Your stance on capitalism.

Homepage Forums Mind Your stance on capitalism.

0
Avatar of Matt
Matt (@greenthinker)    2 years, 7 months ago

I am taking a philosophy class in school right now. I have learned that almost anyway you look at it, capitalism is immoral.

Utilitarians will see that the majority are not benefited by capitalism, therefore it is immoral.

Deontologists will agree capitalism cannot be universalized because it treats people as means to an end rather than means in themselves.

Virtue Ethics would say that it is virtuous to not have wealth, and not be poor. Possibly an argument for capitalism, but only if you are not planning to be rich someday.

These are not the only forms of philosophy, but they are among the most used.

I think it is fair to look at what an economic system says about the people who participate in it. What does capitalism say? One is an individual separate from a group, and one must follow the rules of the market.

Deepak Chopra tells us to ask ourselves, How can we serve? This is a wonderful reflection of self. The problem is: one should not have to consult an economic system when answering.

Capitalism exploits workers, alienates workers, and only benefits the few.

Why do we use it?

0 votes, posted 02.10.2012 at 6:41 pm
+

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Avatar of stella
stella (@stella)2 years, 7 months ago ago

I think your view of any political system really depends on your culture, and the ideals held by that culture. A lot of people would probably agree that America places a premium on economic success and personal gain (monetary and otherwise). That’s probably why most of us are cool with capitalism- as a country it has made our economy very strong (ya know, in the past…) & it offers the possibility that you can “make it” and be a bazillionaire and not have to share your money with anyone- ultimate personal gain. Capitalism is dominant in Western countries. I think Eastern countries as a whole tend to be more focused on other things, for example, family and honor (gross generalization here). So it follows that they would have different ideas of what their system should primarily stand for. Communism (in theory) is about the success of the country as a whole, which again kind of makes sense because if you are raised to care a lot about family, it’s easier to think of other groups that you belong to (like your country) in kind of the same way. So, I’m totally rambling, but the point I was trying to make was that capitalism isn’t necessarily good or bad inherently. It really depends on what you’re going for and what personal or moral stance you are seeing it through.

Sorry that I just wrote a novel haha

+
Avatar of stella
stella (@stella)2 years, 7 months ago ago

I think your view of any political system really depends on your culture, and the ideals held by that culture. A lot of people would probably agree that America places a premium on economic success and personal gain (monetary and otherwise). That’s probably why most of us are cool with capitalism- as a country it has made our economy very strong (ya know, in the past…) & it offers the possibility that you can “make it” and be a bazillionaire and not have to share your money with anyone- ultimate personal gain. Capitalism is dominant in Western countries. I think Eastern countries as a whole tend to be more focused on other things, for example, family and honor (gross generalization here). So it follows that they would have different ideas of what their system should primarily stand for. Communism (in theory) is about the success of the country as a whole, which again kind of makes sense because if you are raised to care a lot about family, it’s easier to think of other groups that you belong to (like your country) in kind of the same way. So, I’m totally rambling, but the point I was trying to make was that capitalism isn’t necessarily good or bad inherently. It really depends on what you’re going for and what personal or moral stance you are seeing it through.

Sorry that I just wrote a novel haha

+
Avatar of WryJester
WryJester (@wryjester)2 years, 7 months ago ago

The problems with US capitalism:
Wage inequalities. From ceo’s to paid slaves in third world countries producing goods for America. Everyone is a person, and one person does not a million a day, when people working to the best of their ability make a dollar.

Also, Women don’t get compensated for providing the societal benefit of motherhood. In a lot of European countries they help take care of mothers and their child way better. Since not only does a child cost a lot of money to raise, a mother can’t keep up in fast changing fields. Many have to take part-time jobs to help raise their children as daycare is about one-third of a minimum wage paycheck.

Also the idea that individual characteristics are the biggest determining factor in a person’s success in capitalism is bullshit. The people that say otherwise don’t know what it is like to grow up in that environment, and haven’t taken the time to do it yet. Just in comparison of schools you attended and they attended. The fact that your parents knew the importance of education. The fact that your single parent isn’t working 2 jobs, so you don’t have a positive adult influence in your life. Even then say they struggle, well they can’t afford a tutor or maybe internet access at home. No SAT books, SAT tutor, or SAT prep class.

Then think about the influences these kids have today. The only people famous from their neighborhoods are hustlers, rappers, and sports players.

But yes absolutely, one can get out of any situation. But then again anyone can win the lottery it isn’t a bout one person. It is about percentages.

+
Avatar of WryJester
WryJester (@wryjester)2 years, 7 months ago ago

The problems with US capitalism:
Wage inequalities. From ceo’s to paid slaves in third world countries producing goods for America. Everyone is a person, and one person does not a million a day, when people working to the best of their ability make a dollar.

Also, Women don’t get compensated for providing the societal benefit of motherhood. In a lot of European countries they help take care of mothers and their child way better. Since not only does a child cost a lot of money to raise, a mother can’t keep up in fast changing fields. Many have to take part-time jobs to help raise their children as daycare is about one-third of a minimum wage paycheck.

Also the idea that individual characteristics are the biggest determining factor in a person’s success in capitalism is bullshit. The people that say otherwise don’t know what it is like to grow up in that environment, and haven’t taken the time to do it yet. Just in comparison of schools you attended and they attended. The fact that your parents knew the importance of education. The fact that your single parent isn’t working 2 jobs, so you don’t have a positive adult influence in your life. Even then say they struggle, well they can’t afford a tutor or maybe internet access at home. No SAT books, SAT tutor, or SAT prep class.

Then think about the influences these kids have today. The only people famous from their neighborhoods are hustlers, rappers, and sports players.

But yes absolutely, one can get out of any situation. But then again anyone can win the lottery it isn’t a bout one person. It is about percentages.

+
Avatar of Ray Butler
Ray Butler (@trek79)2 years, 7 months ago ago

Capitalism is a mathematical system which is great if human beings are numbers. The reason it does not seem to work is because the primary component in the equation is a variable, humans.

+
Avatar of Ray Butler
Ray Butler (@trek79)2 years, 7 months ago ago

Capitalism is a mathematical system which is great if human beings are numbers. The reason it does not seem to work is because the primary component in the equation is a variable, humans.

+
Avatar of WryJester
WryJester (@wryjester)2 years, 7 months ago ago

If humans were numbers maybe we could count the number of healthy adults and have enough jobs that provide a living wage for them.

+
Avatar of gp266
gp266 (@gp266)2 years, 7 months ago ago

Capitalism clearly has its flaws, and some of them have been noted in previous comments in this thread. That being said, capitalism is the only system ever to have as much sustained success and longevity as it’s had.

In my opinion, the only 3 realistic systems are capitalism, socialism, and communism. We all already know that communism, although good in theory, is terrible in practice. Also, it’s quite stunning to me that people still think that socialism is such a grand, wonderful idea, when in reality it inhibits motivation and infringes on what we’d consider today to be basic human freedoms.

Like I said, capitalism may suck in some areas, but it’s the most effective way of doing things in general, especially in terms of advancing human progress. Some adjustments have to be made to how it works today, but it’s undeniably the best option overall.

+
Avatar of Rob Goughnour
Rob Goughnour (@thegouj)2 years, 7 months ago ago

@Em From what I remember you only worked with them, you would have a much different opinion if you were born into poverty as well. From the way I see it no system will be fair, because every one will always have different opinions. From what history shows, you cant ever force a way of life on anyone. Even if you think it is the best way to run the show. The circus owner gets the most no matter what, even if money didn’t exist.

+
Avatar of Matt
Matt (@greenthinker)2 years, 7 months ago ago

Myth 1: Capitalism grants the most freedom.
I think we need to step back and look at our society as a whole, in America at least. Obesity is rampant, drugs fly off the shelf, and advertising is shoved down our throats. How free are we? Would free people make the decisions that are currently being made today. No, your out of your fucking mind if you think they would. Capitalist companies need to make a profit, which means they have to create a need. You may think you are free, but if you look closely you will see that freedom should not be dependent on how much money you have in your pocket.

Myth 2: Socialism inhibits motivation.
This is purely speculation. In a socialist system intrinsic motivation is what powers people. This grants true, inner happiness. You want to know what creates laziness? Capitalism. Capitalism turns labor into something that you have to do on a 9-5, 5 days a week. Everyone looks forward to the weekend. Capitalism alienates humans from their labor, and this is no good.

Myth 3: Capitalism is the most effective way to do things.
If the things you are talking about should be done with the cheapest labor, then you are correct. Why the fuck would you ever want something done with the cheapest labor? Capitalism creates a shit ton of waste. Of course it does because it is going to cost money to dispose of things correctly! Planned obsolescence is another problem with capitalism.

Myth 4: Capitalism advances human progress.
Once again, speculation. Capitalism happened to be here when those things happened. There is no reason to think advances in medicine and technology wouldn’t have happened under socialism.

Myth 5: It is better in theory than in practice.
This is redundant. Is anything as good in practice as it was in theory?

Myth 6: Socialism and Communism don’t work because of Russia and China.
These were forms of totalitarian socialism/communism. You can have democratic socialism/communism.

Myth 7: There will always be poor people.
Why? Our currency is fictitious, we can create as much or as little as we want. In socialism people will be motivated to do what they want in life. As long as they provide some type of service they will be given a healthy pay. No rich billionaires, but no poor people. That sounds fair to me, and if it doesn’t sound fair to you, then you sound pretty greedy.

Myth 8: No system will be fair.
Socialism gives you x amount of dollars every week. Do with it what you like.

I think the only reason we don’t have socialism now is because we will need global socialism. The majority of leaders in the world enjoy power. It is unlikely to think they will come down to the same level as general citizens when they see people in capitalist countries living lavish lifestyles.

+
Avatar of gp266
gp266 (@gp266)2 years, 7 months ago ago

@Matt, I’ll address your “myths” one by one.

Myth #1: Obesity, drug use, and ever-present advertisements don’t mean we don’t have freedom. Capitalism most certainly guarantees the most freedom of any system. Under it, you can do what you please. It’s by definition.

Myth #2: Socialism absolutely inhibits motivation. You, Matt, can sit here and say, “Well, I’ll still work hard,” which may be true for you personally, but you don’t represent too large of a percentage of the world’s population. Look at all the people under capitalism already that don’t feel like working. You’re telling me that once we start giving out free stuff, everyone will suddenly want to get up when they don’t have to? It’s not speculation, it’s simple observation of recurrent human behavior.

Myth #3: I said capitalism is the most “effective,” not “efficient,” which you apparently thought I meant. If you want efficiency, go with communism. But, you’re saying you’d rather have socialism.

Myth #4: This kind of goes with the whole motivation thing. You can move all the best and brightest citizens to the government sector for advanced R&D if you want, but you can never underestimate the value that startups and young, fresh minds bring to society. If you want an example of why, look at the technology industry. The two easiest examples are Facebook and Google, both world-changing companies that never would have started if their founders had been thrown into the workforce first. In order to evolve, we need a consistent influx of new faces, people, ideas, brains, etc. Especially with the Internet, it’s anyone’s game, now.

Myth #5: I’m not really sure how that’s a “myth.” You went from saying that it’s only “speculation” that human beings are lazy to saying that everything is better in theory than in practice. Are you an optimist or a realist?

Myth #6: You’re right, Russia and China are not very good precedent-setters, and sure, you can have democratic socialism/communism, but I don’t think people would be too happy having the government telling them what to do with their money and lives. A well-crafted balance between capitalism and socialism could work one day. But it’ll be hard to actually find it.

Myth #7: As long as there’s money, there will be poor people. Unless you get rid of money. But, again, you don’t come off as a communist. Remember, there are different types of poor people. Some are born into poverty and never escape it, while some spend all their money and seek more for the sole purpose of blowing it again. You get the idea.

Myth #8: No system will be fair. Period. No political party is “right” on all issues, the Earth isn’t round, humans are biologically programmed to err, and perfection virtually does not exist in our universe. You can come close, but nothing will ever be exactly as you want it. Welcome to life.

+
Avatar of Tom
Tom (@lonewanderer)2 years, 7 months ago ago

Capitalism is the best way to a country out of all the economic systems we have. It is not perfect and their is flaws but its the best of what options we have. Socialism and communism may sound ideal but in reality they are corrupt at the top of the hierachy and there is no incentives for people. Everybodys equal but some are more equal than others!

+
Avatar of Matt
Matt (@greenthinker)2 years, 7 months ago ago

Capitalism promotes laziness because it alienates the worker from the labor. Socialism promotes labor as an expression of self. You can do what you want in life.

There will not be poor people if the income one receives a year is substantial. If they want to blow it on shit, then thats on them.

A socialist government does not tell you what to do with your money.

New ideas will still come in the form of proposals which could be voted on through direct democracy. Corrupted hierarchies, and controlling governments don’t have to have a say.

Capitalism only benefits a few. That is my sole reason for wanting to get rid of it. You can call it “the best option we have” but your opinion is based on your experiences. Would a person born into poverty say capitalism is the best system we have? No.

15% of America is below the poverty line. In my opinion at least 70% of Americans are one accident or terminal illness away from joining that 15%. These are not signs of a successful system.

Capitalism had it’s day, if not for it we wouldn’t be here. It is time to come together as a community rather than convince ourselves we are separate.

+
Avatar of Ray Butler
Ray Butler (@trek79)2 years, 7 months ago ago

It is not a case of capitalism or socialism being the better system. A pure democratic capitalist repubican system will result in poverty and be little more than a slavery system, as a pure democratic socialist republican system will result in a welfare state that will have a population surge until it hits a critical mass that taxes negate income. Both pure forms are restrictive.
You need a system that minimizes welfare yet provides a reasonable allowance to avoid morbid poverty.

+
Avatar of Larry
Larry (@larrywitte)2 years, 7 months ago ago

The bottomline is, although other things sound better than capitalism, it is only way that really works. Look at Greece.

+
Avatar of Ray Butler
Ray Butler (@trek79)2 years, 7 months ago ago

You mean how Greece nearly had to default but had to rely on the welfare of other Euro nations to bail them out because of the global financial crisis? A crisis that arose from the under-regulated sectors of a capitalist empire?

+
Avatar of Ray Butler
Ray Butler (@trek79)2 years, 3 months ago ago

This is an ancient thread, I’m sure the O.P is obsolete, but the discussion can go on. I was going to start a thread called “Is Capitalism evil” and explain my current stand, but I decided to bump this instead.

We can have a society that has autocratic rule, as in a Monarch, a Dictator, an Emperor or Aristocracy and Oligarchy where the rich or elite rule, or even a Fundamentalism like Iran. But it is decided that a Republican style government is the go. If you imagine the Republic potential as a letter U, you can understand it better.
On the left hand side of the U, its highest point, or extreme, you have Communism, its polar opposite on the extreme, highest point, on the right you have National Socialism. As you come down the left, to the moderate area, you have Democratic Socialism and on the moderate right you have Corporate Capitalism.
At present, the world is torn between the two moderates, as the two extremes are dying or dead-ends, as proven. The thing is that both of the moderates cannot work either but they are seen as the only two options. But at the very centre of the U, where the left and right meet, there is an un-developed option.
This can be best described as: A Republican style government with Democratically elected Independant Representatives (no more two party system) in the Political domain + A Franchise style Social Capitalist system in the Economic domain + Civil and Human Rights based Social structure in the Public domain.
How all this works is not difficult to figure out, it just require the general consensus and willingness to build.

+
Avatar of ELizard
ELizard (@heavydreamz)2 years, 3 months ago ago

Imagine being born into this,

..you have to spend, every day, all your energy to provide food on the table for your parents because they worked their ass off to provide for you, and now they cant work anymore.

Therefore, you have no time or extra money or energy to figure out how to get on top, just one common example, where there would also be a thousand weights on you in that situation ..Not to figure out what your passion is, nothing.

Caught in the system.

+
Avatar of Ray Butler
Ray Butler (@trek79)2 years, 3 months ago ago

Thought I’d elaborate on Social Capitalism.
Every business has a boss/owner/someone who gleans the profits, while the workers and management staff earn wages. Under the Corporate Capitalism, the boss/owner/capitaliser umbrellas more and more businesses under the one entity, so there are fewer people in the world making profit and more people earning wages. Under the Franchise system, sure you still have workers and management staff earning wages, that is inevidable, but you have more people as owners. Sure they are owners of small businesses, a cog on the wheel of the economy, but many more people see profit.
They speak of 1% but this number decreases more and more over time under the corporate conglomeration. Under Franchise, this percentage blows out, it could end up as much as 5% of the population, a percentage that is not as obscenely benefiting from the fruits of social labour as it is going. This still has the elite and rich but it has a more equal distribution of wealth and many more oportunities for every day people to get ahead, become a cog in their own right.
Many of the big corporate bosses got their start in a system much like the franchise system, they had oportunities that we do not have now. Why don’t we have those oportunities any more? Because those who were in a time when the oportunities existed, exploited those oportunities to their destruction, the result being this current situation of obscentity.
The Corporate Capitalist system cannot work because once a corporation becomes a clear dominant in its field, or God forbid a clear dominant in every field, it is the same result as monopolization. ie: The quality for price on products declines and innovative progress stalls. The Franchise system garantees competition and so maintains excellent quality on products for a reasonable price, and promotes investment into research and engineering, maintaining innovative progress.
So all around, the Franchise system is superior to the Corporate conglomeration system. We just need to place certain limitations to enable the Franchise system. It is important to keep in mind just what a corporation is: Yes it has a boss and shareholders, those who contribute little to reep the fruits of the labour of everyone who works for the company, those who capitalize, but those people also have limited liability. This is because the corporation itself, a non human entity, has rights. It has all the benefits we have but not all the responsibilities we have.
So the limitations I am speaking of installing to make the Franchise system practical, is limitations on the rights a non-human entity has. Limitations on the rights the law has given to a machine that we may serve it, that HUMANS MAY SERVE A MACHINE. I am saying we need to strip the machine of its right to dominate us to our injury.

+
Avatar of LeftyLefty
LeftyLefty (@leftylefty)2 years, 3 months ago ago

the only way to “reset” the current system is to ditch the monetary system, ditch the money, and then we are all on a same plane. we can all start from ZERO. then start bartering.

as long as we depend on “money” to run our society, even worse with different currencies going up and down all the time, there will forever be inequality whether it’s capitalism or socialism.

I’d say limited socialism or social welfare for elderly and physically / mentally challenged. after all we are all humans. we help each other. we need to take care of those who are in need and disadvantaged.

otherwise everyone is good at something and has something to offer, be it an entertainment such as music, dance, or food, and whatever.

how about the doctors you say? if we lived a healthy lifestyle, we wouldn’t be so sick all the time, would we! how many of you are sitting in front of a computer all day just because you like it? it’s because of the money that forces you to live like that.

of course I know it’s not gonna happen in our life time or will it ever happen, but if you are asking for a better system, then this is it, though it needs some tweaking, of course. at least capitalism, socialism or communism isn’t any better. Amish people live kind of like that, or they used to.

+
Avatar of Peter
Peter (@searchingforthetruth)2 years, 3 months ago ago

I don’t think its capitalism that is the problem. Its the economic model we are currently operating under. Its a central banking system that is destroying the wealth of middle and lower income earners. Almost every country has a central bank.

What is the fed doing? Printing out money as a “stimulus” and giving it to the banks of which they hand it out at interest. That money is not creating production. These banks are making tons of money off of handouts from the fed.

“http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnekzRuu8wo”

^ Good Video

+
Avatar of pat
pat (@epath)2 years, 3 months ago ago

Rampant uber capitalism is evil. Plutocracies are evil.

+
Avatar of pat
pat (@epath)2 years, 3 months ago ago

@hollowinfinity, “Half” is exaggerating.

+
Avatar of Th-0m
Th-0m (@0negative)2 years, 3 months ago ago

I haven’t been in a lot of economic classes, or done a lot of research, but to me, there a few basic problems with capitalism and it’s implementation. People get fucked over big time. Like people are starving on the streets, while others have money they’ll never ever spend in one life time. It’s so entrenched in world, it’s kind of hard to convince a lot of people otherwise. I kind of feel like the whole monetary system should just be completely redesigned. Capitalism is like a lottery ticket, some try to win the Mega Million, and a few actually win. And some people can’t even afford to buy the tickets.

+
Avatar of Ray Butler
Ray Butler (@trek79)2 years, 3 months ago ago

Problems solved by getting rid of money, there is no such thing. You are looking at the issue on the collective scale, the real answer comes on the individual level, all you can do is create the collective circumstances to affect that change, and it is not getting rid of money or capitalism.

+