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A Short Primer for Protestors...

Discussion in 'OBOB General Politics Forum' started by Michie, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. Michie

    Michie Perch Perkins. Catholic reporter. ;) Supporter

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    Not since the Great Depression of the 1930s has there been such anger and frustration regarding both the American economic and political systems. People feel that our politicians have betrayed us, which is certainly true. And they also are beginning to think that the economic system which until recently was considered to be a model for the world has likewise let us down. Capitalism seems a failure. But if not capitalism, what is there? Is socialism the right alternative? Or is there some other way of organizing our economy in a way that serves social justice and the common good, the welfare of all citizens, not just of those with money or power?

    Continued- A Short Primer for Protestors...
     
  2. AMDG

    AMDG Tenderized for Christ

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    Interesting article, but I can't say that the description of Capitalism is correct. In real Capitalism (which does not seem to have been practiced for some time now) people are important. Without people, a business (how happy and well they are and how productive they are because of it) *will not* succeed, and when it fails, it fails--there is no "bail out". It fails and some other business, with better business sense--treating its employees even better (so the business succeeds) takes it's place. Both the small business, and the employees have a vested interest in a business succeeding (and of course, the more successful the business, the higher wages and benefits of the employees. I don't think there really can be a successful business without successful (and happy) employees.

    True Capitalism is not the Cronyism we have seen (where failing businesses get "bailed out", friends of the government get nice "bonuses", and lobbyists have free reign--where the people, who make or break the business, don't count.) And, of course, it is not a lopsided economy where only some folks are fiscally responsible and the rest are not.
     
  3. Fantine

    Fantine Dona Quixote Supporter

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    A short primer for those who didn't look at the article (hint: he's not holding a tea party....)

    It's clear that he realizes that random groupings of do-gooders running around saying "let's share" won't work.
     
  4. MKJ

    MKJ Contributor

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    The kind of effects we are seeing now are exactly what people saw as the result of capitalism at the end of the last century, and what we see in many places worldwide. Free markets do not result in distribution of real capital among working people, or employees being treated well. It has pretty much since our moden economic indistrial market system began mean wealthy owners who take advantage of employees with few or no choices. People who are forced to accept whatever conditions are put on them by employers who control jobs, and who themselves can never save enough to break out and own their own business or land.

    It wasn't until unions came on the scene and gained recognition legally that this began to change, and it was government control that made the real difference. Not some invisible hand in the free market.
     
  5. AMDG

    AMDG Tenderized for Christ

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    I know, I read it, but there is still the Catholic principle of Subsidiarity (that isn't covered in the article, and you probably would call it a "bunch of do-gooders running around that don't really help")

    And his idea of Capitalism is *not* what we have experienced for *years* (we've unfortunately expeirenced a form of government cronyism that masqurades as Capitalism (and IMO gives Capitalism a bad name). I honestly have met Capitalists and their business can't even exist unless the employees are happy and well-taken care of (paid well with good benefits.) The system is, they are innovative and caring (and their businesses are successful because of that and the knowledge that if the business fails, it fails.)
     
  6. MKJ

    MKJ Contributor

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    Distributism is based largely on the principle of subsidiarity, along with it's sister principle of solidarity.

    It's understanding of capitalism is not based on just what is happening right now - you can see it just as clearly in the writings of Chesterton and Belloc a hundred years ago.
     
  7. AMDG

    AMDG Tenderized for Christ

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    Actually what you describe is *not* what Capitalism is because I'm pretty sure that a business owner wants his business to succeed (if it doesn't, there's no "sugar daddy" to bail it out). So the owner has a vested interest in keeping his employees (the employees don't like the conditions or pay, they'll quit--find someplace else to work, or will strike out on their own.)

    And it's always been wealth and success that have brought about positive changes--not regulations. (Regulations only know how to straggle business and harm people while pretending that they are actually helping. Think I'm wrong? Okay go into a poorer than dirt village where workers would *only* be able to depend on the one particular business, put a bunch of regulations down from keeping people from working unless they can produce a certain amount, to limiting the time they are allowed to work, to forcing breaks even when they interrupt work and aren't even wanted, to putting regulations on dust, on the air people breath out to etc. Now see how many people are helped by the regulations. I'm willing to bet that when all the businesses in the area fail due to the strangle-hold of regulations, the people will suffer, because there goes their livilihoods. And unions? Err--maybe it's different in Europe, but in America they were started to *prevent* the wrong color of people from working. "Look for the union label" meant that segregationists didn't have to worry that some Chinese or Black was employed there. Now its not like that but the dues (people are forced to pay the unions in order to work) just goes to political campaigns.

    Nope it sounds like you want a moral person who knows that his/her business depends on the people who work for him/her. And mutual responsibility--that invisible hand in the free market.
     
  8. MKJ

    MKJ Contributor

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    Your definition of capitalism is that it is when owners want businesses to succeed?:confused::doh:

    In every system, people want the system to succeed. Full blown Marxists hope Marxism will work and bring prosperity and happiness too. That doesn't mean that the system is actually workable, or that it really takes account of human nature or the reality of the created world, or that in practice it won't have massive structural problems, or that it doesn't act against human rights or dignity in some way.

    Have you actually looked at what economists say capitalism is, or what it's primary characteristics are, or how it came to exist historically?

    The capitalist economic system arose right along side of the industrial revolution. And if you think that it resulted in prosperity and good living for the majority of people, you are living in your imagination, not reading any history.

    The tiny village model you are talking about isn't a great one, because it is much more like a pre-capitalist economy, or a distributist economy. A good capitalist tiny village is much more like the situations that were common at the turn of the last century, where all the fishermen or sometimes farmers in the village sold their product to a factory, or miners worked for the mine. The factory owners also owned the housing and the store, which people were obliged to use. Wages were set to cover the necessities, but no more. Any emergency meant getting an advance on wages that would be very difficult to get out of.

    The employers were in a great situation - all the wages they paid out came back in rent and food prices, and their workers were unable to leave or complain about unsafe conditions, or sell to other factories (and other factory owners would not hire them anyway.)

    Workers were stuck, unable to move, or better their lot by education or savings. Unions until protected by law were brutally suppressed, as were workers who pressed for change.

    These things changed to some degree with protection by unions, regulations for safety and minimum wages, and in some cases like where I live with coop movements - that is a move to a distributist system.

    It was this period that gave rise to socialism, because people were so disgusted and traumatized by the results of the new capitalist system in human terms.
     
  9. Fantine

    Fantine Dona Quixote Supporter

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    Right now there is an oversupply of employees and an undersupply of jobs, and so business owners don't have to worry that much about keeping their employees happy.

    One of my friends, a widow in her early sixties, needs to keep working. After losing a job, she landed a job (at a lower salary) in a government office. Her job deals in high volume repetitive paperwork (for which she, having a MS in Education, is probably overqualified.) But since she is in her sixties, she struggles and struggles with the volume. She just barely squeaked past probation but still doesn't feel much job security. She skips lunch and breaks to meet her quotas.

    Does that sound like a capitalistic economy where it's important for employees to be happy?

    And capitalistic business owners are human (and sometimes greedy.) If they can sell out to another business and realize a big profit for not working, they do it (and their employees get axed in the merger.) The companies that handle the merger (like the one that was headed by job-eliminator Mitt Romney) are the kinds of companies Occupy Wall Street is rightfully protesting against.
     
  10. AMDG

    AMDG Tenderized for Christ

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    I've met small businessman/women before. They can *only* succeed on the basis of their employees--how they treat them. Don't treat them nice--working conditions, benefits, pay otherwise the employees walk. My definition of Capitalism (the one I've actually seen work) is concerned with mutual respect of *people*. It doesn't treat people as things ("brownie points" on way to being considered a "good guy") or can it afford to "use" people (without considering them and their welfare.) It allows for free competition--no strangling regulations of keeping folks from working if they cannot produce at the desired amount, or forcing them to pay to be able to work there at all, etc. It allows for innovation--new ideas. It allows for fiscal responsibility. If the business fails, it fails--no bailing out, so there's an incentive for everyone to have business succeed. Work hard=business succeeds. Don't work hard=find another job. No "dead weight".

    No "red tape". Profits are reinvested in business (and this includes the employees. I've seen it work and so I know that this strangle hold of regulations while rewarding friends and bailing out businesses that fail is not it. What we have been calling Capitalism is really nothing more than Cronyism. And frankly, cronyism is disgusting. It really doesn't care about people. Just itself.
     
  11. Fantine

    Fantine Dona Quixote Supporter

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    Yes, there are some small businesses that treat their employees well. sylverpiano is a good small business owner. I am fortunate to work for a good small business (under fifty employees.)

    But when I look at the current economic landscape, I don't seek out the exceptions. And businesses that value their employees are now the exception in America, not the rule. Businesses that value their employees have been declining ever since the 1980's.
     
  12. MKJ

    MKJ Contributor

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    A nation composed of small businesses isn't very likely a capitalist system. Maybe you haven't noticed, but it is actually very difficult for small business to do well, and not just under what you are calling cronyism - under any type or capitalist system. If you look at the modern nations that have many small businesses, they manage it by moving away from capitalist structures to some degree or another. Small or "third world" nations that have these kind of self-employed producers as the dominant way of life have not yet really entered a capitalist, market driven system.

    This is what is being argued. Capitalism is a system based on a particular, created infrastructure. It is not small business. It is not family owned business. It is not private property. There are different forms of it, but they all depend on a market system, on a particular banking and currency system. It depends on making labour(people) and land or resources part of the market, which historically hasn't been the case in human economic life. People and resources become commodities which are used to produce wealth. It depends on making profit a defining value of the system, which again hasn't always been the case in human economic life.

    These are the elements that make a system capitalist. Some might argue some nuances here, but I'm not saying anything wildly controversial to historians or economists. People who support this kind of economic institution think it is the best for one reason or another. But people who think capitalism just means people owning private property or small businesses are simply mistaken. I suppose this belief is advantageous for those who really profit from capitalism, so they encourage people to believe that any criticism on it as a system is an attack on private property, but I would hope that with the excellent direction Catholics get on this from the CC, they wouldn't fall for it.

    If you want to know why Catholic Church documents consistantly reject capitalism, consider what it means to have an economy which 1) makes human labour and resources - the Earth - into commodities; 2) measures success in terms of economic output and material wealth; 3) separates the economic life from human life.
     
  13. Fantine

    Fantine Dona Quixote Supporter

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    Poll: More agree than disagree with Occupy Wall Street goals | The Lookout - Yahoo! News

    You can fool all of the people some of the time....but, in the case of Occupy Wall Street, conservatives can hardly fool any.

    Praise God!

     
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