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THE Capitalism Thread Pt. 4

Discussions about the economic and financial ramifications of PEAK OIL

Re: THE Capitalism Thread Pt. 4

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Fri 28 Sep 2018, 12:52:09

Doubtless, that is why the USA is the wealthiest nation, with the highest average income of any large country, with a better environmental record than any other large country. That would also be why there is a long line of refugees trying to sneak over the border, and why we set the Russian and European teeth on edge.

GHung, if you are not a fan of this country we live in, understand that as a citizen of the USA you have the freedom to move elsewhere. Try doing that in Cuba or China or Vietnam or North Korea or Laos, the five places where they still revere the teachings of those two clueless idiots Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

But BOTH of you, onlooker and GHung, have what you have because you live in a country that has successfully practiced Capitalism for almost 250 years. You have a share of that wealth, and use the infrastructure created by that wealth, every day of your life. That would include the information network we are exchanging today's pleasentries on, a creation of the latest wave of the Industrial Revolution, the so-called Digital Age. BTW, that Digital Age also created five of the eight wealthiest people in the world, and enabled ME with my BSEE degree to earn about a million bucks in my career.

You see, I have a problem with people who not only don't appreciate what they have, but don't even acknowledge what they have, or understand it is because of where they live and Capitalism.
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Re: THE Capitalism Thread Pt. 4

Unread postby GHung » Fri 28 Sep 2018, 13:24:17

KaiserJeep wrote:Doubtless, that is why the USA is the wealthiest nation, with the highest average income of any large country, with a better environmental record than any other large country. That would also be why there is a long line of refugees trying to sneak over the border, and why we set the Russian and European teeth on edge.

GHung, if you are not a fan of this country we live in, understand that as a citizen of the USA you have the freedom to move elsewhere. Try doing that in Cuba or China or Vietnam or North Korea or Laos, the five places where they still revere the teachings of those two clueless idiots Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

But BOTH of you, onlooker and GHung, have what you have because you live in a country that has successfully practiced Capitalism for almost 250 years. You have a share of that wealth, and use the infrastructure created by that wealth, every day of your life. That would include the information network we are exchanging today's pleasentries on, a creation of the latest wave of the Industrial Revolution, the so-called Digital Age. BTW, that Digital Age also created five of the eight wealthiest people in the world, and enabled ME with my BSEE degree to earn about a million bucks in my career.

You see, I have a problem with people who not only don't appreciate what they have, but don't even acknowledge what they have, or understand it is because of where they live and Capitalism.


.... and I have a problem with Americans like you who don't understand our duty to challenge the system they are a part of when they feel it could be better. You have dishonestly twisted what I have said here, which is tantamount to lying. What I said earlier about character, or lack of good character, is now aimed directly at you.

This is my country. I have served this country. I have the Constitutionally guaranteed right to criticize my country. I swore an oath to uphold YOUR rights to do the same. And I'm in your face. Appreciate that.

Your suggestion that people like me and Onlooker should STFU or go elsewhere is the weakest, basest sort of cop out. I understand that most of the benefits we enjoy today come at the cost of denying many of those benefits to future generations, and you have essentially admitted as much. I, for one, have serious problems with that.

Enjoy stealing from the future, KJ.
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Re: THE Capitalism Thread Pt. 4

Unread postby onlooker » Fri 28 Sep 2018, 13:30:56

And I do appreciate what I have. I also realize that is too some degree that is because we live in an exploiting country. So feeling bad for those in other countries being exploited, is NOT being ungrateful. It is being humane.
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Re: THE Capitalism Thread Pt. 4

Unread postby mmasters » Fri 28 Sep 2018, 13:48:14

The world isn't made to be fair or a paradise, that is a delusion. It's always been a mess and always will be. The underlying reason is we're here to be tested.

Best use the good times to make something of yourself and prepare for when things get ugly.
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Re: THE Capitalism Thread Pt. 4

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Fri 28 Sep 2018, 13:55:43

GHung, I cooled down for a few minutes before typing this. I never told anybody to "STFU" and you saying that I did, is YOU LYING. I said that I have a problem with people criticising the USA, and that's a fact.

I also served this country and think it is the finest in the world. You do not, you find criticism is warranted, and as you said, that is your right. So be critical all you want. Me, I'm grateful for what I have, and do tend to overlook the warts.

onlooker, I also have compassion. I would like to point out that the USA gives more in foriegn aid than anybody else, including food, medical aid, and civil engineering. So you would be criticizing the one country that does the most for the others. BTW, buying oil, plastic crap from China, or fruits and meats grown in other countries doesn't mean that the USA is "exploiting" them, it means that we are trading with them, sending money their way. If that money is not fairly distributed to those who did the labor, it is not our fault. There ARE movements in the USA to buy 'Fair Trade Coffee" and to NOT buy "Blood Diamonds", to name just two.
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Re: THE Capitalism Thread Pt. 4

Unread postby radon1 » Sun 30 Sep 2018, 03:19:51

Lots of confusion here. Capitalism has been successful in 2 countries only: initially in Britain, and later in the US. The other countries did not develop capitalism, they joined the US market.

Socialism has also been successful, and only once - in the USSR, partly due to the pure luck in timing. China was too late.

That is, assuming that we define "success" as a development of a sustainably functional economy that delivered benefits to the participants unachievable in another way.

Russia (USSR), for example, would not have been able to raise living standards of the population to the extent that it did, if the country had developed along the "natural" capitalist lines.
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Re: THE Capitalism Thread Pt. 4

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sun 30 Sep 2018, 04:37:18

You have an extraordinarily narrow definition of Capitalism. I believe that when the predecessor to the Silk Road was concieved of in the Bronze Age, that wealthy merchant who invested in camels and armed guards to protect his caravans between China and Europe, was a Capitalist. The man who invented metallic coins as a symbol of wealth was a Capitalist. The man who invested in the first wooden ships to ply the Mediterannean Sea loaded with amphorae filled with olive oil was a Capitalist. Those who derived the rules of inernational banking were Capitalists.

Capitalism exists today in over 200 countries in variations defined by individual laws, tax policies, banking regulations, trade treaties, etc. etc. But it got it's start when the flints that made the best spears and axe heads were traded across Europe by Neanderthals.

Capitalism did not have a name before Karl Marx. But he did not understand the nature of mankind when he invented the word. Female baboons who trade sex for ripe fruit are Capitalists. Capitalism existed long before it was named. But the 200-odd countries all try to devise advantages by tweeking the rules. But even before language, Capitalism existed, as it does in a baboon troop.
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Re: THE Capitalism Thread Pt. 4

Unread postby radon1 » Sun 30 Sep 2018, 06:32:27

KaiserJeep wrote:You have an extraordinarily narrow definition of Capitalism. I believe that when the predecessor to the Silk Road was concieved of in the Bronze Age, that wealthy merchant who invested in camels and armed guards to protect his caravans between China and Europe, was a Capitalist.
He was a financier, financial sector. Capitalists are financial sector too, in this sense.

Expanding "capitalism" to everything is impractical and fruitless. The word is used to describe a certain epoch for a reason. This is an epoch when the relations between the people are pre-dominantly capitalist. Where these relations are, say, mostly of a master-serf type, with a couple financiers lurking in the shadows, a reference to capitalism is sort of confusing.

The man who invented metallic coins as a symbol of wealth was a Capitalist.


He had no capitalist motivations at all in his mind. The key motivation was manageability of the civil administration. In his view, first "capitalists" were, in fact, stealing from him, and as such he was expressly anti-capitalist. You can even find this quite explicitly outlined in legal/religious statutes banning interest charges.

Female baboons who trade sex for ripe fruit are Capitalists.
No. In order to be a capitalist, your earnings should depend on the value of your capital rather than the value of your working time. Overall, the majority of small and even middle business owners are not capitalists, for this reason.
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Re: THE Capitalism Thread Pt. 4

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sun 30 Sep 2018, 06:55:20

Well, where are the rules for "Capitalism" written down, then? You and I seem to have very different definitions. I am at my vacation home, but we have been playing Scrabble for the past nights, using a massive Webster's New 20th Century Dictionary, Unabridged, copyright 1960. It says:

Capitalism - n. 1. The economic system in which all or most of the means of production and distribution, as land, factories, railroads, etc. are privately owned and operated for profit, originally under fully competitive conditions: it has generally been characterised by a tendancy towards concentration of wealth, and, in it's later phase, by the growth of great corporations, increased governmental control, etc.
2. The principles, methods, interest, power, influence, etc. of capitalists, especially of those with large holdings.
3. The state of being a capitalist.


I think my earlier attempts at defining capitalism jive with that, and reiterate that it doesn't need a label or a name to exist, and is in fact as old as either the Bronze Age (i.e. the Silk Road trade routes and Mediterannean shipping) or the Stone Age (when flints were traded for skins and preserved foods).

You see, I'm pretty sure that those Silk Road caravans and wooden boat shipping magnates created some of the wealthiest individuals that then existed, and that they eventually sat back and enjoyed themselves, after amassing piles of gold coins. They let their camels and wooden sailing ships earn incomes for them, rather than labor themselves. Equally sure, Rome was founded on Capitalism, they popularised the already existing "oldest profession" and sold access to women's bodies for copper, tin, silver, and gold coins.

Ah, the benefits of civilization.
Last edited by KaiserJeep on Sun 30 Sep 2018, 07:11:35, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: THE Capitalism Thread Pt. 4

Unread postby kublikhan » Sun 30 Sep 2018, 07:11:02

KaiserJeep wrote:
GHung wrote:.... and I have a problem with Americans like you who don't understand our duty to challenge the system they are a part of when they feel it could be better....
...I said that I have a problem with people criticising the USA, and that's a fact.

I also served this country and think it is the finest in the world. You do not, you find criticism is warranted, and as you said, that is your right. So be critical all you want. Me, I'm grateful for what I have, and do tend to overlook the warts....
KJ, it's one thing to be grateful for everything your country has given you but you it's another to be complacent. If you see your government growing warts you should voice your criticism. You should not be offended by citizens voicing criticism about warts they see. Criticism is not unpatriotic.

The citizen should not be so blinded by patriotism that he is unable to face reality. The genuine patriot owes his duty to the country and not necessarily to its leaders. Therefore wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it. Criticism is not unpatriotic. We could do well always to remember the words of Mark Twain who said - “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and the government when it deserves it.”

The good citizen must always place his or her patriotism beyond the sphere of political affiliation because patriotism does not consist of putting our blind trust in anything that our political leaders tell us.
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Patriotism, to me, is the ability to overcome despair or cynicism, to say “Yes, we’re not perfect, but we’re trying.” It’s easy to get cynical about our country and the way it’s being run (just look at the recent NSA wiretapping scandal). But patriotism is saying no to these feelings, believing in our ideals even when we don’t live up to them.

Does that mean we never criticize our nation or our government? No. In fact, patriots should be the most fervent of critics when it comes to the way their nation is being run. But this criticism comes from a place of hope, not one of despair. Patriots criticize because they know their nation can be better.
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Re: THE Capitalism Thread Pt. 4

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sun 30 Sep 2018, 07:28:24

Well, then YOU need to clearly distinguish between "this country" and everything else in this rambling and incoherent thread.

I have no problem distinguishing (figurative) warts on most politicians, including Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

I am well aware of the abuses of corporations and wealthy individuals, but that doesn't mean that "capitalism" is flawed or needs replacement. For example, I have studied History and believe that ALL of the four-dozen-odd attempts at Marxism - including especially the USSR, which came the closest to succeeding - collapsed due to corruption, because they lacked the controls imposed by the governments on businesses, and by the people on governments, that characterize modern Capitalistic Democracies.

If you want to focus on the details, I will happily do so. However, if you want to satisfy juvenile urges and express your frustration with an economic system that insists and requires that you to exercise sound judgement and hard work to succeed, then expect me to verbally whack you back in return.

Because we really and trully do have the best world with the most prosperous people that has ever existed, and things are improving slowly over time. They simply are not improving as fast as peoples' individual wants and desires for "more stuff", while working less.

Well, too bad, so sad.
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Re: THE Capitalism Thread Pt. 4

Unread postby GHung » Sun 30 Sep 2018, 07:59:29

KJ said; ...." and things are improving slowly over time...."


All things considered they are provably not improving. We are becoming more politically divided than we've been since the civil war. We are losing ground on infrastructure and devoting resources to things that make rich people richer; things that don't last. We are devouring finite resources at unprecedented rates and not controlling waste streams to the point where our environment is changing in negative and permanent ways in terms of human lifetimes. The current administration and majority in Congress are rolling back what progress we've made on that front. Economic inequity and income divides are increasing as the corptocracy gains more control over elections and legislation. Critical thinking skills are in decline among the population and situational awareness of these things is being eroded by various media bent on corrupting truth. What looks like an improving economy has been purchased on our grandkids' credit card; an illusion of increasing collective wealth. I could go on, but these are all FACTS. The part you skip regarding Capitalism is that it must pay its own way in real time. What we have now is an illusion of Capitalism. Perhaps we should call it "Deficitalism", eh?

Things must look fine from your quaint little vacation home and you can pat yourself on the back for carving out your nice little piece of the pie, but I submit that your fear of losing that is trumping your clarity and judgement. Things are not getting better.
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Re: THE Capitalism Thread Pt. 4

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sun 30 Sep 2018, 08:22:13

If you are not satisfied with your lot in life, then by all means you are free to politic for changes. However, the system we has protects all of us, capitalists and laborers, the same way. If you can rouse a majority you can vote for legislation to benefit yourself, or for politicians that represent your interests.

If all you want to do is to complain in an online internet forum, I'll note that it is both useless and a waste of time. Most people including me disagree with you, and will say so. We probably do agree that deficit spending is not something the US Government should be doing, I would like to see that rolled back and even see the National Debt start getting paid down.

This thread is about Capitalism, and I keep trying to steer it back to that topic. I happen to believe that things are slowly improving across the USA. For many people - including probably you - things are not improving for you as rapidly as you would wish.

Now my wealthy capitalist ass must get itself up and go outside and trim some trees and then demolish and pile up the father-in-law's decaying chicken coop. We just put the grandkids on a plane yesterday, and they are home in their own beds. Hopefuly I can accomplish the last few chores without getting in the Poison Oak that seems to have replaced the blueberries I remember growing on this lot.
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Re: THE Capitalism Thread Pt. 4

Unread postby GHung » Sun 30 Sep 2018, 08:45:57

"If you are not satisfied with your lot in life...."

Since KJ starts his list of false assumptions and inferences assuming we aren't "satisfied with our lot in life", I can be sure he has no coherent argument, especially regarding my counter to his absurd conclusion that "things are getting better". He said upthread that he never told me to STFU, but his posts boil down to that.

Everything I said in my previous post is true, KJ, and whether or not I'm "satisfied" has no bearing on those things at all. Reality doesn't give a shit if you or I are happy.

Your version of "capitalism' is an illusion because it is not paying it's own way, no more than someone who is living large on a growing credit card balance is "successful", regardless of how things appear on the surface. If you want me to join in on the pretense, that ain't going to happen..

Enjoy your poison oak. They have a special glyphosate formula for that.
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Re: THE Capitalism Thread Pt. 4

Unread postby onlooker » Sun 30 Sep 2018, 09:30:56

Well, whatever the benefits and virtues of Capitalism and its vices and deleterious effects seems to be now a sub -plot. A sub-plot of the achievements and successes of our species which now in fact have become an extraordindary danger to everything our species has created and our very existence. Our ability to grow in numbers, to develop ever more and higher technology, to raise standards of living of more people are in fact now threatening our hegemony and perhaps very existence on this planet. So if one argues Capitalism made all this possible, well then one must also concede that it has also paved the way for this epic crisis we now face.
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Re: THE Capitalism Thread Pt. 4

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sun 30 Sep 2018, 11:09:29

My argument has always been, there is no thing and no person to blame, unless you believe in a literal Mother Nature. We are what we are and we behave as we behave, because we evolved a set of instincts to do that.
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Re: THE Capitalism Thread Pt. 4

Unread postby GHung » Sun 30 Sep 2018, 12:55:02

KaiserJeep wrote:My argument has always been, there is no thing and no person to blame, unless you believe in a literal Mother Nature. We are what we are and we behave as we behave, because we evolved a set of instincts to do that.


So you've never made choices that run counter to your animal instincts?
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Re: THE Capitalism Thread Pt. 4

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sun 30 Sep 2018, 15:31:52

Certainly I have made such choices. But by and large we behave instinctively, unless there is a reason not to.
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Re: THE Capitalism Thread Pt. 4

Unread postby mmasters » Sun 30 Sep 2018, 16:33:04

So what do you propose, GHung, we come up with a system that mirrors your mom's nurturing? Sounds like Socialism.
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Re: THE Capitalism Thread Pt. 4

Unread postby GHung » Sun 30 Sep 2018, 16:50:33

mmasters wrote:So what do you propose, GHung, we come up with a system that mirrors your mom's nurturing? Sounds like Socialism.


I don't propose anything since KJ is half right. I figure that about half the population is composed of asshole sociopaths, as you so aptly to demonstrate. That said, the worship and defense of capitalism, as seen here, is as idiotic as expecting humans to behave. My response has always been on an individual and tribal level. We'll get back to that in due time. It all comes down to the stories we tell ourselves, and choosing, collectively, to not do the things that could save us from ourselves. It's not that we can't. It's that we won't. There's a difference.

I doubt you'll ever be welcome at my fire.
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