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Forum Post: Profit = Measure of benifit to community. Capitalism is brilliant.

Posted 2 years ago on Dec. 16, 2011, 6:41 p.m. EST by blazefire (947)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Ultimately, capitalism is brilliant. The concept of us as people, predetermining the value of a unit (the dollar) and using that unit to express value, is genius. It allows us to trade worldwide, allows for us to invest in projects in large groups and more. It saves us from carrying around bags of eggs for instance to trade.

The only problem, with capitalism, is that title. Profit does not = measure of benifit to the community. It should. Imagine what mother Teresa would have done with a tenth of a tenth part of one SMALL banks, CEO. Imagine.

We need a simple re-organisation. A simple recognition. We need to redifine profit. What does it mean?

At the moment it means: Ability to trade.

It does not matter, it seems, the actual value of a product or service, in comparrison to the ability to trade that product or service, when profit is the driving force. And I must point out the obvious, for a businesses profit is the driving force.

As a side effect of this, good business understand that SPIN is an acronym:

Situation

Problem

Implications

Need

This is spin. And companies pay millions for good spin. Spin that will make an individual look at his/her environment, recognise a serious issue, which will create a need, then, it naturally follows, that an advertisement for "a solution", will sell.

We are pumping propoganda at ourselves 24/7. And the thing we are saying is, "Be afraid, be very afraid."

Propoganda has changed the course of wars, influenced major political shifts, and sold many a product worldwide. You will note, that in no part of spin, is value mentioned.

This is the information age. In the staone age, we carried big, heavy stone axes, then the bronze saw the bronze sword, and the iron the iron sword, all the way to today, the information age. And information is the weapon, and our minds, the battleground. And war, is the perfect business model.

IMHO, we as the people require a taxation system that is self-evolving, and completely organic in nature. We require a taxation system that ensures profit only EVER = benifit to community. In this way we redifine the meaning of profit, and give the business minded, the corporations the means to acheive it. Benefit to community.

I would say that we require it to be in our hands, controlled by us, because it is us. It is our contribution and we should say how it is set, and what it is used for. Society should define value. And in doing so, redifine profit.

127 Comments

127 Comments


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[-] 3 points by genanmer (822) 2 years ago

The problem is money itself is a product of debt.

Money does not accurately measure value. It can not measure intangibles nor reflect resources. It does not circulate to laborers/people when jobs are automated and mechanized. Yet, the most common method of obtaining money is through labor-for-income occupations.

Because money is detached from natural laws, processes, resources, and real value the pursuit of money detaches a company, group, or individual from these same things. This is seen by many powerful businesses completely ignoring their negative environmental impact, and inhumane practices.

It is also easily manipulated through pricing systems to devalue nurses, cancer researchers, teachers and overvalues hedge fund CEO's, politicians, and military contractors. Wealth and resources continue to be concentrated into the hands of the irresponsible, the careless, and the sociopathic.

Once money is acknowledged as an extremely poor substitute to ethical win/win interactions. Once money is no longer praised, and worshiped. Once money is no longer vital to the survival of an individual and those they care about... we will progress forward.

The third wave or age of information is giving way to the fourth wave, the age of ethics.

[-] 3 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

Ok....back, lol....so, yes and I would table that we require a redefinition. In that yours is the way of it, but not the way it should be.

Re: the ethical age: Yes, spiritually I know this, and would stand for it, and voice my intent for it, and do whatever I may to usher it in.

Which is essentially what I am saying, in terms of the restructuring that needs to take place. To change those core definitions....

[-] 0 points by genanmer (822) 2 years ago

It will occur naturally as more people commit to this straight forward yet, extremely difficult idea.

Never compromise your principles, virtues, ethics, or morality.

Seek out win/win interactions. If none are found/available reject it and keep searching or communicating.

[-] 2 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

Hmmmm yes....AND I believe we could do this systematically, as a community, real time.

[-] 0 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

Ok, if we're talking about a money based economy where we are merely placing ethics at the top of the priority list, I'd be for that. It's when you say money is the problem it's self that you loose me.

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

No money itself is not a problem...? I cannot remembering saying that. Money is simply a unit of measurement. A centremetre, does not define a thing, but it sure is a unit that we can use to help....mone is in my opinion much the same...only it is being abused.

[-] 1 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

I'm in agreement with you then. This is just the process by which the metal of an idea is tested. ;)

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

I would also add....

"The problem is money itself is a product of debt. "

"The problem is money itself is a product of debt. "

I could not agree more...these are some of the core definitions we need to examine....and change. Profit SHOULD equal a true reflection of value.....If it did, then, all that you say would be good....allow me to explain.

If profit was a measure of benefit to community, then, CEO's who make millions would be GREAT! If they had made millions, it would be equally reflected in the community, and, for those CEO's to obtained that profit, they must have 'benefited' the community, in a measure, as defined by the measure of the profit....

In other words, and simply put, we give people the chance to help each other, and we make that the most profitable concern...

[-] 1 points by genanmer (822) 2 years ago

I agree. However, just be aware of this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xx1i_Fzrd3o&feature=share

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aw9txoJ4wt4&feature=related

They do exist, and have co-opted movements in the past.

[-] 1 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

First half of that I'm with you on, second half, not so much. We need ethical standards and regulations, but you can't remove the free will of the individual, nor the responsibility of the individual for his or her own survival and welfare. Maybe I don't want to go bathe orphans today, maybe I want to play minecraft and masturbate to free porn. That's not helping anyone, but it's not hurting anyone, and I loath the vision of a communist utopia that your idea of removing currency would result in. Communists don't make good video games. lol

To be more serious, you're talking about removing an economic system, but you aren't replacing it with anything except the vague idea of cooperation, that does not work, because different people want different things and will not always want to spend their time helping each other with everything while having no value or mediating force with which they can determine how the people you do things for can return the favor to you.

[-] 3 points by genanmer (822) 2 years ago

I'm not advocating the complete release of money.

We are still dependent on it to conduct many activities. As money is necessary to ration resources between people that are unwilling to collaborate or cooperate. And that is true as long as people perceive scarcity. But we've had technologies to provide abundance world wide for the past century and more advanced technological solutions keep churning out.

The problem is that when given a choice between hoarding, accumulating money, and sustaining profits vs sharing technologies, circulating underused resources, and sustaining the environment the former is chosen most times. OR over time the companies that have consistently chosen the former gain power and end up rising in power over ethical organizations as they play the game best.

The only reason money works is because people abide by the same rules applied to money. It possesses the illusion of value as long as people abide by the same rules. When people outright abuse these rules in their favor (bailouts, FED, lobbying, fraud, etc) people begin to see past the illusion of that currencies value.

If money wasn't worshiped over other forms of value, it would make itself obsolete through automated, sustainable, and highly productive/efficient technologies. As efficiency, sustainability, and preservation are enemies of the monetary system.

So I advocate the Gradual demise of money, by allowing it to grow obsolete in as many areas as possible by advocating technologies that provide abundance. This is the ONLY way a post-scarcity society can ever exist.

[-] 1 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

We aren't in a post-scarcity society on a global scale, though. The world is over-populated and besides the famine and drought we see in resource starved and war torn parts of the world, we are even seeing food shortages in modern wealthy nations like Japan. It's a much much more complicated situation than you think.

I think currency will always be a necessary tool, but should be based on a finite resource like precious metals to stabilize it a bit. Monetary value based on 'faith' alone is silly. If we clap can we bring Tinkerbell back to life? I'm a supporter of ending the Fed.

I think we just need some restructuring of the system, we need to do away with political parties and ban independently funded campaigns, replacing them with a set amount of resources for all candidates and air debates on C-span, we need laws regarding worker's rights and regulations to protect us from irresponsible actions on Wallstreet and environmental abuse. Funny enough the Bill of Rights was partly inspired by the Magna Carta, yet it does not include the part about the right to healthy public lands for the citizens to hunt and fish on. We need an Amendment for that, I think.

Basically, I'm saying you will never see everyone voluntarily do the right thing at all times. Universal ethics through personal free will is not going to happen. It has to be mandated through law, and 'We the People' must force the hand of the powerful to see the myriad of changes made to fix our system.

[-] 2 points by genanmer (822) 2 years ago

On a global scale advanced technologies have not been implemented and utilized to their true potential to benefit human kind. Rather the most advanced technologies seen all over the world are used to destroy nations, to capitalize on resource extraction, to arm children, and to terrorize.

The technologies necessary for a resource based economy are already available however, the general mindset necessary for it to function globally isn't there yet.

http://www.thevenusproject.com/en/technology/latest-technology

I agree, free will isn't exactly free from cultural biases, national propaganda, and media influence. Many don't choose the language that their culture utilizes, the color of their skin, the religion their family follows, the financial wealth of their family, nor many other environmental factors that influence their decisions.

So I agree restrictions and regulations against unethical practices are necessary within a monetary system until the environment begins to support a more ethical way of living. A separation of decision making from money is part of that. However, even more important is transparency or honesty in the inner workings of both individuals and large institutions.

Without transparency in government operations, financial operations, individual agendas, closed-door meetings, etc. the people can not make truly informed decisions and regulations will only be partially effective. As JFK put it, secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society.

The true war has always been over information.

[-] 1 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

You make a good point. I've seen the rich in many instances donate huge portions of their wealth to projects aimed at helping people in resource starved places, with minimal result in the end, because they went about it all wrong, because they know what works for big companies and factory farms and not what works for poor rural people. Just think what those people could do if they just... knew what the hell they are doing... lol I mean, why don't we build desalinization plants with aid money, along with salt harvesting so that the saline does not poison sarounding land and water... and then train locals over many years to slowly start taking over more and more important jobs there until they can completely run the plant themselves. Then they could counter drought with irrigation.

There are companies, charities, and such who are using new technology to try to solve 3rd world problems with mixed results. There are places in third world countries where developers were installing early personal use solar panels before they even started trying it in America, for instance. And the treadle pump is a primitive invention being sold cheep to rural farmers in places like India, where it's literally saving farms and reducing food shortages within a year. It all is just a very slow process. Just think of what we could do with the right mind and the right funding.

See, I don't know if I agree that humanity will ever unanimously evolve their way of interacting and economics like you think they will. I don't think it's possible. But that's a 'wait and see' scenario. We can try to encourage a better culture individually, and that will help, but there will still be those who choose to do bad things.

Ultimately, what I'm concerned about is working on fixing and improving our current system ASAP, forcefully if necessary, while we wait to see if social evolution ever catches up. Just think, we wouldn't have even our broken Democracy if it wasn't for the French deciding to lop the heads of the royals off. The idea of democracy was born out of rebellion against monarchy, and is still in it's infancy, while the ancient practice of monarchy still has not died out. Social evolution feels nearly as slow as genetic evolution.

Now that the people are awakening to reality again, we need to take on the new problems that are arising within these historically new systems of government and economics, and the influence of technology. I think the influence of technology is the chaotic jump in evolution that has brought us to this point, in ways both good and bad. Now we react to it, and we must do so with the understanding that this is not unprecedented, not the end of the world, just another chapter in history that we will have to fight to help write.

[-] 2 points by genanmer (822) 2 years ago

We are going to see revolutions in the economy of new areas as the mobile industry begins to emerge in previously 3rd world areas like Africa. With information comes education, and new technologies.

However, the reason so many can't arrive at solutions to benefit everyone is that the system encourages disagreements and conflict. In so many ways ideological systems and conditioned beliefs demand people to oppose new ideas and people supporting them regardless of the ideas' validity. 'Friendly' competition doesn't exist between dogmatic ideologies. Every progressive reform has had to fight tooth and nail in order to gain enough momentum as our society encourages hostile competition.

Our democracy was born out of slave-owning white men wanting to be free. :P And voting was initially reserved for the landowners of these men. Democracy was a gentleman's agreement to arrive at a consensus among the elite. Today we have the scientific method which can arrive at solutions to technical problems much better than a democracy.

In personal development and NLP there is something called anchoring and triggering. What anchoring does is link unrelated concepts to each other and triggering is the stimulus. e.g. seeing the color red on a sign post triggers us to stop. The media uses this concept all the time to sell products. It is extremely powerful to be able to anchor and trigger the sensation of lust, hunger, happiness, confidence, safety, etc. with a product. And beyond product sales this is the thing that must both be fought and consciously utilized as people are unconsciously programmed to link all sorts of primal emotions to products. When people are aware of their own social programming they are able to change it. It works in personal development all the time as people with traumatic experiences redefine those experiences as empowering and re-associate poor habits as disempowering and/or unsatisfying.

This kind of introspective understanding and conscious shift can just as easily occur at a social level. The consciousness of a group will shift as the group grows aware. And contrary to those that believe the external environment predefines a person or group, we do have the ability to choose our actions when faced with cognitive dissonance (conflicting ideas). We possess an internal environment capable of questioning ideas as does society. Choosing and committing to an ethical decision are two different things. The challenge is to create leverage to consistently act in accordance with that ethical idea until it becomes habitual. e.g. someone trying to leverage themselves to follow a diet or exercise routine.

Again, the challenge to change at a personal level are reflected at the social level. So the social change will depend on how easily and rapidly a majority of individuals can change their own values, beliefs, and behaviors. As above, so below.

[-] 1 points by PandoraK (1678) 2 years ago

Took a lot of typing to say...'good doggie the bells are ringing'... Now how to deprogram the dogs...

[-] 1 points by genanmer (822) 2 years ago

Not sure about dogs, but people are self aware.

People can literally program themselves if they are aware and really desire to (willpower). Until people stop Re-acting like trained animals the best we can do is reprogram them to grow conscious of their own habits.

[-] 1 points by PandoraK (1678) 2 years ago

The reference was to Pavlov's dogs.

They were trained by repeated events of a bell ringing and food being produced. Dog see, smell food they salivate, eventually the bell could be rung and the dogs would begin to salivate. Programming.

People being programed either by themselves or others isn't very appealing in concept. The problem isn't so much programming but rather lack of willingness to explore, to think outside that nice comfortable, safe box.

[-] 2 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

Exactly. Which is one of the main problems one runs up against when trying to deprogram or make people more self-aware of their programing; cognitive dissonance. When a person learns of a reality that conflicts with their existing belief structure or worldview, it's acutely uncomfortable, and there is a period during which the person has to alter their beliefs and worldview in order to end the dissonance, or else reject the information or ideas that caused the dissonance, which can lead to denial or delusion. There's a lot of the latter going around in the world today.

People need to learn that a little discomfort can be good for them. Cognitive dissonance it like the ache you get in your muscles when you exercise. People are too worried about maintaining comfort and a sense of security, even if it kills them slowly.

[Removed]

[-] 1 points by genanmer (822) 2 years ago

ah, my mistake. I thought you were being literal.

As for getting people outside of their comfort zone. Most people fight this simple idea: The only constant is change.

Adapting to consistent patterns is simply a way of feeling certain in all the uncertain changes that occur.

[-] -1 points by Jflynn64 (337) 2 years ago

How old are you? just awakening?

[-] 1 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

Twenty eight. What exactly is your problem with my choice of words? Before the housing market crashed, I had trouble engaging people in conversation about what was going on with new laws introduced that favor corporations, the war as a real event that impacts people and the economy, and other issues. They'd always brush it off, say they can't do anything about it, or parrot talking points they learned from a tv news ideologue at me. But that is changing. Even my own dad who was a lifelong republican and Bush supporter has woken up and is learning more about what is going on, and is changing his worldview, which used to seem set in stone. The attitudes of people are starting to finally change, because they can't lie to themselves anymore.

[-] 0 points by Jflynn64 (337) 2 years ago

I have no idea what you are saying new technology.

[-] 1 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

New technology has played a huge role in the fast paced changes the world has seen. The way we interact, the way we keep track of money, the way the world does business, the type of business the world does... all hugely effected by the pace of invention and innovation. It's something that can be a catalyst for changes in the economy, for example automatons in factories that reduce the need for work force, and easier international business networking making outsourcing and moving funds off shores more easy than ever. Stuff like that. But people are also using it to share information and ideas, such as political and activist movements.

Like with genetic evolution, sudden changes mean we have to start paying more attention and start adapting if we want to survive in the new world that is created every day.

[-] 1 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 2 years ago

outstanding point. don't mind Jflynn64, i have noticed they aren't here to use the forum. just be a dick and try to run people off the forum. please ignore anything else from Jflynn64 lest you feed the trolls.

but your point was right on.

[-] 0 points by Jflynn64 (337) 2 years ago

Hogwash, the fundamentals of money and economics are the same if you are using Facebook or carrier pigeon.

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

That is literally hilarious......!

And has to almost go down as the troll quote of the day....

"the fundamentals of money and economics are the same if you are using Facebook or carrier pigeon."

lol.....clearly you don't understand things like a petro-chemical based logistical economy...or things like options and well....economics!

The fact that you would make such a statement, coupled with your serious intent, to not read anything that may to be the contrary, screams louder than words, your agenda, and your attitude....

[-] 0 points by Jflynn64 (337) 2 years ago

You mean the options and leverage that brought the economy down?

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

Hmmmm....YES! But you support this system....don't you???

[-] 1 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

If you know so much, then by all means elaborate on how things like automatons don't effect the work force. You tend to come off as hostile towards my posts, yet have little to offer thus far.

[-] 0 points by Jflynn64 (337) 2 years ago

You used the word "effect" incorrectly. You just crystalized our country's problem.

[-] 1 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

Our greatest problem is the occasional misused word? Now THAT is laughable.

Troll noted, and disregarded. lol

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

Ok! Well firstly I would say thanks for the conversation, and more, your involvement in occupy, we really are changing things (I think we all need to do more of this)....

I would table however that true ethics is found through the free will of the individual.....and a system could be built to represent this. I have no ideals for a communist utopia, but a dichotmy, of both communistic ideals of equal opportunity, and democratic systems of decision making. I am advocating MORE transfer of power to the individual, and I am certainly talking about a replacement economic model...

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/50500650/yourtopia-your%20official%20final%20beginning.pdf

[-] 1 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

I'm for equal opportunity, but what people do with it has to be up to them, you know? I think you do, because I know 'free will' is important to you as well.

As for ethics through free will of the individual, I disagree. The fact of free will is that people do what they want with it, and it won't always be in accordance with your ideas or my ideas about what is ethical. Sociopaths exist, and sometimes even good people do terrible things out of ignorance, denial, greed... there are all these forces within us and without, and people can not be relied upon to play fare or always do what is best for others. That is why I support changes in law and regulation to force those with the means to do great harm to... you know... not do great harm. weather or not they do great good should be up to them, though.

As for all the restructuring you're talking about, trying to read through your work there is only confusing the matter for me. I just want the bare-bones outline of what kind of system you think would work. I'm personally for just fixing the one we currently have, at present.

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

Well....bare bones...ok....I think we should structure an internet based political system that represents our tax dollar....so.... instead of 'voting', you, as an individual, may 'spend' your tax dollar on the communal endeavours that appeal to you....I would restructure it to be a 'real time' representation of the interests of the community, with breakdowns from the macro to the micro scale.

Hmmmm check out chapter 4....."the taxation system."

[-] 1 points by hidden (430) from Los Angeles, CA 2 years ago

instead of 'voting', you, as an individual, may 'spend' your tax dollar on the communal endeavours that appeal to you

That is bad idea, a company owner would be able to overshadow thousands of votes with his single vote. It would be "real time representation of the interests of the " corporations.

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

No he may not....please see the chapter for greater detail. However his allocation of funds to distribute, is NOT associated with the amount he is taxed.

[-] 1 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

Interesting idea. The nice thing is you can test it hypothetically before ever implementing it. You could create a website and program a system and invite people to take part in an experiment. Though the problem at this stage in development is that you would only be able to test it on people like is who are already interested in this sort of thing, and not a cross section that accurately represents the taxpayers in our society. You'd have to get it built well enough for serious researchers or the government to take the idea seriously, so that such a trial run could be arranged. There is also the worry that hackers could tamper with an internet based system, or even corrupt people in government if it is ever implemented at any level of government.

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

Yes....exactly, and it could then grow with itself, and evolve naturally. I would forward that complete transparency would displace much of the problems with corruption and security...and as too the hackers... Well....there will be hackers engaged in the system as well....and who better to define a way of countering that problem?

[-] 0 points by Jflynn64 (337) 2 years ago

Oh, no Chinese hackers will enter your utopian world. Come on, get serious.

[-] 1 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

What the hell are you talking about? With an online system controlling something like this DOMESTIC hackers could have incentive to change the values to suit what they think is more important. It's the same argument against voting in elections via the internet, or even via computers without a paper trail in general.

[-] 0 points by Jflynn64 (337) 2 years ago

You don't think if Iranians can take down one of our drones they can't hack our election system>

[-] 1 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

You make a valid point. That would be a concern as well. I don't understand your previous obnoxious reply to me, though, as you do in fact seem to recognize that such a system would be vulnerable.

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

Wow....I'm gonna come back and reply to this properly, I just wanted to immediately express my agreement, to all of your points.

[-] 2 points by metapolitik (1110) 2 years ago

Politics in the US is a business. Plain and simple. No different than any other in a market-driven system. Businesses - by their very nature - are concerned solely with "self interest" in the form of profit. This is Capitalism.

All of the various defenses of Capitalism can essentially be boiled down to three arguments, as follows:

A) That capitalism is the cause of the material prosperity that we in the West have enjoyed over the last two centuries and that only through a completely unfettered business climate can innovation be achieved and jobs created.

B) The idea that material prosperity is the sole (or indeed, any) indicator of social progress or the betterment of our quality of life as individuals.

C) The decades old, propaganda-fueled socio-cultural bias that any system other than "free market" capitalism is - by it's very nature - a route to so-called "tyranny" and oppression, because it would (it is presumed) limit the "freedom" of private enterprise.

Regarding the first claim (A), the idea that our dramatic material wealth as a society if owed solely to capitalism is completely baseless. The most pertinent causal factors for the dramatic increase in material prosperity in the West are the exponential advancement of production technology coupled with the discovery and exploitation of vast sources of hydrocarbon-based energy (oil, coal, etc.). With this has come a vast array of cheap and abundant production materials such as plastics and polymers that have made out modern world possible. These advancements in science and technology are largely due - not to so-called free market capitalism - but often to research and development done by collaborative, publicly subsidized programs such as DARPA, et al. - who then create open-architecture, standards-based initiatives to foster collaboration and innovation. Thus, it is not our ability to compete, rather than our ability to collaborate that enables us to achieve social and technological "progress".

Regarding B and C... Bullshit!

Profit = Waste and Inefficiency

Money represents the energy in the economic system - be it kinetic energy (production), or potential energy (resources).

Anyone who has studied electronics, marine biology, astrophysics, medicine, or generalized systems theory can tell you that when you remove energy from a system (profit), it slows down.

If you remove enough energy from a system and withhold that energy (freezing credit, for instance) the system ceases to function and dies.

Profit without spending and lending is waste and entropy without sustainability or growth.

Capitalism is self destructing.

Time to reconsider planned economies.

http://metapolitik.org/article/approaching-metapolitical-discourse

[-] 2 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

It seems that we agree....???

[-] 2 points by metapolitik (1110) 2 years ago

("....??")

You're not sure about that?

Maybe this will help you decide:

The primary tenet of Capitalism according to Adam Smith and his conteporaries (enlightenment rationalists that they were - God bless 'em ;)... Is that "Self Interest" is Rational.

But:

In a society who's primary economic philosophy consists of stating flatly: "self interest is rational", any form of altruism or desire to help others becomes ipso-facto: irrational. We now know that this somewhat bizarre line of reasoning (known as: 'social-Darwinism') is a deeply flawed relic from some former, harsher, more patriarchal period of history that we have thankfully stepped out of. Clearly, markets do not, cannot and will not regulate themselves effectively.

On a small planet with finite resources -- where we all breathe the same air, drink the same water and eat the same food from the same oceans and farms -- there is simply no logic in competitive behavior. Thus, the cultural meme of so-called 'rational self-interest' will be inoculated - as ignorance always is, eventually - by a deep, shared understanding of 'Enlightened Self Interest' or: 'sustainable altruism'. Examples of sustainable altruism range from micro finance to crowd-sourcing and even include collaborative technologies such as Wikipedia and Drupal.

This will be a difficult task, but worth it in every way. The real challenge comes from our own cherished, unexamined beliefs about the world. We are collectively inundated by the doctrine of rational self interest on a daily basis by every pundit, politician, product placement and PowerPoint presentation we come into contact with. The American establishment spends billions of dollars keeping that steady drumbeat of propaganda rhythmically and ceaselessly pounding into our collective head.

In order to effectively inoculate ourselves against this 'thought virus' that has infected the body politic, we must learn to identify it and attack it at every opportunity. It is a Jingoistic hook designed to keep things exactly the way that they are... Until recently, it's worked pretty well.

We're talking about sacrificing principles based on greed, waste and 'rational self interest' for principles based on efficiency and shared resources, equality and rational fairness...

What could be any more sustainable or "fiscally sound" than that?

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

Now I know we agree...

Ok. So, first up it took me awhile to digest your info and points, because they deserved it, and I do want to take the time to thank-you for them, and more, to thankyou for your presence here....Unity. Solidarity. Carpe diem.

Wow....ok. So to connect the dots I would say that essentially, what I would promote is a change of the very core ideals and 'definitions', you speak of. 'Sustainable altruism'.....hmmmm I looked deeper into this, and it is certainly something I support, systemised, and installed.

www.unitinghumans.com.....is another. IMHO, none of them go 'far enough'....or deep enough....if that makes any sense. I think through the redifinition of 'profit', through wise taxation, is a way of essentially changing a core definition....

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/50500650/yourtopia-your%20official%20final%20beginning.pdf

Refer chapter 4.

I also believe other core definitions need to change, for instance the law, but I guess thats for another debate....In the instance of the distribution of wealth. Wealth distribution reflects electronics, this is so true......("behold a pale horse" - William Cooper was my introduction to this.....and I have studied electronics), and, the varying components of that represent varying components that exist within our economy (varying products/services, family units, singles...etc), simple and complex laws, such as Ohms , are reflected equally, where money and the flow of that money can be seen to behave in the same manner as Voltage and current.

Profit DOES = waste and inneficiency! BECAUSE profit = ability to trade.

Re: "deep enough"....

I think a coordinated, legal, taxation, military, political, right down to local public works system, of "solcial altruism"....needs to be installed....It needs to be understood that humanity itself is a single organism; chaos math, fractals, and quantum physics, along with our latest genetic and antropological studies have all supported what philosophy has been saying for millenia, I sense you know this also:

We are one.

A system, ANY system which simply recognises this single fact would change EVERYTHING. However, this system MUST have a goal of world peace, and, this is individually reflected internally, as is the opposite( again we agree), however from what I've seen of the varying sites, such as wiki and others, each have almost an 'incomplete picture'. I think each lacks differing aspects of systemised coordination...

And I think that it is everything we need to change. I think we agree.

Omnia vincit amor.

"You are the buddha" - Buddha

[-] 2 points by AndyJ0hn (129) 2 years ago

very interesting post! do you have to sit down with the tax man each year and discuss how much tax to pay based on community benefit etc.

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

No, you define benefit. And prioritisation. This establishes cost. And from there a basic formula for taxation can be extrapolated and put on to a sliding scale, which you adjust.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/50500650/yourtopia-your%20official%20final%20beginning.pdf

[-] 1 points by wbhyatt (73) 2 years ago

you defined capitalism too loosely. It's an economic system based on wage labor and private ownership of the means of production. Proponents include wage, capitalists, and worker hierarchies. Socialism is brilliant, and was created to replace capitalism. Other than that small point, i agree with you

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

True....I 'over'simplified in many ways....however, I do believe that we should start at the beginning....and money, is certainly that.

[-] 1 points by wbhyatt (73) 2 years ago

i agree that i'd be supportive of capitalism that has a "heart" and adheres to society as a whole, but why just patchwork capitalism when there's libertarian socialism?

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

I think essentially we're talking about 'different sides of the same coin'. I think we agree, that in whatever case, a new thing is required. The definition of this 'thing', is almost irrelevant in sight of it's functionality, and here I think (if I may be so bold, as to 'read between your lines') we most certainly agree...

What does this system look like? Democratic capitalism, or libertarian socialism.....whta at their heart are they? I think they are two things, that are the dichotomy of that coin:

Complete freedom/equal opportunity - support of community

IMHO this is the definition we're all chasing....

[-] 1 points by flip (7547) 2 years ago

Noam Chomsky: To begin with, I think terms like "capitalism" and "socialism" have been so evacuated of any substantive meaning that I don't even like to use them. There's nothing remotely like capitalism in existence. To the extent there ever was, it had disappeared by the 1920s or '30s. Every industrial society is one form or another of state capitalism. But we'll use the term "capitalism," since that is more or less its present meaning. The victory of the West in the Cold War is combined with both this enormous catastrophe of capitalism, and with the move toward one kind or another of state-interventionist forms. As an example, the Reagan-Bush administrations are the most protectionist since World War II, doubling the percentage of imports subject to various forms of restriction.

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

I agree....the whole language has been bastardised, in a similar bent close to Orwellian. I state and define capitalism (for the purposes of this thread), as simply a state in which money is traded....

[-] 1 points by flip (7547) 2 years ago

money is traded - as in currency trading? not sure what you mean. speaking of orwell in his book "homage to catalonia" he talks about a state of anarchy in barcelona where money almost is put out of use (excellent book by the way). also "debt the first 5000 years" is really interesting about the history of debt and hard money. i look at your writing briefly - no time to read it carefully but i think you are on the right track - we are running towards a cliff - not sure we are capable of doing anything real to change that until it is too late. i am buying land in western ny for that reason. do you know about the transition movement or about buckminster fuller's book - "spaceship earth"???

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

Yes I know of transition towns, and I know of 'spaceship Earth', where the people on the bow, shoot the people on the wing, etc.....

To expand on 'trading'....I had simply meant that money is utilised as a tool for which one person may 'trade' it for a good or service....

Of course once this is expanded upon, 'money trading', is an obvious direct result.

[-] 1 points by flip (7547) 2 years ago

money has been in use long before anyone thought of capitalism - no? i also think you misunderstood about the book spaceship earth - exactly the opposite of people on the bow shooting people on the wing - you might want to check it out

[-] 1 points by SecularAnimist (51) 2 years ago

Capitalism is about 50 years past it's shelf-life. It's rotting and starting to stink

[-] 1 points by OurTimes2011 (377) from Arlington, VA 2 years ago

mostly wrong, grasshopper, but you are getting warmer.

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

Lol....ok...I'll bite...why?

[-] 1 points by hidden (430) from Los Angeles, CA 2 years ago

The money are tickets to use you for ether good or bad. When you buying a product, you are deciding how much labor are you willing to put into it. The money does not represent value, they represent labor or power which could be used for good or for bad.

The taxation system is both a punishment and a source of power which can be utilized for for of against of benefit to the community.

The problem is, we can't objectively define value or the benefit to the community even through we feel what is of value to the community. We know what is good, but we can't assign a number to it.

Sines we can't objectively define benefit to the community we can't tax people for not being of benefit to the community. What we can do is to tax individualistic behavior and not listening to the community.

When one individual making decision on how to utilize the power of hundreds, thousands, millions or even billions of people, sometimes it leads to bad decisions. The decisions that are to the benefit of the individual, not the community. When the community making a decision, the community is the individual.

So, if we define the whole human species as the community where each individual contribute to the decision, the decision would be 100% to the benefit to the community.

And if we define the community as 1 individual, then the the decision would be 100%/population*1 to the benefit to the community. Which in our case would be 0.0000000144% of the benefit to the community.

So, the more people involved in the decision making the better to the community. And the value to the community is proportional to the relation between number of people involved in the decision to the total population.

So by taxation, what we need to incentify, if the number of people involved in the decision.

Let me make an example:

  • Company one: has one person in decision making position.
  • Company two: has two people in decision making position.

The company one, should pay more taxes then the company two. That should be applied to everything the company can be taxed for. Profit, resources, land, radio spectrum, etc.

If we think more about this concept, we can come up with a formula that can take into account the population, the amount of the resource available to the population and maybe some kind of factor to apply it gradually.

Maybe it's sounds complicated, but the implementation could be very easy, with just one simple formula for everything.

Living in this kind of environment would incentify positive behaviors and eventually, we will outgrowth the selfish behavior which money is nurturing in us, we become one big comunity and money would become obsolete.

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

Firstly, I just want to step outside this 'debate', and say thankyou. I think we need to do more of this at occupy. I want to thank you for occupying, and getting involved, and, selflessly giving your mind to the community....

To your viepoints.....hmmm.... I'm gonna get back to you. I do stand by my original statements, and, would ask you to read further, as, I 'believe', I have taken into account the things you bring up....

(I'm just really tired atm! I wanted to reply immediately though, to let you know that I appreciate the input! Just haven't got the brain cells awake enough to give more than a 'half-assed' response....and your comments certainly deserve more than that...

[-] 1 points by hidden (430) from Los Angeles, CA 2 years ago

:) I also thank you for all that and also writing up so big of a document describing what you believe is the best humanity.

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

Yes.... and I think I have a system which does just that...

Please pass it on to as many people as you like...

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/50500650/yourtopia-your%20official%20final%20beginning.pdf

[-] 1 points by hidden (430) from Los Angeles, CA 2 years ago

I completly agree with the first quorter, but then you intraduced human nature misconception and started baseing your system on it and spoiled all my interest. So, I couldn't get past the middle. Marketing of your web-site also contributed to it.

If you are familiar with with the materials/studies presented in "Zeitgeist: Moving Forward" you would know, that there is no such thing as human nature, there is only human nurture. What you attribute to human nature is actually nurtured into us by our environment which is influenced by the market system.

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

How was it that I did that?.......Re: Based things upon 'human nature'? I thought I based it upon 'humanity'....?

[-] 1 points by hidden (430) from Los Angeles, CA 2 years ago

Note: There are plenty of dichotomies throughout this book and this system. That’s because humanity is dichotomous! We all love and hate. We are all generous, and greedy. It is human nature to exist in a balance of one sort or another between these things and many others and the system that we use should reflect that

And here:

Profit is not necessarily, simply a measure of benefit to community. It was originally designed to be that way I’m sure, but the somewhat darker side of human nature ensured that this isn’t the case.

And here:

It is human nature to be almost completely apathetic towards something unless there is a problem, or they are inspired, they have a passion or interest.

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

And you disagree with these statements? Why? They seem to be accurate, even as you say them now? What would you say is incorrect about those things?

[-] 1 points by hidden (430) from Los Angeles, CA 2 years ago

Absolutely. I'll explain.

It is human nature to be almost completely apathetic towards something unless there is a problem, or they are inspired, they have a passion or interest. If we should to propose a system, it should be a temporary system that will take us out of this self reinforcing loop of individualism and selfishness.

This statement is uses "loaded word argument" and implies 2 statements each of which is wrong and also setting up a wrong mood:

  • It implies that there is human nature when there is only human human behaviour defined by nurture and triggered by environment.
  • It implies that humans are apathetic and then define some, known to you exceptions, when in reality, humans are not apathetic at all. We have what neuroscientists call mirror neurones which sense not only emotions of people, but even emotions of animals and even predicting expected emotions that could be triggered with certain actions. This makes humans empathetic to almost every living creature. And that's not because of the human nature, but because of the human senses just like smell or vision, humans can redefine or suppress them or even suppress if it would be beneficial in our environment. Greed for example is one of the most beneficial thing in market environment.
  • Apathetic is really loaded word and this kind if combination of words is dividing people, setting us against each other and requires a tool to deal with this apathy.

Profit is not necessarily, simply a measure of benefit to community. It was originally designed to be that way I’m sure, but the somewhat darker side of human nature ensured that this isn’t the case.

This statement implies 5 statements each of which is wrong:

  • It implies that profit represents benefit to the community, when profit represents only net energy gain. Energy does not imply benefit, like gasoline can be used to benefit community or to burn it to ashes.
  • It implies that it was designed to be so, when is always has been the means to enslave the majority for the benefit if the ruling minority.
  • It implies "human nature". We already discussed it.
  • It implies "darker side of human nature", there is no such thing. Everything we do is a bi-product of our adaptation system. If we hoard resources, then it's an adaptation mechanism picked up from our environment to prevent expected scarcity. And so on. And there is nothing wrong with it. It just is, like everything else.
  • It implies that "darker side of human nature" is the cause in fault of failed market system, when in reality, the market system is the one that corrupted human behaviour with all the artificial scarcity, individualism, private property concepts and many other flawed concepts.

Note: There are plenty of dichotomies throughout this book and this system. That’s because humanity is dichotomous! We all love and hate. We are all generous, and greedy. It is human nature to exist in a balance of one sort or another between these things and many others and the system that we use should reflect that

The first statement implies bunch of stuff that that if based on all the other misunderstanding.

  • It implies that we all love and hate. I don't hate.
  • It implies that we are all generous, and greedy, when both of it is learned behaviour and it doesn't necessaries have to be the case.
  • It implies that it is human nature to exist in a balance of love and hate? Nonsense. in balance of generosity and greediness? Nonsense.
  • The system should reflect that? That's what's wrong with your system.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for unification of human species, but not under the banner of the system that does not take into account our current knowledge. And if we are to propose a new system, it should be temporary system that will gradually take us out of this self-reinforcing closed loop of individualism, separatism and selfishness.

[-] 1 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

Well, I think part of our problem with profit in our current economy is that the people at the advantage doing most of the profiting are so out of touch that they do not realize they are depleting their most valuable resource from which they gain those profits, and that resource is the workforce.

It's the working family units who buy the products that lead to the profits of the people running the system. In order for the working units to buy products, the working units earn wages, they trade their efforts for their own share of the profits. When this system is balanced, it is self-sustaining.

Unfortunately, greedy people at the top of this system are bolstering their profits on a temporary basis by cutting wages, cutting corners, cutting benefits, and cutting jobs. This is resulting in a lack of ability by the working units to consume, as well as a loss of working units in general.

Giving credit and welfare to the working units and those who are no longer working temporarily extends their ability to buy commodities, thus still contributing to the profit of the people at the top of this system.

That is where we are now. The people at the top are making record profits while the people at the bottom are going into debt or are effectively using collective moneys to contribute to the system, which is further straining remaining working units.

It shouldn't be too much longer before we're depleted. Welfare is the only thing keeping some stores profiting where I live and work. If that goes, too, the whole system will finally collapse and we will have our second true Depression.

I think part of the problem is that numbers only show what increases profits NOW, and what looks good on the Stock Exchange NOW. The numbers don't show where it will lead them in the future. The system is not set up to tell when the system has become unsustainable. The housing market collapse is something I KNEW would come, it was only common sense. I've not been to college, I'm bad at math, but I know you can't make something out of nothing, and that's exactly what all this debt, and selling of debt, was an attempt at doing. Yet all these educated people claim they didn't know, and that it was just the actions of some greedy short-sellers exploiting loopholes and lack of regulation who brought down banks and the housing markets across the globe. (I don't believe it.)

How does one mathematize common sense? How does one break it down and program it into a computer that will sound a warning without human bias or human wishful thinking or human greed? How does one package common sense in a way that makes it marketable to masses who find bad news and hard facts unpalatable? I wish I had the answer.

[-] 2 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

I would ask you to read this....I agree with much of what you say, and I think you will find that the computer can indeed initiate real change...

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/50500650/yourtopia-your%20official%20final%20beginning.pdf

[-] 0 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

I'm sorry, I find the way it's written a bit confusing, though I appreciate your passion and enthusiasm. I have to say I do disagree with you about laws. I like the way our current law system is built. The enforcement part of our current system is in terrible need of reform, though, and we need to get special interests out of the business of our lawmaking before they fuck our beautiful system up even worse than they already have.

It's a fact of reality that free will of one individual will always conflict with that of others. It's natural. Laws have to exist to restrict those who want to harm others for non survival reasons, while allowing for extraneous circumstances where survival was dependent upon harming another. I'm confused as to how you would create a working society without that?

[-] 0 points by metapolitik (1110) 2 years ago

Great Response!

What I find somewhat astonishing about this is that this 'freezing' of the economy via the aggregation of wealth into fewer and fewer hands has created an environment that Marx predicted almost 100 years ago.

He wasn't mathematician either and yet still, he could easily see without much difficulty that we would one day be facing a crisis of wealth condensation and subsequent economic collapse.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/profit-measure-of-benifit-to-community-capitalism-/#comment-516101

http://occupywallst.org/forum/profit-measure-of-benifit-to-community-capitalism-/#comment-516143

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

what of property ?

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

I would say profit, is in the measure of increased wealth, or value aquistion;ie property. This is how I would contextually define what I mean by profit. I would however state that having 'property' per se, is not a bad concept, the concept however of controlling property for any purpose other than benefit to community is. And profit is of course the measure.

So for instance, it is not a bad idea to have someone who is exceptional at 'permaculture', for instance, owning a block of land, the same may not be true of another 'trade', whatever it may be. I think by defining profit, through taxation, as only measure of benefit to community, it promotes such.

And I would also table, that the definition of property, or, what can be considered property, should also be defined by the community.

[-] 1 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

I disagree. I am for owning property for the benifit of comunity, yeah, but I'm also for property for personal enjoyment and personal betterment. If I buy a house, are you saying it is my duty to share it with the community, for example? And what of my meager treasures of jewelry? What little I have serves no purpose but my enjoyment. Does that make it wrong?

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

No, and in fact I would forward that a certain level of personal enjoyment is in the best interests of the community in terms of your productivity within it, and that this could be represented also, in the re-definition of profit/value.

I would also forward that if profit were a simple measure of benifit to community, then, those that aquire wealth are those that have acheived the greatest amount of benefit to community, and would have every right to drive a ferrari, or own a mansion....

[-] 1 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

Ok, I get what you are saying now. You're saying the monetary value of the work a person does should be based upon the human value of that work's impact on society, nature, etc. I'm with you on that.

[-] 2 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

Precisely, and that the community should be the "definer" of that 'human value'....

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

I would say shifts in global temperatures would result in greater pressure discontinuities resulting in more devastating tornadoes

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

Yes. Which is of course either natural in nature, or, a result of industry. Or a combination of both. Either way our industry and commerce, clearly seems to be the central point of humanties current issues, and to a large degree.

[-] 0 points by WolfThom (90) 2 years ago

15 Mind-Blowing Facts About Wealth And Inequality In America. Information Clearing House, Grafiken über Einkommens- und Vermögensverteilung in den USA

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article25399.htm

http://www.pauljorion.com/blog/?p=11384

http://elboheme.blogspot.com/2010/05/die-wahren-ursachen-der-krise_12.html

Against Free Trade - for Protectionism!!!

http://www.larouchepac.org

[-] -1 points by voluntaryist (5) 2 years ago

Taxation is theft. Who is wise enough to determine what is best for the community? An individual is only wise enough to know what is best for oneself. Why are you looking to rob choice from the individual to determine what is value? Do you want someone to tell you which romantic partner or friends you are allowed to have for the benefit of the community?

[-] 3 points by PandoraK (1678) 2 years ago

A bit over the top there aren't you? "Do you want someone to tell you which romantic partner or friends you are allowed to have for the benefit of the community?"

You seem to miss the point. Let me ask you a question or two.

I've paid abundant highway taxes, fuel, HUT, excise taxes, I've most likely paid more road taxes than you will in your entire lifetime even if we add in your father's paid road tax, your mother's, your spouse's, and the taxes your children will yet pay.

Since I have paid for a significant amount of highway, I claim it as mine (according to your precepts), and I want you off it.

Good of the community, of benefit to the community...roads, sanitation codes, police, military, supply lines...which ones you willing to give up? While you are deciding what is best for you with no regard for the community inwhich you live.

[-] 1 points by voluntaryist (5) 2 years ago

Your argument is like asking who's going to pick the cotton if slavery ends. Who cares who is going to pick the cotton or whatever service you are talking about?! Slavery is immoral and anything that is done coercively is immoral, including taxation. There are plenty of ways to pick cotton without slaves, and there would be plenty of ways for individuals to band together to get things done voluntarily, like roads if they want them. If coercive government had not built the highways, then maybe we wouldn't be so dependent on cars. When coercive government subsidizes something, it is hard to compete with it, and perverse incentives are created that distort the market.

[-] 1 points by PandoraK (1678) 2 years ago

I wasn't making an argument, I was merely pointing out that this is what we have and this is what needs to be maintained.

I don't know about you, but your reference to the highways and not being dependent on mechanized transport, do you know how much horse sh*t accumulates? Actually that was a poor joke, but if suddenly we didn't have automobiles most of the population would be in dire straights for transport. The percentage that can actually build a wagon or surrey, drive a single horse or team, or even ride is pretty small, of course we could resort to walking, but it's awfully hard to move equipment to put out fires, or transport injured people on foot.

This is 2011, nearly 2012, not 1911 or 1912. We have three choices, maintain what we have, revert to pre automotive standards or move forward.

You do realize that everything you have and will have has at some point been transported on those highways.

[-] 1 points by voluntaryist (5) 2 years ago

People did not come to the light about the immorality of slavery for a long time. Changing minds about the immorality of slavery took a long time. Changing minds is a slow intergenerational process.

Are roads more important than morality? Is picking cotton more important than morality? Transportation is important to eat, no doubt. Farming is important to eat and grow textiles, no doubt. So is freedom, which people have been struggling for for generations, and each individual struggles with in the process of going from being a helpless baby to hopefully an independent adult.

We found a way to not need slavery to grow crops. I don't see why doing anything requires coercion. Why can't humans be free of immoral coercion, and still have the motivation to do what they need to survive and thrive?

I am sure you find slavery repugnant. Why don't you find coercion of any type repugnant?

[-] 2 points by PandoraK (1678) 2 years ago

The greatest civilizations depended and depend on the infrastructure which allowed them to be great. This is not negotiable, it's a fact that is borne out by history.

In every civilization there are taxes, most of these taxes are reflected in the social networks we all depend on in one form or another. All civilizations are made up of society, where we depend on each other for the common good. Part of that society is mutual defense, another, perhaps more important part is mutual insurance of survival.

In America today we do not revere our aged as in times past, perhaps that is because technology has advanced so quickly, perhaps not. Yet our aged have value to us, whether we wish to believe so or not, they are the witnesses of yesterday, living histories of local events in most cases, world events in others.

We all make choices, most of those choices we don't take others into consideration, more of our choices that we make, however, do impact others, even when we do not witness that impact.

Over 200 years ago the men who wrote our futures understood this, they understood that we would need a declaration covering the common good. It doesn't matter if we as individuals see how that common good comes about, we don't even have to agree with it...we do need to acknowledge that at some point we all benefit from the concept and the action of it.

Humans are social animals, we gather voluntarily in groups, we instinctively understand that we are no stronger than the weakest among us so we strive to insure that the weak are as strong as possible.

In modern society we've lost or buried most of that instinct. For that reason coercions are necessary for some.

[-] 1 points by voluntaryist (5) 2 years ago

What is the purpose of infrastucture? To support increasing freedom, true?

The past is the past. Should we stop improving? Taxes may have been the fairest way humans knew how to live together in the past. Why should one assume this is the best way to live together? Don't you admit that the future could be better than the past, and that things have improved in the past?

If taxes are so great, why don't you implement them in your family? Be the president of your family with only slightly over half of your family members' support. Then impose taxes. See how your family feels about taxation.

[-] 1 points by PandoraK (1678) 2 years ago

Without the past, understanding it, remembering it, we are doomed to repeat it.

[-] 1 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

Paying a tax is not the same as being a slave. No seriously, look up the definitions of the words. Furthermore, you DO actually have a choice. You COULD choose to be a drifter who owns nothing of value and has no steady job, and you could hunt and gather food. Taxes are part of a system you do choose to be a part of for the benefits you gain from it.

Slaves had no choice. Tax didn't even exist to them, as they were not payed workers, and were seen as property. They did not choose what they did, where they went, or how they lived, and their loved ones could be taken from them and sold or given away or hell, just plain slaughtered like an animal.

[-] 1 points by voluntaryist (5) 2 years ago

Like a slave born into slavery, a tax payer is born in taxation. Different scales of abuse and control, but how is the principle different?

Saying I can do something about taxation is about as accurate as a slave could earn freedom from a slave master. Slaves occasionally were freed. Perhaps I could have a small measure of influence over taxation, but out my control to decide.

Social contracts are immoral, because they are not contracts. I did not agree to the contract at any point by being born, because being born is not a choice.

[-] 1 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

Like I said, you can opt out. You are choosing to ignore my advice as to how you can live without being part of a system you do not want to be a part of. If you don't like social contracts, then remove yourself from society. Your choice.

[-] 1 points by voluntaryist (5) 2 years ago

You say, "If you don't like social contracts, then remove yourself from society."

Your argument is like a parent who says, "My house, my rules. If you don't like it, you can leave." The child had no choice in being born where, when, or with whom. To suggest the child is the one who has the burden of responsibility for ethical behavior is silly.

You are acting like there is a right to aggress. Why don't you say the same thing about rape, murder, or theft? If you don't like rape, then remove yourself from rape. If you don't like murder, then remove yourself from murder. If you don't like theft, remove yourself from theft. Placing the onus of responsibility on the victim is blaming the victim, and that is wrong. The victim being able to do something to protect him or herself is immaterial to being a victim of abuse. A victim can fight off or flee from a rapist, and still be the victim of rape, which is wrong.

You are mixed up about cause and effect. The abused do not owe the abusers.

[-] 1 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

Because rape theft and murder are not a cooperative situation, they are one-sided. Social contract is a cooperative situation. All within it must take part for it to work. If one does not want to take part, then they loose the benefit as well.

As for comparing yourself to a child born into a house with rules you disagree with, then would you say parents are unjust for HAVING rules? Is a parent an aggressor for forcing their child to eat vegetables, and forcing a child to attend school?

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

You seem to understand the connundrum. The paradox of our days. We have outgrown ourselves it seems. I think you would enjoy this read...

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/50500650/yourtopia-your%20official%20final%20beginning.pdf

Please do pass it on to as many people as possible...

[-] 2 points by PandoraK (1678) 2 years ago

I've likely understood it longer than you...assuming I am older than you (I am older than dirt by the way), and have realized that there is no hope to simplify any of this simply because of the size of our population and our needs, not wants, needs.

A couple hundred years ago over half of us wouldn't be alive, even if we'd managed to be born in the first place.

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

I would table, that 90% of our understanding has come in the last 60years, and, it is this understanding that has led to both a place of problems, and a place of solutions. I think our issue is in defining those problems, and applying viable solutions....Please do look at that work, it is mine, so newer than a babe, and something in which I think you would have an interest...

[-] 1 points by PandoraK (1678) 2 years ago

I have the page open, it'll take me a while to get to it though, I'm entertaining a couple of my teenaged grandchildren for the next few weeks. Sigh...told you I'm older than dirt...

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

My friend, you and I are both eternal....and though your stay this time may have occured before mine, we have journeyed together before, and I am certain we will again....When we remember who we really are, we will be free...

Sorry to get all wishywashy but your right....I'm only 30......lol

[-] 1 points by PandoraK (1678) 2 years ago

I have grandbabies older than you. LOL

It's nice to meet someone young (I know I thought I was old at 30 too) who takes the time to do the consideration before speech.

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

"A fool is one who thinks he is wise, a wise man is one who knows he is a fool." - Shakespeare

Omnia vincit amor - Literally older than the dirt.

[-] 2 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

Taxation, in it's perfect theoretical form is simply a group of people contributing to the community, to conduct projects that they would be unable to do alone, ie; roads. It is being stolen atm, sure....that's the thing we need to change.

Taxation that was directly in the hands of the people, would reflect the truth, that it is in fact the communities, not the government, which also seems to theoretically "be" the people. We both know that this is not the case, and the people are not represented, in our government, and our taxes do not go where we decide.

And yes... I would agree completely that heirarchial systems, do not work, I never suggested any individual be the one to decide, I suggested thats the very problem.... I said we should put the money back into the communities hands...we seem to agree on this point...

[-] 0 points by voluntaryist (5) 2 years ago

I am really confused by the way you argue. Are you trying to figure out the truth, wherever that leads? Or do you just want to keep finding your way back to conclusions you don't want to let go of regardless of what logic and evidence say?

It took me a couple of years to listen to what logic and evidence was saying about coercion. I used to think like you, but after challenging myself more to be more consistent, I found an answer on this topic that whether I like it or not, is truer, because of logic and evidence. Almost, I would rather be right, then have to change my mind because my logic and evidence were not the best. Changing my whole way of looking at things is not comfortable. Ultimately, I would rather follow what is true and experience the discomfort of being previously wrong.

Not using coercion, by which I mean not initiating aggression, is the basic underlying principle. Being consistent in applying that principle is critical.

If you give money voluntarily to something, it is not taxation. If you are forced against your will to give the money, it is taxation. Even if you agree to what you are paying to, but have no choice not to pay, if you want to change your mind, that is taxation.

There is no such thing as voluntary taxation. There is voluntary donation, contribution, etc.

And as for roads, if people want them, then they would work towards doing what is necessary to build them regardless of government. I don't know why you are assuming that only government by force could build roads.

[-] 2 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

Communal projects work fine on a small scale, but on a large scale are too complex... the community becomes like a body trying to operate without a head. That is why in a properly functioning system people choose someone to lead, hopefully based on his ability to do so, and eventually come to ignore the will of the village idiot.

If we had to build our infrastructure ourselves, it would be anarchy. People wouldn't show up when they say they would, they wouldn't contribute as much as they thought they could, and people would want to change the plans constantly. Nothing would get done on a large scale. You'd have lots of small projects that are poorly planned and irregular and never match up or connect because there's no regulating force.

And what of the people who refuse to pay in, or who don't show up when they said, or who don't do their fair share of the work? Do you ban them from using the thing you built? Great, not you need a volunteer police to stop that guy from using it.

The truth is we are not all the same, and inequities exist. You have different people who are good at different things, and you will always have some morally deficient people in the bunch who will serve only to get in the way.

[-] 1 points by voluntaryist (5) 2 years ago

Yet, somehow the human body with all its specialized cells comes together to make an amazingly successful and complicated project: human life.

Nature is an anarchic, decentralized free market. Non-violent cooperation is emerging as highly successful. Violence, I am interpreting, is on the way out ever so slowly. An individual is far less likely to die from warfare today than in the past. Government, as a form of violence and coercion, would be opposed to arising non-violent cooperation that has been emerging through evolution into highly complex organisms, such as humans. But not just humans.

Also, you may not have an answer why some individuals are morally different from others, but I do: childhood. Children are not treated with the freedoms and rights of personhood like other minorities are receiving - yet. That will change, and for some children it is changing already as they are free of violence and coercion. When children are treated better, free market anarchy will arise spontaneously, because people will morally be able to handle it. Already, people practice free market anarchy in their personal relationships as much as possible, choosing who they want for romantic partners and friends freely.

You are focusing too much on the small problems, that are unsolved as of yet. Can individuals live together peacefully without violence and coercion? Yes, there are examples of it around us in our personal relationships. Expanding this freedom is the key, and is going to happen because violence and coercion is ok in the short term, and poor in the long term. Of course, it will only happen when people are ready to handle the responsibility of living morally. The question is how to encourage it. Locally, in our closest relationships. Confronting aggression when it arises. Not initiating aggression against the less powerful than us, namely children, but other powerless minorities too. Building mutually satisfying personal relationships. The bigger stage takes care of itself when the smaller stage is successful. How else could complex life arise from single cell life?

[-] 2 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

Because cells obey the command of the genes. My only point was that when a system needs to act as one body, there needs to be some center of command, literally so that the right hand knows what the left hand is doing, etc.

Nature is both chaos and order in flux. Chaos keeps order from becoming stagnant, order still keeps existing, though, in new forms. Genetics is a perfect example of a beautiful system that is constantly under the assault of viruses and other environmental conditions. These conditions are chaotic, and cause mutations. This play between chaos and order is the force behind evolution.

As for the moral differences of people, yes, upbringing has a lot to do with shaping a person's word view and motivations. But you can't remove the element of the individual personality. It's an element that can lead two kids from the same family, close in age, who were treated fairly equally to turn out to be such incredibly different adults. It's the reason some rise above a terrible upbringing while others do not, and the reason why some with a good upbringing can turn out bad and break their parents hearts. That is the chaotic element, and the reason we will never as a species act as one, and share the same moral code universally. Sure, we can aspire to the same universal code, but when we create the external code of morality, we turn it into an external force. That will not make it an internal force inherent to all human beings.

I agree that over all, cooperation is a better survival strategy. But that doesn't change the fact that if we were starving to death in a blizzard with no resources, I would probably sooner eat you than die myself, unless I felt strongly enough to die with you. I don't think there are THAT many people I'd die for in such a situation though. I like myself better than I like most people. Point is, evolution is fueled by chaos and variety. You can't really say cooperation will be the universal solution to all survival challenges... because you just can't know that.

[-] 1 points by voluntaryist (5) 2 years ago

There is no way to force the non-initiation of aggression. You cannot turn it into an external force. Each individual would have to agree voluntarily.

The nature vs nurture argument cannot be settled, I agree. However, that is not to say that important things are not understood about environmental factors. A kid does not grow up to speak Chinese without exposure to Chinese growing up. A kid does not grow up to use violence without exposure to violence growing up. In a study, 94% of parents of a three to four year old reported spanking their child in the past year. Spanking is a euphemism for hitting. Hitting anyone of any age is immoral. Hitting someone many times smaller than oneself is even worse. No wonder "might makes right" is so common an attitude in the world when "might makes right" is so common an experience growing up.

As for your situation of cannibalism, morality does not exist in situations where there is no free choice. If I hold a gun to your head and order you to shoot your loved one if you want to live, that is not a moral situation, because you do not have a free choice.

I suggest for you to reject that argument if someone else tries it on you.

[-] 1 points by voluntaryist (5) 2 years ago

EccentricSage, thanks for your conversation. I offer you the last word, if you want it.

[-] 1 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

Sorry it's taking so long.

I still don't have a response yet that I feel is strong enough; though I can offer you that I do not see aggression as amoral, I see it as part of the struggle of survival and a factor in evolution. I see it as natural, with the morality of it being completely conditional, and the concept of morality being a human invention based on cooperation survival responses.

I hope that one day I can form these ideas into a better argument to counter you. For now I can only agree to disagree.

[-] 2 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

So what of communal projects? You are saying that if people want a road then they will build one, but what of those people building? Should they not be supported in their endeavours? Should we deny them, fair compense for their efforts?

I know I certainly would not spend my life working on something like a road if it meant I didn't get to eat.

I would argue that we should all contribute to our community. AND that 'the community', should be the ones that decide on how that overall contribution is spent.

And I do not believe that anyone should be excluded. Who would volunteer their money, time or resources when their efforts are unrewarded? I would say, that unless they voluntarily decide to exclude themselves (Ie; if you want to live in trees and eat bannanas), from the community, and the services that the community provides, then they should contribute to it.

I disagree with communal places being sold, and ourselves also. I disagree with our modern day slavery and the basic premises of the global corporations. I do not disagree with taxes themselves, nor with communal organisation.

[-] 2 points by voluntaryist (5) 2 years ago

Why would people work for free? If they want to they can, sure, but why should anyone have to?

Why would there not be a market for roads, for instance as only one example, where some would pay workers to do the work? If people want something, it means that they are willing to pay for it. I would pay for roads, if I wanted to use them.

In a free market, road infrastructure may not look the same as infrastructure does today. Not because people would work for free. People have to live somehow. What could be different is that when people can voluntarily pay for something, people who build roads would have to do a better job, or they would not get paid. Roads would have to be the quality that people want to pay for. Other types of transportation may be what people want. People may want more buses, trains, commuter bike trails... whatever people are willing to pay for. I would rather pay for more bike lanes, because I like to ride my bike when it is safe and efficient. I would like to pay for a pedestrian crosswalk light outside my apartment, because crossing the four lane road is dangerous at my intersection. I would like infrastructure providers to ask me what I want. I would be more likely to give money to an infrastructure company that surveys my needs. If you notice, private businesses are desperate to get information about what you want to be able to sell you what you want. I want infrastructure companies to be interested in what I want. The only way to get such an organization interested is if they will only get my money if I want to give it to them. If they get to take my money by force, they are not going to care about my interest about what kind of infrastructure I want. They already showed they don't care about my interest by taking my money by force.

[-] 2 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

Correct me if I'm wrong but are you suggesting for instance all the road builders in the world, hire door knockers to gain financial support for their endeavours?

And are you suggesting that you actually know what is in fact in your best interests? Don't get me wrong, I mean no insult, I am simply saying that I personally would not know the difference between a 'good' road system and a 'bad' one, as civic engineering is not my profession. So, it would stand to reason that I would be unable to make a correct decision in regards to that and other things which I posess little to no knowledge of, which is of course the problem with current democratic models, as socrates (the father of critical thought) so rightfuly points out.

What you are suggesting, if I read your posts correctly is more in the realms of anarchy, in which everyone is a law unto themselves and can operate as they desire, including their contribution. This has been proven to be unfeasable, afterall, when your looking at your paycheck, are you going to contribute as much as the next guy? Or are you going to worry about yourself? It has been shown that what you are suggesting (if I have read correctly in terms of voluntary contribution as opposed to taxes) simply ends up with no-one contributing and the entire community suffering as a result.

I am however in full agreement that you should have the option of deciding on how your funds are distributed, but not necessarily whether or not you contribute.

I would propose a taxation system that takes all of this into account, and accounts for it, and that that system should be in the direct hands of the people.

[-] 1 points by voluntaryist (5) 2 years ago

Ok, I am smiling big time at your contradiction. How can I have the option of deciding on how my funds are going to be distributed if I don't get to decide if I contribute? Someone else is going to decide for me, but I am going to decide for myself... can't be both.

As a philosopher, you have to start from first principles. You don't start with the end goal, because then your means may not justify your ends.

Do you agree or disagree that initiating aggression against someone is wrong? Start from there. Is it ok to assault, deceive, or steal from someone? Then no matter what end goal you want to achieve, if you believe it is wrong to initiate aggression against someone, you know what means you will not take to achieve the goal.

I don't know what a society free from the initiation of violence looks like, so I don't exactly know how infrastructure would be built. I have only guesses. And so do you, so trying to suggest that anarchy has been disproven when it has never been tested is silly. Free people can succeed, is my point. The initiation of aggression which you would use for government is wrong.

[-] 1 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

"Ok, I am smiling big time at your contradiction. How can I have the option of deciding on how my funds are going to be distributed if I don't get to decide if I contribute? Someone else is going to decide for me, but I am going to decide for myself... can't be both."

Logical fallacy. Of course you could have both. I didn't get a choice in being born American, but I do get the vote. Is that contradictory? I didn't get a choice in being born female, but I do get a choice in how I use my sex organs. Life is full of both things you don't have much choice in, and things you do.

As for initiation if aggression... welcome to survival. We are merely highly evolved animals in an ecosystem and concepts of 'right' and 'wrong' are not natural, but rather only exist when we choose to inflict them upon the world. You seem to see any act of forcing or coercing others as an 'act of aggression' and therefor 'violent' and 'wrong', but then wouldn't forcing ethics on other people be an act of 'aggression' as well? Catch 22.

Mind you, I'm not saying inflicting concepts like ethics and justice is bad, but it IS a forceful act none the less. This push and pull is natural struggle, and just a fact of existence.

[-] 1 points by voluntaryist (5) 2 years ago

Not what I was attempting to say, so I feel misread. You didn't get a choice to be born American, so you didn't get a choice to be born American. End. Voting is separate. And so on for your examples. My idea is if you do not get to choose, then you do not get to choose. Following?

That life is full of things we have choice over and things we don't has nothing to do with my point. Taxation can not be voluntary. Otherwise, it is not taxation, and has a different name such as donation, contribution, or point of sale payment.

Rape, stealing, murder. Two people in a room. Can they agree to rape, murder, or steal from each other? No, because by definition they are non-voluntary acts, ie acts of initiating aggression. If they agree, then it is not rape, murder, or theft.

You cannot make a logical case for force, because you cannot make it universal or consistent. All people cannot rape, steal, or murder. However, all people can refrain from doing so. The framework for ethics that are logical and those that are not is possible.

Now, if you are going to argue that reality is not logical, then good luck proving that. That I take it as a premise that reality is logical is fair game, until proven otherwise.

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

Fair points and well made! Firstly I want to step outside of convention and simply thank-you for being here, and, for selflessly giving your mind to the community in this moment, and my encouragement to occupy, and unify, and work towards the shared goal of freedom (I really believe this to be important, in all our discussions).

I know it seems like a contradiction, but what I speak of, is in my mind a dichotomy; Two opposing forces that work in harmony.

A system CAN be built that does support your choice to decide on how your contributions are made:

Please see chapter 4

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/50500650/yourtopia-your%20official%20final%20beginning.pdf

And I agree in terms of you point re philosophy. I would say that the datum point, should be : We are human.

In terms of violence and aggression, these things should be handled uniquely and in the same manner (another dichotomy), as I propose in my work.

I think you will find that we are in fact already in agreement.

In terms of anarchy, if you want a look, just step outside the door, afterall you are currently living under an anarchial rule, by definition. In fact I dedicated an entire thread to this concept:

http://occupywallst.org/forum/there-is-a-world-government-that-has-been-operatin/

[-] 1 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

Some taxation is needed in a working system to pay for public property, such as roads. I think we can all agree a working infrastructure is mighty useful, and I don't know of the individual who would volunteer to build the infrastructure on his private dollar without charging us an awful lot to use it. lol

Taxes are also needed to pay for public services such as public schools, police, etc.

The problem is when taxes are used in a way the majority does not approve of, or that goes against laws, or that does not benefit anyone but the people controlling the tax money. Another problem is when government employees forget that the tax payers are who they owe their lively-hood to.

[-] 1 points by voluntaryist (5) 2 years ago

Whether roads as they are today are the best we can have or not is not the issue. If roads were the problem, you would say that politicians are so honest, yet roads just don't get built.

The problem is the opposite. Politicians misuse power, even though they don't completely mess up every little thing, like roads.

So if misuse of power is wrong, then what is needed is no misuse of power. The non-aggression principle is that, and means not INITIATING violence or coercion against anyone. If no aggression is initated, then everything is voluntary. Voluntary contracts are what we want to not feel abused by misuse of power.

Can you hold a politician to a contract? No, you can't. They make promises, and then do what they want for their term. We have nothing to bind them to. Voting them out of office at the next election is not the same as holding them liable for breach of contract.

Democracy does not work. Even if democracy reflects the majority, the minority gets forced against their will.

Start with the premise that coercion is wrong, and see where it leads you. Roads, if people value them, will get built. I don't know exactly how because I don't live in the future, but when people voluntarily work together, they can get anything done that people who are forced against their will can do. Slavery was not only immoral, but also not very efficient or productive. Taxation, one day I suspect, will be seen the same. Why not form collections to build roads? Maybe then people will find that people would rather put food in starving mouths than roads for fuel-hungry vehicles. Or maybe roads are so critical to feeding people that we need to build more roads. I don't know the answer to the problems the future. Immoral coercion and violence are wrong now, and the future will take care of itself like the post-slavery world does.

[-] 1 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

And you will note, from the replies in your other thread, that other people feel very much the same as well...

[-] -2 points by toonces (-117) 2 years ago

I challenge you to make one bronze sword. Just one. If you cannot do that, you are standing on the shoulders of other men.

What have you done to earn the right to use that bronze sword you cannot make to further yourself without paying for those who have created it?

[-] 3 points by blazefire (947) 2 years ago

Well, I made something and traded it for that bronze sword. Just that simple. He is good at making bronze swords, I am good at fishing, or something else. I feed the man for the time it takes him to collect the bronze, smelt it, blah blah, and in exchange he gives me the sword. This is not me standing on his shoulders, nor him on mine, but standing together.

[-] 2 points by EccentricSage (50) 2 years ago

And that is how an economy should work.

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