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My goal, for the moment, is clarifying any misconceptions you, or anyone reading this, may have regarding my outlook on globalization. I have no other goal.   An individual is the ultimate minority

Don't worry - I only got it after a lot of reading and lectures too, and actually some very thoughtful posts here too.  Some of that is really deep and outside of my interest points (ethics and politi

Your tribalistic thinking is for savages.

Essentially, you've got the cart before the horse by saying men should live for the state. The state is there as a method for men to live peacefully and freely among themselves. Also, since the state is really just another group of men, when you hear, "Man should live for the state," you should ask, "Which man of the state is saying that I should do what he says?" That is, you're really living for other men, not "the state."

 

And, welcome to the forum!

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As Jaskn says Objectivism's political view of man's relationship to the state is that the state is a man-made institution created for man. The key is: what do we mean by "man" here? For instance, a National Socialist might agree that the state exists for man, meaning for society as a whole. Objectivism's Ethics holds that the benefit of others or of society is not a primary moral end. Rather, to each man, his own life and happiness is the primary moral end. The happiness of those he loves, of his acquaintances, of his city, his state and so on are derived from his value of himself, not the other way around. Rand goes into this in her essay "The Virtue of Selfishness".

 

So, in Objectivism, the state must be an institution that is designed for each individual man -- as an individual. The state must respect the rights of the individual. Once again, a lot of other political philosophers want to uphold "rights". The key is: what rights are legitimate and ought to be respected? Objectivism's view is close to the the right to "the pursuit of happiness". i.e. man has the right to the pursuit, not to the fruit. A man may not attck another man and take his stuff, neither directly, nor via government. For more detail, see Rand's essay "Man's Rights".

 

Rand calls her ideal political system "Capitalism". The essence of her view of capitalism is not capital, and definitely not governments that favor industrialists. Rather, it is a system that upholds individual rights as she delineates them. She describes her view in "The Nature of Government"

 

Hopefully, those throw up more questions! And, welcome to the forum.

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Thank you for the welcome! I am going to read all her essays that you mentioned after I finish Atlas Shrugged, and it's going to be in a while yet. See, I always thought of that statement as "must live for oneself and others," Man being any person, state being others. Of course, everyone can see different things in it, as Rand did herself. Then, there are three varieties of the statement: 1) Man must live for himself and the state; 2) Man must live for himself but not the state (unlikely); 3) Man must live for the state but not himself. You picked interpretation #3, since #2 is the farthest of the three. Yet, why is #1 ignored? Can nobody find any examples of #1 being true? How about Jonas Salk, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet? It basically involves a compromise that is a win/win situation. The other two involve no compromises or involve situations where only one party wins. However, the ideal men in Rand's novels are favorable (most of the time) exactly for the reason that they do something selfishly but it also works out well for others. It's the same thing. I understand that she ignored the full comphension of these because this interpretation conflicts with her ideals. But it seems so obvious!

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How far into Atlas Shrugged are you? The answer is in there for why you don't see the heroes going around doing doing things like robbing others at gun point because they like their watch or other things like that which many people would often (and, we contend, incorrectly) say were selfish.

 

"The Objectivist ethics holds that human good does not require human sacrifices and cannot be achieved by the sacrifice of anyone to anyone. It holds that the rational interests of men do not clash—that there is no conflict of interests among men who do not desire the unearned, who do not make sacrifices nor accept them, who deal with one another as traders, giving value for value."

 

“The Objectivist Ethics,”
The Virtue of Selfishness, 31

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/selfishness.html

 

Basically, the actual best interests of everybody don't clash with each other. They can and do often synergize even. However, the benefit to other people in general is not the ultimate reason for doing what's in one's best interests. Benefit to others in general is often just kind of a nice side bonus.

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If there would be a time when involuntary sacrifice is forced onto people, I swear that I will be by your Objectivist side. No sacrifice should ever be unwilling, and in fact, it should never even be a sacrifice in the first place. We live in a different time when we do not need to make sacrifices of anything. This is the time when we need to learn to benefit mutually from everything that we do.

 

"the benefit to other people in general is not the ultimate reason for doing what's in one's best interests. Benefit to others in general is often just kind of a nice side bonus." First, there is one's best interests. Next and simultaneous, there is the benefit to other people in general. If it's not in one's best interests, do not do it for yourself or others. But if it is, strive to expand your relations by doing what's best for yourself and others simultaneously. It is the ultimate reason, this balance, but it needs to be attained as a possibility first and from individual's side and his/her creative capacity as well.

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This is the time when we need to learn to benefit mutually from everything that we do.

This is the nature of trade, and trade is what underlies capitalism. People specialize in various areas of value-production, and then they trade with others. I could never do what my doctor does unless I spend an extra few years in college, and he can't do what I do unless he does the same. Add all other experts I benefit from and I'd be perpetually at school, and finally die there. Instead, we each make specific values and trade it. If people want it, they pay for it, if not not.

Of all the various social systems that people have imagined, the Western Industrialized ones that have come closest to free-trade and capitalism have also been the ones that created most values, in general. On the other hand, almost every system that has put socialism as a primary, before property rights has been a failure (and don't pull Sweden out of your back-pocket :) ).

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softwareNerd, yes, trade is excellent. (Even if it does not involve money, but is conducted in a bartering system. Zietgeist movies explore a system like that.) Trade is the pulsation of economy, which is the "blood" and soul of society. Economic monetary inflation, the infinite growth paradigm, and the lack of a solid standard is unfortunate. These issues can be canned or overcome. Russians are implementing some interesting new monetary projects that change the way we view money, e.g., Shaymuratiki project. Now, let's consider countries that use socialism's concepts successfully, that is, countries that have nationalized something or other. Please do not ignore that China has a hybrid system with a semblance of socialism (not communism) and capitalism, and it is the fastest growing economy in the world. They must be doing something right in order to supercede the U.S. Now, look at Germany - their healthcare is nationalized and professional unions pretty much rule the economy. Germany is the more successful country in the European Union. Now look at the United Arabian States that have nationalized natural resources and oil companies. Dubai is their city with the tallest skyscraper in the world. The profits of oil are equally distributed among its citizens, who are paid monthly, given free food and shelter, and basically do not have to work in their lives. They live in heaven (for them). It is a fact that countries that use socialism in part are very successful. That is why I think a compromise is in order here. Oh, and in case you want a historical lesson, since I heard someone saying how many people died in the U.S.S.R. under Stalin, keep in mind that the U.S.S.R. introduced humankind to the space age (unlike candles in Anthem). I was born in the U.S.S.R., and I have a first hand experience and many witnesses, besides family and friends, that life in the U.S.S.R. was virtually and relatively crime-free, people had stress-free work environments, frequent vacations. After the collapse, people started being afraid of going outside at night, drug-addictions shot up from pretty much zero, people became super materialistic and violent, competitive and ignorant. These are points to consider.

Edited by Ilya Startsev
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...China has a hybrid system with a semblance of socialism (not communism) and capitalism, and it is the fastest growing economy in the world. They must be doing something right in order to supercede the U.S.

The only reason China is growing so fast is that they are rolling back decades of socialism and setting people free. It is not surprising that they should grow fast. Imagine you stop one person from working, while another is allowed to work. When the first is freed is "growth rate" will naturally be super. Add to this the fact that many things related to economic freedom in China are de facto more free an less statist than in the U.S. It is extremely unlikely that China will beat the U.S. in per capita income or wealth for many decades, but if they do it will be because the U.S. decides to enact ever more state control -- as has recently been done with health-care.

Now, look at Germany - their healthcare is nationalized and professional unions pretty much rule the economy. Germany is the more successful country in the European Union.

Northern Europe (and the U.K. for the most part) give their big businesses more freedom than southern Europe. Germany's most recent relative success has been because unions gave in and allowed relative wages to grow slower than southern Europe for many years now.

Dubai is their city with the tallest skyscraper in the world. The profits of oil are equally distributed among its citizens, who are paid monthly, given free food and shelter, and basically do not have to work in their lives. They live in heaven (for them).

Come on! YIf you want to be taken seriously, you should not add points to your argument. It reveals that you think your argument is weak.

...keep in mind that the U.S.S.R. introduced humankind to the space age (unlike candles in Anthem).

Yeah, with a huge percentage of it stolen from the U.S.

I was born in the U.S.S.R., and I have a first hand experience and many witnesses, besides family and friends, that life in the U.S.S.R. was virtually and relatively crime-free, people had stress-free work environments, frequent vacations. After the collapse, people started being afraid of going outside at night, drug-addictions shot up from pretty much zero, people became super materialistic and violent, competitive and ignorant. These are points to consider.

People from time immemorial have idealized the simple life of no worries and little wealth. I grew up under conditions which are a fraction of the average U.S. wealth. yet, I can testify to having a happy childhood. My grandfather, a century ago, probably had eve less material goods, but I don't doubt he lived a happy life.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating: people flock to come to the U.S. -- even today, when so much of the world is free open. In the 1970's it was a complete no-brainer for people to immigrate to the U.S. if they wanted a better material life. You didn't see people knocking on the doors of the Soviet Union.

Of course if one comes out of such a system into a free system, there are adjustments. For some, it may be too late to cope in a system that does not provide for people of their age. For others, they are not used to the plethora of choices. But, problems with transitioning from one system to another are separate from whether one system is better than the other.

Honestly, I wish the countries of the world would stop converging on the western European model, and instead spin out on more diverse paths, but with one important rider: allowing free immigration. So, let all the folk who want a more statist system move to one country, and let the others move to another. Stay put of each others' way, and promise to let the kids of each to immigrate to the other if they wish. I'd be so much happier if all the folk who wanted more state control formed a country somewhere else (not where I live ;) ) and went there, leaving me alone.

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"Oh, and in case you want a historical lesson, since I heard someone saying how many people died in the U.S.S.R. under Stalin..."

 

Are you discounting the fact that 10's of millions of people died under Communism rule?  And that this is to somehow be off-set by the (mistaken) notion that the "USSR introduced humakind to the space age" ?

 

"Please do not ignore that China has a hybrid system with a semblance of socialism (not communism) and capitalism, and it is the fastest growing economy in the world. They must be doing something right in order to supercede the U.S."

 

China's successes are relative.  The majority of Chinese live in such abject poverty that ANY increase in the quality of life is significant.  Check this out  Poverty in US .

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softwareNew, what do you think of this article and its comments: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/18/opinion/sierakowski-vaclav-havels-fairy-tale.html?hp&rref=opinion&pagewanted=all&_r=2&

"stolen from the U.S." "the (mistaken) notion" Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was basically the inventor of the first space rocket in 1903.
"allowing free immigration" absolutely right; it is a sign of globalized living
"who wanted more state control" I do not want more state control. All I want is for people to become socially-centered without forgetting their individualistic natures. Although nationalization of natural resources is something that I consider, but only to undermine the shadow government and increase the overall standard of living.

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"stolen from the U.S." "the (mistaken) notion" Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was basically the inventor of the first space rocket in 1903.

And this proves what exactly?

"who wanted more state control" I do not want more state control. All I want is for people to become socially-centered without forgetting their individualistic natures. Although nationalization of natural resources is something that I consider, but only to undermine the shadow government and increase the overall standard of living.

Okay, that's fine too... in your own country... but, let the kids immigrate. Don't build a Berlin wall and shoot them when they try to leave for my free country :)
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softwareNerd:
"And this proves what exactly?" That he was the pioneer and the world entered the space era because of him during the U.S.S.R. Do you honestly believe that the U.S.S.R. was an undeveloped country? It was super industrialized with factories everywhere. They were the producers. Now, Russia abandoned all factories or converted them into hotels, malls, or other services. Now there is a service economy, and it is not doing so well. What's wrong with Russia? There is too much freedom and thus corruption.

New Buddha, here is another perspective on wealth:


I am just saying there is no balance anywhere. Don't you think that it is in our best interests to find some balance? Edited by Ilya Startsev
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softwareNerd:

"And this proves what exactly?" That he was the pioneer and the world entered the space era because of him during the U.S.S.R. Do you honestly believe that the U.S.S.R. was an undeveloped country? It was super industrialized with factories everywhere. They were the producers. Now, Russia abandoned all factories or converted them into hotels, malls, or other services. Now there is a service economy, and it is not doing so well. What's wrong with Russia? There is too much freedom and thus corruption.

New Buddha, here is another perspective on wealth:

I am just saying there is no balance anywhere. Don't you think that it is in our best interests to find some balance?

I suggest massive nuclear warfare. If we manage to kill everyone, the inequality problem will be solved forever. 

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Ilya Startsev, I get the impression you are a champion of egalitarianism economically, and just a bit romantic over your Russian identity. On the matter of income equality, could we not agree that it is the minority of wealth-creators, that is, capitalists, that determine the rate of wealth created? It will always be a minority at the top, especially if state-planners control the system. In a truly competitive system, the wealth-creators would not be static, but continuously renewing the market, as old and inefficient is replaced with the new and innovative. Our current system in the United States is thoroughly integrated with artificial-political controls hindering free-market principles. For this reason, the US economy lacks the dynamism of an earlier age. I hope this addresses the original proposition that "man should live for the state." Man is the ultimate minority, therefore it is his individual right to pursue his vision(s) that the state must protect. Without his vision, there would be no innovation, no competitive market forces, and no improvements for society, whether you care about society or not.

While I share an interest in Russian history, it cannot be ignored that the tragedy of the Soviet Period was the result of men who believed, truly believed, that they were serving the masses. The Proletarian Revolution was to improve living conditions, and improve the human species. Whether it is true, or not, that amazing discovers in science, human achievement, or victorious battles may be attributed to the Soviet leadership, one must ask: What was the cost? How many man, women, and children were sacrificed on that alter of human achievement, and could it have been done without so much suffering and death.

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Repairman:

Whether it is true, or not, that amazing discovers in science, human achievement, or victorious battles may be attributed to the Soviet leadership, one must ask: What was the cost? How many man, women, and children were sacrificed on that alter of human achievement, and could it have been done without so much suffering and death.

First, I care not for Soviet leadership but for the structure of their society. We are not talking about government but about the society, so let's keep up with the topic. The state is the society, not just a head without a body. And about the fact that so many people died - well, we do not know enough about the reasons behind it. Why did capitalists fund both sides of the conflict? Because they were interested in getting as many Russians killed off as they could. Why did Americans or Europeans not come against Germany with Russians? For the same reasons. It was known that Hitler and Stalin were both enemies of the free people, so the others decided to motivate and fuel the conflict. If not thanks to the unsupportive actions of those others, a lot less people would have died. As you can see, sadly, the picture is a lot more complicated now.

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As you can see, sadly, the picture is a lot more complicated now.

No, it is quite simple. Discounting those who died in WWII, it was not the West who invented the gulag. It was Stalin who supervised labor camps. It was Stalin who killed the officer corp before the war. It was Stalin who killed tens of millions of his own people in order to sustain himself in power.

Hayek points out that terror is the logical outcome of centralized power. Stalin was the innevitable outcome of the system. The system was the problem. Stalin was an effect, not the cause. A refusal to recognize the evil of the Soviet system is to embrace evil. We have the historical example to guide us away from such horrors. To stick your head in the sand and extoll its virtues is to love a black widow. She may seem attractive but you will still end up dead. All who lead others into the trap should be damned and their memory cursed.

The Soviet system is a beautiful woman with a shouting murderous boil on her nose. You cannot help but stare at the boil. Why have you downplayed the boil?

It has been my experience that communists and socialists cannot accept any rational argument that their system is evil. It was always outsiders that caused all the probplems. Really, the Rothschild's? No, terror is the logical outcome of centralization.

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aleph_1, I agree with you. Now that we are done with historical mistakes and downfalls, what can we learn from them? One answer is: we need Democracy. That is why socialists/communists/marxists today believe in Democratic Socialism (Democratic Socialists of America, Communist Party of the Russian Federation). Why are they clinging to the semblance of the previous model? Because there is something good in that model. It is naive to believe that intelligent people can be so stupid. They are not, well, at least not all of them, are stupid. There are some very good individuals out there who want to live in a society that they would like to build. I want to live in such a society. Because society is a goal. This is what we are attempting to build. It is not just to have a family for the sake of a family (which usually does not work out, e.g. "Breaking Bad"), but it is to have a family as a society we can all share and build together. Outside of this, individuals simply die with a legacy they bequeath to their offspring, so that those can build a better society.

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Hang on there. Do you happen to believe that democracy is something you and the rest of us already agree upon? If so, I'd like to correct this and invite you to offer your case in favor of democracy. We're not in favor of just straight up majority vote ruling on everything because that would allow for darn near anything to be done to anybody if enough people just don't like you. Democracy has no protection for rights which, we contend, is the very raison detre of government. Keep in mind here that we're not in favor of smaller groups doing just whatever they please either though. No matter how many people are involved, the proper requirements and limitations on government remain the same.

 

"Because there is something good in that model."

Such as?

 

"It is naive to believe that intelligent people can be so stupid"

Oh, I'd argue the opposite about what's the naive position here. Aside from that though, if a lot of smart people believing something was a sure sign it must be right, then what about when lots of smart people hold opposite views?

 

". . . who want to live in a society that they would like to build."

We'd be able to say the same thing. We just don't agree on what kind of society.

 

"Because society is a goal."

The same could be said of eating 50 hot dogs in an hour too though. :ninja:

 

"Outside of this, individuals simply die with a legacy they bequeath to their offspring, so that those can build a better society."

Not everybody has kids. And whoever one may leave any property to upon their death, usually I think "go forth and use this to make a better society" isn't why they were left the stuff. You can leave stuff to somebody to do lots of other stuff with.

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We're not in favor of just straight up majority vote

 

This is news to me. I thought that Rand had no problem with the democratic way of life. Please, elaborate on the way you are going to elect individuals, and whether such elections would even take place.

 

Such as?

A feeling of belonging not only to some small commune, but to Society of the entire world. It is a case of humankind and the planet coming to terms with each other, helping each other consistently. Currently, there is no such thing and is not being planned (unless by the shadow government, in which most of you do not believe anyway).

 

what about when lots of smart people hold opposite views?

In cases of Marxism and Objectivism, each view has something good to offer. Niether view is perfect. If it were, you could have continued the Objectivist cult of the 60s.

 

We just don't agree on what kind of society.

That's what I would like to have us come to terms to: a society that satisfies both of our kinds.

 

The same could be said of eating 50 hot dogs in an hour too though.

You could create a society where people would have a goal to eat 50 hot dogs or more in an hour or less. But, of course, we think more globally here, since we are bored with an endless stream of goals of a kind you have mentioned.

 

Not everybody has kids.

I am not going to have kids unless I will live in a society I like. However, one may see children as a way to try to solve problems one could not solve by oneself.

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New Buddha, then let's rephrase it to Checked and Balanced Representation elected through Democracy and Electorate. Please do not make this more difficult. We are not arguing against the Constitution. Would your representatives be only from the wealthiest individuals? We have that already. Today, one can either have money, or one can have money and power, and the more the better.

Edited by Ilya Startsev
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