Democracy


#863

Ok…but it’s not a thing to disagree with. This is how it happened in history. I’ve just told you how the categories for the marginalized members of our society are formed.
Edit: I can give more examples…???


#864

Let me ask another question though: Why don’t we see any pharma companies that are more like Walmart? Why are they ALL so expensive? Hint: It’s not just unbridled capitalism that created that mess.


#865

I’ll attempt to stop this derail (apologies). I added the bit about the uni of Toronto and insulin to imply that publicly funded research created a thing that changed the course of history.
That those researchers basically gave away their “property” for the benefit of mankind.

No profit motive required.

That it costs $300 today is a separate and sad point as t doesn’t need to be this expensive. It’s altruism we should be maximising, not profit.

But that was just a fun addendum to my post. I’d really like to hear what people think about cooperatives, which are seemingly antithetical to the idea of capitalism.


#866

Let’s not mistake US pharma profit motives for general state. In Canada the cost of insulin, for example, is about 1/4 of the US retail cost.


#867

I disagree with your position (not you of course). Mainly it is because of the ridiculous nature of the whole argument. Most of us on this forum are the owners of various synthesizers, are we not? Would we classify a synthesizer as a necessity of life? I don’t think so, so it’s fair to say that we each enjoy a modicum of excess.

We all are the beneficiary of this unimaginable violence, as you put it. (an opinion I do not share with you.) I say this because I’m unaware of any nation that has existed or exists now that is not responsible for unimaginable violence in some way, shape, or form.

I find it amusing that some can feel as you do, surrounded by the excess of this life, and put this out?

If this is more to you than just some compelling philosophical debate, how are you undoing the illicit gains you now enjoy? Would the mere fact that you are here, on this forum, not already deflate the sincerity of your position?

I’m only speaking about a US problem. :+1: Perhaps I should have kept it more general, but I suppose then I’d be even less qualified than I already am to speak about anything political. :smile:


#868

I think this example was very relevant. The capitalist argument is usually some generalized statement that would point to “without profit motive we wouldn’t have XYZ” but of course that’s not always the case and is never the case entirely.

There are so many other things that got us to where we are right now as a global society- early on the development of agriculture, tools, language, cooperative society, more recent advances are also due to education, building on past successes, shared knowledge/information, and capitalism and socialism. One doesn’t even need to leave this very forum to enjoy vast amounts of music/art provided by the creators with no expectation of profit (the opposite, even(GAS is real, even for those of us who reject capitalist principles :slight_smile: )).


#870

This is kind of rambling, but:

There’s not a lot of distance between capitalism and feudalism. Nations consist of a wealthy ruling class propped up by military force, a vast labor pool and natural resources – that’s still generally true today regardless of how the specific rulers got where they are.

Today we generally recognize that you can’t just hire a band of thugs to murder your neighbor and take his stuff, and that genocide and slavery are not acceptable ways to grow one’s fortune.

But we still have repressive systems where… arguably, no one really benefits. The “privilege” is simply not belonging to a repressed class. For instance: how many white people’s lives in the US are enriched by the much higher rate of incarceration for blacks? How many cisgendered people gain in status and prosperity when a trans woman is beaten?

Do you think we could still have synthesizers if, for instance, we didn’t steal immigrants’ children and lock them in cages? Or if oil companies weren’t allowed to build pipelines on sacred land? Or if Wal-Mart was required to pay a living wage? Or police were held accountable every time they resorted to violence? Or if Warren Buffet only had $826 million instead of $826 billion, but everyone could have a college education? Or if the US didn’t overthrow foreign governments in exchange for oil deals?

The argument of “we did all this and now we’re wealthier than we once were, therefore the things we did must have been good and we should keep doing them” doesn’t really hold up.


#871

I think that equally enjoying the excess of all we have makes this argument not really hold up as well.

But I’m going to duck out of this discussion. This stuff is frustrating for me, not because I don’t enjoy talking to people with differing opinions, but because this format is just too confining.

I would prefer to talk to people face to face about stuff like this. I should have known better. :wink:


#872

Send me or Rod a DM if you come to Porto (everyone should come to Porto :slight_smile: )


#873

This is a sort of “no true Scotsman” fallacy. We all live in this world, and unless you are a reclusive hermit with no material goods then you can’t claim to have no part in the abuses of our civilization.

We all make choices that are within a realm of compromise. It is important to recognize what those compromises are, and act for change both inside your personal abilities and in the larger context through activism/donation/etc.

Demanding purity or nothing is not going to help anyone…


#874

it is such a common reactionary talking point that it has become something of a meme


#875

Anyone who’s spent some amount of time watching right wing American news has likely seen some iteration of the hypocrite argument (“Wait a second- you mean to tell me you’re in favor of environmental protections but you drive A CAR to work!?!?! Hyuck hyuck. GOTCHA!”)

I say that just because I personally have synths I have not given up my right to advocate for my next door neighbor and across-the-globe neighbor to also have their synths!


#876

capitalis m more like crapitalism

its cool waking up everyday and realizing the baby boomers sold their souls almost whole heartedly to this racist american fantasy of capitalism. public school propaganda about economics is so gross and distorted some of yall really think the world wouldnt work without capital and innovation from rich people. rich people dont do shit but sit around and be gross old vampires. they hold back progress.


#877

I used to work for a company that literally handed out Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged to each new management training graduate. The CEO, upon retirement, went on to teach capitalism at a top private business school. It was… ingrained in the culture.

My primary problem with capitalism is that free markets simply don’t exist (in the US) anymore and its usually caused by the very players that benefit - though not all the time. There is always inequitable bargaining power and asymmetrical information which is ultimately detrimental to market participants. I can’t open a pizza shop without obtaining a license and submitting to health inspections. I can’t drive a cab without obtaining a permit. I cannot operate a hotel without obtaining a CO. I think we would all agree that the individual (the ultimate consumer and spender in an economy) is better off because of these rules that we collectively install. There are limits of course. But as technology outpaces the skillset available, how will free markets survive?

EDIT: this is all my own perspective. I’m not well-read on the subject.


#878

Successful businesses are generally motivated to block further competition and become as close to a monopoly as possible.

To that I would add:

  • our current system perpetuates inheritance as the most likely path to success. If you don’t already have money, your chances of affording a quality education, being able to start your own business or survive on your own without working to enrich someone else, are very slim.
  • externalities are a huge problem. Pollution / climate change are the big threats. There are also massive low-wage employers, “gig economy” exploiters, requirements for emotional labor, unpaid overtime / 24-hour availability etc. which shift additional burden to their own employees (and in some cases, to their families and to government assistance).
  • corporations have disproportionate power and influence over government and society compared to human citizens.
  • corporations often avoid consequences that a human citizen would not (as they say, “I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one”). They can be “too big to fail” but actual people are very small in the same eyes.
  • corporations often act as if their only responsibility is to their shareholders, and in the short term. This comes above long term survival of the company, their employees’ health and well being, their customers, their suppliers and partners, their communities and the environment

#879

This last part is what always confuses me when discussing politics with free-market advocates - its the conflation that those with the best ideas deserve the most resources so those with the most resources must also have the best ideas. This is also conflated with those with the most resources (and thus the best ideas) should also have more say in how our government operates. But nothing is more frustrating than allowing corporations (non-individuals) to pool resources in order to influence a collective government. The same company I worked for above used to also send you an envelope for a PAC donation. Supposedly, it was anonymous. But no one ever went far that didn’t contribute to the PAC. This is legal, I guess.

I should say that I’m not purely on the other end of the spectrum politically either. I’m not sure what the answer is. My guess its something along the lines of generally capitalistic (for lack of a better term) society that doesn’t penalize its citizens for being sick or poor and doesn’t allow non-individuals to have a say in who gets elected. There is a general feel in my industry that successful people are “penalized” for their success through higher taxes - as if they would choose to be unsuccessful if their earnings were reduced. I don’t believe this is the case.


#880

My employer periodically passes the hat for their PAC. Offends me deeply every time.


#881

i am also not especially well read on this but it would not surprise me if the very notion of a political spectrum (or graph, or whatever) preserves the existing hierarchy and does so by design. (if there is any historical evidence to support that claim it is not on wikipedia.) at the very least it seems to function that way in practice.

the idea that there is a spectrum, and where you lie on the spectrum can be determined, and what you think is wrong with society can be addressed by looking at the solutions presented by others on your side or in your quadrant, strikes me as a particularly egregious grand narrative.


#882

If free markets work to create the best products, then why does eBay still exist? :laughing:


#883

eBay is really a service. There are retailers/makers that utilize it as their primary storefront. Sure, lots of used stuff for sale but those goods aren’t counted in GDP and at one point were ostensibly developed in a “free market” somewhere else.