DailyDirt: Dysfunctional Capitalism

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

As we get closer to the most commercial holiday of the year, let’s spend some time reflecting on capitalism and what it has become. Here are some capitalism-related links to get you started.

If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.

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Comments on “DailyDirt: Dysfunctional Capitalism”

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26 Comments
s0beit says:

“Sure, capitalism can produce great wealth, but it’s not going to solve all of our environmental concerns, racial divides, class distinctions, etc. You can’t use it as a blueprint for building a just society.”

Environmental concerns stem from governments makong communal properties and shielding corporations from liability. Racial divides, class ‘distinctions’ do not and should not have anything to do with an economic system. That’s a pretty fucking dumb statement to make.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You agreed with the statement in almost every particular. You said economics won’t solve those problems, they said economics won’t solve those problems. Who exactly are you calling dumb?

Also, class distinctions are economic in nature. In fact, classes are defined by economic status. The “working class,” “middle class,” “1%” etc. are all based on certain economic criteria.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Racial divides, class ‘distinctions’ do not and should not have anything to do with an economic system.

Race should not have anything to do with it, true. But in the real world, race is tightly intertwined with the economic system.

Class distinctions are economic distinctions (in the US), so you can’t talk about one without talking about the other.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Capitalism is about maximizing profits in any legal way. If cronyism is legal and will increase profits, then the principles of capitalism mandate that it be used. So crony capitalism is indeed a facet of capitalism.

Of course, having this publicly exposed is bad for profits, so the good capitalist will try to deny it in order to protect profits.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“If corruption is not prosecuted and it will increase profits, then the principles of capitalism mandate that it be used. So corruption is indeed a facet of capitalism.”

It can’t be prosecuted if it’s not illegal. Corruption under capitalism would be not doing everything legal to increase profits. In fact, that’s what the law essentially requires of publicly traded corporations (in the US).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I find it interesting, to the point of hilarity, that laws are so numerous any one individual will typically violate several in their mundane daily activities – and yet corporations do not.

I thought fraud was “illegal”. But destruction of the world economy via intentional, complicit fraudulent activity is not prosecuted or even investigated to see if any laws where broken. I guess it is not illegal huh.

Yes, the law requires greedy SOBs to rape and pillage. I learn something new every day.

Anonymous Coward says:

Capitalism, Schmapitalism

You don’t get it. Corporations are all about profit, AND ONLY PROFIT. The idea of “corporate citizenship” is a belly laugh. They couldn’t care less. If taxes cut into profits, avoid ’em. Pay for laws that eliminate any reduction in profit. If come congresscritter gets in the way, pay for his removal. Dangerous things, unbounded corporations. We have far too many of them.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Capitalism, Schmapitalism

Corporations are all about profit, AND ONLY PROFIT.

But it doesn’t have to be. Corporations exist because the government declares them to exist by approving their corporate charter. It’s a bit like a license. We could easily mandate that charters must include certain provisions, such as requiring them to behave within certain ethical or professional boundaries, or that they don’t cause economic or environmental harm, or whatever.

In the old days, doing this was the norm, and it was also the norm for corporate charters to be revoked if not adhered do — the corporate version of the death penalty.

There is no reason we can’t do that sort thing again. That we don’t is a big part of why corporations have been able to get away with what they do.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Capitalism, Schmapitalism

The lesson of capitalism is that regulations can be undone. You can’t reform asystem where people are inherently unequal.

We have to rethink the workplace. Giving people no choices in what they produce, when they produce it, is the problem. If we don’t allow democracy in the workplace, how can we fight for democracy in other areas? That’s why we’ve gone backwards to the 1930s where corporations rule the soiree and the people have their rights infringed.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Capitalism, Schmapitalism

I disagree with equating democracy and freedom. Democracy is “one man, one vote”. Unregulated democracy leads to tyranny. We even have a phrase for it: “the tyranny of the majority.”

Your example about trading work for money only really works in a world where the two people are equals. In reality, however, that is rarely the case. We have minimum wage laws, for example, because they fixed a problem with this sort of “freedom”: when all the employers refuse to pay realistic wages, then the only thing people are “free” to choose are slave wages.

Anonymous Coward says:

Whatever people want to call it, just remember that it inflates and deflates, there are times of great opportunities and times with few opportunities, which have severe adverse effects on those not prepared for it.

Woody stays behind to swim while the other birds in the forest migrate south for the winter. Just after the other birds leave, the cold of winter sets in instantly, to the point that Woody’s swimming hole freezes solid after he jumps in (“Must be hard water”, he remarks). Woody does not worry, because he has stored up plenty of food. However, a snow storm enters his house and makes off with all of his possessions, food included.

Two weeks later, Woody is starving and delusional, having a staring contest with the ghost of “Starvation”, personified as something vaguely resembling as the Grim Reaper. A month later, a hungry cat happens upon Woody’s cabin, and conspires to eat the woodpecker. The famished Woody, however, plans just as quickly to eat the cat, and the two have at it. Eventually a moose appears at Woody’s open door, and the starving cat and woodpecker chase after it.

Wikipedia: Woody Woodpecker in Pantry Panic

That situation has been happening a lot lately, so here is the question, what to do with millions in the lean times?

Is there a system that would prevent others from becoming starving lunatics and could it be implemented and survive side by side of others systems preferably being a complement to them?

I won’t call the current system capitalism is not pure capitalism but is not socialism either is an out of balance mess, still it has its uses, it is based on consumption assuming every resource is either replaceable or infinite, that is madness to me, so I start to look for solutions that involve closing the many loopholes that exist today and they mostly exist on the bottom line where almost everyone will find themselves at some point in their lifes.

The question that I believe everyone should ask themselves in their lifes is “can I survive without this system?”, that will lead to other questions like “how?”, what do I need? by which paths I can acquire those things? what is available to me now and in the future? what are the things I need to stock upon?

How much food can I stock? do I have all that space? what happens if it runs out? do I have a means to shelter myself in the lean times? would I have to deal with others? what to do if they become hostile? how to prevent others from turning hostiles?

I found my answers, hope others find their own, in fact I eat my own dog food.

Happy holidays people.

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