- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on October 15, 1999 at 13:28:00:

In Reply to: Capitalism as Americans and Europeans know it is not the only way. posted by septimus on October 14, 1999 at 16:25:15:

: : : Its these threats and consequences that need to be so heavily scrutinized whenever someone offers 'the socialist alternative' or engages in criticism of private property and indivualism.

: : : And doing so is fun, aswell.

: : Excellent thoughts. I feel no attraction to the Socialist/Communist/Green program. Me and millions of others, for the reason's that you list. I don't think that man's make-up, his nature, is built for that.

: : I may be wrong, but history in this regard says probably not.

: I think you'll find that history says a great many things. I think we could quite legitimatly say that history has shown that an obsession with individual rights and liberties (other than for monarchs and their cronies) has only existed for a couple of hundred years

Actually, human rights only became a concern of the West in large part in the last 100-150 years, even in theory (and much after that in practice).

: and that it is a purely European phenomenon.

Well, I don't know. To say that human rights are a Western conception is a little bit demeaning to Africans and Asians, don't you think. I think it is fairere to say that a concern for human rights developed in otehr places, but those who were concerned about human rights either 1) were in opposition to the prevvailing currents of society or 2) existed in small, tribal societies.

:I challenge you to show one other place or era in history when the rights of the individual have been deemed of greater significance than the good of the community as a whole.

In fact, socialism doesn't depend on any aprticular weight that is assigend to individual human rights. You can make a case that socialism
is necessary precisely BECAUSE it assures individual human rights for the great majority of people, whereas capitalism recognizes only the human rights of a property-owning elite.

: It would seem that the weight of history is very deffinitely not on your side.

I agree.

:What you refer to as the Socialist/Communist/Green program (guess which one of which I am a member)is an attempt to stabilise and restrain the excesses of the individualist capitalist historical aberration.

: : Except for small inconsequential communities such as the Amish and Mennonites and left over Hippy communes who are, forgive me, parasites.

: I think they could only be considered parasites if they are unable to provide for themselves and give nothing back to those who give to them. Amish communities define themselves by their ability to support themselves and there are even some hippy communities who can, shock horror, survive outside capitalism.

This frankly makes me laugh, and then laugh some more. Some guy who lives in the heart of bourgeois capitalism, dpends on farmers for his food, construction companies for his house, computer manufacturers for writing this essay, probably soem air-conditioning in the bargain, then has the gall to accuse HIPPIES of living off capitalist society? Who the hell is being hypocitical here, may I ask?

: Capitalism as Americans and Europeans know it is not the only way. There are other systems which provide everything which their societies need without the harsh injustices of totalitarian communism or rampant capitalism.

Yes, though communism need not be totalitarian , in fact pure communism cannot be.

: At least Gee has a philosophical position which can be debated. You need to prove that your libertarianism is more than just selfishness.
: Name calling is not debate.


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