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What's wrong with capitalism?

VF500

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After hearing every lame excuse under the sun for why communism has never provided the same economic benefits as capitalism, why is everyone down on the free market system? Singapore is leading the way in Malaysia, South Africa has lead the way in Africa, Hong Kong and Japan have lead the way in Asia and what system are they all using? No matter what communist aplogizing professors say, capitalism will always out perform Socialism. Look what's happening in Europe right now. Those whining bed wetters are all upset because they're getting pulled off the govenments tit. Well, as Fats Domino sang, ain't it ashame. :roll:
 

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Except those east asian countries have their governments actively involved in their economies promoting the growth of key industries. They somewhat rejected the washington consensus and went their own path, even then still neoliberals will argue that it is neoliberal reasons for the growth of their economies, even to the protest of these governments themselves. So study a little before forming such a rock hard opinion.
 

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After hearing every lame excuse under the sun for why communism has never provided the same economic benefits as capitalism, why is everyone down on the free market system? Singapore is leading the way in Malaysia, South Africa has lead the way in Africa, Hong Kong and Japan have lead the way in Asia and what system are they all using? No matter what communist aplogizing professors say, capitalism will always out perform Socialism. Look what's happening in Europe right now. Those whining bed wetters are all upset because they're getting pulled off the govenments tit. Well, as Fats Domino sang, ain't it ashame. :roll:
The problems that I have with the idea of Capitalism are systemic problems, the way the system is set up.

Companies and corporations require more returns on profit than previous quarters, growing profit. We have reached a point in time where this is no longer possible via legal means in many cases and where illegal and monopolistic means are the shortest roads to higher profits. Almost every single company currently doing business in the American market has, at least once, been fined or otherwise penalized by the government for illegal actions. These actions taken as a direct means to either attain more profit or to avoid having to part with large sums of money that would negatively affect profit. Companies are forced to either die or do illegal or immoral actions to, in the words of their spokespeople, "Stay competitive." Many companies will publically own up to this if asked directly about why they have taken a particular course of action that is immoral (Illegal actions usually elicit denials and pass-offs of responsibility), the claim is made that it was to "keep the company competitive in a very competitive marketplace." When it has become an industry practice to cut corners wherever humanly possible, regardless of legal or moral implications, that is a symptom that something is very seriously wrong.

Marketing and the way products are presented is another sign. Marketing is an all-pervasive aspect of our lives. But only in the last decade or so have marketers run into a real problem. There are only so many places you can put a logo, only so much airtime you can buy, and only so many ads you can place. Advertising has to get clever to stay competitive, going to the lengths of inserting products into entertainment such as movies, music, and TV shows or even surreptitious product placement in our everyday lives. This gets taken to the VERY extreme of destruction of private property for advertising in the form of spyware, malware, and adware. Marketing has gotten to the point where the new ideas have all run out so the best that can be developed is to actually destroy the private property of other people to market one's products. This is leeching over into our cultural heritage as well, many things are now known by their corporate sponsor rather than their actual name.

This increasing demand for a spendy public is starting to manifest problems in our money as well. As almost everybody knows, it’s getting harder and harder to get by on a living wage. Minimum wage has risen by only a few dollars in the last decades whereas inflation has driven prices up exponentially. There has also been extremely novel new ways of spending money, allowing it to be spent even faster than before and in greater quantities and making it very easy to go into debt even if you are actively attempting to avoid going into debt. The cost of living has placed many necessary things such as health care, insurance, good legal representation, good schools, a good home, and decent food out of the reach of many people in America. Advertisers have enlisted the help of scientists, psychologists, sociologists, statisticians, even ordinary people, to help them sell their products as fast as possible and to as many people as possible.

Some people say "But the market evolves, it creates new products, its always moving, always going upwards." The deer with an arrow through its stomach staggers on a few more steps while trailing blood and intestines behind it. One should not confuse actual progress with the frantic scrambling of self-preservation. The market has had to develop not only new products, but new WANTS for consumers. Not only that, but they've had to SELL them to us, to convince us that, yes, we really do want seat warmers and air-cooled gloveboxes even though most of us had no need for these things before they arose and civilization will not be any better off for their actually being there. The market is struggling to come up with new things to sell and new ways to sell it to keep itself alive because if it stops for one second, it dies. BILLIONS of dollars every year is spent on R&D and marketing to make new products with goal being only to sell them and with no consideration if there is any actual need or desire for the product. Companies know that if the need isn't there, the desire can be MADE.

One of the biggest clues that the end is near for corporate America is the massive backsurgance against it and it's methodology. Mass protests and media dispersed all over the Internet that highlight companies wrongdoings and failings. These things are forcing companies to either shape up or face red ink. This new global communication is making it much more difficult for companies to hide information when all it takes is one determined blogger to spread the word of an illegal purchase or a court case a company wants kept quiet.

These are problems that we've never seen in our economic system before in this quantity and this pervasiveness. This is a problem and it needs to be taken care of as soon as humanly possible

One thing I hear frequently in regards to business or products that I dislike or find distasteful because they are made in an ethically compromising way or something about them makes me not want to buy them because I have concerns about the product is "Just dont buy it."

This attitude of "vote with your wallet" seems to be the democratic way. "The market will punish bad companies." But I was thinking about this today and...that doesn't seem very democratic at all.

The people with the greatest VITAL vested interest in many of these things dont have much money and therefore dont have as much "voting power". People WITH money are usually going to ignore ethical concerns about their products (unless its fashionable or you can get it cheaper by adressing them) and have MORE voting power and are thus going to "vote" (buy) in a way that supports them having to spend as little as possible while saving as much as possible.

This...seems fairly un-balanced and seems to protect the company that makes the cheapest stuff. I dont see the punishment that the market allegedly provides to corporations who do bad things.
 

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The problems that I have with the idea of Capitalism are systemic problems, the way the system is set up.
Interesting because the only real difference is private ownership. How does private ownership, which may be communal, individual, corporate, or otherwise, "creating" all of these things you believe are systemic problems? (they aren't).

Companies and corporations are required to stay competitive
Doesn't reality dictate the need to stay competitive or die? I saw that on Discover I think ;)
Sorry, don't blame that on capitalism. And isn't that in general a good thing? Look at the government owned analogy. Government officials choose to pay larger pensions to themselves. Oops, they don't have the budget...do they let the government die? No, they just tax you more. Cha ching. Now, one of these systems is fair, and one is not...surely you see that. I have choice on which goods and services I buy...I don't have a choice when it comes to government tax or in some cases, goods and services.

Marketing and the way products are presented is another sign.
Nonsense. That's normal market evolution. And while I sympathize with your hatred of marketing, I can only tell you what I do to avoid what annoys me:
DVR
No call list or screen calls
Listen to NPR
Use pay for service rather than free but w/spam/adverstisements
Flinch when you see the apple logo on a notebook PC in a Movie or during a TV show...that's about all you have to endure on a regular basis.

This increasing demand for a spendy public
People like to keep up with their neighbors, they like their toys. Don't blame capitalism. Look at dictatorships that didn't have capitalism. The only significant difference is that the wider public was legally denied their toys, and those very few in power indulged in them *at the expense* of the wider public. Which one of these is just?

And worse, who then had the power to check that government? Well, not the private sector because the government owned everything (!). That's what we corrected in the U.S., and what was adopted world-wide.

At most this is a cultural issue we need to solve, it's not an issue with capitalism. We can and do use government actively, to help this issue.

Companies know that if the need isn't there, the desire can be MADE.
I live well below my means, is it really that hard to do?

The people with the greatest VITAL vested interest in many of these things dont have much money and therefore dont have as much "voting power".
If it's legal, you can lobby for laws to make it illegal.
If it's legal and should be legal, but you just don't approve personally, then you should SUPPORT their right to exercise their own choice since you have the identical right to exercise your own choice.
 

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After hearing every lame excuse under the sun for why communism has never provided the same economic benefits as capitalism, why is everyone down on the free market system? Singapore is leading the way in Malaysia, South Africa has lead the way in Africa, Hong Kong and Japan have lead the way in Asia and what system are they all using? No matter what communist aplogizing professors say, capitalism will always out perform Socialism. Look what's happening in Europe right now. Those whining bed wetters are all upset because they're getting pulled off the govenments tit. Well, as Fats Domino sang, ain't it ashame. :roll:

And can you tell me even one single reason why someone should listen to anything someone has to say who has so little understanding of what both communism is and what Europe is like, that he claims Europe today is communist, or who advances silly anti-intellectual stereotypes like that of "communist apologizing professors"?

Maybe such absurd and idiotic generalizations like that pass as political discourse in today's America, but they are so completely lacking substance it's hard to base any argument or debate on. At best, you can use them as ammunition in a partisan mud-slinging competition.

If you want an answer, try again. You can certainly do better than that.
 

tacomancer

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After hearing every lame excuse under the sun for why communism has never provided the same economic benefits as capitalism, why is everyone down on the free market system? Singapore is leading the way in Malaysia, South Africa has lead the way in Africa, Hong Kong and Japan have lead the way in Asia and what system are they all using? No matter what communist aplogizing professors say, capitalism will always out perform Socialism. Look what's happening in Europe right now. Those whining bed wetters are all upset because they're getting pulled off the govenments tit. Well, as Fats Domino sang, ain't it ashame. :roll:

Because its not an either/or question. Once you acknowledge that little fact, most of the answers you have received become quite understandable and reasonable.
 
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If you want an answer, try again. You can certainly do better than that.

Alright.. I'll ask again then.

Define what most of Europe is, if it's different than capitalism and if you believe that free markets are wrong, why are they?
 

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Why are you conflictual didn't you read megas post? It's a mixed situation. Free markets are not wrong they make the world go around. However the free market cannot compensate for human interests. As in, nations are inclined to defend certain markets. Nobody here fundamentally is opposed to the free market.
 

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Alright.. I'll ask again then.

Define what most of Europe is, if it's different than capitalism and if you believe that free markets are wrong, why are they?

Europe is capitalist. Not an entirely free market utopia, or laissez-faire capitalism. But all EU countries have free market economies where private property, including private ownership of the means of production, are protected, and where markets allocate goods and resources. Most of the economy is run by private companies. The only difference to America is that most European countries have a little more social safety nets and wealth redistribution, that's all. It's because Europe is capitalist that many of its economies are among the most successful on this planet. Germany, France, Britain and Italy are among the top 10 world economies, the EU is the strongest united economy on this planet, and smaller countries like Switzerland or Luxemburg even have a higher GDP per capita than the US.

You overestimate the difference between Europe and the US. Neither is the USA an entirely free market, nor is Europe "socialist" or even "communist", but capitalistic as well. The only difference is that most Europeans spend a little more on social safety nets, that's all.

Free markets are not bad, on the contrary. They are very efficient. But sometimes, they show bad side effects. I believe it's the government's role to correct them. But by doing so, the government should not be too instrusive.

Communism in Europe ended in 1989/90, except maybe in Belarus. These communist countries had a completely different economic system than the US or Western Europe, or today's EU. In those countries, the entire economy was nationalized, private ownership of the means of production was not legal. The entire economy was run by the government and centrally planned, there were no private corporations, factories or businesses. That's communism.

Even a fully public health care system in the USA or Europe is tiny, incredibly insignificant to that and pales in comparison. Such a system would be just a mere fig leaf on capitalism, but certainly not "socialism", "Marxism" or even "communism".

The reason why the communist countries (Soviet Union and its satellites in Eastern Europe, including East Germany) were evil and not free was because they did not protect any constitutional civil and human rights, there were no free elections, the people was brutalized and oppressed by an omnipresent secret police that acted above the law, and there was no independent judicary. People could not influence the policies by voting. There was the constant fear the secret police would break into your home and make you disappear. When they attempted to escape, they were shot to death. That is why communism was evil, and why those countries were not free.

Public healthcare is not remotely the same thing. It's not something the government forces on its people, but something the people has ordered the government to do, by electing the according platform. That's the exact opposite. And it's reversible: If you disagree, you are free to vote against it. You can use free speech to make a point against it. And you are allowed to run for elections yourself. Nobody keeps you from doing that, no secret police will make you disappear and torture you, neither in Obama's America, nor in those European countries were there are even more social welfare systems. You are free. And if you still hate your country, you are free to leave.

This freedom did not exist in communist countries. But it does exist in today's EU and in the USA, and Obama does not even dream about changing that in his wildest dreams.
 
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I've never once believed that the US is a freer economy than others. Matter of fact, discovering how unfree the US markets are has been quite the disenchanging revalation.

Free markets are not bad, on the contrary. They are very efficient. But sometimes, they show bad side effects. I believe it's the government's role to correct them. But by doing so, the government should not be too instrusive.

Perhaps, but it seems to be that the only way the government can "correct" the markets is if they do become too instrusive. I assume these bad side effects you talk about is when the market becomes unfree when markets begin to coerce others. In this case I agree that a government(should one must exist) or a private legal consortium or a free market advocacy association of some kind may intervene. As oxymornic as it may be, the free market relies on people to follow rules in order for the market to stay free. This is my interpretation of what bad side effects are. Perhaps you meant something else?

In those countries, the entire economy was nationalized, private ownership of the means of production was not legal. The entire economy was run by the government and centrally planned, there were no private corporations, factories or businesses. That's communism.

So public administration and ownership and central planning is basis for something that is marxist right?

Even a fully public health care system in the USA or Europe is tiny, incredibly insignificant to that and pales in comparison. Such a system would be just a mere fig leaf on capitalism, but certainly not "socialism", "Marxism" or even "communism".

Is there any private ownership in the NHS? Are there not price controls? Aren't these services provided and distributed equally to the citizens? Perhaps this may not make a nation socialist but it most certainly makes an industry socialist doesn't it? Or must private alternatives be abolished in order for it to be so?

Public healthcare is not remotely the same thing. It's not something the government forces on its people, but something the people has ordered the government to do
I cannot agree with this statement. Socialism is socialism whether or not is voluntary or by force especially if it's paid by legalized extortion(taxes). The democratic process does not make it "more free" to me.

And if you still hate your country, you are free to leave.

I am free to leave but doing so would be futile since there is no voluntarist libertarian society unbound by any state for me to move to. I am even told this by my fellow Americans. Democracy and difference in opinion is fine so long as we all agree to be ruled by an elected minority.

I do not know how to categorize US and European economies other than saying that they are mixed-economies and aspects of capitalism and socialism do exist in both. My biases however make me more enclined to kneejerk towards the notion that we are more socialist than we are capitalist. Knowing this makes me understand how marxists can view "the West" as being capitalist since their sense of justice is magnified towards what they believe what constitutes aggression much like mine is.

I'm happy that in this discussion we didn't get bogged down by definitions.
 

spud_meister

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Wasn't it Trotsky who said "Communism is forced equality, Capitalism is forced inequality"; either form unfettered is a recipe for disaster.
 

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Except those east asian countries have their governments actively involved in their economies promoting the growth of key industries. They somewhat rejected the washington consensus and went their own path, even then still neoliberals will argue that it is neoliberal reasons for the growth of their economies, even to the protest of these governments themselves. So study a little before forming such a rock hard opinion.

You say Communists aren't smart enough to realize what works? So unlke the free market system, maybe being capricious, impulsive and unpredictable, like Mao, Stalin, Chavez, and all the rest, isn't the way to run a country. Gee, I feel so bad for them. Let's give them the U.S. so they can screw us up too. :lamo
 

VF500

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Wasn't it Trotsky who said "Communism is forced equality, Capitalism is forced inequality"; either form unfettered is a recipe for disaster.
See, the fettering comes from free market systems that keep a country away from disasters. It's when the government bureaucrats try "managing" everything that it goes straight to Shiit.

And wasn't it Trotsky who ended up with an ice ax in the back of his head in Mexico City? Communists are such peaceful people. Death of Trotsky | 1940-1949 | Guardian Century
 

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See, the fettering comes from free market systems that keep a country away from disasters. It's when the government bureaucrats try "managing" everything that it goes straight to Shiit.

Tambien no tiene sentido...
 

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And wasn't it Trotsky who ended up with an ice ax in the back of his head in Mexico City? Communists are such peaceful people.

Excellent point. Because Trotsky was murdered it invalidates everything he believed in. Besides, we all know that nobody ever died at the hands of a capitalist or because of their interests.
 
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Excellent point. Because Torysky was murdered it invalidates everything he believed in. Besides, we all know that nobody ever died at the hands of a capitalist or because of their interests.

Union Carbide ...
Nestle baby milk ...
PG&E...
 

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It isn't capitalism or socialism that causes the problems. It's selfishness that does. Be it greedy corporations, greedy capitalist politicians, greedy socialist politicians... People who use their power to reap benefits at the expensive of others are the problem. There is nothing inherently wrong with allowing a free market to determine economics. But let's not kid ourselves. The US hardly has a free market. We allow advertising to lie to us, refuse to educate our children so they're smart enough to see through the lies, and we permit all sorts of pain to be caused in the name of profit. Not to mention the influences of special interests (specifically large corporations) often dictate or influence our laws, almost entirely for the purpose of generating additional profit.

There is little difference between Stalin trampling on the rights of people in the Soviet Union to increase his own power, and Goldman Sachs masterminding the sub-prime mortgage system to swindle people and then later kick them out of their homes with help from the banks. Powerful people using their power to increase that power and acquire more wealth to the detriment of otherwise innocent people.

Now, I personally believe that laws, regulations, checks, and balances are the only means by which to stop selfish people from hurting others. Law is the means by which to protect the public from the private, and the private from the public. When profit and protection collide, good people choose protection. That's not truly determined by socialism or capitalism, but the ideals of a free market do not tend to provide these protections. A communist system, ideally, would.
 

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It isn't capitalism or socialism that causes the problems. It's selfishness that does. Be it greedy corporations, greedy capitalist politicians, greedy socialist politicians... People who use their power to reap benefits at the expensive of others are the problem.
The problem is our system ENCOURAGES and REWARDS this kind of selfishness.
 

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The problem is our system ENCOURAGES and REWARDS this kind of selfishness.
The U.S. economy does no such thing, if you can back your nonsense bombs, don't drop them please. How are politicians so corrupt in some many countries, and throughout history, irrespective of "capitalism"? Why is corruption so much better in the U.S. than so many other less developed nations?

And factually, betray behavior is a function of humans in society, and it is encouraged by reality, not capitalilism. And, the U.S. system (and similar modern systems of other countries) encourages and rewards COOPERATION on a national scale like never seen before in history. We put people on the god damn moon son.

When profit and protection collide, good people choose protection. That's not truly determined by socialism or capitalism, but the ideals of a free market do not tend to provide these protections. A communist system, ideally, would.
No, they don't. Modern medicine, using life and quality of life as analagous to "profit", routinely works the firm understanding that it's a spectrum, and often it's up to the individual on what is best. Some people want protective treatment at the cost of profit (quality of life). Some prefer quality of life without treatment, even if their expected lifespan is less. That doesn't even broach the subject of the power necessary to "protect everyone from everything", that then raises the question on who could possibly protect you from such a power communist ruling faction (historically, revolution, collapse, conquest, etc.)
 
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The U.S. economy does no such thing, if you can back your nonsense bombs, don't drop them please. How are politicians so corrupt in some many countries, and throughout history, irrespective of "capitalism"? Why is corruption so much better in the U.S. than so many other less developed nations?
Because we encourage it. Corruption makes people fabulously rich and our society teaches us that we need to get to the top at all costs. Ruthlessness and an "ends justify the means" attitude is considered a plus in the corporate world AND when you consider the scale in which companies will take illegal actions to save money, you see that we encourage gain at all costs.

And factually, betray behavior is a function of humans in society, and it is encouraged by reality, not capitalilism. And, the U.S. system (and similar modern systems of other countries) encourages and rewards COOPERATION on a national scale like never seen before in history.
It encourages monopolistic cooperation. If a small group can cooperate to sucker people out of money, that's considered a brilliant business move.

We put people on the god damn moon son.
And yet we still cant manage to make sure everyone in a first world country has clean water and food. I'll be more impressed if we can do that.
 

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Which is anti-free market, just so we're clear.
No, actually it isnt. Bare-knuckles economics is as free-market as you can get.

If you want the best example we have of a free market, rewind to the turn of the century. No labor or consumer protection laws, no quality standards, virtually no rules.
 

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Because we encourage it. Corruption makes people fabulously rich and our society teaches us that we need to get to the top at all costs.
Who taught you that? Did the NYSE software turn AI and raise you from a petri dish or something?
What school did you attend? Did your parents teach you that?
Schools I went to had maybe one freaking worthless class that directly involved capitalism discussion, Civics. The rest was English, Sciences, History, PE, Arts, Mathematics, from 3rd through 12th grade. I believe you are wholesale making this stuff up based on the evidence of my own years in the U.S.


Ruthlessness and an "ends justify the means" attitude is considered a plus in the corporate world AND when you consider the scale in which companies will take illegal actions to save money, you see that we encourage gain at all costs.
Companies operate under their own culture, rules, etc. You are stereotyping. Really, let's come up with a word that is equivalent to racism but against corporations, because that's what you're doing. I know many private companies that operate with visions, rules, tradition, that are utterly good and compassionate. I know really stellar CEOs that put us lesser humans to shame in how much burden they take on and how much they do for their communities.

It encourages monopolistic cooperation. If a small group can cooperate to sucker people out of money, that's considered a brilliant business move.
Reality encourages that for pete's sake man. We have anti-trust laws for a reason. You do understand that in a system where say, the government not only has legal authority, but also owns means of production, that's a monopoly the likes of which we can't even begin to experience in the U.S. You know, the types that destroyed civilizations, or collapsed them from within.

But honestly, how are you net worse off right now, because of this "perceived phenomenon"? Really how? NET worse off.
You pay 30c more per gallon of milk. Oh no! But you just got food/shelter/transportation/entertainment so fast that you have leisure time to complain about it and actually spend time complaining about 30c on a gallon of milk.

And yet we still cant manage to make sure everyone in a first world country has clean water and food. I'll be more impressed if we can do that.
Bill gates has done more for that cause than anyone on earth in human history, as a direct result of capitalism. You need to get evidence to support your fictional notions.
Furthermore, the truth is, most people really don't care to provide clean water and food to everyone on earth. Not that it's not somewhere on their hierarchy of priorities...it's somewhere below "posting about stuff on debate forums".
 
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No, actually it isnt. Bare-knuckles economics is as free-market as you can get.
If you want the best example we have of a free market, rewind to the turn of the century. No labor or consumer protection laws, no quality standards, virtually no rules.

That approaches anarchy, not free market. Free market principles require something to keep them in place. We use government.
 
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