Thursday, October 08, 2009

Econo Me

I got sidetracked into joining a debate on Facebook on capitalism and socialism... I'm more for Buddhism, but I think it has something to say about the former two isms, so here's pieces of the debate that I got caught up in:

S: You're right. No one should be afraid of socialism. Just look at the wonders it did in the USSR, East Germany, Cuba, and lets not forget the perfect socialist state North Korea. Yep, that is one system that has no flaws. Facts are Moore hates his country and should move to North Korea where I'm sure his love of control would be welcomed. Bet the Dear Leader even has his movies on hand!

Me: No one should be afraid of helping others, doing a good turn daily, being kind and sharing both material and immaterial benefits with others, etc. Capitalism is a sick system, and the alternative is not socialism, it is kindness unto others. If this world had been based on actually helping each other find peace and happiness, things like capitalism wouldn't exist; we wouldn't see the need to compete with each other or consume things beyond our means. If that seems too fairyland idealistic, trying being nice to someone some day... you'll change their world.

S: Without competition you have stagnation. Capitalism gave us some of most generous people of all time. Noble, Carnagi, Westinghouse, and millions of folks like me who give without fanfare or being asked because our society has allowed me to obtain more then I need and I choose to dispose of it my way. I don't need a socialist leader telling me who to help. But don't mix up economics with values. They never balance out.

Me: What are we competing for? Whatever it is, let it stagnate; let it die a quick death. You're fooling yourself if you think there's something out there we're striving to achieve. Happiness is internal; our capitalist ideologies have created a rat race on a hamster wheel... we're going nowhere but down and we're taking the whole world with us.

You've got to be kidding me if you're really saying that capitalism has created generosity. Is that why 90% of the people in the world live in poverty so that a select few can follow the 'merican dream? Read more

In some ways, I think we do need a socialist leader telling us who to give to... it's clear the 10% of people in the world with 85% of the wealth won't do it otherwise... an easier solution would be to simply stop our obsessive infatuation with imaginary numbers in imaginary bank accounts and dirty pieces of ugly paper worth less than the ink it took to print them. Economy sucks... big time.


A: Ridiculous. Capitalism is an economic system that dictates the way capital is controlled. It's a tool that, if used inappropriately, can lead to inequity. Any tool, used this way, could have the same effect. To state that capitalism is responsible for inequity would be the same as stating guns are responsible for murdering people and cars are responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer. The fact is, someone has to pull the trigger and get behind the wheel. We create laws regarding the use of guns and cars in our society and so we need to do the same with the use of capital.

Me: Yeah, Abe... and Satanism is just a religion, a tool. Ever heard of "structural violence"? Capitalism is based on greed; if people stop buying stuff they don't need, it collapses. It fosters competition and rivalry rather than support and sharing. It says, if you don't get out there and waste your life working in someone else's factory, you don't deserve to live. Could you imagine a family based on capitalism? Where, instead of eating together at the table, we all had to work all day and got fed according to how hard we worked? Would you consider that just an "economic system"? We don't need to regulate capital, we need to abolish it. Let's start working to help each other for a change. That's what gets you into heaven. Otherwise we bring hell upon ourselves. There is no such thing as good capitalism, it is a bad idea on a bad path to no where; there's no need to blame capitalism, blame the people who decided it was a good idea to base our civilization on consumerism in the first place.

And as for guns, I'm wondering what you would have people do with them besides kill each other? Guess we should legalize heroin too... it's just a tool.

A: Pffffffft. Ok then... and back on planet earth we find reality persists.

Me: Yep, hell in a handbasket... I'm off to heaven :)