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Debates Forum

  1. Standard memberfinnegan
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    18 Oct '17 10:24
    ... the Weinstein story is a perfect illustration of how politically disempowering identity politics can be. ... The Hollywood employment system is capitalism in microcosm, at its rawest and most naked.

    The Weinstein revelations tell us much less about relations between men and women than they do about the nature of power and the ability of the strong to exploit the weak.

    Under capitalism, the weak – the working class – eventually gained the consciousness and discovered the tools to assert their own form of power. As individuals they were vulnerable and exploitable. As a collective, they gained the power to bargain. That led to the trade union movements, and the gradual improvement in wages and conditions.

    The capitalist class has been trying to reverse those gains ever since. The new turbo-charged form we call neoliberalism has been atomising western societies since the 1970s to return us to new forms of economic dependency, culminating in zero-hours contracts and an Uber culture.

    What does this have to do with Weinstein? This week Reese Witherspoon spoke out about her own sexual assault by a movie director when she was 16. She has joined a list of famous actors like Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lawrence and Gwyneth Paltrow who have cited their own experiences. One suspects that most of Hollywood’s A-list could tell similar horror stories from their early years in search of stardom.

    So what is the lesson that none of them is drawing? Precisely the one that workers learnt more than a century ago. You must get organised...

    ...And yet in the degraded political culture we live in, they prefer to remain disempowered individuals rather than become part of a much stronger collectivity. They prefer their confessionals in the corporate media that exploited and abused them to independent, organised action to curb the corporate system’s excesses.

    As long as these household names nurse their individual pain rather than seek to bring about change through organised action, the next generation of young actresses will face the same exploitation and the same abuse they had to endure in their younger days.

    http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2017-10-18/harvey-weinstein-and-the-politics-of-hollywood/
  2. SubscriberWajoma
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    18 Oct '17 11:05
    Originally posted by @finnegan
    ... the Weinstein story is a perfect illustration of how politically disempowering identity politics can be. ... The Hollywood employment system is capitalism in microcosm, at its rawest and most naked.

    The Weinstein revelations tell us much less about relations between men and women than they do about the nature of power and the ability of the strong t ...[text shortened]...

    http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2017-10-18/harvey-weinstein-and-the-politics-of-hollywood/
    A man trading an hour of his time is a capitalist.

    A working man trading an hour of his time is a capitalist.
  3. Standard memberfinnegan
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    18 Oct '17 12:381 edit
    Originally posted by @wajoma
    A man trading an hour of his time is a capitalist.

    A working man trading an hour of his time is a capitalist.
    No he isn't.

    Unless you want to argue that a slave upholds slavery by being a slave. There is truth in that, but the slave is not a slave owner and the wage earner is not able to use ownership of capital to exploit the labour of others. Nor is either responsible for the economic system that holds them in its power.
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    18 Oct '17 15:07
    Originally posted by @wajoma
    A man trading an hour of his time is a capitalist.

    A working man trading an hour of his time is a capitalist.
    A man trading an hour of someone else's time is a capitalist.
  5. Standard membervivify
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    18 Oct '17 15:08
    Originally posted by @finnegan
    ... the Weinstein story is a perfect illustration of how politically disempowering identity politics can be. ... The Hollywood employment system is capitalism in microcosm, at its rawest and most naked.

    The Weinstein revelations tell us much less about relations between men and women than they do about the nature of power and the ability of the strong t ...[text shortened]...

    http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2017-10-18/harvey-weinstein-and-the-politics-of-hollywood/
    What is the best alternative to capitalism?
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    18 Oct '17 15:371 edit
    Originally posted by @shallow-blue
    A man trading an hour of someone else's time is a capitalist.
    Capitalism is the source of all sexism, rape, and social injustice.

    Just kidding, it's really Trump
  7. Standard memberfinnegan
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    18 Oct '17 17:362 edits
    Originally posted by @vivify
    What is the best alternative to capitalism?
    From the options tried so far, I would suggest a mixed economy along the lines of the Scandinavian model. That is not to say I have identified Nirvana and there are emerging issues to address, not least the disappearance of work opportunities through new technoogy and robotics.

    We rejected both. We decided that we would follow the third way. We recognized the usefulness of a competitive market system, where applicable, to allocate resources and create wealth. But we put markets under strict democratic control to avoid market distortions (monopolies, booms and busts and extreme concentration of wealth). We insisted on public provision of education, healthcare and general utilities (energy, water, public transport, etc).

    The means are familiar. Social insurance (sickness, accident, old age, and unemployment insurance), free access to quality healthcare and education, paid for by progressive taxation; active labour market policy to get rid of unemployment; and provide affordable housing for all. We emphasize equality of the sexes and strong support for families with children. These are redistributive policies aimed at increasing equality and social mobility – as a matter of human rights not as charity.

    The result is a society where equality of income and wealth is greater than elsewhere. This means that individual freedom is not a privilege of the few, but a matter of emancipation for the many. Social mobility – the ability to advance in society, if you work hard and play by the rules – is de facto greater in the Nordic countries than elsewhere. The Nordic model has by now replaced the United States of America as the land of opportunity.

    The author of this is Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson, who is a former Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Iceland and former leader of the Icelandic SDP.
    https://www.socialeurope.eu/what-can-we-learn-from-the-nordic-model
    There are three major challenges that lie ahead in the immediate and near future:

    Sanitise the corrupt financial system and put it back firmly under democratic control
    Massive investment in clean and renewable energy to replace fossil fuels as the life-blood of our economies. This is an urgent task which calls for social democrats and environmentalists to work together to save our planet
    Start planning now how to tackle the consequences of the technological revolution which is ongoing all around us (IT, digitization and automation)

    The prospect of massive and systemic unemployment through automation calls for radical thinking about the distribution of income and the responsibilities of the democratic state in such a society. On the agenda should be proposals for a minimum basic income for all. This is a gigantic task that calls for well-designed redistributive policies in the spirit of social democracy, utterly beyond the capacity of unregulated capitalism to solve.
  8. SubscriberAThousandYoung
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    18 Oct '17 17:361 edit
    Originally posted by @wajoma
    A man trading an hour of his time is a capitalist.

    A working man trading an hour of his time is a capitalist.
    No. In a capitalist economic system there are two ways to make money. Working and financial investment. The investment of money for profit is capitalism. Working for money is not capitalism.
  9. Subscriberkmax87
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    18 Oct '17 18:03
    Originally posted by @wajoma
    A man trading an hour of his time is a capitalist.

    A working man trading an hour of his time is a capitalist.
    No, a man holding large amounts of capital is a capitalist.

    A man whose capital wealth can set every parameter in a market giving himself every non transparent advantage to manipulate and exploit the cost of labour is a capitalist.

    A man whose capital precludes the need for him to work at all, but chooses to corner markets for the sheer perverse pleasure of strutting around like a bullying oaf, is a capitalist.
  10. SubscriberWajoma
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    18 Oct '17 19:08
    Originally posted by @kmax87
    No, a man holding large amounts of capital is a capitalist.

    A man whose capital wealth can set every parameter in a market giving himself every non transparent advantage to manipulate and exploit the cost of labour is a capitalist.

    A man whose capital precludes the need for him to work at all, but chooses to corner markets for the sheer perverse pleasure of strutting around like a bullying oaf, is a capitalist.
    Can you cite a reputable source for this definition of yours, what does "large amounts" mean? If to keep a persons business afloat they borrow money are they still a capitalist? If not at what point do they pass from being a capitalist to being a xxxxx (what???) ???

    Fact is there is no minimum amount of 'capital', that dream feeling has nothing to do with defining capitalism.

    The ideal is a free society in which people like finnegan can get with his mates, or rather, get with some other fellows that share his beliefs (may have more luck with membership that way) and form socialist collectives, in the internet age these collectives could easily transcend borders this way their ideas would be put to the test through voluntary membership rather than force and the damage would be lessened.
  11. Zugzwang
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    18 Oct '17 19:26
    Originally posted by @vivify to Finnegan
    What is the best alternative to capitalism?
    Let's start with an alternative that's better, even if not ideal, than American capitalism today.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana_fallacy

    "The nirvana fallacy is the informal fallacy of comparing actual things with unrealistic, idealized alternatives.[1]
    It can also refer to the tendency to assume that there is a perfect solution to a particular problem. ...
    By creating a false dichotomy that presents one option which is obviously advantageous
    —while at the same time being completely implausible—a person using the nirvana fallacy
    can attack any opposing idea because it is imperfect. Under this fallacy, the choice is
    not between real world solutions; it is, rather, a choice between one realistic achievable
    possibility and another unrealistic solution that could in some way be "better"."
  12. SubscriberAThousandYoung
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    18 Oct '17 19:311 edit
    Originally posted by @wajoma
    Can you cite a reputable source for this definition of yours, what does "large amounts" mean? If to keep a persons business afloat they borrow money are they still a capitalist? If not at what point do they pass from being a capitalist to being a xxxxx (what???) ???

    Fact is there is no minimum amount of 'capital', that dream feeling has nothing to do ...[text shortened]... put to the test through voluntary membership rather than force and the damage would be lessened.
    at what point do they pass from being a capitalist to being a xxxxx (what???) ???


    When he accepts a wage to do someone else's work without any ownership of the business or any of the profits, he will be a worker.
  13. SubscriberAThousandYoung
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    18 Oct '17 19:39
    http://www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/capitalism_wages.htm

    In 1771 Richard Arkwright setup the first true factory system, which used spinning machines operated by a water driven wheel. These textile factories employed large numbers of people, mostly children. Two thirds of Arkwright's "employees" were children, and Arkwright employed children as young as 6 years old. Arkwright built cottages next to his factories where displaced peasants came to live and work for him, and he specifically preferred large families with many young children. These peasants had no property and no money and so were willing to work for Arkwright and put their children to work in the factory in order to avoid starvation.

    This, effectively, can be viewed as the beginning of modern capitalism.

    Arkwright's system proved so productive that the independent home producers were no longer able to compete, and were driven to give up their independent work at home in the villages to move to the cities and work in factories. Arkwright became so successful that within a relatively short period of time he was able to fix the price of cotton twists, to which all other makers conformed.

    Even at this point, though, wage-labor was not a widespread condition, it was still in its infancy. Over time, however, industry after industry moved from the old ways of independent production by individuals, craftsmen, and guilds, to the collective production of wage-labor capitalism.
  14. Zugzwang
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    18 Oct '17 21:231 edit
    Originally posted by @finnegan
    ... the Weinstein story is a perfect illustration of how politically disempowering identity politics can be. ... The Hollywood employment system is capitalism in microcosm, at its rawest and most naked.

    The Weinstein revelations tell us much less about relations between men and women than they do about the nature of power and the ability of the strong t ...[text shortened]...

    http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2017-10-18/harvey-weinstein-and-the-politics-of-hollywood/
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/dance/ballet/bolshoi-brothel-oligarchs-claims-former-ballerina/

    "The Bolshoi is 'a brothel for oligarchs', claims former ballerina."

    "Former prima ballerina Anastasia Volochkova has claimed that the Bolshoi has become
    "a giant brothel", with ballerinas providing sexual services to the theatre's oligarch patrons.
    She had previously claimed in 2013 that "Girls... take turns... going to a party, with dinner
    and a follow-up, in bed, and going all the way.""

    "'Women, like children, are inclined to changes in mood. In this sense, Anastasia Volochkova is a real woman.''
    --2011 (sexist) statement from Putin's political party, attacking Anastasia Volochkova

    During the Soviet era, some top Soviet leaders (reportedly) liked to recruit their mistresses
    from among ballerinas, actresses, or other performers. Galina Vishnevskaya (soprano)
    became involved in a romantic triangle with Mstislav Rostropovich (cellist), whom she
    married, and Nikolai Bulganin, who lusted after her and wished to make her his mistress.
    As Minister of Defence or Premier of the USSR, Nikolai Bulganin would tell Mstislav Rostropovich
    something like, "*** it, you got to Galina [marrying her] just ahead of me or I would have had her."
    Bulganin offered Rostropovich 'generous' inducements (money, freedom to travel and
    perform abroad) if he would agree to leave his wife and turn her over to Bulganin.
    Earlier in Stalin's time, Beria (a notorious serial rapist) would have solved a problem like
    this obsession by simply having Rostropovich arrested or even executed. Fortunately
    for Rostropovich, Bulganin was not that ruthless in his pursuit of Galina Vishnevskaya.

    "The report also alleges that the Russian theatrical industry is overwhelmed by sexual
    harassment and directors who offer parts in productions in exchange for sex.
    Actress Anna Pukhova recalled to the site that she was left traumatised and lost work
    after rejecting the advances of powerful figures in Moscow theatre.

    "All my life, since school, I've heard that the bed opens doors in theatre,
    but I refused to believe that such a disgraceful thing could be true," she said."
    --Anna Pukhova

    I heard the same thing, and I found it (sigh) easier to believe.

    "It does not surprise me that in Russia actresses are quiet, They will disappear the day they talk.
    The fact that sexual harassment of young actresses by old directors with authority has
    become a norm, a routine, that nobody ever talks about is a catastrophe."
    --Victor Shenderovich (dramatist)
  15. Subscriberkmax87
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    19 Oct '17 00:231 edit
    Originally posted by @wajoma
    Can you cite a reputable source for this definition of yours, what does "large amounts" mean? .
    Simply put, when you only risk other people's money to increase your wealth, and you exploit the labour of other people without allowing them any real share in the wealth generated by the enterprise, then you sir, just might be a capitalist.

    If from the moment you are born you have set up for you a trust such that you effectively live off the interest on the interest your family's wealth generates, then you are a capitalist.

    A more formal Marxist definition says that if you own the means of production, then you are a capitalist.
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