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Reason alone as a guarantee for wealth?

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Since all men are free to create wealth under capitalism, no one is forced into poverty, as in non-capitalist countries. In a capitalist country, the only poor are those who choose to remain so of their own free-will (such as many of the "back to nature" types who wish to live like hippies).

This phrase from Capitalism.org is giving me a headache.

I simply don't get how "no one is forced into poverty". As for the handicapped who make up a minority group, I agree that private charity should easily be able to grant the right to life to those.

But what about the following scenario:

People have to work for wages that aren't high enough to allow them to escape from poverty. Due to competition on the labour market there's no way of earning more money. They're just working to live, to be able to buy food, but they surely won't escape poverty. Imagine the money you earn isn't even enough for you to survive.

It is said that reason alone enables every man to prevent poverty. But no matter how reasonable you are, if the overall supply of labour outweighs the demand for labour, there's no way EVERYONE will find a well payed job (well payed meaning enough to live above poverty level).

Sure, you could try to produce something on your own, running your own business. But in a competitive world and with your limited capital, you won't ever be able to offer your products for a price as low as that of your competitors. YOU WON'T EARN A PENNY.

So how can this be poverty by choice. How can this be poverty due to free-will?

If you say, "Well, you can always go hunt some deer. As long as you survive this way, you don't belong to the poor. You've got reason enough to know how to do that.", if you say that's how poverty is defined, I will understand. But I'm not sure whether poverty is just defined as "inability to survive".

Furthermore I'm not sure wheather reason alone enables you to go hunting successfully. It might also take some physical abilities, even some determined genetically, so in the worst case even reason doesn't help.

Please correct me if I'm wrong

Bobby from Germany.

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The key words are "under Capitalism," which means full, laissez-faire capitalism. Under such a system, jobs will be available to those willing to work them. This would only be prevented by some kind of horribly large natural disaster.

(under a working system of LF capitalism, the labor market would not be as you describe. Conditions like those can only be created by statist interventionism)

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The key words are "under Capitalism," which means full, laissez-faire capitalism. Under such a system, jobs will be available to those willing to work them. This would only be prevented by some kind of horribly large natural disaster.

(under a working system of LF capitalism, the labor market would not be as you describe. Conditions like those can only be created by statist interventionism)

Why would the labor market be any different under LFC? A labor market exists without any governmental interference, and I'm just talking about a free labor market as in LFC, am I not?

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Your question is of economic theory rather than philosophy. You ask about the practicality of Capitalism rather than its morality. The economic theory would say this

Leaving aside the disabled, start with a simple agrarian society where a man can just about produce enough for his sustenance. With division of labor and modern devices, he can produce more than that.

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And how, under LFC, will jobs always be available to those who are willing to work them?

Doesn't the availablility of jobs solely depend on the need for jobs? If wealth can be produced faster by machines, then why should there be any need to employ anyone? People don't create jobs for people to work, even if some people are willing to work. Jobs are only created for production. And as long as machines, computers etc. produce faster than men, there's no point creating a new one, which must inevitably lead to poverty, or am I wrong?

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Under capitalism, no one is forced into poverty. The U.S. government has regulations that do/could force someone into poverty. In example of this could be the fact that in some counties (possibly states), in order to have your own health-care facility, you must have a wheel-chair accessible ramp....these ramps can cost thousands of dollars, which could easily put the small business owner out of business, or at least preclude him from opening his own business.

Under capitalism, no one is denying you the right to your own property--you are free to dispose and use of it as you may (so long as your not infringing on the rights of others).

People have to work for wages that aren't high enough to allow them to escape from poverty.

They do?

Due to competition on the labour market there's no way of earning more money. They're just working to live, to be able to buy food, but they surely won't escape poverty.

Can you provide a concrete example of this for me?

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And how, under LFC, will jobs always be available to those who are willing to work them?

Doesn't the availablility of jobs solely depend on the need for jobs?

Jobs aren't available simply b/c someone is willing to work for them...I'm willing to suck on my toe all day for money, but no one will hire me :(. (possibly I need better marketing though)

Does the availability of jobs solely depend on the need for jobs? I hope so (and you have to ask yourself where and how do jobs come about)...unless it's not capitalism.

If wealth can be produced faster by machines, then why should there be any need to employ anyone?

Who will maintenance the machines? And, if I now have to spend less money on employees since I have replaced them with machines, where will I spend all the "excess" money? Will me spending this excess money create more jobs elsewhere?

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People have to work for wages that aren't high enough to allow them to escape from poverty.

They do?

Due to competition on the labour market there's no way of earning more money. They're just working to live' date=' to be able to buy food, but they surely won't escape poverty.[/quote']

Can you provide a concrete example of this for me?

Well, I've once watched a documentary about a black mother in New York who could barely feed her 6 children, most times with some hamburgers from the hamburger stand next door, just to give an example.

But the point is that the LFC theory of human reason deciding over one's wealth appears to have some flaws to me. What I'm describing is a scenario that seems realistic to me under an LFC system, and which imo seems to disprove the very idea of the power of reason.

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Well, I've once watched a documentary about a black mother in New York who could barely feed her 6 children, most times with some hamburgers from the hamburger stand next door, just to give an example.

But the point is that the LFC theory of human reason deciding over one's wealth appears to have some flaws to me. What I'm describing is a scenario that seems realistic to me under an LFC system, and which imo seems to disprove the very idea of the power of reason.

Why did this lady have 6 kids if she could not afford to feed them? If she was tight on cash why was she buying fast food? Freedom to choose does not exempt you from the consequences of poor choices.

If the woman and her kids is the scenario that disproves reason, how so? If anything, it shows what can happen due to a lack of reason.

Edited by Bryan
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Who will maintenance the machines?  And, if I now have to spend less money on employees since I have replaced them with machines, where will I spend all the "excess" money?  Will me spending this excess money create more jobs elsewhere?

Well I don't think the maintenance of machines is a considerable source of jobs compared with those jobs "lossed" due to machines.

You spending this excess money will create some income for some Mr X, that's for sure. But the question is, whether Mr X will definitely spend this money on new jobs or on new machines that could spare him some costs. He could certainly expand his business, of course, creating new jobs.

But he will be interested in doing both, if possible. And I don't know how to determine, whether the gain of jobs will outnumber their losses.

Edited by Bobby66
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Well I don't think the maintenance of machines isn't a considerable source of jobs compared with those jobs "lossed" due to machines.

You spending this excess money will create some income for some Mr X, that's for sure. But the question is, whether Mr X will definitely spend this money on new jobs or on new machines that could spare him some costs. He could certainly expand his business, of course, creating new jobs.

But he will be interested in doing both, if possible. And I don't know how to determine, whether the gain of jobs will outnumber their losses.

No matter what Mr. X does with his money, it will create more jobs. If he spends it on a gold-plated car, then the gold-plated carmaker has to employ people to make the car. The jobs created are actually ALWAYS greater than the jobs "lossed."[sic]

As for the labor market, the increase in captial from a free market would mean that the economy would invariably expand faster than the labor market. Wages would have to increase, since no-one would be able to find enough workers to fill their positions.

For a detailed look at the economics of why this would happen, try here:

http://capitalism.net/Capitalism/CAPITALISM%20Internet.pdf

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Why did this lady have 6 kids if she could not afford to feed them?  If she was tight on cash why was she buying fast food?  Freedom to choose does not exempt you from the consequences of poor choices.

If the woman and her kids is the scenario that disproves reason, how so?  If anything, it shows what can happen due to a lack of reason.

I'm sorry I forgot to mention, that this woman had a better job (I think she was an accountant at a bank) before she got her children, and then, all of a sudden, she got fired and was forced to work as a street sweeper.

But just look at those African countries where free trade is being practiced as opposed to those countries where cutting oneself off from the market has logically caused poverty. Now even in these free-trade countries poverty often dominates. Just imagining being born there into a poor family and under the circumstances we know, would reason really be of sufficient use to escape poverty? I'm not sure. I'm trying to figure out a way how reason can definitely help even the poorest to escape poverty but it seems rather far to theoretical to me.

I hope I'm not trying your patience too much, but this thought always comes to my mind again and again.

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Are there more jobs now than there were 100 years ago?  If so, why?

Because there are more people on this planet now than there were 100 years ago, and thus production went up, demanding more jobs. But that doesn't mean that the share of jobless people hasn't risen.

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Ok, I'm sorry, but no-one seems to be hitting the basic premises here...

But what about the following scenario:

I think "lifeboat" scenarios have been covered before...ie;scenarios that have nothing to do with reality, but are made to prop up a incorrect premise...that aside, let's see...

People have to work for wages that aren't high enough to allow them to escape from poverty.
Why? Why do they HAVE to work for those wages? Are they forced to by the state?(ie; communism, ergo not reason?)

Why not move? Retrain? Work longer hours? Get a 2nd..5th job? Cut back spending?

Due to competition on the labour market there's no way of earning more money.

No way at all?!?! They can't be better than someone else at the same job?

Why not open a new market for something? The market isn't a zero-sum game...otherwise no-one after..say..the 1700's would be able to get a job because they were all 'taken'.

They're just working to live, to be able to buy food, but they surely won't escape poverty.
Well, if you're looking at this imaginary example as if poverty were a force of nature, like the sun burning, then no amount of ANYTHING will help...surely...

Imagine the money you earn isn't even enough for you to survive.

Don't have to...been there, done that...looked around for opportunities, found none at the time(didn't look too hard), so I made my own.

It is said that reason alone enables every man to prevent poverty.
Without reason, you can't think straight(ie;REASON things through), you could PRETEND the world owes you a living, but that won't make it true.

But no matter how reasonable you are, if the overall supply of labour outweighs the demand for labour, there's no way EVERYONE will find a well payed job (well payed meaning enough to live above poverty level).

2 things;

1) There is an INFINTIE demand for goods...newer, better, faster...always has been, always will be. How are these goods made?...labour.

An oversupply of a SPECIFIC labour skillset in a SPECIFIC location may occur...that's when you move or change jobs.

2) It doesn't matter if 'EVERYONE' can't find a well-paying job in the real world. That's a false premise that's used WAY too often in my opinion. It's a "If EVERYONE can't do 'X' , then no-one should do 'X'" argument. It ignores the individual for the sake of the collective.

Sure, you could try to produce something on your own, running your own business. But in a competitive world and with your limited capital, you won't ever be able to offer your products for a price as low as that of your competitors. YOU WON'T EARN A PENNY.
Really? Tell that to all the businessmen out there who started with nothing and now make billions.

So how can this be poverty by choice. How can this be poverty due to free-will?

Because they freely chose to not use reason.

Furthermore I'm not sure wheather reason alone enables you to go hunting successfully. It might also take some physical abilities, even some determined genetically, so in the worst case even reason doesn't help.

If you wanted to just hunt for a living, instead of the options I've listed above, then reason would probably help by telling you to bring a weapon, use stealth, track your prey, and maybe set up ambushes.

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Well I don't think the maintenance of machines is a considerable source of jobs compared with those jobs "lossed" due to machines.

You spending this excess money will create some income for some Mr X, that's for sure. But the question is, whether Mr X will definitely spend this money on new jobs or on new machines that could spare him some costs. He could certainly expand his business, of course, creating new jobs.

But he will be interested in doing both, if possible. And I don't know how to determine, whether the gain of jobs will outnumber their losses.

So your saying Mr. X should be "regulated" about how he spends his money, such that it results in the most people having "jobs" regardless of the relative inefficiency while also totally disregardly the extremely high level of immorality involved in making Mr. X spend his money in ways he may not choose to? You don't see the pure evil in that? Or how it freezes the world's technological advancemnent for the supposed "good of the masses"?

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Well, I've once watched a documentary about a black mother in New York who could barely feed her 6 children, most times with some hamburgers from the hamburger stand next door, just to give an example.
Aside from having FIVE chances to reason out that 'more kids=more $$'

here's the fix;

-Move out of new york(rent is nuts)

-Stop eating burgers and shop around for decent STAPLES...rice, corn, beans, BASIC CHEAP staples that are more nutritious and better than overpriced 'street-corner' burgers.

I'm sorry I forgot to mention, that this woman had a better job (I think she was an accountant at a bank) before she got her children, and then, all of a sudden, she got fired and was forced to work as a street sweeper.

..because she didn't use REASON to say to herself "maybe I should save some money for a rainy day"

I see this 'crockumentary' stuff all the time...oh woe is the poor, poor (single mom/minority/disabled person) who can barely afford (expensive burgers/pizza/frozen food) for their 3-8 (children/pets/mooching relatives)...meanwhile you see the big-screen TV just off to the side of the bare plate dining room shot.

At this point there's usually a reference for some 'non-profit' organization that demands 'something must be done!'...which usually means more wealth redistribution. As if somehow everyone else should pay for their mistakes, and that they'll never let it happen again.....until they figure out that they can keep being irresponsible, and everyone else will bail them out!

The "she was a bigtime accountant" is only an attempt to say "It could happen to ANYONE, even you, mister 'cushy job' "...when actually it can't...

90% of people who can figure out a way to get a decent job, keep it, and be moderately successful can usually figure to save for a rainy day.

But just look at those African countries where free trade is being practiced as opposed to those countries where cutting oneself off from the market has logically caused poverty. Now even in these free-trade countries poverty often dominates.

Aside from knowing ANY country that is truly laissez-faire, poverty usually dominates in africa due to mysticism, tribalism, dictators, and corruption.

Just imagining being born there into a poor family and under the circumstances we know,  would reason really be of sufficient use to escape poverty?
You could sit there and cry 'woe is me'...OR you could reason that a better life can be found pretty much ANYWHERE else, and move.

Moving out of that type of poverty is harder than moving around North America looking for a decent job, of course, but the rewards are much greater as well(ie; not starving)

I'm not sure. I'm trying to figure out a way how reason can definitely help even the poorest to escape poverty but it seems rather far to theoretical to me.

Put it this way...without reason, what are you left with...hunches? feeeeelings? guessing?

How do you go to work in the morning, for example..."gee, I dunno, walk in some random direction until you're there??"

NO! You use reason to say..."well, the building should still be where it was yesterday, so I'll go there"

I mean...reason has produced science, progress, EVERYTHING since the discovery of FIRE itself!!

EVERYONE uses reason EVERY SECOND OF THEIR LIVES...otherwise they'd walk off cliffs, against traffic lights...and well...just die of stupidity, really...

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This phrase from Capitalism.org is giving me a headache.

I simply don't get how "no one is forced into poverty". As for the handicapped who make up a minority group, I agree that private charity should easily be able to grant the right to life to those.

But what about the following scenario:

People have to work for wages that aren't high enough to allow them to escape from poverty. Due to competition on the labour market there's no way of earning more money. They're just working to live, to be able to buy food, but they surely won't escape poverty. Imagine the money you earn isn't even enough for you to survive.

It is said that reason alone enables every man to prevent poverty. But no matter how reasonable you are, if the overall supply of labour outweighs the demand for labour, there's no way EVERYONE will find a well payed job (well payed meaning enough to live above poverty level).

Sure, you could try to produce something on your own, running your own business. But in a competitive world and with your limited capital, you won't ever be able to offer your products for a price as low as that of your competitors. YOU WON'T EARN A PENNY.

So how can this be poverty by choice. How can this be poverty due to free-will?

If you say, "Well, you can always go hunt some deer. As long as you survive this way, you don't belong to the poor. You've got reason enough to know how to do that.", if you say that's how poverty is defined, I will understand. But I'm not sure whether poverty is just defined as "inability to survive".

Furthermore I'm not sure wheather reason alone enables you to go hunting successfully. It might also take some physical abilities, even some determined genetically, so in the worst case even reason doesn't help.

Please correct me if I'm wrong

Bobby from Germany.

I'm not going to discuss this, except to say that with this kind of thinking you will never be rich.

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Ok, I'm sorry, but no-one seems to be hitting the basic premises here...

I think "lifeboat" scenarios have been covered before...ie;scenarios that have nothing to do with reality, but are made to prop up a incorrect premise...that aside, let's see...

Why? Why do they HAVE to work for those wages? Are they forced to by the state?(ie; communism, ergo not reason?)

That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that in my scenario there's no one offering any higher wages for a specific kind of occupation. Nobody is legally forced to anything of course.

Why not move? Retrain? Work longer hours? Get a 2nd..5th job? Cut back spending?

No way at all?!?! They can't be better than someone else at the same job?

If you are already working the maximum number of hours, you won't have time for any other job. I'm talking about a sweatshop-like situation.

Why not open a new market for something? The market isn't a zero-sum game...otherwise no-one after..say..the 1700's would be able to get a job because they were all 'taken'.

How open a market without the ideas? And without the capital in the first place?

Well, if you're looking at this imaginary example as if poverty were a force of nature, like the sun burning, then no amount of ANYTHING will help...surely...

Poverty isn't force of nature but simply a state you can be born into.

Don't have to...been there, done that...looked around for opportunities, found none at the time(didn't look too hard), so I made my own.

Without reason, you can't think straight(ie;REASON things through), you could PRETEND the world owes you a living, but that won't make it true.

I'm not pretending the world owes me anything, I'm just questioning the equality of opportunity.

2 things;

1) There is an INFINTIE demand for goods...newer, better, faster...always has been, always will be. How are these goods made?...labour.

An oversupply of a SPECIFIC labour skillset in a SPECIFIC location may occur...that's when you move or change jobs.

2) It doesn't matter if 'EVERYONE' can't find a well-paying job in the real world. That's a false premise that's used WAY too often in my opinion. It's a "If EVERYONE can't do 'X' , then no-one should do 'X'" argument. It ignores the individual for the sake of the collective.

ad 1) How are these goods made?...labor? Sure, at least some labor is neccessary. But how much of labor and how much of automized production? Even the fact that the demand for goods is infinite doesn't mean that ideas for new products are being evolved at at a pace fast enough to offer an opportunity for full occupation at all times, does it?

ad 2) I'm not trying to make any premise on what no-one should or should not do. Actually, it is the claim made by LFC that no one is forced to live under poverty, which implies that EVERYONE can find a well-paying job in the real world, doesn't it? Isn't that what LFC is saying?

Really? Tell that to all the businessmen out there who started with nothing and now make billions.

They startet out at a time when there was real opportunity, competition not being as tough as it is today. Whether or not there is real opportunity for everyone today is one of the central question.

@ all:

Listen, I'm not intending to prove or disprove anything and I'm not making any final conclusions yet, I'm just setting down my doubts and questions to find out whether LFC really works the way it is said to be.

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...if the overall supply of labour outweighs the demand for labour,...

In LFC, this is not a sustainable situation. Briefly, the marginal worker gets fired and a cheaper one hired, wage-rates come down, and the fired worker is re-hired.

The proof that a "living wage" will always be possible under LFC is a little more complicated. I can explore it, but first I ask you this about where you live, in Germany. Suppose a single young person in decent health has to earn enougn to live. And if there are no laws saying things like "5 people cannot share a single room apartment". Suppose this person was willing to economize extremely. How much would they need to live for a year if they save nothing?

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Does it matter whether equality of opportunity exists? If I happen to be born in a more fortunate position than someone else, does this create an obligation for me to help them?

Consider the following: some people are born far more physically attractive than others, and these people will be more likely to attract the 'best' members of the opposite sex thus increasing their chances of being happy. If someone were to declare that this were unfair, and that good-looking males were morally obliged to help their less physically well-off brethren find mates (or worse - that they should forcibly disfigured, or legally compelled to sleep with unattractive women etc), would this be a moral idea? This is pretty much identical to the case with earning potential.

Edited by Hal
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Does it matter whether equality of opportunity exists? If I happen to be born in a more fortunate position than someone else, does this create an obligation for me to help them?

Consider the following: some people are born far more physically attractive than others, and these people will be more likely to attract the 'best' members of the opposite sex thus increasing their chances of being happy. If someone were to declare that this were unfair, and that good-looking males were morally obliged to help their less physically well-off brethren find mates (or worse - that they should forcibly disfigured, or legally compelled to sleep with unattractive women etc), would this be a moral idea? This is pretty much identical to the case with earning potential.

:lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

Good point. :D:D:D

Well, I wasn't really asking or saying whether the existence equality of opportunity matters.

It is just a presumption in LFC that I'd like to see proven.

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