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Debate The Big Political Concepts Thread

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Silent Lion, Mar 29, 2017.

  1. Silent Lion

    Silent Lion Rawr.

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    The title's self-explanatory!

    What are all your positions? What system of government/society does/would work best?

    My own view is that I'm very happy with the system in which I live (UK). Is it perfect? Of course not, but history is a process of evolution. A middle-ground between free market capitalism and prescriptive communism (a partially planned economy) is working well for us. The trouble imo with big political pondering is that we like to simplify and categorise the world around us, but the world isn't simple. The economic, cultural and political makeup of our societies is a mess of technological, mathematic and psychological forces. The 'perfect' society cannot be predicted or planned - it can only be achieved by centuries of experiment, progression and gradual change. A regulation here, a law there. It's the blind, evolutionary principle led by a general desire for improved quality of life and this is where it's led us.

    I live in a society that ticks most of the boxes. You can call that smugness if you like (although the concept of national pride makes no sense to me), but it's empirically true. Equal rights by law, welfare, an increasingly scientific public outlook, access to a range of free services (everything from nursery time to internet access), a public health system... again, no it's not perfect, sometimes emplyers flaunt equal opportunities law, etc. But we're clearly on the right path. Right now for example, the government is a little too far to the right for my liking and I'd prefer to see a little more welfare, like we did a few years ago. But maybe a fluctuation to the left or right is necessary to keep people feeling as though democracy is there and prevent them from replacing all our achievements with whatever ideology the victors held.

    In short, and boringly for many, in the UK at least there's no longer any vast injustices worthy of violence and sweeping social change. There is a risk that the injustices of the past could return, but that's true of any society. Our best hope now is an adherence to our modern values and to continue pushing that progressive improvement, technologically and educationally.
     
  2. LinkSkywalker

    LinkSkywalker Cocky Little Freak

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    I'm a communist. Wealth in the face of poverty is a crime against humanity, and I won't be satisfied until the streets run red with the blood of the ruling classes.
     
  3. Link

    Link Hero of Time
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  4. Silent Lion

    Silent Lion Rawr.

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    But we are fixing poverty, albeit slowly. So what about the places (like here) where the working class enjoys a reasonable standard of living? What about wealth in the face of comfort-thank-you-very-much?
     
  5. LinkSkywalker

    LinkSkywalker Cocky Little Freak

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    This is not a national issue, it is a world issue. The UK has literal royalty living in vast palaces, while 21,000 people die of starvation each day in this world.

    And even if everyone if the worldwide standard of living could be raised to the point that the poorest person in the world still got enough to eat and live a reasonably comfortable life, it still would not justify the capitalist system. The ruling class have no right to the resources they stole from the commons.
     
  6. Silent Lion

    Silent Lion Rawr.

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    Republicanism vs Monarchy is another debate. I think our monarchy is rather redundant, seeing as she doesn't really make any decisions. I don't think she's evil or anything, she works very hard and I wouldn't want her life, but I don't really know what she achieves with her working other than self-enslavement (and attracting tourists). Anyway, your point is one of comparison - that it's wrong for some people to have more than other people. This is a big disagreement for me, and it probably speaks to vastly different approaches to morality. It's going to be difficult to wade through this because there are so many tangled tangents that are all needing of discussion in their own right. I'll make some attempt to categorize things.

    Morality
    Just to frame things, I'm a consequentialist following happiness/suffering. We may need to debate that if it turns out to be the crux of our differing views.
    I do not believe in justice, punishment or reward except as tools for behavioral modification. In short, the concept of 'deserving' is empty and dangerous. Thus I have no need for equality in income. Imagining I was representative of the poorest (hypothetically), I couldn't care less how much better Mr. X has things, so long as I'm comfortable. My happiness is absolute, not relative. Bringing them down to my level does not increase my happiness, it only decreases theirs, thus it is immoral.

    Human Need
    I realize I'm unusual in this, and that it's very human to measure one's standard of living by looking at the guy next to you. But that doesn't make it any more logical (or emotionally healthy). If I've eaten a little too much, but I see the guy next to me has eaten himself into a coma, should I suddenly feel hungry by comparison and eat myself to the point of vomiting? My basis for saying that my comfort is absolute, not relative, is that the human body and brain provide an absolute standard. As human beings, we have a list of needs, most of which are homeostatic. A certain balance of exercise and rest, of food groups, of water, of freedom vs boundary, of creative vs intellectual pursuits, etc etc etc. Once we start getting within those ranges, we have our needs met. My bread is soft. Paying three times as much for bread that is slightly softer is hardly going to make much difference - if the guy next door has softer bread, who gives a fuck? My bread is soft.

    There's a law in economics called the law of diminishing returns. The more you have of a thing, the less value is added by each individual thing (If I have a sleepover and share out five pizzas and one beer, I'll add more value by adding an extra beer than by adding a pizza. But swap the numbers of pizza and beer around... you get it). But this effect is not linear - if you plotted the total value against number of items, the value would rise steeply at first, before leveling off and eventually even falling. As 'value' in this case refers to impact on human happiness, the point around which the line curves is determined by homeostatic needs. Thus there is an empirically determinable 'happiness standard' of resource, which we can call 'comfortable' or 'happy'. As happiness is the ultimate standard, does it really matter how much more someone else has? It doesn't necessarily mean they're happier, and without happiness, resource has no value.

    Efficacy
    Then there is the most beaten track of communism debates, and that is the efficacy of differing systems. You cannot remove the ruling class, you can only replace one ruling class with another. A ruling class is the social projection of the human tendency to lead or be led. There have been centuries of tears and blood shed to forge a system of rule that continues to improve. Democracy, transparency and regulation have only increased throughout history - that is, of course, until you get some catastrophic purge and start from scratch. The thing is, unlike in previous systems of social organisation, our ruling class no longer contributes little or nothing. Company CEOs are necessary for the organisation and efficacy of the company. Companies are necessary for the adaptable and evolve-able provision of services and goods. Planned economies are neither adaptable nor do they evolve in the selective sense. And planned economies require a great deal of centralized control, which requires... leaders with too much control. Having Walmart as a separate entity to CNN divides that control. This is why there is (ironically) so much left-wing protest when big corporate buy-outs happen, because they don't to see any one entity holding all the cards. Except if it's the government that is, and suddenly it's called communism and it's somehow sensible, like they wouldn't abuse that power. Even if you were lucky enough to get a communist government in with a great and noble leader(s), you'd only be safe for a generation at most. Capitalism runs itself, that's why it works.

    Description of selective evolution in capitalism:
    Company A selects their CEO based on capability, Company B based on inheritance or corruption. Company A is better led and outcompetes Company B - the market has evolved through economic selection. This sort of thing is impossible without competition.

    Ultimately, what if the rising comfort of the poor was precisely due to regulated capitalism?

    ASIDE: I think the gradual improvement of the poor is now inevitable. Poorer countries are poor usually because of corruption, war, or simply being behind. Some of it is admittedly caused by western military adventure. But technology improves, societies improve, and it's only a matter of time before the UK now (or any other 1st world welfare state, for that matter, but I'm only qualified to speak of my home) is representative of a poor country in the future.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2017
  7. LinkSkywalker

    LinkSkywalker Cocky Little Freak

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    Not really.

    I'll admit that I know basically nothing about the United Kingdom, so as the initial thrust of your argument focused pretty much entirely on how things are in the UK, I was limited in how I could respond. I'm dubious of your claim that poverty is pretty much A-OK in the UK, but I'm not going to argue with someone about living conditions in the place they live, when I've never been there.

    But my point wasn't that you have a queen and monarchism is bad. My point is that you have people with a criminal amount of wealth. Some of them stole their wealth from the commons of yore, and simply had it passed down generation to generation. Others stole their wealth from the working class through the capitalist machine. In the end, the wealthy capitalist and the wealthy monarchist are the same. They are criminals, hoarding stolen wealth while millions of people live in squalor.

    As an axiom, I don't find this terribly objectionable. However, I reject the moralist mindset. The structure of dividing actions into the categories of "right" and "wrong" is flawed. It exists to benefit the ruling class, who throughout history have ignored it to instead focus on whether an action is effective, or ineffective. They act within the strictures of lower class morality only insofar as necessary to maintain their power base.

    I also object to happiness as a metric for pretty much anything. "Happiness" as a state of being is nonsense. It elevates a stagnant contentment to some kind of ideal. Life is struggle, and no joy exists without suffering. Rather than happiness, I would prefer to pursue ensuring that every human has as much freedom of action as possible: both as an individual, and as a partner in the various collectives that make up our lives (work, government, neighborhood, etc). Note that in order for a person to have the maximum freedom of action, they must also have the maximum number of opportunities. The "Freedom" to go to college is meaningless if a person doesn't have the means to go to college.

    I more or less agree.

    I'm trying to find a charitable way to read this, but I can't. I don't think you actually mean what is said here. If I said "A person who does a hard day's work deserves to get paid for it," the concept you've stated here would seem to imply that it is dangerous for a person to expect recompense for their work.

    In your argument, you extrapolate pretty wildly from your own happiness/comfort. You seem like a pretty happy guy overall, so I don't think you're a very good metric. As you say below, you're unusual in this sense.

    Assuming consequentialism following happiness/suffering, it has been scientifically demonstrated that human happiness peaks at an income of around $60k-$75k per year, USD. Any less than that, and most people will be unable to tick all boxes on the hierarchy of needs. People who make more than that do not report higher levels of happiness. And, indeed, I'm sure we're all familiar with how the wealthy can begin to lose touch with other humans because they lack any grounding in the realities of most humans' lives.

    So, by your axiom, wealth redistribution is necessary. It will help all of those people below the $60k threshold to raise their happiness. Meanwhile, those who lose wealth will undoubtedly experience some unhappiness, because their baseline for how life works has been set so high (which was only possible through the suffering of others). Some of them will adjust, and find happiness again. After all, they still have enough money to meet all of their needs. Others may not find happiness again, which is unfortunate. Their minds have been poisoned by the unhealthy expectations set for them by living in a capitalist society. However, since the happiness of so many will depend upon the suffering of so few, it's a sacrifice we should be happy to make as a society. Especially since the root of that "suffering" is living what would be considered an upper-middle-class lifestyle in a first world country. The horror.

    You seem to have been spared most of the suffering in the world. Congratulations on that.

    But just because you are happy, that does not mean other people are emotionally unhealthy for being unhappy.

    You seem to be framing the situation like this: "Man, I sure enjoyed that slice of pie. But hey! Billie got TWO slices of pie. I WANT TWO SLICES OF PIE!!!"

    When in fact, the situation is like this: "FUCK, I'm starving to death. I'm literally dying. Hey...look at that dude over there eating 30 pies. Lets go take some of his pies so we don't FUCKING DIE."

    Again...21,000 people a day.

    Every. Single. Day.

    Which, as stated above, costs about $60k-$75k USD per year.

    Russia went from being one of the poorest nations in the world, to being in space, in a span of 50 years.

    Most Communist nations are effective. Unfortunately, the managers of the collective affairs of the bourgeoisie (otherwise known as "Capitalist Governments") bend over backwards to sabotage communism wherever it appears. You don't need to look any further than the well documented CIA assassination attempts against Fidel Castro to see proof of how far capitalists will go to prevent workers from having power.

    We call it "The Dictatorship of the Proletariat."

    I agree that any system of governance will require some level of authoritarianism. That's why I'm a Communist, not an Anarchist.

    Fiction. There is no such human tendency.

    Leaders are useful when collective effort is required, but leaders do not persist because humans have a "tendency to be led." Leaders persisted first because they were strong and had all the swords, then because they were strong and had all the God, then because they were strong and had all the money. Humans have learned to survive in a world where oppressors demand to be called leaders. That does not mean that humans have a "tendency to be led."

    And now it's long past time to improve things still further. Things are not as good as they can be just because they're better than they once were. The feudal serf may be better off than a slave, but that doesn't mean that feudalism is a good system.

    Nothing about the job of a CEO requires them to be positioned within the ruling class. The job could just as easily be done by someone earning a more modest living, with an equal say in governance.
     
  8. LinkSkywalker

    LinkSkywalker Cocky Little Freak

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    A Communist society does not necessarily have a planned economy. It may have a managed economy, with restrictions on profit, but there's no need to have the government set the price of every good.

    Corporations only compete in the marketplace. When they're dictating how the government will function, they work together.

    If two people are working cooperating while trying to kill you, it doesn't matter that they root for different sports teams.

    Except every few years, you just elect new leaders. Similar to how capitalist governments do it, except under communism, those leaders actually would be answerable to the people, rather than to the capitalists.

    The 21,000 people who die of starvation every day might disagree about how well capitalism is working.

    So might the the growing percentage of the first world population which is living with poverty and disenfranchisement.

    If you're arguing that the job of CEO is possible to do poorly, and that a poor performance by a CEO will (occasionally) lead to a failed business, I agree. That's fairly trivial. Of course, as I said above, nothing about the job of CEO requires that the person doing the job be propelled into the ruling class of society. They could just as easily do their job well (or poorly) if they made a modest living. And hey! There wouldn't be any incentive for corruption or nepotism if the job wasn't so lucrative.

    Not that it matters either way. The company that succeeds will be whichever one was lucky enough to hire the person who has an amazing idea that their CEO will take credit for.

    Steve Wozniak is a genius.
    Steve Jobs was a leech, and the world is better without him.

    The wage gap has steadily increased for decades. Cost of living has steadily risen. The idea that that plight of the poor is improving is demonstrably, mathematically false.

    *Entirely. Entirely caused by Western military adventure.

    Countries that are corrupt are often corrupt because we propped up corrupt leaders. Countries that are poor are poor because we stole their resources, then imposed capitalism upon them.
     
  9. Silent Lion

    Silent Lion Rawr.

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    When you say to a Brit that the UK is a monarchy, most of them will reply "well, technically".
    Anyway, yes poverty does exist in the UK, and there are people poorer than I here. But they are significantly in the minority. That doesn't make it ok, but it does mean that my position is representative of my country's working class. The living conditions of the vast majority are good. I am equally uninformed about living standards in the States, which makes this whole thing difficult.

    There are two issues with this paragraph. The first is the concept of a criminal amount of wealth, the other is the concept of shared identity.
    Whether or not a 'criminal amount' of wealth can exist depends on two things, firstly: the consequentialist question of whether or not that wealth in itself causes suffering. This is largely the debate we are having below. The easiest way to claim that having too much wealth causes suffering is that the same wealth could be better used to alleviate the suffering of the most needy. To an extent, this is true, hence why we tax the rich more heavily than the poor and use the money to establish welfare and national health systems (at least in the UK, again, problems of nationality... ). But if completely redistributing wealth would cause the collapse of the very engine that is causing the gradual improvement of people's lives, then you could say that the wealth is not in itself causing suffering (possibly the opposite). So, again, it is contingent on the conversation about the efficacy of capitalism/communism we are having below.
    The second factor in the question of 'criminal wealth' is the possible assumption of relative moral value. The idea that it is simply wrong for one person to have more than another. We get into this later as well, but there is no logical pathway from consequentialism to relative moral value. Hopefully we can agree, to establish one principle at a time, that if one pie makes you happy, it doesn't matter if the next guy has two pies. Value/need is absolute, not relative to some average. A pie is a pie is a pie. Again again, pies later...

    And then there is the concept of shared identity. As I'm sure we're both familiar with observing, humans like to categorize things. People from Germany are 'Germans'. In reality, we understand that the category 'Germans' contains a stupefyingly diverse range of people - women, men, children, anarchists, supremacists, criminals, saints, blah. Or at least, we understand this fact when it comes up. Then when the moment passes, we can go back to just calling them all 'Germans' and treating them like a single noun. The Germans perpetrated the holocaust. Bad Germans. The Muslims demolished the Twin Towers. Bad Muslims.
    This is precisely what you are doing with the classes - Mr. Rich stole from Mr. Worker. Categories are mental shortcuts forged from perceived statistical patterns - they're not real, and yet you're treating them like immortal conscious beings. If the rich man's great grandfather stole from my great grandfather and now he's rich and I'm poor, that doesn't make it my money and it doesn't make him a thief. The idea of shared culpability across a category (and by extension, inherited sin) is imo a major cause of prejudice and is just dumb. You are not guilty of anything until you have actually contributed to a problem yourself (or failed to act when you could have, depending on your moral definitions). You cannot inherit sin, nor can you inherit victimhood. The Americans are criminals living on the stolen land of the native tribes. Except they're not, because the original perpetrators and original victims are now dead. You can neither punish the guilty nor recompense the injured.

    Clarification: Yes, (some/many/all/contingent on the debate) people today live unfairly under the consequences of what was done before. I should add that I don't believe in the idea of inheritance generally. Thus, (assuming criminal wealth exists for a moment), when someone is born into a rich family they are not guilty of a crime committed 'in yore'. The crime would be committed by the system that allows wealth to be passed down from parent to child. The crime occurs in the present.

    I suspect I'm misreading this, because you are generally scientifically-minded. The 'ruling class' (there go those nouns again) did not invent morality. Morality has been hardwired into our neurology by evolution for millions of years. If you mean that the expression and codification of morality has benefited the rich, then historically yes (feudalism was a system of moral beliefs) but less so now. But that is a question of how you divide actions into right and wrong, not whether. Your whole argument is based on the premise that it is wrong for the rich to steal from the poor (thinly veiled behind the word 'prefer'). The French and Russian Revolutions occurred because poor people decided that rich people were doing wrong things.

    Happiness is an inadequate word. Suffering is a perfect word because it is a sweeping description of all negative experience. Happiness by contrast alludes to a particular state, but what I really mean is anti-suffering. However, anti-suffering is a bit cumbersome so I settle for happiness. From now on, I'll refer to the principle of balancing suffering and anti-suffering as s/h.
    Also, s/h is the fundamental way that our brains generate value. Their electronic and hormonal causes and expressions are fairly well-known. Freedom does not have intrinsic value, it is valuable because it demonstrably improves s/h most of the time. The effect of restriction on our state of being is also deeply rooted in our evolution, more so than morality. Of course, most people chose to invest in the notion that freedom has absolute value because to believe otherwise would cause suffering (ta-daa).
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2017
  10. Silent Lion

    Silent Lion Rawr.

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    Ok, it's *sometimes* dangerous and at other times it's just harmlessly flawed. We expect hard work to be rewarded, and so when it isn't it triggers our monkey sense of unfairness and anger ensues. But I would argue that, although people may not be aware of it, expecting to be paid for work has less to do with 'deserving' and more to do with trust. An employer has promised you pay, it is the premise under which you entered into the relationship. If they then didn't pay you, you would feel deceived, exploited, and that your trust had been painfully desecrated.

    Consider the following scenarios.
    A company hires you to develop a D&D game for 500 bucks. After developing the game and giving it to them, they tell you that they're not going to pay you after all. Most people would feel pretty pissed at that. And yet you were doing something you do for free all the time.
    Let's invert the enjoyability of the task and the promise of reward.
    Imagine you bought a McDonalds uniform from Ebay and walked into a McDonalds and cleaned some tables. Would you be in your rights to demand payment? I don't think so. Nobody asked you to chip in, McDonalds did not invite you to invest trust in them to uphold any arrangement. It's the equivalent to con-men who wash your windows when you're away and then demand to be paid for it. "I didn't ask you to wash my fucking windows, get lost!"

    I said I'm unusual in that I don't look to the state of others to find relative happiness. I don't go "I'm happy because I've got more than that beggar" or "I'm unhappy because that guy's got more than me". Most people DO do that. That's why I say I'm unusual.

    But now you bring it up, I am a pretty happy guy, and yet I earn vastly less than 60k. I imagine the graph of happiness/income is an inverted U curve, with quite a wide range of 'pretty dam happy' that is not peak. I think it would be significant to know when the increase in happiness starts to level off, not just when it peaks. Furthermore, there are ways of improving happiness that are not increasing income. People with higher incomes are more likely to get laid and have a larger choice of life-partners, due to a shallow culture that can be improved. Education and upbringing can help there, and it can help with teaching people a positive attitude that allows you to enjoy more of what you have. Take these things into account and the amount required for each person may be significantly less than 60-75. There is also the question of causation - at least some of these people are richer for the same reason that they are happier (or even because they are happier). Part of the reason rich folk are happier may be because of people's tendency to judge their own fortunes by comparing them with others, and so rich people are happier because they are richer than most other people. If everyone earned at least 60k, would the peak move up?

    So there's all that. But let's say in principle that there is an income X which affords you every opportunity to satisfy your needs. The debate about redistribution immediately becomes contingent again on whether capitalism or communism is more effective at improving people's lives. If communism is equally or more effective and it is possible to move from our present system to a communist one without a new ruling class arising to take advantage of the situation, then yes, I agree, redistribution is necessary. If regulated capitalism is more effective, then sooner or later under the current system we will indeed reach a point where the minimum living standard equivelates to X.

    Cheap shot that adds nothing. I am neither going to brandish my traumas like a trophy nor am I going to feel guilty for the times I have avoided being unfortunate.

    Strawman. I didn't say people were unhealthy for being unhappy, I said they were unhealthy for regarding what they have as relative when it is absolute.

    Let's hope we can at least agree that this is silly.

    Impressing upon me the scale of human suffering adds more nothing. If I'm right and regulated capitalism is the fastest way to improvement, then that number simply adds to the urgency of my position rather than yours.

    Being in space hardly compensates for running a viciously repressive regime that (like Mao's China) was responsible for vast starvation, partly because it was spending so much money on space missions and military upkeep, partly because it punished scientific discovery wherever it contradicted Stalin's communist 'theory' and resulted in catastrophic agricultural decisions. Russia was politically and militarily effective. Was it effective in improving the lot of the normal person? Hardly. The French Revolution on the other hand had lots of benefits, but that's another discussion. In the long run, it may have been necessary to overthrow the Tzars and endure communism in order to arrive at a more equal and tolerant society. They're certainly not there yet.

    Of course you don't look further, you've found some evidence supporting your case and have stopped there. Cuba is something of an exception in that communism there has been effective, although one could argue it was independence and not communism that is responsible. And you're willfully overlooking the strategic importance of Cuba's location and what that might have meant for the cold war. But no, it was surely all to stop workers having power.

    You have noticed the inconvenient data that the average joe in a capitalist country lives a heck of a lot better than his counterpart in Soviet Russia, Maoist China or North Korea. You have invented (or more accurately inherited) a conspiracy theory to dismiss it. Soviet Russia was equally bent on eroding the US. It has more to do on both sides with trading and perceived military threat than workers' rights. Communism has been used historically as just another method of control. It served the same purpose that communists claim religion serves.

    You mean voting? [waits for another conspiracy theory]
    If voting is ineffective, why have living standards exponentially improved in democratic countries wherever suffrage is extended? Looking at the span of the millennia, Mr. Joe's life reads "Shit, shit, terrible, shit, shit, voting, minimum wage and compulsory education and welfare and access to healthcare..."

    That's an evasion. My point was that Communism requires more authoritarianism and, ironically, less power for everyone else.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2017
  11. Silent Lion

    Silent Lion Rawr.

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    What?
    I'll wait patiently for your refutation of mainstream psychology and biology.

    Collective effort is permanently required. And your summary of history, whilst poetic, is equally levied at any system of governance including communism. For any system of governance to be effective, it needs to be enforecable (swords), it needs to be approved of by much of the populace (God) and it needs to actually provide something (money). "The establishment" has always had the swords, God and money all at the same time. Take those away, and you get anarchy. In modern liberal countries, the 'establishment' is a set of rules or a constitution. Trump can't run into the streets with a Kalashnikov and go fucking mental because the establishment would take him down using its swords (the police/military) and its God (the condemnation of everyone) and its money (with which it pays the police).

    It doesn't make communism a good system either. Life will continue to improve because technology improves and people become more liberal, more educated and more democratic. Communism isn't democratic, otherwise we would have voted for it already.

    - A CEO's position is defined as being in charge, and necessitates them having control over more resources than the ordinary person. As a side effect, that gives them more political power, which is unfortunate but I don't see that communism is the best answer to that. Rather, it's fixed with better regulation and enforcement, and better cultural education. The CEO of today tends to be more egalitarian and liberal than the CEO of fifty years ago, partly because of more public scrutiny (thanks to social media and information technology) and partly just because that's how our culture as a whole has moved.
    - The amount that a CEO earns could be reduced if it didn't affect their productivity so much that the benefit was outweighed by the cost to his company, its employees and the wealth the company generates. In general, pay grades are necessary. The main reason today for too-high CEO wages is often not simply because they paid themselves too much ("Yes it is!" calm down.), but because companies are in competition to keep the most qualified people. In other cases it IS because they're paying themselves too much for no reason, and that results in incompetent people making our banks bankrupt and then awarding themselves obscene bonuses for it. But that behavior isn't sustainable - it destroys the organisation and it attracts widespread hostile attention that ultimately leads to them being removed and more competent people in their place being rewarded in a more logical manner. Again, economic selection.
    - The president or prime minister of a country has a job comparable to a CEO, and instead of economic selection (s)he faces democratic selection. That's why I'm discussing CEOs. But CEOs are relevant in their own right because they are leaders of their own hierarchy of people and resources and represent an effective structure that is repeated across capitalist society.

    Capitalism gives us science and facts because the companies with the most truth win. Democracy gives us rights and values and regulates capitalism so that people benefit.

    I already live in a managed economy. The workplace is heavily regulated, the rich are taxed significantly more than me and various services are provided by the state. Various levies are used to influence the flow of money, as well as financial watchdogs that enforce economic regulations. Personally, I preferred it a few years ago when we were a little more to the left and we were still in the EU. But that's the flipside of democracy, sometimes the group will decide something you don't like.

    That's why I advocate regulated capitalism and not free market capitalism. Again I sense you are merging everyone with any money or power into an amalgamated singular consciousness. Most CEOs aren't evil. Most were brought up with normal egalitarian values and believe their corporation is benefiting people.

    Competition is what drives investment in the very scientific research and technology that is responsible for so much good. Without market competition, you can ensure you get the lab results that back up your preconceived communist ideals (google Lysenkosim). Result, people starve but no worries, because you can just make an excuse and do it some more. Do that in the marketplace and your corporation goes bust, and then you no longer have the means to keep doing it.

    The people are capitalist.
    Communist leaders are less answerable to the people, not more, thanks to their habit of instilling a personality cult and requiring more authoritarian control. Nothing about communism makes a society more democratic.

    A great many more would die under attempted communism. Regulated capitalism is a process - the world won't be fixed overnight and it isn't there yet. But the rate of improvement, culturally and economically, is clearly fastest under regulated capitalism.

    Yes there would, the incentive for corruption would be to make their job more lucrative than it was. And there wouldn't be the motivation to take on the workload and responsibility of a CEO, either.

    There is no way we can falsify that. I believe it does happen, but not in a majority of cases.

    Not sure of the details involved, no time to find out, and it doesn't matter - it's anecdotal evidence.

    If wealth (as in anything with a positive h/s impact) is absolute and not relative, the wage gap is irrelevant if capitalism works. The cost of living will always increase, that's also irrelevant. The salient metric is working class wealth in absolute terms or, if you like, income relative to the cost of living. Money is an intermediary without intrinsic value. In short, do I have more access to food, water, services and leisure than my forebears? Obviously so.

    How convenient. How is it that you do not allow other countries to make their own mistakes? If their country's gone to shit, it must always be our fault. If you want to talk about propping up destructive leaders, who's propping up the leaders of Syria and North Korea? Russia and China. Also, there's no 'we'. If you're referring to the colonial period, then yes. But governance and capitalism today is unrecognisable from what it was then. Our culture and our values have changed, systems have improved. And there was plenty of misery and barbarism in the world before "we" turned up. The Indian caste system isn't democratic or good for the poor, nor is the monarchy of Saudi Arabia.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  12. Silent Lion

    Silent Lion Rawr.

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    Extra faff that I missed:

    This is one of those evasive statements. Clearly the balance between the two is not static, and the whole of human (or even sentient) effort has been to affect this balance. That effort is responsible for all the progress we have ever made. So to say 'there is no joy without suffering' as if it was irrelevant or implausible to affect is both discreditting everything humanity's achieved and is also in itself an irrelevant statement.

    Except in the case of the mentally unwell, I struggle to think of any conscious decision that cannot be traced to a desire to affect the h/s balance of the actor.

    The clearest example of when the concept of 'deserving' is dangerous is in the justice system. When someone commits a crime, there are two common approaches:
    - The h/s approach demands compassion and rehabilitation.
    - The 'deserving' approach demands that you inflict suffering.
     
  13. Kaynil

    Kaynil Well-Known Member

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  14. Eduardo 6u9

    Eduardo 6u9 #SELFIE ;3

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    God, so much words, I'll just say that I'm myself. B-)
     
  15. Kaynil

    Kaynil Well-Known Member

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    Anyway, I might chime in with an actual answer for what I think later on. Political stuff is not my forte.
     
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