- Capitalism and Alternatives -

The 'Cruel' Hatter strikes ...

Posted by: Dr. Cruel on October 21, 1999 at 12:01:45:

In Reply to: Frenchy and Doc's Hat Hair Formula posted by Quincunx on October 21, 1999 at 00:49:41:

Ah, good. Perhaps you can help. I apparently have not made myself clear enough.

You can, of course, attest to my 'Republican' credentials. I am no fan of Bolshevism (nor of fascism, but I'll leave that discussion to another time - I wish to work within what is commonly agreed at). Nor am I an enemy of Frenchy; I am apparently on fairly cordial terms with him (any time that two conservatives exchange pleasantries, the Leftists howls "Conspiracy!" - another topic for later debate). What hasn't been made clear, unfortunately, is that I do not agree with Frenchy's conclusion, i.e. that capitalism in pure form is the answer. Allow me to explain.

The problem comes with this designation of 'losers' and 'winners' (read Frenchy's response). In competition, there is a coclusive point when such a distinction is made. In pure capitalism, the results can be nightmarish. Hobsbawn speaks of it; in a society where industrial productivity is increasingly automated, and in which the resulting aristocracy of the skilled leaves the remainder in a state of social uselessness, the stage is set for tragedy. For in capitalism there is no mechanism in regards to dealing with people that are not profitable. I am not speaking in terms of ethics here, but in the name of cold, hard sanity. Consider Rand's stance on orphans for a moment; that she would not be compelled to help them, and would just as well ignore them, leaving them to their fate.

In Bogota, this is exactly what has been done. There are orphans that are growing up in the city, totally unsocialized, the future fodder for any potential dictator that might wish to set up shop there (to some extent, this has already occured in the rural areas). Imagine this sort of thing taking place in modern first world states - small suburban fortresses of highly educated capitalists, surrounded by economically useless, envious masses of rapidly multiplying, semi-literate people (a kind of life-form, incidentally, that is widely considered the most savage and imaginitive predatory animal in existance). A recipe for disaster I could not better arrange, and capitalist theory has no ideological answer to it. The thought of leading armed clumps of such people gives the typical communist revolutionary goosebumps. Even the potential for massive epidemics should raise some sort of concern (the rise of tuberculosis, a product of the unchecked spread of AIDS amongst the poor, cannot be ignored indefinitely). How does one accomplish the unprofitable, and perhaps even enforced, treatment of such individuals?

Henry Ford said that he paid his workers well, so that they might be able to purchase the cars he sold. This sort of thing can hardly be called 'capitalism', yet it would seem that Mr. Ford falls well within our ideological camp. This is what our quandry becomes - how do we, as capitalists, incorporate those that simply are unprofitable to us into our society, without falling into the socialist trap of turning said into wards of the state (or, as capitalism accurately predicts, by thereby subsidizing folly and thus radically increasing the birthrate)?

Throwing money at it is even worse. In the Sudan, slavers would receive $300per person or more for their goods. Slavery boomed. It became so popular that the resulting glut of slaves brought prices down to $10 a head. The 'industry' was in danger of collapse. It, however, was saved at the last minute. How?

Well meaning Christian groups, compassionate to the plight of these poor people, raised money to buy back these slaves so that they might be returned to their families. Immediately the price climbed, and now the price of slaves was up to from $50-$100 or more. Moreover, a new industry developed; slavers would make business arrangements with their potential 'slaves', giving them a cut of the proceeds for their services as slave 'temps'.

Remember that we are talking about a country with a GDP of about $930 per capita. Think about that for a moment.

Modern capitalism is, beyond question, the best economic system we have developed to date. It also is just as obviously flawed. Socialist theory is beset by vicious radical advocates, who have made a mockery of their approach and have muddied the debate with the blood of millions of victims. Now, are we going to rationally come to terms with the issues I have presented, or shall we, as has been so often done in the past, wait for an international crisis that makes the resolution of these problems unavoidable (and, likely, only by virtue of the most savage violence)?

I think I've safely blown any chance I have of winning an election. Ah well.

"Doc" Cruel

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