- Capitalism and Alternatives -

oddly enough i did.

Posted by: Gee ( si ) on April 22, 1999 at 15:21:50:

In Reply to: If that's murder, how about.... posted by Nikhil Jaikumar on April 22, 1999 at 14:24:52:

: I wouldn't call it quite murder, but i would call it atrocious and evil, and I would say it's on teh same moral level as teh Stalinist inspired Russian famine.

I think its broadly similar - the view of other people as putty to be moulded at the behest of state, the majority, whatever.

: How about it, Gee? Did you protest when the US backed forecs who were destroying Nicaraguan fields? Did you protest when teh US bombed Vietnam? If so, then I admire your consistency.

And whats more the destruction of the 'drug fields' of Columia is dubious too -(drug prohibition is as 'effective' and as corrupt as alcohol prohibition was.)

: Secondly- this may be more intrinsic to the capitalist system- how about when you encourage a country to grow cash crops instead of food? in teh shrt term this may be OK since the farmers can sell tehir cash crops and use the money to buy food. But in the long term, when the price of cotton/ cocoa / peanuts falls, the farmers are up the creek without a paddle.

The key is 'you' dont encourage it, the farmers choose it. Alot of cash crop countries have deals mediated by govt, with political agendas. A cash crop country would 'logically' develop its economy in diversified areas like the western US farmlands did. The thing stopping this process is largely the govt taxes, not even squandered inneficiently on rail networks and infrastructure (which is marginally beneficial), gets wasted on armaments to fight quasi tribal conflicts against neighbours and natives alike. when looking at what seem to be food deals, take Voxs point - the 'deal' is often more to do with politics of power than mutual gain of trade.

: A while back I recall you and Joel saying that the suffering in eastern Europe was just something thsoe countries would ahve to tolerate, taht eventually everyone would be ebtter off in teh long (very long) run since they had adopted capitalism.

What we were saying (or at least I) specifically is that what happened in western Europe and the USA in 250 years wont happen in ex communist countries overnight. There is no Leninist call to be patient for the sake of the state. Poland and the Czech Republic are examples of booming ex communist countries. Romania and Bulgaria are not destitute, but are not as far ahead (or more positively, not far behind)

: Well, the alst time Bengal was capitalist was under the British, they ahd a horrible famine there in 1943. This famien has eben studied and the conclusion is taht tehre were enough food, but the people who died were unable to afford taht food and the government did not feel the need to supply it to them.Since then West Bengal has been first socialist (1947-1977) and then communist, and has not ahd a major episode of starvation.

Ive read the same, but do not consider it a capitalist case. Britain claimed ownership of Bengal under British govt - more in common with totalitarianism. When the socialist govt took over they claimed the same ownership but chose to dispose of food in a more beneficial way. Whilst an improvement over British rule (in this specific context) I would not call Bengal either a victim of capitalism or a socialist success story.:

it seems to eb less in teh socialist third world, which woudl tend to indicate that socialsim encourages starvation less than capitalism does.

I wouls suggest that a causal link is problematic. It may be also that countres which have greater food suply tend to become socialist - ie state socialsim is impotent without wealth to dispose of.

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