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mikeman

Member Since 10 May 2004
Online Last Active Today, 06:36 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: The Problem With Capitalism

Today, 12:59 AM

Do not propagate such thoughts Mikeman!


Such thoughts, like what exactly? Like having men with power being accountable to the people is at least better, though imperfect, than having them being accountable to nobody at all? :)

You see examples of criminal behaviour by public state officials(who were not accountable to the people anyway, since we're talking about USSR here), and your thinking here is "okay, that doesn't work, let's hand over the decision-making to private corporations and their executives, whose only accountability is presenting nice quarterly year reports to the board and stockholders"? Really? I'd honestly like for you to explain this train of thinking, cause I sure as hell don't get it. Those who are advocating for "small government" are basically advocating that the decision-making for important issues should be moved from public entities that are *somehow*, to some extent at least, accountable to the people, to private entities that are accountable only to their internal processes. How does that make any sense exactly?

I don't know how many times can I re-iterate that I'm arguing about both socialism *and* a more open democratic system where people are even more active in participating in decision-making of any kind, as much as this is possible at any given circumstances. Personal property is guaranteed, private property is abolished, the means of productions are socially owned, and the decision-making on how to use said means of production is taken through democratic processes and with the explicit goal of making life better for everybody, and utilize technological advancements with the purpose to arrive to the post-scarcity society that is the topic of this thread. Central State will still exist for as long as it's necessary to exist, but it will be accountable to the people through said processes. Of course you can't expect me to describe this system to its fullest detail, but I sincerely think it's entirely possible.

Things are pretty simple. *Someone* has to make decisions on how to handle resources, like the dumping of toxic wastes you just described. The need to make those decisions isn't just going to go away. *Someone* is going to be vested with the power to make the decisions and implement them. In the case of USSR, or China, those decisions where made by Party officials(and corporations in case of China, which I repeat, has a market economy for the last 30 years) that worked in secrecy and weren't really accountable to the people. In capitalism, those decisions are made by private corporations that operate based on profit, and by an elected government that is very heavily influenced by said corporations, their funding and their lobbying(not to mention flat-out bribing). Why do you think *any* of those systems works, and what are exactly the "thoughts" I should not "propagate"? (And btw, I'll propagate my thoughts however and whenever I please, thanks :P )

In Topic: The Problem With Capitalism

Yesterday, 02:39 PM

I think it's a mistake of false dilemma to say, "Not capitalism, therefore communism!" because the options/choices for economic systems are broader than communism or capitalism.


No capitalist country today is "pure" capitalistic. They all pretty much have a mixed system, where state is supposed to regulate the market and provide some welfare to the more economically vulnerable. Some countries do it more, some less.

If we're talking about a succeeding system to capitalism, and nore merely reforming capitalism which has been done time and time again, and it's not some form of socialism, then what do you propose it will be?

I mean, in your original post, you said :
 

When the costs of production have essentially been reduced to zero, why maintain a monetary system at all? What's the point? When the costs to produce something have been reduced to nearly zero, why not just make everything free? What would a society look like where anything anyone could ever want is readily available? The notion of material possessions becomes kind of meaningless. Who cares if your neighbor has a 52 inch television, when you could order one and get it at any time you wish? The concept of measuring worth by material possessions becomes antiquated. When our daily pursuits for mere survival are replaced by pursuits of leisure, I think the natural human tendency is to become creative and to share our creative works with each other (game development being one of those creative pursuits).


What you're describing is...communism, dude. Like, straight up. Why does the mere word scare you? A stateless, classless, "everyone according to their needs" post-scarcity society is exactly what communism is.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-scarcity_economy#Marxism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communist_society
 

Marx's concept of a post-capitalist communist society involves the free distribution of goods made possible by the abundance provided by automation.[26] The fully developed communist economic system is postulated to develop from a preceding socialist system. Marx held the view that socialism—a system based on social ownership of the means of production—would enable progress toward the development of fully developed communism by further advancing productive technology. Under socialism, with its increasing levels of automation, an increasing proportion of goods would be distributed freely.[27]


This is, like, exactly what you described in the post I quoted, but at the same time you say "it doesn't have to be communism!", merely because the word itself scares you because of its associations. I don't blame you entirely. But the (future) society you describe already has a name.

You guys realize "Communist Russia" didn't ever actually *achieve* communism or even came close to it, right? It was called "Communist" because it was ruled by the Communist Party whose stated goal was to reach communism at some unspecified point in the future, after overthrowing capitalism and passing through the necessary(according to Marx-Lenin) states of socialism and "dictatorship of the proletariat" and all that. No official of the Party in their right mind ever claimed they had achieved communism. That would be entirely laughable, considering that, by definition, a communist society is a stateless one, and they would have to dismantle the Party and the State in that case as unneeded and obsolete. :P

I get your point that the initial post was about how sustainable capitalism is as a system, but you can't really keep real-world politics out of discussions like this.

But anyway, if we're going to steer the thread back on course, let's consider this, because yours is hardly a new idea :
 

Marx did not believe in the elimination of most physical labor through technological advancements alone in a capitalist society, because he believed capitalism contained within it certain tendencies which countered increasing automation and prevented it from developing beyond a limited point, so that manual industrial labor could not be eliminated until the overthrow of capitalism.[28] Some commentators on Marx have argued that at the time he wrote the Grundrisse, he thought that the collapse of capitalism due to advancing automation was inevitable despite these counter-tendencies, but that by the time of his major work Capital: Critique of Political Economy he had abandoned this view, and came to believe that capitalism could continually renew itself unless overthrown.[29][30][31]


So, basically :

1) Elimination of most physical(or even menial-repetitive intellectual one, due to AI) labour will inevitably come through technological advancements alone, so we basically wait until that happens, capitalism grinds to a halt because of this, and then we replace it with a more sustainable system that allows everyone to enjoy the fruits of this technology.

or :

2) Capitalism will find ways to re-invent and reform itself, limit the technological advancements and their application exactly in order to avoid breaking down, and if we want this post-scarcity society to happen, political action must be taken in order overthrow capitalism and replace it with a system whose stated goal will be to reach this post-scarcity society as soon as possible, and not avoid it.

In Topic: The Problem With Capitalism

Yesterday, 02:26 PM

You have talked about enviromental damage that private owned companies do, but what responsibility, and what authority'd state owned subjects fall in front of?

Private companies examine corruptable officials, more or less, and both sides are subjects to their own legal possible persecution.

State owned will heal the problems you have appointed more?


The state *is* supposed to be accountable to the people, isn't it? I can vote them out of office if I want to. If the public decides that the environmental issue is a big issue, it can vote officials that promise they will fix it, and get rid of them if they fail to do so.

It's not a perfect system by far, but at least they *are* accountable to some extent through some form of democracy, even representive one.

To whom exactly are the various executives and CEOs accountable to, except their own bosses and stockholders, who pretty much all they ask of them is nice querterly profits? How exactly can the public get rid of them if their actions hurt the environment, since we're speaking about that?

I mean, you say "Private companies examine corruptable officials, more or less, and both sides are subjects to their own legal possible persecution". Really? You compare state officials that are elected by the people and are daily scrutinized by the press, to executives who answer to the company's board and stockholders? Do the stockholders care if the oil pipeline they're building or the gas emmision of their factories puts a pressure into the environment? Does that seem like what's happening?

This comparison is totally bogus. Comparing state officials whose names we know and can be elected in and out of office by the general population, as imperfect as that procedure might be, to a bunch of executives and stocholders and CEOs who are accountable to...each other and their own internal processes. Private companies punish and discipline the individuals that are determinental to the *company*'s state. Not to society's state, and certainly not the planet's state. I don't think they could care less about how they're hurting the environment if that means they get to save money.

In Topic: The Problem With Capitalism

Yesterday, 05:32 AM

There are poor lazy people and rich lazy people everywhere.


Even if we accept this premise, poor people don't own 95% of the wealth, and certainly not the power rich people have.

Besides, we are talking about systems here, and how best to optimize them to benefit further progress of mankind, not individuals. A bad person armed only with his fists can punch maybe a couple of others. A bad person armed with a knife can stab half a dozen, a bad person armed with a semi-automatic can kill two dozens, and a bad person armed with a nuke can evaporate a million. Saying(after the fact) "they were all bad people, tho" is of little interest to me, and doesn't really fix anything, nor examines the root causes.

See where I'm going here? If we accept qualities like dishonesty, corruption and generally malevolence are part of the infamous "human nature"(along with good qualities like honesty, courage, altruism, empathy), it doesn't really make sense to keep in place a system(any system) that gives enormous power and/or wealth(which is power) to a few and then merely wish "if only everybody was honest!". Especially when power tends to corrupt people, not make them better. What makes sense to me, is finding a system of organizing ourselves so no one person can even *own* large amounts of power or wealth, so the "splash damage" from his bad qualities is as small as possible. That way we don't have to rely on the "kindness of (powerful)strangers".

In Topic: The Problem With Capitalism

Yesterday, 05:00 AM

....another rant...


Dude, you know, if I can't convince you that the poor are not lazy, I sure as hell can't convince you about the merits of socialism, and that socialism isn't "jealousy"(lol) and that they want to "steal money from those that work and produce"(lol). :)

You make valid points about socialist politicians, but they're hardly new. Politicians are politicians. Men with power. Power corrupts. That's why they should be accountable to the people every step of the way, and that's why I have spoken in this thread against the evils of totalitarianism and how it should definitely not be a model for future socialists. Thing is, I don't think you are of the opinion that the markets should be accountable, every step of the way, to the people. Correct me if I'm wrong. Do you propose any mechanism on how we should strongly regulate the markets and keep those "golden boys" from running it into the ground every 15 years or so? Considering you basically blamed the last crisis on the working class and poor people, somehow I doubt it.

But, like I said, you can't be convinced even that poor people are not lazy slackers that don't want to work and don't know how to save money. So talking about socialism to you seems to me like an exercise in futility. Staying in favour of capitalism but just getting rid of your raw contempt of poor and underprivileged people would be a tremendous progress for you. I mean, it's just unbelieveable. In your view, people that lay bricks, make your clothes and shoes, gather the fruit you eat, people that build roads, sewage workers, people that serve you your food, people that dig holes and install your water pipes and internet cables are nothing more than minimal effort slackers that should get off their lazy asses and get a job that adds *real* value to the economy. Like trading stocks or advertising jewelry or writing the next stupid smartphone app or something.

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