- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Hmmm, crispy...

Posted by: Red Deathy ( Socialist Party, UK ) on April 01, 1999 at 18:44:22:

In Reply to: and pop! posted by Gee on March 31, 1999 at 19:17:30:

: If I make legs and you make the flat bits then we can see who made what in a chair. Division of labor.

But who put in more effort, or whose task was more necessary? And we are both responsible for the end product table.

: I think we must have a different idea of choice. If a millionaire buys all the bananas in my local shop I dont consider him to have made my choices for me. Choices are not everything or nothing, they mean acting free from coercion. My inability to buy bananas wasnt the result of somoene mugging me. In situation where the outcome (no bananas) look the same, the cause can be coercion (mugger) or non coercion (bananaman).

No, but if that millionaire keeps on buying banana then I can't have any, or banan production is stepped up, at teh expennse of, say, medicines. The economy responds to effective demand only, money makes all the choices, them as don't have money have no say in social production.

: All of which is fine except it doesnt free you from the need for food. If you are blameless for growing up without fields to grow on, then so are those who have those fields (ie 'social' inheritance in westerners), if you meet an opportunity to gain food and dont take it and another person takes it, it isnt his 'fault' that you dont have it. When you want to decide how to live with your fellows, you need to accept that they might be deciding how to live with you too.

They may well be blameless for what has happened in the past, but they till have responsibility now fo what happens because they own the and.
I do accept that my fellows have to decie how to intract with me- its called co-operation.

: Now, is the key word in your statement. the potential means future, it doesnt mean now.

No, potential means now, potentially I have the future potential to be a millionaire, and have a potentuial to buy that bug house, but now I lack that potential. And I think my odds are very slim.

: Inventors generally get copyrights themselves, or should do so, techies can start their own businesses if they do not want to be salaried, but its very difficult. That people interact to create wealth does not diminish the role of the Edisons in the process.

It doesn't diminish their role, but the difference is that they do not create wealth on their own, and that their mode of getting more wealth is through ownership of an idea, not through their work. Ands such self made men, such eddisons, are a fantasy from the past now, now corporate pattents are the norm...

: Like the inventor of that dyson vacuum? He denied us the opportunity of making dyson vacuums until he designed it? Henry Ford denied us the opportunity of making cheap cars until he designed auto assembly lines? Permission?

You're mistiaking the act of labour (inventing) with the act of owning (Fords factories), and niether could impliment their ideas without capital, which had to be borrowed from someone with Wealth (permission). Ideas are teh fruits of labour, ownership is not.

: Then you will not be suprised that such people tend to start their own companies (eg dyson vacuums), or enter into % contracts (eg the millionaire software writers at microsoft, or innovators at 3M)

But not all do- what about techies in Labs, what about Graham Bell's lab assistent? no-one creates in a vacuum. If they start their own firms they need capital to do so (though Dyson did so because Hoover wouldn't buy his idea). Such insidences ae few and far between.

: Thats why there are various analysts, to describe the risks and pick out better investments (supposedly).

BUt this security is at aodds with your espirit d'adventure that you espouse, no-one really likes market flucuations, no one likes businesses failing, and its precisely this that means that people will try and prop up established firms, and that makes self made men such a rare feature of capitalism.

: Still not a cataclysm. Shrinkng industries dont spell the end of an economy, other indusustries are growing, their knock on effects are positive. The growth of global output, by various measures, is a steady increase ove the long term.

Yes, it goes up, after each slump we find that the low point is higher than the previous low point, the growth rate is ever upwards, but the immediate effects of such a crisis in terms of workers lives can be devestating.

: The usual way is to cut costs, which often means employing more efficient machinery and more efficient people. Wage decreases and increases are prevalent in many industries simoultaneously because of this pressure. Investment cycles speed up in competitive markets, as opposed to 'comfy' market who dont need it.

Investing in machinery is a diminishing return, but freezing wages, or a general trend downwards can seriously kill demand in the short term. Sacking worker is also a popular move in such circumstanes, try and do the same job with less workers. Even if investment cylces speed up, that just means more chaos in workers' lives. And of coure, the big joke is, that they are getting sacked for working too had and well....

: Hence they tend to start their own companies (eg dyson vacuums), or enter into % contracts (eg the millionaire software writers at microsoft, or innovtors at 3M) if they have sufficient 'fruit' to trade.

Which, again, is a relatively rare instance.

: Janitor gets more choice, billionaire son gets load more choice, gain for both. It may seem unfair, but that opinion is, an opinion. The Janitor is not losing choice.

No, because many things remain without his choice remit, that are within the remit of teh billionaires choice- yes, it is a matter of values, what do you think is better, social equality and democracy, or difference, power and wealth. At the end of the day, Joel, if you are watching, it does boil down to values, how mmuch do you value other people, or how much you are callously going to shrug you shoulders, and say 'thats life, if a saint and a sinner fall from a plane, they'll both hit the floor at the same time.'

But which set of values makes for a better society?

Follow Ups:

  • ...nutty! Gee si April 05 1999 (1)
    • Nuts! Red Deathy Socialist Party UK April 06 1999 (0)

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