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GreenVelvetWorm
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09 Jul 2023, 12:37 pm

I'm not an expert but I think the point of a civilization should be for large groups of humans to share resources, take care of each other, and live safely together. A system that actively encourages hoarding and competition seems pointless and counterproductive.



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09 Jul 2023, 1:38 pm

Well, capitalism does facilitate those things.

Under capitalism, hoarding (most) resources is counter-productive even from a solely self-interested perspective. In the long run, there is more money to be made by investing your money than by locking it up in a vault. If you spend or invest your money, then someone else has it now - you have shared the resource with them.

Capitalism also requires people living safely together. The free market stops working if there is unrest. It requires people to generally not steal, for example.

Our ability to take care of people depends, to a large extent, on the resources we have available to us. Competitive, market-based systems seem to be the best way to encourage efficient use of resources, and therefore leave more "spare" that can be used to fund caring for vulnerable people.



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09 Jul 2023, 1:48 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
Well, capitalism does facilitate those things.

Under capitalism, hoarding (most) resources is counter-productive even from a solely self-interested perspective. In the long run, there is more money to be made by investing your money than by locking it up in a vault. If you spend or invest your money, then someone else has it now - you have shared the resource with them.

Capitalism also requires people living safely together. The free market stops working if there is unrest. It requires people to generally not steal, for example.

Our ability to take care of people depends, to a large extent, on the resources we have available to us. Competitive, market-based systems seem to be the best way to encourage efficient use of resources, and therefore leave more "spare" that can be used to fund caring for vulnerable people.


I don't understand how letting a few billionaires sit on a dragon's hoard of wealth and land while millions of people starve could possibly be the most efficient use of resources



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09 Jul 2023, 4:46 pm

GreenVelvetWorm wrote:
The_Walrus wrote:
Well, capitalism does facilitate those things.

Under capitalism, hoarding (most) resources is counter-productive even from a solely self-interested perspective. In the long run, there is more money to be made by investing your money than by locking it up in a vault. If you spend or invest your money, then someone else has it now - you have shared the resource with them.

Capitalism also requires people living safely together. The free market stops working if there is unrest. It requires people to generally not steal, for example.

Our ability to take care of people depends, to a large extent, on the resources we have available to us. Competitive, market-based systems seem to be the best way to encourage efficient use of resources, and therefore leave more "spare" that can be used to fund caring for vulnerable people.


I don't understand how letting a few billionaires sit on a dragon's hoard of wealth and land while millions of people starve could possibly be the most efficient use of resources

Most of the wealth of billionaires isn't stuff that is much use for feeding people. If you taxed all wealth of over £200m (for example) at 100% then the main thing you would do is make lots of assets less valuable. You couldn't turn Apple stock into actual apples.

Deep poverty is mostly born from geographical and political issues - civil war, limited access to markets, etc. There is no economic reform that could end world hunger overnight.

The capitalist system has, however, taken billions of people out of desperate poverty.

You can pretty much divide the world up into four groups:

1) the super rich - small in number. Found all over the world, though slightly more common in richer countries.
2) the normal rich - most people in both our countries would qualify. Have roofs over our heads, 18 years or more of schooling, limited risk of malnutrition, a heating source that doesn't lower air quality in the house, refrigerators, microwaves, flat-screen televisions, smartphones. About a billion people, mostly in the US and Europe. Although we've seen huge increases in our standard of living in recent decades, our share of global wealth has fallen.
4) the deeply impoverished - about a billion people living in central Africa, central Asia, remote parts of China and India, inland South America, and remote islands. Completely screwed over by geography, and/or instability like civil wars and coups, as well as other factors like the "resource trap" (building an economy around one unprocessed valuable natural resource rather than a robust economy with multiple exports of manufactured goods and services)

So that's two billion people, what about the other six billion? Well, they're living in countries that have experienced significant economic growth in the last few decades. 50 years ago these countries had huge amounts of widespread deep poverty, but now things are starting to look much better, although there are still challenges. Countries in this basket include China, India, Poland, Brazil, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Estonia, Thailand, Egypt, Nigeria, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Mexico, and Uruguay. Huge variety there of course, but most of the world lives in these sorts of countries.

Those six billion people - like the billion of us who live pretty cushy lives - are benefiting hugely from the interconnected system of global trade, people who don't know each other and typically don't co-ordinate their work, acting in their own self-interest, improving the lives of people on the other side of the world.

The free market isn't perfect, and sometimes people pursuing their own interests cause harm to others, but in general it's a proven concept that works to lift people out of poverty wherever circumstances will allow.

Try comparing free-market South Korea to North Korea. You could also compare the two halves of Germany - West Germany is still measurably richer than East Germany, which is still suffering the effects of communist rule. Taiwan and China are another enlightening example - China has made big progress since it opened up under Deng, but Taiwan is about 50% richer per capita, and you can see the same pattern in Hong Kong too.



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10 Jul 2023, 7:14 am

I rather dislike capitalism, but I suspect the real problem is agriculture. Nomadic hunter-gatherers can't so readily accumulate private property. After agriculture human groups became too large, and once it's happened there's no easy way of turning back. I think that whatever you get in a large group such as a nation state is going to suck.

Capitalism approves of a few individuals getting control of most of the wealth and power. I don't approve of it because I think it takes resources out of the common pool. If that common pool of resources were plentiful enough then it wouldn't matter, but it clearly isn't. I think the reason many people are poor is that some people are rich. Something is scarce, the wealthy snap it up for themselves and the rest of us can't get at the goodies. And it's not just the zero-sum-gain thing, I think there's a very natural and normal sense of resentment that one person lives the life of Riley while others have to struggle just to make ends meet.



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10 Jul 2023, 7:48 am

GreenVelvetWorm wrote:
I'm not an expert but I think the point of a civilization should be for large groups of humans to share resources, take care of each other, and live safely together. A system that actively encourages hoarding and competition seems pointless and counterproductive.


My feeling is that human beings have a capacity for sharing resources, taking care of one another and living safely together, but that it's limited to small groups. Beyond that, we seem to exhibit a very natural instinct to improve the situations of our own and if that's at the expense of others, so be it.

I think civilisation is always an imposition on those instincts, however you structure it. People will always want to have more than others, and even in conceptually egalitarian constructs like communism, in practice people always find ways to have more than others, even if it's not physical abundance, even if it's something like privilege.

I don't know if capitalism is saying that this is OK, or just that it's inevitable and we may as well stop fighting it.


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10 Jul 2023, 5:13 pm

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The capitalist system has, however, taken billions of people out of desperate poverty.


Citation Needed. Also, how many has it killed?


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10 Jul 2023, 5:39 pm

GreenVelvetWorm wrote:
I don't understand how letting a few billionaires sit on a dragon's hoard of wealth and land while millions of people starve could possibly be the most efficient use of resources
Because Communism does not work, while Capitalism works for those who are both able and willing to work it.

What I do not understand is why lazy, good-for-nothing freeloaders expect to live off the handouts they receive from hard-working wage-earners as if it was their privilege to do so.


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GreenVelvetWorm
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10 Jul 2023, 6:04 pm

Fnord wrote:
Because Communism does not work, while Capitalism works for those who are both able and willing to work it.

What I do not understand is why lazy, good-for-nothing freeloaders expect to live off the handouts they receive from hard-working wage-earners as if it was their privilege to do so.


I think every person should have the right to enough resources to live safe, healthy lives. The land owners and large business owners who exploit the labour of working class people are much more guilty of acting privileged. They take far more than they could ever need or want.



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10 Jul 2023, 6:20 pm

GreenVelvetWorm wrote:
I think every person should have the right to enough resources to live safe, healthy lives. The land owners and large business owners who exploit the labour of working class people are much more guilty of acting privileged. They take far more than they could ever need or want.
"Should have"?

:lol:

Dude, unless you live in a Socialist State operating as a Feudalist society, you already have the right to enough resources to live a safe, secure, and healthy life.

But that takes more effort than some people seem willing or able to put forth, doesn't it?

Having the "right" to something does not mean that it will automatically drop into your outstretched hands; it only means that you can have it.  For example, having the rights to Free Speech and Free Press do not automatically grant you the privilege of an audience.  Having the right to work does not mean that you will automatically be given the privilege of a paying job.  Having the right to own property does not mean that you will automatically be given the privilege of property to own (barring Birthdays, Christmas, and other special occasions).

You have to earn the things you want -- is that what really bothers you?

As for complaining about land and business owners having more than you, this merely deflects attention away from you and onto them.  Focus on improving yourself instead of blaming successful people for your lack of success.


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GreenVelvetWorm
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10 Jul 2023, 6:29 pm

Fnord wrote:

"Should have"?

:lol:

Dude, unless you live in a Socialist State operating as a Feudalist society, you already have the right to enough resources to live a safe, secure, and healthy life.

But that takes more effort than some people seem willing or able to put forth, doesn't it?

Having the "right" to something does not mean that it will automatically drop into your outstretched hands; it only means that you can have it.  For example, having the rights to Free Speech and Free Press do not automatically grant you the privilege of an audience.  Having the right to work does not mean that you will automatically be given the privilege of a paying job.  Having the right to own property does not mean that you will automatically be given the privilege of property to own (barring Birthdays, Christmas, and other special occasions).

You have to earn the things you want -- is that what really bothers you?

As for complaining about land and business owners having more than you, this merely deflects attention away from you and onto them.  Focus on improving yourself instead of blaming successful people for your lack of success.


I don't think people should have to earn food, shelter or health care, no. I think the baseline of living should be accounted for and provided for, even if that means implementing a system that doesn't allow some people to become ridiculously wealthy.

I have a job and I do earn my own living. I still don't think this system is just or practical, and I think it should change.



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10 Jul 2023, 6:34 pm

GreenVelvetWorm wrote:
I don't think people should have to earn food, shelter or health care, no. I think the baseline of living should be accounted for and provided for, even if that means implementing a system that doesn't allow some people to become ridiculously wealthy.

I have a job and I do earn my own living. I still don't think this system is just or practical, and I think it should change.
So . . . you espouse Communist ideals while enjoying the benefits of a Capitalist society.

What is the word for "saying one thing and doing another"?


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GreenVelvetWorm
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10 Jul 2023, 6:36 pm

Fnord wrote:
So . . . you espouse Communist ideals while enjoying the benefits of a Capitalist society.

What is the word for "saying one thing and doing another"?


First you were mocking me under the assumption that I wasn't properly participating in a capitalist society, now you're implying I'm a hypocrite for having a job

I don't think we're going to get anywhere with this conversation, you don't seem to be arguing in good faith



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10 Jul 2023, 6:42 pm

GreenVelvetWorm wrote:
First you were mocking me under the assumption that I wasn't properly participating in a capitalist society . . .
True.  I will admit to that, and may The_Walrus have mercy upon me.
GreenVelvetWorm wrote:
. . . now you're implying I'm a hypocrite for having a job
No, someone who enjoys the benefits of an economic system while criticizing it is displaying hypocritical behavior.  People who earn their wages and appreciate the system that allows them to do so are not.
GreenVelvetWorm wrote:
I don't think we're going to get anywhere with this conversation . . .
Then let us simply agree to disagree.
GreenVelvetWorm wrote:
. . . you don't seem to be arguing in good faith
Oh, but I AM arguing in good faith -- in a system that works for those who are able and willing to make it work for them.

Your "good faith" seems to be in a fantasy that will never become real.


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GreenVelvetWorm
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10 Jul 2023, 6:47 pm

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No, someone who enjoys the benefits of an economic system while criticizing it is displaying hypocritical behavior. 


Image

Reminds me of this comic

Most other people in this thread are arguing in good faith, but to me you just seem unkind and disingenuous. I'll stop engaging with you for the good of both of us



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10 Jul 2023, 6:49 pm

GreenVelvetWorm wrote:
I'll stop engaging with you . . .


8)


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