- Capitalism and Alternatives -

However I am glad you understood

Posted by: Gee ( si ) on July 08, 1999 at 10:38:35:

In Reply to: Somewhat tautological posted by Nikhil Jaikumar on July 07, 1999 at 16:32:44:

: If he was a saocialist, he would be less willing to describe teh Soviet union, China, etc. as "communist".

the data being as applicable to the arguments for stateless socialism though.

: 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'.

What of our your tight definitions of socialism (and mine of free trade) on this board? i think his wording opens eyes to the fact that we are not living in defacto democracies regardless of their names.

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

I wasnt just talking about control of the economy - I should have extended that to legislative control of individual activity, for which both India and Pakistan were pretty bad. remember that for me liberty is not just liberty in trade, but free action too. In reality the two are hand in hand but many would say that Chile has been 'free trade' despite the oppressions.

: 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?

Ok, restated I get your point. Food consumption is mediated by effective demand, not 'needs'.

: isn't that what a 'market' is? you offer money and get food, etc.?

At its most fundamental a 'market' is two people exchanging value for value - you could swap pears for oranges, you could swap interesting tales, affection, or a million bucks for a lurif piece of modern art you like. It means exchanging value for value, this not being restricted to buying and selling as we generally think about it.

: 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.

It is one of effective demand, earlier point is relavent. If people in the west showed effective demand to feed others it would happen.

: 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?

I would blame the person / group deciding on the distribution.

: 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.

We should really blame the said legislator of the above equalitarianism - if his ideal was some kind of socialism its difficult ot blame it. hence you shouldnt find me blaming communism for Stalins murders (and tell me off if I do!)

In the above we must 'blame' those who would be capable of expressing the effective demand on behalf of the starving and decided not to, if we are to blame anyone.

: 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?

Because along the scale less control produces more abundance - to extrapolate we might say that no control produces even more. i am open to the idea that some kind of minimal control is necessary to stop it from sliding into 'negative returns' with anarchy. the other argument is philosophical - if mankinds 'tool of survival' is his mind and his ability to accurately deal with reality then any coerceive interference with that by another represents a burden.

: I am using the "govrenment" in the ideal sense here, to mean "the collective represenattive of the people, or, at leastm, the majority".

I cant think of a country wherre this really genuinely happens.

: 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.

What stopped the people (who would have to make a government for there to be a government) from foregoing the middle stage of making a state and just deposing him as a just act of self defence? does it *need* government, or is it that government kinda works, and we are not questioning whether it wouild work better without the 'middle man'

: 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.

Unless self defence is not hindered by any sized government in anyway, as it is in the exmaples.

the risk you are setting up is the one that a big government has more potential to protect me therefore I'll take it - when the assumption that it will seek to protect you, or actually be able to - is on thin ice. It does not follow.

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