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      (Original post by colin4president)
      i think OP's point was, how can socialists differentiate between talent and monetary privilege?

      Both are outside a persons control, are down to pure luck, and directly effect how well you will do in life. The people arguing against the OP claim that they want to allow people to reach their potential. Everyone varies in potential just like everyone varies in monetary privilege at birth. Both are factors outside a persons control. Why the differentiation?
      In simple terms, capital (fixed or liquid) is a phenomenon ultimately derived from alienation and exploitation and inevitably generative of alienation and exploitation, hence it is differentiated from what might be called 'human talents'. Under socialism the human needs of everyone in society are given equal priority. As you suggest, any individual's 'talents' or productive abilities are determined by all kinds of factors outside of their control, no matter that they might believe otherwise.
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      (Original post by Oswy)
      Freedom to starve isn't a very useful freedom whereas freedom to enjoy the satisfaction of your needs is. You see? It's all about how you use the term 'freedom'. The right tend to present 'freedom' negatively, that is to say freedom 'from' rather than the left's interest in freedom 'to'. Nevertheless, the kind of 'freedom' the right applaud, that associated with private property and capitalism, is very much at the expense of the liberty of the many who are in fact alienated from their access and use of the earth and its resources. To this extent, your 'freedom' is built upon law-enforced interference.
      Give people too much negative freedom and they abuse it. You cannot have a foundation of equality and freedom as the two would oppose each other some sort of Social-Darwinism.
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        (Original post by tazarooni89)
        Of course, I agree - talent can not only be nurtured but actually be generated by certain conditions. But in what way would you "place emphasis" on this?

        Are you suggesting that our society should not be one which rewards talent, because the existence of that talent can be merely the result of fortunate conditions? Or are you saying our society should control and regulate each child's upbringing in order to distribute the creation of talent equally amongst all children?
        Should society be attempting to change this? If so, is there any reasonable way to do so?

        I can see what you've pointed out, but I'm not really sure what you're suggesting that the implications of this are. Perhaps you could explain further?
        By suggesting, as I am, that much of what we recognise as 'talent' is generated by advantageous conditions, and not by 'innate ability' as is too often casually claimed, I am promoting the idea that society should aim to provide social conditions where everyone's potential for talents might emerge, not just those who have grand pianos in their homes. The issue of priority is thus less of rewarding the realised talent of the few but of cultivating the realisable talent of the many. We already have a powerful system of control and regulation over each child's upbringing, it's called capitalism, and the many, who experience the effects of alienation and exploitation, are very effectively controlled and regulated by their structured disadvantages within that system.
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          (Original post by F i s)
          Give people too much negative freedom and they abuse it. You cannot have a foundation of equality and freedom as the two would oppose each other some sort of Social-Darwinism.
          Which is why the characterisation of 'freedom' negatively, as those on the right do, has only partial value. For socialists like myself 'freedom' is only meaningful when it is realisable. It's actually a bit of a fraud on their part anyway, because they imagine such negative freedom in the context of being wealthy, of having the instruments by which freedom can be enjoyed. Such 'freedom from interference' makes some sense when you have plenty of money, for everyone else it just means freedom to suffer.
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          (Original post by Oswy)
          By suggesting, as I am, that much of what we recognise as 'talent' is generated by advantageous conditions, and not by 'innate ability' as is too often casually claimed, I am promoting the idea that society should aim to provide social conditions where everyone's potential for talents might emerge, not just those who have grand pianos in their homes. The issue of priority is thus less of rewarding the realised talent of the few but of cultivating the realisable talent of the many. We already have a powerful system of control and regulation over each child's upbringing, it's called capitalism, and the many, who experience the effects of alienation and exploitation, are very effectively controlled and regulated by their structured disadvantages within that system.
          Talents primarily emerge from innate ability rather than social conditions. If society maintains it's function of stability those who have talent can prosper. It doesn't matter what sort of state is formed as talent can only be enriched but not faded. If you restrict certain liberties of people then it is possible to force talent under a regime. People are naturally hierarchical on ability and this is a flaw of socialism.
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            (Original post by F i s)
            Talents primarily emerge from innate ability rather than social conditions. If society maintains it's function of stability those who have talent can prosper. It doesn't matter what sort of state is formed as talent can only be enriched but not faded. If you restrict certain liberties of people then it is possible to force talent under a regime. People are naturally hierarchical on ability and this is a flaw of socialism.
            It's merely your opinion that 'talents primarily emerge from innate ability rather than social conditions'. I'm not a functionalist, society can be whatever we, the humans which constitute society, want it to be, it doesn't have its own agenda outside of us. Talents can easily fade, as an aging pianist or linguist who hasn't spoken a partiuclar language for a while would tell you. No, people are not 'naturally hierarchical', human societies have taken many forms and we have seen many instances of resistance to hierarchy, the fact that we live in a political democracy is evidence that the hierarchy of monarchy and aristocracy wasn't sustainable. Indeed, from an evolutionary standpoint, human societies have for their longest period been arranged around the so-called 'hunter-gatherer' form; communities which show relatively high levels of egalitarianism and in which everyone's needs, productive and consumptive, are given equal value. The glaring asymmetries we see today in the extent to which some have power and some don't, some have their needs met and some don't, is the the product of a human creation not a 'natural' one, it's called capitalism.
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            (Original post by Oswy)
            It's merely your opinion that 'talents primarily emerge from innate ability rather than social conditions'. I'm not a functionalist, society can be whatever we, the humans which constitute society, want it to be, it doesn't have its own agenda outside of us. Talents can easily fade, as an aging pianist or linguist who hasn't spoken a partiuclar language for a while would tell you. No, people are not 'naturally hierarchical', human societies have taken many forms and we have seen many instances of resistance to hierarchy, the fact that we live in a political democracy is evidence that the hierarchy of monarchy and aristocracy wasn't sustainable. Indeed, from an evolutionary standpoint, human societies have for their longest period been arranged around the so-called 'hunter-gatherer' form; communities which show relatively high levels of egalitarianism and in which everyone's needs, productive and consumptive, are given equal value. The glaring asymmetries we see today in the extent to which some have power and some don't, some have their needs met and some don't, is the the product of a human creation not a 'natural' one, it's called capitalism.
            Obviously talents fade when someone is physical inept or not the position they used to be (physically). People are definitely hierarchical in terms of ability. You don't see an English footballer retiring and becoming the next Einstein. I'm not talking about the hierarchy of wealth or a monopoly government. Power is strength through unity and if there was so much resistance then the flourishing of many would be hindered. We are never equal even when we strip all our identity, mental capacities and physical ones. In terms of humanity we are equal but in terms of social relations we are not.
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            Human nature as evidenced by existing communist states and states that no longer have that type of society corrupts the ideals of any political philosophy. There is always an elite, the privileged class who get the wealth, opportunities denied to the masses. In capitalist democracies which are also corrupt, at least the people who are willing to work hard and educate themselves have a chance to work their way out of poverty into the more privleged classes. It's not perfect but this system has taken more people out of poverty than any other through out history.
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            (Original post by Oswy)
            It's merely your opinion that 'talents primarily emerge from innate ability rather than social conditions'. I'm not a functionalist, society can be whatever we, the humans which constitute society, want it to be, it doesn't have its own agenda outside of us. Talents can easily fade, as an aging pianist or linguist who hasn't spoken a partiuclar language for a while would tell you. No, people are not 'naturally hierarchical', human societies have taken many forms and we have seen many instances of resistance to hierarchy, the fact that we live in a political democracy is evidence that the hierarchy of monarchy and aristocracy wasn't sustainable. Indeed, from an evolutionary standpoint, human societies have for their longest period been arranged around the so-called 'hunter-gatherer' form; communities which show relatively high levels of egalitarianism and in which everyone's needs, productive and consumptive, are given equal value. The glaring asymmetries we see today in the extent to which some have power and some don't, some have their needs met and some don't, is the the product of a human creation not a 'natural' one, it's called capitalism.
            Where in the world does this nirvana exist, or previously exist? How big is/was the population and how technically advanced was the society?
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              (Original post by Blondshavemorefun)
              Where in the world does this nirvana exist, or previously exist? How big is/was the population and how technically advanced was the society?
              Human societies go back a long way. Depending on how you want to define what it means to be 'human' we're still talking about hundreds of thousands of years if not millions. For almost all of that time human societies have been more-or-less consistent with the 'hunter-gatherer' model we still have small surviving pockets of today, albeit much denuded, infiltrated, persecuted and removed from, or marginalised within, their preferred lands. This long-standing model of human society is instructive in that social and economic arrangements are highly egalitarian; every member of such communities is valued and their collective needs prioritised. I'm not here suggesting that back to hunter-gathering is the way to go, or that such societies are perfect in their egalitarian nature, I'm sure they're not. But the example shows us that humans clearly can live, and indeed have lived for a very long time, in societies with a high degree of equality and mutual support. If anything the technological advances which have been made under subsequent forms of society (what we marxists would call 'modes of production') make the change towards an egalitarian society more, not less, realistic. Thanks to developments in science and technology we live in an era where scarcity has been largely done away with, it is only artificially maintained by the profit-driven demands of capitalism. Indeed, overproduction is a routine faling in capitalism as grain mountains rot and butter lakes go off, people starve. That aspect of capitalism is hardly an 'advance' by any stretch of the imagination.
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              (Original post by Oswy)
              By suggesting, as I am, that much of what we recognise as 'talent' is generated by advantageous conditions, and not by 'innate ability' as is too often casually claimed, I am promoting the idea that society should aim to provide social conditions where everyone's potential for talents might emerge, not just those who have grand pianos in their homes. The issue of priority is thus less of rewarding the realised talent of the few but of cultivating the realisable talent of the many. We already have a powerful system of control and regulation over each child's upbringing, it's called capitalism, and the many, who experience the effects of alienation and exploitation, are very effectively controlled and regulated by their structured disadvantages within that system.
              Whilst I agree with you in broad terms, that's a remarkable unintuitive and unhelpfully nebulous definition of "talent". A far more logical definition of "talent" as something like "an intrinsic and natural ability or aptitude, which is (by definition of intrinsic) possessed since birth". By this definition of talent, the idea that social conditions can "generate" talent is nonsensical.

              A young man who has grown up with a piano in the house and becomes an accomplished piano player has simply been given an opportunity to discover the talent he was born with. The presence of the piano has not generated the talent, simply given it the opportunity to be discovered.
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              (Original post by TheRevolution)
              Socialists hate the idea of the privileged rich dominating society, and they'd like to see talented ppl from all backgrounds thrive.

              Shouldn't they be vehemently opposed to this idea too?

              Aren't they supposed to despise the fact that luck (such as inheriting riches or being born talented) gives some people an unfair leg-up in life and usually leads to them being more fulfilled?
              So you are defining socialism as aiming to give everyone the same opportunities in life. Are you sure that you are not confusing your idea of Socialism with the ideas of egalitarianism that involve equality of opportunity?

              (Original post by Oswy)
              Socialists are generally motivated by the idea that everyone should have their needs met and their potentials supported. If a system allows some to gain privileged advantage in those things while others are excluded then socialists quite rightly oppose that system. Did you read a book defending socialism or just, you know, listen to your dad?
              haha, plus rep!
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              I think you meantioned Mao and Stalin earlier on - regards wealth distribution Western Europe is much more socialist than Communist China or Russia. Russia and China both operated as an oligarchy - with political power and power of resources held by a tiny minority of people.

              (Original post by Summergirl.x)
              No what you lefties want is equality of result. If you have say someone like me (small, girl, pathetic runner) run against Usain Bolt. You would like the outcome to be the same - ie. a draw.
              Why have you come to this conclusion? This point is just the definition of a straw man.

              (Original post by Summergirl.x)
              Haaa. They don't. They play by the rules: you do well at school. you earn you money. you spend your money. .
              Do you really think life is as simple as that?
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              (Original post by Oswy)
              Human societies go back a long way. Depending on how you want to define what it means to be 'human' we're still talking about hundreds of thousands of years if not millions. For almost all of that time human societies have been more-or-less consistent with the 'hunter-gatherer' model we still have small surviving pockets of today, albeit much denuded, infiltrated, persecuted and removed from, or marginalised within, their preferred lands. This long-standing model of human society is instructive in that social and economic arrangements are highly egalitarian; every member of such communities is valued and their collective needs prioritised. I'm not here suggesting that back to hunter-gathering is the way to go, or that such societies are perfect in their egalitarian nature, I'm sure they're not. But the example shows us that humans clearly can live, and indeed have lived for a very long time, in societies with a high degree of equality and mutual support. If anything the technological advances which have been made under subsequent forms of society (what we marxists would call 'modes of production') make the change towards an egalitarian society more, not less, realistic. Thanks to developments in science and technology we live in an era where scarcity has been largely done away with, it is only artificially maintained by the profit-driven demands of capitalism. Indeed, overproduction is a routine faling in capitalism as grain mountains rot and butter lakes go off, people starve. That aspect of capitalism is hardly an 'advance' by any stretch of the imagination.
              You are aware that in a hunter gatherer system there is an alpha male leader who gets all the privileges etcand the weakest are left to die? Nature is not a good example to draw on for socialists, as it sort of proves the fact that deep in our genes we are competitive, no cooperative creatures.

              We don't live in a post scarcity society though? We do not have limitless resources to provide a sustainable living for all on this planet.
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              (Original post by Oswy)
              This debate is clearly way over your head, you can't see that? Seriously, have you ever, like, read a book?

              The 'rules' under capitalism distinctively favour the capitalists. They use their monopolisation of things like land and resources (and which includes things like money and good education) to dominate those who do not. That monopolisation means that the rest of us must work for them, to make them richer, otherwise, if they don't want us to work for them we suffer unemployment - because we've been long alientated from any power to directly secure our needs. Everything is wrong with that.
              Excuse me! That is really unfair! Yes I have read books! I've even read the Republic and a bit aristotle's book.
              Maybe I don't use fancy long words and I can't argue back that well but I can have opinions on what you say and what you say is not convincing me so technically you not any better either.
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              (Original post by Summergirl.x)
              Tell me, how do I, a girl, completely uninterested in football, and with parents not in the sporting industry, even remotely connected benefit from the highlighted part?

              Communism and socialism just mean you lose your freedoms. It's freedom to the right and equality to the left. I prefer freedom. Minimal state interference economically.

              In Politics the lefties always go on about how corrupt America is (we study America) yet I think they forget North Korea and China and Russia are quite a bit more corrupt than that!!
              This. Freedoms are the most important thing. The freer the market, the freer the people.

              At least in capitalism, you can make it to the top, in communism, your fate is predetirmined.
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              (Original post by Organ)
              I think you meantioned Mao and Stalin earlier on - regards wealth distribution Western Europe is much more socialist than Communist China or Russia. Russia and China both operated as an oligarchy - with political power and power of resources held by a tiny minority of people.



              Why have you come to this conclusion? This point is just the definition of a straw man.



              Do you really think life is as simple as that?
              I didn't think up the Usain Bolt thing myself.. my politics teacher did..

              And no of course not, but its financial/work/education life in three phrases..
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              They will whether we want them to or not, alas.
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              (Original post by jismith1989)
              They will whether we want them to or not, alas.
              Why on Earth would you not want them to?
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              (Original post by TheRevolution)
              Socialists hate the idea of the privileged rich dominating society, and they'd like to see talented ppl from all backgrounds thrive.

              Shouldn't they be vehemently opposed to this idea too?

              Aren't they supposed to despise the fact that luck (such as inheriting riches or being born talented) gives some people an unfair leg-up in life and usually leads to them being more fulfilled?
              I don't think anyone (beyond Marxists) would seriously argue that a meritocracy is undesirable. Being a talented, successful person isn't entirely something you're born into; some traits may be genetic, but it's just as likely that some of them aren't.

              On the other hand, being born rich is entirely random, and in an ideal world it shouldn't dictate one's future socioeconomic status.
             
             
             
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