- Capitalism and Alternatives -

yes, to no avail

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on October 07, 1999 at 10:46:41:

In Reply to: we've discussed this before posted by Gee on October 06, 1999 at 12:13:11:

: We may need to venture into definitionism

C'est quoi? i always though this was a synthetic term invented by the late great Joel Jacobson. Is it real?

: for a while because what we are really seeing in all the examples given here and in the state communist nations is the correlation between state power and democide

as opposed to murder or famine caused by private individuals or by non-governmental institutions like 'the market' or 'the system'. To paraphrase the Buddha, if you were shot by an arrow, would you want to knowwhether the tree that made the wood was grown on a statefarm or in a private wood? Would you want to know whether it was a private company ora government officiual who did the shooting?

: (remember that site?)

yes, I remember it, I also remember explaining why I thought it sucked and why it explained nothing. Bring up the posts if you would like- I haven't mastered the fine art of linking, unfortunately. In general, I believe my criticisms revolved around unscientific methodology, moral equivalency, selective glossing over of certain kinds of killing (deaths by neglect), biased reporting, tortured logic, blaming the wrong people for crimes committed, conflation of terms, and other fallacies.

: rather than between private or collective ownership of property.

There is, however, a minor difference between commiting crimes in the name of freedom and equality and committing crimes in the name of unfreedom and inequality. There is a slight moral differnee between tyranny of teh majority and tyranny ofthe minority, although of course neither one is preferable to true democracy.

: Capitalism doesnt 'beat' collectivism in the death toll, even by vaige standards of capitalism

really? How about the fact that millions of kids every year die of food deprivation? To write off these as 'deaths by neglect" is:

1) Biased. Of the 20-odd million killed by Stalin and the 40-odd million killed by Mao, the two classic examples of 'left-wing' murder, over half died of famine. If you include those dead as victims of 'Marxist-leninsim', then you must include the millions of victims yearly due to capitalism.

2)This does not excuse the Leninists of blame, because in both case the famines were engineered by man. There was enough food to go around, yet the Chinese caused these people to be deprived of food therefore they are to blame. Likewise, there is enough food to go around today, yet we live under an economic system which allots food according to ability to pay. This ensure staht thsoe unable to pay will not get food. Since there is enough food to go around, teh casue of tehse people's deprivation is the system of distribution. i.e. capitalism. This is a subtle point- I'm not blaming individual capitalists for the famines. In fact, in teh idealized case, NO ONE bears any blame individually, only Capitalism ITSELF bears the blame. This in fact is more an idnictment of capitalism than your claims are about communsim, because while I can write off the crimes of Russia, China etc. as being teh individual fault of Stalin, Mao, etc., my criticism of capitalism is not based on condemning idnividuals at all, but rather on teh ideology itself.

: unless one starts to call everything 'state capitalist' so as to include Nazi Germany and the USSR.

Except that I didn't mention Nazi Germany nor Soviet Russia. The problem with teh capitalist-liberatrian arguemnstI've seen is taht they shoot themselves in the foot by holding up as their shining models, some of the most sordid regimes this side of Baghdad.
Examples that the capitalists themselves have given me include:

1) Victorian England, where they hung pickpockets and had urban youths living in unbelievable squalor.
2) Hong Kong, where in spite of the traditional Chinese revrence for teh elderly, they have old men living in tiny rabbit cages that don't allow them to stand up- codnitions fit only for animals, not for human beings.
3) Singapore, where they can throw you in jail for chewing gum.
4) south korea, where professing communsim can get you a cozy billet in prison.
5) pre-Civil war America, enough said. I guess at elast teh North didn't have slavery- no, we were too busy exterminating the Amerindians....

Given the examples above, supplied right from the horses' mouth, can you balme me for being a bit skeptical of teh capitalist utopia?

: Basically the relationship is between state relative power and the degree of actual political freedom a people have.

Um, Somalia has effectively no government right now. is it free? Sweden has a large, interventionist government. Yet a nonpartisan analysis in '91 by Charles Humana ranked it the freest country in the world.
By the way, what's teh relevance of either 'state power' or 'freedom', hwoever related they amy be to each other, to 'genocide'? Do you have an argument to link them? Or is Rummel coming to the rescue again, because in that case I'm not buying.

: Thats far more instructive than blame shifting onto various misinterpretations of various ideologies.

except that Rummel is not unbiased (an understatement if there evr was one), he is ideological to the core.

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