It's ok to be angry about capitalism

XsjadoBlaydette

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Apologies, no thread looked appropriate for this. Tho Bernie Sanders and Frankie Boyle wtf???

Filmed February 24th 2023 at Brighton Dome. The longest-serving independent in Congress, the leader of democratic socialism in America, and a hero to progressives across the globe, Bernie Sanders joined the comedian Frankie Boyle to take on the 1%.

Senator Sanders has a vision of what would be possible if the political revolution took place. If we would finally recognize that economic rights are human rights, and work to create a society that provides them. This isn’t some utopian fantasy; this is democracy as we should know it. Is it really too much to ask?

Frankie Boyle is one of The UK’s premier comedians and writers. Known for his shows New World Order (BBC2), Tramadol Nights (Ch4) and his best selling DVD’s and Netflix Special. Frankie has penned 3 best selling books. In 2018 Frankie wrote and presented the highly acclaimed documentary Frankie Goes To Russia for the BBC previewing the forthcoming Russian World Cup. Frankie also regularly contributes articles for the broadsheet press. He has topped the podcast charts with the first three volumes of his eight volume Promethiad sequence.

Suppose this could serve as a thread for capitalism talks and updates if separation of economic realities from labels like "woke" is more appropriate archiving?
 

Samtemdo8

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Its OK to be angry at anything

Also isn't Bernie Sanders a self proclaimed Democratic Socialist?
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
Capitalism is a fine system, its great at efficient resource distribution and driving technology and consumer goods. But like everything it needs to be regulated and the main problem with capitalism is unrestrained capitalism and human greed combining to yield bullshit.
 

XsjadoBlaydette

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Welcome to a lot of the threads I've made, people only read the title.


Weirdly vengeful tone to approach a topic with. Have I annoyed you in the past at all? It wasn't my intention if so. Did I do that very thing at some point??
 
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Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.


Weirdly vengeful tone to approach a topic with. Have I annoyed you in the past at all? It wasn't my intention if so. Did I do that very thing at some point??
It was intended as more of a resigned tone. Wasn't intended to be harsh or judgmental, apologies if it came off as that.
 
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The Rogue Wolf

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Capitalism is a fine system, its great at efficient resource distribution and driving technology and consumer goods. But like everything it needs to be regulated and the main problem with capitalism is unrestrained capitalism and human greed combining to yield bullshit.
Even Adam "Invisible Hand of the Market" Smith said that regulations were necessary to ensure that everyone involved in a deal felt free to walk away.
 

Dreiko

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I wish we had capitalism. What we have is cronyism. I wish more people knew what to actually be angry at. That's always what unregulated monopolistic corporations with tentacles all over the government will turn any sytem into, whether it starts out as capitalistic or communistic.
 
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TheMysteriousGX

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I wish we had capitalism. What we have is cronyism. I wish more people knew what to actually be angry at. That's always what unregulated monopolistic corporations with tentacles all over the government will turn any sytem into, whether it starts out as capitalistic or communistic.
We *do* have capitalism, mate. Private industry owned by private actors. That the rich do whatever they can to stay rich doesn't mean it isn't capitalism. That's an entirely different axis, and one that capitalism is very bad at defending against. Winner take all ideologies are very bad at sportsmanship
 

Absent

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We have nothing (thankfully?). We have a background of capitalism with bits of socialism, in diverse proportions (who "we" ?), and we fight over which proportion would be better, all while complaining that we have all the one or the other, that others want all the one or the other, and sometimes that we want all the one or the other (which we don't).

Its OK to be angry at anything
I'm... not sure ?
 
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Schadrach

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Even Adam "Invisible Hand of the Market" Smith said that regulations were necessary to ensure that everyone involved in a deal felt free to walk away.
Even then, there are some areas where a Smith-style free market cannot exist, like health care. If you're continued life relies on a routine supply of a drug, there can be no free market because the buyer isn't free to leave the market. For a personal example, I'm a type I diabetic - I am deeply personally familiar with the whole "taking a drug daily for nearly your entire life or else" scenario. It's why I've been extremely jumpy about the possibility of losing health insurance, and we actually moved up the wedding because she got a job with fantastic insurance (glad we did too - got married in fall 2019, original plan had been summer 2020...).
 

meiam

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Welcome to a lot of the threads I've made, people only read the title.
I think that's a fair thing to say when the thread start with a short video or an article, but a 90 minutes video of a... one man show (?), that's a lot to ask. Similarly the thread title would have been more accurate if it was something like "Bernie Sanders talk about capitalism for 90 minutes" rather than the current one that's obviously trying to be clickbait.

As far as capitalism is concern, it seems like its just a case of it being the worst system except for every other one that's been tried. Everything ruining capitalistic society (greed, monopoly, uneven distribution of goods and power) would plague any economic system, capitalism "succeed" because it dilute power among many hands (government have some, company CEO have some, shareholders have some and in some case union have some). I think the most important aspect of any system is to spread power in a way that no single individual or small group of peoples can grab all the power for themselves while still leaving room for leader to take long term decision. That being said, I'm perfectly happy with other people trying their hand at alternative model, so long as they don't do so where I live, as even a cursory look at both history and the current world will make it obvious that any attempt is almost guaranteed to fail, either because they'll quickly become authoritarian nightmare or because they'll fail as economic model and everyone will be equal in their abject poverty.

Now if anyone want to have a really serious talk about capitalism, I think it would need to start with a serious attempt to define the various terms usually used in this context, otherwise you just end up with people talking across each others. For example, socialism for some people means capitalism but with some amount of redistribution whereas for others its just a synonym for communism, which itself can refer to the economic model or the various communistic system that are more defined by their authoritarian tendency than any economic philosophy.
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
I think that's a fair thing to say when the thread start with a short video or an article, but a 90 minutes video of a... one man show (?), that's a lot to ask. Similarly the thread title would have been more accurate if it was something like "Bernie Sanders talk about capitalism for 90 minutes" rather than the current one that's obviously trying to be clickbait.

As far as capitalism is concern, it seems like its just a case of it being the worst system except for every other one that's been tried. Everything ruining capitalistic society (greed, monopoly, uneven distribution of goods and power) would plague any economic system, capitalism "succeed" because it dilute power among many hands (government have some, company CEO have some, shareholders have some and in some case union have some). I think the most important aspect of any system is to spread power in a way that no single individual or small group of peoples can grab all the power for themselves while still leaving room for leader to take long term decision. That being said, I'm perfectly happy with other people trying their hand at alternative model, so long as they don't do so where I live, as even a cursory look at both history and the current world will make it obvious that any attempt is almost guaranteed to fail, either because they'll quickly become authoritarian nightmare or because they'll fail as economic model and everyone will be equal in their abject poverty.

Now if anyone want to have a really serious talk about capitalism, I think it would need to start with a serious attempt to define the various terms usually used in this context, otherwise you just end up with people talking across each others. For example, socialism for some people means capitalism but with some amount of redistribution whereas for others its just a synonym for communism, which itself can refer to the economic model or the various communistic system that are more defined by their authoritarian tendency than any economic philosophy.
Exactly.

Plus, we need to identify economic systems as tools, instead of placing moral weight on them.
 
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Dirty Hipsters

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I wish we had capitalism. What we have is cronyism. I wish more people knew what to actually be angry at. That's always what unregulated monopolistic corporations with tentacles all over the government will turn any sytem into, whether it starts out as capitalistic or communistic.
I think what you mean is that you wish we had the free market, which people tend to confuse with capitalism (which is a feature, not a big because capitalism WANTS to pretend that the free market exists). We have capitalism, but we don't have a free market, because an actual free market is impossible to have without regulation because capitalism naturally tends toward monopolies and then those monopolies protecting their own existance as fiercely as possible.
 

tstorm823

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We have capitalism, but we don't have a free market, because an actual free market is impossible to have without regulation because capitalism naturally tends toward monopolies and then those monopolies protecting their own existance as fiercely as possible.
While there are some places (health care) where anti-trust laws could use some renewed enforcement, I don't think monopolies are actually the biggest problem currently. I think the market failure we need to look at regulating is manufactured demand. The idea of an ideal, competitive free market, with prices driven purely by supply and demand, is the most desirable outcome only if the supply and demand come from people's free decisions based in honest information. We focus on monopolies, the capture and manipulation of supply, but significantly more prevalent is the capture and manipulation of demand.

There's addicting products, including chemical addictions like tobacco or alcohol, but also things like gambling, or the infamous Dorito effect where they make you want to keep eating them without ever feeling satisfied. Products that are irrational to desire in the first place, but they get you with the first hit, and it creates a steady demand even as it hurts the people buying. There's advertising, particularly false advertising, and even further the corporate manipulation of news or science reporting. Concerted efforts to deceive people into wanting something they wouldn't with honest information. There's anti-consumer practices, like Apple thinking "you know what would sell the Air Pods we're gonna release? If we took away the headphone jack!" And the era of internet data harvesting and perpetual advertisement has only made all of these things more effective. Manipulated demand is a problem.
 

Terminal Blue

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I wish we had capitalism. What we have is cronyism.
So, recently I was reading a book by a psychologist from the 1950s, and he's talking about the students he teaches. So he asks them about what Americans are like as a people, and the answers he comes back with are that Americans are status-obsessed, competitive and fiercely independent. Americans are rugged individualists who carve their own path.

But he looks at these students and the way they actually behave, and they're young adults in the 1950s. They're obsessed with fitting in, they are highly conformist, they are afraid to stand out or be recognized as different in any way. They're highly sociable and cooperative and they try to get on with everyone. They are the absolute opposite of what they believe their national character is.

And he imagines these people going out into the world once they graduate. They think they're going to find themselves in a capitalist system that rewards dynamic, independent-minded individuals. People with vision and drive and creativity. Innovators and opportunists, great men of industry with big dreams. But what they will have to realize and come to terms with is that everyone else is just like them. Everyone has been raised to be a cog in the big machine that makes money, to be just like everyone else and to fit into a corporate culture where their individual work and their individual achievements aren't important.

When people say they like capitalism, or they wish they had real capitalism, they're typically talking about a kind of individualistic, entrepreneurial culture that they associate with earlier forms of capitalism. They want to live in a world where they can start a business and, through hard work and merit, can see that business grow into a successful larger business. The problem is, everyone already did that. The successful businesses founded by individuals kept growing into enormous bureaucratic structures. There is no room for you and your dreams of being an individual, you are a cog in the machine now.

We are not that different from those students in the 1950s really. We are constantly fed a cultural diet that celebrates entrepreneurial capitalism, that emphasizes our individuality, freedom and choice, but I think we all know on some level that the world we live in isn't like that, it's a world dominated by corporate capitalism. It doesn't care about our individuality, our choices or our freedom, it just wants us to fit neatly into the existing work culture and work until you can't work any more.

And the appropriate response to that is anger and grief. We live in a culture of hopelessness, where most people have no chance of ever improving their situation and where most forms of work have been stripped of any individual joy, pride or justified reward. It isn't getting any better. If anything, it seems to be getting worse as more and more of the economy, and more and more of our lives, are absorbed into the structures of corporate capitalism.

This is the beginning of the long, dark night at the end of history, and all of us will be dead long before that night ends.

But, since I borrowed that metaphor from Mark Fisher, I have to acknowledge that it wasn't originally really meant in the doomerist sense I'm using it here. Even in the victory of capitalism, we are living its failure. Our actions and our lives do still matter beyond their value to capitalism, even if we are constantly told they don't.
 
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