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Is capitalism the answer?

Discussion in 'News & Current Events' started by TruelightUK, May 16, 2002.

  1. TruelightUK

    TruelightUK Tilter at religious windmills

    441
    +1
    In another thread, Maranatha said:
    I'd appreciate other people's thoughts on this, for example:

    Is this what capitalism is truly all about?

    In such a system, what happens to those who are too weak, too disabled or disadvantaged to compete with their more viable neighbours?

    How do these capitalist ideals relate to Christian / Biblical concepts of social justice and compassion?

    Anthony
     
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  2. strathyboy

    strathyboy Active Member

    761
    +1
    I don't believe capitalism is the answer. Some "socialist" measures that have been implemented in Canada (most of these have been implemented in the US as well) include: universal education, child labour laws, minimum wage laws, graduated income tax, universal suffrage, subsidized healthcare, unemployment insurance, welfare, and the institution of state holidays. All of these things were advocated by Uncle Karl, and make life better for everybody in those nations (in my own humble opinion).
    In the bible, it sounds as though the early Christians lived within a commune-type society, in which they shared ownership of everything and everyone received goods according to their needs. I would contend that a socialist society made up entirely of Christians would stand a better chance of success, and could be as close to a utopian society as possible.
     
  3. StogusMaximus

    StogusMaximus Well-Known Member

    +6
    Protestant
    Who wins in a socialist society?
    Who is driven to succeed in a socialist society?
     
  4. strathyboy

    strathyboy Active Member

    761
    +1
    "Who wins in a socialist society?
    Who is driven to succeed in a socialist society?"

    Define "winning". Is winning amassing a huge personal fortune? Is winning having a better job than all your friends? Is winning being able to own everything you've ever wanted? Does he who dies with the most toys win?
     
  5. StogusMaximus

    StogusMaximus Well-Known Member

    +6
    Protestant
    Socialism:

    Imagine you are an 18yr old who just graduated from high school, and you are faced with a decision about your future. You can go to college, get a degree and then do anything you want to. You can be an entrepreneur and start your own business, you can work 12-18 hours a day and become a CEO of a fortune 500 company, or you can work at McDonalds. Now whatever you choose to do, the government is going to take your money, split it up and divide it among the society.

    Capitalism:

    Imagine you are an 18yr old who just graduated from high school, and you are faced with a decision about your future. You can go to college, get a degree and then do anything you want to. You can be an entrepreneur and start your own business, you can work 12-18 hours a day and become a CEO of a fortune 500 company, or you can work at McDonalds. Now whatever you choose to do, you will be rewarded based on your performance and the amount of effort you put forth. If you work hard and devote your time and energy to succeed, you will, and you will get the benefits. If you choose not to work hard, you will not get the benefits.


    Why would you put out the extra effort, if you are going to get the same results as they guy who does as little as possible? If you are not rewarded for giving all you can, then why give all you can? Just do as little as necessary to get by.

    Where would the US and the world be if everybody just did enough to get by, and nobody attempted to succeed?



    Who wins in a socialist society? Nobody wins, nobody is better off.
     
  6. strathyboy

    strathyboy Active Member

    761
    +1
    Spoken like a true capitalist.

    Would it surprise you to know that every single "communist" society pays according to how productive you are? Would it surprise you to know that every single "communist" society has pay levels, so that certain professions get paid more than others? True, you will get money no matter what (ie. welfare), but is it wrong to ensure that everyone in your society is able to eat? It's unfortunate that many of the communist societies we have seen thus far have tended to ignore the teachings of Marx and make horrendous decisions, thus leading to the downfall of communism.

    You're right that in a socialist society nobody is better off. But in our society today, why are there people who inherit billions of dollars while a poor inner-city family struggles to put food on the table. Perhaps it's God's will that some are poor and some are rich. That is the typical argument used to justify oppression of the poor. In any case, why should some people work terribly hard their whole lives in order to barely scrape by, while some people don't work a day in their lives, and watch their money accumulate interest? This is the kind of thing that makes socialism look appealing.

    Let me provide an example. Why have children? They will take all your money, they will give little back, you will have to work harder to support them and give them an education. Financially, having children is a terrible decision. And yet we do it anyway. If I were to have children I would gladly give away everything I owned if necessary. If you look at society like your own family, socialism is very understandable, and perhaps even desireable.

    Lastly, and from a Christian point of view. God gave us our talents, he gives us opportunities. Who are we to say that since we "worked harder" than somebody else, all of what we earned through "our labour" belongs to us and nobody else? Hasn't God created everything?
     
  7. StogusMaximus

    StogusMaximus Well-Known Member

    +6
    Protestant
    Thank you, I am very proud to be a true capitalist.

    Doesn't surprise me at all, it also doesn't surprise me that communist societies tell you what profession you are going to have.

    It doesn't surprise me to see the conditions that communist societies of today, China and Cuba, are in. It also doesn't surprise me to see the progress being made by the Capitalist Russia.

    It is a shame that people are living on the streets and don't have enough food to eat, but who is to blame? Why is that many, many people have worked their way out of poverty, while others will not? Why is it that immigrants come to this country with little money, and flourish? Why is it wrong for a person to have enough money and success that they do not need to labor?

    Would it surprise you that these people who sit around all day collecting interest, donate many millions and billions of dollars to charity?


    Having children is an issue of nature not of society, or economics.

    Does not God give us the drive to succeed? Does not God want us to flourish? Does not God give everybody opportunities to succeed? Who are you to say that God only gives certain people blessings.
     
  8. strathyboy

    strathyboy Active Member

    761
    +1
    Sometimes, although that depends on which communist society you're talking about, since they're all different.

    First off, much of the problems suffered by China, Cuba and Vietnam are not their own fault. For an island nation like Cuba, the effects of a US embargo are devastating. For a smaller nation like Vietnam, having your nation torn to shreds by American bombing is devastating. Neither of these two nations had a fair chance, and it is not the fault of communism that they didn't succeed. Shall we blame capitalism for the splitting up of Yugoslavia? After all, they were capitalist, and the country fell apart. Most of China's problems can be blamed on overpopulation, not communism.

    So now everybody on the street is lazy? I guess it's their own fault for choosing to live on the streets and starve to death rather than find a job. This is silly.
    In communism, everybody is given a fair chance to succeeed, right from the start. In the US, if you are a black woman, born to a poor family in a ghetto, everything is stacked against you from the getgo. If you are a caucasian male born into a rich family, your success is virtually guaranteed. This has nothing to do with laziness or lack of effort on the part of the black woman.
    In addition to this, it is a common statistic that in our western world, 2 out of every 3 people will find themselves out of work through no fault of their own. Also, capitalism needs a large pool of unemployed labour to succeed. Why is it then, that unemployed are treated like lazy bums?

    I'm sure some do. But if you were to take 10% of the net earnings of the richest few hundred people in the world, you could solve hunger in most of the third world. However, since those rich people earned their wages, it would be unfair to take a small amount of their wages and allow hundreds to live, right?

    Right. But the issue underlying our entire discussion is human nature itself. You argue that humans would be lazy bums unless given money to work harder. I would argue that this does not have to be the case. Regardless, human nature is at the very heart of this debate.

    I'm sure God does give us the drive to succeed, and does want us to flourish. But it is an absolute staple of capitalism that only a choice few can flourish. In capitalism, some will become wealthier all the time while the rest become relatively poorer. Did God intend this?
    You ask me who am I to say that God only gives certain people blessings. I believe that God blesses everybody. Who are you to say that we should take away all chances of success for some people, who have also been blessed by God?

    Remember that capitalism did not exist until the 16th and 17th centuries. Did God ever endorse capitalism in the bible? At times, he certainly seems to endorse a socialist structure.
     
  9. 2002 Christian

    2002 Christian Member

    402
    +0
    Socialism: You have two cows.
    You keep one and give the other to your neighbour.

    Communism: You have two cows.
    The Government takes both cows and shares the milk with you and your neighbour.

    Fascism: You have two cows.
    You give the milk to the government and they sell it back to you.

    Capitalism: You have two cows.
    You milk them both and pour the milk down the drain to keep the price up.

    Nazism: You have two cows.
    The Government shoots you and takes both cows.

    Anarchism: You have two cows.
    The cows shoot you and milk each other.

    Apartheid: You have two cows.
    You give the black cow's milk to the white cow to drink, and don't milk the white cow.

    Welfare State: You have two cows.
    You milk them and give them the milk to drink.

    Bureaucracy: You have two cows.
    To register them you fill in 17 forms in triplicate and don't have time to milk them.

    United Nations: You have two cows.
    France vetoes you from milking them. The USA and Britain veto the cows from milking you. New Zealand abstains.

    [source unknown - apologies to author]
     
  10. 2002 Christian

    2002 Christian Member

    402
    +0
    Another version found here: http://www.geocities.com/patgardener/Babylon5/PostsHumorB5.html

    Political and Economic Theory 101

    FEUDALISM: You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

    PURE SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows. You have to take care of all the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need.

    BUREAUCRATIC SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and eggs the regulations say you should need.

    FASCISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk.

    PURE COMMUNISM: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.

    RUSSIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.

    CAMBODIAN COMMUNISM: (RNIP PolPot) You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.

    DICTATORSHIP: You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.

    MONARCHY: You have two cows. They die of starvation because they can't eat cake.

    PURE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.

    REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.

    BUREAUCRACY: You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. Then it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.

    PURE ANARCHY: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to take the cows and kill you.
     
  11. seebs

    seebs God Made Me A Skeptic

    +1,462
    Seeker
    Married
    US-Republican
    My observation is that, in practice, capitalist systems result in a greater standard of living for *almost* everyone.

    At this point, I think the correct solution for the rest is Christian charity. I don't believe that charity can be enforced by a state and work effectively.

    However, the total amount of food/money/housing available seems to go up much faster in a capitalist system, so on the whole, I'm for them.
     
  12. 2002 Christian

    2002 Christian Member

    402
    +0
    TALIBANISM: You have two cows. At first, the government makes them wear burkas, but later shoots them because "they are Hindu religious symbols."

    PLATONISM: You have a reflection of two perfect cows. Their milk tastes like water. You look for two real cows to milk.

    LIBERTARIANISM: Go away. What I do with my cows is none of your business.

    COMMUNISM -- CUBAN: You no longer have any cows. They sailed to Miami. You still have no milk - but you do have Fidel.

    ARISTOCRATISM: You have two cows. You sell both and buy one really big cow - with a pedigree.

    ANARCHISM: You have two cows. Your neighbor hits you over the head with a brick, steals your cows, then shoots them for fun. You later discover that he is a Nazi.
     
  13. StogusMaximus

    StogusMaximus Well-Known Member

    +6
    Protestant
    That is right, I forgot that America is the blame for all the worlds sorrows.

    Your words not mine.

    This would be true if it wasn't for the evil Americans, right?


    This needs to be stated as your opinion, because it is in no way fact. There are many black women who have made it, and many white men who haven't. It isn't "the man" keeping you down if you won't do what it takes to succeed.

    What counts is if they attempt to get back in the work force instead of collecting unemployment and welfare.

    What?


    The goverment already takes way over 10% of these "richest few" as well as every other working person.

    Why do you work then, if not for money?

    Some will die, some will live, some will get sick, some will be healthy, some will love, some will never love. Such is life.

    Who is taking away any chance to succeed? People have more of a chance to succeed today than ever before. How would somebody succeed when everything is provided for them?

    "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime."

    You believe as you wish, and I will believe as I wish. If you wish to give away your money that is great, but keep your hands away from my pockets.

    I am leaving this conversation.
     
  14. strathyboy

    strathyboy Active Member

    761
    +1
    I guess that's it then. If you read this again, I suggest you do a little more research into what communism, socialism, and capitalism really mean, and you will see that my points are quite valid. And please don't just arbitrarily label something anti-American. Disprove it if you will, but insulting something is no way to win an argument.

    To 2002_Christian: Those are great. Where did you find all those?
     
  15. StogusMaximus

    StogusMaximus Well-Known Member

    +6
    Protestant
    I suggest you do a little more research as well. Your points are valid and socialism is a grand plan, in theory, but the pratical application will never and has never worked. Capitalism on the other hand has and is proving itself everyday. However neither you or I will convince the other of that our econimic theories are wrong, so there is no point in this discussion.

    Also I did not label anything as Anti-American, if you re-read your post you will notice that you place the blame on the failure of socialism squarely on the shoulders of America. I used a sarcastic responce to this claim. Not once did I say you or your views were Anti-American. Defend what you have to say, don't put words in my mouth, that is no way to win an argument.
     
  16. strathyboy

    strathyboy Active Member

    761
    +1
    I did back up what I said. Through an embargo around Cuba, the US made life terribly difficult for the Cubans, therefore Cuba as a communist nation had a great deal of trouble surviving. Thus saying communism in Cuba does not work is to ignore the external factors.
    After the Vietnam War, the nation was left in ruins. Again, to say that communism does not work in Vietnam is to ignore external reasons for its failure. Thus it seems premature to say that in all cases communism cannot work, when in some occasions, there were reasons beside just the nature of communism for its failure.
    I did not mean to put words in your mouth, and I apologize if your words were meant to be sarcastic. I have had several members of these forums accuse me of being anti-American on more than one occasion and constantly defending myself becomes tiresome.
     
  17. TruelightUK

    TruelightUK Tilter at religious windmills

    441
    +1
    I guess it was naive of me to think I could introduce so political a question without the thread rapidly deteriorating into acrimonious accusations of anti-Americanism and pro-Marxism!?!

    As for some of the emotive points raised about the deserving -v- undeserving poor, the merits of a system which allows the 'hard-working' and/or 'able' to prosper, while the 'slothful' and/or 'disadvantaged' are abandonned to the gutter or become dependant upon handouts... How do we, as Christians believe God feels about these issues? (As opposed to how has the prevailing culture in which we were raised, and our humanistic reflections upon society at large caused us to believe things 'ought' to be).

    As a starting point, I suggest it would be worth looking at some of the Old Testament social laws for the protection of the poor. Not least concepts such as the Year of Jubilee, with the cancellation of debts and freeing of slaves to avoid the danger of a polarisation of society where the strong prosper at the expense of the weak. (Leviticus 25 would be a good starting point). God's idea of 'justice' certainly seems to me to be more about the meeting of needs, promotion of equity, and protection of the weak than about 'rights' and 'deserts' and trying to ensure the 'meritorious' folk get properly rewarded for their labours.

    Anthony
     
  18. StogusMaximus

    StogusMaximus Well-Known Member

    +6
    Protestant
    My Biblical take on this topic is......

    1. God wants us to love each other.
    (John 15:17, 1 Peter 4:8)
    2. God wants us to help each other.
    (Deuteronomy 22:4, 1 Corinthians 12:28)
    3. God wants us to rely on Him.
    (Psalm 118:8, Psalm 37:5, Jeremiah 17:7, Nahum 1:7)
    4. God blesses those who work hard.
    (Genesis 31:42, Deuteronomy 2:7, Proverbs 14:23)

    "Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth." Proverbs 10:4

    Does God promote charity? Yes.
    Does God want us to help the less fortunate? Yes.
    Does God want us to work? Yes.
    Does God reward those who work hard? Yes.
    Does God want the wealthy to give to the poor? Yes.

    Does God only bless the poor though the donations of the rich? No.
    Does God provide for all his creatures? Yes


    Should the poor put their trust in the rich or in God?
    Does God only bless white males, and not black females?

    I think God does not lean towards socialism, or capitalism. I think God wants us to practice His word. I think God wants us to work hard and put our trust fully in Him to provide and bless us. I don't think God wants us to rely on our government or our fellow man to provide us, to cloth us, or to feed us. I think those who trust fully in God and his will for our life will be have all they require.
     
  19. TheBear

    TheBear Free Agent

    +1,631
    Atheist
    Private
    You are mixing governmental and economic structures, with personal responsibilities and attitudes towards fellow man. I would suggest reading "The Tragedy of American Compassion", by Marvin Olaskey. He does a great job articulating the difference between personal charity and compassion, and the idea of government forced 'charity'. He also lays out the history of charity in America, and the process of how it has become what it is today.

    John
     
  20. TruelightUK

    TruelightUK Tilter at religious windmills

    441
    +1
    Not really. I'm enquiring as to the extent to which a cpitalist system is compatible with the ideals of the Bible - whether it is inherently just, compassionate and edifying to humanity in general.
    Personal responsibilities are another issue, which I would rather not try and throw into this thread. Though it is, I guess, valid to ask whether or not secular governments should be expected to promote godly standards of righteousness and justice, or whether these matters are purely a matter for individual conscience.

    Anthony
     
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