• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
programming forums Java Mobile Certification Databases Caching Books Engineering Micro Controllers OS Languages Paradigms IDEs Build Tools Frameworks Application Servers Open Source This Site Careers Other all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
Marshals:
  • Campbell Ritchie
  • Paul Clapham
  • Ron McLeod
  • Liutauras Vilda
  • Bear Bibeault
Sheriffs:
  • Jeanne Boyarsky
  • Tim Cooke
  • Devaka Cooray
Saloon Keepers:
  • Tim Moores
  • Tim Holloway
  • Piet Souris
  • salvin francis
  • Stephan van Hulst
Bartenders:
  • Frits Walraven
  • Carey Brown
  • Jj Roberts

what are Leftists?

 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1479
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Tom said: "An example of the things you were taught by the free Soviet education:"
(quote omitted - connection between evolution and genetics denied by Sovites..)
And I got very good education in genetics, thank you. [ April 18, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]


But did your education in genetics show the connection between genetics and evolution (Tom's point)? The latest (since the 1970s) development in evolutionary theory is socio-biology; with the implication that many of our sociological systems, cultures, and actions have a genetic basis. For example, even so called altruistic actions that seem to have no direct evolutionary benefit to the actor can never-the-less have indirect effects in progating similar genes or related genetic material resulting in evolutionary forces ecncourages such behavior.
 
frank davis
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1479
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Tell me what Herb means first.
To me it doesn't mean anything besides "plant" (probably Greek origin), but I guess Eugene is amused with "Herb" sound like "her" which is an euphemism for "penis" in Russian.


oh my !
Ok, Herb is short form of Herbert which is English. Slocomb is also from the same general area, but specifically it is Welsh.
 
Leverager of our synergies
Posts: 10065
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
But did your education in genetics show the connection between genetics and evolution (Tom's point)? The latest (since the 1970s) development in evolutionary theory is socio-biology; with the implication that many of our sociological systems, cultures, and actions have a genetic basis. For example, even so called altruistic actions that seem to have no direct evolutionary benefit to the actor can never-the-less have indirect effects in progating similar genes or related genetic material resulting in evolutionary forces ecncourages such behavior.
Here is my post an another thread which you don't read, of course.
When I was in high school, in biology class we were given a question on evolution theory. We had to explain phenomenon of "altruistic behavior" among animals. One example, in flocks of birds there are birds that warn everybody when they see a predator. These birds are often first to be killed, so the question is how can these genes be kept in population if natural selection works against them. The answer was that species survive as a whole, as species, not on individual level. I would love to learn more details, but the idea is interesting even in this vague wording.
[ April 18, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
mister krabs
Posts: 13974
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Notice that the article said that things changed in 1965. Map is just a little girl so she wouldn't remember anything that happened in 1965.
 
Wanderer
Posts: 18671
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
[Tom]:An example of the things you were taught by the free Soviet education:

...
Lysenko's methods were not condemned by the Soviet scientific community until 1965, more than a decade after Stalin's death.


Seems like someone didn't read very closely. If Lysenko was repudiated before Map was born, why assume she would have been taught his theories?
[Update]: OK, so you (Tom) noticed that too. But why then say "the things you were taught"? You can see why this might make Map think you have a distorted view of life under the Soviets.
[ April 18, 2003: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
 
frank davis
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1479
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Here is my post an another thread which you don't read, of course.


But the other threads don't seem as pivotal in changing the world as this one so I ignore them.


When I was in high school, in biology class we were given a question on evolution theory. We had to explain phenomenon of "altruistic behavior" among animals. One example, in flocks of birds there are birds that warn everybody when they see a predator. These birds are often first to be killed, so the question is how can these genes be kept in population if natural selection works against them. The answer was that species survive as a whole, as species, not on individual level. I would love to learn more details, but the idea is interesting even in this vague wording.
[ April 18, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]


OK, admittedly you were probably taught better than at most public US schools. I'll give some credit to the Soviets...
 
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Posts: 13974
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I meant "you" in the generic sense of anyone who was attending school at the time. This is one of the problems with English where "you" doesn't have a plural form. Except here in NY where we say, "yuze guys".
 
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Posts: 10065
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
At least, Soviet people were made to learnt *scientific* theories, if even wrong, rather than religious [xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]
[This post was censored by Mapraputa Is]
 
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Posts: 13974
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So are you saying that it is better to learn something wrong for political reasons than religious reasons?
Could you be more specific in any case? What religious things were taught that are wrong?
By the way, Map, your answer about the bird genes was incorrect. The birds that warned of enemies would not reproduce their genes and eventually the gene to warn of enemies would be removed from the gene pool. Genes are selfish since they can only work on the individual and not the group. Why do bees swarm to protect the hive and are willing to die to do so? Because they are all sisters.
[ April 18, 2003: Message edited by: Thomas Paul ]
 
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Posts: 10065
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
are you saying that it is better to learn something wrong for political reasons than religious reasons?
Absolutely. When you learn something wrong for political reasons, you still stay in rational realm. When you are a believer...
I was attending a meeting for university freshmen, and the guy told us about his experience helping somebody from Muslim republics. He was talking about humans descending from monkeys, and one of his students stand up and said: "perhaps you descend from monkey. But *I* am created by Allah!"
This not to denigrate Islam as opposed to any other religion.
By the way, Map, your answer about the bird genes was incorrect. The birds that warned of enemies would not reproduce their genes and eventually the gene to warn of enemies would be removed from the gene pool.
Only if these birds were killed before they got a chance to reproduce.
Genes are selfish since they can only work on the individual and not the group.
But this is what the whole problem is about! How can altruistic genes survive, if all the benefits are on the higher level? The answer simply state "they can", while the most interesting part is the mechanism.
 
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Posts: 10065
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Eugene: The government owned factories were notorious in their refusal to hire jews.
My father told me that there was unwritten rule not to hire Jews for their factory (it was a military factory). He said this rule was made after their deputy director moved to Israel with all strategical secret information. My father was legally prohibited from going to any foreign country for 5 years after he left this factory, because of "secret" policy. He used to swear that all the secrets he could possibly know are already documented by Israel government, so what's the point? Not that he planed to spend his vacations in the USA, though
The government established the "jew quotas" in the universities and in the factories.
But how can you prove this? Is this a common perception among Jew community? There were no official "jew quotas" and there couldn't be, because it was against "principles of communism". Hm.. I personally know only two guys who studied in Moscow university (which is the most prestigious university in Russia) and they both are Jews. :roll:
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1340
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Evil -isms
Fascism and communism were introduced as a reaction to massive social problems and desperation, not out of a desire to persecute people. The principles of these -isms were not to murder and execute, it is in the practice of these doctrines that the atrocities occurred. You could argue then than the principles were not adhered to, were distorted or that that the principles were unworkable in that particular form.
Collective action does not ultimately equal murder; collective action exists in western society and complements democratic processes. A principle can exist outside of a wider social theory. To condemn a principle solely because it was once part of a social doctrine that didn't survive is short sighted and closes doors to other social developments and improvements.
[ April 18, 2003: Message edited by: Richard Hawkes ]
 
Richard Hawkes
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1340
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Capitalism and Freedom:
The fundamental principle of capitalism is to use business and industry to create profit and to plough those profits back in to the businesses and industries that made them; capital and profit is paramount to mere compensation for labour. Capitalism requires freedom only in as far as allowing people to choose what to buy and where to buy it. Beyond that, capitalism does not need freedom. S Korea's 'economic miracle' was built under two military dictators. Political freedom was not allowed and many people were persecuted. In fact the roots of all capitalist societies lie in persecution, exploitation, and sacrifice, not freedom. Or if you like, are based on the freedom to dominate others. To ignore the roots of a system is not to have a fair discussion of a system.
Freedom for an individual in capitalist society is largely the freedom for us to consume/buy stuff and to sell our time and labour where we choose. If we cannot do either of these things then we are not free. If capitalism were to run completely unchecked by the state it could thrive at the cost of personal freedom: the best way for a business to survive is to eliminate the competition through producing stuff quicker and cheaper. Conversely individuals can only achieve a better standard of living through increased wages. This basic Marx stuff, but this is what happens in a free market economy. When the economy stalls freedom disappears; capitalist systems sanction the exclusion of groups of people from work when times are hard, denying them their freedom. Welfare takes over? Sometimes.
The free market does not necessarily equal increased freedom for individuals. The increasing complexity of modern society requires greater intrusions into private and economic life for it to remain a just society. Freedom requires the state to check the free market and not allow it to dominate society, though some would argue it already does.
Of course there are lots of other things wrong with capitalism, especially when you consider the consequence of profit for the sake of profit is growth for the sake of growth, where not to grow means death for capitalism. Capitalism requires infinite resources yet exists in an environment of finite resources.
[ April 18, 2003: Message edited by: Richard Hawkes ]
 
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Posts: 10065
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
An example of the things you were taught by the free Soviet education
Funny thing, it was stressed through all my biological education that the traits acquired during the life will not be inherited - right the opposite to what Lysenko claimed.
Regarding "things I was taught by the free Soviet education", there were plenty of them. I had to study botany in 5-6 grades, then zoology in 7-8, anatomy of humans in 8 (the whole year, of course) and finally "general biology" (genetics, evolution theory etc.) in 9-10. (two years). When I was going to visit my parents in Russia, my Eugene's friend professor of metallurgy Simon Lekakh asked me to buy textbooks for his grandchildren. He said that American schools do not teach anything, so his son (who was teaching mathematics in University of Oregon) and his wife have to teach their children after school. I bought all textbooks I could find and then had to carry these heavy bags to the airport.
 
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Posts: 10065
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Herb: I'm simply saying that to condemn capitalism in Russia when it is still in the process of transition is not honest. It took Western nations hundreds of years to evolve the modern framework of capitalism with its supporting social (both legal and cultural) structures.
A-ha. And communism had to show its advantages right after it was established. All the "victims of communism" people love to point to were killed in 1920-1950s. Please keep in mind that Russia went through WWI before communists started to kill people. The price of human life was already awfully low -- and it was what capitalism did. Communists (like any other government) could only use forces that were already here.
I cannot imagine anybody being killed in 1970-s for their anti-communistic views.
Tom once said that G.Gukov couldn't write the truth in his memoirs because KGB would send him to Gulag. I guess, the gross mistake American people make, is they believe communists had absolute power, so they could do anything they wanted. Communists were as restricted by natural laws as anybody else. Gukov was an extremely popular figure, there was no way KGB could send him to Gulag. It would turn the society upside down, and why would communists risk doing that? They would politely explain to Mr. Gukov that what he wrote in his memoirs cannot be published, and Mr. Gukov would sincerely agree, I am sure, because his goal wasn't to undermine the Soviets. No bloody scenes, no Gulag, only normal humans conformism. And if you will tell me that it is different from what's going on in the USA now, I will laugh too long to be polite.
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 2823
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

S Korea's 'economic miracle' was built under two military dictators.


Those tank elections where fair and democratic.
 
frank davis
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1479
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Richard Hawkes:
Evil -isms
The principles of these -isms were not to murder and execute, it is in the practice of these doctrines that the atrocities occurred. You could argue then than the principles were not adhered to, were distorted or that that the principles were unworkable in that particular form.
[ April 18, 2003: Message edited by: Richard Hawkes ]


My point is that the collectivist principles can justify those evils as a matter of principle, whether they were origninated for that purpose or not. You can strictly adhere to the principles of Naziism and Communism while murdering thousands of people. In collectivism the goal is the good of the collective, indiviudals can can be sacrificed for the greater good as a principle. Individualism, in principle, could never justify such actions.
Now what happens in practice is another issue. Yet, if principles have any influencee on actions, which I think they do, we would see some correlation between principle and action. I believe there was some correlation between the executions that happened in Nazi Germany and Soviet Union and their respective ideologies.
 
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Posts: 10065
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Herb, now after we learnt your national origin, you should tell us how old your are.
Because I must admit when I read your reflections about "principles", I assume you are young, but then, I made this mistake before and I do not want to repeat it.
 
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Posts: 13974
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
And if you will tell me that it is different from what's going on in the USA now, I will laugh too long to be polite.


The only way you can get a memoir published is if you attack the government. I would guess that you don't read too many books written by former government insiders.
 
frank davis
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1479
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Richard Hawkes:
Capitalism and Freedom:
The fundamental principle of capitalism is to use business and industry to create profit and to plough those profits back in to the businesses and industries that made them; capital and profit is paramount to mere compensation for labour. Capitalism requires freedom only in as far as allowing people to choose what to buy and where to buy it. Beyond that, capitalism does not need freedom.


As I stated in the beginning of this post, the essential dichotomy is not between Left vs Right, its collectivism vs individualism. As such, the essential issue is between individual rights vs the principle of benefitting the collective. Capitalism is merely one proper and legitimate expression of economic rights; and those rights are merely a subset of individual rights in general. That is what I meant with my prior multiple assertions that capitalism is based on individual rights.
Of course a government can restrict and constrain some individual rights and not others, that is without doubt, and in that case you could have economic rights without other rights.
This just empahsizes the point that the political system, not the economic system, has the final say on which rights can be expressed.
Is it legitimate for a government to restrict individual rights? Under collectivist ideologies yes, its perfectly accepted, justified, and even required if someone can somehow argue it benfits society in some way (an absurdly easy argument to make). Under individualism, such an argument could not be made and sacrifices of individuals could not be justified.


S Korea's 'economic miracle' was built under two military dictators. Political freedom was not allowed and many people were persecuted. In fact the roots of all capitalist societies lie in persecution, exploitation, and sacrifice, not freedom. Or if you like, are based on the freedom to dominate others. To ignore the roots of a system is not to have a fair discussion of a system.


Economic systems and political systems are distinguishable in many circimstances. You can have varying degrees of economic freedom; capitalism if you will, existing under many different political systems. Monarchy, constitutional monarachies, democracies, republics, dictatorships, and even to some degree under alleged communistic regimes such as China or Cuba. Now to blame an economic system, which exists under the whim, rule, and domination of extremely divergent political systems, seems a tad unfair. Place the blame where it belongs, on the political systems.


Freedom for an individual in capitalist society is largely the freedom for us to consume/buy stuff and to sell our time and labour where we choose.


Freedom is whatever the political system sanctions. It can be much more than the freedoms you give above.


If we cannot do either of these things then we are not free.


We are not economically free. As I said earlier, its all up to the politcal system as to which rights we can enjoy.


If capitalism were to run completely unchecked by the state it could thrive at the cost of personal freedom: the best way for a business to survive is to eliminate the competition through producing stuff quicker and cheaper.


Slow down, you're going way too fast for me here. You'll have to break this down into small, individually sized conceptual chunks for me to digest. I conceive of "freedoms" as expressions of individual rights. No one can conceivably have a right not be driven out of business. This would mean infringement of another's right to economic freedom and would be contradictory. A right is a freedom to act in an unrestricted way that does not infinge on another's rights (behind this is the assumption that individuals have equal rights).
By the way, the elimination of competition is a remarkably rare occurance in capitalism without government intervention.


Conversely individuals can only achieve a better standard of living through increased wages.


Wait a second, you just mentioned "producing stuff quicker and cheaper" to drive the competition out of business. If this occurs throughout the economy then the standard of living can increase since the goods that are used in the standard of living can decrease in cost. Wages can therefore stay the same or even decrease(at a limited rate) with the standard of living increasing. Some goods are geting cheaper. Many electronic goods. There also seem to be more low end cars also. Another factor is increasing quality. PCs, washing machines, refrigertors, cars, etc,etc require less maintenance overall now than 10 years ago yet they have more features and advantages. I cannot prove this point with my limited time, but I hope you see the matter is not so clear cut.



This basic Marx stuff, but this is what happens in a free market economy. When the economy stalls freedom disappears; capitalist systems sanction the exclusion of groups of people from work when times are hard, denying them their freedom.


Again I see "freedom" as the expression of a right. I can't conceive of a right to a job, from where does this derive? This would be contradictory of the rights of the employer. My conception of rights follows closely that of John Locke/Ayn Rand/libertarian view of rights.


Welfare takes over? Sometimes.
The free market does not necessarily equal increased freedom for individuals.


It means at the very least increased economic freedom which is certainly not insignificant for most people. Whether other rights are allowed is up to the political system.


The increasing complexity of modern society requires greater intrusions into private and economic life for it to remain a just society. Freedom requires the state to check the free market and not allow it to dominate society, though some would argue it already does.


These are assertions unbacked by examples and explanations. I cannot accept this.


Of course there are lots of other things wrong with capitalism, especially when you consider the consequence of profit for the sake of profit is growth for the sake of growth, where not to grow means death for capitalism. Capitalism requires infinite resources yet exists in an environment of finite resources.
[ April 18, 2003: Message edited by: Richard Hawkes ]


Infinite resources required for capitalism ?
This is so absurd is to not require comment. But for humor's sake, please elaborate because I can't grasp what you mean.
 
frank davis
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1479
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Herb, now after we learnt your national origin, you should tell us how old your are.
Because I must admit when I read your reflections about "principles", I assume you are young, but then, I made this mistake before and I do not want to repeat it.


What, you think all this wisdom could be accumulated in merely a few decades?
Hint 1 :
I'm old enough that I'm thinking about lying about my age, but worried if I could actually pull it off.
Hint 2 :
In high school I actually believed all the liberal, left wingers, that said Reagan(first term) would plunge us into a major war (with the often implied assumption this would be in Western Europe with the Soviet Union). I felt a dread in the pit of stomach as if I was signing my death sentence when I registered for the newly reinstated draft.

By the way the national origin of my name is not "my" national origin. I am American. After 10-20 generations, can't I be an American ?
[ April 19, 2003: Message edited by: herb slocomb ]
 
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Posts: 10065
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What, you think all this wisdom could be accumulated in merely a few decades?
No, I just remember that when I was young I was also enamored with "principles". Now, when I became more mature and improved my thinking abilities, principles are of far less interest to me. They do not explain as much as it seems. I am more interested in factual information and anecdotal evidences.
For example, I knew a guy who had a small business selling clocks. He said that he could expand his business, but he doesn't want to do that because dealing with big money would mean he can be killed. Here are all your capitalist principles, rights of individual and all that.
By the way the national origin of my name is not "my" national origin. I am American. After 10-20 generations, can't I be an American?
Mmm, can I then write in my papers "nationality: anti-American"? Just kidding!
[ April 20, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
frank davis
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1479
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
What, you think all this wisdom could be accumulated in merely a few decades?
No, I just remember that when I was young I was also enamored with "principles". Now, when I became more mature and improved my thinking abilities, principles are of far less interest to me. They do not explain as much as it seems. I am more interested in factual information and anecdotal evidences.


There are several categories of principles, for example, scientific prinicples to explain the laws of nature, and there are normative principles that not supposed to explain anything but rather to set standards. Our discussion , from my viewpoint, is that we were discussing normative principles such as what makes a society a just society (individualistic principles).
Without established normative principles there is no overall coherent organizing standard for a society. Imagine a legal system without a theory of justice and the economic/social disruption that would follow...


For example, I knew a guy who had a small business selling clocks. He said that he could expand his business, but he doesn't want to do that because dealing with big money would mean he can be killed. Here are all your capitalist principles, rights of individual and all that.


We would just need to enter the realm of pychological principles to explain this and remove our discussion from the societal level down to the personal.


By the way the national origin of my name is not "my" national origin. I am American. After 10-20 generations, can't I be an American?
Mmm, can I then write in my papers "nationality: anti-American"? Just kidding!
[ April 20, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]

 
Richard Hawkes
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1340
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Good morning!

Originally posted by herb slocomb:
Infinite resources required for capitalism ? This is so absurd...


Debatable but certainly not absurd. By infinite I mean that in order to continually produce a surplus and make profit we'll need access to an infinite amount of natural resources. By finite I mean that the supply is limited to what's on the planet - when these dry up, what then? Maybe its absurd to pin humanity's future on an economic system that increasingly looks like it'll ultimately become a victim of its own success.
 
Richard Hawkes
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1340
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Me:
The increasing complexity of modern society requires greater intrusions into private and economic life for it to remain a just society. Freedom requires the state to check the free market and not allow it to dominate society, though some would argue it already does.
You:
These are assertions unbacked by examples and explanations. I cannot accept this.


I don't really have any examples, just seems logical to me. As population density increases our lives will affect each other more and more - how can it not? It follows that the state will have to be more involved in our lives, at the very least to protect our rights, at the most to settle disputes and maintain social stability. We've already disagreed on how much is necessary, I just think its inevitable that these incursions will increase.
On the second point, the free-market would be polluting more and have us working longer and harder for less compensation, if it were not for worker's rights and state legislation. I wasn't clear, but I meant that freedom beyond economic freedom requires the state to check the actions of a purely capitalist economy. Again you think its largely unnecessary, I just happen to believe the oppostite.
 
Richard Hawkes
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1340
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by herb slocomb:*** every thing else ***


If we live within a capitalist economy then our existence as individuals depends largely on how and if we contribute to that economy. If the opportunity to work is denied to us for whatever reason, then our right to be productive and to support ourselves legitimately and with dignity is gone.
Maybe I've misunderstood some of your posts but you've implied a few times that capitalism equals increased freedom and reinforces individual rights. I agree that economic freedom is a significant one, and also that freedom should be about much more than just the right to choose whether you get a Playstation 2 or an X-box. However if you're somehow excluded from this economy or if you're at a level where you're are continually struggling to keep your head above the water, then it is much harder to exercise other freedoms (to get educated, have clean water, whatever...), and basic economics will dominate your life. And you might never get the chance to play Parapper the Rapper.
And I agree that it is right to blame a political system if it sanctions abuses against individual freedom. In the same way it would be right to blame a system that allows abuses to occur through letting the economy run unchecked (through inaction or excessive support to the needs of business). Politics and economics are so entwined it is hard to separate one out from the other and apportion blame accordingly.
 
frank davis
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1479
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Richard Hawkes:
Good morning!
Debatable but certainly not absurd. By infinite I mean that in order to continually produce a surplus and make profit we'll need access to an infinite amount of natural resources. By finite I mean that the supply is limited to what's on the planet - when these dry up, what then? Maybe its absurd to pin humanity's future on an economic system that increasingly looks like it'll ultimately become a victim of its own success.


Good morning also (almost)!
Hydrogen fuel, solar energy (very recent breakthroughs here), and wind energy will not "dry up" for practical purposes. By the time petroleum, coal, and uranium are exhausted those alternatives, or others, will be ready for prime time.
I was going to go into a long list of raw materials that are practically inexhaustible since they are common components of our planet (iron is 4th most common element on Earth), and others such as aluminium are that are recyclable. But the list would be too long and I have several more important points to make :
1. We are never going to reach of point of having NO natural resources as long as we are on Earth.
2. Those natural resources that are totally exhausted will be replaced by others. Whether they are better or worse as alternatives to the exhausted resources is not material to our discussion. Goods can continue to made and sold.
3. Marx had this huge oversight of ignoring the increasing pace of technological change. Technological discoveries feed on themselves and spur more discoveries at an ever increasing rate. Technology allows all types of wonderful things such as finding/using "new" reources and materials for production that were previously unused/underused. Technology allows it to be easier to subsitute on resource for another. Technology allows recycling. Then there is better utilization of resources. The list goes on...
 
frank davis
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1479
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Richard Hawkes:

If we live within a capitalist economy then our existence as individuals depends largely on how and if we contribute to that economy. If the opportunity to work is denied to us for whatever reason, then our right to be productive and to support ourselves legitimately and with dignity is gone.


You seem to be saying again that there is such a thing as a right to a job. I deny that such a
right exists. I will only subscribe to a view of rights that grants me freedom to act to the extent that I don't restrict others rights (due to equality of rights). If I have a right to a job that means someone has to provide me such a job. Jobs have to be provided by somone, and if that someone is being forced to hire me then his rights are being violated.



Maybe I've misunderstood some of your posts but you've implied a few times that capitalism equals increased freedom and reinforces individual rights.


Usually the two are strongly correlated, and economic freedom is in itself an important freedom. But the political system in charge determines what rights are protected.



I agree that economic freedom is a significant one, and also that freedom should be about much more than just the right to choose whether you get a Playstation 2 or an X-box.
However if you're somehow excluded from this economy or if you're at a level where you're are continually struggling to keep your head above the water, then it is much harder to exercise other freedoms (to get educated, have clean water, whatever...), and basic economics will dominate your life. And you might never get the chance to play Parapper the Rapper.
And I agree that it is right to blame a political system if it sanctions abuses against individual freedom. In the same way it would be right to blame a system that allows abuses to occur through letting the economy run unchecked (through inaction or excessive support to the needs of business).
.


Are the abuses you speak of a violation of someone's rights? You know I am going to say that there was no such right to begin with...
Besides, I believe the "abuses" and excesses occur much more with government regulation than with laize faire.


Politics and economics are so entwined it is hard to separate one out from the other and apportion blame accordingly.


I think I can place blame accordingly : its always the fault of the political system.
Furthermore, if they have become entwined its because the political system has allowed such entwining (again, the fault of the politcal system since it holds ultimate power). In some respects the entwining is an evil that needs to be seen in way that we in the States call a Separation of Church and State issue. If the government were more laize faire, there would be less entwining.
 
Richard Hawkes
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1340
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by herb slocomb:
Points 1 to 3 ...


1. Technically maybe, but the amount of useful resources (including space to live) per head of a rapidly increasing world population will decrease. I can't imagine a technology that will let us eat rocks and if we could how will we make new rocks once they're all gone?
2. I'm not happy with the idea that we have to strip a resource to exhaustion to satisfy an economic principle, but sure we could. And "better or worse" is an issue if it impacts on quality of life. Surely those individual rights we've created for ourselves should include the right to clean air and water?
3. Maybe he did but who knows yet. Humanity has made amazing scientific advancements and, like you, I have faith that we'll rise to new challenges, but it is faith only, not certainty. It is dangerous and short-sighted to assume this will be the case.
It seems to me that our western economies get more and more desperate to create new markets and sustain levels of economic growth at the risk of other important factors such as quality of life and respect for other countries. The notion that we absolutely have to produce and consume more and more to sustain our current way of life is flawed I think. If to be free can be reduced down to owning stuff (if the free world can be united by the cry "hey, nobody touch my stuff!"), and the reaction to an incredible, appalling act of war (9/11) by a president includes a sincere plea to "go and buy more stuff", its a little alarming don't you think? Well, it depresses me.
 
Richard Hawkes
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1340
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by herb slocomb:
You seem to be saying again that there is such a thing as a right to a job.


Not a natural right, but yes, if the economy is structured in such a way that we can only sustain ourselves through employment then why shouldn't there be a right to work? And its precicely because we can't force a business to employ people it doesn't need that the state is an essential agent in the order of things. It can help to manipulate market conditions so that more people can be employed, protect the rights of those that do work, and help support those that cannot. If you are outside of the economy, then you will enjoy less real freedom. Of course you will be free from the constraints of work, but free to do what?

Originally posted by herb slocomb:
Are the abuses you speak of a violation of someone's rights? You know I am going to say that there was no such right to begin with...


Yes, rights we created to protect ourselves. Injustices like dangerous work places, and back-breaking work for crappy money, rights to receive help when a business goes belly up and sheds its workforce, things like that are relieved by the state interfering on our behalf.

Originally posted by herb slocomb:
I think I can place blame accordingly: its always the fault of the political system. Furthermore, if they have become entwined its because the political system has allowed such entwining (again, the fault of the politcal system since it holds ultimate power). In some respects the entwining is an evil that needs to be seen in way that we in the States call a Separation of Church and State issue. If the government were more laize faire, there would be less entwining.


I disagree that its always the political system alone to blame. Because our political systems are based on the representation of people and groups, it leaves room for abuse by more powerful parties to manipulate policies of the state (that's why you don't like the state, I know). This is perhaps a necessary evil if we want the state to be truly representative. Because I don't believe the principles of laissez-faire benefit society justly, I couldn't support a government that sought to disengage itself complelely from economy.
AW we reach our impasse again over how much we think the state should interfere. It always boils down to the same thing as you say. I just don't trust the idea of 'let it all work out'.
 
frank davis
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1479
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Richard Hawkes:

1. Technically maybe, but the amount of useful resources (including space to live) per head of a rapidly increasing world population will decrease. I can't imagine a technology that will let us eat rocks and if we could how will we make new rocks once they're all gone?


Since we are talking about the future, space is the one resource that is infinite if you consider space stations where people could live. At the present there is still lots and lots of space, at least here in the States (also ex-Soviet Union, and China). Worldwide, at least 80% of the population is concentrated in the major cities. There is room to disperse people, and there are ways to make more efficient use of existing space, and we will evolve new more efficient ways of using space as time goes on. Space stations could also grow food. Populations do not keep growing at the same rates. I already believe there is some evidence that the population growth rate is showing signs of slowing.
By the time we can "eat rocks" and before they are all gone, we will be at the stage where transformation of elements is possible allowing us to create any element we want from any other, thus solving any and all resource problems. We are talking far, far into the future after all.
And genetically modified bacteria and yeast that live off inorganic matter(this is almost the same as eating rocks from a resource point of view) will be our new food, and this could be feasible in the same will h. And before our sun burns out in a trillion years, we will have a technology to create new suns. You're doomsday scenarios happen so far into the future as to be beyound debate. I agree, at some point we may be butting our heads up against the 2nd Law of thermodynamics, say in a few trillion years give or take a few....
The Malthusian type arguments you are making have been made for hundreds of years, and have been consistenly wrong for just as long due to improving technologies to increase food production. With genetic modification of food just getting started I see a bright future for increasing yields almost indefinitely.
.


2. I'm not happy with the idea that we have to strip a resource to exhaustion to satisfy an economic principle, but sure we could. And "better or worse" is an issue if it impacts on quality of life. Surely those individual rights we've created for ourselves should include the right to clean air and water?
.


New technologies have existed to reduce pollution significantly for the past 15 years. Those techonolgies are not standing still and we have no reason to expect them to. Already non-polluting energy resources exist and are being made practical. This is one problem clearly surmountable, at least technically.

.


3. Maybe he did but who knows yet. Humanity has made amazing scientific advancements and, like you, I have faith that we'll rise to new challenges, but it is faith only, not certainty. It is dangerous and short-sighted to assume this will be the case.
.


The "faith" has a perfect track record in some respects, and logic would suggest the track record will only improve(!) due to the increasing pace of technological innovation.
.


It seems to me that our western economies get more and more desperate to create new markets and sustain levels of economic growth at the risk of other important factors such as quality of life and respect for other countries.
.


I'm not seeing the "desparation" at all....
.


The notion that we absolutely have to produce and consume more and more to sustain our current way of life is flawed I think.
.


yeh, thats flawed, but capitalism and freedom can exist without such a flawed view.
.


If to be free can be reduced down to owning stuff (if the free world can be united by the cry "hey, nobody touch my stuff!"), and the reaction to an incredible, appalling act of war (9/11) by a president includes a sincere plea to "go and buy more stuff", its a little alarming don't you think? Well, it depresses me.


No, not alarming at all for those of us in the know
There are such things as business cycles. These are "natural" and to be expected. Psychological factors also impact this business cycles. So the President was attempting to influence the psychology of people to help the exonomy out, no big deal. Marxists are always pointing to " the crisis" of capitalism every time there is recession, then they go into hiding during the recovery, then it repeats again, ad nauseum...
 
Note to self: don't get into a fist fight with a cactus. Command this tiny ad to do it:
Thread Boost feature
https://coderanch.com/t/674455/Thread-Boost-feature
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic