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Was Marx Right About Capitalism?


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You make the most money by innovation. That IS capitalism. Deploying capital to IMPROVE what exists and cash in on your entrepreneurship.

Again, you're just blinded by propaganda. The evidence against this is everywhere.

Landowners haven't innovated anything, ever, and yet they are much wealthier than the scientists and engineers who have invented so much.

We (society) benefit the most by innovation.

You, the out-competed capitalist, might make the most money by rigging the game. Get something banned, get a patent, a monopoly, claim you own an idea, a location, whatever.

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...

As I said, ideas about free markets and voluntary trade are as utopian as ideas about peaceful cooperatives and altruistic workers.

^ The moneyshot.

Incidentally, and at the risk of derailing this thread: one of the things that I like about open source economics (as opposed to traditional capitalism) is how parasitic behaviour is largely self-defeating. Something that neither capitalism nor socialism can manage.

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Capitalism has existed since the dawn of humans. As long as one person improved on the stick sold by another person.

Communism has existed since the damn of humans. As long as one person helped his friend in some stone-age themed way.

Of course these things are ill-defined, but if you want to define capitalism as trade, then there's very little to argue about. Similarly, if you want to define communism as charity or altruistic co-operation, then that too is a beautiful, entirely beneficial thing that has been around since the dawn of time.

It's not wrong, it's just pointless.

Of course, by that definition what we have is not capitalism, but nor was the USSR communist.

For that matter the Vatican can't be a theocracy because 'religious people don't believe in abusing children'.

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You are confusing a rigged market for capitalism. The govt is propping up the landowners, by confiscating the capital of the savers, capital that should have been deployed in innovation. That is socialism, organisation of the economy by govt. If the govt did not subsidise the landowners they would have been wiped out circa 2007.

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Thus we get the paradox that even as our capacity to create abundance increases, the number of people able to access that abundence declines- leading to a self reinforcing dynamic in which competitive forces drive producers to seek to eliminate workers in order to capture a share of their dwindling aggregate wages.

That should be the role of companies and governments, to destroy jobs. Job creation should be done by the market and the market only. Everyone else has a duty, forced by the market, to destroy jobs. Thats a good thing, not a bad thing. If we had any other attitude, we'd all have a job, but that job would be as a farm labourer working from dawn to dusk on a subsistent lifestyle.

Its job destruction that creates wealth through the mechanism of innovation and productivity, freeing up labour to exploit new market areas.

Who knows where we would be if that was allowed to operate unimpeded. Maybe the NHS wouldnt employ thousands of people whose jobs could easily be done by robots, maybe they would instead be creating new sectors, space travel, colonization of alien planets, who knows.

Dont fight it, embrace it.

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Communism preserves the status quo by the govt keeping otherwise failing industries on life support. There is no creative destruction. What's more, under communism the price mechanism is broken, there is no open bidding to determine price and so investors cannot determine where there is scarcity and resources cannot be correctly allocated.

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Again, you're just blinded by propaganda. The evidence against this is everywhere.

Landowners haven't innovated anything, ever, and yet they are much wealthier than the scientists and engineers who have invented so much.

We (society) benefit the most by innovation.

You, the out-competed capitalist, might make the most money by rigging the game. Get something banned, get a patent, a monopoly, claim you own an idea, a location, whatever.

but your blaming the system of capitalism, for all the businesses, the things its produces and the innovations it brings, and the advancement of society, due to landowners who produce nothing and dont innovate.

if we took away low interest rates, restrictions on building on land (both government controlled issues) and brought down the cost of land, would you still want to get rid of the advantages that capitalism brings?

so if i brought down the cost of housing by 50% would you still say the everyday effect off capitalism, producing things, new technology etc.. is bad for society.

id argue if house prices were low youd look around you and say your money actually goes extremely far.

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To me the point of capitalism is that it allows the free movement and application of capital. It allows someone with an idea and the will to raise money to start or expand a business without taking on debt.

Capitalism is great leveller that gives everyone a chance.

I must admit I've never read Marx. Does he have anything to say on capitalism as a catalyst for innovation?

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You are confusing a rigged market for capitalism. The govt is propping up the landowners, by confiscating the capital of the savers, capital that should have been deployed in innovation. That is socialism, organisation of the economy by govt. If the govt did not subsidise the landowners they would have been wiped out circa 2007.

No, you are confusing the real world for utopia. What we have is capitalism, anything else is just an economist's day-dream.

Is it rigged? Damn right it is. The rich don't, for the most part, get rich by free-trade.

Socialism is not 'organisation of the economy by government', and bailing out banks does not fit any definition of socialism however far you stretch it.

but your blaming the system of capitalism, for all the businesses, the things its produces and the innovations it brings, and the advancement of society, due to landowners who produce nothing and dont innovate.

if we took away low interest rates, restrictions on building on land (both government controlled issues) and brought down the cost of land, would you still want to get rid of the advantages that capitalism brings?

so if i brought down the cost of housing by 50% would you still say the everyday effect off capitalism, producing things, new technology etc.. is bad for society.

id argue if house prices were low youd look around you and say your money actually goes extremely far.

Innovators in the modern economy are typically not well remunerated compared to people who control corporations or land. I think the idea that companies sometimes grow rich by innovation is true, but individuals don't. Of course, much of that innovation is tied up with patents, so the real game is to control patents.

Anyway, you're missing my point I think.

Trade is a good thing, but trade isn't capitalism. What we have is capitalism, warts and all, and any other definition is just Utopian.

I agree that banking, monopoly and landlordism are the immediate problems. Where I differ is that I think these things are inevitable if your only idea is to hand more and more power to people who already control these things, and those people do not always sit in Westminster.

Edited by (Blizzard)
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Again, you're just blinded by propaganda. The evidence against this is everywhere.

Landowners haven't innovated anything, ever, and yet they are much wealthier than the scientists and engineers who have invented so much.

We (society) benefit the most by innovation.

You, the out-competed capitalist, might make the most money by rigging the game. Get something banned, get a patent, a monopoly, claim you own an idea, a location, whatever.

But how is that a problem with capitalism?

If a "scientist" falsified their results or used dubious methods. Would we say the problem was With science?

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You are confusing a rigged market for capitalism. The govt is propping up the landowners, by confiscating the capital of the savers, capital that should have been deployed in innovation. That is socialism, organisation of the economy by govt. If the govt did not subsidise the landowners they would have been wiped out circa 2007.

But what you describe is the capitalist system end game where the system can only be perpetuated by socialising the losses and by propping up corporate profits by money printing, taxation and consumer debt. The result: a world where the vast majority are enslaved into a world of compulsory consumerism funded by the state in order to maintain the elite. This was always known to people like Marx but the plebs still cling on to the belief that capitalism works because so far it has appeared to. The "free market" idealogues will probably still believe it works even when the point is reached whereby we have a totalitarian world working for the benefit not of States (communist or otherwise) but for the benefit of corporate CEO's and the mega rich.

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No we don't. As many people in this thread have been pointing out.

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Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the "Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again". Hamish is shocked and declares that "No Scotsman would do such a thing". The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald again; and, this time, finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says, "No true Scotsman would do such a thing".[2]

No true communist

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No, you are confusing the real world for utopia. What we have is capitalism, anything else is just an economist's day-dream.

Is it rigged? Damn right it is. The rich don't, for the most part, get rich by free-trade.

Socialism is not 'organisation of the economy by government', and bailing out banks does not fit any definition of socialism however far you stretch it.

Innovators in the modern economy are typically not well remunerated compared to people who control corporations or land. I think the idea that companies sometimes grow rich by innovation is true, but individuals don't. Of course, much of that innovation is tied up with patents, so the real game is to control patents.

Anyway, you're missing my point I think.

Trade is a good thing, but trade isn't capitalism. What we have is capitalism, warts and all, and any other definition is just Utopian.

I agree that banking, monopoly and landlordism are the immediate problems. Where I differ is that I think these things are inevitable if your only idea is to hand more and more power to people who already control these things, and those people do not always sit in Westminster.

but its what works that matters. a fair system, like communism, can be counter productive, because it doesnt work.

no one is advocating a fully free system anymore, except maybe traktion. no one has an issue with regulation etc.. the government can play a role, but we dont want the government to play too big a role because its often poor and incompetent at doing things.

markets generally however are self regulating, because the natural rates of interest should be much higher than they are now. banks should have gone bankrupt, people who borrowed too much should have had their homes repossessed.

the destruction of industries and destruction of capital, which occurs in capitalism, is a good thing, but its socially unacceptable, so id argue sometimes the biggest problem is that the status quo and more of the status quo is often the greatest hinderance.

capitalism often ruffles the feathers and its socialist policies that want to keep things the same as they were yesterday.

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The problem is that when you bully the populace to become "capitalist man and woman" they actually like it, and think it's for their own good. It's considered inherently virtuous and noble.

We know that's not true, people for millenia have been constantly bullied into some form of collectivism, be it feudalism, fascism, or socialism, always for the benefit of a small number of individuals i.e. a ruling elite wielding brutal force (the ideology and semantics of such systems vary but the goal is the same, control or ownership of the means of production, such that those in charge can enjoy the benefits of any surplus).

The last two hundred years or so are the exception to the general rule of history and have seen a time when individuals have had at least some freedom to pursue what they would otherwise do quite naturally in the absence of threats and violence i.e. improve their lot through trade and invention because their surplus and savings haven't been handed over under duress.

I would also say that it is collectivists that are keen to extol the moral virtue of their particular brand of such a system and then use that as an excuse to declare those that disagree by logical extension as immoral and a target for punishment, expropriation, and violence.

Edited by GradualCringe
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^ The moneyshot.

Incidentally, and at the risk of derailing this thread: one of the things that I like about open source economics (as opposed to traditional capitalism) is how parasitic behaviour is largely self-defeating. Something that neither capitalism nor socialism can manage.

Capitalism = private ownership of the means of production.

Collectivism (socialism, fascism, feudalism) = state ownership or control of the means of production.

Copyright is a state mandated form of rent seeking.

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Communism has existed since the damn of humans. As long as one person helped his friend in some stone-age themed way.

Of course these things are ill-defined, but if you want to define capitalism as trade, then there's very little to argue about. Similarly, if you want to define communism as charity or altruistic co-operation, then that too is a beautiful, entirely beneficial thing that has been around since the dawn of time.

It's not wrong, it's just pointless.

Of course, by that definition what we have is not capitalism, but nor was the USSR communist.

For that matter the Vatican can't be a theocracy because 'religious people don't believe in abusing children'.

Capitalism = private ownership of the means of production.

Collectivism (socialism, fascism, feudalism) = state ownership or control of the means of production.

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But how is that a problem with capitalism?

If a "scientist" falsified their results or used dubious methods. Would we say the problem was With science?

Nice analogy.

Looks like a problem with the culture in which science operates. Publish-or-perish, Agendas and Taboos ('this is what we want to prove'), funding regimes, personal empires.

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Socialism is not 'organisation of the economy by government', and bailing out banks does not fit any definition of socialism however far you stretch it.

That's not correct, socialism is "state ownership of the means of production" (if the state owns the means of production it has to decide who gets what).

Bailing out the banks was a profoundly collectivist policy i.e. our savings and future savings are being stolen for the benefit of a group favoured by the state.

Edited by GradualCringe
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Socialism/Communism can only work when sufficient numbers realise that the alternative only works for <1% of the population. In the current state too many people are under the illusion that the alternative works for them. It is the job of politicians who serve the <1% to keep that illusion going. They seem to be doing a pretty good job.

Socialism requires state ownership of the means of production, that means that a small elite (< 1%) decide who gets what.

The bit where scarcity is eliminated, and we all become "social thinkers" and the government whithers away is never reached, because long before that it descends into totalitarian rent seeking and brutality.

Edited by GradualCringe
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what you keep missing the point is that driving down prices increases the value of the wages for the people buying the stuff which is the most important thing.

And what you keep missing is that a man with no job does not have any wages-so to him prices are irrelevant.

And the more people who find themselves without work the less bargaining power remains in the hands of those who might try to enforce a wage claim.

The point is that the system is driven to eliminate the wages that the system requires in order to function- in that sense capitalism has a death wish built into it's DNA.

So our increased productivity risks creating not wealth for all but poverty for most leading to a collapse of the system.

The issue is access- there are people going to bed hungry in places where supermarkets are piled high with food- because they have nothing to exchange in return for access to that food.

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