Author Topic: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...  (Read 5703 times)

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3873
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #100 on: November 02, 2018, 01:25:36 PM »
Despite your comfort with and acceptance of ancient practices of sexual slavery and slave owning, I'm still going to stay on the 'Nuh-uh, slavery is wrong.  FULL STOP.' side, regardless of how lovingly ancient Jews were supposed to treat their slaves but absolutely failed to do so in every way.  Communism is a nice moral idea that doesn't work in practice.  Slavery is a shitty moral idea that doesn't even work in theory.

You'll find I'm pretty well in agreement with you on these points. Slavery is wrong. Communism is a nice idea that doesn't work. There's a reason why I focused on what I did, though, and it actually supports your argument against Capitalism as in its purest sense is just as much a form of worldly slavery.

Despite what you think, I'm not on board with "ancient practices of sexual slavery and slave owning" as you so put it - what I am trying to emphasize, however, is that Torah through the near inescapable existence of indebtedness and the slavery it imposes upon us all in the natural state, is offering freedom and escape from that slavery by turning it on its head and forcing and transforming the conditions of ownership into something entirely different - redemption and restoration of the person to a fullness in freedom and equality, as well as providing a familial support and inheritance. To the one indebted within the world, who is otherwise with no means of escape, it should be a blessing. It is using the natural to reveal the spiritual truths of the Universe and the fullness of love of our Creator.

"Okay, you really want to buy a man? Guess what, you have to treat them like family, give them a home, feed them, care for them like your own brother, and you can't treat them any differently than a hired laborer." "Okay, you really want to buy a woman? Guess what, you have to treat her with dignity like your wife with esteem in your household, and you can't just use and abuse her like a piece of meat like the other nations." Look at this from a gentile's perspective at the time who's been sold into slavery, assuming one of the small windows of time when the Hebrews actually did as they should have. The other nations would have treated them horribly and abused them and passed them around like a piece of meat, or even shed their blood. The world's slave trade was throughout the nations at the time. Now, if the Hebrews genuinely did do as they were supposed to, what's the better path as a slave? An abused piece of meat, or taken out of that system, brought in and given a family? Remember, the outside nations at the time were doing such abominations as live human sacrifice in addition to the slave trade. Keep that in mind also when re-framing the "genocidal" slaughter of the tribes in Canaan - they, too, were given a choice. Stop their abominations and the shedding of human blood and the dehumanizing of their fellow man and come to HaShem and His better way of living at peace with one another, repent and be redeemed of that indebtedness, or answer for that evil and have the price they placed on their own head collected for all the blood they spilled themselves.

Part of it has to do with semantics and the stigma (rightly so, given its history) of the word slavery. There is no redemption in the world's slavery, and using the word carries a huge weight and stigma. The spiritual intent of Biblical "slavery" is to weaponize that debt system into something that destroys that worldly debt and slavery system itself. This is what's wrong with Free Market Capitalism, and why it's just as much a form of slavery as you've rightly highlighted, and why it's foolish for Christians to defend it. The system is not designed to redeem us or leave us free. It is a system designed to keep us in debt to others so that they may hold leverage over our very lives. People here are trying to buy that freedom by subverting the system and the free market to buy their way out, but so long as we're in the world's system, we're never free. No matter how much financial "freedom" we buy, we're still trapped in the system and a slave to it. We still rely on the labor of others to survive, and our money can still be taken from us. That's not freedom. It's perpetuating the cycle outlined and noted in the article Rebs posted.

Now, read Acts chapter two. What the community of believers were supposed to be doing for one another willingly and voluntarily? That is a portrait of the lessons that should have been learned from Torah and Yeshua about love and what it is supposed to look like. Nothing owed to one another, but love. If actually practiced to the letter, that's how the Hebrew system of "slavery" should have played out if actually executed properly - an abolishment of all slavery with nothing owed between people but love throughout the world, caring for one another. Yeshua paid the price to free us of the yolk of slavery and the debt that comes with us so that we may have a familial relationship through Him with HaShem, and we are to live with one another extending that same love and restoration as we were given.

My argument to Gary was against the easily disproven concept put forth that Christians have historically treated people with dignity.

I know it was. And I know they haven't, because most "Christians" historically have embraced the indebtedness of the world over the their own Messiah and what He did. Still do. The Western system has nothing to do with Christianity outside of superficial similarities, and everything to do with Nimrod's Babylon and the system of the world and its debt tarted up in flowery religious words, only providing the illusion of freedom within an increasingly onerous legal system that no one can live in without incurring a life debt to someone else who wants to keep you indebted and loyal to them at all cost, and without any hope of freedom.

Further, Gary's usage of mislabeling Communism as socialism, and equating "Christian" values with Western legalism and the perfection of Free Market Capitalism and its invisible hand as somehow being outside of that system and better? Somehow, one system is supposed to be better than the other, because "God" and words. I take issue with that, as do you. I wanted to back you up where you could be, and try to reveal a deeper truth in the process.

(If you want to discuss the cruelty/lovingness of the OG God vs God2.0 in the New Testament we can totally do that, but it's getting pretty far off topic.)

And I think I just brought it back not just on topic with the current direction of the thread, but back on point with the original purpose of the thread. Or a reasonable semblance there-of. Hopefully.

There was an attempt, anyway.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 12093
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #101 on: November 02, 2018, 01:44:18 PM »

There are other economic systems.  The mix of capitalism and socialism is just what has been proven to work best in the modern era.  Ancient Rome economically followed a mixture of capitalism and some elements of socialism, but with many elements of the caste system inherent in feudalism.

The US government (for example) controls the means of production in a variety of (probably most) industries.  Try opening a bakery without getting regular health inspections.  Try buying material to operate the nuclear reactor you've built in your back yard.  Try opening a medical practice without a degree or training in medicine.  You can't do any of those things because of (sensible) limits and controls on the means of production instituted by the state.  (There are plenty of less sensible limits on the means of production enforced by the US government . . . prostitution, marijuana prohibition, etc.). Then there are the industries where it's all but impossible for a private business to compete with state owned monopoly, like fire departments.  So there are clearly many industries where the means of production are tightly controlled by the government.  The US is a socialist country by your definition.

At the same time, there's tremendous economic freedom to start a business (within limits, and under regulation).  Most people own their own property, and there are plenty of ways to start your own business and privately own the means of production.  The US is a capitalist country by your definition.

See where I'm coming from?  Most Americans hear socialism and think communism, but that's just McCarthy era red scare propaganda still percolating through the national psyche.  Socialism and capitalism are opposite but complimentary, each can be used to balance out the other.  The extremes of either just don't work.  No country has purely private ownership of all means of production.  No (successful) country has purely collective ownership of the means of production.

Sorry to interject into this conversation, but I believe a society without the controls you cite (emphasis mine) is a form of anarchism, not capitalism. Capitalism allows for inherently governmental functions that benefit the welfare of the citizens (just as socialism does). Where (market) socialism takes it a step further is to give government the responsibility to improve the social standing of individuals through the reallocation of (some percentage of) capital. The U.S. has numerous social programs in place (social security, medicare, public education, etc.), but the ones you cite do not fall into the realm of socialism.

Agreed, it's not possible to have a truly free market without it devolving into anarchy.  Government controls are necessary for the good of everyone, and capitalism fails horribly without them.



Re-allocation of capital is certainly a socialist action commonly used by countries.  You're appear to also be arguing that state regulation of the means of production, distribution, and exchange in several industries is not socialist though.  That's the very definition of socialism:

Socialism is a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 12093
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #102 on: November 02, 2018, 01:57:46 PM »
Despite your comfort with and acceptance of ancient practices of sexual slavery and slave owning, I'm still going to stay on the 'Nuh-uh, slavery is wrong.  FULL STOP.' side, regardless of how lovingly ancient Jews were supposed to treat their slaves but absolutely failed to do so in every way.  Communism is a nice moral idea that doesn't work in practice.  Slavery is a shitty moral idea that doesn't even work in theory.

You'll find I'm pretty well in agreement with you on these points. Slavery is wrong. Communism is a nice idea that doesn't work. There's a reason why I focused on what I did, though, and it actually supports your argument against Capitalism as in its purest sense is just as much a form of worldly slavery.

Despite what you think, I'm not on board with "ancient practices of sexual slavery and slave owning" as you so put it - what I am trying to emphasize, however, is that Torah through the near inescapable existence of indebtedness and the slavery it imposes upon us all in the natural state, is offering freedom and escape from that slavery by turning it on its head and forcing and transforming the conditions of ownership into something entirely different - redemption and restoration of the person to a fullness in freedom and equality, as well as providing a familial support and inheritance. To the one indebted within the world, who is otherwise with no means of escape, it should be a blessing. It is using the natural to reveal the spiritual truths of the Universe and the fullness of love of our Creator.

"Okay, you really want to buy a man? Guess what, you have to treat them like family, give them a home, feed them, care for them like your own brother, and you can't treat them any differently than a hired laborer." "Okay, you really want to buy a woman? Guess what, you have to treat her with dignity like your wife with esteem in your household, and you can't just use and abuse her like a piece of meat like the other nations." Look at this from a gentile's perspective at the time who's been sold into slavery, assuming one of the small windows of time when the Hebrews actually did as they should have. The other nations would have treated them horribly and abused them and passed them around like a piece of meat, or even shed their blood. The world's slave trade was throughout the nations at the time. Now, if the Hebrews genuinely did do as they were supposed to, what's the better path as a slave? An abused piece of meat, or taken out of that system, brought in and given a family? Remember, the outside nations at the time were doing such abominations as live human sacrifice in addition to the slave trade. Keep that in mind also when re-framing the "genocidal" slaughter of the tribes in Canaan - they, too, were given a choice. Stop their abominations and the shedding of human blood and the dehumanizing of their fellow man and come to HaShem and His better way of living at peace with one another, repent and be redeemed of that indebtedness, or answer for that evil and have the price they placed on their own head collected for all the blood they spilled themselves.

Part of it has to do with semantics and the stigma (rightly so, given its history) of the word slavery. There is no redemption in the world's slavery, and using the word carries a huge weight and stigma. The spiritual intent of Biblical "slavery" is to weaponize that debt system into something that destroys that worldly debt and slavery system itself. This is what's wrong with Free Market Capitalism, and why it's just as much a form of slavery as you've rightly highlighted, and why it's foolish for Christians to defend it. The system is not designed to redeem us or leave us free. It is a system designed to keep us in debt to others so that they may hold leverage over our very lives. People here are trying to buy that freedom by subverting the system and the free market to buy their way out, but so long as we're in the world's system, we're never free. No matter how much financial "freedom" we buy, we're still trapped in the system and a slave to it. We still rely on the labor of others to survive, and our money can still be taken from us. That's not freedom. It's perpetuating the cycle outlined and noted in the article Rebs posted.

Now, read Acts chapter two. What the community of believers were supposed to be doing for one another willingly and voluntarily? That is a portrait of the lessons that should have been learned from Torah and Yeshua about love and what it is supposed to look like. Nothing owed to one another, but love. If actually practiced to the letter, that's how the Hebrew system of "slavery" should have played out if actually executed properly - an abolishment of all slavery with nothing owed between people but love throughout the world, caring for one another. Yeshua paid the price to free us of the yolk of slavery and the debt that comes with us so that we may have a familial relationship through Him with HaShem, and we are to live with one another extending that same love and restoration as we were given.

Or (and this is just a crazy thought I'm spitballing here), rather than watching idiot priests setting out complicated subversive morality rules that nobody would follow regarding the buying and selling of people . . . God could have formed another burning bush and said 'Slavery is fucked up guys, don't do it'.  It's not like OT God was hands off . . . Hagar,  Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Gideon, Samson's parents, and Nebuchadnezzar all got visits from the big dude.


My argument to Gary was against the easily disproven concept put forth that Christians have historically treated people with dignity.

I know it was. And I know they haven't, because most "Christians" historically have embraced the indebtedness of the world over the their own Messiah and what He did. Still do. The Western system has nothing to do with Christianity outside of superficial similarities, and everything to do with Nimrod's Babylon and the system of the world and its debt tarted up in flowery religious words, only providing the illusion of freedom within an increasingly onerous legal system that no one can live in without incurring a life debt to someone else who wants to keep you indebted and loyal to them at all cost, and without any hope of freedom.

Further, Gary's usage of mislabeling Communism as socialism, and equating "Christian" values with Western legalism and the perfection of Free Market Capitalism and its invisible hand as somehow being outside of that system and better? Somehow, one system is supposed to be better than the other, because "God" and words. I take issue with that, as do you. I wanted to back you up where you could be, and try to reveal a deeper truth in the process.

(If you want to discuss the cruelty/lovingness of the OG God vs God2.0 in the New Testament we can totally do that, but it's getting pretty far off topic.)

And I think I just brought it back not just on topic with the current direction of the thread, but back on point with the original purpose of the thread. Or a reasonable semblance there-of. Hopefully.

There was an attempt, anyway.

I'm going to need some time to parse this Daley.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 07:09:40 AM by GuitarStv »

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3873
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #103 on: November 02, 2018, 02:33:34 PM »
Or (and this is just a crazy thought I'm spitballing here), rather than watching idiot priests setting out complicated subversive morality rules that nobody would follow regarding the buying and selling of people . . . God could have formed another burning bush and said 'Slavery is fucked up guys, don't do it'.  It's not like OT God was hands off . . . Hagar,  Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Gideon, Samson's parents, and Nebuchadnezzar all got visits from the big dude.

And I would argue that Torah is that message of "slavery is effed up guys, don't do it." Don't blame the idiot legalist priesthood who weighed down the people with millstones too heavy to carry. But then again, that's the real problem - everyone wants legalism to justify being selfish a-holes, and figure out a loophole to justify those actions. This is the beauty of Torah, in the process of revealing a better way, it convicts the heart of chasing after that selfishness. It's also why, despite the outline of the sacrificial system, David wrote, "For You will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; You will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."

The people and the priesthood frequently preferred to keep slaughtering animals over simply doing the right thing and learning from their transgressions.

I'm going to need some time to parse this Daley.

That's fine, I know it's a bit sparse, yet dense. Sorry if it's a bit opaque... but I'm not sure how I can unpack that without another 2000+ words. Hopefully, with a little time chewing on it, it'll clarify a bit. If you want to PM me to help parse it further, feel free.

Boofinator

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 144
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #104 on: November 02, 2018, 03:20:00 PM »

There are other economic systems.  The mix of capitalism and socialism is just what has been proven to work best in the modern era.  Ancient Rome economically followed a mixture of capitalism and some elements of socialism, but with many elements of the caste system inherent in feudalism.

The US government (for example) controls the means of production in a variety of (probably most) industries.  Try opening a bakery without getting regular health inspections.  Try buying material to operate the nuclear reactor you've built in your back yard.  Try opening a medical practice without a degree or training in medicine.  You can't do any of those things because of (sensible) limits and controls on the means of production instituted by the state.  (There are plenty of less sensible limits on the means of production enforced by the US government . . . prostitution, marijuana prohibition, etc.). Then there are the industries where it's all but impossible for a private business to compete with state owned monopoly, like fire departments.  So there are clearly many industries where the means of production are tightly controlled by the government.  The US is a socialist country by your definition.

At the same time, there's tremendous economic freedom to start a business (within limits, and under regulation).  Most people own their own property, and there are plenty of ways to start your own business and privately own the means of production.  The US is a capitalist country by your definition.

See where I'm coming from?  Most Americans hear socialism and think communism, but that's just McCarthy era red scare propaganda still percolating through the national psyche.  Socialism and capitalism are opposite but complimentary, each can be used to balance out the other.  The extremes of either just don't work.  No country has purely private ownership of all means of production.  No (successful) country has purely collective ownership of the means of production.

Sorry to interject into this conversation, but I believe a society without the controls you cite (emphasis mine) is a form of anarchism, not capitalism. Capitalism allows for inherently governmental functions that benefit the welfare of the citizens (just as socialism does). Where (market) socialism takes it a step further is to give government the responsibility to improve the social standing of individuals through the reallocation of (some percentage of) capital. The U.S. has numerous social programs in place (social security, medicare, public education, etc.), but the ones you cite do not fall into the realm of socialism.

Agreed, it's not possible to have a truly free market without it devolving into anarchy.  Government controls are necessary for the good of everyone, and capitalism fails horribly without them.



Re-allocation of capital is certainly a socialist action commonly used by countries.  You're appear to also be arguing that state regulation of the means of production, distribution, and exchange in several industries is not socialist though.  That's the very definition of socialism:

Socialism is a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole

I think I disagree with your interpretation of 'regulated'. Government has long had the social responsibility to regulate industry for public health and safety (which all of the examples you cited fall under). The main thrust from socialism was that government has a social responsibility beyond ensuring life, liberty, and property; instead, government should also make regulations to reallocate capital for social good.

Some examples to highlight the differences:

Inherently Governmental Function                                                              Socialism
Inspecting the bakery for food safety (public health risk)                              Preventing the bakery from selling doughnuts (individual health risk)
Regulating nuclear materials (public health and safety risk)                          State ownership of utilities or subsidized energy costs
Medical licensing (public health risk)                                                           Subsidized healthcare
Protecting the rights of publishers                                                              Funding public libraries
Taxation on goods and services to fund inherently governmental functions    Progressive or targeted (i.e. cigarettes) taxation

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 12093
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #105 on: November 02, 2018, 05:27:51 PM »

There are other economic systems.  The mix of capitalism and socialism is just what has been proven to work best in the modern era.  Ancient Rome economically followed a mixture of capitalism and some elements of socialism, but with many elements of the caste system inherent in feudalism.

The US government (for example) controls the means of production in a variety of (probably most) industries.  Try opening a bakery without getting regular health inspections.  Try buying material to operate the nuclear reactor you've built in your back yard.  Try opening a medical practice without a degree or training in medicine.  You can't do any of those things because of (sensible) limits and controls on the means of production instituted by the state.  (There are plenty of less sensible limits on the means of production enforced by the US government . . . prostitution, marijuana prohibition, etc.). Then there are the industries where it's all but impossible for a private business to compete with state owned monopoly, like fire departments.  So there are clearly many industries where the means of production are tightly controlled by the government.  The US is a socialist country by your definition.

At the same time, there's tremendous economic freedom to start a business (within limits, and under regulation).  Most people own their own property, and there are plenty of ways to start your own business and privately own the means of production.  The US is a capitalist country by your definition.

See where I'm coming from?  Most Americans hear socialism and think communism, but that's just McCarthy era red scare propaganda still percolating through the national psyche.  Socialism and capitalism are opposite but complimentary, each can be used to balance out the other.  The extremes of either just don't work.  No country has purely private ownership of all means of production.  No (successful) country has purely collective ownership of the means of production.

Sorry to interject into this conversation, but I believe a society without the controls you cite (emphasis mine) is a form of anarchism, not capitalism. Capitalism allows for inherently governmental functions that benefit the welfare of the citizens (just as socialism does). Where (market) socialism takes it a step further is to give government the responsibility to improve the social standing of individuals through the reallocation of (some percentage of) capital. The U.S. has numerous social programs in place (social security, medicare, public education, etc.), but the ones you cite do not fall into the realm of socialism.

Agreed, it's not possible to have a truly free market without it devolving into anarchy.  Government controls are necessary for the good of everyone, and capitalism fails horribly without them.



Re-allocation of capital is certainly a socialist action commonly used by countries.  You're appear to also be arguing that state regulation of the means of production, distribution, and exchange in several industries is not socialist though.  That's the very definition of socialism:

Socialism is a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole

I think I disagree with your interpretation of 'regulated'. Government has long had the social responsibility to regulate industry for public health and safety (which all of the examples you cited fall under). The main thrust from socialism was that government has a social responsibility beyond ensuring life, liberty, and property; instead, government should also make regulations to reallocate capital for social good.

Some examples to highlight the differences:

Inherently Governmental Function                                                              Socialism
Inspecting the bakery for food safety (public health risk)                              Preventing the bakery from selling doughnuts (individual health risk)
Regulating nuclear materials (public health and safety risk)                          State ownership of utilities or subsidized energy costs
Medical licensing (public health risk)                                                           Subsidized healthcare
Protecting the rights of publishers                                                              Funding public libraries
Taxation on goods and services to fund inherently governmental functions    Progressive or targeted (i.e. cigarettes) taxation

I think you're drawing an imaginary line in the sand here.  'Social responsibility' enacted by the representative of the people (government), for the people is absolutely socialist in nature, and is entirely outside the realm of capitalism (or the small government so favoured by the pro-capitalist crew).  Early socialists were driven by the lack of social responsibility they saw in the capitalist practices of the time . . . indeed, socialism developed as a reaction to the excesses of those few who profited most from capitalism (Marx's Bourgeois) at the expense of the many who profit much less.

A far right believer in free markets (your typical capitalism loving libertarian) will tell you that there's no reason for bakeries to be inspected.  If a bakery makes people sick, people will stop going there and the bakery will go out if business.  Free market solution to the problem.  They will also point out that government regulation of bakeries didn't exist in America for a long time, yet bakeries have been around since the founding of the country . . . therefore it's obviously not a required function of government.  It certainly was not required for private ownership of bakeries and private sale of baked goods.  It really only stands as a road block to capitalism functioning freely and efficiently.

A far left socialist will tell you that allowing people to get sick in the first place is abdicating social responsibility.  It's possible for many to be hurt before the source of the sickness is revealed.  Even once revealed, it's hard for an individual to keep track of a malicious baker who simply sets up a new shop in a different town.  All bakeries should be regulated by the state to prevent sickness in the first place.  And hey, in order to make sure that greedy owners aren't just hiding stuff from the government inspectors, let's make the state the owner.  No profit motive to fuck over the proletariate should make things safer for all.

Both arguments suck.  The happy path lies in the middle.  We take the regulation and protection that socialists like, with a somewhat free market and profit motive that the capitalists like.  The hardcore folks on both sides are pissed off, everyone benefits.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2018, 05:40:28 PM by GuitarStv »

FINate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1194
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #106 on: November 02, 2018, 05:34:58 PM »
Or (and this is just a crazy thought I'm spitballing here), rather than watching idiot priests setting out complicated subversive morality rules that nobody would follow regarding the buying and selling of people . . . God could have formed another burning bush and said 'Slavery is fucked up guys, don't do it'.  It's not like OT God was hands off . . . Hagar,  Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Gideon, Samson's parents, and Nebuchadnezzar all got visits from the big dude.

Yeah, and how did that work out? The OT is clear, people keep fucking up even after God says "don't do that." Nowhere is this more clear than in the Garden of Eden when the humans, who by all accounts had full access to the presence of God and walked with him, yet they do the one thing they're told not to do and eat from the tree of good and evil. Now I have no idea if there was literally a tree or what kind - what's important is the symbolism involved. Humanity decides to give God a big FU and define what's right and wrong for themselves, which results in people exploiting others for their own benefit. Chapters 3-11 go into this in great detail.

As another example of prohibitions not really being effective on their own: God made explicit prohibitions against idolatry, but what do we find? Up until the period of the exile the Israelites had huge issues with idolatry, which is well documented in the OT. This is supported by the archeology as they often find idols in homes and public places in pre-exile Israel. They even sacrificed their own children to the Canaanite god Molech (Jeremiah 32:35).

And again, there is quite a bit in the OT about justice - not justice in the sense of convicting people of crimes (though this is part of it), but restorative justice - the importance of protecting the vulnerable, the widow, the immigrant, and the poor. You find this throughout scripture. And yet, what do we find in Amos, and Isaiah and the other prophets? The Israelites were not actually following God's commands for justice and righteousness (righteousness not being the religious term we think of today, more about having right relationship with God and others).

So clearly just making a command wasn't enough. People needed to be given a new heart as it says in Ezekiel 36:26 ("I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.")

Should also point out that slavery was widespread in the ancient world. This was not chattel slavery that we think of from US/European history. I'm not saying it was a good thing, but it was common because it was necessary for the functioning of civilization. Let's not forget our cultural context, where mechanization and tapping into millions of years of energy from the sun in the form of fossil fuels have freed us from the need for lots of manual labor. It's estimated that up to 1/3 of the population in the ancient Roman Empire were slaves. And even if you were not a 'slave' proper, you were still a subject of the ruler with few rights as we understand them today. So the OT and NT both seek to make changes within this broader context rather than total revolution. Should be pointed out that early Christians were regarded as an illegal cult and were often persecuted, and so they were not really in a place to force changes on the larger society. Even so, the early Christian views were attractive to those most trampled upon, so much so that the Greek historian Celsus criticized early Christianity for accepting "foolish and low individuals, and persons devoid of perception, and slaves, and women, and children." Then by the 4th and 5th century, after Christianity became the state religion, we start to see people such as John Chrysostom (https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/43167478.pdf) who are calling for the abolition of slavery based on their understanding of Christian Theology. And many of the abolitionists calling for the end of slavery in the 1700-1800s were also inspired by their theology, such as William Wilberforce (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Wilberforce).

FINate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1194
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #107 on: November 02, 2018, 06:01:53 PM »
This is based on the historically Christian belief that everyone is made in the image of God therefore deserving of human dignity.

I take a little bit of issue with this statement.

If this is a historically Christian belief, then why don't Christians tend to treat gay or trans people with human dignity?  Why were so many Christians slave owners (indeed, many used the Christian bible as evidence that they should be allowed to keep slaves)?  What was the inquisition?

Historically, Christians have rarely showed the belief that everyone is deserving of human dignity, and often used their bible to back up their actions.

Really, are you going to make sweeping generalizations about an entire faith tradition? Christianity is very flexible and therefor super diverse, hence there are many cultural expressions of the faith. Even within the US there's a broad spectrum of Christianity, and only a tiny percentage are those with hate filled signs you see on television. (Aside: I've counter protested these folks before.) With somewhere around 2.4 billion adherents around the world there are going to be some bad actors. The Church, being filled with flawed humans, is going to make mistakes. It's expected. Nowhere in the Bible does it even imply Christians will be perfect. In fact, much of the NT is letters to churches and people to address problems of people doing wrong.

So yes, there are people in the church on the wrong side of things like failing to treat gay and trans people with human dignity. But there are also Christians on the right side. Though you're not going to hear much about those who are just doing the hard work of serving others instead of making fools of themselves on TV.

There's a long history of Christian abolitionists, both in the very early church (see my post up thread), and also more recently. Many of the civil rights activists were informed by their faith and their understanding of human dignity as described in scripture. So I don't think it's fair to say Christians "rarely showed the belief that everyone is deserving of human dignity." IMO, making such generalizations is in the same vein as people saying that Islam promotes terrorism, which it does not.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 12093
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #108 on: November 02, 2018, 06:16:12 PM »
This is based on the historically Christian belief that everyone is made in the image of God therefore deserving of human dignity.

I take a little bit of issue with this statement.

If this is a historically Christian belief, then why don't Christians tend to treat gay or trans people with human dignity?  Why were so many Christians slave owners (indeed, many used the Christian bible as evidence that they should be allowed to keep slaves)?  What was the inquisition?

Historically, Christians have rarely showed the belief that everyone is deserving of human dignity, and often used their bible to back up their actions.

Really, are you going to make sweeping generalizations about an entire faith tradition? Christianity is very flexible and therefor super diverse, hence there are many cultural expressions of the faith. Even within the US there's a broad spectrum of Christianity, and only a tiny percentage are those with hate filled signs you see on television. (Aside: I've counter protested these folks before.) With somewhere around 2.4 billion adherents around the world there are going to be some bad actors. The Church, being filled with flawed humans, is going to make mistakes. It's expected. Nowhere in the Bible does it even imply Christians will be perfect. In fact, much of the NT is letters to churches and people to address problems of people doing wrong.

So yes, there are people in the church on the wrong side of things like failing to treat gay and trans people with human dignity. But there are also Christians on the right side. Though you're not going to hear much about those who are just doing the hard work of serving others instead of making fools of themselves on TV.

There's a long history of Christian abolitionists, both in the very early church (see my post up thread), and also more recently. Many of the civil rights activists were informed by their faith and their understanding of human dignity as described in scripture. So I don't think it's fair to say Christians "rarely showed the belief that everyone is deserving of human dignity." IMO, making such generalizations is in the same vein as people saying that Islam promotes terrorism, which it does not.

Yep, there are good Christians.  Yep, there are bad ones.  I'd argue that things are generally better today with the religion (on average) than in the past.

My response was to the broad sweeping statement that Christians have historically treated others with dignity.  They have not.

AnswerIs42

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 137
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #109 on: November 02, 2018, 06:16:58 PM »
Or (and this is just a crazy thought I'm spitballing here), rather than watching idiot priests setting out complicated subversive morality rules that nobody would follow regarding the buying and selling of people . . . God could have formed another burning bush and said 'Slavery is fucked up guys, don't do it'.

Well... he was going to, but then this happened :P

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDgCnoCMf9k

blinx7

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 217
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #110 on: November 02, 2018, 06:49:28 PM »
This is based on the historically Christian belief that everyone is made in the image of God therefore deserving of human dignity.

I take a little bit of issue with this statement.

If this is a historically Christian belief, then why don't Christians tend to treat gay or trans people with human dignity?  Why were so many Christians slave owners (indeed, many used the Christian bible as evidence that they should be allowed to keep slaves)?  What was the inquisition?

Historically, Christians have rarely showed the belief that everyone is deserving of human dignity, and often used their bible to back up their actions.

Really, are you going to make sweeping generalizations about an entire faith tradition? Christianity is very flexible and therefor super diverse, hence there are many cultural expressions of the faith. Even within the US there's a broad spectrum of Christianity, and only a tiny percentage are those with hate filled signs you see on television. (Aside: I've counter protested these folks before.) With somewhere around 2.4 billion adherents around the world there are going to be some bad actors. The Church, being filled with flawed humans, is going to make mistakes. It's expected. Nowhere in the Bible does it even imply Christians will be perfect. In fact, much of the NT is letters to churches and people to address problems of people doing wrong.

So yes, there are people in the church on the wrong side of things like failing to treat gay and trans people with human dignity. But there are also Christians on the right side. Though you're not going to hear much about those who are just doing the hard work of serving others instead of making fools of themselves on TV.

There's a long history of Christian abolitionists, both in the very early church (see my post up thread), and also more recently. Many of the civil rights activists were informed by their faith and their understanding of human dignity as described in scripture. So I don't think it's fair to say Christians "rarely showed the belief that everyone is deserving of human dignity." IMO, making such generalizations is in the same vein as people saying that Islam promotes terrorism, which it does not.

Yep, there are good Christians.  Yep, there are bad ones.  I'd argue that things are generally better today with the religion (on average) than in the past.

My response was to the broad sweeping statement that Christians have historically treated others with dignity.  They have not.

Compared to what standard?  The oceans of blood atheists have spilled in the last century?  The historical record of Islam?

This is way, way OT btw.

Boofinator

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 144
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #111 on: November 03, 2018, 09:08:48 AM »

There are other economic systems.  The mix of capitalism and socialism is just what has been proven to work best in the modern era.  Ancient Rome economically followed a mixture of capitalism and some elements of socialism, but with many elements of the caste system inherent in feudalism.

The US government (for example) controls the means of production in a variety of (probably most) industries.  Try opening a bakery without getting regular health inspections.  Try buying material to operate the nuclear reactor you've built in your back yard.  Try opening a medical practice without a degree or training in medicine.  You can't do any of those things because of (sensible) limits and controls on the means of production instituted by the state.  (There are plenty of less sensible limits on the means of production enforced by the US government . . . prostitution, marijuana prohibition, etc.). Then there are the industries where it's all but impossible for a private business to compete with state owned monopoly, like fire departments.  So there are clearly many industries where the means of production are tightly controlled by the government.  The US is a socialist country by your definition.

At the same time, there's tremendous economic freedom to start a business (within limits, and under regulation).  Most people own their own property, and there are plenty of ways to start your own business and privately own the means of production.  The US is a capitalist country by your definition.

See where I'm coming from?  Most Americans hear socialism and think communism, but that's just McCarthy era red scare propaganda still percolating through the national psyche.  Socialism and capitalism are opposite but complimentary, each can be used to balance out the other.  The extremes of either just don't work.  No country has purely private ownership of all means of production.  No (successful) country has purely collective ownership of the means of production.

Sorry to interject into this conversation, but I believe a society without the controls you cite (emphasis mine) is a form of anarchism, not capitalism. Capitalism allows for inherently governmental functions that benefit the welfare of the citizens (just as socialism does). Where (market) socialism takes it a step further is to give government the responsibility to improve the social standing of individuals through the reallocation of (some percentage of) capital. The U.S. has numerous social programs in place (social security, medicare, public education, etc.), but the ones you cite do not fall into the realm of socialism.

Agreed, it's not possible to have a truly free market without it devolving into anarchy.  Government controls are necessary for the good of everyone, and capitalism fails horribly without them.



Re-allocation of capital is certainly a socialist action commonly used by countries.  You're appear to also be arguing that state regulation of the means of production, distribution, and exchange in several industries is not socialist though.  That's the very definition of socialism:

Socialism is a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole

I think I disagree with your interpretation of 'regulated'. Government has long had the social responsibility to regulate industry for public health and safety (which all of the examples you cited fall under). The main thrust from socialism was that government has a social responsibility beyond ensuring life, liberty, and property; instead, government should also make regulations to reallocate capital for social good.

Some examples to highlight the differences:

Inherently Governmental Function                                                              Socialism
Inspecting the bakery for food safety (public health risk)                              Preventing the bakery from selling doughnuts (individual health risk)
Regulating nuclear materials (public health and safety risk)                          State ownership of utilities or subsidized energy costs
Medical licensing (public health risk)                                                           Subsidized healthcare
Protecting the rights of publishers                                                              Funding public libraries
Taxation on goods and services to fund inherently governmental functions    Progressive or targeted (i.e. cigarettes) taxation

I think you're drawing an imaginary line in the sand here.  'Social responsibility' enacted by the representative of the people (government), for the people is absolutely socialist in nature, and is entirely outside the realm of capitalism (or the small government so favoured by the pro-capitalist crew).  Early socialists were driven by the lack of social responsibility they saw in the capitalist practices of the time . . . indeed, socialism developed as a reaction to the excesses of those few who profited most from capitalism (Marx's Bourgeois) at the expense of the many who profit much less.

A far right believer in free markets (your typical capitalism loving libertarian) will tell you that there's no reason for bakeries to be inspected.  If a bakery makes people sick, people will stop going there and the bakery will go out if business.  Free market solution to the problem.  They will also point out that government regulation of bakeries didn't exist in America for a long time, yet bakeries have been around since the founding of the country . . . therefore it's obviously not a required function of government.  It certainly was not required for private ownership of bakeries and private sale of baked goods.  It really only stands as a road block to capitalism functioning freely and efficiently.

A far left socialist will tell you that allowing people to get sick in the first place is abdicating social responsibility.  It's possible for many to be hurt before the source of the sickness is revealed.  Even once revealed, it's hard for an individual to keep track of a malicious baker who simply sets up a new shop in a different town.  All bakeries should be regulated by the state to prevent sickness in the first place.  And hey, in order to make sure that greedy owners aren't just hiding stuff from the government inspectors, let's make the state the owner.  No profit motive to fuck over the proletariate should make things safer for all.

Both arguments suck.  The happy path lies in the middle.  We take the regulation and protection that socialists like, with a somewhat free market and profit motive that the capitalists like.  The hardcore folks on both sides are pissed off, everyone benefits.

I think the line is very real. Yes, semantically you are correct, every government function is inherently socialist in nature, in that it is for the benefit of the people. However, the traditional line between capitalism and socialism is the reallocation of capital beyond that needed for inherently government functions. Inherently government functions include everything that is necessary to ensure justice, defense, safety, and health. Anything beyond these functions begins to enter the realm of socialism. I think the bakery example we're going over is a poor choice, because you are right, regulations are probably not necessary, but they are fully within the realm of a legislative body to regulate for health and safety. (And as a former baker, I appreciated these regulations when I needed to threaten to call OSHA over a specific issue, which only subsequent to the threat got quickly resolved). Now if bakeries were owned by the government, or price controls were placed on bread, or food goods were taxed differently than other goods, etc., we'd be entering the realm of socialism.

dustinst22

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 533
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #112 on: November 03, 2018, 09:49:58 AM »

The US government (for example) controls the means of production in a variety of (probably most) industries.  Try opening a bakery without getting regular health inspections.



Have to be a bit careful with terms here.  In socialism and communism controlling the means of production is not at all the same as you're using it here.

FINate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1194
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #113 on: November 03, 2018, 12:35:34 PM »
Yep, there are good Christians.  Yep, there are bad ones.  I'd argue that things are generally better today with the religion (on average) than in the past.

Agreed. People often act badly towards each other. But is this because of their belief in [insert religion], or is it because people are inherently selfish? The 20th century has laid waste to the idea that organized religion is the cause of all the world's ills, with more bloodshed and destruction than any other time in history...almost none of it motivated by religiosity.

Before someone tries to go here: No, Hitler was not a Christian. At best, he was maybe(?) a neopagan, but even that is probably unfair to neopagans. The establishment German churches were complicit in going along, out of a desire for self preservation, as was true of most of the rest of the population. But then there were also Christians such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietrich_Bonhoeffer) who, motivated by his faith, resisted the Nazis to his own death.

My response was to the broad sweeping statement that Christians have historically treated others with dignity.  They have not.

I don't think anyone made a sweeping claim that Christians have historically treated others with dignity, though I apologize if I or someone else said/implied this and I missed it. My claim is that the Judeo-Christian faith has, at its core, a dignified view of humanity that is far ahead of its time, and has informed modern ideas of human rights that we take for granted today. That is to say, the faith contains the content to be internally self-critical when Christians do not treat others with the God-given dignity they deserve.

The entire science vs. religion war is unfortunate because 1) it's unnecessary and 2) those who claim a "literal" reading of Genesis (in quotes, because "literal" really means imposing a modern cultural context on ancient literature) completely miss the the bigger theological meaning of what's being communicated. Comparative studies of Ancient Near East (ANE) cosmology makes it clear that the Genesis 1-2 account is not about *how* God created, instead something much bigger and more important is going on. ANE readers, situated in their culture at the time, would have immediately recognized what was going on: The Genesis account describes the 7-day inauguration of sacred space, with the earth as a cosmic temple, and Eden the throne room where heaven and earth overlap and the divine assembly meets. In this context, Adam (hebrew: human) and Eve (hebrew: life) - aka Human Life - are understood as archetypal representations of humanity, and they are given a priestly role within the garden. God's command to rule and subdue the earth is not, as is often assumed, a command to rape and pillage the earth. Instead, this is a God giving humans roles as co-rulers. Their purpose is to be priests in communion with God while carrying on His creation project throughout the earth. In the biblical view then, humans are priestley co-regents. This is a highly dignified view of humanity.

It's difficult to overemphasise how much of a radical departure this is from the surrounding culture. Theomachy is the common theme in ANE cosmology, where creation is the result of waring, chaotic, and unpredictable gods. Whereas in Genesis we see God creating intentionally, by simply speaking, and it was very good. Another common theme in ANE literature is a view that humans were created, often through some form of theomachy, as slaves to the gods who were weary of caring for their own needs. And this becomes a reflection of the social structure where the king was deified, so the people served the king (essentially as slaves) along with all the gods. Whereas the God of the Bible makes clear that he is not served by humans.

So yes, Christians have not always remained true to the Biblical vision of dignity. Yet this ingrained dignified view has shaped our culture today in ways we take for granted. We don't fully appreciate the culture context that we've inherited from our Judeo-Christian past. For example, the dominant cultural assumption before the rise of Christianity was that of honor and shame. Greco-Roman culture despised Christianity because it did not value power and strength, and instead had an elevated view of the weak and vulnerable. The same can be said of the Anglo-Saxons who also considered Christianity offensive because of its elevation of the weak. In this sense, criticisms of Christians not treating people with dignity is self-referential, an accurate critique that Christians don't always live up to their values.

maizeman

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2997
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #114 on: November 03, 2018, 12:53:28 PM »
The 20th century has laid waste to the idea that organized religion is the cause of all the world's ills, with more bloodshed and destruction than any other time in history...almost none of it motivated by religiosity.

In absolute terms more people died in war in the 20th century, but this was largely an effect of the growing world population. If you look at the risk of an individual person dying in a war (whether as a member of a military or a civilian), the first half of the 20th century was well above average (note the log scaled y-axis on the first chart below), and the second half of the 20th century about average, and the bit of the 21st century we've experienced so far has been far below average.


Source.

If we look at individual murder rates, which are certainly also a component of bloodshed, we see an even more striking decline over the past several centuries.


Source

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 12093
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #115 on: November 03, 2018, 07:39:59 PM »
This is based on the historically Christian belief that everyone is made in the image of God therefore deserving of human dignity.

I take a little bit of issue with this statement.

If this is a historically Christian belief, then why don't Christians tend to treat gay or trans people with human dignity?  Why were so many Christians slave owners (indeed, many used the Christian bible as evidence that they should be allowed to keep slaves)?  What was the inquisition?

Historically, Christians have rarely showed the belief that everyone is deserving of human dignity, and often used their bible to back up their actions.

Really, are you going to make sweeping generalizations about an entire faith tradition? Christianity is very flexible and therefor super diverse, hence there are many cultural expressions of the faith. Even within the US there's a broad spectrum of Christianity, and only a tiny percentage are those with hate filled signs you see on television. (Aside: I've counter protested these folks before.) With somewhere around 2.4 billion adherents around the world there are going to be some bad actors. The Church, being filled with flawed humans, is going to make mistakes. It's expected. Nowhere in the Bible does it even imply Christians will be perfect. In fact, much of the NT is letters to churches and people to address problems of people doing wrong.

So yes, there are people in the church on the wrong side of things like failing to treat gay and trans people with human dignity. But there are also Christians on the right side. Though you're not going to hear much about those who are just doing the hard work of serving others instead of making fools of themselves on TV.

There's a long history of Christian abolitionists, both in the very early church (see my post up thread), and also more recently. Many of the civil rights activists were informed by their faith and their understanding of human dignity as described in scripture. So I don't think it's fair to say Christians "rarely showed the belief that everyone is deserving of human dignity." IMO, making such generalizations is in the same vein as people saying that Islam promotes terrorism, which it does not.

Yep, there are good Christians.  Yep, there are bad ones.  I'd argue that things are generally better today with the religion (on average) than in the past.

My response was to the broad sweeping statement that Christians have historically treated others with dignity.  They have not.

Compared to what standard?  The oceans of blood atheists have spilled in the last century?  The historical record of Islam?

This is way, way OT btw.

There was no comparison made.  I was responding to the claim that Christians have historically treated others with dignity.  By resorting to whataboutism rather than disagreeing with my statement, I'm guessing that you agree with my assessment on the matter?





Yep, there are good Christians.  Yep, there are bad ones.  I'd argue that things are generally better today with the religion (on average) than in the past.

Agreed. People often act badly towards each other. But is this because of their belief in [insert religion], or is it because people are inherently selfish?

People are people.  The religion they choose to follow (or not) certainly doesn't change that fact.  I'm not even sure that I'd agree that people are inherently selfish.  We are naturally a bit prone to tribal thinking - hurting others to benefit our chosen clan.



The 20th century has laid waste to the idea that organized religion is the cause of all the world's ills, with more bloodshed and destruction than any other time in history...almost none of it motivated by religiosity.

I don't really agree here at all.  As mentioned in maizeman's previous post, this simply isn't true.  We're living in a golden age as far as war goes, and I don't believe it has to do with religion (or lack of religion) at all.


My response was to the broad sweeping statement that Christians have historically treated others with dignity.  They have not.

I don't think anyone made a sweeping claim that Christians have historically treated others with dignity, though I apologize if I or someone else said/implied this and I missed it.  My claim is that the Judeo-Christian faith has, at its core, a dignified view of humanity that is far ahead of its time, and has informed modern ideas of human rights that we take for granted today. That is to say, the faith contains the content to be internally self-critical when Christians do not treat others with the God-given dignity they deserve.

Are those Christians who do not follow this (according to you) fundamental tenant of the faith true Christians?  If you answer no here, I kinda feel that you're no-true-scotsmanning your way out of the argument.  If you answer yes, then I'd argue that obviously your initial claim is incorrect.  I don't believe that you can claim a particular faith has a tenant at it's core that is regularly ignored and contravened by it's followers.


So yes, Christians have not always remained true to the Biblical vision of dignity. Yet this ingrained dignified view has shaped our culture today in ways we take for granted. We don't fully appreciate the culture context that we've inherited from our Judeo-Christian past. For example, the dominant cultural assumption before the rise of Christianity was that of honor and shame. Greco-Roman culture despised Christianity because it did not value power and strength, and instead had an elevated view of the weak and vulnerable. The same can be said of the Anglo-Saxons who also considered Christianity offensive because of its elevation of the weak. In this sense, criticisms of Christians not treating people with dignity is self-referential, an accurate critique that Christians don't always live up to their values.

Christianity has always been big on 'meek inheriting the Earth' type stuff, especially in the New Testament stuff.  (OT not so much . . . Deuteronomy 23:1 sticks out as a rather unaccepting passage for example.)  I don't believe that this type of thinking is quite as unique as you're claiming though:

“But we wanted to favor those who had been humiliated on earth; We wanted to make them its leaders and heirs. We wanted to establish them on earth and thus show Pharaoh, Haman and their armies that which they fear.” (Koran 28:5-6)

If we want to get into Eastern religions, the Tao Te Ching has got several passages that kinda glorify weakness (bending in the breeze rather than breaking, the softest thing in the world can overpower the hardest, etc.) . . . and in many ways Taoism is about accepting your position and not needing strength because you are just going with the flow.

I like this argument on the surface though, and will have to look more into it.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 06:54:39 AM by GuitarStv »

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 12093
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #116 on: November 04, 2018, 08:47:53 AM »

The US government (for example) controls the means of production in a variety of (probably most) industries.  Try opening a bakery without getting regular health inspections.



Have to be a bit careful with terms here.  In socialism and communism controlling the means of production is not at all the same as you're using it here.

For communism, I agree with you.  Communism advocates collective ownership of everything, so control can be seen to mean loss of private ownership.  This is not the case for all forms of socialism though, many of which co-exist perfectly well with private ownership.  Liberal socialism for example, tends to explicitly oppose the type of state ownership advocated for by communist practices.




I think the line is very real. Yes, semantically you are correct, every government function is inherently socialist in nature, in that it is for the benefit of the people. However, the traditional line between capitalism and socialism is the reallocation of capital beyond that needed for inherently government functions. Inherently government functions include everything that is necessary to ensure justice, defense, safety, and health. Anything beyond these functions begins to enter the realm of socialism. I think the bakery example we're going over is a poor choice, because you are right, regulations are probably not necessary, but they are fully within the realm of a legislative body to regulate for health and safety. (And as a former baker, I appreciated these regulations when I needed to threaten to call OSHA over a specific issue, which only subsequent to the threat got quickly resolved). Now if bakeries were owned by the government, or price controls were placed on bread, or food goods were taxed differently than other goods, etc., we'd be entering the realm of socialism.

'Inherently government functions' is a confusing phrase to me.

You are arguing that food inspection is an inherent government function (among other things).  I already pointed out that the US government functioned for a long time without inspections of bakeries.  So, how do you determine what functions are 'inherently governmental'?  Is maintaining a public police service inherently a government function?  If so, why isn't public health care the same?  Both are fully within the realm of a legislative body to regulate for health and safety.  It is not possible to ensure justice for your people without a police force (and legal system), just as it is not possible to ensure health for your people without medical practitioners.

To me, this is a very arbitrary line you're drawing here, and it seems to be based around a particularly US-centric view of socialism and government.

Boofinator

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 144
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #117 on: November 04, 2018, 09:19:23 AM »

I think the line is very real. Yes, semantically you are correct, every government function is inherently socialist in nature, in that it is for the benefit of the people. However, the traditional line between capitalism and socialism is the reallocation of capital beyond that needed for inherently government functions. Inherently government functions include everything that is necessary to ensure justice, defense, safety, and health. Anything beyond these functions begins to enter the realm of socialism. I think the bakery example we're going over is a poor choice, because you are right, regulations are probably not necessary, but they are fully within the realm of a legislative body to regulate for health and safety. (And as a former baker, I appreciated these regulations when I needed to threaten to call OSHA over a specific issue, which only subsequent to the threat got quickly resolved). Now if bakeries were owned by the government, or price controls were placed on bread, or food goods were taxed differently than other goods, etc., we'd be entering the realm of socialism.

'Inherently government functions' is a confusing phrase to me.

You are arguing that food inspection is an inherent government function (among other things).  I already pointed out that the US government functioned for a long time without inspections of bakeries.  So, how do you determine what functions are 'inherently governmental'?  Is maintaining a public police service inherently a government function?  If so, why isn't public health care the same?  Both are fully within the realm of a legislative body to regulate for health and safety.  It is not possible to ensure justice for your people without a police force (and legal system), just as it is not possible to ensure health for your people without medical practitioners.

To me, this is a very arbitrary line you're drawing here, and it seems to be based around a particularly US-centric view of socialism and government.

I could be wrong (and I'm definitely US-biased), but an inherently governmental function involves those things mentioned earlier: government protecting public health and safety. Where socialism differs is that it attempts to reallocate capital to improve individual outcomes (rather than public ones) in the attempt to improve public well-being. So the question to pose to determine whether a given government program is socialist or not, do people need to work together to form a government to accomplish those tasks, and do they directly affect the health or safety of the public (as compared to individuals, who could choose whether or not to allocate their capital accordingly)?

Here's a list. Not saying these all need to be implemented by governments, or to what extent they are implemented by governments, only whether or not they fall under inherently governmental functions and not socialist functions.

Courts? Yes.
Military? Yes.
Police? Yes.
Health Inspectors? Yes.
Safety Inspectors? Yes.
Legislators? Obviously.
Public education? No, education does not directly affect public health or safety, and people can choose what level of education is appropriate to them using their capital.
Public libraries? No.
Health insurance? Mixed. There's certainly a public health aspect to having some level of insurance and the associated infrastructure available to solve health crises which affect public health, but there's also some individual responsibility here as well. I feel the requirement for a basic level of health insurance should fall under an inherent government responsibility (again, whether or not the choice is made to implement it is another story).
Social security? No (though the argument could be made that hordes of homeless elderly people could pose a public health risk).
Public parks? No.

PizzaSteve

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 505
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #118 on: November 04, 2018, 09:39:09 AM »
Very good points so far as I skim the thread.

Posting to follow, as I would like to read more carefully.

My take is that some fundamental changes are occuring in some basic social interaction constructs about how we look at value creation, that undermine how we look at these various `isms.'

It is a long topic, but Ive been working on some business strategy contructs I developed during my consulting career that I label an Asset Driven/Balance Sheet approach to value creation.  Long and off topic, but basically I developed strategies for growing businesses by maximizing the performance of assets, differentiating by type.  Folks can PM me if they want to discuss it, but the asset types I analyzed include;

* Capital
* Labor
* Brand/Habit
* Information/Process knowledge
* Physical Infrastructure/commodities/equipment

Each of these performs differently and as one seeks to maximize their impact in producing effects that humans call value, one notices certain inevitable long term trends.

One of these is that information has become dramatically less scarce and that the cost of manipulating information has been declining exponentially.  I wrote about this in the 80s in some strategy white papers and predicted how this would evolve into creating what I called information utilities.

The interesting impact of the information utility (beyond crazy profitability) is that information is a catalyst for more efficient production of value by improving the impact of other asset types.  For example, give a call center the ability to edit, and enter orders, create a web site and ship via a fulfillment center, and suddenly small sales team can sell product globally. What used to be hugely expensive (IBMs Sales force) can be surpassed with much less input of other assets.  I helped build several new (e.g. online businesses, new markets, new products, disintermediation strategies, asset efficiency improvement strategies) for brick and morter companies by trying to document these scale economics and how to achieve them for years.   

With information business system improvements, the labor and other input costs for a business system are dramatically are driven down.  I helped define methologies for doing this for years.  They worked.  Companies made money.

What is interesting for this thread is that the sum of these activities, impacts notions of asset scarcity across the board. Labor needs drop, commododity needs drop, etc.

Now remember, the idea of scarcity is what created trade, money, economics as we know it.  The fundmental transaction of human kind, economically, for thousands of years, has been an exchange of equal value of goods or services.  We invented this idea and agriculture, society, etc were created (along with the need for governance, once we started trading).

Now we have this information availability and ubiquity thing distorting the very foundations of trade by pressuring scarcity, pressuring the need to demand value for value.  People give the stuff for free (or for habit brand values).

I predict that this will lead to a more social based society as social behavioral values will increasingly drive governance vs value exchange mechanisms.  Is this communism?  I dont think so. A set of values will be needed to manage the surplus wealth.  But universal guaranteed income is very likely, and I think eventually some sort of Star Trek like world where accumulation of money is seen as an old fashioned idea and people focus more on how they best contribute to a society that ranks them (there are Captains, therapists, and top scientists, after all), but begrudges no indulgence not reasonable (food, housing, space ships to explore, etc).
« Last Edit: November 04, 2018, 09:52:01 AM by PizzaSteve »

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 12093
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #119 on: November 04, 2018, 10:12:11 AM »

I think the line is very real. Yes, semantically you are correct, every government function is inherently socialist in nature, in that it is for the benefit of the people. However, the traditional line between capitalism and socialism is the reallocation of capital beyond that needed for inherently government functions. Inherently government functions include everything that is necessary to ensure justice, defense, safety, and health. Anything beyond these functions begins to enter the realm of socialism. I think the bakery example we're going over is a poor choice, because you are right, regulations are probably not necessary, but they are fully within the realm of a legislative body to regulate for health and safety. (And as a former baker, I appreciated these regulations when I needed to threaten to call OSHA over a specific issue, which only subsequent to the threat got quickly resolved). Now if bakeries were owned by the government, or price controls were placed on bread, or food goods were taxed differently than other goods, etc., we'd be entering the realm of socialism.

'Inherently government functions' is a confusing phrase to me.

You are arguing that food inspection is an inherent government function (among other things).  I already pointed out that the US government functioned for a long time without inspections of bakeries.  So, how do you determine what functions are 'inherently governmental'?  Is maintaining a public police service inherently a government function?  If so, why isn't public health care the same?  Both are fully within the realm of a legislative body to regulate for health and safety.  It is not possible to ensure justice for your people without a police force (and legal system), just as it is not possible to ensure health for your people without medical practitioners.

To me, this is a very arbitrary line you're drawing here, and it seems to be based around a particularly US-centric view of socialism and government.

I could be wrong (and I'm definitely US-biased), but an inherently governmental function involves those things mentioned earlier: government protecting public health and safety. Where socialism differs is that it attempts to reallocate capital to improve individual outcomes (rather than public ones) in the attempt to improve public well-being. So the question to pose to determine whether a given government program is socialist or not, do people need to work together to form a government to accomplish those tasks, and do they directly affect the health or safety of the public (as compared to individuals, who could choose whether or not to allocate their capital accordingly)?

Here's a list. Not saying these all need to be implemented by governments, or to what extent they are implemented by governments, only whether or not they fall under inherently governmental functions and not socialist functions.

Courts? Yes.
Military? Yes.
Police? Yes.
Health Inspectors? Yes.
Safety Inspectors? Yes.
Legislators? Obviously.
Public education? No, education does not directly affect public health or safety, and people can choose what level of education is appropriate to them using their capital.
Public libraries? No.
Health insurance? Mixed. There's certainly a public health aspect to having some level of insurance and the associated infrastructure available to solve health crises which affect public health, but there's also some individual responsibility here as well. I feel the requirement for a basic level of health insurance should fall under an inherent government responsibility (again, whether or not the choice is made to implement it is another story).
Social security? No (though the argument could be made that hordes of homeless elderly people could pose a public health risk).
Public parks? No.

I appreciate you outlining things a bit better for me.  The problem with your list is that it still depends on a personal definition for things that directly effect health and safety of the public.

I'd argue that the health and safety of a society is directly impacted by the education of it's citizens.  Heck, just look at typical day to day safety in traffic.  Without a public education, how well do you think they're going to learn to cross the street safely?  How are they going to read street signs warning them of danger?  How are you expecting them to know what the law even is if you fail to provide the basic foundation for acquiring knowledge at all?  Public education is therefore an inherently governmental function.

Why must the government provide a military for it's people for health and safety?  The whole point of the second amendment in the US is that the people are supposed to be able to defend themselves, and not depend on a military to save them.

I'd also argue that other things you've identified like progressive taxation can make a lot of sense from a non-socialist perspective.  If a government is supplying health care to the public for health and safety reasons, then it would make sense to tax some of the more high risk activities (like say, smoking) at a higher rate in order to lower the costs of the program.  That's not socialist, it's pure cost reduction in a way that allows the free market to fix the problem.

This is still a very arbitrary definition.  At the very least, I hope that I've demonstrated how a reasonable person could draw a completely different line using your same definition.

Boofinator

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 144
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #120 on: November 04, 2018, 10:57:26 AM »

I think the line is very real. Yes, semantically you are correct, every government function is inherently socialist in nature, in that it is for the benefit of the people. However, the traditional line between capitalism and socialism is the reallocation of capital beyond that needed for inherently government functions. Inherently government functions include everything that is necessary to ensure justice, defense, safety, and health. Anything beyond these functions begins to enter the realm of socialism. I think the bakery example we're going over is a poor choice, because you are right, regulations are probably not necessary, but they are fully within the realm of a legislative body to regulate for health and safety. (And as a former baker, I appreciated these regulations when I needed to threaten to call OSHA over a specific issue, which only subsequent to the threat got quickly resolved). Now if bakeries were owned by the government, or price controls were placed on bread, or food goods were taxed differently than other goods, etc., we'd be entering the realm of socialism.

'Inherently government functions' is a confusing phrase to me.

You are arguing that food inspection is an inherent government function (among other things).  I already pointed out that the US government functioned for a long time without inspections of bakeries.  So, how do you determine what functions are 'inherently governmental'?  Is maintaining a public police service inherently a government function?  If so, why isn't public health care the same?  Both are fully within the realm of a legislative body to regulate for health and safety.  It is not possible to ensure justice for your people without a police force (and legal system), just as it is not possible to ensure health for your people without medical practitioners.

To me, this is a very arbitrary line you're drawing here, and it seems to be based around a particularly US-centric view of socialism and government.

I could be wrong (and I'm definitely US-biased), but an inherently governmental function involves those things mentioned earlier: government protecting public health and safety. Where socialism differs is that it attempts to reallocate capital to improve individual outcomes (rather than public ones) in the attempt to improve public well-being. So the question to pose to determine whether a given government program is socialist or not, do people need to work together to form a government to accomplish those tasks, and do they directly affect the health or safety of the public (as compared to individuals, who could choose whether or not to allocate their capital accordingly)?

Here's a list. Not saying these all need to be implemented by governments, or to what extent they are implemented by governments, only whether or not they fall under inherently governmental functions and not socialist functions.

Courts? Yes.
Military? Yes.
Police? Yes.
Health Inspectors? Yes.
Safety Inspectors? Yes.
Legislators? Obviously.
Public education? No, education does not directly affect public health or safety, and people can choose what level of education is appropriate to them using their capital.
Public libraries? No.
Health insurance? Mixed. There's certainly a public health aspect to having some level of insurance and the associated infrastructure available to solve health crises which affect public health, but there's also some individual responsibility here as well. I feel the requirement for a basic level of health insurance should fall under an inherent government responsibility (again, whether or not the choice is made to implement it is another story).
Social security? No (though the argument could be made that hordes of homeless elderly people could pose a public health risk).
Public parks? No.

I appreciate you outlining things a bit better for me.  The problem with your list is that it still depends on a personal definition for things that directly effect health and safety of the public.

I'd argue that the health and safety of a society is directly impacted by the education of it's citizens.  Heck, just look at typical day to day safety in traffic.  Without a public education, how well do you think they're going to learn to cross the street safely?  How are they going to read street signs warning them of danger?  How are you expecting them to know what the law even is if you fail to provide the basic foundation for acquiring knowledge at all?  Public education is therefore an inherently governmental function.

Why must the government provide a military for it's people for health and safety?  The whole point of the second amendment in the US is that the people are supposed to be able to defend themselves, and not depend on a military to save them.

I'd also argue that other things you've identified like progressive taxation can make a lot of sense from a non-socialist perspective.  If a government is supplying health care to the public for health and safety reasons, then it would make sense to tax some of the more high risk activities (like say, smoking) at a higher rate in order to lower the costs of the program.  That's not socialist, it's pure cost reduction in a way that allows the free market to fix the problem.

This is still a very arbitrary definition.  At the very least, I hope that I've demonstrated how a reasonable person could draw a completely different line using your same definition.

It is not at all arbitrary. Let's use your examples.

Driver's education is not a requirement where I live, but being able to pass a driver's test showing your knowledge of the laws is. This is an example of ensuring public safety without publicly funded education. It's a safety inspection, so to speak. Even requiring education in this case would be minimally socialist, if the government did not fund the education (of course it would need to accredit the education).

For the military, the government always has a choice not to fund one. But the government has felt it is in the best interest of public safety to fund one. And I for one don't blame them.

You premise the example on the taxation of smoking products on having government funded health care. If that is the case, I agree taxation of smoking would not necessarily fall under the "socialist" column, but government funded health care for illnesses like cancer is perhaps a socialist cause, so the logic only works if your premise is correct.

I agree that there is a lot of grey area between socialism and capitalism, but there is also a big distinction. Otherwise, why would we even have the categories to begin with?

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 12093
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #121 on: November 04, 2018, 01:46:36 PM »
It is not at all arbitrary. Let's use your examples.

Driver's education is not a requirement where I live, but being able to pass a driver's test showing your knowledge of the laws is. This is an example of ensuring public safety without publicly funded education. It's a safety inspection, so to speak. Even requiring education in this case would be minimally socialist, if the government did not fund the education (of course it would need to accredit the education).

For the military, the government always has a choice not to fund one. But the government has felt it is in the best interest of public safety to fund one. And I for one don't blame them.

You premise the example on the taxation of smoking products on having government funded health care. If that is the case, I agree taxation of smoking would not necessarily fall under the "socialist" column, but government funded health care for illnesses like cancer is perhaps a socialist cause, so the logic only works if your premise is correct.

I agree that there is a lot of grey area between socialism and capitalism, but there is also a big distinction. Otherwise, why would we even have the categories to begin with?


Earlier you said that "Inherently government functions include everything that is necessary to ensure justice, defense, safety, and health." and that "the traditional line between capitalism and socialism is the reallocation of capital beyond that needed for inherently government functions."  Providing health care for illness is (by your own definition), an inherently government function and not socialist.  Now you're arguing "government funded health care for illnesses like cancer is perhaps a socialist cause".  This is not consistent with the definitions you've laid out.

You're right, arbitrary is the wrong word, and I was mistaken in using it.  Inconsistent is better.  I don't agree with your definition because of many instances of inconsistency like this that we're running into.

My definition of socialism is pretty textbook:
Socialism - a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

There's absolutely a big difference between capitalism and socialism.  They're polar opposite ideas, and there isn't much grey area between them.  Capitalism and socialism are quite different, but operate in a complementary manner though.  I think that you're getting tripped up in redefining what the two words really mean which is why you're finding grey area between them.

Boofinator

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 144
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #122 on: November 04, 2018, 03:17:40 PM »
It is not at all arbitrary. Let's use your examples.

Driver's education is not a requirement where I live, but being able to pass a driver's test showing your knowledge of the laws is. This is an example of ensuring public safety without publicly funded education. It's a safety inspection, so to speak. Even requiring education in this case would be minimally socialist, if the government did not fund the education (of course it would need to accredit the education).

For the military, the government always has a choice not to fund one. But the government has felt it is in the best interest of public safety to fund one. And I for one don't blame them.

You premise the example on the taxation of smoking products on having government funded health care. If that is the case, I agree taxation of smoking would not necessarily fall under the "socialist" column, but government funded health care for illnesses like cancer is perhaps a socialist cause, so the logic only works if your premise is correct.

I agree that there is a lot of grey area between socialism and capitalism, but there is also a big distinction. Otherwise, why would we even have the categories to begin with?


Earlier you said that "Inherently government functions include everything that is necessary to ensure justice, defense, safety, and health." and that "the traditional line between capitalism and socialism is the reallocation of capital beyond that needed for inherently government functions."  Providing health care for illness is (by your own definition), an inherently government function and not socialist.  Now you're arguing "government funded health care for illnesses like cancer is perhaps a socialist cause".  This is not consistent with the definitions you've laid out.

You're right, arbitrary is the wrong word, and I was mistaken in using it.  Inconsistent is better.  I don't agree with your definition because of many instances of inconsistency like this that we're running into.

My definition of socialism is pretty textbook:
Socialism - a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

There's absolutely a big difference between capitalism and socialism.  They're polar opposite ideas, and there isn't much grey area between them.  Capitalism and socialism are quite different, but operate in a complementary manner though.  I think that you're getting tripped up in redefining what the two words really mean which is why you're finding grey area between them.

On other occasions I clearly specified "public health"; I left out public in that sentence, so apologies for the confusion.

At this point I'm not sure our notions of capitalism can be reconciled due to contrasting definitions. I've never read Marx or Engels (the inventors of the word "capitalism"), but I've read Adam Smith. And though capitalism as a word did not exist in Smith's time, he basically described its essence. And he had a definite role for government along the lines which I describe. I do respect where you're coming from, I just disagree in painting the word "capitalism" with that brush.

And I also agree that there are plenty of flaws with unfettered capitalism no matter how it is defined.

PizzaSteve

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 505
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #123 on: November 04, 2018, 05:18:44 PM »
It is not at all arbitrary. Let's use your examples.

Driver's education is not a requirement where I live, but being able to pass a driver's test showing your knowledge of the laws is. This is an example of ensuring public safety without publicly funded education. It's a safety inspection, so to speak. Even requiring education in this case would be minimally socialist, if the government did not fund the education (of course it would need to accredit the education).

For the military, the government always has a choice not to fund one. But the government has felt it is in the best interest of public safety to fund one. And I for one don't blame them.

You premise the example on the taxation of smoking products on having government funded health care. If that is the case, I agree taxation of smoking would not necessarily fall under the "socialist" column, but government funded health care for illnesses like cancer is perhaps a socialist cause, so the logic only works if your premise is correct.

I agree that there is a lot of grey area between socialism and capitalism, but there is also a big distinction. Otherwise, why would we even have the categories to begin with?


Earlier you said that "Inherently government functions include everything that is necessary to ensure justice, defense, safety, and health." and that "the traditional line between capitalism and socialism is the reallocation of capital beyond that needed for inherently government functions."  Providing health care for illness is (by your own definition), an inherently government function and not socialist.  Now you're arguing "government funded health care for illnesses like cancer is perhaps a socialist cause".  This is not consistent with the definitions you've laid out.

You're right, arbitrary is the wrong word, and I was mistaken in using it.  Inconsistent is better.  I don't agree with your definition because of many instances of inconsistency like this that we're running into.

My definition of socialism is pretty textbook:
Socialism - a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

There's absolutely a big difference between capitalism and socialism.  They're polar opposite ideas, and there isn't much grey area between them.  Capitalism and socialism are quite different, but operate in a complementary manner though.  I think that you're getting tripped up in redefining what the two words really mean which is why you're finding grey area between them.
I would assert that it is economics, almost more than social policy beliefs that should decide where social capital vs personal capital is spent.  If you read the work of the recent Nobel prize winners on contracts, some economic activity has natural scale economies or a natural monopoly structure that works most efficiently to deliver the `human desired' good or service.

I would let a fact based analysis of market dynamics drive the discussion.  Where natural monopolies or social inefficiencies exist (e.g. for profit health care incentivizes devaluing human life for profits), then governance of society needs to step in and manage.

I reject notions that competition and markets work best for all forms of value creation.  Ive worked at high levels in companies and government for most of my 30+ years of work, and inefficiencies abound, both in free markets and socially managed systems.  Private court is very efficient (arbitration) for some areas and horrible for others.  Restaurants thrive on competition, energy distribution, not so much.

Observing how a market behaves without a 'party colored lens' actually produces data on whether regulation by social policy destroys or creates capital.  In many cases it creates capital, net of costs, contrary to idiological capitalists who tend to suppport free markets, regardless of actual data about its costs and benefits to society, shareholders, consumers, etc.  Strip mines, for example, make money by destroying a social asset and the costs of restoration need to be input into the full life cycle cost of the activity, unless we want to say that robbing your neighbor is a capitalist action that creates value (which it clewrly doesnt).  Smoking is another good example, where some semi regulation (or at least collecting money via taxes to partly offset the health costs and discourages it) seems to make good sense.  Bans create other problems, Socializing the market (Japans solution) can also work, but has other inefficiencies, related to lack of consumer choice, a strength of capitalist competition.

Anyway, interesting discussion.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2018, 05:26:22 PM by PizzaSteve »

Boofinator

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 144
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #124 on: November 04, 2018, 06:10:55 PM »
It is not at all arbitrary. Let's use your examples.

Driver's education is not a requirement where I live, but being able to pass a driver's test showing your knowledge of the laws is. This is an example of ensuring public safety without publicly funded education. It's a safety inspection, so to speak. Even requiring education in this case would be minimally socialist, if the government did not fund the education (of course it would need to accredit the education).

For the military, the government always has a choice not to fund one. But the government has felt it is in the best interest of public safety to fund one. And I for one don't blame them.

You premise the example on the taxation of smoking products on having government funded health care. If that is the case, I agree taxation of smoking would not necessarily fall under the "socialist" column, but government funded health care for illnesses like cancer is perhaps a socialist cause, so the logic only works if your premise is correct.

I agree that there is a lot of grey area between socialism and capitalism, but there is also a big distinction. Otherwise, why would we even have the categories to begin with?


Earlier you said that "Inherently government functions include everything that is necessary to ensure justice, defense, safety, and health." and that "the traditional line between capitalism and socialism is the reallocation of capital beyond that needed for inherently government functions."  Providing health care for illness is (by your own definition), an inherently government function and not socialist.  Now you're arguing "government funded health care for illnesses like cancer is perhaps a socialist cause".  This is not consistent with the definitions you've laid out.

You're right, arbitrary is the wrong word, and I was mistaken in using it.  Inconsistent is better.  I don't agree with your definition because of many instances of inconsistency like this that we're running into.

My definition of socialism is pretty textbook:
Socialism - a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

There's absolutely a big difference between capitalism and socialism.  They're polar opposite ideas, and there isn't much grey area between them.  Capitalism and socialism are quite different, but operate in a complementary manner though.  I think that you're getting tripped up in redefining what the two words really mean which is why you're finding grey area between them.
I would assert that it is economics, almost more than social policy beliefs that should decide where social capital vs personal capital is spent.  If you read the work of the recent Nobel prize winners on contracts, some economic activity has natural scale economies or a natural monopoly structure that works most efficiently to deliver the `human desired' good or service.

I would let a fact based analysis of market dynamics drive the discussion.  Where natural monopolies or social inefficiencies exist (e.g. for profit health care incentivizes devaluing human life for profits), then governance of society needs to step in and manage.

I reject notions that competition and markets work best for all forms of value creation.  Ive worked at high levels in companies and government for most of my 30+ years of work, and inefficiencies abound, both in free markets and socially managed systems.  Private court is very efficient (arbitration) for some areas and horrible for others.  Restaurants thrive on competition, energy distribution, not so much.

Observing how a market behaves without a 'party colored lens' actually produces data on whether regulation by social policy destroys or creates capital.  In many cases it creates capital, net of costs, contrary to idiological capitalists who tend to suppport free markets, regardless of actual data about its costs and benefits to society, shareholders, consumers, etc.  Strip mines, for example, make money by destroying a social asset and the costs of restoration need to be input into the full life cycle cost of the activity, unless we want to say that robbing your neighbor is a capitalist action that creates value (which it clewrly doesnt).  Smoking is another good example, where some semi regulation (or at least collecting money via taxes to partly offset the health costs and discourages it) seems to make good sense.  Bans create other problems, Socializing the market (Japans solution) can also work, but has other inefficiencies, related to lack of consumer choice, a strength of capitalist competition.

Anyway, interesting discussion.

I appreciate your insights PizzaSteve. Though I agree in theory that economic costs should have a large weight on policy decisions, there is often massive uncertainty in how to calculate those economic costs. Even for social programs I very much agree with, such as for smoking taxation, where there is no doubt that it has been very successful in reducing overall smoking rates, it comes with several unintended consequences (http://www.iedm.org/files/note0214_en.pdf): smuggling, increases in welfare subscriptions, governments actively advertising tobacco to increase revenue, etc. Recall that prohibition was another social policy that was seen as a near-universal positive at the time.

Economics can be a very tricky subject, and societies have fallen very hard after making what they felt were the right decisions for positive economic success at the time (communism being a good example).

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 12093
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #125 on: November 04, 2018, 07:06:33 PM »
It is not at all arbitrary. Let's use your examples.

Driver's education is not a requirement where I live, but being able to pass a driver's test showing your knowledge of the laws is. This is an example of ensuring public safety without publicly funded education. It's a safety inspection, so to speak. Even requiring education in this case would be minimally socialist, if the government did not fund the education (of course it would need to accredit the education).

For the military, the government always has a choice not to fund one. But the government has felt it is in the best interest of public safety to fund one. And I for one don't blame them.

You premise the example on the taxation of smoking products on having government funded health care. If that is the case, I agree taxation of smoking would not necessarily fall under the "socialist" column, but government funded health care for illnesses like cancer is perhaps a socialist cause, so the logic only works if your premise is correct.

I agree that there is a lot of grey area between socialism and capitalism, but there is also a big distinction. Otherwise, why would we even have the categories to begin with?


Earlier you said that "Inherently government functions include everything that is necessary to ensure justice, defense, safety, and health." and that "the traditional line between capitalism and socialism is the reallocation of capital beyond that needed for inherently government functions."  Providing health care for illness is (by your own definition), an inherently government function and not socialist.  Now you're arguing "government funded health care for illnesses like cancer is perhaps a socialist cause".  This is not consistent with the definitions you've laid out.

You're right, arbitrary is the wrong word, and I was mistaken in using it.  Inconsistent is better.  I don't agree with your definition because of many instances of inconsistency like this that we're running into.

My definition of socialism is pretty textbook:
Socialism - a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

There's absolutely a big difference between capitalism and socialism.  They're polar opposite ideas, and there isn't much grey area between them.  Capitalism and socialism are quite different, but operate in a complementary manner though.  I think that you're getting tripped up in redefining what the two words really mean which is why you're finding grey area between them.
I would assert that it is economics, almost more than social policy beliefs that should decide where social capital vs personal capital is spent.  If you read the work of the recent Nobel prize winners on contracts, some economic activity has natural scale economies or a natural monopoly structure that works most efficiently to deliver the `human desired' good or service.

I would let a fact based analysis of market dynamics drive the discussion.  Where natural monopolies or social inefficiencies exist (e.g. for profit health care incentivizes devaluing human life for profits), then governance of society needs to step in and manage.

I reject notions that competition and markets work best for all forms of value creation.  Ive worked at high levels in companies and government for most of my 30+ years of work, and inefficiencies abound, both in free markets and socially managed systems.  Private court is very efficient (arbitration) for some areas and horrible for others.  Restaurants thrive on competition, energy distribution, not so much.

Observing how a market behaves without a 'party colored lens' actually produces data on whether regulation by social policy destroys or creates capital.  In many cases it creates capital, net of costs, contrary to idiological capitalists who tend to suppport free markets, regardless of actual data about its costs and benefits to society, shareholders, consumers, etc.  Strip mines, for example, make money by destroying a social asset and the costs of restoration need to be input into the full life cycle cost of the activity, unless we want to say that robbing your neighbor is a capitalist action that creates value (which it clewrly doesnt).  Smoking is another good example, where some semi regulation (or at least collecting money via taxes to partly offset the health costs and discourages it) seems to make good sense.  Bans create other problems, Socializing the market (Japans solution) can also work, but has other inefficiencies, related to lack of consumer choice, a strength of capitalist competition.

Anyway, interesting discussion.

I appreciate your insights PizzaSteve. Though I agree in theory that economic costs should have a large weight on policy decisions, there is often massive uncertainty in how to calculate those economic costs. Even for social programs I very much agree with, such as for smoking taxation, where there is no doubt that it has been very successful in reducing overall smoking rates, it comes with several unintended consequences (http://www.iedm.org/files/note0214_en.pdf): smuggling, increases in welfare subscriptions, governments actively advertising tobacco to increase revenue, etc. Recall that prohibition was another social policy that was seen as a near-universal positive at the time.

Economics can be a very tricky subject, and societies have fallen very hard after making what they felt were the right decisions for positive economic success at the time (communism being a good example).

Agreed.

If we could accurately account for the long term economic costs of a choice, an awful lot of the world's problems would just no longer be a big deal.  If we knew the full cost of what polluters were doing we could tax 'em for it as disincentive and have the capital to effect a solution for those who continue.

FINate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1194
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #126 on: November 05, 2018, 06:29:19 AM »
The 20th century has laid waste to the idea that organized religion is the cause of all the world's ills, with more bloodshed and destruction than any other time in history...almost none of it motivated by religiosity.

In absolute terms more people died in war in the 20th century, but this was largely an effect of the growing world population. If you look at the risk of an individual person dying in a war (whether as a member of a military or a civilian), the first half of the 20th century was well above average (note the log scaled y-axis on the first chart below), and the second half of the 20th century about average, and the bit of the 21st century we've experienced so far has been far below average.


Source.

If we look at individual murder rates, which are certainly also a component of bloodshed, we see an even more striking decline over the past several centuries.


Source

That first graph is making my point, the meme that organized religion is the cause of *all* wars is false (yes, I still hear people say this). The Thirty Years' War was a religious war, and in relative terms it rivals that of either of the World Wars. And that's exactly my point, the World Wars of the 20th century were not religious in nature and yet were bloodier in absolute and relative terms than even the Thirty Years' War. Also, the red line (military + civilian death rate) - the only data going back past WWII - is what it was in 1400 and is really showing the rate dropping after the spike of the early 20th century.

Additionally, this graph doesn't contain many of the ~94 million people killed by communism in the 20th century (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Book_of_Communism). Some of the data may overlap (wars), but other things like the purges, executions, and famines are unaccounted for.

Not sure what the point is of the second graph. Selecting a few countries which have experienced an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity as representative of the world is cherry-picking data to make a point, and it begs the question: Are homicide rates determined by religion (or lack thereof), or wealth and/or inequality?

Again, not claiming these things haven't happened in the past. Just that they've happened more recently and without religion as a major factor, so we need to reevaluate the idea that religion is the cause of the world's ills. Perhaps people are simply capable of great evil and they will use whatever tools they have to achieve their goals.

FINate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1194
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #127 on: November 05, 2018, 06:56:24 AM »
So yes, Christians have not always remained true to the Biblical vision of dignity. Yet this ingrained dignified view has shaped our culture today in ways we take for granted. We don't fully appreciate the culture context that we've inherited from our Judeo-Christian past. For example, the dominant cultural assumption before the rise of Christianity was that of honor and shame. Greco-Roman culture despised Christianity because it did not value power and strength, and instead had an elevated view of the weak and vulnerable. The same can be said of the Anglo-Saxons who also considered Christianity offensive because of its elevation of the weak. In this sense, criticisms of Christians not treating people with dignity is self-referential, an accurate critique that Christians don't always live up to their values.

Christianity has always been big on 'meek inheriting the Earth' type stuff, especially in the New Testament stuff.  (OT not so much . . . Deuteronomy 23:1 sticks out as a rather unaccepting passage for example.)  I don't believe that this type of thinking is quite as unique as you're claiming though:

“But we wanted to favor those who had been humiliated on earth; We wanted to make them its leaders and heirs. We wanted to establish them on earth and thus show Pharaoh, Haman and their armies that which they fear.” (Koran 28:5-6)

If we want to get into Eastern religions, the Tao Te Ching has got several passages that kinda glorify weakness (bending in the breeze rather than breaking, the softest thing in the world can overpower the hardest, etc.) . . . and in many ways Taoism is about accepting your position and not needing strength because you are just going with the flow.

I like this argument on the surface though, and will have to look more into it.

Huh?? The OT is FULL of verses about justice and righteousness for the poor and the vulnerable.

For a few for example:

Quote
Isaiah 1:17 ESV   
Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause.

Proverbs 31:9 ESV   
Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Zechariah 7:9-10 ESV   
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”

Jeremiah 22:3 ESV
Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.

Micah 6:8 ESV   
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Proverbs 31:8-9 ESV   
Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Psalm 82:3 ESV   
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.

Amos 5:11-15 ESV
Therefore because you trample on the poor and you exact taxes of grain from him, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not dwell in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine. For I know how many are your transgressions and how great are your sins— you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and turn aside the needy in the gate. Therefore he who is prudent will keep silent in such a time, for it is an evil time. Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said. Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

Leviticus 19:15 ESV   
“You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.

Proverbs 14:31 ESV
Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.

Proverbs 22:16 ESV   
Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

Proverbs 28:27 ESV
Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.

Jeremiah 22:13-17 ESV
“Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper rooms by injustice, who makes his neighbor serve him for nothing and does not give him his wages, who says, ‘I will build myself a great house with spacious upper rooms,’ who cuts out windows for it, paneling it with cedar and painting it with vermilion. Do you think you are a king because you compete in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Is not this to know me? declares the Lord. But you have eyes and heart only for your dishonest gain, for shedding innocent blood, and for practicing oppression and violence.”

I could go on and on, but won't. Can see for yourself here (OT and NT): https://www.openbible.info/topics/social_justice

Jesus didn't just show up on the scene and start saying a bunch of new stuff about the meek and the poor. The stuff he said was all based on the OT (the TaNaK). In Matthew 5:17 Jesus says " “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." The "Law or the Prophets" was their way of referring to what we call the OT.

Christianity and Islam both share the OT as a foundation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_view_of_the_Christian_Bible).

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 12093
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #128 on: November 05, 2018, 07:06:28 AM »
My argument to Gary was against the easily disproven concept put forth that Christians have historically treated people with dignity.

I know it was. And I know they haven't, because most "Christians" historically have embraced the indebtedness of the world over the their own Messiah and what He did. Still do. The Western system has nothing to do with Christianity outside of superficial similarities, and everything to do with Nimrod's Babylon and the system of the world and its debt tarted up in flowery religious words, only providing the illusion of freedom within an increasingly onerous legal system that no one can live in without incurring a life debt to someone else who wants to keep you indebted and loyal to them at all cost, and without any hope of freedom.

I think that this is generally fair.  There is a fundamental disconnect between some of the core messages of Christ and the behavior of modern Christians regarding money, poverty, punishment, and forgiveness.  It has always struck me as odd that the right wing so publicly embraces Jesus, while actively fighting against so much of what Jesus stood for.



Further, Gary's usage of mislabeling Communism as socialism, and equating "Christian" values with Western legalism and the perfection of Free Market Capitalism and its invisible hand as somehow being outside of that system and better? Somehow, one system is supposed to be better than the other, because "God" and words. I take issue with that, as do you. I wanted to back you up where you could be, and try to reveal a deeper truth in the process.

Fair enough.  I sometimes get fixated on a particular idea (in this case, what I believe to be a bit of a weakness in the bible regarding rules/treatment of slavery) and can't always see the forest for the trees.  :P

ender

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4306
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #129 on: November 05, 2018, 07:10:52 AM »
I appreciate your insights PizzaSteve. Though I agree in theory that economic costs should have a large weight on policy decisions, there is often massive uncertainty in how to calculate those economic costs. Even for social programs I very much agree with, such as for smoking taxation, where there is no doubt that it has been very successful in reducing overall smoking rates, it comes with several unintended consequences (http://www.iedm.org/files/note0214_en.pdf): smuggling, increases in welfare subscriptions, governments actively advertising tobacco to increase revenue, etc. Recall that prohibition was another social policy that was seen as a near-universal positive at the time.

Economics can be a very tricky subject, and societies have fallen very hard after making what they felt were the right decisions for positive economic success at the time (communism being a good example).

And one of the most difficult valuations that takes place societally is the answer to the questions around the value of humans, such as:

  • What is the dollar value on a human life?
  • Are all lives in society equal from a financial perspective?
  • Is there an age at which it no longer is societally beneficial to collectively expend effort to keep someone alive (70? 80? 120?)
  • Are we as a society in favor of being taxed in pursuit of this?

While not often addressed explicitly, a lot of major societal and policy/political disagreements relate to these types of questions.

Just looking through these charts show a lot of tangible implications of these questions, given the percentages of healthcare spending on a relatively small percentage of people -  https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/chart-collection/health-expenditures-vary-across-population/


maizeman

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2997
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #130 on: November 05, 2018, 07:17:01 AM »
That first graph is making my point, the meme that organized religion is the cause of *all* wars is false (yes, I still hear people say this).

Has anyone said this in this thread? If not, it would appear you are setting up a bit of a straw man.

Quote
The Thirty Years' War was a religious war, and in relative terms it rivals that of either of the World Wars. And that's exactly my point, the World Wars of the 20th century were not religious in nature and yet were bloodier in absolute and relative terms than even the Thirty Years' War.
Both the 30 years war, and the world wars killed approximately equal numbers of people as a proportion of the total population, so it would not be correct to say that the world wars were bloodier in relative terms. (Despite the fact that during the world wars our technology for killing had progressed dramatically).

Quote
Also, the red line (military + civilian death rate) - the only data going back past WWII - is what it was in 1400 and is really showing the rate dropping after the spike of the early 20th century.
Yes, by the end of the century, we were back to a death rate that was similar to where we were 600 years earlier, before centuries of increasing deaths. I'd call that a good thing.

And you can certainly see the correlation between the blue and red lines where they overlap. The only way to argue that we haven't dropped even further below the 1400 baseline in the 21st century would be to argue that current wars kill dramatically more civilians relative the folks in the military than they have in the past.

Quote
Additionally, this graph doesn't contain many of the ~94 million people killed by communism in the 20th century (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Book_of_Communism). Some of the data may overlap (wars), but other things like the purges, executions, and famines are unaccounted for.
Yes, it also doesn't show deaths from many other causes such as those killed during the inquisition, the russian pograms, the slave trade, or many other horrible actions undertaken by humans over the last six hundred years and change. It shows deaths in war, which is very clear in the title, legend, and my description of the figure.

Quote
Not sure what the point is of the second graph. Selecting a few countries which have experienced an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity as representative of the world is cherry-picking data to make a point, and it begs the question: Are homicide rates determined by religion (or lack thereof), or wealth and/or inequality?

I tend to agree with guitarstv that homicide rates, like deaths in war are NOT determined by religion, despite the attempt of some folks to blame the atrocities of the early 20th century on the absence of religion (and I've certainly heard many people attempt to do so).

Also, you don't see the contradiction in arguing that the first graph is flawed because it doesn't show deaths that weren't the result of a war, and arguing the second graph is pointless because it focuses on a set of deaths which aren't the result of a war?

As for why these countries? Because A) it's where we have the data B) these are countries where many folks will be familiar enough with history over the last 700 years to place historical events on this same timeline.

And speaking of history in those countries, describing the last 700 years in europe as "an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity" also seems remarkably incorrect. The last 70 years? Absolutely. But an era spanning the black death, the 100 years war, the 30 year war, the french revolution, the napoleonic wars, the little ice age, and the english civil war? (Plus those world wars we've been discussing.) Not so much.

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3873
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #131 on: November 05, 2018, 07:38:33 AM »
My argument to Gary was against the easily disproven concept put forth that Christians have historically treated people with dignity.

I know it was. And I know they haven't, because most "Christians" historically have embraced the indebtedness of the world over the their own Messiah and what He did. Still do. The Western system has nothing to do with Christianity outside of superficial similarities, and everything to do with Nimrod's Babylon and the system of the world and its debt tarted up in flowery religious words, only providing the illusion of freedom within an increasingly onerous legal system that no one can live in without incurring a life debt to someone else who wants to keep you indebted and loyal to them at all cost, and without any hope of freedom.

I think that this is generally fair.  There is a fundamental disconnect between some of the core messages of Christ and the behavior of modern Christians regarding money, poverty, punishment, and forgiveness.  It has always struck me as odd that the right wing so publicly embraces Jesus, while actively fighting against so much of what Jesus stood for.

There's a loan word for this to describe those sorts of actions as a group of ruling-class people. Embracing all the technical legalism of His teachings and none of the grace, mercy and blessings. I believe Yeshua called them... Pharisees.

That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.
-Qohelet (Ecclesiastes) 1:9

Further, Gary's usage of mislabeling Communism as socialism, and equating "Christian" values with Western legalism and the perfection of Free Market Capitalism and its invisible hand as somehow being outside of that system and better? Somehow, one system is supposed to be better than the other, because "God" and words. I take issue with that, as do you. I wanted to back you up where you could be, and try to reveal a deeper truth in the process.

Fair enough.  I sometimes get fixated on a particular idea (in this case, what I believe to be a bit of a weakness in the bible regarding rules/treatment of slavery) and can't always see the forest for the trees.  :P

Not to be that guy, but I'd just like to point out that you kind of share more in common in the way you view things with the people you're criticizing than you realize. Glad to read that you're at least willing to see it and own the problem, though. ;)

PizzaSteve

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 505
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #132 on: November 05, 2018, 09:22:48 AM »
It is not at all arbitrary. Let's use your examples.

Driver's education is not a requirement where I live, but being able to pass a driver's test showing your knowledge of the laws is. This is an example of ensuring public safety without publicly funded education. It's a safety inspection, so to speak. Even requiring education in this case would be minimally socialist, if the government did not fund the education (of course it would need to accredit the education).

For the military, the government always has a choice not to fund one. But the government has felt it is in the best interest of public safety to fund one. And I for one don't blame them.

You premise the example on the taxation of smoking products on having government funded health care. If that is the case, I agree taxation of smoking would not necessarily fall under the "socialist" column, but government funded health care for illnesses like cancer is perhaps a socialist cause, so the logic only works if your premise is correct.

I agree that there is a lot of grey area between socialism and capitalism, but there is also a big distinction. Otherwise, why would we even have the categories to begin with?


Earlier you said that "Inherently government functions include everything that is necessary to ensure justice, defense, safety, and health." and that "the traditional line between capitalism and socialism is the reallocation of capital beyond that needed for inherently government functions."  Providing health care for illness is (by your own definition), an inherently government function and not socialist.  Now you're arguing "government funded health care for illnesses like cancer is perhaps a socialist cause".  This is not consistent with the definitions you've laid out.

You're right, arbitrary is the wrong word, and I was mistaken in using it.  Inconsistent is better.  I don't agree with your definition because of many instances of inconsistency like this that we're running into.

My definition of socialism is pretty textbook:
Socialism - a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

There's absolutely a big difference between capitalism and socialism.  They're polar opposite ideas, and there isn't much grey area between them.  Capitalism and socialism are quite different, but operate in a complementary manner though.  I think that you're getting tripped up in redefining what the two words really mean which is why you're finding grey area between them.
I would assert that it is economics, almost more than social policy beliefs that should decide where social capital vs personal capital is spent.  If you read the work of the recent Nobel prize winners on contracts, some economic activity has natural scale economies or a natural monopoly structure that works most efficiently to deliver the `human desired' good or service.

I would let a fact based analysis of market dynamics drive the discussion.  Where natural monopolies or social inefficiencies exist (e.g. for profit health care incentivizes devaluing human life for profits), then governance of society needs to step in and manage.

I reject notions that competition and markets work best for all forms of value creation.  Ive worked at high levels in companies and government for most of my 30+ years of work, and inefficiencies abound, both in free markets and socially managed systems.  Private court is very efficient (arbitration) for some areas and horrible for others.  Restaurants thrive on competition, energy distribution, not so much.

Observing how a market behaves without a 'party colored lens' actually produces data on whether regulation by social policy destroys or creates capital.  In many cases it creates capital, net of costs, contrary to idiological capitalists who tend to suppport free markets, regardless of actual data about its costs and benefits to society, shareholders, consumers, etc.  Strip mines, for example, make money by destroying a social asset and the costs of restoration need to be input into the full life cycle cost of the activity, unless we want to say that robbing your neighbor is a capitalist action that creates value (which it clewrly doesnt).  Smoking is another good example, where some semi regulation (or at least collecting money via taxes to partly offset the health costs and discourages it) seems to make good sense.  Bans create other problems, Socializing the market (Japans solution) can also work, but has other inefficiencies, related to lack of consumer choice, a strength of capitalist competition.

Anyway, interesting discussion.

I appreciate your insights PizzaSteve. Though I agree in theory that economic costs should have a large weight on policy decisions, there is often massive uncertainty in how to calculate those economic costs. Even for social programs I very much agree with, such as for smoking taxation, where there is no doubt that it has been very successful in reducing overall smoking rates, it comes with several unintended consequences (http://www.iedm.org/files/note0214_en.pdf): smuggling, increases in welfare subscriptions, governments actively advertising tobacco to increase revenue, etc. Recall that prohibition was another social policy that was seen as a near-universal positive at the time.

Economics can be a very tricky subject, and societies have fallen very hard after making what they felt were the right decisions for positive economic success at the time (communism being a good example).

Sure. 

A point about our near future, though, is that we will have data analytics unknown to the prior history of man.

In a modern future world we can literally track policy outcome data on an individual level, aggregate it and and fully understand the impacts of policy options.  The ultimate fact based governance model could really work well, if leadership agreed to use actual data to help drive decisions. 

What a shocking thought...apply Deming to policy. 

Remember, in a very near future we will be GPS tracked, consumption tracked, idea monitored in a passive way via our mobile devices as never before.

We will need moral and governance frameworks to require the use of this data to drive for positive outcomes for society, as opposed to allowing its exploitation for crass profit and exploitation of others. (note:  the spiritual discussion is quite relevant, because if a gods plan is to give us humans the tools to chose between the two paths, we are definitely heading that way...we will have the power to build a paradise or a hell).

The conflict over how to use oinformation about ourselves will be a huge battle, and perhaps the defining conflict for the moral center of future human civilization. 

One can argue that Socialism contructs are a better framework for using data to anticipate and perhaps manipulate human behavior than Capitalism, especially in its purest form.  Certainly I dont want a theocratic approach.  Regardless, as a society we are building a sort of information based set of nuclear weapons systems.  I hope we can put in place `arms control' agreements to use them wisely, or we will really F each other up (e.g. Russian election meddling type actions).
« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 09:37:24 AM by PizzaSteve »

FINate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1194
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #133 on: November 05, 2018, 10:36:05 AM »
That first graph is making my point, the meme that organized religion is the cause of *all* wars is false (yes, I still hear people say this).

Has anyone said this in this thread? If not, it would appear you are setting up a bit of a straw man.

Quote
The Thirty Years' War was a religious war, and in relative terms it rivals that of either of the World Wars. And that's exactly my point, the World Wars of the 20th century were not religious in nature and yet were bloodier in absolute and relative terms than even the Thirty Years' War.
Both the 30 years war, and the world wars killed approximately equal numbers of people as a proportion of the total population, so it would not be correct to say that the world wars were bloodier in relative terms. (Despite the fact that during the world wars our technology for killing had progressed dramatically).

Quote
Also, the red line (military + civilian death rate) - the only data going back past WWII - is what it was in 1400 and is really showing the rate dropping after the spike of the early 20th century.
Yes, by the end of the century, we were back to a death rate that was similar to where we were 600 years earlier, before centuries of increasing deaths. I'd call that a good thing.

And you can certainly see the correlation between the blue and red lines where they overlap. The only way to argue that we haven't dropped even further below the 1400 baseline in the 21st century would be to argue that current wars kill dramatically more civilians relative the folks in the military than they have in the past.

Quote
Additionally, this graph doesn't contain many of the ~94 million people killed by communism in the 20th century (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Book_of_Communism). Some of the data may overlap (wars), but other things like the purges, executions, and famines are unaccounted for.
Yes, it also doesn't show deaths from many other causes such as those killed during the inquisition, the russian pograms, the slave trade, or many other horrible actions undertaken by humans over the last six hundred years and change. It shows deaths in war, which is very clear in the title, legend, and my description of the figure.

Quote
Not sure what the point is of the second graph. Selecting a few countries which have experienced an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity as representative of the world is cherry-picking data to make a point, and it begs the question: Are homicide rates determined by religion (or lack thereof), or wealth and/or inequality?

I tend to agree with guitarstv that homicide rates, like deaths in war are NOT determined by religion, despite the attempt of some folks to blame the atrocities of the early 20th century on the absence of religion (and I've certainly heard many people attempt to do so).

Also, you don't see the contradiction in arguing that the first graph is flawed because it doesn't show deaths that weren't the result of a war, and arguing the second graph is pointless because it focuses on a set of deaths which aren't the result of a war?

As for why these countries? Because A) it's where we have the data B) these are countries where many folks will be familiar enough with history over the last 700 years to place historical events on this same timeline.

And speaking of history in those countries, describing the last 700 years in europe as "an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity" also seems remarkably incorrect. The last 70 years? Absolutely. But an era spanning the black death, the 100 years war, the 30 year war, the french revolution, the napoleonic wars, the little ice age, and the english civil war? (Plus those world wars we've been discussing.) Not so much.

According to the graph, as a proportion of the total world population, Thirty Years' War killed as many people as WWI and was quickly followed by WWII which was approx. the same proportion (location on y-axis, unless I misunderstand the graph). Historians are pretty unanimous in their assessment that WWI and WWII were separate acts within a larger drama. The World Wars proportionally killed twice as many people.

And agree, the decline in death rate is a good thing, even though it is not unprecedented.

Regarding strawman arguments: My original statement was aimed at a general refrain I often hear about religion as the cause of wars - sorry for being unclear that this is not directed at anyone on this thread. It may be a strawman, but not one of my own making. I also want to point out that I did not say the decline in religion caused the conflicts of the 20th century, though I have seen people try to make this argument (which I think is incorrect). So perhaps we should both put our strawmen away for a moment and get to the crux of the matter. Wars happen because people do evil things. In the most general sense wars, and many social injustices, are about power. Even religious wars such as the Thirty Years' War are, at a deeper level, a political power struggle. A modern example of this is Iran vs. Saudi Arabia - yes there's a religious aspect (Shia vs Sunni) - but the real conflict is between two political powers. In these kinds of conflicts religion gets weaponized for a political purpose. The same thing happens with race and ethnicity. This doesn't make race and ethnicity bad, it just means we need to be vigilant about counteracting tribal instincts and not allowing these to become weaponized.

Religion is not going away. Even in places where it is/was outlawed (e.g. various times/places during communism) it persisted. There are about 2.4B people who identify as Christian. I agree with a lot of what Daley has said, that many modern Christians are pharisees and misunderstand what Jesus taught within the context of scripture. I'm also very critical of certain aspects of Evangelical Theology, the near total focus on the individual and "getting into heaven," as if Jesus is all about performing some ritual (saying a certain prayer) or having orthodox intellectual beliefs, while ignoring the message of social justice woven throughout scripture. Such theology reduces the faith to nothing more than a transaction (I've fulfilled my cultic requirements, now let me in!) and is a reflection of consumerism. Followers of Jesus are called to so much more!

So I push back on the idea that religion is bad - religion itself is neither good nor bad - there are only good and bad expressions of religion. And I push back on the idea that Christianity is itself inherently bad. I agree with criticism of instances where Christians behaved badly, but my basis for this is that these behaviors are contrary to what the Bible teaches. I'm not trying to convince you (or others here) that Christianity is good - but I do want to encourage Christians lurking here to go deeper in their faith and understanding of what Jesus and scripture really teach. Put differently, the solution to Christians behaving badly isn't to diminish their faith, it is to increase their faith, to spur them on to really following the example of Jesus, who hung out with sinners and the outcasts, served the sick and the poor, got angry at injustice and oppression, and even died for his enemies. A mature Christian understands that love is a verb - it requires action - and so the greatest command to love God and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37–40) requires taking action to serve others and put them before yourself, even if you disagree with them, even if they oppose you, even if it's not in your best interests, and even if they are hurting you...love them through your actions regardless.

maizeman

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2997
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #134 on: November 05, 2018, 10:48:05 AM »
So I push back on the idea that religion is bad - religion itself is neither good nor bad - there are only good and bad expressions of religion. And I push back on the idea that Christianity is itself inherently bad. I agree with criticism of instances where Christians behaved badly, but my basis for this is that these behaviors are contrary to what the Bible teaches. I'm not trying to convince you (or others here) that Christianity is good - but I do want to encourage Christians lurking here to go deeper in their faith and understanding of what Jesus and scripture really teach.

FINate, I think there are healthy and effective ways to push back on the idea the religious belief is bad without immediately resorting to "well if you think religious people are bad, look at how terrible the things people who aren't part of an (organized) religion do."

The latter approach is very unlikely to convince people who don't already agree with you, and at the same time is likely to crystalize a lot of people to argue with you who might otherwise be sympathetic.

Anyway, free advice on the internet, feel free to value it for exactly as much as you paid for it.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 12093
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #135 on: November 05, 2018, 10:59:55 AM »
I'm not trying to convince you (or others here) that Christianity is good - but I do want to encourage Christians lurking here to go deeper in their faith and understanding of what Jesus and scripture really teach. Put differently, the solution to Christians behaving badly isn't to diminish their faith, it is to increase their faith, to spur them on to really following the example of Jesus, who hung out with sinners and the outcasts, served the sick and the poor, got angry at injustice and oppression, and even died for his enemies. A mature Christian understands that love is a verb - it requires action - and so the greatest command to love God and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37–40) requires taking action to serve others and put them before yourself, even if you disagree with them, even if they oppose you, even if it's not in your best interests, and even if they are hurting you...love them through your actions regardless.

I don't believe that the problem is misunderstanding and a failure to dig deep within the bible.

This is kinda the issue with religious manuals.  They serve as a Rorschach test.  If you want to find a message of peace and love, dignity and respect . . . then yeah, you can find it.  If you want to find a message of intolerance and hate . . . yeah, you can find it too.  The bible is full of contradictions and confusing wording, you're very much able to choose your own adventure.  That's how people can hold up their bible and say 'See, this says we're allowed to have slaves' while the people across the aisle can hold up their bible and say 'See, this says that slavery is wrong'.  It's not a lack of study, but an etymological crisis and fundamental disagreement of interpretation that you're seeing.

FINate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1194
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #136 on: November 05, 2018, 11:52:04 AM »
So I push back on the idea that religion is bad - religion itself is neither good nor bad - there are only good and bad expressions of religion. And I push back on the idea that Christianity is itself inherently bad. I agree with criticism of instances where Christians behaved badly, but my basis for this is that these behaviors are contrary to what the Bible teaches. I'm not trying to convince you (or others here) that Christianity is good - but I do want to encourage Christians lurking here to go deeper in their faith and understanding of what Jesus and scripture really teach.

FINate, I think there are healthy and effective ways to push back on the idea the religious belief is bad without immediately resorting to "well if you think religious people are bad, look at how terrible the things people who aren't part of an (organized) religion do."

The latter approach is very unlikely to convince people who don't already agree with you, and at the same time is likely to crystalize a lot of people to argue with you who might otherwise be sympathetic.

Anyway, free advice on the internet, feel free to value it for exactly as much as you paid for it.

We'll, you're misquoting me now, I never said that :) So let me clarify: There are religious people who do good and there are religious people who do bad. Same can be said for non-religious people. Therefore, in the most general sense, some people do good whereas some people do bad. Bringing up the conflicts of the 20th century is not an attempt to say that non-religious people are bad, it is simply data to support that religion itself is not to blame. Or shall we pull that strawman out and swing at it again?

maizeman

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2997
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #137 on: November 05, 2018, 11:55:54 AM »
So I push back on the idea that religion is bad - religion itself is neither good nor bad - there are only good and bad expressions of religion. And I push back on the idea that Christianity is itself inherently bad. I agree with criticism of instances where Christians behaved badly, but my basis for this is that these behaviors are contrary to what the Bible teaches. I'm not trying to convince you (or others here) that Christianity is good - but I do want to encourage Christians lurking here to go deeper in their faith and understanding of what Jesus and scripture really teach.

FINate, I think there are healthy and effective ways to push back on the idea the religious belief is bad without immediately resorting to "well if you think religious people are bad, look at how terrible the things people who aren't part of an (organized) religion do."

The latter approach is very unlikely to convince people who don't already agree with you, and at the same time is likely to crystalize a lot of people to argue with you who might otherwise be sympathetic.

Anyway, free advice on the internet, feel free to value it for exactly as much as you paid for it.

We'll, you're misquoting me now, I never said that :) So let me clarify: There are religious people who do good and there are religious people who do bad. Same can be said for non-religious people. Therefore, in the most general sense, some people do good whereas some people do bad. Bringing up the conflicts of the 20th century is not an attempt to say that non-religious people are bad, it is simply data to support that religion itself is not to blame. Or shall we pull that strawman out and swing at it again?

Bringing up the first half 20th century (with a specific speculation as to hitler's religious beliefs or lack thereof) is indeed going to come across as an attempt to explain that religious people aren't to blame for the terrible things we humans do to each other by emphasizing the terrible things people you believe to be areligious have done to other humans.

Like I said, you are free to take my advice or leave it. But I really do think the argument you are making and the way you present it is going to be actively counterproductive to your stated goal.

FINate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1194
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #138 on: November 05, 2018, 12:43:28 PM »
I'm not trying to convince you (or others here) that Christianity is good - but I do want to encourage Christians lurking here to go deeper in their faith and understanding of what Jesus and scripture really teach. Put differently, the solution to Christians behaving badly isn't to diminish their faith, it is to increase their faith, to spur them on to really following the example of Jesus, who hung out with sinners and the outcasts, served the sick and the poor, got angry at injustice and oppression, and even died for his enemies. A mature Christian understands that love is a verb - it requires action - and so the greatest command to love God and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37–40) requires taking action to serve others and put them before yourself, even if you disagree with them, even if they oppose you, even if it's not in your best interests, and even if they are hurting you...love them through your actions regardless.

I don't believe that the problem is misunderstanding and a failure to dig deep within the bible.

This is kinda the issue with religious manuals.  They serve as a Rorschach test.  If you want to find a message of peace and love, dignity and respect . . . then yeah, you can find it.  If you want to find a message of intolerance and hate . . . yeah, you can find it too.  The bible is full of contradictions and confusing wording, you're very much able to choose your own adventure.  That's how people can hold up their bible and say 'See, this says we're allowed to have slaves' while the people across the aisle can hold up their bible and say 'See, this says that slavery is wrong'.  It's not a lack of study, but an etymological crisis and fundamental disagreement of interpretation that you're seeing.

Can you provide examples of contradictions?

Confusing wording is often related to translation issues and/or misunderstandings of the cultural matrix in which the original text originated. The Bible is high-context communication -- lots of symbolism and cultural references. Scholars (and science) have greatly improved our understanding of the Bible over the past few decades: archeology, ANE literature, and other extra-Biblical sources (e.g. Dead Sea Scrolls), Semitic Studies, Biblical Greek and Hebrew Studies, have all helped with this. The parts that are still uncertain do not concern core issues such as love, justice, salvation, etc.. The meta-narrative woven throughout the Bible, including God's heart for justice and commands to love your neighbor, is clear as day for those willing to do the work of studying it. These are quite literally themes that occur throughout.   

Can the Bible be taken out of context? Of course, as is true of almost all literature. Nietzsche was taken out of context and misappropriated by the Nazis to support their ideology, but that doesn't mean the general meaning of what he wrote is unknowable, even though parts are cryptic and difficult. There's a lot of flexibility in Christianity, as is evident in the diverse cultures and expressions of the faith. But when people get the core stuff wrong it's almost always because they've taken a verse completely out of context and/or have latched onto a single phrase while ignoring the rest of scripture.

Guessing we'll have to agree to disagree on this.

dustinst22

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 533
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #139 on: November 05, 2018, 01:13:40 PM »


Can you provide examples of contradictions?


Good source of info can be found here:   https://ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/?t=contra

I spent some time in college translating the new testament from ancient greek, and there are many portions that can be translated with opposite meanings.  Finding an "accurate" translation is impossible, as much of the translation is subjective.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 01:16:16 PM by dustinst22 »

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 12093
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #140 on: November 05, 2018, 01:51:57 PM »
Sure . . . I mean there are zillions of odd ones right from the begining (in Genesis it says that God created the animals and then man . . . and then later on says that God created man, then the animals.  :P   )  I assume you're mostly interested in the inconsistencies that let someone pick and choose what they should behave like depending on how they read the bible.  Like:

- God prohibits killing in Exodus 20:13, Exodus 23:7, Deuteronomy 5:17, Mark 10:19, Luke 18:20, Romans 13:9, James 2:11, etc.
- God orders killing in Exodus 32:27, Deuteronomy 7:2, Deuteronomy 13:15, Deuteronomy 20:1-18, 1 Samuel 15:3, etc.  God also sends an angel to kill 185,000 people in 2 Kings 19:35.  The bible discusses killing children in the name of the Lord in several passages too, like Numbers 31:17, and Joshua 6:21-27.

Or maybe you're talking about customs . . . like divorce.  Divorce is totally OK (Deuteronomy 24:1-5), except when it's not (Mark 10:2-12).  Or circumcision . . . which is an everlasting covenant with God (Genesis 17:7), except that it's of no consequence (Galatians 6:15).  Is Jesus also God?  Yes (John 10:30).  And No (John 14:28).

There are plenty more.

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3873
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #141 on: November 05, 2018, 01:58:26 PM »


Can you provide examples of contradictions?


Good source of info can be found here:   https://ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/?t=contra

I spent some time in college translating the new testament from ancient greek, and there are many portions that can be translated with opposite meanings.  Finding an "accurate" translation is impossible, as much of the translation is subjective.

Yeah... the Greek NT is.... problematic. You should give the Aramaic Peshitta a look instead (here's an excellent starting point with plenty of translational notes and transliteration into the modern Hebrew alphabet for easier reading, even if I don't agree with Roth 100% of the time). Amazing how a Semitic language can communicate the teachings better, no matter whether you think the Aramaic or the Greek came first. It's almost as if Yeshua didn't speak Greek! *feigned shock*

As for that link, most of their arguments come down to awful English translations, proof texting (removing context), nitpicking tiny scribal errors, and honestly? Awful Christian apologetics accepted as fact being taught by people where the academic lambskin mattered more for teaching authority than actual circumcision of the heart by the Blood of the Lamb. Show me a Bible scholar who's actually produced the fullness of fruits of the spirit in maturity as outlined in Galatians 5:22-23, and I'll show you a Bible teacher actually worth listening to. If you happen to find one still alive, tell me? I'm still looking for one myself.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 02:05:05 PM by Daley »

FINate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1194
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #142 on: November 05, 2018, 02:01:11 PM »


Can you provide examples of contradictions?


Good source of info can be found here:   https://ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/?t=contra

I spent some time in college translating the new testament from ancient greek, and there are many portions that can be translated with opposite meanings.  Finding an "accurate" translation is impossible, as much of the translation is subjective.

Ok, I don't have time to get to all of these, but will start with the first two...

First example:
Exodus 20:13 "Thou shalt not kill." vs. accounts of the death penalty and killing in battle.

The first hint is that this is using the King James Version. Most other English versions translate 'kill' as 'murder' (NIV, ESV, NRSV to name a few). The word in hebrew is ratsach and indeed, the correct translation here is murder, which is different from killing in general. See also http://jpfo.org/rabbi/6th-commandment.htm

Second example:
Exodus 20:16 "Thou shalt not bear false witness." and Proverbs 12:22 "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord."

Bearing false witness is about lying in a court of law which has implications of injustice, this is not about lying in general.

The Proverbs 12:22 is exactly what I was talking about, taking verses out of context. If fact, this isn't even a complete verse:

      The LORD detests lying lips,
         but he delights in people who are trustworthy.

We should not deceive each other. saphah - speech and sheqer - deceit. The Hebrew sheqer is most often used in the context of bearing false witness or in things like business dealings...it's lying within the context of civil society. Hence it would be perfectly acceptable (expected even) to deceive an enemy in wartime. Even if this could be interpreted as against lying in general, it's important to note that the LORD is addressing humans whereas in the case of I Kings 22:23 this is God sending one of his elohim (spiritual being or angel) from the divine council to achieve his will on earth, and a similar thing is occuring in II Thessalonians 2:11. Sorry if it's offensive, but there are different rules for God carrying out his will for the world vs. humans on a social level.


 

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 12093
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #143 on: November 05, 2018, 02:37:44 PM »


Can you provide examples of contradictions?


Good source of info can be found here:   https://ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/?t=contra

I spent some time in college translating the new testament from ancient greek, and there are many portions that can be translated with opposite meanings.  Finding an "accurate" translation is impossible, as much of the translation is subjective.

Ok, I don't have time to get to all of these, but will start with the first two...

First example:
Exodus 20:13 "Thou shalt not kill." vs. accounts of the death penalty and killing in battle.

The first hint is that this is using the King James Version. Most other English versions translate 'kill' as 'murder' (NIV, ESV, NRSV to name a few). The word in hebrew is ratsach and indeed, the correct translation here is murder, which is different from killing in general. See also http://jpfo.org/rabbi/6th-commandment.htm

Second example:
Exodus 20:16 "Thou shalt not bear false witness." and Proverbs 12:22 "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord."

Bearing false witness is about lying in a court of law which has implications of injustice, this is not about lying in general.

The Proverbs 12:22 is exactly what I was talking about, taking verses out of context. If fact, this isn't even a complete verse:

      The LORD detests lying lips,
         but he delights in people who are trustworthy.

We should not deceive each other. saphah - speech and sheqer - deceit. The Hebrew sheqer is most often used in the context of bearing false witness or in things like business dealings...it's lying within the context of civil society. Hence it would be perfectly acceptable (expected even) to deceive an enemy in wartime. Even if this could be interpreted as against lying in general, it's important to note that the LORD is addressing humans whereas in the case of I Kings 22:23 this is God sending one of his elohim (spiritual being or angel) from the divine council to achieve his will on earth, and a similar thing is occuring in II Thessalonians 2:11. Sorry if it's offensive, but there are different rules for God carrying out his will for the world vs. humans on a social level.

Hang on.  It's important to deceive one another during war time?  War time?  Christ taught a message of extreme pacifism:

But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

- Luke 6:27-31


That's not even shrouded in confusing old fashioned terms, it's very direct and straight forward.  No believer in Christ can go to war, because he's busy turning the other cheek and loving his enemies.  How exactly are you going to war as a Christian?  How do you kill those you're supposed to love?

ChpBstrd

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1127
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #144 on: November 05, 2018, 03:32:15 PM »
Getting back to the article...

Escaping Capitalism:
I think we seek to escape nature itself, and capitalism is an (imperfect) means to that end. Living naturally means watching most of your children die, being subject to violence, experiencing constant hunger and fear, and being physically unable to claw one's way up Maslow's Hierarchy beyond a certain level. The millionaire/billionaire class has escaped all these problems and have thereby transcended part of nature (and they are funneling resources into the immortality problem).

Capitalism and Scarcity:
Capitalism is a set of rules for managing scarcity and selfishness (i.e. an alternative to Hobbesian brute force). Scarcity will always be a factor, despite the thought experiments. Even in a world with plenty of food and manufactured objects, there will not be enough oceanfront property in pleasant climates, status symbols, vacations/experiences, or sexual gratification. Human instinct for competitive advancement would have to be overcome for us to treat each other kindly in the absence of some sort of system.

Moving on to the tangents in this thread...

Meaning and Consumerism:
If consumerism was a symptom of absent religion/spirituality, and people were filling some spiritual void with consumer products, then I would not expect to see so many luxury SUVs in church parking lots. Instead of an antidote to consumerism, organized religion looks more like yet another consumer product. In my city, many brands of churches compete with each other using billboards, mailers, radio/TV ads, and social media ads. They have marketing departments, ad agencies, consultants, and accounting departments. There are churches for rich people and churches for poor people - different tiers of status/luxury and different messages available for each demographic. People are unashamed to talk about shopping for a church, and many bounce from provider to provider, looking for a "service" they like better. You can say "they're doing it wrong" but many millions of Christians consider this normal, they outnumber you, and there's no universally acceptable way to prove anyone wrong or right - although God's silence on these and all matters is conspicuous.

Dan Barker's book "Life Driven Purpose" is an interesting rebuttal to Joel Olsteen's "Purpose Driven Life." Barker argues that questions about meaning in life imply that there must be a meaning-maker. People assume this meaning must be externally generated by a sentient being, so they invent gods as interpreted by clergy to manufacture meaning. However, as sentient beings, WE meet the qualifications to be our own meaning-makers. We can take on the challenge of defining our own meaning, whether in an atheistic or theistic universe. The alternative to creating our own meaning is to buy an off the shelf meaning others have created for us. Joel Osteen makes millions this way, informing people that the meaning of their lives essentially involves consuming more Joel Osteen cultural products. The same could be said for scriptures, which claim following scriptures and recruiting more adherents to scriptures is the purpose.

It is a bit ironic how some of us buy mass-produced religious concepts of meaning and then look down upon those shallow bastards who live for luxury cars, designer shoes, McMansions, and job titles. It resembles the way some rednecks get a warm sense of identity from driving either a Chevy truck or a Ford truck. Nobody seems to get that they have sacrificed the ability to live for more or identify with more than consuming somebody else's product.

FINate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1194
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #145 on: November 05, 2018, 05:10:50 PM »


Can you provide examples of contradictions?


Good source of info can be found here:   https://ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/?t=contra

I spent some time in college translating the new testament from ancient greek, and there are many portions that can be translated with opposite meanings.  Finding an "accurate" translation is impossible, as much of the translation is subjective.

Ok, I don't have time to get to all of these, but will start with the first two...

First example:
Exodus 20:13 "Thou shalt not kill." vs. accounts of the death penalty and killing in battle.

The first hint is that this is using the King James Version. Most other English versions translate 'kill' as 'murder' (NIV, ESV, NRSV to name a few). The word in hebrew is ratsach and indeed, the correct translation here is murder, which is different from killing in general. See also http://jpfo.org/rabbi/6th-commandment.htm

Second example:
Exodus 20:16 "Thou shalt not bear false witness." and Proverbs 12:22 "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord."

Bearing false witness is about lying in a court of law which has implications of injustice, this is not about lying in general.

The Proverbs 12:22 is exactly what I was talking about, taking verses out of context. If fact, this isn't even a complete verse:

      The LORD detests lying lips,
         but he delights in people who are trustworthy.

We should not deceive each other. saphah - speech and sheqer - deceit. The Hebrew sheqer is most often used in the context of bearing false witness or in things like business dealings...it's lying within the context of civil society. Hence it would be perfectly acceptable (expected even) to deceive an enemy in wartime. Even if this could be interpreted as against lying in general, it's important to note that the LORD is addressing humans whereas in the case of I Kings 22:23 this is God sending one of his elohim (spiritual being or angel) from the divine council to achieve his will on earth, and a similar thing is occuring in II Thessalonians 2:11. Sorry if it's offensive, but there are different rules for God carrying out his will for the world vs. humans on a social level.

Hang on.  It's important to deceive one another during war time?  War time?  Christ taught a message of extreme pacifism:

But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

- Luke 6:27-31


That's not even shrouded in confusing old fashioned terms, it's very direct and straight forward.  No believer in Christ can go to war, because he's busy turning the other cheek and loving his enemies.  How exactly are you going to war as a Christian?  How do you kill those you're supposed to love?

Israel existed as a nation for a long time before the time of Jesus. Yes, they had wars. Things like the Ten Commandments and the Law were about how the Israelites were to establish a just society - it's not about geopolitics. By the time of Jesus the Jews are living under the oppression of the Romans. Jesus did not come to establish a theocracy, he started a subversive movement that undermined the power structures while still submitting to their authority (e.g. "So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s." Matthew 22:21). It's a nuanced view of government power vs. personal agency that was the reality - submit to their rule (pay taxes) but only God is worthy of your worship (don't worship Caesar, as was customary).

With that in view, is it ok that the Allies deceive Nazi Germany on multiple occasions? Germany had declared war on the US, this wasn't your neighbor down the street suing you. Can Christians in good conscience join the military, what if you're conscripted, or what if your taxes are used to fund war? There's a spectrum of responses, and I would say it is highly dependent on the specific details involved. Personally, in certain situations I would be okay with being conscripted (well, not okay with it, it would suck, and I'm probably too old now), but in other cases I would be willing to be imprisoned if necessary to avoid participating in something I thought was wrong.


Kyle Schuant

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 514
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #146 on: November 05, 2018, 05:22:40 PM »
Every religious or ideological text must contain contradictions or it won't be popular. If it has no contradictions and its meaning is clear, it'll only attract people who agree with that particular message, and people who never change their minds.

If it's vague and self-contradictory, then it can attract people with a wide variety of opinions and ideas and preferences, and can even accommodate them when they change their minds. For example, "It says gays are evil! What? My son is gay? Well I suppose God said to love one another and not judge... Look I've never minded gays, really... "

As well, if a religious or ideological text is vague and self-contradictory, then when it fails as a system, people can still retain their faith with the good old No True Scotsman fallacy. "Well, the Soviet Union wasn't really communist... and Wall Street isn't real capitalism..." Thus: the point of capitalism is to escape capitalism.

It's important to be vague and self-contradictory.

FINate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1194
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #147 on: November 05, 2018, 05:34:43 PM »


Can you provide examples of contradictions?


Good source of info can be found here:   https://ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/?t=contra

I spent some time in college translating the new testament from ancient greek, and there are many portions that can be translated with opposite meanings.  Finding an "accurate" translation is impossible, as much of the translation is subjective.

Ok, I don't have time to get to all of these, but will start with the first two...

First example:
Exodus 20:13 "Thou shalt not kill." vs. accounts of the death penalty and killing in battle.

The first hint is that this is using the King James Version. Most other English versions translate 'kill' as 'murder' (NIV, ESV, NRSV to name a few). The word in hebrew is ratsach and indeed, the correct translation here is murder, which is different from killing in general. See also http://jpfo.org/rabbi/6th-commandment.htm

Second example:
Exodus 20:16 "Thou shalt not bear false witness." and Proverbs 12:22 "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord."

Bearing false witness is about lying in a court of law which has implications of injustice, this is not about lying in general.

The Proverbs 12:22 is exactly what I was talking about, taking verses out of context. If fact, this isn't even a complete verse:

      The LORD detests lying lips,
         but he delights in people who are trustworthy.

We should not deceive each other. saphah - speech and sheqer - deceit. The Hebrew sheqer is most often used in the context of bearing false witness or in things like business dealings...it's lying within the context of civil society. Hence it would be perfectly acceptable (expected even) to deceive an enemy in wartime. Even if this could be interpreted as against lying in general, it's important to note that the LORD is addressing humans whereas in the case of I Kings 22:23 this is God sending one of his elohim (spiritual being or angel) from the divine council to achieve his will on earth, and a similar thing is occuring in II Thessalonians 2:11. Sorry if it's offensive, but there are different rules for God carrying out his will for the world vs. humans on a social level.

I started to go through some more examples...I just can't. So many are poor translation issues (often KJV). By the Second Temple Period when the TaNaK was completed, the Jews had a rich literary history that went back centuries. The TaNaK was skillfully authored, combined, and edited. The Jews were not dumb, nor were any of the ancients. They didn't have the level of technological sophistication we have, but they were just as intelligent. Some passages are not entirely clear (the meaning of some words are uncertain), and there are still theological debates on certain topics. But the idea that this body of work would be so incredibly inconsistent and full of errors (as suggested by that website), and that the Jews were not smart enough to recognize this is, to put it rather frankly, ethnocentric.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 05:36:16 PM by FINate »

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 12093
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #148 on: November 05, 2018, 06:02:58 PM »


Can you provide examples of contradictions?


Good source of info can be found here:   https://ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/?t=contra

I spent some time in college translating the new testament from ancient greek, and there are many portions that can be translated with opposite meanings.  Finding an "accurate" translation is impossible, as much of the translation is subjective.

Ok, I don't have time to get to all of these, but will start with the first two...

First example:
Exodus 20:13 "Thou shalt not kill." vs. accounts of the death penalty and killing in battle.

The first hint is that this is using the King James Version. Most other English versions translate 'kill' as 'murder' (NIV, ESV, NRSV to name a few). The word in hebrew is ratsach and indeed, the correct translation here is murder, which is different from killing in general. See also http://jpfo.org/rabbi/6th-commandment.htm

Second example:
Exodus 20:16 "Thou shalt not bear false witness." and Proverbs 12:22 "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord."

Bearing false witness is about lying in a court of law which has implications of injustice, this is not about lying in general.

The Proverbs 12:22 is exactly what I was talking about, taking verses out of context. If fact, this isn't even a complete verse:

      The LORD detests lying lips,
         but he delights in people who are trustworthy.

We should not deceive each other. saphah - speech and sheqer - deceit. The Hebrew sheqer is most often used in the context of bearing false witness or in things like business dealings...it's lying within the context of civil society. Hence it would be perfectly acceptable (expected even) to deceive an enemy in wartime. Even if this could be interpreted as against lying in general, it's important to note that the LORD is addressing humans whereas in the case of I Kings 22:23 this is God sending one of his elohim (spiritual being or angel) from the divine council to achieve his will on earth, and a similar thing is occuring in II Thessalonians 2:11. Sorry if it's offensive, but there are different rules for God carrying out his will for the world vs. humans on a social level.

Hang on.  It's important to deceive one another during war time?  War time?  Christ taught a message of extreme pacifism:

But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

- Luke 6:27-31


That's not even shrouded in confusing old fashioned terms, it's very direct and straight forward.  No believer in Christ can go to war, because he's busy turning the other cheek and loving his enemies.  How exactly are you going to war as a Christian?  How do you kill those you're supposed to love?

Israel existed as a nation for a long time before the time of Jesus. Yes, they had wars. Things like the Ten Commandments and the Law were about how the Israelites were to establish a just society - it's not about geopolitics. By the time of Jesus the Jews are living under the oppression of the Romans. Jesus did not come to establish a theocracy, he started a subversive movement that undermined the power structures while still submitting to their authority (e.g. "So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s." Matthew 22:21). It's a nuanced view of government power vs. personal agency that was the reality - submit to their rule (pay taxes) but only God is worthy of your worship (don't worship Caesar, as was customary).

With that in view, is it ok that the Allies deceive Nazi Germany on multiple occasions? Germany had declared war on the US, this wasn't your neighbor down the street suing you. Can Christians in good conscience join the military, what if you're conscripted, or what if your taxes are used to fund war? There's a spectrum of responses, and I would say it is highly dependent on the specific details involved. Personally, in certain situations I would be okay with being conscripted (well, not okay with it, it would suck, and I'm probably too old now), but in other cases I would be willing to be imprisoned if necessary to avoid participating in something I thought was wrong.

So, as a Christian . . . when Jesus explicitly tells you to love your enemy and turn the other cheek, you are OK with being conscripted to kill others?  Is there a Jesus quote I'm not remembering where he said "but not for Nazis" or "you can ignore anything I say if your government tells you to do it"?

You have just demonstrated my point beautifully.  Interpretation of the bible and biblical message is largely up to the person reading it, and someone who has decided on a course of action will find something in the bible to support what he believes . . . even if it quite clearly goes against very straight forward and uncontroversial passages from the bible.

FINate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1194
Re: Article: If the Point of Capitalism is to Escape Capitalism...
« Reply #149 on: November 05, 2018, 06:35:40 PM »


Can you provide examples of contradictions?


Good source of info can be found here:   https://ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/?t=contra

I spent some time in college translating the new testament from ancient greek, and there are many portions that can be translated with opposite meanings.  Finding an "accurate" translation is impossible, as much of the translation is subjective.

Ok, I don't have time to get to all of these, but will start with the first two...

First example:
Exodus 20:13 "Thou shalt not kill." vs. accounts of the death penalty and killing in battle.

The first hint is that this is using the King James Version. Most other English versions translate 'kill' as 'murder' (NIV, ESV, NRSV to name a few). The word in hebrew is ratsach and indeed, the correct translation here is murder, which is different from killing in general. See also http://jpfo.org/rabbi/6th-commandment.htm

Second example:
Exodus 20:16 "Thou shalt not bear false witness." and Proverbs 12:22 "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord."

Bearing false witness is about lying in a court of law which has implications of injustice, this is not about lying in general.

The Proverbs 12:22 is exactly what I was talking about, taking verses out of context. If fact, this isn't even a complete verse:

      The LORD detests lying lips,
         but he delights in people who are trustworthy.

We should not deceive each other. saphah - speech and sheqer - deceit. The Hebrew sheqer is most often used in the context of bearing false witness or in things like business dealings...it's lying within the context of civil society. Hence it would be perfectly acceptable (expected even) to deceive an enemy in wartime. Even if this could be interpreted as against lying in general, it's important to note that the LORD is addressing humans whereas in the case of I Kings 22:23 this is God sending one of his elohim (spiritual being or angel) from the divine council to achieve his will on earth, and a similar thing is occuring in II Thessalonians 2:11. Sorry if it's offensive, but there are different rules for God carrying out his will for the world vs. humans on a social level.

Hang on.  It's important to deceive one another during war time?  War time?  Christ taught a message of extreme pacifism:

But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

- Luke 6:27-31


That's not even shrouded in confusing old fashioned terms, it's very direct and straight forward.  No believer in Christ can go to war, because he's busy turning the other cheek and loving his enemies.  How exactly are you going to war as a Christian?  How do you kill those you're supposed to love?

Israel existed as a nation for a long time before the time of Jesus. Yes, they had wars. Things like the Ten Commandments and the Law were about how the Israelites were to establish a just society - it's not about geopolitics. By the time of Jesus the Jews are living under the oppression of the Romans. Jesus did not come to establish a theocracy, he started a subversive movement that undermined the power structures while still submitting to their authority (e.g. "So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s." Matthew 22:21). It's a nuanced view of government power vs. personal agency that was the reality - submit to their rule (pay taxes) but only God is worthy of your worship (don't worship Caesar, as was customary).

With that in view, is it ok that the Allies deceive Nazi Germany on multiple occasions? Germany had declared war on the US, this wasn't your neighbor down the street suing you. Can Christians in good conscience join the military, what if you're conscripted, or what if your taxes are used to fund war? There's a spectrum of responses, and I would say it is highly dependent on the specific details involved. Personally, in certain situations I would be okay with being conscripted (well, not okay with it, it would suck, and I'm probably too old now), but in other cases I would be willing to be imprisoned if necessary to avoid participating in something I thought was wrong.

So, as a Christian . . . when Jesus explicitly tells you to love your enemy and turn the other cheek, you are OK with being conscripted to kill others?  Is there a Jesus quote I'm not remembering where he said "but not for Nazis" or "you can ignore anything I say if your government tells you to do it"?

You have just demonstrated my point beautifully.  Interpretation of the bible and biblical message is largely up to the person reading it, and someone who has decided on a course of action will find something in the bible to support what he believes . . . even if it quite clearly goes against very straight forward and uncontroversial passages from the bible.

If someone's interpretation leads them to complete pacifism then I respect that view. I said I would be ok with conscription under certain conditions. The second gulf war, no. WWII, yes, because of the extreme injustice the Nazis were perpetrating. I tend to take the righteous personal conduct interpretation of that passage. Of the four common interpretations, all move people away from interpersonal violence within society, and away from taking vengeance.