- Capitalism and Alternatives -

But it doesn't mean pissing on your neighbor's lawn

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( EFZ, MA, USA ) on May 06, 1999 at 14:15:38:

In Reply to: selfish means loving your child more than your neighbours posted by Gee on May 06, 1999 at 12:15:39:

: : 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....

: I doubt your assertion. A small group of individuals of excepional ability can change a larger community, they may be 'unevenly' spread in communities.

you and i differ on our assessment of "natural ability" and how important it is. first of all, i doubt that natural ability is distributed as unequally as you say. Secondly, when people do possess exceptional natural ability(genius), I suspect taht for them work would be its own reward. They would work for the pleasuer and intellectual challenge they get from it, nit to make money (at least if you give them the option). A lazy genuis is a xontradiction in terms- and so,, I would argue, is a mercenary genius.

: : If they wanted to be productive, they would; assuming that they ahd access to the same natural resources.

: They might not. What if C1 happened to live near a good river?

Then the government has an obligation to supply them with eqquivalent access to resources, or to encourage them to move.

: : 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.

: In a case such as this yes. In the case where C1 happened to have the balance of the more able folk then why would they - there is no disaster apparent.

True, but there's the challenge of developing an undeveloped area, there's the feeling of having doen something good, there's the obligation to common numanity, and the simple factbof human brotherhood. also, tehre is more work to be done in C@ than in C!. Hence this vacuum of labor and expertise woudl get filled, boith for moral reapns, biological reasons (human empathy) and for the "challenge" of it.

: : where there was no lomnger the need to produce in ordrr to avoid starvation

: The need to survive wont change. Goods wont magically become abudant. Life will still be hard work.

Goods were abundant in a lot of hunter-gatherer societies, where they ahd no conception of property and no caitalist system of "incentives". Goods are abundant ifw e live in a sustainable fashion. "The original affluent society' and all that (I think Marshall Sahlins said that).

: : But C1 is not acting in their own 'collective democratic interest"

: C1 people have greater value for their own families, children and friends than for strangers. The vast majority of poeple do.

In a socialist society education will help this problem, but not amke it go away. Still, it doesn't matter. Just because you love your klid more doesn't eman that you spit on strangers' lawns every day. Ina socialist society, nor woudl it mean that you arrogate to yourself a high standard of living and wtach them starve.

: : So this is different from teh market economy

: Its not a comparison, its a statement. C2 arent self sufficient. C1 has not caused this.

they always cause it in some direct or indirect way- respources are finite, in C! uses them tehen C@ can't.

: : 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.

: Until they sink below again? And why would C1 people deprive their loved ones for strangers more than once?

Unlikely taht tehy woudl sink below again. If tehre is a deficit in ability in C2, the genuises will drift to C2 because they see more work to be done there, because tehre is more of a need for them. Why would smart peopel stay in C1, a community which ahs less need for them? That doesn't make sense to me. The only reason would be if they're lazy and want to do less work. But as I said, "lazy genius" is a contyradiction.

: : Straw man, if access to resources is the same then on a macro, collective level inequalities will not persist.

: Access may be different, reality does not supply each town with the same materials, nor do distributions of people supply the same abilities to the communes. It is a plausible scenario.

People's natural abilities vary much less than you think. Intelligenmce is mainly determined by environment, as are many other abilities (barring an exceptional few.)

: :: 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 (NO) or perhaps a viciuous government) is deliberately trying to kjeep them in poverty.

: Or their inability, in comparison with members of C1.

On a large scale (community) level, all grpousp have exactly teh same abilities. individuals may vary in some respects, but communities do not.

: :: 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.

: You are reducing the reward for being any of them accross the board. C2 would gain at C1s expense. Exploitation.

I don't consider thsi exploitation, and I don't consider anything wrong with taking a cut across teh board. anyway, if C2 is below C1 tehy SHOULD gain at c1's expense. that's only fair and just.

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

: An assumption which I doubt, they have the good of their valued humans as their interests. They love their children more than their neighbours children.

No, that's an individuals goal, teh collective gaol is teh good of humanity, since goods are produced collevctively thsi si what counts....

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

: C2 could then exist on the produce of C1, effectively turning C1 into a slave camp. An exploitative non productive class existing off the backs of the productive ones.

As Bill said, your scenario develops from superimposing market values and motivations (i.e. selfishness, desire to prodiuce and produce) onto a communal social system. Noit too likeley...

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