- Capitalism and Alternatives -

...at Capitalism!

Posted by: Quincunx on October 21, 1999 at 22:24:42:

In Reply to: The 'Cruel' Hatter strikes ... posted by Dr. Cruel on October 21, 1999 at 12:01:45:

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

Qx: Hey, you're the doctor here so get on with it.

DC: You can, of course, attest to my 'Republican' credentials.

Qx: Pseudo-conservative is a better approximation.

DC: 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).

Qx: I'm not a fan of Bolshevism either but keep in mind that Bolshevism was conceived in the capitalist spirit of maximized production, grandiose projects, and top-down heirarchical organization to fulfill the wishes of the managerial (nomenklatura) elite. It allowed for the USSR to become a trough for this elite class and it's really no surprise to see this very same "Communists" becoming the gangsters and oligarchs that they really were after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Outside of the racist element of Fascist ideology there really isn't a great difference between the two.
DC: 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).

Qx: You blew it again Doc. Please remember that I typed out "back-slapping session". That isn't a conspiracy. Just an observation of two people locked in a narcissistic embrace via the Internet.

DC: 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.

Qx: Go for it.

DC: 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.

Qx: Well, that's Ayn Rand for you. Guess where she's from and guess how many orphans were left in Russia while she reminisced about the country dacha she so lovingly adored.

DC: In Bogota, this is exactly what has been done. There are orphans that are growing up in the city, totally unsocialized,

Qx: Oh, they're socialized alright but not socialized in the way that will make their lives much better as adults. Anyways, carry on.

DC: 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).

Qx: The current government is pretty bad and if FARC or FALN do anything it will only be for the benefit of their top echelon leadership. They've already knocked off people in unions as well as the sundry crop of military personnel and whatnot.

DC: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

Qx: Why imagine? The reality is closer than yu may even want to know.

DC:(a kind of life-form, incidentally, that is widely considered the most savage and imaginitive predatory animal in existance).

Qx: Let a system like capitalism de-humanize people and guess what happens?

DC: A recipe for disaster I could not better arrange, and capitalist theory has no ideological answer to it.

Qx: Sure it does. More free trade, more profits (i.e., theft), and they'll all become shareholders. Yikes!

DC: The thought of leading armed clumps of such people gives the typical communist revolutionary goosebumps.

Qx: It gives goosebumps to the owning and managerial classes also.

DC: 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?

Qx: Capitalism's answer is to start up more HMOs. Doctors can become lower on the ladder with the nurses, orderlies, and janitors. Pretty cruel eh?

DC: 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)?

Qx: Let's revoke the charters of these fleecing, killing machines for starts. That way CEOs at Ford won't be such "wards of the state".

DC: 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.

Qx: Think about the involvement of big transnatonals in all of this. Think about the sex slave trade right in the good ol' USA. A 14 year old girl easily goes for about $5,000 in a pimp-to-pimp deal. Fresh meat sells and there's a market for it. Think about how close that could be to you.

DC: Modern capitalism is, beyond question, the best economic system we have developed to date. It also is just as obviously flawed.

Qx: Who developed capitalism Doc? There are orgins to this system of disyribution and it didn't develop due to altruistic (if there is such a thing) intentions.

DC: 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.

Qx: You have to make distinctions about real socialism and fake socialism in order to be more articulate here. Most anarchists, social-democrats, and others who don't go for the Marxist-Leninist party line have known and understood this distinction for a very long time. Isn't it time that those claiming to be pro-capitalist or even conservative mature into this realization? There's plenty of postings throughout this debating room that reveal this divide but some how most pro-capitalists seem to not read them nor show signs of having done so. Gee is the most likely exception to this.

DC: 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)?

Qx: In my opinion I think that problems are really quite unavoidable.

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

: "Doc" Cruel

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