Split - Capitalism, Marxism, Etc.

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by dongmin, Oct 14, 2003.

  1. dongmin macrumors 68000

    dongmin

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    #1
    well if you're gonna use big words, at least spell/type it correctly: it's 'laissez faire. '

    Secondly, you obviously don't understand much about 'free' markets and anti-trust laws.

    Microsoft is a monopoly. It used its position as a monopoly to stifle competition. They've engaged in illegal activities, and this kind of anti-competitive behavior is partly why they are where they are now.

    I think even the diehard laissez faire advocates will say that monopoly behavior is bad in most cases.
     
  2. xDANx macrumors member

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    #2
    the plot thickens...in an off topic sort of way.

    but what many diehard laissez faire advocates won't admit is that it's the very act of competition that leads to monopoly and oligopoly situations. see 'capital' vol. I...it's full of all sorts of fun stuff...;)
     
  3. Phil Of Mac macrumors 68020

    Phil Of Mac

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    #3
    And how many diehard Marxists will admit that Marxism has utterly failed as an economic theory?
     
  4. xDANx macrumors member

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    #4
    Re: Re: the plot thickens...in an off topic sort of way.

    the very point is that the ideas of adam smith and the invisible hand (hey, that's a great name for a band...), those shining gods of the laissez faire pantheon, fail to explain why 150 years of competitive economic markets on a global scale have resulted in such intense concentration and centralization of capital and wealth. microsoft is just one example in a long list of corporations that dwarf the economic (and political) power of many of the world's countries. adam smith probably wouldn't be happy with that state of capitalism today...but he'd also be hard pressed to explain why it developed this way.
     
  5. xDANx macrumors member

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    #5
    well...based on your own defintions...none. they are diehard marxists after all. i find it interesting though that the collapse of that great misnomer called 'communism' (which can be much more accurately described as a form of capitalism dominated by the state as opposed to a true capitalist class) is somehow supposed to imply that marxism has absolutely no value as a economic and political theory. it should be immediately obvious to anyone who's studied marx at all that the inner workings of stalinist russia (mao's china, castro's cuba, etc.) and marx's critiques of capitalism have little to do with each other.

    what does this have to do with patent lawsuits against microsoft in europe you might ask? good question. pretty much nothing...so i'll shut up.
     
  6. 3.1416 macrumors regular

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    #6
    Re: Re: Re: the plot thickens...in an off topic sort of way.

    Not this again. Yes, there is disparity of wealth under capitalism. Would you prefer that everyone is equally miserable, as in North Korea? You can look at the extravagance of some rich people and be outraged, or you can observe that the "poor" in capitalist countries are vastly better off than they were 150 years ago.
     
  7. Phil Of Mac macrumors 68020

    Phil Of Mac

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    #7
    It's not that hard to explain.

    We haven't had true laissez-faire capitalism for quite awhile, if ever. Governments have always been paid off by various corporations to help them and hurt their competitors.

    In any case, the supposed concentration of wealth is not what you make it out to be. Why are some corporations richer than entire nations? Because some nations are incredibly small and poor due to plundering dictators, while other nations, like the US, can become rich enough that even one corporation can amass a lot of wealth. In either case, let us compare a capitalist country to a communist country in terms of wealth centralization.

    The US GDP is 10.4 trillion dollars. (CIA World Factbook) The richest man in the U.S., William H. Gates, owns 46.0 billion dollars. (Forbes.com). The richest American owns less than one half of one percent of the wealth in the United States.

    In Cuba, the richest man is Fidel Castro, who has at least 110 million dollars, roughly 10% of Cuba's GDP. (Forbes) Saddam Hussein had about 2 billion dollars (Forbes), which is almost 3.5% of Iraq's GDP of 58 billion.

    What about corporations? The world's largest corporation isn't Microsoft by a long stretch. It's Wal-Mart, with 244 billion dollars worth of revenue in 2003...almost 2.4% of the US economy. Of course, Wal-Mart is utterly flattened compared to our 2 trillion dollar federal government, but not even Wal-Mart has as much of our economy as Fidel Castro has of Cuba's economy, nor even Saddam Hussein.

    Therefore, compared to non-capitalist economic and political systems, capitalism doesn't consolidate wealth. It does create people who happen to be richer, but that's because capitalism tends to make *everyone* richer.
     
  8. reedm007 macrumors member

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    #8
    You make some great points, Mr. Phil Of Mac. The one flaw though is concentrating on individuals (and concentrating on extreme examples: Cuba and Iraq). Let's look at, for example, the total yearly earnings of the top 10% of this country:

    $20,803,000,000,000

    according to the US Bureau of Census. Now compare this with the total earnings for ALL of the rest of the country, combined (the remaining 90%):

    $2,229,500,000,000

    If that's not concentration of wealth, I don't know what is. :) When 10% of the population makes almost 10 times more than the rest of the country combined, that is definitely high concentration of wealth.

    That said, dictatorship, such as the two you mentioned, can certainly lead to immense concentration of power to one individual, something that won't happen as easily in a capitalist society. So believe me, I'm not arguing for that. I'm just saying that capitalism, like very form of government (at least as far as we know!), has its flaws too...

    edit: btw, shouldn't you look at total net worth of a company, not its annual revenues?? What you quoted above was annual revenue. Walmart is only worth some 98 billion, which would have made a better number for your point. Of course, it also means that AOL TimeWarner is a much bigger company than Walmart, at around 140 billion. I could be wrong here, maybe you should look at annual revenue when comparing to GDP (I'm no economist). But if that's the case, wouldn't you then need to look at the annual revenue of Saddam and Castro, not their net worth?
     
  9. Phil Of Mac macrumors 68020

    Phil Of Mac

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    #9
    1. Why is concentration of wealth a bad thing?
    2. Even if it is, pseudo-capitalism (our current economic system) has less of it if you do a side-to-side comparison.
    3. Even then, generally people in our pseudo-capitalist system get all that wealth either because they're geniuses who've earned it, or their parents or grandparents were geniuses who earned it. That sort of thing is good. If it wasn't for Steve Jobs being a genius and earning his billion dollars, we wouldn't be as well off as we are now.

    Even when you have inherited, stagnant wealth, that wealth gets invested somewhere, somehow. And investments go a great deal to help us all out, by getting firms off the ground to deliver even better products and services.

    All in all, I'd rather have the disparity. Sure, maybe they're richer than I am, but if it wasn't for them (or their parents or grandparents), *I* wouldn't be as well-off as I am now.

    I also like to think that since Howard Hughes didn't have a PowerBook, I'm in a way richer than Howard Hughes :)
     
  10. Phil Of Mac macrumors 68020

    Phil Of Mac

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    #10
    You make a valuable critique. But I'm too lazy to go back and do all that. And yes, it would be a better figure to use, AFAIK (I'm no economist either.)
     
  11. MacViolinist macrumors regular

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    Texas
    #11
    Capitalism, Marxism, Sci-Fi et al

    Let's be honest here people. Capitalism in the true Laissez Faire sense has never been tried. Neither has Marxism. As far as any of us know, each of them might result in exactly the idyllic paradigm that the theories claim. Yes? Also, Mac User Canada: I'm with you all the way. Eric Frank Russel and John W. Campbell are the real Sci-Fi authors.
     
  12. Phil Of Mac macrumors 68020

    Phil Of Mac

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    #12
    Re: Capitalism, Marxism, Sci-Fi et al

    I'm going to patent capitalism.
     
  13. yamabushi macrumors 65816

    yamabushi

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    #13
    Marx was a big advocate of capitalism. He thought it was a great way to generate wealth and raise living standards before moving on to more advanced systems such as socialism and communism. Capitalism was seen as a replacement for feudalism in his framework.

    However nobody ever really used the systems he suggested. The usual pattern was to go from feudalism, skip over capitalism, stop hard at socialism, make a U-turn and go back to feudalism.

    BTW- In his framework socialism was always a kind of representitive democracy and communism a true democracy.

    Well inflation, crime, and civil war are a few potential problems.:)
     
  14. jywv8 macrumors 6502

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    #14
    You're saying that, generally, a rich person is either a genius or the descendant of a genius? I find that really hard to believe. A lot of people get rich by other means, namely, crime or dumb luck. And, on the flip side, there are plenty of extraordinary people who are not rich, although I suppose one could argue that if they were so extraordinary and wanted to be rich then they would be rich by now.

    I don't think the concentration of wealth is an inherently bad thing either (at least it wouldn't be if we lived in a meritocracy...and we don't). However, historically, extreme inequality of wealth has been a harbinger of economic instability and social unrest, which leads to demagoguery and war.
     
  15. frozenstar macrumors regular

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    #15
    1. Only because it means that some people starve while others eat for two.

    2. Not true. Wealth is distributed more evenly in every European and Asian country in the world.

    3. So, the CEO of every company that has revenues of, say...at least $500M, is a genius?
    Come to think of it... all the geniuses I know are broke, and all the CEOs I read about are idiots.


    Every day the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Capitalism in America has run its course, and unless we make some drastic changes soon, the economy as we know it will collapse.
     
  16. Lonestar1 macrumors newbie

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    #16
    Microsoft is not a monopoly. (The fact that a lawyer says so doesn't make it true.) A monopoly is a firm that faces 100% of demand for a product or service. If Microsoft were a monopoly, there would be no OSX, Linux, etc.

    As for "where we are today" -- vastly increased computing power, available to more people, at lower prices -- most people would not consider that bad.

    Now, compare that to any government program run by the politicians and lawyers who are so concerned about the Microsoft "monopoly"? How many government services have improved as much as computers in the last 20 years? So, tell me, who has harmed the consumer more, the "monopoly" that isn't a monopoly, or the politicians who want to control the economy and pick which companies and technologies should succeed and fail?
     
  17. mgardner macrumors newbie

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    #17
    Hate MS

    We dont actually hate Microsoft... We just think they suck compared to Apple. Another thing about Microsoft is that they try to make money on everything possible... I mean think, they were the ones to try and invent the porta-potties with friggin internet access in them.. Atleast when apple makes something its been well thought of and designed.. For example, take a look at the amount of bug fixes in XP compared to OS X
     
  18. tristan macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    Apple Computer under communism

    To all you capitalism detractors out there - think Steve jobs would have been able to create Apple computer in a communist country? Yeah right.

    He would have gone to the "central peoples production committee" and said "hey, I have an idea to create personal computers for everyone." And they would have said "yeah, whatever, you owe us 8 hours in factory work every day, from each according to his ability, buddy."

    And then even if he had made a computer, the commies wouldn't have let him market it. "How can you build computers while some people don't have enough to eat? The people need you to work overtime in the farm this weekend."

    Capitalism promotes individual initiative and freedom while communism destroys it. In a capitalist country, you even have the freedom to be unemployed and starve if you like. Nobody's forcing you to work, or anyone else to hire you.

    Would you really want an alternative system were firms are forced to hire people they don't need for jobs the people don't want to do? Sounds like the disaster that was the USSR/China/Cuba/Vietnam to me.
     
  19. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #19

    If Microsoft is not a monopoly then the word has no meaning. No, a company does not have to control 100% of a particular product or service to be a monopoly. And if you haven't seen what harm Microsoft's monopoly power has done to the computing industry you haven't been paying attention. Exculsive contracts that leave no place in the market for innovative products are Microsoft's mode of operation. Using monopoly power in the OS market to destroy competing browsers is all a fact of history. Wake up and smell the coffee!
     
  20. lmalave macrumors 68000

    lmalave

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    #20
    Re: Re: Re: the plot thickens...in an off topic sort of way.

    Adam Smith is misunderstood. When he talked about the "Invisible Hand", the meant that the market, left to its own devices, could set the quantity and price of each good produced without any government intervention. That is all. Smith's theory said *nothing* about taxation or distribution of wealth, environmental regulations, etc. Actually, Adam Smith did not trust businessmen because he thought they did not have the best interests of society in mind.

    Keep in mind Adam Smith was writing his ideas in reaction to Mercantilism, where governments strictly controlled imports and exports, and also the power of the Craft Guilds, which controlled how much of each product was produced and at what price.

    *******

    As for socialism/communism, they simply do not work because they run so counter to human nature. Even if all money and property were abolished, the new currency would become some other form of power. Keep in mind, money is a means to an end, not an end unto itself. That's why in communist countries you have insane levels of corruption. When people lose the ability to trade currency and goods, they just start trading political favors.
     
  21. dongmin thread starter macrumors 68000

    dongmin

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    #21
    So you're suggesting that we have Microsoft to thank for all that 'progress'? The question is not where we are now but where we could be if MS hasn't been such a singularly dominant force in the software business.
     
  22. Lonestar1 macrumors newbie

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    #22
    No. You are misquoting me.

    Exactly. The tone of your post implies that things would surely be better if the government had not allowed Microsoft to compete. That isn't obvious at all.

    There are many examples of industries where the government, rather than the market, made decisions like that -- Soviet agriculture, American public education, airlines and telecommunications prior to deregulation. Where, in that sorry history, do you find any indication that government control would lead to greater progress than the computer industry has achieved under the alleged "domination" of Microsoft? Don't let your envy of a few people blind you to the far worse failings of the alternative you propose.
     
  23. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    None. They keep trying to get socialism in America.
     
  24. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Re: Re: Re: the plot thickens...in an off topic sort of way.

    Um... prior to the advent of personal computers, Microsoft did not exist. 150 years?
     
  25. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    Nope. Not *everyone*. Only the ones that work hard, or are elected into office (usually by the lazy ones because they were promised goodies). :p
     

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