5
   

What is capitalism?

 
 
Cyracuz
 
Reply Fri 26 Apr, 2013 01:31 pm
It occured to me that capitalism isn't really economy. Economy is about the responsible management of resources, and when we look at the way we treat money, that is hardly what it is about. It is about the highest possible profit, regardless of the effects elsewhere. It is about the fabrication of needs, and how to increase the rate of consumption. The guiding star is not how much one needs, but rather how much one can possibly get.

The bold claim I wish to make is that capitalsm isn't economy, but rather religion. It is a faith founded on economic principles, twisting and perverting those principles until the system is one of theology rather than economy. That some must live in poverty for others to prosper is a belief, made true because it is built into the capitalistic system.

Here is the thing. What would happen if I decided that I wanted no part of the capitalistic worship of things? What if I demanded an alternative way of contributing, based on religious freedom. We have that in this country. Supposedly, I should not be able to be forced to participate in anyone's religious rituals. The problem is that we don't see it as religion.

Work with me, if you are so inclined. How can we add weight to this outrageous idea?
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Question • Score: 5 • Views: 4,285 • Replies: 75
No top replies

 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Apr, 2013 08:25 pm
@Cyracuz,
Of course the famous social theorist, Max Weber, insisted that capitalism has its cultural roots in the values of religious Calvinism. Perhaps Setanta can provide us with details of this argument.
I see much in your arguement, because of the overwhelming evidence that capitalism is more concerned with the production of profits than products. Isn't it obvious that the production of wealth is considered a "virtuous" activity? And I've always noted the moralistic categorization of wealthy families in the U.S. and Mexico as "good families."
Good to have you back; where have you been?
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Apr, 2013 08:39 pm
@JLNobody,
Quote:
where have you been?


Working his workers to death trying to make millions.


Smile
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Apr, 2013 02:38 am
@JLNobody,
Quote:
Isn't it obvious that the production of wealth is considered a "virtuous" activity?


It is. Also, one who makes millions is considered succesful, and it is acceptable for such people to not pay any taxes, to hoard treasure and not give anything back. 99% of us do not have this extreme luxury, and it is simply not possible for everyone to have it. And yet we hold it as an ideal it is considered good to strive for. It is typical human stupidity. By allowing a few to do it, we assert he possibility that anyone can do it, which keeps the dream alive that someday you will make it big.

As to where I have been, I wish I knew that myself. I've been around, though I haven't had the oportunity to do much philosophical musing.
0 Replies
 
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Apr, 2013 09:04 am
2013 UCD Philosophy Society

Noam Chomsky: Can civilization survive really existing capitalism?

0 Replies
 
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Apr, 2013 12:29 pm
@Cyracuz,
Quote:
Work with me, if you are so inclined. How can we add weight to this outrageous idea?


Maybe I am wrong but I do think that you are correct in saying
Quote:
capitalsm isn't economy, but rather religion.


I have been in denial for quite some time about how we are all caught up in beliefs that do seem to spread as a religion. Maybe we can not get rid of these beliefs that become religiously held, so maybe we should join hands with the religious and make the best out of the situation that we can.

I think that atheist and theist who really care may be able to make a change but the change may need to take place in a church so that the members can see and understand.

I have an idea that may or may not work, If we could find people who are willing to visit some churches in the quest of sharing our ideas in away they can relate too, that may add some weight.

If a speaker could find a simple way of demonstrating that our behavior as a society is immoral, "that may be a start.

My idea would be to ask members of the church to help out by coming up on stage, mothers fathers, daughters, sons, grandmothers and grandfathers and so forth and have them explain how a grandson maybe worth more than his grandmother dollar per hour and so forth.

If they can not see how then ask if they could explain when this type of logic does become moral.

I know people will say many things like well he went to college and so forth but should that of been a job for the grandson and as a community we could have paid him a wage while he was going to college? When he got out he just would have been more educated than his grandmother but is he really worth more dollar per hour than his grandmother?

Let me guess some members of the church will think that the grandmother should have to labor long and hard all of her life because she is more intellectually challenged than her grandson?
0 Replies
 
Ding an Sich
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Apr, 2013 03:20 pm
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

It occured to me that capitalism isn't really economy. Economy is about the responsible management of resources, and when we look at the way we treat money, that is hardly what it is about. It is about the highest possible profit, regardless of the effects elsewhere. It is about the fabrication of needs, and how to increase the rate of consumption. The guiding star is not how much one needs, but rather how much one can possibly get.


False on three accounts. Economy deals with the sum of all transactions that occur between agents, be they individuals or groups of individuals. It has no say as to how resources are distrbuted, manufactured, etc. Secondly, capitalism does not necessitate accruing the highest possible profit, but only some profit. Gaining the highest possible profit is merely a sufficient condition, not a necessary one. Thirdly, the fabrication of needs is usually done, in part, by public relations agents, who are either profit or non-profit. This means, then, that capitalism does not necessitate that entrepeneurs, venture capitalists, or the like will hire public relations specialists to garner appeal for the products/services that they offer. Once again, this is merely a sufficient condition. They may do so in the hopes of gaining profits, which is desirable, since we do not operate under an evenly-rotating economy.

Cyracuz wrote:

The bold claim I wish to make is that capitalsm isn't economy, but rather religion. It is a faith founded on economic principles, twisting and perverting those principles until the system is one of theology rather than economy. That some must live in poverty for others to prosper is a belief, made true because it is built into the capitalistic system.


Then you have to provide some sort of argument in favor of your position, which you have yet to do. And you also have to argue that the above defintions, which are unconventional, should be accepted. Additionally, capitalism does not necessitate that some must live in poverty for others. It is possible, a priori, that no one is impoverished under a capitalistic system. And this, of course, assumes that people, out of necessity, live in poverty for others. There may be extraneous factors. Hell, maybe said people are living in poverty because they choose to do so.

Cyracuz wrote:

Here is the thing. What would happen if I decided that I wanted no part of the capitalistic worship of things?


You're conflating capitalism with consumerism and materialism. Capitalism does not have in any say regarding the worship of "things".

And there is nothing stopping you from participating in the "capitalistic worship of things". Monks have been getting along just fine without it for hundreds of years.

Cyracuz wrote:

What if I demanded an alternative way of contributing, based on religious freedom. We have that in this country. Supposedly, I should not be able to be forced to participate in anyone's religious rituals.


You can contribute in an alternate way. Why do you think the clergy exist? They only need a small penance for what they do (unless you work for a mega church).

Cyracuz wrote:

The problem is that we don't see it as religion.


Because it's not a religion, but an economic theory. There is no problem once we understand what capitalism "is".

Cyracuz wrote:

Work with me, if you are so inclined. How can we add weight to this outrageous idea?


We can't.

Hope this clears things up.
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Apr, 2013 05:17 pm
@Ding an Sich,
Quote:
there is nothing stopping you from participating in the "capitalistic worship of things".



Quote:
Because it's not a religion, but an economic theory. There is no problem once we understand what capitalism "is".


I do not quite understand what you are saying, You say one can participate in the "capitalistic worship of things" but yet you say it is not a religion. Are you suggesting it is an ideology? I can see that it does not have a god other than the person worshiping it.

Quote:
Gaining the highest possible profit is merely a sufficient condition, not a necessary one.


Maybe so but it is the reasoning behind capitalism isn't it?

How many capitalist do you know that do not try and get the biggest return?
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Apr, 2013 05:50 pm
bookmark
0 Replies
 
Ding an Sich
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Apr, 2013 04:43 am
@reasoning logic,
reasoning logic wrote:

Quote:
there is nothing stopping you from participating in the "capitalistic worship of things".



Quote:
Because it's not a religion, but an economic theory. There is no problem once we understand what capitalism "is".


I do not quite understand what you are saying, You say one can participate in the "capitalistic worship of things" but yet you say it is not a religion. Are you suggesting it is an ideology? I can see that it does not have a god other than the person worshiping it.


I'm saying that it is an economic theory. If you refer back to my post, I clearly state that the "capitalistic worship of things" is capitalistic in name only. It is a sign of gross consumerism/materialism.

reasoning logic wrote:

Quote:
Gaining the highest possible profit is merely a sufficient condition, not a necessary one.


Maybe so but it is the reasoning behind capitalism isn't it?

How many capitalist do you know that do not try and get the biggest return?


The profit motive is indeed one of the main aspects of capitalism. But I don't think there is anything particularly wrong with that, seeing that profit allows for greater relief of uneasiness. And I don't see anything wrong with people not making any profits whatsoever, provided that they are not running a profit-based business.

Once again, if you live in a society that operates under capitalism, and by this I mean laissez-faire capitalism (or even the economic system the U.S. operates under currently), then you don't have to participate in business. You will inevitably participate in markets of some sort, but nothing is forcing you to make a profit. It's your choice.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Apr, 2013 05:01 am
Quote:
The bold claim I wish to make is that capitalsm isn't economy, but rather religion. It is a faith founded on economic principles, twisting and perverting those principles until the system is one of theology rather than economy.


Are you claiming that all economic systems are religions? Can you give me an example of an economic system that isn't a religion?

If economic systems are religions, what would a non-religious economic system look like?


0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Apr, 2013 05:09 am
@Cyracuz,
Quote:
Here is the thing. What would happen if I decided that I wanted no part of the capitalistic worship of things? What if I demanded an alternative way of contributing, based on religious freedom.


It seems to me that you have that in our present economic system. If you don't care about materialistic things, you are free to put your resources into anything you like. You can feed the poor and help animals... or you can buy a new television. In the US we have quite a bit of economic freedom based on our own personal values.

I worship scotch, women and poker. I hope that I will be free to follow my religion in any new future order.


0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Apr, 2013 12:24 pm
@Ding an Sich,
Quote:
Economy deals with the sum of all transactions that occur between agents, be they individuals or groups of individuals. It has no say as to how resources are distrbuted, manufactured, etc


This is simply not true. Googling "economy definition", and just skimming the three first hits, I see mention of the management of resources, both material and non-material.

Quote:
Additionally, capitalism does not necessitate that some must live in poverty for others


Again, simply not true. This is due to intrest. The direct result of how intrest is used today is that the total amount of money owed will always be higher than the amount of money owned.
Imagine if every single loan was due today. All the national banks of the world were to be repaid, and all the money they had ever printed went back to them.
But this money was given out at an intrest rate. That means that even though all the money is repaid, there is more debt. It can't be paid because there is no more money... You see how this creates inflation, through the need to constantly pay off intrest? And how it can only get worse?
Also, do you see how this makes it inevitable that if you have more than 0 someone else has to have less than 0? There is only so much to go around, and in the capitalistic system, if we were to somehow share everything equally among all of us, we would all have less than 0.

This is the reality reflected by the capitalistic system and our belief in it. It does not conform to the physical reality we live in. There is no universal law stating that there can never be enough for everyone, and operating as if there were, as we are doing in capitalism, resembles religious zeal more than anything else. But it is not something we question. We take it on faith....
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Apr, 2013 12:34 pm
@Cyracuz,
I don't think you have a very good understanding of economics.

I borrowed money to buy a house. I am paying it back with interest. This has far from put me into poverty, it has ensured that I have a place to live that is mine. I could have rented a place, but in the long term that would mean I am paying money to a landlord. My ability to incur debt has given me greater control over my life and has allowed me to keep more of my wealth over the long run.

I win. The bank wins. The people who build houses win. The movers win. This is a deal that benefits everyone (except the landlords).
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Apr, 2013 12:46 pm
Paul B. Farrell, a MarketWatch columnist based in San Luis Obispo, Calif. presents an apparently contrary view (based on the teachings of Harvard philosopher, Michael Sandel) of capitalism as a destroyer of values because of its commidification of all values, i.e., everything's for sale.
He concludes his essay published today with the question:

"Can we change? “The appeal of using markets to put a price on public values, is that there’s no judgment on the preferences they satisfy.” Debate is unnecessary. Markets don’t “ask whether some ways of valuing goods are higher, or worthier, than others. If someone is willing to pay for sex, or a kidney ... the only question the economist asks is ‘How much?’ Markets ... don’t discriminate between worthy preferences and unworthy ones.” Markets may never draw the line, but do politicians, in secret?
What is certain: Capitalism is eliminating moral values, as Nobel economist Milton Friedman and capitalism’s philosopher Ayn Rand had been preaching to the generation. As Sandel puts it: “Each party to a deal decides for him- or herself what value to place on the things being exchanged. This nonjudgmental stance toward values lies at the heart of market reasoning, and explains much of its appeal.”
But unfortunately, market capitalism “has exacted a heavy price ... drained public discourse of moral and civic energy.”
The good professor is a great teacher, with only one glaring flaw in his logic: he’s too idealistic, too quixotic. You don’t have to be a fatalist to know that without a total economic collapse, market capitalists — including 1,426 billionaires, Wall Street bankers, hedgers, lobbyists and every other special interest getting rich off the new market society — will never voluntarily surrender their control over the American political system.

Rather, they will blindly continue down their self-destructive path with an absolute conviction they are divinely guided by the Invisible Hand of Adam Smith, and perhaps even God. [my emphasis to show how Cyracuz' thesis may not be contradicted by the Farrell/Sandel argument].

Meanwhile, we have no choice but wait patiently till the collapse, anxiously aware that our bizarre political system will just keep degrading America’s moral values, pricing, buying, selling, trading morals like commodities, because in the final analysis everything has a price and everyone has a price in our hot new exciting Market Society. *

*As a opposed to a society with a market economy.

maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Tue 30 Apr, 2013 02:59 pm
@JLNobody,
How cliche! How are we less moral now then we were 100 years ago (when women couldn't vote and interracial marriage was not allowed in many places)? Or 200 years ago when we had institutional slavery and were perpetrating ethnic cleansing.

Everyone says we are losing moral values (although no one seems to agree why).

If you are going to say our values are being destroyed, please tell me when you think our society (or any society) was more moral than we are today?
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Apr, 2013 03:10 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
How are we less moral now then we were 100 years ago (when women couldn't vote and interracial marriage was not allowed in many places)? Or 200 years ago when we had institutional slavery and were perpetrating ethnic cleansing.


That is a good point, we can see where we have advanced but is it possible that we are failing in other areas?

Did we have members of our own society going into schools and shooting children or going to events and blowing up people 100 years ago?

Sure we have come a long ways in some areas but I still think we have problems and some of these problems are newly created.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Tue 30 Apr, 2013 03:14 pm
@reasoning logic,
Quote:
Did we have members of our own society going into schools and shooting children or going to events and blowing up people 100 years ago?


Of course we did. Here is what I came up with in a 30 second google search

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simone_Pianetti
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_school_disaster

And at that time, lynchings and other political terrorism against African Americans and other minorities were common.
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Apr, 2013 03:20 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
Of course we did. Here is what I came up with in a 30 second google search


No we did not. One of them was not over 100 years old and the other was not in the US.

Quote:
And at that time, lynchings and other political terrorism against African Americans and other minorities were common.


That seemed to be a social norm of the time in the US but luckily we had progressive and liberal movements that made it hard for people who had a conscience to hold those conservative values.
Ding an Sich
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Apr, 2013 03:35 pm
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

Quote:
Economy deals with the sum of all transactions that occur between agents, be they individuals or groups of individuals. It has no say as to how resources are distrbuted, manufactured, etc


This is simply not true. Googling "economy definition", and just skimming the three first hits, I see mention of the management of resources, both material and non-material.


That's included when it comes to dealing with transactions. An individual or group has to manage and distribute resources in order to even begin making transactions. I was quibbling over the "responsible" part of your definition. In other words, your definition wasn't broad enough.

I'll come back to your other objections sometime this week.



0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

 
  1. Forums
  2. » What is capitalism?
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 06/25/2021 at 01:46:38