Democracy


#965

Although some of the worst environmental degradation has taken place in “socialist” countries, so there is probably plenty of blame to share amongst the supposedly competing systems…


#966

isms are only part of the story.

people and their actions are most of the rest of it.

There is overlap in the Venn diagram, but not total enclosure.


#967

so far I’ve voted for Obama (the second time) :roll_eyes:, Ayanna Presley, and culture-war ballot initiatives in MN and MA, in case you want one small data point :wink:


#968

Fascinating…

I have felt that sense of no future since first hearing it in the 70s… which maybe means we’re living in the post-apocalypse already…

And of course the future ultimately must be on the other side of the end of the past…

This kind of thinking makes things feel very psychedelic…


#969

This is encouraging and I agree wholeheartedly about the gerrymandering issue - coming from one of the most gerrymandered states in the country for the 2016 election.

Here is one thing I saw although this is speaking to midterm elections:


#970

That’s an excellent question!

First of all, a minor clarification: When I wrote “personal” I should have written “private” - as someone has pointed out.

There is no clear documentation of how the Buddha lived, but it’s likely that he was a monk who was supported by voluntary donations. I’ve traveled in Thailand, but not India - my experience is that the Buddhist monasteries are supported by food and money that are voluntarily donated. These donations are private wealth transacted in a way that is perfectly compatible with capitalism. As far as I know, there was no government use of force, or threat of force, to redistribute the food and other capital needed by the monks to survive.

Granted, the monastery itself operates as a commune. Then again, even family units in a capitalist society operate as communally. I’m making a distinction versus the economic model of the whole of society (in a region).

Taking things a little deeper, one way to define “progress” is to show a correlation between living conditions in an area and some particular factor, throughout time as well as geographical space. I am not aware of any correlation between the practice of Buddhism in any area with the relative prosperity of that area versus the rest of the world. In comparison, there is a strong correlation between the degree of capitalism (private ownership) and the positive general social welfare of a particular nation.

This is not to say anything negative about Buddhism at all, but it would seem that Buddhism helps the individual, but not necessarily the society or the general quality of life in a given area. Meanwhile, despite the abuses that have occurred as part of colonial expansion (something that is not capitalism), capitalism has brought the poorest people in the world to a level far above any in history.


#971

This is certainly true for the power benefiting, but how does the general social welfare of the colonized or exploited people factor into the sum total? Is it still net “positive?”


#972

Western democracies aren’t in their best times,
something didn’t work.

The US are leading by an idiot who managed to represent something new (really?!) better than the unpresentable counterpart.

Great Britain is leaving the EU without a real plan, an embarrassing improvisation made only to follow the caprice of a bad-informed electorate.

Italy, my country, is ruled by a so much awful government that is the worst that I remember, and it has a large consent between the population.
Sadly oppositions are ridiculous.

I don’t vote since 2011.

In the meantime we must face the reality:
Western democracies aren’t the center of the world anymore.

Look at the skylines of the Asian cities, from the Arabic peninsula to Cina, from Indonesia to India.

Those are countries that has faced a great economic growth in the last years and they are now the real center of new capitalism (sometimes married with authoritarian governments).

Are we stand still in our decadent systems arguing for a past that cannot return,
Often becoming preys of different kinds of populism?

I don’t have an answer.


#973

Colonization and exploitation are not capitalism. Capitalism requires private property rights, and colonization completely disregards the property rights of the conquered.

The data I’ve seen refers to the quality of life from the poorest to the richest in a country that respects private property rights within its own legal system. In those countries, the poorest are better off than the average person in other countries where private property is not universally respected, such as dictatorships or communist governments.

Whenever you have one country that’s being colonized by another, that’s property for some at the expense of others. There are different words for that situation than capitalism. Forgive my ignorance, but is colonization still occurring? Isn’t that part of history? I thought that empire was dead?


#974

are you like a lobbyist for capitalism? no one believes you. you sound like you live in a bubble and cant see out of it.

edit: also yes colonization, slavery, and genocide are all still happeningin this country. if you dont understand this then we live in primarily different realities.


#975

So explain how capitalism can produce the current situation, mentioned earlier - 3 Men - Jeff Bezos, Bill gates and Warren Buffet own as much private wealth as the bottom 150,000,000?
so 3/150,000,000 is a broken system.
I cant even begin to explain that chasm and anyone that thinks capitalism in the real world has any use in our surviving and thriving is on the wrong side of history - rents/mortgages are the new noose
Its revolution time


#976

Forgive my ignorance, but is colonization still occurring? Isn’t that part of history? I thought that empire was dead?

Postcolonialism


#977
  • private prisons are used for slave labor in this country
  • ice is commiting genocide against refugees and using the ones they are holding in private prisons for slave labor
  • native folks are still experiencing genocide and colonization and still exist despite what many white people think
  • black folks are still experiencing genocide, eugenics, and slavery through private prisons and systemic racism in this hell hole country

~the wonderful fruits of liberal democracy and capitalism~

edit: literally rn, the last few weeks, the portland police have been found colluding with local nazis to help them bash queers and trans folks around portland. there have been many attacked. the police in this country are nazis and serial killers with get out of jail free cards and they greatly contribute to this overall landscape of genocide, racism, and hell.


#978

a lot of days i feel like we live in hell tbh

edit: but atleast there is nina simone to listen to


#979

America decided some 240ish years ago that the political power and the freedom of a nation should not be concentrated in a king or a ruling elite, but distributed among the people. It was called “self-evident.”

But wealth is power too. It should be self-evident that a nation where all the wealth is concentrated in the hands of one individual – or an elite few – is a poor nation and an unjust one. Surely it is in the nation’s best interests to maintain a more equitable wealth distribution?

This doesn’t have to mean guillotines and revolution, or that the state owns everything. Those are not just or ideal either. But it does mean putting restrictions on capitalism. It does mean not trusting that the market will take care of everything.


#980

I have two personal disagreements with that statement.

The first is that the concentration of wealth is a problem. I do not think that it is. The problem is people at the bottom of the income ladder going hungry and having to ration medical care. The concentration of wealth itself isn’t the issue. The issue is our failure to provide for people who got unlucky rolls on the cosmic dice game. (if you want to scratch deeper into that: I refuse to believe that people can work themselves out of poverty yet choose to remain in it. The universe is not made out of multiple outcomes. We shouldn’t be basing policy on the notion that things could have been different. They couldn’t have.)

I also don’t see the founders intents as being a reasonable point for supporting an argument. The founders were literally a bunch of smugglers, slave owners and terrorists. The notion that the constitution would remain largely unchanged for 240 years should be alien to anyone with a critical eye. Originalism is dangerous.


#981

I think you’re just trolling but I’m cool with that and will play along. I’d be very interested to see this data you refer to. I believe quality of life is virtually impossible to quantify, particularly cross-culturally, except in the most objective, crudest ways but I’ll spot you that one. I’m more interested in a study that would manage to quantify and compare wealth earned by a country and wealth stolen by a country in order to make this comparison (via colonialism or just regular old coercion/exploitation. for instance, if country large A pays the self-dealing corrupt govt of small country B some amount of money in order for preferential treatment at a port of call (or whatever), is that profit generated for country A a result of the respect for private property or is it counted against them as being exploitative of another’s private property rights?). Does wealth amassed 200 years ago through slavery or severe exploitation and reinvested count as “legitimate capitalist” wealth? and on and on… I just don’t see how you can untangle these things in any meaningful way statistically.


#982

if we agree that this is a problem, can I ask what mechanism you propose to solve that?


#983

In my mind these two things go hand in hand. People balanced on edge between security and insecurity (that ever-present precariousness that threatens to nudge people off that edge where so many presently exist) is what allows those of extreme wealth to prevent those of lesser means from seizing security- fear, coercion, exploitation.

This I completely agree with. Thomas Jefferson (who… well, whatever) supposedly thought the constitution should be rewritten every 19 years or once a generation approximately. Imagine that in the USA!


#984

The cause of these things is the same. An economy has finite resources, if a small few control 99% of the resources and refuse to voluntarily share it, then the rest of the people have nothing. Not to mention that the few with all the resources don’t even contribute what they are currently legally required to, and that the rules are made by and for the wealthy based on some deeply flawed economic models (i.e. trickle down).

If we as a society want to provide for people in need that money/resource has to come from somewhere. The point of taxation is that the money should come from those who make more of it, and then be redistributed as services through the government. Clearly that has totally failed in the USA.

And to the defence of capitalism by @rsdio - once again you’re arguing based on raw economic theory. The way you explain captitalism has never actually existed in reality. Capitalism as a functional system is failing us as it runs up against the reality of humanity.