Earlier Dan Wrote:
> Capitalism may not be a great system, but it is the best that has
>devised by man thus far. And in its pure form, it is based on a worker
>being paid "an honest day's pay for an honest day's work".
This does not sound like the historic basis of capitalism. It sounds
more like one of the slogans of the nineteenth century labor movement,
as it was opposing capitalism.
>(owner) who puts his/her money at risk investing it in what ever
>deserves a reasonable profit for his investment and effort.
1) How does he get his venture capital in the first place? More
importantly, how does the capitalist class get their capital, in the
first place? Slavery, wars of imperial conquest, enclosure, ruthlessly
driving their competitiors out of business, are some of the answers Marx
and others come up with. But Dan doesn't address such analyses or
arguments--he merely refers us to the historic experience of what he
considers to be socialism--socialism based upon a (the Bolsheviks')
notion that political pluralism was virtually impossible, trying to
develop in the underdeveloped areas of the world, while facing
tremendous resistance from advanced capitalist societies, including
economic blockade, invasions, coups-d'etats.
2) Let's substitute "thief" for "capitalist" in the above passage from
Dan: "The thief who puts the money he steals at risk investing in new
schemes for robbery--buying guns, hiring accomplices, etc.--deserves a
reasonable profit for his investment and effort." Well, what's the
difference? In both cases, what we would be presenting would still be
basically, "might makes right." The thief and the capitalist have the
might (the capital), therefore, them that's got, should get more.
3) Obviously, some other measure of "justice," which seems to be what
Dan is talking about, is necessary. Which is the point that the other
person (don't remember his name) was trying to make--the "justice" of an
economic system must be measured by how it benefits or does not benefit
the community. Yet even in terms of how much profit the capitalist
ought to make, let alone whether there should be capitalism, Dan begs
off from coming up with any "reasonable" measure. He writes further:
A lot of
>people have attempted over the years to define "reasonable" in the
>context and have come up short. I do not intend to go there myself.
Dan seems to be of the opinion that it's all relative, that we as a
community do not even need to make choices about how much we should get
ripped off in terms of profit, let alone whether we should be ripped
off, in the first place. Further, in response to the person who wrote
that capitalism does not benefit the community, Dan wrote:
But, if as an adult, I should choose to use tobacco or alcohol (both of
which were still legal the last time I checked), I don't want some
"do-gooder" telling me I can't.
Dan is confusing the realm of personal morality, where indeed it should
all be relative, as J.S. Mills wrote, with complaints made against
capitalism that it allows a few to exploit the rest of us and of natural
world, and engages in ("profitable") practices that threaten to destroy
us as a species and our world. Do you really want to argue, Dan, that
these two are the same thing? Mills argued that morality should not be
legislated if the behavior in question threatens to hurt no one but the
person performing the behavior. Certainly capitalism hurts a lot of
other people animals, plants, etc. other than the capitalist.
And for those who think socialism is a better way than capitalism, I
think you can now purchase an airline ticket to Cuba; one way.
Dan, I invite you to take a one-way trip to one of the outer regions of
Russia right now, where capitalism has been restored in all its glory.
Or Yugoslavia? Or how about Indonesia, where the peasants are being
urged to eat only twice a week? Or Latin America, where people are
attempting to subsist on boiled water with a little salt? Or how about
any of our own nation's fine ghettos, or impoverished rural areas? How
about the Midwest, where a lot of small farmers are getting run out of
business because of recent mergers among grain corporations and falling
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