- Capitalism and Alternatives -

uncomfortable transition stages

Posted by: Gee ( si ) on October 05, 1999 at 18:56:33:

In Reply to: OK, hexadecimal then posted by Nikhil Jaikumar on October 05, 1999 at 15:17:23:

: Escalates with on the average, hoever the two do not always go hand in hand, you can have technological increases combined with a decreased standard of living (e.g. the early invention of agriculture). I woudl ague that at leats teh early industrial revolution might fall into thsi category (though I'm nottoo knowledgeable about this era).

I think what your pointing out is the uncomfortable transition stages from one primary economic activity (eg agriculture) to the next (eg industrialisation). We are in the midst of some sub-transitions such as the vast increase in information as product and in service and leisure industries. The traditionally people intensive manufacturing base is the one uncomfortable.

Beware of people who jump onto socialism as a means of achieving status quo in protecting their specific declining stage of economic activity.

: Also, while the point above is (generally) well taken, i am not convinced that capitalism is a logical or necessray extension of the process described above.

No, any system where people were motivated to develop these technologies would have have comparable effects - but thats the problem. Motivation.

: but it also caused nutrition levels to drop and made us vulnerable to nutritional deficiencey diseases, esp. protein and vitamins.

All energy and no amino acids and minerals. This was still an improvement over many peoples starvation-big meal cycle. Humans dont seem well adapted to the cyclical eating habits of bears and so forth.

: Well, sometimes the safeguards simply don't exist- urbanization makes for easier disease transport, for example, and if you are a city dweller caught in a cholera epidemic today tehre isn't a whole hell of a lot you can do.

It the benefits-disbenefits analysis. Overall living in a city represents many benefits in human interaction, variety, availability of a varied diet, facilities, protection vs climate and so forth - with the disbenefits of disease, disaster vulnerability and overcrowding stresses being factors to consider.

: teh tradeoff you are talking about is a societal one- more people benefit than suffer- so it has little relevance to teh lives of those who are the victims.

I would be careful of going from there to occluding the many from choosing their lifestyle in order to placate the few.

: Not so. Science advanced under plenty of non-capitalist regimes;

I referred to the necessity of making a scientific discovery an actual practical availability. That the latter is very much related to profit creation.

: I'm having a little tyrouble parsing this. Are you saying that Maxwell discovered the 4 laws of electromagnetism because he foresaw that someday they woudl make television possible, amnd he wanted to rake in the bucks.

No, I think were agreeing about scientific discovery being initially unlinked to practical outcomes - but that making the paractical outcomes relies upon a combination of ingenuity and producticity and the motivation to engage in those things - where profit may be a strong factor.

I would say that scientists like Maxwell are the greatest benefactor to human kind, but that we cannot know the extent of their benefaction until many years have passed and other people have applied this knowledge to material solutions for other problems - eg TV.

I dont think government funded research is the answer though - they have a 'want list' usually military or national prestige based (nasa) which skews scientists. Observe the cut $16billion accelorater of a few years back.

: But if you define profit in such a broad way, it becomes almost devodi of meaning, doesn't it?

Hence I used the word gain, to seperate it.

: 1) Look, it's well known that if you're interested in the profit motive, you don't go into science.

Wrong angle - I'm talking abou what businesses can develop from scientific knowledge.

: 3) As for distribution networks, etc., nonrpofit groups and government medical boards ahve done far more for sick people than private hospitals (many countries don't even have private hospitals).

Nearly all medicine developed in private hands before the 20th century governments claimed glory as benefactor. It is a soccer games equivalent of 'goal hanging'

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