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Thread: Economic/Political models

  1. #1
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Economic/Political models

    I am very interested in this topic... some thoughts, and some background:

    Some of my favorite books in college were books about utopian societies. What is best for the whole AND what is most conducive to the self-actualization of the individual is extremely interesting to me.

    Of course there are no perfect models, because there are no perfect humans. But because we live in a 1st World that is largely capitalist, I am really interested in not assuming that that means capitalism is the best economic model. In fact, I would challenge that it's not.

    I am also not interested in a collectivist society, like communism. I believe there is a middle ground somewhere--for instance, I do like Bernie's brand of Democratic Socialism (PLEASE don't call it socialism/communism--it's not). I'm also really interested in Distributism--which, again, DON'T be fooled into thinking that distributism is about taking money from the rich and giving to the poor (redistribution of wealth). It's not.

    Here's another thought (I'm totally rambling): A lot of my progressive Catholic friends find it appalling that right-wing Catholics think they are fulfilling Christ's mission to think of the least among us. (This topic has come up again in the wake of Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to Supreme Court).

    And finally, here's my third thought in a collection of entirely random jottings: One of the people on a FB group I follow--fans of Charles Eisenstein (the author of Sacred Economics and proponent of the gift economy), posted this interesting article that states that people are less selfish under capitalism: https://fee.org/articles/people-are-...er-capitalism/

    And my final thought (and here is my dark side coming out--I wound up infrequently vile on UL's test and here is my vile side): in spite of how generous we have been with my BIL, and we are ONLY charging him $350/mo rent--when my husband asked him to ship his bagpipes up here to VT, he insisted on being allowed to deduct the shipping costs from his rent.

    Also, he wound up in tens of thousands of credit card debt when he had his financial meltdown last year and went into collections on 5 cards, and my lawyer son was able to save him about $15,000 in settlements and preserve BIL's credit rating at the same time. Yet, when my son asked to borrow $400 for an emergency, BIL called him every day until my son paid him back.

    I have no idea what my BILs stingy behavior has to do with economic systems, but I feel it ties in somehow.

    Any other random thoughts? If capitalism were to be outlawed globally, what is your second choice of economic/political system?
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Ok, I’ll bite. Tell me what “distributism” means to you in the context you posted about if it is not about taking more money from those who have it to give to those that do not have it.

    Your BIL is that way because he never had to pay for the roof over his head. And while he is a lovely illustration of what happens when a human has little to no skin in the game of self support, an anecdote represents only one data point. I wouldnt base an entire economic system on his actions other than keeping in mind how and where humans will fail.

    just a note to say your BIL continues to be saved by you guys, so why wouldnt he be all entitled to his own stuff? After all, your stuff is his stuff, but his stuff is his stuff.in his mind of course.

    what the heck would be wrong with his credit rating taking a plunge? I would have wasted 0 time and effort on bailing him out.
    Last edited by iris lilies; 7-11-18 at 11:39am.

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    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    If capitalism were to be outlawed globally, what is your second choice of economic/political system?
    That is a fascinating question, and could well be the foundation of a cool sci-fi/adventure book series.

    Consider the implications: "if capitalism were to be outlawed globally..." - that implies that there is some sort of global entity with the power and presumption to outlaw voluntary mutually-beneficial relationships between consenting adults. The ability and intent to use force to outlaw such a basic human liberty....

    I think I would in such a circumstance feel compelled to resist.

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    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    As to what system I'd prefer, I'd prefer a libertarian anarcho-syndicalist setup, but again I suspect that only works in a sci-fi setting, because in my experience humans aren't particularly good at ruling even themselves, don't make rational decisions, often don't even act in their own interests, and are prone to the madness of crowds.

    I think Plato probably ultimately had the best view on things, in The Republic, Book VIII. Worth reading even today.

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    I'm not sure what the article on selfishness and capitalism was about, I'm not sure what it was contrasting (which economies exactly?) nor did it seem to be based on much data at all except donations to charity and I'm not sure that making people unselfish really is an end in itself (but that is almost a spirituality discussion, and is the goal of policy really to engender some inner state of altruism or something regardless of any external measures?). If you have lots of unselfishness and still very high rates of poverty how much is actually achieved etc.?

    Personally, I have always liked old soviet bloc people who grew up in the days it was still the USSR (before it turned to a ridiculously corrupt form of market economy). And that is as anecdotal as the article.

    As for your brother in law and economic systems, I'm not sure it much relates. I mean I guess the question is what economic system could prevent people from becoming like your brother in law and I don't know if any could entirely. For some people who go down an unproductive road perhaps a system with lots of opportunities and forgiveness where mistakes didn't derail people permanently. Like say a person engaged in criminality or addiction when young then I guess you want systems to have lots of rehabilitation for such people so they don't go down a bad or at least unproductive road for life. I think such might have helped or might help the *permanently* dependent people that I know! If anything at all would that is! But I don't know that that is even your brother in laws problem, I don't know how he got that way . Maybe he is just somewhat off mentally, you have often mentioned that.

    If capitalism were to be outlawed globally, what is your second choice of economic/political system?
    ideally? some form of direct worker ownership (worker co-ops, anachro-syndicalism etc.) with ecological awareness built in to everything. What would work practically? Quite honestly nothing modern is entirely sustainable, but some choices are less bad and less brutal than others is all.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ApatheticNoMore View Post
    Personally, I have always liked old soviet bloc people who grew up in the days it was still the USSR (before it turned to a ridiculously corrupt form of market economy). And that is as anecdotal as the article.
    https://www.marxists.org/reference/a...1930/01/21.htm

    11 million dead.

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    Noone who I am referring to that grew up in the old Soviet union would have grown up under Stalin, that's a much older generation. We're talking maybe Brezhnev - Gorbachev.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    I have no idea what my BILs stingy behavior has to do with economic systems, but I feel it ties in somehow.
    Your BIL is maximizing his capital. In a pure free market, people who didn't also benefit in a transaction with him, would cease to work with him. But he has you and your husband, who no matter what, continue to.

  9. #9
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bae View Post
    That is a fascinating question, and could well be the foundation of a cool sci-fi/adventure book series.
    True--I love utopia/dystopia sci-fi books.

    Ok, I’ll bite. Tell me what “distribution” means to you in the context you posted about if it is not about taking more money from those who have it to give to those that do not have it.
    From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributism

    According to distributists, property ownership is a fundamental right,[4] and the means of production should be spread as widely as possible, rather than being centralized under the control of the state (state capitalism), a few individuals (plutocracy), or corporations (corporatocracy). Distributism, therefore, advocates a society marked by widespread property ownership.[5] Co-operative economist Race Mathews argues that such a system is key to bringing about a just social order.[6]


    I'd prefer a libertarian anarcho-syndicalist setup,
    I am also reading more about anarchism in all its different flavors. I'm not opposed to it.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    This point has come up in thought at different times in my life.

    I remember reading about the system that some North American indigenous groups used. Resources were the common good; men were the hunters and defenders; women maintained the home base and elected women leaders who in turn chose the male leaders who made the decisions for the group or clan. If any of the male leaders didn't serve properly, the female leaders could simply decide to remove him. I read somewhere that a young Ben Franklin saw this process in action and it inspired him in his role in the future of the US.

    Could this be made practical in our society at present? Individualism, personal greed and need for control is too strong; society is too manipulated by magnetic leaders, political, religious and military; people are too complacent wanting ease and comfort rather than personal efforts to take care of and protect themselves and others; human nature being what it is, will someone always try to bully others by any means?
    So in answer, who was it that said something like - Democracy stinks but is better than every other government?
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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