- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar on August 10, 1999 at 10:45:50:

In Reply to: ... A rather substantial 'mirage', to be so heavily taxed ... posted by Dr. Cruel on August 09, 1999 at 20:19:35:

: : Things change; that is in the nature of things.
: : (or de rerum natura, if you want to quote Lucretius Carus.)

: …And the more things change, the more they stay the same. Swings of a pendulum, as it were.

nice one-liner, but as Farinata said, it ignores the reality of irreversible changes (as all physical changes in the real world are).

: : You can have fresh, flouridated water; in the meanwhile, the water supply for the majority of the world is now more contaminated with man-made pollutants like PCBs, steroid hormones (like BGH and oestrogen), dioxins, benzyl chlorides, organophosphates and such. Just because you are more privileged than ever before doesn't mean that the majority has never had it so good.

Farinata's right. the above sentiment is extremely solipsistic, and shows no realization of what conditions are liek for most people in the world, the victims of your capitalist system.

: DC: The majority still live in primitive conditions. For example: U.S. AID workers in Vietnam set up a mechanized irrigation system in the South, complete with pumping machinery. Then came the Communists. The trained personnel who maintained the equipment were ‘reeducated’, the equipment left to rot. Rice production plummeted. Getting this system back on-line was one of the points of negotiation in recent trade talks (within the last few years).

i don't know much about taht particular event, but i do knwo that teh Communists in North Vietnam made real and large advances in immunization, public health and disease control which were not reciprocated in the South. I have also read about how Saigon before 1975 was a ruined city full of crime, prostitution, and social degradation. Some paradise. read david Dellinger on the subject, he's been there.

: People in the world need clean, sanitary water. Communists don’t bring that about. Capitalist ‘exploitation’ does. This is why Singapore has better water than, say, Mexico.

To quote the honorable Gee, that was a very poor comparison, for at least 5 reasons.

1. Mexico is not communist. There are some communist aspects to their system, for example the ejido landholding system, in which farmers own and work their land in common. (these were the traditional method of farming, eliminated by Diaz in the mid-18th century., reinstated by Lazaro Cardenas in the '30s, and now udner threat from NAFTA.) the oil industry, etc is also state owned. But there is a high degree of class division, private ownership, and exploitation, and so while the agricultural sector may be communist, to conclude from that that Mexico as a whole is communist is an oversimplification.

2. Singapore is not Capitalist. I'm being charitable here, and assuming for the sake of your argument that Singapore isn't capitalist. believe me, if you define it thus, my argument is only strengthened. You do NOT want to ahve Singapore on your side; their regime is infamous for its babblings about racial inferiority and the heredity of intelligence, and for its scandalous attempts to do selective breeding of the population. The PM of Singapore had the nerve to tell america that our problem was that we expected "inferior races' to perform equally with the "superior" ones! Given that, are you really desirous of using Singapore as an example? I would hope not.

3. Correlation does not mean causation. singapore is a racist regiem taht has private enterprise. If someone argued that Singapore's clean water was due to its racism, that would be patently absurd. Yet you have given no better evidence that teh clean water is due to private enterprise.

4. Singapore and Mexico are not very comparable. One is a tiny urbanized city state of 2 million with a highly educated populace, no geographical barriers, no history of severe regional, class or ethnic inequalities. the other is a huge super-state, geographically vast and largely inaccessible, with ethnic and class divisions, laregly rural, largely illiterate....

5. You are using Mexico as an example of Communism, Singapore as an example of capitalism. Quite apart from everything else, one exampel proves little., I can turn taht around, as I think I will:

"Socialism provides clean water, capitalism does not. Hence the superior water quality in Communist Kerala as compared to Karnataka (the latter is India's most capitalist state, called the "Silicon valley of India"), in socialist Ghana as opposed to such capitalist paradises as Kenya, Ivory Coast, and South Africa; in Cuba as compared to most of Latin America.

Shall we start debating this matter based on statistics, rather than on pairs of barely comparable and dubious examples?

: DC: And even a Leftist can understand that the Third World cannot be "kept in its place" forever. People in Africa and South America want the same lifestyle that Americans enjoy, the ‘cultural mafia’ notwithstanding. Given world growth rates in production, they seem bent on getting there, and I for one don’t intend to get in their way. Do you?

Absolutely. First of all, it si to be hoped that they won't attempt to reach today's First World levels of consumption, because by that time the First World will have realized its lifestyle is unsustainable and will have toned down its consumption to more modest levels.
Second of all, the 'aspirations' you talk about will not bve achieved, in any acse, udner the present economic order.

: DC: And if we make it more hospitable, by, oh, say, adding man-made structures to it like cities and factories, we live, and live well. This isn’t rocket science, either (although ‘rocket science’ is certainly a part of it). This is why clearing a rainforest, to make way for farming and ranching, is not ‘destroying the environment’ (unless, of course, you are a ‘Green’ … or a ‘planet mechanic’, I suppose …)

I hope you are aware of how biologically impoversihed a farm, city or tree plantation is compared to a rainforest, and hwo arrogant it is for us to destroy the remaining fragments of the richest parts of the natural world to add to our insatiable appetites.
: DC: Ecology is a ‘market’ too. If what you say is true (and I, for one, am very skeptical) then there will be new markets for ‘atmosphere control’, ‘planet management’ and whatnot. For example: in places that are dry, there are capitalists that bring in fresh water for farming; where there are impassable mountains, there are capitalist road builders and capitalist airlines. And so on.

Oh wow. Capitalism did a wonderful job saving the rainforests, didn't it. and saving the species that are going extinct every day. Once lost, a species doesn't come back. And let's not forget how well market prices reflected the declining numbers of swordfish off New England. Hence their near-extinction.

I could say more, but I'll defer on the environmental issues to Farinata. He/she/they has a science degree, after all; I still have three more years to go before my B.S.

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