The Ethics of Capitalism vs. Socialism vs. Communitarianism
A focus on the moral distinctions between different social systems: Capitalism, Socialism, Communism, Altruism, Statism & Communitarianism, including and introducing Jacque Fresco's futurist society. by Jose Roldan: the Abolitionist
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Capitalism is a system of social interaction which uses money as a medium of exchange for goods and services. It evolved from barter, in which items were merely traded, value for value. As long as the value of the money relative to whatever is being exchanged is agreed upon, then a capitalistic transaction takes place - it matters not whether the currency is in salt or seashells - as in ancient times; or in gold or silver; or the paper dollars, yen or marks of today.
What gives capitalism its potential as a moral system is this aspect of fair trade, of a voluntary transaction where both parties agree and both freely trade a value for a value. The benefits of such transactions, such as creating wealth, freeing up commerce and providing incentives for technological advancement and human achievement, are in great example and undisputed.
However, examples of capitalism's corrupting influence on social interactions also exist in great number. A product might be sold to satisfy a certain need under false pretenses, such as the milk manufacturers in China that used toxic waste to expand the product resulting in many deaths to small children. This extreme example is not atypical in a capitalistic system, where the acquisition of money becomes of paramount importance over personal and social responsibility. Understand: When the quest for profit becomes more important than doing what is right, capitalism, as a social system, fails. As such, capitalism mirrors human nature: It shines when the individuals involved are moral, aware of their actions, intent on being fair, treating the other as they would like to be treated; and on the flip-side Greed: the desire for the unearned, drives individuals to trick, deceive, coerce, extort, and basically rip-off the unsuspecting consumer or robbed victim.
To consign capitalism to be purely a benevolent system is as ideologically dishonest as condemning it to be always malevolent and greed-infested. Like Democracy, capitalism is only as good or as bad as the people which exercise it, as it is the relationships between people that make up any social system. The acquisition of capital provides the incentive to do great things and also to do unspeakable evil.
There can be little disagreement on this reality: For every example of a positive benefit from capitalism, there can be found another with a negative outcome. A manufacturer moves an operation overseas to take advantage of lower wages, while eliminating jobs and hurting families here, he creates opportunity and a higher standard of living for the new workers, but at a high cost to them as well - they work in substandard, dangerous and unhealthy working conditions for long hours, and without a strong government to enforce environmental regulations, the corporation dumps toxic waste into the drinking and bathing water resulting in cancer outbreaks long after they have moved to the next poor country to exploit.
Capitalism's greatest virtue is fair trade, its greatest failing is putting profit before people.
For those that advocate laissez-faire, that capitalism and the individuals and corporations involved should be given free reign, consider the social costs. The only legitimate role of government is the protection of individual human rights, among those are to breathe uncontaminated air and drink pure water, at the most basic level; and to make sure that a fair trade really is one, and if it is not, to have legal recourse to correct an injustice. Laissez-faire is a fantasy where everyone acts like the moral characters in an Ayn Rand novel, without the moral failings all-too-common in the real world.
Socialism exists in a dependent parasitic relationship with capitalism. As such, it relies on and works within a monetary system. The basic premise behind socialism is a redistribution of capital by the use of statist government force. Indeed, without government to do its bidding, socialism could not exist. Likewise, without capitalism to provide the capital for goods and services, socialism would not exist.
One can not only consider the positive benefits or negative consequences of a particular system to appraise it. The positive derivatives of socialism are many: A space program, the pride of the entire world, achieved landing men on the moon and exploring distant planets. Deadly diseases have been eradicated. Advances in science and technology were made in areas not profitable to corporations. Preventing starvation and homelessness to the poorest. Providing medical care to the needy. And so on.
The negative consequences of taking away money from someone to give to another is as infinitely varied as those who give, who now have less of their money for their own needs and ambitions. Less money might mean less education or healthcare for their families, less consuming which means less manufacturing and less jobs, less investment which depresses the economy. But even if the economic effect in total was a zero net sum, meaning money taken here is spent over there equally, the main negative consequence is one of a polluted moral environment.
And here socialism fails as a social system. The moral equivalent of socialism is theft. As in Robin Hood, it may steal from the rich to give to the poor, but it is still stealing. Here, statist government dictates who should be the recipient of the money and who should be the giver. The corrupting influence on politics is evident everyday in the hustle for money and programs on Capital Hill. Political influence is the overriding determination as to where the money ends up, notwithstanding any concepts of need and especially not justice.
Coupled with capitalism's incentive for greed and socialism's political power of taking, the moral environment is one satiated with the predatory hunt for the unearned. In effect, this environment defines American culture and all of its failings, for when a society reaches such a low point that it sees institutionalized thievery as a right, it will begin to consume itself with cannibalistic self-destruction. No redistribution of wealth, no printing or borrowing of capital to stimulate a slowing economy will save a society bent on robbing itself blind.
Statism: The government system of force to gain the unearned which makes socialism possible. Its operating premise is false: that the end justifies the means. Should a government exist that would abolish and abandon this false doctrine and concentrate on enforcing human right laws instead of political influence and expediency, then it would be another government indeed. Would wealth still be redistributed? Just as surely as corporations must be forced to undo the damage they do, then yes, capital from the guilty to the victims would change hands. Personal responsibility must be enforced with a strong, but fair government hand. To do right implies a mandate to do right or face the consequences. Is this socialism? No, it is called Justice.
Communism: Totalitarian socialism. Communism is a high-degree to total control statist socialism, in which the normal everyday free capitalistic exchanges are manipulated and controlled by government. From childhood, the communist regime molds and shapes the individual to determine his best career to serve the State. Those with more athletic prowess are carefully trained apart so they can excel, while others are steered towards careers as doctors depending on their innate inclinations. Literacy reaches 100%, medical coverage is universal. Only the top government officials enjoy a privileged and lavish lifestyle and a high degree of freedom. To travel to other countries is considered a privilege, not a right. For all the benefits that a communist country promises one truth remains, expressed best to me by a Cuban - "We are a nation of 12 million slaves".
Communism's failure is evident by its curtailing of human freedom of action. To restrict freedom of speech, to forbid its own citizens to leave, to repress dissent through prison and even death - all these indicate a system that would collapse without totalitarian controls in place to maintain the status quo. Human freedom of action is dictated by Nature, any dictatorships to the contrary, notwithstanding.
Altruism, in the context of economics and of morality, is a giving of oneself or one's acquired capital to others. Altruism can never be forced, so a giving of capital extorted through taxation to the needy is not altruism, but socialism. Charitable institutions rely on altruism, just as altruism relies on the capitalistic system to exist.
Altruism outside of a capitalist context, where one gives of himself without the involvement of money, could be called Communitarianism. If someone donates a book to a public library, the money transaction long-passed, then this would be one example. If public moneys are used for the public library, i.e. tax money, then it is socialism. But it can be, and often is, a combination of both social systems. Public television operates on private donations (altruism), volunteers (communitarianism), and taxes (socialism) all in the framework of a capitalist system.
The ultimate expression of communitarianism - (my term not his), is Jacque Fresco's Venus Project. In this social engineering vision of a future social system devoid of capitalism or socialism the needs and human rights of the community are provided for by a combination of volunteers and robotic mechanization.
The basic fundamental principle is that all of the world's natural resources belong to all. As the sun begins its trajectory across the sky radiating more free energy upon the Earth in one day than in centuries of human fossil-burning activity, the logic of harnessing and living in harmony with Nature seems sublime.
The ethics of a free public library has made the technological leap to the internet and only statist government intrusion will try to curtail this natural advancement in freedom of information and expression. The internet is the greatest example of today's communitarianism, one that we all embrace and acknowledge as a huge step forward in man's evolution, as significant today as the Gutenburg press of yesterday. To the children of today, the internet is as free and natural as the sunshine.
While Fresco's vision of the future may seem hindered by our own negative associations with the failed and failing systems of socialism and communism, rest assured that the internet is none other than part of this technological and social eventuality. It represents the first preliminary stage of a communitarian society and the end of capitalism and our artificial political and economic world as we know it.
Only time will tell how the governments of today will hinder or aid the upcoming robotic revolution, or whether mechanized intelligence will be used for good - the power of Venus or for war - the power of Mars. Just as it is an obvious megatrend that manufacturing is becoming more automated causing the loss of human jobs, it is even more worrisome that governments may harness robots to kill anyone, anywhere, anytime with the touch of a button. The day of the first to die by US drone attack has already passed. This age is dawning and we will all have to choose to take the path of Love over Hate, before it is too late to express any dissent to the contrary.
Did you like this article? If you did, Thumb It! 12
thumbs so far
The views expressed
in this article are those of Jose Roldan: the Abolitionist only and
do not represent the views of Nolan Chart, LLC or its affiliates.
Jose Roldan: the Abolitionist is solely responsible for the contents
of this article and is not an employee or otherwise affiliated
with Nolan Chart, LLC in his/her role as a columnist.
Posted By: Walt Thiessen
Date: 2010-04-08 13:14:23
You confuse freedom of trade (what you're calling capitalism) with rights violations. Freedom never includes the "right" to violate the rights of others. If it did, then it would be easy to claim, for instance, that people have the "right" to kill each other.
People who knowingly sell products that harm others are not capitalists. Nor are they free market participants. Instead, they're thugs, and their actions are the actions of bullies and criminals.
When does a corporation change from a capitalist to a thug? The moment is not clear cut or permanent. Take Chevron, accused of environmental contamination in the Amazon, guilty of violating the Clean Air Act, implicated in the murder of Nigerian activists, and so on. You are saying that suddenly a huge multinational like Chevron is not capitalist, because they violated rights? But if they can go a day without violating anyone\'s rights and take personal responsibility for their actions, they suddenly are bestowed with the noble title of capitalists. Nonsense. Capitalists that do wrong are still capitalists - thugs, agreed, but operating in the human relationship system we know as capitalism. I have heard similar arguments defending communism, as saying that Stalin really wasn\'t a true communist for committing atrocities. Let us accept reality and human nature for what it is and see that a wide range of ethical behavior exists in the capitalist system, from hidden user fees, to overcharging mechanics, to misleading advertising, ad infinitum. It is not a Rand universe of thugs and the morally righteous and it never was.
Capitalism's greatest virtue is "fair" trade? Who's definition of "fair" shall we use?
Capitalism's greatest virtue is that you "own" what you produce. You are the only one entitled to profit from your own efforts. What you do with those profits is up to you. Be assured, there is no capitalism without profit.
Profit is not greed. Profit is what people have willingly paid you in excess of your costs to produce. How is that possibly greed?
To not have a capitalist system means that someone or something else is entitled to what you produce.
Your milk example can can happen under any system, and is more likely to occur under socialism and communism. Why? Capitalists have no incentive to destroy their own reputation or harm their customers for short term gain. The others do.
EJ: By "fair" trade I mean one that is mutually agreed upon by both parties, as I am discussing capitalism as a social relationship, not referring to the politically-loaded "fair trade" as between nations.
I say this is the greatest virtue because it follows the principles of the Golden Rule, where both parties in a capitalist transaction feel they both got a good bargain - a win/win situation.
As you mention, being able to own what you produce is also another virtue, but without that crucial relationship with the buyer, you would own it, but could not sell it. In Cuba a common complaint is that it is illegal for a farmer to eat his own food that he raised or grew, as he, too, could only eat the food legally that they rationed. Unbelievable. So I agree with the importance of ownership.
I mentioned the creation of wealth as a positive byproduct, so, of course capitalism's goal is profit - nothing wrong with that. Understand, though, that it is this quest for profit that drives people to act greedy - "Greed" defined as I wrote: "the desire for the unearned". The key word is "unearned". If a person agrees to a transaction, but the basis of the sale is misrepresentation of the product, then, though the seller may profit, he is motivated by greed and not personal integrity and fairness. Think used car salesman that claims the car is perfect, knowing full well it is on its last set of tires. Every single profession in our capitalist system contains some people that stretch, bend or break the truth to make a buck. These are the greedy ones, but this is not an anomaly that happens elsewhere. This happens every single day, everywhere, because the system is only as good, or as moral, as the practitioners.
As to someone else being entitled to what we produce, think fruits of our labor, think income tax, and recognize that what we really have is socialistic capitalism.
The major paradigm shift, though, is the concept of Communitarianism as I described - which is off the Nolan Chart and off the minds of most individuals. To see only the positive side of any social system, as I did for years with Capitalism, extremely influenced by Ayn Rand as I was, is a symptom of ideological myopia, which began to chip away as I saw that personal responsibility and capitalism often took divergent paths. Talking to Mr. Fresco, whom I met, made me realize a whole other world of scientifically sound logic could create a truly free society. I encourage you to explore this concept further - you might be amazed, as I was, of the possibilities.
EJ, capitalism isn't OwNLY owning what you produce, its owning ANYTHING that you can get an enTITLEment-to... from the organization who hands out entitlements. According to the current own-materials-made-by-Earth-creators nonsense, once you own the land, you own ANYTHING made from materials there-upon, and you have control of those lands and materials... because police guns back the current ownership laws. So ownershipism is as much or more... about squatting... as it is about producing. Ask 3M company... who did a GRUESOME squat on Minnesota mining and lumber exploitation... and got huge and powerful in doing it. They are the "Ben Cartwright" of wrapping fences/controls around Minnesota bonanzas. Ownership... is a control thing. Its an attempt at having control over something initially made by the Earth creators. In effect, its little Susie playing on some Earth-owned beach... and she makes a MOUND of that sand, and then claims it is HER mound of sand, and puts country borders around it, and hires an army of true-to-the-regime forces (pays them well, lets them live HIGH on the mound). The regime wars with other mounders and tries to maintain controls and servitude systems to protect the mound that she never "owned" in the first place. She just made-up the whole phenomenon and term of OWNING, and somehow set the police laws and guns to help her protect HER mound.
Then the term "my" happened, and mymymy is super-widespread these days, even though owning is strictly a man-made-up thing and no other living creatures on the entire planet use ownership, money, borders, or price tagging/invoicing. Ok, SOME animals try to pee a border into existence, but its more a custodianship than a ownership, as no guns back it. (no honor-my-border-or-else-you-die stuff.)
So it seems, whenever you own the land that a tree or piece of iron ore resides-upon, and if you cut that tree into a 2x4 or melt that ore into a pellet, all of a sudden it no longer belongs to the Earth creators... but instead... is now mymymy stick and mymymy rock. Ownership might be one of the biggest self-lies EVER. It is the basis of greed itself. Eliminating ownership is one of the first steps to repairing the mess that the pyramid scheme called capitalism, caused. And capitalism was caused by using money and ownership. Many try to own money, too, and it cannot be owned. It has no entitle of ownership, and generally has "federal reserve note" written on it. Yet many wander around saying "taxpayer dollars" and "your hard-earned money". Yep, earn'n'deserve systems. Time to rethink such nasty rat-racings, I'd say. Bestest! Wingy
Yes, Wingnut: The paradigm is shifting. Private property has always been about control - restricting freedom, as well as protecting ownership rights. The basic freedom of unimpeded motion is contained by fences, property lines, etc. We are not even free to walk upon this Earth, anymore, except in designated "public" areas. Capitalism is useful for protecting, as you say, my "stuff", but at a cost to universal freedom.
That's right, Aquila1. Well said. And howdy-do. I've seen you post in some other threads around here, and its been wise words every time... well done.
Yes, the seriously overwhelming "ooze" of capitalism, ownership, and economy usage... sure has robbed freedoms from those of us who want nothing to do with those things. Yet the capitalism junkies/lovers/buy-ins go around peddling capitalism right beside the words 'democracy" and "freedom". What a blatant contradiction. Capitalism continuously travels around doing felony extortions of "pay-up or else" and "join capitalism or starve", and nobody seems to think about it... at least not the middle class pyramid layers and above. Those who stick-with TRUE Christianity and/or altruism (non-materialism and avoidance of us/them warring)... tend to be the meek and poor. We don't like rat-racing systems, and want the freedom to do something else. But ownership is a nation-wide and nearing-world-wide addiction/belief/religion, so those who want the wide open spaces to walk freely around on the surface of the planet... can't. WE were born unto a planet that is completely "own"-ed and pretty much fenced and/or adorned with no-trespassing signs. And that is why we will be serving those early squatters in wage-slavery... so we can just EAT... speak nothing of walking ANYWHERE.
The separation of church and state is involved here, too. Ownership is a state thing, just like the survival greenpapers and the imperialism itself. No morals shall enter into state things... according to the separation of church and state policy. "Keep your friggin love and caring out of the busyness side of things, missy." All I can say to that is YIKES!
Lets talk just for a second about perceived opposites. There are two major opposites at work... in capitalism. One is the "out there" and "in here" opposites, and you will see MANY politicians use "out there" in describing "the public" or... "the thems". Even at USA nest-kicking age of 18, that is when you are sent "out there" to make a living, stand on your "own" two feet, pull your weight, earn your keep, make something of yourself. (earn'n'deserve systems) In other words, success at raking together a big pile of greenpapers or owned things or both. That's the meaning of "success" these days, as morals/love isn't considered a measuring "criteria" used for measuring success. Success is a state thing, and we separate church and state so that no moral considerations get in the way of gouging/profiting (mercantiling). Some BORDER between IN HERE and OUT THERE seems to have been crossed. PRE-18 years old... we are taught share share share. POST 18 years old... FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT. Competition is used OUT THERE, and its opposite... cooperation... is used IN HERE.
Such tradition/railroading of kids... helps support the separation of the perceived opposites of church and state. One just CANNOT cope with LOVE in the middle of a war between the us and the them. And that... is the OTHER major opposite-stuff bought-into by the USA and maybe lots more. Us vs Them. Them... are the ones on the OTHER side of some physical or philosophical border. A border, again, is the edge of a squatting/owning. Capitalism buy-ins LOVE smashmouth competing... just go look at how many of "them" are football fans... a game of land-gobbling. THEY've been doing smashmouth competing for SO long and SO hard... that THEY have forgotten that another way even exists. They LIVE for the bloodboiling destruction and humiliation of watching the THEMS be utterly destroyed, and they let their kids watch it. When a giant tug-o-war such as capitalism... is railroaded onto the people of a nation or planet... loving altruism and Christianity doesn't stand a chance. We even teach competition and pyramiding as a-ok in the schools, and force them to use money and "affording". Opportunity after opportunity closes to the youngsters... because it can't be "afforded". Has anyone ever looked at the word/phenomena "afford" to see what its story is? No.
Back to border wars and US vs THEM. We see these wars over ownership... happen right in "our" backyards, don't "we"? Locks, bolts, gates, fences, cameras, sensors, lights, and even guns... have been known to guard the supposedly (my)-owned (lemonade) STAND. Yep, even the kids' lemonade "stand" is just that... a "stand"ing guard over a hoard-up of lemonade. Was the lemonade "produced" as EJ states, and thus is ownable? Or did the lemonade come from ALL-Earth-creator-made materials, and thus CANNOT be owned... EVER.... for the original owners of the materials were never consulted? I think "our" very "own" ownership laws state that the original owners must be consulted before something even CAN be up for sale or squatting-upon. And thus... ALL ownership on the ENTIRE planet... is really null and void. A belief. A self lie. A religion. And the US vs THEM wars continue... township competing AGAINST township, county against county, state vs state, nation vs nation, religion vs religion, color vs color, class vs class, out-there vs in-here, and all a-okay because of the separation of church and state. Its the disallowance of COMMUNE-ity (love) in "doing busyness".
I didn't word ANY of this very well. I'm all over the place... sorry. I guess I'm trying to show that we/they have adopted some kind of policy/religion that is tug-o-war-ish, and that seems to ride-upon the US/THEM border and war, and the IN-HERE/OUT-THERE border and war. OUR economy? Hardly. Its a herd-control system, adorned with "keep-them-warring-with-each-other" herd-control doctrine/preaching... and its not "our". Okay, maybe its OUR enemy and it needs to go. Its all part of tug-o-warring and pyramid scheme rat-racing system. The pyramid scheme symbol is right there on the back of the USA dollar bill. SO many folks bought into it. Sad. Its days are numbered, though. Rat-racing can only take "us" just so far. Someday, we'll laugh at how foolish... pyramid schemes like capitalism... really are. SOME of us already are laughing at it... between the whippings.
Oh yeah, I DON'T agree with your "I agree with the importance of ownership." statement up there, A1. If everything was "owned" by Team Earth, how would that be, A1? That makes EVERYONE a police officer who can report the abuse of ANY Earth material and have folks be arrested for such. Cool? What if... just like the USA military and USA public library... NOTHING can be owned but EVERYTHING can be custodianed? See how very moneyless, ownerless, share share share, and "take care of each other"...things are... within "team military" and "team public library"? GOOD STUFF! Why not let that monetary-discrimination-less "commune" ooze on out into the public sector? Why must the civilians fight over ownership and inequality when the members of Team Military do no such thing? Is ownership REALLY needed, A1?
I hope you change your mind. No ownership is needed or wanted... when everyone is on the same team... Team Earth... where everyone is treated equal and has a heard'n'weighed "say". I feel you are on the fence, A1. (fences are borders, so BE CAREFUL!) :)
I urge you to lean in the "love thy neighbor above all else" direction... the wise direction. The "title of ownership" and the "price tag" was our last big mistakes. Lets get BACK-to the days before the Earth was owned. Again, not a single other living creature on the entire planet... uses ownership/economies. I've never heard a critter use the word "my", either. Don't succumb to the powers of the materialism and labeling-sticker gun. :)
Great discussions so far. I'm a strong supporter of The Venus Project and The Zeitgeist Movement and I believe it's logically possible to have a social system that uses no money, intelligent use of resources, science and technology focused, speeds up higher human civilization and mass usage of automated machineries supported by voluntary labor for common good.
Everyone lives a much meaningful life without having to enslave oneself to mundane, useless jobs, and actually have 9 hours extra a day to cultivate human relationships (family, REAL love, REAL friendships) and indulge in creative acquisition of knowledge.
Hi Ethan and everyone else. Ethan, doesn't it seem strange that a project that calls for the abolishment of economies... has so many things for sale on its site? Also, communes take work, so if you truly are a "strong supporter" of wise societies, you won't be having the day off. The sewers still need fixing, the elderly need the poop washed off their bodies and wheelchairs, the meals need fixin', the roofs need maintenance, holes need digging, and there will be plenty of cleaning to do. Want transportation? Well people will still wear things out and bang into each other with their vehicles, and it all needs good old fashioned labor. But if EVERY able-bodied person puts just a little nose-to-the-grindstone, it will be easy for ALL of us. In communes like these... if you laze around too much or sit and do nothing but burn valuable resources all day, the "motivators" WILL be knocking on your door and begging you to help with Team Earth projects. Some projects will be greasy, grimey, dirty, sweaty projects... but you'll do them proudly and honorably, and maybe even cultivate a few relationships and a meaningful life along the journey. But "freeloading" is like cocaine or sweets, and once you're "on it", it takes some serious self-butt-kick to shake it off and get back to team/commune think. Treehouse teaming IS work... and it HAS TO get done... but the job satisfaction should be much higher than the forced labor of current days. World Needs TV will help with all that, continuously pointing out where the high-priority projects are at, and how to obtain training to help with those panic projects or panic inventory levels. Communes are work, but happiness levels tend to be SO much higher, that it won't seem like work. Its like a workplace with love and entertainment... something we don't see much of these days... under capitalism's earn'n'deserve forcings. The days of "terminations" and "firings" will be gone. And although opportunities are now open to all, apptitude is still important. Just because you CAN have an open door to becoming a space shuttle pilot... doesn't mean you will have the patience and skills-set to get through shuttle pilot training. Everyone will have to "own-up" to what they are good-at, and lousy-at... and the resume's will look more like military "worker skills reports"... where they contain ZERO BS and/or embellishments. Humility and truth will be the theme of the century, there. I'm not sure mankind is civilized enough to pull it off, yet. It takes self-discipline... and I'm not sure we can convince the people of the planet... to do such things. Thoughts?
Wing: I just wanted to clarify that in the context of a capitalist system as I described, ownership was of crucial importance. As an improvement over what we have today I would opt for a "moral" capitalism, where people are motivated to have a fair and equivalent value trade and always act with both personal and social responsibility to "do the right thing". Alas, perhaps a fantasy given human nature in a capitalist society. I am in total agreement with the sentiments expressed by you, albeit a bit verbose and repetitive as they might be expressed, (I say with the greatest affection), of a superior way of having social interactions without money. This would undoubtedly create a greater and more just society than even my throwback musings about moral capitalism could dream of creating. My only question to you is where Christianity fits in? As I myself am non-religious and see religion as a variety of superstition that has confounded the true understanding of morality - ethics that can be derived through logical reasoning, not from some supernatural ether. That said: I do refer often to the Golden Rule, for its irrefutable logic, not for its adoption by Christians, as if they "owned" it.
Hi A1 and others... thanks for the comments. I understand the context of your ownership statement, now, thanks for the clarification. I yanked it out of context, I did.
And boy, I'm plenty verbose... and I apologize for that. My cause is a "campaign" as best I can do that, and therefore my posts target a very wide audience. One thing I try to do... is run this campaign within the general framework of "The Adventures Of Robin Hood" - with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland... and I/we are at the point where Robin enlists the help of the Bishop of the Black Canons (some Christians, I suppose). The Merry Men dress up as Christian fundamentalists (fundies) and walk into Prince John's decadence festival, and overthrow the cruel taxation oppressors (the regime) (the pay-up-or-else extorters). Although taxation is seen as primarily a government-caused thing, everyone invoices/bills EVERYONE under capitalism's holy-roller snake-oil-peddlin' tents/policies. The capitalism lovers tend to oppress each other just by attempting to not be oppressed themselves/ourselves. The act of "getting ahead" (of the cost of living) causes caps to bill each other harder and harder, and causes the cost of living attack to become more severe. I call it "spirography", some call it "what goes around, comes around", some call it inflation, and others call it tailchasing (beating your right hand with a hammer in your left). There's lots more names for it, too. Self-feeding machine... is another.
So, Christianity... as I use it... is pretty wide open. But I/we need to gather the FIRE of the religious fundies/fanatics... for use in analysing and crushing the WIDESPREAD disgustingness of capitalism/pyramiding. I need the Christians and other LOVE LOVE LOVE religions' swords and hearts. I believe USA Christians could wipe out USA capitalism in the blink of an eye... and that would be the permanent end of the separation of church and state in the USA. But unfortunately, many claimed Christians see nothing wrong with capitalism, and/or money/ownership empowerments, and/or waiter/waitress-like servitude. In a way, the supposed love-thy-neighbor followers seen in the USA... have to first fight a battle within themselves... between billing/invoicing... and giving/love.
And yes, I have to agree with you in your statement about religions being predominantly superstition (dogma is part of "hoopla"... a bandwagoning thing). It seems that folks like to fill-in the unknown... with nearly ANYTHING they can wrap their beliefs-around. But in the same breath... SOMETHING had to create the Earth. I think its MUCH TOO perfect to be happenstance or Darwinism/survival of the best. But even IF "evolution" is the reason for all the Earth's fantastic miracles (and there's billions of them right in your own back yard)... SOMETHING invented/designed evolution itself. So, I am pretty convinced... that SOMETHING had a hand in the Earth's creation, and due to the overwhelming amount of apparent miracles, from skin, to photosynthesis, to raccoon eyeballs, I have to label that "designer"(s) as a higher power... or at least well higher in power than I, it seems.
But let it be known that I suffer from the same lack of knowledge about Earth systems... as many of the next guys/gals. Yes, Christian fundies, or ANY religion's fundies... tend to paint-up things in all sorts of dogmas and fanatical activities sometimes. Although these types are certainly allowed and loved in our New America or Team Earth commune, my use of the word Chrsitianity means... folks who care about love more than fighting, competing, harvesting, billing, profiting. And that love must include love for ALL lifeforms... including plants, insects, and bacterial friends.
Darned good question, A1. One sure doesn't need to be Christian or religious to have a heart full of love and a brain full of logic, do they? And yes, fundamentalism can really stretch the envelope of "brain full of logic", it can. SOME fundamentalism looks more like a "brain full of idiot", doesn't it? :)
Fine words from you, A1, thanks and lets keep hacking on this thing. I wish our author would chime back in. I'd be interested to see if our author's definition of "communitarianism" has changed any... since Jose first used it up there. These robots/machines mentioned in the Venus project are well and good, but they still take heavy labor to build and maintain. Good old fashioned manual labor has been known to have loving commune-ish tendencies and high-job-satisfaction numbers, especially when folks aren't forced or overloaded. The potluck dinner, barnraising, treehouse-building team, or quilting bee... would not be the same if a robot did them. Close-order labors of love... are communions... a valuable and cherished thing in communes... as best I can tell. Many religions and service clubs call it "fellowship"... and it has been known to be heartwarming and feeling-of-inclusion-causing. But I'm all for letting the robots do the sewage operations. :)
As I myself work on creating a sustainable organic farm and wildlife refuge, I too, have wondered about the inevitability of mechanized intelligence taking over all labor. But of course, I wouldn't mind a little robotic assistance, when I need it.
Thank you for your explanations on the religious aspect. I find your thought processes on this matter very interesting and would like to request a reading list of some of your favorite books that led you to these logical conclusions on society, etc.
Haha... Aguila and Jose' are the same person! Well shut my mouth wide open! :) Cool. And an organic farmer WITH wildlife sanctuary? Shoot, nothing wrong with that activity AT ALL. I wish I could join you in it. Way to go, A1!
I use webcams and animal feedings on my rental front porch... to study everyone-feeds-from-a-common-bowl communing and "bonanza"-of-food operations by animals... mostly squirrels and birds. I try to study when they bicker, when they cooperate and share, when they try to hoard, and I always use LOTS of the finest of food... planters sea-salt mixed nuts... crushed so the birds and squirrels have equal access. I fed consistently plenty ... across the winter (it cost me an arm and a leg in nuts)... and it seemed that once the critters could count-on great food, every morning, and always too much of it... they started being friendlier with each other and myself. At first, there was a dominant pine squirrel that would tend to chase everything away from his/her found (owned) frisbee feed bowl full of nuts. He/She eventually became more cooperative and less hoardy. I think that came through consistency and bounty-fullness. A few pictures are here...
Ya might have to hit control-r a time or two... to get the lo-rez pictures to all load properly.
As far as books, I'm not much of a non-tech reader... except for one group of books... and that's Jane Robert's "Seth" books. Even with those, I approached them like they were technical manuals. Seth is a supposed "entity" from the "other side" which was channeled by the late Jane Robert's, and Seth's "info" about how life works... seems logical to me, and to my mother, who introduced them to me. (thanks mom!) She is here reading this blog with us... but I have never seen her post. But she could be posting with an assumed name, so I might never know if/when she does. I think she's pretty tired of hearing my anti-capitalism rants, as I've ranted them at her and my father, rather sternly, at times.
I don't think a whole lot of my love the earth, love the animals-stuff came from Seth books, though. I think it came from inside or from some magical influences. As you surely know, it doesn't take much watching of animals, fish, insects... to make a person fall in love with them and quit killing them whenever possible. Just put down the gun long enough to pick up the binoculars and microscope... and you'll soon never pick up a gun or fly swatter ever again. But I'm still not strict vegetarian, and until I am, I have more work to be done. Becoming vegetarian is not easy for me.
Tell me a bunch about you, A1. Did you ever hunt or fish? Still? And what affected YOUR life as far as books, people, experiences? Are you a musician or artist, too? What area of the planet are you on, A?
Musician, myself... guitars, vocals. (and I do tons of web tech crap, too). I did 30 years of gigging in the Legions and VFW's... from Rapid City SD, to Korea, to Anchorage Alaska, to Minneapolis. Was in the Air Force from 76-85 too, and gigged plenty during that, as well. No gigging here, though. This town is too monetarily depressed for live music events. I'll likely jam with locals for fun... as soon as I meet some of them. I have to be gentle here in Bessemer MI, for I don't think they take real kindly to "communALists" round these parts. They are pretty "yay America" around here, and with it... travels "yay capitalism"... mainly because its the opposite of what the Soviet Union used. (There's a serious us/them war happening still.)
Tell tell tell, Jose'. I'm wingthing at charter.net if ya feel like penpalling or keeping some of the personal stuff out-of general public view. Or maybe one of us should start a new thread and we can hammer on some other commune-ish thoughts and problems. Maybe all the above! Ethan, Walt, EJ, anyone else... get in here and tell your sides and your stories, too. I'd love to hear them... its how I (and maybe others) learn. It also helps all of us wring the wrinkles out of our new commune system.
Thanks for the comments/dialogs, Jose. I AM VERY interested in collecting information on seeds passing through digestive systems and remaining fertile. Jose, you sound like you are in an evironment where you could... uh... you know... eat some fruits and veggies with seeds in/on them, and then plant your "output" to see if the seeds survived the trip. Societally-speaking, I believe plants don't need to be killed, either. I believe Earthlings could eat fine on all "fallen foods". No picking or shaking, either. Wait for it to "fall" as the season's name tells us, and no herbicides or pesticides either, which means we need to share the fallen foods with all other lifeforms. But my buddy Wayne in Mpls asked that one gruesome question about "if we eat fruits/veggies with seeds, are we getting in the way of the plant's freedom to proliferate?". A fine question, and from SOME studies I have accidentally done, at least CERTAIN seeds survive the trip through the human digestive system. ANY information or experiment data from ANYONE, ANYWHERE... is VERY welcomed at my email address above. Its a hot topic! (ar ar)
And MOM(s)... get in here and tell us YOUR opinions and ideas, too, darnit! Dirtgirls welcome, I suspect! cya later.
Oh yeah... aren't tractors, tillers, loaders, composters, mowers, all human-operated robots? Now if we could ONLY check one out from the tools repository instead of having to buy one for our "own"ed, eh? Tool repository = public library, anyone? (dream come true.) But EVERYONE would want to check-out the snowblowers just after the snowstorms, and everyone would want to check out the roto-tillers... at garden-planting time. And who is going ot repair/maintain the snowblowers and roto-tillers in our PUBLIC libraries? WE are. Self-discipline, anyone? Can we do it? Can we gently spank the "bad apples" that could ruin that for us... and get the American tradition bent towards sharing'n'caring instead of owning'n'mymymy? How many roto-tillers sit idle in dusty garages, so far? TONS, I bet. Yet Jose will likely ned to pay an arm and a leg to get one to USE on his garden sometimes. What a shame, and piss-poor resource allocating. In the military, you'd hop in your VW and roll on into rec-services, where you would FREELY check-out a tiller and trailer to haul it, plus the ball hitch as needed, and it'd all be free. You would become the temporary custodian of a Team Earth-owned roto-tiller... and you'd get a user manual, safety gear, and absolutely nobody to sue if you get hurt using it. But the military has free medical, so there's no need to sue anyone. If you got hurt using the tiller, you obviously didn't read the manual, or something totally unexpected happened... so there's a cope'n'deal factor involved. But loving neighbors will nurse you back to health... in a Project Venus situation.
Aguila1 said: "I mentioned the creation of wealth as a positive byproduct, so, of course capitalism's goal is profit - nothing wrong with that. Understand, though, that it is this quest for profit that drives people to act greedy - "Greed" defined as I wrote: "the desire for the unearned". The key word is "unearned". If a person agrees to a transaction, but the basis of the sale is misrepresentation of the product, then, though the seller may profit, he is motivated by greed and not personal integrity and fairness. Think used car salesman that claims the car is perfect, knowing full well it is on its last set of tires. Every single profession in our capitalist system contains some people that stretch, bend or break the truth to make a buck. These are the greedy ones, but this is not an anomaly that happens elsewhere. This happens every single day, everywhere, because the system is only as good, or as moral, as the practitioners."
Ok I understand that this is a major issue many people have with 'capitalism' so let me explain why you are misinformed about this actualy being an intrigal part of it. By your own definition, capitalism necessitates 'free' exchange which you later clarifed to mean that the people trading are doing so voluntarily, as in without force. However, in the examples given above the immoral parties of each transaction are engaging in a form of force. When someone intentionally misrepresents a product or lies about an important part of a transaction, that is known as fraud. Fraud is a form of coersion because one party is forcing a lie upon another to take advantage. It is not physical force, but it is force nontheless, and we have laws against it.
Now don't get me wrong, this is not the same as someone who takes a liar's word without a second thought and without a legal contract that would ensure remuneration if the other person is lying. In that case the unwise consumer get's what he deserves, and in fact still profits in the sense that he now has more knowledge (ie. he knows that vendor cannot be trusted and can warn family and friends about him/her). But if the consumer is intelligent, does some checking on the person before doing business with them, gets a formal contract in order ect. then there should be very little in the way of fraud.
I know what you are going to say, most people don't do that kind of thing and don't worry about checking up on a person they may do business with. Well then that person takes their chances. It may turn out well or ill, but the fact is that if they wish to take that chance it is THEIR choice to make. To want a system where people don't have to worry about shysters is to want a system where people are not punished for being foolish or rash, and that my friend means they will remain foolish and rash, which does neither them, nor society, any good.