- Capitalism and Alternatives -

More capitalo-fantasism

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on March 22, 1999 at 17:42:08:

In Reply to: SDF, the pretend realist posted by Gee on March 22, 1999 at 13:11:14:

: : SDF: In the real world, tenants have two choices: they may pay rent, or they can be homeless.

: Assuming there is one owner of every possible piece of land, or they all collude with the aim, presumably, of becoming bankrupt.

SDF: The above assumption is not necessary. Landlords do not have to collude intentionally (they might assume that high rents are their birthrights, according to some popular folkloric notion) nor does there have to be one owner of all land (although in places such as Hawaii this is a realistic notion). Nor will collusion between landlords risk any kind of bankruptcy at all. This is why anarcho-capitalism is a fantasy -- it depends upon assumptions that aren't necessarily so.

It is furthermore unlikely that tenants will collude to boycott landlords who charge unfair rents, anywhere in the world, unless the boycott produces the sort of conflict between tenant and landlord I described here, where the tenants intentionally occupy the buildings until they are thrown out by some sort of landlord-employed army or (in a statist situation, i.e. today) by the cops. The reason for this should be obvious -- no tenant, competing individually in a capitalist system, would risk the destitution and disruption to his or her life that homelessness entails. So he or she will continue to pay rent, no matter how unfair such rent might happen to be.

Landlords are able, in fact, to charge high rents in places (such as for instance Santa Cruz, California, here in the US) where tenancy is at or above "capacity," and the upper boundary of such rents is the wage-earning capacity of the tenants. Even in places where rental is below capacity, the landlords can risk leaving lots of buildings empty in order to extract the desired money from renters.

: : SDF: In Gee's world, one doesn't have to use roads: one can drive into fences, into densely-wooded forests, into buildings, onto private property, anywhere one wants. This is why people in Gee's world don't have to use roads.

: And the above is why SDF doesnt like to argue the point.

SDF: Gee's point, as I remember it, was that "the road owner cannot survive without making money - he will run out if no one is using the road," and my point was that 1) people have to use the road, and 2) the road owner will not necessarily need money to survive. Thus, I argued, Gee is making assumptions about the world that aren't necessarily so, and thus Gee's assumption that we can have capitalism without government will fall apart because it is based arbitrary assumptions about property situations.

Let's go back to Red Deathy's argument, at the top of this thread, that capitalism is unstable because it leads to monopoly situations. Gee's "rebuttal" to these arguments is that I have "failed to argue the point"; well, does it need to be argued any further than it is argued here?

: : SDF: The road owners don't have to make money off their tolls -- they also own self-sufficient farms.

: Do they?

SDF: And what if they IN FACT do? Doesn't then your anarcho-capitalist fantasy become another monopoly situation?

: : SDF: In Gee's world....blah blah

: ad homineins - and you wonder why I dont answer them.

SDF: No, in fact I'm arguing quite convincingly that your anarcho-capitalist fantasy fails to take into account the situation of artificial (or natural) resource shortage that is the plight of millions around the world who live in slums. In fact, the invention of capitalism itself required that millions of peasants be stripped of their access to the commons and be forced into cities where "vagrancy" laws required that they be sheltered into workhouses. Thus capitalism itself was born of an artificial resource shortage experienced by huge numbers of people. Again, please read E. P. Thompson's THE MAKING OF THE ENGLISH WORKING CLASS.

: On the finite resources. Yes they are finite, no we are no where near a point where all resources are gone.

SDF: Who's "we"? This is capitalism, there is no "we," I compete against you, this is precisely what buttresses my argument about resource shortage. Humanity need not experience a common resource shortage for large numbers of individuals to experience crisis-level resource shortages. If I am trapped outside of the system of exchange (having nothing of market value to trade) and if my access to "nature" is denied (I live in a slum), then I experience a resource shortage. This was the point of my argument about Jeremy Seabrook's VICTIMS OF DEVELOPMENT. Oh yes, and the argument that we aren't near a point of resource shortage needs to be proved, not merely asserted.

: You may wish to read (or casually and inaccurately discredit) "Ultimate Resource" by Julian Simon.

SDF: Or I may choose to provide an accurate disproof of its assertions, should I happen to find it.

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