- Capitalism and Alternatives -

It depends on whether you accept the causality.

Posted by: Gideon Hallett ( UK ) on October 04, 1999 at 15:52:12:

In Reply to: interesting but is it instructive? posted by Gee on October 04, 1999 at 15:22:40:

: (That link didnt work for me)

Ah. Try registering and accessing it with cookies enabled; I think you can get a guest login as well.

: : Yup. As Axelrod showed, the optimal strategy in a repeated-iteration Prisoner's Dilemma is tit-for-tat starting with co-operation, not competition.

: But the moment someone 'cheats' for extra points its ruined. What ive always said about socialism was that if everyone woke up tomorrow and decided unanimously to work for pleasure, pride and supplying everyone with thier wants it would work. If they dont all wake up and unanimously agree on this then it wont work at all, it will be ridden with freeloaders and powergrabbing politicos in its descent into despotised poverty for the many.

Is this a necessary? There are and always will be some free riders, as Marx pointed out; but if the majority is enough to sustain them, it can float. Obviously, we differ about whether we think it's actually possible for such a sea-change in attitudes to take place.

: When 'scientific' socialism attempts to take care of complexity it fails, when mass indoctrination programmes in schools and culture try to instill commonality in place of exclusivity it fails.

A bit "once-and-for-all", surely; after all, we've seen very few attempts at genuine freedom-based socialism or anarchism...

: : Interestingly enough; in a human parallel, the OECD's employment group recently concluded that "...inequality and unemployment are positively correlated - rising wage inequality and rising unemployment go hand in hand." - in other words, the standard economic doctrine that says labour market flexibility is the way to high employment is utterly wrong.

: :

"Today, national unemployment rates are systematically lower in the richer and more equal countries of Europe where wages are high and social welfare systems are strong. Meanwhile, it is the lower-income countries with the weakest social welfare systems and the most inequality, such as Spain, where unemployment is highest in today's Europe."

: But why presume the causal link to be the welfare system?

Because people tend to be happier in a society with a strong social welfare system; the people are prepared to work on "non-productive" jobs because they know there is a system prepared to support them and amenities they can use.

Put simply, what the authors are concluding is that people work better if they're happy and secure; and they're happier if there are good public amenities and welfare; these are supported by public funds and the public funds are larger in societies that have greater wage equality than those with strict "free-market" principles.

: How did they single that out of all the other contenders such as the *fact* they were poor anyway, the structure of their industries, the stability of their political historic and current intrusion into the economy.

Try examining their methods and conclusions; I've given you their names and institutes; the paper they wrote should be out next month; it was presented at a Cambridge conference last month.

: : Interesting, no?

: It is, but the focus is way to narrow to say much about causality.

20 years and two continents? How much evidence do you need?


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