Agna ... one more try ...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by KittenKoder, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. KittenKoder
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    KittenKoder Senior Member

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    Alright then, tell me why Capitalism is wrong ... just any one reason that I can't shoot down, and NO arguing or I will just flame you again.
     
  2. JBeukema
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    JBeukema BANNED

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    Kitty, you must clarify. Do you mean capitalism in general, or a specific form?
     
  3. KittenKoder
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    KittenKoder Senior Member

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    He's suppose to be such a great debater, he can choose ... :eusa_whistle:
     
  4. KittenKoder
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    KittenKoder Senior Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  5. JBeukema
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    JBeukema BANNED

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    :lol: you try too hard, KK :lol:
     
  6. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    What've YOU been smoking? :lol:
     
  7. Amanda
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    Amanda Calm as a Hindu cow

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    :popcorn:
     
  8. JBeukema
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    More importantly, when is she going to break off and kick down?

    Come on, KK.. sharing is caring....
     
  9. Agnapostate
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    Lord, what simplicity these mortals bring! :razz:

    It's not difficult to condemn capitalism. There are two major grounds on which it could be condemned: its immorality and its inefficiency. Now, since I'm a principled libertarian and my formal training is technically in ethics, I often focus on immorality. But since I also prefer to simply address things in terms of bottom-line sense, speaking of capitalism's blatant inefficiency is also fun. I'll first offer some brief insights into its immorality, followed by several further insights into its inefficiency that are augmented by empirical research.

    Let's examine the immorality of capitalism first. We could first examine its authoritarian nature. For example, consider wage labor. The economic framework of capitalism involves a scheme in which the private ownership of the means of production (acquired through a coercive process of "primitive accumulation") and consequent hierarchical subordination of labor under capital enables the extraction of surplus value from the working class in the production process through the use of wage labor and subsequent utilization in the circulation process in order to perpetuate a vicious cycle of capital accumulation. Remember this purdy picture?

    [​IMG]

    Continuing to examine wage labor, we can next note that the hierarchical organization of the capitalist firm (a necessary demand of the financial and coordinator classes), necessitates the subordination of workers under bosses and higher-level employers, depriving them of the right to democratically manage a major aspect of their own lives. For example, consider Bob Black's comments on this:

    Now, answering "you can simply change jobs" is frankly not a sufficient response to this criticism, because just as the right to migrate between an island chain of kingdoms but not outside of them would not free one from monarchy, neither can the right to select specific masters in a capitalist economy free one from that tyranny.

    Nor are external economic conditions based on freedom, so long as privileged and elite segments of the population (namely the financial class, as they have more dominance than the coordinator class outside of the internal structure of the firm), to make decisions that affect the rest of the population without their democratic input. After the unjust consolidation of the means of production and the resulting power that comes as a result of it during a stage of primitive accumulation (the state had a major role in class creation), the financial class, characterized by a small and elite segment of the population is thereby able to use their control over the means of production to drastically affect the vast majority of the population in whatever way they please, which is obviously a significant rationale for collectivizing the means of production, decentralizing them, and subjecting them to direct democratic management.

    In our present state of affairs, this private ownership of the means of production permits the aforementioned utilization of wage labor, which is a critical element in the coercive nature of capitalism. Since the means of production are privately owned, large components of the public have no alternative but to subordinate themselves under an employer. The best way to illustrate this form of authoritarianism is to use the "robbery analogy." If a person were to be violently tackled by an assailant and have his/her valuables torn out of his/her pockets, we would accurately call this a robbery. Now, if the assailant were to instead point a gun at the victim and demand that the valuables be surrendered, we would still call this a robbery, as coercion was used to gain the valuables, if not outright physical violence. The fact that the victim technically "consented" to surrender his/her valuables is not pertinent, since it was consent yielded while under duress.

    The former example represents the direct tyranny of statism, often blunt, direct, and brutal, whereas the latter represents the more subtle tyranny of capitalism, specifically wage labor, in which a person technically "consents" to work for an employer, but does this only because he/she has no other alternative for sustenance. Now, as to that, we're certainly aware that physical force is not the only means sufficient to constitute an authoritarian imposition. The political scientist Robert Dahl has spoken of a spectrum of influence terms that involve rational persuasion, manipulative persuasion, inducement, power, coercion, and physical force. Only the first is technically a morally acceptable influence term; however, the rest are not of equivalent immorality, but instead grow progressively worse. It seems reasonable to me to define the latter three as unacceptable authoritarian impositions that act contrary to the principles of liberty, and that because of the critical role that capital plays in modern society, the deprivation of such at least constitutes an application of "power," if not "coercion."

    Now, there is also significant criticism of capitalism that can be advanced on account of its inefficiency. Let's examine several trade-offs between different types of efficiency that occur in the capitalist economy. Firstly, consider the argument that unemployment is a necessary condition in the prevention of underemployment, as put by Shapiro and Stiglitz's Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device. Consider this quotation:

    Now, unemployment constitutes a form of static inefficiency. But since a sufficiently high rate of equilibrium unemployment is necessary to prevent workers from shirking, it's a necessary form of static inefficiency, because were it not present, underemployment would exist in the internal firm. External inefficiency thus becomes a necessary form of internal efficiency in the capitalist economy. Now, aside from that, we could also consider the trade-off between static and dynamic efficiency that occurs in the capitalist economy. For example, consider Jon Elster and Karl Ove Moene's explanation.

    We can derive the respective portions of that explanation from Joan Robinson's The Accumulation of Capital and Kenneth Arrow's Essays in the Theory of Risk-Bearing. Next, we can focus on the conflict between stimulus to innovation and the rapid spread of innovations, as noted by Robin Hahnel in In Defense of Democratic Planning:

    Now, I personally advocate libertarian socialism, which is based around the worker-owned enterprise and labor cooperative, which is not only the means of maximizing productivity and general efficiency (for example, principal-agent problems are eliminated through the unification of ownership and control in the hands of the workers themselves), but also the means of bypassing information problems in a socialist economy, and thus partially bypassing the socialist calculation debate. Regardless, let's first examine these methods of firm organization and the manner in which the capitalist economy obstructs their formation. The empirical literature almost unanimously indicates the superior efficiency of workers' ownership and management; as put by Paul B. Lumberg, "[t]here is scarcely a study in the entire literature which fails to demonstrate that satisfaction in work is enhanced or. . .productivity increases occur from a genuine increase in worker's decision-making power. Findings of such consistency, I submit, are rare in social research." For example, consider Doucouliagos's Worker participation and productivity in labor-managed and participatory capitalist firms: A meta-analysis. As he notes in the abstract:

    Doucouliagos's meta-analysis is useful not only because of its status as such (thus incorporating the results of many studies into its analysis), but also because of its indication of different efficiency levels between the worker-owned enterprise and the labor cooperative, which indicate that full-fledged democracy and worker input results in efficiency gains above and beyond mere ownership schemes. However, the most critical point here is that these organizational structures cannot be implemented en masse in the capitalist economy. Capitalism is of course not at all centered around a "free market"; it's based on largely imperfect markets with high rates of failure. Hence, market and wealth concentration create forms of power such as monopolistic and more broadly oligopolistic conditions that prevent the entry of new firms into a labor market characterized by the presence of more powerful and well established firms, regardless of the ability of the more productive firms to utilize resources more efficiently. First, consider negative externalities generated by the capitalist financial system, as well as conscious efforts to not aid cooperatives and related entities because they constitute abnormalities in the labor market. As put by Jaroslav Vanek:

    It's the critical factor of the latter firms' sheerly greater access to financial capital and greater productive resources that endows them with the ability to defeat all competition, not their greater efficiency levels. This is why capitalism is antithetical to legitimately competitive market competition where market socialism, for example, would not be. And that's merely the consequence of an interest of the financial class in maintaining conditions that will benefit them even if they are unproductive, and illustrates the conflicts between profit and productivity that arise in the capitalist economy. As put by Herbert Gintis:

    Hence, aside from mere negative externalities and unintentional consequences of market concentration that worker-owned enterprises and labor cooperatives (particularly the latter) are faced with, we also have to confront the reality of consciously unscrupulous business practices that more powerful competitors will be prone to engage in. Just as a quick example, underselling by local competitors can be considered a form of this, which any consistent libertarian or supporter of legitimately competitive market exchange should oppose. Consider this letter of the 19th century libertarian social theorist and philosopher John Stuart Mill:

    This simply scores to illustrate Vanek's point that "[t]he capitalist economy is not a true market economy because in western capitalism, as in Soviet state capitalism, there is a tendency towards monopoly. Economic democracy tends toward a competitive market." The consolidation of the private ownership of the means of production by the financial class prevents fair market competition and maximization of efficiency.
     
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  10. Toro
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    Toro Diamond Member

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    Capitalism is the greatest creator of wealth and increased living standards ever.
     

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