Wealth Distribution

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TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 7, 2013 - 09:39am PT
Short, well written, Bastiat's answer to Das Capital.

Still after more than 150 years one of the best answers to the collectivist.


http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 7, 2013 - 10:20am PT
This sounds like an excellent summation of Capital:

Property and Plunder

Man can live and satisfy his wants only by ceaseless labor; by the ceaseless application of his faculties to natural resources. This process is the origin of property.

But it is also true that a man may live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the products of the labor of others. This process is the origin of plunder.

Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain and since labor is pain in itself it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work. History shows this quite clearly. And under these conditions, neither religion nor morality can stop it.

When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it becomes more painful and more dangerous than labor.

It is evident, then, that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work. All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder.

But, generally, the law is made by one man or one class of men. And since law cannot operate without the sanction and support of a dominating force, this force must be entrusted to those who make the laws.

This fact, combined with the fatal tendency that exists in the heart of man to satisfy his wants with the least possible effort, explains the almost universal perversion of the law. Thus it is easy to understand how law, instead of checking injustice, becomes the invincible weapon of injustice. It is easy to understand why the law is used by the legislator to destroy in varying degrees among the rest of the people, their personal independence by slavery, their liberty by oppression, and their property by plunder. This is done for the benefit of the person who makes the law, and in proportion to the power that he holds.

That's the very heart of Marx's theories on capital and its accumulation:
Man can live and satisfy his wants only by ceaseless labor; by the ceaseless application of his faculties to natural resources. This process is the origin of property.

But it is also true that a man may live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the products of the labor of others. This process is the origin of plunder.

That's the very definition of capitalism.
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 7, 2013 - 10:48am PT
Jeebus, TGT, did you read that link? It's a complete condemnation of capitalism. Dig this:
Victims of Lawful Plunder

Men naturally rebel against the injustice of which they are victims. Thus, when plunder is organized by law for the profit of those who make the law, all the plundered classes try somehow to enter by peaceful or revolutionary means into the making of laws. According to their degree of enlightenment, these plundered classes may propose one of two entirely different purposes when they attempt to attain political power: Either they may wish to stop lawful plunder, or they may wish to share in it.

Woe to the nation when this latter purpose prevails among the mass victims of lawful plunder when they, in turn, seize the power to make laws! Until that happens, the few practice lawful plunder upon the many, a common practice where the right to participate in the making of law is limited to a few persons. But then, participation in the making of law becomes universal. And then, men seek to balance their conflicting interests by universal plunder. Instead of rooting out the injustices found in society, they make these injustices general. As soon as the plundered classes gain political power, they establish a system of reprisals against other classes. They do not abolish legal plunder. (This objective would demand more enlightenment than they possess.) Instead, they emulate their evil predecessors by participating in this legal plunder, even though it is against their own interests.

It is as if it were necessary, before a reign of justice appears, for everyone to suffer a cruel retribution some for their evilness, and some for their lack of understanding.
The Results of Legal Plunder

It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.

What are the consequences of such a perversion? It would require volumes to describe them all. Thus we must content ourselves with pointing out the most striking.

In the first place, it erases from everyone's conscience the distinction between justice and injustice.

No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law. These two evils are of equal consequence, and it would be difficult for a person to choose between them.

The nature of law is to maintain justice. This is so much the case that, in the minds of the people, law and justice are one and the same thing. There is in all of us a strong disposition to believe that anything lawful is also legitimate. This belief is so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are "just" because law makes them so. Thus, in order to make plunder appear just and sacred to many consciences, it is only necessary for the law to decree and sanction it. Slavery, restrictions, and monopoly find defenders not only among those who profit from them but also among those who suffer from them.

Thanks for posting that link, Fellow Worker.
sempervirens

climber
Mar 7, 2013 - 10:51am PT
Let's also remember that we in US do not have a capitalist system because we don't have a free market; it is all controlled by taxation and regulation. Who writes the tax law and regulations? Congress? Or the lobbyists? Do you conservatives want no regulation? No FDA, FAA, anti-trust laws, Glass-Steigel Act? Do you think that would promote a free and democratic society? Do you think the Koch brothers are really interested in your conservative values and your freedoms? How'bout the Fanjul family that controls the US sugar market? They contribute to both parties and have influence either way. That is the 1%. The conservatives are doing their bidding and swallowing the flag waving rhetoric.

As wealth becomes more concentrated what do expect will happen to the nice folks in the middle class who are pulling themselves up by the bootstraps? I think it will be more difficult for them. Who lost a huge part of their wealth in the economic fiasco of 2008? The 1%? Or the middle class? So as wealth concentrates it also pushes more middle class toward poverty and makes it harder to save and get ahead. Then there will be more people for you conservatives to spite for being lazy slackers seeking hadouts. Would that support your flag-waving freedom?

How can the liberal and conservative ideologists be so gullible that they don't realize they're both swallowing the same lie: that Obama operates according to liberal ideals.
bookworm

Social climber
Falls Church, VA
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:03am PT
the water analogy doesn't hold water...

see, socialists conceive of wealth (NOT money(money is only one manifestation of wealth used to ease commercial transactions)) as finite: there's a giant pile of riches from which some people take more than they deserve or need or use unethical means to take from the pile or keep others from getting their "fair share"

but there is no giant pile of wealth...wealth is created by individuals... bill gates didn't take anything from me or anyone else when he founded microsoft...instead, he provided a product that other people valued...all commercial transactions with microsoft are VOLUNTARY...i pay him for a produce that i hope will increase my own wealth, and when i buy a computer, i'm not taking anything from you or anyone else...your bitterness toward those who create wealth (whether by luck or hard work) says far more about you than it says about them


PLEASE, read Friedman's "Capitalism and Freedom"...it's written in language that a high schooler can understand

why, with the full course of history from which to learn, do you still believe the government is immune to corruption and that bureaucrats are more trustworthy with your money?
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:12am PT
see, socialists conceive of wealth (NOT money(money is only one manifestation of wealth used to ease commercial transactions)) as finite: there's a giant pile of riches from which some people take more than they deserve or need or use unethical means to take from the pile or keep others from getting their "fair share"

You can cite that proposition, I assume? I'd be interested. I never read that in Harrington or Thomas.

why, with the full course of history from which to learn, do you still believe the government is immune to corruption and that bureaucrats are more trustworthy with your money?

And corporate bureaucrats are much more trustworthy? Having been involved in both systems, my experience is that government bureaucracy is benign, corporate bureaucracy is actively looking for ways to f*#k you over. They'd kill your grandma for a nickel.
sempervirens

climber
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:27am PT
THere is currently a system in place that is redistibuting wealth toward the 1% while the country argues whether or not redistributing wealth is morally wrong. Socialism and Capitalism don't exist.

If we continue to cconcentrate wealth we're moving closer to totalarianism (IMO) regardless of what we call it. Fewer people will hold power to make the rules. Why would they make rules that promote freedom when they can make rules to promote their own wealth?

What would happen if the wealthiest corporate bureaucrats and the top gov. bureaucrats merged forces while we argued over which are more trustworthy? Does anyone believe they have NOT merged forces?
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:32am PT
So you conservatives have no problem returning the the robber baron, monopoly days?

Let free market capitalism run unhindered. Everything will be fair.

You'll pay $300 a month for phone service. $20 a gallon for gasoline. $1000 a month rent for a small apartment. Sounds good. Reminds me of the movie In Time. Not the greatest movie but a good representation of what it sounds like the conservatives want.

Of course full socialism would be would be terrible too. Govt inefficiency in everything and lack of motivation for people to work and innovate and retain the fruits of their labor.

Hmm, could the best thing be somewhere in the middle? I guess not when it conflicts with your black and white ideology.
matty

Trad climber
under the sea
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:35am PT
I'm sorry for posting on this thread (early - first page) I try to keep off the political threads because I want to promote climbing content but I sometimes get sucked in. we really need an off topic tab for shiz like this.

Credit: matty
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:44am PT
No Dr. F, the cited countries seduced their populace with visions of socialist utopias. In the end it was just another vehicle for evil and greedy despots to achieve a dictatorship. Minus a largely negative document outlining the limitations of government their nations drifted into totalitarianism. So where is the division between a "fair" socialist society and communism? I would suggest it is after the system collapses (see many western european nations) under the inevitable weight of a an increasingly less productive populace and after the citizenry takes to the streets to demonstrate their discontent over the governments failure to deliver on unsustainable promises.At a point like this despots can easily arise. Sweden and Norway are resource rich and the party continues but should they deplete, watch out.
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:48am PT
photo not found
Missing photo ID#293077
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:51am PT
Of course full socialism would be would be terrible too. Govt inefficiency in everything and lack of motivation for people to work and innovate and retain the fruits of their labor.

The Fet, the whole point of socialism is that people retain the fruit of their labor. Where is the incentive to work in capitalism, when the fruit of your labor is confiscated and given to the capitalist?

A terrific job of propaganda has been accomplished in this country. The Germans and Russians were amateurs comapared to what we have wrought.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 7, 2013 - 01:56pm PT
Where is the incentive to work in capitalism, when the fruit of your labor is confiscated and given to the capitalist?

Confiscate vt. 1 to seize (private property) for the public treasury, usually as a penalty 2 to seize by or as by authority; appropriate

Webster's New World Dictionary (Third Collegiate Edition) [Emphasis in definitions supplied]

John
John M

climber
Mar 7, 2013 - 02:09pm PT
I know it goes against the grain of everything some of you believe in, but perhaps one or two of you could believe in this kind of wealth redistribution..

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/2087509/FUNDRAISER-and-AUCTION-for-Big-Mike-Yeah

A quality person. He works hard. He plays hard and he is just an all around decent person who happens to have a had a tough accident and could use a hand.

JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 7, 2013 - 02:46pm PT
Thanks, John. I'm having trouble getting to the correct website, though. Perhaps I missed it in Tami's link. I'm going to try again.

And you're also right that this is the sort of "redistribution" that many of us on the right support, and will participate in.

John
John M

climber
Mar 7, 2013 - 02:54pm PT
John.. I never doubted that your heart is in the right place, though at times some of your angst clouds your view and causes you to make statements that aren't true. My post was pointed more at those who could use a shove in the right direction. Some people don't understand the joy of giving. They think that the only joy is in having.
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 7, 2013 - 04:01pm PT
And exactly what does that mean?

the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Mar 7, 2013 - 05:13pm PT
From wikipedia:

Socialism is an economic system characterised by social ownership of the means of production and co-operative management of the economy.[1] "Social ownership" may refer to cooperative enterprises, common ownership, state ownership, or citizen ownership of equity.[2] There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them.[3]

Yes when conservatives talk about Socialism they usually actually mean communism, except for those that flat out talk about communism, which has no chance of ever happening in America so is a red herring. As I've pointed out before the original American colony, Jamestown, started with communism and was a abject failure and they switched to capitalism, which aligns much better with human nature.

So there's no single definition but when I say full Socialism I mean state ownership of the means of production. I think we should have the freedom of individuals, corporations, co-operatives, etc. owning the means of production (or even limited govt. ownership when it makes sense.) But we need significant safeguards against abuse by ANY of those ownership schemes.

Dr. F it sounds like you like the Swedish system. Sweden is often an example of Socialism but it's NOT socialist. From the interwebs:

Is Sweden a Socialist country?
Answer: No. Since about 1935 Sweden has had a capitalist economy governed by social democratic policies, including with high, redistributive income tax rates and general welfare benefits (even when under conservative governments). After 1935, a collective bargaining scheme was set up which gave both unions and businesses representation and a forum to mediate disputes. This form of class collaboration was intended to stave off socialist ideas of abolishing capitalism for a socialist economic system. The majority of industries in Sweden are privately-owned, with very few collectively-owned and publicly-owned firms.

America's system is not bad based on results. The biggest problems we have (not in order) are special interest influence in politics (from the left and right) due to money being so important in winning elections (thanks conservative supreme court for opening that flood gate with Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, asshats for letting ideology win over practicality), waste and inefficiency in govt., spending is too high, and tax rates for the uber rich being too low (thanks to the influence that their money can buy).

Of course the conservatives say taxes should be cut, nevermind that we haven't made the spending cuts yet so that just increases the deficit. Yeah very conservative, let's cut revenue before cutting spending and increase borrowing and interest costs.

And the Dems don't want to cut spending anywhere like is really required.

But at least the Dems are willing to compromise and cut spending (although not enough). The Reps are stuck in the ideological mud and won't allow any more tax revenue even though that's needed as well. So we have gridlock, dysfunction, and uncertainty which hold back the economy.

Both Dems and Reps have many corrupt and dishonest people (if you can't admit that you have your head up your a*#), but from a policy perspective the Reps are the ones really screwing things up right now with their refusal to compromise.
John M

climber
Mar 7, 2013 - 05:19pm PT
I hope that people wont think that pure socialism is the way to go. I believe that a; mix of socialism and capitalism is a better system. We already have that. What is being argued is what that mix should be. Whats sad to me is the amount of disinformation that is being spread and that people believe.

Plus the fact that some people seem to believe that pure capitalism is the best system. It doesn't work. Lots of people would be crushed by pure capitalism and lots of things would be destroyed, such as the environment, which might take lifetimes to turn around if its even possible to do so. Capitalism has to be balanced with regulation.
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 7, 2013 - 05:44pm PT
You people are quoting wikipedia and "Interwebs" for your definitions of socialism. I'd be more impressed if you actually quoted something about socialism written by socialists. Say, Norman Thomas, or Michael Harrington for instance.

For the most part, people who rant against socialism have gotten all their information from anti-socialists. They've never actually read anything by Marx, Thomas, Harrington, etc. They just know what their enemies say about it. That's how effective the lockdown on information is in this society.

Anyone who says the social democracies of Europe are not socialist is ill-informed.

A famous incident was when Michael Harrington was going to speak to some auto workers. The organizer wanted to introduce him as the author of The Other America. He wanted to be introduced as head of the Socialist Party. He was, of course, booed. Only in America would union workers be antagonistic to a socialist.

By the time he finished his talk, they were cheering him. That's the power of information.
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