Author Topic: Can capitalism alone create the citizens required to make it work properly?  (Read 1540 times)

LennStar

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I was hoping to have a broader discussion regarding the practical problem that capitalism alone does not create the citizens it requires to function properly
You could also have hoped to have a broader discussion regarding the practical problem that the sky is dark when the sun does not shine.
There is simply not much to talk about.

btw. The best-known solution proposed to this problem is called communism. Ironically that solution fails because of exactly the same problem. There are by far not enough "morally advanced" people to make commnism work.
I think this is one of the biggest middle fingers of chuckling history.

Gary123

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....”the modern human is more intelligent and less violent. The moral trajectory has arched only upwards in the last few centuries - I believe thanks to the decline of widespread superstitions known as religion!!”

There you have it.  You are standing on the shoulders of the greatest civilization of world history and fancy yourself smarter and more evolved because you don’t need to bother with what ideals underpin that very civilization.

Millions of people died in the last century due to secular and “scientific” regimes (mostly communist) who like you viewed religion as supersticion.

It reminds me of people especially in public office who say their decisions are “data driven” not guided by anything else.  Well if that is the case, society could be so much better off if we simply eliminate the elderly, invalids and mentally handicapped among us because the cost of their care certainly exceeds any economic benefit they create for society.  That is the “data driven” decision absent religion which Hitler made.

The fact is you are not only living in the shadow of Christian civilization but your morals reflect it; making you essentially a defender of that code of ethics.  You just don’t seem to know it because of perhaps not enough exposure to how the rest of the world operates.

caleb

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Have you considered that this "crisis of morality" is just an artifact of right-wing politics since 1960's?

In many ways it probably is, partly as a self-inflicted wound, and partly as a political tool.  Here are a few moments that might be worth mentioning:

- The realignment of the south with the Republican party comes in the 1968 election, in the aftermath of southern Democrats voting for the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.  That realignment arguably started with the election of 1912 when Teddy Roosevelt lost the Republican nomination to a much more conservative Taft.  T.R. went left and founded a couple fringe parties, while Taft went right and put the party on a more conservative trajectory.  Meanwhile, when FDR takes over the Democratic party, he moves it socially and economically left from where Wilson was, and into the opening left by the Republicans moving right.  Anyway, the point is that the post '68 Republican party has become the defacto home for racial anxiety, Paul Ryan's more recent efforts to claim the mantel of Lincoln not withstanding.  That's not a good look, even if it's a small element of the national party.

- The cluster that was Vietnam left a whole lot of folks thinking that the establishment did not have their best interests at heart, and were, as a matter of fact, profiting from conscription, death, and misery.  The second Iraq war is a sequel for the next generation, minus the conscription, but complete with all of the pointless death.  If all the patriotism-talk is mostly a cover for elite ambition and profit motives, then public service looks like a suckers game.

- As Reagan's deregulatory turn in the 80's threatened the business coalition with the religious right, the idea of a culture war was amplified (even as in practice it was dying down) and the world of political evangelicalism and the moral majority emerged as a cultural response and reliable coalition partners for the business community.  Meanwhile, the supposedly moral figures in the evangelical movement provided a steady stream of scandals, from Jim Bakker to Ted Haggard.

- And I suppose we need to mention the ongoing crisis of child abuse in the Catholic Church, too.

The point is that some of it is real, even if self-inflicted, while some of it has been manufactured for political purposes to hold the present coalition of the religious right together with business interests.

A post-WWII vision of public morality began dying off with the Vietnam generation, and was basically buried society-wide by the mid-90s.  The problem, as I see it, is that nothing has really taken its place.  The idea that we shouldn't be racist, sexist, homophobic, or sexual harassers is really just an expectation that we respect other people as equals and more or less leave them alone.  I don't see any emergent set of obligations toward neighbors, community, and/or country that were widespread prior to Vietnam.  On the one hand, it's tempting to blame the boomers for burning it all down without leaving anything in its place, but as mentioned above they were also sold out by business interests in their parents' generation.

GuitarStv

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A post-WWII vision of public morality began dying off with the Vietnam generation, and was basically buried society-wide by the mid-90s.  The problem, as I see it, is that nothing has really taken its place.  The idea that we shouldn't be racist, sexist, homophobic, or sexual harassers is really just an expectation that we respect other people as equals and more or less leave them alone.  I don't see any emergent set of obligations toward neighbors, community, and/or country that were widespread prior to Vietnam.  On the one hand, it's tempting to blame the boomers for burning it all down without leaving anything in its place, but as mentioned above they were also sold out by business interests in their parents' generation.

Post-WWII, there were anti-miscegenation laws on the books and being enforced in most of the Southern US.  That doesn't sound like a very publicly moral situation to me.  I'd say that morally we're on much stronger ground today than in 1947.

Gary123

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I was hoping to have a broader discussion regarding the practical problem that capitalism alone does not create the citizens it requires to function properly
You could also have hoped to have a broader discussion regarding the practical problem that the sky is dark when the sun does not shine.
There is simply not much to talk about.

btw. The best-known solution proposed to this problem is called communism. Ironically that solution fails because of exactly the same problem. There are by far not enough "morally advanced" people to make commnism work.
I think this is one of the biggest middle fingers of chuckling history.

On the contrary, socialism is a system that creates corruption.

For example, it amazes me the racism of people on the left.  They frequently make comments indicating Mexico is corrupt because corruption is somehow part of being Mexican or even their religious faith or Latin tradition.

In fact, Mexico is not only a highly secular government but also highly corrupt because of the socialist constitution written in the beginning if the last century. 

Concentrating the natural resources along with the power mostly left to the private sector in most western countries to its central government, Mexico’s corruption was part and parcel to its constitution highly influenced and written at the same time of the former Soviet Union’s.

The means of production and all the natural resources are concentrated into the hands of politicians who run the country’s oil monopoly on behalf of the government.  Instead of creating unimagined wealth for the people of Mexico, the oil rich nation is desperately poor and ungovernable because it is only through political power and influence people can become rich.

My point is to have a free market economy you do require ethical actors but in the case of Mexico success in business mostly comes through political and not business acumen.  Therefore, wealth becomes concentrated onto the hands of the few people least competent to manage it; politicians.

In a Captialist system, wealth gravitates towards those who best manage the wealth.  It’s as old as the story of the father who gave his three sons money and one lost it, the buried it and the last invested it for better returns.

In a truly capatilist system, only one of the three sons becomes wealthy but in that process he creates wealth generally by investing the proceeds wisely thus rising all boats like the tide because there is more wealth in the economy.  Unfortunately, many who commented here appear to believe political inequities and not free market competition account for success or failure in our system.  Of course, neither is 100% true but in the aggregate the United States is still a free market economy thus a wealthy nation.

If you ever need better evidence, look no farther than Trump.  Even a decidedly non-intellectual man can recover and grow this economy by applying some simple principles about free market capitalism.  Obama, on the other hand, is an extremely intelligent man whose leftist policies he adopted from his grandparents and mother as a young man failed him and this country.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2019, 09:14:51 AM by Gary123 »

caleb

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A post-WWII vision of public morality began dying off with the Vietnam generation, and was basically buried society-wide by the mid-90s.  The problem, as I see it, is that nothing has really taken its place.  The idea that we shouldn't be racist, sexist, homophobic, or sexual harassers is really just an expectation that we respect other people as equals and more or less leave them alone.  I don't see any emergent set of obligations toward neighbors, community, and/or country that were widespread prior to Vietnam.  On the one hand, it's tempting to blame the boomers for burning it all down without leaving anything in its place, but as mentioned above they were also sold out by business interests in their parents' generation.

Post-WWII, there were anti-miscegenation laws on the books and being enforced in most of the Southern US.  That doesn't sound like a very publicly moral situation to me.  I'd say that morally we're on much stronger ground today than in 1947.

I'm certainly not defending anti-miscegenation laws.  Or any other number of bad practices that existed in 1947.  This isn't about putting down a benchmark at some bygone "golden age" and trying to ratchet us back there.  That sort of reactionary and retrogressive thinking always fails.

When I use the language of public morality, what I mean is the values that we share in common.  What I see us seriously lacking right now is a sense of obligation to one another and to future generations:

- In the US, current taxpayers have refused to fund higher education to equivalent levels that they received.  As a result, we have an entire generation crippled by student loan debt.  I think that's a moral crisis.

- In the US, we also have an every-man-for-himself health care system, because heaven forbid I pay a dime for someone else's checkup.  Medical bankruptcy is rampant.  I'd call that a moral crisis.

- We continue to dump carbon into the atmosphere and externalize the costs of present consumption on future generations.  I think that's a moral crisis.

When I say there's a crisis of public morality, what I mean is that we lack anything like a feeling of togetherness and mutual obligation that would motivate us to contribute to a greater good, or even pay into public systems in proportion to our own consumption.

I'm not trying to say we should have a shred of nostalgia for the bad parts of the bad old days.  What I'm saying is that we've so gutted our sense of community and emphasized individual autonomy above all that we're now incapable of dealing with our most pressing present problems.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2019, 09:20:34 AM by caleb »

GuitarStv

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For example, it amazes me the racism of people on the left.  They frequently make comments indicating Mexico is corrupt because corruption is somehow part of being Mexican or even their religious faith or Latin tradition.

I haven't heard this before.  Could you provide some left wing sources who are making these frequent comments?



In a Captialist system, wealth gravitates towards those who best manage the wealth.  It’s as old as the story of the father who gave his three sons money and one lost it, the buried it and the last invested it for better returns.

Wealth gravitates towards those who can earn the most.  Look at the number of sports stars who make millions of dollars and then blow it all.  While they continue to earn their high incomes though, despite ridiculously bad wealth management wealth gravitates towards them.

Once wealth becomes inherited, it is certainly not true.  Look at your example of Donald Trump.  He had a tremendous amount of unearned wealth inherited from his father.  If the best estimates are correct though, passively investing that money in index funds would have provided him a significantly better return than a lifetime as a 'businessman'.

LennStar

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....”the modern human is more intelligent and less violent. The moral trajectory has arched only upwards in the last few centuries - I believe thanks to the decline of widespread superstitions known as religion!!”

There you have it.  You are standing on the shoulders of the greatest civilization of world history and fancy yourself smarter and more evolved because you don’t need to bother with what ideals underpin that very civilization.

Millions of people died in the last century due to secular and “scientific” regimes (mostly communist) who like you viewed religion as supersticion.

It reminds me of people especially in public office who say their decisions are “data driven” not guided by anything else.  Well if that is the case, society could be so much better off if we simply eliminate the elderly, invalids and mentally handicapped among us because the cost of their care certainly exceeds any economic benefit they create for society.  That is the “data driven” decision absent religion which Hitler made.

The fact is you are not only living in the shadow of Christian civilization but your morals reflect it; making you essentially a defender of that code of ethics.  You just don’t seem to know it because of perhaps not enough exposure to how the rest of the world operates.

First of all, you confuse religion with ethics. Yes, religions are sort of ethics with other stuff thrown in, but there are plenty of ethics outside (or parallel to) religion.

In my case for example, as an agnostic German, my morals are more based on enlightement (which is often anti-religious because of religion's bad sides) philsophers than one of the two big cristian sects here.



Quote
The means of production and all the natural resources are concentrated into the hands of politicians who run the country’s oil monopoly on behalf of the government.  Instead of creating unimagined wealth for the people of Mexico, the oil rich nation is desperately poor and ungovernable because it is only through political power and influence people can become rich.
I suggest you read "The dictator's handbook - why bad behavior is almost always good politics".


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If you ever need better evidence, look no farther than Trump.  Even a decidedly non-intellectual man can recover and grow this economy by applying some simple principles about free market capitalism.  Obama, on the other hand, is an extremely intelligent man whose leftist policies he adopted from his grandparents and mother as a young man failed him and this country.
Obama had a big growth period for all of his time.
Trump, who has also benefitted from that at his start, made huge debts for a small stimulus that is already running out, and it is likely the economy will tank if he does his term.

Granted, in both cases it has not much to do with the actions of those both, but with economic cycles, but this about the worst example you could have picked. 

arebelspy

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MOD NOTE: Moved thread to the appropriate--Off Topic--forum. The OP does not have the ability to reply due to the Off Topic forum policy requiring 100+ posts. An example of an unfortuante side-effect of that policy, designed to stop trolls from creating new accounts and stirring up the forums with inflammatory political posts.

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