Is Capitalism just Feudalism by another name? Watch

FabiusMaximus
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What really are the differences between our past feudal society, and our current capitalist society?

We still have the nobility, who are now the CEOs of corporations who lobby our politicians to work for them, not the people.

Serfs (the peasants) worked under the rule of the lord. The lord gave them land to work & live on in return for them growing his crops etc. Somebody on minimum wage today works for a corporation, gets paid a small amount in return and is tied to the property they live in. It is not feasible for them to just move away, even with our 21st century 'freedom'

We know that peasants never owned their own property. Do we? No, the vast majority of us must take out mortgages in return for that property. We fail to provide for the bank? We're outta there! Either that, or we rent from a LANDLORD.

The 'free market' isn't new either. In the middle ages, peasants ruled by their lords could own their own market stall, and engage in trading. They could make themselves money, but they were never free.

Same today. Only we're made to believe that we can one day become the billionaire. That's what allows this system to continue.
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Zürich
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(Original post by FabiusMaximus)
What really are the differences between our past feudal society, and our current capitalist society?

We still have the nobility, who are now the CEOs of corporations who lobby our politicians to work for them, not the people.

Serfs (the peasants) worked under the rule of the lord. The lord gave them land to work & live on in return for them growing his crops etc. Somebody on minimum wage today works for a corporation, gets paid a small amount in return and is tied to the property they live in. It is not feasible for them to just move away, even with our 21st century 'freedom'

We know that peasants never owned their own property. Do we? No, the vast majority of us must take out mortgages in return for that property. We fail to provide for the bank? We're outta there! Either that, or we rent from a LANDLORD.

The 'free market' isn't new either. In the middle ages, peasants ruled by their lords could own their own market stall, and engage in trading. They could make themselves money, but they were never free.

Same today. Only we're made to believe that we can one day become the billionaire. That's what allows this system to continue.
And what system can you propose that is better?

The real problem underlying your argument is that you resent the fact that some individuals are more able or harder working than others.
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Aspiringlawstudent
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(Original post by FabiusMaximus)
What really are the differences between our past feudal society, and our current capitalist society?

We still have the nobility, who are now the CEOs of corporations who lobby our politicians to work for them, not the people.

Serfs (the peasants) worked under the rule of the lord. The lord gave them land to work & live on in return for them growing his crops etc. Somebody on minimum wage today works for a corporation, gets paid a small amount in return and is tied to the property they live in. It is not feasible for them to just move away, even with our 21st century 'freedom'

We know that peasants never owned their own property. Do we? No, the vast majority of us must take out mortgages in return for that property. We fail to provide for the bank? We're outta there! Either that, or we rent from a LANDLORD.

The 'free market' isn't new either. In the middle ages, peasants ruled by their lords could own their own market stall, and engage in trading. They could make themselves money, but they were never free.

Same today. Only we're made to believe that we can one day become the billionaire. That's what allows this system to continue.
Capitalism isn't based on birthrights, class or inherent prejudice: it's based upon meritocracy.

You seem a little bit confused.
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FabiusMaximus
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Yes, capitalism allows you to better yourself. But in reality, are you ever able to become a CEO of a corporation? Will you ever become a multi-billionaire? No, the children of the current billionaires will become next year's billionaires. You will never be the modern day 'lord' due to birth.


I don't know what system could be better. I'd like to give a democratic socialism a go. Co-operatives instead of bosses.
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FabiusMaximus
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(Original post by Zürich)
And what system can you propose that is better?

The real problem underlying your argument is that you resent the fact that some individuals are more able or harder working than others.
And no, in fact the opposite. I resent the fact that people can work so hard, yet be rewarded by a system that gives nothing back.
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Bax-man
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(Original post by FabiusMaximus)
Yes, capitalism allows you to better yourself. But in reality, are you ever able to become a CEO of a corporation? Will you ever become a multi-billionaire? No, the children of the current billionaires will become next year's billionaires. You will never be the modern day 'lord' due to birth.


I don't know what system could be better. I'd like to give a democratic socialism a go. Co-operatives instead of bosses.
Statistically, the odds of becoming the CEO of a corporation are slim, but that is not because of the same sorts of constraints that existed under feudalism. In a capitalist system, factors that might prevent such a change in social standing include limitations on the amount of large corporations can exist given certain material resources and one's natural ability to perform certain tasks. In a feudal system, by and large you were prevented from becoming a lord because of your parentage, rather than particular facts about you.

Moreover, this link demonstrates that your claim, 'the children of current billionaires will become next year's billionaires' is an interesting soundbite, but completely devoid of accuracy.
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Aspiringlawstudent
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(Original post by FabiusMaximus)
And no, in fact the opposite. I resent the fact that people can work so hard, yet be rewarded by a system that gives nothing back.
'Hard' work has nothing to do with it. It's all about how much you can produce, economically speaking.

For example, you could spend eighteen hours in a coal mine and produce perhaps £400 of value (I have no idea if this is an accurate figure or not - take it as an example).

Alternatively, somebody like Beyonce could sing for half an hour at a private party and be paid $1,000,000.

I see no problem with this.

How much you get has everything to do with the subjective value of whatever your product is to your market.
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FabiusMaximus
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(Original post by Aspiringlawstudent)
'Hard' work has nothing to do with it. It's all about how much you can produce, economically speaking.

For example, you could spend eighteen hours in a coal mine and produce perhaps £400 of value (I have no idea if this is an accurate figure or not - take it as an example).

Alternatively, somebody like Beyonce could sing for half an hour at a private party and be paid $1,000,000.

I see no problem with this.

How much you get has everything to do with the subjective value of whatever your product is to your market.

I agree with you, except a coal miner should be paid a living wage, rather than the minimum that a company can get away with. I don't like the capitalist way of leaving people by the wayside.
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Martyn*
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(Original post by Aspiringlawstudent)
Capitalism isn't based on birthrights, class or inherent prejudice: it's based upon meritocracy.

You seem a little bit confused.
Without class (i.e., a working class and a surplus-to-requirement underclass) capitalism wouldn't work. And it would probably fail if it ever became tolerant as well.

Is capitalism based upon meritocracy? Rewards are given for those who do well and become successful (i.e., industrial magnates, businessmen and enterpeneurs) in the system, but not everyone who becomes successful has done so through hard work. So yes. Capitalism is meritocratic to the extent that it recognises and rewards mostly individual acheivements, but it is also brutal because it is competitive and sometimes ruthless.
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Aspiringlawstudent
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(Original post by FabiusMaximus)
I agree with you, except a coal miner should be paid a living wage, rather than the minimum that a company can get away with. I don't like the capitalist way of leaving people by the wayside.
Surely if workers want higher wages, the sensible thing to do would be to quit en-masse and return to work only when their demands are met?

The problem (for them), however is competition in the labour market - the industrial reserve army of the unemployed, new entrants to the labour market, migrants and those that have few-or-no skills. A lot of people would kill to earn what the minimum wage in this country is - indeed, a lot of people would work for much less than that.

I don't see why such competition shouldn't be allowed to take place - it's competition that produces efficiency, and efficiency produces lower prices and higher profits for everyone.
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Aspiringlawstudent
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(Original post by Martyn*)
Without class (i.e., a working class and a surplus-to-requirement underclass) capitalism wouldn't work. And it would probably fail if it ever became tolerant as well.

Is capitalism based upon meritocracy? Rewards are given for those who do well and become successful (i.e., industrial magnates, businessmen and enterpeneurs) in the system, but not everyone who becomes successful has done so through hard work. So yes. Capitalism is meritocratic to the extent that it recognises and rewards mostly individual acheivements, but it is also brutal because it is competitive and sometimes ruthless.
I think you're going down the wrong road if you think about how 'hard' work is rather than how productive it is.

You wouldn't conclude, for example, that it was better to transport a ton of coal from New York to Chicago by employing 100 men to carry it on their backs rather than to pay one person to drive a truck full of it, surely?

The former is clearly harder. But the latter is vastly faster and cheaper. It's very simple.
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FabiusMaximus
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(Original post by Aspiringlawstudent)
Surely if workers want higher wages, the sensible thing to do would be to quit en-masse and return to work only when their demands are met?

The problem (for them), however is competition in the labour market - the industrial reserve army of the unemployed, new entrants to the labour market, migrants and those that have few-or-no skills. A lot of people would kill to earn what the minimum wage in this country is - indeed, a lot of people would work for much less than that.

I don't see why such competition shouldn't be allowed to take place - it's competition that produces efficiency, and efficiency produces lower prices and higher profits for everyone.
Competition's a lie though isn't it. Like the railways, and the water companies and the American dream. Monopolies arise, destroying small business owners who have worked hard. The monopolies pay their workers as little as they can. The workers organise into unions, who are then destroyed (thanks for that, Thatcher). The population rises, less jobs, people HAVE to take that crappy job as there is nothing else. They're unfree.
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member520746
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No. Feudalism was the predecessor of capitalism so they obviously bear similarity but they aren't the same. There's enough to criticise of capitalism not to need resort to tenuous accusations of it being something else
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Aspiringlawstudent
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(Original post by FabiusMaximus)
Competition's a lie though isn't it. Like the railways, and the water companies and the American dream. Monopolies arise, destroying small business owners who have worked hard. The monopolies pay their workers as little as they can. The workers organise into unions, who are then destroyed (thanks for that, Thatcher). The population rises, less jobs, people HAVE to take that crappy job as there is nothing else. They're unfree.
This is the very nature of competition. Those that can shall profit, and those that cannot shall fail.

I don't know why you think this is a bad thing.
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Nick100
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(Original post by FabiusMaximus)
What really are the differences between our past feudal society, and our current capitalist society?
Under feudalism it was considered deplorable to make money through trade. So there's that.

We still have the nobility, who are now the CEOs of corporations who lobby our politicians to work for them, not the people.
Except that CEOs can go bankrupt, and one can become a CEO even if their father wasn't one. That isn't the case with nobles; they pretty much had to commit treason to lose their titles, and their income was not dependent on trade. Also, unions are pretty good at lobbying politicians too.

Serfs (the peasants) worked under the rule of the lord. The lord gave them land to work & live on in return for them growing his crops etc. Somebody on minimum wage today works for a corporation, gets paid a small amount in return and is tied to the property they live in. It is not feasible for them to just move away, even with our 21st century 'freedom'
Yet the majority of those who were in the bottom 10% of income earners in 1990 are in the top 50% of income earners now. Also, under feudalism one could not leave their land and change lords, and the serfs could not acquire surplus wealth without it being confiscated.

We know that peasants never owned their own property. Do we? No, the vast majority of us must take out mortgages in return for that property. We fail to provide for the bank? We're outta there! Either that, or we rent from a LANDLORD.
But you aren't "providing for the bank"; you're making a trade. It's a trade which takes a long time but at the end of it the property is yours. I don't understand why people think that they shouldn't have to pay back loans; the bank gave you a substantial sum of money in order to buy the house. And I'm pretty sure usury was frowned upon under feudalism; hence why it was only the Jews who were allowed to actually do it. Also, renting is not like being a serf; you can change landlord.

The 'free market' isn't new either. In the middle ages, peasants ruled by their lords could own their own market stall, and engage in trading. They could make themselves money, but they were never free.
A free market is not the same as a market. We don't have a free market economy today, but it's a hell of a lot more free than it was under feudalism. Even the USSR had higher levels of economic growth than the feudal Russian Empire.

Same today. Only we're made to believe that we can one day become the billionaire. That's what allows this system to continue.
You don't need to be a billionaire to improve your standard of living; it's people's ability to improve their standards of living which "allows this system to continue" (whatever that means).
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FabiusMaximus
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(Original post by Aspiringlawstudent)
This is the very nature of competition. Those that can shall profit, and those that cannot shall fail.

I don't know why you think this is a bad thing.
Because the wrong people, with the wrong interests win. Those with the most money ensure they reign supreme, backhanders to politicians, tax avoidance schemes. That's not competition.
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Aspiringlawstudent
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(Original post by FabiusMaximus)
Because the wrong people, with the wrong interests win. Those with the most money ensure they reign supreme, backhanders to politicians, tax avoidance schemes. That's not competition.
Who are you (or any individual) to pick winners and losers?

Surely, the market is the entity that should decide who wins and who loses?

The aggregate result of the wishes, requirements and desires of billions of people acting in a free market seem to disagree with you.
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sugar-n-spice
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Fascism and feudalism have much more in common than capitalism and feudalism.
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Bax-man
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(Original post by FabiusMaximus)
Because the wrong people, with the wrong interests win. Those with the most money ensure they reign supreme, backhanders to politicians, tax avoidance schemes. That's not competition.
That's an argument for reducing the scope and role of government, not entrepreneurs. More's the point, how did you come to the conclusion that the "wrong people" win? What criteria have you used? On the free market, consumers decide who wins, since they go to those producers which are the most efficient in offering the best service and the lowest price. You ignore the fact that if they don't serve customers better than their rivals, they go out of business.
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FabiusMaximus
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Under feudalism it was considered deplorable to make money through trade. So there's that.

Not true. Ever heard of the English market town? Peasants owned shops and traded.



Except that CEOs can go bankrupt, and one can become a CEO even if their father wasn't one. That isn't the case with nobles; they pretty much had to commit treason to lose their titles, and their income was not dependent on trade. Also, unions are pretty good at lobbying politicians too.

No, lords could lose their power, if they were excommunicated from the church. That was easy to do if you were wealthy.



Yet the majority of those who were in the bottom 10% of income earners in 1990 are in the top 50% of income earners now. Also, under feudalism one could not leave their land and change lords, and the serfs could not acquire surplus wealth without it being confiscated.

Well, they could acquire surplus wealth, that was what they lived on. And serfs did run away, and if you could live in London for a certain amount of time without being caught then you were deemed a freeman.



But you aren't "providing for the bank"; you're making a trade. It's a trade which takes a long time but at the end of it the property is yours. I don't understand why people think that they shouldn't have to pay back loans; the bank gave you a substantial sum of money in order to buy the house. And I'm pretty sure usury was frowned upon under feudalism; hence why it was only the Jews who were allowed to actually do it. Also, renting is not like being a serf; you can change landlord.

Banks can change interests rates, forcing you out of your home. They don't have to play by the rules. Banks get bailed out when they lose. Individuals don't.



A free market is not the same as a market. We don't have a free market economy today, but it's a hell of a lot more free than it was under feudalism. Even the USSR had higher levels of economic growth than the feudal Russian Empire.

We're pretty free market. Take a look around. 'Economic growth' is not the be all and end all, as the USSR showed.



You don't need to be a billionaire to improve your standard of living; it's people's ability to improve their standards of living which "allows this system to continue" (whatever that means).

Destroying unions and propaganda is what allows the system to continue
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