- Capitalism and Alternatives -

not deserving of easy dismissal

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on July 19, 1999 at 19:12:42:

In Reply to: problems overrated posted by DonS on July 15, 1999 at 10:43:07:

: I frankly don't see anything wrong with the production of materials, and the social problems we face are overrated.

SDF: Tell that to the 800 million undernourished people on the planet. I'm sure they'll be impressed with the dexterity of your argument, if they have enough caloric reserves to even listen to you.

: Most of our current social problems are caused by socialism and government regulation.

SDF: Which explains why the starvation is a serious problem in the least-regulated parts of Africa and India?

: We are making headway: welfare reform has been a great success in the US,

SDF: Depending on your definition of "success" -- it's pushed people off the rolls, it hasn't reduced the % of people living below the poverty line.

: and allowing citizens to carry concealed firearms has resulted in lower violent crime rates.

SDF: No, it's the end of the recession that did that. And I really doubt you have any convincing evidence to show otherwise.

: Employment is high, the standard of living is high, and if we can enact more free market reforms things will get even better.

SDF: The US is the only country where one can safely say such a thing, esp. given that the rest of the world is subsidizing US economic exuberance by being its "flea market" -- Japan (another "socialist" country, ha ha) is in recession and suicide is way up, there -- the expansion of the "free market" into Asia or South America or Russia isn't the occasion for such glib hubris, either.

: The environment is quite good in the US. To bad that so much harm was visited upon the environment by the socialist governments of the former Soviet Union, East Germany, et al.

SDF: Well, there's always global warming...

: Equity isn't an issue to me.

SDF: Which means that it isn't an issue for anyone else either? Not the 800 million at the bottom of the global economy who earn as much combined as Bill Gates earns? How egocentric.

: Neither is relative standards of living. I know of people in the US who worked hard and went from poverty level wages (the way poverty is defined in the US) to very high pay--in short order. In the US, the poor can become well-to-do fast. Some poor tend to stay that way: these are the ones who refuse to work and stay at home collecting welfare checks.

SDF: Or maybe they refuse to deal crack cocaine, which is the only way out of poverty in many US neighborhoods. See the chapter of William Finnegan's book COLD NEW WORLD about New Haven, Connecticut, if you want to know what I'm talking about.

: These are the ones that don't want to work. Getting them off of welfare is the best thing for them. If Third World countries adopt the free market, their standard of living will improve.

SDF: Well, there are the "free market" countries of Latin America and Africa, which have experienced no net improvement in living standards since 1980... got any evidence to show otherwise?

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