- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Somewhat tautological

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( PCC, MA, USA ) on July 07, 1999 at 16:32:44:

In Reply to: Every murder posted by Gee on July 07, 1999 at 12:13:06:

: Rummels research is pretty good - it wouldnt have mattered if he was in favor of stateless socialism - for which his arguments are equally valid.

If he was a saocialist, he would be less willing to describe teh Soviet union, China, etc. as "communist".
The problems in his study include the following.

1) he claims that no two democracies have ever made war on each other. But such a claim is misleading, because it uses a) an ideological definition of 'democracy' and b) a narrow definition of 'war'. Consider how many full-fledged democracies have attempted to use violent force to overthrow, annex or defeat another democracy: U.S. vs. Chile, US vs. Nicaragua, US vs. Guatemala, US vs. Guyana, Israel vs. Lebanon, Nicaragua vs. Honduras, Ethiopia vs. Eritrea, England vs. the Yoruba states, etc. If we include coiuntries like tanzania, Cuba and Vietnam, which certainly had certain aspects of democracy like popular participation in govbernment, the list becomes even longer.

Secondly, he apparently attriobutes all Vietnamese war dead to "Communism", neglecting the fact taht millions were killed bvy US intervention there. Real unbiased there.

: : what I think you are saying is that government, per se, is teh problem, and that governments of the left and right are both bloody murderes who should be done away with. the problem with this is a)Rummel's site, being avowedly anti-communist, does not support your general indictment of all government,

: It says basically that the more power a government has the more likely it seems to result in mass murder.

Not true, for example:

1) India's economy was more state-controlled than pakistan's, yet Pakistan indulged in genocide and India did not.\

2)The communist states of Latin America / Caribbean, including Cuba, Guyana, Nicaragua, and for a time Chile, never engaged in mass smurder, while a number of sttes with less publicly-controlled economies did resort to genocide and mass repression.

3)The most murderous governments have included some RELATIVELY liberal, hands-off regimes. (Belgium and Imperial Germany certyainly had less powerful governments than states like Vietnam or Yugoslavia.)

: : and b) more importantly, private individuals, comnpanies and the capitalist economic system have been significant killers as well, not just governments.

: I would need to see research of comparable quality here. Most killer companies do so with the explicit / implicit support of the state (both home state and location state)

Well, Rummel himslef supplies some of teh research...

: : It is the econpomic system that deprives them of the food and medicine they need.

: What you must basically say here is that mankind be damned for their uncaring ways - because in capitalism it would be as possibl, more even considering the rapid expansions of wealth, for people to privately hand over 20% of their take home pay to 'good causes' and still have comfortable lives. Blaming a systm for their choices is to refuse facing the reasons people dont help (remember reasons are not causes)

Perhaps I didn't make the point clearly. The reason I blame capitalism is simply this. It si teh logic of capitalism that states that food should be allotted to those who can pay. Do you deny this? isn't that what a 'market' is? you offer money and get food, etc.? At a time when tehre is neough food to feed these people, the problem is not one of under-production, so it must be one of distributiuon. Bvecause the capitalsit mode of distribution alloyts food to other people whoile not giving it to teh starving, we can say that this economic system of distribution is responsible for their deaths.

I'm trying to make a logical arguemnt here- similar logic could be used analogously in other economic systems. For example, let's say we have a hypothetical system where every family is allotted the same amount fo food, regardless of money, effort or size. So a two-person household gets enough for 3 people, while a 5-person household receives teh same, causing 2 kids to die. Since the death of tehse children is due to teh way food was distributed, I would chalk up the 2 deaths to the fault of this ultra-equalitarian economic system. Wouldn't you? since we blame the socialist (not communits) system in this case, we should be equally ready to blame the capitalist system when balme is deserved.

: : do not call it capitalist if you don't wish to, but whatever it is, the economic system outside the socialist world is to blame for these deaths.

: if I wish not to call it capitalism it is because it isnt about private ownership of property - what we have is so called mixed economies, a little 'mixing' does not mean 'alot' of private ownership - privacy being an either / or proposition not a sliding scale. in this sense, when feeling disgust at the worlds ills you will find surprisign agreement with many libertarians.

but then, since every society in history ahs had some degree of public control + governbment, what do you use as your mdoel? whjat convinces you that your ideal would ever work, if it's never been tried?

: : It is PARTICULARLY ironic that you should condemn this, the bloodiest genocide of the century, as an example of "death by govrernment". The problem wasn't too much government, it wa stoo little! The belgian govrenmnet didn't even run teh Congo! Hard as this may be for us to believe, teh Congo was the PRIVATE ESTATE of King leopold,

: Monarchies are states when they are present in this form, just as if Britain todays was 'owned' by the queen. the difficulty is with how one mediates the hand down of property accross multiple generations.

No, because only one generation was involved in this case- the whole bloody mess was over in under 25 years. I am using the "govrenment" in the ideal sense here, to mean "the collective represenattive of the people, or, at leastm, the majority". Oligarchic or individualist govrernment makes the problem worse, but mass government makes it better.

: The problem wasnt too little government.

Yes it was, in that it was necessary to have parliamentary government (= the represenattive of the people) around to check the excesses of this greedy, extremely powerful individual. Just as you need a government to stop the Texas railroad murderer, you need a government to stop powerful men and companies like King leopold. The proof is taht when the governmnet stepped in, teh atrociuties stopped.

: : Simnilar examples occur all over the world. The Tasmanian Aborigines were wiped out largely by individual ranchers. ranchers were responsible for killing essentially the whole Ache tribe in Paraguay to get their land. Even your quoted R.J. rummel admits taht p[rivate companies murdered 200,000 Amazonian Indians,

: he doesnt admit it he shouts it. he isnt pro company in any particular way.

he is anti-government hgowever.

:he doesnt excuse it.

: : out of a total population of only a few million. Private shopkeepers in Brazil today hire death squads to hiunt down and murer homeless street children. Private businessmen in Colombia have formed militias that terrorize the country and kill suspected "subversives".

: And how do they get away with it? They have government in their pockets (esp columbia) and other states close borders, national boundaries being part of the prob.

your argument, though not tautological, has a tautological aspect to it. the less power teh government has, the less power they can use either to build health care, etc. or to kill people. So it should be no surprise that more powerful governments do more evil things- they do more THINGS, period. under a minimalist state, individuals take over from teh government as the primary killers- hence the high rates of crime, terrorism, etc. in Brazil, England and teh United States. In spite of this, however, even minimalist governments have lkilled a lot of pwople as we see in places like Chile. I accede to your point, but then you should also accept that the less pwoerful teh government, the more killings will be committed by individuals.

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