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paul wheaton
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Jan brought this up in another thread. 

And yet, there are reasons "the 'j' word" has such a bad reputation -- sort of like saying "capitalism" in some circles, or "communism" in others.


I guess these seems to come up often enough that it would be good to talk a bit about it.

And I guess I wanna start with my own issues.  When I was a young fella, I leaned toward how everybody is generally good and it would be easy to gather a lot of good people and do good with really no hassles.  Well, you know, except for the time when I don't feel like it. 

And then I repeatedly found myself in cases where there were things that needed to be done but I didn't want to do it.  I was okay with not doing it and doing something else - or just doing nothing.  Let the dishes pile up sometimes.

And as I got older, having peace between people was worth doing the dishes.  But I found myself doing my fair share with the dishes, but doing more than my fair share in other departments (like day-job) because that was "my job" or "my thing". 

And on the farm, it was expected that I pay everybody, and buy the materials for all of the projects, and do all of the designs, and all of the research on problems, and deal with all of the bills and all of the other things, and do my share of the dishes and my share of the cooking, and if I didn't put just as much time out on the field as everybody else, everybody else would resent me.  So I worked full time with a day job to pay for everything and I put my time in on the field and took care of all the other stuff and people were resenting me for not pulling my weight. 

Maybe this is nothing more than my own whining fest for gobbledygook from my past, but I now have to say ....  I really like the idea that the contribution that everybody makes has a dollar value.  And the rules of supply and demand dictate the contributions of others. 

And since coming to this conclusion "capitalism may be the best fit for me" I've heard on about 20 different occassions, folks saying that capitalism is bad.  Not just for them, but for anybody.  Stated as indisputable fact. 

So .... I guess the thing I am fishing for in this thread is permission for each of us to discover and follow our own path. 

I guess that by expressing this, I have this tiny hope that I won't again hear something like "In the name of peace, love and harmony, I hereby require you, and everybody, to denounce capitalism!"

And if we are talking about government stuff - I think capitalism is the best way to go.  It just sucks when there is corruption in any system.

With capitalism, people can be lazy if they want.   I like that.

 
jeremiah bailey
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<sarcasm>But with something else, you can get paid to be lazy while someone else does the work!</sarcasm> I think I've seen/heard every type of fallacy listed in your fallacy article used to denounce capitalism/promote something else. I don't think I've ever heard an argument against capitalism that actually held merit, aside from my sarcasm above.  "From each, their ability. To each, their need."  That is the summary of every other system I've seen proposed or implemented. For those that can and wish to live by it, great. There are other countries founded on those principles, in which those who believe in that would be welcomed. For those who champion something else, don't forget the following. The greatest experiment in capitalism ran strong for 150 years before communism began to taint it. That experiment runs strong even today, after more than 230 years. The greatest experiment in communism collapsed on itself in less than 80 years.
 
paul wheaton
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Well, Jeremiah, we must be on a good path because nobody seems to even have an alternate opinion! 

 
jeremiah bailey
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I guess so. I'm glad there are others that see that capitalism and the environment can coexist quite happily. That's what happens when the consumers in capitalism are informed. Without the right information, greed easily sneeks in and takes the uninformed for an expensive, and often dangerous ride. I think that's how capitalism got a bad rap. Greedy people ripping off those who didn't know or care to know better. In that way capitalism became confused with greed.
 
paul wheaton
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I suppose that if there could be greed coupled with ethics, then it would be a good thing.  A strong desire to make money or have things, coupled with decency makes for a hard worker that will engage brain cells to do the best that can be done. 

 
jeremiah bailey
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That's part of the confusion right there. Greed and ethics don't mix. A strong desire to make money is not greed. Greed is that desire to make money taken to excess where one is willing to do unethical deeds for money. The desire to make money and ethics go hand in hand. Without each other you have either greed or wrongdoing or both. I think your second statement is a much better way of putting it than the first.
 
            
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In my opinion, capitalism is fine so long as it is not manipulated by government entities ran by people who have a monetary interest in the venture.
Capitalism in a free market system would be great.  The problem always lies with greed.  Sooner or later some people find ways to subvert a good system, (such as a free market system where the people are the determining factor in how successful a business will ultimately be, meaning that if the people aren't interested in the service or product, it will fail, or be successful if they do like it) and work to institute controls where people are almost required to use the product or service that is in question whether they want it or not.  The NAIC system and others like it come to mind where we would have little choice of where to buy food products, as only the big corporations that could afford the program would be our food sources.
So far as jobs go, I see nothing wrong with "merely" holding down a job.  Some people are more comfortable with that than putting out the effort needed to operate a business.  There is a lot to be said for clocking out at the end of the day and forgetting the place exists until the next day.
A comment on Communism, what existed in the world as Communism as a form of government was nothing of the sort.  The governments who claimed to be Communist are and were Totalitarian, something we are fast approaching in this country (USA).  Communism can only work so long as the people are able to make it work.  I think it can work fine in small groups, but not on a large scale.
 
jeremiah bailey
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For a second there, I thought this was a two way conversation that died. I'm glad to see it picked up again. I agree with what is called Communism actually being Totalitarianism. Communism works, but only at the Commune level, as you mentioned. Communes can exist quite happily in a larger free market, to the betterment of both. In reference to my earlier writing, I meant Communism as in the Communist movement of the early 20th century. Again, actually being Totalitarianism, but largely known as Communism. Unions, while having once served a necessary purpose, have stagnated into propagating overpaid workforces. This, along with NAFTA, contributed much to our currently failing economy. High labor costs + free trade = jobs going elsewhere.
 
Nicholas Covey
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I'll chip in.

I was reading a bit of history a few days ago, concerning the original Jamestown colony in Virginia. Jamestown was founded in 1607 and went through several years of adjustment. In 1609 a famine beset the colony and surrounding countryside which in one case led to cannibalism.

In 1611 the new Governor, Sir Thomas Dale arrived and began imposing draconian rules to enforce the lazy to work. These may have helped somewhat, but he also broke up the communal farming system that had begun with the formation of the colony. Instead, each man was assigned a plot of land to grow their own food.

By doing this, the lazy were faced with having to work or starve, and the hard working thrived. In one case an experimental tobacco on just such a plot by a man named John Rolfe became the staple export to England.

A couple of years after capitalism was put into practice, the Jamestown colony thrived, and became part of the Virginia colony.

For the 4 years prior to 1611, starvation was a real problem for the colony, and it was abandoned briefly in 1609.

After 1611 starvation became more sporadic.

By 1615 it's hardly mentioned at all.

Now obviously there are other factors to the success/failure of the colony. But to me that's a pretty profound change. By making the colonists responsible for their own food and survival, they all worked harder. That's human nature. Human nature is also to be as lazy as you can be. Our current welfare state proves that.

History is also showing us that as a nation we have thrived because of capitalism. Under more socialist rules and regulations we are beginning to slow down. Our nation's wealth was formed on the backs of small business. Our ingenuity has always been the creativity of entrepreneurs. To regulate that is to stifle that.

Our economy would sprout like new if all the labor and tax regulations were off of the backs of the small businesses and it wasn't so hard to start a new business.

Anyway, that's my take. I agree with Jeremiah wholeheartedly. The great experiment hasn't failed, it's just been skewed by someone else's experiment. But we're coasting now, on the momentum of past generations. Soon we'll stop if something doesn't change.

 
jeremiah bailey
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I reckon we've been coasting since the fifties. The problem is that very few people seem to care.
 
Nicholas Covey
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In order to care, we would first as a nation have to notice. The change has been so slow and in such minute steps, that most people have no idea that this is any different nation than it was since 1955. But coasting we are.
 
jeremiah bailey
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In order to notice, we'd need to be taught about it or otherwise have our eyes opened.
 
paul wheaton
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The important thing is that with capitalism, I can go work hard for year, save my pennies, and then sit in a hammock for two years. 

I think of it as my present self giving a gift to my future self.

It just rubs me funny to hear folks bashing my hammock plan.

Permaculture is big on the hammock plan.  You plant lots of stuff today and the reap the rewards for years to come.

 
jeremiah bailey
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Finally capitalism equated to permaculture. Shh... the thoughtpolice might get you. 
 
rapidresponse McCoy
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tell that to all the poor people who get shat on every day. its amazing how the people who benefit from capitalsim can just close their eyes to the giant pile of sturctural problems it causes

or do you REALLY concieve of a capitalism without
-unfair wages
-inadequate cost of living/wages parity
-colonialism
-massive resource extraction
-greed and hoarding
-slumlords
-etc...

sorry to say, but these above posts concieve of capitalism in some abstract vacuum and not his/herstory. just as silly as "communists" who glorify ideological state capitalism which pretended to be informed by communistic ideals...no basis in reality


see, this is the kind of crap that makes me worry that permaculture will continue to drift towards a liberal hobby/business model while focusing on trendy upperclass ecovillages insted of becoming a tool available to those who really need it.

in depth critique coming...when i have time


RE Paul's "So .... I guess the thing I am fishing for in this thread is permission for each of us to discover and follow our own path.  "

you don't need permission to live within capitalism, you allready do and we need to operate more or less within its confines to survive anyways. strategies that allow us to survive happily within the world today and meet our needs are essential. strategies to create alternatives independent of the vagaries of the "free market" and the whims of the ruling class are just as essential.

also, the fact that youre fishing for "permission" to follow your own path is very telling of structural problems of capitalism. "if only the boss let me take care of my own needs..."
 
paul wheaton
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I guess this is exactly the thing I am concerned about. 

Folks within the permie community getting upset with the path that feels comfortable to me.


or do you REALLY concieve of a capitalism without
-unfair wages
-inadequate cost of living/wages parity
-colonialism
-massive resource extraction
-greed and hoarding
-slumlords
-etc...


Yes. 

I think these problems are the results of a few people being icky, not from the system. 

And, I feel that suggesting that all the ick is equated with capitalism as the default, feels oppressive to me. 

Again:  exactly my concern. 

Take a look at the very first statement here:  "tell that to all the poor people who get shat on every day." - so are we talking about people that are literally pooped on?  Or, are we talking about people that are struggling within the system?  If the latter, then if we wish to have a civil conversation about a delicate topic, do we really need to suggest that they are being pooped on?  It's as if the argument is really weak on its own, so we have to exaggerate it a bit to make a case. 

I guess I'm desiring to feel around in my own innards on this very topic, but when stuff is exaggerated like this, then it just makes me think that my innards are probably spot on right where they are.

 
jeremiah bailey
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rapidresponse wrote:
or do you REALLY concieve of a capitalism without
-unfair wages
-inadequate cost of living/wages parity
-colonialism
-massive resource extraction
-greed and hoarding
-slumlords
-etc...
..."


I agree with Paul. I will go so far as to state those are also all problems in communist societies. Unfair wages: What unfair wages in the US do you refer to? I'm an entry level truck mechanic, I feel my wages are fair, even if they are on the low end of the scale. I, and I alone chose to do what I do. I really enjoy doing what I do. I could have done anything I wished to do, including some very high paying jobs. I don't think the stress involved is worth the pay.  Inadequate cost of living to wages: I live quite comfortable on a relatively meager wage, including paying my education loans, mortgage, gas, food, etc. I don't try to live beyond my means, and I live life to its fullest, imo. Colonialism: not a capitalist or communist trait, more along the lines of warrior nation trait. Massive resource extraction: I believe this was done in the U.S.S.R. as well. Greed and hoarding: see the U.S.S.R. again, and for slumlords too. If you really want to get particular, these are not a trait of any socio-economic system, but humanity itself. I'm definitely not rich, not quite middle class, so I guess you could say that I'm poor. I'm definitely not defecated on. I'm also 100% U.S. made and proud of it.

see, this is the kind of crap that makes me worry that permaculture will continue to drift towards a liberal hobby/business model while focusing on trendy upperclass ecovillages insted of becoming a tool available to those who really need it.

Real permaculture has a rather strong grassroots movement. Grassroots, being just that, not caring much for what the upper crusties are up to. Permaculture is a great idea, and as such can not be snuffed out or suppressed by the upper class as long as there are living, thinking individuals at the grassroots level. Ideas have the peculiar property of being quite resilient. As long as an Idea is in a form able to be comprehended, it can be spread to whomever is in need of and looking for it.

If anything at all, this conversation should be proof and testament that permaculture is not doomed to the fate which you fear.

Remember this: capitalism is not an end all, cure all for everything which ails this world. Far from it. Like everything conceived by humans, it is imperfect. It is merely a tool for the betterment of individuals who wish to live in a world where they are free to choose their own destiny. No other system is as good at that as capitalism, which allows for all free thinking individuals to turn their ideas into a way of life. A trait in common with all other tools, is that they can be misused and perverted into dark and dangerous things. Any tool can be used to defend freedom, or take it away. Any tool can serve greatly to help its user toward a goal. And finally, any tool can be tossed aside and considered worthless. The result is up to the user.
 
                                        
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interesting stuff here!

First, I guess I'm really interested in what definition of capitalism are you guys are using?

"there is private property and markets"; or something a little more fleshed out and based on the current state of things?

In my mind capitalism is clearly and inevitably associated with a more-or-less defined class structure, necessitating haves and have nots to varying extents. And it would not be an exaggeration to say that in the world today, that enormous gap is still growing. Upwards social mobility is certainly much improved over a feudal system, however it is still exceedingly difficult in many circumstances.

While gift economy may not be practical at a scale larger than a clan/tribe,
I belive it is an important model to learn from.
Also, there are many thinkers proposing different ways to exchange the fruits of our labor and organize economies, so to speak in terms of the (false) capitalism/communism dichotomy seems like somewhat of a relic of nationalistic high school textbooks.

Jeremiah, good observation that true communism works only at the commune level, but what of decentralized federations of communes? Could that not have potential? Gift economy within the commune, and a collectively run market system between them, or something along those lines? (and no, I don't like communIST's or anything about the USSR which was centralized, and as you accurately point out, simply totalitarianism)

this can of worms is so big, I think i'll start a vermicomposting business

 
paul wheaton
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speedyweedy wrote:

First, I guess I'm really interested in what definition of capitalism are you guys are using?

"there is private property and markets"; or something a little more fleshed out and based on the current state of things?

In my mind capitalism is clearly and inevitably associated with a more-or-less defined class structure, necessitating haves and have nots to varying extents. And it would not be an exaggeration to say that in the world today, that enormous gap is still growing. Upwards social mobility is certainly much improved over a feudal system, however it is still exceedingly difficult in many circumstances.


To me capitalism says I can work hard for a year, pinch my pennies, and then be lazy for two years.  Or, that if I make a really fantastic widget, then people will pay me $100 for my widget while most widgets sell for $10.  Or if I make a lousy widget, then nobody will buy it.  Basically, money becomes the thing that makes things more fair.  And it gives me more ability to be weird (if everybody else takes two weeks of vacation a year, if I play with my money right, I can take eight months of vacation per year).

Further, if I'm going to give, then it is by choice.  I can choose what to give and to whom. 

I have to admit that I'm no great expert in this space or a champion for capitalism. 

And I don't mind talking about it, although I'm not particularly eager to talk about it.  But I am weary of hostility about it. 

And there is the root of this thread:  the hostility behind this whole space.  I have heard people express it as fact that capitalism is evil.  I don't think it is capitalism that is evil.  It's evil people that are evil and capitalism is a tool.  It's kinda like when people use craigslist and then do bad things so people want to crush craigslist.  Craigslist is a wonderful tool.  A hammer can be used to build homes or go on a gruesome killing spree - if it is used for the latter, I don't think we should ban hammers. 


 
jeremiah bailey
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In my mind, capitalism is a free market, where products are traded for monetary value. Products are anything from widgets, to services, ideas, etc. Someone who is monetarily poor, can come up with a great idea. If there is a market for the idea, then that person no longer has to be poor. They can employ those around them to produce and deliver the product, while improving the status of their employees. The process is not easy and not for everyone. In order for that poor person to strike it rich, they need a certain drive and determination to do so. They have the ability to nurture that idea to fruition, or let it wither on the vine and die.  I have friends on both sides of the vine. The ones who made a name for themselves did so with much sweat and tears. The ones who didn't, they encountered sweat and tears, then decided to do nothing.

As far as gift cultures, they can be very exciting. And I beg to differ: gift cultures are very viable on the large scale. Open source software is a great example of a gift culture. It is expanding everyday. I currently use Linux on my desktop. I'm excited to see my favorite OS, BeOS, finally have a viable OSS clone with Haiku-OS. I'm learning to code so I can help return to the community. OSS fits well into my view of capitalism. For example: a developer can produce a program that is useful to others, give it and the source away, then sell technical support for the product. Sure, there are leaches in the system, but what system doesn't have them? I see capitalism as a framework in which other sub-economies can thrive.

From what I've seen, capitalism works. What is failing is actually the crap that has been piled into our economy over the years that go against what capitalism stands for. Capitalism gets the bad rap without just cause. Every argument I've seen against capitalism has been based on a fallacy.

Speedyweedy, I'm interested in hearing your description of a "collectively run market system." As far as I have studied, our country started as a "decentralized federation of communes."
 
                                        
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jeremiah bailey wrote:
As far as I have studied, our country started as a "decentralized federation of communes."


You mean the articles of confederation and before that? Yep.
Got scrapped with the constitution's signing though.

I like what you have to say about gift economies too, just reminded me that opensource SW is how I got introduced to all that stuff i belive today!


More on the rest...later.
 
jeremiah bailey
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We have something in common. OSS has had a tremendous impact on how we view the world and interact with its systems. Gift culture has a valuable place in the economy. The internet runs on it.
 
Fred Morgan
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I know capitalism is much more complex than this, but to me, capitalism is simply those with capital who know how to use it, win. Most things in the society of the USA function based on capital, and I suspect that if you look at failed ICs, often it comes down to capital. In fact, many marriages fail due to arguments about capital (or money if you prefer, but that is a narrower definition of capital)

Focusing on increasing the capital of an organization would be a good thing, this would be more land, more tools, and even more skilled people. Perhaps I am being a bit shortsighted, but I don't know how in the world you could function without attempting to create more capital.

I would think that permaculture should be focused in increasing the land bank whenever possible and preserving the capital of the fertility, topsoil, etc., etc. All this is capital.

The problem is that people don't often think about a complete system, so a company can go out and strip from the land resources and sell them and call it capitalism. Really it is more like theft from a common source. The tragedy of the commons in action. They are not selling their production or capital, but the societies without paying for it, leaving the whole poorer.

Capitalism is not a bad idea that says those who are more productive get more, but it has to be modified to make sure they truly are being productive, not just stealing from future generations.
 
jeremiah bailey
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crtreedude wrote:
I know capitalism is much more complex than this, but to me, capitalism is simply those with capital who know how to use it, win. Most things in the society of the USA function based on capital, and I suspect that if you look at failed ICs, often it comes down to capital. In fact, many marriages fail due to arguments about capital (or money if you prefer, but that is a narrower definition of capital)

Focusing on increasing the capital of an organization would be a good thing, this would be more land, more tools, and even more skilled people. Perhaps I am being a bit shortsighted, but I don't know how in the world you could function without attempting to create more capital.

I would think that permaculture should be focused in increasing the land bank whenever possible and preserving the capital of the fertility, topsoil, etc., etc. All this is capital.

The problem is that people don't often think about a complete system, so a company can go out and strip from the land resources and sell them and call it capitalism. Really it is more like theft from a common source. The tragedy of the commons in action. They are not selling their production or capital, but the societies without paying for it, leaving the whole poorer.

Capitalism is not a bad idea that says those who are more productive get more, but it has to be modified to make sure they truly are being productive, not just stealing from future generations.


I agree with all that except for your final statement. Capitalism has never allowed theft of anything, even in the context you point out. As you alluded to in your fourth paragraph, this is merely a wolf in sheep's clothing. It is something other than capitalism, trying to use capitalism as a cover for its misdeeds. It is not capitalism that needs modified in this scenario. There is a need to recognize when capitalism is being usurped for dubious purposes. Once that recognition is made, then the usurpers are the ones who need to be dealt with, not capitalism.
 
paul wheaton
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crtreedude wrote:
In fact, many marriages fail due to arguments about capital (or money if you prefer, but that is a narrower definition of capital)



While this is true, it seems it isn't the capital (money) that is the problem, but what do do with it. 

If you want to change from pieces of paper to seeds and land and ... permie stuff, then you've shifted the perceived evil to seeds, land and permie stuff. 

capitalism is simply those with capital who know how to use it, win.


Those that work hard to earn $100 and then blow it that night in a bar .... you're right, they don't exactly "win".  But it was their freedom to do that.


 
Brenda Groth
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Being a person who has always pulled more than her fair share, esp when working at a job for someone else..always doing more than every one else..i totally related to this post and your conclusions..Paul..it was like you were describing my life.

I remember when my husband had to retire due to his head injury and go on disability..he promised if i worked away from the house he would pick up HIS SHARE of work, he knew with my hip and other disability problems that vacuuming was very difficult for me..well he promised to do the vacuuming.

well he has been on disability (mental and some physcical but no worse than mine for 4 years..) and never never vacuums
 
Leah Sattler
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rapidresponse wrote:
or do you REALLY concieve of a capitalism without
-unfair wages
-inadequate cost of living/wages parity
-colonialism
-massive resource extraction
-greed and hoarding
-slumlords
-etc...



that was weird. I guess I erased my actual post at first!


simply paying people higher wages arbritrarily will not eliminate the social problems that cause many of of the complaints on your list because they do not address the multi generational cultural issues that are behind the feeling of unfairness, inadequacy, greed and entrapment. its not about money. Capitalism didnt' cause this. It has and does bring many many people out of those cultural circles through opportunity.

why do you feel wages are unfair? salaries inadequate? people get what they work for. granted many people due to the way they are raised, never look at it that way. they are told from the beginning that they are suppressed, discriminated against, treated unfairly and generally have a hopeless future and are raised to be hostile towards anyone who has been successful and are rejected as young people by their social circles if they pursue success. no wonder they don't try. it would take a very strong, free thinking person to extract themselves from the conditions they were raised in and most people don't make it.

I dont' feel that abandonment of those people is the answer. but taking away everyones incentive to work and succeed is certainly not going to help them.

 
Fred Morgan
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Is the goal of our civilization capital or is it people? This is a fundamental question for me. I don't agree with socialism since I don't feel the solution to problems is the state, but I also have seen too many times the pursuit of capital destroying people's lives, for example, when a perfectly good company is gutted to pump up the stock value.

I think society has to be the goal more so than who can make the most money. The problem with thinking of ourselves as capitalist (though I do like the system) is that we think that merely by making more, all problems will be solved.

We know in families, just because more money is made does not equate to a happy family, the same is true for society.

Wealth creation is good, but it isn't omnipotent.
 
Robert Ray
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There has to be some reward for hard work, money, wampum a cookie.
Society norms are diluted to the median, what does society do with non-performers?
Some instances, health, loss of a job are uncontrollable, but there has to be a limit to assistance by society that is given.
That is the sticky wicket, who determines if one is feeding off of others hard work when they are capable of helping or doing more. And what happens to the person?
I think, though we might not want to, can all admit to not doing our best work on projects or at work at some point.
Capitalism without greed? Like politicians without lies or persoanl agendas. How to prevent that?
 
Fred Morgan
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Totally agree, if someone doesn't work (and can), you sure don't want to reward that behavior.

Costa Rica tends to have much stronger workers rights than the USA but they don't have welfare. Strong education, universal health care, good problems for helping those who need help. But you don't get UHC if you aren't working.

In other words, lots of benefits and protections for productive members, for the others, well, hope your relatives really like you...
 
Fred Morgan
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Bytesmiths wrote:
Sorry for being snide. It just seemed like you and Jeremiah were having such a capitalism love-fest that it would be pointless to put anything to the contrary.

The statements I'm seeing seems to be something like this: "I LOVE POTATOES! POTATOES ROCK! Tomatoes have failed in so many ways, that anyone who is for tomatoes must be stupid."

So no, I wasn't calling either of you an idiot. I was saying that it appeared to me that there was little room for expressing alternatives, given the statements that had been made. I was feeling like I was the idiot.


I think that capitalism is equated with being inspired at times, it is a sacred cow. To question it, or even point out its flaws will often result in people thinking you are a communist or socialist. I think at this point, where we are exceeding the current resources of the planet, we are going to have to think more about shared resources, instead of just everyone work hard and make money.
 
Robert Ray
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I guess in a capatalistic scenario an inspiration or a eureka moment would have value.  If we use scientific research as an example it needs a flow of money to reach that point of fruition.  So investors are required. A business venture that needs start up capital for a good idea that would benifit a community would also need some way to buy in to a working, functioning entity.
The same could be said of the arts if there is a desire for an object, song, movie one has to have a way to support the aquisition. This would be either in the form of money, wampum, cookies or payment for work. If the Arts or Science is wholly supported by the government I can see where it could be influenced/polluted by political agendas.
Does the desire for something more, an object of beauty, equal greed? In a basic sense yes. But it has gone on for ages and will continue.
Does the capitalistic form of governance in the United States support the Arts and Sciences to a degree? That would also be a yes with restrictions. And I see where I have points that I agree with and oppose in some of that expenditure.
There are degrees of socalism mixed with capitalism in our current situation how to temper the two and require an individual resonsibility of actions is where we hit a wall.
You have to take care of the old, sick infirm. Joblessness could be easily be controlled by climate in some areas, construction slows in the winter for example but we will still need builders in the spring. so I don't think pure capatilism is an answer but it has its place in a functioning economy.
 
Robert Ray
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I agree, a mix of the two with local control would be perfect.
Now I do not want to get into the George Bush debate with you so I will change it to a smaller more personal scenario on why being neither is so irresponsible in some cases.  You seem to love ole George's quote.
You, bytesmith, come to visit my fair city and are walking a path enjoying just being neither. I am on the same path  and see a ner'do well, not from my community, approach you and assault you. It is a vicious attack other than being an observer I have no responsibility to act.  I  am a big son of a gun and I can stop his assault on you and I would, even though you are neither, I personally would have to act.
  If the tables were turned and I was being assualted in your fair city would you feel the same need to act in some fashion or would you remain being an observer? If you have children would you be a neither if they were being assaulted. Or are you a neither with reservations?
This case doesn't relate to capitalism and in my post I indicated a mix of the two is required in a healthy economy.
Here is also an idea of what I think community should be a safe haven. Open to neithers but protective of them as well.
 
Fred Morgan
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What I am finding very interesting is watching the Open Source movement. The basic concept is that the source code should be open and freely available. You would think it doesn't work, but it does. One reason is that there are many developers who have retired from working, but who still love to code, especially when it isn't under duress like timelines. I myself was a coder for years and years, but now it isn't what I do really, but I enjoy it to relax. 

Also, people with very little commercial experience are involved and have used it to launch very good careers. Those in the Open Source movement generally make their money not from the base code, but from modification and training of others, in other words, value added.

The idea is that to use a computer, we need certain basic applications, these should be free and definitely not a monopoly. After that, you pay for enhancements, i.e. luxuries.

And of course, you pay for your land (i.e. computer hardware)

So, it is a mix, no one ones the basics software and  you are free to modify it, but you have to pay for enhancements and training, if you need it.

The capital is often not the software, but the knowledge of it and how to modify it.

It appears as well that there is a movement toward "Open Source Education" to break the idea that you can only receive an education if you are willing to pay an educator. Education is a critical component of Democracy, it should be encouraged as much as possible.

Open Source as well results is much better product, since 100s of eyes and minds are better than one, or a small team.
 
Robert Ray
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Education is a key to Democracy and freedom I think.
  Once government gets involved with education it sometimes suffers. No child left behind, is a failure in my view at some point if I don't understand or aquire a concept I need to be left behind until I aquire that important concept.
 
Robert Ray
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Bytesmith,
I appreciate your views even though we apparently don't always agree.
Money in a bank doesn't magically grow. One could easily use capital funds to purchase a tractor. But putting the money into a bank and allowing the bank to lend that money for a fee, interest, and split that interest with the depositor is how it grows. The depositor is without that money and his placing it in a bank to gain interest and for safe keeping, isn't necessarily bad and allowing someone else to get a leg up by having the ability to borrow isn't bad.
When people get out of control in borrowing and when lenders aren't cautious in lending is a problem.
 
paul wheaton
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Going back to the beginning of the thread ....

And yet, there are reasons "the 'j' word" has such a bad reputation -- sort of like saying "capitalism" in some circles, or "communism" in others.


I guess the thing I am fishing for in this thread is permission for each of us to discover and follow our own path.


Rather than get into a lot of political stuff, what I really want to do is to be able to travel my path without a big bucket of anger directed at me because I've saved my nickles and now have .... stuff ... and because I may receive filthy money for my efforts and buy food/stuff with the filthy money. 

I guess I feel like it is a path choice.  And if folks want to pontificate on alternative pathways, that's fine.  I just feel like I didn't earn the bucket of anger.

I remember one time trying to talk about raising fish and a person started to get all hostile with me, hollering about the wickedness of capitalism. 

I have to admit that this is a massive space that I have not thought through a whole lot.  And frankly, it isn't of really big interest to me. 

I am especially wary of any topics that leads to good folks getting so riled up that they are less than kind to each other. 

For this thread:  please folks, let's keep it all respectful of each other.  I am happy to publish the thoughts of good people having a lovely chat.  But this thread has so far caused me enough work (delete, delete, delete, delete) that I am seriously thinking that it is a breeding ground for souring the whole community.


 
Fred Morgan
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Paul,

I am far from a socialist and we definitely aren't poor. Hopefully my comments are calm (I haven't seen any deleted yet!)

Capitalism is a very interesting and effective ideology, but there well may be other solutions. Society continues to evolve, and like all such things, some things are blind ends. Communism as practiced by the USSR was definitely a blind end.

I think ideologies need to take into account that people are human and therefore there will always be some who are evil. Life would be so nice if everyone did what they were supposed to do, but that isn't reality. An ideology to work in the real world has to deal with real people. Capitalism seems to have a problem controlling those who never seem to have enough.

Hopefully we can continue the discussion, but if it gets too hot, by all means, kill it.
 
jeremiah bailey
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crtreedude wrote:
Capitalism seems to have a problem controlling those who never seem to have enough.

So does every other system I've seen implemented. If they can't get enough legally, they'll turn to illegal means. I agree, there is a huge problem in people taking more than they deserve. Unfortunately, that is all many people see of capitalism and they get turned off of it. Most ideas I've seen that intend to control it introduce other far more vile flaws into the system. Or they are not effective at controlling it.
 
Fred Morgan
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Reminds me of the old quote, Democracy is a terrible system until you compare it to anything else. 
 
Just put the cards in their christmas stocking and PRESTO! They get it now! It's like you're the harry potter of permaculture. richsoil.com/cards
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