- Capitalism and Alternatives -

if everything belongs to me, why should I make a living or produce anything?

Posted by: R. Jenkins ( USA ) on April 11, 1999 at 17:37:25:

In Reply to: We support Socialism Voluntarilly. posted by Red Deathy on April 09, 1999 at 16:08:57:

: : Some more clarity: When we support the market, we do so voluntarily. We buy what we want and we sell what we want. If the seller can't sell anything, he does something else. This is not the common good, it is for the good of the people that produce what you buy.

: But you can only produce what may be sold within teh social networks of exchange, i.e. your proudction choices are limitted to what could be called the common good (rather it is effective demand, but the two are similar).

If we all produce exacly what we want, we would have a lot of surpluses and a lot of shortages. People do things that they don't love to do to make a living, but if they didn't have to make a living and still wanted to work, no one would do undesirable jobs. Think of all the waste that poeple clean up. You don't really think that those people enjoy it, but it is something that has to be done.

: : Supporting the common good means involuntarily submitting all of your wealth so that what you work for is no longer yours, but many other peoples. You are suplied with what the government can give, and you have absolutely no choice in the matter.

: No, supporting teh common good means voluntarilly working and producing for it, and taking what you feel you need, because everythign belongs to you anyway- and terhe would be no need for a government.

OK, back to the problem: if everything belongs to me, why should I make a living or produce anything? In today's society people have thousands upon thousands of distractions, and I would rather read, watch TV, or do other things if I don't have an incentive to work.
BTW, except for the extremely rich and a lucky few regular people, voluntary work doesn't really happen.

: : When an owner of capital doesn't let you work, you find another capital owner that does.

: Yes, but what if my skills are of no use to teh owners of capital in my country? What if I am an advanced Computer Scientist living in a very poor country? What if my skills are artistic? I can only work if I find An owner of capital to use them.

If you live in a country that is so poor that it has no need for computers, how could you be good with computers? If you are so rich that you got to have access to a computer, then you can certainly move to the US or other advanced countries. If your skills are artistic, you can sell your art to someone in another country.

: : Why would anyone produce anything if they didn't have to?

: Because society would fall apart, and they'd lose their freedom, because its enjoyable, because you can win esteem and praise for your work, etc.

Society would take a long time to fall apart, but it happens to a communist country. A few people start off on their ass, and the rest of the country starts to follow, bit by bit. How would you lose your freedom if you didn't work? Not all work is enjoyable, but it has to get done. As you have said earlier, some skills aren't appreciated.

: :Society progresses because people have to produce things, and they figure that they might as well do it well. If you have no incentive to produce, you will not produce. A few nice guys pull everyone's dead weight for a while, but then they start to drop like flies, and a different revolution takes place.

: No, the incentive is there, the reward being praise. Are producers rewarded now, no, they get a measly wage, while the guy they work for gets all teh money- the wealth producers are poor, while the owners pof wealth are rich.

You like to use the term 'wealth producers' when talking about factory workers. But you missed something: If the people up top didn't plan for distribution of their product, advertise the product, buy the neccesary materials to produce the product, sell the product, and set up factories, the factory workers wouldn't be able to make it. Producing the actual product isn't producing the wealth, it's a small part of it. It could be argued that the people up top are the wealth creators, because they do everything but physically make the product.

: : OK, peoples needs decrease, as does their production. If people live off of the only the essentials, society will take a thousand years to move foward one year in advancement. Think what would happen if everyone in history though this way: We would all be living in our caves or tipis, we would hunt and gather for all of our short lives, 90% of us wouldn't be hear because of treatable diseases, etc. If society doesn't advance, we really have no reason to live.

: Why is it necessarilly advance? And would people necessarilly consume less, or different? We would work and invent precisely because there is nothing better to do.

I'll assume that you meant why is it necessary to advance. Well, it is necessary to advance because there may be some point in time that all of our technology needs to be put into use(movies like armegedon, deep impact, and all of the ones where aliens invade). I know it sounds silly, but it could happen. If that point in time comes, and we are not ready to destroy whatever we need to destroy because we didn't advance, we will be wiped out. On a more current note: I'll assume that you like the internet, since you appear to use it a lot. 10 years ago, it would have impossible for people like us to do things like this. However, through advancement, we have harnessed the power of the internet, which many(including me) think is our future. Now, what don't you like about the internaet? To impersonal? Slow connections? Getting kicked off when your server is busy? Anything else? Would you like for these things to change? Well here's what'll make that happen: advancement. That's why advancement is necissary.
: : I think that money should go to the workers. Workers are everyone that has a job. Those that don't have a job shouldn't get any of what those of us that work create.
You yourself said that peoples needs might decrease because of the lack of a few factors. By human nature, consumtion/production changes with the time.
There's plenty of better things to do. We could read books, there are probably literally billions of them, we could do other fun things, like writing, watching TV, relaxing on the shore, and countless other things. We don't do this until retirement because we HAVE to work.

: But at teh moment money goes to them as own, not them as work- and who's to truly say what is useful work- caring for children is useful work, looking after teh old, etertaining folk, is useful work, currntly work is productive if it makes a fiscal profit for teh employer, rather would should be productive, because it pleases other people.

The people that do the things that you describe obviously don't need compensation, so they can do that.

: : I like that you want democracy and freedom, but only those that don't produce and those few that do produce that want this will vote this in, so it really can't be a democracy.

: Why do you think so? And it can't happen until a vast majority want it.

Whew, I was getting worried. I'll be long gone by the time that happens, with any luck at all.

: :Also, if society's only incentive is to enhance the world at large, they won't do nearly as well as they would in a situation where they have something to gain from it.

: They gain as a part of that world at large.

When you buy your favorite drink, you buy it because you like the taste and/or effects of it. What if you bought that drink and only got 5% of what you would normally get? You would probably not buy that drink any more, as you get ripped off when you do. the same is true for businesses. If they get 1/1000 or less of what they would normally get, they won't want to sell their stuff any more, will they?
: : Finally, you aren't really free if you can't escape(you said that it needs to be global).

: I can't escape capitalism- die hard capitalists could fuck off and found a capitalist commune somewhere if they wanted, I wouldn't stop them.

Sure you can. Go to N. Korea, China or Vietnam. These guys aren't giong anywhere. I don't think that a little commune is suficient for those of us that want capitalism. Besides, you wouldn't be the one to stop them, the government would. Also, whose to say that these guys can have their own property when that's against the communist rules?

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