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Defenders of Capitalism, Unite!

Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2023 4:24 am
by Friday
A French peasant is harvesting his crop in 1156 AD. Another French peasant approaches him.

"Hey," says the second peasant. "Do you think the system we have now, the monarchy, where the royals and nobles own everything and we are only allowed to exist on the land 'by their leave' could ever be replaced with something else? Maybe something better for the common man?"

"Are you fucking serious?" replies the first peasant. "This is the way it's always been and the way it will always be. And come on, the King's not so bad. Also, even if we decided to overthrow feudalism, what the hell would we even replace it with? Anyway what can WE, as PEASANTS, even do? No, trust me my friend. The Monarchy and feudalism are here to stay, forever. It's impossible for a system this entrenched to ever change."

Re: Defenders of Capitalism, Unite!

Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2023 4:59 am
by Mongrel
It's more incidental than directly topical (the question posed is, of course, for us, and not some theoretical medieval peasants) but one thing you might be interested in reading up on in the varying sorts of local councils, formal and informal, seen throughout the European feudal period. People's local power ebbed and flowed in different locations and times, and feudalism wasn't just a steady progression up or down across all of Europe more or less simultaneously. Also there's the commons of the times, from which the "tragedy of the commons" trope comes from, where local villages had varying amounts of land and property held in common.

Which is to say, some peasants had very clear ideas about what alternate forms of governance could exist.

A great starting place is the history of the English Peasant's revolt of 1381, as well as the incendiary sermons of John Ball that inspired a great many of said peasants.

This video isn't necessarily the best reference ever, and the the title is slightly clickbaity (THE TRUTH ABOUT, etc.), but it covers all points fairly well and includes some information about John Ball's sermons, in a straightforward and ordinary documentary format.

As for thoughts about the ACTUAL question, posed to us, right now... well none of the numbers really fit, so maybe I'll go into some detail later. For now I would just say "4.5, kinda, sorta, more or less".

Re: Defenders of Capitalism, Unite!

Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2023 9:47 am
by Grath
Me: 4-5

My worksona: 1

Re: Defenders of Capitalism, Unite!

Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2023 11:19 am
by Niku
i got fired yesterday so is there a 6

Re: Defenders of Capitalism, Unite!

Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2023 1:33 pm
by Büge

Re: Defenders of Capitalism, Unite!

Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2023 2:15 pm
by Upthorn
I think that it is possible for limited forms of capitalism to serve the public interest, and so I will sometimes suggest low-hanging fruit type reforms that could significantly improve the world in which we live by making a minor structural change.

But I only do this because I believe it is significantly more likely for such a thing to come to pass than the actual ideal solution of dismantling the system and replacing it with a better one.

Re: Defenders of Capitalism, Unite!

Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2023 4:04 pm
by Friday
But I only do this because I believe it is significantly more likely for such a thing to come to pass than the actual ideal solution of dismantling the system and replacing it with a better one.

Yeah I always just say Sweden Sweden Sweden Sweden whenever anyone asks me "but what do we do to overthrow capitalism" because I understand that you cannot go directly from this system to full blown socialism or whatever. And yes, that even includes armed revolution, which every 22 year old thinks is the answer because they are fucking stupid. And yes I am directly talking to my 22 year old self. Even I, Mrs Political Violence is actually okay and moral in the correct circumstances has learned that armed revolutions do not really work so well.

So you have to first concede that Capitalism has to stay around a bit longer while we push it back into a cage with things like UBI, housing guaranteed as a right and paid for through taxes, socialized healthcare, worker unions, etc. I am of course not against any of that. I just want more on top of it.

The veil of ignorance is probably a good way to think of it. Imagine you're setting up an economic system and you have no idea if you're going to be born rich, middle class, poor in colonizer country, or poor in a ravaged colonized country and it's overwhelmingly likely you will be born poor just because in order to support the rich and middle class you need a shitload of poors.

My favorite quote about Capitalism ever is by Malcolm X. "You can't have capitalism without racism." It's absolutely, ten trillion percent true but every time I tell it to my friends they scrunch up their faces and go "well, uhhhhh, ackshully you can't have capitalism without a vast group of oppressed people supporting the rich at the top" and I reply "yes you are technically correct, the best kind of correct. Now please inform me how that would always without exception manifest practically in the real world" and they scrunch up their faces again for a while and finally concede that Malcolm X was correct.

also added option 6 for Niku

Re: Defenders of Capitalism, Unite!

Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2023 7:32 pm
by Mongrel
So, I have two main strains of thought here.

1) There will always need to be some sort of competitive outlet, and some of that is healthy. It's part of our nature for a reason, and handed well it can be channeled to good purposes. The trick is blunting that so it does mostly no real harm. Whatever system we move to, be it a structurally-different one or some sort of capitalism-lite for filthy casuals, cannot and should not have perfect equality, but at the same time it should like like capitalism in roughly the same way professional sports looks like actual war.

Crucially, people can find satisfaction in relatively small bonuses and gains over others, ones which do not require the beggaring of their fellows. At times, the large bulk of noblemen in some societies had as little as a servant or two, a horse, and a few gold plates with which to lord over their fellows, yet counted themselves vastly richer. People can be retrained to see very small material differences as large enough to satisfy their cravings for rewards and glory; it's simply a matter of perspective. Would it be better if everyone were satisfied with a perfectly equal share? Possibly. Should we discourage people from said "lording it over their fellows"? Absolutely. Moreover, knocking big-headed people down a peg is a critical social mainstay and obligations of tribal societies*. But I feel we as a species are simply not wired in a way that would tolerate perfectly equal reward in all circumstances. Even most hard far leftists don't claim to be seeking such an outcome anyway.

As a hard number, I think any system should be wired such that no one person may accumulate more than ten times the wealth of the poorest member of said society, and perhaps as little as three to five times. Ten might seem like a lot but it is a significantly lower income distribution than even nordic countries and is much lower than almost all historical settled societies.

2) Corporations are a huge and central problem to Capitalism. They are amoral entities which exist purely as paperclip optimization machines (as I've said many times on here). They magnify the effects of bad actors by letting them harness vast resources with little regard to the validity of doing so and no regard for the ones dragged along in the process. They are vast, and utterly remorseless by their design and nature. They're machinery - and as several Brontos have pointed out at times, the default state of all machinery is "constantly trying to kill you." because they literally do not care that you exist. "But corporations at least care about its customers and employees as numbers", you might argue. This is irrelevant. You as an individual have zero worth to the merciless mincing machines we unleashed on this world.

Should we at all survive, I expect history to look back on corporations as an utterly evil institution, little better than serfdom or even chattel slavery. It is not clear to me if Capitalism can be solved if for-profit corporations are removed from the equation, but I do not believe it is possible without totally replacing their role in society.

I understand that large orgs separate from governments are necessary. Modern life and technology are complicated things. Supply chains and production of basic and niche goods require vast resources even when done ethically and sustainably, these systems must be organized and staffed by properly-trained individuals and the government can not be monolithically expected to produce everything anyone might ever want or require. Perhaps non-profit co-ops in some sectors, or distributed smallholder networks in others as the only permissible form of large commercial concerns would be the way to go. I am unsure how the problem of startup investment is resolved in this case, but between grants and crowdfunding, it's already evident that this is not an insoluble problem.

Regardless, Corporations and pseudo-corporate structures can and must be abolished.

*I also believe that indigenous peoples and societies are an incredibly crucial example to be looked at for sustainable social structures. Don't get me wrong, it's not all great - among other things, tribal societies can be horribly clannish, and fuck me clan-based societies are often even worse than Capitalist ones. But there are elements and features of the way indigenous societies function, especially the ones we see repeated across many many iterations of indigenous societies, that we ought to be looking towards to guide us, simply because they served both us and the planet well for tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of years. One such example is the phenomenon of raising kids communally, along with utterly discouraging the notion of children as anyone's property.

Re: Defenders of Capitalism, Unite!

Posted: Wed Sep 13, 2023 2:01 am
by Mongrel