community at odds with capitalism? | INFJ Forum

community at odds with capitalism?

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by TinyBubbles, Apr 22, 2010.

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  1. TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    are communal values at odds with those required to succeed in a capitalistic society?


     
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  2. enfp can be shy

    enfp can be shy people vs the bad people?
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    Nope, (the recent) communal values created capitalism. Commune = Corporation; following the pattern of tribes fighting with other tribes. Of course, wars need generals, so companies need CEOs etc.

    But this pattern clashes with Sagan's secular humanism, which doesn't view humanity as a set of tribes in battles. Also, for the longest of human existence the tribe didn't know of any other tribes, so it didn't have the communal separatist values that are considered normal today (and usually involve metaphysical beliefs and invisible hands, to deal with the inherent chaotic injustice).
     
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    #2 enfp can be shy, Apr 22, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2010
  3. Flavus Aquila

    Flavus Aquila Finding My Place in the Sun
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    I, for one, prefer buying vegetables for a tiny fraction of my income to having to either spend hours growing them, or the equivalent time working in my field to earn enough to pay for them. The fact that the supermarket chain is multinational and pays its workers a pittance is tollerable when compared to the alternatives.
     
  4. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    fa, learn automated hydroponics
     
  5. Norton

    Norton XXXX

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    Only at the extremes.
     
  6. TaylorS

    TaylorS Community Member

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    Yes. Capitalism seeks to destroy community coherence and put in place a homogeneous, atomistic society of hyper-consumerist individuals.
     
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  7. tfg345i4u5lw

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    I'm sure there is a better way. Mexicans that pick your fruit are basically slaves. I live in California and if you take the train through Central Cali you can see the living conditions that the Mexicans live in. From the train you can see their houses built from pieces of scrap metal. They are paid just barely enough for some food and water, just enough so they can have the energy to work the next day. It's sad to say but slavery still exists in America. We just don't hear about it because we "prefer buying vegetables for a tiny fraction of my income".
     
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  8. tfg345i4u5lw

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    I just left a Project Management class where we were learning how to manage resources in MS Project. There is a column in MS Project called "Resources" where you put peoples names. It was sad to see people being labeled as "Resources" and being placed in the same column as machines and production equipment. I think capitalism is a failed model because of the fact it turns people into "Resources".

    Capitalism has advanced to the point where social networks are primarily determined by the corporation you work for. Everywhere I go people are talking about the same thing; "What do you do for a living?" and "Are you in school?". I'm sick of it, I want to talk about the universe, life, creation, spirituality. I want to talk about something real.

    Maybe I just find comfort in blaming my unhappyness on our economic model. I will never know.
     
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  9. Daeledin

    Daeledin <font color=#575EC1>NVs Fanboi</font>

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    Story Time!

    I don't particularly hate capitalism outright. The last time I thought about it I looked through a lens of structural power. In a lot of cases where capitalism and/or democracy is imposed on a culture things get shaken up pretty bad. I'll say this now, democracy is not for everyone. The easiest way to spread capitalism is to make other cultures dependent on a global market. There are a few ways to do this, in-fact they are sometimes referred to as Coca-Cola's tricks of the trade.

    1. Free/cheap introduction of your product
    2. Eliminate local alternatives
    3. Create desire and make them consumers (Either by force or our common day advertising)
    4. Instill the need to 'Buy Happiness'

    Imagine if you were in a place like Papua New Guinea for example. You live in a tribe of no more than 50 people, you survive everyday on potatoes, insects, and snakes. The only thing to drink is water that you have to travel across the valley for (maybe up or down mountains depending on where your village is). One day a plane load of Coco-Cola and and some representatives come in on the single air-strip runway that is the only link to the rest of the world.

    Coke starts selling by gathering a large crowd of people just outside of the airstrip. This crowd is comprised of 80% youth and the remainder elders. The first thing the coke representative will do is stand up on a platform and hold up a glass bottle of coke and refer to it as 'Sugar Water'. He'll claim it is just as healthy and even more nutritious than regular water. The crowd is hooked. The young ones are selected to share a few bottles with each other. The disgruntled elders will scoff at the visitors and announce that this goes against the animism (they won't actually say animism) cultural beliefs of your people; the spirits will not be pleased. However by this time its too late.

    All the coke representatives ask for is the ability to sell their product to you in exchange for portions of your valley to grow sugar cane (New Guinea is extremely fertile) and access to your water source. They would need a work force to accomplish this and since Coca-Cola is a business they will hire your indigenous people to work for them so the entire village can start buying their product. This is step 1, a little of step 2 (use of water source).

    It is also step 3. Not only have they put the tribes into a work force, they have also made them consumers. More importantly they are more dependent on the world economy than before.

    There are more repercussions of course. Now with all the drinking water (and believe me the company will use at least 90% of it) going to the production of a commodity that is less nutritious (only you found out too late) you now need more help from the global economy to supply for you.

    This cycle can continue with other businesses. Now this leads to step 4: buying happiness. The transition has taken place from the previous 'gift exchange economy' to the 'market economy'. Welcome to the beginnings of industrial produced identity. With new products and gadgets slowly creeping into your native land you find a new sense of self expression that wasn't the focal point of the tribe only a short time ago. You can now buy clothes of different shapes and colors. Novelty items with no purpose in the ultimate goal of survival serve as means of expression to others around you. With all these things available you want to get your hands on them. You work more in order to buy more. Now you are 'Buying Happiness'.


    The true end to this story is actually a little more complicated. I veered off into the ideal that Coke would like to see. In reality because of New Guinean's desire to keep gift exchange around they rejected many of these things. Those that followed along were ousted for bringing in evil spirits and denounced as witches. The only industrialized citizens live in very close proximity to the airstrip. And the real corporation that profits the most is actually gold mining.


    I should probably clarify what a 'gift exchange' economy is. I keep referring to it. This is a sort of abstract way of explaining but I believe it'll get the point across.

    In a gift exchange economy the idea is not to focus on individuals but instead on the whole tribe because of the need to survive. Note that this will only be effective in small cultures in an environment where survival is the daily objective. Relationships are more valued than the commodities the people own. For example New Guineans are really big on witchcraft. It is a system that will place blame on people who have been suspected of committing wrongful acts, like a terrible affliction on a child, or someone dying in their sleep. Every time someone is accused of witchcraft two things happen.

    1. The person accused owes a debt the net worth of at least 50 tribesmen's wealth.
    2. The person is ousted from the village.

    To obtain this wealth the person accused of the witchcraft must go to all of his relationships and ask for help. The relationships were established previously by either exchange or kinship. It is considered honorable to help those in need by giving your possessions. To give you an idea on how far this goes, 1 tribe would typically only have 1 axe for all the men to share. When a tribesman is accused of witchcraft it causes a tear in the web of relationships throughout the entire tribe. The accused will move out so the tear must be repaired. It is repaired by everyone giving to the accused their possessions to pay the debt. The one that asked for the debt will then redistribute out to the others (not necessarily hand everything back to their original owners). Might sound silly. But what happened is now the accuser has just made relations with everyone the accused has ever met.

    The essence of a gift exchange economy is that you don't simply buy anything. You know the person that grew your vegetables, and the person that grew the vegetables knew the one who made the tools, and so on.

    People that participate in this economy type are very resilient to it being changed by capitalism. It not only introduces a foreign system of understanding wealth but it also destroys what binds everyone together as people.

    So...

    Is this proper to do? Well in some cases like the one above; probably no. But some places have been touched by the world well before any big corporation can stand alone to act upon it. If a corporation comes in to an over populated area to provide work for the people, even at a much reduced rate, doesn't that provide a better standard of living? You could always not go along with it, but the system is in place and you're in the middle of it. Not to mention there are so many people in the same boat who would take it if you didn't. Without any kind of starting wealth in the first place you wouldn't even be able to afford to escape it.

    While I never really consider whether or not I like or dislike capitalism on a daily basis. I do give that same sigh of discontent with it from time to time. Wishing there was another way. But honestly, can you think of one? And that system would have to be something that we can start up from inside this choke-hold the entire world is in right now.
     
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    #9 Daeledin, Apr 23, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2010
  10. Ecton

    Ecton Community Member

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    Depends on who controls the capital, really. In the US, capital has been controlled by fewer and fewer people, thus undermining communal values. Capitalism is only effective when wealth is well distributed. Without wide distribution of wealth, capitalism's balance factors reduce to a few constraints that can be controlled by a few institutions, which invariably leads to corrupt control. In this instance it was a combination of Wall Street greed and Senatorial action in the form of mandated high risk mortgages for the masses. In the last century it was in the form of industrial trusts. No political party in existence in America today will address this issue effectively, so I see no hope for healing in my lifetime.

    Perhaps I shall start a Gift giving tribe.
     
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    #10 Ecton, Apr 23, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2010
  11. muir

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    What is your definition of success? How do you measure it?

    Capitalism is about the accumulation of wealth

    This process has gone on for so long that now 181 people control $13 trillion of global assets

    These investors are so powerful that they lend money to governments which pay them interest in return

    Governments are very keen to decrease their budget deficits right now because if they don't then the capitalist investors can charge more interest on their loans

    Think about that for a minute. A handful of people are controlling the worlds wealth. Governments are underwriting loans with you as the collateral

    That is what capitalism means...the accumulation of wealth....well that process has been going on for a while now which means the wealth has consolidated into few hands. Increasingly public money is shifting into private hands giving more and more of the power away

    How does that fit into a concept of 'democracy' where you supposedly have a say in what happens. It is an illusion of democracy

    In a game of wealth accumulation the values which are most prized are: wealth, status and fame....these are how success is measured in a capitalist society

    What is important to remember is that money isn't real. It is a concept. Most money is just numbers on a computer screen.

    What this means is that a small number of people are using an illusion to maintain their power over you and everyone else
     
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  12. tfg345i4u5lw

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    Very well said.
     
  13. WaeV

    WaeV Community Member

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    I think that the empathy granted to INFJs by their Fe function leads them to innately support a "let's all help each other out" attitude. "How could anyone be so selfish as to withhold their power to help others?" they might ask. It's reasonable to assume that selfish people are also liars, cheaters, scammers, and stealers, and everyone talks about a few choice examples of evil such as coca-cola mentioned above (which was even admitted to be a falsehood). There are people who lie, cheat, and scam the capitalist system, but this is true of any system.

    The truth is that, in the end, Capitalism represents freedom. The freedom to do and make what you like, and to keep it. The freedom to buy, sell, and trade with whom you like. The freedom to choose your own career. When you think "Capitalism," think of the man you met on the street, your barber, your local hardware store owner, your teachers, your neighbors, your friends. And then think of everything they have - electricity, food conveniently stored in an electric refridgerator, skiis and/or snowboards for winter fun, a vehicle which can take them to visit their friends or to visit the ocean, a safe and warm place to live, etc. These are all products of Capitalism.

    As muir said, the important thing to remember is that money isn't real. I wish for the power to eat what I like, live where I wish, and to provide for those whom I care for. Money will allow me to do that, and Capitalism allows me the freedom to make money.


    Edit: So to tie this back into the original question, I think that as a whole capitalism is objectively the best way to produce wealth, and that per person, wealth is best liquidated in a subjective manner according to what may be considered as communal values.
     
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    #13 WaeV, Apr 30, 2010
    Last edited: May 3, 2010
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  14. muir

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    The 'truth' is that capitalism is not sustainable

    You have cheap goods because your country has run up a huge trade deficit

    Capitalism is about consumption which is using up the worlds finite resources

    The 181 global investors i mentioned before have told the worlds largest economies that they must create an investment environment which will allow the transition to a low carbon economy...this is effectively an admission from capitalism that it is ruining the atmosphere

    Even if that process happens swiftly there will be fresh problems for capitalism to face because it is: wasteful, destructive and is excluding large parts of the worlds population who will not die out quietly

    It is illogical to say: warm homes, transport and fridges are products exclusive to capitalism; they are not...i'm not even sure how to go about addressing a point that is so out of the realms of reality

    Capitalism does not represent freedom. This forum is full of threads discussing the limitations of peoples freedoms under capitalism.

    The trick capitalism pulled is replacing the physical chains of slavery with invisible chains. You are bound by contracts and debt to wage slavery. Even if you have no personal debt you will pay off your country's debt through taxes.

    If you don't believe me try not working for a few months (or years depending on the size of your savings) and see what happens. You are a wage slave
     
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    #14 muir, Apr 30, 2010
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  15. WaeV

    WaeV Community Member

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    It's clear to me that I can't convince you to change your opinion, just as it's a slim possibility that you can change mine. I'm responding regardless partly because it's fun, and partly because I hope others reading this from a third perspective realize some greater thruth through our debate.

    This is a regrettable truth about the United States. Our government falsely manipulated interest rates with the intention of benefiting our economy, inadvertently causing the 2008 burst of the bubble. Our government covers our trade deficit to China by selling them more and more bonds. China is ammasing a great amount of wealth at our expense. The Obama administration is spending more and more with seemingly no intention of repaying our debt.

    Yet all of this is a problem with our government, not the idea of Capitalism. Our government meddles and we pay the cost. Meddling goes against the idea of freedom, which is what Capitalism stands for. Ergo, our governments failures stem from departing from true Capitalism.

    I don't think it's an admission that they're ruining the atmosphere so much as an appeal to public opinion. I agree that there is a great deal of pollution going into the atmosphere at present, but I also think that the earth can hold out for a few more years while we naturally transition towards renewable fuel. We're going to run out of oil in, what, fifty years? The scaricity will naturally drive prices up, and formerly expensive methods of acquiring energy will become cheaper and fill the gap. I'm not worried. This also has little to do with Capitalism. Capitalism is about free-trade, about the concept of laissez-faire - "hands off!"

    Capitalism is... what? I may be misinterpreting you here, but if you intended to say that "Capitalism is excluding large parts of the world's population who happen to be less-fortunate," then my answer is that those areas of the world are not Capitalistic. Also, before Capitalism took hold around the time of the Industrial Revolution, we didn't have nearly the same amount of power to help those in need as we do now. Capitalism breeds wealth, which can be liquidated into whatever individuals like. Charity, food, warmth, whatever.

    Well they of course aren't exclusive, but I guarantee that everything I named was provided through Capitalism, as a product of Capitalism. I'm sorry you misinterpreted me, perhaps I wasn't being clear. Those products were provided with ease becasue of the generally-Capitalistic nature of the United States economy.

    To me, Capitalism is defined by laissez-faire trade. See the quote below:

    Laissez faire, telle devrait
     
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  16. Norton

    Norton XXXX

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    When socialism or other alternative non-market driven economies fail (as they usually do), or are in the process of failing, "black markets" and other free markets emerge because capitalism (at least, with a small "c") is natural and inevitable. Capitalism may even be in our genes just like some claim religion to be. Government run economies and especially command economies are eventually always abject failures.
     
  17. enfp can be shy

    enfp can be shy people vs the bad people?
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    I agree that any market requires religious / metaphysical beliefs, to justify itself; but not that it's natural. From anthropological, biological and historical point of view, it rather seems unnatural, irrational and holding back the human development, similarly to slavery itself. The whole measuring of people's worth should be illegal, just like trading people is.
     
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  18. Gaze

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    Well, it really depends on the purpose of community and goals of capitalism. They can be mutually inclusive and exclusive. It's a paradox. They feed each other, but they exploit each other as well. They survive because of their symbiotic, possibly parasitic relationship to each other. Capitalism supports development of community, and community directly or indirectly supports capitalist values in order to sustain itself and survive.
     
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  19. OP
    TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    natural doesn't always equate to good. infrastructure such as that which has brought us together through the internet is a good thing, right? it is certainly not natural.

    how else would you select between who is, for eg. a good worker or a good friend, if you didn't judge them by (your own personal, subjective) standards of worth? i think measuring people's worth, as unfair as it can be, is pretty intrinsic to human nature; it probably couldn't be excised from our decision-making if we tried.

    i disagree with norton though that capitalism might be in our genes. i wouldn't take it that far; we do have a natural predisposition towards certain aspects of capitalism, but i'm sure there are better ways out there. and most modern societies are mixtures of capitalism & socialism, and are only partly democratic and are in some ways dictatorships.
     
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    TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    interesting idea, could you elaborate? in what ways does the community support capitalism, and vice versa?
     
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