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Thread: Why I Am Not a Capitalist

  1. #81
    xerxes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avebury View Post
    The Fraser Institute publishes its own economic freedom index.

    https://www.fraserinstitute.org/stud...-annual-report



    And here we have the same conclusion, despite the Fraser Institute not being "an extreme right wing American think tank funded by the Koch brothers".

    The study uses similar, though not identical criteria and reaches similar conclusions. Again, to get back to the point: Scandinavian countries are all considered in the "most free" category. I'm not quite sure what more evidence you could want anyways, different sources point to similar conclusions about the degree of economic freedom in Scandinavia, consider you may have assumptions that are outdated or just not substantiated.
    The Fraser Institute allegedly received $750,000 from the Cock brothers.

    https://vancouversun.com/news/politi...cked-democracy
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/koch-br...arty-1.3466477
    Quote Originally Posted by Alexis de Tocqueville
    What is most important for democracy is not that great fortunes should not exist, but that great fortunes should not remain in the same hands. In that way there are rich men, but they do not form a class.

  2. #82
    fka Avebury
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    Tbh I don't think there is anything wrong with Koch brothers funding and I don't think that the Fraser or the Heritage indexes are propaganda. Heritage's index is a joint effort with the The Wall Street Journal, a newspaper similar to The Economist, I think labelling their work propaganda is a stretch.

    This is your argument:

    The fact is that aggregating different variables under a single index obscures much more than it clarifies. Even if Sweden does score higher on some variables related to the ease of doing business, giving it a higher rank on some fantasy ladder of "capitalism" does nothing to clarify the far more nuanced situation.

    The only thing these indices are useful for is propaganda; they allow someone to pull a bait and switch by using a successful country's rank to proselytize adherence to a vague ideological disposition. It is kept vague in order to promote a basket of reforms without room for distinctions.
    If I understand correctly you label these indices propaganda because they rank countries according to a value judgement (economic freedom), but so do indices measuring freedom of press and civil liberties in various countries. Are those indices propaganda too? By your reasoning they should be, as they rank countries according criteria and do so in order to promote reforms in those countries.

    Anyways, I am not trying to change your mind either, I don't get why these indices are worthless, yes they promote reforms but is that such a bad thing, especially since evidence indicates that the reforms they promote also lead to better economic conditions, just as promoting freedom of press leads to better journalism.
    Last edited by TheUltimateEmcee; 08-11-2018 at 08:06 PM.

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    There were many systems of whatever about money and production. Most of those systems have died. The capitalism we have today is not the same as 20 years ago. It's not the same in X and Y countries. And blah.

    The thing is the systems does not make much better or worse. Merely different.
    When it first happens, it's all new and shiny and wow and great and blah...
    Some people deperish in every system from day one. Others thrive. Most see ups and downs. It's a beautiful new thing of a dream that comes true/could come true. The american dream...
    Then people get used to the system and it's not that great anymore. Not that bad either. It compares better to [past], [other systems]. It's comfortable still, the dream is still there, a bit blurrier.
    There can happen a "Make america great again!" kind of phase, that contains a lot of disagreement between "enough stagnation" and "enough fixing what's not broken". It's charming to watch... but who is right? Not my turf, mate.
    After it gets old and stagnant, people see how much better X system would be, and so move and make the system shift along with them. Or just move as anything would be better than that, an action in the kind of beheading the king. A sort of revolution, the sense of advancement, the thrill of novelty.
    Then hello, new system all new and shiny and wow and great and blah... : D
    The time each system lives depends on many factors and is not relevant here.
    Sometimes, a revolution is lead by someone or a group, others it happens quietly.

    Of course, no system we have used has been exactly the same, it is not a circle, but a sort of wave, an eb and flow of more or less similar.
    People can shift the system, other people have done it in the past. Where will it go next? DOOM! jk.
    That's where it gets truly interesting...
    I'm stopping here nonetheless. ♡

  4. #84
    xerxes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avebury View Post
    Tbh I don't think there is anything wrong with Koch brothers funding and I don't think that the Fraser or the Heritage indexes are propaganda. Heritage's index is a joint effort with the The Wall Street Journal, a newspaper similar to The Economist, I think labelling their work propaganda is a stretch.

    If I understand correctly you label these indices propaganda because they rank countries according to a value judgement (economic freedom), but so do indices measuring freedom of press and civil liberties in various countries. Are those indices propaganda too? By your reasoning they should be, as they rank countries according criteria and do so in order to promote reforms in those countries.

    Anyways, I am not trying to change your mind either, I don't get why these indices are worthless, yes they promote reforms but is that such a bad thing, especially since evidence indicates that the reforms they promote also lead to better economic conditions, just as promoting freedom of press leads to better journalism.
    They're propaganda because they make blanket assertions. These aggregate indices gloss over the fact that the most successful countries, while market-oriented, aren't market-oriented in crucial ways.

    The way they define "economic freedom" is also somewhat disingenuous, to put it mildly. Pro-business governments can legislate policies, advertised as increasing economic freedom, that work against the free market.

    Intellectual property is one such example of a government-enforced monopoly. When the government gives pharmaceutical companies a drug patent, it prevents other manufacturers from selling a similar "generic" version of the drug for a fraction of the price, yet the Koch's freedom index classifies this sort of racketeering as market-oriented. Perversely, a free market solution that can reduce inequality is reclassified as anti-free market.

    Could it be that the Kochs are using this index to foster their own interests to the detriment of others, including other investors? Could they have an interest in exporting their feudalistic system of rent-seeking on monopolies to other countries? These questions are rhetorical.
    Last edited by xerxes; 08-12-2018 at 06:12 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Alexis de Tocqueville
    What is most important for democracy is not that great fortunes should not exist, but that great fortunes should not remain in the same hands. In that way there are rich men, but they do not form a class.

  5. #85
    Arachno-mammal (reproductive mule) A Moderator's Avatar
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    The Nordic model works in Scandinavia. It synthesizes elements of capitalism and socialism so social welfare programs work for the benefit of the private sector. Nordic countries tend to have impressive GDPs per capita, and Singapore as well.

    And yeah, I get that other countries such as the U.S. possess different economic constraints and different cultures, but that doesn't mean that Nordic elements can't be implemented in a suitable fashion.

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    Social welfare programs always work for the private sector. You sometimes have to dig a little to discover this fact, though.
    What shocked me, though, is that private sector individuals will oppose social welfare programs, even though it can be proven that they benefit from them. Kaleki speculated that this was due to a philosophical opposition to government intervention in the private sector, but I think it is due to these people wanting to maintain a large social imbalance, with them on top.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Strange View Post
    Social welfare programs always work for the private sector. You sometimes have to dig a little to discover this fact, though.
    What shocked me, though, is that private sector individuals will oppose social welfare programs, even though it can be proven that they benefit from them. Kaleki speculated that this was due to a philosophical opposition to government intervention in the private sector, but I think it is due to these people wanting to maintain a large social imbalance, with them on top.
    I agree with most of your post, but the bold seems speculative, so could you elaborate?

    I think a substantial portion of the upper class becomes complacent about the conditions of those below them because of the nature of their station. (1) The upper class generally enjoys a higher quality of life, so they become blind to the toils of having to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. (2) More entrepreneurial members of the upper class become enthralled by greed because business growth and economic mobility require a single-minded focus on making a profit. Ie. Growing a business is cumulative, so the greed involved with profiteering develops into a kind of cancer that blinds a person to anything else. (3) Our culture of capitalism rests on philosophical premises that are essentially materialistic and consumerist, which sets the stage for points (1) and (2).

    Though, I'm curious what your argument is in response to mine and Kaleki's.

  8. #88
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    Yeah, I personally don't think that those who oppose welfare programs due it out of a desire to keep society unequal, it's more something like the Non-Aggression Principle. I don't think the wealthy necessarily mind others becoming wealthy, so long as they get to keep their own wealth. There could be exceptions but I don't really believe in a conspiracy by the wealthy, at least not in that form.

    I think large private actors could easily band together to do price fixing for example, where they agree in secret to keep prices artificially above their market worth since it's more profitable, but we have anti-trust laws against that type of thing. This would seem like a more logical way to act if your goal is profit, keeping people poor isn't really profitable since the poor have less buying power.

    EDIT: I would like to add though that wrt to something like the oligarchy in Russia, the wealthy there are doing what they can to keep their status and stop other private actors from climbing the social ladder. This is because the Russian system is built around their interests. It is a politically impotent system, like oligarchy usually is. I think this could very well happen in America, in the case of political impotence from its leaders. Still, I do think there are some who hold to the libertarian principle that government should stay out of the economy and for the most part I think this is their reason (in the case of the people we're talking about). Usually libertarians say that government getting involved in the economy leads to things like regulatory capture and cronyism (which is not entirely false either) so it seems the intent is the opposite of maintaining the status quo.
    Last edited by TheUltimateEmcee; 09-26-2018 at 03:05 PM.

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    @A Moderator, @Avebury, both of you deserve a full response, but I'll have to address it later. (Later today, hopefully.)

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    A mixed economy, with a moderate level of oversight/regulation, is ideal, in my opinion. Capitalism is no more evil than Communism, and both are ideal only in theory.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Weird View Post
    A mixed economy, with a moderate level of oversight/regulation, is ideal, in my opinion. Capitalism is no more evil than Communism, and both are ideal only in theory.
    A planned economy and laissez-faire economy are two opposites and most countries, politicians, economists and regular people seem to favor a mixed economy, some kind of compromise between the two. The real question is where people fall on a scale and it is usually the extent of capitalism vs socialism that people debate in practice, not socialism or capitalism.

    A few countries such as North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela have a totally planned economy, but even Cuba is making reforms. I can't think of any current countries that have a laissez-faire economy but 19th century Britain is usually cited as an example.

    My position: Mixed economy is probably best, if only for things like antitrust and providing incentives through infrastructure and education which boost economic progress. I have nothing against privatized infrastructure and education but it doesn't seem like an easy task to pull off: you need incentives for private roads to get built or to provide education to the general population at a profit. I do think the government needs to provide the necessary laws/legal structure for economic actors to abide by, the right laws create the right incentives. A weak legal structure means people aeren't protected so they have no incentive to make farsighted decisions. In the end, intent is only secondary to incentive...

    So yeah, mixed economy but on the capitalist end of the spectrum here.
    Last edited by TheUltimateEmcee; 09-26-2018 at 04:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Avebury View Post
    A planned economy and laissez-faire economy are two opposites and most countries, politicians, economists and regular people seem to favor a mixed economy, some kind of compromise between the two. The real question is where people fall on a scale and it is usually the extent of capitalism vs socialism that people debate in practice, not socialism or capitalism.

    A few countries such as North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela have a totally planned economy, but even Cuba is making reforms. I can't think of any current countries that have a laissez-faire economy but 19th century Britain is usually cited as an example.

    My position: Mixed economy is probably best, if only for things like antitrust and providing incentives through infrastructure and education which boost economic progress. I have nothing against privatized infrastructure and education but it doesn't seem like an easy task to pull off: you need incentives for private roads to get built or to provide education to the general population at a profit. I do think the government needs to provide the necessary laws/legal structure for economic actors to abide by, the right laws create the right incentives. A weak legal structure means people aeren't protected so they have no incentive to make farsighted decisions. In the end, intent is only secondary to incentive...

    So yeah, mixed economy but on the capitalist end of the spectrum here.
    I'd probably fall more on the capitalist end too.

    I think certain services are better off socialized, but depending on which ones, I don't know if state-ran is better than a decentralized version of socialism. I prefer libertarian socialism to a centralized socialism.

    In regards to the healthcare industry, I think the American system is utterly broken, but I wouldn't necessarily want Cuban or Canadian style healthcare either. The French seem to have a good system.

  13. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Weird View Post
    I'd probably fall more on the capitalist end too.

    I think certain services are better off socialized, but depending on which ones, I don't know if state-ran is better than a decentralized version of socialism. I prefer libertarian socialism to a centralized socialism.

    In regards to the healthcare industry, I think the American system is utterly broken, but I wouldn't necessarily want Cuban or Canadian style healthcare either. The French seem to have a good system.
    I would divide government services into those that would essentially be wrong to privatize, such as the law, the courts, the police, the military, the legislatures, and the executive, and those that would not be wrong to privatize such as education, infrastructure, fire, sanitation, but which probably are better run by government. I'm a firm believer in the rule of law and institutions and believe this is what makes the difference between a free country and a corrupt/dictatorial one. So I actually think government is good (contra to most libertarians who say it's a "necessary evil") but when I say government I obviously mean social contract government not a theocratic monarchy or the fascist/communist wet dream made real.

    Wrt to healthcare, I actually think the system in Belgium is pretty good. Doctors can choose regular fees, meaning their patients are covered by their healthcare provider, which they (patients) can choose. Doctors can also choose to set a non-regular fee meaning patients aren't covered, which allows for skilled doctors to keep their standards wrt to competition. There is no socialized medicine, meaning there is competition and there are private and public hospitals. It's not perfect, but it seems good. I consider myself lucky.

    I'm not familiar with the system in France. I have family that lives there but I haven't heard anything about the healthcare system specifically. Italy and the UK are horrible from what I hear, thanks to socialized medicine. Canada is very proud of its system, but I don't know much about it - do they have socialized medicine like the UK? Cuba is Cuba, lol.

    In the states, yeah, I don't remember having to deal with the system when over there, but my parents said it was really how do I say this...not reassuring. They had employer backed coverage, but they actually never needed it and your typical doctor's appointment isn't covered depending on your plan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Avebury View Post
    I would divide government services into those that would essentially be wrong to privatize, such as the law, the courts, the police, the military, the legislatures, and the executive, and those that would not be wrong to privatize such as education, infrastructure, fire, sanitation, but which probably are better run by government. I'm a firm believer in the rule of law and institutions and believe this is what makes the difference between a free country and a corrupt/dictatorial one. So I actually think government is good (contra to most libertarians who say it's a "necessary evil") but when I say government I obviously mean social contract government not a theocratic monarchy or the fascist/communist wet dream made real.

    Wrt to healthcare, I actually think the system in Belgium is pretty good. Doctors can choose regular fees, meaning their patients are covered by their healthcare provider, which they (patients) can choose. Doctors can also choose to set a non-regular fee meaning patients aren't covered, which allows for skilled doctors to keep their standards wrt to competition. There is no socialized medicine, meaning there is competition and there are private and public hospitals. It's not perfect, but it seems good. I consider myself lucky.

    I'm not familiar with the system in France. I have family that lives there but I haven't heard anything about the healthcare system specifically. Italy and the UK are horrible from what I hear, thanks to socialized medicine. Canada is very proud of its system, but I don't know much about it - do they have socialized medicine like the UK? Cuba is Cuba, lol.

    In the states, yeah, I don't remember having to deal with the system when over there, but my parents said it was really how do I say this...not reassuring. They had employer backed coverage, but they actually never needed it and your typical doctor's appointment isn't covered depending on your plan.

    Apparently Canadian healthcare is fine so long as you don't get sick. Or so I've heard. People I talked to said there are very long waiting periods, and not uncommon to have to deal with disinterested bureaucratic types when going to clinics.

    French, if I remember correctly is partially socialized, but patients pay 30% of their medical bills.

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    @Adam Strange this is your 10 AM reminder that you were going to make your case.


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