- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Collectives serve humanity, not themselves

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( PCC, MA, USA ) on May 06, 1999 at 10:08:28:

In Reply to: A collective conundrum posted by Gee on May 05, 1999 at 13:05:40:

: Lets say there are two towns, living in a collectivist direct democracy world. We shall call them C1 and C2. Both C1 and C2 has collective ownership of a number of materials. In C1 the democratic collective effort of the people result in them successfully producing for their collective needs. In fact, the people of C1 happened to be more motivated and more able than the people of C2, due to a natural variation in its individuals.

I doubt it, I think that all groups of people people have essentially the same degree of "motivation' and 'ability", but let that pass, for argument's sake....

: C1 is self sufficient in food, housing, goods and even a few luxuries.
: C2 however is not. Its most able and motivated people had left, freely and democratically (thats ok right?), and been enthusiastically invited into other collectives and the people of C2 have not been as productive with their resources.

If they wanted to be productive, they would; assuming that they ahd access to the same natural resources. I don;t think that the problem of unequal outcomes would be anywhere near as bad in a collectivist world. If C2 was so under-developed, for some reason (perhaps a flood) then I suspect that people from other communs would venture in to volunteer their labor in order to help them develop. People have a great capacity for volunteerism and charity once you take away the compulsion to produce for the market- in a collectivist, non-capitalist world, where there was no lomnger the need to produce in ordrr to avoid starvation, I think you'd see a flowering of volunteerism in all its forms.

: The people of C2 have democratically decided that C1 should help them out by either giving them some produce or by 'democratically' rehousing some of the C1 producers to C2. C1 people decide that this is not in the collective democratic interest of C1.

But C1 is not acting in their own 'collective democratic interest", that would be little advanced over individualism. nationalism is only a step above selfish egotism, we must go much further than that. In a socialist society, [people would work for teh goodof humanity as a whole or (if you have a religious bent" for the glory of God, not for the sake of their provincial little commune. remember, the smaller a group gets it becomes more and more a projection of oneself- so patriotism is really only one step above pure sellfish individualism. "Love of country is a great thing, but at the deepest level it is just an extension of his love for himself." (Not my quote, some acience fiction writer whose name I don't remember.)

: The people of C2 are facing disease and starvation. C1 has *not* caused this in any way.

So this is different from teh market economy, where wealth for sasome is a direct cause of poverty for others? By possessing lots of money and buying expensive beef, you drive up teh price for beef and the poor can't afford it.

: C1 can help out but at a cost of reducing their standard of living to a basic shelter and food only level.

The appropriate solution would be for C1 to temporarily give up a good portion of their income (not all) so that they are still at an above subsstence level, but are also helping C@ to get back on their feet.

: How do you think the above situation of 'inequality' should be resolved?

Straw man, if access to resources is the same then on a macro, collective level inequalities will not persist. Averaged over time, the "ability" of C1 and C2 shpould be equal. Even if they aren't then C2 will gradually get an influx of labor and expertise from outside to help them develop their standard of living. Eventually, if the natural environmemnt is teh problem, C@ will probably just pick up and mov

: Should C1 work to support C2 indefinately, at the cost of their standard of living?

Not likely, as I said, tehe inequality will not persist permanently unless something (eg the capitalist system or perhaps a viciuous government) is deliberately trying to kjeep them in poverty.

: Should C2 forcibly take property from C1 to equalise their standard of living?

No, if anything they should take income- taking an across the board piece of income from the community doesn't punish any particular occupation, tehrefore it doesn't coerce people to be say, farmers instead of musicians. By taking income instead of property, you are not forcing anyone to alter their chosen occupation / lifestyle. If you took away land, musical instruments, etc. you would be forcing people to alter their occupation. Taxation is different.

: Should C1 carry on as a successful collective, having no part in the cause of C2s demise and therefore having no obligation toward it?

No, C1 and C@ do not have autonomous interests, they both ahve as tehir goal the good of humanity.

: Should C1 invite the people of C2 to live with them, in the hope that those poeple would become more productive - but at the risk they may not be, and end up diluting the standard of living for the original C1 people?

Doubftul- as I said, the average level of ability over time is likely to be the same.

: Do C1 people have the right to refuse to share their collective produce with the people of C2?

No, because they ahve an obligation to humaity as a whole, not to their community.

: what are the consequences if they do not?

Legal sanctions? taxation?

: Other answers?

As i said, volunteerism will likely solve the problem.people are better on the average than capitalism amkes them out to be. we're not all selfish bastards.

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