'What We Owe to Each Other'

Discussion in 'Economy' started by midcan5, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. midcan5
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    midcan5 liberal / progressive

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    If you learn one thing as you go through this short time we call life, it is that people do not think. Situations, conversations, ideas go into our heads and some piece of the mind connects with another piece and instead of thinking about the topic it pulls the answer out immediately. If we wait we come back with the same answer, only now we think we thought about it. Have you ever wondered why you dream such nonsense or why certain things will create some feeling of dread or happiness or whatever? It is because much of what we are is simply our mind's evolutionary process at work. But maybe, sometimes, we can take those synapses and move them around so that next time something different comes out. Possible?

    Anyway that is my intro to an interesting interview in the 'Boston Review.' Quote below for my wingnut friends who often tell me how much they appreciate my quotes and book links.

    "Most interactions with people that you trust, people that you love, or people that just need to cooperate with on an immediate basis, take the form of “From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs.” It doesn’t matter if you’re working for the government, working for a corporation, or working in your family; if you need to fix the toilet because it’s leaking and you say “Hand me the wrench,” the other guy doesn’t say “What do I get for that?” It’s not an exchange; people act according to their abilities to chip in. Ironically communism is applied because it’s the only thing that works; it’s the most efficient way to allocate resources. Thus I like to say that you could argue that capitalism is just a bad way of organizing communism." David Graeber

    Boston Review — David V. Johnson: What We Owe to Each Other (David Graeber, Debt)
     
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  2. Katzndogz
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    Katzndogz Gold Member

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    We owe each other nothing but what we choose to share. That's freedom. It's why communisim isn't freedom.
     
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  3. syrenn
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    I don't owe anyone anything.... nor do i feel that others owe me anything..


    i give of myself..... i will revolt against anyone telling me i own them anything they do not deserve.
     
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  4. Oddball
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    The OP has to be the biggest strawman argument I've seen posited as "serious thought" in a looooooooong time.

    There's a vast gulf between voluntarily working together to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome, and having the fruits of your labor extorted by politicians and bureaucrats, under their self-centered POV of what's supposedly in my best interests.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012
  5. Crackerjack
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    Crackerjack Too sick for a cure

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    "Capitalism is a bad way of organizing communism"? What a load of horseshit.

    You owe it to me to leave me the hell alone, both individually and by proxy (the state), unless and until we contract otherwise. And, since I didn't sign any social contracts, you can forget that one, too.
     
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  6. Katzndogz
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    Katzndogz Gold Member

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    It's really more meaningful than that. It supposes that there is a basic debt of survival that everyone owes to everyone else and should not be dependent on payment.If

    Someone would hand you a wrench if they understand that at some time in the future you might be in the position of handing them a wrench. Requiring payment for handing off a wrench means you have hired a plumber and must pay him for his services. Services that should be supplied free of charge because the plumber owes the services to the community.
     
  7. midcan5
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    midcan5 liberal / progressive

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    I see that only the Robinson Crusoes have replied with the usual self interest meme conservatives have hard wired into their minds at birth. Is it at birth? Good question but we'll leave it for later. Any interested person can look back to history and see the success that fairness and equality bring to a society and just as simply look at third world nations were inequality exists. But of course they do not, they assume as my Rand example below tries to show, things are just as they are because they are just as they are, at least for them.

    http://www.usmessageboard.com/economy/50564-libertarianism-in-a-nutshell-ii.html

    More stuff for those who think a bit and don't simply emote as conservatives / libertarians do.

    Edge: THE NEW SCIENCE OF MORALITY

    On the Evolutionary Edge of Altruism: A Game-Theoretic Proof of Hamilton's Rule for a Simple Case of Siblings
     
  8. Truthmatters
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    I disagree, I think we can choose to owe each other kindness , fairness, love, respect, help and compassion.

    Its a choice we can make.

    If you choose to owe no one anything will the people who love you be proud of you for it?
     
  9. Truthmatters
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    who hurt you so badly you habor nothing but contempt for your fellow man?
     
  10. Truthmatters
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    Interesting stuff.


    When you are in a family love situation the "what do I get for that?" question has been pre answered.

    You already have made a pack that designated what the person will get for that action.


    In a family are those relationships more akin to communism or capitalism?
     
  11. Katzndogz
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    A family, a well run organized family is a dictatorship.

    As citizens of a nation, we owe each other nothing. Everything must be earned from the mud up. The entire idea that an individual is owed something simply by virtue of drawing their next breath is asinine. I am OWED is the battle cry of the stupid and lazy.
     
  12. Not2BSubjugated
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    The guy's analysis of his own pass me the wrench analogy is overly simplistic and, unfortunately, incorrect. There are actually several exchanges of equity taking place simultaneously. First, on a literal level, the other guy in your family is exchanging his assistance (handing you the wrench) for the benefit of being able to share in a working toilet. If he responded to your request with, "No, get it yourself", there's a good chance that you'd be inclined to give him the finger and tell him to find another place to p*ss and sh*t.

    There's probably several opponents to this line of thought who are currently thinking that the exchange is still communism in that, if you're the only one who can fix the toilet and are thus undertaking a greater portion of the work but receiving the same communal reward (being able to share in a working toilet), then you're still participating in a "from each according to his abilities to each according to his need" situation. If only the material equity is taken into account, this seems to be the case. However, the reason that such a seemingly imbalanced exchange is occurring isn't necessarily due to any genetic predisposition to universal altruism and self sacrifice. In this case, the two people in the analogy are family. i.e. They care about each other. If it was the toilet of some random person unknown to the repair-man, it's highly debatable whether or not he'd wish to fix that toilet for the low cost of "pass me the wrench".

    The deeper exchange of equity taking place might be harder for some of you to relate to, and I'll preface by saying that I'm sure many will consider comparing emotional exchange to material exchange a cheapening of the concept of love. I don't, however, subscribe to the philosophy that there's anything inherently evil or contemptible about the concept of voluntary trade, and so I'll go on. In the case of people who care about each other, the equity in trade is, in a word, joy. Emotional positivity. The people that you love bring joy into your life, and in exchange for that joy you show them gestures of love. Again, many of you will probably reject this concept instinctively, but a desire not to see love described in these terms does not change the fact that these exchanges occur. When your brother passes you the wrench and does what little he can to contribute to the greater cause of fixing the sh*tter, you have no qualms about the obvious difference in the size of your contribution because of the emotional positivity he brings to your life.

    Another invisible currency that must be taken into account is moral equity (which is still basically a type of emotional equity). Let's say you can't stand the family member passing you the wrench, but you allow him to live in your house, say, out of a sense of duty. As a matter of principal, you allow this person, who overall brings to your life emotional negativity, to live in your house and share in this toilet you're about to fix because your personal code of ethics doesn't condone abandoning a family member. The exchange taking place here is you giving access to your home, complete with a working toilet that's mostly your doing, in return for the maintenance of the integrity of your principals. The cost, if you were to leave him having to p*ss and sh*t in the corner of his living space, would be the compromise of those principals and the emotional negativity that accompanies compromising your beliefs. Not to mention the obvious inconveniences perpetuated by a situation devoid of a suitable dumping space.

    Next we come to social currency. Suppose you don't like this family member passing the wrench and your personal principals, for whatever reason, don't exclude the possibility of leaving him toiletless, yet you grudgingly put in the majority of the work for the same benefit of a working toilet. When you don't demand physical payment then and there you, in all likelihood, avoid social fallout in the form of mutual family, friends, and acquaintances thinking less of you and perhaps confronting you for callous treatment of a family member. For a lot of you (us), the next time something communal (bathroom, kitchen, common area furniture) needed to be fixed that he -was- capable of fixing, you'd probably want him to fix it because you did the toilet, and if he disagreed with having to fix it, you'd probably use the fact that you fixed the toilet as leverage (leverage=means=currency) to get him to do it anyway. Many people probably choose not to exercise social equity in this manner, as it is common via current mainstream philosophy to consider it petty to "tit for tat" someone, even if you don't care about them (see moral equity, one paragraph up). This doesn't negate the leverage's existence.

    The broader point the author of that quote was trying to make is that people often voluntarily undertake a greater portion of random, day to day tasks due to a greater capacity to accomplish, even though their material rewards aren't necessarily any greater than others benefiting from the task but putting in less, and that this proves that communism is simply the natural order of things. Clearly there are other facets at play that he chooses to ignore, and thus his argument is far from definitive.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
  13. Not2BSubjugated
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    He's correct at the end, though. Communism is the most efficient way to allocate resources: via singular, inarguable authority. When multiple bodies share control of everything, you have to go through the trouble of getting them all to agree before you can move everything around to where you want it. A singular government body in control, though, that makes it much more efficient to get the wealth of an entire nation moving with singular purpose. The most efficient is if you got one person that controls everything. Then there's no parliamentary bickering over what to do with it, and all the allocations are super efficient. We should probably just vote in an emperor and grant him absolute economic power, so we make sure everything's allocated as smoothly as possible.

    Again I ask, does this shit read as stupid as it sounds in my head as I type it out?
     
  14. iamwhatiseem
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    iamwhatiseem Gold Member

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    As soon as midcan (or anyone else for that matter) shows me a single example of a successful communist nation where the quality of life is at or better than a free market system - we will listen.
    Until then - there is a reason that communism has failed over and over and over.
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWsx1X8PV_A]Milton Friedman - Greed - YouTube[/ame]
     
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  15. Oddball
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    And the communist douchebag has replied to those replies with his all to familiar self-absorbed strawmen, haughty characterizations, and finger-wagging paternalism, not the least of which being that the only supposedly thinking people are collectivist authoritarian statists.

    Then, of course, we get links to the thoughts of others, as a flimsy proxy in order to cover up for your shameless snobbery and intellectual bankruptcy.

    Loser.
     
  16. Oddball
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    Communism doesn't work because we just haven't found the right communists to run such a state! :rolleyes:
     
  17. iamwhatiseem
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    iamwhatiseem Gold Member

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    Of course, if only we could find a group of people who have not one grain of self-interest, cannot be corrupted by power and influence, who are honest in every way and impervious to their own egos - and then - if they can convince every citizen that their importance is only measured by what they have to offer and not what they take - then communism will work flawlessly.
    Not even heaven operated this way.
     
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  18. Not2BSubjugated
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    Why choose to -owe- when you could simply choose to give? Why make a moral imperative out of subjecting yourself to degrees of bondage when you can give kindness, fairness, love, respect, help, and compassion of your own volition?

    However you choose to label it, the difference with imposing communism upon everyone is that you're choosing, for everyone, that they owe these things because it's your moral imperative. My moral imperative says that who I owe what isn't your choice to make, nor is it my choice to decide who -you- owe what. Each person enters into his own trades and accepts his own debts as a matter of his own volition, or else said debts are invalid. Forcing communist morality on those who don't subscribe to it make you no different from religious right wingers preventing gays from getting married. Both groups seek to impose their debatable moral imperatives on society as a whole, regardless of the fact that moral superiority is purely subjective in absence of definitive evidence of the existence of a singular, physical moral standard.

    That's why it's live and let live. You can't prove your notion of reality is correct, and I can't prove that mine is, so if either of us claim definitive knowledge that the other is acting wrongly, that one of us is utterly, contemptibly full of shit.
     
  19. Truthmatters
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    I feel very sorry you had such a horrible childhood.

    A family is actually supposed to be built on love not fear
     
  20. Katzndogz
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    Katzndogz Gold Member

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    Communisim doesn't work because the essential nature of communisim is equality and fairness. All is reduced to it's lowest common denominator and distributed with absolute fairness so that no one has more or less than anyone else. Communisim denies human nature to achieve and excel. Communisim denies human nature to fail, or be lazy or any other human condition.
     

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