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    (Original post by Tonight Matthew)
    To my great shame, this is the first time I've actually come across this concept and so I'll have to do some reading before I'm ready to actually answer you.

    I hope that's OK with you.
    Fine.

    Here's some more reading:

    http://www.atlasshrugged.tv/speech.htm
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    (Original post by objectivism)
    Fine.

    Here's some more reading:

    http://www.atlasshrugged.tv/speech.htm
    Thanks, I will add it to my list.
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    (Original post by Northumbrian)
    Burn 'em.

    I know what i'd like to burn......
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    Objectivism: I submit that what you're calling "freedom" is actually license to do anything & everything in the name of profit.

    Further, you hold that "freedom" is enough to justify corporate actions, but interestingly you always add something like, "without their profit-seeking, our standard of living would plummet," or "without shareholder profits, we'd all be jobless." Why the scare tactics? Isn't the truth rather that, if making us poor and jobless were a requirement for shareholder profit, corporations would not hesitate to do so? (And this is not idle speculation---I just spent the weekend in Detroit. Yes, I'm sure the teeming millions of that urban utopia thank corporate shareholders every day for their lavish lifestyle and gorgeous surroundings.)
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    Objectivism: I submit that what you're calling "freedom" is actually license to do anything & everything in the name of profit.
    Of course not. If we do not respect the freedom of others, we lose our own freedom. I do not advocate absolute freedom ie anarchy.



    Further, you hold that "freedom" is enough to justify corporate actions, but interestingly you always add something like, "without their profit-seeking, our standard of living would plummet," or "without shareholder profits, we'd all be jobless." Why the scare tactics?
    There just facts. Corporations are just groups of individuals who come together to provide a want or need to others. There incentive is money as Adam Smith convincingly argues. You think Bill Gates makes computers because he wants to be nice?


    Isn't the truth rather that, if making us poor and jobless were a requirement for shareholder profit, corporations would not hesitate to do so? (And this is not idle speculation---I just spent the weekend in Detroit. Yes, I'm sure the teeming millions of that urban utopia thank corporate shareholders every day for their lavish lifestyle and gorgeous surroundings.)
    Millions of ordinary people are shareholders, you make it sound as if their far away from ordinary people. Also your point is perfectly absurd, corporations need employees and always will as new industries emerge. Yes technology advances but so do desires and so markets. 100 years ago many worked on the land, today relatively few do. But there arn't 80% unemployment rates because new industries emerge. Also the more people empolyed the better for corporations as it means people have an income and so can spend it on what the corporations offer.
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    (Original post by objectivism)
    Of course not. If we do not respect the freedom of others, we lose our own freedom. I do not advocate absolute freedom ie anarchy.

    There just facts. Corporations are just groups of individuals who come together to provide a want or need to others. There incentive is money as Adam Smith convincingly argues. You think Bill Gates makes computers because he wants to be nice?
    No, of course he doesn't, & I'm not denying that plenty of good comes from the profit motive. Adam Smith was right.

    However, speaking very generally, I think there are excessive extremes to almost everything---and we are now witnessing the corporate culture nearing such an extreme. The result is some degree of absurdity, with some quite harmful effects.


    Millions of ordinary people are shareholders, you make it sound as if their far away from ordinary people. Also your point is perfectly absurd, corporations need employees and always will as new industries emerge. Yes technology advances but so do desires and so markets. 100 years ago many worked on the land, today relatively few do. But there arn't 80% unemployment rates because new industries emerge. Also the more people empolyed the better for corporations as it means people have an income and so can spend it on what the corporations offer.
    The "millions of ordinary people" who hold shares in GM or Ford can't control their executives' decisions any more than they can control the motion of the moon. As I'm sure you know, that degree of control is reserved for an elite few---the class of investors with enough money to buy controlling percentages. And these people have no interest whatever in the quality of life for the great majority of people in Detroit (to continue with that example), and they make decisions accordingly. This point is not indisputable, but it's not "absurd" either.

    Your point about employment being good for business is valid; it goes back to Henry Ford etc., etc. On the other hand, it's equally valid that unemployment is good for corporations because it drives down wages. (It should be obvious to anyone who follows financial markets that big investors like layoffs.) Which of the 2 controls? It's an interesting question, one that would require an in-depth analysis to answer satisfactorily, but I would argue that it's somewhat beside the point.

    For the overwhelming mass of people, the ideal situation is to have both high wages and good job security. GM, Ford, and Chrysler could have continued to manufacture in Detroit and negotiate with unions there, without necessarily going bankrupt or losing market share. But the "bottom line uber alles" mentality forced them to decimate one of America's great cities, in order to line the pockets of a few hundred people whose pockets were already handsomely lined. I don't accept the idea that the only alternative to this is full-blown communism.
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    No, of course he doesn't,
    "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages." Smith is talking in econmic terms as shown by his referecne to economic positions and so he is referring to capital as most understand.




    However, speaking very generally, I think there are excessive extremes to almost everything---and we are now witnessing the corporate culture nearing such an extreme. The result is some degree of absurdity, with some quite harmful effects.
    What is your evidence for this extreme? Whats so bad about it?




    The "millions of people" who hold shares in GM or Ford can't control their executives' decisions any more than they can control the motion of the moon. As I'm sure you know, that degree of control is reserved for an elite few---the class of investors with enough money to buy controlling percentages.
    It dosen't stop people investing. Do you think that you know how to use their money better than they do?

    And these people have no interest whatever in the quality of life for the great majority of people in Detroit (to continue with that example), and they make decisions accordingly. This point is not indisputable, but it's not "absurd" either.

    Does that mean that they bring destruction on people? Why does their self-interest damage the interests of another, as you have just said the profit motive does a good deal of good and Smith was right.



    For the overwhelming mass of people, the ideal situation is to have both high wages and good job security. GM, Ford, and Chrysler could have continued to manufacture in Detroit and negotiate with unions there, without necessarily going bankrupt or losing market share. But the "bottom line uber alles" mentality forced them to decimate one of America's great cities, in order to line the pockets of a few hundred people whose pockets were already handsomely lined. I don't accept the idea that the only alternative to this is full-blown communism.
    What is your alternative? Social democracy?

    Should those companies have been prevented from leaving? Its there money, why not let them do what they want with, no one has a right to a job, just like no one has a right to happiness rather a right to the pursuit of a job and happiness.
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    (Original post by objectivism)
    "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages." Smith is talking in econmic terms as shown by his referecne to economic positions and so he is referring to capital as most understand.
    Smith is right about this, as I said before, but obviously the butcher & baker can go to extremes regarding their interests, extremes that society does not & should not tolerate. The butcher could, for example, throw his pig offal & bones off the Tay Rail Bridge every day until he stinks up the entire firth, and leave the taxpayers to clean it up (a method favored by corporations today). He could feed his cows on beef by-products, until they acquire a bizarre disease that's deadly to his customers (sound familiar?). And I think Smith would agree that you couldn't get the butcher to stop doing these things by means of an appeal to his self-interest. You would need to appeal to his sense of citizenship---a very different thing.

    (You'll probably retort that an informed consumership would drive such a butcher out of business ... see the Monsanto example below.)

    What is your evidence for this extreme? Whats so bad about it?
    There are thousands of examples; one that comes to mind is the recent Monsanto case in Florida. Reporters discovered that a popular bovine growth hormone caused cancer in humans; they were ordered to lie about it, then fired for refusing. This course of affairs was in the interests of Monsanto and Fox News; in theory it should have been prevented by means of consumer information (but corporations are big enough now to control consumer information, as this case succintly demonstrates).


    It dosen't stop people investing. Do you think that you know how to use their money better than they do?
    No, I don't. And that's not my point. You were suggesting that the layoff decisions were in the hands of the ordinary shareholder, and I was denying it.


    Does that mean that they bring destruction on people? Why does their self-interest damage the interests of another, as you have just said the profit motive does a good deal of good and Smith was right.
    See above (my butcher scenario). A person can do harm to others in pursuit of his own profit; he can only be deterred by other considerations which have a higher priority than profit motive. The ordinary person puts a higher priority on (for instance) respect for the lives & property of others than personal gain: otherwise we'd all be murdered in our beds for our watches. Corporate leadership doesn't normally take things this far, but does put a higher priority on profit than on a decent society, a knowledgeable populace, a healthy populace, a healthy ecology, etc.

    What is your alternative? Social democracy?
    I'm open to suggestions. I don't have a utopia up my sleeve. But it's obvious to me that corporate power has gone too far.

    Should those companies have been prevented from leaving? Its there money, why not let them do what they want with, no one has a right to a job, just like no one has a right to happiness rather a right to the pursuit of a job and happiness.
    Yes, I think they should have been prevented from leaving ... in some way. I think ideally, a sensible populace wouldn't tolerate what they did to industrial America, and would threaten them with boycotts to the point where leaving wouldn't be feasible. But this didn't happen, largely because Americans are taught not to see cause and effect in such matters.

    No one has a right to happiness, but that doesn't make American Industry's actions sane or harmless. A system that not only allows, but positively encourages such actions, is a flawed system. I think the first step towards a solution is for people to merely acknowledge that we don't WANT cities to be like Detroit is now. The first step is to recognize a need to go back to the drawing board. That is what I'm arguing, and (here) that is all I'm arguing. As I said, I don't have a utopia up my sleeve.
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    objectivism et. al -

    Do you accept sweatshops as a necessary part of the corporation keeping its costs down, in order to maximise profits for shareholders?
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    Smith is right about this, as I said before, but obviously the butcher & baker can go to extremes regarding their interests, extremes that society does not & should not tolerate. The butcher could, for example, throw his pig offal & bones off the Tay Rail Bridge every day until he stinks up the entire firth, and leave the taxpayers to clean it up (a method favored by corporations today). He could feed his cows on beef by-products, until they acquire a bizarre disease that's deadly to his customers (sound familiar?). And I think Smith would agree that you couldn't get the butcher to stop doing these things by means of an appeal to his self-interest. You would need to appeal to his sense of citizenship---a very different thing.

    (You'll probably retort that an informed consumership would drive such a butcher out of business ... see the Monsanto example below.)
    If they break the law, they should be prosectued.Capitalism need the law. It is in more capitalist coutries that such scandals are discovered e. Stewart, Enron. In socialism the government controls the courts and scandals and corruption are rife.


    There are thousands of examples; one that comes to mind is the recent Monsanto case in Florida. Reporters discovered that a popular bovine growth hormone caused cancer in humans; they were ordered to lie about it, then fired for refusing. This course of affairs was in the interests of Monsanto and Fox News; in theory it should have been prevented by means of consumer information (but corporations are big enough now to control consumer information, as this case succintly demonstrates).
    Not so big enough as to prevent discovery and be reported by the media for doing this though.



    No, I don't. And that's not my point. You were suggesting that the layoff decisions were in the hands of the ordinary shareholder, and I was denying it
    .

    I was not suggesting that.


    See above (my butcher scenario). A person can do harm to others in pursuit of his own profit; he can only be deterred by other considerations which have a higher priority than profit motive. The ordinary person puts a higher priority on (for instance) respect for the lives & property of others than personal gain: otherwise we'd all be murdered in our beds for our watches. Corporate leadership doesn't normally take things this far, but does put a higher priority on profit than on a decent society, a knowledgeable populace, a healthy populace, a healthy ecology, etc.
    But corporations give us these things. Just look around you.


    Yes, I think they should have been prevented from leaving ... in some way.
    Well which way?
    I think ideally, a sensible populace wouldn't tolerate what they did to industrial America, and would threaten them with boycotts to the point where leaving wouldn't be feasible. But this didn't happen, largely because Americans are taught not to see cause and effect in such matters.

    People are free to do that. Though industralists are free to stop producing than lets see how the 'looters' manage.

    No one has a right to happiness, but that doesn't make American Industry's actions sane or harmless. A system that not only allows, but positively encourages such actions, is a flawed system. I think the first step towards a solution is for people to merely acknowledge that we don't WANT cities to be like Detroit is now. The first step is to recognize a need to go back to the drawing board. That is what I'm arguing, and (here) that is all I'm arguing. As I said, I don't have a utopia up my sleeve.
    Whats so flawed about seeking efficiency? It means they can produce more, make more profits, invest, expand, emply more, offer more choice etc. Like humans businesses advance, it is this evolutionary spirt which has marked the upward shift of mankind. It has saved mankind from living in caves.
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    (Original post by Tonight Matthew)
    objectivism et. al -

    Do you accept sweatshops as a necessary part of the corporation keeping its costs down, in order to maximise profits for shareholders?

    Sweatshops are sad, but i support them. They are a crucial stage in a states development. Fortunately such a stange lasts alot less than it use to, previosuly it as 150 yr e.g Britians IR, for S. Korea it took 30 years. However that said many corporations offer more than the average wage e.g Nike offer double in Vietanam. Also if people refuse to buy from these sweatshops they go out of business and you will find that many than turn to prostitution. It is a neccessary stage.
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    (Original post by objectivism)
    Sweatshops are sad, but i support them. They are a crucial stage in a states development. Fortunately such a stange lasts alot less than it use to, previosuly it as 150 yr e.g Britians IR, for S. Korea it took 30 years. However that said many corporations offer more than the average wage e.g Nike offer double in Vietanam. Also if people refuse to buy from these sweatshops they go out of business and you will find that many than turn to prostitution. It is a neccessary stage.
    Surely it's within the financial power of massive corporations such as Nike to skip out this 'stage' all together. Why aren't they prepared to do this? Because they're legally obliged to maximise shareholder profits, no matter what the costs. It is totally devoid of human decency.
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    If they "skipped out this 'stage'" and paid them western wages, what would be the incentive to go abroad in the first place?

    I don't think sweatshops are necassary to the western corporations who do use them, they use cheap labour because it's cheap. Of course, the only reason this cheap labour exists is because when faced with a choice between absolute poverty subsistance farm labouring and low-paid labouring, many go for the latter.
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    (Original post by objectivism)
    If they break the law, they should be prosectued.Capitalism need the law. It is in more capitalist coutries that such scandals are discovered e. Stewart, Enron. In socialism the government controls the courts and scandals and corruption are rife.
    We're at a tipping point right now. For example, the U.S. Supreme Court just found that corporate interests trump individuals' property rights.

    As for corporate scandals being "discovered," Mad Cow is "discovered" everywhere someone comes down with it. And America is not cracking down on environmental hazards; it's simply using taxpayer money to clean them up.


    Not so big enough as to prevent discovery and be reported by the media for doing this though.
    No, the average person has no idea this happened. And as far as I know, Monsanto is still selling the hormone and dairy farmers are still using it.

    I was not suggesting that.
    Okay, then I misunderstood you.


    But corporations give us these things. Just look around you.
    No. Brilliant human beings give us these things. Freedom gives us these things. To some extent, free markets, industry, and competition give us these things. To some extent, the profit motive gives us these things. But the convention of corporate business structure does not give us these things: it works in open opposition to them when in its interests to do so.


    Well which way?
    Listen. I am admitting that it's a hazardous question. I know that governments can use & have used such situations as a pretext for going totalitarian. That's what I meant to indicate.



    People are free to do that. Though industralists are free to stop producing than lets see how the 'looters' manage.
    Oh, get your head out of that retarded book. James Taggart is the CEO of the corporate world & always was.

    Whats so flawed about seeking efficiency? It means they can produce more, make more profits, invest, expand, emply more, offer more choice etc. Like humans businesses advance, it is this evolutionary spirt which has marked the upward shift of mankind. It has saved mankind from living in caves.
    Production, profit, civilization, etc. are dependant upon corporations? Why, because you say so? People got out of caves long before the modern corporation was conceived.
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    (Original post by JonD)
    If they "skipped out this 'stage'" and paid them western wages, what would be the incentive to go abroad in the first place?
    I never suggested that. Furthermore, low wages are by no means the only reason why sweatshops (and their use to maximise shareholderprofits) are so abhorrent.
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    (Original post by Tonight Matthew)
    I never suggested that. Furthermore, low wages are by no means the only reason why sweatshops (and their use to maximise shareholderprofits) are so abhorrent.
    Maybe not the only reason, but certainly the only imperative reason.
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    (Original post by Tonight Matthew)
    Depends what the costs of obtaining this standard of living were.
    How about you stick to hunting buffalo with bows and arrows, and I'll live in a modern Western society? Nobody's stopying from making that choice. Since you don't take it, you obviously value your standard of living more than you do some ancient culture.

    Why did it have that relatively high accident rate?
    Did someone force her to buy the car? Why do you want to force private entities to do what you want instead of giving people the option to do whatever they want with their money? It is obvious that freedom means very little to you.

    (Original post by Tonight Matthew)
    I never suggested that. Furthermore, low wages are by no means the only reason why sweatshops (and their use to maximise shareholderprofits) are so abhorrent.
    If the costs of production were to increase in the third world (without an offsetting increase in productivity), why would corporations want to build factories there? The average Western worker is much more productive than the average third world worker. Right now, the wages per unit of productivity roughly the same in both places. If the cost of production increases in the third world, then all factories in the third world become unprofitable relative to their Western counterparts.
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    We're at a tipping point right now. For example, the U.S. Supreme Court just found that corporate interests trump individuals' property rights.
    Most people think their age is at 'a tipping point', that is the crucial time. Most are wrong.


    As for corporate scandals being "discovered," Mad Cow is "discovered" everywhere someone comes down with it.
    Please explain.

    And America is not cracking down on environmental hazards; it's simply using taxpayer money to clean them up.

    Domestically the US has strict pollution regulations. For example the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulations require property owners to eliminate lead-based paint and asbestos. According to the Mountain States Legal Foundation, over 1,300 species are now listed as endangered.

    No, the average person has no idea this happened. And as far as I know, Monsanto is still selling the hormone and dairy farmers are still using it.
    Even if this is true the average person knows about Enron for example. I think your making this more of a big deal than it actually is.






    No. Brilliant human beings give us these things.

    What are corporations? Groups of individuals who come together with ideas.

    Freedom gives us these things. To some extent, free markets, industry, and competition give us these things. To some extent, the profit motive gives us these things.
    Thse things mean nothing if corporations arn't allowed to form.

    But the convention of corporate business structure does not give us these things: it works in open opposition to them when in its interests to do so
    .

    Businees structure? Please elaborate. How is business working against freedom? the profit motive? competition? Governments are the only force capapable of destrying the profit motive (though high taxes and excessive regulation - its not worth expanding thus there is no motive) and competition (by creating monopolies).


    Listen. I am admitting that it's a hazardous question. I know that governments can use & have used such situations as a pretext for going totalitarian. That's what I meant to indicate.
    Glad you can see this




    Oh, get your head out of that retarded book. James Taggart is the CEO of the corporate world & always was.
    No, Taggart is the leader of the looters. However the situation in the early part of AS is alot like what we have today, with government handing out favours to the likes of Taggart. John Galt, Howard Roak, Dagny and Francisco are the best, and what we should aspire to especially Galt.



    Production, profit, civilization, etc. are dependant upon corporations? Why, because you say so? People got out of caves long before the modern corporation was conceived
    I think people can achieve alot more together than alone this is why i support free trade, it allows peope to voluntarily come together and offer others services/goods. Men can create things alone but usaully when they have organisations they can reach more people with their creations. People got out of the caves because they did what corporations do: they vol came together with one aim: to improve.
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    (Original post by Tonight Matthew)
    Surely it's within the financial power of massive corporations such as Nike to skip out this 'stage' all together. Why aren't they prepared to do this? Because they're legally obliged to maximise shareholder profits, no matter what the costs. It is totally devoid of human decency.

    So you think they should betray the people who fund them? Take their money but pay wages far above the market. I don't believe in deceit. If they did what you said they would not employee anyone because they would not go there as there would be no advantage i.e cheap labour. It would merely lead to more poverty for a longer time.People would be prostitutes not facotry workers. Do you think that's better?

    Corporations don't have a duty to people in the third world, they have a duty to the people who fund them - shareholders. A moral duty. If this did not exist corporations would not bother, as people would not invest, why woudl you, if you know your money is going on charity and not making money? Of course without corporations there is mass unemployment, no products, no choice, no progress. This is what your views lead to and this is why they are immoral.
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    The corporations we're generally familiar with are usually functioning as one element of an oligopoly.

    The problem with olig's is that where you have 3 or 5 big corps dominating a market the result for the consumer, the governments, and the smaller businesses which feed the corps and rely on their business, is the same as where you have an out and out monopoly.

    Common interest and welfare means that corps are able to fix prices, wages, together make demands on government to produce qualified worker-ants, intervene and bail out in hard times, and fund R&D.

    The neo-classical, competitive market is dead, and the corps don't just control the market, they control society. They control Objectivism and Bismarck too.
 
 
 
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