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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:18 PM
Original message
Is "capitalism" good or bad?
Edited on Sun Jan-23-05 07:29 PM by kentuck
And does capitalism add or subtract from a democracy. After all, capitalism is presently rampant in China and they are far from a democracy so we should not confuse capitalism with democracy, per se. One is political and the other is economic. A communist country can have capitalism and prosper...at least for a while.

What type of "democracy" would we have if we did not have capitalism within the system? What if we were economic socialists? Would that be better or worse than the current system of government?
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EVDebs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:18 PM
Response to Original message
1. bad for people, good for corporations n/t
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Zen Democrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:23 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. Capitalism is dangerous without regulations and limitations.
Edited on Sun Jan-23-05 07:24 PM by Zen Democrat
There are those who say that FDR saved capitalism with the reform legislation of the 1930's aimed at curbing the excesses of banks and Wall Street.

That's all being wiped away by the Republicans in Congress and the White House.
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Francine Frensky Donating Member (870 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #7
108. You are absolutetly correct.
Capitalism is the survival of the fittest. In a true capitalist society, we would get rid of people who weren't productive: let the terminally sick die, banish the elderly to mountain tops, and the retarded and handicapped might be killed out right. We would have no art, only Hollywood thrillers. We would have no nature, only an outdoor theme park created by Disney.

Obviously, this is not what we want as a christian nation.

This is the number one reason why I vote democratic: because the republicans want a pure capitalism that would destroy anything that didn't have a dollar value, and all the great things in life are free.

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DebJ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:20 PM
Response to Original message
2. Capitalism is like guns. It is not the gun, it is the person shooting
the gun....hahahaha. I support gun regulation AND capitalist regulation.
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mopinko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:21 PM
Response to Original message
3. capitalism is human nature
you can only keep a lid on it. if you prohibit it, it goes underground. it's when it takes over the levers of government that it is dangerous.
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eg101 Donating Member (371 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 02:30 PM
Response to Reply #3
121. communism is for family ; capitalism is for strangers
The relationship between family and close tribal relationships is communistic in nature.

Relationship between you and strangers is capitalism.
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leanin_green Donating Member (823 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 08:55 PM
Response to Reply #3
143. Capitalism is to Democracy as Authoritarianism is to Communism.
Capitalism is what happens when freedom is abused and allowed to run unchecked. Authoritarianism is what happens when the State or "needs of the people" becomes more important than the people themselves. Therefore, Capitalism is bad for democracies and Authoritarianism is bad for Communism. They are two sides of the same coin.
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:21 PM
Response to Original message
4. capitalism is an economic system,not a political one
If capitalism is regulated so that the little guys have a chance against huge corporations, it isn't bad because it provides a variety of choices. What is happening in this country is that large corporations are taking over, driving the little guys out of the market,and actually limiting consumer choice.

Government can allow laisse-faire capitalism or it can regulate capitalism to various degrees. The government can be a democracy, a monarchy, or even a dictatorship.
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wgellis Donating Member (23 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:54 PM
Response to Reply #4
19. Define "Little Guy"
Most of this country's capitalists are small business owners (some might say "little guys". Understanding the gravity of this fact tends to curb a lot of arguments against capitalism. I happen to "own" a "little guy" one-man business. It's 8 years old.

I'm curious how many others here are "little guy capitalists" and how many beyond that would like to be!
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RUMPLEMINTZ Donating Member (218 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 09:01 PM
Response to Reply #19
33. Right here
I've owned a little neighborhood bar for 13 years now. Believe it or not I did save a few hundred bucks a month after the tax cuts but those corporate whores got fucking billions!!!
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proud patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 11:29 AM
Response to Reply #19
73. My husband and I are "little guy" self employed 1 man business
We hate bush because his policies hurt our business .
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 06:56 PM
Response to Reply #19
137. fair competition helps the little guy
My definition of the little guy is a small business with less than 100 employees and no more than three offices/outlets. I work for a small business, and I shop only at small businesses in town. Small businessmen are the ones who belong to the Chamber of Commerce. They are the ones who take the time to beautify the town square, use their spare time to coach Little League.

Big chain stores like Wal-Mart roll into town, often use underpricing to drive small businesses into the ground, and then raise prises once the little guy is gone. I've seen this happen in more than one small town.
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Finding Rawls Donating Member (234 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:21 PM
Response to Original message
5. The two are connected
Without capitalism many rights that we as a country cherish either couldn't be provided or would be empty.
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GRLMGC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:22 PM
Response to Original message
6. Communism is an economic system
Edited on Sun Jan-23-05 07:24 PM by GRLMGC
opposite from capitalism. Communism just opens up avenues to totalitarian governments which has given it a bad name. Those countries don't even practice true communism. Now, capitalism is not the perfect thing that the Repugs make it out to be. Hell,communism isn't perfect either. Capitalism leaves many people behind. Now, the concept of working hard and gaining wealth isn't bad. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same opportunities to better themselves so they will never get out of their station no matter how badly they may want to. So, no, capitalism isn't bad but societal problems and structures do not allow the original concept of capitalism to flourish. It's human nature. Its the same reason that communism hasn't worked.
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wgellis Donating Member (23 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 08:06 PM
Response to Reply #6
21. The Dark Side of Capitalism
is that some people are left behind. That, of course, is why we need a socialist component and certain other counter-balancing mechanisms. Fortunatly, our country's leadership over the years has made a habit of re-calculating the balance. Unfortunately, a burgeoning "premeditated underclass" seems to be on the horizon. In this group you find folks that are smart and capable...they just think that the rules should conform to their comfort rather than the other way around. I believe the best descriptive phrase for these folks is "functionally immature". I'm not suggesting dreaded conformity but I can say for certain that if you want to have a measure of "success" you have to play by the rules that exist.
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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 11:17 AM
Response to Reply #6
72. good points
i made the mistake of mentioning the 'c-word' on a non-political board (completely in jest), and all the free-markters and wal-mart worshippers came down on me like a load of bricks...i literally got run off the board (a board where i was pretty well established)
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keith the dem Donating Member (587 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:25 PM
Response to Original message
8. There are two economic systems
In capitalism, man exploits man, in communism the reverse is true.
(I believe capitalism with strong controls and strong unions is the ideal)
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FarLeftRage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:25 PM
Response to Original message
9. It doesn't add to anything
capitalism is organized crime.
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Finding Rawls Donating Member (234 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. What would the alternative be?
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FarLeftRage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:37 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. A very limited private enterprise system
with a largely socialist regulatory hierarchy in place.
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Finding Rawls Donating Member (234 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. So. . .
Socialism
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FarLeftRage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 09:40 PM
Response to Reply #17
36. Yeah
that would be it...
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Finding Rawls Donating Member (234 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 10:09 PM
Response to Reply #36
42. Well, I can't agree with you then
Socialism inevitably leads to serious curbs on individual liberty. There's simply no way around it.
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tkmorris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 06:06 AM
Response to Reply #42
59. Nonsense. Prove your case. (nt)
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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #59
100. Easy
The mantra of socialism is:

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."

This mantra intrinsically assumes that value in a person's labor does not belong to them as an individual but society as a whole. That, my friend, is a clear infringement on individual liberty.
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FarLeftRage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 06:32 PM
Response to Reply #42
135. Gee... What do you think that capitalism is doing now???
Edited on Mon Jan-24-05 06:52 PM by FarLeftRage
The corporations are running this gov't and curbing civil liberities as I write this... :eyes:
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Finding Rawls Donating Member (234 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 11:19 AM
Response to Reply #135
160. Uh
Corporations do not curb civil liberties
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 11:25 AM
Response to Reply #160
161. They don't? I vehemently disagree.
What about a corporations like, say, Wal-Mart that requires all employees to submit to a drug screen prior to employment?

Now, if the drug screen were to determine if the applicant was under the influence at the time of interview, application or during employment, I would have no problem with it. However, drug screens can pick up whether or not a person has, for example, smoked marijuana over the past several weeks.

Let's say that an applicant happened to smoke a joint in his own home two weeks prior to taking the drug test. When he shows up for the drug test, he's completely sober. But he still comes up a positive, because of something he did in the privacy of his own home.

From where I stand, this is a complete violation of the 4th amendment. Corporations do NOT have the right to search and seizure without probable cause. The government doesn't either.
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Finding Rawls Donating Member (234 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 11:32 AM
Response to Reply #161
163. That's an absurd argument
Wal-Mart is a PRIVATE organization. If you don't want to take a drug test, work somewhere else. And don't try to make the argument that there will be no other place to work and that a whole segment of the population will go jobless. If there was such a large contingent of workers out there, there would be a corporation there to take advantage of their labor.
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #163
164. So you're saying the 4th amendment doesn't apply to corporations?
I just want to be clear on this.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 11:36 AM
Response to Reply #164
165. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 11:40 AM
Response to Reply #165
167. Just answer the question. It isn't that complicated.
Does the 4th amendment to the United States Constitution apply to corporations? Yes or no?
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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #167
168. Irrelevant
I'm not sure whether or not the 4th amendment apples to corporations, but it doesn't really matter. Even if it does apply, Walmart requesting a prospective employee to take a drug test does not violate the fourth amendment because the person is not being forced to take the test.
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #168
170. Even if they aren't forced they are still coerced.
They can either take the test (and hope they pass) in order to eat, or they can refuse the test and starve.

Either way, that doesn't change the fact that the test is STILL a search without probable cause. At least, from my perspective it does. But from a libertarian perspective, I'm certain that limiting the rights of those poor, downtrodden corporate interests to engage themselves in the personal lives of their employees is a clear infringement on their liberty....
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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 12:05 PM
Response to Reply #170
172. LOL, forced != coerced?
"Even if they aren't forced they are still coerced."

Perhaps this will help:

coerce (k-rs) tr.v. coerced, coercing, coerces

1. To force to act or think in a certain way by use of pressure, threats, or intimidation; compel.
2. To dominate, restrain, or control forcibly: coerced the strikers into compliance. See Synonyms at force.
3. To bring about by force or threat: efforts to coerce agreement.
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #172
176. The coersion that is present is threat of termination...
Sorry, I don't take such things as destroying a person's livelihood simply because they refuse to submit their bodily fluids to a private entity very lightly.

Are we resorting to dictionary definitions now, Nederland? Or are we still interested in debating over the spirit of the argument without parsing individual words. I think I explained myself pretty clearly in the previous post.
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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #176
178. Neither do I
Edited on Tue Jan-25-05 12:33 PM by Nederland
And the the threat of destroying a person's livelihood works both ways. If an employee using drugs becomes impaired and damages or destroys the employer's business, or even injures another person while on the job, the employer can lose their livelihood. This is the problem I have with your entire argument--it is completely one sided. You assert all sorts of rights for the employee but none for the employer. In your mind, does an employer have any rights? If so, what are they?
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #178
180. Response.
I completely understand your argument here, Nederland -- and it is one that I totally understand. I am not advocating that employers have no rights to protect their property and investment.

However, I think it would be interesting to find out how many of these employers that randomly drug test also expect their employees to submit to random breathalyzer tests on the job. I would guess that the answer would be pretty much limited to those industries for whom intoxication is literally a life-or-death issue. This is interesting because alcohol accounts for several times more accidents than any "illegal" drug.

IMHO, an employer's rights are defined by the Constitution. I don't have any problem with a drug screen based on probable cause. I DO, however, have a problem with screening applicants w/o cause for a cashier position at Wal-Mart, for example.

I just think that the whole "big brother" attitude is totally out of control. Workplace surveillance has become a multi-billion dollar industry, nationwide. While I certainly think that employers should watch their employees for wrongdoing, I believe that actually trusting their employees a little bit would go a long way toward cutting down on workplace crime or intoxication. When employees feel that they have a stake in the workplace, they tend to naturally discourage such behavior in fellow employees. As it is now, all that management has done is cultivated a complete "us vs. them" situation between the corporation and its employees. It's not healthy, and it is a clear threat to liberty, with which I would hope you would agree. The argument of "If you're not doing anything wrong, there's no reason for you to worry" is a very slipperly slope.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #167
173. They also eavesdrop on employee without their knowledge...
And people will say, "well, it is their private property"....much like the FBI eavesdropping with their own private property..Not to mention cameras that watch the employees unknowingly.
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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 12:18 PM
Response to Reply #173
177. That is different
and wrong. Drug testing takes place with the person's full knowledge and consent. Eavesdropping without their permission is wrong.
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saltpoint Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:26 PM
Response to Original message
10. I defer to James Taylor in these matters:
"The Money Machine"

You can measure your manhood by it
You can get your children to try it
You can bring your enemies to their knees
With the possible exception of the North Viet Namese...

--JT
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:26 PM
Response to Original message
11. Depends on state regulation and the integrity of the leadership.
Edited on Sun Jan-23-05 07:27 PM by autorank
The most serene Republic of Venice was cosmopolitan, wealthy, and tolerant from the Middle Ages through it's demise in the 19th century. It was a power house of trade, innovation, the arts, and overall success.

One of the driving features was state control of economic policy through the selection of the leader (the Doge) and extensive written agreements that bound the Doge and other leaders to strict honesty and a focus on the state's well being. There was NO nepotism, it was outlawed in the letter of agreement, and there was NO succession based on family ties from the very start. The Republic was so committed to open mindedness and tolerance, their feared "secret service" had as its main mission the elimination of individuals or factions that were preaching intolerance and religious fanaticism.

Of course, it would be easy to make our elected representatives sign a contract but we don't. It would be easy to bar nepotism, but we don't. It would be easy to get everyone together and have a national economic policy without it becoming a command economy, but we don't.

We don't have capitalism. The Republic of Venice did. We should look more to their history as a model for our next generation of American government.
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Leilani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 01:16 PM
Response to Reply #11
111. That's very interesting info about Venice.
(I love Italy)

Capitalism is neither good, nor bad. It depends on who's regulating, & what are the regulations.

It's up to our gov't to protect its citizens from the abuses of runaway excesses of corporations.

Strong regulations are needed, as is strong gov't oversight to provide a level playing field.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 08:09 PM
Response to Reply #111
138. Itis interesting, isn't it.
We have such limited options in history courses, even at the very top universities. I just happened to get the second book below back in the late 80's and it blew me away. These two books are great. Enjoy.

Venice Observed
Mary McCarthy

A HISTORY OF VENICE
John Julius Norwich
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Leilani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 08:21 PM
Response to Reply #138
140. Thanks very much, autorank.
I studied Art History for years, & of course, Italy was a large part of my reading.

But my knowledge of their governing is limited.

I probably know most about Florence...you know, those wily Medici.
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KT2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:28 PM
Response to Original message
13. capitalism and socialism
Edited on Sun Jan-23-05 07:30 PM by KT2000
are extremes that end up devouring themselves and are not self-sustaining, in my opinion. A totally socialist economy will eventually go broke and a capitalist society cannot stop itself from profiting even when the source of those profits kill the consumers.

An example of this can be found in the chemical comapnies that manufacture certain pesticides that have been connected to being a cause of breast cancer. Rather than stop making the pesticide, they purchased a company that manufactures cancer treatment drugs. In true capitalism they are creating the market for their cancer drugs.

The government must regulate to assure that the concept of common good - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, is respected. Without regulation, the only consideration is money.
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E_Smith Donating Member (246 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 09:19 PM
Response to Reply #13
35. yeah but can't you be
a capitalist AND a socialist? I thought the opposite of capitalism was communism.
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KT2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 10:09 PM
Response to Reply #35
43. As I read it socialism
is the system of social organization which advocates vesting of ownership and control in the community as a whole.

I believe that some functions such as health care, set up to serve the community as a whole, could function alongside capitalism. We do not have pure capitalism in this country as in the example of healthcare, public money is spent on research and development. Pharmaceutical companies enjoy tax deductions as well as probably direct use of federal grant money for the promotion of their products, certainly a capitalistic enterprise with the intention of increasing revenues.

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izzybeans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #43
84. Going "public"
is itself a form of community ownership-even though its a capital marketplace.
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KT2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 05:38 PM
Response to Reply #84
131. Big difference though
ownership for the sole purpose of making profits is much different than ownership for the purpose of delivering a quality service.
The end results are entirely different and their purpose for even existing is different.

Think of health insurance that weeds out the sick to make profits as opposed to a system of healthcare that treats everyone.
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alittlelark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 10:37 PM
Response to Reply #84
151. It is not community-ownership. It is ownership
by those who have the $$$ to invest in it.... then pray that the board is honest (haha). The small investor rarely does even close to as well (proportionally) as the board members and big $$$ investors that have the 'inside scoop'

PS - We've gotten the 'inside scoop' a few times and chose not to act on them. There is a class above you that does not speak to you.

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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:28 PM
Response to Original message
14. unsprouted seeds
well, you've asked all the right questions ... capitalism may be an effective system in "producing" great wealth but it fails miserably making the obtaining of that wealth available to every citizen ... by definition, it's a survival of the fittest kind of system ... so, economically, it leads to huge disparities between the haves and the have nots ... while there should be no requirement to make everyone exactly the same, and there should be rewards for those who work hard and are productive, wide disparities in wealth should be seen as undesirable ...

and the negative impact of capitalism in other spheres is undeniable ... capitalism's inherent "greed as a goal" produces anti-societal behavior ... big money makes every effort to buy as much power and influence inside the government as it is able to do ... and this leads to a break down in the system of checks and balances ... pollution clean-up too expensive, buy a legislator ... worried about expensive product liability suits, buy a legislator ... need some big oil contracts in Iraq, buy a legislator ...

capitalism has triumphed over democracy in America ... and in doing so, has sown the as yet unsprouted seeds of its own demise ...

eventually, when reason prevails as it ultimately must, we will be a nation of democratic socialists ...
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NotNInch Donating Member (60 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #14
127. Aha . . . .
So maybe this is the solution that Nader has been seeking. Let capitalism destroy itself as it is the fasted road to democratic socialism? Otherwise we just extend the pain for ourselves and the rest of the world?

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booley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:37 PM
Response to Original message
16. Both and neither
That's like asking if sugar is bad.

Well Sugar is good in small doses and ultimatly all food gets broken down into sugars anyway (ok, sugars and proteins)

Of course, gorging on candy and never eating anything but sugar is bad.

Sex is good..unless you act irresponsably or commit rape, then it's bad.

Capitalism does not add or subtract from a democracy anymore then a train system does..or a central bank or the presence of twinkies.

Capitalism is a tool. as long as you understand that, understand it's strenghs and weakeneses and use it responsably to better the welfare of ALL, it's not bad.

alas, we have too may cons who dont' seem to get that. They view Captialism with a kind of faith, thinking it can do far more then it was ever disgned to do. And then, like any good zealot, ignoring or scapegoating when the market can't fulfill the promises of a better world (which is not it's job... even if it's a job that needs to be done)
it can't be, these cons wil argue, that our capitlaist society requires and encourages a certain segment to remain unemployed or working poor. It must be because the unemployed and working poor are LAZY and WANT to be poor or homeless or whatever.

it's like having faith in your toaster oven. And then blaming the sink becuase your toaster over didn't get the dishes clean.

Capitalism or communism or whatever... they aren't the problem per se. Ogliarchy and letting those in power ignore your human rights is. Capitlaism can tie into this becuase it's a means ot acquire power. But again, it's just a tool.
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McKenzie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:52 PM
Response to Original message
18. I exercise moral choice in my daily life
Edited on Sun Jan-23-05 07:55 PM by McKenzie
capitalism today is based upon lowest price of manufacture/service provision, irrespective of the human cost. That's why kids make sports shoes in Third World sweatshops. Even worse, people buy goods without even considering how they were made. Where is the morality in that? Do we eschew morality in pursuit of profit? (ask the Enron creeps about that one)

I'm a believer in free enterprise along the Bentham/Smith model. What passes for free enterprise today though is somewhat removed from what Bentham and Smith promoted.

Capitalism would be just dandy if it ran alongside our belief in human dignity. Unfortunately, us rich nations get a free ride on the back of those without any economic muscle.

Just my $0:02, pun intended.

edit: for "moral" insert "ethical" as a parallel consideration.
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EVDebs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:58 PM
Response to Original message
20. I remember Czechoslovakia and Dubcek's "Socialism with a human face"
and I remember numerous Papal edicts about "Capitalism with a human face"

""The Pope clearly rejected communism and played a significant role in its downfall. But he also clearly rejects materialistic capitalism and consumerism""
www.cjd.org/paper/westcall.html

""During the resulting "Prague Spring" (March-August 1968), Dubcek attempted to reform the Communist Party and allow "socialism with a human face." Under Dubcek, the Prague Spring transformed the lives and social relations among all Czechs, party and non-party members alike""
http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cold.war/kbank/profiles/dubcek/

One of these days they'll get to the middle ground.
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Clarkie1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 08:07 PM
Response to Original message
22. We need to be clear on this: Corporations do not have rights.
Edited on Sun Jan-23-05 08:15 PM by Clarkie1
Only people have rights. Corporations have priveledges granted by the people.

One of the goals of the conservative/corporate movement is to convince the masses that corporations have rights. They do not. Corporations, like government, exist only to serve the people at the people's pleasure. Capitalism is neither good nor bad, the issue is how capitalism progresses. If capitalism progresses following the sprit of our constitution, capitalism is a good thing that benefits we the people because we are the ones granting the corporations their priviledges, which can be given or taken away by the will of the people.

It's when coporations get too powerful and start claiming rights, and people believe corporations have rights that is the danger.

The Boston tea party was a rebellion against corporate power aligned with government power had usurped the will of the people, specifically the East India Tea Company and King George.

So the issue isn't capititalism being good or bad for democracy. The issue is keeping our democracy alive so that the people, not the corporations, have the power.
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 04:48 AM
Response to Reply #22
54. corporations *should* not have rights,
but they do have rights, in many cases more rights than people.

In fact corporations do have so much power that democracy already has been compromised.

see "corporate personhood"/14th amendment
see the lobby industry
see WTO and IMF



"Today, corporations wield immense power over our government, public
lands, even our schools. But this was not the intent of our countrys founders.

In 1776 we declared our independence not only from British rule, but also from the corporations of England that controlled trade and extracted wealth from the U.S. (and other) colonies. Thus, in the early days of our country, we only allowed corporations to be chartered (licensed to operate) to serve explicitly as a tool to gather investment and disperse financial liability in order to provide public goods, such as construction of roads, bridges or canals.
After fighting a revolution for freedom from colonialism, our country's founders retained a healthy fear of the similar threats posed by corporate power and wisely limited corporations exclusively to a business role. These state laws, many of which remain on the books today, imposed conditions such as these:

- A charter was granted for a limited time.
- Corporations were explicitly chartered for the purpose of serving the public interest - profit for shareholders was the means to that end.
- Corporations could engage only in activities necessary to fulfill their chartered purpose.
- Corporations could be terminated if they exceeded their authority or if they caused public harm.
- Owners and managers were responsible for criminal acts they committed on the job.
- Corporations could not make any political contributions, nor spend money to influence legislation.
- A corporation could not purchase or own stock in other corporations, nor own any property other than that necessary to fulfill its chartered purpose."

<snip>

"As corporations grew stronger, government and the courts became easier prey.
They freely reinterpreted the U.S. Constitution and transformed common law doctrines.
One of the most severe blows to citizen authority was seeded in the 1886 Supreme Court case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad. Though the court did not make a ruling on the question of corporate personhood, thanks to misleading notes of a clerk, the decision subsequently was used as precedent to hold that a private corporation was a "natural person." This meant that the 14th Amendment, enacted to protect rights of freed slaves, used to grant corporations Constitutional rights. Justices have since struck down hundreds of local, state and federal laws enacted to protect people from corporate harm based on this illegitimate premise."

http://reclaimdemocracy.org/pdf/primers/hidden_corporate_history.pdf
www.reclaimdemocracy.org


"There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will be neither a short nor an easy task, but it can be done."
-- President Theodore Roosevelt, 1910
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leanin_green Donating Member (823 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 08:35 PM
Response to Reply #22
141. Your wrong on this. . .
Corporations have all the rights afforded the individual. The law clearly states that a "corporate entity is classified as a distinct and separate individual entity with all rights thereto." This is what's wrong with corporations, this distinction gives them many tax advantages and loopholes.

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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 08:12 PM
Response to Original message
23. IMO, capitalism is not necessary in the forming of a successful
democracy, but democracy is essential in the forming of a successful capitalism.

Democracy is the power of the people, influencing their government. The people can democratically choose a socialist system, or a capitalist system.

Unbridled capitalism, however, inevitably takes all power unto itself. In the end, it will destroy itself, in the manner of Enron. Only the regulatory power that is in the hands of a democratic people can mitigate the power of capitalism.
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Debbie13 Donating Member (176 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 08:13 PM
Response to Original message
24. Capitalism is good because you can work hard to achieve
something and hope to get some financial reward for your efforts.

In communism, part of the motivating factors for working hard is taken away.

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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 05:09 AM
Response to Reply #24
55. Unregulated capitalism is bad because it allows
for unlimited concentration of wealth and power.

I hope you do realize that the more wealth and power one gathers, the easier it becomes to gather even more wealth and power.

Without regulation it is a winner-takes-all system so at some point it has got nothing whatsoever to do with "hard work". At some point the rich get richer while sleeping, while the poor work 80hrs/week.
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AP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 08:20 PM
Response to Original message
25. I think capitalism is pretty good at encouraging innovation and progress.
I think without the carrot of reward for effort, it would be very hard to get people to press forward and take changes and try to do things better.
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SoCalifer Donating Member (652 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 08:31 PM
Response to Original message
26. Here's How I See It








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rainy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 08:39 PM
Response to Original message
27. Bad, the way I see it. The capitalists use up all of the peoples
natural resources without compensating them. They pollute their air, land and water which is theirs by natural right, taking away the peoples rights to clean air, land and water. They are never given anything in return for allowing the capitalist to use their resources. Oil belongs to the earth and its inhabitants not to the people who steal it and sell it for their own gain. We should try to see a different paradigm. A better world is possible if we could only imagine it on a collective level.
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baldguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 08:45 PM
Response to Original message
28. Neither. Its merely a system of exchange.
Given a sufficiently oppressive gov't, any form of economic exchange can be used to control a population. Its done by limiting their options & concentrating power in the hands of the elite, while using propaganda to distract the people from questioning the status quo.

Democracy and capitalism are NOT the same thing. In fact unless its managed and regulated very carefully, capitalism erodes and destroys democracy.
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DireStrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 08:48 PM
Response to Original message
29. Any unchecked extreme is bad. -nt-
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Hosnon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 08:58 PM
Response to Reply #29
32. Agree...any principle needs a dash of Moderation
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poe Donating Member (554 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 08:51 PM
Response to Original message
30. There is absolutely zero positive about capitalism
be it small business or big business the parameters of an economy based on capital is incapable of gauging and living within the limits of the land. a more egalitarian way of divvying up a profit-growth based economy still does not take into consideration the sacredness of work and the intrinsic value of non-human beings. Vandana Shiva speaks pointedly of how tired she is of hearing "they're only living on a dollar a day" plaints. She elaborates with stories of how wonderfully the people in her area of Punjab Province were doing living on zero dollars a day. Capital is not a form of economic measurement or medium of exchange it is a form of control. history bears this out from the early forms of 'capita' to our present transnational corps. capitalism and slavery go hand in glove.
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Hosnon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 08:56 PM
Response to Original message
31. It must be pointed out that nothing is, without qualification, good or bad
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LiberalPersona Donating Member (679 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 09:09 PM
Response to Original message
34. Capitalism is a disaster
It produces an obscene amount of plastic garbage. It wastes countless amounts of precious time of people by pelting them constantly with audio and visual trash (advertising, which is also a major waste of trees and bandwidth as well). It rewards people for being a jerk and punishes them for being born in the wrong place at the wrong time.
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CAG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 10:10 PM
Response to Reply #34
44. Hmmm...
Given that american capitalism has been in effect for 230 years, and plastic has been with us maybe 30-40 years, and "bandwidth" has been a known entity for what, the last 2 weeks, its hard to see any cause and effect here.

Do socialist european countries not kill trees and use the internet?
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LiberalPersona Donating Member (679 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 03:41 AM
Response to Reply #44
52. Actually
Plastic has been around for nearly 150 years.

Socialist countries? Which ones would they be? Because as far as I know, there is no real socialist country. American capitalism is branching off into more and more countries with a growing number of McDonald's and Wal-Mart stores, etc.
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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 11:12 AM
Response to Reply #52
70. Of course not
Socialist countries? Which ones would they be? Because as far as I know, there is no real socialist country.

Of course there aren't any true socialist countries. That's because socialism is inherently unworkable and always fails in the real world.
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izzybeans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #70
83. If there are none then how do we know they are "unworkable"?
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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #83
91. ummmmm
...because every time its been tried it doesn't work?
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izzybeans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:52 PM
Original message
Oh,
I thought you were admitting it has never been tried. The Soviet Union wasn't socialist in an orthodox since. Just political. It was a state run capitalist enterprise. They sought to accumulate capital rather than redistribute wealth.
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CAG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 09:57 PM
Response to Reply #52
148. and there are no 'real' capitalist countries
all nations take a portion of the money from individuals and/or businesses to use for communal gain; its all a matter of a degree.

At what point does a country become socialist: taking an average of 20, 40, 60, 80, 100% of an individual's earnings? Some would say we're already socialist, we're somewhere near 40%.

BTW, I was being sarcastic with the plastic comment, just as the bandwidth comment.
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robbedvoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 09:45 PM
Response to Original message
37. Not bad per se. Cronyism capitalism controling the government is
a disaster. A trully free market can coexist with a democracy just fine.
The type of democracy we used to have was fine with me.
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BamaLefty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 09:48 PM
Response to Reply #37
38. Capitalism With Regulations Is Not Bad
It is when it runs rampant and leaves the less fortunate out in the cold. It sounds like a nice thing when it is in ideal situations, but this is not an ideal world.

Laissez-Faire Capitalism is not a solution.

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robbedvoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 09:50 AM
Response to Reply #38
62. My point exactly. Well said.
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sendero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 09:55 PM
Response to Original message
39. It is neither good nor bad..
... it would trade its halo for a horn, and the horn for a hat it once had.
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 09:56 PM
Response to Original message
40. very good for greedy bastards
nt
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dogman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 10:03 PM
Response to Original message
41. I don't think China is capitalist or socialist or communist.
I feel they lead the globe in fascism at this point. I also feel the same about Russia. I think it strange that countries allied with us to fight fascism have become fascist with our help. This is why I think the B$$$ists have no problem with these countries. I feel we are corporatist which is the Siamese twin of fascist. Their government runs business, our businesses run government.
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jayctravis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 10:11 PM
Response to Original message
45. Does capitalism include
the factor that anyone with a good idea may start a business?
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 10:13 PM
Response to Reply #45
46. Do you mean like Bill Gates?
or the guys from whom he bought the ideas?
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MNBiker Donating Member (107 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #46
66. Bill Gates is a Great American,
Edited on Mon Jan-24-05 11:07 AM by MNBiker
Here is why. He made computer usage affordable and quite easy.

The average person can go to the store, buy, bring home , set up, and use the computer with little actual computer knowledge..Remember...Apple was always priced for the high end elite user.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #66
87. and nobody was hungry ever again...
and they lived happily ever after...
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OnionPatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 10:35 PM
Response to Original message
47. Capitalism without regulation
is simply dog-eat-dog.

Funny how the conservatives hate the idea of human evolution but they love dog-eat-dog economics.

That said, capitalism is great as long as it's regulated to keep it fair and to keep monopolies from ruining the chance for everyone else to make a living.
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sarahlee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 11:02 PM
Response to Original message
48. The problem is that capatalism is not sustainable
A system that depends on constant consumerism and population growth for health is not sustainable. Period. Doesn't matter what you want. It is not sustainable so long as you also depend on the earth for life.
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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 11:04 PM
Response to Original message
49. Wow
This thread gives me hope for DU. Normally a thread like this would be overwhelmingly filled with anti-Capitalist diatribes, not the collection of reasonable responses I just finished reading...
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sarahlee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 11:16 PM
Response to Original message
50. Bioregionalism may offer some answers
I live on a Lakota reservation and which we could go back to the way their communities worked - but we probably can't. Anyone could be anything they wanted to be and gain as much wealth as they could muster, but the entire culture treated "generousity" as the most important value, so status was gained by how you took care of others.

Anyway, if you don't know about bioregionalism, you should at least read up a little on it.

What is bioregionalism?
Bioregionalism is a fancy name for living a rooted life. Sometimes called "living in place," bioregionalism means you are aware of the ecology, economy and culture of the place where you live, and are committed to making choices that enhance them.

A bioregion is an area that shares similar topography, plant and animal life, and human culture. Bioregions are often organized around watersheds, and they can be nested within each other. Bioregional boundaries are usually not rigid, and often differ from political borders around counties, states, provinces and nations. Ideally, bioregions are places that could be largely self-sufficient in terms of food, products and services, and would have a sustainable impact on the environment.
http://www.greatriv.org/bioreg.htm

http://www.permacultureactivist.net/bioregionalism/bioregcongress.htm

http://www.rebeccablood.net/gaia.html

http://www.co-intelligence.org/P-bioregionalism.html

http://www.earthaven.org/bioregion/bioregion.htm

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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 11:21 PM
Response to Original message
51. Capitalism is good AND bad....
like everything else.

It's where on the scale it happens to be is what one must judge. Anything to an extreme is bad. Period!

Any governing system must have a "MIX" of this and that to work in everyone's interest.
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 03:45 AM
Response to Original message
53. It's benign
It's evil if you let it run amok and take it to it's extremes, just like everything else.
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makemelaughorisleep Donating Member (10 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 05:10 AM
Response to Original message
56. not government
Edited on Mon Jan-24-05 05:13 AM by makemelaughorisleep
here's the problem whenever we compare anything with communism.
It's not a form of government.
capitalism is an economic system
democracy is a form of government
communism is an economic system
the "communist" governments weren't communists
capital didn't belong to the citizen any more than all the money your credit card company has actually belongs to you. If you are looking for a better economic system than "ethics-free" market capitalism that gives economic structure as well as democracy gives government structure, you should think of democracy making itself voluntarily more conducive to small businessess. It is the dignity that Ghandi insisted his fellow countrymen and women would need. Think of it as voluntary micro-capitalism. If we give it an ethical chance you will find futuristic technologies are becoming very conducive to it.
In the mean time, voluntary (via democracy) socialism is neither panecea nor pandora: if we weren't so pinned down in the radical-conservative rhetoric and love for mesmerizing us with the perception of ourselves as a nation of two intensely irreconcilable philosophies, we would quickly come to some extreemly healthy compromises. This would strive to combine socialism with a sincere notion of balance ...which America has never done. Not Roosivelt. Not Reagan.
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 05:21 AM
Response to Original message
57. both and neither. Moderate capitalism must work with moderate socialism.
for the system to work well.
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AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 05:57 AM
Response to Original message
58. Capitalism + socialism
Capitalism is good when it is used to reward those who work hard and achieve success. It is bad when it is used as a vehicle for corruption, which is rapidly happening under the current government.

Capitalism has nothing to do with democracy, but as we have seen, capitalists can corrupt democracy if they are not caught and brought to justice. Governments and special interest groups can also corrupt elected officials through capitalism.

An underlying foundation of economic socialism is necessary in order to provide food, shelter and medical assistance for everyone who needs it, regardless of their economic class. Capitalism and wealth-building can still exist on top of this foundation.
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warphead Donating Member (5 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 06:31 AM
Response to Original message
60. It's Bad, just bad.
Remembering that untill the computer chip the Soviet economy was equal to ours and in being honest with ourselves, we've been taken-in by the glimmer Capitalism sells us on which plays on the natural human sence of greed and other psychological responses, the result has always been and always will be nothing more than a game of 'winner take all' and as always the majority loose. To me it's nothing more than economic/corporate feudalism really, really polished-up. I could be wrong here, but I beleive it was Alexander Hamilton who said that the advent of the corporation would be the greatest threat to individual freedom this country would face. If so: Has he been proven wrong?
Capitalism, with or without 'regulation has been nothing but a fight between the political institutions' protection of the wealthy class and corporations against the intrests of the average citizen, the enviroment and the future. Just look at the new article on CBS Market-Watch today about corporations using a loop-hole to make millions in profit on their employees 401 K deductions that the employees never see. This is the equivilant of stealing their money. So? It's legal. ( http://netscape5.marketwatch.com/news/story.asp?siteid=netscape&dist=netscape&guid=%7B55D4E190-F43D-4919-851A-D3160C113D9D%7D )
One could bang his/her keyboard until one was blind listing all the ways capialism fails, is abusive, is destroying futures, lives, hope and dreams, the enviorment...Norm Chomsky said it best: Corporate Capitaism only wants one thing; they want it all.
As far as regulation goes: Phooy. We've done that. For decades. Then we get sold on de-regulation. It's not "how do we fine-tune this machine to run different?" This machine was invented and designed to accomplish one goal: Protect and keep the 'haves' from the 'have-nots'. Don't beleive me? Think about this: Consumerism is the biggest insult to any nations' people. Run down to wal-mart and buy cheap crap you really don't need made by people getting slave wages in the country your job was outsourced to that destroys the other jobs in your community that drive the wages down so you go to wal-mart to buy cheap crap made in the country your job was outsourced to because that is now all you can afford because you are now getting closer to making slave wages...
Screw Capitalism.
Fire your boss.
Socialism is not a dirty word.

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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #60
64. Welcome warphead !
good post..:)
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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 11:10 AM
Response to Reply #60
68. You hit the nail on the head
Remembering that untill the computer chip the Soviet economy was equal to ours...

That is precisely correct and reveals the fundamental flaw in the Soviet system. The reason that computer technology took off in the west and stagnated in the Soviet system is because no one in Russia had incentive to work hard and develop computer technology. In the US, by contrast, the founders of Intel are all very wealthy people that have been rewarded for the way in which they transformed the world.

Now I'm not in favor of capitalism run amok, but its clear from history that if you try to impose a model where people have no incentive to work hard for anything other than the good of the society as a whole, you end up with a society where nobody works hard. Ultimately that has severe consequences for standards of living, technological improvements, etc.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 09:43 AM
Response to Original message
61. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 11:11 AM
Response to Reply #61
69. depends on what?
why not contribute something constructuve to the argument?
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Cats Against Frist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 10:04 AM
Response to Original message
63. Crony Capitalism & Corporatism & Corporate Human Rights are bad
But I think, overall that capitalism and the free market are good. However, like someone said, above -- it's like a loaded gun: it's not the GUN, it's the shooter. And if capitalism isn't paired with a good moral system, a responsible consumer, a discriminating laborer and a just employer -- it's kind of crap. Which means the government steps in to "regulate" the market, which causes all kinds of problems. Suddenly, the capitalists go to the government to "lobby" and even become the government -- and then you have corpo-fascism, backed up by some supposed "rule of law."

Most people can't handle capitalism, because they're too a. greedy, 2. mean, 3. selfish, 4. lazy, 5. oblivious.

I like the idea of the free market, but for all the people who suggest it will "sort itself out," must be made to answer: "sort itself out, for whom?" For the good of humankind? Or for the good of concentration of wealth, the ruling class, the corporate state and the multinational corporation (who really rules the world)?

It's a difficult question. My tendency is to re-frame the argument and say that capitalism, unchecked is dangerous -- but it should not be checked by the state -- but by the worker, the consumer and the employer.

We usually fail at that -- and that's why shit is so fucked up.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 10:18 AM
Response to Original message
65. And it seems to me....
that capitalists have been trying to take over this country since the days of the railroad barons and later, Andrew Mellon and the bankers in the 1920's, and they are about to achieve their goal. Finally. Their corporate sponsors are in political control of all branches of government and they are going to take full advantage - at all of our expense. That is why they are going after Social Security. That is why they are giving away the store in the form of taxcuts. That is why we are sending our military into places like oil-rich Iraq, etc.
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 11:09 AM
Response to Original message
67. bad
potential short-term benefits that pale beside the inevitable long-term costs

anti-human

anti-planet

even its short-term benefits require massive regulation
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 11:15 AM
Response to Original message
71. Capitalism is neutral. It's all in how it's applied.
Like any economic system, it has positives and negatives. Pragmatism should propel people to seek to maximize the positives of a system such as capitalism, while minimizing its negatives.

Sadly, due to the complete lack of class consciousness that exists in the United States, capitalism has been increasingly allowed to run rampant over the past 30 years. The result is rapidly becoming one in which the positive attributes of capitalism are being overwhelmed by its negative attributes. As Adam Smith correctly recognized, one of the prerequisites for a properly-functioning free market is that everyone operates on a relatively equal playing field. Vast disparities in wealth -- and the accompanying vast disparities in opportunity that result -- have smashed this playing field and only served to solidify class boundaries.

It seems to me that Europe at least has the pragmatism of capitalism somewhat figured out. I am worried, however, that the free market fundamentalism that swept the world during the reign of Ronald Reagan has even affected European sensibilities. Hopefully they can turn away from this abyss in time to re-orient the global economic path as they come to assume more of the role of establishing global standards, as the US role in that capacity diminishes along with its lessening economic strength.
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chicagojoe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 11:44 AM
Response to Original message
74. To think that capitalism is "bad" is naive.
As in anything else, in capitalism, there are good guys and bad guys.
Without capitalism, we'd be like peasants in a communist regime (not that we're THAT much different as it is). And, quite frankly, I work my ass off for my $35,000 per year, and I save and invest carefully.
I WILL NOT share it with society, except for those in need.I do not even pretend to believe that a full blown communist or socialist system is the answer. It has failed in every attempt. I donate
quite a bit to charities, considering my meager income; actually more than someone I know that pulls down $105,000 per year.
Without regulation, though, capitalism runs amok, not caring who it tramples. That is known as FASCISM.
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ThorsHammer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:08 PM
Response to Original message
75. Very good, but with the necessary safeguards and limits
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:17 PM
Response to Original message
76. How can anyone call this a "left-wing" website ?
So many believers in capitalism,with mininal reservations, I feel like I'm surrounded by Republicans...worshipping at the altar of the "free marketplace"... I'm disappointed that people do not see that most of the problems our country faces right now are mostly due to the corporate greed and capitalism that has covered our nation like a blanket...Capitalism is the problem - not the solution.
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:22 PM
Response to Reply #76
78. Capitalism is NOT the problem, kentuck...
The problem is actually much, much deeper than that. If we were to suddenly have a socialist revolution in the US, the end results would not be so much different -- except, like in the USSR, you would have a bureaucratic elite rather than an economic elite.

The problem lies in the underpinnings of Western civilization. It lies in a fundamental disrespect for the earth which compels us to treat it as a resource to be exploited for short-term profit rather than stewarded for future generations.

The problem lies in the fact that we are conditioned to value wealth over humanity, a perverse values judgement that leads us to laud those who gain wealth and power through unethical and exploitative means -- like John Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie and J.P. Morgan, for starters.

I could go on and on about this. But, sadly, I am certain that little of it will matter. It's much easier to instead focus on an economic theory as the source for all our ills, as opposed to the infinitely tougher task of changing the way we view the world we live in and each other.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:28 PM
Response to Reply #78
79. Then tell me why...?
Edited on Mon Jan-24-05 12:30 PM by kentuck
we are in Iraq right now? Why we don't have health insurance for so many of our people? Why they are trying to rob and destroy Social Security? Why we can't get the truth from the corporate media? Why we spend so much on the military industrial complex? Why we are losing so many jobs to the cheap labor in China and Indonesia?...It's capitalism gone wild.
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:34 PM
Response to Reply #79
80. No, the capitalism is merely a symptom.
Its excesses have triumphed because of the reasons I discussed above. Do you honestly believe that if we lived in a culture in which humanity had a higher priority than wealth, compassion had a higher value than selfishness, that any of the crises you list would have come to light?

Like I said above, I didn't expect my comments to be well-received, because they place the blame on the underlying causes, which are much, much more difficult to address. All you did in your response was help to confirm the point I was trying to make.

Until we change the way we look at our fellow human beings and our world, these problems will never go away -- no matter what economic system we live under.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #80
85. Your idealism is genuine but....
but compassion and humanity cannot compete in the marketplace where greed is good. It is up to us if we wish to have a more humane and compassionate world. We cannot depend on the capitalists. They create conditions that make it impossible. They have no obligation to anyone or any country. They are multi-nationals. They follow the smell of the green stuff. They dream about their power and wealth. They are criminal and we, the people, must control their excesses. Because they always go to excess when given the opportunity. And they have been given the opportunity. And we all must suffer for their lust.
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #85
88. And so long as greed remains good...
... it matters not one iota what economic theory we adopt as the basis for our economy.

There's very little that is idealistic about my stance, kentuck. The effort needed to overturn greed, selfishness and material acquisition as the basic underpinnings of our society is nothing short of Herculean. It makes the overturning of capitalism seem to be as simple as a mere waving of the hand by comparison.

My observation is based on the simple belief that unless humanity learns to re-orient its value system, then humankind will go the way of the dodo. We will destroy ourselves and our environment to the point that we will eventually cease to exist as a species.

I fail to see the idealism in an outlook such as that....
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #88
93. And my point is...
that humanity will not learn to "re-orient its value system" because greed prevents it. Greed must be controlled for the good of the people. Indeed, we will destroy our environment and ourselves unless we come to the realization that there must be limits on how far we permit capitalism to go.
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #93
97. "Greed must be controlled for the good of the people..."
Wow. Those kinds of words sound faintly dictatorial, kentuck. If you're of the school that we need to control the way people think, you can count me out of your effort....

Greed will ALWAYS be a human emotion, no matter what. We're stuck with it. The way you diminish its effectiveness, however, isn't by controlling it -- it's by elevating other human impulses, countervailing ones, to a position in a values hierarchy that supercedes greed.

How do we do that? By example. By struggle. By just trying to spread these ideas through contact with the people we encounter in our daily lives.

Attempting to "control" misbehavior without modifying the source of that misbehavior is a recipe for disaster, IMHO.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #97
101. Greed is controlled by the tax system first....
And if that doesn't work, the people have the right to break up the business or split it up to prevent monopolies. The power is with the people over you or anyone else that feels they have the right to take their greed to limits that hurt our society. Greed is a human emotion and a very destructive one when taken to extremes. For example, if you move your company to China and lay off 1000 workers in this country, just so your bottom line will improve, that is destructive.
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #101
106. I guess I'm just shouting into the wind again...
What I've been arguing all along, kentuck, is that both greed and our society are a manifestation of the values that we give higher credence to. Apparently, my argument is wasted on you because you just seem to want to shout louder and louder that capitalism and greed are the source of all our evils, when your reasoning only serves to bolster what I've been trying to say all along. :shrug:

I'm not trying to be condescending here at all. I'm just amazed and frustrated by the phenomenon you're displaying here. It's an amazing example of cognitive dissonance.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #106
113. Perhaps it is cognitive dissonance?
But my point is that "greed" determines to a large extent what our "values" are and are not easily changed, if it's possible to change it at all. You seem to think we can simply change our "values" by simple will alone? I hope I'm not the only one experiencing cognitive dissonance? :)
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #113
115. No it's not simple will alone. In fact, I addressed this point...
... in post #97, above.

How do we do that? By example. By struggle. By just trying to spread these ideas through contact with the people we encounter in our daily lives.

I wish that there was an easier answer, but there is not. It is up to each and every person who rejects greed and selfishness to be a singular "pebble cast into a still pond", in hopes that our ripples will radiate outward and join force with countless other ripples from similar pebbles, until those ripples become an overpowering wave.

Really, it's the only way that significant change has EVER happned in history.
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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #93
98. Help me out
How exactly does "greed" prevent people from re-orientating their value system? The extent to which people are greedy is a reflection of their values. "Greed" doesn't prevent people from re-orientating their values, it is itself an expression of what their values are. In order for people to truly start caring about other people they need to overcome their intrinsic selfishness--and believe me, selfishness isn't an invention of capitalism.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #98
103. You're living in a fantasyworld, Nederland.
Greed knows no bounds. Look around you.
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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #103
110. Exactly my point
Greed knows no bounds. Look around you

You are correct, greed knows no bounds. It exists in every society and every economic system. That's because it's the result of human nature, not an economic or political system.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #110
114. So what should we do about it?
Nothing? Just let it run its course?
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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 01:42 PM
Response to Reply #114
118. Education
Teach our children to become caring people who think about the long term implications of things.
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 03:22 PM
Response to Reply #118
125. To bad about all the parents working
both in single- and two-parent families.
Once upon a time one parent working (or two part-time) was enough to provide for a family. Then there was still time for parents to teach their children about life. Now the TV does that, with horrifying results.
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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:47 PM
Response to Reply #78
89. I agree
I know we disagree on much, but on this point we agree completely. The problem is not with capitalism. The way I see it, capitalism is merely a system where people are given a large degree of individual control over how to spend their money. The fact that Americans chose to buy fast food, plastic toys that get thrown out in a month, and gas guzzling cars is not the fault of capitalism--it is the fault of the people that chose those things. If Americans woke up tommorrow with a completely different set of priorites the market would quickly adjust to the new paradigm and provide those things.

Just look at what happened with the Prius. Toyota took a gamble and made a hybrid car, the general public ate it up, and suddenly you had to wait 6 months just to get one. Other car makers saw what was happening and now everybody and their mother makes a hybrid. That's the market delivering what people want.

I know that you and I probably disagree about the degree to which capitalism influences what people want, but it is undeniable that it responds swiftly to demonstatable market demand. If we had a society filled with caring compassionate people that took a long term view of things it would matter what economic system we were under--we would be much better off regardless.
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 01:07 PM
Response to Reply #89
104. We probably agree on more than you think, Nederland...
And I know that you and I agree on the source of our miseries being the values we have, as a society, rather than simply being the theoretical underpinnings of our economic system.

However, where you and I part ways is over the effectiveness of advertising on modifying and even controlling human behavior. I've read a good bit on this, and have gotten to the point that I regularly recognize different marketing techniques meant to appeal to people on strictly basal emotional levels, as opposed to "thinking" levels.

If people woke up tomorrow under a different values paradigm, the majority of the market would not "adjust". It would fade away, and be replaced. Transnational corporate interests, because their underpinnings are essentially acquisitiveness and rationalization of greed, would not be able to continue. Of course, maybe this is what you mean when you say "adjust".

As for the Prius, I would say it is indicative of how the market has come to NOT respond to people's true needs and wants. Toyota has not made enough of them, and they also fail to advertise them outside of Sierra magazine. However, advertising on SUV's by all the major companies continues to balloon, a classic case of the "market" trying to condition people into wanting something that they really don't want or need.

Also, you say that "everybody and their mother now makes a hybrid." Really? I must have missed the new GM hybrid lines. Ford took several years longer to get their Escape hybrid on the market than they announced previously, and I'm certain it will be full of bugs. And neither Toyota nor Honda are keeping up with hybrid demand.

The MODERN capitalist system is a dinosaur when it comes to actually responding to new demands. It's unparalleled when it comes to manufacturing wants that comply with the production desires of the captains of industry. But then again, I'm much more of a John Kenneth Galbraith fan than you probably are, and I happen to think that Milton Friedman is one of the biggest crocks of shit out there. ;-)
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #104
107. I agree with you about Milton Friedman..
:)
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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 01:40 PM
Response to Reply #104
117. You need to compare to something else
Edited on Mon Jan-24-05 01:41 PM by Nederland
As for the Prius, I would say it is indicative of how the market has come to NOT respond to people's true needs and wants. Toyota has not made enough of them, and they also fail to advertise them outside of Sierra magazine. However, advertising on SUV's by all the major companies continues to balloon, a classic case of the "market" trying to condition people into wanting something that they really don't want or need.

Also, you say that "everybody and their mother now makes a hybrid." Really? I must have missed the new GM hybrid lines. Ford took several years longer to get their Escape hybrid on the market than they announced previously, and I'm certain it will be full of bugs. And neither Toyota nor Honda are keeping up with hybrid demand.


First of all, a correction. Yes, it was an exaggeration to say that everybody and their mother is making a hybrid. However, its interesting to note that the the reason GM was not pursuing hybrids (they've since changed their mind) is because they believe that hybrids are merely an incremental improvement, not a ultimate solution. They believe the real future is with fuel cells and chose to devote resources there. Are they right? Who knows, but I'm glad that we have different companies pursuing different strategies because that maximizes the chances for success.

As for production shortages and bugs, I fail to see why you think a different economic system would be better. Centrally planned economies are notorious for shortages, so I know you can't be talking about those. What type of system do you think can do a better job of meeting consumer demands?

That's why I have a problem with a statement like this: "The MODERN capitalist system is a dinosaur when it comes to actually responding to new demands." A dinosaur compared to what--some ideal utopian system that currently doesn't exist?

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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #117
119. Although I've opened a can of worms here...
... I figure the least I can do is engage you a bit on it.

Production shortages on hybrid cars are precisely the result of centralized economic planning. Except in this case, it is the transnational corporation that represents the centralized planning, as opposed to the state. Given the fact that people have been clamoring to buy hybrids since their introduction, one would think that auto companies would have responded with increased production by now. But, largely, they have not. And even GM's CEO admitted in an article earlier this year that they largely "missed the boat" by failing to embrace hybrid technology.

As for the hydrogen stuff, I view it largely as a smokescreen. There's just too much synergy between US oil companies and US automakers to make be believe that the automakers really didn't believe in hybrids as a fix. Hell, I've been able to find figures that show how we could stop importing oil from Saudi Arabia altogether with just an average fuel efficiency of 30 mpg for all American cars. Do you mean to tell me that auto execs who spend more money on lawyers to fight new industry standards than they spend on engineers to meet them wouldn't be aware of these things?

Essentially, what I am opposed to is not capitalism or socialism or whatever 'ism' you can throw out there. My main opposition is to centralization and consolidation in almost any way, shape or form -- because centralization tends to take decision-making further and further away from the people, which inevitably results in a net loss of freedom.

The modern-day capitalist system doesn't respond to consumer demands. It largely creates them through advertising. I should have stated this more clearly. "Consumer demand" may be founded in reality, but that reality has become eclipsed by the falsehood, deception and conditioning techniques regularly employed in modern advertising. The vast majority of consumer "demands" out there are the result of manufacturing wants than they are of meeting needs. Perhaps if it would instead devote energy toward identifying and meeting REAL needs rather than CONTRIVED ones, it could do a much better job at responding to those real needs and demands. I hardly see such a proposal as utopian.
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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 02:29 PM
Response to Reply #119
120. You didn't answer the question
Production shortages on hybrid cars are precisely the result of centralized economic planning. Except in this case, it is the transnational corporation that represents the centralized planning, as opposed to the state. Given the fact that people have been clamoring to buy hybrids since their introduction, one would think that auto companies would have responded with increased production by now.

Again you assert that things could be better? How? Under what system? Do you honestly think you understand what it takes to increase production in an automobile factory well enough to make such a statement? I know I don't.

Regardless, let's assume that you are right and that Toyota could have increased production and chose not to. The next step is to consider the reality of the decision making process. Ultimately, the decision to increase production is one made by people who have opinions. Some at Toyota may believe that they missed the boat by not increasing production. Others may believe that the huge demand for hybrids was merely one very small segment of the population reacting quickly and, once those people have bought hybrids, the market would dry up. Still others may believe that the market is currently small but that a large expensive advertising campaign could convince more people to buy green. Who is right? I don't know and that's not the point. The point is that regardless of what system you are talking about, decisions are made based upon incomplete information and opinions. I fail to understand why you believe that a different system would change that paradigm.

The bottom line is that ultimately decisions are made by people with opinions. Obviously if you were the head of Toyota things would be different than they are. That however, is merely the result of your opinions being different from those currently in charge. You say that we need a system that responds to "REAL needs rather than CONTRIVED ones". This begs the question. Which needs are "real" and which are "contrived"? How would your system determine the difference? Isn't it ultimately a matter of opinion? A Christian Scientist that rejects modern medicine believes that health care is a "contrived" need resulting from failure to understand that all suffering is an illusion. Who are you to promote a system that says they are wrong?
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 02:39 PM
Response to Reply #120
124. Manufacturing wants...
OK, now we're getting toward the area in which you and I largely agree -- the hierarchy of values that underlies society.

As for the question of auto production, perhaps I did overstretch a bit WRT Toyota. They have certainly been the forefront company on the hybrid issue, with Honda not too far behind (Honda does, after all, now have three hybrid models out). However, I completely stand by my comments regarding the US manufacturers and their alliance with the oil industry.

Now, as for "contrived needs", I would say that they are those "needs" that are the result of deceptive advertising techniques. Fast food is certainly a "contrived need". I'm not saying that there isn't a niche for fast food, but most of the marketing is actually directed at KIDS to kick in the "nag factor" in order to create customers for life. THAT is an example of a contrived need, a manufactured want.

In a general sense, manufactured wants are those that are meant to inspire material acquisitiveness. They are those that are created by making people feel that if they don't have the product being advertised, that they are not worth as much as a person -- and therefore owning that product will help bring them happiness. It's a classic advertising technique, and it WORKS against those who are not fully aware of it -- and even sometimes on those who are. It's used for fast food, cigarettes, alcohol, clothing, automobiles, and on and on down the line.

If you want a much better analysis of how this works, I would suggest you check out John Kenneth Galbraith's work The Affluent Society. Galbraith saw these trends on the horizon in 1958, when that book was published. In it, he denounced the conventional wisdom that dictated expanding production as a goal in itself, and identified the emerging industry concerned with "manufacturing wants".

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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 04:53 PM
Response to Reply #124
128. I understand the theory
...its the practical implementation of that theory that is missing.

How does our society determine if a particular need is manufactured or not? Is there a government committee that decides? Do individuals decide for themselves (evidentally not, because that's what we do today)? If, for example, it is determined that fast food is a manufactured want, does the government outlaw fast food? Or perhaps you are thinking that if we simply educate people enough there will suddenly be a consensus on what needs are real and what are manufactured.

I simply don't understand what changes, if any, you are proposing...

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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 10:18 AM
Response to Reply #128
157. The primary one would be regulation on advertising
As it stands right now, especially WRT the case brought against Nike for deliberately misleading its customers on its use of sweatshop labor, we are on the verge of possibly having outright deception in advertising protected as free speech. Now, I'm all for having freedom of speech as outlined by the first amendment. But I have SERIOUS problems with the idea of a multi-billion dollar transnational corporation having the right to willingly lie for the purposes of deception protected as the same. If we are to recognize social norms that lead us in a direction in which selfishness and exploitation are NOT hallowed values, then I fail to see how we can collectively permit this to pass.

Now, I'm far from a legal expert. But I would think that we could place some serious restrictions on advertising -- ESPECIALLY on television and radio. One way would be to re-institute the idea of the airwaves being a "common" space -- which, in fact, they are. Just because a broadcaster leases a frequency doesn't mean that they OWN it. Another would be to legislate definitive boundaries for advertising -- i.e., outlawing deception in advertisements, and limiting them to only displaying what the product will do (as commercials USED to be). I would completely outlaw advertising during children's programs, for instance -- especially the practice of working advertisements into the program themselves. There is no viable argument, IMHO, why children under 10 should be subjected to advertising.

This is just a start. I'm certain that if I had several hours to devote to sitting down and doing this (which I might do in the not-too-distant future), I could come up with much more concrete proposals.

Finally, it is interesting to me what you say here: If, for example, it is determined that fast food is a manufactured want, does the government outlaw fast food? Or perhaps you are thinking that if we simply educate people enough there will suddenly be a consensus on what needs are real and what are manufactured.

First, I would never propose outlawing fast food. But to address your second point, the primary problem here seems to be that the vast majority of people only get one side of the story WRT a product like fast food -- if they want the other side of the story, they have to seek it out themselves, whereas the pro-fast food side is readily delivered to them.

Along this line, I recall that over the past couple of holiday seasons the Adbusters group developed commercials to be run on television advertising "buy nothing day". The spots were not preachy, not over-the-top -- they simply asked people if the buying of more "things" was what the holiday season was all about, or if they might be better off realizing what "enough" was for them. Networks refused to run the ad.

Now, given that we live in such a consumerist culture (people like you and I who refrain from mass-consumerism are the exception, not the norm), the only explanation I can come up with for the networks' refusal to air the Adbusters piece is that they directly benefit from that culture and don't want to do anything to change it. Given the fact that they control the information that a large segment of the populace gets by way of television and radio, it appears that this is a clear breakdown in the market. Things are NOT equitable when certain ideas are kept hidden by the self-appointed "gatekeepers" while others are given free reign.

Now, being someone who favors decentralization and diffusion of power whenever possible, I sincerely wish there were another way around this than legislation. But, so long as we are dealing with consolidated entities, we are primarily forced to use consolidated tactics. This was the reasoning behind Wilson's progressive reforms, and FDR's New Deal. Ideally, I'd like to get to a point at which business entities are reduced to a scale at which they can be dealt with by state and local governments, as opposed to regulated at the federal level. But so long as we have these gargantuan businesses, the only way to effectively bring them to heel is through federal intervention.

I know this is a bit convoluted, but my AM coffee hasn't fully kicked in yet, and it's a complex subject that branches out in about a million different directions.
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CAG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 10:22 PM
Response to Reply #76
149. and there's all those perfect socialist nations, aren't there?
Socialist nations are perfect.
Socialist nations are perfect.
Socialist nations are perfect.

Seriously, I agree with the corporate greed part, but if mom and pop own a mom and pop store, make some money, enough to send their kids to college, go on some fun vacations, and retire with enough money to live comfortably, explain to me how this is bad. And explain where all this money comes from to supply these things to mom and pop in a socialist nation.

Despite all of the right wing propaganda, I think its pretty commonly known that the democratic party members are capitalists. Most of these posts have been in favor of capitalism with appropriate restraints and regulations in place. This is quite different from the right wing crowd.
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AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-26-05 05:13 AM
Response to Reply #76
183. I have to disagree.....
the PROBLEM is much, much bigger than capitalism. It has more to do with the "old boy network," old boys like Prescott Bush and those who put Hitler in power. Also "old boys" throughout the ages who have always felt they can pull the wool over the common people's eyes, or who feel that purification of bloodlines makes them somehow special. There are some who argue that these are the ones in control of both estremes of the political spectrum: communism as well as fascist corporatism.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:19 PM
Response to Original message
77. Pure capitalism is as dangerous as pure socialism
Unrestrained capitalism is the way of the despotic corporate governance.
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Mr.Green93 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #77
96. What is the danger of
"pure socialism"?
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #96
99. The despotism of the beauracracy n/t
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:37 PM
Response to Original message
81. At best, capitalism is a necessary evil...
that must be reined in. Else, it will suck up all our labor and wealth for the few and destroy our society from within, because greed is its driving force. And greed leads to immoral and criminal acts. The "good" capitalists are bought out by the "bad" capitalists that have a wet dream thinking about monopolizing whatever they are doing at the moment and controlling the world markets and putting the squeeze on everybody else. It is up to the people to regulate the hell out of them. Squeeze 'em until they squeal like a pig. Otherwise, they will screw all of us.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #81
92. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:51 PM
Response to Reply #92
94. BS...
Greed is good? Thank you for your contribution.
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American Tragedy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #92
116. Actually the pharmaceutical industry isn't a good example
Greed drives the medical-industrial complex to research and provide treatments, which supply continuous revenue and consumers. A cure is precisely what they don't want, because that permanently severs their source of funds. Why would any corporation want to effectively end a lucrative disease? The cure for polio destroyed entire industries.

It's a like a drug dealer that gives you a little sample of cocaine for cheap, because he knows you'll get hooked and shell out virtually anything to get more. They make their money on the come back, not on people who try it once and walk out.

If the government were smart, they would provide incentives that could override that concern while still utilizing the competitive market. They could announce a $45 billion bounty, tax free, to be paid to whomever was able to produce a proven, bona fide cure to HIV or some other disease. It would be some of the best money the government ever spent.
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Pork Chop Donating Member (64 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:37 PM
Response to Original message
82. *Looks around*
So far it's working. It's not perfect, but I wouldn't call it bad. We just need a few changes.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #82
86. Yep. Just a few minor changes...
yep...1% has 80% of the wealth. Just a minor change...?
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dave29 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:47 PM
Response to Original message
90. Nothing is "good" or "bad"
those are just words we use to start wars
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #90
95. Some things are "good" and "bad"...
Simply stating so does not make it so.
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American Tragedy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 01:05 PM
Response to Original message
102. As others have said, it's a delicate balance between two extremes.
The public generally benefits from a competitive market with a variety of choices, unmonopolized, in which high-quality and innovative work is positively reinforced, and citizens are relatively free to contribute their own ideas and goods and be paid for it. Elimination of private property and businesses would be unacceptable in America.

However, the inherent flaws of the capitalist model must be tempered by the government and public sector. Some institutions, such as the military and law enforcement, cannot be privatized. The medical/pharmaceutical industry must be controlled so that they do not gouge prices and take advantage of citizens' desperation, i.e. charging exorbitant costs for leukemia treatment and consequently driving a family into bankruptcy.

We also know that a corporation is a massive social entity that only exists to maximize profit and minimize losses. If it is not carefully regulated and deterred by the courts, it may indeed operate unethically, destroying the environment, compromising consumer health, exploiting labor, crushing all competition, and ultimately undermining the essential purposes of the free market.

We need a progressive tax system in order to generate revenue in an equitable manner, so that everybody shoulders the burdens of the disabled and unfortunate. Ideally, I believe occupations that are challenging and vitally important but do not generate much income, like public schoolteachers, firefighters, police officers, nurses and caretakers should also be further incentivized by the state via the tax code or increased salary. It would take far too long for me to list everything, but essentially I believe in wisely regulated free enterprise and a reasonable safety net.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #102
105. I agree.
It is not an "either or" argument. Neither socialism or capitalism will work without government regulation to prevent the excesses.
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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #102
112. yes! and FYI to all the compassionate christians out there.........
capitalism is a far removed from Christianty as communism is!
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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 01:13 PM
Response to Original message
109. i prefer a social democracy
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 02:36 PM
Response to Original message
122. It's good if you believe that greed is moral.
Virtually all religions and philosophies, in one way or another, scorn the accumulation of wealth. Everything from Christianity (the real kind) to Marx.

The rest is merely rationalization of greed.
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Zynx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 02:39 PM
Response to Original message
123. Capitalism with some social welfare is the best system we have come up
with. Socialism doesn't work as well economically and Communism is a complete and utter failure.
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moondust Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 04:20 PM
Response to Original message
126. It creates a lot of bad people.
It turns people against people in the pursuit of more and more stuff, more and more ostentatious status. Many become ruthless moneygrubbers chasing grotesque excess at the expense of the fundamental well-being of large numbers of others.
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No Exit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 05:24 PM
Response to Original message
129. I see capitalism as pure predation
The stronger entities prey upon the weaker ones. Hence: mergers, acquisitions, hostile takeovers, cutthroat pricing policies. I mean, competition is right at the forefront with capitalism, right?

So some time ago, I got sick of hearing a lot of "little people" (people who work for a wage, etc.) saying things like, "Well, we have the best system in the world... the market will take care of it... it all depends on what the market will bear... blah blah blah."

So next time I hear someone (unless it happens to be the CEO a multi-billion-dollar corporation, and I seldom talk to such people!) say that, I'm gonna say in reply: "If you are such a believer in PURE capitalism, with NO BRAKES on it, then next time you are hungry, I demand that you be required to immediately go out and kill something if you want to eat. And every time you want to eat, I demand that you go out and kill something before you are allowed to eat." Because that's the sort of world we live in if we have PURE, unfettered capitalism. And if they want to live in it, then IMO, they need to be consistent about it!
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Grooner Five Donating Member (319 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 05:29 PM
Response to Original message
130. It's beautiful
Capitalism is as beautiful a thing as man has ever created. No system has ever provided so much for so many, or lifted the standard of living to such remarkable levels. America is not wealthy, powerful, and so filled with opportunity because government makes it that way. It's because economic freedom can bring out the best in mankind.

If you don't believe it, ask yourself why so many thousands of people from all over the world flock to this country in hordes, both legally and illegally, some of them dying in transit, to take advantage of the opportunities here.

They are not flocking to Cuba or Iran, and with good reason.
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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 06:07 PM
Response to Reply #130
132. Capitalism with equal opportunity is the American Dream
Edited on Mon Jan-24-05 06:08 PM by ultraist
I wouldn't go so far as to say, 'it's one of the most beautiful things humankind has invented,' but I do agree that capitalism provides great opportunity for anyone to succeed financially IF it's kept in check and IF equal opportunity exists. This is why I agree with others in that we need a balance of social programs that create equal opportunity (access to education, employment, etc) as well as business/trade regulations that prevent nepotism and elitism.

Currently, relatively few corporate responsibility and/or accountability regulations are in place, thus we have a growing corporatacracy and elitist system. BTW, Bush's Tort Reform will increase the lack of accountability of corps and disempower consumers.

To maximize the opportunities capitalism can offer to regular Americans, several changes are in order: Corporate welfare should be severely curtailed and the top heavy tax cuts should be reversed. Additionally, social programs that level the playing field should be adequately funded.

Free market does not have to mean elitism.
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Quixote1818 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 06:44 PM
Response to Reply #132
136. Yes, Capitalism = Freedom and that is what America is about however
when money and power get involved they need to be checked and it seems that a nice mix of Capitalism and Socialism works best because people are NOT created equal or born into a level playing field. It's more abstract and complex than having pure Capitalism or pure Socialism. It takes human reason to calculate and debate how to keep the balance working as the economy changes as well as challenges arise.
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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 08:09 PM
Response to Reply #136
139. I agree!
That's why I noted social programs are necessary to create a level playing field. Equal access to opportunity does NOT EXIST in this country and we have a duty to create it.
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Red State Rebel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 06:18 PM
Response to Original message
133. I own a business, am I an evil capitalist?
I employ people, I provide a service for people who need it, I work harder because I am responsible for my own income.

Would I work as hard in a socialist economy? I doubt it. I can't imagine living in a society where you are nothing but a drone, plugging away day after day with no incentive to do better or work harder. What a horrible way to go thru life.
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Debbie13 Donating Member (176 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 10:51 PM
Response to Reply #133
153. Not to me. The money rewards are why we go the extra mile and
work hard.
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American Tragedy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 06:57 AM
Response to Reply #133
154. My Russian friend told me a few things about that
She said that some of the old Soviet buildings were of such shoddy construction that the doors often couldn't withstand being thrust open; they'd fall right off of the hinges.
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Red State Rebel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 11:12 AM
Response to Reply #154
159. I'm not suprised...n/t
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Quixote1818 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 06:31 PM
Response to Original message
134. It's about balance. A combo of Capitalism and Socialism is a good mix.
Right now we are out of balance and need more socialism to bring the balance back. Capitalism is as American as apple pie because it's about creativity and encourages individuality but it must be kept in check.
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leanin_green Donating Member (823 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 08:43 PM
Response to Original message
142. Capitalism is commerce run amok!
Capitalism is the negative expression of a free market. Because it's based on the concept of competition and empire building it becomes a viscous expression of commerce. I mean, how much capital is enough? I believe the size of corporations should be limited.
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demwing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 09:09 PM
Response to Original message
144. Neither, or both. Like fire.
Sorry if this is a dupe.
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MissBrooks Donating Member (614 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 09:19 PM
Response to Original message
145. Capitalism rewards those who work hard
Sure, Capitalism also rewards those who were born with $$$ - but with Capitalism you can work your way up the social scale.

Does anyone remember the book "Millionaire Next Door" that came out about 8 years ago? It was about the high number of people who started small businesses and became Millionaires.

That doesn't happen in Socialist/Communist societies.

I'll keep our Capitalism - thanks.


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Hippo_Tron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 10:31 PM
Response to Reply #145
150. Capitalism like the GOP wants it doesn't reward those who work hard
I agree with a fundamentally capitalist system but one that TRULY rewards those who work hard. In other words not this fascism that we live under now.
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podnoi Donating Member (297 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 10:41 PM
Response to Reply #145
152. Capitalism rewards more narcisists, some for production
We have been brainwashed into thinking only money motivates. Most advances, until recent times, came from people who loved what they were doing and were intelligent and curious. Most of them pined away at nominal or average incomes. Many never greatly profited from their inventions and advances. It is only recent, Darwinian, Capitalism in which Money has become the narrow focus because that is the only reward we tend to understand.

I'm sorry, but most of the people making the larger bucks in this age, while granted many provide positive products, on the way there they leave a trail of broken and abandoned families and relationships, they roll over their less competitive but decent co-workers, they stifle the contributions of their fellows so their ideas dominate.

Not all, but most management these days (I have worked management too) are pretty dysfunctional and destructive.
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Runcible Spoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 08:05 AM
Response to Reply #145
156. riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight
I'll make a million dollars with mu PhD in anthropology! YAH! /sarcasm off, for having this level of education, in my field I'll be lucky to make $50,000 starting, maybe a nice benefits package/ Capitalism "rewards" either: those who already have money and are able to risk some of it to make more through vast networks of other money-havers, OR some lucky asshole who was in the right place at the right time. People who make millions from small businesses have the same odds as someone walking into a casino and hitting the slots jackpot. MOst small businesses will either fail or struggle on the (Wal)mar(t)gin as huge box stores eat up competition while raising costs of living for the same communities they claimt o save money for. Unchecked capitalism is a messy, ugly beast. And once it's done going global, the US will be in the position of a developing country.
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mopinko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 09:25 PM
Response to Original message
146. like democracy
the worst system there is, accept for all the rest.
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MissBrooks Donating Member (614 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 09:32 PM
Response to Original message
147. By the way - this was made possible because of Capitalism....Read on...
Gates foundation injects 750 million dollars for infant vaccination



GENEVA (AFP) - The foundation run by American computer software multi-billionaire Bill Gates (news - web sites) is to donate 750 million dollars (575 million euros) over 10 years for worldwide infant vaccination.


The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (news - web sites) said the money would go to the Geneva-based Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunisation (GAVI), a partner of the World Health Organisation.


"In just five years, GAVIs efforts have saved hundreds of thousands of childrens lives, and its work in the coming years will save millions more," said Bill Gates, founder and president of the software giant Microsoft.


"GAVI will use the funds announced today to support national immunization programs in 72 of the worlds poorest countries," he said in a statement. "Supporting childrens immunization is undoubtedly the best investment weve ever made."

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1508&u=/afp/2...
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eg101 Donating Member (371 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 07:18 AM
Response to Reply #147
155. now imagine if we taxed Gates like we should be taxing him
we could do a lot more with that money.
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ThorsHammer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #155
179. What would you propose (not flaming, just curious)?
My personal preference is for a lower (relative) income tax, and a much higher inheritance tax. In this particular either/or situation, I'd much rather take money from those who have not earned it (inheritance) than from those who have earned it (income). I'd set a reasonable exemption to provide for basic living and education for the heirs, with the remainder subject to a much higher tax. I don't mean to sound extreme here, but I think inherited wealth is a large problem and can lead to the stratification of society.

In Mr. Gates' case, I do believe that he is trying to give most of his money away and not leave zillions to his kids. Warren Buffet has done the same thing. In fact, he even charged his son a market rent for his farm. They do leave the kids some money, but it's not enough for them to live like rock stars.
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #147
158. Yes, and the basis for Gates' wealth came from socialism!
By that, I'm referring to the fact that Bill Gates made his fortune in computer operating systems and software. Now, where do you think the computer came from?

Do you think that some daring entrepreneur stood up one day and said, "I think I'm going to create this giant adding machine made of vacuum tubes that takes an entire room to house it! That will be something that the public will go crazy for, and it will make me a millionaire!"

Hardly. For some 25-30 years, the GOVERNMENT provided the funding for R&D on computers. Starting in the 70's, it also started a project called the "ethernet" for the Pentagon. This would allow defense computers to talk to each other and share information. Eventually, this "ethernet" became the "internet".

Now, I'm not one for penalizing entrepreneurship. However, I also think it's important to dispel this myth that entrepreneurs do everything on their own, and therefore they're entitled to vast sums of wealth -- when, in fact, most of the knowledge they use to accumulate profit has been paid for by the public as a whole.

Bill Gates is a smart man. I'm not diminishing that. But I think it's nothing more than the perpetuation of a dangerous myth to propose that he did all of this on his own. He wouldn't be where he is today if it weren't for billions of dollars in public funds over several decades.
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Finding Rawls Donating Member (234 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 11:26 AM
Response to Reply #158
162. Not to be a prick but. . .
you ignore the fact that the money the government spent on that research came from taxes which probably would have developed said technology sooner and at less cost.
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #162
166. Your argument is completely without merit.
Nobody in private industry would have touched work on computers with a 100' pole back in the 1950's. There was simply no profit to be made in it on the foreseeable horizon. But the government saw some applications for that research down the line, and therefore funded it.

Sure, private industry has done a great job of exploiting public investment for private profit, as it always does. But none of the later advances would have happened without the initial public investment in UNIVAC and its ilk.

Oh, yes... it's those evil taxes inhibiting innovation and entrepreneurship. I guess that argument holds up if you completely ignore that the period of the greatest economic expansion in our country's history (the post WWII boom) was also the period of highest marginal tax rates. It also holds up if you ignore the fact that Western European countries that experience higher taxations rates than the US (like Germany, for instance) also have significantly higher rates of self-employment (or, another term, entrepreneurship) than the United States.

Don't worry -- your statement on this doesn't make you sound like a prick. It just makes you sound woefully uninformed, and given to platitudes as statements of fact rather than reasoned arguements.
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Finding Rawls Donating Member (234 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #166
169. For a woefully uninformed person I believe
I can poke a few holes in your statement.

I'll grant you the fact that private industry wouldn't have touched computers in the 1950's, although it's a fairly outrageous statement, and I would still argue that with much lower rates of taxation, private industry would have made greater strides and our computer technology would be farther along.

As for the "greatest expansion in our country's history" coinciding with the highest marginal tax rates, it could be easily argued that with lower tax rates the growth would have been more expansive. There were so many factors at that period in time, that to attribute it to the high marginal tax rates is ridiculous. How about the fact that certain technologies had materialized at the time which allowed for more efficient transportation and communication.

Self-Employment does not equal entrepreneurship. If you really believe that, you are seriously confused. Many of those socialist democratic countries limit the number of people who can enter into certain industries thereby entrenching those individuals who already are certified or possess the proper license.

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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #169
171. Your arguments are still unpersuasive
As for the highest marginal tax rates, they are far from alone in propelling the post-war boom. One of the greatest reasons for it -- and, once again, this was a matter of PUBLIC SPENDING -- was the G.I. Bill. Where college was once the domain of the privileged, it now was open to members of the working class and working poor as well. The result was a massive expansion in the pool of educated workers, which led to increased innovation along with giving those new members of the expanding middle class more disposable income, which propelled the economy even further.

Of course, this expansion hit the skids eventually -- as John Kenneth Galbraith argues, because of the idea that "growth" is the wrong idea to be placed at the center of economic activity -- but it nonetheless had to do with massive public spending that had a positive effect. And yes, the money for this spending came from TAXES.

The fact that you're STILL arguing that the computer industry would have moved along FASTER in PRIVATE industry (without any reasoning outside of your own certainty in ideology) does not serve well to bolster your argument.

Finally, WRT self-employment vs. entrepreneurship, do you not think that every self-employed person is an entrepreneur of sorts? What is your dividing line between the two then? I would classify a young Bill Gates and Paul Allen as entrepreneurs the same as I would a Mexican immigrant who is self-employed mowing lawns and landscaping for a living, or the middle-aged woman who makes and sells crafts on her own. If you're going to say that they're NOT the same thing, then the least you can do is provide a definition of what classifies as an "entrepreneur" and what classifies as "self-employed".
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Wiley50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 12:13 PM
Response to Original message
174. Capitalism=Economic Darwinism
The Big fish exploit the smaller fish. When you get to the bottom, the smallest fish have no one to eat but each other.
Darwinism is OK as evolution but, sucks as a social and economic system
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mhr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 12:16 PM
Response to Original message
175. Unregulated Capitalism Will Be The Death Of The United States
eom
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Acryliccalico Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 12:49 PM
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181. EVERYTHING in moderation
need regulations. :dem:
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ArkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 01:03 PM
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182. The very best system would be Anrco-Syndicalism.
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