Capitalism versus Communism, Anarchism etc Watch

This discussion is closed.
Amateur_shrink
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#81
Report 15 years ago
#81
(Original post by llama boy)
OK...I guess you mean two things by saying that communism / anarchism are "not going to happen". Firstly, that human nature prohibits those conditions working successfully. Secondly, that there are vested interests too powerful for such a state (sic) to come about.

Taking that as a premise and putting my reformist hat on, I'd probably advocate some form of localised market-based socialism combined with federalist democracy on a global level with absolute constitutional controls to preserve that democracy (strict limits on influences on govt, an independent press, for example). My ideological basis for that would be that the rights of business, per se, are non-existent. Business should only exist and be able to trade in as much as it can serve the people. Of course, you could argue that the vested interests that would oppose communism / anarchism would probably oppose this just as vigorously, and you'd probably be right.

However, there comes a point when you realise that by accepting this you're simultaneously accepting that meaningful change will never happen and paradoxically by doing that you actually make said change even less likely.

A major problem with capitalist democracy is that the former has a nasty habit of infringing on the latter. By ruling out any co-operative or (obviously) dictatorial solution though, you are essentially left with such a system and have to attempt to ensure the two uneasy bedfellows can get along. I would hope the system I briefly outlined would be able to do that, but then capitalism has a habit of being very pervasive indeed.
How about a form of liberal socialism, where business operates in a more regulated manner?

Let's take for an example the road network in the UK, which exercises many people's thoughts at the current moment.

Market forces will always do a better job of certain aspects of the road network; for instance, motorway catering, because that is where the free market and competition works best. Anyone that has visited a motorway service station regularly over the past ten years will testify to that. However, the government have to step in to contribute or act where private sector companies shouldn't be allowed to; for instance, providing the financing to build new roads, determining where they should go (and taking public opinion into account), determining the rules for driving, and so forth.

Business should be allowed to innovate, develop and pursue it's own agenda where such actions do not infringe - significantly - upon individuals' freedoms. We shouldn't regulate business too heavily otherwise it just stagnates, or will simply go elsewhere; don't assume that business will persevere if the bureacratic climate isn't conducive.

I feel that most people (wrongly) equate 'business' with huge corporations, raping and pillaging, scouring the earth for precious resources and leaving huge scars on the landscapes. This is most definitely not the majority case. Just remember that every time you pick up the phone and order a pizza, ask for a plumber, an electrician or gardener, then you too are taking advantage of the free market. Regulation is important so that the small minority of poorly managed businesses are not allowed to defraud us.
0
Che
Badges: 0
#82
Report 15 years ago
#82
well im kinda agreeing wuth amateur shrink, but also remember that involving private enterprise in a free-market, relies upon that market being open to differences in product value, and the needs of the differing consumers. so theres very little pint the private companies in health because itll end up being detrimental to peoples health. its okay now where theres a small mrket (not that i agree with it), and the private market can cope by offering faster service than nhs, but if parts of or all of nhs is privatised, and then market forces take over, then you cant really have a competitive market except in speed of treatment etc, and in the end costs will be cut and patients and the taxpayer loes out(when we have to bail them out). just like railways. private enterprise must work in an area where the ethos and mentality is ful of highly different need, like the car industry......furthermore capitalism is the easy way out, its easy mentally to just think of oneself first and others second, but it is more natural to want to help others, it is human nature, and occurs in wildlife the world throughout, that the best groups, are those who stick together, close-knit, help each other, and move forward as one. Plato's idea of one wise individual ruling the country, with a wealth of experience is impractical and detrimental to democracy, yet it can still be used today, ie the cabinet model, which sadly relies too much upon the PM, and people like Blair and Thatcher most certainly dont like the primus inter pares philosophy. .....However of course the most important thing in a democracy is that all people can express themselves, thats the reason why humans have developed so fast in certain epochs, ie Rome, Greece, and thats how people remain content, or if they dont have that freedom, then they are malcontent...
0
Amateur_shrink
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#83
Report 15 years ago
#83
Absolutely agree that the free market approach is not suitable for all aspects of all sectors; I point that out in my argument when considering the roads.

Health, education, policing and so forth - these are areas where there should be very considered application of the free market.

Health; in no way should the free market be used when considering primary health care. However, is it right that the state should run the catering services? The transport to and from the hospital? The parking facilities? You have to admit that for some sectors, free market enterprise will probably improve services for a limited input from the state. Remember that virtually all the old state-owned car companies (FIAT, BL/Rover, Skoda) produced dreadful products because, in a state protected environment, they didn't have to do otherwise. Now these companies have been nationalised, they can innovate - having both the freedom and the need to do so.

Clearly the extent to which that free-market forces permeate within a particular society depends on any number of factors; the governmental style, strength or weakness of the economy &c. I suppose that, in a nutshell, defined the old political ideas of left and right - state vs individual (for individual read free market).

I understand that the Dutch system takes what works best from socialism and what works best from capitalism and throw the two together; if there is anyone on here from the Netherlands, maybe they could shed some light on the issue.

Final thought, don't we need people who consider others first AND people who consider themselves first for society to prosper fully? If we all spent our time looking out for others, we would neglect the desire to better ourselves, which is a key characteristic of human evolution.

Otherwise, we would all still be in the cave, surely?
0
Howard
Badges: 3
Rep:
?
#84
Report 15 years ago
#84
(Original post by Amateur_shrink)
Absolutely agree that the free market approach is not suitable for all aspects of all sectors; I point that out in my argument when considering the roads.

Health, education, policing and so forth - these are areas where there should be very considered application of the free market.

Health; in no way should the free market be used when considering primary health care. However, is it right that the state should run the catering services? The transport to and from the hospital? The parking facilities? You have to admit that for some sectors, free market enterprise will probably improve services for a limited input from the state. Remember that virtually all the old state-owned car companies (FIAT, BL/Rover, Skoda) produced dreadful products because, in a state protected environment, they didn't have to do otherwise. Now these companies have been nationalised, they can innovate - having both the freedom and the need to do so.

Clearly the extent to which that free-market forces permeate within a particular society depends on any number of factors; the governmental style, strength or weakness of the economy &c. I suppose that, in a nutshell, defined the old political ideas of left and right - state vs individual (for individual read free market).

I understand that the Dutch system takes what works best from socialism and what works best from capitalism and throw the two together; if there is anyone on here from the Netherlands, maybe they could shed some light on the issue.

Final thought, don't we need people who consider others first AND people who consider themselves first for society to prosper fully? If we all spent our time looking out for others, we would neglect the desire to better ourselves, which is a key characteristic of human evolution.

Otherwise, we would all still be in the cave, surely?
I can't see any reason why the free market can't provide education, health, or policing for that matter.

Private schools are amongst the most successful in the country aren't they? Isn't that why people complain that private schooled kids are advantaged when it comes to applying for places at prestigious colleges?

Why is the idea of people making money from providing healthcare so abhorrent? I regard healthcare as a service; much the same as any other service; what's the difference?

And what's wrong with a privatized police force? What's wrong with the idea of every small village raising it's own tax to pay for a couple of cops? They'd still have to operate within the law so quite honestly what difference does it make who pays them?

IMHO I think we are too entrenched in the idea that the State absolutely must provide these services and that there's no real alternative.
0
llama boy
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#85
Report 15 years ago
#85
(Original post by Amateur_shrink)
How about a form of liberal socialism, where business operates in a more regulated manner?

Let's take for an example the road network in the UK, which exercises many people's thoughts at the current moment.

Market forces will always do a better job of certain aspects of the road network; for instance, motorway catering, because that is where the free market and competition works best. Anyone that has visited a motorway service station regularly over the past ten years will testify to that. However, the government have to step in to contribute or act where private sector companies shouldn't be allowed to; for instance, providing the financing to build new roads, determining where they should go (and taking public opinion into account), determining the rules for driving, and so forth.

Business should be allowed to innovate, develop and pursue it's own agenda where such actions do not infringe - significantly - upon individuals' freedoms. We shouldn't regulate business too heavily otherwise it just stagnates, or will simply go elsewhere; don't assume that business will persevere if the bureaucratic climate isn't conducive.
Yes...in some cases the private sector will provide a more efficient service than the public sector. A large part of this will be because they are in a better position to exploit their workers. The example that comes to mind is care homes (although it can apply to most privatisations)...the "efficiency" of the service is improved by slashing wages, pensions, staff numbers etc etc.

The challenge is to come with a system that provides the benefits of the market (efficiently delivering what people want to an extent) without totally screwing over the workers. I don't see how a more regulated capitalist system will achieve that. It may prevent some of the excesses, but isn't really tackling the problem. Hence, I would propose market-based socialism. Very simple, workers all own a fairly equal share of the company they work for. No more exploitation. I think that could be achieved without over-regulation or the stifling of innovation or development.

In fact, if anything, I would say it would make companies more efficient. Assuming the existence of the "profit motive" here, what I'm proposing seems to be giving even more incentive for the company to grow. Currently, the owner(s) has a profit motive, but the vast majority of workers don't. Hence, by and large the workers don't really care about how productive they are. Of course, there will be attempts by the bosses to stimulate the workers through naked authority, performance related pay, etc, but these are clumsy, inefficient ways to motivate and hence a large amount of inefficiency comes about because the workers don't reeeeally care. And why should they?

However, now imagine a system where all the workers own a company roughly equally. They now all have a profit motive, there is no need for further coercion in the workplace, they are now all more likely to be efficient and the company is likely to grow faster. The only thing stopping this happening is the idea that certain roles within a company are somehow innately more valuable than other roles. It is a hangover from feudalism and is what is truly holding back companies from being efficient.

I feel that most people (wrongly) equate 'business' with huge corporations, raping and pillaging, scouring the earth for precious resources and leaving huge scars on the landscapes. This is most definitely not the majority case. Just remember that every time you pick up the phone and order a pizza, ask for a plumber, an electrician or gardener, then you too are taking advantage of the free market. Regulation is important so that the small minority of poorly managed businesses are not allowed to defraud us.
I see the differentiation but it isn't a particularly significant one, I don't think. Small business are often among the most ruthless of exploiters of labour. And if you'll excuse the Marxist phrasing, the small shop keeper will always be poisoned by the boss class...small shops become big shops etc.

Of course, the big corporations do more of the obvious "pillaging" because a) they're bigger and b) often only big companies are in a position to do so, but really, small businesses aren't all that cute and fluffy either.
0
Amateur_shrink
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#86
Report 15 years ago
#86
(Original post by Howard)
I can't see any reason why the free market can't provide education, health, or policing for that matter.

Private schools are amongst the most successful in the country aren't they? Isn't that why people complain that private schooled kids are advantaged when it comes to applying for places at prestigious colleges?

Why is the idea of people making money from providing healthcare so abhorrent? I regard healthcare as a service; much the same as any other service; what's the difference?

And what's wrong with a privatized police force? What's wrong with the idea of every small village raising it's own tax to pay for a couple of cops? They'd still have to operate within the law so quite honestly what difference does it make who pays them?

IMHO I think we are too entrenched in the idea that the State absolutely must provide these services and that there's no real alternative.
No, I don't see this working at all, though I do appreciate your sentiments!

The problem I have with a totally deregulated free-market approach within the traditional public sector is that of profit overcoming individual concerns; take the roads, my first example.

If decisions about routing of new roads were to be left with corporations, consideration of individuals living in the path, environmental considerations and so forth would come second to the hard economic facts. Whilst sometimes this is the price of progress, we do live in a democracy and should all have a say in major decisions, irrespective of the consequences of that decision.

With regards to health, then yes, private hospitals do work, but only because the NHS trains doctors and nurses, and provides emergency cover. And the government still needs to be there to ensure that pharmaceutical policy is stringent and adhered to, and that the doctors and nurses are performing within guidelines. What happens if you are particularly sick or chronically ill and need multiple operations? You probably won't be able to pay the insurance bills and end up in enormous debt. Should we penalise people for being sick?

With regards to schools, I think that you will find the truth is much more complex: i) people who are at private schools have terrific parental support (if you were paying £30kpa for your son/daughter to attend, you'd support them too), ii) private schools can pick and choose if necessary to improve academic performance. Besides, the days of 'the old school tie' are long gone - although in some places, there may still be a little of that.

Would you want to live in a town with a private police force? Think about it!

Fundamentally I believe that the state is there to ensure basic human requirements are met; education, law and order, healthcare and so forth. In the primary instance, the costs of these should be met by the taxpayer.
0
Che
Badges: 0
#87
Report 15 years ago
#87
amateur shrink youre right on what i was trying to say, i totally i agree with you, although i think its natural for humans to instinctively self-preserve etc, im not sure it is natural to want to 'go it alone', that comes from a specific environment and society, which is what leads me on to what howard was saying (i think) about private schools. The problem with them is that certain institutons look favourably upon public school pupils, and hence the rich get richer etc, democracy should be about everyone having the chance to get as high as they can, do what they want, and everyone have an equal chance, and private schools inhibit that opportunity. I presume theres plenty of private school pupils on here, and ive got to ask you, do you really think that 15/16 years ago or whenever, when you wer born youhad the same chance in life as the daughter of an asylum seeker living in Bradford below the poverty line? I dont think so(though of course i dont blame you!!, just the system). Oh and a private school can barely be called a private enterprise, it doesnt offer different products, just an image, a more-work-orientated environment etc, but im afraid its definitely a breeding ground for arrogance, selfishness, and rightwing views, often racist which is unacceptable, and deplorable...
0
Amateur_shrink
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#88
Report 15 years ago
#88
(Original post by llama boy)
Yes...in some cases the private sector will provide a more efficient service than the public sector. A large part of this will be because they are in a better position to exploit their workers. The example that comes to mind is care homes (although it can apply to most privatisations)...the "efficiency" of the service is improved by slashing wages, pensions, staff numbers etc etc..
As I point out in my post, there are some occasions where it is feasible and even desirable to use a free-market approach; primary care is not one of them, because there is a conflict between people and profit. Care homes are an ideal example - as you rightly point out, the private sector is struggling to maintain margins and has had to cut costs, and with it, jobs, wages, and more importantly, has closed down unprofitable homes with the consequent distress caused to OAPs.

Prime example of where the free market hasn't worked.....

Agree with your analysis of profit sharing with one proviso; we know that share schemes do work in the real world, motivating employees and helping them to feel 'part of the company'. However, my concern with splitting a company in it's entirety between it's employees is this; who makes the big decisions? In truth, you can't realistically split a company into equal parts for that very reason!

To suggest that what is holding companies back is the notion that certain roles in companies are more important than others is, if you will forgive me, a little idealistic. IMHO, although every role in a company contributes, the ease in which you can fill roles at different levels within the hierarchy (i.e. the occurence of certain skills within the general population at large) diminishes the higher you go. Therefore, some roles are inherently more important than others.

Your argument is analagous to suggesting that a doctor's role is as important to the health service as a janitor. Without being dismissive of the latter, I don't think too many people would spend the seven years training to become the former if the pay and rewards were equal.

Face it; human nature prevents your sort of equality succeeding!

With regards to your last point about small vs large companies; the point I was trying to make is that the vast majority of business are set-up by good, honest, well-meaning people who work hard and are prepared to sacrifice everything to better themselves. Just like life in general, there are a small number who give the rest a bad name, and that applies to small companies as well as large multi-nationals.
0
llama boy
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#89
Report 15 years ago
#89
(Original post by Amateur_shrink)
As I point out in my post, there are some occasions where it is feasible and even desirable to use a free-market approach; primary care is not one of them, because there is a conflict between people and profit. Care homes are an ideal example - as you rightly point out, the private sector is struggling to maintain margins and has had to cut costs, and with it, jobs, wages, and more importantly, has closed down unprofitable homes with the consequent distress caused to OAPs.

Prime example of where the free market hasn't worked.....
There are very few examples without the conflict between people and profit; only companies without employees can make that claim.

Agree with your analysis of profit sharing with one proviso; we know that share schemes do work in the real world, motivating employees and helping them to feel 'part of the company'. However, my concern with splitting a company in it's entirety between it's employees is this; who makes the big decisions?
The people who make the decisions will be the people who own the company, i.e. all of them.

To suggest that what is holding companies back is the notion that certain roles in companies are more important than others is, if you will forgive me, a little idealistic. IMHO, although every role in a company contributes, the ease in which you can fill roles at different levels within the hierarchy (i.e. the occurrence of certain skills within the general population at large) diminishes the higher you go. Therefore, some roles are inherently more important than others.
You're assuming the presence of a traditional hierarchy within the company. As in my last point, the power will rest equally with all who are involved with the company.

Your argument is analogous to suggesting that a doctor's role is as important to the health service as a janitor. Without being dismissive of the latter, I don't think too many people would spend the seven years training to become the former if the pay and rewards were equal.
If anything your analogy is a little charitable; I can more likely imagine a doctor performing their role in that situation than I can a management type.

Luckily, I don't subscribe to the notion of preserving the current hierarchy and organisation and implementing equality on top of that. You rightly point out that that wouldn't work. Rather, it is crucial that the whole organisation becomes democratic and as non-hierarchical as possible. It is vital that there is no longer a clear class divide between janitors and management, for example. No one person in the company should be entirely a doer or a decider.

Face it; human nature prevents your sort of equality succeeding!
You know...pretty much all of politics is based on this eternal question of human nature. Humans have puzzled over it for centuries. Do you really believe that you have the definitive answer?

With regards to your last point about small vs large companies; the point I was trying to make is that the vast majority of business are set-up by good, honest, well-meaning people
Who without fail exploit the surplus value of their workers to further their own wealth.

who work hard and are prepared to sacrifice everything to better themselves. Just like life in general, there are a small number who give the rest a bad name, and that applies to small companies as well as large multi-nationals.
Virtually every business exploits workers and the environment for profit.

None of them deserve sympathy, however cuddly they appear or however normalised their misdeeds.

They can go (metaphorically, of course!) hang.
0
Amateur_shrink
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#90
Report 15 years ago
#90
People vs profit - cost/benefit; at what point does money become more important than people. At what point is it acceptable that someone should die so that costs could be saved, which I guess is the ultimate extension of our discussion so far (business vs the individual).

Consider this situation; a baby girl is incredibly ill. In order to keep her alive, the NHS has to dedicate an enormous number of people and resources to her. Is that acceptable, even if it cost taxpayers an extra penny on income tax?

Let's take the situation one step on; the child deteriorates further, and the NHS has to dedicate fully 25% of it's resources to keeping this child alive. Enormous amounts of money have to be found to meet the need for increasing resources. Taxpayers are having to find not one penny, but 10p extra in the pound. Is this acceptable?

Let's now say that she deteriorates further; the NHS is now throwing all it's resources at this poor girl. Is this acceptable?

My point is; when you have a finite resource, you have to ensure that it is used in the best possible manner. Using the entire NHS to keep one person alive is plainly absurd; the girl should be allowed to die.

The best - and so far, only - measure of whether a resource is used in an efficient manner is in terms of money. The government has a figure that it uses when considering cases like this; let's say it's a million and a half quid.

The fact is that when you leave school or university, and start to have to make and take decisions that actually affect other people's lives rather than just your own, you are faced with these sorts of issues, day in, day out. I recall several instances of exceptionally expensive treatment for children being refused by the NHS on the basis that the cost was too high, and Boy! what controversy that caused amongst lefties and the other usual suspects.

Cost/benefit rules every aspect of our lives, whether you like it or not. A function of business is to make profit, and if the business loses money, it folds. In that scenario it is perfectly right and proper for the manager of businesses to make redundancies in order to save the business.

Business shared between employees : I think you have a very idealistic view of the way the business world works. No committee ever ran anything particularly succesfully. Coalition governments do not work. A business shared between ten people would simply fragment and fold, riven by internal division.

Fact is that people share different opinions; ask ten people who each have an equal share in a business how to take that business forward, and you'll get ten completely different answers. How on earth can you make even the smallest decisions when everyone has an equal vote? And what happens if the business is struggling? Who get's made redundant? And don't talk to me about democratic votes, that's just childish nonsense when people's business and well-being is at stake.

Your idea comes straight out of the text books, my friend. Like socialism, in order for it to work properly, everyone has to be content with being the same. In life, that just does not happen.

Hierarchy; I ask again - do you think that people would spend seven years training to be a doctor if a janitor was paid the same and had the same position in socieity?

Or let's take your argument to a slightly contrived conclusion; maybe we should allow anyone to be a doctor? With no hierarchy, who does the difficult jobs? Maybe you wouldn't mind going under the knife if a janitor was wielding it?

I note that you do not choose the comparison of doctors and janitors, but prefer the slightly easier comparison between managers and janitors. Fair enough. Who would you want running a hospital? Someone who knows how to do it and has been trained to do so? Or someone who doesn't?

Heirarchy is inevitable because people are different in terms of intelligence and abilities, desires and drives. I wouldn't trust someone who was utterly devoid of intelligence to do anything other than a simple manual job. Simple fact. Businesses and organisations pay more skilled people more to do difficult jobs because otherwise, no-one would want the responsibility.

"You know...pretty much all of politics is based on this eternal question of human nature. Humans have puzzled over it for centuries. Do you really believe that you have the definitive answer?"

Evidently a politics student in the making. How useful. Well, I don't have the answer - never pretended to offer anything more than observations -, but I assure you that Lenin didn't either.

Equality and fairness - unfortunately - does not work. Hard left politics have never worked. Marxism has not worked. Leninism has not worked. Trotskyism has not worked. Human nature prevents it from doing so.

Go and do some reading -and I'm not just talking about 'Animal Farm' or 'Brave new World'. Go and read the history of the Russian revolution, or history of the people's revolution in Chain. Go and read how much the Soviet administration had to suppress people's free will to avoid them wanting more than totalitarianism would allow them.

I have used the word 'idealistic' several times, because in an ideal world your ideas are workable. It is morally right and just that people should be treated fairly, irrespective of how much they contribute, and that no-one should have a 'price'. We could operate a barter-type system so that everyone would have shelter and enough to eat and drink.

And we would still be sat in caves.

Rgds,

Simon
0
llama boy
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#91
Report 15 years ago
#91
(Original post by Amateur_shrink)
People vs profit - cost/benefit; at what point does money become more important than people. At what point is it acceptable that someone should die so that costs could be saved, which I guess is the ultimate extension of our discussion so far (business vs the individual).

Consider this situation; a baby girl is incredibly ill. In order to keep her alive, the NHS has to dedicate an enormous number of people and resources to her. Is that acceptable, even if it cost taxpayers an extra penny on income tax?

Let's take the situation one step on; the child deteriorates further, and the NHS has to dedicate fully 25% of it's resources to keeping this child alive. Enormous amounts of money have to be found to meet the need for increasing resources. Taxpayers are having to find not one penny, but 10p extra in the pound. Is this acceptable?

Let's now say that she deteriorates further; the NHS is now throwing all it's resources at this poor girl. Is this acceptable?

My point is; when you have a finite resource, you have to ensure that it is used in the best possible manner. Using the entire NHS to keep one person alive is plainly absurd; the girl should be allowed to die.

The best - and so far, only - measure of whether a resource is used in an efficient manner is in terms of money. The government has a figure that it uses when considering cases like this; let's say it's a million and a half quid.

The fact is that when you leave school or university, and start to have to make and take decisions that actually affect other people's lives rather than just your own, you are faced with these sorts of issues, day in, day out. I recall several instances of exceptionally expensive treatment for children being refused by the NHS on the basis that the cost was too high, and Boy! what controversy that caused amongst lefties and the other usual suspects.

Cost/benefit rules every aspect of our lives, whether you like it or not. A function of business is to make profit, and if the business loses money, it folds. In that scenario it is perfectly right and proper for the manager of businesses to make redundancies in order to save the business.
Am I meant to disagree with any of the above? As a moral point, I fully agree with the utilitarian basis for your argument.

However, I think you misinterpret my people/profit point. The cost/benefit analysis undertaken by a typical company is not, as you attempt to conflate it to, in the interests of all within the company, it is decided purely in the interests of those in control of the company. Of course, as in your example, there are times when these two distinct interests overlap, but this is the exception as oppose to the rule.

To extend this a little further, my point is that all business exploit their workers, as in a cost/benefit analysis of the interests of the owners, it makes sense. No such benefit exists if the interests of all are taken into account.

Business shared between employees : I think you have a very idealistic view of the way the business world works. No committee ever ran anything particularly successfully. Coalition governments do not work. A business shared between ten people would simply fragment and fold, riven by internal division.

Fact is that people share different opinions; ask ten people who each have an equal share in a business how to take that business forward, and you'll get ten completely different answers. How on earth can you make even the smallest decisions when everyone has an equal vote? And what happens if the business is struggling? Who get's made redundant? And don't talk to me about democratic votes, that's just childish nonsense when people's business and well-being is at stake.
Well, in fairness, you've just answered your own question.

See the structure of John Lewis as an example of more childish nonsense.

(ps - transpose that argument onto govt and you've got a damn good argument for fascism!)

Your idea comes straight out of the text books, my friend. Like socialism, in order for it to work properly, everyone has to be content with being the same. In life, that just does not happen.
I don't want people to be the same. The system I propose does not prohibit diversity, not at all. The last thing I want is everyone living in identical houses with identical furniture and humping on the same two nights of the week.

The only thing prohibited in this society will be profiting from the labour of others (well, not the only thing, obviously, but you get the idea).


Hierarchy; I ask again - do you think that people would spend seven years training to be a doctor if a janitor was paid the same and had the same position in society?

Or let's take your argument to a slightly contrived conclusion; maybe we should allow anyone to be a doctor? With no hierarchy, who does the difficult jobs? Maybe you wouldn't mind going under the knife if a janitor was wielding it?

I note that you do not choose the comparison of doctors and janitors, but prefer the slightly easier comparison between managers and janitors. Fair enough. Who would you want running a hospital? Someone who knows how to do it and has been trained to do so? Or someone who doesn't?

Hierarchy is inevitable because people are different in terms of intelligence and abilities, desires and drives. I wouldn't trust someone who was utterly devoid of intelligence to do anything other than a simple manual job. Simple fact. Businesses and organisations pay more skilled people more to do difficult jobs because otherwise, no-one would want the responsibility.
Yes, you're right the manager/janitor example is easier to work with; it is also much more typical.

You're correct to point out, though, that there would appear to be a problem with particular skilled positions. As I've said, I wouldn't want there to be such clear class distinctions, however this becomes difficult in this instance. As for the doctor example, I do largely believe that, given the choice between working as a janitor for 6 years or training to be a doctor for the same time, most people would choose the latter. Wouldn't you?

Without digressing too much into a sociological analysis of the class system in general and the education system in particular, I dare say there aren't that many people who would only be capable of "simple manual jobs". You only have to look at how much class influences "abilities, desires and drives" to see that if that is swept away there is certainly potential. On that basis I can see the self-management of hospitals, as well as businesses etc, working to an acceptable degree.

"You know...pretty much all of politics is based on this eternal question of human nature. Humans have puzzled over it for centuries. Do you really believe that you have the definitive answer?"

Evidently a politics student in the making. How useful.
Evidently so, I see you've been reading the forums.

Well, I don't have the answer - never pretended to offer anything more than observations -, but I assure you that Lenin didn't either.

Equality and fairness - unfortunately - does not work. Hard left politics have never worked. Marxism has not worked. Leninism has not worked. Trotskyism has not worked. Human nature prevents it from doing so.

Go and do some reading -and I'm not just talking about 'Animal Farm' or 'Brave new World'. Go and read the history of the Russian revolution, or history of the people's revolution in Chain. Go and read how much the Soviet administration had to suppress people's free will to avoid them wanting more than totalitarianism would allow them.

I have used the word 'idealistic' several times, because in an ideal world your ideas are workable. It is morally right and just that people should be treated fairly, irrespective of how much they contribute, and that no-one should have a 'price'. We could operate a barter-type system so that everyone would have shelter and enough to eat and drink.

And we would still be sat in caves.
Mate, turn off the autopilot, eh.

What I'm suggesting isn't analogous to Russia, China, etc even if your examples from those countries were sound. These five paragraphs amount to nothing more than an expression of your entrenched opinion regarding human nature.
0
pedy1986
Badges: 12
Rep:
?
#92
Report 15 years ago
#92
(Original post by Amateur_shrink)
Equality and fairness - unfortunately - does not work. Hard left politics have never worked. Marxism has not worked. Leninism has not worked. Trotskyism has not worked. Human nature prevents it from doing so.

Go and do some reading -and I'm not just talking about 'Animal Farm' or 'Brave new World'. Go and read the history of the Russian revolution, or history of the people's revolution in Chain. Go and read how much the Soviet administration had to suppress people's free will to avoid them wanting more than totalitarianism would allow them.
Human nature prevents hard-left politics from working. Yes. If we were to impose a extreme left political/economic system on the country as of next week there is no possibility of it ever working. However, can we just attribute this to human nature? Has human nature not been formed through the political system we have lived under? I would say that is the case. If we go back into history before we had proper governance people worked together because it was necessary for survival, it was a requirement that people were treated equally and recognised that they all performed equally vital roles - be it hunting the food or ensuring shelter was available.

To impose the system now, would cause problems. Yet, through changing attitudes and introducing a extreme left system into society through generations would not be so destructive as you make out. Arguing against extremist left politics should not be done on the basis of it being 'against human nature' because human nature seems both instinctive as well as being formed by society.
0
Amateur_shrink
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#93
Report 15 years ago
#93
1. Low opinion of human nature

You are quite right that I do have a low opinion of human nature. IMO, a significant minority of people in this country are lazy, selfish and grasping. Most of them don't care about their neighbours on the same street, never mind in different regions of the world. Most people are ignorant as well, preferring either to dismiss politics and history completely, or get their daily news diet from a commercial media that - in the main - is more interested in celebrity than in current affairs.

This conclusion of mine is informed by 15 years employing people, and being employed by people. Anyone that has had to run a business can tell you that it can be very difficult to put together a team that will pull in the right direction - you spend most of your time mediating between women who are back-biting, shirkers who would prefer to complain and winge than work, union reps who just want to justify their (inflated) worth and ringing round the job centre to replace someone who hasn't turned up AGAIN and has ruined your production plans for the third day running, jeopardising customer goodwill.

2. Exploitation of workers

You are also right that companies 'exploit' workers, but let's be honest, a less controversial word would be 'utilise'. Exploit suggests a one-way relationship, with the employee suffering some form of slavish indenture to the employer. This is naive, left-wing thinking; in the real world good businesses rate their staff as first among their assets (and also, consequently, first among their problems).

We do not operate some sort of feudal system in the UK; people are not forced to work against their will. There is a social 'safety-net' that I and the rest of the population are happy to contribute to (that is, those of us that do work).

Maybe you would be happier if companies replaced all their staff with robots who, let's face it, work more for less money and cause management less grief...?

3. Hierarchy

The simple fact is that a company, any company, needs a hierarchy. The very notion that an organisation of more than one person can function in some sort of utopian anti-hierarchical manner is straight from the pages of Lenin and simply will not, cannot work.

Let's take the example of John Lewis.

A trust operated on behalf of it's ~60000 staff. Staff share approximately 60% of its profits. Staff receive a reasonable wage (average annual salary ~£14k after bonus) and are able to criticise senior management directly. Generally recognised to be a good company to work for.

Great. Fine. But, surprisingly, John Lewis has a Chairman. And a Managing Director. And an FD. Hey, and guess what? They get paid a hell of a lot more than the average staff member.

Why is this? Is it because they understand the business more than the girl on the perfume counter? That they know the difference with ROC calculations and ROCK climing? That they are able to answer difficult questions about p/e ratios to institutional analysts, or field questions from radio and TV interviewers about falling profits or tricky investment decisions? Answer - very probably.

As I have pointed out, employee share ownership is a good thing, as at John Lewis. But to suggest that a company can be completely and equally divided - and competently run in that manner - by it's staff is ludicrous.

In most companies where I have worked, employees for manual jobs were evaluated for suitability with a variety of psychometric tests (as were the senior staff). It never failed to surprise us how ignorant so many people are; we could regularly expect a sizeable proportion to demonstrate inadequate basic mathematics and reasoning skills.

Sorry my friend, but there are some very dense people out there; we used to see them all the time.

The difference in capabilities is the very reason for a hierarchy.

"Without digressing too much into a sociological analysis of the class system in general and the education system in particular, I dare say there aren't that many people who would only be capable of "simple manual jobs". You only have to look at how much class influences "abilities, desires and drives" to see that if that is swept away there is certainly potential. On that basis I can see the self-management of hospitals, as well as businesses etc, working to an acceptable degree."

I would say that there are a significant minority of the general population who don't have the wherewithall (never mind the desire) to perform anything other than a simple manual task. Sorry, but that's just the way of the world. The average British IQ is around 90. Looking at the demographics, that means there are a significant number of people going around who are barely functionally literate. If you are in this category, I definitely don't want you wielding a scalpel if I'm in the vicinity. And I woulnd't want you to make investment decisions that would impact on 60000 John Lewis staff, either.

I think you are being somewhat dismissive by suggesting that my low opinion of human nature is all that is informing my 'politics'. I would suggest that we wait until you have spent a little bit of time in the big, bad world, before taking up this thread again.

You know, when I was a student, I too held unshakeable beliefs about the possibilities for a marxist state and the triumph of world socialism. But the more I went through real life, the more I realised that a small minority of the general population will never be satisfied with mediocrity, and that this is the ultimate failing of the more extreme forms of left-wing thinking.

Purely by choosing to study for A-levels you are demonstrating that you, too, have desires and goals in life that only by working hard are you likely to achieve.
0
Eru Iluvatar
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#94
Report 15 years ago
#94
Capitalism is simply the least effort, and means people don't need to help others.
Its a shame though, as i believe that communism should be the ultimate aim of society, not as it was run in countries like russia, but actually meeting communist theory correctly, as that is the best way to create a utopian society.
0
Howard
Badges: 3
Rep:
?
#95
Report 15 years ago
#95
(Original post by Iluvatar)
Capitalism is simply the least effort, and means people don't need to help others.
Its a shame though, as i believe that communism should be the ultimate aim of society, not as it was run in countries like russia, but actually meeting communist theory correctly, as that is the best way to create a utopian society.
Depends on your personal idea of utopia.
0
mrjaffacake
Badges:
#96
Report 15 years ago
#96
This is all very interesting yet what stands out the most is the economic pessimism -> optimism that reverberates from people's opinions and how they view the world, anyway you COULD take a look at my ickle economic idea here:

http://mrjaffacake.tripod.com/
0
X
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Do you work while at uni?

Yes I work at university (85)
33.46%
No I don't (119)
46.85%
I work during the holidays (50)
19.69%

Watched Threads

View All
Latest
My Feed