Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby Sivad on July 20th, 2017, 2:35 am 

BadgerJelly » July 19th, 2017, 10:48 pm wrote:Still looking for suggestions on how to "transition"? What kind of things do you see as being either idealistic or plausible changes?


I don't think there's ever going to be a stable post-capitalist world, not for human-type people anyway. History has pretty much shown us who and what we are, the madness isn't likely to end anytime soon and probably not all on our watch. But I'm optimistic that we can keep it going for another century or two as something better emerges from the evolutionary process. It's happened repeatedly over the last 5 million years so I'm betting that trend will continue.
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby Mossling on July 22nd, 2017, 11:34 am 

I just came across this - quite an interesting phenomenon from the wiki topic: Effective Altruism
GWWC was founded in November 2009 by Toby Ord, a moral philosopher at Oxford University, who lives on £18,000 ($27,000) per year and donates the remainder of his income to charity.[33] As of 2017, more than 2500 individuals took the pledge.[34][35]

The Founders Pledge is a similar system run by the nonprofit Founders Forum for Good where startup founders make a legally binding commitment to donate at least 2% of their personal proceeds to charity in the event that they sell their business.[36][37][38] By May 2016, one year after launch, 430 entrepreneurs had pledged, for an estimated total value of $134 million based on the founders' equity and the companies' valuation.

Maybe as AI and VR standardises education more, people will become more like these moral philosophers and self-limit their wealth?

The more I consider the idea that wealthy political voices tend to speak more loudly than poorer ones, and 'he who cries loudest gets the milk', therefore upsetting democratic ideals, the more I see limitations being put on wealth in the future - in democracies, at least.

Large donors, lobbyists, lenders, bribers - they all undermine sociopolitical equality, and the masses are apparently getting wiser and wiser to this fact; "the swamp" and so forth.
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby Braininvat on July 22nd, 2017, 1:02 pm 

Sivad » July 19th, 2017, 11:35 pm wrote:
BadgerJelly » July 19th, 2017, 10:48 pm wrote:Still looking for suggestions on how to "transition"? What kind of things do you see as being either idealistic or plausible changes?


I don't think there's ever going to be a stable post-capitalist world, not for human-type people anyway. History has pretty much shown us who and what we are, the madness isn't likely to end anytime soon and probably not all on our watch. But I'm optimistic that we can keep it going for another century or two as something better emerges from the evolutionary process. It's happened repeatedly over the last 5 million years so I'm betting that trend will continue.


We could certainly stand a genetic drift in the direction of "more bonobo, less chimp." I'm not sure "who and what we are," partly because I have always felt a little out of touch with the whole consumerist/materialist ethos and the resolution of disputes by violence. It's an ongoing thing I reflect on, FTtT. Like wondering if our technology would be past, say, 1840's level, if we weren't warlike. How far could we go, on cooperation and friendly curiosity? But that's another thread, I'm sure.
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby Sivad on July 22nd, 2017, 3:13 pm 

Braininvat » July 22nd, 2017, 10:02 am wrote:
We could certainly stand a genetic drift in the direction of "more bonobo, less chimp."


I'm thinking more in terms of directed evolution through science and technology. I don't think the singularity is very likely but it does seem plausible that within the next hundred years or so we'll be able to make significant improvements in terms of psychological temperament, cognitive ability, health, life span, etc.


I'm not sure "who and what we are," partly because I have always felt a little out of touch with the whole consumerist/materialist ethos and the resolution of disputes by violence. It's an ongoing thing I reflect on, FTtT. Like wondering if our technology would be past, say, 1840's level, if we weren't warlike. How far could we go, on cooperation and friendly curiosity? But that's another thread, I'm sure.


Those counterfactuals can be tricky, and the mix of nature/nurture is always an open question, so maybe we might surprise ourselves? I guess I'm not really that sure either.
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby Mossling on July 24th, 2017, 11:54 pm 

Sivad » July 23rd, 2017, 4:13 am wrote:I don't think the singularity is very likely but it does seem plausible that within the next hundred years or so we'll be able to make significant improvements in terms of psychological temperament, cognitive ability, health, life span, etc.

I agree with both points. It will be practical philosophy to the fore, and with it a return to the study of virtue ethics. Once that happens then the greed delusion will be transcended and what remains of capitalism will be more balanced I assume.
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby Serpent on July 25th, 2017, 9:28 am 

It still depends on who directs, doesn't it? I don't see an emergent "we" that can agree on a direction, or desiderata, or how to proceed. Capitalism introduces a couple of variables that bide ill for the future of the race; extreme politics brings another potentially bad wild card; militarism (the richest source of scientific funding) has its own negative priorities. In the end, I expect a meteor, volcano or blind chance, to decide.

I'm also leery of the oft-heard phrase "history has shown us". The 6,000 years that's readily accessible to us is not a very big chunk of evolution; the previous 30,000 that we can piece together is far less conclusive. This whole unbridled-greed, unquencheable-violence period may be no more than a phase, like the 'terrible two's'. Probably more like adolescence. If they survive it, and if we leave them a planet to survive on, our descendants may yet turn out better than we are. Big if's, I know.
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby Sivad on July 27th, 2017, 7:49 pm 

Serpent » July 25th, 2017, 6:28 am wrote:It still depends on who directs, doesn't it? I don't see an emergent "we" that can agree on a direction, or desiderata, or how to proceed.


Why not? Rational intelligence tends to converge on direction and desiderata.


I'm also leery of the oft-heard phrase "history has shown us". The 6,000 years that's readily accessible to us is not a very big chunk of evolution; the previous 30,000 that we can piece together is far less conclusive. This whole unbridled-greed, unquencheable-violence period may be no more than a phase, like the 'terrible two's'. Probably more like adolescence. If they survive it, and if we leave them a planet to survive on, our descendants may yet turn out better than we are. Big if's, I know.


I doubt our prehistoric ancestors were enlightened egalitarians, more likely they were just like us but with less places to shop.
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby Serpent on July 27th, 2017, 10:25 pm 

Sivad » July 27th, 2017, 6:49 pm wrote: I don't see an emergent "we" that can agree on a direction, or desiderata, or how to proceed.]

Why not?

Why don't I see it? Maybe myopia; maybe lack of information; maybe nobody has been at all specific in what "we" they expect to take the lead, make the decisions, design a strategy, carry out the plan.

Rational intelligence tends to converge on direction and desiderata.

When? Where? Which rational intelligent beings? Show me examples of this tendency.


I doubt our prehistoric ancestors were enlightened egalitarians, more likely they were just like us but with less places to shop.

That "tells us" very little about the ancestors or their, or our, potential. All I said was, the history we know is insufficient to arrive at a definite conclusion about human nature or its future.
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby Sivad on July 27th, 2017, 11:07 pm 

Serpent » July 27th, 2017, 7:25 pm wrote:Why don't I see it?

You don't see convergence in the history of technology or social organization? You need to take another look.

I doubt our prehistoric ancestors were enlightened egalitarians, more likely they were just like us but with less places to shop.

That "tells us" very little about the ancestors or their, or our, potential. All I said was, the history we know is insufficient to arrive at a definite conclusion about human nature or its future.


Doesn't tell everything, but it gives us quite a lot to go on. We're not exactly in the dark here, you have to admit history does at least shed some light on it.
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby Mossling on July 28th, 2017, 1:33 am 

Serpent » July 28th, 2017, 11:25 am wrote:
Rational intelligence tends to converge on direction and desiderata.

When? Where? Which rational intelligent beings? Show me examples of this tendency.

Who doesn't like iphones or similar? Who wants to live completely alone? Who wants to live in a community of unskilled unspecialised individuals? Who doesn't want a family? Who wants to waste energy using old-fashioned technology when one can achieve the same results with more efficient modern technology?

Every human with a civil education has the apparent reflexive intention to:

* Not waste their energy on things that are "not worth it".
* Preserve their health.
* Preserve their social dignity among those that they consider to be their peers.

From those above 3 rules, I believe that one can extrapolate a general trajectory for our species that revolves around efficient long-term cooperation into a very distant future - something that is enhanced, increased, and made much smoother through attention paid to virtue ethics. No wonder philosophers banged on about virtue so much.

It is even verified through Robert Axelrod's Tit-for-tat economic strategy dynamics - 'nice' behaviour reinterpreted as virtuous economic behaviour. It is a natural result of seeking energy efficiency in cooperation. The problem comes, as Richard Dawkins or Marx points out, when superstitious memes replace the rational truth.

I would say the memetic replacement of the raw economic truth is rooted in an emotional, and thus cognitively distorted, reaction to the concept of death. And the perception of death - an annihilation - is often another irrrational idea, because it tends to revolve around a disappearance of physical existence, when in fact there is more correctly just a redistribution of atoms; no physical disappearance.

If virtue ethics are championed, then emotions are not abused (via anger/mania) and rationality is maintained, and then society is saved. So say Socrates, Confucius, Buddha, Nietzsche, Heidegger, at al.
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby BadgerJelly on July 28th, 2017, 1:55 am 

Of the above three I find the latter to be the most absurd and the most difficult to break away from.

I try to live with a duplicity of "I don't care what you think!". I don't care what you think about me, but I do care about what you think in general ... more than that I am, for selfish reasons, committed to understanding why you think what you think.

The enforcement of social hierarchy is a VERY hard thing to shake off. It is often something that will be met with violent protest too, either from within or from without.

I have said before I really think the issue is, and quite obviously, about the fact that humanity is not used to living in huge populations with huge communication networks. We are in completely new territory.

We took something like 200,000 years to reach a population of 1 billion and then 200 more years to reach a population of 7 billion. We are in for a bumpy ride as the population on Earth seems to look to level out somewhere around 8-14 billion eventually.

It seems clear to me if we're constantly preoccupied with what other think about us then we're never going to get where WE want to go and do what we want to do. This is not to say we should respect the freedom of others, but it seems absurd to worry about socially imposed ideas of normality and waste time fighting for them (it seems utterly counterproductive to me).

It is very interesting to watch children and how their concerns about how others see them causes a very extreme emotional reaction. Some really struggle to cope with this whilst others simply carry on being themselves without too much concern for what others think (usually a set of ideologies imposed upon them rather than created more, dare I say it, "naturally")
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby uninfinite on July 28th, 2017, 2:33 am 

BadgerJelly » July 17th, 2017, 10:06 am wrote:It should be pretty obvious that Capitalism has finally started to show certain cracks for the poorer members of society.

We are essentially talking about a system which has led to the constant pursuit of cheaper and cheaper production with profits being confined more and more to a few wealthy individuals. What is also apparent is that this wealth has bled into the very running of governments and those with the wealth have become more and more able to influence things on a national, and to some degree a global, scale.

It may not become apparent to all for decades yet the direction capitalism will inevitably lead. Should we try and correct things before they get out of hand or is it already too late and we'll essentially have to wait for a violent revolution to wake us from slumber?

I am not saying capitalism is "bad" only that we'd be foolish to heap praise on the system instead being open to addressing its obvious faults. from there maybe we could propose a way to either place a Band-Aid on the system or replace it with a new system (obviously there is no other obvious replacement).



I'm really quite surprised you would post this given that your other posts are really quite intelligent. Capitalism is a miracle. A genuine, honest to God miracle - and it astonishes me you would be so dismissive of its virtues. In as few words as possible - capitalism reconciles the unplanned, unprompted production and distribution of resources with some sense of social and economic justice.

All this happens merely because people seek profit; and this is again a natural human motive. So they think and invent, and employ people to labour, develop things others want and bring it to market - thereby magically, miraculously producing and distributing the goods and services people want without the need for any planning whatsoever.

Certainly, it's not a perfect system, but in its imperfection is even more miraculous, for as if crafted by the Gods - where capitalism is lacking there is a gap into which legitimate government fits precisely; required to enforce the law of contract, provide for public goods and to regulate against a human tendency to excess.

Can you honestly say that you wrote what you did in a full appreciation of these facts?
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby Mossling on July 28th, 2017, 4:23 am 

BadgerJelly » July 28th, 2017, 2:55 pm wrote:Of the above three I find the latter to be the most absurd and the most difficult to break away from.

I try to live with a duplicity of "I don't care what you think!". I don't care what you think about me, but I do care about what you think in general ... more than that I am, for selfish reasons, committed to understanding why you think what you think.

But dignity is simply a sense of civic value - that one is useful to society - that one is honestly earning one's entitlement to the benefits of efficient cooperation.

It is unavoidable to be concerned as to whether others consider you worthy of being 'in the cooperation club' - that is the key attribute that has made human life so effortless compared to other animals (when virtue is being practiced as a daily philosophy). It lies at the heart of all of our survival strategies.

People who say that they don't care what others think are apparently lying, or they are super confident about their own virtue. Normally I think it is the former though.
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby BadgerJelly on July 28th, 2017, 10:02 am 

Doesn't make it any less repugnant! :p
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby Serpent on July 28th, 2017, 10:39 am 

Sivad » July 27th, 2017, 10:07 pm wrote:
Serpent » July 27th, 2017, 7:25 pm wrote:Why don't I see it?

You don't see convergence in the history of technology or social organization?


How did "direction" become technology, and "desiderata" become social organization?
I would love to look at the thing you want to show me, but only after you you've shown me the thing I asked for.
Look at the US senate, which is supposedly operating under a well-known, shared set of rules and is supposedly dominated by a single shared political agenda. You would think, if any governing body were able to converge on where it wants to go and how to get there... and yet... Now, factor in partitioned Korea, fractured Europe, smoggy China, messy Brazil; popes and the caliphs; generalissimos and moguls, high financiers and payday loan-sharks...

Another look still didn't show convergence.
Yes, Syria is being bombed by the very same kind of ordnance that India and Pakistan lob at each other from time time, or the Russians and Ukrainians. But I don't count that as an example of intelligent decision-making.

[history]Doesn't tell everything, but it gives us quite a lot to go on. We're not exactly in the dark here, you have to admit history does at least shed some light on it.

Written history indicates that the madness is likely to continue, so long as we stay on the same path that civilization has trod so far. Yes, I agree with you on that. What I do not believe is that this path can continue uninterrupted. You've mentioned elsewhere the catastrophes humanity (well, some fragments of humanity) have survived in the past, and use that as an indication of future survival. I agree again. But I predicate this second agreement on a catastrophic break. By which I mean post-break history will be quite different from what we know. Unpredictably different.
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby Braininvat on July 28th, 2017, 12:38 pm 

My only stab at prediction is that, sooner or later, a lot of people are going to realize that human beings come before ideology. Some already do. Just as the grip of religion has weakened in a more secular and scientific era, so too will the ideological dogmas (which, for some, were a replacement for the religion that they had abandoned). Even now, we see people who can no longer easily self-define as "progressive" or "conservative" or "libertarian" or "classic liberal" or whatever. They will say stuff like "Waallll, on some social issues I'm libertarian, but on economics I'm more Socialist, except where I think the federal system doesn't work and then in those areas I'm more to the Right, and then there's [etc.]...." IOW, I think we will move towards the notion that there are a bunch of specific problems that are amenable to specific solutions, rather than some kind of perfect overarching ideological panacea that we're moving towards like some Glorious Omega Point. That has been the problem, that Destiny crappola, that has been a deep flaw in both Marxism and Capitalism. And it makes them both largely indifferent to a lot of human suffering.
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby uninfinite on July 28th, 2017, 3:53 pm 

BadgerJelly » July 28th, 2017, 3:02 pm wrote:Doesn't make it any less repugnant! :p


Is this a response to my comments? WTF? UC!
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby BadgerJelly on July 29th, 2017, 4:03 pm 

One of the best punch lines ever:

Leftists have hitherto only managed to get dust on the testicles of authoritarian rulers, the point is to cut them off.


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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby thinker4life on July 29th, 2017, 8:47 pm 

Mossling » July 19th, 2017, 7:56 pm wrote:
wolfhnd » July 19th, 2017, 6:48 pm wrote:I'm not sure that the "masses" are anymore trustworthy than the overly wealthy.

This is the kind of thinking that leads to dictatorships, I imagine.

Choose your poison: the tyranny of the 'untrustworthy' masses, or a dictator.

At least the masses have a dignity of sorts within a democracy.

And no matter the shade of democracy - like in Russia, the corrupt amassing of capital continues.

I don't think Capitalism is the problem here, it is how it is managed. For if SciAmerikans's cookies taste better and cost the same as BiV's, then I know where I'm going to be buying them for my family, and that person can invest their edge over the competition to make it even sharper. That's just normal sense and economics.

Antitrust laws seem to be perfectly acceptable by free market enthusiasts, so that 'healthy competition' can take place within the marketplace - no barriers to entry, and so forth.

So Capitalism, which arises perfectly naturally, must be regulated, and it is just a question of how much, and in what key areas of society.

Large reserves of capital tend to become wielded politically, and so private individuals who have amassed such reserves, as well as the owners of hugely successful companies, threaten the equal sociopolitical status of other citizens within a democracy.

Why not just study what constitutes 'a good life' (society already seems to accept it does not involve drug abuse, rape, theft, and so on), and then come up with a percentage of GDP per capita nominal, or whatever relevant figure it needs to be (just like tax brackets) and draw a line on private and corporate capital reserves. Wouldn't that go some way to balancing the situation?

Having the equivalent to the GDP of a small developing nation in one's pocket is seemingly a bit too 18th century for our modern world, and as we know, year on year those capital reserves earn the possessors even more of the worlds wealth.

There will always be inequality, but such extremes of inequality is the issue here, it appears.


BadgerJelly I'd look to Mossling for your answer, at least I agree with him heartily.

1) Capitalism is very effective, albeit ruthlessly effective. If unchecked it causes major problems which we're seeing, but if its channeled with useful regulation aiming at promoting freedom, equal opportunity for all members of society, and utilitarianism for the population, I think capitalism could be an effective tool used by an effective government. However that requires that we have an effective government, and right now our president's approval ratings are quite low, and congress's approval ratings are far lower... So I'd point rather to government regulation of capitalism as the root cause of the problems we're seeing, rather than capitalism itself.

Since I'm a realistic optimist, the above was the realist this is the optimist: I think its fixable, if we fix our government... Again I agree with Mossling that the majority is more trustworthy than any specific minority... besides who should decide what minority should be in power? If we look at history, the tyranny of the minority has been far more problematic than the tyranny of the majority... I think if we help our citizens become educated on topics of political import, and ensure we elect officials that fight for freedom, equal opportunity for all citizens, and utilitarianism, we will be able to effectively wield capitalism as the effective weapon it is. Right now I'd argue we're pointing it to our own heads and pulling the trigger.

BadgerJelly I'm curious to know if this seems like a viable non-violent solution to you.

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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby Serpent on July 29th, 2017, 9:25 pm 

Capitalism is a weapon?
What's the conflict? Who are the antagonists? Where is the battlefield?

What has caused the government's present inability to regulate/wield capital effectively?
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby BadgerJelly on July 30th, 2017, 2:17 am 

thunker -

I think if we help our citizens become educated on topics of political import, and ensure we elect officials that fight for freedom, equal opportunity for all citizens, and utilitarianism, we will be able to effectively wield capitalism


I think this sounds like something I already mentioned briefly. The point being that to get to this ideal education where we can elect the right officials we first have to do so from a stable system. Meaning that almost any system, in certain ideal settings, works well.

I am not convinced we simply need to nurse capitialism along. I think it is inevitable that a revolution of thought will occur.

I think we all agree there are flaws. Rather than trying to patch up the system I expect someone will eventually propose and put into effect a new system (what that system will look like I have no idea.)

TO add there seems to be problems with democracy too. The voice of people is not heard, the localization of power is anything but local. This tells me there is a certain lack of unity that is ironally more and more starkly being realized with increased communications technologies. People are no longer in the dark yet the power treats them as if they are. Capitialism is clearly failing in many ways and we would be foolish to ignore all the warning signs today and over the past century.
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby thinker4life on July 30th, 2017, 8:19 am 

BadgerJelly » July 30th, 2017, 1:17 am wrote:thunker -

I think if we help our citizens become educated on topics of political import, and ensure we elect officials that fight for freedom, equal opportunity for all citizens, and utilitarianism, we will be able to effectively wield capitalism


I think this sounds like something I already mentioned briefly. The point being that to get to this ideal education where we can elect the right officials we first have to do so from a stable system. Meaning that almost any system, in certain ideal settings, works well.


How will you get this stable system in place, when you don't even have a vision for what would replace capitalism? I'd prefer to come up with tangible realistic goals that will improve the world from where we are now, and I think stabilizing our democracy within the current paradigm is both achievable and a laudable goal.

If you have a suggested replacement for capitalism, post it here by all means and we can all give you constructive criticism and positive affirmations. Until you have an alternative I'm going to run with ideas that are tangible and actionable.

I am not convinced we simply need to nurse capitialism along. I think it is inevitable that a revolution of thought will occur.

We see how well removing a regime with no exit strategy worked in Iraq, are you proposing we do the same in the US with Capitalism? I suggest there are better paths forward than revolution -- I do support a large enough evolution that it may feel like a revolution, but I don't think the current system is broken beyond the ability to fix it within itself.

I think we all agree there are flaws. Rather than trying to patch up the system I expect someone will eventually propose and put into effect a new system (what that system will look like I have no idea.)

TO add there seems to be problems with democracy too. The voice of people is not heard, the localization of power is anything but local. This tells me there is a certain lack of unity that is ironally more and more starkly being realized with increased communications technologies. People are no longer in the dark yet the power treats them as if they are. Capitialism is clearly failing in many ways and we would be foolish to ignore all the warning signs today and over the past century.


Again, there are problems with everything... The question is what do we run with... If you have a suggestion that's better than democracy, by all means post it here and let people respond to your ideas, until then I suggest we try to make democracy work for the people instead of for the oligarchs.

Also rather than state that "capitalism is clearly failing in many ways" why don't you point out the ways you feel its failing so we can opine on that and look toward the root cause of the failure... I'd argue that I could point to most root causes of capitalism's failure as a lack of appropriate regulation (either too much regulation or not enough or the wrong regulation being in place), rather than a failure on the part of capitalism itself.
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby Serpent on July 30th, 2017, 9:02 am 

There are plenty of ideas how the future should work, what values we should carry forward - but who and what will actually make it happen remains an open question.

Clearly, capitalism is failing in many ways that it would be redundant to list here, when you can glance at the headline of any newspaper or read the running script under the silenced CNN broadcast in the dentist's waiting room. Democracy, on the capitalist model, has also been experiencing some astounding failures that you can read in the equine anatomy's own tweets and toots. (The two failures may be linked.)

Here's a thought that's been touched-upon, but never elaborated: What if we just relax and let the capitalists themselves evolve into a new kind of philosopher-king? Lat's say Warren Buffet was the mutant, and the next two generations are more adaptive. So, once the trump/Murdoch line dies out, we'll be okay.

https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/stop-collaborate-and-listen
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby BadgerJelly on July 30th, 2017, 9:39 am 

thinker -

I have a feeling I may be wasting my time in replying. Hopefully you'll see you are asking ME what I am asking YOU? I stated I have no idea what will replace capitalism yet you then ask me what should replace it!??!?

Democracy exists in many forms. Capitalism may be faulty because it is incompatible with certain democratic ideas.

I would also parrot exactly what serpent says above. The list of its faults is long. Marx laid out some pretty glaring problems that can arise, and have to some degree, in a capital based economy.

My focus for this thread is with Capitalism. Meaning I am concerned with economics and how economics can come to have greater importance than political systems that are essentially meant to be in place to serve the public rather than rule over them.

In the original sense of "democracy" I don't think ANY powerful countries are democratic. They are oligarchical behind a façade of democracy. This is the issue with capitalism. It is becoming more and more clear to everyone that money is controlling governments. The governments are tilting more and more toward serving a certain economic system rather than serving the people as humans. The major turning point came with industrialization.

Today war is waged over resources not human rights or in the name of global equality. We have seen hundreds of thousands of people slaughtered in the name of profit. The main drive behind all this is global domination by way of capitalistic means (it is a weapon.) We are essentially talking about global gangsters here, gangsters that are manipulating public opinion and creating as much division as they can to get what they want.

Practically, I do agree with you. The best we can do is stem the flow of blood and hope to patch up the system and keep it plugging along for long enough until some genius comes up with another idea ... the transition may be violent, but I think the better the replacement the lesser the violence. We can be sure those that have the upper hand are very unlikely to relinquish their grip.
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby thinker4life on July 30th, 2017, 9:42 am 

Serpent » July 30th, 2017, 8:02 am wrote:There are plenty of ideas how the future should work, what values we should carry forward - but who and what will actually make it happen remains an open question.

Clearly, capitalism is failing in many ways that it would be redundant to list here, when you can glance at the headline of any newspaper or read the running script under the silenced CNN broadcast in the dentist's waiting room. Democracy, on the capitalist model, has also been experiencing some astounding failures that you can read in the equine anatomy's own tweets and toots. (The two failures may be linked.)


I see many failures in our democracy and in capitalism, but as I said I don't see the concepts of democracy or capitalism as the points of failure. To identify root cause you have to pick a particular failure and trace it back to why it failed... If you don't want to engage in picking a specific failure of capitalism and/or democracy, its hard to have a conversation about your vague accusations, as I have nothing to engage with.

I personally think that if democracy is working well, capitalism is a very effective system when governed so it can do good for the people of that democracy... It requires well intentioned and altruistic leadership, which I think both sides of the isle can agree we don't have right now.

Here's a thought that's been touched-upon, but never elaborated: What if we just relax and let the capitalists themselves evolve into a new kind of philosopher-king? Lat's say Warren Buffet was the mutant, and the next two generations are more adaptive. So, once the trump/Murdoch line dies out, we'll be okay.

https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/stop-collaborate-and-listen


Serpent considering the pessimist that you are, saying complacency is the solution is a little strange... Do you really think sitting back and watching tv is going to solve all the world's problems? Sorry I plan to take a more proactive approach. Richard Branson is taking a more proactive approach as your quoted URL says. He's one of the business leaders I admire, so its nice to see you quoting him.
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby Sivad on July 30th, 2017, 9:45 am 

Braininvat » July 28th, 2017, 9:38 am wrote:My only stab at prediction is that, sooner or later, a lot of people are going to realize that human beings come before ideology. Some already do. Just as the grip of religion has weakened in a more secular and scientific era, so too will the ideological dogmas (which, for some, were a replacement for the religion that they had abandoned). Even now, we see people who can no longer easily self-define as "progressive" or "conservative" or "libertarian" or "classic liberal" or whatever. They will say stuff like "Waallll, on some social issues I'm libertarian, but on economics I'm more Socialist, except where I think the federal system doesn't work and then in those areas I'm more to the Right, and then there's [etc.]...."


I agree, I think ideologies and philosophies should at most only inform our perspectives and not be allowed to rigidly determine them. I don't believe any ideology can fully accommodate all the complexities of life, and all ideologies require assumptions that should only be regarded with a fair degree of skepticism to begin with.

IOW, I think we will move towards the notion that there are a bunch of specific problems that are amenable to specific solutions, rather than some kind of perfect overarching ideological panacea that we're moving towards like some Glorious Omega Point. That has been the problem, that Destiny crappola, that has been a deep flaw in both Marxism and Capitalism. And it makes them both largely indifferent to a lot of human suffering.


If history has taught us anything it's that attempting to immanentize the eschaton is definitely ill advised, it only leads to madness and horror. On the other hand we have a lot of people who are eager to declare the end of history, that this is as good as it's going to get, and that's also a big problem. Karl Popper advised piecemeal problem solving where we address the most urgent issues case by case rather than engineering utopia, and that seems sensible.

"It is the difference between a reasonable method of improving the lot of man, and a method which, if really tried, may easily lead to an intolerable increase in human suffering. It is the difference between a method which can be applied at any moment, and a method whose advocacy may easily become a means of continually postponing action until a later date, when conditions are more favorable. And it is also the difference between the only method of improving matters which has so far been really successful, at any time, and in any place, and a method which, wherever it has been tried, has led only to the use of violence in place of reason, and if not to its own abandonment, at any rate to that of its original blueprint."
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby Serpent on July 30th, 2017, 11:24 am 

thinker4life » July 30th, 2017, 8:42 am wrote:I see many failures in our democracy and in capitalism, but as I said I don't see the concepts of democracy or capitalism as the points of failure.

Take those two concepts apart. Democracy and capitalism cannot be a single system, exactly because they are both political ideologies. Administration - law, mutual protection, human health, safety and welfare is one domain. Economy - trade and commerce - are a separate aspect of social organization. Any time political theory is molded to fit a particular economic model, the result is a mess.
You have to choose one form of governance. Democracy hasn't failed; it's been hijacked.

The central concept of capital is growth, and that is simply unsustainable in a finite world. There may be room in a healthy economy for some capital investment, but it cannot be the only type of trade, enterprise and commerce, because it invariably tends toward monopoly. Moreover, free-floating global wealth cannot be regulated by nation-states, but only by a strong world government.
There is nothing vague about these facts.

Serpent considering the pessimist that you are, saying complacency is the solution is a little strange...

Did I say it was a solution? No. offered it as a thought, in the general direction that Mossling seemed to be heading toward in the robot thread. Gates and some other rich guys also appear to be heading in that direction. The mob that's been fooled into imagining itself a decisive wethepeople has no direction or vision of its own; political leaders are not being all that positive or decisive; religious and nationalist zealots are willing to charge ahead, but their destination is disaster. Somebody has to lead. I would prefer intellectuals at the forefront of social change, but I'm in a small minority, so that's unlikely to happen.

Do you really think sitting back and watching tv is going to solve all the world's problems?

At least it won't make them any worse.
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby thinker4life on July 30th, 2017, 7:21 pm 

Serpent » July 30th, 2017, 10:24 am wrote:
thinker4life » July 30th, 2017, 8:42 am wrote:I see many failures in our democracy and in capitalism, but as I said I don't see the concepts of democracy or capitalism as the points of failure.

Take those two concepts apart. Democracy and capitalism cannot be a single system, exactly because they are both political ideologies. Administration - law, mutual protection, human health, safety and welfare is one domain. Economy - trade and commerce - are a separate aspect of social organization. Any time political theory is molded to fit a particular economic model, the result is a mess.
You have to choose one form of governance. Democracy hasn't failed; it's been hijacked.

We agree democracy has been hijacked. I'm willing and open to take the concepts of democracy and capitalism apart, but I do need to politely correct you that capitalism is not a political ideology. Its an economic system, focusing on privatized use of resources (as opposed to the only other economic system, which is state controlled resources). Here's the definition of Capitalism from the dictionary:
an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.

Interestingly as I was researching the right terminology for the opposite of Capitalism, I saw this definition of capitalism come up, which may be more what you're considering capitalism:
Capitalism: To each their own. Markets should be free of government intervention and the principles of supply and demand will produce the best economic outcome for society as a whole. Government should not be involved as the market will provide the most efficient responses needed.

Let me agree with you that there are many flaws with that definition of capitalism, and that its closer to a political ideology than an economic idea... Since we probably both agree that the second definition of capitalism is bad and flawed, let's maybe discuss the first one, which is after all from the dictionary.

That fact may be why we're disagreeing here. My point is that the economic system isn't what's broken, its the democracy which has been hijacked by capitalists... So sure capitalism is indirectly part of the problem, but the real root cause is that our democracy is not properly harnessing the power of capitalism and using it for the good of society. So let's do as you say and take the two apart:

Economically: Capitalism vs. State-run economies
Capitalism proposes that private individuals will be the best at optimizing resources in society, through individual contributions and contributions as part of a legal entity (like a corporation).

State-run economies say that the most efficient society is centrally controlled by the government, with prices and production levels set by the government. I hope we can agree that history has proven that this methodology fails miserably when compared to capitalism at growing economic value and at creating economic efficiency.

Next let's talk about Democracy:
To me, the intent of democracy is for the majority of an educated public to elect officials who will represent society at large's best interests, and help create policies that will benefit society as a whole... Essentially maximizing utilitarianism while protecting individual rights and respecting every individual member of society until they've proven themselves irresponsible (eg through murdering someone in cold blood)

Our democracy right now is controlled by oligarchs who are doing what's in their best interests at the expense of society. Trump was elected in response to the control that the "political establishment" has on society, and how entrenched it is, and yet he's proven to be just another corrupt person in power. This is why we agree that our democracy was hijacked. It doesn't mean the concept of democracy is bad, just that we are currently failing to execute on it well...

Can we agree on those as foundations so we can try to move to something more interesting?

The central concept of capital is growth, and that is simply unsustainable in a finite world. There may be room in a healthy economy for some capital investment, but it cannot be the only type of trade, enterprise and commerce, because it invariably tends toward monopoly. Moreover, free-floating global wealth cannot be regulated by nation-states, but only by a strong world government.
There is nothing vague about these facts.

What leads you to believe that growth is unsustainable? The "population cap" has been exceeded by increases in efficiency from technology many many times over the past several hundred years.... I think our possibilities are not even close to having been achieved if we can collaborate and cooperate towards a better future. Technology is not a zero sum game.

I agree with you that capitalism tends towards monopoly, and that that's unhealthy, that's why in the past government has stepped in to break up monopolys... because it was in the best interest of the people. That was happening when our democracy was functioning better. Capital investment leading to monopoly's is ok, so long as those monopoly's are broken up to create a competitive marketplace which will end up being more just and efficient than the monopolies.

We also agree that a single nation state isn't the end all solution, because if one nation state is completely just, the bad money will just move to more corrupt nation states... So I agree with you a global government is important.

Serpent considering the pessimist that you are, saying complacency is the solution is a little strange...

Did I say it was a solution? No. offered it as a thought, in the general direction that Mossling seemed to be heading toward in the robot thread. Gates and some other rich guys also appear to be heading in that direction. The mob that's been fooled into imagining itself a decisive wethepeople has no direction or vision of its own; political leaders are not being all that positive or decisive; religious and nationalist zealots are willing to charge ahead, but their destination is disaster. Somebody has to lead. I would prefer intellectuals at the forefront of social change, but I'm in a small minority, so that's unlikely to happen.

I tried to take the lead in a positive direction from an intellectual perspective in another thread and you completely beat me up for it... I suggest you be more thoughtful about who your allies and your enemies are, I think we have a lot of shared goals and should be on the same side.


Do you really think sitting back and watching tv is going to solve all the world's problems?

At least it won't make them any worse.

I'd posit that it will... if good people like you sit back and watch tv, people like Trump will continue to take over our government.
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby thinker4life on July 30th, 2017, 7:22 pm 

Serpent » July 30th, 2017, 10:24 am wrote:
thinker4life » July 30th, 2017, 8:42 am wrote:I see many failures in our democracy and in capitalism, but as I said I don't see the concepts of democracy or capitalism as the points of failure.

Take those two concepts apart. Democracy and capitalism cannot be a single system, exactly because they are both political ideologies. Administration - law, mutual protection, human health, safety and welfare is one domain. Economy - trade and commerce - are a separate aspect of social organization. Any time political theory is molded to fit a particular economic model, the result is a mess.
You have to choose one form of governance. Democracy hasn't failed; it's been hijacked.

We agree democracy has been hijacked. I'm willing and open to take the concepts of democracy and capitalism apart, but I do need to politely correct you that capitalism is not a political ideology. Its an economic system, focusing on privatized use of resources (as opposed to the only other economic system, which is state controlled resources). Here's the definition of Capitalism from the dictionary:
an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.

Interestingly as I was researching the right terminology for the opposite of Capitalism, I saw this definition of capitalism come up, which may be more what you're considering capitalism:
Capitalism: To each their own. Markets should be free of government intervention and the principles of supply and demand will produce the best economic outcome for society as a whole. Government should not be involved as the market will provide the most efficient responses needed.

Let me agree with you that there are many flaws with that definition of capitalism, and that its closer to a political ideology than an economic idea... Since we probably both agree that the second definition of capitalism is bad and flawed, let's maybe discuss the first one, which is after all from the dictionary.

That fact may be why we're disagreeing here. My point is that the economic system isn't what's broken, its the democracy which has been hijacked by capitalists... So sure capitalism is indirectly part of the problem, but the real root cause is that our democracy is not properly harnessing the power of capitalism and using it for the good of society. So let's do as you say and take the two apart:

Economically: Capitalism vs. State-run economies
Capitalism proposes that private individuals will be the best at optimizing resources in society, through individual contributions and contributions as part of a legal entity (like a corporation).

State-run economies say that the most efficient society is centrally controlled by the government, with prices and production levels set by the government. I hope we can agree that history has proven that this methodology fails miserably when compared to capitalism at growing economic value and at creating economic efficiency.

Next let's talk about Democracy:
To me, the intent of democracy is for the majority of an educated public to elect officials who will represent society at large's best interests, and help create policies that will benefit society as a whole... Essentially maximizing utilitarianism while protecting individual rights and respecting every individual member of society until they've proven themselves irresponsible (eg through murdering someone in cold blood)

Our democracy right now is controlled by oligarchs who are doing what's in their best interests at the expense of society. Trump was elected in response to the control that the "political establishment" has on society, and how entrenched it is, and yet he's proven to be just another corrupt person in power. This is why we agree that our democracy was hijacked. It doesn't mean the concept of democracy is bad, just that we are currently failing to execute on it well...

Can we agree on those as foundations so we can try to move to something more interesting?

The central concept of capital is growth, and that is simply unsustainable in a finite world. There may be room in a healthy economy for some capital investment, but it cannot be the only type of trade, enterprise and commerce, because it invariably tends toward monopoly. Moreover, free-floating global wealth cannot be regulated by nation-states, but only by a strong world government.
There is nothing vague about these facts.

What leads you to believe that growth is unsustainable? The "population cap" has been exceeded by increases in efficiency from technology many many times over the past several hundred years.... I think our possibilities are not even close to having been achieved if we can collaborate and cooperate towards a better future. Technology is not a zero sum game.

I agree with you that capitalism tends towards monopoly, and that that's unhealthy, that's why in the past government has stepped in to break up monopolys... because it was in the best interest of the people. That was happening when our democracy was functioning better. Capital investment leading to monopoly's is ok, so long as those monopoly's are broken up to create a competitive marketplace which will end up being more just and efficient than the monopolies.

We also agree that a single nation state isn't the end all solution, because if one nation state is completely just, the bad money will just move to more corrupt nation states... So I agree with you a global government is important.

Serpent considering the pessimist that you are, saying complacency is the solution is a little strange...

Did I say it was a solution? No. offered it as a thought, in the general direction that Mossling seemed to be heading toward in the robot thread. Gates and some other rich guys also appear to be heading in that direction. The mob that's been fooled into imagining itself a decisive wethepeople has no direction or vision of its own; political leaders are not being all that positive or decisive; religious and nationalist zealots are willing to charge ahead, but their destination is disaster. Somebody has to lead. I would prefer intellectuals at the forefront of social change, but I'm in a small minority, so that's unlikely to happen.

I tried to take the lead in a positive direction from an intellectual perspective in another thread and you completely beat me up for it... I suggest you be more thoughtful about who your allies and your enemies are, I think we have a lot of shared goals and should be on the same side.


Do you really think sitting back and watching tv is going to solve all the world's problems?

At least it won't make them any worse.

I'd posit that it will... if good people like you sit back and watch tv, people like Trump will continue to take over our government.
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Re: Capitalism: Its decline/reformation

Postby Serpent on July 30th, 2017, 8:18 pm 

thinker4life » July 30th, 2017, 6:21 pm wrote: I do need to politely correct you that capitalism is not a political ideology. Its an economic system, focusing on privatized use of resources (as opposed to the only other economic system, which is state controlled resources).

I'm familiar with the dictionary. And the slogans.
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