- Capitalism and Alternatives -

more responses to nonsenses

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on May 14, 1999 at 16:59:38:

In Reply to: attention caught posted by Gee on May 14, 1999 at 14:38:33:

: : 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.

SDF: Would you force people to move around the globe (whether it's affordable for them or not) to protect the property rights of landlords? Sounds like the Soviet Union -- people are not going to voluntarily move to Siberia where the rent is cheap merely because Santa Cruz, California is at capacity. Just because there is "space" somewhere to live doesn't mean that former urban dwellers have the ability or will-power to make use of such space.

: : 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)?

SDF: The cause of racism is not "the collectivized mindset of people as groups" per se, but rather the inculcation of prejudice. Leaving the nonwhites trapped in the slums, with all the dislocation that entails, is not going to do anything to persuade the prejudiced that they don't "deserve" to live there. Allowing them to move out of the slums at exorbitant rates, to places like Moreno Valley, Rialto, and Fontana in southern California as is what happens now under capitalism, is what in fact leads to the growth of slums. Ending slums is a start.

: : 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.

SDF: Oh I'm SOOOOOOOO worried about the "resentment" of the rich few who control the world's wealth (while wondering if Gee is one of these rich few who defends "anarcho-capitalism" as an act of noblesse oblige toward the rest of us).... it pales compared to the resentment of the billions who will stage a REVOLUTION if they ever get ahold of a shred of power against such rich few, who at present work for Nike, for the profit of capitalists.

: : 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".

SDF: This, as Gideon Hallett has pointed out, is more obfuscatory nonsense. The machinery for our civilization is built to run on ONE, NON-REPLACEABLE RESOURCE, that is to say OIL, whose current cheap price and great plentitude will only last for about ten years. We can't just "switch" away from oil like we would turn on or off a lightswitch. After about 2010, there will still be oil, it just won't be cheap oil, i.e. it won't be a resource for the cheap development of Asia, Africa, South America, development nontheless even though its main beneficiaries are multinationals. Humanity must seize the moment to develop away from oil, now, even though the price of oil is depressed at present due to the disorganization of OPEC.

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

SDF: You haven't even bothered to think ten years into the future.

: 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.

SDF: Only a certain TYPE of development will take fewer risks than the type of development the oil companies, the Cato Institute, and anarcho-capitalists promote with their propaganda.

: : 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.

SDF: My values are the result of having thought of another option for human society, that most people haven't ever been offered. Communes are a substitute for a better society, a substitute that can be arrived-at by the well-off in the face of capitalist denial of the other alternatives.

Assuming that most people "choose" the status quo shows nothing about the choice they've been given, nor does it adequately defend the status quo as good. RD is offering this other option. Anarcho-capitalists aren't.

: : 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.

SDF: Examples please.

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