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    (Original post by .Ali.)
    Why on Earth would you not want them to?
    I have no qualms with those thriving whose phenotype has enabled them to succeed in societally useful tasks -- what I do have a problem with is when they thrive to such an extent that others who may not have been so lucky in the lottery of life have a very much lower standard of living and/or quality of life. However, I acknowledge that this predicament is inherent in Darwinism (combined with a world of finite resources), and inescapable, unless some other form of reproduction could be instituted (but that would also remove from us love, which gives purpose to a great many lives; so we're damned either way, at least some of us are).
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    (Original post by Summergirl.x)
    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..
    With respect, your politics teacher is clearly biased towards capitalism. This is never a good quality to have with a teacher - he should treat all sides of the argument with a fair approach.

    In any case, he is wrong. Communists, like myself, realise that some people will achieve higher goals in their lives than others. We just don't want personal differences to result in a hierarchy of the most beautiful and most talented ruling over the lesser (all the same we realise that there will not be equality of result as you put it). What's more is that we want equality of opportunities so that people from all backgrounds (poor or otherwise) have the chance to shine if they have talent. So your Bolt argument doesn't really apply.

    (Original post by Summergirl.x)
    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.
    Yes but have you read any communist literature. Plato and Aristotle are hardly communist. In fact they were both idealist which is in diametric opposition to the materialism of Marxists and other communist divides (e.g. anarchism).
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    (Original post by AnarchistNutter)
    With respect, your politics teacher is clearly biased towards capitalism. This is never a good quality to have with a teacher - he should treat all sides of the argument with a fair approach.

    In any case, he is wrong. Communists, like myself, realise that some people will achieve higher goals in their lives than others. We just don't want personal differences to result in a hierarchy of the most beautiful and most talented ruling over the lesser (all the same we realise that there will not be equality of result as you put it). What's more is that we want equality of opportunities so that people from all backgrounds (poor or otherwise) have the chance to shine if they have talent. So your Bolt argument doesn't really apply.



    Yes but have you read any communist literature. Plato and Aristotle are hardly communist. In fact they were both idealist which is in diametric opposition to the materialism of Marxists and other communist divides (e.g. anarchism).
    haaa yeah my politics teacher is. but my one last year was a socialist so it counterbalances. plus, don't say they are bad teachers, my college is in the top 5 in the country, and politics is one of the leading subjects.

    referring to the words in bold -so you'd rather have stupid people rule over the 'lesser' ? :')

    I've said I want equality of oppotunity!! But not equality of result!!

    Communism is for idealistic people too.. I haven't read communist literature - I did think of it this summer, but never got the chance - always too busy. Plus its so dull.
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    (Original post by Summergirl.x)
    haaa yeah my politics teacher is. but my one last year was a socialist so it counterbalances. plus, don't say they are bad teachers, my college is in the top 5 in the country, and politics is one of the leading subjects.

    referring to the words in bold -so you'd rather have stupid people rule over the 'lesser' ? :')

    I've said I want equality of oppotunity!! But not equality of result!!

    Communism is for idealistic people too.. I haven't read communist literature - I did think of it this summer, but never got the chance - always too busy. Plus its so dull.
    1. No I don't want stupid people ruling over the lesser. In fact, I don't want anyone ruling over anyone (see username).

    2. You can't have equality of opportunity under capitalism: for most people, their background will dictate their future.

    3. Don't say it's for idealistic people when you don't know anything about it!!

    4. It's not dull at all, I find it highly engaging. I recommend you read Noam Chomsky, An Anarchist FAQ and finally The Communist Manifesto.

    All highly comprehensive. All interesting to read. The anarchist FAQ explains most complicated socialist terminology and class analysis in a way that is straight forward and easy to understand. The Communist Manifesto will follow on from there. If you are looking for something briefer, try this. In any case it might help you with your course.
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    (Original post by AnarchistNutter)
    With respect, your politics teacher is clearly biased towards capitalism. This is never a good quality to have with a teacher - he should treat all sides of the argument with a fair approach.

    In any case, he is wrong. Communists, like myself, realise that some people will achieve higher goals in their lives than others. We just don't want personal differences to result in a hierarchy of the most beautiful and most talented ruling over the lesser (all the same we realise that there will not be equality of result as you put it). What's more is that we want equality of opportunities so that people from all backgrounds (poor or otherwise) have the chance to shine if they have talent. So your Bolt argument doesn't really apply.



    Yes but have you read any communist literature. Plato and Aristotle are hardly communist. In fact they were both idealist which is in diametric opposition to the materialism of Marxists and other communist divides (e.g. anarchism).
    Ludicrous statement. ID should not have the same treatment as evolution in science class rooms just as leftist economic nonsense shouldn't receive the same treatment as capitalism.
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    (Original post by AnarchistNutter)
    1. No I don't want stupid people ruling over the lesser. In fact, I don't want anyone ruling over anyone (see username).

    2. You can't have equality of opportunity under capitalism: for most people, their background will dictate their future.

    3. Don't say it's for idealistic people when you don't know anything about it!!

    4. It's not dull at all, I find it highly engaging. I recommend you read Noam Chomsky, An Anarchist FAQ and finally The Communist Manifesto.

    All highly comprehensive. All interesting to read. The anarchist FAQ explains most complicated socialist terminology and class analysis in a way that is straight forward and easy to understand. The Communist Manifesto will follow on from there. If you are looking for something briefer, try this. In any case it might help you with your course.
    You actually can have equality of opportunity in capitalism. Even without much opportunity you can thrive. My father, went to one of the worst (and it still is) schools in Bristol, grew up in a very poor family, but worked extremely hard, ended up at a good uni (he broke school records) and now is CFO of local gov.
    The only equal opportunity you need is for the poor people's education to be paid for and that it is equal and adequate.

    I can call it that! Other people do who have read it!

    Seriously, we need people ruling over us because we need justice in the world. Anarchism is probably worse than communism.
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    I feel that we should all be given an equal base from which to start. Those who put in the hard work, and of course those who are natural more gifted will thrive. This way people only get to where they are through merit.
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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.
    But at least in a capitalist society you have the problem of overproduction in the first place. It's an old argument, but it's true, that neither communism nor extreme socialism can provide people with enough incentive to produce. The basic human condition remains the same regardless of society's structure, and there will always be a great many people looking to profit personally from any system of government. Again, I know it's an example which is trotted out a lot, but look at the USSR: it doesn't take long for people to start subverting a system, even if its beginnings were the noblest imaginable. Lenin was (as I'm sure you know) a very genuine, committed communist; but it didn't take long for The Party to become the new Tsarist bureacracy.

    You hark back to humanity's primitive origins as an example of the "high degree of equality and mutual support" which human socity can exhibit, but remember, tribal society was based around subsistence rather than plenty, and necessity, rather than some high-brow ideology; remember its imperfections (alpha-males and all that); and remember that such societies were pretty small.

    Indeed you are right, there are a few tribes and groups of people today who still survive in this primitively communist way, but they too do so because of the need to subsist, because they haven't been integrated into capitalism, and they are always quite small.

    Society's size plays a big part in this debate, because a small society (say a small tribe somewhere in north-west Asia) has far fewer logistical problems than, say, the USSR; and can be run on a much more personal level; and it has relatively scarce resources, so cooperation is necessary to ensure that everyone gets everything they need.

    So take the operation of said village (let's idealise it, and say no-one needs to govern, they just have a communal meeting every few days): the villagers all make their various subsistence goods, they pool them together, they assess everyone's needs, and parcel things out appropriately. Everything is wonderful, there are only one or two producers of each good, and everyone gets just enough to survive.

    But let's say the village grows a bit, into the USSR. Suddenly logistical problems take hold: who gets the steel produced in Moscow to St Petersburg? Who gets the food from the towns to the cities? Who organises all of this? Of course, societies can remain small and introverted, each town/village catering for its own needs, but this holds back progress, you need specialisation to advance (just as, say, TB vaccines are not produced in every town in the UK, but find their way to every school). Specialisation introduces a whole new set of pleasures to life, going way beyone subsistance - suddenly people can buy cars and medicine as well as grain. These goods differ in desirability and abundance. As demand for different goods diverges, so does the relative power of those controlling the goods. Even if you have a government which regulates to maintain an artifical equity of value between goods, there is still a high potential for abuse of the system by those controlling the more desirable, and the less abundant.

    Also, the moment you have a large society, you need a huge variety of mechanisms and people to oversee its management (e.g. in the aforementioned logistics). And there the notion of corruption and personal profit creeps in. People want more and better things, and society begins to diverge as those in charge of distribution and control misuse their power. Others, now that numerous producers are around for each good, become lazy, as they gain no particular reward for producing a given amount. This exacerbates the problem of scarcity further, and raises the question, "how do we decide who gets what"? The exchange of goods for power - in the form of money, influence etc. - decides, on a corrupt black/unofficial economy if necessary. And basically you're back to a form of capitalism, only far more corrupt and inefficient than today's examples of developed capitalism.

    Basically what I'm saying (or trying to say) in that very convoluted post (which by no means covers all my arguments on the topic - most are still lying in my mind in a confused state) is that those positive aspects of the human condition that you mention are best displayed in small and primitive societies, or in idealised ones where everyone holds the same beliefs as you. Ironically, the notions of egalitarianism and mutual help which you hold up as a beacon of humankind's capacity for ideal communist society are in fact driven, albeit on a subconscious level, by the same self-interest that creates the so-called evils of capitalist society.

    In a small subsistance society, the highest attainable state for a human is survival, and respect in the community - and the only way to attain this state is to do your share. There's nothing different to aspire to, so people don't attempt to subvert the system. When you introduce things like nice cars etc., which will be scarce because they are usually harder to make than food, people will strive to attain these, and will subvert the system if necessary to get them.

    I realise that significant parts of that may have been so jumbled that they don't make sense. Please do ask for any clarifications.
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    (Original post by a.posteriori)
    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.

    Rosy pictured viiew of talent. i dont accept it but if i did, if somme of the traits of a talented person aren't genetic then they are the same kind of social luck circumstances as being bborn to rich/devoted parents.

    I support meritocracy as long as the positios that ppl of merit get into arent like celebrities or positions where perks are involved whic would make others who by no fault of their own weren'tas well endowed.
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    (Original post by Summergirl.x)
    Seriously, we need people ruling over us because we need justice in the world. Anarchism is probably worse than communism.
    Anarchism is a branch of communism. In fact Marx had very similar visions to anarchists: he wanted to achieve a stateless, classless society (communism). Where he differed was that he wanted the working class to seize the state in order to surpress the ruling class (a situation called the worker's state or "dictatorship of the proletariat"). He believed the worker's state would naturally degenerate over time during the transition phase and we would have a stateless, classless society (communism). Anarchists only differ because we believe in creating grass roots worker's organisations in the here and now to take over from the state. Anarchists would describe Marx's recommendations to seize the state as authoritarian. We want the same end result though.

    Also, anarchists are against the state but not social organisation, as explained above. Workers would essentially collectively take charge of the means of production and all large scale decisions would be taken by the community as a whole with a few delegates (recallable at any time by the community) elected to purely adminstrative tasks and to the position of carrying out the will of the comunity. Labour would be self-managed. Workers would co-operate to get what they want and co-operate to exile/rehabilitate/deal with violent offenders. So there would be "justice in the world" although with poverty severely reduced, crime would go down too.

    (Original post by Lrampant)
    Ludicrous statement. ID should not have the same treatment as evolution in science class rooms just as leftist economic nonsense shouldn't receive the same treatment as capitalism.
    "Leftist economic nonsense". Yeah, no your right of course, let's have economic liberalism and complete deregulation! Let's just allow the markets to destroy themselves for the heck of it!
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    [QUOTE=AnarchistNutter;28740545]Anarchism is a branch of communism. In fact Marx had very similar visions to anarchists: he wanted to achieve a stateless, classless society (communism). Where he differed was that he wanted the working class to seize the state in order to surpress the ruling class (a situation called the worker's state or "dictatorship of the proletariat"). He believed the worker's state would naturally degenerate over time during the transition phase and we would have a stateless, classless society (communism). Anarchists only differ because we believe in creating grass roots worker's organisations in the here and now to take over from the state. Anarchists would describe Marx's recommendations to seize the state as authoritarian. We want the same end result though.

    Also, anarchists are against the state but not social organisation, as explained above. Workers would essentially collectively take charge of the means of production and all large scale decisions would be taken by the community as a whole with a few delegates (recallable at any time by the community) elected to purely adminstrative tasks and to the position of carrying out the will of the comunity. Labour would be self-managed. Workers would co-operate to get what they want and co-operate to exile/rehabilitate/deal with violent offenders. So there would be "justice in the world" although with poverty severely reduced, crime would go down too.

    Seriously, do you honestly believe that this would ever happen in Britain's history?! Come off it, Britain is too middle class for this.
    Sorry but the stuff in bold would never happen. Someone would have to organise it - then there would be a person on top. Crime would not be diminished though, you know wealthy people commit crime too, -- look your argument has sooo many flaws I've no idea where to start.
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    (Original post by Summergirl.x)
    Seriously, do you honestly believe that this would ever happen in Britain's history?! Come off it, Britain is too middle class for this.
    Sorry but the stuff in bold would never happen. Someone would have to organise it - then there would be a person on top. Crime would not be diminished though, you know wealthy people commit crime too, -- look your argument has sooo many flaws I've no idea where to start.
    When did I ever mention Britain or its revolutionary potential (zilch)? Look up Catalonia '36 or the Ukraine free territories if you are looking for "real life" examples of anarchy (though I wouldn't call these weren't 'anarchy' as such, rather revolutions based on anarchist ideals -anarchy itself is the end result). I believe that if there was a revolution, it would happen somewhere like France or Greece or Spain (all which are quite youthful, energetic, revolutionary and 'left wing' countries) and then it would spread around Europe. I don't know at what point it would spread to Britain (probably not for a long time) but it would have to be successful in other countries first. In the mean time we would have to 'deal' with America who control the large majority of the world's capital and will do virtually anything to destroy communism. Either way, revolution must occur in industrialised countries (not purely agricultural countries like Russia - this was just one of Lenin's many failures) and must spread.

    Also, "one person" does not organise everything - it is a collective effort much like in previous attempts at anarchism. "Anarchism" under leadership is bound to fail.
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    (Original post by AnarchistNutter)
    Also, anarchists are against the state but not social organisation, as explained above. Workers would essentially collectively take charge of the means of production and all large scale decisions would be taken by the community as a whole with a few delegates (recallable at any time by the community) elected to purely adminstrative tasks and to the position of carrying out the will of the comunity. Labour would be self-managed. Workers would co-operate to get what they want and co-operate to exile/rehabilitate/deal with violent offenders. So there would be "justice in the world" although with poverty severely reduced, crime would go down too.
    But aren't you still being ridiculously idealistic? Even if we ignore the huge problems with actually bringing about such a revolution, you're still idealising and stereotyping "the worker". Your average person (or "worker" if you will) is pretty populist, wants to get ahead, is not incredibly intelligent, philosophical or articulate, and won't necessarily be content with the society you mention (which isn't very aspirational). What if someone doesn't work? What if someone gets into a senior administrative position, then advocates a populist policy which gets him voted more powers? Who oversees elections? Who oversees the people who oversee elections? Who is in charge of co-ordinating workers? Who decides what is made where? Who leads the people to revolution? What if workers don't all want the same thing? You make it sound as though you've got a group of ten or so identically-minded "workers", who all have infinite time to both produce and carry out civic duties. But such a system would have to be organised for millions of people, many unwilling, and you'd have to check that each workers' Soviet was doing the correct thing, playing by the rules etc. and not allowing any normal economic activity to occur. There are a million other arguments I could expound relating to the above points. You'd need a lot of power to bring about such a system effectively - Lenin tried, and failed, to produce such a system. The means were different, I concede, but the aim was identical, and it fell foul of a million and one predictable problems.

    I'm sorry, but I find your ideal there naive to a ridiculous extent. And I believe that social anachism is an oxymoronic concept.
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    (Original post by michael321)
    ...
    Anyone else who wishes to discuss the ideology of anarchism with me may do so via PM. In any case:

    First of all you mention the problems with today's "worker" (note that class analysis is essential for me to describe my ideas. I don't particularly like it as I don't think divisions between the working and middle class are so fine lined but it would be impossible for me to explain anything. In any case, I describe "worker" [proletariat] as anyone who has to sell their labour to capital, and that is the vast majority of us, with the exception of "capitalists" who own the capital.)

    The problems you describe with today's worker are largely a result of society: living boring lifestyles, having to endure authoritarian styles of government education and dull demeaning labour. Part of what anarchists try to achieve is to help the worker liberate himself from all of this through syndicates, etc. where he has the opportunity to educate himself again, to participate in worker's struggles, to actively participate in the market, to manage his own labour, to co-operate with other workers and to get involved in politics. So you see, anarchism is not just a vague, distant goal. Even if anarchy is impossible (which some would argue so), you cannot argue that the anarchist principles of direct action, of worker's solidarity and participation in worker's struggles all with the goal of putting life back into his soul are not relevant to today's society or unrealistic.

    If someone doesn't work, they are socially dealt with. This depends on the individual commune. Either they are exiled or they do not get to take from the pool of wealth of the commune. The only ones exempted from this law are the physically and mentally handicapped. But everyone is more educated for the reasons I described above so this is less likely to occur.

    As for delegates getting more power, see this:

    "So, in an anarchist society associations would be run by mass assemblies of all involved, based upon extensive discussion, debate and co-operative conflict between equals, with purely administrative tasks being handled by elected committees. These committees would be made up of mandated, recallable and temporary delegates who carry out their tasks under the watchful eyes of the assembly which elected them. Thus in an anarchist society, "we'll look after our affairs ourselves and decide what to do about them. And when, to put our ideas into action, there is a need to put someone in charge of a project, we'll tell them to do [it] in such and such a way and no other . . . nothing would be done without our decision. So our delegates, instead of people being individuals whom we've given the right to order us about, would be people . . . [with] no authority, only the duty to carry out what everyone involved wanted." [Errico Malatesta, Fra Contadini, p. 34] If the delegates act against their mandate or try to extend their influence or work beyond that already decided by the assembly (i.e. if they start to make policy decisions), they can be instantly recalled and their decisions abolished. In this way, the organisation remains in the hands of the union of individuals who created it.

    This self-management by the members of a group at the base and the power of recall are essential tenets of any anarchist organisation. The key difference between a statist or hierarchical system and an anarchist community is who wields power. In a parliamentary system, for example, people give power to a group of representatives to make decisions for them for a fixed period of time. Whether they carry out their promises is irrelevant as people cannot recall them till the next election. Power lies at the top and those at the base are expected to obey. Similarly, in the capitalist workplace, power is held by an unelected minority of bosses and managers at the top and the workers are expected to obey.

    In an anarchist society this relationship is reversed. No one individual or group (elected or unelected) holds power in an anarchist community. Instead decisions are made using direct democratic principles and, when required, the community can elect or appoint delegates to carry out these decisions. There is a clear distinction between policy making (which lies with everyone who is affected) and the co-ordination and administration of any adopted policy (which is the job for delegates).

    These egalitarian communities, founded by free agreement, also freely associate together in confederations. Such a free confederation would be run from the bottom up, with decisions following from the elemental assemblies upwards. The confederations would be run in the same manner as the collectives. There would be regular local regional, "national" and international conferences in which all important issues and problems affecting the collectives involved would be discussed. In addition, the fundamental, guiding principles and ideas of society would be debated and policy decisions made, put into practice, reviewed, and co-ordinated. The delegates would simply "take their given mandates to the relative meetings and try to harmonise their various needs and desires. The deliberations would always be subject to the control and approval of those who delegated them" and so "there would be no danger than the interest of the people [would] be forgotten." [Malatesta, Op. Cit., p. 36]"


    There are a million other arguments I could expound relating to the above points. You'd need a lot of power to bring about such a system effectively - Lenin tried, and failed, to produce such a system. The means were different, I concede, but the aim was identical, and it fell foul of a million and one predictable problems.
    I am no fan of Lenin's bureacratic and instutionalised government. In fact, anarchism and Leninism are diametrically opposed ideologies.

    I'm sorry, but I find your ideal there naive to a ridiculous extent.
    Remember, we are just talking about some hypothetical society on a random internet forum for fun.
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    (Original post by AnarchistNutter)
    When did I ever mention Britain or its revolutionary potential (zilch)? Look up Catalonia '36 or the Ukraine free territories if you are looking for "real life" examples of anarchy (though I wouldn't call these weren't 'anarchy' as such, rather revolutions based on anarchist ideals -anarchy itself is the end result). I believe that if there was a revolution, it would happen somewhere like France or Greece or Spain (all which are quite youthful, energetic, revolutionary and 'left wing' countries) and then it would spread around Europe. I don't know at what point it would spread to Britain (probably not for a long time) but it would have to be successful in other countries first. In the mean time we would have to 'deal' with America who control the large majority of the world's capital and will do virtually anything to destroy communism. Either way, revolution must occur in industrialised countries (not purely agricultural countries like Russia - this was just one of Lenin's many failures) and must spread.

    Also, "one person" does not organise everything - it is a collective effort much like in previous attempts at anarchism. "Anarchism" under leadership is bound to fail.
    Guess what - there were revolutions in France and Spain - and they didn't turn out successfully. I may not know much about Catalonia in '36 but I do know that the revolt didn't work. Some serious malfunctions in capitalism would have to happen in order for anarchy to be considered by the average person - worse than the crash of '29.

    Your arguments are more flawed than my debating skills.
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    (Original post by Summergirl.x)
    Guess what - there were revolutions in France and Spain - and they didn't turn out successfully. I may not know much about Catalonia in '36 but I do know that the revolt didn't work. Some serious malfunctions in capitalism would have to happen in order for anarchy to be considered by the average person - worse than the crash of '29.

    Your arguments are more flawed than my debating skills.
    Hahaha. No.

    Also see here:

    (Original post by AnarchistNutter)
    Anyone else who wishes to discuss the ideology of anarchism with me may do so via PM. In any case:
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      (Original post by michael321)
      ...
      Dude, you didn't even respond to my post. I specifically said that I wasn't suggesting we go back to the material conditions of hunter-gathering communities. I was illustrating the fact that for most of human history social relations have been relatively egalitarian and based on mutual support. You're also in danger of attributing to capitalism what is rightly attributable to science and technology.

      So, my point remains. While for almost all of human history we actually have lived in societies with 'communistic' social relations we now live under capitalism, where social relations are, essentially, antagonistic, we fight over resources, we fight over jobs, we don't know our neighbours, they are our rivals. Well done capitalism. Oh, and meanwhile, the capitalist paradigm of growth and consumption is poisoning the planet.
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        (Original post by Summergirl.x)
        Excuse me! That is really unfair!...
        Unfair is the monopolisation of land, resources and control over the productive process more generally under capitalism. Indeed, under capitalism this near-complete process means that the many have no freedom but to be exploited and work for the capitalists, that's really unfair. Moreover, when the capitalist decides he doesn't need to exploit your vulnerability right now, you suffer unemployment. One day, when technological advance is such that many middle-class jobs can be replaced or reduced in order to maximise profits, sock puppets like you will not know what to think. Suggesting, as you do, that anyone can fight their way to the top under capitalism ignores a) that the system is nevertheless structurally unjust and exploitative and that b) those with economic and social advantage through capitalism have much less 'fighting' to do because they are already some distance up the ladder.
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          (Original post by iainthegreat)
          I feel that we should all be given an equal base from which to start. Those who put in the hard work, and of course those who are natural more gifted will thrive. This way people only get to where they are through merit.
          Don't you realise that you're confusing two seperate issues?

          You can reward people for hard work or you can reward people for their 'natural gifts', they're not the same thing, unless, somewhat narrowly, you want to argue that in some cases their interest in hard work is their 'natural gift'. If I'm born with an ability which has me at an advantage in some way how does my use of that advantage make it meritable? After all, my 'natural gifts' haven't been worked for, I just 'got lucky', that's the very opposite of merit by any reasonable standard.

          You and I might do the same job and even though I might work twice as hard as you do, you might still, thanks to your 'natural talents', be more successful or more productive. I think you have to disentange the two issues otherwise your arguments are flawed.
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            (Original post by a.posteriori)
            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.
            It's reasonable to suggest that a person's 'talents' might have both a genetic component and an environmental component, thought there's plenty of argument to be had about the relative influence they have. For my part, I'm sceptical about the extent to which genetic factors are casually played up and environmental factors casually played down, especially in political theory associated with the right. Nevertheless, genetic factors can hardly be described as 'earned' and thus don't fit the notion of 'merit' very easily. We're then left with environmental factors, like, say, being born into a comfortably-off familiy with well-educated parents, experiencing all the economic and social advantages of that along with, say, a private education, the best of medical care and a degree of financial support that others might envy. The skills, and confidence, for future success generated by these environmental factors also don't easily fit the notion of 'merit' as they are external, and also 'unearned', factors which will contribute to success. On close inspection, then, 'merit' is a tricky notion.
           
           
           
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