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Forums > Social Discussion > Capitalism and Democracy VS any viable alternatives in the world today

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flid
BRONZE Member since Aug 2002

flid

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Warwickshire

Total posts: 3136
Posted:I predict that this thread will either be very small, or very long. If it's the latter, I appologise in advance smile



It's a spur off from Music Copying & Sharing / Right or Wrong? which started going off topic a bit off topic along the lines of it's ok to comit copyright, because big artists have enough money already. To quote:



Written by: Sethis
I don't honestly see why rich people can't just make a few million, put it in the bank and *not* buy sports cars, 8 houses and develope a coke habit. I mean, OK maybe they deserve to enjoy their money that they put effort into making, but most of them are just stupid with it. Who, when you get right down to it, actually *needs* an 8 bedroom boat? What's the point? Why have more than one car? Why have more than *at the most* two houses? Why not give some of the money to other people?





Personally I'm happy to live in a capitalist society. I don't see comunisism as being dirty or something to be feared, I've just yet to see it work as it should. It's a nice idea, but I'm not sure it's a viable alternative to capitalism. I have an average graduate job on an average wage for where I live, I earn more than i need to survive which i spend on stuff I like: computers, shiny kitchenware, hifi etc. I try to lead a life which has as little negitive impact on others as I can (I'm vegan, my entire appartment only has vegan products and furniture in, I recycle some things, don't waste plastic (if stuff i buy from the supermarket doesn't fit in my rucksack then 9 times out of 10 i carry the rest as in my hands), I use public transport more than average, etc), helping others where and when i can.



It's capitalism in it's extremes where the problem for me comes in. When people or corperations have stupidly large amounts of money, which could really help a lot of people in desperate need. I guess my idea of how to deal with capitalism in it's extremes is income tax, council tax, death duty and corperation tax, all of which we currently have in the UK. I do think that it's a bit outdated thou, that the current thresholds are set wrong. I have no problems with people working hard, earning lots of money and enjoying it, but i think the level of taxation on earning over x pounds a year should be set so as it is still an insentive, but you can't get stupidly rich without others benefitting more.



Thoughts? I'm not adding a poll to the thread, because I don't think there are clear cut answers


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Durbs
BRONZE Member since Sep 2001

Durbs

Classically British
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England

Total posts: 5688
Posted:Written by: Aryth

I know that not everyone can understand where a communist approach would work for example motivation to do the fundametally higher paid jobs which is why it would work, in that people who were not motivated would go out and get easy no training no thinking jos to make life easy for themselves. Conversley though other people would train for a job that required a great deal of skill simply for personal reward and self satisfaction.



Ah, but as the title of the thread says - we're talking about a realistic solution in todays world.

Even in a best-case scenario - your above reasoning would leave many, many key posts un-filled.
As it is - your above reasoning is pretty accurate - people with a lot of drive and motivation (and to some extent, with the right means) get the high-flying jobs. Those that are happy to do a "no training, no thinking" job, do. The only difference is that generally salaries reflect this, and thus so do that perons lifestyle.


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flid
BRONZE Member since Aug 2002

flid

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Warwickshire

Total posts: 3136
Posted:Written by: Sethis
No, please READ the post. I said 6 months of every year *doing* each job. Training takes as long as it takes.





Easy tiger. You said they have 2 jobs, and spend 6 months of every year *doing* each job. I'm no mathematician, but I interpriated that as doing one job half a year, another job the other. You said that training is done at school under the uber education system.



Written by: Sethis
And your student loan will be reduced when we put more money into education. Therefore the benefits of having it canceled are lessened.





where does all this money come from? If we want the standard of living we're used to, i.e. having lots of luxury products, we need to spend money on them. I don't think saying to people in the world today they can't have these things anymore that they've see it as being a viable alternative. Who decides which things are luxury and which are not? Do people who decide they want something that's not sanctioned have to get it on the black market that was made in another country?



Written by: Ayrth
sufficient





sorry to nit pick on single words, but this for me sums it all up. I don't want to just have things which are sufficient, i want to have the choice to work harder and have more than basic.



Written by: Ayrth
Why do you need more? After all, all you need to know is how to diagnose conditions, then the chemists can prescribe the correct treatment.





I'm not a medical professional, but i'm sure there's a bit more to it than that. I wouldn't like to have an operation done by someone whose done 2 extra modules at school and spends the other half of their time litter picking.



Written by: Sethis
Flid, it's good that you're doing your best to boycott business' with bad practices, but can I ask you some things? Do you own a car? Do you put petrol in it? Do you own a TV or Computer? Do you watch films? Do you listen to music?





Sure. I own a car, I've never put petrol in it, because I haven't got my liscence yet smile. When I do I'll be researching the best places to get petrol for it, and most likely continue to use public transport for long journeys (I've gotten to 24 without driving, but now want the option of going places off public transport routes). I own both TVs and computers, I also work in industrial computing. I watch films. I listen to music (although my tastes arn't exactly mainstream).



Written by: Sethis
Please don't get the wrong impression, I'm not trying to insult you, or criticise





that's ok smile



I don't mind using myself as an example, but there's plenty of posts I've made in the past about the finer points of my own lifestyle, which is straying a bit from the topic of this thread.


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Sethis
BRONZE Member since Mar 2017

Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University

Total posts: 1762
Posted:Sorry, I appear to still have confused you. When I say 2 jobs, I mean they spend X amount of time doing one job, then Y amount of time doing the other. 6 months is just an arbitrary figure, it could be more or less.

The training for each job is accelerated, because you get training (where applicable) while you're doing your other job. So if you want to be a doctor, you spend 4 years at Uni, during which you'll either be doing another job part time, or you will be training for your other job. People who have two unskilled jobs will simply alternate, because they will not need to go to Uni. Remember that this is their choice. They can *choose* to go into further training for a skilled job, or simply do two unskilled ones.

Remember that this is entirely on personal choice. Some people like academia, other people don't. Although the pay is the same for all jobs, hard working jobs will have other concessions. People with stressful jobs will get more time off, people with physically demanding jobs will have additional money to spend on food as well as compensation for accidents.

As for your point about luxury, and what is sufficient, then I would say look at the numbers of people who *don't* have sufficient. Approx 3 billion at the last count I think it was... If you've got more than enough food to feed your family then you're automatically living better than half the population of the planet. I personally, and I think you would too, wouldn't mind living a bit harder if it meant helping so many other people.

But again, none of this is viable, because the Western Capitalist countries will never let the 3rd world develop to the point where it becomes competition. It's much more profitable to exploit them.

Basically, if you gave me an island, and filled it with like minded people, then I'm pretty sure we could get a version of communism to work. But it won't happen. So how can you limit the discussion to what is "viable"? Capitalism doesn't appreciate competition.


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
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flid
BRONZE Member since Aug 2002

flid

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Warwickshire

Total posts: 3136
Posted:I don't have time to reply properly now as I'm meant to be leaving for work in 9 minutes and haven't gotten dressed yet



Written by: Sethis
Basically, if you gave me an island, and filled it with like minded people, then I'm pretty sure we could get a version of communism to work.





Have you considered invading Sealand? smile


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Birgit
BRONZE Member since Jan 2005

Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh

Total posts: 4145
Posted:Given that there's currently not enough work for everyone, and given that one of the ideas is to stop having so much stuff we don't need, I don't think there'll be 2 jobs for everyone. Except if you do go for communism and pay 25 binmen to do the jobs of 10. In which case it's really good that the doctors are part-time binmen cause there won't be enough money left to treat lots of patients... excuse the sarcasm, I've just had a crap day of NHS experience and I dread what it would be like if the system was even worse.

As to having communes next to society, I've been to a few kibbuzim in Israel and equality never quite seemed to work there either. It was a bit more subtle and you'd not realise it until you'd see someone's house from inside for example.


"vices are like genitals - most are ugly to behold, and yet we find that our own are dear to us."
(G.W. Dahlquist)

Owner of Dragosani's left half

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Pyrolific
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Total posts: 3289
Posted:Well - I think the human race is going to have to modify their expectations and behaviors if we are to survive in any numbers and at any decent standard of living. Capitalism the way it is practiced today is *not* sustainable.



Democracy I think should be abandoned as a label for the form of government we see today in 'western' countries, as it is so far from what it actually was first intended to mean that it's now meaningless.



The massively invasive 'Democracies' of the world (US, UK, Australia, etc) have all proved that they are in no way ruled by their people which is what democracy actually refers to. Living in a time when the only say you get is to choose between bad and worse in government (even if you believe that the actual democratic process isnt a scam anyhow which it certainly is in some places) and the majority of people make decisions on who to vote for on the basis of outmoded and simplistic political beliefs. Beliefs which are manipulated and encouraged by media dominated by a tiny little ruling class in cohoots with big business and government.



People should think about what they are defending when they are passing off (what is IMHO) a defeatist attitude in the form of questions like <edit> 'please suggest a viable alternative' </edit>, when you know full well that Capitalism wins because it promotes cheating and unneccessary resource hording at every level. If you use ecosystems as an example what we need is balance. I see Capitalism like an introduced weed, a species that decimates the eco-system and can eventually cause upset of the natual balance of the area. It *unneccessarily* accumulates resources at the expense of the eco-system as a whole, the components stop working efficiently together and everything begins to fall over. We are seeing the negative impact of Capitalism at a global level now.

EDITED_BY: Pyrolific (1123410844)


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flid
BRONZE Member since Aug 2002

flid

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Warwickshire

Total posts: 3136
Posted:Written by: Pyrolific
Well - I think the human race is going to have to modify their expectations and behaviors if we are to survive in any numbers and at any decent standard of living. Capitalism the way it is practiced today is *not* sustainable.





I agree, capitalism itself isn't the cause, but the attitudes with which it is used is the problem.



Written by: Pyrolific
Democracy I think should be abandoned as a label for the form of government we see today in 'western' countries, as it is so far from what it actually was first intended to mean that it's now meaningless.





I kind of agree, but on that basis communism should also be renamed because it conjures up imagery of russians queueing 5 hours for a loaf of bread whilst 99% of the governments money is spent plotting world domination by nuclear warfare. There's lots of words I'd like renaming actually, for instance the word hacking has been maliciously perverted by disney films and teenagers who think they're from the matrix and want to get into the sunday papers for script kiddying there way into some idiot technican at nasa's computer. So few people know what the word actually means these days and most peopel who would traditionally be called it are too embarassed to have the word associated with them. The same goes for trance music since the pop industry realised it could be cool a few years ago by calling everything trance. Yea mate, you're into trance? Wicked, did you herfe that new spice girls trance remix? umm



Written by: Pyrolific
The massively invasive 'Democracies' of the world (US, UK, Australia, etc) have all proved that they are in no way ruled by their people which is what democracy actually refers to. Living in a time when the only say you get is to choose between bad and worse in government (even if you believe that the actual democratic process isnt a scam anyhow which it certainly is in some places) and the majority of people make decisions on who to vote for on the basis of outmoded and simplistic political beliefs.





There is of course the problem that the government represents *everyone* and of *everyone* an extremely small percentage actually knows what's going on in every area and can have a valid voice. I know absoluetly nothing about most areas of government. I see channel4 documentaries about it and the frontpages of the Sun, but honestly if we were to have a referendum on everything that goes through government I'd abstain on most things, and the results would no doubt be skewed by other people who like me know nothign, but have had strong views implanted in their head by the media. At the moment I'm glad the government gets on with things in the majority of cases. Lets take a bigger case now: the iraq war. "Steven, why arn't you out on a demo" people asked me countless times, being the long haired student I was whose been involved in several human rights/animal rights/enviromental campaigns before. The answer was, through everything I tried to learn about the situation (attending lectures by human rights lawyers, being an avid reader of papers/news sites, reading what the anti war had to say and having lots of discussions with intelligent human rights law PhD/masters students) I didn't have a clear cut opinion on the matter, and I never put my name to anything unless I do. An end to animal farming for food I can put my name to, it's barbaric, selfish and totally unneeded in a world where we have access to a diet that is perfectly adequate for the majority of the population, uses less fossil fuels, land, is cheaper, is better for the atmosphere etc and would help end food shortages (less land used = more land for crops). That's fine, the iraq war, no. I'd like us all to hold hands and sing cumbyarrgh, but I don't think that's gonna happen. I'm not pro war by any means, I hate violence, but i'm also a realist and not a pacifist ostrich. Whatever the governments reasons for it, at the time we were told there were reasons that we could not be told, and as someone who isn't an expert on foreign intelligence and national security (i'd be an ostentatious idiot if i claimed any different), I wasn't in a situation to challenge that. Would a referendum have helped on the iraq war? I don't think so. Hindsight's great but not useful.



Written by: Pyrolific
'commies please suggest a viable alternative'





the title of this thread is: 'Capitalism and Democracy VS any viable alternatives in the world today'. My first post doesn't even mention communism. If people misinterpriat it as being a capitalism vs communism then that's their problem. The first time communism was mentioned in this thread was:



Written by: Seye
I think we also need to break from the Capitalism vs Communism vs Socialism debate and come up with a new system. One that truly incorporates freedom and safety for all.





which I agree with. This thread isn't meant to be a pretentious attack on communism by the egotistical bigot pro capitalist that I am. It's exactly what it says in the title, and being in the discussion forum, a discussion.


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Pyrolific
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Total posts: 3289
Posted:Sorry flid, I realise that my previous post was a little inflamatory in places, and so I'll edit it.

I think this is a perfectly valid discussion to be having, and I'm glad its come up. Stimulation of thought, and hopefully a broadening of understanding is what we are all looking for I reckon.


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georgia k


georgia k

newbie
Location: carmarthenshire, wales

Total posts: 19
Posted:i don't see why everyone assumes that in a socialist society everyone would be paid the same. everyone reciognises that some jobs are more demanding and/or unpleasant than others and should be rewarded. people like doctors and teachers should be paid more, and people who do particularly unpleasant or dangerous jobs could be rewarded with more pay or fewer hours

everyone should have the option of working harder and getting more money, up to a point. i don't have a problem with people setting up new businesses and providing people with things they want, as long as it doesn't have a negative impact on the environment.

what sethis said is right.... capitalism in its present form is doomed, and we need to come up with something better before it's too late. we need to curb our lifestyles quite severely. i know it's fun living in a capitalist society if you have enough money, as most of us on here do, but it can't go on.



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quiet


quiet

analytic
Location: bristol

Total posts: 503
Posted:the world's going to run out sooner or later. better make the most of it, people.

wink


ture na sig

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dream
SILVER Member since Jul 2003

dream

currently mending
Location: Bristol

Total posts: 493
Posted:I think its really interesting that when discussing alternatives to capitalism the only things mentioned are socialism and communism... what about social ecology, parecon, social libertarianism, and other alternatives... does everyone believe they simply have nothing to offer?

I also think its important to differentiate between neo-liberal capitalism and more traditional Keynsian capitalism which has a different set of values and processes... Differences such as the ethic which created the welfare state and the current drive to commodify and privatise as much of the planet as possible (water, health, public transport, education etc (while its happened here to a degree look at some of the conditionalities which accompany the G8 aid package to africa)...

I was also interested as to whether the title was meant to infer that capitalism and democracy are indexcially linked, perhaps this is just me misreading things late at night... but if that is is the case spank
Multinationals have thrived under repressive undemocratic regimes such as Nazi Germay (google coca-cola nazis fanta and see what comes up).
What I think merits far more discussion than a binary democracy vs dictatorship argument is a discussion of how to further democratise the system we've inherited... new labour, 37% of the vote... 66% of the commons... hardly indicative of a healthy system, accurately reflecting the wishes of its electorate. That statistic alone I believe should lead people to examine the nature of our 'democracy' which we now have the right to forcibly administer to 'rogue states' (especially if they have valuable resources). I believe in the concept of a participatory democracy... people should be able to take the decisions which affect their lives themselves... and while this doesn't mean that I think we're socially and culturally ready for a fully participatory society that does mean I think it's worth aiming for, which means taking small steps towards it... replacing 1st past the post with a form of PR, proliferation of alternative (non-corporate) media and information resources etc. These steps then invariably lead to another set of potential choices for society, and it should be society which determines which path they choose, not an expert/dictator/etc.

You're right that most people aren't educated enough to do that now, but rather than simply say 'Well thats just how things are and therefore always will be.' I'd rather try and change that. Popular pressure has won battles against slavery, racial segregation, sexual discrimination, American withdrawal of support for Suharto in Indonesia which led to East Timorese independence etc etc etc. The people involved in creating socially beneficial changes fought to change laws and policies which they felt were morally reprehensible, why can't people continue this tradition... This doesn't mean I think that socially benevolent actions are on the up, in many cases the consumer society has created a climate in which selfishness thrives and is encouraged by material reward. However if you don't believe we as a species have the capacity to change for the better (and in the the not to distant future else climate change will decimate the conditions necessary for human life to florish on earth) and have given to complete apathy and cynicism, believing that nothing can or will change, then plug yourself back in and absorb another dose of cathode based anasthetic. Things are always changing. The question is would you rather have input into those changes or let some other people decide for you.

Referring to viable alternatives in the world today... Are you asking for the whereabouts of a prescribed set of instructions delineating how to change the world for the better, or for a radical new social system which could be instantly and seamlessly be implemented worldwide? Again I think I'm not reading you quite right, at least I really hope not. Theories always need to adapted in practice and will always depend on the precise circumstances, hence why communism in Russia and Cuba is/was different. To try and make any theory viable it comes down to taking rational steps to slowly and sustainably alter the society around you.


I find the arguments arguments about human nature to be pointless... nature/nurture is another massive debate which seems to get somewhat glossed over here. 'Dependent on personal circumstance every human being has the potential to be a gas chamber attendent or a saint.' (Chomsky) please discuss you thoughts on this in a little more depth than a proclamation of human nature as an absolute.

While rational self-interest can definately be held true in certain circumstances it isn't the sole determining factor in life... if it did no one would join the US / British et al armies, risking death is never in one's self interest... unless maybe the alternative is certain death, which isn't the case here. You could however argue that fighting for your country/belief/whatever is in the collective interest of your community. which is contrary to a solely selfish rational for human nature.

And why would anyone become a nurse/teacher/social worker when they could spend the same amount of time doing an MBA and then making loads more cash... perhaps because they want to spend their lives (40+ hours a week, 40+ weeks a year) doing something which is beneficial to the community they live in. Most people do selfish things, but most people dont like to think of themselves as bastards, its an interesting contradiction...

Hmmm... I've been ranting for too long, its gone half four and this could go on for hours... Time to run away... Sorry to anyone who read all of that... It just wouldn't stop... I remember why I learned to stay away form this section... hmmm


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Nietzsche

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