- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Gee ( si ) on April 06, 1999 at 13:44:15:

In Reply to: i have a problem with wealth that is created through exploitation. posted by Copenhagen on April 05, 1999 at 16:31:00:

: Well now that is interesting. I suspect that the reason the earth has no more farm land in 1992 than it did in 1820 would be due to the fact of unsustainable farming practices,

Not really intended to show that, but to say that the earth hasnt grown in size.

: : But (in 1990 US$) the value of everything produced in the world grew from $695 billion in 1820 to almost $28 trillion in 1992 and the amount of that production per person went from $651 to $5,145. If mony is not your thing then simply compare what can be done now in terms of farming, building, communications compared to 1820. That is wealth creation.

: Oh come now Gee talking dollars over the span of one and a half centuries completely ignores the effect of inflation.

It say "in 1990 US$" specifically taking inflation into account!!!

: What about the statisitc that 10% of the worlds population control 90% of the worlds wwealth? (that figure isn't exact, but i know it is in the ball park).

It probably is, what about it?

: it is the gap between the economic elites and the rest that is widening.

Which i was addressing.

: I have no doubt that a menial injection of western medicine can have a significant impact upon life expectazncies (eg pencilin, vaccines, etc). I doubt if any of the multinationals acting in 3rd world countries has had a positive effect on the life expectanicies of the population

One would require some kind of empirical and very broad study to show this. And I add that any wages paid out in the 3rd world are not in place of what they had before (except in circumstances where govt expropriated pvtley owned land).

: As i said earlier it is the very rich who are getting richer.

And the poor who are becoming richer. What is the problem with the gap?

: I don't have a problem with wealth, i have a problem with wealth that is created through exploitation. What was it Kant said?- Every man is an ends in himself, not a means to an end.

Which is a great argument for free association and private property.

: I agree that there will probably always be those who are wealthy and those who are comparitively not. But what is in issue here is the degree of difference between the rich and the poor. The wealth of a large multinational when placed in comparison with a starving ethiopian is obscene.

But without the existence of the poeple who have created wealth the starving ethiopian would still be starving. To me there is greater sadness in comparing a 'rich' subsistence farmer with the same ethiopian despite the gap being less 'obscene'. This is because a tiny wealth gap means less opportunity to climb up.

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