Democracy


#843

Man, here I was thinking that so much science and (academic) research has operated in an open and shared context.

I could have sworn that the scientific method was all about sharing results for verification and further development and iteration. Little did I know all those scientists were just making buku cash!

You do realize that the majority of the people of the planet live like this. Worse than that actually, they can’t even meet the basic necessities of life, and will die being ground to dust between the gears of this capitalism that you so revere. All in the name of:


#844

imagine if everyone here had a base income paid by the govenment. enough to eat and live and have some hobbies. imagine how many people could just make crafts and sell their wares. without the suffering of the slow starvation of capitalism people could actually do more, learn more, and make more. the worlds knowledge is online now and honestly schools are obsolete for a lot of things. you can teach yourself how to do anything if you look on youtube and are persistent enough in learning. but its way harder to teach yourself and have time to grow and progress when capitalism is starving you to death and all your friends are dying too.


#845

Amen to that! I mean I do feel lucky to be able to make a living but it’s not anything I would have chosen to do if capitalism wasn’t at play and I don’t know anyone who is working a job for money that they enjoy either - everyone I know is miserable. Looking forward to AI :grin:


#846

Regarding capitalism, the basic tenet is that through the division of labor our output increases, e.g. Adam Smith’s canonical example of the pin factory. Putting aside whether it could be considered good that any given output increases, modern argumentation often posits that such a division of labor is a benefit to those that participate it in it because it frees them from the onerous labor of attending to the basic necessities of life. What it often neglects is that capitalistic economics has substituted a capricious natural environment that must be laboured against with a similarly capricious human-made environment. After all most, labor now to meet the needs of living within capitalism, c.f. Hannah Arendt in The Human Condition. Perhaps more bluntly, if capitalism is the liberating force freeing us from a cruel natural world, then what will liberate us from the cruelty of our liberator?

Further, it would behove anyone trying to defend Currently Existing Capitalism to remember Adam Smith’s warning about what has become the dominant mode of capitalism – granularization of labor – in that it would produce a population whose whose “torpor of [their] mind renders [them] not only incapable of relishing or bearing a part in any rational conversation, but of conceiving any generous, noble, or tender sentiment, and consequently of forming any just judgment concerning many even of the ordinary duties of private life” (Book V Ch. I Part III Article II, Wealth of Nations ). It is enough to make one pause and wonder what democracy would really look like without the collective glioblastoma of capitalism warping our perceptions.


#847

The only reason that anyone is able to do (open and shared) science and research is that enough personal wealth has been accumulated so that they are not forced to spend every waking minute just feeding themselves.

Do you want progress to stop where things are now? Then put an end to personal wealth accumulation. Between the Soviet Union and Maoist China, over 40 million people have died thanks to the belief that the accumulation of personal wealth is a bad thing.

I’m not talking about the pursuit of profit, I’m talking about accumulating personal wealth so that they can spend time on pursuits other than basic needs. Of course, it bears mentioning that many are able to pursue scientific research because others have accumulated personal wealth.

I don’t revere capitalism. I revere the respect for life, liberty, and property. Without the freedom to accumulate personal wealth and capital, we are slaves. I’m not condoning crony capitalism where criminals use governments to hide murder, slavery, theft, and fraud. There is a direct relationship between the degree of economic freedom in a country and the prosperity of those who live there. Countries like Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland and Australia have more economic freedom than even the United States.


#848

Just not sure this term ‘personal wealth’ is serving this conversation well.

I don’t think anyone would argue against this. Protection from the elements, food, clothing etc are necessary before it is possible to do more. But surely a capitalist democracy is not the only system that can provide this? I mean that’s what many of us are stuck with for now, but if we can’t even dream of something better then…


#849

My piece on democracy is just that the identity politics need to disappear, and we need to stop putting up artificial barriers between us and fixing problems. I think it is also important to understand that as humans nothing we do will ever be perfect.

I also would submit that anything, no matter how good, taken to an extreme becomes bad.

Capitalism without restraint is bad, but with restraint it is the most enabling and empowering market system in the world. Do not look at the abuse of capitalism and make the mistake of thinking this makes capitalism itself bad. Greedy selfish people are bad and these peoples exist in ALL systems.

I also think the need to label politicians is such a waste of time. Caring what party they are from is such a waste of time. I care about the problems and the solutions those people have to them. Everything else is fluff meant to obscure the problem and the solutions.


#850

i think simply put that democracy and capatism have morphed in the collective mind to where one is blamed for the ills of the other
3 Americans own the same amount of wealth as one hundred and fifity million Americans. Warren, Bill and Jeff/150,000,000
If thats a working system ill eat my hat
Oh and they pay 0% tax effectively


#851

Them paying 0% taxes is the problem, not that they’ve been successful.

Government corruption and it’s failure to be the checks and balances of the system are this problem.

How does the US have trillions in a deficit? How does the US government exceed what it pulls in? How is this not something we are all talking about?


#852

taxes ARE the problem 100%. People/companies not paying any practically…
No one can ever explain in detail how trickle down economics work because it doesn;t
Why people arent going nuts over this im not sure 3/150,000,000 ???


#853

A condescending tone.

A narrow definition of progress.

An incomplete list of potential causes of harm.

What most of this thread is about.


#854

Another way of asking people who have identities to disappear.


#855

Alternately — a way to pretend that the dominant power identity is neutral and a non-identity.


#856

I assume you believe property is created by a person mixing their labor with previously unowned resources, or resources in the commons (already a big problem–but let’s plow through)

  • These “free” resources don’t exist anymore. 2 points:

A) Almost* every thing in civilization is owned by someone. And if you want to exist in this closed system–and you live in a capitalist society–the value that your labor generates is literally siphoned off and taken by the capitalist under threat of violence in order to generate profit for him and repay him for the investment. (This is the violence you left out of your original post by the way, so you know, it would be good to have a look at this because it isn’t fiction.)
You must realize that unless you work for yourself, you only receive a fraction of the value your labor creates. So maybe you’d say, people are free to not work for someone that expects such a big cut of the value their labor creates, but this is where your extrapolation from first principles breaks down–because it’s is the only game in town. Everyone has agreed not to pay you the value of your labor–in fact they’ve all agreed to pay you as little as possible. So you can take that deal or literally die (because in “civilization” it’s effectively illegal to not be a property owner…ie homeless. And the homeless die. There’s more of that violence because you’re not really “free” if there are no choices.) So great–work for yourself then. Which is a good idea, unless you want to work cooperatively with other people to create a thing that you couldn’t make alone. And so you become their boss…I assume (because you believe in capitalism). So now it’s not so much about believing in life, liberty, and the pursuit of property–because you’re very happy to deny someone else of the value of their labor. Of course, a solution here is starting a cooperative but I don’t know if you’d consider that socialist. Do you?

B) So in a system where everything is owned, you have to go where things are “not owned”. The industrial revolution was funded by Inca gold, The East India tea company and other companies colonized the Americans, slaughtering the …well, you know your history and talking about colonialism is such a bummer. Anyway, I’m sure you have a way to reconcile that unimaginable violence and the acquisition of those resources with the ideas of life and liberty.

Synthesis of points A and B: “Life, liberty, and property for me but not for thee.”

*The parts that are still actually not “owned” (like international waters) are being polluted at such a rate that it is threatening all life on earth, and this is a direct consequence of capitalism and I’m sure you can look that stuff up yourself. Or maybe just go outside and enjoy the sun while you can because it looks like there are no brakes on this thing and we’re driving right off a cliff into extinction.

And a bit of trivia:
[Yesterday] in 1922, researchers at the University of Toronto announced the discovery of insulin. They sold the patent for $1 so it would be available to all. 97 years later, Eli Lilly is charging ~$300 and Americans die because they can’t afford their medication.


#857

I’m not sure what you’re saying here… That in those countries people have more personal wealth? I’m not sure that’s true.

All of those places have more government funded public services (i.e. housing, healthcare, higher education) than the USA, making them a little more socialist in the way they implement their capitalist democracy.

Canada is another example. Generally high standard of living, lots of public services, still capitalist at the core but with more public infrastructure and funding.

One of the biggest contributors to personal freedom is a social safety net. (I’ve read journal papers about this, and am trying to find one again to post)

(Also Singapore is a very restrictive society with harsh governmental controls and laws, not a lot of personal freedoms.)

Then you’re defending the idea of capitalism in theory, in a way that it has never existed. None of these theoretical economic or political systems work in a vacuum. There are always bad actors, and every system has ways in which people can take advantage of them. Socialism has the rise of military dictatorship, and capitalism has the rise of cronyism and billionaires.

Maybe we need to look beyond the dogma of a specific theoretical system, and take from each what actually helps us build the society that is best for the world…


#858

Absolutely not and I’m sorry you construed it to mean that.

I’m saying that your identity isn’t what should be used to judge the merit of your position or the quality of your argument. Your experiences and what you are actually saying, thinking, and doing are what matter.

Identity politics is also the practice of trying to label someone with an identity as a way to silence their thoughts and opinions.


#859

What I didn’t understand before, so I’ll try to explain: politics creates identities. Not in a wishy-washy abstract way, but in a black and white, ink on the page kind of way.

Examples:

  1. United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind. Basically:
    The US: “Any Aryan can become a citizen…oh wait, no…we don’t mean _you_brown guy even though technically you’re correct. Here’s our new definition.”

  2. The medical community invented “homosexuality” in 1885…86?. It was a mental disorder and people with mental disorders get relieved of some of their autonomy. The new category was made. People then started self-identifying as homosexuals and they’ve been trying to secure the same rights as straight people ever since.

And other examples. Many others.

Identity politics is politics. Not as a subsection. Identities start from politics. Horse < Cart.


#860

A patent is the recipe. If it cost $1 (which in 1922 was certainly worth much more than a dollar today) and the materials, process, and labor required to make it cost significantly more, your analogy doesn’t support your argument at all. It’s apples to oranges. Unless you are suggesting that synthesizing (hey!) insulin is cheap. (consider the cost of equipment, training, materials and ingredients, etc.)

However, I will say that the pharma industry is wildly unchecked and it needs to be checked.


#861

I disagree. What you do, say, and in some cases think lead to an identity, but people are not cast in stone. We change and we learn. The way you are perceived is often wrong. Identity politics are about judging a book by a cover that someone else, in many cases, comes up with.

People who are genuine about fixing a problem don’t make that mistake, and we shouldn’t entertain it in the political arena either.


#862

Long story short, I’m Type II diabetic (with my body’s ability to produce its own insulin ruined by previous drugs I was on) and my copay for one month’s worth of drugs last week was $2400. The uninsured price is higher than that. I have high deductible insurance which also costs me $440 a month in premiums.

If I had no job and no insurance… I’d absolutely have to find some kind of assistance to at least keep me on basic insulin or I wouldn’t live very long.

https://gh.bmj.com/content/3/5/e000850

Treatment with biosimilar RHI and insulin NPH could cost ≤US$72 per year and with insulin analogues ≤US$133 per year. Estimated biosimilar prices were markedly lower than the current prices for insulin analogues. Widespread availability at estimated prices may allow substantial savings globally.