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My Views On Objectivism

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So this is my first post here, and I have some thoughts I would like people to address.

First, I should state that despite my political beliefs being at odds with and opposed to the objectivist view, I do have some level of respect for this philosophy. I first discovered Ayn Rand on another forum, where someone mentioned Atlas Shrugged as a critical response to Socialism. This got me curious, and influenced me to read the novel.

The ideas presented within the book were both optimistic and inspiring. The central characters of course represent the objectivist view of the ideal human, being one that is productive, virtuous, and rational. Because the characters have such values, they are shown as being morally superior to the other irrational characters of the story. With the government gaining more control over society however, limits are being placed on the extent to which people can produce. Ayn Rand explains that a decline in production would result in society returning to a primitive age, thus destroying progress, and harming humanity. Ultimately, the novel dramically changed my perspective, as I identify a comparison of the events in the story to those of real life.

Ayn Rand is naive however, due to many reasons. In Atlas Shrugged, the setting depicted is one where "People's States" are being established throughout the world, being socialist systems. This, she explains, causes people to starve, relying on aid from America (as America is the last productive haven on Earth). It is due to a decline in production that people cannot acquire necessities to survive, thus the basis for her argument is clear. I believe though that even within a Socialist society, there would in fact be enough production for people to be able to sustain themselves. It is only through production that people can be employed, and employment is a requirement within any ideology. If there is any level of production at all it brings innovation, thus any form of employment, regardless of how competitive the market is, creates progress, and therefore prevents us from becoming primitive beings.

Ayn Rand also states that people can only produce happily and creatively in an environment where the government excersizes minimal control over the private sector and citizens. Because the conditions in Atlas Shrugged are quite the opposite, workers feel discouraged from working, so they abandon society. Why is it though that workers cannot feel virtuous within a Socialist system? Surely they are producing, supplying a demand and being rewarded. As well, throughout history, workers have only expressed contemt towards their employment situation if the government fails to protect them, not Ayn Rand's proposition of workers being too controlled. What would the Objectivist response be of exploitation caused by Capitalism?

So Objectivism seems like an effective personal philosophy to base your life on, encouraging productive work and rationality. As the basis for a political system however, it would merely establish a libertarian society, which in my opinion provides no security.

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Hi there!

Phew, there's a lot of stuff here. There we go:

Ayn Rand is naive however, due to many reasons. In Atlas Shrugged, the setting depicted is one where "People's States" are being established throughout the world, being socialist systems. This, she explains, causes people to starve, relying on aid from America (as America is the last productive haven on Earth). It is due to a decline in production that people cannot acquire necessities to survive, thus the basis for her argument is clear. I believe though that even within a Socialist society, there would in fact be enough production for people to be able to sustain themselves.

The problem is that Socialist societies

a produce less

b produce the wrong things (Start space programs while people are starving for example)

But for Objectivists the most important thing would be (to quote "Serenity")

c) they meddle.

That means that they tell people what they are allowed to do and what they are not. They tell them how to do it and how not. Force is used to accomplish this goal. It's actually this moral issue that makes Objectivists reject government intervention.

It is only through production that people can be employed, and employment is a requirement within any ideology. If there is any level of production at all it brings innovation, thus any form of employment, regardless of how competitive the market is, creates progress, and therefore prevents us from becoming primitive beings.

I don't really get what you mean by employment. If government restrictions are too high, less employment is profitably possible. You seem to forget that employment means that someone employs someone else. There has to be an employer for employment to happen. But it could be that I misunderstood you. So I'd rather let you clarify before going on.

I'd also question the notion that progress would be the same if it weren't for competition.

Ayn Rand also states that people can only produce happily and creatively in an environment where the government excersizes minimal control over the private sector and citizens. Because the conditions in Atlas Shrugged are quite the opposite, workers feel discouraged from working, so they abandon society. Why is it though that workers cannot feel virtuous within a Socialist system? Surely they are producing, supplying a demand and being rewarded.

First of all, they are not really supplying a demand. Well, maybe a demand from central government. With the "incentive" of not receiving punishment for not working. In socialism you get according to your need, not according to your ability. Have you read the part on the company John Galt left to stop the motor of the world? It shows quite clearly why a man can't feel virtuous within a socialist system: He's both a slave and a beggar.

As well, throughout history, workers have only expressed contemt towards their employment situation if the government fails to protect them, not Ayn Rand's proposition of workers being too controlled. What would the Objectivist response be of exploitation caused by Capitalism?

I'd say the response would be this:

It is true that many workers cry for government help. But this "help" tends to cause more problems than it solves. Also the question is: Where's the exploitation in a system where people can choose where to work.

It's not that people are forced to work for a certain employer. They can change jobs. People tend to pick the best jobs they can get. And if government doesn't hinder the process of job creation, there are enough opportunities to get one. It's not that you have a "right to a good job". That job has to be provided. And both has to happen without force to be morally justifiable. Of what are workers to be protected? If one company starts to pay less to increase profits, their competition will take away their workers.

So Objectivism seems like an effective personal philosophy to base your life on, encouraging productive work and rationality. As the basis for a political system however, it would merely establish a libertarian society, which in my opinion provides no security.

Well, it promotes minimal government. (To clarify: Libertarians can also be anarchists, meaning that they want no government at all.)

If you mean by security a guaranteed cheque if you are in need provided by government, then you are correct. Objectivists oppose this. The reason for that is that this government money would have to be stolen first.

Edited by Felix
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What would the Objectivist response be of exploitation caused by Capitalism?
That there is no such thing. It's important to remember that capitalism is not just "selling stuff for more than production cost and keeping the profit", it is an integrated political system where man is free to voluntarily exchange value for value, without the use of force. If a store owner hires thugs to force people to buy his goods rather than those of a competitor, that is not capitalism. If a band of thugs demands that a construction company pay them, lest they burn down the construction site, that is not capitalism. Any use of force is contrary to the tenets of capitalism -- the voluntary exchange of value.

It is not exploitation if a menial laborer gets $5.00/hr to shove widgets into a box (nor is it exploitation if the widget manufacturer buys a machine to do that for what amortises out to a penny an hour). Just because you don't get what you wish for does not mean you are being exploited. If you are such a great talent, then some other boss will recognise that talent and reward it. And if not, maybe you should reassess whether your belief about what value you are to others might not be so well founded.

Exploitation is only possible in the absence of capitalism -- in a socialist or other controlled economy. If you have the freedom to hire who you want, and to work for who you want, then if as a worker you don't like the current boss, you can get a better boss.

Edited by DavidOdden
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I believe though that even within a Socialist society, there would in fact be enough production for people to be able to sustain themselves. It is only through production that people can be employed, and employment is a requirement within any ideology. If there is any level of production at all it brings innovation, thus any form of employment, regardless of how competitive the market is, creates progress, and therefore prevents us from becoming primitive beings.

You mean like the Soviet Union, which was kept from starving only by massive grain purchases from America and a few other countries? Which inovated only to the extent that it could engage in industrial espionage abroad (particularly in America and Western Europe), with only a few minor exceptions? And whose citizens were so productive, they couldn't even produce enough toilet paper for themselves?

Is that what you mean?

There was a successful sector in the Soviet economy, to be sure. No, not weapons. No, not space. The peasants in the collective farms were allowed private plots of land (small ones to be sure). These were theirs and suffered little or no oversight or control. That was the most productive sector of the Soviet economy. I wonder why?

Or maybe you mean Communist China, which has really beocme productive now that they are communists in name only and allow much freer markets than most of Western Europe (or what the Democratic party would allow in America)?

Or maybe Venezuela? You know, one of the leading oil producers in the world. Under socialist Chavez, it produces so well it has to import crude oil to meet its contractual obligations. Is that what you mean?

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Ayn Rand is naive however, due to many reasons. In Atlas Shrugged, the setting depicted is one where "People's States" are being established throughout the world, being socialist systems. This, she explains, causes people to starve, relying on aid from America (as America is the last productive haven on Earth). It is due to a decline in production that people cannot acquire necessities to survive, thus the basis for her argument is clear. I believe though that even within a Socialist society, there would in fact be enough production for people to be able to sustain themselves. It is only through production that people can be employed, and employment is a requirement within any ideology. If there is any level of production at all it brings innovation, thus any form of employment, regardless of how competitive the market is, creates progress, and therefore prevents us from becoming primitive beings.

I think the misconception you have here is a pretty understandable mistake. Atlas shrugged is a novel, of course and as such, to make particular philosophic points through the plot, the cause and effect has to be very clearly demonstrated. In this circumstance she took socialism to it's end point in order to demonstrate what were, for her coming from communist russia, the obvious results. Imagine for a moment if she were to use present day quasi-socialist/fascist/global capitalist America(other wise known as the definition of a mixed economy) as the back drop. It would not be as obvious that socialism is detrimental since the nature of the mixture obfuscates the complex causal relationships involved. Sure, production is still alive here, but why? Is it because government regulation and high taxes fuel economic growth? An economy controlled by a few people is more efficient? It's really not clear unless you have personal experience with the effects of the regulations and taxes. So when she isolates a particular economic system the results become more clear.

In reality there are very few examples of pure economic systems but if you compare them from a more free/less free perspective, you can fairly easily deduce what causes productivity and what hampers it. For example, Compare hong kong's free trade zone to the rest of china, or north korea to south korea, or east germany and west germany before reunification,or even ireland to france for that matter. In every circumstance you find incredible differences in productivity and economic freedom and they move hand in hand.

I personally, despise the mixed system we live in more then the extreme communist countries(in a way) because it effectually allows the evil to leech off of the producers for so much longer. Producers will generally not shrug until they literally can't breath. As long as their is a degree of free action possible, they will trudge along and I hate watching that. Hardcore communism, by comparison collapses on itself fairly quickly since it causes production to be so nearly impossible.

The other thing that you need to keep in mind is that most objectivist minded people make a distinction between living and existing. Semi-socialism allows productivity and holds off starvation but thats really it. To concretize the issue, think of the average US citizen. $30,000/year average salary. 15% is taken out of every paycheck for social security alone. Say you invested that during you 40 year worklife in DIA's which have averaged 11% for 80 years. You would have about $3.5 million paying out $370,000/year without touching the principle. Instead, the government steals that money and if your lucky is gonna give you about $13,000/year.(if you under 30 years old right now you probably won't get anything unless you raise it to 30% for your children) So, yeah, you can EXIST on 13k a year but you can LIVE on $370,000.

Extrapolate that to a national level and you get the same results. Let the government steal most of the discretionary income in a country and you will still have productivity, but what kind of economic growth would exist if you left it in the hands of the people who produced it in the first place. For that I suggest you look into the change of average lifestyles during the industrial revolution in any country. Chile, india, china, etc.

best regards,

Gordon

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As the basis for a political system however, it would merely establish a libertarian society, which in my opinion provides no security.

The government would only provide the amount of security that it should and that is the protection of individual rights. The government should not provide "security" in which one man is forced to produce for the sake of another. The government should not provide "security" that gaurentees anyone jobs, or provides for the welfare of those who won't provide it for themselves.

What kind of "security" are you referring to, and how much of it would you put on the back of the government (or really the people)?

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It is only through production that people can be employed, and employment is a requirement within any ideology. If there is any level of production at all it brings innovation, thus any form of employment, regardless of how competitive the market is, creates progress, and therefore prevents us from becoming primitive beings.

In economics, this idea is known as the labor theory of value – the idea that economic value can be measured the raw amount of work. Theory aside, as the above posts explain, it has been clearly been disproven by history.

I have personal experience with this – I grew up in Ukraine, where I always had fresh vegetables from our small garden plot, but my parents had to wait in line for hours for bread. This was in the middle of Ukraine – the “bread basket” of the world. The socialist policies caused 40-50% of the harvest to rot in the fields (the harvests themselves were a small fraction of Western ones) and much of the rest to rot before it got to a store. The Party leaders on state television kept promising to fix this –but without market prices, it was impossible to distribute the grain.

Speaking of starvation, between seven and 11 million people died from starvation in Ukraine in 1933 alone due to Stalin’s agricultural policies. If this can happen in a region with the richest soil in the world, imagine what it must be like in North Korea.

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My first post on this forum :)

I was born in Poland in the early 70’s and lived there until the age of 17. I have seen the consequences of full blown Socialism.

It is due to a decline in production that people cannot acquire necessities to survive, thus the basis for her argument is clear. I believe though that even within a Socialist society, there would in fact be enough production for people to be able to sustain themselves. It is only through production that people can be employed, and employment is a requirement within any ideology. If there is any level of production at all it brings innovation, thus any form of employment, regardless of how competitive the market is, creates progress, and therefore prevents us from becoming primitive beings.

Socialism leads to the decline in production (and thus the decline of the standard of living).

Capitalism generates a constant re-optimization of resources by redirecting them away from failing and inefficient companies (less profitable) toward those which are the most efficient and successful at meeting the consumer demands (most profitable). It moves the economy toward greater levels of efficiency and ensures optimal production levels (if there is demand they will be supply)

This profit/loss measure of success or failure is absent from Socialism. Without profits, there is no way to discipline companies that fail to satisfy consumer demands and no way to reward those that do. The system creates and maintains great inefficiencies.

Common property encourages irresponsibility and waste. When everyone owns an asset, people act as if no one owns it. And when no one owns it, no one really takes care of it. Resources are being mismanaged and wasted.

Competition is the driving force in improving the efficiency of the economy, which in turn leads to new innovations, products and services being produced at increasingly lower costs yet of increasingly higher quality.

Socialism is a non-competitive system. When there is no competition there is no incentive to increase efficiency, no need for improvement or innovation.

Socialism promotes economic equality among individuals without the regard for their individual abilities, talents and skills. There is no material incentive to do better, to be better, to improve your skills, to increase productivity because one does not receive rewards for a work well done.

There is no competition for workers. Individual companies have no way of attracting the best skilled and efficient workers. The wages and benefits are the same (everyone has a right to the same pay). Also, firms are forced to hire more workers than necessary due to the fact that 'everybody needs a place to work'. Employment is a right and not a privilege granted to you based on your skill, and efficiency. Companies are forced to keep poor performing employees.

Prices, the types and the amounts of goods produced are not determined by the market, instead by the government.

The final result is a failure to produce enough consumer goods to satisfy even the very basic of necessities. Since there is not enough to go around for everybody, the government starts placing restrictions on consumer purchasing rights. For example, a person is only allowed to purchase two pairs of shoes per 12 month period, one chocolate bar per child per month, 2lb of beef per month ect.

If you would like to explore this topic further I would recommend “Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis" by Ludwig von Mises.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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Let me restate that I do appreciate Ayn Rand's vision of mankind, though the exploitation brought upon by the Capitalist system is worrying.

The government would only provide the amount of security that it should and that is the protection of individual rights. The government should not provide "security" in which one man is forced to produce for the sake of another. The government should not provide "security" that gaurentees anyone jobs, or provides for the welfare of those who won't provide it for themselves.

What kind of "security" are you referring to, and how much of it would you put on the back of the government (or really the people)?

I do not believe that people should produce for the benefit of others, as this serves as a weak incentive for them to work. In fact, it would be best if they have their own personal gain as their motive. Despite a worker's ambition though, the competitive market of a free society would innevitably cause workers to be paid lower wages, because private businesses must maximize profits in order to compete. Because of this, the government should protect workers from this exploitation, so as they can truly enjoy the fruits of their labor, and live the happay and secure lives that they rightfully dserve. The government would do this by heavily taxing the private sector, making the market less competitive, and thus creating a safer working environment.

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...the competitive market of a free society would inevitably cause workers to be paid lower wages, because private businesses must maximize profits in order to compete. ...
You assume that companies can maximize profits by screwing their employees. Some socialists assume that companies can maximize profits by screwing their customers. Neither is a requirement for profit-maximization: quite the opposite really.

Companies have to compete for employees just as they do for customers.

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Despite a worker's ambition though, the competitive market of a free society would innevitably cause workers to be paid lower wages, because private businesses must maximize profits in order to compete.

An employment contract (in a free market system) is based on a free trade. Each side has something to offer to the other and thus is in a position to negociatiate the conditions of the trade. The contract is voluntary; no one is forced to accept a wage lower than deserved (that only happens in Socialism). Even though people must earn a living to survive, they are not forced to accept any particular employment offer.

In order to compete private business must attract the best employees possible by offering them better working conditions, better wages, better benefits. It is because private business must be run efficiently to stay in business (due to the competition) that it can then offer better wages. As productive capability increases the wages of workers also increase.

Profits can be increased by innovation, by technological improvement; by producing a better product or producing it faster, cheaper, or selling more of it. It may mean automatization and thus fewer employees.

When one expropriate money from business by force, working conditions decline (longer hours ect) and wages fall.

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Let me restate that I do appreciate Ayn Rand's vision of mankind, though the exploitation brought upon by the Capitalist system is worrying.

I do not believe that people should produce for the benefit of others, as this serves as a weak incentive for them to work. In fact, it would be best if they have their own personal gain as their motive. Despite a worker's ambition though, the competitive market of a free society would innevitably cause workers to be paid lower wages, because private businesses must maximize profits in order to compete. Because of this, the government should protect workers from this exploitation, so as they can truly enjoy the fruits of their labor, and live the happay and secure lives that they rightfully dserve. The government would do this by heavily taxing the private sector, making the market less competitive, and thus creating a safer working environment.

Oh my goodness, I don't even know where to start...First off, you have to realize that what you have stated above is a complete contradiction. You said first, "I do not believe that people should produce for the benefit of others". Then you said "The government would do this by heavily taxing the private sector, making the market less competitive". When the government takes money from the people who produce it, they and, you for that matter, are declaring by fiat that it is their duty to live for the sake of others. What could possibly make you believe that it would be moral in any way to take wealth that I produce(me being a member of that unruly private sector you are concerned about that, by the way, produces EVERYTHING that everyone else consumes) and then give it to those that do not produce so as to make them feel more secure? And once you provide a reasoned explanation for that, explain to me how it's possible for you to believe that "I do not have to produce for others" and "I have to produce for others".

If you can get through that we may have grounds for a reasoned discussion about "exploitation" and how it is impossible by definition when the government keeps it wretched paws and even more wretched guns out of the business.

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Oh my goodness, I don't even know where to start...First off, you have to realize that what you have stated above is a complete contradiction. You said first, "I do not believe that people should produce for the benefit of others". Then you said "The government would do this by heavily taxing the private sector, making the market less competitive". When the government takes money from the people who produce it, they and, you for that matter, are declaring by fiat that it is their duty to live for the sake of others.

Is my claim contradictory? Citizens and the private sector are coerced into helping other people, thus they do not make the mental decision to do so. Because of this, they may still have the will to work for their own benefit, while factors beyong their control create a social society. You assume that Socialism alters our minds, destroying the human spirit and creativity, however this is not necessarily true.

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You assume that Socialism alters our minds, destroying the human spirit and creativity, however this is not necessarily true.
It does, unless you are simply evading reality or it you have a rational hope of escaping Socialism. Socialism alters the mind the same way that prison does.
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Is my claim contradictory? Citizens and the private sector are coerced into helping other people, thus they do not make the mental decision to do so. Because of this, they may still have the will to work for their own benefit, while factors beyong their control create a social society. You assume that Socialism alters our minds, destroying the human spirit and creativity, however this is not necessarily true.
Do you realize how downright cruel that is? I mean, to advocate, in essence, tricking people into thinking they will profit from their own labor, and then not giving them what they earned is honestly one of the most profoundly evil ideas I've ever encountered. You talk about exploitation of the masses! What do you think this is?

Also, what makes you think that people will continue to work for their own benefit? What if someone like John Galt comes up and says "I won't produce anymore until I'm given what I've earned." What will you do then?

And what makes you think that forcing people into a "social society" (whatever the hell that is) is any better than letting them form it themselves. And if they don't want it, why should they be forced? What is it about forcing people to do what you think is right that you find so appealing? Do you routinely go around pointing guns at people's heads when they don't do what you want? Then why do you advocate the same thing on a larger scale?

I'm sure there are other points to be made, but that's all I have to say right now.

Zak

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Is my claim contradictory? Citizens and the private sector are coerced into helping other people, thus they do not make the mental decision to do so. Because of this, they may still have the will to work for their own benefit, while factors beyong their control create a social society. You assume that Socialism alters our minds, destroying the human spirit and creativity, however this is not necessarily true.

It absolutely is contradictory and it is necessarily true. If I have my wealth expropriated from me by force, then I am working for the benefit of others completely against my will. This contradicts your previous statement that I should not work for the benefit of others. Please tell me you can see this. Secondly, my will, and the will of any quasi-rational person is obliterated when you remove the effect(money) from the cause(work). The more that is taken the less reason you have to try. Profit is the instrument that encourages investment and investment is the fuel that creates economic growth. Economic growth creates more jobs which puts upwards pressure on wages, especially for the people who produce.

In concrete terms, say you have $100,000 for retirement that you have saved throughout your life. I, a complete starnger, want to start a business and ask you to lend it to me for 0% interest. Why would you lend it to me? If I offered 17% on the other hand it might be worthwhile. If government taxes "the private sector"(or as I like to call them, the only moral people on the planet) which they do, then every bit they take decreases the likelihood of that loan taking place. If capital gains taxes are 38% that means that when you are getting a 17% return on your investment, the actual return is more like 10%. If you raise that tax to 85% then a 17% return only gets you 2% which is even less likely to encourage you to invest your hard earned savings. The degree to which you steal our money is the degree to which economic growth slows down. Any amount is bad, more is always worse.

But enough of this utilitarian nonsense. The real question you ought to sort out is, why you believe that you or anyone else has the moral right to put a gun in my face and steal any of what I have worked for all my life?

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Despite a worker's ambition though, the competitive market of a free society would innevitably cause workers to be paid lower wages, because private businesses must maximize profits in order to compete.

You've never been an employer, have you?

I have.

It was a small family owned comapny. We faced some very hard times. When we had to cut costs, the last place we ever looked into was wages and/or layoffs. Do you have any idea how long it takes to turn a seamstress from knowing the basics into an experienced one? Do you thik we simply let such go if we could possibly avoid it? This includes going into debt if necessary.

And that was during bad times. During good times, salaries usually went up. Otherwise the competition would take our employees (the competition did, from time to time, anyway).

Now, what do you mean by ambition? It may be my ambition to, say, play a violin solo at Carnegie Hall. But in order to do that, first I'd have to elarn to play the violin, then I'd ahve to practice long and hard enough to be good at it.

If I dind't, if instead I went around blaming orchestras for not giving an "mabitious" budding musician a chance, I would accomplish no more than to want to do something (and become bitter in the process). But in fact I'd only have myself to blame.

So when an ambitious youngster who wants to make tons of money, but is not willing to go to colelge or even to learn a trade, is not willing to work hard and long, and wonders why he can't get much more than minnimum wage sweeping floors or flipping burgers 9 to 5, well, was it the greed of business for profits that crushed his ambitions?

As I said, we went through great lenghts to retain our experienced staff, and to train more employees when it was both desirable and possible to do so. But we did not pay the janitor as much as a seamstress. And when we had to cut staff, the janitor was the first we could do without, for obvious reasons.

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You assume that Socialism alters our minds, destroying the human spirit and creativity, however this is not necessarily true.

It absolutely does.

Socialism does not work because it is not consistent with fundamental principles of human behavior. Its failure in countries around the world (Easter Europe, Cuba, China...) can be traced to one critical defect: it is a system that ignores economic incentives.

Natural resources are helpful, but the ultimate resources of any country are the unlimited resources of its people--human resources.

If you do not properly reward people financially for their work – they are not going to produce or create. This fact about human nature (which is very rational) has been realized very quickly in collective (socialistic) societies. In order to fight this ‘animal’, ‘greedy’ human nature at one point they started rewarding exceptional people with fancy titles (at least in Poland they did). This was supposed to be the more noble – ‘non greedy’ form of reward – not like the immoral reward of money. Needless to say, it has not worked – people still felt exploited, slaved and wanted to escape. So of course the next step was to close the borders in order to prevent them from leaving. How happy, creative, or productive would you feel if imprisoned?

Socialism fails because it kills and destroys the human spirit. - just ask the people leaving Cuba in homemade rafts and boats or the people who are fleeing Haiti and traveling almost 500 miles by ocean to get to the "evil capitalist empire" when they are only 50 miles from the "workers' paradise" of Cuba.

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Having just finished it I can give you no bettter advice than to read Andrew Bernstein's 'The Capitalist Manifesto'. It truely is a fascinating and insightful read that will blow away any reservations an honest (focused) reader could possibly have about Capitalism. Many of the situations alluded to or stated above are delved into succinctly in this book.

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Well, lots; but they want a regime change first. And then, just consider the new markets....

I was wondering about Hong Kong. Used to be the flow was all - or predominantly - one way: to Hong Kong from Red China.

Now with China booming I assume the flow has stopped - or possibly even reversed. Plus, with Hong Kong now under the control of China, I assume freedom has lessened reducing the appeal of that element of the former Hong Kong also.

Does anyone know?

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I was wondering about Hong Kong. Used to be the flow was all - or predominantly - one way: to Hong Kong from Red China.

Now with China booming I assume the flow has stopped - or possibly even reversed. Plus, with Hong Kong now under the control of China, I assume freedom has lessened reducing the appeal of that element of the former Hong Kong also.

Does anyone know?

Last I checked China's boom was pretty much centered aropund Hong Kong. If you look at a demographic map of China, the average income is highest in Hong Kong and lessons as you radiate outward.

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