- Capitalism and Alternatives -

We're still hangin' in there

Posted by: Quincunx on June 23, 1999 at 10:53:10:

In Reply to: hope we dont dissapear off the edge posted by Gee on June 03, 1999 at 13:34:40:

Qx: It could well be printed for self-serving triumphalism also. Has that occurred to you?

G: It wouldn’t make the statistics any less checkable.

Qx: One thing here: Statistics don’t lie. People use statistics to lie. By using imprecise categorization and criteria the entire thing is questionable.

G: It is imprecise, it means without the kind of capital (eg land of huge stocks) that would make it 'easier' to start a business. Some were from low income families, some were from middle income families and no doubt some were from high income families.

Qx: Then I would not even try to use it as a reference source.

G: I would however refer to it as a refutation of the insistence that successful people are all wealthy to begin with.

Qx: With imprecise criteria? Good luck.

Qx: Good. Then you can sense that nepotism propelled by greed is the motivating factor and not any capitalist endeavour that assues responsibility for risk. Hence false capitalism.

G: Welcome to the mixed economy where being an entreprenuer is to be considered cattle for governemnt and their cronies to feed off.

Qx: Now you know.

------------------------ON PROFIT AS THEFT----------------------------

Qx: Ahhhh...inherited wealth in the guise of working capital which survives by profits which is really theft from the workers.

G: See my discussions with red Deathy.

Qx: I should . There’s so much you guys have churned up that I’ll have to look for a needle in a haystack. From what I’ve read recently (the thread staring with “Putting the labor theory of value to rest”) Red Deathy has done quite well.

-------------------------ON THE ARMS INDUSTRY--------------------------

Qx: It may answer my final point to an extent but if you take into account the illegal arms trade (much it from the West) it sure seems like a chaotic market which some pro-capitalists wouldcall “free trade” if it weren’t for the lethality of the merchandise.

G: Is 'illegal' always opposed by state, or quietly encouraged?

Qx: Good question and in a way surprising since it comes from you. I thought that you would be better informed about such nefarious activities such as the Iran-Contra scandal. To answer I would say that it’s deemed illegal and opposed by a state if they don’t have
anything to gain from it. Such as a share of the profits and to serve as a conduit to finance covert operations. That’s when the quiet encouragement comes into play.

Of course multinational corporations can do much the same thing. The cartels in Colombia worked with a multitude of corporate operations in order to launder their profits. Remember the Delorean case when Robert Delorean was busted with a substantial amount of cocaine in a sting operation? That’s one case where speculations concerning the extent of the involvement of multinational corporations in the drug trade
(and it’s close cousin the arms industry) were rife. That’s a long time ago but for more recent examples you have to look no further than such events as the B.C.C.I. scandal. There’s many more and in many of these cases the nature of the organizations involved allowed their operations to be beyond the reach of most nation-states.

-----------------------------ON CARNEGIE----------------------------

Qx: Praising Carnegie is hardly a worthy chore and I don’t see why you attempt to defend Carnegie and Rockefeller.

G: Evidently, if you dont see why then how can I hope to explain?

Qx: Unless you can justify monopoly (i.e., false capitalism) with a splendor heretofore unknown it couild make for a dismal case to advocate.

G: Do you consider that without such people America would have more steel and oil today?

Qx: There would probably be a lot more steel and oil available today without such people. Mesabi Range is one example. What was once an enormous ore deposit was gouged out in a very short time. By the way, these people didn’t create the ore nor the oil deposits and neither did they work the mines nor the rigs. What they did do is to cultivate
a public image (pioneering the public relations industry),

G: Would have more of the jobs and wealth created by such?

Qx: Probably but in a much less concentrated manner in which workers and their families were living in such crowded conditions. Once automation became prominent these workers (i.e., producers) were then tossed aside like objects.So much for crediting robber barons and their monopolistic practices in ensuring long term employment for the
workers. A classic era in which profits are considered more important than people.I mwonder if Libertarians really are all that nostalgic for the Industrial Revolution by their uncritical praise for downsizing and restructuring. Maybe they think they can shrink to greatness.

Qx: Of course the business press will lather these two with praises galore but there is another side to the story.

G: The mass media tarnishes them (with deliberate imprecision) as robber barons, while exalting Oprah and Hillary as great. Its agenda is largely in line with government and status quo.

Qx: Hold on a second here. Most American labor history is omitted from textbooks at the high school level and most post-secondary students coming from late twentieth century suburbia don’t encounter alternative accounts of that period until they’re in college and only briefly at that. There’s a lot of praise for Carnegie and Rockefeller in the mass
media. The mass media wouldn’t be doing their job if it wasn’t generous with praise. Even if it’s in passing.

G: We all 'know' about cowardly carnegie and the steel union. We never learn about one of the firms partners 'captain jones' who fought for workers conditions on many occasions - it upsets the stereotype, 'we' must never question unions, they are 'always right' by the
simple fact of being poorer and more in number, we must never consider that had carnegie et al not bothered then the works wuold not have existed, steel would not have been plentiful and cheap. A much more illustrative solution, had Carnegie wanted to prove a point, would be to abandon the works and take his management team with him, and then shown the results - looking back one can always fantasize that it would have worked even better though.

Qx: I wonder about this “Captain Jones” that you dredged up. It looks to be some carefully crafted revisionism of an obscene nature. Can you cite any references or sources for this “Captain Jones”? It would have been great to see Carnegie take off with his tawdry following of courtiers (a.k.a. managers) and there wouldn’t be any fantasies about
workers control or why steel iseverplentiful and cheap. Carnegie played the market tomaximize profit and didit at the expense opf the people who did the real work. That is why there had to be a union there Gee. So the onus is on you to provide evidence about this “Captain Jones”.

Any thoughts on this quote?

Do you think I'd be so crazy as to destroy heavy industry? Those producers worked their way to the top by their own merits, and, because of this process of selection, which proves that they are an elite, they have a right to lead!

Qx: No it’s not. J.J. Hill was just as anti-union as any of them and yes, Gee, he did hobnob with other robber barons. He was Canadian in the first place and lived off that parasitic colonial society before going into the USA with his cultivated image. Typical Ontario boy with upper crust pretensions. Don’t fall for the image.

G: This 'criticism' of JJ Hill is nothing but a dislike of his background and his person. Whatever 'hibnobbing', ie socialising he did with people who had legislative strings none were pulled in his favor, unless you consider *not* getting in his way as a favor.

Qx: Any dislike of J.J. Hill’s character and background is made possible by his actions and the social context within which he swam lie a shark in a swimming pool. He certainly understood public relations and the praise reserved for him was intended for the general public outside of the West. It’s interesting how you state that “Whatever 'hibnobbing', (i.e.,) socialising he did with people who had legislative strings none were pulled in his favor”. It looks like we both omitted the role of the judiciary in all this. Let’s see how this

Made" Law

During the last third of the 19th century, "Corporations confronted the law at every turn," according to Harvard law professor Lawrence M. Friedman. "They hired lawyers and created whole law firms. They bought and sold governments." Courts began creating legal doctrines to protect corporations and corporate property, subverting charter law and constitutional amendments.

In hundreds of cases decided in the latter half of the 19th century, judges declared that the corporate rate of return on investments (i.e., profit) was corporate property and,hence, could not be meddled with by citizens or by their elected representatives.

These judges gave certain corporations, such as railroad, mining and
manufacturing companies, the power of eminent domain -- the right to take private property with minimal compensation to be determined by the courts. They eliminated jury trials to determine corporation-caused harm and to assess damages. Workers, the courts also ruled, were responsible for causing their own injuries on the job. This came
to be called the "assumption of risk."

Judges created the "right to contract" doctrine, which stipulates that the government cannot interfere with an individual's "freedom" to negotiate with a corporation for wages and working conditions. Former George Washington University law professor Arthur Selwyn Miller called the creation of the right to contract doctrine "one of the most remarkable feats of judicial law-making this nation has seen."

Responding to banking, shipping, railroad, manufacturing and agribusiness corporations and their lawyers, judges creatively interpreted the commerce and due process clauses of the US Constitution. Inventing the concept of "substantive due process," they ruled that laws passed as a result of widespread citizen organizing -- e.g., state wage and hours laws, fees and rates for grain elevators and railroads -- were unconstitutional.

Judges also established the "managerial prerogative" and "business judgment" doctrines, giving corporations legal justification to arrest workers' civil rights at factory gates and to blockade democracy at boardroom doors.

The biggest blow to citizen constitutional authority came in 1886. The US Supreme Court ruled in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, that a private corporation was a "natural person" under the US Constitution, sheltered by the 14th Amendment, which requires due process in the criminal prosecution of "persons." Following this ruling, huge, wealthy corporations were allowed to compete on "equal
terms" with neighborhood businesses and individuals. "There was no history, logic or reason given to support that view," Supreme Court Justice William 0. Douglas wrote 60 years later.

          Within just a few decades, appointed judges had redefined the "common good" to mean the corporate use of humans and the Earth for maximum production and profit -- no matter what was manufactured, who was hurt or what was destroyed. Corporations had obtained control over resources, production, commerce, jobs, politicians, judges and
the law. Workers, citizens, cities, towns, states and nature were left with fewer and fewer rights that corporations were forced to respect.

If that’s not “pulled strings” what is?

---------------------ON AOL/ NETSCAPE & MICROSOFT--------------------
Qx: Gideon did a great job in illuminating us about that.


Qx: How does it downplay “the vital destabilising influence of Norway”? By omission?

G: Yes

Qx: It’s interesting how David Freidman tries to come off with an
example that gets laughed at whole-heartedly by most
anthropologists I have talked to.

G: That means something - anthroplogists laughter is not evidence.
It might be nervous laughter of bravado, and protecting their
perosnal credibility for all I know.

Qx: Of course laughter isn’t evidence in this case. But it sure is a
result of closely examining the arguments of David Freidman and
others who attempt to portray medieval Iceland as an
anarcho-capitalist society. Capitalism wasn’t even in existence

G: D Friedmans work on the matter is primarily concerned
with non-centralised law working, rather then a free trade
and defined property rights.

Qx: There’s plenty of examples of non-centralized laws and
law ways functioning within many societies. I could weave
a spin about the Central Arctic Inuit (Eskimo) in Canada by
going into detail about their law ways and use it as a
starting point in which to illustrate their trading practices as
indicative of a sort of free trade which is based on their own
peculiar traditional folkways defining what is property and
what ownership entails. I doubt I could convince anybody
that their society was basically anarcho-capiltalist in nature
during the pre-Contact era.

------------ON THE CATO INSTITUTE-------

Qx: Whoopsy dazy here Gee! The Cato Institute operates under a corporatist agenda

G: according to you.

Qx: No. Not according to me. By what there policies that Cato supports will benefit.

G: Incidently, if you argue that anything cato published is twisted to support their view then you also concede that anything published by 'the other side' is likewise lacking in credibility and accuracy.

Qx: Not hardly. You can chop suey this whole thing up to make this look like a balanced battle of ideas but the fact remains that href="http://www.fair.org/extra/9503/right-press-subsidy.html">big business supports “laissez-faire” magazines and think tanks. Most information coming from a dissident point of view hardly makes a dent on public opinion.

McSpotlight: Whoops; sorry about the double post...

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