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Forum Post: Debunking Libertarian Myths pt. 2

Posted 2 years ago on July 9, 2012, 2:26 p.m. EST by struggleforfreedom80 (6584)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Myth #3:

“In an unregulated capitalist society you don’t get to intervene in my affairs and vice versa”

This has no root in reality. The economy is all-encompassing. We live in a complex, highly developed, technological society with all kinds of endless networks of economic relations, decisions, transactions etc, that affect the economy we're all a part of in all kinds of different ways.

There are different kinds of “affairs”; some that only affect you, and the ones that affect others. What you do in your personal life; which color you decide to use when you paint the walls in your living room, or what you do in the bedroom etc, things that don’t affect other people, that’s totally up to you, and is your decision alone. On the other hand, if you choose to make decisions that affect other people in your community or the national economy, for example by being in control of a huge corporation that’s a big part of the economy, and is the workplace of lots of people, well then that’s something completely different. If you make decisions that affect other people, well then you have to expect that the ones affected will intervene in these affairs.

The same of course applies to the common "If you like anarcho-syndicalism and anarchism so much, why don’t you and your friends start your own commune somewhere and leave me out

Well, creating solidaric communes and co-ops etc, is an important task that should be prioritized, but the argument above does not hold up. Again, the economy is all-encompassing; a couple of anarchist communes or co-ops here and there doesn’t change the fact that the super-wealthy financial elite have the overwhelming power in society.

When it comes to the economy we’re not, as individuals, living in an isolated bubble of some kind, just “minding our own business”. On the contrary; when it comes to the economy we’re all in the same boat. The economy is all-encompassing and affects us all.


Myth #4:

”In an unregulated capitalist society people get to keep the fruits of their own labor”

This is totally false. First of all, the "fruits" of one’s labor can’t be measured in an advanced modern society.

We now live in a complex, highly advanced technological society built up by generations of people thru hundreds of years. People have been building infrastructure, contributed to science, developed technology, developed efficient ways of manufacturing etc etc. Because of all this effort we now enjoy a more wealthy, advanced and efficient society than ever. All of this, lots of it built and created long before we were even born, we’re now enjoying despite having little or nothing to do with contributing to it ourselves. In other words, our contributions, no matter what we do, are microscopic compared to what we receive from society. We’re enjoying the results of generations of people’s work gradually building a modern society.

Our own personal “fruits” if you will, aren’t measurable, and if they were, they’d be much less than an average paycheck in today’s society.

Also, in capitalism the means of production are privately owned by some individuals, while others do not have this ownership. In other words, some own the means of production others are using. So it’s a system in which the ones using the means of production must sell their labor to these owners in order to have a decent life. The owners can then make a profit from other people’s work by just owning. This happens when the value of the worker’s pay is less than the value that was added thru his/her work in the paid hours. That creates a profit for the owner of the means of production who did not create the value, but still gets paid in the form of profit. This profit is hence capital for future investments and more profits. So, the capitalist is making money simply by just owning, not adding or creating value.

Since a capitalist economy is based on the need for growth and profits for the investors and owners, this method of exploitation – profiting on other people’s work – would be (just as it is in today's actual society to a large extent) used by more or less all of them. This exploitation is in other words just a logical result caused by the capitalist system.

Debunking Libertarian Myths pt. 1

Debunking Libertarian Myths pt. 3

50 Comments

50 Comments


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[-] 1 points by Shule (1972) 2 years ago

Can't wait for part 3.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Hehe. I haven't started on it yet, so it might take a couple of days (or longer).

Do you have some inputs; are there some specific topics in regards to this awful so-called "libertarian" (ironically describing libertarian socialist /anarchist ideas all thru european history : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxYth0ktPsY&feature=plcp) philosophy you'd like to see adressed?

[-] 1 points by Shule (1972) 2 years ago

Where does one begin.... You'll have a book by the time your done.

One thing I see; in a "libertarian" order/disorder, who is going to keep the big fish in check? By doing away with government and government regulation, the big fish will be free to eat the little fish at will, and all there will be is some big fish. The end result, as I'm sure you're well aware,is a captialist dictatorship with all regular people in essence slaves. Libertarian order is not any road to freedom.

Keep up the good work

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

yeah, there's a lot of horrendous things about this tyrannical ideology.

What you mentioned is an important and correct criticism of this ideology, and I agree with everything you mention here. It could make a good post. I have however touched a little upon this "concentration of wealth and power" issue in all the myths so far. The fact that wealth will concentrate more on the more successful corporations, allowing them to gain more control of the marked, including buying up the smaller ones etc, is a fact that I would think most people, even the ultra right wingers, would agree would happen in their lf-utopia.

But maybe you're right. Maybe this should be adressed morethoroughly.

Thanks for your thoughts and those kind words:)

[-] 0 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

Have you ever been to the states SFF80?

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

No, I haven't. Ive always wanted to visit, though. Lots of things to see, lots of good people to meet. I'll tell you one thing, though; if I decide to come, one of the first things I will do is to meet with you guys in the Occupy Movement :)

[-] 0 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

I signed up for your youtube page by the way. Looks interesting.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Thanks :) Hope you like the videos.

[-] 0 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

Thats cool. I live in San Francisco you would probably like it here. I could show you things that you have never seen in Norway.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Oh, yeah, I would think San Francisco is the city I'd be most comfortable in, yes.

Could you tell me a little bit about SF? What makes it good and unique in your opinion?

[-] 0 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

Its pretty wild. Its the most wide open city I've ever seen there are alot of homeless people here that should be in a mental hospital. But there are parts of it that aer reallly beautiful as well. We have beaches we have really good weed if you are into that kind of thing. You got a thick accent? If you do and you aint deformed in anyway we can probably get you laid. My favorite part of the city is the food there is every type of food here you could imagine and most of it isnt expensive unless you go to a high dollar restraunt. . Oh and its really safe too. Probably one of the safest cities in the area. Stay out of oakland if you don't know where you are going though its pretty rough over there. They'd see you some foriegn white guy lost and that would be like blood in the water for sharks

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

ok. What about policy / politics? Much more liberal legislation than most US cities, right? and very tolerant of each other in general, yes?

[-] 0 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

Yeah you don't have to worry about that much. I mean they have a big gay day parade straight through the center of town so its pretty tolerant.

[-] 1 points by factsrfun (7033) from Phoenix, AZ 2 years ago

Does it really push your “tolerance boundary” to see gay people right out in public? I was thinking they let bankers ride the trolley cars too don’t they? That sort of pushes mine.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Yeah, no, I was just a little curious about the political landscape if you will ,in SF, as compared to other US cities. I'm above avarage fond of social anthropology and comparative politics so I'm interested in questins like that :)

[-] 0 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

Well the whole place is run by corporate democrats that like to pretend that they are "progressive"(what ever that means). The reason they have to pretend to be to the left is because there is still a cultural leftover from the 60's and 70's here in SF and in other bay area cities.

Yes alot of the legislation that comes out of city hall is much more "progressive" but not quite as much as you would think. For instance SF recently resegragated its schools not long ago. Its true that this was done under the guise of some sort of neighborhood school redistricting nonsense and it was able to get through because it used language in the proposition that made it seem like it was just letting kids go to school in there own neighborhoods but the law was designed to resegragate. Also our "progressive" mayor has talked about bringing the unpopular stop and frisk law from New York here to SF.

I think that the political landscape is like a lot of places here there are just different contexts. The business elites can't push quite as far as they do in other city's without backlash so I guess there is that. Now for gays this city and area is probably one of the most tolerant in the country in that gays have been able to make it into elite positions of power here. But there is still quite a bit of racial problems that noone llikes to talk about.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Ok. Thanks for sharing. sff

[-] -1 points by salta (-1104) 2 years ago

nancy pelosi represents san fran. they're tolerant of you as long as you agree with their fascist views.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Based on your karma points and what you just said I can only conclude that you are a troll. And I don't waste much time on trolls. Sorry.

[-] 0 points by salta (-1104) 2 years ago

"karma points"? they're more like jr high cliques.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

You don't have to waste your time on me. Like I said, I don't spend much time arguing with trolls, so this will be my last responde to you (unless you start discussing and arguing in a reasonable and respectful manner)

[-] -1 points by salta (-1104) 2 years ago

you are now free to waste your time on ows and the liberal/progressive, socialist agenda.

[-] 0 points by salta (-1104) 2 years ago

like the panhandlers?

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 2 years ago

So it’s a system in which the ones using the means of production must sell their labor to these owners in order to have a decent life.

A decent life in this system is debatable. You ever tried to survive on minimum wage?

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

You're absolutely right. It would be more correct to add "(..)or the necessities in order to survive" to that sentence (like I did in part 1)

But, you know, I live in Norway where the minimum wage is much higher than in the states. I guess that may have something to do with my slip.

[-] 0 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

What are the nature of the struggles you in Norway have to deal with? Have you been much affected by the economic crisis?

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Hi. I wrote an article on Norway some time ago. Please check it out:

http://occupywallst.org/forum/welfare-and-workers-rights-in-norway/

The norwegian economy has not been affected by the financial crisis in any significant way. The global economy affects us all of course, including noregians, but the norwegian government actually dealt with this in a very good way: By holding back a little extra in good times (the period before the crisis occured), saving so to speak, in case of crisis, we have more to spend when the crisis come, giving loans etc to banks and stimulating the economy in other ways. As you know we also have a lot of oil revenues that also helps.

Till this date the Norwegian economy has been going like crazy, being one of the countries with the lowest unemployment in Europe.

[-] 0 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 2 years ago

Yeah, I missed that first part. I was trying to point out the extremes. The system can provide a decent life, but it can also make a man homeless.

[-] 3 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

or millions homeless

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 2 years ago

and a great number of them are children.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

How many homeless people are there actually in the US, anybody know? I've seen numbers all the way from 1 000 000 to 2 000 000. Either way, it's really sick that people are homeless in the richest country in the world.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (28296) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

And that many of them are homeless due to economic crimes that are not being punished.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Agree. But sending these financial croocks to jail is not enough. Some other guys will just step in and take their place. It is the current political end economic system that, in long term perspective, has got to go.

[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

the US latitude is good for crops

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Agreed.

[-] 0 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

Good Post

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Thanks, buddy. Please check out part 1 as well.

It's really good to see you posting the work of R. Wolff and others here. Keep up the good work. Solidarity :)

[-] -1 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

Yeah I just checked out part 1. Thanks

[-] -3 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

"The owners can then make a profit from other people’s work by just owning." Debunking a myth with a myth.

The talent of the owner in managing a business combined with the workers talents in processing the goods the business produces provides both with greater income than they would obtain individually.

The employer and employee are completely dependent on each others labor. Whether an employee trades his labor for a fair share of the benefit that he provides to the company is open to debate.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

”The talent of the owner in managing a business combined with the workers talents in processing the goods the business produces provides both with greater income than they would obtain individually.”

First of all, capitalists can of course in addition do actual work and wealth creation and good managing etc. I’m talking about the phenomenon in which x makes money simply by just being the owner. That’s no myth, that’s reality. You see this in today’s state-capitalist society, and you’d see it in a lf-capitalist society.

”The employer and employee are completely dependent on each others labor.”

First of all, that’s not true. There are many examples of workers running their own workplace by themselves without bosses and capitalists (cf Spain, 1936-39, Argentina, 2001 - Co-ops etc etc). Secondly, if it were true, it’s besides the point. The point is that the owner makes money off of the employee’s work simply by just owning.

[-] 0 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

Workers can run their own workplaces, but they also have to manage it by performing the work that was once done by the owner. It takes labor to manage. Just because thought does not break a sweat, does not mean that a person is not working as hard as someone who is sweating.

It's unfair to portray so called capitalists as doing nothing. Establishing and maintaining a business takes more than just a 40 hour work week. Many are workaholics. Do you think Steve Jobs sat around his office drinking coffee all day?

Yes, the owner makes money off the labor that the worker provides. The worker also receives compensation for the labor he provides. It is an exchange that both agree to.

When one party has more bargaining power when negotiating the exchange of labor for wages, that is where the injustice lies, not in the capitalist system.

All sports figures have agents to negotiate in their behalf. If they all fired their agents and negotiated contracts themselves, they would become poorer within that season. It's not the sports system that is at fault.

If people do not form unions or use other means to negotiate in their behalf, their wages will continue to stagnate or fall. Blaming the system will never recover what the workers allow to unfairly be taken from him.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

“Workers can run their own workplaces, but they also have to manage it by performing the work that was once done by the owner.”

The “work done by the owner” you’re talking about is actual work that capitalists (like I pointed out above) of course can do in addition to making money by simply just owning.

“It takes labor to manage. Just because thought does not break a sweat, does not mean that a person is not working as hard as someone who is sweating.”

Sure, but you’re missing the point (cf x making money by just owning) If you do labor, actual work (intellectual or physical or whatever) then you should of course be paid (if that’s the standard in society), but it should be in a form of a reasonable paycheck not huge profits thru other people’s work.

“It's unfair to portray so called capitalists as doing nothing.” So-called capitalists? Are you rejecting the existence of capitalists? Again, a capitalist can of course, in addition do actual work.

“Establishing and maintaining a business takes more than just a 40 hour work week. Many are workaholics. Do you think Steve Jobs sat around his office drinking coffee all day?”

No. And Steve Jobs deserved - just like any other worker in our society, including the ones he profited on - a decent paycheck for the actual work.

“Yes, the owner makes money off the labor that the worker provides. The worker also receives compensation for the labor he provides.”

Correct, but it’s less than the value he added to the product in the paied hours (as I mentined in myth #4)

“It is an exchange that both agree to.” No it is not (cf.myth #2)

“When one party has more bargaining power when negotiating the exchange of labor for wages, that is where the injustice lies, not in the capitalist system.”

But that’s a consequence of the capitalist system. The wealthy have more power, including power in regards to employment contracts etc.

“If people do not form unions or use other means to negotiate in their behalf, their wages will continue to stagnate or fall.”

Correct. The fact that workers need to form unions in order to (or try to) make a decent life, just proves my point.

“Blaming the system will never recover what the workers allow to unfairly be taken from him.”

Lf-capitalism or today’s state capitalist society is anti worker and unsustainable. It must be replaced by a free, sustainable society, with democracy built from below: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxYth0ktPsY&feature=plcp

[-] -1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

A cook decides to work for $8 an hour. The cook does not feel the pay is fair, but accepts it anyway. If he had joined the union, and had someone negotiate in his behalf, he would have made $12 an hour. Is the system to blame for the injustice? Or should the injustice be attributed to the cook's lack of using a negotiator.

Does the sports figure receive fair wages? Both owner and player agree they are. Is the system to blame for the justice? Or should the justice be attributed to the players use of a negotiator?

Capitalism is democracy. The employer and employee share equal votes by their acceptance or refusal to exchange their labor. How wisely they vote or how wisely the negotiator votes determines their incomes. Sports figures and union workers have proven that wages can be fair, even under a capitalist system.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

having a right to a decent salary should be granted in a civilized modern society. People being in control of their own affairs thru democratic workplaces and democratic communities, building democracy from the bottom up should be the standard in any decent society. We should work for, not libertarianism, but libertarian socialism: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxYth0ktPsY&feature=plcp

These "equal votes" are is just in your head (cf myth #1 & #2)

Capitalism is in no way democratic, it's tyranny - private tyranny

You need to read part 1, dude.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

My only goal in the Occupy movement is for the people to take back their voice in government and let them decide how they wish to organize their society. If the majority chooses socialism, anarchy, or capitalism, it does not matter which, so be it.

What does matter is that the tiny 1% of the population that favors either socialism, or anarchy, or capitalism, does not choose for the 99%. That is when tyranny takes control of any system and it is the tyranny that I now stand against.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

I actually don't disagree much with what you said here.

I want libertarian socialism / anarchism, but that can only be achieved when the people want it. I am a strong supporter of democratic process (although stressing that this is not limited to representative democracy and only putting a piece of paper in box every second year.

You should really study the ideas of anarchism / libertarian socialism. I think you'll find most of them pretty reasonable:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxYth0ktPsY&feature=plcp

http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1320873951_the_society_we_should.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

In California we have the initiative process, so we have limited experience with direct democracy. I prefer it in principle, but am not sure that the time required to exercise it effectively would become a burden. We effectively put the Senators and Representatives out of a job and so do that job ourselves.

The problem I see with any from of total direct democracy is that it requires relatively constant attention, while representative democracy does not. Our apathetic citizens barely participate in adequate numbers for the less strenuous representative form, how would they manage with the direct form?

Thanks for the links. I have read a bit about differing forms of Anarchy before and will need much more than a few hours to understand it. The Spanish form used during the civil war interests me the most since it was functioning for a few years.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Yes, a more direct democratic society needs a more enlightened and engaged public. That's why it's so important to at very least introduce the ideas of a more participatory democratic libertarian socialist society to the ones who are not aware of them. We need to enlighten and learn from each other.

Tell you what, watch my "Occupy Your Workplace" video. I think you'll agree with the core message in this video and find the ideas actually pretty resonable. The video also looks at the anarchist / anarcho-syndicalist experiments during the Spanish Civil War.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jRy5ZIYZok&feature=plcp

yours s. Andy.