What is Capitalism? (Short 2 part video)


R.Perez

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 16, 2010
386
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Philadelphia, PA
Wow. I didn't think it was possible to be wrong on so many levels.
Well lets talk about it then.

Personally I don't see capitalism existing without exploitation. I'd challenge you to show me somewhere, anywhere in the world or in history where capitalism hasn't either required or caused the theft of resources, displacement of indigenous, or the devaluation of labor.

Lets also remember, capitalism is only one means of production. There are many, and in between those many different means lies many that are in between. This American idea that somehow only one means of production, namely capitalism is the ONLY effective one is frankly naive.
 

itcheroni

macrumors 6502a
Sep 23, 2005
547
1
CA
Well lets talk about it then.

Personally I don't see capitalism existing without exploitation. I'd challenge you to show me somewhere, anywhere in the world or in history where capitalism hasn't either required or caused the theft of resources, displacement of indigenous, or the devaluation of labor.

That is where you're starting? Just like the video, I wouldn't know where to begin addressing your question because there are so many assumptions I must address that the question is unanswerable. I don't even know what you define as capitalism based on your question. Cause some kids making lemonade from the lemons in their yard is capitalism without displacement of indigenous. I rarely even use the word capitalism because it's completely irrelevant. I'd rather talk about specific economic problems.

Let's start with the beginning of the video where the guy is talking about money. What is wrong with making money just to make money? And what kind of money are we talking about?
 

itcheroni

macrumors 6502a
Sep 23, 2005
547
1
CA
Lets also remember, capitalism is only one means of production. There are many, and in between those many different means lies many that are in between. This American idea that somehow only one means of production, namely capitalism is the ONLY effective one is frankly naive.
This is very interesting. What are the other means? I think once we know each other's vernacular, this might get easier. We use the same words differently.
 

rhsgolfer33

macrumors 6502a
Jan 6, 2006
882
1
Wow. I didn't think it was possible to be wrong on so many levels.
Yeah, honestly, this guy is kind of a nut job, pretty much on par with the, "omg the Federal Reserve is out to kill us all" nut jobs. I'm not too inclined to learn my economic theory from a Marxist, I think I'll stick to learning from people more grounded in moderacy.

So, he thinks the vice of capitalism is that people try to make a profit, did the guy really need two videos and ten minutes to get that point across? Even in non-capitalist systems there will be someone attempting to make a profit, whether by legal or illegal means.

Also, there is no real unequal exchange, prices reflect supply and demand, not some arbitrary price suppliers select to rip people off as he implies; consumer demand plays a large part in prices of goods. Supply and demand set the price for the good, not necessarily the cost of production.

There are also various reasons that the amount a worker makes isn't as high as the amount a "capitalist" takes in. The owners take significantly more risk, must finance the venture, come up with ideas, business plans, etc. Not everyone can produce their own goods, its impossible; not every worker has the skills, is willing to take the risk, etc. involved with producing their own goods.

Who is this guy anyway and what merits his videos being shown in a political science course rather than having an economics professor come in and talk? I can't find anything about his education or credentials or really any reason to take this guys views with any more than a grain of salt.
 

rhsgolfer33

macrumors 6502a
Jan 6, 2006
882
1
Hey, I'm one of those nut jobs!
Haha, sorry about that Itch, but I've got to give you a hard time. :p

Also, I wouldn't put you quite on the level that the Fed is going to kill us all, at least not what I got from our last discussion.

Lets not get into that one though, I think we've discussed that topic in enough detail, lol.
 

itcheroni

macrumors 6502a
Sep 23, 2005
547
1
CA
Haha, sorry about that Itch, but I've got to give you a hard time. :p

Lets not get into that one though, I think we've discussed that topic in enough detail.
That's okay. You bring me back down to earth after I go on a rant. :D

I definitely want to try understanding the logic behind some of these Marxist ideas. It doesn't seem to take economics and human nature into consideration. You can replace "capitalism" with "human nature" and it becomes obvious the problems they see are not from "the system."
 

R.Perez

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 16, 2010
386
2,181
Philadelphia, PA
This is very interesting. What are the other means? I think once we know each other's vernacular, this might get easier. We use the same words differently.
Well lets see a few come to mind right away, collectives (socialist), co-ops (anarcho-syndicalist), state owned and distributed (communism).

Couple examples of working models here in the U.S.

Win-Co grocery chain (co-op model of production)

The name escapes me but there is a robotics company in Wisconsin that has been very successful using a Co-Op worker owned model of production.

If you study Spain during the Spanish civil war there were working models of Anarcho-Syndicalism as well.

Yeah, honestly, this guy is kind of a nut job, pretty much on par with the, "omg the Federal Reserve is out to kill us all" nut jobs. I'm not too inclined to learn my economic theory from a Marxist, I think I'll stick to learning from people more grounded in moderacy.

So because he is a Marxist he can't have any good ideas?

I mean I don't consider myself a Marxist, but I don't write him off just because he is one. If I only ever took in ideas from people who thought exactly like me, I would be pulling from a very small pool.

So, he thinks the vice of capitalism is that people try to make a profit, did the guy really need two videos and ten minutes to get that point across? Even in non-capitalist systems there will be someone attempting to make a profit, whether by legal or illegal means.

I would actually totally refute this from an anthropological perspective but whatever.

It really goes back to what you think about the true, unaltered state of human nature.

I personally believe, that removed from exploitative environments people would generally act in good will towards each other and work together to meet common goals.

This is essentially the basis for Anarcho-Syndicalism which goes pretty far in line with most of my beliefs.

Also, there is no real unequal exchange, prices reflect supply and demand, not some arbitrary price suppliers select to rip people off as he implies; consumer demand plays a large part in prices of goods. Supply and demand set the price for the good, not necessarily the cost of production.
Prices do not really reflect supply and demand. Especially in the true form of unregulated capitalism. If capitalism is unregulated who's to say that companies can not collude together and price fix? I mean hell, we have regulation for that kind of thing right now, yet it still happens all the time.

LCD manufacturers anyone?

There are also various reasons that the amount a worker makes isn't as high as the amount a "capitalist" takes in. The owners take significantly more risk, must finance the venture, come up with ideas, business plans, etc. Not everyone can produce their own goods, its impossible; not every worker has the skills, is willing to take the risk, etc. involved with producing their own goods.
The risk is only there because it is inherent in Capitalism, in a different economic system, where goods were produced either for public need or intellectual ingenuity there would be no "financial risk" involved.

Also, most workers are on an uneven playing field. The vast majority of the wealthy are getting wealthier and the vast majority are poor and getting poorer.

Even if they wanted to produce their own goods they couldn't, because they don't have the "capital" necessary in a capitalist economy.

Who is this guy anyway and what merits his videos being shown in a political science course rather than having an economics professor come in and talk? I can't find anything about his education or credentials or really any reason to take this guys views with any more than a grain of salt.
So only those privelged enough to have access to higher education are allowed to speak on matters of social organization and equality?

That is pretty convenient for the elite class wouldn't you say?

My professor tries to provide a wide variety perspectives and incorporate those into the class.
 

rhsgolfer33

macrumors 6502a
Jan 6, 2006
882
1
So because he is a Marxist he can't have any good ideas?

I mean I don't consider myself a Marxist, but I don't write him off just because he is one. If I only ever took in ideas from people who thought exactly like me, I would be pulling from a very small pool.
I'm willing to take ideas from others, but I don't generally find the ideas of those on the extremes to be very appealing nor particularly enlightening in regards to economic matters. I'd much rather get my information from someone who lacks a strong agenda or strong bias.

I would actually totally refute this from an anthropological perspective but whatever.

It really goes back to what you think about the true, unaltered state of human nature.

I personally believe, that removed from exploitative environments people would generally act in good will towards each other and work together to meet common goals.
Where as I don't believe that. I take the view of humans that they generally act in their own short-term self-interest, which often conflicts with both the interest of others and the long-term self interest of the individual.

Prices do not really reflect supply and demand. Especially in the true form of unregulated capitalism. If capitalism is unregulated who's to say that companies can not collude together and price fix? I mean hell, we have regulation for that kind of thing right now, yet it still happens all the time.
Price fixing and collusion don't happen often, they're both largely illegal. There is disagreement in regards to the supply-demand model, but it is basically accepted by quite a few economists and its standard curriculum in any basic economics course. Prices might not totally reflect supply and demand in some cases, but its a good model and a fairly well accepted one.

So only those privelged enough to have access to higher education are allowed to speak on matters of social organization and equality?

That is pretty convenient for the elite class wouldn't you say?
He's certainly allowed to speak, but speaking doesn't give him credibility. Its much easier to gain credibility via education than it is by posting on the interwebs. I'm much more inclined to listen to and believe a PhD in Economics, Sociology, Political Science, etc. than I am some guy making YouTube videos. I think I'll continue to listen to the various professors I've had in economics rather than buying into ultra-leftist videos on the web.
 

GfPQqmcRKUvP

macrumors 68040
Sep 29, 2005
3,211
373
Terminus
I don't even know where to start. That last post by R.Perez was one gigantic misunderstanding of capitalism and its implementation in the U.S. I am literally speechless that a professor showed these videos in a university course.
 

scottness

macrumors 65816
Mar 18, 2009
1,370
3
Room 101
I don't even know where to start. That last post by R.Perez was one gigantic misunderstanding of capitalism and its implementation in the U.S. I am literally speechless that a professor showed these videos in a university course.
Which Uni is this? Don't want to pay to send my kids there. Geeze.
 

R.Perez

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 16, 2010
386
2,181
Philadelphia, PA
I'm willing to take ideas from others, but I don't generally find the ideas of those on the extremes to be very appealing nor particularly enlightening in regards to economic matters. I'd much rather get my information from someone who lacks a strong agenda or strong bias.
So someone who is fully and blindly in support of capitalism does not have a strong bias or agenda?

Your criticism here makes no sense to me, it seems to be that anyone outside of your own world view is a radical, and thus not worth listening to.

How do you know it is not you, and the people you choose to listen to who are the radicals?

Where as I don't believe that. I take the view of humans that they generally act in their own short-term self-interest, which often conflicts with both the interest of others and the long-term self interest of the individual.
Well, this is pretty much opinion and not really left open for discussion.

All I would say is, look into some of the recent anthropological studies on indigenous human populations and you may find your assumptions about human nature are not entirely accurate.

Price fixing and collusion don't happen often, they're both largely illegal. There is disagreement in regards to the supply-demand model, but it is basically accepted by quite a few economists and its standard curriculum in any basic economics course. Prices might not totally reflect supply and demand in some cases, but its a good model and a fairly well accepted one.
So a bunch of pro capitalist economists happen to be supportive of capitalism and that somehow gives them more validity?

Economics classes in the pro capitalist west are taught with a pro-capitalist frame of mind. That hardly makes them more valid than any other economic model.

I am not saying it makes them less valid either, but can't you see the inherent bias in what your saying here?

He's certainly allowed to speak, but speaking doesn't give him credibility. Its much easier to gain credibility via education than it is by posting on the interwebs. I'm much more inclined to listen to and believe a PhD in Economics, Sociology, Political Science, etc. than I am some guy making YouTube videos. I think I'll continue to listen to the various professors I've had in economics rather than buying into ultra-leftist videos on the web.
Oh man, if you only knew how many anarchists, Marxists and political radicals had their Phd.

What exactly are you doing in this thread then? I had hoped we could have an honest discussion about the merits and problems with capitalism. You seem to be only concerned with ideas within your small world view. Anything outside of your small lens gets completely discarded without a second thought.

Well that is a shame. Fact is, you haven't made a single refuting point in support of capitalism. You have simply asserted that it works the way you say it does because some people with special pieces of paper say the same thing.

Well my friend, that is hardly a discussion.
 

R.Perez

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 16, 2010
386
2,181
Philadelphia, PA
I don't even know where to start. That last post by R.Perez was one gigantic misunderstanding of capitalism and its implementation in the U.S. I am literally speechless that a professor showed these videos in a university course.
You've shown you're clearly strongly baised but I am more than willing to have an open discussion on the merits of capitalism.

If you're only here to insult, without refuting a single thing than you can leave. thanx.

Which Uni is this? Don't want to pay to send my kids there. Geeze.

Well there, guess you better avoid University of Hawaii then, gonna be kind of hard seeing that you live on Oahu.

Almost every University in the country employs scholars who are critical of the capitalist economic model.

That's not to say that that there aren't also scholars at every University who are supportive of it, just making the point that political economics is a pretty common discussion, and there are plenty of "experts" on both sides of the argument.
 

R.Perez

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 16, 2010
386
2,181
Philadelphia, PA
I don't even know what you define as capitalism based on your question. Cause some kids making lemonade from the lemons in their yard is capitalism without displacement of indigenous.

Let's start with the beginning of the video where the guy is talking about money. What is wrong with making money just to make money? And what kind of money are we talking about?
Hows this for a definition:

Capitalism is an economic and social system in which capital and land, the non-labor factors of production (also known as the means of production), are privately owned; labor, goods and resources are traded in markets; and profit, after taxes, is distributed to the owners or invested in technologies and industries. Also see rise of financial capitalism, which controls all other forms of capitalism.
Yup sounds like a lemonade stand to me :rolleyes:
 

GfPQqmcRKUvP

macrumors 68040
Sep 29, 2005
3,211
373
Terminus
You've shown you're clearly strongly baised but I am more than willing to have an open discussion on the merits of capitalism.
What I've shown is I'm clearly biased towards the reality of business and what has historically worked as the economic system that results in maximum productivity, innovation, and the efficient allocation of goods and services.

If you're only here to insult, without refuting a single thing than you can leave. thanx.
Or I could stay; I really plan on doing whatever I want to.

Here's how I'd refute Marxism:

Resources are scarce.

Almost every University in the country employs scholars who are critical of the capitalist economic model.
But not every university has professors who show videos like that during class. You're paying money (either through direct tuition or taxes) for that?
 

R.Perez

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 16, 2010
386
2,181
Philadelphia, PA
What I've shown is I'm clearly biased towards the reality of business and what has historically worked as the economic system that results in maximum productivity, innovation, and the efficient allocation of goods and services.
Oh yeah you're not biased.


Or I could stay; I really plan on doing whatever I want to.

Here's how I'd refute Marxism:

Resources are scarce.
OMG you win, you're a ****ing genius, I bow down to your vastly superior intellect.

Guess you missed the part where I pointed out I wasn't a Marxist and that Marxism is not the only other means of production.

Its pretty obvious you're here to troll.


But not every university has professors who show videos like that during class. You're paying money (either through direct tuition or taxes) for that?
So incorporating internet media is somehow wrong? Well I guess we could all study the political anarchist political of theory of David Thoreau and Emma Goldman..... Oh wait we do. You Tube videos get students who would otherwise not pay attention to become engaged.

Controversial topics like the one in the video spike discussion in class which is beneficial for all.

Oh wait never mind, you're only concerned with economics professors coming into class and telling me "the way it is".
 

IntheNet

macrumors regular
Oct 6, 2009
190
0
Maybe it will spark some good discussion, after all that's what we are here for right?
I didn't get far in part 1 or part 2 without feeling sad for the level of alleged education today masquerading as rank bias, in this case of the Marxist type. If you're paying for this course you're paying only for propaganda! Neither video addresses the definition of Capitalism and they are indeed Marxist propaganda and as such are utterly repulsive, anti-American, and clearly not at all related to education. Props to Badandy whose post handles response better than I and certainly warrants repetition.

Badandy said:
I don't even know where to start. That last post by R.Perez was one gigantic misunderstanding of capitalism and its implementation in the U.S. I am literally speechless that a professor showed these videos in a university course.
 

MattSepeta

macrumors 65816
Jul 9, 2009
1,255
0
375th St. Y
lol

And people graduate with tens of thousands of dollars in debt to be shown Marxist trash like this?

Can we finally just annex off Florida or something so these students can wire it all up with windmills, grow co-op food, put on theater plays and slap each other on the back over how equal they all are?
 

NT1440

macrumors G5
May 18, 2008
12,141
14,010
Damn, lot's of people her just for chastising their favorite hated system rather than discussing the pros and cons of such systems.

Remember, Marxism = EVIL and capitalism = America, **** yea!

How bout you guys talk about the systems rather than the perils educating people on systems outside of their beloved homeland's.

I'm all for learning about various systems though I must say pretentious and biased sources to the point where things sound like conspiracies isn't a good way of going about it...
 

ucfgrad93

macrumors P6
Aug 17, 2007
17,543
8,168
Colorado
I'm all for learning about various systems though I must say pretentious and biased sources to the point where things sound like conspiracies isn't a good way of going about it...
Agreed. There is nothing wrong with learning about other systems of government, economics, religion, etc. However, these videos are just pure crap.
 

NT1440

macrumors G5
May 18, 2008
12,141
14,010
Agreed. There is nothing wrong with learning about other systems of government, economics, religion, etc. However, these videos are just pure crap.
We're in agreement, though it looks like some here consider anything not capitalistic to be the anti christ....