[internetworkers] from the desk of Arianna Huffington
tony at tonyspencer.com
Thu Jul 22 00:12:30 EDT 2004
"Capitalism, by it's very nature, concentrates wealth and power into the
hands of a very few, and those few are loathe to give it up."
I'm dumbfounded by this statement. Name one nation in this world that has a
greater percentage of its population more comfortably than American's do.
T O N Y S P E N C E R
6512 Six Forks Rd.
Raleigh, NC 27615
tony at tonyspencer.com
> -----Original Message-----
> From: internetworkers-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
> [mailto:internetworkers-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf
> Of Alan MacHett
> Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2004 12:01 AM
> To: internetworkers at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [internetworkers] from the desk of Arianna Huffington
> Okay, I was painting in broad strokes here, folks. Although
> I was speaking of Don Rua as an individual, I referred to
> Republican, Free Market, and Socialism as the overarching
> terms they are. Allow me to demonstrate by rephrasing one of
> your statements:
> ...which was that /Christianity/ does not ensure
> that individuals act in an unselfish manner, and /Satanism/
> does not ensure that individuals act purely out of greed
> and selfishness.
> That is, I don't see the incompatibility between someone
> describing themselves as a /Christian/ (or /Jew/) and
> an advocate of /oppression/ and /bigotry/, and promoting
> behavior such as...
> Which suddenly becomes a ridiculous statement because we all
> know that, yes, individuals act however the hell they desire,
> but the broad descriptor is supposed to function in a
> particular fashion. Christianity, at its core, is supposed
> to be good, but of course there are poorly behaved
> Christians. So of course there are charitable Capitalists.
> However, we all know that the core of Capitalism is the
> accumulation and reinvestment of wealth. In Capitalism one
> is supposed to do what's best for oneself or one's company.
> Whereas in Socialism --
> No, let's forego that word. It doesn't mean what I want it
> to mean. In most connotations and denotations, Socialism
> equals Communism. I dislike Communism. I support private
> ownership. I support entrepreneurism. But mostly I support
> a relatively equitable society in which people take care of
> each other. So let us use the word Egalitarianism.
> Phillip said, "One of the reasons that Libertarians maintain
> that government charity is not needed, is the belief that in
> the absence of it, private charity would take it's place."
> Eh? What history books have you Libertarians been reading?
> The whole reason the social support system came about is
> because in the absence of "government charity" whole swaths
> of the public (workers, the impoverished, non-Whites, women,
> etc.) were being screwed. They're still being screwed.
> Capitalism, by it's very nature, concentrates wealth and
> power into the hands of a very few, and those few are loathe
> to give it up.
> I applaud Don Rua for his actions and beliefs. If everyone
> acted thusly, then we might very well live in an Egalitarian
> society. But he is an anomaly. Capitalism does not teach
> fairness and charity. On the contrary, nearly every lesson
> and practical application of Capitalism involves greed. To
> wit: Capitalism does not teach one to set a *fair* price for
> one's goods, rather you should set the price to *fair market
> value* , which isn't fair at all (notice the coopting of the
> word 'fair')
> -- it means set the price to whatever you can get away with.
> For example, someone I know recently began making a product.
> She brought samples to show and told everyone that she
> planned to sell them for X amount. She believed that to be a
> fair price; it covered the cost of her materials (and
> labor?), plus a little extra for profit. Everyone was shocked.
> That's all!? They told her that she could sell them for at
> least twice that amount, 2X being "fair market value", or
> what they'd become accustomed to being the cost of such a
> product. So of course that's the cost she sells them at, not
> the cost she initially calculated as fair, but the cost she
> can get away with. That is just one example.
> Again, if everyone thought like Don (or me (ha!)) then we'd
> all be happy.
> But we've been living with this system for so long that
> nearly everyone buys into it. And then there's the problem
> of sheer numbers. We need government intervention for the
> very reason we need government in the first place -- there
> are too damn many of us. In small societies there is no
> government per se. Small groups are self-governing, and for
> the most part everyone takes care of everyone else -- no one
> is allowed to fall by the wayside, and no one is allowed to
> get too greedy. [This, by the way, is an *extremely*
> condensed version of an Anthropology class I recall.] But
> when a population reaches a certain point, mechanisms must be
> set in place to ensure that everything happens as expected --
> Now (to bring this around again) if Libertarians think that
> charity will happen in the absence of government, do they
> also think that government will happen in the absence of
> government? Are Libertarians really Anarchists in disguise?
> As a test we could, say, do away with speed limits, right?
> We'll all self-regulate; everyone knows speeding is dangerous
> and wastes fuel. In the absence of speed limits everyone
> will drive sensibly anyway, right? (That's an oversimplified
> example; don't take me too literally.)
> Anyway, my point is that we should all do well by each other,
> but there are too many of us to be trusted in mass; so we
> need Government to step in and offer a helping hand.
> And, just to round it all out and really make this a mess of
> a discussion, I'd like to add that I'm all for less Federal
> Government and more State Government (states' rights), but
> what I'd very much like to see is for the real power in the
> country to be handed down to local or regional governments
> (getting back to that Anthropological, small-society concept)...
> In reference to Phillip Rhodes's messages:
> > OK, fair enough. That doesn't really have anything to do with my
> > overall point, which was that "socialism" does not ensure that
> > individuals act in an unselfish manner, and capitalism does
> not ensure
> > that individuals act purely out of greed and selfishness.
> > That is, I don't see the incompatibility between someone describing
> > themselves as a Republican (or Libertarian) and an advocate of
> > capitalism and free-markets, and promoting behavior such as paying
> > "rank and file" employees more than management or giving
> back to the
> > community.
> > Why not? Capitalism and Free Market aren't about individuals not
> > giving back to the community, etc. "Socialism" (at least as it's
> > commonly
> > understood) is about government based charity. One of the reasons
> > that Libertarians maintain that government charity is not
> needed, is
> > the belief that in the absence of it, private charity would
> take it's place.
> > The relative greed and self-centeredness of individuals is really a
> > completely separate issue from whether you live in a socialist or
> > capitalistic society. In Soviet Russia during the height
> of Communism
> > (the ultimate form of Socialism?) where there not individuals who
> > managed to accumulate great wealth while others went hungry?
> > Capitalism and "Free Market" economics do not *necessarily* equal a
> > selfish, "me first" attitude on the part of everyone
> involved. Those
> > attitudes transcend political and economic affiliations, IMHO.
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