You guys crack me up!


Nothing like discussing the elements of Sssssocialism as compared to capitalism and everything else. Sheesh! Hey everybody! Here's the deal from my end (try reading this as if narrated by Eric Idle):

Capitalism is essentially an institutionalised extention of natural law. Money (be it colored pieces of paper or shiny metal objects) are a means to an end, and only serve as a universal source of worth (you know, so we don't have to keep trading goats and all that anymore). Granted, such a "dog eat cat eat mouse" system DOES kinda suck if you are the mouse, but what do you expect? Nature did this billions of years ago, we just gave it a name.

Regardless, capitalism IS as good as it gets, being that it is based upon value and worth, be it what you already have or what you are able to acquire and/or develop (hence going to school to learn photography, film making, accounting, medicine, etc. so one can get ye high-paying career and get laid by beautiful ladies even if one looks like Russ Meyer).
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Socialism (and every variant thereof: communism, feudalism, etc) are only as good as the homo sapiens who guide/control the belief. Hence, it is only a matter of time before said systems collapse in on their own weight or become uber-corrupt (ie: like the Romans), due to the lack of accountability and self-imposed morality. Either the morality becomes too high, thus Jihads and Crusades and mass exterminations... er, cleansings, or the morality itself becomes an enemy and thus the society becomes self-serving and animalistic, whereupon you have crusades against the crusaders and mass exterm... er, cleansings once again (ie: again, the Romans).
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It all comes down to ANIMAL NATURE (or what Christians would call "original sin"... so yes, even Christians acknowledge evolution in a roundabout way) versus HUMAN THOUGHT.
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Socialists always LUV to spout such platitudes such as "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one", or "steal from the rich to give to the poor". Okay, fair enough. But who is going to DEFINE the words in these arguments, much less the arguments themselves? What "needs" need to be taken from the one to benefit the many? Just who are the rich, and who are the poor? And who in bloody hell is going to be the %@^^#@@ to decide who is who and do the stealing? Isn't it always interesting that the middle man/woman doing the stealing and giving SOME (if any) of what they stole to the poor are usually pretty damn rich themselves (John Kerry AND George Bush.. hell, ALL of them for that matter)?

This is why Socialism always fails. Sooner or later animal nature WILL get the better of anyone who has damn near omnipotent power without any limits other than what they impose on themselves. Being that most people are inherently selfish (hence their hatred for Capitalism UNTIL they win the lottery that is), the poor will naturally flock towards socialism because they have nothing to lose, and the rich will flock towards socialism (as well as the high minded) because they see it as a means of controlling the poor and keep them from using the same methods THEY used to become rich (hence, Ben Affleck knocks down Harrison Ford, who knocks down Charlton Heston, who knocks down Tyrone Power). In other words: cut through the BS high-mindedness, and it all comes down to SELF-PRESERVATION.

(a good example of this are movies like THE FAMILY MAN, SWEET HOME ALABAMA, etc where the story is: successful middle-aged man/woman finds success soulless and has a chance to go back to their "fly-over country" roots and start anew, where family means more than money and they live happily ever after. Translation: all you po-dunk *beep* have it good changing tires, etc. and Hollywood/ Wall Street isn't what it is cracked up to be so STAY WHERE YOU ARE BECAUSE YOU DON'T REALIZE JUST HOW GOOD YOU GOT IT. Awwww, how sweet).

Most Socialist states revolve around freedom of pleasure and freedom from pain, hence "free healthcare", "complete privacy of drug/sex/video game use", "free food", "free room and board", etc (you know, benevolent NAZIsm.. like STAR TREK - dig those red and black uniforms!). Problem is: NONE OF IT IS FREE! Everything always has a price, and if you aren't paying for it, then someone else is. And this is even before anyone begins to QUESTION anything. That is when the fun begins, isn't it my fellow Socialists?

Say what you will, such fights over "the Fifteen (CRASH)... Ten..Ten Commandments" and "the Pledge of Allegiance" aren't really over these things being "offensive" now is it? How can GOD be offensive, whether you believe in such a being or not (you know, human face given to sum-total of GOODNESS... you know, as in NOT EVIL)? It seems to me that it is competition itself that disturbs socialists, especially when one competes/questions socialism itself. I mean, if you're all going to get this upset over something that has been a part of the US culture for 50 years or longer with no visibly negative side effect AND something so insignificant as the TEN (not 10,000) commandments and pledge of allegiance, then one can only imagine what socialists would do to someone who REFUSED to pay taxes to a corrupt socialist government (being that taxes aren't exactly a CAPITALIST idea, you know).

Oh, wait a minute.. we DO know what you do. You put those people in jail. So much for freedom of choice and all that.


So dare to dream, my fellow socialites. Such a system will never work as long as we are made of flesh and blood.
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now computers on the other hand....

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Actually, socialism seems to be working pretty well in Venezuela. Chavez has a 70 plus percent approval rating, unlike our lame-duck president, with only 36 percent. And, it is possible to have a socialist-like setting that is also supportive of capitalism (Canada). You shouldn't be so black and white.

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Lol, Lame duck? You watch too much Fareneheit.

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Um, Lame duck is an accurate description of Bush. The definition of a lame duck politician is a politician who cannot run for re-election at the end of his term. He is considered lame-duck, because he doesn't have the power he has if he was re-running. Maybe you need to hit the US Government books and educate yourself.

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Uhh. No you're wrong. Lame Duck means a politican who has lost the next election but is still in office.

Get it right or pay the price. What's the price? Looking like an idiot on IMDB message boards.

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If you don't know what the term "lame duck" means, then perhaps you should at least look the term up before you start pretending like you know what you're talking about and correcting people who actually do know what they're talkaing about. The term "lame duck" most definitely applies to a person ineligible to run for re-election due to term limits. Use a freaking dictionary next time.

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[deleted]

[deleted]

I CAN deny that... but it would make me look like an idiot.

P.S. I hate your signature too. Snoogans.

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Venezuela?!?!

You are actually trying to judge success based on the approval ratings of the ignorant populous? Please tell me you are joking! Yeah, there's no poverty in Venezuela....no citizens being "left behind" there!

Good Grief!!

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Ignorant populous? You must not spend too much time watching what's going on in your own country.

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Hey, it's spelled "Populace," and Hugo Chavez is a mad man, our President is a inarticulate cowboy and, technically, a lame duck is a president who is completing a term of office and chooses not to run or is ineligible to run for reelection.

It's just a movie. If you want to get really emotional, you should check out "Reds" from 1981.



"I never drink...wine."

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Exactly Zack0708. Canada is a prime example of how a strong Capitalistic society can also be socially responsible. That balance is what makes a country great to live in.

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Capitalism is essentially an institutionalised extention of natural law.

The most basic of natural laws is that things evolve and change. Naturally capitalism is not essentially anything as nothing natural is beyond change. There is no essence within natural law, which is to say that everything is subject to changes.

There is no natural law that makes it so a product must be sold at a profit and that money has value, which are the central tenets of capitalism. Capitalism is a human concept that is not a necessary part of the human animal. It's was happenstance, not a certainty, that we developed it and it's due to our cooperation that it works, if at all.

Regardless, capitalism IS as good as it gets

Capitalism is not as good as it gets.

The truth of capitalism is that it's a way to compel people to work, against their will, which it would seem is a necessary evil.

The dream of capitalism is that everyone can be rich and that it levels the playing field making everyone equal. But if everyone were rich then what value would your money have? Who would you pay, if everyone were rich, to clean toilets? For capitalism to work there have to be poor people to do the work that no one, including them, wants to do

Socialism (and every variant thereof: communism, feudalism, etc) are only as good as the homo sapiens who guide/control the belief..

The same is true of any economic or political system. There is nothing natural about capitalism. It may work or not work, but to say it's a certainty to work because it's a natural law makes absolutely no sense. Unless your arguing that humans can't, no matter what they try, make capitalism stop working, then you'll agree with me on that point if none other.

It all comes down to ANIMAL NATURE

Animal nature is not necessarily to compete against it's own species. Human nature is most certainly not.

What "needs" need to be taken from the one to benefit the many?

Nothing needs to be taken from rich or anyone else. The rich are not generating their wealth in a vacuum. Simply, less needs to be taken, not more. less needs to be taken from the poor and rich and everyone between. What you're talking about is not capitalism, it's greed. Greed does not work in a capitalist system. And here's why:

A candy bar, from manufacturing to sale, costs approximately 1/3 to 1/4 of what you pay for it at the register. The remaining 2/3 to 3/4 is a completely artificial profit. The value of the dollar, which is central to the capitalist system, is based on what can be purchased and for how little. When a candy bar cost a penny, and now costs a dollar, that's a roughly 100% decrease in the value of that dollar. Reduce the profit and suddenly the dollar has more value. Like if you only had to pay 40 cents for that same candy bar.

Greed, which is what artificially inflating the profit on a product is, ruins the capitalist market. It devalues the dollar. But business doesn't care about capitalism. If this we're a feudal system the same types of people would just be land owners and dukes, or if this were a communist system they would be party members or farm owners.

We institute these systems to make life easier. But when they're exploited it just ends up defeating the people who trust them and should, by all that's sane, be the ones who reap the rewards. Capitalism, taken to the extreme you're talking about, doesn't work in any sense. It both defeats itself and doesn't make life easier for people, regardless of the few hundred or so that do seem to be enjoying their plundering of it.

What you seem to be arguing for is unchecked greed. Good luck with that.

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Norman, you make some good points. Some friends and I spend a lot of time arguing about various forms of gov't, plato's cycle of gov't, etc.

But I think that all of these arguments ignore one base fact: why are we subject to government at all?

I was born in America; I support our gov't, and I think that things definately aren't perfect, they are pretty damn good, especially compared to other governments, past and present.

But why am I subject to American laws? I never agreed to it. I never signed anything that said: "I agree to abide by the laws of the United States of America."

I would not be opposed to signing such a document, but in the mean time, how does the government have power over us that we didn't give it?

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Simply: because America is a (sorta) democracy, and the masses have spoken (kinda). You don't have to believe in American laws, you have to follow them because they exist -- when in Rome, so to speak. Would you expect to sign such a document when you visited another country?

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If you guys want to read a good book on the debates about capitalism when it was being formed, try "The Passions and the Interest"

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You do sign such a document when you visit another country, it's called your Passport. As for America, you don't have to agree to anything. You just have to serve your punishment if you don't.

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i read it in eric idle's voice while singing the words you wrote to the tune of "always look on the bright side of life". pretty impressive, huh?

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I think you have a different notion of the term "socialism" than I have. Socialism and capitalism go very well together. Just look at the USA, the epicenter of capitalism, and quite socialistic. or look at Belgium, very socialistic, best welfare system in the world, and a fairly capitalistic industrialised country. Socialism is not communism, it's about protecting the weak.

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I never ceased to be amazed at how little people know about Socialism in the US. Joseph McCarthy did a great job, I have to credit him. You have a completely warped view of Socialism.

Socialism is not dead by a long shot. They are good chees players in Russia and in chess you can win by sacrificing some of your pieces, the opponent looks very happy and takes the queen, but finds himself chess mate in the next few draws. That is the cold war, right there. The Russians chose to abolish communism and open up the country for foreign capital, because today they have to play the global economic free market game. Now they have harmonised the political and economic systems in all former communist countries with the European mixed economy, and the Socialists are still in power.

They had to accept some of the rules of capitalist free market economy, but they're gaining a lot. Foreign capital is flowing into the former communist countries, Eastern Europe and other poor places. Capital flows out of USA and other rich countries and factories are built in poorer countries. This makes the material levels more equal all over the world, this is a good effect.

Note that Latin America is no longer in the hands of USA. Now they can be Socialists, and can even nationalise foreign industries without being invaded by USA. The US looks officially stronger than ever, and they have won the cold war. But if we look at real effects in the world USA has lost power, and is losing the respect of the world.

Two small parts of the world, USA and the middle east are culturally backward, violent and religious cultures, and now they are fighting each other. The big part of the world is living in peace. Europe, ex-Soviet union, China and India are the big part of the world, and we are building the society of the future in Eurasia. When we are the one's in power, where the Capitalists were before, THEN we'll see if Socialism works or not.


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""I never ceased to be amazed at how little people know about Socialism in the US. Joseph McCarthy did a great job, I have to credit him. You have a completely warped view of Socialism.""

QFT!

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Nothing new. The more people talk (especially lecture) about their opinions, the less they usually know about it. As an example just take party talk. Have you ever heard a doctor chat about medical details, or a social worker about criminals?

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To the original poster:

You bring up some interesting points about capitalism vs. socialism and a few years ago I would have argued very strongly towards socialism. I will agree with you now, that Capitalism could be one of the best systems for a fair way of life: given a few caveats:

1) What we have today (in the USA or in Canada - my home country) is not capitalism. You assume that everyone who works hard will move up the economic ladder. Imagine you have two people: one, a white male born into a wealthy family, who can afford the best schools and has the ability to put their children into contact with powerful people. The second person is a black female (genetically destined to be a lesbian) born to a single mother addicted to crack and on welfare, living in the worst neighbourhood in the country. Now, I'm not saying the black female is not going to amount to anything (she most certainly could beat the odds) and that the white male will become president of the USA (it's probably easier to beat those odds), but I'd have a hard time believing anyone who says that these two people start off equally. There are several issues that keep people down, including a (lack of) inherited wealth, prejudices, and (lack of) opportunities. Given equal opportunities I think hard work should be an indicator of success.

2) Adam Smith (often misunderstood) did not advocate for a small government and no taxes. Read up on him a bit and you'll see that the man who first suggested the "invisible hand" believed in taxing the rich more than the poor. He is also misquoted as saying that people acting in their self-interest is always good. The truth is that he argued that it is not always bad (and I'm sure most people could agree).

To say a bit more about taxes, I just want to point out the purpose for certain taxes. Here's the bit that's going to make you think I'm a hippy. Carbon taxes have a few purposes, but the economic purpose is simple: the tax interalizes an externality which is very relevant. When a gas company sells you gas, you pay for the extraction, refining, etc. and you give them a bit for profit. But the gas costs much more than that to the world. We pay for the environmental damage caused in it's use from extraction to burning in your vehicle (and probably until the CO2 gets converted back into Oxygen, etc. through photosynthesis). By placing a tax on this, we see a truer (depending on the amount of the tax) cost of gasoline and thus our choices are guided that way. The taxes are there because everyone who buys gas (well, most people) or decides to drive instead of walk/bike/run/take the bus, only looks at the dollar amount. Thus taxes are a part of capitalism (which actually keeps the system going longer I would argue). As a side note on carbon taxes. The idea would then be that if a carbon tax were implemented, other taxes (income tax?) would be reduced - in theory.

3) Another issue with capitalism is land (at least to me). Like the carbon taxes I talked about, most companies can buy land and do pretty much whatever they want to it (mine it to death, farm it to death, etc.). Capitalism does not have anything in it to stop an uneducated person (or an educated person for that matter) to destroy their soil/land/etc. in a few years time in order to get higher profits now.

In summary of my post: Capitalism can work, but must have socialist elements to level the playing field (though we could debate for much longer what actually does this - some radical thinkers might suggest removing parental influence from children and standardizing child rearing as everyone would have an equal opportunity to do well.... hmmm... sounds like an old idea). I think someone else said it somewhere on this board pretty well though: if everyone bases their decisions on greed and personal success over everyone else then the world would not be a happy place. This movie (Bulworth) was all about trying to get people to rethink the world.... Please try not to think of capitalism as right wing and socialism as left wing (what do you really mean by all that - how can you sum up all of your views in a single phrase)... I think common sense needs to prevail sometime or things could get much worse....

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Win. Just win.

That's hilarious. Especially using Mr. Idle's voice. All we need now are those two peasants from Holy Grail making comments and we would have ourselves a skit.

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