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#310999 - 02/17/19 03:09 PM Re: The Debate: Is America’s future capitalist or socialist? [Re: NW Ponderer]
chunkstyle Offline
member

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 1626
Originally Posted By: NW Ponderer
All What we're really dickering over is what is "fair".


That's what you may be arguing about but not me.

Capitalism is unique in that it's spread now thruout the entire worlds surface since it's beginnings in the turn of the 19th century. Whenever there is an eventual economic downturn, capitalism gets expanded thru money supply. The last severe economic downturn was worldwide and capitalism was saved by the Chinese government undertaking a massive infrastructure program that dwarfed our economic build out of the post WW2 decades. In fact, the scale was so mind boggling that the idea of China pouring as much concrete from 2009-20012 as the United States did from 1945- present is beyond most peoples comprehension.
The rate of resource consumption globally has increased during that time. It has to. Capitalism is predicated on growth. It is not sustainable and we are now witness to the killing of the planet in order to maintain that growth and expansion of the global economy.
During the great recession the global GDP was estimated around 55 trillion dollars. Today it's estimated at 85 trillion dollars. It's become harder and harder to continue to hit those compounding 2.5-3% growth for excess capital to expand into. IMO we have a front row seat to the contradiction of capitalism being realized. We may finally have to think of other ways to organize beyond the boomer's instinctive 'individual liberty thru mass consumption' ideology.

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#311000 - 02/17/19 05:41 PM Re: The Debate: Is America’s future capitalist or socialist? [Re: NW Ponderer]
rporter314 Offline
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Registered: 03/18/03
Posts: 6777
Loc: Highlands, Tx
I have long believed (not being an expert on economics) the fundamental flaw of capitalism is its predication on the premise infinite resources exist to be utilized.

I suppose this is precisely the reason petroleum interests have posited there exists almost infinite petroleum reserves or regenerating/creating reserves, as they have to recognize the limitations of finite proven reserves i.e. it comes to an end. If capitalist economies are built on oil then only irrational players would continue this folly.
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#311011 - 02/17/19 09:10 PM Re: The Debate: Is America’s future capitalist or socialist? [Re: rporter314]
NW Ponderer Offline
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Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 17020
chunk, rp, I have to take issue with a premise you both make - it's not capitalism that is premised on infinite resources, but all modern economic systems. I, too, object to that thinking, but I view it much more broadly. Economics as a discipline needs to have a much more holistic view.

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#311014 - 02/17/19 10:30 PM Re: The Debate: Is America’s future capitalist or socialist? [Re: NW Ponderer]
chunkstyle Offline
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Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 1626
What other major economic systems are there?

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#311015 - 02/17/19 11:15 PM Re: The Debate: Is America’s future capitalist or socialist? [Re: chunkstyle]
Greger Online   content

Carpal Tunnel

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Quote:
Capitalism is unique in that it's spread now thruout the entire worlds surface since it's beginnings in the turn of the 19th century.

Seriously? There was no capitalism before that?
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#311016 - 02/17/19 11:23 PM Re: The Debate: Is America’s future capitalist or socialist? [Re: NW Ponderer]
chunkstyle Offline
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Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 1626
I believe it was Feudalism followed my mercantilism, colonialism then industrial capitalism with shades in between?

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#311017 - 02/17/19 11:43 PM Re: The Debate: Is America’s future capitalist or socialist? [Re: chunkstyle]
NW Ponderer Offline
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Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 17020
Originally Posted By: chunkstyle
What other major economic systems are there?
Well, we can start with the thread title, I suppose.

There are a huge number of "major" economic systems we could discuss - feudalism, mercantilism, fascism and communism (state-directed economies), oligarchy, capitalism and socialism, in various combinations. As defined in the cited article,
Quote:
An economic system (also economic order)[1] is a system of production, resource allocation and distribution of goods and services within a society or a given geographic area. It includes the combination of the various institutions, agencies, entities, decision-making processes and patterns of consumption that comprise the economic structure of a given community.
One of the points I've tried to make since initiating this thread is that the "forced choice" between capitalism and socialism is fallacious. There are myriad elements within "our" system that blend both and incorporate others.

I don't disagree that there is an overreliance on "growth" as a metric for success. My preferred metrics would be sufficiency and sustainability. Our current system has neither. If we focused more on those, the former effect would probably occur naturally, but need not be our goal. [As an example: sufficient employment leads to better productivity, more distributable income (via taxes and consumption), and less economic volatility.]

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#311022 - 02/18/19 11:43 AM Re: The Debate: Is America’s future capitalist or socialist? [Re: NW Ponderer]
NW Ponderer Offline
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Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 17020
Karl Marx and Adam Smith both had remarkable ideas about how economies work, and both made major contributions to economic thinking. Neither, of course, had a complete "solution" and both were toiling in a completely different economic environment than exists today. I am a great proponent of filtering bathwater to avoid ejecting unformed humans onto the scrapheap. I, thus, reject ill-considered wholesale disregard of economic concepts that have empirical bases. Which is to say, I'm not an absolutist.

Both capitalism and socialism have provided valuable contributions of the moral, ethical, and practical understanding of economic activity - as have other systems. For example, Mussolini was famous for "making the trains run on time." A centralized economy can be quite effective for making bold changes and redirecting labor to goals. China, currently, and other authoritarian countries have demonstrated that. China has, in the last 10 years, poured more concrete than the US did in half a century or more, and has radically reshaped its infrastructure and military. For good and ill, that is effective.

The goal of the government must be to take the most effective elements and use them for the good of the greatest number. Marx was famous for the borrowed dictum "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." Like Reagan's misuse of the "a rising tide floats all boats" aphorism, it is sage advice, but misapplied. Unfortunately both are tainted by the misapplication and association with unfavored economic choices.

I mentioned in an earlier post the concept of sufficiency, borrowed and shaped from the "sufficiency economy" approach of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej. It is a useful approach that even our advanced economy can effectively adapt:
Quote:
"Development of the country must proceed in stages. First of all, there must be a foundation with the majority of the people having enough to live on by using methods and equipment which are economical but technically correct as well. When such a secure foundation is adequately ready and operational, then it can be gradually expanded and developed to raise prosperity and the economic standard to a higher level by stages."
That is, frankly, the approach that the ACA used to create exchanges for health insurance. It is no longer adequate, but it set us upon the road in the right direction. The Green New Deal, and Medicare for All are its philosophical descendants. With one eighth of our population living in poverty, it is necessary to establish a baseline for the citizenry. The same is true for health care, where a similar population are still uninsured. Those should be absolutely unacceptable statistics in the most prosperous country in the world.

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#311026 - 02/18/19 01:23 PM Re: The Debate: Is America’s future capitalist or socialist? [Re: NW Ponderer]
logtroll Offline
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Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 9316
Loc: One of the Mexicos
Originally Posted By: NW Ponderer
The goal of the government must be to take the most effective elements and use them for the good of the greatest number.
Upvote popcorn2

The pooch-screwer in all economic systems is the inherent and variable weakness of human nature - that is, in fact, the same condition that makes government a necessity.

Without a pure dominant culture of ethical, rational, "higher" motives, there will always be friction between individual desires, leading to power struggles about whose interests win out.

Capitalism might be a perfectly workable system if it wasn't for the fact that it does not include a mandatory element of humanity.

Socialism would be perfectly fine except that humans aren't perfect.

The sad fact is that no matter what intellectually fine system we come up with for economics or governance, there will always be the pressing necessity to include mechanisms to force compliance (I was going to add "on those who will not play properly, but that would include all of us to one degree or another).

Remember, Plato's Republic was ruled by a benevolent but all-powerful dictator, who had all of the human foibles bred out of him. It's no stretch to see the flaws in that plan - it's impossible to breed such a being! Besides, the benevolent dictator would be quickly overthrown.

What is there, then? Might as well face the endless struggle with an acceptance that strategies, adaptations, tricks, aspirations, and defeats will always be a part of our collective occupation of seeking perfection (a little segue into the theater of philosophy and religion), until the day of our disintegration back into the ether.

"Here lies Logtroll - he was overtaken by events"
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#311028 - 02/18/19 07:46 PM Re: The Debate: Is America’s future capitalist or socialist? [Re: logtroll]
jgw Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 2556
Loc: Port Angeles, WA
The solution, to both, is government regulation. To make that work you need a government that has the interest of the nation, and its citizens, as its main and overriding goal. Take the socialist (so called) nations of northern Europe. In spite of the socialist thing they rate very high in the number of millionaires per capita. They are also rated high for happiness. Gosh, that must mean them damned socialists may be capitalists too?
https://www.businessinsider.com/countries-with-most-millionaires-2017-4#15-the-netherlands-4
There is some evidence that their success may also have to do with their system of education.

On the other hand they also have politicians running on hate and fear. They surfaced when the waves of refugees started their current swarming. I believe that, not unlike climate change, that will continue for some time or until somebody figures out a solution.

I remember when the United Nations was formed. At that time there was a lot of discussion on rogue nations and how the United Nations could do something about them. That didn't work out but probably should have. The refugee thing really needs to be addressed and something done. How about when a country has more than 20% fleeing for their lives then the non rogue nations put a stop to it thereby acting in their own best interest. It doesn't make sense that countries get invaded simply because a given nation decided to start slaughtering its own. I also remember when France put a stop to the ongoing Rwandan genocide. When they did that, if my memory serves me, France was appreciated by one and all for their action.

Just a thought.............

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