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Debates Forum

  1. 13 Jun '11 03:18
    I submitted in another thread that capitalism was an economic system which applied accumulated money (capital) to improve production. The definition was laughed off, without any further discussion or alternative offered.

    Further thought leads me to add that in addition to money, the mind is an integral part of capitalism.

    A simple example is a man invents a widget, which other people want to buy, but he can only make one per hour, and although the widget is desirable, the price is too high when only 8 a day can be made.

    So, the man builds a factory, divides the manufacturing into specific tasks on an assembly line (application of the mind) employs 100 people, who now produce three widgets per hour. The cost of production is lowered by the application of money to build the factory, and mind developing the manufacturing processes. One hundred people have jobs, and the widget inventor eventually pays off the capital costs and becomes wealthy.

    This process was repeated in thousands of real world industrial applications, and propelled Western civilization to it's leading position in world economies.

    Is there any other economic or cultural system which has contributed as much to man's advancement as has capitalism? Please find fault with my definition, if you must, but make the critiques specific and detailed, not just that "it's discredited".
  2. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    13 Jun '11 03:33
    Originally posted by normbenign
    I submitted in another thread that capitalism was an economic system which applied accumulated money (capital) to improve production. The definition was laughed off, without any further discussion or alternative offered.

    Further thought leads me to add that in addition to money, the mind is an integral part of capitalism.

    A simple example is a man ...[text shortened]... f you must, but make the critiques specific and detailed, not just that "it's discredited".
    A man built a factory all by himself? Busy little beaver.
  3. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    13 Jun '11 03:42
    This is a standard definition (unlike yours):

    A society is capitalist if most production is carried on by employees working with means of production (equipment and materials) belonging to their employer, producing commodities which belong to the employer.

    http://www.humanities.mq.edu.au/Ockham/y64l06.html

    Of course, most men become nothing but commodities themselves under such a system.

    Capitalism produced vast riches for owners and mass misery for workers until the workers were able to wrest concessions from the owners using political means in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Right wingers like yourself have been trying to reverse those progressive reforms ever since with varying success in different countries.
  4. Subscriber kmax87
    You've got Kevin
    13 Jun '11 03:48
    Originally posted by normbenign
    .....A simple example is a man invents a widget, which other people want to buy, but he can only make one per hour, and although the widget is desirable, the price is too high when only 8 a day can be made......
    This fact lies at the heart of any critique of unbridled capitalism. A man with a great idea on his own hardly ever gets to create real wealth or commercial success. It takes a team. Unfortunately that fact is hardly ever recognized when laissez faire types dismiss or discredit the claims of those, who argue for the rights of workers beyond that of labor chattel.
  5. 13 Jun '11 03:53
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    A man built a factory all by himself? Busy little beaver.
    No, idiot. Capital built the factory. And the beneficiaries were the construction workers.
  6. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    13 Jun '11 03:55
    Originally posted by normbenign
    No, idiot. Capital built the factory. And the beneficiaries were the construction workers.
    Capital is an inanimate object; it can't build anything. You are engaging in fetishism.
  7. 13 Jun '11 04:03
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    This is a standard definition (unlike yours):

    A society is capitalist if most production is carried on by employees working with means of production (equipment and materials) belonging to their employer, producing commodities which belong to the employer.

    http://www.humanities.mq.edu.au/Ockham/y64l06.html

    Of course, most me ...[text shortened]... g to reverse those progressive reforms ever since with varying success in different countries.
    "A society is capitalist if most production is carried on by employees working with means of production (equipment and materials) belonging to their employer, producing commodities which belong to the employer."

    How does this differ other than semantics from my definition, and example?

    In my example the product (commodity) is invented by the employer. The equipment, materials, process and facility are all products of the mind of the employer.

    Without capitalism, the product, commodity may never exist of get limited distribution, and the employees don't get work or pay, either for producing the commodity, or building the factory.

    " Of course, most men become nothing but commodities themselves under such a system."

    Labor is in fact a commodity, but under capitalism, there is an alternative not found in other systems.

    At the same time as vast riches were the just reward of capitalists, workers were provided with alternatives to farming for a subsistence living. Collectivists like you, are always busy trying to rewrite history, but collective models have always failed, and are responsible for untold suffering, and the murder of hundreds of millions on people, while capitalism has improved the workers lot.
  8. Subscriber Wajoma
    Die Cheeseburger
    13 Jun '11 04:08 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by kmax87
    This fact lies at the heart of any critique of unbridled capitalism. A man with a great idea on his own hardly ever gets to create real wealth or commercial success. It takes a team. Unfortunately that fact is hardly ever recognized when laissez faire types dismiss or discredit the claims of those, who argue for the rights of workers beyond that of labor chattel.
    No definition of capitalism bars people from forming teams to create wealth, if they do it as a team or as an employer or as an employee, all those are examples of capitalism.

    Edit: Provided all exchanges are voluntary. Love using the 'v' word, really get's in the craw of the busybodies.
  9. 13 Jun '11 04:13
    Originally posted by kmax87
    This fact lies at the heart of any critique of unbridled capitalism. A man with a great idea on his own hardly ever gets to create real wealth or commercial success. It takes a team. Unfortunately that fact is hardly ever recognized when laissez faire types dismiss or discredit the claims of those, who argue for the rights of workers beyond that of labor chattel.
    First of all the notion of "unbridled capitalism" is patently false. It has never existed anywhere.

    "A man with a great idea on his own hardly ever gets to create real wealth or commercial success. It takes a team"

    Yes, but the man with the idea is the starting point, and the team is rarely assembled without a leader. The fact is that the mind of a man is the first capital investment, and then it is his money, earned, saved or borrowed, which enables the project to go forward.

    Railroads, steel mills, and auto plants did not fall into place by an accident of evolution, and manufacturers weren't forced into progressive reforms. Probably the biggest advancement for factory workers in the USA was the result of Henry Ford's raising wages by 500%, without any political or organized labor coersion. That was hardly treating workers as "labor chattel".

    Under a capitalist and free market system, workers are always free to choose the next best alternative to accepting what an employer offers.
  10. 13 Jun '11 04:14
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    Capital is an inanimate object; it can't build anything. You are engaging in fetishism.
    And you're being a poo poo head.
  11. 13 Jun '11 04:18
    Originally posted by Wajoma
    No definition of capitalism bars people from forming teams to create wealth, if they do it as a team or as an employer or as an employee, all those are examples of capitalism.

    Edit: Provided all exchanges are voluntary. Love using the 'v' word, really get's in the craw of the busybodies.
    Capitalism is the only economic system which uses the minds of free individuals and spreads the benefits of their activities without force, and without the immoral principles of altruism, making the creative and productive into sacrificial lambs.

    It provides employment and opportunities for the less creative and motivated, without limiting their eventual opportunities.
  12. Subscriber Wajoma
    Die Cheeseburger
    13 Jun '11 04:23
    Originally posted by normbenign
    Capitalism is the only economic system which uses the minds of free individuals and spreads the benefits of their activities without force, and without the immoral principles of altruism, making the creative and productive into sacrificial lambs.

    It provides employment and opportunities for the less creative and motivated, without limiting their eventual opportunities.
    There are some pretty big fans of altruism aroung here Norm, and to be fair you may be as altruistic as you like and still be a capitalist.

    The only problem for some of the roosters that haunt this message board is that under capitalism you cannot force altruism, and they sure like to tell everyone else how much they supposedly owe society.
  13. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    13 Jun '11 04:26
    Originally posted by normbenign
    "A society is capitalist if most production is carried on by employees working with means of production (equipment and materials) belonging to their employer, producing commodities which belong to the employer."

    How does this differ other than semantics from my definition, and example?

    In my example the product (commodity) is invented by the employe ...[text shortened]... he murder of hundreds of millions on people, while capitalism has improved the workers lot.
    A) Your definition talked about "improving production". But private ownership does not entail any "improvement" of anything;

    B) How exactly does someone's mind create "equipment, materials, process and facility"? Answer: it doesn't. Fetishism again.

    C) You are confused; prior to capitalism, things got invented and produced. People worked. Capitalism doesn't create anything, it merely applies rules on who owns things and who profits from other people's labor.

    D) There were alternatives to subsistence farming before capitalism. One alternative to subsistence farming under capitalism is starvation and death if one's labor isn't profitable enough for the owners of the means of production. This alternative was a common one under laissez faire capitalism.

    E) Workers improved their lot by imposing restrictions and regulations on unbridled capitalism through political struggle. As I already pointed out to you in another thread, workers in countries with laissez faire capitalism in the 1800's were no better off than those who lived 100,000 years before. Living standards did not significantly improve even in the West until the late 19th century when progressive reforms were put into place. These are historical facts that you wish to ignore.
  14. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    13 Jun '11 04:28 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by normbenign
    Capitalism is the only economic system which uses the minds of free individuals and spreads the benefits of their activities without force, and without the immoral principles of altruism, making the creative and productive into sacrificial lambs.

    It provides employment and opportunities for the less creative and motivated, without limiting their eventual opportunities.
    Rand again. Altruism is a basic part of human nature; selfishness is incompatible with human progress.
  15. Subscriber Wajoma
    Die Cheeseburger
    13 Jun '11 04:31
    Originally posted by no1marauder


    C) ...it merely applies rules on who owns things and who profits from other people's labor.

    Nice one No1, and at the foundation of capitalism, the primary thing that everything else rests on is that a man owns himself.