- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on September 07, 1999 at 17:02:33:

In Reply to: counterpoint posted by bill on September 07, 1999 at 12:46:05:

: The agreement to place limitations on personal freedom and "self interest" results in a greater freedom for the entire community - and to the degree that an individual places his/her personal "freedom"/self-interest above that of the community, to that degree is the community benefit diminished. It reminds me of the tragedy of the commons. One important aspect of the GPL movement is that it is driven to a large extent NOT by homo-economicus, individuals <"individual possessing "incentives," which can be retroactively unearthed by imagining the state of the bank account at various times">
: but by the sheer pleasures offered by creative endeavor.

SDF: Actually, bill, the word "freedom" needs to be debunked here. "Freedom," a general stand-in word for the encouraging of tendencies, i.e. any tendencies, in individuals, i.e. anyone, is only made possible through resources. Here's a B.F. Skinner quote on freedom to chew upon:

No one will question the importance of the historical struggle for freedom, through which people have escaped from and weakened or destroyed those who have treated them aversively, but this process of establishing the right to life and liberty has reached the point at which any infringement upon the free movement of the individual is challenged. People claim the right to do as they please -- to gamble away a fortune, risk unnecessary danger by not wearing a seat belt, die an alcoholic, and consume resources and pollute the environment without restriction.

I'm not going to reveal my position on this quote, just laying it out there.

: SDF has pointed out the futility in using a word like "self-interest" here and here. because Gee has rubbed it with so much sophist soap that it has nearly lost practical traction.

: Words like "freedom", "self-interest", "rights", etc. are all culturally derived and have to be placed within their cultural context. To speak of them only as they might relate to the individual is an exercise in abstraction.

SDF: Precisely, bill, which is why it's necessary to cut the crap and talk about real events and actually-existing cultures rather than dwelling on the land of abstraction. Now, before gee and Red Deathy waste another 100k of bandwidth here arguing abstractions.

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