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Wow. Just.. Ugh.


woodsmoke
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http://www.okcupid.com/journal?pid=1504466...865560522008432

 

I found this while browsing journal entries at OkCupid. After reading all three pages of the discussion between Crash and Vex, I feel sick.

 

People are given value as human beings based upon how much money they have. That's capitalism hard at work. "The greatest economic system in the world."

 

I just...

 

Jesus fucking Horatio Christ. How does a person come to think like that?

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Yes, distasteful, but admittedly true. The number of active friends and lovers at a given time I have is directly proportional to the balance of my bank account at that time. Ugh.

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I've been intensely debating the topic with myself for some time now. I can't seem to find the belief system that fits me, politically. Free-market capitalism appeals to my libertarian side, the side of me that says, "Who the fuck are you to tell me or anyone else what to do?" but... it ends up just being too idealistic. In a perfect world we wouldn't need government to preside over us, but this world is anything but perfect. Ironic that Objectivists would take to it, don't you think? Given that a core premise of their belief is we should accept things as they are, not as we wish them to be.

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I've been intensely debating the topic with myself for some time now. I can't seem to find the belief system that fits me, politically. Free-market capitalism appeals to my libertarian side, the side of me that says, "Who the fuck are you to tell me or anyone else what to do?" but... it ends up just being too idealistic. In a perfect world we wouldn't need government to preside over us, but this world is anything but perfect. Ironic that Objectivists would take to it, don't you think? Given that a core premise of their belief is we should accept things as they are, not as we wish them to be.

 

It's an ongoing debate for myself as well. Likewise, capitalism appeals to my libertarian leanings. I own my own business and have worked hard to build it to where it is at, even though it's a constant struggle. I have no desire to share my hard work with the government in any shape or form. If that makes me selfish, so be it, but you certainly feel a lot different about your money when you have to make it on your own and it doesn't come in the form of a bi weekly paycheck. That's just my experience.

 

At the same time, I'm utterly opposed to corporate polution. I'm opposed to corporate greed that squeezes the workers for every last drop of blood they can get out of them only to maximize the CEO's income. I'm also opposed to the massive conglomerates and mergers that squeeze out the competition in the form of a race toward the mediocre. Consumers are actually given fewer choices when companies like Walmart can undercut small retailers by the massive bulk discounts they can negotiate.

 

Socialism: I lived in Italy for a while and when I arrived there I had strong oppinions against socialism. After living there a while I realized that the average person had far less pressure on them than the average person in the US. They had less, but they had more time and personal freedom. The average American is so tired after work that they either go home to work around the house, or plop in front of the TV with a Big Mac on their lap. The average Italian goes home, makes a huge dinner and enjoys it with friends and family. Then later that evening they go out to the wine bar, sing, and talk about the meaning of life. For me it was a much more peaceful existance. Why is this related to socialism? They had a huge social safety net to fall back on. They could just relax and live their lives. They weren't squeezed by their employers until they had used up their every last bit of energy. They didn't go home and worry that they would lose their jobs. They didn't worry about healthcare, et al. They didn't feel that they had to go out and conquer the world. I'm sure capitalists can fault every thing I just said here, but isn't the sum total of what is good in life that which ultimately makes you happy? I submit to the capitalists that Italians in general are far happier and lead more fulfilled lives than the average American even if that American owns a million dollar home and has a three car garage stuffed with SUVs. That's just what I observed.

 

And all that said, I'm still not willing to give up my paycheck for a socialist state. I guess I'm just a selfish bastard.

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If socialism could be made to work, perhaps I'd subscribe to it. I've begun to feel that perhaps government MUST be, to a degree, based on arbitrary procedure. From there, assuming an effective socialist state, we could just have a nation that controls our money but otherwise leaves us alone.

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Of course. I'm beginning to think that we can't just have some basic philosophy that we build all of our laws on. We can't say, "The government can't tell us what to do," because that nullifies the effect of government, and we can't say, "The government must be the final authority on everything," because that sacrifices all of our freedom and leads to a life of slavery. We must, ultimately, say, "The government can do this, this, and this, but not this or this." To a degree, I feel, the distinctions between what the government can, and can not, do are going to have to be arbitrary- simply because we don't want the government to do those things.

 

Of course, I'm not saying I'm right. I may not have looked at everything thoroughly enough, and some major fault in my idea, or a different solution that I hadn't seen before, may present itself.

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But isn't that what the Constitution already does? Limits what the government can and cannot do?

 

Unfortunately it's now being greaty ignored, but that's another issue.

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Yeah, it does in a lot of ways. I think the whole corpus of law needs to be looked at and made into a comprehensive whole though, instead of a disjunct mess of different rules and regulations. If we agree that the government needs to be able to control some aspects of life and not others, though, the question becomes, where is the line drawn? A question to which I really can't come up with a good answer.

 

I guess I'm just a liberal at heart.

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People are given value as human beings based upon how much money they have. That's capitalism hard at work. "The greatest economic system in the world."

 

I just...

 

Jesus fucking Horatio Christ. How does a person come to think like that?

 

Well, no. People are given value as human beings by other humans based upon how they are benefited by that human being. It's not callous to say that someone with wealth generates wealth and benefits everyone. Someone who is successful in a free-market capitalistic economy have worked hard to generate that wealth and have given a lot of their time and effort. They deserve to be valued.

 

Value isn't intrinsic, woodsmoke, so I don't know why you're so hard up on capitalism for it.

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What's this about socialism not working? Even if it doesn't work perfectly, in countries like Sweden it works significantly better than in the US, which has the largest gap between rich and poor in the developed world.

 

The level of inter-connection between people in a society is so high, that I don't think the "I've earnt my money, why should I have to give it away?" argument is particularly convincing. To earn an amount of money vastly above the avergae income is to the detriment of poorer members of society....the 'trickle down' economy is a dangerous and idiotic assumption of the Right and is complete bullshit.

 

Socialism can work and it does work.

 

As both a social libertarian and an economic socialist, I see no reason why you can't unite the two.

 

Someone who is successful in a free-market capitalistic economy have worked hard to generate that wealth and have given a lot of their time and effort. They deserve to be valued.

 

Not all, and probably not even most, economically successful people have worked as hard or harder than many of the poor.

 

Value isn't intrinsic, woodsmoke, so I don't know why you're so hard up on capitalism for it.

 

I'm not sure I agree that value isn't intrinsic. Anyway, even if it isn't, that doesn't mean it has to be based on what we can get from someone as individuals. And it certainly doesn't have to based on how much money or material goods we can get from someone.

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What's this about socialism not working? Even if it doesn't work perfectly, in countries like Sweden it works significantly better than in the US, which has the largest gap between rich and poor in the developed world.

 

The US doesn't have a free market.

 

The level of inter-connection between people in a society is so high, that I don't think the "I've earnt my money, why should I have to give it away?" argument is particularly convincing. To earn an amount of money vastly above the avergae income is to the detriment of poorer members of society....the 'trickle down' economy is a dangerous and idiotic assumption of the Right and is complete bullshit.

 

Who was talking about "trickle down' economics?

 

Why does every argument against capitalism resort to the US system, which is not a free-market system.

 

Socialism can work and it does work.

 

Sure it does, however I disagree with operating under the assumption that people are entitled to another persons money or property regardless of what the owner thinks.

 

You speak of the "level of inter-connection" in a society. Why then the need for legislating a "distribution of wealth"? Everyone who lives in a society socially networks with other people, and when you make friends, you have people who help you when you're in need and you help others when they are in need.

 

It's not an argument of "I've earnt my money, why should I have to give it away?". It's an argument of "why does a government get to decide where my shit goes?"

 

Free-market Capitalism offers freedom.

 

 

As both a social libertarian and an economic socialist, I see no reason why you can't unite the two.

 

Neither do I, but the question isn't "Socialism doesn't work".

 

Not all, and probably not even most, economically successful people have worked as hard or harder than many of the poor.

 

Again, you're looking at it from the US' point of view, which is not what I advocate.

 

I'm not sure I agree that value isn't intrinsic. Anyway, even if it isn't, that doesn't mean it has to be based on what we can get from someone as individuals. And it certainly doesn't have to based on how much money or material goods we can get from someone.

 

Of course it is, we live with other people for two reasons: emotions and business.

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Robbie quoth:

 

Socialism can work and it does work.

 

 

We had quite a furball 'round these Boards not too many weeks back and around this subject. I'll ask you Robbie to "prove your assumption".

 

So who is gonna come "equalize" me and those like me who refuse the tender mercies of the Boards of Equalization?

 

"Points Go Out"

 

kFL

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Asimov quoth:

 

It's not an argument of "I've earnt my money, why should I have to give it away?". It's an argument of "why does a government get to decide where my shit goes?"

 

Free-market Capitalism offers freedom.

 

 

Core of my objection to any planned economy, including the uS versions..

 

kFL

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I don't think I'm as confident as you guys that corporations would work in a free market economy. People take advantage of people to the greatest extent that they can.

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Lest anyone get the wrong idea, I don't think Pure Socialism is the answer to capitalism. Just like any economic or political system, there are problems inherent to socialism to which it will inevitably fall prey without grafts of positive aspects of other systems to reinforce its weaknesses. Though I'm sure it would be no more foolproof or perfect than any other system currently in existence, a socialist republic with elements of capitalism (such as are found in the socialisms of Europe) strikes me as the best theoretical* blend of government and economy.

 

Many people seem to have an irrational attraction to the concept of "purity." Purebreds. Pure speed. Pure capitalism. Pure democracy. However, a rudimentary understanding of nature and history makes it obvious the consistent "winners" are hybrids. Those who adapt, who compromise as the situation (and reason) deems necessary. Humanity has become the dominant species on Earth precisely because we are masters of variation.

 

Purity can be a good thing, however when it is elevated to a divine status to the exclusion of all else it becomes a problem.

 

*Theoretical because I'm not aware of any countries currently operating under such a system.

 

People are given value as human beings based upon how much money they have. That's capitalism hard at work. "The greatest economic system in the world."

 

I just...

 

Jesus fucking Horatio Christ. How does a person come to think like that?

 

Well, no. People are given value as human beings by other humans based upon how they are benefited by that human being. It's not callous to say that someone with wealth generates wealth and benefits everyone. Someone who is successful in a free-market capitalistic economy have worked hard to generate that wealth and have given a lot of their time and effort. They deserve to be valued.

 

The bolded part there is, I think, where Robbie got the notion of trickle-down economics. It gave me the same impression. In the most practical sense, one person generating wealth benefits that person only. They may then choose to use that wealth in a way that benefits others, but on its face, my neighbor hitting the jackpot for $50m does jack shit for me. Further, someone who's successful in a free-market capitalist economy won't necessarily have worked hard to gain that money. Given that it's a free-market, there's nothing preventing the occurrence of "trust-fund babies" such as exist in U.S. society today. Nor is there anything preventing someone who's amassed that money from then using it to monopolize the industry--which is exactly what happened in the early history of our nation, when the market was regulated as little as it's ever been.

 

Value isn't intrinsic, woodsmoke, so I don't know why you're so hard up on capitalism for it.

 

We're probably just going to have to disagree on this, because I think value is intrinsic. I take the "innocent until proven guilty" creed supposed to be the foundation of our justice system and apply it to my life at large. I try to live by the golden rule, giving everyone the benefit of the doubt and treating them with the same consideration I would like them to extend to me. If they respond in an undeserved negative manner, I adjust my behavior toward them accordingly; but this happens so rarely I can't recall any examples. I believe people are basically good and will reciprocate with kindness when kindness is given, and in the vast majority of my interactions with them I've found exactly that to be the case, thus reinforcing this view.

 

It's for exactly this reason I oppose the capitalistic notion a person is only worth as much as they can afford to pay.

 

I'm a bleeding-heart liberal, a trusting fool and a Lennon-esque dreamer and damn proud of it.

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I'm not sure I grasp the intricacies of that system, as I just skimmed the article. Can you break it down for me?

 

I'm a bleeding-heart liberal, a trusting fool and a Lennon-esque dreamer and damn proud of it.

 

Until recently, I didn't want to admit it, but I guess I kind of am too.

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I read the article all the way through and didn't really understand it either. :shrug:

 

It took me a good while to come around to being able to admit to it. "A good while" meaning several years as I progressed from ignorant Morgling conservative to libertarian to strong democrat to where I am now. I never quite made it all the way to "pure" socialist, as my knowledge and experience from all the previous stages had starkly highlighted the flaws therein.

 

That said, I realize my way isn't necessarily everyone's way, which is why I'm not out preaching about it (or even talking about it on ExC unless I feel it relevant to the discussion). I'm just doing what I can to get myself as close to that point in life as I'm likely to find in the world.

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What's this about socialism not working? Even if it doesn't work perfectly, in countries like Sweden it works significantly better than in the US, which has the largest gap between rich and poor in the developed world.

Sure. Sweden is good, except the taxes are extremely high, and when I lived there I couldn't live a life with high standards, even when I had a high paid job. My car was a rusty, 20 year old car that broke down each day. I barely could afford food for the kids. And I have a nicer car and home and can eat better food here in US.

 

There are good and bad sides to all systems. The political corruption exists in Sweden too. I remeber how a whole group of politicians from the city council in Motala went to vacation trips each year, drank and bought prostitutes... using tax money.

 

I also hear from my folks back there that healthcare nowadays isn't better there than here in US. The only difference is that they don't have a choice to which hospital to go to, so if it sucks you're stuck with suck, while here you have more liberty, but only if you can afford it...

 

Good points Asimov and Nivek.

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I don't think I'm as confident as you guys that corporations would work in a free market economy. People take advantage of people to the greatest extent that they can.

 

I don't see this as a valid argument against capitalism, since both socialism and capitalism create scenarios where someone could be fucked.

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Lest anyone get the wrong idea, I don't think Pure Socialism™ is the answer to capitalism. Just like any economic or political system, there are problems inherent to socialism to which it will inevitably fall prey without grafts of positive aspects of other systems to reinforce its weaknesses. Though I'm sure it would be no more foolproof or perfect than any other system currently in existence, a socialist republic with elements of capitalism (such as are found in the socialisms of Europe) strikes me as the best theoretical* blend of government and economy.

 

Many people seem to have an irrational attraction to the concept of "purity." Purebreds. Pure speed. Pure capitalism. Pure democracy. However, a rudimentary understanding of nature and history makes it obvious the consistent "winners" are hybrids. Those who adapt, who compromise as the situation (and reason) deems necessary. Humanity has become the dominant species on Earth precisely because we are masters of variation.

 

Purity can be a good thing, however when it is elevated to a divine status to the exclusion of all else it becomes a problem.

 

*Theoretical because I'm not aware of any countries currently operating under such a system.

 

Hmmm, I don't advocate pure anything. I don't know what pure capitalism is. A free market is a situation where the government does not tell people or companies what to make.

 

It has nothing to do with letting everyone have some economical feeding frenzy and exploit everyone and everything living. Exploitation is immoral, coercion is immoral.

 

 

The bolded part there is, I think, where Robbie got the notion of trickle-down economics. It gave me the same impression. In the most practical sense, one person generating wealth benefits that person only.

 

Of course it doesn't. Wealth generates wealth. If someone has the money to spend, or the services to provide, they will keep on providing it. They will keep on spending money, because they have it.

 

In the most practical sense, someone with nothing benefits no one because they can't buy anything from anyone, nor can they afford any services at all.

 

They may then choose to use that wealth in a way that benefits others, but on its face, my neighbor hitting the jackpot for $50m does jack shit for me.

 

Not directly, but the economy does better the more wealthy people there are, which then benefits you.

 

Further, someone who's successful in a free-market capitalist economy won't necessarily have worked hard to gain that money. Given that it's a free-market, there's nothing preventing the occurrence of "trust-fund babies" such as exist in U.S. society today. Nor is there anything preventing someone who's amassed that money from then using it to monopolize the industry--which is exactly what happened in the early history of our nation, when the market was regulated as little as it's ever been.

 

Again you're using the US as an example, which does not reflect the type of economy that I support. It doesn't matter if someone worked hard to gain money, they're still going to spend it.

 

I think you confuse lack of regulation with lack of protection.

 

We're probably just going to have to disagree on this, because I think value is intrinsic. I take the "innocent until proven guilty" creed supposed to be the foundation of our justice system and apply it to my life at large. I try to live by the golden rule, giving everyone the benefit of the doubt and treating them with the same consideration I would like them to extend to me. If they respond in an undeserved negative manner, I adjust my behavior toward them accordingly; but this happens so rarely I can't recall any examples. I believe people are basically good and will reciprocate with kindness when kindness is given, and in the vast majority of my interactions with them I've found exactly that to be the case, thus reinforcing this view.

 

I don't see how this demonstrates that value is intrinsic.

 

It's for exactly this reason I oppose the capitalistic notion a person is only worth as much as they can afford to pay.

 

That's not the capitalistic notion, per se. Payment can occur in more ways than just money.

 

As I said, we live with other people in a society for two reasons: business and emotions.

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On the topic of people taking advantage of each other, yes, it's possible in both systems, but capitalism doesn't seem to offer any protection against it, whereas socialism could.

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On the topic of people taking advantage of each other, yes, it's possible in both systems, but capitalism doesn't seem to offer any protection against it, whereas socialism could.

I don't see how that is possible in a socialistic system either. I grew up in Sweden, and I saw plenty of corruption, and most citizens were meek and allowed it to happen. The only difference is that the corrupt ones in a socialism isn't the industry leader or owner, but the politicians. They will use the system to their advantage. So it exists where ever you go, and how ever you design it. Every little loophole will be found and abused. It is human nature.

 

Don't get me wrong though. I like Sweden, and socialism gives some benefits, but it is not perfect, and neither is capitalism. Both have their bad sides. The best system is when society can grow and change with the times and what is needed right now.

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