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    But I find myself classed as a "leftist" primarily because I rail against the rich getting something for nothing & the toll this takes on our culture
    They take the risk. Also what use is labour if there is no capital for it to put in e.g what use is labour if there are no machines. Capitalists provide a way for people to use their abilties. If someone presses a button in an elevator, something productive occur. If they use exactly the same amount of emergy by putting their finger thorugh the sand, what of worth is produced? Nothing. The capitalist allows labour to have worth.
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    Well, under a perfect supply and demand system, noone gets anything that isn't deserved by definition.
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    (Original post by Iz the Wiz)
    See, your definition is so different from mine that we'd be at cross-purposes if we argued (which is where I usually find myself in this type of argument).

    Supply and demand determining prices is certainly nothing I have a problem with. Neither are private property, working for a living, or free enterprise. But I find myself classed as a "leftist" primarily because I rail against the rich getting something for nothing & the toll this takes on our culture.
    That's because you disagree with allowing supply and demand to determine prices. After all, that's how people become rich in a capitalist country.
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    (Original post by objectivism)
    They take the risk. Also what use is labour if there is no capital for it to put in e.g what use is labour if there are no machines. Capitalists provide a way for people to use their abilties. If someone presses a button in an elevator, something productive occur. If they use exactly the same amount of emergy by putting their finger thorugh the sand, what of worth is produced? Nothing. The capitalist allows labour to have worth.
    1) Risk: This is the perennial justification for wealth accruing to Capital, and it's ludicrous. There is no material risk in typical large-scale investment. A wealthy investor with a diversified portfolio is not taking a material risk when he pockets the profits from any single concern. CEOs are given enormous salaries by shareholders to induce them to make "risky" decisions with no actual threat to their lifestyle. There is no risk for them! The real risk (like so many costs) is farmed out to laborers, whose livelihood, which is at risk when downsizing decisions (outside the laborers' control) are made by capricious investors and rich executives, is equally at risk when they try to change jobs in pursuit of safer havens, a move which is often disastrous for those with meager incomes.

    2) Capital making Labor valuable: There is no reason to believe that modern technological growth and cooperation (which are responsible for "elevators" and so forth) require the capitalist profit-taking scheme. On the contrary, America's high-tech industries (e.g., aerospace, software) owe their existence much more to publicly-funded Pentagon R&D than to free enterprise and investment.

    But granted that it does take money to build a factory, and that laborers are (almost by definition) people with no money, why does it follow that Capital should pocket virtually ALL the profits? We have many other options short of pure socialism. We could regard capital as a high-interest loan to Labor. We could split the profits 50-50, or 25-75. The only reason labor is paid a wage rather than a percentage is that Capital historically had all the power and was not shy about using it.
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    (Original post by Bismarck)
    That's because you disagree with allowing supply and demand to determine prices. After all, that's how people become rich in a capitalist country.
    No, that's not what I was referring to. I was referring to the fact that the idle rich have staggering incomes from investments, which they collect by doing no work at all. And that the reinforcement and furtherance of this state of affairs is the driving force behind capitalist systems and their countries' policies.
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    (Original post by Iz the Wiz)
    No, that's not what I was referring to. I was referring to the fact that the idle rich have staggering incomes from investments, which they collect by doing no work at all. And that the reinforcement and furtherance of this state of affairs is the driving force behind capitalist systems and their countries' policies.
    And we all know that all investments are successful. :rolleyes:

    Did Bill Gates, Sam Walton, Robert Noyce, become wealthy from buying stocks?
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    (Original post by Iz the Wiz)
    No, that's not what I was referring to. I was referring to the fact that the idle rich have staggering incomes from investments, which they collect by doing no work at all. And that the reinforcement and furtherance of this state of affairs is the driving force behind capitalist systems and their countries' policies.
    It is still supply and demand. There is a demand for a rich person willing to invest.
    Why would anyone invest if there was no profit to be made?
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    (Original post by objectivism)
    If your father was really fit enough to go to university he would have got their on his own without having to steal from others through taxation.
    That's absolute ****.

    My mother could not afford to stay in university and was not eligible for grants, because her father worked offshore and whilst earning a decent amount, he had five children and that decent amount was therefore devalued to a large extent.

    However, she got 8 A's at O Level, 5 A's at Higher, including 100% in Maths at both O Level and Higher, and 100% in Physics at O Level. May I add that this was at a state school where only 1% moved on to university at the time. Are you trying to say that she would not be a worthy candidate for receiving a grant? She was working much more than studying, and this was still not enough, and thus she had to drop out. It really infuriates me that you consider someone who is clearly deservant of a grant to be "stealing taxpayers money".
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    (Original post by Bismarck)
    And we all know that all investments are successful. :rolleyes:

    Did Bill Gates, Sam Walton, Robert Noyce, become wealthy from buying stocks?
    There are examples of rich people ruined by bad investments, and it did happen during the Depression, but outside of that time it is anomolous & certainly not systemic.

    Bill Gates, Sam Walton, Robert Noyce etc. are not quite who I had in mind by "idle rich"; however it is worth noting how distorted our system is today. Gates can only be credited with the invention (actually, the co-invention) of one thing: BASIC programming, which was one of many early software languages. He parlayed it into his billions by means of business hustle and a great deal of luck. I'd be surprised if anyone who knows anything about the early years of personal computing would deny that Gates was just the lucky one among many. Yet today he has an unbelieveable personal fortune, and for what? For doing what? Compare him with Thomas Edison, who really was one-of-a-kind, ingenious, prolific: our system did not reward Edison with anything like the empire of riches Gates has. (Meanwhile all Sam Walton ever figured out was how to make department stores even more bland, stupid, and conformist than they were before. As for Robert Noyce (who as far as I know was a bona fide genius), I was unaware that he amassed a personal fortune on the level of the other 2; correct me if I'm wrong---but if he did, he would be an exception.
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    (Original post by TheVlad)
    It is still supply and demand. There is a demand for a rich person willing to invest.
    Why would anyone invest if there was no profit to be made?
    Certainly, supply and demand explain why investors invest. This is a far cry from justifying their taking substantially all of the profits. There could be a good return on an investment without shutting the workers out of the action.
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    (Original post by Iz the Wiz)
    Certainly supply and demand explain why investors invest ... this is a far cry from justifying their taking substantially all of the profits. There could be a good return on an investment without shutting the workers out of the action.
    But it will reduce the desire to invest substantially. This will lead to less investment, less projects starting off and therefore less employment for the workers, who will end up losing out even more in the long term.
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    (Original post by TheVlad)
    But it will reduce the desire to invest substantially. This will lead to less investment, less projects starting off and therefore less employment for the workers, who will end up losing out even more in the long term.
    I don't agree, and in fact I think over-investment is responsible for many of the inanities of consumer culture.

    If there were less investment, there would be a less desparate need to move product ... therefore less advertising selling us things we don't need, fewer stupid and meaningless "improvements" in toothbrushes and soft drinks, less mindless entertainment that consists of advertising for still more entertainment. This all betrays a frantic desire to unload the fruits of over-investment.

    Further, profits for the workers would mean that they are "investors" as well, and employment decisions without reference to their interests would no longer be made.
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    (Original post by Iz the Wiz)
    I don't agree, and in fact I think over-investment is responsible for many of the inanities of consumer culture.

    If there were less investment, there would be a less desparate need to move product ... therefore less advertising selling us things we don't need, less stupid and meaningless "improvements" in toothbrushes and soft drinks, less mindless entertainment that consists of advertising for still more entertainment. This all betrays a frantic desire to unload the fruits of over-investment.
    Advertising is a way of increasing demand. Obviously it works, or it wouldn't be so popular. It is not at all a sign of over-supply, it is a sign of people being impressionate and likely to buy things that we don't need. Those things would not be made, if people didn't buy them. That is how capitalism works, darling.
    Further, profits for the workers would mean that they are "investors" as well, and employment decisions without reference to their interests would no longer be made.
    No, it would mean that they are getting something for nothing. They already get a wage, set by supply and demand. They would only be "investors" if they invested. Employment decisions are not made without their reference as it is their right not to be employed by the company.
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    (Original post by TheVlad)
    Advertising is a way of increasing demand. Obviously it works, or it wouldn't be so popular. It is not at all a sign of over-supply, it is a sign of people being impressionate and likely to buy things that we don't need. Those things would not be made, if people didn't buy them. That is how capitalism works, darling..
    Hey! Don't call me "darling" unless you buy me a drink. I know that's how capitalism works, but it's stupid and it makes the world stupid, and we'd be better off with fewer of these things. And if that meant less labor ... hey, a richer workforce could take time off without starving.

    No, it would mean that they are getting something for nothing. They already get a wage, set by supply and demand. They would only be "investors" if they invested. Employment decisions are not made without their reference as it is their right not to be employed by the company.
    No, no, no, no. The workers are the ones actually, physically creating the profit. When you own 17% of a shoe factory in Sri Lanka, your dividends are created entirely by the labors of starving Asians---who turn raw leather and rubber (17% of which is owned by you), stage by stage, into shiny fashionable shoes, and thereby increase the value of "your" materials by about 2,000%. You have done nothing. But you reap 17% of this 2,000% profit while the starving Asians get a pittance of a wage. Who's getting something for nothing?

    This state of affairs was NOT caused by supply and demand. It was caused by the investors having all the power, guns, & money and therefore calling all the shots.
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    (Original post by Iz the Wiz)
    I don't agree, and in fact I think over-investment is responsible for many of the inanities of consumer culture.

    If there were less investment, there would be a less desparate need to move product ... therefore less advertising selling us things we don't need, less stupid and meaningless "improvements" in toothbrushes and soft drinks, less mindless entertainment that consists of advertising for still more entertainment. This all betrays a frantic desire to unload the fruits of over-investment.
    Drawing upon your earlier example of the computer industry: the state-funded American and Soviet computer projects were pretty much technologically equal before an important development: Consumer interest. We simply wouldn't be having this conversation now if it wasn't for the "improvements" created by the consumer culture.

    Just look at the explosion in graphics - thanks to computer games; the ever-increasing connection speeds - thanks to computer games & the want to communicate. Gee, entertainment sure is a blight upon society.
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    Of course, there's the knock-on effect: Computerised medical technology saves millions more lives than the old stuff; you can now navigate from A to B much easier thanks to the cheapness of electronics. The free flow of information and much, much more..

    If the moral justification to hate the consumer cultur" is the payment ("exploitation" in marxspeak) of poor workers, consider how the weath they earn will one day allow them to live like us - as we once did. I'm certain developments in robotics -funded by the consumer culture- may one day give us an army of slaves to allow even the lowest in society to live like Athenians.
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    (Original post by JonD)
    Drawing upon your earlier example of the computer industry: the state-funded American and Soviet computer projects were pretty much technologically equal before an important development: Consumer interest. We simply wouldn't be having this conversation now if it wasn't for the "improvements" created by the consumer culture.

    Just look at the explosion in graphics - thanks to computer games; the ever-increasing connection speeds - thanks to computer games & the want to communicate. Gee, entertainment sure is a blight upon society.
    I wasn't discounting the importance of consumer markets in a modern economy, I was arguing that at the other end of things---the investment end---private capital doesn't deserve as much credit for innovation and technology as it generally receives. (By the way, I'd like to take an opportunity to save us all a lot of time, and point out that Communist Russia is not, in my opinion, an ideal system in any way, or that it was anything other than a totalitarian nightmare.)

    Regarding "blights on society"---I don't maintain that entertainment simply as such falls into this category. But the increasingly aggressive role of advertising in the entertainment and information media and in the very landscape of our countries, and its intrusion into our daily lives, does.
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    (Original post by JonD)
    Of course, there's the knock-on effect: Computerised medical technology saves millions more lives than the old stuff; you can now navigate from A to B much easier thanks to the cheapness of electronics. The free flow of information and much, much more..

    If the moral justification to hate the consumer cultur" is the payment ("exploitation" in marxspeak) of poor workers, consider how the weath they earn will one day allow them to live like us - as we once did. I'm certain developments in robotics -funded by the consumer culture- may one day give us an army of slaves to allow even the lowest in society to live like Athenians.
    How is this possible, given the corporate necessity of endless profit growth? When all labor markets are tapped, and all consumer markets are spending as much as they earn on heavily-advertised gimmickry---and these are, unmistakeably, the ends toward which Capitalism is recklessly driving---where can the profit-takers lead us next, except into slavery?
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    Right, ok. I just expected you to be an ardent Chomskyite or something

    Recently I've become interested in how the German manufacturing industry works (maybe "works" isn't most appropriate at the present moment). Apparently, most firms are owned partially by the workers, who sit in board meetings. It's pretty much tabboo for a financier to take money from the company, since German culture prefers physical asset over money and prefers mutual gain over individual. Maybe someone who knows could explain a little, and the social effects of this?
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    (Original post by JonD)
    Right, ok. I just expected you to be an ardent Chomskyite or something

    Recently I've become interested in how the German manufacturing industry works (maybe "works" isn't most appropriate at the present moment). Apparently, most firms are owned partially by the workers, who sit in board meetings. It's pretty much tabboo for a financier to take money from the company, since German culture prefers physical asset over money and prefers mutual gain over individual. Maybe someone who knows could explain a little, and the social effects of this?
    (Your question re. Germany is very interesting, but I know nothing about it.)

    I'm not "ardent," but I like Chomsky. Unfortunately, he's one of the many "something for nothing" leftists who cherish a dream of no one having to work. This is the curse of modern leftism.
 
 
 
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