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  • Capitalism is Opposed to Human Happiness Debate, Volume 2

    A Debate with
    the community of PoliticsForum.org

    Part #4

    Posts #016-#020

    By Krypto
    Image: By Krypto, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    Post #016

    Date: Sun 18 Jul 2010

    Don't blame the "solution" you are critiquing on the OP (CNT-FAI Radical): He brought up inequality of bargaining power and socialism, but your critique really addresses my response to the OP (which you mistook for his), proposing a land-owning corporation owned by shareholders, which is not necessarily socialism, and in fact uses the concepts associated with capitalism: Part of the point of my response was to avoid using the relatively vague and uninformative labels like socialism or capitalism.

    To your critique: Your critique is that creating such a corporation creates a monopoly, and hence reduces bargaining power. The point to emphasize here is that this is only a land-owning corporation. Other corporations still exist on the very same land, doing other things, and competing with each other. And in fact, even land owning corporations compete with each other, as long as the residents are free to leave, as they should be, and settle in other lands, just as people today are free to sell their shares or leave their jobs and join other companies. The conditions I put on shareholding are preliminary examples and can probably stand improvement. Another condition that should be made explicit in order to address your concerns is that residents are allowed to leave (as suggested above). (Entering is another matter, as a landlord has a right to keep people off his land.)

    The only way in which such a land-owning corporation can become a monopoly is if all the useful accessible land in the world is owned by a single corporation; I.e. a monopoly on land. Therefore, another possible constraint on such a corporation is that there should be no land monopoly: I.e. there should be a maximum area of land that can be owned by a single corporation.

    Post #017

    Date: Sun 18 Jul 2010

    No, I wasn't to your ideas Arie. I was replying to the OP and speaking of socialism in general, i.e. public ownership of all means of production, which is what the OP recommended as a solution. That in effect creates one big monopoly corporation owned by the public that owns all means of production, with the addition that the monopoly is enforced by law (no competing means of production allowed).

    Post #018

    Date: Sun 18 Jul 2010

    ^ Sorry, I saw "shareholders of a corporation" and that's the terminology I used so I made a mistake. I agree that the government should not own all the means of production. I guess I'm not a socialist.

    Post #019

    Red Barn...
    Date: Mon 19 Jul 2010

    The aspect your original post concentrated on was "inequality of bargaining power between the Capitalist and the laborer".

    That's the part that seems to be getting garbled here. You're arguing about a rather outlandish plan that's neither Capitalist nor Socialist.

    There is only one employer to choose from, so a worker has very little bargaining power. He can't switch to a competitor.

    So long as this imaginary corporation is an "employer" and is able to set wages, the system is not Socialistic. Here you guys seem to be talking about some kind of universal serfdom.

    Employment is based on business efficiency, not on who's a shareholder and who isn't. I rely on competition between employers.

    Now you're talking about Capitalism, I guess, but even in that context the idea of "competition" among employers makes no sense unless you envision a shortage of labor and/or a universally unionized labor force. In the real world, increased "efficiency" among workers actually drives wages down unless wages are tied directly to productivity - that is, unless the workers own the company outright. Being a "shareholder" is meaningless unless the workplace is democratically controlled and people actually profit to the degree that they produce.

    In Capitalism, the employer controls the surplus - or the difference between wages and productivity - and in Aries's system this doesn't change one bit. So, whatever the details, you're really just arguing about variously egregious forms of psuedo-Capitalism.

    "Opening borders" doesn't alter the overall premise, except to make it a bit more complicated. Transnational employment only exacerbates the tendency for wages to be driven downward, as the last 30 years of globalized industry has shown. This is why socialist workers' organizations always have the word "international" in their game plans. Bargaining power is based on the collective strength of workers, not on individual worker choice. Worker choice means nothing if all wages have been depressed by an imbalance in bargaining power.

    Consider Libertarian Socialism instead! :)

    Post #020

    Date: Mon 19 Jul 2010

    In the real world, increased "efficiency" among workers actually drives wages down unless wages are tied directly to productivity - that is, unless the workers own the company outright.

    Citation needed.

    Wage rates under capitalism are directly tied to productity, I agree absolutely. This not a controversial statement, speaking with regards to the field of economics, and the reason for this was explained in this thread, that is employers bid up the prices of worker's labour if they are being paid less than their marginal producitivty. Union or non union it does not matter, since workers joining each other's for beers every second tuesday does not change basic economic fact. To a small degree union shops will benefit, in the sense that they are able to cartelize their industry, and of course with government help this cartelization can cement itself in (without state intereference there is a strong tendancy away from cartelization) but any gains here are taken directly away from the most marginalized sectors of society, the extremely poor and the unemployed, idiots and disabled people etc. so if you can really conscionably attack the very weakest in our society, those in most dire need of our help and smile contentedly while you go off to sleep then I can only fear sorrowfully for your soul.

    Opening borders is very important. The free flow of labour, capital and goods means a harmonious and peaceful world. Closing ourselves off, prohibiting trade and seeking isolation leads to ignorance and first a stagnation and then a decadent decline for a culture.

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