- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Red Deathy ( Socialist Party, UK ) on July 12, 1999 at 09:59:22:

In Reply to: perfectability? posted by Gee on July 09, 1999 at 18:17:09:

: Now this would depend on current prices, return on investment rates and the willingness of the 'capitalist' to live cheaply. Rather broad and ambiguous unless you invoke an objective level of 'living' *needed* (and applied same to poverty).

Necessarilly ambiguous, but we could discern some standard based on teh cost of owning a house, buying food, and keeping clothes of a reasonable qualit, each year, and use that as a rough bar. but beyond that, most folks'ld know if they *needed* to work to maintain their income at its current level. A capitalist getting by on 10,000 p.a. is still a capitalist.

: You may not be surprised that some people do the former, plough everything into capital and live cheap from then on, I know of a few ex-hippies who have done that after being in the first generation of high tech jobs in the 70 & 80s!

Indeed, I know people who own a couple of houses- such people could be adequately described as 'petit-bourgeois' the ones striving to be up with the big boys.

: Basically I am saying that levels would need to be fairly consistent and objectively demonstrable rather than relative, or anyone could end up as anything if they have a mixed income source.

If they ahve a mixed income source, the question is, could they stop working? How long would their investment last if they didn't work?

: How did you get from genetic structure to the results of human action and wrap them up as accidents of nature?

Thats what you do, whenever you ask whether we should re-distribute someone's height genes. Implicitly you are saying that the economy is an accident of nature, as much as height genes are, and is thus beyond human control,a nd the standards of justice.

: It would seem a very poor example, who is parent to the parent? How is their judgement superior?

Who said anything about a parent? ANy adu;lt has the right/duty to restrain a child near a road, specifically if teh child appears to be about to run out onto it.

: Why does 'justice' demand it? What is justice to you?

That everyone within a society has an equal part in it, and equal opportunity within it, and an equal share.

:To me an idiot who plays chicken on the highway and gets run over receives the justice of his actions

Even if its a child? Children are responsible for their conditipon now are they?

: Would you agree with that action makes consequence view of justice as a simple model?

I would indeed.

: If a baby is born to a rich family then the baby's advantages over others is neither justice nor injustice, the baby having taken no action to achieve his parents wealth.

The baby is not morally culpable, but the parents are, and the society that maintains and reproduces such structures is also culpable. That babies privillege is as a result of *human* actions, it is a consequence, thus it is subject to justice.

:In order to 'correct' it according to what seems your model of justice is that that baby's advantage be reduced in order to create a greater 'egalitarianism' which requires a lowering of babys starting position without baby having acted, ie without action makes consequence, which can be considered an injustice.

Who said anything about lowering that babies privellees, we're talking raising everyone elses. Further, If I steal things tokeep my familly alive, and them I am arrested, should my wife keep the ill gotten loot, despite it not being the consequencs of her action?

By focussing on the baby as culpable, you absolve the society. It is a consequence of social structures that makes the baby privelleged, and justice demands that such consequences end.

: Yes I would, but not at the cost of coercively hobbling people who currently have advantages - in effect punishing them for having been born.

Hobbling someone for their nature is wrong, but surely if someone is privelged as a result of injustice, it cannot be injustice to correct that crime? By focusing on the consequences of the innocents action you absolve the structures. How can you equate genetic potential with socially bestowed wealth?

:Nor, if there were magically made an even playing field could I stand the idea of overiding parents in order to make an 'equal start' for each new generation.

What, so you wouldn't think banning inhereitance was fair? Surely, then, you are *actively* defending an injust social system.

: An even playing field, were it to occur, would become uneven in one generation.

Thats an old myth- one that assumes that the current batch of rich got their wealth from an even playing field- their ancesttor thrifty and wise, my ancestors fickle and feckless. Another conservative myth, dear heart. History does not bear this story out, primative accumulation was a result of privellege before the fact, not justice or individual thrift. Under a system designed to stop such inequities growing, i.e. banning inhereitance, widespread ownership, etc. such inequities would not recurr.

: Did I say a constant or describe it more as a probability? the latter. Given your version of socialism, with its assumption of lovely people I doubt many criminals would be raised.

I don't assume lovely people, I assume people adapt to their economic situation, and their economic situation governs their behaviour.

: Shame that the assumption is one I find dubious, advantage will eb a factor from the word go and some people may seek to gain or defeat advantage by what can be considered criminal means.

So you do actually see competition as a transcendant inherent factor in all human beings?

: And what can possibly mean where the standard of 'perfect' is undefined?

That people will become lovely, like the angels,a nd we will have heaven on earth (classic responce- but your critique is telling).

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