> Hmm, a long thoughtful reply.
> I don't have time at the moment to reply to your reply in full,
> but I want to point out one or two points that I strongly disagree
> COMPETITION in the place of monopoly is a recipe for pollution and
> resource destruction, not to mention rock-bottom wages, so long as we
> have anything like our existing capitalist system.
That's only because it's COMPETITION IN THE TERMS OF THE LION. In the jungle you must compete or die at the hands of the lion. But he fears another kind of competition: COMPETITION FROM COOPERATIVE ENTERPRISES. It's like the shark having the sardines compete among themselves for scraps. What he fears though is the sardines getting together, and having a real option among themselves. The sardines would surely take care of the environment if they are not forced to compete. It happens with the kibbutz, where their impact on the environment is very light, in large part because they are far less consumeristic. And yet kibbutz are highly competitive with the outside world. So the solution is a mix of both, COMPETITION and COOPERATION.
"The solution that leftists propose is the creation of a sustainable
economy. This would involve holding the population constant through
birth control, and using resources no faster than they could be
replaced. We would then use our abundance and technology to allow
everyone a good standard of living. There would be no need to compete
for survival, and no need to kill anyone to survive. This would tilt the
balance towards cooperation, not competition. Critics charge that humans
are naturally competitive animals -- after all, they evolved that way.
To create a perfectly cooperative society, they charge, is both
impossible and utopian. This is certainly true, but fortunately, there
is a way around it. Competition for survival is only one of the many
thousands of ways that humans compete. Humans also fulfill their desire
to compete through games, sports, contests, social status, career
status, academic status, even mating. Eliminating the need to compete
for survival would hardly eliminate the countless other ways that humans
compete. Competition could still be used to improve society, even a
sustainable one." http://webspawner.co...rs/donquijote14
> Total centralized economic planning on the old Soviet model doesn't
> work, either, but "free market competition" as most libertarians
> imagine it is just awful, both for the environment and for working
> I'm doing a lot of reading these days on Great Britain during and just
> after the Industrial Revolution (1780 - 18450 for the IR, with the
> aftermath stretching into the early 1900s), and the "free market"
> orthodoxy that prevailed in this period had horrible effects: grossly
> polluted rivers, grossly polluted air, factories and mines where
> children under the age of 10 worked up to 60 to 70 hours a week. And
> an emerging sector of "sweatshop" industries where displaced artisan
> workers turned themselves into very, very small, self-employed
> capitalists -- really, just self-employed workers -- and came close to
> starving while putting in weeks of up to 90 hours.
> Victorian libertarianism, aka "Liberalism" and "Radicalism," mostly
> condoned these disgusting conditions on the grounds that the
> competitive market could do no wrong. It was a few Tory and/or
> Conservative politicians, notably Benjamin Disraeli and the Earl of
> Shaftesbury, who pushed through factory legislation and sanitary laws
> -- most of it in the teeth of Liberal opposition -- to bring a modicum
> of humanity to the factory system and to begin a very belated clean-up
> of the polluted water and air.
> If you want to talk about a market system that's under strict
> government regulation, or that's controlled at the level of the
> individual industry or trade by powerful trade guilds, that might work.
> During the Middle Ages in England and in a number of other European
> countries, urban trade guilds did an impressive job of taming the
> market so that buying and selling and investing could occur, but only
> under strict rules that safeguarded the interests of consumers and (to
> a lesser extent) workers.
> The trade guilds were not really labor unions, I believe; the
> historians I've read portray them as associations of small businessmen
> in each individual sector and individual city. Originally organized as
> religious societies and drinking clubs, they evolved into a mechanism
> for restricting competition in each trade, since a merchant or artisan
> belonging to the guild had to agree to limits on advertising, product
> quality, the employment of apprentices (no more than two per workshop
> in some trades), and the hours of work per day. (In many trade guilds,
> for example, night work was forbidden -- you couldn't steal an
> advantage from your competitors by keeping your apprentices and
> journeymen up all night turning out extra woolen cloth or extra shoes
> or whatever.)
> The trade guilds certainly weren't perfect, and some evolved into
> institutions that advanced the fortunes of the master workers at the
> expense of the journeymen and the apprentices over time. But they
> provided a stability to the medieval economy that England lacked during
> the rapid growth of the Industrial Revolution, and they banned the
> worst forms of exploitation of the apprentice and journeymen laborers.
> When they worked well, they insured that human beings controlled "the
> market," rather than "the market" controlling human beings. And it was
> largely when the old guild system was abolished in the late 1700s and
> early 1800s, with Parliament repealing the Elizabethan Statute of
> Artificers in 1813-1814, that the severe overworking of British labor
> and the radical instability of British industrial production really
> A green economy that allowed the organization of the economy by trade
> guilds or labor guilds or cooperatives, with private individuals or
> groups of individuals owning the factories, farms and offices in the
> place of some Big Brother government, might be a good thing.
> A "radical" economy devoted to unrestricted free trade and free
> competition, however, might bring back the British sweatshop industries
> of the late Victorian era and insure that each factory, in order to
> produce goods at the lowest possible price, would dump poisons into the
> environment. Some of the most poverty-stricken sweatshop workers,
> simply to survive brutal competition with each other, might be
> motivated to poison and destroy the environment, too.
> I used to be a rightwing libertarian, a long time ago, and I respect
> where most of them are coming from in terms of their belief in
> individual liberties, political freedom, and the virtues of hard work.
> Many libertarians of today, like the "classical liberal" and
> "Manchester School" businessmen of the 1850s in England, also are
> opposed to imperialism and war - which is great. In this side of
> libertarianism, there are many things to admire.
> But the libertarian belief in the unregulated "free market" is just not
> supported by history, or for that matter by capitalist economics when
> the economics is studied very carefully. Competition may be a
> Darwinian fact of life; some competition may be inevitable, but
> unrestricted competition kills both human beings and ecosystems. At
> the extremes, as Thomas Hobbes pointed out, unrestricted competition
> leads to a "state of nature," a war of all against all in which the
> life of humanity becomes "solitary, nasty, brutish and short." Social
> mechanisms for cooperation are what's needed.
Thanks for all the valuable input.
Well, I agree with you, except that in a state of true competition you would have places--such as coops, unions and guilds--where you can cooperate--and survive. If there was COMPETITION between between sweat shops and coops, where the good life is guaranteed even without money, those going to work for the sweat shops would be truly stupid, and deserving of their fate. Naturally people is not THAT stupid, and the sweat shops would have to behave--or else disappear.
Remember is not about weakening the shark, it's about giving strength to the sardines. http://webspawner.co...ers/donquijote1