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Forum Post: Free Market vs. Human Nature

Posted 1 year ago on March 21, 2013, 2:35 p.m. EST by struggleforfreedom80 (6190)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Is the “free market” natural and a part of human nature?

Of course not. Michael Albert explains:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PWZGyRW5rw

53 Comments

53 Comments


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[-] 2 points by Maggie22 (107) 1 year ago

Interesting point of view, but it's just that, an opinion. I think Albert has it backwards. The free market doesn't create man's behavior, man's behavior created the free market. The free market or capitalism is what it is because of our nature.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 1 year ago

”Interesting point of view, but it's just that, an opinion.”

No, actually there’s pretty good evidence for what he’s saying. Humans aren’t about capitalism and greed; humans are about solidarity, cooperation and mutual support:

http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1323868733_human_nature_and_libe.html

“The free market doesn't create man's behavior, man's behavior created the free market. The free market or capitalism is what it is because of our nature. ”

Capitalism is the way it is because of many different things. Human nature allows lots of variation in opinions and behavior, including support for capitalist tyranny, but that doesn’t mean that it is in our nature to act greedy and profit on other people’s hard work.

[-] 1 points by Maggie22 (107) 1 year ago

I might agree if you limited the population to small family groups. In a large diverse population there is less cooperation when that cooperation interferes with whatever benefits the individual or his family group.

You could interpret it as greed or simply a survival instinct. Either way when barter and trade started people's nature directed how markets evolved.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 1 year ago

Richard Dawkins offers a pretty good explanation of why things like altruism is a part of us, and that these things also go beyond small family groups:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8C-ntwUpzM

Also, please read my article ”Human Nature and Libertarian Socialism”

http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1323868733_human_nature_and_libe.html

Also, we’ve seen many examples of people organizing societies based much more on cooperation and solidarity – the Spanish Revolution being one example of this. It’s in other words not a question of whether a society based on solidarity, cooperation and workers' control can be achieved, but how we most effectively get there.

[-] 0 points by Maggie22 (107) 1 year ago

Dawkins' theory explains the altruism we see in people. He relates it back to our origins in small family groups. There is and has always been a great deal of savagery directed at people that are not part of our "tribe". You can't blame that savagery on free market capitalism, it predates capitalism in human history. The system didn't make us, we made the system.

Cooperation is certainly possible, but I disagree that agreement is natural for people in large diverse populations. It's a bit odd that you pick a civil war to offer as an example of cooperation. Obviously the two sides were unable to cooperate.

Libertarian socialism is a nice theory but there is no real proof it could work, only hope and supposition. The world is not heading in that direction anyway. Its support is close to nonexistent and it hasn't shown any signs of real growth in close to a century.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 1 year ago

Capitalism is very much to blame. Things didn’t always go smoothly before capitalism of course, but capitalism brings out the worst in us; it encourages us to be greedy and profit on other people’s misery. A society with such an organization will of course have more greedy people than a society based more on solidarity and cooperation.

Creating a society where we cooperate in the sense that we democratically control the resources together, and build a more humane and civilized society, is perfectly feasible.

You’re wrong. We’ve seen many examples of societies and communities based on libertarian socialist, or at least libertarian socialist-like principles that have worked very well:

http://occupywallst.org/forum/workplace-democracy-and-workers-self-management/

The ideas of a free, democratic society based on workers’ self-management and solidarity, are growing in popularity. Co-ops are growing in number all over the place, and an increasing amount of people are actively opposing and fighting both state and private tyranny.

[-] 0 points by Maggie22 (107) 1 year ago

I have no objection to people building whatever society they want, right now there is no significant support for a libertarian socialist society. My initial comment was that capitalism didn't create people's tendency toward greed, human greed led to the development of a capitalistic society.

Your examples don't show any successful libertarian socialist societies. You offer the Spanish Civil War, but that didn't last long enough to show if libertarian socialist practices could be successful in practice. Some of went on in Catalonia could easily be interpreted as a failure of libertarian socialist principles.

I see some irony in your statement about people opposing state and private tyranny. I see that as what a vast majority of people actually have accepted.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 1 year ago

“I have no objection to people building whatever society they want, right now there is no significant support for a libertarian socialist society.”

Attitudes and opinions can change. That’s happened many times before; it can happen again. By focusing on the things mentioned here, I think we’ll move closer and closer towards human liberation – a libertarian socialist society.

“My initial comment was that capitalism didn't create people's tendency toward greed, human greed led to the development of a capitalistic society.”

Humans aren’t selfish and cynical by nature (which you’ll find good arguments for in the links I provided above). Over the years we’ve actually seen more and more science showing the opposite, from brain research and biology, to the studies of infants like this f.example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXqRmf3Ur0E . Greed and cynicism is for the most part caused by the political and economic systems humans live under.

“You offer the Spanish Civil War, but that didn't last long enough to show if libertarian socialist practices could be successful in practice.”

I presented many examples of libertarian socialist/libertarian socialist-like organization working just fine. The anarchist organizations during the Spanish Revolution didn’t last very long, but before it was crushed it was in fact very successful, with lots of participation and good economic development.

“I see some irony in your statement about people opposing state and private tyranny. I see that as what a vast majority of people actually have accepted.”

How so? I only said that an increasing number of people are actively fighting the tyranny of states and big business.

[-] 1 points by Maggie22 (107) 1 year ago

True, attitudes can always change, but with regard to libertarian socialism attitudes haven't changed in decades. If anything support in the last century has decreased. Unions don't seem at all interested in starting worker run factories. Workers themselves don't seem willing to invest in ownership and society isn't willing to give workers the means of production as a handout. I think the vast majority of people feel libertarian socialism is a flawed theory, they see something wrong with the message. That could change, but not without some better for proof of effectiveness then the Spanish anarchists from the 1930's and and handful of cooperatives. People like Chomsky continue to lecture, but to no effect. It's going to take more then talk to change people's mind.

The irony I see comes from what I see a disconnect between what people say and how they act. Saying they want an end to government tyranny but demanding that same government pay for services for them and care for them. In effect people say they want freedom from government yet through their actions don't just hand government the power to control parts of their life they seem to demand it in some cases. It's much the same with attitudes toward business owners. People love to hate business owners yet are, for the most part, unwilling to join a cooperative or start their own business to change things.

The libertarian socialist state set up during the Spanish Civil War may have turned out to be successful or it may not have. We'll never know. You seem optimistic it would have been successful, I'm skeptical.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 1 year ago

Establishing a libertarian socialist society – which will in fact benefit the entire population enormously – is going to take a lot of time and energy. But the struggle for a better society must go on for as long as it takes. Slavery and Leninism are both systems that have lasted for many years in different parts of the world, but that eventually were dismantled. The same thing can, and must happen with capitalism. The current system is undemocratic, tyrannical and unsustainable; it must be dismantled at some point.

There are lots of challenges today, that’s true, but things are in fact staring to happen. The interest for participatory democracy and a more co-operative economic system, is increasing; more people are rising up against neo-liberal policies which we now see the results of in both Europe and America. One example is the progressive and left/left libertarian movement, the Occupy Movement.

It’s going to take time to change things around, but the work has begun.

[-] 1 points by Maggie22 (107) 1 year ago

We'll see, things may change, but I doubt it will occur this century. I think occupy is more existing anarchists coming together in one place rather then any appreciable increase in their numbers. The population in Europe seems more concerned with maintaining a system of state support not working to build a new economic system.

Personally I don't see libertarian socialism as workable.

[-] 1 points by Shule (1517) 1 year ago

Actually, according to psychologists like Karl Jung et al., the answer is both. Man's sub conscious has fundamental brain circuits (so to speak) to be either (and other things.) Humans can be greedy jackasses, or they can be compassionate loving beings. The capacity exists in all (almost all*) humans. It is only a matter of which brain circuit one or the surrounding environment cares to excite.

*the exception being some people have certain brain functions stunted. Unfortunately it more often is the loving circuit which is stunted. Those people are called psychos. They make wars and cause a lot of other trouble There is no hope for them, the rest of us who are their victims.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 1 year ago

Humans are certainly able to act like douchebags, but I think cases in which such types of behavior are determined – in the sense that the desire to not act in such a manner is absent because of certain activities in the brain – is pretty rare. Those would be cases in which we’re dealing with "psychos" as you say, individuals with some kind of disorder. Most (healthy) people have, at their core at least, decent moral values. Also read my answer to “Maggie22”

[-] 1 points by Shule (1517) 1 year ago

According to a psychologist David Grossman (a ret Lt Col in the U.S. Army who wrote a book titled "On Killing" -it is a worthwhile read,) about 2% of the population are psycho. They do not need any additional training to go out and kill people as they get their jollies from it. Although psychos are not a large percent of the population (and most psychos are kept in check), there are enough of them out there to make things scary. Now when some small portion of the psycho population gets into positions of power.....

Per your discussion with Maggie22, I pretty much agree with your position, there is an intrinsic good in most people (with few exceptions as noted above.) I think we are sort of saying the same. My only caveat being I feel both good and bad, although innate are breed. Dispositions are learned, and we must assure our society nurtures the good in people. (That is what a lot of the Buddhist teachings are about.) The way our capital system is being run right now I am not so sure that is happening.

[-] -2 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

Is talking about money and the economy obsessively natural? Sorry I don't have a YouTube video.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 1 year ago

Do you have anything to say about the video?

[-] -3 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

I don't care about the economy or economics or money or material wealth in general.

Nope.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 1 year ago

Why did you comment here, then? Btw, Could you elaborate a little on what you were trying to say with that comment?

[+] -5 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

Your post is meaningless and irrelevant.

[-] -1 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

All my posts are meaningless and irrelevant. I know that already. Im not sure struggleforfreedom80 knows that his are though. ;)

[+] -5 points by Perfectcast (-168) 1 year ago

The video is the worst sort of pseudoscience. Chimps live in small famalial groups and demonstrate social cooperation within family groups and vicious savagery to outside family groups.

There wouldn't be a need for the Ten Commandments if human's basic instinct was cooperation. it isn't. Man is avaricious and selfish. To suggest otherwise is progressive poppycock. We are a covetous, licentious species. We covet property, wives, power.

[-] 3 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

You name your own dysfunctions? Guess you have a list to work on. Self improvement - you can be better if you want to be.

[-] -3 points by Perfectcast (-168) 1 year ago

Why was there a need for the Ten Commandments 3000 years ago? Please answer.

[-] 3 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

For consistency. People need something to work for. I have not said that you are the only dysfunctional one in society or in the world.

[+] -4 points by Perfectcast (-168) 1 year ago

That's nonsense. The Tem Commandments were created because they were needed. And you made my point. If Man's basic instinct was social cooperation, we don't need laws.

[-] 4 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

There are many good people who every day do the best they can to live as best they can - in harmony with others and with the environment.

Then there are the misfits malcontents greedy self-centered self-serving. They are the necessity for law - Consistent law.

[+] -5 points by Perfectcast (-168) 1 year ago

You didn't prove a thing. Admittedly, familial groups forn social cooperatives. That protects their genes. Man's history is conflict and war. That's the truth, whether you like it or not. There wouldn't even be a need for boundaries or property lines if man was a altruistic creature.

I won't debate anymore. History and genetics prove me right.

[-] 4 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

There would be no civilization with out civil people.

[-] -3 points by Perfectcast (-168) 1 year ago

You enjoy denying reality. Civilization is enforced by armies and police. If man were inherently good, no need for locks, fences, guns, laws.

[-] 3 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

What R U a perfectcast of? An Ass?


[-] -1 points by Perfectcast (-18) 1 minute ago

You enjoy denying reality. Civilization is enforced by armies and police. If man were inherently good, no need for locks, fences, guns, laws. ↥twinkle ↧stinkle permalink

[-] 1 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

People covet money. It is a fetish.

Poor people want to be rich. Rich people want to be even richer.

The original virtue of mankind is Disobedience, not cooperation. Eve told God to fuck off!!! and let her live. She didnt try to please god by cooperating. Eve asserted her freedom.

[-] 1 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

Speak for yourself!

[-] 1 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

I got to you! Finally!

H Cabret 1. The World 0.

Turn off the bloody caps lock damn it!!!!!

[-] -1 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

How did "you get to me"?

[-] 2 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

I want you and all others to think and speak for yourselves and no anyone else.

I assume you agree?

[-] -1 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

i always speak for myself and have believed that for all my 50 years.

How did you "get to me"?

[-] 1 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

In the other thread you keep trying to get me and others to think the way that you think. Then in this thread you say "Speak for yourself!"

That is quite the reversal, or at the very least evidence of hypocracy. I genuinely hope that it isnt the latter.

[-] 1 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

Go figure.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

I like you!!!

[-] 0 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

Can't say it's mutual.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

It doesn't have to be mutual. I like you no matter what you think of me.

[-] 0 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

You're not making sense. I of course use my own words along with links that backup my words & beliefs.

I've told you repeatedly I do not care about the scientific basis for "race". I care about (and fight) the realty of hateful people/actions.

I am neither a hypocrite or a racist, and further I feel no need to prove that to you.

Whether you are convinced or not is unimportant to me,

[-] -1 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

"I've told you repeatedly I do not care about the scientific basis for "race"."

Then you do not care to understand why and how the racists are being racists in the first place. Race is made up and anyone who uses Race to further their agenda is a complete lunatic.

Using 'race' to refer to arbitrary groups of people is hateful.

[-] 0 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

You've been rebutted. Perhaps you missed it. Try rereading the comments.

[-] -2 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

In the "Still dont think race matters?" thread you posts 21 external links, instead of using your own words.

You have yet to prove the factual existance of "race".

And you have yet to tell me why you are not either a hypocrite or a racist, yet still refer to "race" as fact.

Im not convinced.

[-] 0 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

I never flee, More of your lies. I do not go into defense mode. Wrong again.

You wanna try some more unfounded personal attacks, in place of discussing the issues?

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

We are discussing process. Before you figure things out, you gotta figure out how to figure out things in the first place.

[-] -1 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

Then why dont you rebut me? Why do you just say "good luck!" and then move on?

Persistance is key to whole thing. You cant change others without persistantly trying to change them.

[-] -1 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

Great.

[-] -1 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

You are confused. I do not "try to get anyone to think theway I think" That is you resorting to blatant lies because your position can't stand up to the truth.

My comment was in response to Perfectcasts statement that we all covet our neighbors property etc... So since I don't, I responded that he should speak for himself.

Any discussion where I disagree is an effort to convince people that more views exist, and/or to learn myself. Not to get people to think the way I think.

Sorry try again.

[-] 1 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

You have asked me to sign petitions several times. You have asked me to "Join Us" several times.

Everytime I rebut one of your statements you go into defense mode and say "we should agree to disagree" or "good luck with your efforts". You give up when your down instead of standing up for yourself. i want to hear your ideas as much as I want you to hear mine. Tell me WHY I am wrong, instead of fleeing.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 1 year ago

How so?