Ming the Mechanic:
Tuesday, September 24, 2002

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Tuesday, September 24, 20022002-09-24 21:33
14 comments
pictureby Flemming Funch

  • All the FAQs on Capitalism I can find [link][link][link] are written in a propaganda double-speak that says nothing about capital, but pretends that it is all about the morality of self-interest. The last part might be true, even if I think it is wrong. I believe strongly in a free market or free space where free individuals can make choices. I believe that such a system can add up to something intelligent and useful. Co-intelligence. But it has nothing to do with capitalism, and it is not primarily about self-interest. It is about intelligent, feeling, consciencious individuals making the choices that they deem will best serve the aims that they focus on, in concert with other individuals doing the same. Some people are unscrupulous and will try to get ahead individually by keeping everybody else down. But most individuals in the world are simply trying to do the best they can for themselves AND their family, their friends, their organizations, their causes and beliefs, and for the world, within the constraints of the environment they live in and the resources and knowledge they have. But corporations and investment funds and banks are not people. They don't come with hearts or consciences, so the principle of bestowing them the right to act exclusively in their own self-interest, is disasterous for the free market of individual choices. You can let a hungry tiger loose in a kindergarten, and sure it has a right to serve its own interests and seek food, and the kids are free to serve their interests by choosing where to stand, but it isn't quite fair to begin with. I think capitalism is really about ensuring the right for tigers to serve their self-interest, and making sure nobody else has any say about it. It is about protecting the rights of people with resources to be self-serving in their struggle to increase their resources. And it isn't very helpful for people who don't already have resources to play with. And it doesn't serve people who want to decide things in other ways than by buying and selling stuff, such as those who would might want a democracy. It is actually all quite pure and logical.

  • Anyone wants to guess on who is the cigar-smoking capitalist on the picture from my posting yesterday?

  • 32.9 million people live in poverty in the U.S. Well, poverty here is like luxury in many other places. You know, not being able to afford to fix the air conditioner in your car - that kind of thing. Where elsewhere on our planet it is a matter of whether you have shoes or fresh water. But it still represents unhappiness with one's circumstances.

  • Thousands of regular folks in India come up with creative innovations. Anil Gupta has organized the Honey Bee Network to channel grassroots creativity. Why "honey bee"? "The Honey Bee does two things which many of us don't. The Honey Bee collects pollen without impoverishing the flowers, and it connects flower to flower through pollination. The idea is that when we collect knowledge of people we should ensure that people don't become poorer after sharing their insights with us". The English on the site is a bit weird, but it looks promising. See the Innovation Database.

    "Dream as if you'll live forever...live as if you'll die today." -- James Dean


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    14 comments

    24 Sep 2002 @ 23:04 by quidnovi : Hungry tigers...
    In Communism, man oppresses man. With Capitalism it's the other way around ;-)  


    25 Sep 2002 @ 00:04 by finny : Natural Capitalism
    You are probably aware of the ideas in the book named in the subject line, by Stephen Hawken I think. Have you read Hazel Henderson?  


    25 Sep 2002 @ 00:55 by ming : Alternatives
    Yeah, I know about Natural Capitalism (Paul Hawken and Amory and Hunter Lovins), and Hazel Henderson is great too. I need to study more up on them. And, heheh, I was actually just about to get around to good stuff like that, after I'm done complaining.  


    25 Sep 2002 @ 01:56 by quidnovi : Corporate Capitalism
    Following is a definition of Capitalism I found in an old dictionary (The American College Dictionary, Random House, Library of Congress Card Number: 62-12444) I like to keep all kind of books and records like this around just to see how concepts evolve over time---and to keep track of just how slick such definitions are getting (or not) in the "information" age:

    Capitalism:
    1. a system under which the means of production, distribution, and exchange are in a large measure privately owned and directed.
    2. the concentration of capital in the hands of a few, or the resulting power or influence.
    3. a system favoring such concentration of wealth

    I think "concentration of wealth" is a key word here.

    Assuredly one of the major drawbacks of communism (beside the annoying habit such regimes have of manifesting under the form of a single, self-perpetuating party ;-) is no doubt the reduction of the common man to the alienating status of a day-laborer. The holding of major property and means of production (wealth) which in theory supposedly belongs to the community as a whole (the state), is in reality, as we all know, concentrated in the hands of the ruling elite. The common man lives in poverty while the wealthy bureaucrats live the good life.

    While in the free world, on the other hand...let me see...
    The major drawbacks, here at home, (beside the annoying habits of our two self-perpetuating parties ;-) is no doubt the reduction of the common man to the alienating status of a day-laborer (as mega-corporations and mergers increasingly are crushing free-enterprises.) The holding of major property and means of production (wealth) which in theory supposedly belongs to all (the free-market economy), is in reality concentrated in the hands of the few (big business.) The common man lives in poverty, unsure of his/her future, while the wealthy CEO live the good life.

    Hummm...an oversimplification, assuredly (we are being swept along by forces we neither control nor understand) and though I was clearly being facetious, I see here some food for thought nevertheless. Well, we can at least take comfort in the fact that, unlike communist countries where the bureaucratic news media faithfully reflect the dominant class ideology both in their reportage and commentary, we still enjoy the benefits of unbiased information as our corporate news media are not prone to such frailties---right?  



    25 Sep 2002 @ 02:06 by quidnovi : Escaping the Poverty Trap
    A UNCTAD report---interesting analysis of poverty in the LDC! The Report argues that the current form of globalization (international trade and finance relationships) is tightening the poverty trap: http://www.unctad.org/en/pub/ps1ldc02.en.htm  


    25 Sep 2002 @ 05:51 by istvan : Guidnovi states:
    "In Capitalism, man oppresses man. In Communism it's the other way around." The best Zendefinition of the systems i have found yet.
    That would make C=C. Simple true eqation. So why it does not work in practice.The problem lies not in the idealogies, but in the twisted minds of the practitioners. The implementers minds are deluded with this form of schizophrenia:
    " Paranoid Type
    More often than not, this is a misdiagnosed condition of prominent delusions or auditory hallucinations of persecution or grandeur, accompanied by a relative preservation of cognitive functioning. In reality, these are functionally normal individuals who have discovered the fact that some other individual or organization is conspiring or acting to torture, murder, or financially disable them, but are unable to produce legitimate evidence supporting their suspicions." [ http://www.drleons.com/schizo/closet.htm ].
    Therfore it is useless to dwell on the ideologies, but would be well to facilitate ways to heal the mind of thos afflicted.  



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