- Capitalism and Alternatives -
Is the requirement of force unnatural?
Posted by: Muddled in Maine ( High Skkkool ) on March 22, 1999 at 11:33:39:
In Reply to: Another question for the weekend posted by B on March 19, 1999 at 18:01:50:
Good question. This is basically asking, since it is some people's view that behavior is determined by natural circumstances (i.e., not god, free will, etc.) then why isn't everything in accordance with human nature.
Sadly, I am just a high skool student and do not know much about this topic, but i will try to provide some insight on it, and I hope that others will help you out even more. Basically, human nature is the genetic basis for reaction with the environment. For example, if i hit a child when it steals, the environment is reinforcing not stealing, but it is only because the child has the innate nature to understand the reinforcement that they respond at all. That is, I couldn't use the same behavior on a rock, if the rock stole anything in the first place.
Therefore, while there is a human nature, it can be shaped, indeed, twisted by the environment. Another example- I think it's safe to say that it's an innate human drive to survive (hence reproduction, hence the more complicated concepts of pleasure and pain, hence fight-or- flight, etc) yet there are still people who kill themselves. This is because their environment forced them to go against their nature. Another example is, even though it is human nature to have ten fingers and toes, there are people who are born with less or more than that amount. So, human nature is not absolute, and innate instincts do not reign supreme.
Incidentally, it is the environment that determines human nature, thru natural selection and all, so that nature adapts, and there is natural variation- human nature is not static nor concrete.
Also, the environment is not in concordance with human nature- there are hazards to human health, like sharp rocks and dinosaurs. Even though our present (economic) environment was basically created thru humans and not nature (though I woudln't recommend separating the two) some things which are not in accordance with human nature still exist. If a guy from the Middle Ages were dropped in present-day NYC lifestyle, they would probably go insane. Each generation adapts more and more to these unnatual changes, making them natural.
However, there is hope- the race, nor the planet, will and does not simply accomodate to life under capitalism. There are still needs which must be met, needs higher on Maslow's heirarchy. Most people in America who play the game and "win" may have enough to eat, and shelter, and maybe even love, but they still aren't happy. You probably know this already, so I won't go into it further. But I will repeat your question- if capitalism is natural, why does it require force?
Because there will always be discrepancies between the existing and rising systems. There will always be sharp rocks and dinosaurs, we can never escape those, that struggle will always be there. It isn't natural in the sense that it is in concordance with the existing human nauture, but it is in the sense that it's a way with dealing with the basic problems of survival.
Of course, this isn't to say that things cant' change once enough people see that there are more efficient and equitable ways of mass survival.
Struggle comes in many forms- Embrace It!!!