- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Posted by: David ( USA ) on October 23, 1999 at 02:30:19:

In Reply to: Who are you trying to fool? (better draft) posted by Barry Stoller on October 22, 1999 at 15:51:53:

: : I am disavowing pure democracy; one in which everybody votes on everything.

: That's obvious. And that's why I say you are no friend of democracy!

Correct. I am a friend to constitutionally limited democracy, however.

: : If, as you imply, the objective law is subjected to the whims of a minority (or a majority) than it is not really 'objective,' is it? When I say 'objective law' what I mean is one which forbids the violation of anyone's individual rights.

: Freedom to---or freedom from? To posit one is to deny any differing interests in (class) society. That's a brazen falsehood.

: : : Elizabeth Dole, the first woman to be taken seriously as a candidate for her party's Presidential nomination, dropped out of the race today, saying she could not raise enough cash to compete with the fortune raised by one Republican rival [Bush] and inherited by another [Forbes].
: (Yesterday's New York Times, sec. A, p. 1, emphasis added.)

: : I am not very well versed in political financing so I am not in any position to comment on it objectively and with facts.

: Sophisticated evasion!

It is the truth. Would you prefer me to pose as some sort of expert on the subject? It would only weaken my argument and credibility.

: : 'Rationed,' implies an arbiter. The only 'arbiter' in a free market is demand. If there are not enough skilled workers, than the wages offered to those that are skilled workers will necessarily go up.

: Nonetheless the 'free market' (controlled by the capitalists) determines that capital will receive only the skilled workers it needs.

: Percentage of American jobs requiring any skill above a high school level: 25% (Business Week, 1 September 1997, p. 67).

: Percentage of Americans able to afford a B.A. or above: 23% (Statistical Abstract of the United States, table 243, p. 160).

: Some coincidence, eh?

Before you do your statistical happy dance allow me to ask you some questions about those statistics. First, did the statistics realting to those who can afford a B.A. take into accound scholarships or financial aid? Student loans? Working through college?
In the statistics relating to the skill required for 25% of the jobs, you fail to consider the fact that a good portion of those jobs are held by teenagers or university students. They are transition jobs. It is rare to find someone who's worked at Burger King for 8 years.

: : Do you know why you need to buy that farm? Because there is no "unclaimed" land. If the land belongs to someone, you can't kick them off saying you don't want to participate in the economy. You have to give them something of value. Usually money.

: Is that supposed to negate my claim that the access to the means of survival is mediated by the labor market?

Not at all.

: : Those inequalities are caused by the corruption within our government, they are not a result of the free market.

: The 'free market' is only free for capitalists to rob the working class of surplus value.

From a purely economic point of view, a capitalist is a person who buys in order to sell for profit. However, the productive role that capitalists and businessman serve cannot be overstated.
Far from being exploiters, the true function of capitalists and businessmen "... is to raise the productivity, and thus the real wages, of manual labor by means of creating, coordinating, and improving the efficiency of the division of labor."2 By continuously improving the efficiency of labor, capitalists and businessmen are responsible for raising wages and creating employment which serve to raise the standard of living of everyone. Furthermore, by funding research and capital investments, corporations and capitalists make possible all of the modern day conveniences, from laser surgery to orchestra halls, that most people take for granted every day. In fact, since capitalists make available so much life-saving and labor-saving technology to so many people, they should be regarded as some of mankind's greatest benefactors. A few capitalists and businessmen have done more to help mankind live a more enjoyable life (indeed, most people would not even be alive today if it weren't for capitalists) than all of the humanitarians, social workers, and clergy men combined. If one considers human life a value, then they should regard capitalists as one of its greatest promoters. (If Mother Theresa really wanted to help people, she should try and accumulate enough capital to start a factory in a poor nation and employ thousands of people who would not have jobs without her.)

In a more fundamental sense, a capitalist is anyone (from a janitor to a millionaire) who lives solely by his own effort and who respects the rights of others. The best symbol of a capitalist is the trader. That is, the man or woman who only deals with other people on a voluntary basis. A capitalist is not an "exploiter" nor necessarily a "greedy" individual.


: Who are you trying to fool?

The many Cuban refugees I keep in my basement. They peel oranges for me while singing french folk songs.

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