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This diary got me thinking: http://www.dailykos.com/...

All capitalism is meant to do is to ensure all the nations wealth is in private hands.

It was never designed to be fair nor equitable.

The fact that the wealth of the nation is accumulated in fewer and fewer hands just means that the capitalist principle of "to the winner the spoils" is working rather well.

Capitalism was not designed with nations in mind, but merely monetary economics, hence the global rape and pillage.

The fact that the capitalists have a strangle hold on governments around the world is merely a result of the concentration of wealth.

Capitalism runs on an old principle "he who has the biggest club wins", ie crushing the competition is part and parcel of this global game of monopoly.

The obvious extension of capitalism is the concentration of wealth rather than its expansion.

Capitalism is meant to spur on economic growth in a never ending spiral of wealth generation. However as with all thing there are boundary limits, and once these are approached there is only one way for some to generate wealth by accumulation of a fixed limit. Capitalism was never intended to reward or protect those that don't quite "make it".

It used to be imagined that democracy could keep in check capitalism, however when capitalists write the laws, define appropriate bailouts and generally abuse the system democracy is no longer an adequate buffer; in fact democracy has been usurped.

Some point out capitalism arose at the end of the feudal system, from my point of view capitalism was designed so that we returned to a feudal system but under another guise, that the new aristocracy somehow merits their status.

Trickle down was always a farce.

Now we have corporations paying miserable wages that are subsidized by the government so that there workers can afford to live.

Capitalism is not failing, it is just heading towards its logical conclusion.

Something about which Marx had something to say

The will of the capitalist is certainly to take as much as possible. What we have to do is not to talk about his will, but to enquire about his power, the limits of that power, and the character of those limits.

KARL MARX, Value, Price, and Profit

I think what has failed and has been deliberately undermined by successive governments around the globe is the last part
to enquire about his power, the limits of that power, and the character of those limits
Capitalism may be failing society, but it was never designed with "helping" in mind.

What has failed is our democratic process; since it has been deliberately undermined by the capitalists and their puppets.

Originally posted to LaFeminista on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 08:11 AM PST.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Anti-Capitalist Chat.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar. Just a thought (174+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies, Horace Boothroyd III, DKBurton, jadt65, Youffraita, kurious, annieli, Betty Pinson, undercovercalico, Lost and Found, claude, Egalitare, elwior, Gowrie Gal, Only Needs a Beat, RJDixon74135, JeffW, ruleoflaw, emal, Hammerhand, Nisi Prius, a2nite, Assaf, corvo, Mimikatz, ericlewis0, marina, leonard145b, Agents of Entropy, kharma, democracy inaction, muddy boots, Sychotic1, winkk, Garfnobl, tardis10, Bob Guyer, RubDMC, hannah, jnhobbs, atana, Raggedy Ann, LynChi, CPT Doom, Loudoun County Dem, onionjim, citisven, JesseCW, CharlesInCharge, gulfgal98, Siri, Mentatmark, RFK Lives, socialismorbarbarism, jguzman17, Yellow Canary, Matt Z, Words In Action, LillithMc, catfishbob, veritas curat, brainwave, PhilJD, run around, superfly, GDbot, latts, Simplify, shaharazade, Burned, carpunder, Ray Pensador, poligirl, TomP, JayRaye, Cassiodorus, twigg, shopkeeper, limpidglass, jbou, pat bunny, OLinda, goodpractice, maggid, susakinovember, implicate order, decisivemoment, Chi, Pescadero Bill, nupstateny, ricklewsive, copymark, MarkInSanFran, Kristin in WA, cpresley, YucatanMan, George3, koseighty, BlueDragon, side pocket, Wino, CTDemoFarmer, DerAmi, ItsaMathJoke, Chaddiwicker, pickandshovel, splashy, glitterlust, offgrid, Santa Susanna Kid, DEMonrat ankle biter, poco, Miss Jones, TarheelDem, bronte17, salmo, karmsy, coldwynn, sydneyluv, lotlizard, La Gitane, Jim P, BarackStarObama, Jim R, orestes1963, dannyboy1, JosephK74, zaka1, Cofcos, Pablo Bocanegra, Robynhood too, skybluewater, wayoutinthestix, lunachickie, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, felix19, riverlover, EdSF, AgavePup, o76, Shippo1776, BruceMcF, ichibon, rlharry, astral66, defluxion10, gfv6800, CA Nana, yet another liberal, sunny skies, The Wizard, ukit, SunshineSocialist, rbird, Storey, chuck utzman, TracieLynn, Dobber, Eric Blair, grollen, Sagebrush Bob, mrkvica, emperor nobody, Alumbrados, congenitalefty, unclejohn, k9disc, caul, maryabein, Teiresias70, Marihilda, rogerdaddy, joegoldstein, AoT

    "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

    by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 08:11:15 AM PST

  •  Richest in US give 1.3%, poorest give 3.2% to... (54+ / 0-)

    charity.

    ...One of the most surprising, and perhaps confounding, facts of charity in America is that the people who can least afford to give are the ones who donate the greatest percentage of their income....

    and

    ...The relative generosity of lower-income Americans is accentuated by the fact that, unlike middle-class and wealthy donors, most of them cannot take advantage of the charitable tax deduction, because they do not itemize deductions on their income-tax returns...
    Why?
    ...some experts have speculated that the wealthy may be less generous—that the personal drive to accumulate wealth may be inconsistent with the idea of communal support...
    So much for that "trickle down" fantasy.

     

    •  And. Also. Too. (22+ / 0-)
      Richest in US give 1.3%, poorest give 3.2% to charity.
      ...
      Why?
      I think also, the poor have more empathy for those around them.  "There but for the grace of god. ..." is very real when you are one paycheck away from eviction, or hunger, or having your car repossessed.  Or when you worked two of those shitty low wage jobs while going to college in order to make it work.

      The rich on the other hand, see poverty as a weakness of character rather than an unfortunate set of circumstances.  They are unable to empathize with anyone who has not been similarly blessed to them.

      Fox's Stuart Varney said of the government employees furloughed by the shutdown, "I want to punish these people."  For what?  Doing their jobs to keep our country running?

      It seems the very existence of a working middle class pisses some of the well to do off.  I can't see the likes of Varney giving anything that might help feed, clothe or comfort anyone, ever.

      •  One reason among many is that it is in (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koseighty

        the Talmud. Jews in the direst poverty in Eastern Europe were under an obligation to find somebody worse off to share with, even if it had to come out of charitable donations that they received from others. That's how you build empathy in a community. This obligation ended with those too poor, too old, or too sick to be able to look for anybody in a worse situation.

        (Now, if we could get Israelis to do this with Palestinians, we might get somewhere. The Tanakh, aka the Jewish Bible, says that they should support the stranger among them, since they were strangers in the land of Egypt, but that is a conversation for another time. Gandhi sometimes talked about ideas like that.)

        Many other communities who hold that their members are all in it together have similar customs.

        Tithing to a church that is supposed to give some of the money toward helping the poor is much less effective, because you don't get the personal contact, and because too often only a tiny fraction of the money is used to help the poor, and too often again much of what passes for help is sending missionaries to preach at the poor.

        To return to Judaism, there is a story about a rich man in Poland who went to his Rabbi to announce that he had was troubled about being rich, and henceforth he was going to live on bread and salt. The Rabbi told him, "No, no, a rich man like you deserves to have meat on the table, and to drink a glass of wine with dinner." Another Jew who overheard this conversation demanded to know what the Rabbi was thinking, giving such advice. The Rabbi explained, "If this rich man eats well, he may think that the poor are at least entitled to bread and salt. But if he lives on bread and salt, he may forget the poor altogether."

        Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

        by Mokurai on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 01:14:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The wealthy are addicts (14+ / 0-)

      So of course they won't part with their addiction.



      Women create the entire labor force.
      ---------------------------------------------
      Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

      by splashy on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 01:00:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I worked for a millionaire who shut down (9+ / 0-)

        all work for 20 minutes while he shouted (Lords can shout at any of their Lessors in the workplace) about people using paper clips when stapling would be cheaper.

        It wasn't just every penny he thought about, it was every fraction of a penny which filled his dreams and days.


        Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

        by Jim P on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 02:48:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Like a true addict! eom (7+ / 0-)



          Women create the entire labor force.
          ---------------------------------------------
          Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

          by splashy on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 03:10:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Similar experience (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jim P, mrkvica, caul, AoT

          I was read the riot act once by the rich owner of a theme park because one of his office flunkies dared to get some pencils while on an errand to the office supply store for the accountant.

          One fucking box of pencils.  I was young then and didn't say a word.  Now, I'd put two dollars down on the desk and say, "Here's your two bucks.  I'll still let the others in the office take pencils when they need to, even though they're now my pencils."

          Rich guys and their money.  If only they would take a long romantic weekend with their money and never come back.  We'd never miss them.  Who's the facebook founder who took his money and left?  Like him.  Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

          Join Essa in a revolt against the gods. Continue the fight, Causality.

          by rbird on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 07:14:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  A friend from England told me about a (0+ / 0-)

            management consultant brought in to turn around a failing company. The first thing he did, before talking to management, was to put out a box of ball-point pens with a sign encouraging people to take one. When it was emptied, he put out another. This continued for some time, while he worked on other issues.

            One day, as my friend described it, it started raining down pens from the ceiling all over every desk and table in the office, and that was the end of that problem.

            Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

            by Mokurai on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 01:19:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Oh no, the wealthy don't (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rbird, caul

        think they are addicts.  They think that the addicts are those in chronic pain, or those who are on food stamps, or those who are on disability or social security or women who want birth control or abortions.  Yes siree, we're the ones the wealthy has the media beating down.  The poor, sick, even women who want birth control, people who want a roof over their head and food on the table, yep were the ones with problems.  

        They have the media push an idea and then when those who think media outlets like Fox News are the truth have been filled with proganda they in turn gang up on those who are suffering.  Prime example, I saw a car with a handicapped driving license with Teabagger bumper stickers against government hand outs.  LOL, give up your government issued handicapped license idiot if that is the way you feel.  

        But, it is never the wealthy with addiction problems.  They will always get enough and more of everything.  Please excuse me, I'm on fire tonight!

        "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

        by zaka1 on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 06:51:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, no, it is the unworthy moochers (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, zaka1

          who have to give up their entitlements.

          We deserve ours.

          Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

          by Mokurai on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 01:20:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well in my book (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT

            the unworthy moochers are the people and corporations like Bane Capital that hide their money or profits in order to gain more tax breaks than the rest of us.  Or the corporations and Wall Street and AIG who take bailouts from taxpayers in order to gain more wealth while the rest of us go on food stamps, cut our heating, go to second hand stores and become homeless.  And all the while those bailouts and QE easing could be helping the taxpayers instead, i.e., using our own money to help ourselves.

            "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

            by zaka1 on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 03:37:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Quite right; I was being snarky (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              zaka1

              Romney and the rest deliberately invert the Makers/Takers distinction as part of the standard fiction that the rich who have always ruled by force and fraud are always smarter and more moral than the poor who do the real work. See Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class for details, even though it was written more than a century ago. Human nature has not changed in the interim.

              Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

              by Mokurai on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 06:39:31 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I beginning to think (0+ / 0-)

                that the only way to survive the crazy that seems to be growing in the world is to become either snarky or just plain nuts!

                I've been working on the just plain nuts for at least sixty years now.

                "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

                by zaka1 on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 08:54:23 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Yep (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rlharry, rbird, caul

      George Bush was almost right: it's not voodoo economics, it's more like voodoodoo economics.

      Living is easy with eyes closed...

      by skybluewater on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 04:01:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And compassionate conservatism, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurious

      Faith-based initiatives, thousand points of light...

      It's a failure of empathy. That's really what Jesus meant about the rich man and the needle's eye, IMHO. Greed is good if you're the one employing it and are willing to overlook the fact that by operating on a greed motive you're NECESSARILY presuming that the community as a whole is willing to pay to keep things running so that you, that one person, can pursue your selfish goal. That was the (politely stated and completely missed) point of "you didn't build that."

      But sooner or later enough of the serfs will realize that they're playing a rigged game, laboring to give the rich their car elevators while they're struggling themselves to keep a roof over their heads. And then (hopefully) "the public good" will stop being a dirty word, "capitalism" will become one (and will be separated forever from "freedom" and "democracy"), and the larger public will adopt a new definition of "takers" and "makers."

      Then we'll realize, hopefully not too late, why they need their gated communities, surveillance state, and militarized police.

  •  So what's the alternative? (5+ / 0-)

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 08:38:32 AM PST

    •  We nearly had the solution after economic (49+ / 0-)

      catastrophes the State plays an active part when capitalists lick their wounds. However sadly we let them also start writing the rule book,

      The alternative is real democracy/social democracy.

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 08:41:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "real democracy/social democracy" are political (7+ / 0-)

        systems, Capitalism is an economic system.
        We have a form of democracy, obviously not a perfect one, but an outline at least.
        What would you replace the economic system with?

        If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

        by CwV on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 08:49:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Capitalism is not an economic system (34+ / 0-)

          it is by controlling capitalism that an economic system develops.

          A system that prevent concentration of wealth and power is one step forward.

          However if capitalist write the laws, do you have a democracy or just a circus?

          Smoke and mirrors.

          "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

          by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 08:53:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Capitalism IS an economic system. (9+ / 0-)

            And what I can gather from your response is that we need a REGULATED Capitalism (which I agree with 100%).
            Obviously, left to it's own internal governor, Capitalism is good for a few and terrible for many, inequality and poverty are baked in and peaks and crashes are basically to be expected.
            I'd like to know if you think there is a better system for an economy, what it is.

            If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

            by CwV on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:04:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Its an ideology, just like communism (12+ / 0-)

              "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

              by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:06:49 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No it is not. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lordcopper, Sparhawk, bronte17

                Capitalism IS an economic system, with several varieties, that operates under different political systems (ideologies).

                Communism is a social, political and economic ideology.

                •  I'll let Joseph Stiglitz write about it (8+ / 0-)

                  "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

                  by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:21:44 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  There is nothing in that (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    BlueDragon

                    that disputes what I said (or am I missing something?).

                    •  It depends on you point of view how you want to (7+ / 0-)

                      regard it.

                      Capitalism, as an ideology, is basically the same as economic liberalism. It also involves certain individual values such as thrift and hard work. But it is much more useful to discuss those values specifically as they are, rather than within the generalized framework of a capitalist ideology. In fact, the real significance of capitalism is to be found not in the realm of ideology but rather in terms of capitalist institutions which have truly had a profound impact on human history. To appreciate that, we need only to mention corporations, for they have been the primary institutions to organize and coordinate human labor in the industrial era. Capitalism is, therefore, not important as an ideology but is extremely important as a word which encompasses the actual means by which capital and labor are organized.
                      http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/...

                      I would argue that conservatives have created an ideological platform for capitalist policies hence the previous article bt Stilglitz.

                      I'm not seeking to refute anything.

                      I still maintain that capitalism in the pure sense is not an economic system in itself, it is how it is applied as the article above notes.

                      The principle of capitalism is private ownership nothing more nothing less, hence it can be termed an ideology.

                      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

                      by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:44:16 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I don't think is is necessary to (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        orestes1963

                        parse all of this in this way.

                        It doesn't aid in my understanding.

                        When people write, and I do, that capitalism has failed, it is in the context of the ideology it proselytizes: that it will deliver prosperity to the vast majority.

                        insofar as a system exists, money is created and is loaned out, it is a economic system.  

                        of course, it is also an ideology.  

                      •  i don't think capitalism as we are (0+ / 0-)

                        experiencing it is simply private ownership.  clearly, that concept is at its basis, but there is a lot more going on.

                        without money and banking as we know it, private ownership would be a paltry thing.

                      •  No that is not true (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        JosephK74, hmi

                        Capitalism is not merely "private ownership". You can have that without capitalism. Indeed you had for centuries before capitalism.

                        If you think there is better system for us then fine, but I wouldn't mischaracterize capitalism to make that point.

                        •  Those things weren't private ownership (0+ / 0-)

                          There was royalty that "owned" most of the land, but other than that people couldn't own things the way they do now. Property rights were virtually non-existent. The crown owned things and created a market economy to the extent that they issued currency and collected taxes, but they were significantly different that what we think of today as "ownership."

                          Although I'd say that capitalism is private ownership or the means of production, more than just private ownership. I think you could have private ownership in general but publicly owned means of production.

                          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                          by AoT on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 08:02:56 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                •  We at least had some social democratic elements (22+ / 0-)

                  in our system from roughly mid-30's to mid-70's.  SS and then Medicare were passed for seniors.  Labor earned the right to organize.  Minimum wage generally kept up w/ inflation.  Banking was boring b/c it was heavily regulated--financial crises became a thing of the past.  The top marginal rate was high.  We had the GI Bill, Medicaid, subsidized housing, food stamps, AFDC, and a whole lot else.  Under Nixon, the environment came to be regulated.

                  For reasons that I still don't understand, starting in the late 70's, a self-interested minority convinced a complacent majority that slowly but surely whittling away at these protections would benefit everyone.  Since 1980, trickle down has become accepted doctrine.  Clearly public functions like incarceration, education, national defense, and health care became increasingly privatized.

                  I accept the fact that we'll never see top marginal rates of 70% (much less 91%) in my lifetime.  I'm not sure we'll ever see the restoration of Glass-Steagall or other financial regulation w/ real teeth.  There's no reason, however, that the education of our young should be just another way to turn a buck.  There should be no place in our society for a company like Blackwater or Xe or whatever they call themselves these days.  Sam Walton's heirs shouldn't own as much as the bottom 40% combined.

                  This country will never be Sweden, but I see no reason for it to become a laboratory for Chicago-school "economics."

                  Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

                  by RFK Lives on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:34:39 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  regulated capitalism is socialism or so (21+ / 0-)

              the real capitalists would have you believe.

              "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

              by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:08:44 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Regulated Capitalism has some elements of (9+ / 0-)

                Socialism imposed on it, but still the means of production are privately owned, the profits (if somewhat reduced) are still accruing to private investors.
                I agree that this is the proper system in that it still has incentive for innovation while preventing confiscatory profit-taking. To work properly, there must be a line in the balance sheet for Commons, AKA the General Welfare, the cost to the environment, et cetera. That's the part that the Greeedheads are fighting to eliminate and vilify.
                A pure Socialist system is Communist, that is: communal ownership of the means of production, even distribution of wealth regardless of individual contribution.
                If all humans were altruistic and communal, this would be fine, but we're not.
                We operate on both the WE and the ME.
                In order for the We to survive, Me has to be reined in. In order for Me to make progress, there must be some reward for the extra effort. It's a balance that has to be struck.
                To simply say that Capitalism is bad and must be abolished, I want to hear how it would be replaced.

                If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

                by CwV on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:31:56 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  agreed (15+ / 0-)

                  because human beings are dualistic -- both selfish and altruistic -- it is unlikely that any "pure" economic system is optimal

                  i think well-regulated capitalism constrained to certain arenas is the proper balance

                  many privatized functions such as health care are far better socialized

                  i think energy should be treated the same

                  for those areas more amenable to free enterprise, the role of the state is to regulate for the public good

                  right now in the u.s. we suffer from a vicious capitalism that has overpowered the state and the people

                  •  I would add communications and transportation as (8+ / 0-)

                    well.  Imagine the cellular/broadband/transportation services we could have if we removed the private industry imperatives from the market place.  It would undoubtedly spur growth and innovation.

                    "Because I am a river to my people."

                    by lordcopper on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:36:38 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  agreed: list was non-inclusive (5+ / 0-)

                      my parameter for "free market eligibilty" would be things that are not essential to the public welfare and common good

                      anything that is essential to the public welfare or common good should be socialized

                      obviously those are poltical choices and, in a healthy, well-functinioning democracy the people would make those decisions

                      needless to say, we ain't there now

                    •  YUP. And cellular/broadband/transportation (3+ / 0-)

                      are fundamental necessities for one to participate in society and the economy.

                      There are few instances where the private sector, once ti develops and institutionalizes a product or service as a part of mainstream culture, makes it affordable enough for everyone.

                      Think toner.

                      Imagine what would happen to GDP if we killed HP's patent and nationalized it?

                      Trust, but verify. - Reagan
                      Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

                      When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

                      by Words In Action on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 01:14:03 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  The significance of the Interstate Highway System (5+ / 0-)

                        When done right, government investment and private investment reinforce each other in a symbiotic way.

                        Basically, initiating a public program of expressway-building in the 1950s greatly increased the usefulness of privately owning a capitalist-produced car. Result: an economic boom in cars and everything related to cars.

                        Similarly, public development of the Internet greatly increased the usefulness of privately owning a computer. Result: an economic boom in computer technology and everything related.

                        The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

                        by lotlizard on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 02:51:23 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  There's a pervasive misconception that (25+ / 0-)

                    all trade, sale, and barter is somehow capitalism.

                    I believe this started with one of Reagan's little records in the 50's, telling a story about a village with a baker and blah blah.

                    It's simply not true.  When a cobbler makes and sells a shoe, that's not capitalism.  It's a worker who owns his own means of production.

                    When a worker owned syndicate produces and sells a shoe, that isn't capitalism either.

                    When a man takes wealth created by workers and uses it to build a shoe factory, produces a shoe at a rock bottom price because of increased productivity, denies workers more than 1/20th of the productive output of their labor in the shoe factory, and then pats himself on the back for being such a hard worker?

                    That's capitalism.

                    "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

                    by JesseCW on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:47:00 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  good point (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      goodpractice

                      free enterprise and capitalism are not synonyms

                      and not all trade is capitalism

                      i'm not sure i categorically object to capitalism, though i recognize its flaws and dangers

                      i think that properly regulated and constrained capitalism can be useful and even socially beneficial

                      of course, marx disagrees and he was a lot smarter than i am

                    •  Re (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      socialismorbarbarism, hmi
                      When a man takes wealth created by workers and uses it to build a shoe factory, produces a shoe at a rock bottom price because of increased productivity, denies workers more than 1/20th of the productive output of their labor in the shoe factory, and then pats himself on the back for being such a hard worker?

                      That's capitalism.

                      Meanwhile, everyone in general is far richer this way because they all have low-cost shoes rather than having them made one by one by an individual cobbler somewhere.

                      That's quite a societal bargain in exchange for that one rich capitalist.

                      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                      by Sparhawk on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 11:08:25 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Who is richer? When wages have to be (7+ / 0-)

                        subsidized by government to make them livable.

                        With stagnant wages and rampant profit?

                        With youth unemployment skyrocketing and hence the need for more government assistance.

                        We are in the downward trend of controlled capitalism we had the up, that is over.

                        "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

                        by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 11:34:24 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  i tend to agree (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        orestes1963

                        and you get to the crux of the issue: how much economic inequality are we prepared to accept?

                        imo, all people are entitled as human beings to a basic and healthy existence: food, shelter, clothing, medical care, enough wealth to pursue some forms of happiness

                        but is it ok that other people may have much more "wealth" than that?

                        when one accounts for the combative and acquisitivenss elements of human nature, not to mention the societal benefits you -- correctly, i think -- allude to, i think the answer is yes

                        that said, the disparity must be controlled or else the system will inevitably rot, as we now endure in america

                        •  Re (0+ / 0-)
                          imo, all people are entitled as human beings to a basic and healthy existence: food, shelter, clothing, medical care, enough wealth to pursue some forms of happiness
                          "Entitled" is an interesting word.

                          For example, the Constitution provides a list of rights we have, but the rights are negative in nature: i.e. the government may not do X, Y, or Z.

                          As soon as you say that someone is entitled to food, shelter, etc what you are saying is that someone else is compelled to give it to them. For every person who is entitled to something, another party is compelled to provide it.

                          Put this another way: let's pretend you live with 1000 people. If you decide that food, shelter, etc is a right, then every time some family who does not produce enough surplus to support it has another child, they are forcibly taking 0.1% of your food, shelter, etc without your consent. And there is nothing you can do about this tragedy of the commons situation and no check on people endlessly having kids.

                          but is it ok that other people may have much more "wealth" than that?
                          Depends what we are trading for it. I like living in a world where I have access to mass produced goods. There is a tremendous focus on income inequality here, but inequality is much less important than base availability of goods and services. Somalia probably has a lot less inequality than the US: but everyone is just poor there. Very egalitarian.

                          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                          by Sparhawk on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:32:01 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  oh, i see: taxation is theft if not fascism (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            JesseCW, ichibon, caul

                            sorry but we have a different view of government, the social contract and civilization

                            that's a vast divide

                          •  Like I said (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            hmi

                            It's not 'my view' or 'your view' it's just the math. If someone has the absolute right to a material standard of living, someone else has the absolute compulsion to give it to them. There is no other way it can possibly work.

                            You are the one putting words like 'theft' into my mouth.

                            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                            by Sparhawk on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 01:12:04 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  is taxation legitimate? /nt (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            JesseCW
                          •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            hmi

                            But that wasn't the topic.

                            The topic was whether people have a right to a standard of living. You can believe that taxation is legitimate while not agreeing that anyone has a god-given right to any particular living standard, because a god-given right is a god-imposed compulsion.

                            We can vote to provide public assistance, and we can vote to take it away or modify it. A "right" means it can never be voted on.

                            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                            by Sparhawk on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 01:42:25 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  semantics (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            orestes1963, JesseCW, caul

                            taxes can be used for the purposes i listed

                            i think they should and you think they shouldn't

                            it's no more complicated than that

                            nothing about force or compulsion or theft or fascism or freedom

                          •  It's not semantics (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            hmi

                            It's my exact point.

                            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                            by Sparhawk on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 03:30:58 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Whether or not people have a right to any (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            socialismorbarbarism

                            particular standard of living is 100% political. There are no such thing as natural rights. Humans are nothing but smart animals that can talk and thus organize and improve. We create our own rights collectively and optimally through a form of democratized decision making and enforcement aka Govt.

                            MMT = Reality

                            "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

                            by Auburn Parks on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 03:23:01 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Are children "entitled" to be free from hunger? A (3+ / 0-)

                            simple yes or no will suffice.

                          •  Only if we choose so via our collective decision (0+ / 0-)

                            making aka Govt. For 100's of thousands of years, the reality that underlays your question would be no. Women and children have been mercilessly butchered for millennium, its only as society has evolved that we are starting to establish and create modern standards such as "natural rights' .

                            MMT = Reality

                            "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

                            by Auburn Parks on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 03:26:23 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Thanks for weighing in, but my question was (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            JesseCW, k9disc, caul

                            directed specifically at sparhawk who chose to put the notion of 'entitled' into play. I thought I would push a little to see how Ayn Rand-ian he might get (since his tag reads "Left Libertarian").

                            Is he willing to let children go hungry to defend his precious idea about entitlements?

                          •  Right, I hear ya brother. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            JesseCW, caul

                            Libertarians want to go back to the days to butchery and might make right. Thats why their ideology is so backwards.

                            MMT = Reality

                            "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

                            by Auburn Parks on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 03:46:52 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well no (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            hmi

                            Considering that I would and do vote to provide social welfare to said children (I also contribute to family planning organizations and food banks).

                            The short answer to your question is:

                            I could buy that society has an absolute compulsion to ensure that children not go hungry.

                            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                            by Sparhawk on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 03:54:00 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Poor question (0+ / 0-)

                            Unless you can specify the meaning and grounds of entitlement. Mr. Parks (just above) says there are no such things as natural rights. If so, then the only grounds for an entitlement claim would be somebody's bare preferences. If someone else's preference are 180° opposite, there will exist no ground on which to settle the matter.

                            Moreover, any claim of entitlement needs to name the entity obliged to satisfy the claim. E.g., if children are all entitled to be free from hunger, who exactly is responsible for insuring that? You? Me? All humanity? The U.S. government? The N. Korean government?

                            To be clear: I don't like the question as raised (nor the peremptory answers). There is a perfectly reasonable argument that insofar as possible, human suffering should be alleviated. But that is very different from entitlement.

                          •  Not to split hairs ad nauseam, but Sparhawk (0+ / 0-)

                            is the one who decided to put 'entitlement' into play upthread as contested terrain, not I.

                            "Entitled" is an interesting word.

                            For example, the Constitution provides a list of rights we have, but the rights are negative in nature: i.e. the government may not do X, Y, or Z.

                            As soon as you say that someone is entitled to food, shelter, etc what you are saying is that someone else is compelled to give it to them. For every person who is entitled to something, another party is compelled to provide it.

                            Put this another way: let's pretend you live with 1000 people. If you decide that food, shelter, etc is a right, then every time some family who does not produce enough surplus to support it has another child, they are forcibly taking 0.1% of your food, shelter, etc without your consent. And there is nothing you can do about this tragedy of the commons situation and no check on people endlessly having kids. Emphasis original

                            Therefore, I'm not sure exactly which question you don't like 'as raised'.  Asuuming, though, it is my question -- "Are children 'entitled' to be free from hunger?" -- I'm not sure why you wouldn't 'like' the question. I think it is perfectly appropriate to ask someone who questions the notion of 'entitlements' whether children are entitled to anything.

                            FWIW, I'm perfectly happy with the language in our Declaration of Independence: 'endowed by their Creator,' if I must name an entitling (endowing) entity in order to satisfy you.

                          •  This part (5+ / 0-)
                            "For example, the Constitution provides a list of rights we have, but the rights are negative in nature: i.e. the government may not do X, Y, or Z."
                            is just plain wrong.

                            While the Bill of Rights does contain some Amendments that do grant certain rights, such as the right to legal representation, the right to be protected from testifying against yourself, and to not be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, many of them are just recognizing that people have inherent rights by just being human. In other words the Constitution not only grants some "constitutional rights" but also recognizes "inalienable rights" which today we call "human rights".

                            For instance, the right to free speech is not granted by the Constitution. It is a basic human right. All the Constitution says is that the government can't impinge on that right.

                            You have to remember that 1789 was only 13 years after 1776. Not only had they fought a war for independence, but had already formed a (failed) national government under the Articles of Confederation. Many of the same people who developed the US Constitution were involved with writing the Declaration of Independence. It was not a far off memory to them.

                            The Declaration specified that "inalienable rights" are not granted by government, but by our "Creator", and that government can't take away with those rights. Many of the Amendments just codified that in writing. They are not "negative rights"

                            I've long believed, but have no direct proof, that the reason that the "Founders" didn't codify the Declaration of Independence into the Constitution, like by making it part of the Preamble, was because they didn't want to directly codify the steps to take to overthrow an existing government. That would be hard to do while you are actually creating a said government to take over from a failed model. It certainly would have be fodder for the secessionist movement four-score and seven years later.

                            "If you lose your sense of humor, it's just not funny anymore" Wavy Gravy

                            by offgrid on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 02:09:19 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  not to mention that (6+ / 0-)

                            promoting the general welfare is listed both in the preamble and the body of the constitution

                            the fact is that our constitution can easily be read to allow the government to provide for basic human needs like food, shelter and health care

                            we just have to do it, i.e., pass the laws

                            these are political choices, nothing more nor less

                          •  All of those words in the Preamble (3+ / 0-)
                            "form", "establish" "insure" "provide", "promote", "secure", and "ordain"
                            are verbs. Action words.

                            The Founders created a goverment that was designed to be an active force in the citizen's lives.

                            It's not "observe the General Welfare"; it's "promote the General Welfare" after all.

                            Many people, especially on the Right, believe that capitalism and socialism are opposites, but the opposite of socialism is individualism (pure libertarianism) not capitalism. There are many countries with mixed socialist and capitalist economies that work just fine.

                            "If you lose your sense of humor, it's just not funny anymore" Wavy Gravy

                            by offgrid on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 03:22:41 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Promotion (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Sparhawk

                            Having actually formed a government, established justice, insured internal order, and provided defense, the 5th item down the list is the 'promotion' (not establishment, etc.) of non-specific general welfare. Possibly this is a less active call than you imagine.

                          •  Maybe (0+ / 0-)

                            According to Dictionary.com, "promote" is defined as:

                            to help or encourage to exist or flourish;  
                            and comes from the "Latin prōmōtus, past participle of prōmovēre  to move forward, advance".

                            If they had used "establish" instead, it would certainly have been a stronger directive, but would also imply that there is some finished point where the "general welfare" is "established" and need not go further, instead of an ongoing process.

                            It is interesting that they chose that word for the "general welfare" and not also for "justice" which is also an ongoing process.

                            "If you lose your sense of humor, it's just not funny anymore" Wavy Gravy

                            by offgrid on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 09:48:49 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Without taxation there is no capitalism (0+ / 0-)

                            And there is no market. This is a general historical reality. What we think of as markets didn't arise until there were governments and taxation. Not to mention the fact that property rights, which are a creation of humans, require the same use of force as taxation by the government. And yet that's suppose to be completely moral under capitalism. In fact, that violence is the physical basis of capitalism.

                            And you assertion about income inequality in Somalia is flatly wrong. There are some extremely rich people in Somalia, as there are in virtually every country that is very poor.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 08:17:34 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  But not much taxation is required to sustain (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            AoT

                            capitalism.  

                            Except for times of war, prior to the 1930s, total government spending in US was less than 5% of GDP.

                            The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

                            by nextstep on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 12:19:38 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It isn't, but there is a common refrain (0+ / 0-)

                            from many who support capitalism and want to do away with taxes, or claim that taxes are immoral, even though their preferred system wouldn't work without it.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 01:38:54 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I hear the right call for much lower taxes and (0+ / 0-)

                            smaller government.  I don't hear any in elected politics or mainstream or tea party types say no taxes and no government.

                            The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

                            by nextstep on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 01:58:10 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Libertarians, who are the strongest supporters (0+ / 0-)

                            of The Market as a force for good are the most likely to claim that all taxes are evil. I don't know how they intend to fund the government, especially the police and military, which are the only parts of government libertarians really want. Even in this thread there are people talking about taxes being immoral.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 02:08:39 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  Right. Because (5+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        emal, JesseCW, k9disc, caul, Marihilda

                        we all have access to cheap toner, and pharmaceuticals (before generics are produced), etc.

                        Competition dies with market consolidation and overweening patent terms, capitalists become renters, and the purely coincidental societal good of which you speak evaporates.

                        And the low prices of which speak are also rely on exploitation of the labor and natural resources of other countries (coming to a theater near you), never by the efficiency of more productive compensation for executives and investors...

                        Once a product or service becomes a basic necessity for participating in the mainstream society and economy, the public sector is the only place for it, because the profit motive approach will never do right thing for the general welfare.

                        A Thanksgiving anecdote:

                        A neighbor: I'm not Thankful for Obamacare.
                        My wife: people with pre-existing conditions are!
                        A neighbor: the private sector could have done that without Obamacare.
                        My wife: but it didn't.

                        Trust, but verify. - Reagan
                        Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

                        When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

                        by Words In Action on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 01:24:45 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  You're also neatly avoiding the question (8+ / 0-)

                        of whether it is moral for one man to profit off another man's labor (what Marx referred to as 'surplus value').

                        Once that moral question is factored in your bargain becomes little more than Faustian.

                      •  The people who lost 90% of their productive (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        congenitalefty, caul, AoT

                        output are "richer"?

                        As one mogul buys shoe factory after shoe factory, increasing his market share to the point that he can set prices thanks to his monopoly, people are richer?

                        "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

                        by JesseCW on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 05:21:47 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Re; re (0+ / 0-)
                        When a man takes wealth created by workers and uses it to build a shoe factory, produces a shoe at a rock bottom price because of increased productivity, denies workers more than 1/20th of the productive output of their labor in the shoe factory, and then pats himself on the back for being such a hard worker?
                        That's capitalism.
                        That's an example of rapacious capitalism, I believe.

                        Isn't a capitalist venture simply one that uses, as in this remark, accumulated wealth to produce more wealth? Where it works in a benign way, is where the produced wealth is distributed "fairly." So we can imagine a corporation, even a very large one, that looking to its long-term interests distributes its wealth in ways to maximize the health and well-being of workers, investors, management and the general environment, societal and natural in which it exists. A company like this will thrive within its local environs because its workers will be wealthy enough to buy its somewhat less cheap goods. A platitude of Henry Ford's I believe.

                        That this method of organization of capital, i.e. accumulated wealth, is abused has a lot to do with the fact that the owners of capital are no longer subject to the corrections of their local communities. In my opinion anyway--this is the crux of the matter. Not that accumulated wealth is used to further enterprise but that the accumulation of wealth has become removed from the societal systems that allowed its accumulation in the first place. I think allowing corporations to have charters outside of and not accountable to their local communities is where the system began to go awry.

                        We correct this by focusing on ways to inhibit greed and restore accountability, not by trying to eliminate the use of accumulated wealth or expecting long-term vision on the part of capitalists. We need mechanisms for the stake-holding community to respond.

                        The answer to the cheaper is better argument is being played out today in China where people in Shanghai can't step out their doors for fear of being poisoned by the pollution caused by the unfettered activities of capital and the unaccountability of the greedy capitalists who are in charge.

                        Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. Marx

                        by Marihilda on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 06:48:13 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Really? That's so packed with assumptions (0+ / 0-)

                        I don't know where to even start. I mean, sure, there may be more shoes in the world, but to claim that everyone is "richer" because we have more commodities seems to be grossly ignorant of how those things are actually distributed. There may be a rise in mean wealth, but there is no guarantee in median wealth. And in fact your  claim would hold true even if the people in the factory were slaves. They would not be made richer or have a better life, but "everyone in general" certainly would be.

                        This is the same "a rising tide lifts all boats" claim that Neoliberals have been making for years. And it has been shown to be patently false.

                        Not only that, you write as if private ownership were the only way to build a factory to make things. It clearly isn't.

                        If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                        by AoT on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 08:09:05 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  Your post deserves 100s of recs and not, (0+ / 0-)

                      alas, the paltry one I am able to give it.

                      Bravo!

                •  As I noted above, there was this "New Deal" (6+ / 0-)

                  and then there was this "Fair Deal" followed by this "Great Society."   For someone posting on a Dem site, you seem to be woefully ignorant about the party's best traditions.    Why don't you tell us what was wrong w/ SS, Medicare, the GI Bill, food stamps, Medicaid, subsidized housing, financial regulation w/ teeth, the Wagner Act, AFDC, and all the rest I addressed above?

                  Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

                  by RFK Lives on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:39:52 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Communism is ownership of the means of production (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AoT

                  by the state. That a far cry from communal ownership.  
                  A right to property has no more place I'm communism than in capitalism.

                •  "We and Me" (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  caul

                  I've always seen the dynamics of any kind of social organization as a sort of "Yin-Yang" situation.

                  There are individual rights to protect, but there are also the needs of the group to manage.

                  Another analogy would be the push-pull of magnetic poles. They need each other to exist, but one can't be superior to the other.

                  There will always be a dynamic tension between the two, between individulal needs and desires, and the needs and desires of the group, and finding that often unstable balancing point is what we call "politics".

                  Always has been and always will be.

                  I would love to see this country return to real political discussion, finding balance and solving problems. Unfortunatly we have a political faction that doesn't believe in government at all. That is not even an issue that should be part of the discussion at this point of social development. We decided that one hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago.

                  "If you lose your sense of humor, it's just not funny anymore" Wavy Gravy

                  by offgrid on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 02:32:18 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Leaders in the U.S. can't utter the words (9+ / 0-)

                "industrial policy" if they ever want to be elected/employed again. But n the age of climate change and looming resource contraints (most importanly fossil fuels -- the business magazines are full of nonsense on this topic), industrial policy is one of the ways government could "promote the general welfare."

                Reaganomics noun pl: blind faith that unregulated capitalism can provide unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources. Synonyms: trickle-down; voodoo economics. Antonyms: common sense. Related Words: Laffer curve.

                by FrY10cK on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:11:45 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Meanwhile, all those countries out there that are (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Words In Action, FrY10cK, caul, AoT

                  eating our lunch have industrial policies and protectionist policies as well.

                •  How the DoD spends money on things like DARPA (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  FrY10cK, caul, AoT

                  … and funds university research and development of new weapons and technologies — all that amounts to an industrial policy.

                  The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

                  by lotlizard on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 03:07:07 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yeah. Aint it grand. (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    lotlizard, congenitalefty, caul

                    We have the world's most expensive weapons and surveillance systems and the worst (of the industrialized nations) healthcare, schools, transportation network (unless you think every single person should drive a multi-thousand pound motor vehicle everwhere) and prisons.

                    Reaganomics noun pl: blind faith that unregulated capitalism can provide unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources. Synonyms: trickle-down; voodoo economics. Antonyms: common sense. Related Words: Laffer curve.

                    by FrY10cK on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 03:27:32 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  As I said, it's PART of a system (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              offgrid

              Not the entire thing.

              We need to combine capitalism and socialism to have a whole system that covers everyone.



              Women create the entire labor force.
              ---------------------------------------------
              Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

              by splashy on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 01:03:04 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  As an ideal type ... (0+ / 0-)

              ... its not a system we can ever observe in its pure form in the real world. As a term to use for an economic system in which capitalist control is dominant, it does not, indeed, specify whether the system is dominated by entrepreneurial capitalism or corporate capitalism.

              Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

              by BruceMcF on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 05:45:47 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  My solution is stay away from -isms on the economy (27+ / 0-)

            The 19th-20th Centuries and going into 21st, are characterized by increasing mystification of that beast called "The Economy".

            Everyone is familiar with the datum "70% of the economy is consumer spending." What does that mean?

            It means, that the main function of "The Economy" is to supply the basic material needs and wants of the population.

            The definition of "Basic Needs" evolves over time (cf. yesterday's rec-list diary about cutting off a family's electricity) - but that kinda de-mystifies things.

            There's neither magic, nor rocket-science, at work here.

            "The Economy" is just part of society. It should be steered, just like any other part of society, to perform its basic function without exploding in our face every other decade.

            Which both fabulous -isms of modern times - capitalism and communism - have a built-in tendency to do (i.e., to explode in our faces).

            So you steer "The Economy" to do its job, according to common sense and to society's overarching values and political system.

            If society's values are to reward relentless bullies who would step over many bodies to get more for themselves - then so be it.

            But don't justify it, and don't undermine the very workings of your political system - because "The Economy"  supposedly requires it. It does not.  

        •  Capitalism cannot exist without a supportive (17+ / 0-)

          State enforcing contracts and titles with lethal force and threat of imprisonment.

          "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

          by JesseCW on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:07:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Capitalism is only PART of an economic system (0+ / 0-)

          Only suited for things people can walk away from.



          Women create the entire labor force.
          ---------------------------------------------
          Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

          by splashy on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 01:01:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Capitalism as such is not an economic system ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... our present economic system is more properly a mixed economy dominated by corporate capitalism, and the first moves to take would be to outlaw the ownership of any investment banking enterprise by a corporation. It is the ultimate in financial insiderism to have the core institution for the generation of launch and propagation of assets for ownership and indebtedness of corporations to be corporations themselves, in the shift that began back in the 60's and was completed with finance by TARP.

          However, the ultimate fix to the problems revealed again in 2008 (as they were previously in 1929) may be to outlaw the ownership of corporations by other corporations.

          Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

          by BruceMcF on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 05:43:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It can be an economic system. (0+ / 0-)

          Why not have economic democracy? Let the people who participate in the economy have a say over the economy. And not in the "vote with your dollars" way that people want it to be now.

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 07:55:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  More democracy, bottom-up (9+ / 0-)

      Bottom-up socialism would be thinks like workers deciding the production priorities, including anti-pollution safeguards so the workers don't poison their local communities. The worst pollution from capitalism is when the workers don't have any say in their own safety and land & water & get poisoned because the owners live far removed from the dangers.

      The boss needs you, you don't need him. -- France general strike, May 1968

      by stargaze on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 08:58:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Economies could be designed to promote welfare (15+ / 0-)

      Of the whole.  In fact, there was a school of economics that promoted is idea, that the purpose of an economy was not to make some people rich but to provide work and a decent standard of living for everyone.  Known as the German School before events of the 20th century gave that term a bad odor.

      It was far more like this in the 50's and 60's than it is now.  All it takes is more regulation, and enforcement of regulation, to keep the predators in check and high marginal tax rates that make it more advantageous to keep wealth within a corporation, where it can be plowed into innovation etc and less in the hands of individuals who just over consume and accumulate assets. And of course stop glorifying the predators and acting like they are greats ple.

      John Kenneth Galbraith and his son Jamie have written a great deal anout this.

      The problem is capitalism unrestrained by any sense of morality or sense of social responsibility.  It rewards the most predatory psychopaths.  There needs to be a more level playing field so socially responsible behavior does not disadvantage an enterprise.

      Don't bet your future on 97% of climate scientists being wrong. Take action on climate now!

      by Mimikatz on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:21:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Balance (9+ / 0-)

      I still think FDR came closest when he harnessed capitalism for the good of the nation.

      Citizens are the government, the people who determine how a national community functions and moves into the future. Capitalism sees citizens only as consumers to be controlled, valued only for the money they spend.

      Left to its own devices, capitalism cannibalizes itself.  Regulating it and making it a responsible part of the national community allows for a system that is self-sustainable.  

      If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

      by Betty Pinson on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:39:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  the alternative is still being developed (9+ / 0-)

      One thing is for certain: history and evolution is not static.

       Capitalism was the best economic system when the economic problem of the world was that there wasn't enough production of goods and commodities people needed.
         Capitalism excels at motivating people to produce more: i.e. work or starve.

        However, not having enough production is not a problem the world the global system has right now. Capitalism has worked so well that it has made itself unneeded.
        Right now we have global surpluses of everything, and things go to waste all over the world. The problem is so bad that one of the most important industries right now is advertising, to try and get people to buy shit they don't need.
         At the same time, the capitalist system of extracting wealth from the Earth is so efficient that it is threatening to destroy the ecosystem.

        We are evolving past capitalism. The problem is that the capitalists have poisoned the science of economics so that there are no ideas for a better system - the next logical system in our evolution.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 11:07:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There is no alternative - just variations on the (0+ / 0-)

      main theme of private ownership.

      I can't think of anything more disgusting than suffocating the truly brilliant in a statist hellhole.

      "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

      by shrike on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 03:31:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What do you mean (0+ / 0-)

      the alternative?

      This isn't unfettered Capitalism v. Stalinist Communism, as the Market Fundamentalists would have you believe.

      In fact,

      Free Markets are wonderful. We should try them.
      Jim Hightower

      Where by Free Markets we mean markets providing full freedom to all, not just to big business. That means that no company or individual would have the economic or political power to game the system or to interfere with transactions by others, including the power to set prices, to extract subsidies, or to prevent others from entering the market. For example, a really free global market would mean that workers could go to where there are jobs they were qualified for without legal obstacles, and it would not provide impunity for financial criminals.

      Working out effective methods for providing those freedoms is necessarily an ongoing effort that we cannot foresee an end to. But we can easily list off a few dozen items to start on, such as fully restor

      Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

      by Mokurai on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 02:39:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Civilization Was Never Designed to Help. (8+ / 0-)

    That's a concept from our nomadic and hunter-gatherer times. The point of civilization is 1) to make beer, and 2) to relieve leadership of needing to help.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 08:39:43 AM PST

    •  Depends if you believe that a civilization should (8+ / 0-)

      be civilized or not, if its just to continue barbarism is it civilization?

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 08:43:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Women have always been the civilizing factor. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Betty Pinson, catfishbob, sydneyluv

        Really.  Women want a stable environment for raising children and protection from predatory men.  

        Look at the Wild West or even go back to much older times.  Sure there have been despotic women, but by and large men like war and combat and women like a safe hearth and home.  Not because they are timid, but women are more vulnerable physically and have the major responsibility for children.  Women understand the need for nurturance and men seem to have to be taught to appreciate its value.  Ayn Rand was the exception, but by and large libertarians are men.  Women are more communitarian.  Some men are too, and it is important that a society not let the masculine ideal be too much of a loner and a conqueror.  The more the predator is glorified, the less satisfactory the society is.  

        This is not to stick women in a subordinate role.  I would argue that the qualities of cooperation and nurturance are absolutely vital to a society.  Nevertheless, women should be free to pursue whatever life or career path they want, and one does not at all have to be a biological mother to nurture others.

        Don't bet your future on 97% of climate scientists being wrong. Take action on climate now!

        by Mimikatz on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:33:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  If we take Civilization to mean settling down (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brown Thrasher

        in cities and towns to plow fields and harvest crops?

        Gooserock is dead on.  

        The 'point' was so that men who had once been chiefs people could simply choose to follow or not follow would become Kings.  Since there was such a limited amount of land suitable to farming and crops in the ground can't just be packed up, it was possible to rule by force instead of having to win influence through wisdom and generosity.

        "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

        by JesseCW on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:13:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Of course, civilization also helps in that there (0+ / 0-)

      is no need to kill everyone you see before they do the same to you.  Think about it, if there were no civilization then there would be nothing stopping you from killing me and taking my stuff.  Therefore the only logical course of action would be for me to launch a preemptive strike to try and kill you first.  Now knowing that your only logical move would be to try to launch a preemptive attack on me as well.  Thus resulting in a war of everyone against everyone.

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:31:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Except, that's not usually how "uncivilized" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brown Thrasher, sydneyluv, AoT

        people interacted with each other.

        Certainly, they sometimes raided and sometimes killed, but overall they were far less likely to die in armed conflict than civilized men of the 20th century.

        Mostly, they traded goods and swapped stories and tried to forge contacts for possible future marriages.

        "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

        by JesseCW on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:15:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Civilization is (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chrismorgan, onionjim, latts, sydneyluv

      hardwired into us.  And it's hardwired into animals as well [they just don't invent cars or anything]

      We're social creatures who need a long time to develop and grow.  We can't survive on our own, and the species can't survive without cooperation amongst members of a group.

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:53:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If it was hardwired into us then it wouldn't have (0+ / 0-)

        taken hundreds of thousands of years before it developed. Humans didn't have anything like civilization for the vast, vast majority of our history. Being social isn't civilization, it's just how humans organize ourselves. Civilization is much, much more than that.

        If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

        by AoT on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 08:33:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hmmm, I obviously (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT

          had the wrong definition of civilization in my mind when I responded to the comment.

          My thoughts were that we have always been organized to some extent and that we needed each other to survive and that this behavior is hard wired.  

          The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

          by dfarrah on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 03:51:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Just being organized is not civilization (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dfarrah

            in my mind. There's a certain form of organization that includes things like farming and being settled that are a part of civilization. What we're you defining civilization as?

            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

            by AoT on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 03:55:50 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Good question. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT

              I was thinking of people in general [at whatever stage of 'civilization' they might be in at the moment]; the commenter said civilization wasn't designed to help.

              My thought was that people are designed to help each other to keep the species going.  We need each other to survive; however, some of our advancements in living mask that need.  

              This is what bothers me to hear libertarians or conservatives talk about self sufficiency....imo, humans are hard wired to help each other.

              Paging Margaret Mead and maybe Stephen Jay Gould to clear my muddy thoughts.......

              The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

              by dfarrah on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 06:30:56 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  "My thought was that people are designed to help (0+ / 0-)

                each other"

                Other than the fact that we aren't actually "designed" in any real sense of the word I do agree. We are a social animal and we naturally organize ourselves in groups. That's why things like "The Hunger Games" have such an emotional impact, because we have to be forced to not cooperate.

                If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                by AoT on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 07:00:00 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Goose, you always (0+ / 0-)

      pull the biggest razor out of Occam's collection.

      Uncanny.

      Trust, but verify. - Reagan
      Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

      When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

      by Words In Action on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 01:27:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Every union member with a pension is a capitalist. (5+ / 0-)

    at least to the degree that he/she hopes that the investments in stocks continue to rise to reach a level that will generate revenue to pay the pension.  If not, localities will default, and the first to be hurt will be those with the least (see Detroit)

    Based on this diary we have to look at the election of a liberal-populist President, Barack Obama who also had a Democratic Congress for the first two years.  Sadly, other than focusing on ACA, which could be considered a guarantee flow of income to the Medical-Industrial Complex, he did very little to address the excesses described.  

    His Department of Justice, that unlike the Federal Reserve, he does control, did not criminally prosecute a single one of the most egregious of white collar fraud.  He expanded our military adventures, and while he bragged that he got us out of Iraq, it was only because he failed to procure a status of forces agreement such as we are now seeking in Afghanistan which would have kept forces there for another decade.

    Elections should matter, as they did in 1932, but we elected someone with limited aspirations to do what he could to send a populist message.  As far as the excesses of Capitalism, the other choice is command economy, which inevitably leads to the excess of raw power competition that ultimately excludes even the degree of populism that we have in this country.

    •  Elections at this point matter only in slowing (16+ / 0-)

      down the onslaught from the right.

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 08:45:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That indeed is one of the nastiest features (20+ / 0-)

      of this modern economy: forcing people to invest their retirement money in the Wall Street Casino.

      As someone ineligible for Social Security (my state opted its public workers out of the system), I can do naught but, ad it PISSES ME OFF.

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:08:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is the most insidious aspect of stock..... (8+ / 0-)

        ownership.  Let me admit, since we only have our nest egg, I can't afford to worry about the integrity or social benefit of a corporation.  I can buy mutual funds  but I am simply avoiding responsibility.  

        So, I recently bought a Tobacco company because it had good dividends, and I ignored the fact that I own a product that's success depends on addicting millions of children and causing them suffering and early death.  

        In this respect I'm no better than the CEOs of Banks or big pharma, (segment on J %J paying a fine for pawning off useless medication) And my making a trivial amount on it doesn't give me the moral high ground.  Maybe my own corruption helps me understand the universality of this incentive, why those who do great harm that I rail about aren't interested in the suffering of masses of invisible people.

        If all of us sin just a bit, we are more likely to accept the existing power structure.  

        •  You describe the insidious trap we all (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          arodb, tardis10, corvo

          are in. Another illustration is the suburbs, home ownership, jobs and transportation thing. I'd love to move closer to work to reduce my carbon footprint but I'd have to sell my house and move closer to the city where my kids would have to go to a much worse public school and face more risk of street violence. I stay put because of my kids (trap). It's an illusion that we are all absolutely free to choose because life is complicated and the system constrains choices effectively overall. You can choose to go your own way based on moral principals but the costs are high.

          Love = Awareness of mutually beneficial exchange across semi-permeable boundaries. Political and economic systems either amplify or inhibit Love.

          by Bob Guyer on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:59:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Every worker in such a State at least (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        arodb, Words In Action

        needs to be free when they sign their hiring paperwork to make a choice about whether they want SS or a pension gamble.

        "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

        by JesseCW on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:16:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  unfortunately neither Social Security (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Words In Action, JesseCW

          nor the "optional retirement programs" will agree to this.  All-or-nothing makes for easier bookkeeping.

          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

          by corvo on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 11:05:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I worked under contract for several years for (0+ / 0-)

            a State which took withholding from meager checks for the state pension plan, despite the fact that as a 'seasonal' employee I would never be vested.

            They got to simply rob me, and cost me about 14 quarters that would otherwise have been paid into SS.  Still pisses me off almost 20 years later.

            "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

            by JesseCW on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 05:30:43 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  BO isn't (9+ / 0-)

      liberal or populist.

      Although it's nice that he recently began to express concern over the jobless and the deterioration of the US middle class.

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:55:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Words, at last. ... but ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dfarrah, Words In Action

        Actions will reveal true motivations.

        He's busy doing a number of things which belie his newest words (TPP, Wall Street revolving door into his administration, AG Holder, deportation quotas, private prison contract quotas, billions still going to banks each month, corporate executive immunity from prosecution for the greatest perpetration of fraud and criminality since the Great Depression... it's a huge list that betrays his newest words).

        I'm waiting to see what his actions are.
        Or are these words just wallpaper/smoke/mirrors/more mirrors? (again)

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:16:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent (23+ / 0-)

    Apparently these are truths every generation must rediscover for themselves.

    Capitalism was not designed with nations in mind, but merely monetary economics, hence the global rape and pillage.
    The fact that the capitalists have a strangle hold on governments around the world is merely a result of the concentration of wealth.
    Capitalism isn't elaborate, well-conceived, evolutionary or even brilliant.  It's binary, neanderthal - just new iterations of "I win, you lose".

    Left to its own devices, it eventually destroys itself.

    If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

    by Betty Pinson on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 08:44:12 AM PST

  •  Ah, Bravo! (3+ / 0-)

    I should have read your diary before writing my comment  in the other one.  

  •  Agreed capitalism = survival if the fittest (8+ / 0-)

    Says nothing in there about the "fittest" rigging the system to their advantage, cheating, and lying  in order to survive to win. ..which is what happens. Humans are flawed individuals. Alan Greenspan admitted his world view regarding free markets/ capitalism failed because it had a flaw in it that he didn't consider into the equation...and that is some people are amoral sociopaths and will do anything, even amoral illegal things, in order to "win"....

    Government of, for, and by the wealthy corporate political ruling class elites. Elizabeth Warren Progressive Wing of political spectrum.

    by emal on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:04:33 AM PST

  •  Capitalism was never designed. (13+ / 0-)

    It evolved.  It's as old as Cain and Abel and its father is Greed.  

    It happened because when unregulated, sociopathy rises to the top.

    Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth - Abraham Lincoln

    by Gustogirl on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:16:22 AM PST

  •  Thanks LaFem nt (6+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:25:23 AM PST

  •  Capitalism wasn't designed, it evolved naturally (6+ / 0-)

    from and is the manifestation, machination and embodiment of human greed.

    To suggest capitalism is somehow designed is like suggesting the universe was designed. It's not and it wasn't. To put it simply, both expanded outward from natural forces.

    For people to think that capitalism has a design and was meant to serve anyone but the most greedy and/or competitive among us suggests to me a flawed logic and understanding of the base instincts of a certain percentage of humanity. It might even be better to think of capitalism as nothing more than a tool to serve and satiate greed.

    If we want to correct capitalism, first we have to correct humanity. Sure we can keep it and the winning players in check with rules and regulations, but such obstacles are just temporary obstructions to the most greedy and successful capitalists.

    The whole argument really comes down to little more than a conflict between moralities that shines a light on the weaknesses and flaws of the human animal.

    IMHO


    "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis Brandies

    by Pescadero Bill on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:28:28 AM PST

    •  Depends if you call it a capitalist system (4+ / 0-)

      or just a greed based free for all

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:34:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The system is just the means to an end, and (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Words In Action, sydneyluv

        the only thing keeping it going full-on free-for-all, is a sense of fear (and perhaps a trickle of morality) by most of the key players that hold sway over the rules of capitalism. Fear that is, that in a real "free market" free-for-all, they'd get trampled under by the truly ruthless.

        That creates a necessity among those key players to stick to a "gentleman's agreement" of sorts, an understanding between their class assuring it won't get to that level. Though I suspect that within that set, there are those who could care less (think Koch brothers).

        Based on that understanding the key players then set rules that both protect and benefit them. Thus, any system that can be recognized by studying those rules is just what 'protecting greed' looks like on paper. So I guess, sure it's a system, but more like a systemic way to funnel money into the pockets of the current key players.

        The only play we, the common folk have in trying to sway those rules (and rulers) is by electing a government that will create laws that demand the rules bend a little in our favor (as if we were also key players), and that will be willing to use its might, as in, threat of law enforcement, to assure compliance.

        That's were the disconnect is taking place.


        "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis Brandies

        by Pescadero Bill on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 11:47:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Shorter me: Capitalism just came about because (4+ / 0-)

          some humans are exceptionally greedy.

          We have to deal with that reality.


          "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis Brandies

          by Pescadero Bill on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 11:53:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  But it's not (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pescadero Bill, orestes1963, emal

            essentially human nature, even if it is a human behavior.

            The vast majority of hominid history, including that involving first nations and aboriginal people, involved cooperative societies with relatively low incidences of greed or violence. In fact, they tended to think of greed as a mental illness, one our own natives immediately recognized in Europeans.

            It can be tamed. Societies based on cooperation rather than competition and domination actually have predominated and flourished throughout history.

            We have simply succumbed to the destructive culture we have, it has spread globally, and most people are so mesmerized by, complicit it, or complacent about our cultural lies to do much about.

            More on this here.

            Trust, but verify. - Reagan
            Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

            When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

            by Words In Action on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 01:01:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't agree. I think hunter/gatherer societies (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sydneyluv, emal

              are the outlier. I think always being under pressure to secure food suppressed the 'greed gene'.

              I think, once farming and animal husbandry assured food security, greed was free to express itself.

              I think humanity is complex. That some people are extremely competitive, others absolutely ruthless, and still others born sociopathic. Combine all three, or give people with those characteristics the freedom to explore that aspect of their nature focused on accumulation of wealth or material possessions, and you have the ingredients and roots of capitalism.

              I think it was inevitable, and will be until we can teach all humans to reject those base impulses.


              "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis Brandies

              by Pescadero Bill on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 01:32:21 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  First read that as (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pescadero Bill, CharlesInCharge, emal

        "greed bastard free for all"

        That works, too.

        Trust, but verify. - Reagan
        Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

        When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

        by Words In Action on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:53:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It would be nice (3+ / 0-)

      if politicians recognized what capitalism is and what it does, rather than extol its "virtues."

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:01:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Capitalism was a shift in male elites (15+ / 0-)

    The pre-capitalist elite was the landed aristocracy of the Middle Ages, who were descended from warlords. The capitalists were merchants and moneylenders whose wealth rose in the early modern era. As the Age of Exploration set up Eurocolonialism and as the Industrial Revolution shifted the center of wealth from land ownership to manufacture, the capitalists were the group who profited and eventually they displaced the old landed aristocracy from control of the political system.

    Now they are setting themselves up as a new aristocracy over a new serfdom. Neofeudalism is taking shape.

    Hurrah for revolution and more cannon-shot!
    A beggar upon horseback lashes a beggar on foot.
    Hurrah for revolution and cannon come again!
    The beggars have changed places, but the lash goes on.
    -W. B. Yeats
  •  capitalism is on life support and there's no DNR (8+ / 0-)

    as we pump in more inefficiency in the form of fictive capital (debt/credit) and attempt all kinds of homeopathy: a.k.a deregulation, cost-shifting via outsourcing, with many forms of voodoo proposed: return to the gold/copper bracelets standard and kill the Federal Reserve.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:36:26 AM PST

  •  Right on the money. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaFeminista, Words In Action
  •  there is nothing wrong with capitalism (8+ / 0-)

    that is managed.  Europe is basically managed capitalism aka socialism.  Mostly free but with significant regulation and protection from the government to minimize the downsides of capitalism.

    We have some of that but not enough.

    There is no viable alternative IMO to a base of capitalism.  Communism doesn't work.  Corporatism/fascism doesn't work.  

    The problem is that we've gone away from the beliefs we held for decades that government had a viable role.

  •  simply put (9+ / 0-)

    capitalism and democracy are in direct opposition. until we have paradigmatically evolved, the best structure is for a truly democratic government to heavily regulate capitalism. when we have evolved, the psychological and sociological forces that drive capitalism will wither away.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:42:30 AM PST

  •  A good book on the origins of capitalism (10+ / 0-)

    I am reading a book called The Invention of Capitalism by Michael Perelman ($14.49 Kindle edition). The sub title is "Classical Political Economy and the Secret History of Primitive Accumulation".

    The transition from subsistence living (gardening, hunting, fishing, sharing with community members) to industrialization and wages could not occur without significant effort by government to force people into working for wages instead of themselves. One of the first steps: make hunting illegal (unless you own the land where the game live).

    As LaFeminista says, there had to be a lot of "brute force" to get capitalism off the ground.

  •  No offense but that (6+ / 0-)

    is not an accurate description nor history of capitalism. Capitalism actually "evolved" (it was never designed)  as result of the crisis of Feudal arrangements that had run out of people and money and innovation. The famines and serf revolts created a "middle" class who could innovate (agricultural production mostly) then accumulate and reinvest their capital. This led to mercantilism and finally the system of private wealth and distribution among a citizenry.

    Free markets and trade have done more to lift the destitute out of their misery than any other force on the planet.

    Now the rise of global markets and competition have certainly strained and changed how the system operates, sometimes with unfortunate consequences. The decline of manufacturing in the US for instance. But also consider the reciprical. The jobs that transferred to undeveloped and developing nations providing them with higher wages and progress. I;m not saying the world is perfect under capitalism but it sure beats the alternatives. I also do not excuse the greedy who use their wealth to enrich themselves without giving back to society. But to say that capitalism was "created" with nefarious means or that it is detrimental to the poor is simply not true.

    •  Actually capitalism and greed have caused (9+ / 0-)

      a great deal of suffering throughout history [Empires, oil wars, slavery etc etc] Sometimes reducing poverty at the expensive of the misery of other countries.

      As for design I merely regard it as a re-branding of feudalism, with the false promise that merit has anything to do with aristocratic membership [in all but the rarest cases.] Most of the really wealthy have inherited their wealth [but still don't have the fancy titles for now]

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:00:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think you are (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CharlesInCharge, Via Chicago

        factually incorrect on the second point. Take the immigrants of the early 19th center. Came here with no education or skill. Could not even speak the language and so many rose to be the new elite with a generation. And most became middle class. Most people do not inherit their wealth.

        Only 6% of those surveyed earned their money from inheritance alone. 69% earned their wealth mostly by trading time and effort for money, or by “working.”
        As for the misery of wars for empires and resources, that long predated capitalism so that is not the (primary) variable. People and governments behaved badly under Feudal systems, Socialist, Communist, Fascist and Capitalist systems. Unfortunately the human condition isn't morally perfect. Read the article I linked to. It is a decent description of the rise of quality of life due to free markets and private capital. Regulation and governance are key ingredients as well. In other words Democracy.
        •  I see the questionaire (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          congenitalefty, AoT

          So if I inherit $1m and make it into $5million then I'll declare my wealth stems from my own hard work.

          I always am honest about being a trust fund brat and that enabled me to say FU to GE and launch my own business and buy a home. How many have that luxury?

          30% of the wealth lies in one family [The Waltons] I'm sure since Papa died their shares have gone way up in value.

          Oh and $500,000 is not what I call as being part of the elite. say a billion or more to really be able to buy influence.

          "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

          by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 11:03:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well perhaps you can find some metric (0+ / 0-)

            that supports your contention that most inherit their wealth? Look again at the survey. They define 500K as rich, which is certainly twice as much as most people do. So I do not see your point?

            •  And they defines "earned" as including owning (0+ / 0-)

              a business ad investing. That's not working, it's owning. Very few of the rich got there through wages earned by working.

              If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

              by AoT on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 08:50:05 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Like I said (0+ / 0-)

                if you can find evidence to supper the contention that "most inherit their wealth" provide it. Owning a business doesn't require work? Didn't require work to get to that point?  Wow. You may want to talk to a few business owners.

                •  You're the one constantly making the claim (0+ / 0-)

                  and yet you can't actually back it up. As for evidence, I'd point to the fact that a majority of the ten richest Americans were born into wealth. Your "evidence" is that they don't all inherit all their money, but that was never the claim that anyone made. They inherit money and then make money from that money. Some of them work hard. And owning a business means you make far more than someone else who does exactly the same amount of work for said business but doesn't own it. You have yet to show that most of their money comes from hard work.

                  And seriously, if you think investing money is earning it then you have a really skewed conception of what it means to earn something.

                  If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                  by AoT on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 01:43:20 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  yes it was. (0+ / 0-)

                    LaFemistia made the claim.

                    "Most of the really wealthy have inherited their wealth [but still don't have the fancy titles for now]"
                    I refuted that, that is all.

                    And really?: " And owning a business means you make far more than someone else who does exactly the same amount of work for said business but doesn't own it."

                    Really? Again talk to someone who owns a business. here is one tine example of which there are millions.

                    A friend owns a Pizza joint. They have a restaurant and take out. He has three or four employees who work 40 per week. And about 10 who work between 10 and 30. He puts in at least 70 a week. And often doesn't draw a check. His profit margin is as thin as a frog hair. The commercial ignorance here is stunning sometimes.

                    •  More than half of the ten richest people in the US (0+ / 0-)

                      inherited their wealth. That would be the "really wealthy" that LaFeminista was talking about. Your refutation was about people who make over 500k a year. That's a whole different level of wealth.

                      And you friend with a business owns the business itself. That's wealth. His employees build the business and he benefits. Sure, not every business is great and some fail, but what you're talking about is shopkeepers, not capitalists. Your friend isn't a capitalist, unless you mean he owns the means of pizza production. And he doesn't sound like he's very wealthy either. So I'm not sure what that has to do with the issue.

                      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                      by AoT on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 07:55:49 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  look (0+ / 0-)

                        I am not sure what your beef with capitalism is. Or how you keep defining and redefining a capitalist. I'll leave you to your college freshman late night theory sessions.

                        You don't 5000 K and up is really wealthy? So I guess you think taxes on 500K and less should remain low?

                        •  I think that 500k is wealthy (0+ / 0-)

                          But that wasn't what LaFeminista was talking about.

                          I'll leave you to your college freshman late night theory sessions.
                          And I'll leave you to your self help books.

                          And I define a capitalist as someone who owns the means of production. Simple. I'm not redefining anything.

                          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                          by AoT on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 01:23:41 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes it is (0+ / 0-)

                            You can keep trying to change the subject. But it isn't working. And I am he is full capable of defining her own statements.  

                            So you think  500 K is wealthy, but when I report the fact that they (mostly) do not inherit their wealth you say they aren't wealthy?

                            Capitalist: a person who has capital especially invested in business; broadly :  a person of wealth
                            From Merriam.
                          •  "Very wealthy" was the specific term (0+ / 0-)

                            that LaFeminista used. 500k is barely wealthy. Huge difference.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 10:28:48 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Barely wealthy? (0+ / 0-)

                            "500k is barely wealthy". So why does the president and most others say that 250 is rich? I guess you'd like to lower taxes on this under 500K?  

                            Later tater no point in keeping this alive.

                        •  I doubt you can even define capitalism. n/t (0+ / 0-)

                          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                          by AoT on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 01:23:58 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  You really are a jerk you know that? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            AoT

                            an economic system made up of private( or corporate ) ownership of capital goods and/or services. The ownership is sustained by investments that are determined by private decisions AND a free market that determines the prices, production and distribution of the goods and services.

                            How's that without google? Still don't know why you hate it so much.

                          •  That's a good definition (0+ / 0-)

                            And while I disagree this is the first time I've actually seen someone give a definition that isn't Marxist and isn't hand waving or saying it is complex and stuff.

                            I hate capitalism because of the effects it has and the violence that is necessary to create and sustain capitalism. That and the lies about history that supporters of capitalism almost always tell about how the people supposedly "naturally" interact with each other.

                            And thank you for that definition. Yes, I often am a giant jerk. It was uncalled for. Sorry.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 10:32:57 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

        •  How do you define "earned"? (0+ / 0-)
          PNC’s fourth annual Wealth and Values Survey revealed that 69 percent of Americans
          with $500,000 or more in investable assets accumulated most of their fortune by earning it
          through work, business ownership or investments.
          That's from your linked "news release" from a "financial services group." No indication how much of those "earnings" were from investment and ownership -- which is not the way most of the world's population "earns" its living.

          Inheritance provides the basis of ownership and the ability to invest, if not the sole means of income. Those who accrue significant wealth primarily through their own efforts are few and far between.

          "I've had all I can stands, and I can't stands no more." - Popeye the Sailor Man

          by congenitalefty on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 12:27:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Again (0+ / 0-)

            if you have any evidence of that claim provide it. You may not care for my evidence (and do read the entire survey they explain their categories) but absent any facts form you I'll stick to the data.

            •  They showed that your "evidence" was faulty (0+ / 0-)

              Making money from a business and investments is not earning it. Working for wages is earning it.

              If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

              by AoT on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 02:26:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No they did not (0+ / 0-)

                they claimed something without any statistics to back it up. The claim was make the most wealth is inherited, which I have shown, with two items, not to be the case. No one has provided a factual rebuttal.

                And again if you do not think that earning your way to ownership- and owning a business- is not work you should speak to a business owner.

                •  The claim was that most of the very wealthy (0+ / 0-)

                  inherited their wealth. You didn't refute that at all. You showed that the upper middle class is composed of people who "earned" their wealth through various means, most of which are not working but owning things.

                  If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                  by AoT on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 07:57:06 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Good greif (0+ / 0-)

                    o you even read what I linked to? They defines wealthy at 500K AND ABOVE per year per individual. That is twice what anyone here would currently define as wealthy. Now you say it only applies some other vague level of "VERY WEALTHY".

                    Can you even try to supper this statement with a fact:

                    " … most of which are not working but owning things."

                    Jeez Louise.

                    If you think that the majority of wealthy people simply inherit their money then prove it. Again I have provided two sources of data. You have provided me with the fact 7 of the top 10 inherited their wealth. A nice anecdote nut meaningless as it pertains to this discussion.

          •  According to (0+ / 0-)

            According to the book, "The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy," only 20% of millionaires inherited it. The other 80% are new millionaires who earned their wealth. Most millionaires didn't get their riches overnight when a rich relative died -- they worked for the money.

            •  I prefer not to get my statistics from self help (0+ / 0-)

              books.

              If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

              by AoT on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 02:28:08 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well since you (0+ / 0-)

                do not actually any stats you must not like getting them at all.

                •  So who is on the forbes top ten (0+ / 0-)

                  and whether they inherited their wealth is magically not a statistic now? Talk about cherry picking.

                  If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                  by AoT on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 08:03:27 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I gave you two (0+ / 0-)

                    sources that define who has and has not inherited their wealth. The (overwhelming majority have not). Trie as you say that two families (making up the last seven) in the top ten did inherit their wealth, the top three did not.  And that does not equal that MOST wealthy inherited their wealth. Because they don't.

                    So you gave me a meaningless statistic, I'll grant you that.

      •  Only on scale bc of rise of mass pop nation-state (4+ / 0-)

        No one counted the wars b/t tribes and city-states and proto-nations for the the first 10,000 years of civilization, but by definition there should have been vastly more - a fact confirmed by what histories we have, see, Ancient Greece, Rome, China...  

        It can easily be argued that modern capitalism has massively reduced human suffering, once you add the standard of living it has created for billions.

        Suffering in modern -i.e. capitalist - times seem greater
        bc of better record keeping, bigger armies and more devastating weapons.  But on an individual basis, the percentage of humanity presently suffering and the magnitude of its suffering is less no than at any time in history, unless you have a hopelessly unrealistic view of primitive humanity as an Eden instead of 'Nature, red in claw and tooth'.

        The problem is you are arguing Marx's critique without understanding the whole of his philosophy, namely historical materialism.  Marx held that capitalism was a necessary, inevitable and beneficial  development in the march from barbarism.  The problem was that, like all major developments in human economics, it contained the seeds of its destruction, indeed they were inherent in the very things that made capitalism better than its predecessor.  This is the nature of the dialectic.  

        The only question then is 'what is the new synthesis?'  (Since historical materialism, put simplistically, posits human development is a continuing struggle bt what is,- thesis - its 'antagonist' - anti-thesis - and the resolution of that conflict by a synthesis of the two that keeps the generally best parts of both, but by its very nature also creates it own anti-thesis to this new thesis.)

        •  We will see when climate change runs its (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT

          course because any change in current methodology will hit the profit margin. Hence the farce in climate change talks and treaties.

          I have no phoney view of the past, however what I see is hard worked for social policies being rolled back and the conditions getting worse rather than better. Perhaps it is time to review the trajectory?

          "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

          by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 11:52:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ah, but imo some that is not inherent to capitalis (0+ / 0-)

            m.  (tho a doctrinaire Marxist would disagree.)  I see nothing inherent to it that means actual costs can not be added as part of cost of production.  In fact, that is precisely what would happen in 'classic' Marxist-capitalism.  

            Even climate change can be ameliorated, if not prevented, in this way. See, various carbon-market ideas.*  

            The problem is the political effect, which allows shifting the costs off production to the 'commons' or international 'commons' (ala imperialism or multinational corporate neoimperialism).

            That of course highlights the importance of truly democratic political systems with highly educated and informed voters as the necessary corrective to the politics of oligarchy.  The problem of course is creating and keeping the former when you have things like the Fascist Five's Citizen'sUnited abomination.

            _____
            (*Even in ideal circumstances, some climate change was probably inevitable as the very developments that made recognizing understanding the problem also cause it, i.e., mass industrial technological society.  That % also would be increased bc of world political fragmentation and conflict.)

            •  Give that internalizing costs (0+ / 0-)

              that are now externalized would require state intervention on a massive level I don't think that we can say that those things can be considered a part of capitalism at all. Of course, capitalism isn't the only system that has this problem.

              If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

              by AoT on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 08:53:44 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Conditions getting worse? (0+ / 0-)

            Compared to when? If you take an extremely short rear view sure- but that is economic cycles. How are our conditions worse now than say, the turn of the century?

            •  Actually since the major failure of capitalism (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT

              at the end of the 1920's and the near suicide of capitalism in 2008 we had periods in the "West" of growth stemming from the establishment social safety nets and global wars.

              Capitalism's supposed successes are actually measured in very short term view, post world war 2 if you like. Mainly because we were rebuilding and by having massive population growth.

              Before this period we had robber barons, child labor and brutal working conditions bordering on servitude hence the rise of the Unions.

              People think the benefits of capitalism [what there are] go back a long way, however they cover a very short period of history indeed.

              Capitalism needs to be resisted in its worst forms for it to survive.

              "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

              by LaFeminista on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 03:02:58 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Every one of those successes (0+ / 0-)

                belongs not to capitalism but to collective resistance to capitalism in the form of leftist organization against the abuses of capitalism. Unions and the socialists who fought for them are what brought us wide-spread affluence, among other international realities. The government stepped in to save capitalism and private ownership because the government is run by private ownership. We should be talking about the benefits of socialism and unionism, not capitalism.

                If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                by AoT on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 08:57:30 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Capitalism (0+ / 0-)

                Began WAY before WW2. And it's benefits as well. Again look at the original article you will see that rise in capitalism led to a rise in productivity.  Which begat better living conditions, which led to a generation not only wanting, but also ABLE to improve the lives of their kids (education, working conditions) etc. Yes their were sweat shops and child labor at the turn of the century in the US, but even those condition were better than the conditions that new immigrants Left behind. And certainly better than most of the rest of the world at that time.

                I guess I just don't get why, after 100s of years capitalism providing an increasing standard of living and allowing us to establish better societal conditions, so many here despise it. Sure it has had its excesses and temporary crises. But thankfully on a free society we can address those. And I do not anyone identifying the model non capitalist state we should emulate?

                •  Can you actually cite the benefits from before (0+ / 0-)

                  WWII? Because colonialism was the source of most "benefits" found in industrialized countries prior to WWII. You are conflating the economic affluence from the rise of colonialism and science, which is not synonymous with capitalism, and the supposed benefits of capitalism.

                  If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                  by AoT on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 02:31:55 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes I can (0+ / 0-)

                    1) Lots of non capitalist countries "colonized" and took power from others before WW2 without the same results.

                    2) The highest rates of immigration to the us occurred between 1890 and 1920 when immigrants came here for a better life. Which they achieved, and then so did their kids. And each successive generation. They did not flock to non capitalist states for an opportunity. For a reason. Their increased wages, and productivity (industrial revolution) meant they did not have to work as long nor did their kids need to work at all. While the government finally cracked down on child labor (a stapes of the work at that time) the improving living conditions were already making child labor less necessary.  Instead kids who would have previously needed to work in a factory or a farm for the family's needs could get an education or learn a trade.

                    And again of you want to be thankful that world poverty has been reduced dramatically, thank capitalism.

                    •  Those aren't benefits of capitalism (0+ / 0-)

                      The things you cite are governments improving conditions, not capitalism. You seriously think capitalism ended child labor? That just makes no sense. There wasn't child labor in the USSR either. And every standard of living created by the US was nearly matched in the USSR. Of course, the damage and destruction the US did to the land and the people who were there before whites colonized it was matched by the USSR internally in their drive to industrialization. What you're talking about is the benefits of industrialization, not capitalism.

                      As for your first point, colonial powers always had huge economic benefits from colonialism. They didn't always share those equally across classes, but capitalism doesn't share gains across classes either. You're thinking of unions. They're the ones that built up wages in the US, not capitalism. Every supposed victory of capitalism you list was a victory*against* capitalism.

                      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                      by AoT on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 07:52:04 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Before the 1900's capitalism was more (0+ / 0-)

                  isolated than a dominant world force.

                  The Church fought against awhat it termed to be Usury during the middle ages [the US didnt exist at that time]

                  Pre 1800's Capitalism was more correctly defined as mercantilism and Imperial force.

                  We the had a period in the US and pasrts of Europe combined with Empire, monopolistic capitalism that lead directly to both the great depression and world war2, wheras world war 1 was the last throws of empire.

                  Most advances as AoT points out above for the mass of the people were derived from controlled capitalim.

                  Post 1970's we are heading towards unfettered capitalism once again we bailed it out in 2008. However this time we haven't changed the rules unlike the 1930's.

                  "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

                  by LaFeminista on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 02:38:44 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  A truly excellent critique and explication. My (0+ / 0-)

          sincerest compliments.

        •  only if (0+ / 0-)

          Marx's theory is correct, which looks less and less likely. At least as thus far practiced by actual people.

    •  Market concentration is the real problem. (5+ / 0-)

      I totally agree with you, the capitalist system - or really, market-based economies - is what has allowed the modern world to develop and, despite its excesses, is still the best way to coordinate our economic behavior.

      Capitalism just means private ownership of property (including clothes and home and on) and individuals trading goods and services so we don't have to do everything ourselves. Without private ownership and markets, we would all be farming our own food, making our own homes and clothes, etc. Markets are far more efficient because they allow us to specialize and use currency to buy that which we don't make.

      HOWEVER, I also totally in agreement with LaFeminista that our current economic system is untenable. That's because the wealthy don't like capitalism at all, and do everything they can to ensure it doesn't work.

      That's because true capitalism means a lot of competition, which means lower prices and lower profits. In an unfettered, perfectly working market system, no one can make more than about 3 - 5% on their money. So those who want to acquire wealth (and capitalism most certainly relies on individuals' greed to function) don't want to participate in a competitive market. Look at the latter half of the 19th century - we saw the rise of monopolies and other structures to limit competition and raise profits. The Titanic was built by the White Star Line, for instance, but that line along with nearly all other transatlantic lines was controlled by JP Morgan, and their rates and schedules were set to maximize profits. We saw the same forces at work in railroads (the most lucrative of which were the only ones operating in defined geographic areas), the steel industry (Carnegie) and in oil (Rockefeller).

      So the answer is to regulate markets so that concentration cannot occur. This, as noted by our diarist, is easier said than done, because wealth tends to try to buy political support and industries always figure out how to get around regulations. So a robust system of constantly-updating market controls is necessary to ensure not only more equal distribution of wealth, but also stable political systems. It's cynical to say, but when the poor are well fed and housed, revolutions are scarce.

      There is no reason we can't have the market-based economy we now enjoy - with all its benefits - but also more equal distribution of wealth. We came closest to that in the post-WWII era, and many of the European economies could be models for us as well.

      A government that denies gay men the right to bridal registry is a fascist state - Margaret Cho

      by CPT Doom on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:19:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  True on some points (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        socialismorbarbarism

        I'd certainly agree that

        " the answer is to regulate markets so that concentration cannot occur. "
        However
        "because wealth tends to try to buy political support and industries always figure out how to get around regulations."
        is an over simplification.

        The Post WWII era was much different. we were the economic giant thanks our huge manufacturing and technological base. Globalization has changed that. Forever.

        This:

        It's cynical to say, but when the poor are well fed and housed, revolutions are scarce.
        Isn't cynical at all, it is quite true.
        •  important discussion (4+ / 0-)

          Also critical to acknowledge that modern capitalism is largely a state-sponsored phenomenon, and that makes it a very specific KIND of market-based system; namely, one dependent on a robust state presence.  Commentators are correct about capitalism's evolution and its dynamism.  It was not "born" or "invented" with rapacious intent.  But it evolved into something both creative (even beneficial) and incredibly destructive.  State authorities have played key roles both in making it destructive (indeed inhuman) AND in ameliorating it.

    •  17,000 children die of malnutrition every day (6+ / 0-)

      while humanity produces twice the calories needed to feed everyone alive.

      They die simply because their parents do not have money.

      That's what capitalism is.

      "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

      by JesseCW on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:22:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No it isn't n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk
        •  It may not be what you want it to be. (7+ / 0-)

          But it is what it is.

          Capitalism is a system in which a few people own most of the capital, leaving the vast majority with no alternative but to sacrifice the majority of their productive output in return for the opportunity to access the means of production.

          The capitalist strives to allow workers to retain as little of that output as possible, while trying to charge as a dear a price as possible in return for what he himself has retained.

          If those who wish to turn corn into fuel instead of food can pay three times as much as the parents of a starving child, the child will starve.

          That's capitalism.  That's how it works.

          "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

          by JesseCW on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:40:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You have (0+ / 0-)

            quite a distorted view of people. "The capitalist strives to allow workers to retain as little of that output as possible, while trying to charge as a dear a price as possible in return for what he himself has retained."

            And zero understanding of capitalism. I'm really surprised you live in capitalist society.  

            •  And yet you can't seem to explain (0+ / 0-)

              that exactly he's wrong about. If you're going to declare someone wrong then it would behoove you to explain why or there is no room for a discussion.

              And let's be clear here, "The capitalist" doesn't mean someone who advocates for capitalism, it means the people who actually own the means of production.

              If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

              by AoT on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 08:59:38 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Everything actually (0+ / 0-)

                But he makes sweeping outrageous claims in vague terms that do not have evidence to support it. For inset ALL capitalists try to get as much as possible for themselves and try to make their workers get as little as possible? That's just simply inane.

                May ask if you or JesseCW actually KNOW an actual real capitalist?

                •  That's what a CEO is required to do (0+ / 0-)

                  Maximize profits. They have a fiduciary responsibility to do so under law. Certainly there are exceptions when it comes to small businesses, but those are hardly owners of the means of production. Those are shopkeepers, not capitalist.

                  If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                  by AoT on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 07:38:52 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  The countries where children are least likely to (0+ / 0-)

        starve are those with functioning market economies.  

        For example, the rate of starvation in China and India has collapsed as a result of them going to more market based systems.

        Food aid to starving countries from market economies vastly exceeds food aid from non-market economies.

        Some of the largest famines in human history came when successful market based farming to state based farming - as in Mao's China and Stalin's Russia.

        Markets and capitalism has done far more to eradicate starvation than any other means of societies organizing themselves.

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:44:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Capitalism killed 1.5 million Irish and drove (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT

          2.5 million more from their homes in only 8 years.

          Capitalism killed more than 24 million people in India alone in 25 years.

          Every time a person dies with mouth stained green from trying to eat grass, every child that dies of a protein deficiency, is the direct result of the greed of the capitalist.

          But those who believe that "greed is good" are always pointing to people under other systems when there were actual shortages due to crop failures, locusts, ect.

          Under capitalism, children go hungry while crops rot in the field because it would cost more to harvest them than they can bring at market.

          "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

          by JesseCW on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 05:28:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Dude (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nextstep

            PEOPLE did that, not an economic system of property ownership and free trade.

            Dang.

            •  An economic system that rewards sociopaths (0+ / 0-)

              and naked theft did that.

              "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

              by JesseCW on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 08:36:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  jeeze (0+ / 0-)

                Decaf man. Unless of course you are actually serious and not just blowing silly blue smoke. Why are you here (US: Capitalist society) and not in a non capitalist country? ? I mean why aren't you in North Korea, or Cuba? For real man? What gives? Where are your principles? Don't let me down like that man.

                •  You believe that people who propose a better (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AoT

                  way of life are under some obligation to flee the place of their birth rather than fight for change?

                  "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

                  by JesseCW on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:30:04 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No but (0+ / 0-)

                    I expect some hint of cogent discussion if you are really that adamant about the awfulness of the system you live in.

                    •  Then why did you ask him (0+ / 0-)

                      why he wasn't somewhere else?

                      You're spouting standard right wing rhetoric in response to leftists. And you're complaining about cogent discussion?

                      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                      by AoT on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 02:34:04 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I was snarky (0+ / 0-)

                        But good grief read his rant. You'd think that an inanimate "economic system" caused every ill known to man. And since it isn't changing I wonder why he would still participate in such a travesty.

                        •  We don't have a choice but to participate (0+ / 0-)

                          Shit, that's why some of us are so pissed about it.

                          There is no other country that we can go to that isn't capitalist and will take me. Certainly not that isn't also brutally oppressive.

                          But this whole "go somewhere else" is standard right wing bullshit.

                          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                          by AoT on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 07:59:25 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

            •  People do everything under various (0+ / 0-)

              economic systems. You might as well claim that Communism or Nazism or Fascism or Baathism didn't kill anyone, it was just people. It's always people responsible for these things, but it's also the system.

              If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

              by AoT on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 09:04:57 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'll ask again (0+ / 0-)

                With you Jesse and LaFeminista, what is the model non capitalist state we should emulate since this capitalist economic system is so horrid an awful? And why haven;t more people raced to join such a state? Instead they do the opposite. Their preference for an economic system is clear.

                •  A worker run economic democracy (0+ / 0-)

                  And I haven't gone to such a state because none exist to my knowledge. And because I want this country to be that better state, so I'll fight for it here instead of abandoning my home and everyone I know to run away from this fight.

                  Their preference for an economic system is clear.
                  People don't come to the US for the economic system. They come for the perceived affluence, although no so much that anymore, and also for the political freedoms they can enjoy here. Many of them are fleeing economic and political systems created by American capitalists. Your naive version of the world would be amusing if it weren't so prevalent on the right.

                  If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                  by AoT on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 07:42:17 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  right (0+ / 0-)

                    "And I haven't gone to such a state because none exist to my knowledge. "

                    Exactly my point. Good day.

                    •  So I should shut up because the world (0+ / 0-)

                      is imperfect? That's a shitty point.

                      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                      by AoT on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 01:21:56 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  No but (0+ / 0-)

                        to denigrate the best system we have thus far with such vigor without an alternative is rather juvenile isn't it? Yes you have a vague idea about an alternative (and by all means describe that in detail and exactly how it will come to pass) but to say our current system is so totally awful? Well yes, compared your utopia I guess it is.

                        •  We haven't arrived at the alternative (0+ / 0-)

                          The problem isn't that it isn't out there, it's that we haven't built it. And I'm still completely skeptical that capitalism is by any objective standard "the best" system we have.

                          As for describing it in exact detail, there have been a great many people who have written on the subject, it isn't as if this is out of no where and not fleshed out at all. It isn't as if the founding fathers had an exact system worked out before the revolution. In fact they had a number of years of messing it up. And democracy was considered utopia as well. I'm not advocating for utopia. I'm under no delusion that there is any political system that is perfect. I'm just advocating for something that is qualitatively better.

                          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                          by AoT on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 10:36:15 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

        •  Yep (0+ / 0-)

          but some people's (cough, cough, this thread) blind dogma prevents them from understanding that.

      •  Capitalism could solve that. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, congenitalefty

        On Thanksgiving, a neighbor suggested to my wife, UTvoter, that the private sector could have addressed pre-existing conditions without ACA.

        My wife just said, "but they didn't."

        Trust, but verify. - Reagan
        Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

        When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

        by Words In Action on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:49:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not offended (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mister T, AoT

      The book The Invention of Capitalism asserts that the heavy hitters of the day, Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, David Ricardo, and others concluded that the subsistence farmers / hunters would not willingly go to work in the new factories that were coming on line. The author, Michael Perelman, presents a lot of evidence to support his point. It reads like an academic paper. I certainly am not conversant enough with this topic to even HAVE my own opinions. When he quotes Adam Smith I don't think he was in error.  But the book is cool.

  •  Capitalism as being practiced is merely (8+ / 0-)

    predation rendered symbolic. What makes it particularly destructive is that it is also cannibalistic -- predators preying on their own kind, but symbolically.

    It is necessarily so. Capitalism could refer to the preservation of current assets and surpluses for future use. But, that requires a sense of time, which our instinct-driven friends may actually be missing. So, they accumulate like squirrels and, not only the future, but use are overlooked.

    Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

    by hannah on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:57:13 AM PST

    •  I'm not sure I'd agree with the 'merely,' but the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hannah

      idea you express is very intriguing -- would love to see you elaborate on it in a diary all its own.

      Not all capitalists think the same, fwiw. Warren Buffett, for example, has said on numerous occasions that his preferred time period to own a stock (once he's decided upon a company) is 'forever.' I'll grant you Buffett is the exception and not the norm. (Buffett has also said on more than one occasion that the 1% should be taxed at a higher rate and that the 1% are winning the class war currently - definitely eccentric positions for one so blessed with financial acumen).

      But that idea of capitalism as 'symbolic predation' is well worth exploring in more depth.

  •  I love how you write (6+ / 0-)

    You have a wonderful ability to state what you see in a clear and direct way. You animate the security of someone comfortable in their own skin and you are a delight to read. I agree with everything you said but would write it with too many words and qualifying phrases and lot of outs and maybe I could be wrongs. Stay strong, it helps folks like me have more nerve to state things clearly and directly without need for false justification. Thank You, keep writing.

    Love = Awareness of mutually beneficial exchange across semi-permeable boundaries. Political and economic systems either amplify or inhibit Love.

    by Bob Guyer on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:04:42 AM PST

  •  Capitalism was never designed ;) (5+ / 0-)

    "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

    by JesseCW on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:05:48 AM PST

    •  Et Tu Jesse? n/t (4+ / 0-)

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:09:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The most fundamental aspect (0+ / 0-)

      based on the idea of competition was not designed, but there exists no pure capitalism in practice. Every variant is formed by the society and political system in which is practiced. Our particular variant has most certainly been designed. Contract law is essential to our brand of capitalism. Raising the status of corporate entities to that of equal citizens in our political system. Limited corporation status gives capitalist entities protections not even enjoyed by humans.

      Our brand of capitalism has certainly been designed and unfortunately for humans, it has learned how to use its power to expand it's influence well beyond economics and now desires to have a major say is the type of society people want to live in. Our brand has turned into a skynet/rise of the machines thing.

      Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

      by ricklewsive on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:22:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Limits need to return (5+ / 0-)

    All regulation and limits on capitalism have been thrown away though corruption. If we could get robust regulatory control over all corporate activities, it might work.

    In other words, we need law enforcement for those "persons".

    A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

    by onionjim on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:07:00 AM PST

    •  Well, they would certainly put us in a better (0+ / 0-)

      position to identify, develop and become skilled at what would work.

      Trust, but verify. - Reagan
      Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

      When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

      by Words In Action on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:46:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Capitalism, like war,is a racket. (8+ / 0-)

    And like war,a type of it may be necessary. But the unfettered capitalism (& empty financialization) that we have going on now isn't necessary,it is harmful to humans and all other living things.
    Remember, labor is the source of capital. That fact is why some believe that the lower classes must be kept poor and hungry,keeps them "industrious". Good for their souls,don'cha know! The exploitation of those souls and the greed are just extras. My Dad had a third grade education but he understood this all clearly. Brought home to him because his family had a small farm and so while he went down the mines at a very young age,he could see that his family had it better than those who lived in the company towns. His relatively full belly made it possible for him to think and understand that organized workers,Unions,were one way to recoup some of the rewards of all that labor.
    Of course,there are other ways. Smart overlords understand this,sociopaths expect it (hell,maybe want it) and clueless rich assholes just worry if their Birkins will arrive in time for Xmas.

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:16:22 AM PST

    •  Love Gaiman, btw. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10

      And Martin's a treasure, too.

      Trust, but verify. - Reagan
      Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

      When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

      by Words In Action on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:47:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Survivor (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaFeminista, atana, orestes1963

    The show Survivor featured Americans taken to an island where they will do anything to get one million dollars.  That compares to the Virginia Company in 1600 who sent their military to do the same to the natives.  That is "capitalism".
    Tribes are called "socialist" because they take care of their weak, old and ability to farm for food.  The US now uses government in the place of the tribe, but the government is controlled by the capitalist who want all the money and power even if it means taking the ability to live away from the tribe.  US military has done this around the world with the latest examples in the Middle East.  Without the military in support of the capitalists there could be revolution.  That is why police are outfitted like the military.  Greed is not sustainable either for people or nature.  To survive we need a tribe, nature able to support us and the ability to work as a team.

    •  A tribe is a political structure (0+ / 0-)

      A clan is a biological system -- a (very) extended family.

      Clans were often matrilineal, with land "owned" by clan women because its primary use was producing food and cooperative childrearing. As war becomes more important, for whatever reasons, male war chiefs rise in power and eventually there was a patriarchal takeover. After that, the purpose of life becomes warfare, and raising children becomes a way of providing spear fodder to war lords.

      Tribes eventually become defensive/offensive political structures, but before war culture dominated they may have existed mainly for gene flow and to enhance the gift economy.

  •  Bait & switch (7+ / 0-)

    The ideology of capitalism that people have been sold successfully for the last nearly three centuries is a ginormous bait and switch. They buy into an ideal version of capitalism that has never actually existed anywhere on the planet: a stably small-scale market economy in which no player ever grows so big as to warp the market and game the system. This version of capitalism is really a form of market socialism - it is a way of using a market economy to implement the principle of "From each according to his ability to each according to his need". The reality of capitalism, however, is that, unless severely regulated, every capitalist society is like a game of Monopoly: sooner or later, all the money and all the resources wind up in the hand of one player, who completely controls the game. Except a real-world economy necessarily crashes long before that point is reached.

    "I understand, Mr. Spock. The glory of creation is in its infinite diversity."

    by brainwave on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:45:53 AM PST

  •  "he who has the biggest club wins" (4+ / 0-)

    It's really a simple story...

  •  Good quote (5+ / 0-)
    Capitalism is not failing, it is just heading towards its logical conclusion.
     With this thought in mind, I would like to suggest a book.
     

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:59:31 AM PST

    •  I read it for school work in Scotland [private (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit

      school, and that makes me smile] I suppose I should read it again, I probably still have a copy.

      ;-)

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 11:05:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Capitalism is one of the greatest... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DowneastDem, shrike, NYFM

    ...success stories in the economic history of the planet.

    Countless millions raised out of poverty; far more by far than any charity or government program.

    Countless new technologies and innovations invented, the fruits of which are easily visible in the line of sight of every single person reading this diary.

    Walk into the supermarket and buy whatever you want for low prices? Capitalism! This computer or smartphone you are commenting on this diary with? Invented by dirty corporations filled with awful people looking to make a profit. Pharmaceuticals used to save countless millions of lives and improve the quality of countless millions more? Capitalism again, baby!

    It's great. The only economic system that has achieved these wonders in the world. (Europe is capitalist, just with more social welfare than we have here). And wait, that social welfare is just about how we can get the output of profit-seeking enterprises into the hands of those who are less fortunate! Neither the government nor nearly any non-profit actually makes food or medicine, nope, that's left to people looking to make a profit again. Social welfare just buys their valuable output on the behalf of those who cannot do so themselves.

    What's more, capitalism is associated with freedom, the choice to spend your money and resources how you choose to do so, not how you are told to do by your church or government.

    Does capitalism have drawbacks? Yes. Are there ways we can tweak the system to improve outcomes for many people? Absolutely. But throwing out the economic baby with the bathwater is not a great solution. Capitalism has allowed countless millions to have a far better life than they would have had otherwise. Let's not consign them back to the darkness again.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 11:05:06 AM PST

    •  What do you mean by capitalism? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk, emal

      Unfettered capitalism

      or

      Controlled economics?

      Because what the right want is unrestricted capitalism.

      Cant wait for a corporate buyout of a nation

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 11:09:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  PS I would regard what success has been (3+ / 0-)

        achieved has been by controlling capitalism and wealth redistribution [taxes].

        The great depression was only tamed by chaining capitalism and global war.

        "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

        by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 11:12:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't understand what "controlled economics"... (0+ / 0-)

        ...is.

        Unfettered capitalism
        Certainly the goal is to have the economy be as "unfettered" as possible.

        The government is necessary in some circumstances, such as not allowing people to produce negative externalities without paying for them, for providing social welfare in some circumstances, and for enforcing the rule of law.

        But it has to have a light touch. Too much government interference and you're the Soviet Union and can't ever get anything done without filling out thousands of government forms, submitting to government price controls, etc.

        "Freedom" isn't just a word or an abstract concept applied to gay marriage. People must have the economic freedom to do what they want, within reason.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 11:20:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You dont? Really? Taxes, regulations (3+ / 0-)

          trade laws, sanctions, fines, trading practices, consumer rights, environmental laws etc etc.

          Capitalism has nothing to do with freedom its an excuse for rampant excess, hence the Great depression and without horrble government interference the great recession would have been a global recession.

          Capitalism must always be chained to have any chance of being viable, its a bulwark against greed.

          "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

          by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 11:29:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  global depression not recession (0+ / 0-)

            "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

            by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 11:30:20 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Re (0+ / 0-)
            Capitalism has nothing to do with freedom its an excuse for rampant excess, hence the Great depression and without horrble government interference the great recession would have been a global recession.
            I know that you don't believe this, but there are those of us who believe (with some evidence) that the Great Recession was due almost directly to government bubble-blowing fiscal, monetary, and regulatory policies and would not have occurred absent those factors.

            Then, the very organizations that created the crisis power-grab even more money and resources to "prevent" the next one.

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:37:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  It is a spectacular force (6+ / 0-)

      What else could have produced Climate Change, a completely dysfunctional government, and a civilization completely incapable of even recognizing it is in danger, let alone be able to lift a finger to do anything about it.

      If what you say about capitalism is true, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are demigods who should be immortalized in every capital in the nation and Fox News is the paragon of honest news and all others should be outlawed.

      This fantasy based on lies is the entire reason we've spent upwards of $20 trillion on Wall St. and the 90% are mired in a death spiral.

      If the Democratic Party never fulfills its promise in the Party platform, it will have been entirely because so many Democrats have embraced this tragic, destructive fiction.

      Trust, but verify. - Reagan
      Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

      When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

      by Words In Action on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 01:51:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Communist China is one of the greatest success (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      congenitalefty

      stories of the last 30 years, lifting the most populous county in the world, countless millions, out of poverty. It would have never happened without the central government planning for success and controlling it's population growth. It also would have never happened without creating an environment, Communism, that encouraged individual creativity. Does communism have its drawbacks, sure. Can they tweak the system to make it better, sure. Does the individual in China have plenty of personal freedoms outside of threatening the party, sure. China continues to have a growth rate that would be the envy of any capitalist country in the world.

      You can make these claims from any side. The measure in the end will be whether the economic system creates social justice, or massive income/wealth inequality.  We know where we are headed, but what will happen in China?

  •  it wasn't designed any more (5+ / 0-)

    than life on Earth was "designed" or the universe was "designed."

    And what does help mean? Help whom? Was Viking society designed to help? It certainly helped those doing the pillaging, looting, and plundering. Less so those who were pillaged, looted, and plundered.

    No society is designed to "help" everyone. Societies exist for the mutual benefit of their members, but nothing is said about non-members, and indeed, historically non-members of a society aren't treated terribly well by that society. Freud argued that to form a society, its members have to suppress a great deal of aggression that they would otherwise turn against each other. That aggression doesn't just go away, it has to be directed against something else.

    If we tried to form a sort of "global society" in which every human being is a member, where would we release that aggression? And then, if we met extraterrestrial lifeforms, there would again be the usual war and bloodshed that often occur when two tribes meet.

    Capitalism was not created in a top-down manner. There was no grand steering committee that sat around for centuries developing the master plan to impose capitalism on the world. It just popped up. Certain individuals took advantage of it and tried to steer its development in a manner that they thought would benefit them. But it is bigger than they are.

    For a while industrial capitalism did fine. It survived a hundred and eighty years or so, which is pretty good. Any system that survives even fifty years is doing well.

    It's coming to an end now not because of its inherently unjust nature, but because the circumstances that gave rise to it (abundant cheap fossil fuel energy + effectively infinite capacity of the biosphere to absorb pollution) are no longer valid. If those circumstances were still valid, it would continue for another 200 years, no matter all the inequalities and injustices inherent in it.

    There are no eternal economic verities. Marx would have nothing to say about a Star Trek economy where replicators allow goods to be instantly produced on demand. What is the meaning of labor and capital in such an economy? Totally different from anything Adam Smith or Marx ever could have conceived of.

    So all economic systems will come to a point where the circumstances that spawned them no longer apply. When that happens, they will grow moribund and sclerotic, more and more resources will be required to sustain the system for shorter and shorter periods of time, and they will eventually enter terminal collapse. Just like living things.

    I will die someday. Does the fact that I won't live forever mean that I am inherently morally flawed? Of course not.

    The same with industrial capitalism. It's not dying because it's morally wrong. It's just outlived its time.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 11:13:38 AM PST

    •  great comment (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LaFeminista

      some extol capitalism's historical record but, as you note, that performance record is based upon conditions that no longer exist

      simply put: unlimited growth is not compatible with a finite world

    •  Capitalism was Most Definitely Designed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      orestes1963, congenitalefty

      Not in the classical sense of sitting at a draft board. The emergent behavior capitalism is controlled by a rule set. People intentionally implement rules to achieve a desired outcome. Capitalism is designed through an intentional iterative refinement process.

      Football did not automagically appear. Football has a set of rules. The rules evolved over time. The rules are insufficient to predict or historically describe any game due to a variety of factors in the whole system. The rules are intentionally implemented to converge on a desired outcome determined by those with the power to make and enforce the rules. The same with capitalism. The rule set has always been to concentrate the means of production into the few who seek to control the masses by controlling their access to basic needs of survival:  work or starve; work for a living; etc... a.k.a. coercion. Capitalism creates opportunity to control by creating artificial scarcity in an environment which promotes dependency.

      Any economic system implemented to benefit people would have included in its basis both fairness and guaranteed access to the needs of existence. Fairness is a complex issue. Existence is not the same as living. It would be a system similar to the single payer idea. Labor should not be exploited by the withholding of basics needed to market that labor.

  •  this is the time for thinking big (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaFeminista

    we are at a crossroads in this country and at the breaking point globally

    we should be rethinking all of our assumptions and considering alternatives no matter how unlikely they seem at the moment

    so thanks for the diary and for making me think

  •  Succinct. eom (0+ / 0-)

    "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." -- JC, Matthew 6:24

    by Chi on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 11:52:54 AM PST

  •  Capitalisim (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emal

    is synonymous with "free market" now, despite the terms starting off with such different meanings. Still, the really worrying association is the idea that capitalism is synonymous with democracy.
    The idea that capitalism == democracy/freedom is dangerous because it places market choices on the same level of inalienability as social choices. It isn't an "inalienable right" to buy a particular product, or to bring it to market, nor is the means by which you produce that product inalienable.

    Once it's an inalienable right to make and sell something, then three penis wine is sweeping the nation.

    If you don't know what it is, well, it's something the liquor control board of Ontario wouldn't even pour in the sewers.

    It's possible to over-regulate, mostly thru granting monopolies on basic technology, and we don't have the ability to plan all aspects of a trip to Disneyland let alone an economy, but that doesn't mean we can't plan some things and setup rules to prevent bad things from happening either a first time, or more usually once we realize there's a problem.

    Nicht durch Zorn, sondern durch Lachen tödtet man. ~Nietzsche

    by somewierdguy on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:03:20 PM PST

  •  Some days I think it is (0+ / 0-)

    lack of participation in our democratic process that has failed.  For some that is simply not voting, for others it's not being informed about issues and policies.  For others it's not knowing how economics work and the way our global economy is growing and changing.  Following other comments we  could even conclude it's about the other sciences soft and hard.  I can certainly count myself in on some of those things while I know just enough about some to know I know so little.

    This is a really good discussion!

    "You want to be a bit compulsive in your art or craft or whatever you do." Steve Martin

    by Kristin in WA on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:03:33 PM PST

  •  Other Systems (0+ / 0-)

    I experienced Marxism-Leninism first-hand (East Germany) and it was an oppressive system that destroyed all human drive and ingenuity.  Thank goodness it finally collapsed.

    In the US I have the freedom to start my own business or invest in some else's business if I believe in its products and management.  I see so many creative start-ups, many of which will fail, but some may become the next Google or Netflix.

    The opposite of "good" is "good intention" - Kurt Tucholsky

    by DowneastDem on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:41:32 PM PST

  •  Hominids lived for eons in (4+ / 0-)

    cooperative groups with little personal property and, interestingly, greed.

    From the litany of capitalist lies, two biggies:

    HUMAN NATURE AND GENETICS

    The notion that greed and violence are human nature or a matter of genetics, which is used to defend property, capitalism, war, and social darwinism, is entirely false.
    These concepts encourage human behaviors, of which many have developed, but to say they derive from human nature and are genetic, unalterable expressions is patently false. There are both genetic and environmental predispositions, but very, very little about human behavior is unalterable. Human history and science have proven this.

    CAPITAL IS NECESSARY FOR HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND WELL-BEING

    The tale spun by Wall St. and embraced by mainstream culture is that humanity requires individually concentrated wealth in order to enable investment and motivate humanity to do anything is as dumb, false and insulting as virtually any conservative idea out there, including those in Leviticus. We need rich people like we need their Climate Change.

    Humans have cooperatively developed, owned, and managed resources in the past and they continue to do so in various places and ways to do this day.
    To the contrary, what has been demonstrated is that the well-being of individuals and society is highest where equality and cooperation are greatest. Which exposes yet another lie: that progress and happiness depend upon capital.

    Anyone who wants to bandy about the value of progress must first come to grips with Progress Traps. We have become addicted to the immediate gratification of apparent progress, blind to the externalized costs and unexamined (known and unknown unknowns) and/or negative ramifications of progress, and incapable of making rational decisions for collective long-term good.

    These are fundamental characteristics of the prevailing culture.

    We call people who have trouble tolerating this situation to a degree that significantly impairs their ability to function "normally" within it mentally ill. Those who are rendered entirely dysfunctional by it are often called insane.
    Hmmmm. This is kind of like the establishment behind this arrangement calling their opponents the "terrorists" and "insurrectionists." Control the narrative and literally anything can be sold. (When that fails, there are always many ways of applying force.)

    The degree to which we engage in mainstream culture without developing personal behaviors to counteract it and promote healthy alternatives is undeniably the degree to which we are responsible for it. I'm guessing that the average stressed out, overburdened individual not mastering some form of mindfulness and discipline is very complicit.

    Our ability to simplify our lives, reduce our financial obligations (for those not already near or below the poverty line), de-couple our behavior from supporting bad cultural behavior, and encourage and pave the way for others to do the same is key not only to real progress but assessing our individual integrity in regard to these issues.

    These are heavy demands, admittedly, but the alternatives are terminal.
    OUR DEMOCRATIC MERITOCRACY

    The notions that we live in either a democracy or a meritocracy are weak and easily debunked by cursory assessments of the real world, beginning with the degree to which people take credit for the accident of their birth and other Acts of God as just the beginning. I haven't read it yet but I understand Chris Hayes has an excellent book on this topic.

    The meritocracy lie conspires with all the others to support economic bigotry and social Darwinism at the core of our mainstream culture, which is explicitly or implicitly supported and perpetuated by any champion, enthusiast or tolerant moderate not engaged in assertively exposing, repudiating and expunging them from the culture.

    Capitalist lies are entirely the fictions of the unabashedly, transparently self-serving, self-centered and self-important and are directly responsible for  false, destructive, repugnant concepts and attitudes such as "I Built This," "The 47%," trickle-down economics, job creators, shared responsibility, austerity, etc., which are all employed, to a sufficient degree by both Parties, to justify capitalism, exploitation, economic inequality, economic injustice and the concentration of wealth.
    The idea that one individual in tens of thousands succeeds in escaping ghetto extends beyond the poverty line, all the way to the top. And yet it is mainstream to think that the reason anyone does not succeed is predominantly a matter effort. As if the world is not drowning in hard-working people who do not or who did but no longer are. As if the fact that almost everyone meets old age under-equipped does so because they didn't bother.
    Life is complicated and success elusive for the vast majority, whether or not they try. That is reality. And it is insanity to think we should build social values, public policy and the economy around any notions that do not reflect it.
    CAPITALISM AND ETHICS

    Need I mention how sociopathic it is to accept as a given the idea that monetary growth and profits are their own reward and explicitly assumed to address and meet the needs of people and the biosphere with the aid of magic hands?

    And this sociopathy is at the root of our culture?

    CAPITALISM, MIXED ECONOMIES, PROGRESS, FEAR

    People who fully appreciate not only the benefits of but the crushing, vital need for a mixed economy with robust regulations, muscular regulatory enforcement and aggressive social programs, would, I believe--once having experienced and operated in that mode for some time--increasingly grasp and embrace ever more cooperative approaches to all aspects of life, including the development of widespread skills and appreciation of consensus decision-making. This will ultimately lead, if civilization is to succeed, to the dissolution of the money economy and its many destructive manifestations in human behavior.

    And this is what the capitalists fear.

    SUGGESTIONS, RESOURCES

    I would encourage any for whom these related social, economic and political (and implicit environmental) issues resonate, to devote a portion of their time participating in communities that work on learning, developing and practicing these skills improving our ability to cooperate and reducing our culturally-driven urges to dominate. The planet needs them, most of us suck at them, and our mainstream culture has absolutely no awareness of or interest or faith in them.

    A few good documentaries touching on these ideas and issues:

    Ethos, narrated by Woody Harrelson. On Netflix and YouTube.
    I Am, directed and narrated by Tom Shadyac, a director of blockbuster comedies who experienced a life-altering accident and spiritual journey, which he documented.
    Zeitgeist Film Series
    Surviving Progress


    All of these films have interesting interviews with lots of intellectuals, visionaries, philosophers, economists, social critics, historians, scientists, etc. They are all available on Netflix and YouTube.

    If this topic interests you, I would also recommend reading into the New Economy Movement, which is an entire category at Yes! Magazine. There are great YouTube videos from David Korten, Gar Alperovitz, Ted Howard, and other leaders of this movement.

    Trust, but verify. - Reagan
    Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

    When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

    by Words In Action on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:45:30 PM PST

  •  Capitalism wasn't designed (2+ / 0-)

    It arose out of the power collapse of feudalism and the increased productivity and wealth of folks who up to that time had not been wealthy.   And with wealth they wanted and got power and social status. (Fernand Braudel. Civilization and Capitalism: 15th - 18th Centuries is a masterful analysis of this emergence.)

    One of the last gasps of feudalism in North America was the end of the Civil War in the South.  And it was remarkable how easily the former slaveowners transformed themselves into the new industrialists with other people's money.  

    It's the "other people's money" part of capitalism and how it gets used that the rags-to-riches stories of capitalist entrepreneurs overlook.  To better understand how this works, there is Richard Rhodes, John James Audubon , Scott Reynolds Nelson, A Nation of Deadbeats: An Uncommon History of America's Financial Disasters, and Charles Royster, The Fabulous History of the Dismal Swamp Company: A Story of George Washington's Times.

    And the "divine right of bosses" part of capitalism.  The Dutch term "boss" was adopted in New York because it was much preferable to "master", which had connections with race-based slavery then prevalent even in New York and New England.  That sensitivity should tell you something right there at the beginning of American capitalism.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:45:55 PM PST

  •  Yes, that is the point (0+ / 0-)

    Capitalism is a race horse, only born to run. It needs no be reined in, controlled, and not allowed to run away with the rider.

    We need other things to do work, to get basic needs met for society as a whole. Capitalism does not do that, because it's not designed to do that. It's designed to make money, and that's it.

    Why people can't grasp that simple fact is beyond me. We need a mixture of things to get everything done, not just capitalism.



    Women create the entire labor force.
    ---------------------------------------------
    Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:59:47 PM PST

  •  Needs vs greed based (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    socialismorbarbarism

    capitalism is incentives based. Greed and its varying levels are the current incentive. Until we move to a needs based incentive society we will spiral towards anarchy.

  •  I used to be an architectural designer (4+ / 0-)

    Now I have a small pool-cleaning service in Las Vegas.  I'm so pissed about being repeatedly laid off that I will never go to work for an hourly wage or salary again. Lost our life savings when my wife became very ill in the nineties because of a health insurance policy that only paid about 30% of the actual medical costs...we had managed to save a small amount since then until our 401K went into the toilet in 2008 and the money into the pocket of some Wall-Street insider.

    I'm tired of carrying some other asshole on my shoulders as I go through this world...some other asshole who believes he has a natural-born right to profit from my labor.  Some day the worm is going to turn.

    Yes, “there’s class warfare, all right,” warns Warren Buffett. “But it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

    by pecosbob on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 01:34:58 PM PST

    •  But that's your fault. Obviously you just weren't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      congenitalefty

      trying hard or you didn't plan. You and 90% of the rest of the population, apparently.

      That's what we have to live with, because otherwise the 1% and their ardent supporters would have to admit that there's a helluva a lot more to it than effort and planning.

      Best wishes to you and the worm. :)

      Trust, but verify. - Reagan
      Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

      When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

      by Words In Action on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 01:54:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wish I could shoot some business your way. (I'm (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      congenitalefty

      in LA in a condominum with a pool currenty out of commish due to some expensive structural issues.)

      But you have put your finger on the heart of the amorality at the core of capitalism: that one man may profit from another man's labor. Just writing it gets my hackles up.

  •  A truly awesome thread, reflective of the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    socialismorbarbarism

    best that Daily Kos has to offer. (And I'm a tough critic!)

    I'm blown away by the wide variety of perspectives and vast expertise(s) on display here. Has definitely contributed to making my Saturday a more edifying and pleasant day.

  •  The General Law of Capitalist Accumulation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    socialismorbarbarism

    according to Marx is simply this:

    It establishes an accumulation of misery, corresponding with accumulation of capital. Accumulation of wealth at one pole is, therefore, at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole, i.e., on the side of the class that produces its own product in the form of capital. (Chapter 25, Capital, Volume I)
    Given the state of things today, it's very hard not to agree.
  •  This diary is disgusting. What would happen to (0+ / 0-)

    innovation or invention without capitalism?

    In the 90s two guys invented a better search engine that became Google and they went to angel investors to nurture their invention.

    Tesla is an electric car company that exists due to capitalism.   The USA dominates in semiconductors due to capitalism.

    Capitalism is the wellspring that life came from - the struggle to survive come alive.

    "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

    by shrike on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 03:40:00 PM PST

  •  The narrative that is pushed very hard is ... (0+ / 0-)

    that the only choices we have are capitalism, or communism. Then the witch hunt begins. Are you a communist? Do you know any communists? Do you pal around with communists?
    We are left with a false choice.

    Capitalism is not Democracy. Capitalism is rather universal in it ability to adapt to different types of government. The United States and China have both economic capitalism, but different types of governments; democracy, and communism.
    Capitalism is not predatory, and monopolistic, but can very well slip in that direction without proper laws and regulations.
    Capitalism should never be unfettered and free market. That environment is the playground of the predators and the monopolists. There, they always win. The bulk of society gets as little as possible.


    Sometimes an acorn has to make a stand.

    by glb3 on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 04:23:58 PM PST

  •  Embrace Capitalism! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    congenitalefty

       Demand that government acts like a capitalist and extract rents from the most valuable thing they own - money! Extracting taxes from labor is soooo industrial age. There is no profit left in that. It is time to get with the action and start siphoning off some of that money stream flowing through cyberspace. Governments produce, regulate and control money (Bitcoin seems to be an attempt to circumvent this).
        If the US government voted unanimously to dissolve and become 50 separate States tomorrow the US dollar would cease to exist. All debts and contracts denominated in dollars would be thrown into chaos. The dollar exists only because the Federal government supports it. The government should demand a portion of all transactions denominated in dollars. Evading this fee should carry the death penalty for any corporation that attempts it. That is, pull their corporate charter and dissolve the corporation and allow the courts to administer the estates, distributing assets among creditors and shareholders.
        Anybody wanting to do business in the US would have to obey the rules. The proceeds could then be used to assure domestic tranquility and the general welfare of citizens. It is time to evolve!

  •  Wake Up Rant. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    congenitalefty

      OK. Maybe I shouldn't have that second cup of wine but it's Saturday night and the Holiday Season is here. I did though and just feel like I have to rant.
        We, as a planet, have more stuff than ever before.  Fantastic advances have taken place in genetics, robotics, communication, sustainable power and all manner of stuff. We are living in the future! But we have a monetary system in which the flow of money has all become stuck at the top. Very little trickles down and so the vast majority of people can't become productive parts of the society. As a result things that desperately need to be done - education, healthcare infrastructure, production of food, goods and services is grinding to a halt and billions of people are living lives far less fulfilling than they should be. And there is a desperate need to avoid the looming disasters facing our planet.
        If this were an ecosystem it would be similar to a top predator consuming all the other life forms. You can see where that leads.
        This should be a time of great achievement and fulfillment for all the billions. Instead, we are saddled with an economic system that concentrates money at the top, denies people the means to participate and endangers our very existence. Wake up people!

  •  Finance Capitalism vs Industrial Capitalism (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    congenitalefty

       I went off looking for something to show that our old tax system based on Industrial Capitalism should be replaced with one based on finance capitalism and found this gem from Jerome a Paris back in 2007.
        Since Finance Capitalism keeps coming back no matter how many times it gets pushed down we should have a tax system that automatically adjusts in proportion to its size. If Finance capitalism is 50% of the economy then it should pay for 50% of the expenses. If it is 90% then it should be 90% of revenue. Somehow we got to the point where Finance takes most of the profit but labor pays most of the bills.

  •  I don't think what capitalism has become, (0+ / 0-)

    and the effects that it has had on the world, is necessarily what those who came up with the idea had in mind.

    Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

    by AaronInSanDiego on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:08:19 PM PST

  •  Capitalism changed in the 70s (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    o76

    Capitalism, arguably unintentionally, lifted more people from at risk subsistence to comfort than any previous system.  That it no longer tends to do so is not a damnation of all capitalism, but of the current variant of capitalism.

    There have been multiple waves of capitalism, some of which have been useful to We the People in promoting the general Welfare and others have delivered a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object -- a design to reduce them under absolute despotism

    That said, let's look at 4 forms of capitalism to see if there's one that perhaps, progressives could love.

    4 forms of capitalism
    Entrepreneurial Capitalism - this is the form most people think of--Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations Capitalism.  Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.  An entrepreneur has a powerful  idea and she builds a business with her vision and passion.  That, to me, is the essence of entrepreneurial capitalism--a passion to achieve something ends up making the individual wealthy and raising others' standard of living as a by-product, positive externalities, if you will.  This is Capitalism delivering a public good--promoting the general welfare.

    Managerial Capitalism - this is what Ayn Rand railed against.  The entrepreneur steps aside to allow cold, calculating, professional managers run the business.  This type of capitalism strives to use metrics to do better, faster, more economically, and on a bigger scale, the thing the entrepreneur set out to do.  The object is still to deliver a product or service that customers demand, but the driver has changed from passion to metrics.  This form may also deliver significant social goods.

    shareholder value - this, our current form, was born of regulation in the 70's.  During the Nixon years, the average CEO earned about 28X the average worker.  This was seen as too great a disparity.  The notion of tying executive compensation to company performance by making stock option grants a larger part of their compensation was seen as a way to limit executive compensation.  Today the difference is far greater--263x average worker pay, down from a high of 525x in 2000.  Not only has overall compensation gone up, but even salary and bonuses, what people saw as the problem back in the seventies, have gone up dramatically.  How you doin'?

    Anyone who audited a few days of business administration class could figure out how to game this system.  And game it they have.  To increase their compensation, execs have to increase the stock price.  Stock prices are a reflection of future expectations about the companies earnings.  If I'm an exec, how can I do that?  Easy-peasy--cut costs.  Quit investing for the long term and ship jobs overseas.  You just slashed expenses, ceteris paribus, your earnings and share price just went up dramatically.  US now ranks 62nd in terms of R&D spending per $ GDP.  That puts us in between Mexico and Thailand.  Our unemployment rate in October was 7%.  If you include those who have given up looking or who have accepted part time work, the rate is much higher. In 2009, according to the CIA Fact Book, the US ranked 95th in terms of employment rates in 2012, putting us near the top of the bottom half.  USA #1?  Not so much.

    This is the result of Shareholder Value Capitalism. Is this what we want?  A system gamed by those at the top?  A perversion of capitalism that has taken the good ol' USA from being a beacon of prosperity and hope around the globe to near third world status?  A "heads I win; tails you lose" system of privatized gains and socialized losses?  Do you think Capitalism promotes the general welfare when it squeezes R&D spending to next to nothing and puts jobs on the next boat to Mumbai or Monterrey?

    Capitalist heroes did not seek government bailouts and they often put their own wealth at risk.  They it on the chin and took it harder than any current executive would.  If Exxon-Mobile has a bad quarter, those execs see paper losses on their options.  In addition, they develop defenses in depth by hiring lobbyists to get the company bailed out if it all goes horribly wrong, and have golden parachutes written into their contracts.  Reward commensurate with risk?  Nah, that's for suckers.  

    The execs win when times are good.  Because of bailouts, the taxpayer loses when times are bad.  Privatized gains & socialized losses is the name of the game.  Capitalism my a$$

    Good Americans and good Capitalists have every right to rail against this system.  Shareholder Value Capitalism accentuates all that is bad in capitalism and minimizes all that is good.

    Customer capitalism- may be a better path.  Research has shown that focusing on share price doesn't yield long term share price increases--how could it?  You can't keep raising stock market expectations indefinitely.  You can 'juice' it for a few years, but then the chickens of outsourcing and R&D disinvestment come home to roost.  Hope you cashed out your options before that, sir.  The way forward may well be something that looks in some regards like Entrepreneurial capitalism--customer capitalism.  The idea here is to get ahead by serving.  Do good for your customers and you will do well.  Don't focus on share price, focus on how much of the customer's spending in your product or service category you're capturing.  J&J is a company that is doing fairly well.  The priorities in their mission statement are 1) customers, 2) employees, 3) community, and 4) shareholders.  Call it a Zen or Tao-ist like point of view that the more you chase shareholder value the harder it is to attain.  The more you focus on serving the customer and your employees and your community, the more you will be rewarded.  I think that's what Adam Smith said too.  

    There's room in this view of capitalism for regulation.  There must be some regulation of business.  If you were awake in the last decade, there were two fundamental flaws in the "Free Market" doctrine laid bare for all to see.

    The two fundamental flaws -  
    Under Shareholder Value Capitalism, companies don't seek their long term success, only near term share price appreciation.  The assumption that a business will seek it's long term survival and success underlies every argument that capitalism is good--that it will deliver goods to the community and provide employment to the community.  Under shareholder value capitalism, those are irrelevant.  In the financial meltdown, we saw companies risk everything in pursuit of this quarter's number.  What did Ayn Rand acolyte Alan Greenspan say?  He said that he'd found a flaw in the Free Market ideology.  How do "conservatives" ignore that?

    Removing Government from a process does not devolve power to the individual.  Corporations are happy to fill the void.  The whole Tea Party and libertarian cry that government must be taken out of the picture for the people to be free and prosper is proven wrong by the last 15 years.  We need government by, of, and for the people to protect us from concentrations of power like corporations.  For an individual to be free and prosperous, that individual must be protected from any concentration of power greater than that of an individual.  We must regulate business and bind lobbyists and legislators "down from mischief with the chains of the Constitution"  

    Here are 3 big areas of the economy where we have little government involvement but many countries have national policies.  Let's see how much power has devolved to the individuals and how well this is working out for us--

    We have a national healthcare system in this country--it is provided by corporations.  They raise shareholder value by increasing the premiums and deductibles and limiting payments.  Feel free and prosperous?  Healthy, wealthy & wise?  Or not so much?  

    We have a national energy policy--"we'll kick your a$$ and take your gas".  This policy lead to two wars in the last decade alone, running up a $3 trillion bill that goes on your kid's credit card.  Another aspect of our national energy policy is "don't ask; don't tell about negative externalities".  Petroleum is cheap.  If you ignore the $3 trillion spent on oil country wars, a Gulf that may be largely dead and the climate instability that may just wipe out modern civilization.
    Thank goodness we got the government out of those markets.  Really?  

    We also have a national financial policy, it's called "finance is too complex for you to understand so just bail us out--you're almost underwater yourself and it would be a shame if anything bad happened to you".  Thank goodness nobody regulates derivatives, eh?  That's another trillion or so on your kid's credit card.  

    Modern shareholder value capitalism is a cancer.  I rail against it as a perversion of all that can be good in capitalism.  

    We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

    by Mosquito Pilot on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 04:26:47 AM PST

  •  The design of capitalism (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nextstep

    "All capitalism is meant to do is to ensure all the nations wealth is in private hands.
    It was never designed to be fair nor equitable."

    This statement is problematic on its face. To the extent that capitalism was designed (i.e., as conceived by Adam Smith, who did not use this Marxian term), capitalism was justified precisely as a fairer and more equitable arrangement of economic relations. Smith's term for this was a "system of natural liberty." Smith was equally diffident about seeing all wealth into private hands without meeting a variety of conditions and safeguards.

    One can well disagree about the effects of today's capitalism, but it was 'designed' by a professor of moral philosophy whose ethical concerns were foremost. If we are to judge Smith's work by later effects, it is also going to be the case that Marx will not fare so well, either.

  •  Good Old Boy Capitalism, as practiced in America.. (0+ / 0-)

    ...was designed to help the very rich to help themselves to more stuff and more money. It was designed to gradually disempower the enemy, us, by running the country into unmanageable debt, by dumbing down the population, tearing away the the social safety net, dismantling union protections, eradicating consumer protections, and, to the middle class, making the "poor" the enemy.

    We've been the targets off a coup, people.  

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