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Forum Post: Small vs. Big Business. What type of capitalism are we talking about?

Posted 2 years ago on Sept. 3, 2012, 9:33 a.m. EST by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

We all talk about capitalism on this forum. But when we do, what do we usually have in mind? Speaking only for myself, when I think of capitalism I envision large multi-national corporations with balance sheets of billions of dollars. I think of the Fortune 500 companies that are publicly traded on the NYSE or AMEX. I get an actual mental picture of a heartless monster devouring resources, both human and natural, that operates much like a gigantic machine without any sense of balance or control over its relentless drive to ever-higher profits regardless of whatever carnage it might leave in its wake.

But is such a vision correct? Lately I have begun to think not. According to Business USA, in 2008 there were 5,930,132 firms in America. 3,617,764 of them had 1 to 4 employees. 90,386 of them had 100 to 499 employees. Only 1,956 of them had 5000 or more employees. Those that had 500 or more employees made up only 0.3% of all firms, but those firms had 50.6% of all employees.

I know we have all had conversations with those who have defended capitalism here. But how many of them were small business owners? I know I have had a few conversations with several of them. Depending on their argument, we have labeled them "trolls" and other such things. This has at times been undoubtedly true, but at times, perhaps not.

For me personally, I am struggling to come to a definition and understanding as to at what point capitalism becomes destructive. I am 100% positive that it is. But is it true when you are talking about 3.6 million firms that employ 1 to 4 people? Maybe and maybe not.

I would like to understand at what point any given small business firm in America crosses the line into a "destructive greedy monster" that is then described as "raping the planet of its natural resources and destroying habitats and species". Is the answer to this question to simply break up all large corps into small business entities of 500 employees or less (the general definition of a small business)? Such would be possible if a large corp with, say, 50 internal departments became 50 independent businesses interacting together with the same overall function as before, yet not subject to an overarching gigantic pyramid structure usually found in the typical large corporation.

My whole point of this post is that I am beginning to call into question my assumptions about capitalism. I still believe it is evil and is destroying the planet in the name of profit. But with this many people earning their living in businesses of 1 to 4 people, perhaps we need to clarify our thinking about who we are going up against, as well as clearly defining who/what the "enemy" is.

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

I once worked for a small company that sent me for training to a large multi national corporation back east. I was amazed by the difference between the small company I worked for with a hundred employees and the corporation I trained at with thousands.

Our company was like the poor man and the large corporation like the rich man. Everyone assumes all businesses make huge profits. They don't. Some barely get by, while others make incredible profits.

We see on the employer to employee level great differences in wages paid due to bargaining power. Walmart for example, one of the largest corporations on earth paying it's employees the lowest wages possible.

At the business to business level there must also be a similar disparity in bargaining power. Large businesses have a great advantage, not just with their employees wages, but also with prices they pay for a smaller companies products and services.

So even within capitalism, wealth inequality between large and small businesses is just as prevalent as between the wealthy and the poor people who work for them.

Capitalism is frequently portrayed here as an evil system devouring it's workers wages in order to fuel it's exponential growth. In some cases this is true, but definitely not in all cases.

The point is that even though capitalism has the potential of great economic harm, it also produces great economic good by providing products and services at reasonable prices.

We can't throw the baby out with the bath water. We need to target only the cancerous portions of capitalism, not based on the size of the corporation, but by the depth of it's corruption, and keep the healthy part of the body of capitalism intact.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Thanks for that intelligent input. I can't agree with all of it, but I certainly agree with part of it...the part about largecorp advantage over smallbiz and the predatory nature therein.

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

What's your view of capitalism?

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

I'm probably not the guy to ask that question, because I am so completely radical that I actually advocate the complete destruction of the money system.

http://moneynomore.blogspot.com/

My view is that capitalism is founded on a flawed premise -- selfishness. The ultimate "prophet of profit" in this advocacy is Ayn Rand. And capitalism has now produced (surprise) a VP candidate who has publicly stated his love for this woman (ideologically). I have read a few of her books, seen interviews on the Internet of her, and watched the old "Fountainhead" movie. I think she crystalizes and personifies everything capitalism represents. Unfettered selfishness gone wild. Complete survival of the fittest applied to the business model. If capitalism and banking (the institution that supports its global expansion) were great things, Occupy would not exist worldwide and this forum would not exist and we would not even be having this discussion.

I did not always hold such radical views. I used to be a lot more indifferent about this when I was younger. Most people mellow out with age, but I have gotten even more radical. I think that started coming on when the global warming data started coming in and nothing was being done about it. At first I thought "Ok, now that they know about it they'll take steps to stop it." Then they didn't. In fact, due to the nature of capitalism's creed of never-ending expansion of profit, it got worse. Then it started getting alarmingly worse. Then you started hearing about the rain forests in Brazil being cleared in the name of profit. Then you started hearing about so many species being threatened and habitats destroyed.

Capitalism actually sounds good if you're the owner class, but in actual practice it has so many bad direct and indirect effects on so many things that I just think it has to go eventually. Yeah people bring up the standard-of-living thing about it and what it has accomplished in the last 200 years, etc... But all of that has come at a great price (funny that word). That pricetag has been everything everyone has been protesting about here and on the streets.

When you get right down to it at the most fundamental level, you have to look at how it came about as a result of the flaws in the human animal. Capitalism appeals to the baser instincts and not the more altruistic elements of our makeup. When I think of our ancient ancestors (monkeys/chimps) hoarding their food and killing in the name of expansion of territory to gain more food resources, I get a crystal-clear image in my mind of how all of that, applied to the human animal millions of years later with technology, is now staring us right in the face.

I really am very pessimistic at this point about the future of humans and animals on this planet. It may not be today, and it may not be tomorrow, but eventually Nature is going to put an end to our blasphemous treatment of her. The cause is obvious, and nothing (substantial anyway) is being done about it.

After rereading what I wrote above, I see it is quite a diatribe. Sorry, but you asked.

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

Don't you think capitalism is not so much a system as it is the natural extension of the human animal? In the same way that our senses are extensions of our brains, our economic lives are an extension of what lies within ourselves as well?

I've seen many different forms of economic theory and systems discussed here and wonder how would the titans of today's corporate tyranny function under a different system. I can't help but think that they would also subvert that system for their own selfish benefit as well.

I come to the same conclusion every time. That that no system, no matter how carefully designed, no matter how perfect, can completely contain the excess that we imperfect human beings strive for. It's up to the more perfect of the human race to keep them in check. If the more perfect fail, then imperfection will abound.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Yes. We have met the enemy, and he is us. That is undeniable and obvious. But I have an IT background and know that people can set out and design systems from the ground up to do what they want them to do. That's what I think we ought to do with our economic models. No one actually ever designed a good operating system for economics from the ground up that would, by design, incorporate all of the positives and eliminate all of the negatives. There have been alternatives proposed and implemented. There are all kinds of "ism"s...capitalism is but one. But it is severely flawed in my book and needs an upgrade. That's because it just gradually evolved over time. So did the money system and economics. Some people think this is "natural" as it sorta follows a evolutionary path. But we are now witnessing the end result of an unplanned machine based upon greed as its foundation. That's why I advocate the destruction of money (which is artificial) and complete overhaul of the system.

[-] 0 points by TheRoot (94) from New York, NY 2 years ago

Money has been destroyed 100%, already. I am not sure what you mean about destroying it. Would you elab?

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

I guess the best way would be to point you to some links. I have recently put up a blog about it here

And here are a couple of OWS posts where I was working through the idea trying to get some constructive input

http://occupywallst.org/forum/heres-a-ideawill-it-work/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/alternatives-to-capitalism-which-is-best/

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

don't know what the word means

[-] 1 points by evileye (11) 2 years ago

Capitalism does work. Why is China Capitalistic now? I'm going to start a corporation tomorrow and manufacture widget j. Widget j is just what the world needs, I can't keep it on the shelves, I have to hire more and more to keep up, my corporation grows by leaps and bounds. I'm a super profitable corporation. I offer my employees competitive wages, health insurance, paid vacations, PTO, deep deep discounts on widget j - People are happy. Some else decides they can make a bigger, badder widget j. So they have it. Now there is competition. Prices go down. I strive to make widget j better, more options, widget j.2pointOh and sales skyrocket. I look to save money, they look to save money - Manufacturing would be cheaper in Hong Kong, but the govt wants to keep me here so they give me tax breaks to off set my costs to keep people working. So the cycle goes and goes, some companies go to Hong Kong and their employees get screwed. Others stay. That is Capitalism. How is it based on theft? How is it welfare? It sounds like your angry and mad because you're not capable of working hard and wanted the easy route. If I work hard all my life, why in Gods name should have to redistribute my wealth to you? Do know who funds most charity organizations? It is the large corporations who make the donations that keep these organizations afloat. Get educated. There are these buildings in the US that are free to go into and it is free to utilize their offerings (books, newspapers, dvds, cd's) They are called libraries. You can learn a lot from them. You don't have to go to college to learn. Some of this should have been taught to you in Elementary School.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

I am not attacking capitalism in this post. In fact, I am questioning my previous assumptions about it. But you are only an advocate for one side of it. What about the consumption/exploitation of resources, both human and natural, that are necessary to sustain capitalism? And the prevailing wisdom now is that it is truly an unsustainable model and is doing great harm environmentally.

Then there is the manufactured desire of the population via advertising for products that people would otherwise not even care about, all in the name of generating maximum profits. Have you seen the documentary "The Century of the Self"? You should watch that.

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 2 years ago

Please, China is not capitalistic. It is just a top down economy making American Capitalists bloody rich. Just because American Capitalists are exploiting Chines labor does not mean China has embraced Capitalism.

Also, playing the jealousy card is a sure sign of immaturity. I am not jealous. I am pissed because those who view themselves kings of industry--the true movers, shakers and leaders of our nation--have sold their nation out to the lowest bidder. But hey, what am I going to do, that is Capitalism.

[-] 1 points by evileye (11) 2 years ago

China is moving towards a Capitalistic society. When private people (Chinese Citizens) can own corporations there, that is Capitalism. Do you use Apple products? Everything they make comes from over there. If you do, you're are hypocrite. We could easily make those things here, but it is too expensive. Why, there is no incentive here to keep manufacturing here. It is people like you that want to tax the fucking hell out of corporations because they're too rich and they need to be taken down a notch, is why corporations leave our country. Capitalism gave me a decent childhood. We were not rich, but there was always food on the table. The company my father worked for and I worked for cares more about the people of this country than you realize. Are they out to make a profit? Hell yes! And I say good for them. Not every corporation in this country is out squish the little guy. You can start a corporation, too. You can be as successful as you want to be. Do realize so many successfully companies started out in basements and garages. People worked hard to make their business grow. Why shouldn't they reap the benefits? That is what makes our country different, you can be as successful or unsuccessful as you want. People are crawling under fences and swimming the Rio Grande to get here for a better life. What is so bad? Who pissed in your Cheerios?

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 2 years ago

Hey, i'm just articulating an uncertainty that the working class has been experiencing the last few decades. It seems to me that the new age capitalist needs to embrace some old fashion American regulation.

Ain't it funny how we never talk about monopolies, tariffs and barriers, and other protections for the elderly and lame? It boggles the mind how someone in your predicament, as stated in your quite passionate post just before replying to me, would defend the capitalism of today.

Do you think the capitalism of today works like the picture books tell us it worked back in the day?

There is one premise that used to sell me on the notion of Capitalism; it was the lift all boats argument. Well, I now question that wisdom.

WHy I gotta be mad? I'm just curious.

[-] 1 points by evileye (11) 2 years ago

All see on here are posts that Capitalism is bad. I don't understand what people want...to start trading with rainbows and unicorns? Most of the Kibbutzes and Collective communities of the sixties and seventies have disappeared because they didn't work. Capitalism is not bad, the people who abuse are bad. Not all people who have businesses and corporations are bad. I believe in the American Dream. I like to know that I can be as successful as I want to be - without hurting anyone. I don't think this forum is capable of handling a deep discussion, perhaps moving to a chat forum. The basics of yesterday are there and they work, it has gotten more complicated. Agree on the regulation part, no corporation should be able to abuse or hurt the environment. We need the checks and balances to keep things safe. But we don't need the Government owning the company. That is where headed now, to Nationalization. We need things like the EPA and FDA. As citizens we keep can keep those things in place. We as citizens are more powerful than we realize. People have forgotten that we have the power to change what is going on Washington. I have hopes to start my company, I'm not well but I'll never give up dream. I give up my dream, I might as well be dead. If someone tries to take my dream away from me, I'm going to one pissed off person.

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 2 years ago

When I think of capitalism, I think of the lack of accountability. I think of kings making decisions that up heave millions of lives, while the kings blame it on creative destruction and market forces. All the while, they never take responsibility for their actions because their actions are what they are paid to do, maximize profits at all expense.

The privatization of all aspects of our economy, in a nut shell, is the dismantling of accountability for the greater returns in profit for those who invest.

In a Capitalistic society people doing what they are paid to do, at the expense of others, is just the price of doing business.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

So is that ALL capitalism or just Big Business to you? The thrust of this post is basically asking the question "Is small business a bad thing, I.e., is it in the same category as Big Business?"

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 2 years ago

No, but all businesses should be regulated for the betterment of the society it does business in. And because small businesses can't leverage government as easily as big business, they are insignificant in the current political crisis. Except for those small business owners who vote for the power brokers of big business, small businesses are of no concern to me.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Yes I certainly agree that unregulated big business is a very bad thing. But then there seems to be this dichotomy related to small businesses where they scream they can barely operate due to all the regulations they have to deal with, plus run their business. In very small firms, I can see the logic in their argument. So we keep coming back to "where do you draw the line?". What is appropriate and what isn't regarding freedoms for businesses to operate? I know I'm asking hard questions.

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 2 years ago

But don't most small business regulations come from state legislators? Why certain people bring their local issues to a federal debate, I will never know.

The regulations I am talking about are trade regulations, labor regulations and environmental regulations. I'd say because of the global nature of our economy, these regulations should not be seen as sacred cows, but just a few more tools in the federal legislators' tool bag. If you are too big to fail then you are just the right size to be federally regulated.

[-] 1 points by elf3 (2517) 2 years ago

Get rid of monopolies and government tax gearing and then I can open my own business and I won't need to come crawling to any business - I can employ myself. Currently there is red tape, cost driven up by chains on rent, and negative tax gearing and laws against small business. It is impossible to compete with a monopoly. More people could become self-reliant if there was a fair and free market as opposed to a monopoly system which bribes the government to drive down and out any and all competition. In today's current system a corporation no longer has to be innovative to compete, they just have to make sure nobody else succeeds leaving the consumer with no other alternatives and no choices in the market. It is now not capitalism but a forced system of reliance because once those monopolies are in place there is nowhere to go for jobs and nowhere to go for food, medicine, even housing with corporate realty trusts, etc etc etc. They maintain the empire and expand it into ever growing conglomerates where all our systems are becoming run by the same few groups. If we all work for them it is because we were forced into it not because it's what we wanted. There is the difference. Should we be grateful to our conquerors ?

[-] 2 points by TheRoot (94) from New York, NY 2 years ago

Saw this last week or so. One of the credit card commercials of the elite: "War in Irag, $758B. War in Afghanistan, $468B. Unfunded liabilities of the US, $222T. Forcing Taxpayers to pay for it all, priceless."

[-] 1 points by Shayneh (-482) 2 years ago

With regard to your question about "Capitalism" there are no definitive answers. However there are differences between businesses based on "revenues".

Lets look at two hypothetical companies - one is a small business the other is a large corporation. The small business was started by the individual investing his own money that he made through hard work and the large corporation was started by an individual who located friends to invest.

The small businesses has a revenue of $300,000 a year, and employees 5 people.

The large corporation has a revenue of 10 million a year and employees 2,000 people

Lets say that the profit of the small business is 10% or $30,000 of the $300,000 in revenues, after all expenses are paid for the year, including all taxes, all insurance, bonuses, advertising, legal fees, accounting fees, and operating expenses to name a few

Lets say that the profit of the large corporation is 10% or 1 million of $10 million in revenues, after all expenses are paid for the year, including all taxes, all insurance, bonuses, advertising, legal fees, accounting fees and operating expenses to name a few.

The question is what will be done with those after tax profits. Will either business have to be re-invested those after tax profits back into the businesses or will the owner or investors of the company keep it for their own use?

There is no easy answer to the question - some small businesses don't have reserve capital to keep the doors open so the money they make including profits are re-invested into the company.

With regard to large corporations they may also have to re-invest the profits back into the company to keep their doors open.

If neither company is financially sound there may be layoffs and the company may have to downsize.

On the other hand, if both businesses are financially sound and business is good, both businesses may keep the profits for the owner or investors.

So, do you condemn a small business owner for making a $30,000 profit that he keeps or do you condemn a large corporation for the $1 million dollars that the investors may keep.

Which business owner took the biggest risk? Which business has more of an impact on the economy? Which business when it expands will employ more people? And which business owner will lose the most should the business fail?

Small businesses can grow to become large corporations and large corporations can shrink to become small businesses.

Which business will have an impact on the economy - both Which business is important to the economy - both Which of the business investors took a chance by investing in a start up company - they both did.

So if you could be an employee of either of these companies which one would you work for?

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Is that last question rhetorical? I would probably take my chances with the small business, even though I've never worked for one. My experience with largecorp was pretty awful, and I don't like what largecorp is doing to the planet so i wouldn't want to contribute anything to the success of largecorp. In fact, I spend time trying to imagine an alternative reality where largecorp doesn't exist at all.

[-] 1 points by Shayneh (-482) 2 years ago

So if you chose the small business and it grows would you leave it? Not all large corporations operate the same way. I would say that of all the corporations out there there are a few bad ones - and the reason they exist is because of the market they cater to.

Otherwise they would be out of business. I have worked for both large corporations and small businesses

Large corporations have more written procedures and guidelines to follow and as a result you are limited on what you can or can't do.

Small businesses on the other hand have few if any procedures and guidelines and require a person to be more deversified and be able to handle more tasks.

Large corporations and small businesses can also be personable depending how the it treats its employees.

Large corporations offer more opportunities and increased salaries whereas a small business is limited on what it has to offer when it comes to opportunities.

However a person can learn a lot more working for a small business rather then a large corporation.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

yes, at some point I would probaably leave it after it had gotten to a size where it became highly bureaucratic and more destructive than constructive.

[-] 1 points by TheRoot (94) from New York, NY 2 years ago

What is capital and what gives rise to it? Answering that question within the context of today's economy is very difficult. But to understand what capital is I am suggesting to cast away the today's economy and for the sake of clarity go back two or more generations.

As a kid growing up, I lived near a community of Amish. There (as in many farming communities) eating one's seed corn meant the death of the farm and the family. I wanted a bike when I was six. My parents talked with me about saving my money and they'd pitch in too. I had to make and save $12 towards it. Three weeks later (after having saved $4 washing cars at a local gas station), I treated myself to a three packs of TastyKake Butter Scotch Krimpets and a Coke. My Dad asked me whether I really wanted that new bike. I told him that I got change back and had plenty left over. He said, "No, you don't." And he explained that next week, I had to buy the soap, bucket and rags to do my work. I was short. He said, "If you get in the habit of eating your seed corn, you won't have enough for your bike. You won't have enough to buy the supplies that you need to work for the bike." After I got my bike, I asked my Parents if I could get a TV of my own for my Room. My Dad suggested a plan that involved my new bike. He said that with it, I can get to more places and earn more money. My bike then became part of my means of production. I biked to more gas stations and washed cars. I biked to people's houses even further away and washed their windows. (And I biked to the grocery store to replenish my rags and buy soap.) A friend of mine’s Father started a business in the mid 60’s. He believed that he had several marketable ideas. He was thirty-two at the time. To him, capital was a simple idea- it was his savings and the savings of others. He acted on his ideas. He had been saving all his working life. He also persuaded others to buy into the idea. Some of them did. With his savings and the investments from two others, he started the company out of his garage. Today, his Company is earning ~$100M, is still profitable and he employs hundreds of people. He'll be seventy-seven this year and plans to retire in December. I asked him if he'd do it all again. He said that he wouldn't because there are no real investors, today. And the loans that you can get aren't based on anyone's savings. It's all a shame."

The point is that true capital comes into existence by saving. But today and thanks to generations of the machinations of the money elite in the US, savings are wiped out. The incentive to save is too. My kids and theirs don't have the idea that capital is based on savings and that their futures depend on it. When I talk with them about, they say, "Earth to Dad. Come in Dad." Instead, if they want something, they get a credit card or a loan. They are buying into the machinery created by the crony capitalists. The "squeeze is on" is a gross understatement. The system that the 1%-ers have legislated into being is killing us. There is no more seed corn. What's left are a lot of pissed off and highly anxious people. In their numbers is the hope to destroy our destroyers and start living again.

In your post you write, "I would like to understand at what point any given small business firm in America crosses the line into a "destructive greedy monster" that is then described as "raping the planet of its natural resources and destroying habitats and species". One of the keys to your answer is real capital. Consider the housing bubble. It only came to be because there wasn't real capital in the first place. Instead, there was fake money and easy ways to get it. The home builders were all too happy to help buyers spend it. In the process, they got their hands on fake money and bought and cleared millions of acres of land in the US. With real capital, there never could have been such a raping of natural resources. In any economy (whether controlled by the financial elite, free or controlled by the majority), there are always two sides to a transaction. In the US Housing Bubble there were the builders and the buyers. Whose to blame for their greed? My answer (again) is that this greed never would have entered the economy had it not been for crony capitalism. But like people have already posted, we shouldn't damn capitalism. We don't have it here. What we have is a sham, instead.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Thank you for that response. I am slowly gaining an understanding that perhaps I have been asking the wrong question(s) about capitalism. I admittedly have a prejudice view of it, and am seeking clarity about it. My work background has been working in a 600 employee environment (mostly), then a 60,000 employee global behemoth. So I have zilch experience about truly small businesses of the 1 to 4 employee size which statistically makes up over half of all firms in America.

[-] 1 points by TheRoot (94) from New York, NY 2 years ago

Your welcome. If I may, I'd like to offer you to consider a technique from Einstein. He certainly wasn't the first but his thought experiment on chasing light beams was the first that I had ever heard about the techniques. They are used to think about a hypothesis or a theory from the end point of view- its results or consequences. I found them helpful in trying to isolate the essentials in questions on ethics and politics. When I get up in the morning, whether in the back of my mind or right in the forefront, I am asking myself what do I want to do today and why and what do I expect of others and why.

Consider an imaginary place where it is just you, literally by yourself in the world. For example, if you found yourself on a deserted island rich enough in natural resources such that you could somehow sustain yourself and you landed there healthy, what would you want and what would you do about it? Include enough specifics to make your imaginings as real as you can. (Watching the early parts of Cast Away starring Tom Hanks isn't cheating because its drama may be helpful.) As the finale to the experiment, suppose that some three years later (or maybe longer) you were rescued. What if anything that you discovered about yourself on the deserted island are applicable to you as you are reintroduced into society and as you finish out the rest of your life?

I am suggesting this thought experiment only in that it may help in thinking about a pure and simple preface to living in society. After all, on the island, you had to decide what you wanted, why you wanted it, what to do about it and actually go about doing it. Deep down at its root, are the answers to those questions the same regardless of whether your living on a deserted island or Manhattan Island? That'll be for you to decide after you get home "in three years".

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Thank you. I've done those types of mental excercises before, but I probably don't do them as frequently as you do. Sounds like you may have elevated them to an art form if you do them every day. I tend to use that mental imagery on an as-needed basis with something already fairly familiar to me. But trying to envision how this is applicable to small-business capitalism is difficult. Not sure what the results of the experiment will be because the subject appears too abstract...not concrete enough. Will continue to work on this.

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

half in number of business or half in population ?

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

According to the link in the OP, over half of all firms in America have 1 to 4 employees.

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

got ya

[-] 0 points by Mooks (1985) 2 years ago

I agree with you 100%. I would love to see a return to true capitalism.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

Capitalism should be opposed because: 1) It is unjust and barbaric. 2) It does not work. 3) And it does not work because of the way it unfairly allocates income and wealth.

.

1) Capitalism is unjust and barbaric

The entire system of capitalism is unjust and barbaric because it is based on theft, welfare for the lucky, and exploitation.

Theft

Capitalism is barbaric because it is based on privatization of the planet and its resources. Since Mother Nature does not have a store where you can purchase the planet, 100% of this privatization came by way of pillage and plunder.

Privatization of the Earth and its resources means you are claiming control over a portion of the planet for your own private benefit to the exclusion of everyone else and using whatever force is necessary to maintain your control. When you privatize a part of the planet, you are stealing that part of the planet from everyone else.

So every single good and service produced in capitalism are produced with stolen resources.

Welfare for the lucky

Capitalism is unfair because it pays half the income that workers produce to investors who do zero work in producing anything. Investment income is just welfare for the lucky. It allows guys like Mitt Romney to get paid $20 million per year every year without working a single day merely because he got lucky in the market a few decades ago. Workers produce that $20 million every year, not Mitt Romney; so workers should get paid that $20 million, not Mitt Romney.

Investing is gambling. The economy should not be used as a casino. Investment income robs workers of half the wealth they produce each year. Workers shouldn't have to work 6 months every year just to pay off the gambling winnings of investors.

A system where you pay workers half the income and a few lucky gamblers the other half is absurd.

Just like we don't need to pay people to print their own money in order to make sure there's a supply of money in the economy, we don't need to pay people to invest in order to make sure there's a supply of investment money in the economy as explained here.

Exploitation

Capitalism is unfair because workers lose half their income to investors. But it gets worse. Workers lose most of the other half of their income to exploiters. Capitalism doesn't allocate income based on how hard you work or how much you produce. It allocates income based on how much bargaining power you have which allows the 3% who have bargaining power to exploit the 97% who do not.

Even though the bottom 97% of workers do nearly all of the work in this country, the top 3% are taking nearly all of the income. That is because of exploitation.

Exploitation is using another person's labor without paying them an adequate compensation.

An adequate compensation is the amount of income they would receive if we allocated income fairly. Since the whole purpose of income is to get people to work and work hard, the only fair way to allocate income is to pay 100% of our income to workers, since they do 100% of the work, and to pay those workers based on how hard they work which you do by limiting differences in income between workers to only what is necessary to get workers to do undesirable jobs and to give their maximum performance in performance based jobs.

Allocating income in this way would pay every worker from $115k to $460k per year for working just 20 hours per week and that is more than what 97% of workers are currently getting paid.

.

2) Capitalism does not work

Nearly the entire world is capitalist and nearly the entire world lives in abject poverty.

Half the world lives on less than $2.50 per day and 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.

In the US, after 200+ years of industrializing, thanks to capitalism, it still has 50% of the population living in or near poverty, and 97% of all workers earning a below average income, and 50% of wage earners making less than $26k, and 18% of all available workers unable to find a full-time job, and 55% of the people who do work being wasted by having them do pointless jobs that machines can already do.

It can't even do the simple task of housing all our kids. 1800 kids, from just one Florida county alone, are living in cars.

Nearly everyone in the US is broke.

.

3) Nearly everyone is broke only because capitalism allocates income unfairly

People are not broke because there is not enough income or resources to go around. They are broke because capitalism is a system that lets a tiny ruling class use investment income and exploitation to unfairly take so much of the available income - income that they have not earned and don't deserve - that there is simply not enough income left over to pay everyone else.

As mentioned above, capitalism allows a few lucky investors to take half the income that workers produce. And then capitalism allows a tiny minority to use their bargaining power to take most of what is left over.

Everyone in the US in 2012 should be wealthy. We produce $15.4 trillion in goods and services every year.

That is just under $50,000 per year for every man, woman and child. That is $200,000 per year for a family of 4. That is $65 per hour for each hour every worker works. That is $135,000 per year for every full-time worker.

No matter how you slice it, that is clearly enough income to make everyone in this country wealthy.

The reason why the average worker doesn't get paid anywhere near those numbers is because capitalism allows investors to take half their income and exploiters to take most of the remaining half.

Capitalism is unfair, barbaric and does not work. It should be replaced with socialism. Socialism is simply a system that American anarchist Benjamin Tucker defines best: It's a system where workers get paid the full value of what they produce. It's summed up in the original, pre-Marxist, socialist slogan, "To each according to their contribution."

The way you pay workers the full value of what they produce is you eliminate the income paid to investors and you eliminate exploitation.

You pay workers 100% of the income, since they do 100% of the work, and you pay workers based on how hard they work, instead of based on how much bargaining power they have, which you do by limiting differences in income by law to only what is necessary to get workers to do difficult jobs and give their maximum performance in performance based jobs.

Allocating income according to socialism is the only fair economic system. It would pay every worker from $115k to $460k per year for working just 20 hours per week.

How socialism works is explained in full in this post.

[-] 1 points by evileye (11) 2 years ago

I would love to see how you would determine the pay scale and how long worker satisfaction lasts before you have a revolution on your hands. Do you know anything about overhead? Do you know over head is? Most cities and towns have an extension office that offer classes on this kind of stuff for little or no money - you really need to look into it.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

"I would love to see how you would determine the pay scale "

It is in the post:

The way you pay workers the full value of what they produce is you eliminate the income paid to investors and you eliminate exploitation.

You pay workers 100% of the income, since they do 100% of the work, and you pay workers based on how hard they work, instead of based on how much bargaining power they have, which you do by limiting differences in income by law to only what is necessary to get workers to do difficult jobs and give their maximum performance in performance based jobs.

Allocating income according to socialism is the only fair economic system. It would pay every worker from $115k to $460k per year for working just 20 hours per week.

.

"how long worker satisfaction lasts before you have a revolution on your hands."

Since more than 90% would get paid more and half would get paid more than 4 times more and we were eliminating all menial jobs, satisfaction would be pretty high. Capitalism needs to worry about the revolt since it does not work.

I believe in a free society. And I think workers should have the freedom to choose to work either in a capitalist system, where most of the worker's income is paid to gamblers and exploiters, or a socialist system, where workers get paid several times more because they are getting paid fully without any deductions from gamblers and exploiters.

A country can offer more than one economic system just like it can offer different cell phone plans as explained here and here.

Capitalism shouldn't have a dictatorship over society, it shouldn't have a monopoly over our economy.

Can we agree that workers should be given the choice?

.

" Do you know anything about overhead?"

Are you talking about business expenses? I don't know what that has to do with anything or if that is what you mean.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

We have talked before on a different subject. The subject of this post is Small Business impact vs. Big Business inpact. Big Business impact is obvious. What is your position on Small Business impact? Is ALL of capitalism evil? Perhaps it is. I'm not sure a business that employs 1 to 4 people and is eeking out a modest income on their balance sheet should be classified as "evil". I am seeking clarity on this issue, because if you don't define things precisely you are less likely to have success in solving the problem. I'm trying to be open-minded about this, because my general tendency is to paint all of capitalism rancid...and I'm not sure that's necessarily an accurate portrayal of the situation.

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 2 years ago

Capitalism, in the original socialist meaning, defines a system in which the few, the capitalists, own almost all the means of production; to accomplish that requires great wealth.

The people that own small businesses, like mom-and-pop stores, along with minor stockholders, etc, fall into the realm of the petty bourgeousie. Oddly, though their interests coincide with that of the workers, the petty bourgeousie most often align themselves with the capitalists; they are deluded into believing that what's good for "business" is good for them. Of course the ruling class, the capitalists care no more for the petty bourgeousie than they care for a boil on a worker's backside. They merrily destroy small businesses and minor stockholders willy nilly. For proof look at the empty rows of small, vacant stores once a Walmart moves into a neighborhood, or large, corporate reorganizations that leave small stockholders holdiing empty bags.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

So I guess when we use that generic term "capitalism" we are truly talking about the multi-national big boys then right? That has been my assumption and also assumed when everyone else uses that term that they mean Big Business. But where does small business fit in then in terms of doing away with capitalism as is so frequently advocated on this forum?

[-] 2 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 2 years ago

Capitalists are the heavy guns the multi-millionaires and billionaires and, yes, they're interational.

Many people often confuse free trade with capitalism. They are not the same, except as the language has become corrupted by capitalist propaganda to try and equate the two. Communism or socialism does not do away with free trade. People can still hawk trinkets at a small tourist shop, etc. In fact, in countries like Cuba, such small enterprises are encouraged.

Capitalism, on the other hand, does away with free trade by concentrating wealth and the means of production in the hands of a few. So, large corporate enterprises like Walmart and McDonald's do away with corner stores and Joe's Burgers. Communism and socialism eliminate private ownership of the means of production and of real property and attempt to redistribute wealth in a way that works most equitably for the given population. So, people continue to "own" their houses in the sense of the houses belonging to them, though the property is nearly always held in common. The idea is to have a system that prevents the concentration of property and wealth into the hands of the unscrupulous few.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Yeah I learned about that way back in high school in a mandated course called Americanism vs Communism. It was pure capitalistic propaganda, but of course none of us teens back then understood that. So I know about theoretical Communism.

I guess what I'm trying to understand is that if most of the businesses in America are small businesses, and therefore represent capitalism on its smallest scale, how would they be affected or operate if you theoretically rip out capitalism to fix the Big Business problems? It's like they go down for the count as a repercussion of their Big Business brothers bad antics. Hardly seems fair if they are not causing any harm.

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 2 years ago

I suppose one would have to define "small" business and decide at what point an enterprise is more than a "way to make a living."

Contrary to what many people believe communism and socialism do not want to eliminate ways for people to support themselves and that includes small enterprises. Both systems mandate work for all capable people. I know, for example, that right now in Cuba the government is offering vendor and food stalls in various public markets for those interested in starting their own businesses.Accumulation of excess wealth and property are definitely discouraged, which is why property and all large enterprises are held in common.

Marxism focused on class divisions as they evolved historically. Marx believed capitalism was the final stage in class antagonism, because the elimination of capitalism would lead to a society of workers, none of whom exploited others. Each would work for self-sufficiency and enough extra to share with those incapable of working. Eventually, with all property held in common; and major items appropriated for individual use, any divisions in society based on accumulation of wealth or property would disappear.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Too bad it just can't work in reality. Communism is a beautiful theoretical vision, but doesn't account for human nature. That reminds me of the USSR right before it broke up. There was a story I heard about workers who were stealing tools and taking them home to sell on the black market. They actually didn't find any moral problem with that, because they were taught that everyone owned everything in common via the State. So they believed the tools actually belonged to them and everyone else so it wasn't stealing in their mind. See how strange that is?

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 2 years ago

Your argument can be used with equal validity against capitalism. One of the biggest losses American businesses face is not from consumer theft, but employee theft. One survey found that 75% of employees steal from their employers and "half of these steal repeatedly."

The problem is there regardless of the political-economic system.

Oops. I forgot to post the source for my information: http://www.hirepowerassociates.com/pdfs/StepOneSurveyII.pdf

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

I could not find any such information on the Chambers website. I did however find this http://www.uschamber.com/facts

Due to fraud in using the Chambers credentials, you'll need to find the actual report from the chamber to verify the facts in that report.

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 2 years ago

I'm not sure to what you're referring, except that JD Powers and Associates used the US Chamber as a source. I went to the link you provided, which was nothing more than an apologetic for various Chamber positions and actions.

I could not find the actual Chamber report, but all the following links use the same statistics and attribute those numbers to the Chamber. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505143_162-48640192/employee-theft-are-you-blind-to-it/

http://www.inc.com/articles/1999/05/13731.html

http://www.npma.org/archives/vol.17-2-beedle.pdf

http://www.employeetheftsolutions.com/facts.htm

I don't believe all these site are misrepresenting the Chamber's report, the actual copy of which may not be available to non-members. Maybe you have another figure or source that differs.

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

So what you're saying is that you yourself cannot find the original source for the quote. Adding more links does not make up for that.

The mainstream media releases correction on a regular basis for misinforming the public but they never make it to the TV screen nor are they posted in a forward manner. If you don't have the source, you have nothing more than an assumption. Hardly the foundation for debate.

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 2 years ago

Whatever.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

Capitalism isn't bad or evil because of the size of businesses.

Some goods and services require a small organization to produce. Some goods and services require a large organization to produce.

What makes capitalism bad or evil is that it is based on theft, welfare for the lucky and exploitation.

That theft, welfare and exploitation allows a small ruling class to unfairly take most of the available income and leave everyone else broke.

All of the poverty, misery, suffering and conflict in this world exists because capitalism is a system that allows a small group of people to unfairly take more income than they deserve, which forces everyone else to be broke and get paid less than they deserve.

It does not matter whether these people who are unfairly getting paid more than they deserve work in a small company or a large company. Their unfair compensation is the problem.

[Deleted]

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

Thanks!

But I can't take credit. This is what socialists have been saying for the past couple of centuries.

Unfortunately, the socialists gave up entirely in America. And the socialists in the rest of the West no longer advocate socialism, they advocate welfare capitalism.

The silencing of socialism is a great victory for capitalism.

So an entire generation has missed out on the socialist message. Most people today think socialism is either a corrupt, totalitarian dictatorship or is the government running your life and giving your money away to lazy people.

People don't know that socialism is just a common sense, fair way to allocate the wealth the workers of the world produce.

What we need to do is begin educating people again on what socialism is and why it is the only fair alternative to capitalism which you can do with this simple message:

Capitalism is unfair, barbaric and does not work. It is based on theft, welfare for the lucky, and exploitation.

It should be replaced with socialism. Socialism is simply a system that American anarchist Benjamin Tucker defines best: It's a system where workers get paid the full value of what they produce. It's summed up in the original, pre-Marxist, socialist slogan, "To each according to their contribution."

The way you pay workers the full value of what they produce is 1) you eliminate the income paid to investors and 2) you eliminate exploitation.

1) You pay workers 100% of the income, since they do 100% of the work, instead of paying half the income to investors and half to workers. Investment income is just welfare for the lucky. Just like we don't need to pay people to print their own money in order to make sure there's a supply of money in the economy, we don't need to pay people to invest in order to make sure there's a supply of investment money in the economy.

2) And you pay workers based on how hard they work, instead of based on how much bargaining power they have, which you do by limiting differences in income by law to only what is necessary to get workers to do difficult jobs and give their maximum performance in performance based jobs.

Allocating income according to socialism is the only fair economic system. It would pay every worker from $115k to $460k per year for working just 20 hours per week. It would make everyone wealthy and when you make everyone wealthy, you eliminate nearly every problem in society.

[-] 0 points by Proteus (141) from Quebec, QC 2 years ago

I'm not a socialist, I don't think the view of fairness is a socialist view, I think it is a fundamental human property, socialism may be based on that.

Here, If you want to know from what I think fairness spring from

http://occupywallst.org/forum/are-we-more-in-hell-or-heaven/

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

"I'm not a socialist"

You are either for socialism or for capitalism.

If you are not a socialist, then you are a capitalist. Since capitalism can never be fair, as a capitalist, you are not for fairness.

Socialism did not invent fairness. It is just an economic system based on fairness.

[-] 0 points by Proteus (141) from Quebec, QC 2 years ago

No, I'm neither for socialism nor capitalism, I'm independent, I invented my own system, sorry.

Anyway, my point was about fairness, and so, Archimedes is right.

[-] 2 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

The means of production can only be publicly owned or they can be privately owned.

What system did you invent where they are neither public or private?

[-] 1 points by Proteus (141) from Quebec, QC 2 years ago

Ok, i didn't think that was the definition of socialism and capitalism.

So, the system I made have nothing to do with any current system that have been tried, but yes, for the glory of your definition of socialism, then I can say it got some facets where things are a possession of everybody.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

And that gets back to my original point that an entire generation has missed out on the socialist message. They don't know the solution to all of society's problems has already been worked out and has been rigorously peer reviewed.

If your idea is effective at solving society's problems, I guarantee it is exactly what socialists have been saying to do for the past couple of centuries.

[-] 1 points by Proteus (141) from Quebec, QC 2 years ago

I don't believe that, you have no idea what a free mind can invent.

In some facets, yes, there surely are analogies to socialism, but as a whole, forget it.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

Millions of free minds have spent the past couple of hundred years thinking about our economic problems. It is unlikely you came up with something someone else hasn't already thought of.

But I guess anything is possible. Do you have a link to your idea?

[-] 1 points by Proteus (141) from Quebec, QC 2 years ago

I'll reply here.

At least you are honest about it, sorry, I don't have a summary, but if I get people interested in the first step of spirituality I talked about, then I'll design a summary like you have never seen one on this site, It will be made by steps and at the end people will understand what is a truly different world without having to read my book.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/life-reality-step-1-good-evil-and-spirituality/

It is a few pages piece of text, if that make enough sense as a spirituality to you, then you type PASS somewhere, when I'll have a dozen PASS, I'll bring about the next subject, and after a dozen subjects, you'll understand how a million free minds can't think of everything.

[-] 1 points by Proteus (141) from Quebec, QC 2 years ago

My idea? I set the base of a different reality, and everything is unique, I'm sure of it. People talk about direct democracy? The control system I made have nothing to do with anything I've seen discussed anywhere, my view of an economy too, my view of races too. I can't provide a link to one or another of my views as it is a book, and since I'm currently editing it, I'm not very motivated to give it. Still, you can have it, it is free, just wait a few weeks if you want the new edition. Btw, I am editing all of my books, the new edition started last month, so any book that is dated prior to last month is not edited.

"Life Reality" is the one you are looking for.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/170159

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

To be perfectly honest, I am not going to read a book. If you have a basic summary, I would read that.

[-] 0 points by pasteurize (19) 2 years ago

Your conversation with Proteus will be fruitless. Proteus exists on a spiritual plane where the laws of reality and economics don't apply.

[-] 1 points by Proteus (141) from Quebec, QC 2 years ago

Hi you, I was talking about you somewhere else a few minutes ago.

Conversations with me are not fruitless, they open the mind, they get people to see things under a different optic.

As for my spirituality, I think it is the most logic one that can be invented, I even believe that it will become the spirituality of the future, so maybe you should take a look at the sense in it.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

I don't know, so far it seems to have been firmly grounded on the physical plane.

[-] 1 points by Proteus (141) from Quebec, QC 2 years ago

He's wrong, the problem is that dumped this whole world to reinvent it. I started from nothing, do you know what is nothing? Nothing is nothing, from that I justified everything, and from my conclusions, made a new reality.

Now if you started from nothing, what would you believe in? I invented a spirituality that is the closest to logic possible to define on what principle I would build the new reality. So to me everything is new, there is no socialism or capitalism, i don't care about that, this world have a single ideology and as long as that ideology is not replaced, then even if we make a perfect socialist world, it will eventually, maybe after 3000 years, revert to the same kind of brothel we have presently.

That's why presently, I'm trying to talk spirituality on this forum, because I know that as long as a different ideology is not accepted, then it is worthless to try a new reality.

[-] -2 points by Archimedes (6) from Siracusa, Sicily 2 years ago

You understand nothing

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 2 years ago

Do you have any arguments to make that substantiate that claim?

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

I'm a single guy, with a few independent contractors that I supply work to.

I love working. I love being creative and creating.

I bend over backwards for customers. Insane levels of dedication. Its part of the reason I have zero tolerance for recieving less from huge companies.

The problem is apathy which leads to corruption at the top, in my view. There is absolutely no reason why we are still dependent on oil. No reason the banks are screwing us like this. No reason why Monsanto is running all the food. No reason why Insurance companies are writing healthcare legislation.

With this level of apathy, I honestly dont think it matters what system we set up here. The people simply aren't interested in self governing.

[-] 2 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Apathy on the part of the population? Agreed. But disagree that there is "no reason" for all the things you mentioned. Imho, the reason is the profit motive, aka greed. And that is most noticable and impactful to the planet via the large multi-national corps.

But you're just one guy trying to make a living. I can't call that greed in the way I think of that term. But others on this forum would probably disagree with me when you start multiplying one person into millions. I don't know...my thinking is evolving on this subject. I think things are a lot more complicated than we want to admit. People love simple solutions and black-and-white answers. Don't think we'll necessarily find it here.

[-] 2 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

I agree on the gray area. I honestly think it comes back to money in politics, to a certain degree.

People trying to make a decent living is a good thing. People being able to rig the game in their favor is just not right.

[-] 1 points by Mooks (1985) 2 years ago

I agree 100%.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

"...rig the game in their favor..."

Like Sheldon Adelson and the Kochs? Or someone else?

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

No, those two are guilty. And many many many more.

[-] 1 points by Mooks (1985) 2 years ago

I am a dentist and my partner and I employ 8 people so we are a pretty small business, though we are technically a corporation for tax and liability purposes. A lot of what you say is true in that smaller business are generally better for everyone involved than larger ones. The difference in what my partner and I make compared to our lowest paid employee is not as large as what you see in large corporations and we are definitely able to communicate concerns and the like with each other very easily.

The people we serve are also much more appreciative going to a small business as opposed to the large corporate dental mills that are popping up. We do charge more than they do though, and that is something you will see with any small business when you compare it to a big one.

That being said, it might not be possible for some companies to be small. An oil company that refines gasoline for our cars needs to take advantage of the economies of scale otherwise our gas would probably be $20 a gallon. Same thing with car manufacturers, airlines, and a host of other industries. You can't really have a mom and pop airline company that only employs a handful of people. And breaking a company of 500 people into 10 companies of 50 people working together towards a goal probably would not solve a lot of the problems because that is typically how big companies are set up anyways. There needs to be people coordinating and bringing those individual pieces together and those are your high paid executives.

I think the big problem with capitalism is that what we have here in the US is "crony" capitalism in that the people with more money to spend are able to get politicians to make rules that favor them. True capitalism requires an even playing field and our current system is anything but that.

And there is also a lot of overlap between "small" and "large" capitalists. Take Apple for example. I think most would agree that they are a lot of what we view as wrong with our current system. Shipping jobs overseas, using their wealth and the courts to stifle their competition, etc. Most would agree that is bad. But what about the hard working middle class person who invested $5K in Apple 3 years ago and now has $30K to pay for their kids tuition? That can't be a bad thing.

I say we first need to get rid of the crony capitalism and see what that leaves us. I don't necessarily think we need to throw the baby out with the bath water.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Thank you for that very intelligent and thoughtful response. You have given me some things to think about. I'm not totally on-board with everything you said yet, but some of what you say has merit I think (actually more than some).

[-] 0 points by john23 (-272) 2 years ago

It depends what you're referring to. Crony capitalism doesn't work no matter how big/small the business is. Unfortunately that is what we're dealing with...big business merged with big government....and that never works.

But if you're talking about true capitalism, where businesses don't get bailed out and get special favors from government then i think this is entirely different.....i don't see a difference between big and small business in this case. How does a business get big in this case? The only way is to provide a superior product, at a better price which directly benefits the consumer. Who doesn't want to buy better products at cheaper prices? Think Steve Jobs...produced great products at great prices that benefited us all.

[-] -1 points by funkytown (-374) 2 years ago

To begin with, unless preceded by the adjective, your definition of capitalism is fundamentally flawed. Until you can come up with more definitive verbiage there is nothing we can even discus.

Capitalism is evil, Marxism is good?

Capitalizing on labor is evil, don't buy that pack of cigarettes?

Profit is evil, don't engage in private enterprise?

What the hell are you talking about?

Should I not go to bed early tonight to try to capitalize on time to gain sleep?

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

So educate me. What is your definition of capitalism, beyond the standard dictionary definition of it (I know that definition)? I don't deal in theoreticals. I look around and observe the actual effects. The earth is being pushed to the absolute limit by this system. Species are going extinct or are on the verge of it. The planet is heating up and we will cook ourselves in a carbon blanket unless governments and the oil industry stop NOW and move to clean energy.

Oh, sorry. I got on my soapbox for a second there. I will now respectfully wait for a reply from you about capitalism (I am not being sarcastic, so please don't read that into what I said).

[-] 0 points by funkytown (-374) 2 years ago

You want the real skinny? I'll give it to ya free of charge. To capitalize is gain through efficiency. We can "capitalize" on our time, for example, through efficiency. The same is true in the acquisition of resources. We can invest - perhaps energy, labor, and resources - to gain an efficiency that will produce a greater yield.

I can capitalize on my own labor because of the perceived to be ability to gain a greater; I can capitalize on my labor by commanding the labor of others; I can capitalize on resources to gain a more valued resource. It's all a matter of perception born of innate desire, to be happy in our more secure state.

The "capitalism" you see in discussions here is a Marxist creation as the perfect anathema to some perceived to be better way; it is the evil of good, the left that opposes the right, it is the unhappy state of a perceived dichotomy.

The problem with this approach is that the dichotomy does not exist anywhere in the world; there can be no hard and fast lines.

That's all it is and this is not a definition consistent with the English or our American language.

Just another deficiency of language; we need a new word. And what do we do when we need a new word? Well, we look to other languages and we borrow. Which itself is a problem because if we discard this word, we must also discard Marx; there is need of a new book.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Thanks for that. It helps me understand you a little better. I don't usually get the opportunity to intelligently discuss issues with true Repub / conservative without things eventually degenerating into, you know, undesireable outcomes.

In the simplest formula, you are stating capitalism = efficiency? Or is it mearly a subset of capitalism? I ask, because we may be getting close to something significant here.

We live in a physical universe with physical laws in place. The conservation of energy law states, basically, that "you don't get somethin' fer nothin'...". Newton's 3rd law of motion states that "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction". So Nature has some built-in rules for how it operates that are (apparently) inviolable.

If capitalism = efficiency, and thus seeks to leverage resources (please correct me if I am wrong in your view), then that leverage pushes Nature into imbalance (for a time) by artificially taxing her capability to provide. Plants, animals, and humans are Nature's products...her "children" so to speak. So She will provide for them within the context of Her way of doing things. But man's artificial methods of extracting Her bounty result in a "diseased Nature". So, in my view, I liken capitalism to a type of cancer that is spreading thoughout the body of Nature. This is also linked to overpopulation. When populations were small, the impact was minimal, and Nature could deal with it. Now that there are 7 billion of us, Nature can no long adequately provide. But the artificiality methodology of capitalism allows for resource consumption to continue beyond that which would have already resulted in mass die-off of humans. It is like humans were able to slow the death of Mother Nature using capitalistic methods akin to "chemotherapy" in a human cancer patient. But unlike a human patient, this only slows the inevitability of death...it does not prevent it.

Do you agree with any of this, or have I gotten too "far out" for you? My concern for the planet is one of the key problems I have with an exploitation model like capitalism. Driven by greed and the profit-motive, it doesn't know anything else but expansion and consumption. If there were a mechanism within it to compensate for it's flawed "infinite expansion" paradigm, it might hold promise in some way. But there doesn't appear to be a "governor" on the engine to keep it from running wild. I know, I know...there is the argument about market forces that serve to regulate growth. But I think/hope you can see that is not what I am talking about. Markets are artificial, as is money and capitalism. Nature is, well...natural, and will likely put the brakes on our ugly abuse of Her in the not too distant future if we don't learn how to collectively respect her natural rhythms and cycles.

That's what I really find most terrible about capitalism. It doesn't know when to stop. In fact, it has no concept of what stop even is. Largecorp is just a mechanism that carries out capitalism's "efficiency".

So is "efficiency" the most desirable way to do things? Should we not be seeking something more in harmony with the way Nature operates, that can still provide for our basic needs without exploitation?

[-] -1 points by funkytown (-374) 2 years ago

I don't agree, no. So sorry... our species cannot survive without a surplus of resources. We're not the only species that does this; take squirrels for example. Our methods are not artificial; they are evolutionary, biological, genetic mandates - we are predators. This explosion in world population is the result of capitalism, of an increased efficiency in the acquisition of resources. It all began with the potato... which allowed for population boom not only in Western Europe but also in places like China as well.

You know, your anger may be misdirected; it's not capitalism that's at fault but the greed of man, which has the ability to impact a mutual prosperity to the point of enslavement, and that is the result of moral dystopia.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

...our species cannot survive without a surplus of resources...

Is it that important that our species survive at the expense of exterminating all the other species on the planet? They are innocent and pure. They cannot stop us. They are helpless and at our mercy. All they want to do is peacefully coexist with us and to be left alone. And we reward them with extermination.

When I think about this, I want to go throw up.

[-] -1 points by funkytown (-374) 2 years ago

It's not "we" that are killing and exploiting them and this is not the surplus I'm talking about - these are people capable of anything, it's a moral dystopia.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

If "we" are not killing and exploiting them, who is? Who are "these people" with the moral dystopia you are talking about? Are they not homo sapiens like us? Do they not have the same DNA as us? Aren't you rationalizing to soothe your conscience and release yourself of the guilt associated with the fact that we are all responsible?

[-] -1 points by funkytown (-374) 2 years ago

America is in a state of moral dystopia. Some 70% of all black and hispanic children are now born out of wedlock; they are single head of households. Not only do these mothers constitute a public charge, there is also an impact on children. We can go on and on for five hundred pages here - this is social dystopia.

We are not killing anyone - you and I have not killed anyone - this is our government on drugs. And you and I have had no say in it whatsoever.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Must respectfully disagree. You and I and everyone else who merely observes but does not act to correct are guilty via "quiet consent". If people want a better world they cannot sit on the couch and watch. It will not magically happen without effort. We all collectively made this mess. Now we have to collectively clean it up or else live in a garbage heap. I respectfully submit you are resolving yourself of personal responsibility and classifying yourself in a special category so as not to face the truth and facts which, admittedly, are very harsh. I am not attacking you personally, because I am also guilty, as is every other single person who lives under the capitalistic system.

[-] 0 points by funkytown (-374) 2 years ago

And I would respectfully submit that you should not propose to convey or transfer your personal endeavors unto mine.

I'm not opposed to killing the enemy; I am opposed to the waste of human life and resources, the result of politically managed warfare.

We should have retained more of Iraq's oil leases. And we've been in Afghanistan far too long. And I don't like the political tenor of our current military heads.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

I think somewhere along the way there has been misunderstanding if I am interpreting you correctly. I am not talking about the killing of people (although that is certainly horrible enough in its own right). If you go back and look, I was talking about the killing/extermination of animal species through the destruction of their habitats due to global warming, profit-motive expansion, etc.... I am an "animal lover" and just think the "killing of the innocents" is a terrible, terrible thing. I don't think we have any right to do this and justify it as "collateral damage" that must be accepted as the price that has to be paid for Capitalism to operate.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Ok. So what surplus are you talking about?

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

we are omnivorous

world population increase due to medicine and food technology

[-] 0 points by funkytown (-374) 2 years ago

True, but it all began with the international migration of food sources.

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

the plow and irrigation

[-] -1 points by funkytown (-374) 2 years ago

They were later... first we exchanged food sources. This created the British Empire. It also led to the destruction of the Ming dynasty as population grew in opposition, etc. But population growth is the result of prosperity, through capitalism.

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

private ownership of the means of production had nothing to do with it

[-] 0 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

...we are predators...

Without a doubt. But we are also collectively insane predators who have forgotten where we came from. Modern man could no longer function in harmony with Nature than he could flap his arms and fly. We are raised from birth within an artificial environment. We collectively are the dystopia you are talking about. None of us are innocent. All of us are guilty. Every time you use a manufactured product you are supporting an artificial system called Capitalism.

Now, I'm not saying that we should throw our society away and go live like the animals do. But what I am saying is that we have to learn how to regulate ourselves and show some collective restraint as to how we treat Nature. I completely fail to understand how people are incapable of seeing this. To me, it is the most obvious thing in the world. What is actually going on is that people can see it, but they feel powerless to do anything about it, or else rationalize it away with the power of the human mind to delude itself into thinking "everything will be alright...it is our right and manifest destiny to do this." They perform this little mental gymnastic because to do otherwise would mean they would have to come face-to-face with that most painful and bothersome headache known as guilt...guilty as charged. They don't want this guilt on their conscience, so they bury it and repress it. It gets thrown back up in their faces constantly via the media and Nature/science shows and such, but they continue on their merry way in denial, denial, denial.

A predator like a lion or wolf takes only what it needs and no more. So did the Native Americans when they were living off the land. This is living in harmony with Nature. This is how Mother Nature intends for Her children to live. Capitalism is a product of the human mind. Yes, humans are the source...the starting point of this greed you are talking about. But capitalism is a tool that enormously amplifies that greed. Capitalism is like a man with a chain saw able to down many more trees than he could if he had a mere handsaw. Because he has such a tool, he uses it to down many more trees than he needs to and creates this surplus you were talking about. If capitalism functioned like the handsaw and therefore limited output to only that which is necessary, instead of like the chainsaw that allows for exploitation, then it would be a much more acceptable model. But we need a system that is more like the handsaw and not the chainsaw. We need a economic system that makes it impossible to exploit Nature using "efficiency". Anything else is collective madness, not only now but for our progeny.

[-] 0 points by funkytown (-374) 2 years ago

Yea, that's pretty well written. Your view of the Native American is somewhat skewed; they also capitalized to the best of their ability, in an effort to ward off harsh winters and expand their safe boundaries through politics. One can only wonder what may have developed had the European never entered the arena. But it's very likely, that through metallurgy, their world would have eventually developed along similar lines; the African incidentally had discovered metallurgy independently and so had those of South America. And so began the techno revolution.