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  • Capitalism is Opposed to Human Happiness Debate, Volume 2

    A Debate with
    the community of PoliticsForum.org

    Part #9

    Posts #041-#045

    By Oemebamo
    Image: By Oemebamo, CC BY-NC 2.0

    Post #41

    Red Barn...
    Date: Wed 21 Jul 2010
    Praxeology is a science, not a method of investigation, and it does not make that claim but announces itself as a deductive science, which is not at all the same thing. Praxeology starts with the basic truism "man acts purposefully" and then uses logic to deduce the totality of the science. Statistics are great for fooling idiots, but it is only through understanding human action that we can understand how the economy works, after all, the economy is based entirely on the decisions and choices that people make.

    This is a bizarrely circuitous sort of statement.

    We all know that the social sciences allow for both inductive and empirical methodologies. Fine. But this hardly implies that the conclusions drawn or the results achieved by either method are exempt from scrutiny once applied.

    Its one thing to say that you reject statistics as a basis on which to found a theory of economics; its another thing entirely to claim that the concrete results of the theory's application are somehow exempt from measurement after the fact.

    The rejection of mundane realities may be acceptable in metaphysics, but certainly not in any school of thought calling itself a "science."

    Post #42

    Date: Wed 21 Jul 2010

    (2) There is an inequality of bargaining power between the Capitalist and the laborer; or the one who possesses the factories and mines against the one who creates, maintains, and works them. They need each other, yes, but the worker needs the Capitalist far, far more. This inequality of need, just like any situation where bargaining occurs, leads to an inequality of bargaining power -- and, similarly, an inequality of outcome. No worker can live without having some tools of production, but the majority of these tools are possessed by a very few. Herein leads to the inequality of bargaining power. This means that the laborer must be content to give away a portion of their production to the sustenance of the Capitalist. And, furthermore, it shall be up to the Capitalist to decide whether to plough the fields or harvest them -- whether or not the workers are able or hungry. Food will be destroyed or dumped into the ocean, for instance, when trying to sell it would lead to price declines or lessened profit.

    This, kids, is what you get when people accept the Marxist theory of value, which is completely outdated.

    Post #043

    Red Barn...
    Date: Wed 21 Jul 2010

    ^ And how exactly is it "outdated?"

    It seems to me that post-industrial technological advancements leading to ever greater increases in productivity (and the concomitant lag in wages already discussed) only underscore the validity and usefulness of this concept.

    Would you care to back up your statement - or are you, too, a member of the Blind Faith School?

    Post #044

    Date: Mon 19 Jul 2010

    Here is how the labor theory of value is worse than the more modern approach of looking at (marginal) utility.

    One day I spent 10 hours writing a piece of software A. Another day, I spent 2 hours writing an unrelated piece of software B. The labor theory of value implies A is 5 times more valuable than B. Valuable to whom? Certainly not to me, since I deleted A since that turned out to be a total mistake and useless to anybody, and kept B which is more useful hence more valuable. It's more practical to value things by (marginal) utility than by how many hours were spent working on it.

    Post #045

    Date: Wed 21 Jul 2010

    Your justification for Capitalism is that it has a "propensity for production." I pointed out slavery, because it could be justified on the same ground. Ipso facto, we need a better justification than "Oh, this system can produce! It's good enough for me!"

    You do realize that you could've saved us a lot of time by just saying, in response to this:

    Human individuals can either work to increase production or increase consumption at any time. This is a priori.
    Increased production increases overall material wealth.
    Concentrated profits are more likely to be saved.
    Savings, by the use of interest, are more often used for investment.
    Investment is almost always used for increasing production.
    Workers are basically paid by how much they produce, so they can't consume resources that they didn't make without getting loans.
    Loans, if paid back, allow for more investment.
    Therefore, worker wages and capitalist profit increases production and thus material wealth

    , that you hold virtually zero value for material well-being through production when it's underneath the idea of maximizing well-being through bargaining. Well, this cuts back more than half of our arguments, unless you want to continue arguing over something that you blatantly think is impractical to affirming or defeating your thesis.
    I just realized that this perception is based on certain possible foundational ideas:
    You hold the idea that increased production is limited when compared to increases in bargaining gains.
    Or you have a moral stance of avoiding the risks in current life.
    There's possibly more, but I can't of any for now.

    ...Chop chop:

    It is true that economics is limited often in its interpretation of numbers, but this argument fails in the cases I present. As I pointed out in Kropotkin's research, the conclusions are based on census data and avaliable, commercial information. You are completely free to reject their interpretations of the evidence or to criticize them for lack of evidence; but they are all based on human activity.

    After all, you know Austrian school full well. Praxeology is its fundamental method of investigation, which claims no information can be gained from statistical analysis of the economy! This is, of course, in contradiction to your statement, "I like numbers, not perceptions." If that's the case, then please stop talking about Austrian and Monetarism. My main concern, of course, is that you may not understand these ideas, which is why I'd like you to speak them. Naturally, if you "like numbers," you're not a follower of the Austrian School. Ludwig Von Mises, the Austrian economist, used the phrase "Praxeology" to define a research of the economic based on human nature and completely opposed to number analysis. (Ludwig von Mises, Nationalökonomie (Geneva: Union, 1940), p. 3; Human Action (Auburn, Ala.: Mises Institute, [1949] 1998), p. 3.)

    Oh, all that reading is going to make this argument sluggish and so annoying.

    And why should anyone care about fully following ideologies when the matter at hand involves merely simple theories proposed by those systems, such as how I was only speaking of the Austrian Theory of the Business Cycle and its somewhat, however little, counterpart Monetarist Theory? I have less care of Praxeology than I have hatred of listening to pure bullcrap spewed from ideological minds that, when not given some evidence, seem like they bend reality to their wishes. There, the clarification of my stance has been made.

    That is to say, in terms of economics, we are studying one thing and one thing: material self-interest and profit. So, when anything is done in terms of economics, it is always done for profit, whether or not it succeeds. This is one of the essential premises of the Austrian School, and, in fact, I would go so far as to say of all of economics entirely.

    Everything is done for gain or an avoidance of disaster. Let's say I want to be healthy. I could either run or I could get a weight-lifting machine. I chose to run. Why did I pick running? I probably did it for the cardio, which would let me live longer.

    Here's how you speak: Capitalists destroy their own goods for profit. In every example, it's done for profit. Why is it done for profit? Profit. Profit. Profit.

    You limit your arguments by applying one word that's supposed to make everything work.


    Liberty, something that wasn't done to the American Black Slaves, is something that helps docility, for how can you be angry at some halfway decent country, as how you describe it? Also, there is less reason to fear revolt when you're safely far away from the slaves, something that the British were instead of the Americans.

    I did not describe the largest slave-trading empire as "some halfway decent country." Rather, I pointed out specifically that they withheld unnecessary brutality and cruelty upon the colonies, strictly with the intent of pacifying unrest. It is as Sun Tzu said, "...supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting." ("Art of War," Chapter 3.) The British empire did not care about fighting -- it was only concerned with winning, with maintaining its spoils of conquered peoples. Even Machiavelli describes these tactics in "the Prince," where he tells rulers to engage in any cruelty that is necessary, and at the same time, "...men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot..." (Chapter 3)

    That is not a problem.

    (a) Overworking people has not led to keeping them controlled.

    (b) As proof of (a): The most violent revolutions, the French and Russian, resulted from a people who were extremely overworked.

    Didn't you say that people were crazy and stupid? I'll point it out later, but let's add racist as well.
    Honestly, how can you use examples to define the entirety of human treatment of inferiors, when all methods worked to some degree or failed miserably in so many other cases?
    I realized another argument: slaves are not paid wages, so hourly work doesn't matter, so overwork is fine.

    No, it was fixed supply, because it was mutual destruction of commodities by Capitalists. It was not a "very specific case of Dutch supply," either. I pointed out railroad corporations, banking corporations, oil corporations, etc., etc.. I also referred you to a wide text that covered extensively hundreds of monopolies and production fixing, with more than half of its pages on GoogleBooks. (See "An Encyclopedia of White-Collar Crime," by Lawrence Sallinger.)

    We were talking about the Dutch example. You can keep changing the subject to avoid the heart of your arguments, but it won't help either of us, so explain, in as MUCH DETAIL as you can, why the Dutch did it.


    That's a geographic monopoly, an oligopoly in a broad sense but the controller of everything in the sense that it occupies a certain area at a cheaper price. A real monopoly would be able to raise prices without backlash due to a complete lack of competition.

    I didn't say that phone lines were an oligopoly. I said they were a natural monopoly, which is what most economics textbooks regard them as. Similarly, I disagree with your definition of "Oligopoly." I'll take the first sentence of the Wikipedia article on it as more appropriate: "...a market form in which a market or industry is dominated by a small number of sellers (oligopolists)."

    Yes, you didn't say that.
    Yes, you said that they are a natural monopoly.
    The war of definitions is stupid. In fact, we should stop it because it is so pointless.


    Since humans sometimes have crazy desires or bad patience for acquiring new things, we should do everything we can to make sure that this depravity doesn't go even lower! If they can't restrain themselves from buying luxuries with the cost of Interest, how can they be expected to live in a world where they earn more money and can freely take from others?

    If people are selfish and crazy, then why do I want them owning the machinery and land that I need to live?

    And if people are not selfish and crazy, then why do they need to have economic masters over them?

    Here is how you stated that people are crazy and selfish:
    You: Look at this example.
    Me: Well, that example means that the average person is, as how you perceived what I said, "crazy and selfish."
    You: Well, I still stand by my awesome example! If people really are sane and not selfish, then my example couldn't possibly exist, because people wouldn't buy anything to make the current American conditions!

    Anyway, this is a Red Herring, I think. I was speaking of how the common people mostly affect current and thus future production with their consumption and lack of patience to work for their earnings, and you turned it into a case of, 'So according to your argument, people are crazy and the producers are in line with them, or they are not and I'm somehow right!' Look, this is a simple case of how demand affects current supply and thus future supply, thanks to the consumption habits of the multitudes. This is not a matter of who's in charge but who is consuming what, nothing to do with social ownership. But, you don't think that this matters anyway, so there's nothing to do but let this part of the argument die. I have merely responded to analyze your arguments in this last part, not to talking about something that you just don't think matters, so I'm done right now.

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