Can you really argue, though, that social disparities are not 'harmful' to our sense of justice and to human dignity? It's perfectly OK, according to you, if the poor are living in absolute misery? Undeserved suffering isn't bad for 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....

: : I agree completely, civil disobediance is very important. Keep in mind though that if a government does only what it is supposed to do and does not overstep its boundaries, than there is no reason to be disobediant. However, if a government ignores those limitations and acts coercively than the social contract has been broken and you are not held to it.

: You have it backward. In a socialist democracy there is not reaosn not to cooperate with teh government- YOU ARE THE GOVERNMWENT. Ina libertarian capitalist society (read: rule by an elite) there is every reason to protest and try to shut down teh functioning of such an unjust society with every breath in your body.

I disagree, call me an elitist (many have) but I do not think that everyone is fit to rule.

: : : : 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?

: : This is actually where I disagree with the Declaration of the Rights of Man. I think that property should NEVER be taken away for any reason.

: But those people stole their land from society (and the workers) in the first place. They aren't entitled to it, and as such, tehy should give it back.

: : Owning land collectively is a non-issue because you will collectively be the private owners of the land.

: "Collective' and "private" are contradictory.

Yes but as a collective you will have sole ownership of the land.

: :
: : Alright, I need to clear something up. Capitalism is a form of economic system, it is when you use capital to produce more capital which is then reinvested. That is the economic system that I support.
: : The political system that I support, however, is one of a constitutionally limited democracy. Basically, people are insured certain rights and it is the governments duty to protect those rights. Essentially a social contract. In this political system, the government has a monopoly on retaliatory force, that is using force in response to other force. The government has no power to initiate force. Thus, the above scenario would never happen as the government would not have the power to initiate the use of force against another country.

: My point is that capitalism thrives well udner dictatorship, in fact better than it does under democracy. Capitalism and democracy are essentially incompatible; capitalism stands for economic oligarchy.

I disagree, in a capitalist society, the most important necessity is freedom. People need to be free to create, to build, and to live.

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