It's ok to be angry about capitalism

Absent

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Society to some extent creates the sorts of people you think drag society down, although some will inevitably exist no matter what society does.
It's also difficult to assess. For several years, I've been simply volunteering (a lot). And even now, I'm on a pretty low wage, and really not interested in better financial opportunities - in short I'm not very interested in providing services to people who can afford them, or in being paid better to work against them. My point is, I've seen, in these contexts and others, a huge lot of people who are productive to society and to mankind without it being reflected in financial gains. A lot of people around me who don't make money (who are a "drain" on State finances) are simply people I wish were kept around, because of their right to be around (for starters) but also for whatever unquantifiable ways they contribute to the collectivity. Simply by being themselves, by being kind, being fun, being caring, helpful, and often being active artistically or socially. If you contemplate "economy" in a broader, anthropologic perspective (as exchanges of goods and services as a whole), a lot of informal activities are crucial to society's functionning yet stay "invisible", unaccounted, in traditional economy terms (stuff like all the intra-familial help, for instance, day to day support of elders, or the mental health gain of social fabric, solidarity, exchanges, etc).

And inversely, you can question the "gain for society" of a lot of activities that are recognized as productive in financial terms. All things related to overproduction and overconsumption, the tobacco industry, the design, fabrication and commerce of toy-shaped antipersonal landmines, the profitability of hate speech and disinformation, the whole realm of parasitic speculation, Graeber's galaxy of "bullshit job" and other self-licking ice cones. Plus everything that is "productively" challenging the very inhabitability of our planet.

"Making money" is a poor measure of social productivity and usefulness. And a dangerous one when it's used by social darwinists who, precisely understand nothing about the value of diversity in evolution and natural selection. There are both moral and practical reasons to be wary of such discourses and ideologies.
 

The Rogue Wolf

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It seems like the entire world's banking system is propped up by toothpicks and lies.


This has been, what, one week since Silicon Valley Bank got sucked up its own asshole? Then went Signature Bank, and now Credit Suisse and First Republic Bank are crumbling. Can we now at last admit that the whole banking sector needs to be strapped to the table with as many regulations as we can think of?

I'd call it a house of cards, but playing cards are more sturdy than this.
 

McElroy

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It's so far from being unlimited that that potential is simply unrealistic. The cost as it is, and is likely to be for the foreseeable future, is not particularly onerous.

There are countless expenditures which are far larger, far more unnecessary, and yet which don't draw the ire (or even the attention) of the public. The reason being that the unemployed are an easy target for diversionary political anger.
I won't bother with the details, but what would be a 'major' strain then? An increasing number of people are dependent on the work (not just goods) of a stagnant working population. Sure, they will never let the costs rise endlessly, but that means closing down services.
 

crimson5pheonix

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Banks moving shit around/investing users' money unsafely and then being incapable of fulfilling their obligations is absolutely a thing, but Wells Fargo isn't in a solvency crisis right now, and the scale of unfulfilled requests at the moment appears low.

On a side note, that guy is... uhrm, not providing the most reliable commentary. Numerous retweets for Musk and Carlson, and blaming unspecified "leftists" for US economic woes. Methinks this tweet is just trying to exploit current frustration to sling shit at the left and make shit up.
Revisiting this post a week later as many banks are facing solvency crises. That particular tweet may have been made by a dickhead, but it didn't take a genius to figure out what that move by WF meant at the time.
 

tippy2k2

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It seems like the entire world's banking system is propped up by toothpicks and lies.


This has been, what, one week since Silicon Valley Bank got sucked up its own asshole? Then went Signature Bank, and now Credit Suisse and First Republic Bank are crumbling. Can we now at last admit that the whole banking sector needs to be strapped to the table with as many regulations as we can think of?

I'd call it a house of cards, but playing cards are more sturdy than this.
Every couple of decades, Capitalism has to bail itself out of a "once in a lifetime" catastrophe. That's why it's the greatest God damn system in the world! *Salutes*
 
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Is not good.


Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, an environmental activist known as Tortuguita, was fatally shot by police on January 18 while camping in a forest with other activists to protect it from being destroyed for a police academy. The academy was estimated to cost $90m and resemble an "urban warfare" facility. Seven protesters have been arrested and charged with "domestic terrorism" following the shooting.
Life does not have the worth of property, plans for property nor the protectors of property and capital.
 

tstorm823

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I don't think I, or anyone else, should really need to explain to a grown adult in a politics discussion forum how people can envision a different way of the world operating that gives them more power or control over their lives. After all, that is amongst the rudimentary political thoughts and motivations on both left and right.
I think you've lost track of what this conversation is. The start of this exchange came from the suggestion that capitalism takes agency away from people. Now let's try this again: relative to what? If you have no answer to that question, give it a rest.
That you aknowledge nothing that would stain your self-satisfied, reactionary "best of possible worlds" perception.
I do not believe this is the "best of possible worlds" (aside from the truism that this is the only one we've got, so it's sort of best by default). There are certainly better possibilities that could have been reached if people had made different decisions. I am a progressive, in the real meaning of the word. I believe a better future can be built off of what we do today if we do better today than we've done in the past. But progress builds off of what already exist. If you throw everything out and start over, that's not progress, that's revolution. If you think "bad things exist, so lets burn the whole system down" you are not a progressive, you're a revolutionary. It's a perfectly reasonable thing to see all the bad things you listed (or at least most, I genuinely didn't read the whole wall, and it's possible you demonized good things in there too) and want to do better. Getting rid of capitalism isn't going to fix all those things, it would probably fix none of them, and it would throw away all of the progress achieved within this system.

Do you not think society has made progress in the last century? Do you understand that tearing down the systems in which that progress was made leaves the progress without a foundation, and all of it may collapse?
You are functionning exactly like the ordinary, everyday pro-nazi population of 1930s germany. That's quite eerie, and blatant for whoever studied the european public discourses of that era.

If a discussion is dishonest, like any with you, the dishonesty itself should be adressed instead of wasting time resuming the discussion "as if". Right now, you're just scamming your interlocutors.
You are not the only user here who makes no arguments, but I will say, there is at least one thing about you different than them: they at least seem motivated by fake internet points. They try to zing me so that they can all like each other's meaningless posts. You, on the other hand, seem to think very little of everyone, to simultaneously believe that it's obvious that I'm a nazi, but also that the people talking to me are being scammed and need your guidance to understand that.
 

Buyetyen

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I am a progressive, in the real meaning of the word.
It really is astounding how you seem to think yourself the ultimate arbiter of semantics. You're not a progressive, dude. Never have been. You're a straightforward conservative with all the baggage that implies.

You are not the only user here who makes no arguments, but I will say, there is at least one thing about you different than them: they at least seem motivated by fake internet points. They try to zing me so that they can all like each other's meaningless posts.
Here's the million dollar question, duder: Do I really believe in nothing, or do I just not believe in anything you approve of?

The reason I heckle you is because you're not a serious person and have no intention of changing your mind about anything. Why try to educate the ineducable? I admire the patience and tenacity of people who keep engaging with you, but it's also a waste of time because you're not here in good faith. As the Chinese say, there's no sense carving on rotten wood.
 

Absent

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Do you not think society has made progress in the last century?
It made and is making progresses, but against you, despite of you (case in point, your homophobia, your transphobia, and your twisting and cherry picking of all knowledge in accordance to your religious fundamentalism). And I don't think I've seen anybody here proposing anything to replace "capitalism" with (there's been pages about capitalism as a substrate to build a more humane, more socialist society, but you also skipped these). But sill a profound overhaul of structures, values and priorities is required if only to survive as a species (even if you don't care about the categories of populations that are currently being crushed in the cogs of your system to oil them), and none of it will happen with your dismississal of them as -depending on which tool you choose for each- anecdotal, irrelevant or even inexistant.

But also yes, in 1930 you would have been a nazi. Absolutely. Like all the staunch christian conservatives and hard right republicans behind Trump and his clones. This is a thing that people tend to not understand, or to take as hyperbole, because they see nazis as the baddies in retrospect, the losers of an old war's wrong side. But acual nazis were ordinary people - not just the "ordinary men" of a death squad, but the people in the street who had about "the jewish problem", about migrant and refugees, about society's "endangered masculinity", about a providential strongman (a bit over the top, a bit flawed, a bit ridicule, but daring to speak the truth) the very same opinions, reflexes, sensitivities, discourses and languages as today's ultraconservatives. This is underestimated because of the uniformed goosestepping assassin caricature of war movies, but when you truly pay attention to who were the citizens and politicians who supported Hitler and why, it is more than parallel. It's a direct identification.

You can take that two ways (three with your predictable denial, of course, but I mean serious ones). You can have a more forgiving look on Hitler's voters and supporters, realising that, in context, "they weren't worse than this after all" - and it's a way that some people take, making of Hitler a sole cause, an almost alien monster with almost magical hypnotic powers, and forgiving its supporters as some fooled, well-meaning crowd. Or you can have a less forgiving look on people like you, on the extreme right in general, on ultraconservatives, when realising that you're parroting the exact same talking points with the same beliefs, priorities and values. Thing is, surprisingly, nazis were trash even before it became a matter of worldwide war. Even before a mass extermination was put in place. Nazi discourses were already stinky, but were deemed acceptable for the same reasons as Trump's - or Putin's before his war.

If History was truly studied as a history of ideas, of values, of shifting common sense and discourses acceptability, our societies would evolve much better, with many shameful ideologies being put to rest. Alas, we have a superficial, event-based, approach of History that misses all the important points, and allows it to keep repeating itself simply rebranding its recurrent components again and again. And this rebranding allows this dissociation. "Hey I have nothing in common with nazis, they were the baddies". Before WW2, people like you didn't and wouldn't consider them baddies. And people like you were all over the Europe and the US.

As for the issue of implicits and explicits in conversations, it doesn't take an idiot to be fooled by it. A lot of domestic disputes are about implicit matters, distinct from the explicitely discussed matter. Usually, honest people assume honesty. Clever people assume intelligence. People assume cooperation in a discussion because it's a prequisite. This assumption is a form of respect, for the interlocutor and for the notion of discussion itself. It's counter-intuitive to ditch the other as "not engaged" in the discussion, as pre-programmed towards a conclusion like a heat-seeking missile ignoring everything around. Especially when say interlocutor plays pretend. I do not think less of the people you fool, they play on the safe side of something maybe being honest or reachable in you. They keep as the philosphical "principle of charity", and give you the benefit of doubt. It's good of them.

But you do not deserve it. You abuse it, like extreme-right politicians abuse the device of public debates. And you should be ashamed. You're an intellectual impostor, and you're simply transparent to those who have already seen too many people like you.
 

Ag3ma

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I think you've lost track of what this conversation is.
No, I'm pretty sure I'm following it fine. I think the problem is more that I'm not sure you're really engaging with what people are saying, because you're too busy telling them what they think with a misleading series of binaries and abolutes.

Capitalism itself is a spectrum. There are some basic principles underpinning it, which can be carried out to a greater or lesser extent in a real, functioning economic system. At some point, a boundary gets crossed and the system becomes better described by some other term (e.g. socialism). I would personally say that I'm not sure most people attacking capitalism reject its principles wholesale, so much as they reject the status quo of how it operates in the West: e.g. excessive wealth inequality, lack of (usually environmental) sustainability, exploitation, corrosion of democratic rule, etc.

After all, that's how the public debate goes: and you need to look at how the right wing contributes to this. I don't think a 60% top rate income tax band truly makes a country socialist, but if you and yours are going to point and scream "socialism" at the idea, then you're merely asking your opponents to not believe in capitalism.
 

Terminal Blue

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I mean, if that were true, you'd have a point. The concentration of power is not a deliberate design of capitalism, the need to work is not a product of capitalism, both of these things exist in any economic system.
In the case of the concentration of power. No, absolutely not. That is a specific feature of capitalism. It is arguably the entire point of capitalism.

A medieval lord may have been extremely wealthy relative to the peasants who worked his land, but he didn't automatically own whatever that land produced. His wealth came from feudal taxation, the purpose of which was to maintain his lifestyle and enable him to meet his own obligations. The goal of the feudal system was not to enable the nobility to accumulate greater and greater wealth, because wealth wasn't the basis of the feudal class system, blood was.

The central problem with capitalism is very obvious. Wealth is the basis of the class system. There is a limited amount of available wealth, and it is far, far easier for the wealthy to accumulate more wealth than it is for the poor to do so. Unless you are already wealthy, you have to sell your labor to those who are, and the more concentrated wealth becomes within the population the more power those with it have to dictate the terms of those arrangements. The end result is an entrenched ruling class accumulating a greater and greater share of the available wealth and consequentially a greater and greater share of power.

That is how capitalism works in the absence of countervailing forces, and we live in a world with very few of those left.

Separating the violence from the wealth, and putting the monopoly on violence in the hands of the democracy, is a feature of capitalism.
A cursory glance at the history of industrial action should tell you, in no uncertain terms, how paper thin any supposed separation between violence and wealth actually is.

When I say that capitalism and democracy are opposed, I don't mean the state is actually opposed to the interests of capitalism, I mean the ideals on which the state is supposedly built are incompatible with capitalism. In practice, once you have a ruling class who dominates the economy, they will tend to dominate the state as well, and they will use the state to advance their own interests even if doing so violates the supposed democratic function of the state itself.

That is why these two things are antagonistic. They're not locked in perpetual struggle, either democracy succeeds in restraining capitalism or capitalism dominates and subverts democracy. One has to die so the other can live, and usually it's democracy.

You clearly underestimate the difficulty and importance of logistics.
Logistics is worth about 10% of global GDP (admittedly, more than agriculture). The service industry as a whole is worth about 2/3rds of global GDP, and represents the vast majority of the workforce in most developed countries. Now, services are important and some services have always been needed, but this is not the mark of an economy which is struggling to meet the basic needs of human survival. For most of human history the service industry barely existed because people simply couldn't afford not to be farming. We live in an economy which is, in historical terms, unimaginably prosperous and labour efficient.

We are not locked in any kind of societal or species-wide struggle for survival, so again, why are people still forced to work? In fact, why are people working harder than their ancestors did when subsistence farming was the norm?

Again.. just an unrelated statistic which I'm sure isn't relevant. 3 people in the US collectively own as much wealth as half the population.
 

Phoenixmgs

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I think you've lost track of what this conversation is. The start of this exchange came from the suggestion that capitalism takes agency away from people. Now let's try this again: relative to what? If you have no answer to that question, give it a rest.
This so much. How is capitalism bad because it forces you to work? How is a society going to operate if people are free to not work because then who's going to work? Even before there were some fancy economic systems and people just lived on their own or in some villages, people had to work to get stuff done like build settlers and hunt for food. The only system that makes it so people don't have to work is some sort of future where humans have been able to automate everything with robots.

Is everyone also forgetting that every system will have massive issues if you don't put in safe guards to protect us from ourselves?
 

Gordon_4

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Logistics is worth about 10% of global GDP
Technically speaking, logistics is responsible for the entire GDP because without it, nothing moves. Cars remain in factories, food at farms, drugs at manufacturing labs etc. it may only generate 10% of that total on its own - assuming I interpret that statement correctly - but is the driving force (hehe) behind making the other 90%. Logistics is important as shit; I’d have thought the past two years would have taught everyone that.
 
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Terminal Blue

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How is capitalism bad because it forces you to work? How is a society going to operate if people are free to not work because then who's going to work?
But wait, doesn't everyone enjoy their job? Isn't working an expression of everyone's authentic agency?

I'm kidding, I'm glad we're past that point.

But really, is work so bad that the only way to persuade people to do it is to threaten them with starvation, or at the very least soul-destroying levels of poverty, and if so, why? Again, we live in the most labour-efficient society that has ever existed in all of human history. Why is it impossible to make work better than it currently is? Why do we have to work more hours than a literal serf? Why do we have so little flexibility around our working practices? Why do we not have the built in opportunities for socialization or leisure that were once part of working life?

The answer to all these questions is extremely obvious. We are working to make other people richer. Society is not going to break down if we work less, but the economy wouldn't grow at the same rate and that would mean the people who control the economy aren't gaining money at the same rate. Work isn't shit because everyone needs to pull 16 hour shifts in the shit factory or society will collapse, it's shit because rich people want money and they don't care if you suffer.

Getting people to work isn't actually hard. You just have to make work rewarding, materially or otherwise. Make it something people are willing to do without the need to threaten to take away things they need to survive.

Believe it or not, most people do actually want to work, most people have a pretty deep seated need to do something useful or to contribute to their communities, because humans are social animals who have always been motivated to help each other long, long before anyone was paying them or threatening them. If that sounds wrong, if you can't imagine a world in which work is anything other than joyless, unrewarding and exhausting, ask yourself what has changed. Why, in a world where automation and industry has allowed one person to do the work of hundreds, has that not resulted in a proportional improvement in the conditions of the people who do that work?

Technically speaking, logistics is responsible for the entire GDP because without it, nothing moves.
Technically, agriculture is also responsible for the entire GDP because without it, everyone starves to death.

I get what you're saying and you're right, but I think my point still stands. Logistics is not this impossible burden that the human race cannot carry without forced labour, like everything else it's easier and more labour efficient now than it's ever been. The average person today still works more than the average person at a time when the height of logistical technology was a horse and cart.
 
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Absent

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This so much. How is capitalism bad because it forces you to work? How is a society going to operate if people are free to not work because then who's going to work? Even before there were some fancy economic systems and people just lived on their own or in some villages, people had to work to get stuff done like build settlers and hunt for food.
It's actually a little more complicated. (Granted, we have relatively limited knowledge of ancient cultures, but we have a solid knowledge of non-industrial small societies synchronous with ours, which may or may not be analogous.) First of all, small societies often don't require a lot of working hours. Contrarily to the cliché of struggling societies barely surviving on the resources they just manage to gather, such societies (barring natural catastrophes) tend to amass the required relatively fast, and even surplus that they tend to destroy in sacrificial rituals (in a culture ideologically opposed to accumulation, plus with limited means of long term storage anyway). Meaning that a lot of hours are spent doing nothing "materially productive". But then, to even complicate this, the very notion of "work" (as bothersome activity forced by rules and social obligations) is cultural, in the sense that activities that we do as "work" is done, in some cultures, as rituals, as social activities, as celebrations. The outcome is the same, except it's experienced more as a by-product of a "party", or of a "game", or of a "feast". This re-definition changes the meaning and perception of it. The question of what a society treats as work or not isn't self-evident. And this can have to do with harvest, with personal tools/weapons maintenance, etc. Again, think of how many of our own required everyday, time-consuming activities don't get the label of "work", don't get "paid for", and are done regardless. Such categories aren't self-evident. But taking, as examples, societies that aren't built around the idea of hierarchies, orders and coercion (which actually meant trouble for the bewildered colonists and missionaries expecting to speak to the chief and to easily order people around) isn't the best way to make a case for the universality of our idea of work.

But then, there's in our cultures the weird matter of volunteering and productive hobbies (for instance the whole world of open source freewares). And there's the surprising studies made around "universal income", with quite a bit of counter-intuitive results. And also, let's lump it there too, the recent realization that fewer workdays tend to increase productivity.

So, the data on that is actually confusing. The more you study the stakes and causalities of "work", the more our certitudes and preconceptions crumble. There are solid theories about "universal income" functioning with un-disrupted activities, with some compelling and less compelling aspects. I'm not certain how/which kind of gratification can motivate the least enjoyable activities, but you can imagine a lot in terms of status and symbolism (healthier ones than ours, which, shall I remind us, doesn't reward well the most disagreeable jobs, neither in salary nor in status). The largest obstacle, in my opinion, is cultural : we are shaped to perceive work a certain way (a moral obligation to suffer in order to be awarded the right to live) which is already biting us in the ass as technologies replace human activities while we still punish and stigmatize "idleness". It's a cognitive challenge we'll be forced to face one way or the other...

I honestly don't have strong beliefs on what is feasible or not in our society (materially and culturally). But what I know, is that we cannot trust our current "common sense" consensus, which is too ethnocentered, and inadequate in face of our technological developments. And that humans are complex, and have proven capable to organize around very different concepts - so different that they are sometimes difficult to notice, grasp or even believe from one culture to the other. I think we have much more freedom than each one of our societies leads its members to believe.

 

Phoenixmgs

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But wait, doesn't everyone enjoy their job? Isn't working an expression of everyone's authentic agency?

I'm kidding, I'm glad we're past that point.

But really, is work so bad that the only way to persuade people to do it is to threaten them with starvation, or at the very least soul-destroying levels of poverty, and if so, why? Again, we live in the most labour-efficient society that has ever existed in all of human history. Why is it impossible to make work better than it currently is? Why do we have to work more hours than a literal serf? Why do we have so little flexibility around our working practices? Why do we not have the built in opportunities for socialization or leisure that were once part of working life?

The answer to all these questions is extremely obvious. We are working to make other people richer. Society is not going to break down if we work less, but the economy wouldn't grow at the same rate and that would mean the people who control the economy aren't gaining money at the same rate. Work isn't shit because everyone needs to pull 16 hour shifts in the shit factory or society will collapse, it's shit because rich people want money and they don't care if you suffer.

Getting people to work isn't actually hard. You just have to make work rewarding, materially or otherwise. Make it something people are willing to do without the need to threaten to take away things they need to survive.

Believe it or not, most people do actually want to work, most people have a pretty deep seated need to do something useful or to contribute to their communities, because humans are social animals who have always been motivated to help each other long, long before anyone was paying them or threatening them. If that sounds wrong, if you can't imagine a world in which work is anything other than joyless, unrewarding and exhausting, ask yourself what has changed. Why, in a world where automation and industry has allowed one person to do the work of hundreds, has that not resulted in a proportional improvement in the conditions of the people who do that work?
If you live by yourself long ago, how do you eat if you don't hunt/grow food? If you don't work, you don't eat, simple as that. You don't magically get food if you do nothing. You don't magically have shelter if you do nothing. I never claimed that everyone has to work 40 hours a week for society to function or that the economy needs to grow, but everyone should work to contribute to society. We have peer capitalist societies that work less, why is capitalism itself the cause of people working too much? You guys act like I'm some hardcore right-wing conservative, I'm very much for copy/pasting basically all of the policies Denmark/Sweden has for example.


It's actually a little more complicated. (Granted, we have relatively limited knowledge of ancient cultures, but we have a solid knowledge of non-industrial small societies synchronous with ours, which may or may not be analogous.) First of all, small societies often don't require a lot of working hours. Contrarily to the cliché of struggling societies barely surviving on the resources they just manage to gather, such societies (barring natural catastrophes) tend to amass the required relatively fast, and even surplus that they tend to destroy in sacrificial rituals (in a culture ideologically opposed to accumulation, plus with limited means of long term storage anyway). Meaning that a lot of hours are spent doing nothing "materially productive". But then, to even complicate this, the very notion of "work" (as bothersome activity forced by rules and social obligations) is cultural, in the sense that activities that we do as "work" is done, in some cultures, as rituals, as social activities, as celebrations. The outcome is the same, except it's experienced more as a by-product of a "party", or of a "game", or of a "feast". This re-definition changes the meaning and perception of it. The question of what a society treats as work or not isn't self-evident. And this can have to do with harvest, with personal tools/weapons maintenance, etc. Again, think of how many of our own required everyday, time-consuming activities don't get the label of "work", don't get "paid for", and are done regardless. Such categories aren't self-evident. But taking, as examples, societies that aren't built around the idea of hierarchies, orders and coercion (which actually meant trouble for the bewildered colonists and missionaries expecting to speak to the chief and to easily order people around) isn't the best way to make a case for the universality of our idea of work.

But then, there's in our cultures the weird matter of volunteering and productive hobbies (for instance the whole world of open source freewares). And there's the surprising studies made around "universal income", with quite a bit of counter-intuitive results. And also, let's lump it there too, the recent realization that fewer workdays tend to increase productivity.

So, the data on that is actually confusing. The more you study the stakes and causalities of "work", the more our certitudes and preconceptions crumble. There are solid theories about "universal income" functioning with un-disrupted activities, with some compelling and less compelling aspects. I'm not certain how/which kind of gratification can motivate the least enjoyable activities, but you can imagine a lot in terms of status and symbolism (healthier ones than ours, which, shall I remind us, doesn't reward well the most disagreeable jobs, neither in salary nor in status). The largest obstacle, in my opinion, is cultural : we are shaped to perceive work a certain way (a moral obligation to suffer in order to be awarded the right to live) which is already biting us in the ass as technologies replace human activities while we still punish and stigmatize "idleness". It's a cognitive challenge we'll be forced to face one way or the other...

I honestly don't have strong beliefs on what is feasible or not in our society (materially and culturally). But what I know, is that we cannot trust our current "common sense" consensus, which is too ethnocentered, and inadequate in face of our technological developments. And that humans are complex, and have proven capable to organize around very different concepts - so different that they are sometimes difficult to notice, grasp or even believe from one culture to the other. I think we have much more freedom than each one of our societies leads its members to believe.

Some of what I said above applies. Advancing society requires more working that just living with your needs. If you want to enjoy fancier leisure activities (than just like socializing, dancing, very simple games, etc.) like say video games or bowling or what-have-you, those things need work for them to be available. I'm not too big on UBI because humans are gonna human (have to put in safe guards to protect us from ourselves), just like the main character from Office Space; if I had the option to do nothing, I would do nothing. The problem is that my doing nothing (just leisure activities) requires work from others to be possible. I definitely think there's gonna be major differences in how UBI works across different cultures, and the US won't be looking that great in that regard IMO. Sure, there'll be a time when UBI will be needed when we don't have enough work to go around (and we have a ton of automation), but ideally you would think if there's not enough work for full time jobs for most, you could have then everyone work 20 hours a week and have 2 people do the job of what 1 can normally do so then everyone has equal leisure time. Back to humans gonna human, the reason why we even need a concept like money is because humans will take more than they need (or fairly be entitled to). Even with money, we have a large percentage of people that live beyond their means as it is and rack up debt they really have no business racking up.
 

Ag3ma

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This so much. How is capitalism bad because it forces you to work? How is a society going to operate if people are free to not work because then who's going to work? Even before there were some fancy economic systems and people just lived on their own or in some villages, people had to work to get stuff done like build settlers and hunt for food. The only system that makes it so people don't have to work is some sort of future where humans have been able to automate everything with robots.

Is everyone also forgetting that every system will have massive issues if you don't put in safe guards to protect us from ourselves?
The idea that no-one should have to work is a straw man. Obviously, no-one's advocating that everyone can stop working.

In the old days, people were generally self-employed - craftsmen, farmers, etc. although there was also a sizeable class of labourers who needed to take work from other people. To an extent people worked what they wanted to: and many just made enough to live comfortably, because that's what they wanted from life. Some studies suggest our ancient and medieval forebears may have worked significantly fewer days of the year than we do.

However, this does not suit capitalism, because in capitalism employees work to create additional wealth for shareholders. The average employee wants a good life holistically, of which work is just a part - for many, it's just the thing they need to do to enjoy the rest of their life. Therefore overall they just don't have the same motivation to bust a gut, especially when the primary beneficiaries of their efforts are shareholders. Capitalism is a society where shareholders have disproportionate social, economic and political power. Therefore, from laws and social attitudes to the way workplaces are set up, capitalists push for a society which drives employees to work: preferably longer and more intensively for less pay. This was then the origin of socialism in the 19th century, as workers pushed back.

There are ways in which capitalist work drive is good for society. If everyone works harder, that means we as consumers of other people's goods and products get stuff more efficiently. But it also drives exploitation and harassment of workers: stress, invasive workplace monitoring, lack of regulations and safety, unpaid overtime, tyrannical bosses, and much more. From my perspective, it's not hard to see that the overall desire of shareholders is to systematically strip workers of as much power as possible so to set the conditions of work entirely to suit themselves. They are assisted in that politically, often successfully, by appealing to the rest of society as consumers to help them quash worker power. Hence also individualism: encouraging the public to see a striking worker as an inconvenience to them, rather than see a striking worker as a fellow worker who should be shown solidarity for facing the same issues/risks of exploitation.
 

tstorm823

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No, I'm pretty sure I'm following it fine. I think the problem is more that I'm not sure you're really engaging with what people are saying, because you're too busy telling them what they think with a misleading series of binaries and abolutes.
Because there are people here who operate that way. Can you not appreciate that the main person I'm actually arguing with here is saying things like capitalism has worse concentration of power than feudalism? Why is it such an offensive suggestion to say someone like you or Silvanus doesn't have the same position?
After all, that's how the public debate goes: and you need to look at how the right wing contributes to this. I don't think a 60% top rate income tax band truly makes a country socialist, but if you and yours are going to point and scream "socialism" at the idea, then you're merely asking your opponents to not believe in capitalism.
I make this point often: demonizing normal things normalizes demons. Screaming about socialism or communism when the subject is reasonable policy encourages people to think more softly on communism, and I wish the right would knock it off. That being said, there are communists on this forum. There are people who don't say "maybe we need higher tax rates", they say "any business profit is theft and/or exploitation". And when I try to address those people, I get the moderates (and Buyetyen who has no opinion) sliding in to tell me I'm off base. That's why I need to point to what other people believe.

If you didn't witness it, or don't remember, the peak example of this was a thread I was arguing with people who wanted to abolish the police. Lil Devils attempted to step in and claim nobody wanted to abolish the police, defund the police was just about using funding more wisely on other services to help people, at which point a bunch of communists responded to her to say "no, we really do want to abolish the police."

I'd like to suggest something to you: I engage with more of the people on here more than most. Because I and a select few others are here, the left-wing people spend their time arguing with us, and not a lot of time scrutinizing each others beliefs. Unless I point out to people what other users believe, it's unclear most people here are even always reading the posts they enter a conversation to defend. You are an exceptional person here, who can both come at me from the left and contradict the others arguing with me. But my point is, by the general idea that the more you talk to someone the better you understand their beliefs, I know the politics of most people here better than they know each others politics. Don't just brush it off if I say you're not the same as someone else, seriously consider it.
It really is astounding how you seem to think yourself the ultimate arbiter of semantics. You're not a progressive, dude. Never have been. You're a straightforward conservative with all the baggage that implies.
Progressivism is the baggage implied by conservatism. The logic of conservatism is "what we've inherited as a society is good, and we should maintain it". The logic of progressivism is "we should make a better society for the future to inherit." Those are the exact same position, just looking different ways. Anyone who tries to maintain one of those positions without the other is a fool.
The reason I heckle you is because you're not a serious person and have no intention of changing your mind about anything. Why try to educate the ineducable? I admire the patience and tenacity of people who keep engaging with you, but it's also a waste of time because you're not here in good faith. As the Chinese say, there's no sense carving on rotten wood.
You heckle me because you enjoy it. I obviously am not going to condemn that behavior, but I'll certainly recognize it for what it is. They enjoyment you get from being here is not in argument or conversation, it's just in being the peanut gallery.
There is a limited amount of available wealth,
No, there isn't. Unrealized wealth is infinite, it is a measure of people's desires, and since people's desires are not finite, wealth is not finite.
and it is far, far easier for the wealthy to accumulate more wealth than it is for the poor to do so.
This is true, but it is far easier in any system for the powerful to acquire power, no matter the currency. Those with an army already have better chances conscripting more, those with fame gain more fame more quickly, those with political clout gain more clout, those who know more people meet new people faster, those with more education more easily learn new things... the haves always have an easier time than the have nots, on average, no matter how you measure it.
Unless you are already wealthy, you have to sell your labor to those who are, and the more concentrated wealth becomes within the population the more power those with it have to dictate the terms of those arrangements. The end result is an entrenched ruling class accumulating a greater and greater share of the available wealth and consequentially a greater and greater share of power.
I see your logic, I'm not going to say this is illogical, but I don't think it's grounded in real observation. Like, some people are born into wealth, and the overwhelming majority of them have blown their wealth within a few generations. The people getting wealthy in the first place all needed talent or exceptional luck to get there, and those aren't things you can inherit. To put it quite bluntly: every person I've ever met born with a silver spoon in their mouth has been an idiot, completely incapable of maintaining that position. Arrested Development I think is more grounded in the reality of the wealthy class than your analysis, and the statistics on social mobility and the durability of generational wealth support that claim. Most people born into wealth blow it.

Which is to say, I think the factor your analysis is missing is time. If people were immortal and the world was relatively unchanging, if we played out capitalism in perpetuity, I think what your describing would likely play out in exactly the way you describe, increasing concentrations of wealth and power among the select few, and even if we imagine they got there by the merits of what they could provide to others, it's still an undesirable end state. But that concern is moot, because death exists. Musk, Gates, Bezos, etc. will all die like the rest of us, at which point their score on the capitalism leaderboard becomes irrelevant. To put it another way:
That is how capitalism works in the absence of countervailing forces, and we live in a world with very few of those left.
Death is a countervailing force to the concentration of wealth.
When I say that capitalism and democracy are opposed, I don't mean the state is actually opposed to the interests of capitalism, I mean the ideals on which the state is supposedly built are incompatible with capitalism. In practice, once you have a ruling class who dominates the economy, they will tend to dominate the state as well, and they will use the state to advance their own interests even if doing so violates the supposed democratic function of the state itself.

That is why these two things are antagonistic. They're not locked in perpetual struggle, either democracy succeeds in restraining capitalism or capitalism dominates and subverts democracy. One has to die so the other can live, and usually it's democracy.
Is the inverse not true? Setting aside democracy for a moment and considering just the idea of state power vs economic power, is it not equally true that power concentrated in the state works to dominate and subvert the economy? The way I see it, it is a feature that capital has the power to fight the state, as otherwise someone looking to dominate a society would need only gain power over a single system overthrow societal order entirely.
Logistics is worth about 10% of global GDP (admittedly, more than agriculture). The service industry as a whole is worth about 2/3rds of global GDP, and represents the vast majority of the workforce in most developed countries. Now, services are important and some services have always been needed, but this is not the mark of an economy which is struggling to meet the basic needs of human survival. For most of human history the service industry barely existed because people simply couldn't afford not to be farming. We live in an economy which is, in historical terms, unimaginably prosperous and labour efficient.
I apologize for my phrasing, I intended something different. I did not mean to refer to "the logistics industry", meaning the commercial movement of goods. I meant much more broadly the concept of logistics in a general sense, the coordination of goods and services. A small percentage of people may work in actual food production, but that is without value unless you can get the food to hungry people. The farmer gets credit for that, but so does the person who made his tractor, the person who drove the truck to transport it, the person who built that truck, the people maintaining the roads, the person who orchestrated the purchase of the food for their restaurant, the people who constructed that restaurant, the cook in the kitchen, the plumber and electrician that made the kitchen work, the waiter who took the order, the person who printed the menu from which to order... there just aren't that many jobs that can't be tied to food, medicine, clothing, or housing, and without which would leave people hungry, sick, naked, or out in the cold. The coordination of all human efforts to support people's needs should not be minimized to counting what percent work in growing or manufacturing food.
In fact, why are people working harder than their ancestors did when subsistence farming was the norm?
Because people want a higher quality of life than their ancestors.

Imma cut this post now before responding to anyone else, as this might already be to long to post...