- Capitalism and Alternatives -

attention caught

Posted by: Gee ( si ) on May 14, 1999 at 14:38:33:

In Reply to: A real argument? posted by Samuel Day Fassbinder on May 13, 1999 at 18:16:00:

: I presumed that in a market that was "at capacity," there would be nowhere to leave except the great homeless outdoors, since all of the housing in such a market would have "no vacancy," and that people would not voluntarily choose to live outdoors if they were forced out by their landlords.

That would presume an end to living space on a global scale. The great outdoors is what London and New York used to be prior to development. Its what most of Scotland and Nebraska is today. There is a finite amount of land space on Earth -even projecting forward undersea habitations. What was your time scale for its full capacity? I would suggest many hundreds of years, considering what appears to be a trend among populations to slow down when 'western' conditions are met. At that point in the future its conceivable that the various fanciful ideas we presently have about 'cities in space' may be a reality. In other words, why would development of living space stop?

: It also seems to me that treating the victims of racist systems as if they were unaffected by racism is no solution, it's merely denial.

I am sure that a black person in many parts of America may encounter racism. What would you do to cease this? Force people to act in a non prejudiced manner on pain of punishment? Tackle the symptons not the cause (which is the collectivised mindset of people as groups)?

: Are we to chat idly about the possibility that the 1/6th of the world that suffers from chronic malnutrition might not be able to start their own successful retail businesses?

Or are we to suggest that because some are in need other people, whom cannot be responsible for its cause, must be forced into rectifying this. Forced, not voluntary, which is a fine way to create resentment and a view of poorer people as a cost not a value.

: Actually I seem to remember arguing that Simon's THE ULTIMATE RESOURCE II plays a shell game with the problem of resource scarcity, that the idea that we can overcome one resource shortage by substituting something else for that resource ignores the other resource shortages created as a result of substitutions.

That regardless of switching we'll eventually run out of the whole lot. I find the following quotation an interesting angle on this ; "I've never been able to figure out for whom we're saving the irreplaceable resources. If we aren't allowed to use them, then the next generation shouldn't use them either, nor the one after that."

Simon never suggested that switching would last forever. He did suggest that panicking over shortages was usually exagerated by a) an underestimation of how much of the resource existed b) an underestimation of the alternatives. Simons point was that humankind have shown a good track record in adapting to new materials and uses and that quality neednt end when a resource runs out. In essence the message was "there is more of it than you think, there are lots of alternatives, by the time they run out technology would have advanced to using resources from elsewhere in the solar system".

Thinking billions of years into the future I can see your point is very relavent to whatever humankind are then.

The last assertion is conjecture, but its based upon our past record. The choice facing mankind is to stop and reverse the usage of resources now to make Earth habitable for how ever many millions of years we have - or to continue developing and taking risks.

: And I'll say, Gee, that you're manipulative in the way you use your "friendly style of humorous banter" in order to avoid the central contradictions of anarcho-capitalism. Get used to the idea that yourself, me, RD, etc. are "manipulative." We want to win arguments.

I was specifically referring to the presentation of another posters arguments.

What your motivation (and it was worth my reading it) tells me is that there are a number of values you wish to personally pursue in life. Those values may not be shared by a very significant proportion of other people on the planet which leaves you divorced from your goals. How you pursue your goals is up to you, you can on earth today join a commune and live out your particular life as closely related to your values as possible. You cannot change the work however. The one criticism I do accept is that any vision of anarcho-capitalism I may have is nearly removed from likelyhood as RDs vision, even if I do think ACap more accurately accomidates human behaviour.

: Please elaborate for me what this notion of capitalism, aside from its being an incomplete notion of capitalism, has to do with communication. I'm lost here.

That if you are to communicate a message about 'western capitalism' the structure is not one of *private* ownership., in other words the principle of private ownership is often, not the thing which is being criticised when poeple rail against capitalism.

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