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Laika

Will Capitalism Collapse?

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Do you think that Capitalism will collapse by the end of the current century?

Its becoming more obvious that there are major problems with how resources are allocated and used in the world economy. A "collapse", if it happened, would necessarily be global because of how globalisation has interconnected our economic and political destinies. I realise you could argue it either way- that it is the fault of capitalism, or that it is the by-product of distortions of "crony capitalism" and "corporate capitalism" in free, competitive markets, and that such a collapse would also hurt the non-capitalist countries (debatably, China and North Korea). It is however true that Capitalism can only collapse if people consciously decide to bring it down, whether by social revolution or by breaking the social contract and deciding its better to go our separate ways in anarchy or civil war. the weakening of free institutions, through apathy and cynicism from below, and creeping authoritarianism from above, is not a good sign.  

here's a few reasons why I think Capitalism may collapse. 

  • Climate Change and Environmental Problems: Ultimately, "free" societies are a privilege and a luxury of economies that have attained a sufficiently high level of production that they no longer need to use direct coercion, but can use voluntary exchanges within the market instead. Environmental Problems threaten to bring about an era of food and water insecurity (and if you include peak oil, energy insecurity) and this is not likely to be conducive to political stability at all. Ultimately, this is a major mis-allocation of resources as short-term profits take precedence over the long-term sustainability of maintaining resources and a failure to invest or innovate by new technologies and organisational structures that could address these problems. 
  • Consumerism: the irrational nature of expectations in the market means that people and institutions have become "addicted" to growth and consumption. This makes society less adaptable and people more irritable to falls in living standards. So the unrealistic expectations (perhaps "entitlement" if you want to call it that) make political extremism and instability more likely as people value instant gratification over the long-term stability of free institutions. 
  • Income Inequality and Corporate Capitalism: Whilst a certain level of income inequality may be healthy, the problem is that its got out of control. It doesn't reflect competition in the marketplace, but the concentration of economic power in the hands of the big banks and large corporations to "reallocate" resources to the wealthy. This is bad news because, it is the Middle Class which provides an economic basis for stability in developed countries. If the middle class begins to crumble, people no longer have an economic incentive to be part of the system. This is particularly true of young people, where opportunities to benefit from capitalism are getting harder and harder to find as social mobility gets lower. 
  • The failure of Democracy: the economic power and influence of large corporations means they are able to make democratic governments serve their interests, and hence are resistant to attempts at reform (whether they come from the left or the right). 
  • The Media: not sure where to start, but you have the combination of a highly concentrated media ownership with TV, newspapers, etc as sources of information, combined with the disruptive effects of the internet which has, by turning clicks, shares and views into the currency of social media, helped create an environment in which spreading "fake news", sensationalist stories, along with conspiracy theories into a major commercial enterprise. the incentives are there for people who want to make money, and they are rewarded for manipulating the public. Whether its a question of free economic and political institution, having people being badly informed and making less than rational decisions, is highly corrosive. On top of this, is a heavy dose of cultural pessimism that either reflects or perpetuates social decline and serves elites by getting people to stop believing that change is possible. 
  • The War on Terror and Religious Resurgence: I'm throwing this one in because I tend to think Capitalism can only work as a secular set of institutions, in which a person's religious beliefs are "private" and not a public/political concern. Both Christian and Islamic Fundamentalism have been on the rise for several decades, and the threat of Islamic Terrorism has been used to strengthen the hand of the state to invade people's lives and other countries (often only making the problem worse). the retreat of secularism isn't very good for capitalism because economic growth relies on the advance of Science, and if science and reason come under attack- capitalism will follow. 

I could probably think of others, but I think we'll just go with those ones for starters. Any Thoughts? 

Edited by Laika

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1 hour ago, Laika said:

Do you think that Capitalism will collapse by the end of the current century?

The only potential threat I can see is artificial general intelligence, and I don't think that's a major threat, but I could be completely wrong on that one. If that becomes a threat, it's game over for humans. I don't think it's a threat, I think smart people will do good things with even AGI.

The worries you perhaps are having is the reason I think that Mindshore can do very well the next decades. There are so many people who worry about all these big ticket items that they have no control over. But what if you can live in a place where all the people are secular? What if you can live a place where the rights of the individual is respected? What if you can live a place where nobody expects any unpaid help from you, but see you as benevolent if you help out?

What if you can live in a place that has a 20% chance of becoming a place with no taxes, and no reporting requirement? What if your private finances were private? How fast could you accumulate capital, and what businesses would you build if you were free to do so?

It's just a dream I know. But some dreams do become real.

Political instability; I'm sure this will rise, especially with the next recession which might come before too long. What if you could move a place where you're too busy building fun things to even notice that the big countries are having trouble?

So, no, I think capitalism will never collapse. As long as people are alive, they will want to divide work and trade, and trade is capitalism. Trade predates humans, it's an integral part of being human. I think not even nuclear war can eradicate capitalism or humanity.

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3 hours ago, Mindborg said:

The only potential threat I can see is artificial general intelligence, and I don't think that's a major threat, but I could be completely wrong on that one. If that becomes a threat, it's game over for humans. I don't think it's a threat, I think smart people will do good things with even AGI.

The worries you perhaps are having is the reason I think that Mindshore can do very well the next decades. There are so many people who worry about all these big ticket items that they have no control over. But what if you can live in a place where all the people are secular? What if you can live a place where the rights of the individual is respected? What if you can live a place where nobody expects any unpaid help from you, but see you as benevolent if you help out?

What if you can live in a place that has a 20% chance of becoming a place with no taxes, and no reporting requirement? What if your private finances were private? How fast could you accumulate capital, and what businesses would you build if you were free to do so?

I could be wrong, but I think you're talking about people using a brain-computer interface and living in a matrix of some kind?

I would have thought that sharing everyone's thoughts, feelings into a digital public space is a recipe for socialism as uploading everything onto a computer makes privacy and private ownership of our own consciousness a little redundant in effect. It creates a way for "people" to hack one another and I find it hard to see how we could sustain the sense of self or autonomy in that kind of scenario. The internet has already shown the dangers for privacy and intellectual property by making things alot easier to share and how most of the content gets centralised through certain sites like Google, Facebook, YouTube, etc. pluging into a virtual network to get our emotions manipulated and be turned into addicts may not be conducive to freedom either. would we really want to be free if we can just push a button to get our next high? so not sure. interesting thought though. 

3 hours ago, Mindborg said:

It's just a dream I know. But some dreams do become real.

The authorities haven't made having an imagination a thought crime yet dude. So keep dreaming. its the first step to fight the system! :D 

3 hours ago, Mindborg said:

Political instability; I'm sure this will rise, especially with the next recession which might come before too long. What if you could move a place where you're too busy building fun things to even notice that the big countries are having trouble?

So, no, I think capitalism will never collapse. As long as people are alive, they will want to divide work and trade, and trade is capitalism. Trade predates humans, it's an integral part of being human. I think not even nuclear war can eradicate capitalism or humanity.

I think its called the internet, but I must investigate some kitten videos to be sure. ;)

most of the post-apocalyptic films we have nowadays would seem to suggest we'd go back to barter as a form of capitalism after a nuclear war (assuming there's anything left), like using bottlecaps as currency in Fallout. I guess it makes sense as long as well still have a division of labour and have to trade with one another. 

Edited by Laika

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3 minutes ago, Laika said:

I could be wrong, but I think you're talking about people using a brain-computer interface and living in a matrix of some kind?

Any AGI could quickly control any kind of machine, then use those machines to crush me. Why? Because I'm an individualist and like to be left alone. As I say, it's a very low risk, but definitely above 1%.

 

7 minutes ago, Laika said:

I think its called the internet, but I must investigate some kitten videos to be sure. ;)

I love software, but I love hardware too. I like to build things in the physical world, and I want to build big.

International waters is still mostly free from government coercion, and it might be possible to build something awesome there.

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Mixed economies of today's reality might collapse into socialism and/or tyranny.

Capitalism is a system which has never yet arisen (and thus cannot be said to be collapsing) although it came close a few hundred years ago.

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From the other post

The American journalist H. L. Mencken said, "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

 

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Climate change: I don't see your reasoning why you think there will be mis-allocation of resources. All you really say is that natural resources will be less common. It doesn't follow right from there to mis-allocation.

Consumerism: I sort of agree, but you'd need to say why those irrational expectations exist, or what they are. I mean, if most of society were irrational on average, it would fall apart anyway.

Corporate capitalism: What do you mean by that term? Are you talking about "largeness" specifically as in big businesses, or something like corporatism?

Failure of Democracy: Sure, a failure of government to protect rights due to corporatism would only harm any hope of laissez faire and any capitalist elements that exist.

Media: See the consumerism point. Media can promote and amplify a culture of irrationality, though.

War on terror: I agree, in the sense that religion doesn't promote rationality. People should have religious freedom, but it should be fought through persuasion in general.

By capitalism here, I mean the capitalist elements that exist.

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36 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Climate change: I don't see your reasoning why you think there will be mis-allocation of resources. All you really say is that natural resources will be less common. It doesn't follow right from there to mis-allocation.

I was more thinking of how resources such as fresh water, fish stocks, etc are being used at unsustainable rates as a form of mis-allocation of resources (in that they are being depleted and so undervalued in the long-term). 

Climate Change would also be a mis-allocation of resources if you framed it in terms of externalities/costs external to market transactions affecting third parties. I think people have tried to monetise it through carbon trading but I'm not sure how effective its been. 

36 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Consumerism: I sort of agree, but you'd need to say why those irrational expectations exist, or what they are. I mean, if most of society were irrational on average, it would fall apart anyway.

I'd say alot of the irrational expectation exist because of the power of the media to use advertising as a form of propaganda. So the media promotes consumption as a value and it can be just as damaging to reason as political propaganda by appealing to peoples emotions for the "feel good" factor (at least the accumulation of it is a problem). 

36 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Corporate capitalism: What do you mean by that term? Are you talking about "largeness" specifically as in big businesses, or something like corporatism?

I don't really have a specific use of the term but its one I've heard used by people on the right more. Marxists use the term "monopoly capitalism" to refer to companies being large enough to have market power over prices, wages, output, etc and therefore the ability to increase profits. I'm sort of using the term interchangably, but I think economic models would say all companies have some degree of market power in real life situations due to product differentiation, branding etc.

If I'm trying to be more specific, I think its that the sheer volume of output and revenue can be centralised into a lever of control that can then introduce elements of bureaucratic economic planning within a company and increase profits than would happen under a more competitive scenario. Its that the planned nature of corporations means they can use their market power to become vehicles for enriching executives rather than working for consumers. its also not good because it lays the basis for state-corporate co-operation which weakens competition and autonomy further. 

Edited by Laika

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59 minutes ago, Laika said:

I was more thinking of how resources such as fresh water, fish stocks, etc are being used at unsustainable rates as a form of mis-allocation of resources (in that they are being depleted and so undervalued in the long-term). 

I don't see this as a reason any system would fail. It's just a problem to solve.

You might argue that an LFC system cannot solve the problem. After all, tragedies of the commons are caused by the free use of resources. Property rights help alleviate that, as owners can increase the entry cost to fish in an area. If property rights aren't sufficient of an argument, we can suppose that in the worst case, someone engineers the resources artificially. As resources deplete, and costs increase, that motivates people to seek alternatives.

"Undervalued" to whom, by the way? I think there's a hidden premise here that a "real" price and perceived price are separate things. Or perhaps that the "real" price should include actual total supply that can be extracted. Neither works so well when technology can create new or different supplies to replace another.

1 hour ago, Laika said:

So the media promotes consumption as a value and it can be just as damaging to reason as political propaganda by appealing to peoples emotions for the "feel good" factor (at least the accumulation of it is a problem). 

I don't like the word propaganda here, but yeah, promoting irrational values and mindsets are damaging to any and all systems. The LFC answer is to permit the media, while many other people will present rational ideas and persuade people.

1 hour ago, Laika said:

its also not good because it lays the basis for state-corporate co-operation which weakens competition and autonomy further. 

We wouldn't say that the economic power per se is an issue. Amazon or Google can be as big as they want. Sure, it's a legitimate legal issue if they made efforts to transition into state-corporate co-operation. The only way to stop that is to make sure the law is set up properly. The size of a company and internal bureaucracy is not a threat at all. In fact, massive companies help consumers in many ways. If they don't want to help create mutually beneficial trades with consumers, they won't last so long, or someone else will pop up.

The problem is when the state tries to prop up failing companies. If the state is willing to do that, then there is a -legal- basis for state-corporate co-operation. This is bad. It's not LFC either.

LFC = laissez faire capitalism

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4 hours ago, Laika said:

I was more thinking of how resources such as fresh water,...

More people, in more countries around the world able to consume more of most key resources than ever before...coupled with more available "stocks" of resources. This is the paradox that Julian Simon identified: there's no physical reason we'd run out of resources...only political intervention could bring that about.

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9 hours ago, Eiuol said:

I don't see this as a reason any system would fail. It's just a problem to solve.

You might argue that an LFC system cannot solve the problem. After all, tragedies of the commons are caused by the free use of resources. Property rights help alleviate that, as owners can increase the entry cost to fish in an area. If property rights aren't sufficient of an argument, we can suppose that in the worst case, someone engineers the resources artificially. As resources deplete, and costs increase, that motivates people to seek alternatives.

"Undervalued" to whom, by the way? I think there's a hidden premise here that a "real" price and perceived price are separate things. Or perhaps that the "real" price should include actual total supply that can be extracted. Neither works so well when technology can create new or different supplies to replace another.

I'm probably still working on the Labour Theory of Value here, that the "utility" of the natural resources is not included in the exchange value/price as a commodity. As commodities, they are working within the short-term expectations and fluctuations of market demand and supply based on what is profitable. the profitability of market transactions accounts for the present day value of continuing to deplete or degrade resources but not the future value of maintaining resources. By the time market prices reflect the reduced supply, the scarcity is already real (and so would be its effects on the world economy and people). 

I'm not going to dispute that there are alternatives in the long-run, such as depletion of fresh water supplies can make de-desalinisation commercially viable, or depletion of mineral resources means that space exploration and asteroid mining becomes commercially viable. However, these are still massive investments in creating alternative supply of basic resources. In the short-run however, the physical limited nature of resources is real and is dependent on the speed of technological change. 

9 hours ago, Eiuol said:

I don't like the word propaganda here, but yeah, promoting irrational values and mindsets are damaging to any and all systems. The LFC answer is to permit the media, while many other people will present rational ideas and persuade people.

More or less agreed on that. :)

9 hours ago, Eiuol said:

We wouldn't say that the economic power per se is an issue. Amazon or Google can be as big as they want. Sure, it's a legitimate legal issue if they made efforts to transition into state-corporate co-operation. The only way to stop that is to make sure the law is set up properly. The size of a company and internal bureaucracy is not a threat at all. In fact, massive companies help consumers in many ways. If they don't want to help create mutually beneficial trades with consumers, they won't last so long, or someone else will pop up.

The problem is when the state tries to prop up failing companies. If the state is willing to do that, then there is a -legal- basis for state-corporate co-operation. This is bad. It's not LFC either.

LFC = laissez faire capitalism

simply because someone chooses their own dictator does not make them free. Consumers are only sovereign in practice to the degree to which they have decision making power within the marketplace. If corporations are strong enough to force consumers hand by limiting competition or product choice, or can use advertising and branding to manipulate consumers into buying a product for reasons other than the product itself (e.g. Ronald McDonald looks very friendly- so I think I will let my kids eat at McDonalds because he reflects the brand rather than whats in the hamburger, or kids going "I want to be like Tony the Tiger, so I'm going to bully my parents into getting me frosties. they're great!".)

the manipulation is more obvious with children because they are less good at rationalising it. its also more visible when children throw a tantrum in the supermarket isle because there parents aren't buying them exactly what they want. its a question of whether consumers are actually making rational decisions or being manipulated by companies into economic arrangements that serve the corporations by getting customers to identify with the company. giving the prevalence of sex in advertising and less than subtle references to how buying this product wil make you more attractive, the companies aren't selling a product but a self-image. e.g. "you're not buying a red sports car- you're buying a chic magnet to cover-up your performance anxiety". I'm not saying this is normal for capitalism, just that this is dangerous because it conditions people to be responsive to emotionally-loaded messages and more susceptible to the messages of demagogues, particularly if it appeals to our unconscious drives and conflicts by-passing the conscious part of our brain. 

The size of a company is a threat in that market power of existing companies is a barrier to entry to competitors, particularly if they cut prices to put them out of business. If there isn't the competition within the marketplace- its the companies who have the power, and they get to write the rule book with the government. the people become spectators to politics as elections are reduced to corporate branding exercises in a two (or maybe three) party system because the methods of manipulation in the marketplace get exported into politics. 

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7 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

More people, in more countries around the world able to consume more of most key resources than ever before...coupled with more available "stocks" of resources. This is the paradox that Julian Simon identified: there's no physical reason we'd run out of resources...only political intervention could bring that about.

Couldn't a Socialist say the same about the government running up the national debt because the government has the ability to print its own money? and that it is the fault of banks for limiting the governments borrowing capacity because they lack imagination and confidence in the government?

Given that the purpose of economics is to allocate resources efficiently amongst competing (and potentially infinite) wants, I find the idea that we should dismiss scarcity and physical limits as dangerously close to saying economics is a redundant discipline. we may be able to achieve abundance within the current century with scientific and technological developments, but we aren't there yet and we'd only be able to achieve that abundance on the basis of using scarce resources efficiently. 

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3 hours ago, Laika said:

Couldn't a Socialist say the same about the government running up the national debt because the government has the ability to print its own money?

Sure they could, and they do, and its a pretty powerful argument when someone shows you decades of reality that seem to belie your theory. The onus then shifts on the theorist to explain why anyone should believe him.

In the case of depleting resources, Julian Simon wrote a whole book to analyze the argument: Ultimate Resource.

Edited by softwareNerd

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40 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

Here's what Centralized Planning looks like:

 

article-2725415-208925A500000578-155_964x644.jpg

That wasn't what I was asking in the OP but... *shrugs*

If you want to criticise North Korea, you could do worse than the video below. I watched the film "Camp 14: Total Control Zone" that its talking about. its very slow and quiet and it doesn't need to make alot of noise to have an effect. I managed to sit through it but it was at the end when Shin said he wanted to go back to the Camp because it was his home that I burst into tears. that just hit me hard. Shin has changed his story, but its naive to expect pure truth to come out of nation where you have to lie to survive. 

 

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9 hours ago, Laika said:

I'm not saying this is normal for capitalism, just that this is dangerous because it conditions people to be responsive to emotionally-loaded messages and more susceptible to the messages of demagogues, particularly if it appeals to our unconscious drives and conflicts by-passing the conscious part of our brain.

 

The reason that I suggested in the other post that you read Rand's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology is that until you see the error in "dialectic" thinking you will continue to believe that language, concepts, words, propositions, etc. are nothing more than subjective "phantoms formed in the human brain " used by one group to exploit another.

It's also hypocritical of the Left to deny (or conveniently overlook) that historically, Marxism  - Scientific Socialism - was supposed to put a tractor in every driveway and bring electricity to the proletariat.  Scientific, centralized planning was supposed to do away with the inefficiency of capitalism - leading to a massive growth in industry, technology, material wealth and goods.  It was only when this utterly failed that the Left became concerned about "resources" and the "environment" and the "horrors" of consumerism and over consumption.  This is known as "moving the goal post".

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1 hour ago, New Buddha said:

The reason that I suggested in the other post that you read Rand's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology is that until you see the error in "dialectic" thinking you will continue to believe that language, concepts, words, propositions, etc. are nothing more than subjective "phantoms formed in the human brain " used by one group to exploit another.

It's also hypocritical of the Left to deny (or conveniently overlook) that historically, Marxism  - Scientific Socialism - was supposed to put a tractor in every driveway and bring electricity to the proletariat.  Scientific, centralized planning was supposed to do away with the inefficiency of capitalism - leading to a massive growth in industry, technology, material wealth and goods.  It was only when this utterly failed that the Left became concerned about "resources" and the "environment" and the "horrors" of consumerism and over consumption.  This is known as "moving the goal post".

I'll probably have to take your advice in the long-run. I got Capitalism: the unknown ideal through the post today and started flicking through the introduction.

Edited by Laika

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On 6/27/2017 at 7:58 AM, Laika said:

A "collapse", if it happened, would necessarily be global because of how globalisation has interconnected our economic and political destinies.

In what way did globalization do that? There is no global political body with any significant power. Political power is squarely under the control of national governments (and, to some small extent, the EU).

National economies are of course interconnected, because a lot of trade is done on a global scale (so any one economy's collapse would hurt the whole world), but, because politics isn't, national governments would react to any crisis in a variety of ways, and those who react rationally would get through a global recession without collapsing.

Edited by Nicky

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I think this has been said in the thread, but Capitalism has never existed, therefore it's impossible that it could collapse.

Edited by EC

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I disagree that capitalism "never" existed, its features are at least around, even if not full blown. But, the mixed economy a lot of the world has would collapse in the long run. Not that there has to be a total meltdown of the whole world, it's just unsustainable.

Laika, you seem to be wondering 1) how might the capitalist-ish mixed economies fail in the long run, and 2) how might an LFC society deal with these same problems.

21 hours ago, Laika said:

the profitability of market transactions accounts for the present day value of continuing to deplete or degrade resources but not the future value of maintaining resources. By the time market prices reflect the reduced supply, the scarcity is already real (and so would be its effects on the world economy and people). 

There is some labor theory of value here, at least in terms of when you said "undervalued" and perhaps overestimating the way people value commodities. I'm not well versed in economics to work out how market prices can be sensible in spite of how initially a commodity may "fly off the shelves". Sometimes people are imperfect and there are slumps, but that doesn't have to be catastrophic or the long term trend. The best way I can reply here is to say we see value in a market as an exchange between two or more individuals based on their individual evaluations. You probably get that already, I just want to emphasize that we'd looking at preferences and goals, and the degree those goals are rational and sensible will be to what extent the society is healthy.

21 hours ago, Laika said:

If corporations are strong enough to force consumers hand by limiting competition or product choice, or can use advertising and branding to manipulate consumers into buying a product for reasons other than the product itself 

Force how? If you mean price cutting then raising the price after a rival goes under, leaving a consumer worse off, we'd need to ask a lot more. Was that lower price sustainable anyway? Perhaps the demand was so high that people all rushed to it, only to realize that rate was not sustainable. These things are not inherently bad.

As for manipulating consumers. A big part of this is what sort of power you think people have to makes choices in terms of thoughts. What makes it manipulation as opposed to persuasion? People do use psychology to make goods enticing, more so than without that enticing. But I don't see why it's not just a change in evaluation. Now you might say a person changed their mind for a stupid reason as if they were tricked, but that applies to sales trends right now, too. Plus if a company uses dubious claims for marketing, it's either fraud, or in the long-run the company will fail.

You are right though that promoting bad ideas and bad products is bad for a society. LFC arguments would involve saying LFC itself allows people to find this out so it works best - with Oism making the moral argument that it' s best for mankind. (The moral is the practical, and all those ideas I'm sure you'll read about)

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2 hours ago, Eiuol said:

I disagree that capitalism "never" existed, its features are at least around, even if not full blown. But, the mixed economy a lot of the world has would collapse in the long run. Not that there has to be a total meltdown of the whole world, it's just unsustainable.

Laika, you seem to be wondering 1) how might the capitalist-ish mixed economies fail in the long run, and 2) how might an LFC society deal with these same problems.

yeah, that's more or less what I'm wondering. Marxists and Libertarians agree largely on the problems of the current society of arbitrary government and corporate power but disagree on the causes and the solutions. So I'm trying to think outside my own box and see how some of the issues that really bother me appear from the other end of the political spectrum (and whether that analysis is better or has insights I might have missed). 

2 hours ago, Eiuol said:

There is some labor theory of value here, at least in terms of when you said "undervalued" and perhaps overestimating the way people value commodities. I'm not well versed in economics to work out how market prices can be sensible in spite of how initially a commodity may "fly off the shelves". Sometimes people are imperfect and there are slumps, but that doesn't have to be catastrophic or the long term trend. The best way I can reply here is to say we see value in a market as an exchange between two or more individuals based on their individual evaluations. You probably get that already, I just want to emphasize that we'd looking at preferences and goals, and the degree those goals are rational and sensible will be to what extent the society is healthy.

I think the error of the labour theory of value is in postulating a sort of "pure" conception of utility that exists independently of the market as a means of evaluating a resources value. its going to be something I will need to look at. 

2 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Force how? If you mean price cutting then raising the price after a rival goes under, leaving a consumer worse off, we'd need to ask a lot more. Was that lower price sustainable anyway? Perhaps the demand was so high that people all rushed to it, only to realize that rate was not sustainable. These things are not inherently bad.

As for manipulating consumers. A big part of this is what sort of power you think people have to makes choices in terms of thoughts. What makes it manipulation as opposed to persuasion? People do use psychology to make goods enticing, more so than without that enticing. But I don't see why it's not just a change in evaluation. Now you might say a person changed their mind for a stupid reason as if they were tricked, but that applies to sales trends right now, too. Plus if a company uses dubious claims for marketing, it's either fraud, or in the long-run the company will fail.

You are right though that promoting bad ideas and bad products is bad for a society. LFC arguments would involve saying LFC itself allows people to find this out so it works best - with Oism making the moral argument that it' s best for mankind. (The moral is the practical, and all those ideas I'm sure you'll read about)

I got a copy of Capitalism: The unknown ideal yesterday (and reached chapter 5 this morning). its refreshingly bold and will make my head spin for a while. its pretty clear just how big the gulf between left and right ways of thinking on these questions are so I will just have to keep going. The section on anti-trust laws more than likely answers my question by arguing that economic and political power are not equivalent because political power rests on force/violence whereas economic power does not. the "bigness" of a company is a sign of its success and the result of accumulated voluntary transactions. I've not heard anyone put it in those terms before and couldn't really argue against it. 

I guess the issue is who decides that the reason why someone buys something is "stupid" to begin with, as that implies coercion in undermining a person's autonomy. I was more worried about how something like Television can be used to by-pass the rational side of the brain and appeal directly to the emotional part. whether its used for political or commercial reasons, that struck me as very corrosive to free thought. In Randian terms, its an appeal to the subjectivist value of what is "good" as a property of the mind and of emotions. That could be coercive in that what feels good becomes the norm of human behaviour by taking away from the human part and making us more into animals to be herded into Black Friday sales. I guess I'm horrified by how de-humanising it is for people to become a single unthinking collective mass in the name of shopping. In terms of its motivations, its a small step from that to Nuremberg Rallies if you change the symbolism. mobs are pretty scary whatever reason they form. 

BlackFriday-funny-gif-01.gif-_s74k.gif

Edited by Laika

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Laika:

Your decision to purchase and actually read a work by Rand herself is an impressive display of your intent to learn for yourself and make up your own mind about her philosophy. You are to be commended for it and with that kind of approach nothing will stop you from finding all the answers you need.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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1 hour ago, Plasmatic said:

For those whom capitalism is still an unknown ideal, capitalism is the complete seperation of economics and state and that has never existed.

This clear, non-foggy, definition of capitalism is the basis for Rand's argument, that Laika just led himself to discover, on the difference between economic and political power.

Such an obvious, absolute, and undeniably true statement of fact and of Rand's position, will resonate with those who get it. 

Well said.

Unfortunately, lesser minds will quibble, squirm, equivocate, whine, and in the end babble some anti-conceptual, inconsistent, irrelevancy, and I am decidedly not talking about Laika. 

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