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Forum Post: OWS, not against capitalism

Posted 11 years ago on Oct. 8, 2011, 10:10 p.m. EST by DCSense (0)
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just against greed.

why is this so hard to understand?

Oh, because the ones against OWS can't discern the difference between greed and capitalism, and that fundamental misconception is why things are in such disarray.

Can we shift this movement to the support of ETHICAL capitalism? Can we get a rallying call against CITIZENS UNITED, rally for a fair tax system, rally for more regulation?

I think this is a fair balance between the diverse crowd at OWS.

End corporate influence - Ban lobbyists and end corporate campaign donations

End unfair taxes - close loopholes and adjust the brackets to support the middle and lower class

Force the banks to be more responsible - levy harsher penalties for failure to comply with current regulations, restrict banks ability to grow exponentially, and create regulations for banks to be more transparent.



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[-] 2 points by SandyEnglish (60) 10 years ago

This is the socialist point of view:

from "The Breakdown of Capitalism and the Fight for Socialism in the United States" Program of the Socialist Equality Party

"The concentration of staggering sums of money in the hands of a small fraction of the population, the consequence of private ownership of the means of production, is not only socially obscene. It is, more significantly, economically destructive and incompatible with the critical needs of society, within the United States and internationally. This is the age of a globally integrated mass society. Approximately seven billion people inhabit our planet. Three hundred million people live in the United States. All the great social problems that confront modern society—the provision of food and other basic necessities, education, medical care, housing, social infrastructure, the development of natural resources—require solutions that are collective, not individual, in their character. There is a desperate need for the rational development of global economic resources and their utilization in the interests of the world’s people. Moreover, the technological advances and economic growth that are required to abolish poverty and meet the ever-rising social and cultural needs of people cannot be achieved without a scientifically grounded awareness of the complex and life-threatening problems confronting the ecology of our planet."


"In his summary of the materialist conception of history, Karl Marx, the founder of modern socialism, wrote: 'At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production. … From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution.' These productive forces, comprising not only factories, offices, tools and scientific knowledge, but the working class itself, are being strangled by the social relations of capitalism—private ownership and the division of the world into nation-states. The global financial crisis, the decline in production, the contraction in world trade, the gargantuan budgetary deficits, the instability of national currencies, the deterioration of relations between countries, the growth of militarism and, above all, the plunging living standards of the working class—all these interconnected processes signify the beginning of a new era of revolutionary upheaval. The needs of mass society cannot be met within the framework of a system based on private ownership of the means of production. The global development of the productive forces is being strangled by the capitalist nation-state system."


[-] 1 points by elderado (1) 10 years ago

I suppose there should also be a civil way to conduct yourself during times of war? And I suppose the bank's charters and internal laws and regulations should be changed to hold ethics as the #1 goal and move profit down to #2. I suppose we should ask people to care for others more than they care for themselves. I suppose I should start with something small, like getting my cat to clean his own litter box out... that seems more logical and feasible.

[-] 1 points by Hopemonger (8) 10 years ago

That's an important distinction to make. There are some among the movement wanting this to be a revolution to overthrow capitalism altogether, but I agree that reform to make capitalism ethical should be considered first. There's a problem with how not only to initially enforce such regulation, but how to prevent those with hugely disproportionate money (hence power & influence) from erroding such regulation.

[-] 1 points by PatrickMc (7) 10 years ago

The problem is that even if capitalism can be made more just through a more equitable distribution of wealth, it still cannot be made sustainable. So, you might address arguments 2 and 3 but not 1. Capitalism fundamentally requires profits, and profits require growth. "Steady-state capitalism" is a myth. Let's imagine a static society (i.e., one in which the total amount of wealth never increases) and see what happens if this society is capitalist. In a static society, profit amounts to a zero sum game where the gain in wealth by one person or group equals wealth lost by another person or group. Obviously this is unsustainable since each person starts out with a finite amount of wealth; profit ceases whenever all the wealth becomes so concentrated that those not making a profit no longer have any wealth which can be taken. Therefore, if the standard of living is to be maintained, growth is required in any society where profits exist. You have to have growth just to maintain the current standard of living if someone is making a profit. It is this need for growth that makes capitalism an unsustainable economic system.

Mainstream economists from Adam Smith to Paul Krugman have all acknowledged that capitalism requires growth - this is not a radical idea. The ecological economists have never been able to demonstrate how a steady state economy could actually work as anything other than an intellectual exercise.

[-] 1 points by PatrickMc (7) 10 years ago

Here are the problems with capitalism:

1) it is unsustainable. Capitalism is the operation of the means of production for private profit. Profits require growth. Nothing can grow forever, therefore capitalism is unsustainable.

2) it is undemocratic. Capitalism concentrates wealth into the hands of a few - this is something that is fundamental to capitalism. Concentrations of wealth always destroy democracy and result in an oligarchy. Wealth is a form of political power. Political power must be distributed equally in a democracy. Capitalism results in concentrations of wealth, therefore concentrations of political power. Therefore, capitalism is undemocratic.

3) it is inhuman. People are inherently altruistic and social beings, while capitalism views people as fundamentally as individual beings and competitive. Capitalism is structural-functionalist and individually reductive on the issue of poverty - poverty is good for society by encouraging everyone to work hard, and if you're poor, it's your fault. Some make the argument that capitalism is human nature because people are naturally competitive and individualistic, contrary to the scientific facts. This argument relies on circular reasoning, since the ones making this statement about human nature are observing humans that have been raised in a capitalist system, a system which rewards the very behaviors being observed (competition, greed, etc.). The fact is, capitalism is a fairly recent phenomena in the history of the human race on this planet. Capitalism is not human nature - it is a system which rewards people for acting contrary to human nature. Therefore, capitalism is inhuman.

Democracy cannot work with capitalism (see 2). Capitalism always leads to an oligarchy. The solution to this problem is democratic socialism. The only economic system capable of preserving democracy is socialism. Past incarnations of socialism were never democratic - this is why they ultimately didn't work. This explains the failure of the USSR. Capitalism always results in oligarchy - this explains why our democracy is failing. Socialism cannot work without democracy, and democracy cannot work without socialism.

[-] 1 points by taxbax (159) 11 years ago

tho I'd contend that, in an ideal political climate, the extra regulation wouldn't be necessary because the politicians do not accept bribes anyways

[-] 1 points by taxbax (159) 11 years ago

There are picket signs and rhetoric that is anti-capitalist and Michael Moore encourages that conversation. but this is encouraging to see!

[-] 0 points by DCSense (0) 10 years ago

I just don't understand why they haven't had some kind of meeting of the most active OWS members, so they could hash out an agenda and move forward with some (more than 1 is fine) goals. Create a specific rallying point the public can get behind and the media cant put down.

If the head that grows from this movement truly becomes an anti-capitalism giant, then i'll want no part of it (as will many Americans), but if something truly great comes out of this, like the empowerment of small business and the dismantling of too big to fail, then it WILL get done.

[-] 0 points by gawdoftruth (3698) from Santa Barbara, CA 10 years ago

gawdoftruth (Santa Barbara, CA) 1 points 0 seconds ago

"cap·i·tal·ism    [kap-i-tl-iz-uhm] Show IPA noun an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth."

Corporate oligarchy; an economic and political system, in which investment and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth, is made and maintained chiefly by a shadow government, which uses other systems such as capitalism or democracy as a front and mask to cover over the simple truth. Capitalism= private ownership Corporate oligarchy= state ownership. In this, corporate oligarchy is actually closer to socialism and communism than it actually is to capitalism.

gawdoftruth (Santa Barbara, CA) 1 points 7 minutes ago

the standard way. capital. ism.

"cap·i·tal·ism    [kap-i-tl-iz-uhm] Show IPA noun an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth."

sounds like our system until you stop and consider that in fact the corporate oligarchy constitutes a supra legal shadow government, and so the vast majority of all holdings and resources and money is actually owned by that shadow government.

Capitalism in the real sense by comparison would be far better, because at least those things would be held by private citizens instead of a shadow government.

capitalism never existed. corporate oligarchy make believing capitalism like little girls make believing in tea is not capitalism.

you can't remove what does not exist. without your super villain, your super hero is just an old bearded dead man with bright red underwear.

corporate oligarchies need to expand. true form capitalism is far more stable and steady state.

Marxism can analyze a theoretical system which has never existed all it likes.

Its a stupid and pointless game. Since capitalism does not exist, marxism is accidentally just propping up capitalism the con scam by being the convenient foil and false critique.

Any promotion of marxism is thus actually a promotion of " capitalism"- the corporate oligarchy con scam.

you are a dupe and a pawn and a tool, until you wake up.

[-] 0 points by KarmaTinfoil (52) from Philadelphia, PA 10 years ago

Capitalism is the creation of Autonomous Slaves, who must subject themselves to employment, or they will not be able to feed or house themselves. It is the creation of money, which "authorities" buy force with, & beat other humans for being hungry & homeless & not playing into the system of control.