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Debates Forum

  1. Standard member vivify
    rain
    21 Apr '14 01:37
    Couldn't it be argued that without capitalism, that our world wouldn't be nearly as advanced as it is? Let's take the internet, for example. Without the drive of capitalism, couldn't it be said that the internet wouldn't be as advanced as it is, because the financial reward wouldn't be what is without capitalism?

    And that goes for everything else about our society that makes it "modern". I doubt that people would go to the lengths to invent and improve technology that they currently do, without the dream of gold at the end the rainbow. Right?
  2. 21 Apr '14 03:43
    Originally posted by vivify
    Couldn't it be argued that without capitalism, that our world wouldn't be nearly as advanced as it is? Let's take the internet, for example. Without the drive of capitalism, couldn't it be said that the internet wouldn't be as advanced as it is, because the financial reward wouldn't be what is without capitalism?

    And that goes for everything else about ...[text shortened]... ove technology that they currently do, without the dream of gold at the end the rainbow. Right?
    Nonsense. Al Gore created the internet. All we need is more government.
  3. 21 Apr '14 07:04
    Originally posted by whodey
    Nonsense. Al Gore created the internet. All we need is more government.
    Al Gore didn't create the Internet, you silly goose.
  4. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    21 Apr '14 09:00
    Originally posted by vivify
    Couldn't it be argued that without capitalism, that our world wouldn't be nearly as advanced as it is? Let's take the internet, for example. Without the drive of capitalism, couldn't it be said that the internet wouldn't be as advanced as it is, because the financial reward wouldn't be what is without capitalism?

    And that goes for everything else about ...[text shortened]... ove technology that they currently do, without the dream of gold at the end the rainbow. Right?
    Let's see. what about the race to sequence the human genome as evidence that the motivation to share benefits for humanity can outpace the motivation to patent knowledge for profit, despite some dirty tricks by the profit makers along the way?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1084159/

    Despite attempts by Celera to persuade the US government to pull the plug on the publicly funded projects, the latter continued and at a faster pace. The scientists running these projects had agreed some years earlier that any sequence obtained that was believed to be reliable would be made available to anyone via the Internet. They felt that this was the best way to avoid any attempt to patent some of the sequences, a concept loathed by Sulston.


    But the list is endless. The internet was itself hugely dependent on the public sector and that was discussed quite recently I think you will find, so you are just repeating a defeated argument.

    However, I am not sure that many people are seriously seeking an end to capitalism per se, rather the search is for appropriate and effective regulation in the common interest.
  5. 21 Apr '14 12:12
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Al Gore didn't create the Internet, you silly goose.
    Aren't you used to Whodey's sarcasm yet?
  6. Standard member vivify
    rain
    21 Apr '14 13:01 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by finnegan
    Let's see. what about the race to sequence the human genome as evidence that the motivation to share benefits for humanity can outpace the motivation to patent knowledge for profit, despite some dirty tricks by the profit makers along the way?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1084159/

    [quote]Despite attempts by Celera to persuade the US go ...[text shortened]... sm per se, rather the search is for appropriate and effective regulation in the common interest.
    Concerning your genome example, I'm sure that you know isolated examples don't negate common patterns, right? I never said people will only do things for financial gain. I'm saying that the degree to which humankind has progressed technologically would not have happened without the prospect of profit. The auto industry is one example. Television is another.

    Concerning the internet, I'm interested to see what the arguments were that "defeated" it. Do you truly think that we'd have the capabilities to access the internet over the phone, manage our bills, download videos, music, etc., without capitalism as a motivation? Do you really think the degree to which the internet has evolved would've happened anyway?
  7. Standard member bill718
    Enigma
    21 Apr '14 14:25
    Originally posted by whodey
    Nonsense. Al Gore created the internet. All we need is more government.
    All we need is less whodey.
  8. 21 Apr '14 17:47 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by vivify
    Couldn't it be argued that without capitalism, that our world wouldn't be nearly as advanced as it is? Let's take the internet, for example. Without the drive of capitalism, couldn't it be said that the internet wouldn't be as advanced as it is, because the financial reward wouldn't be what is without capitalism?

    And that goes for everything else about ...[text shortened]... ove technology that they currently do, without the dream of gold at the end the rainbow. Right?
    In the spirit of advancing the discussion, are you speaking of unfettered capitalism of are you speaking of regulated capitalism? There is historical evidence of periods when capitalists exploited weaknesses in the law to maximize corporate wealth at the expense of worker and product safety as well as environmental damage. These abuses generally were not corrected until governments made the cost of abuses monetizable in civil law suits and punishable as crimes.

    Capitalism can in fact the considered the purest challenge to the effectiveness of government in protecting the people. If there is an exploitable weakness, some capitalist will find it. In fact they will say it is their fiduciary duty under principles of business ethics.

    Laws allowing unionization, product liability lawsuits, penalties for environmental damage, etc. all come about in reaction to unfettered capitalism.
  9. 21 Apr '14 18:22
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Al Gore didn't create the Internet, you silly goose.
    Prove it!

    Sounds like another inconvenient truth if you ask me.
  10. 21 Apr '14 18:22
    Originally posted by bill718
    All we need is less whodey.
  11. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    21 Apr '14 20:29 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by vivify
    Concerning your genome example, I'm sure that you know isolated examples don't negate common patterns, right? I never said people will only do things for financial gain. I'm saying that the degree to which humankind has progressed technologically would not have happened without the prospect of profit. The auto industry is one example. Television is anoth ...[text shortened]... ion? Do you really think the degree to which the internet has evolved would've happened anyway?
    Let's take the internet, for example. Without the drive of capitalism, couldn't it be said that the internet wouldn't be as advanced as it is, because the financial reward wouldn't be what is without capitalism

    In reply I suggested that this forum has debated the role of the state versus the private sector in the internet, so suggested a different example in the genome project. And what do you say?
    I'm sure that you know isolated examples don't negate common patterns, right
    But your are the one who offered up an isolated example - I actually widened the scope of the discussion.
    The auto industry is one example. Television is another
    Try driving a car without a road. Is it not astonishing that within such a few decades it was possible to drive your car from California to New York without it being destroyed in a huge pot hole? How were all those roads and bridges and all put into place? And who polices the rules for safe driving? As for television, most European countries have radio and television that developed under state ownership and control. The BBC remains outstanding as a supplier of good quality and diverse TV and radio.
    would not have happened without the prospect of profit
    Look profit has a place, private enterprise has a place, most versions of "capitalism" entail a "mixed economy" to some degree or another. On its own however profit does not drive innovation. What drives that is COMPETITION. Now look again at my genome example, If a private company had been allowed to claim credit for unravelling that code and been allowed to secure patents on its discoveries, then that would have established a monopoly, whereas when the public sector won that race and made the information freely available, then that permitted competition. Can't you see that profit, left to its own devices, is a dangerous force that does not serve the public good? It has to be regulated and one excellent way to regulate the profit sector in the public interest is to insist on securing effective, competitive markets. It is competition, not profit, that can (in the right conditions) work for the benefit of all.
  12. Standard member vivify
    rain
    21 Apr '14 20:31
    Originally posted by JS357
    In the spirit of advancing the discussion, are you speaking of unfettered capitalism of are you speaking of regulated capitalism? There is historical evidence of periods when capitalists exploited weaknesses in the law to maximize corporate wealth at the expense of worker and product safety as well as environmental damage. These abuses generally were not corre ...[text shortened]... s, penalties for environmental damage, etc. all come about in reaction to unfettered capitalism.
    I don't want to specify. Specifying a form of capitalism could lead this thread in too many directions. For example, if I say regulated capitalism, surely someone will point, as you mentioned, all the times loopholes were exploited, and thus, wasn't truly regulated, or some tangent like that. Or, someone may point out some country in which regulation is minimal, if any, and then throw my morality in question and ask why I'd support something so evil, like sweatshops.

    For this thread, I'm merely addressing how the world has modernized as a result of capitalism, and the idea that this would wouldn't be anywhere near as advanced without capitalism as a drive to bring such technology about.
  13. 21 Apr '14 20:50
    Originally posted by vivify
    I don't want to specify. Specifying a form of capitalism could lead this thread in too many directions. For example, if I say regulated capitalism, surely someone will point, as you mentioned, all the times loopholes were exploited, and thus, wasn't truly regulated, or some tangent like that. Or, someone may point out some country in which regulation is m ...[text shortened]... ldn't be anywhere near as advanced without capitalism as a drive to bring such technology about.
    OK. I have a problem pulling capitalism out of its context and seeing it as a central causal force -- it seems more like a stage of cultural evolution. The History of Capitalism Wikipedia entry has this:

    Quote:

    Stages of Capitalism

    It is an ongoing debate within the fields of economics and sociology as to what the past, current, and future stages of capitalism consist of. While ongoing disagreement about exact stages exists, many economists have posited the following general states.

    Agrarian capitalism, sometimes known as market feudalism. This was a transitional form between feudalism and capitalism, whereby market relations replaced some but not all of feudal relations in a society.

    Mercantilism, where national governments sought to maintain positive balances of trade and acquire gold bullion.

    Industrial Capitalism, characterized by its use of heavy machinery and a much more pronounced division of labor.

    Monopoly Capitalism, marked by the rise of monopolies and trusts dominating industry, as well as other aspects of society. Often used to describe the economy of the late 19th and early 20th century.

    Colonialism, where governments sought to colonize other areas to improve access to markets and raw materials, and improve the standing of nationally based capitalist firms. Predominant in the 1890s, notably as a response to the economic crises of the 1890s.

    Welfare Capitalism, where mixed economies predominated and governments sought to provide a safety net to alleviate the worst abuses of capitalism. The heyday of welfare capitalism (in advanced economies) is widely seen to be from 1945–1973, as major social safety nets were put in place in most advanced capitalist economies.[49]

    Mass Production, post-World War Two, saw the rising hegemony of major corporations, and a focus on mass production, mass consumption, and (ideally) mass employment. This stage sees the rise of advertising as a way to promote mass consumption, and often sees significant economic planning taking place within firms.[50]

    State Capitalism, where the state intervened to prevent economic instability, including partially or fully nationalizing certain industries. Some economists characterize the economies of the USSR and the Eastern Block to have fallen in this category as well.

    Corporatism, where government, business, and labor collude to make major national decisions; notable for being an economic model of fascism; can overlap with, but is still significantly different from state capitalism.

    Financialization, or financial capitalism, where financial parts of the economy (like the finance, insurance, or real estate sectors) predominate an economy. Profit becomes more derived from ownership of an asset, credit, rents, and earning interest, rather than actual productive processes.[51][52]
  14. 21 Apr '14 21:06
    Originally posted by finnegan
    Let's see. what about the race to sequence the human genome as evidence that the motivation to share benefits for humanity can outpace the motivation to patent knowledge for profit, despite some dirty tricks by the profit makers along the way?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1084159/

    [quote]Despite attempts by Celera to persuade the US go ...[text shortened]... sm per se, rather the search is for appropriate and effective regulation in the common interest.
    Without endlessly examining scientific programs supported by government, it is almost universally true that a profit motive in the endgame uses even altruistically developed science. And in fact, much private sector capital is directed at solutions and improvement to human conditions. It is probably the least talked about facets of capitalism. Satisfaction of consumers needs fuels capitalism. Wanting to make money doesn't cut it. You have to solve problems, build something for which people are willing to pay.

    Without the consumer oriented, profit making endeavors, the internet would still be a practically useless network of college libraries, instead of a massive and growing force of commerce.
  15. 21 Apr '14 21:10
    Originally posted by JS357
    OK. I have a problem pulling capitalism out of its context and seeing it as a central causal force -- it seems more like a stage of cultural evolution. The History of Capitalism Wikipedia entry has this:

    Quote:

    Stages of Capitalism

    It is an ongoing debate within the fields of economics and sociology as to what the past, current, and future stages of c ...[text shortened]... an asset, credit, rents, and earning interest, rather than actual productive processes.[51][52]
    Regardless of the various divisions, the fact remains that during the age of capitalism, the end of feudalism until now, more progress has been made in the human condition than in the rest of human existence prior to it. Medicine, art, industry, home building, transportation, science you name it has accelerated in the last three centuries.