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Forum Post: The Free Lunch

Posted 10 years ago on Oct. 17, 2011, 2:57 p.m. EST by struggleforfreedom80 (6584)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

You hear it from the right wing all the time: "there´s no such thing as a free lunch". Well they´re wrong!

Of course, services, whether it´s medical treatment or getting electricity to your house, cost money. It´s either paid for by tax money or your own money. No one disagrees with that.

But let´s take a look at this "there´s no such thing as a free lunch" expression. It is of course, as we all know an adage communicating the idea that it is impossible to get something for nothing. Well, actually you can. The fact of the matter is that most of us are getting free lunches all the time.

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

Now, there are people, certainly in third world countries, but also in the West, that are struggling to get by and do not feel that they´re enjoying this free lunch. I totally understand that but that has to do with the unfortunate concentration of wealth. I´m talking about the society as a whole. The western countries are more efficient and wealthy as ever, the problem is that we have a system that allows for more and more accumulation of wealth. That is one of the reasons why we have to abolish capitalism and replace it with democracy.

Now, what´s also interesting is that even though the rich, which the people on the right tend to support, are becoming increasingly wealthy by doing less, the right wing always turn to the poor and working class when they want to give a speech about that "there´s no such thing as a free lunch". The rich, which have become rich mostly by pushing a few buttons on a computer at the stock exchange, and/or exploiting workers, which isn´t exactly hard work, are being given more and more tax breaks and benefits by politicians. Still the right wing have the balls to criticize sick people for getting their medical bills covered by the government. To put it this way, if you think it´s ok that the wealthy are getting more and more recourses into their hands by doing very little, you have no right criticizing working class and poor people for asking for welfare programs.

So how should we organize a complex highly advanced wealthy society? Make it more democratic! Make the workplaces democratic, make the communities democratic. Organize society so that people can be in control over their own lives. Create a society where we focus on people´s needs instead of short term profit. End the system we have today, which encourages greed and unsustainable and pointless consumption, and instead create a society where true human characteristics and feelings like dedication, commitment and solidarity will come to the fore. Create a decent civilized society where everyone can enjoy a decent life - a society where we all can enjoy the free lunch.

Read my blog here: http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/



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[-] 1 points by liberty1963 (2) 10 years ago

I read once that they tried this concept in a few places such as Russia & Cuba. Not sure how it worked out. You may want to read up on it before we try this all over again. Just a thought.

[-] 1 points by jameswestonmusic (222) from Los Angeles, CA 10 years ago

bob dylan said "gotta serve somebody", hence no free lunch. i agree. but a lunch should be possible to work for. not everyone has the same opportunity as others. that isn't right

check this out = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdbY_Y7_qjU&feature=related

[-] 1 points by Arachnofoil (104) from Charlotte, NC 10 years ago

I did the runner at a restaurant once, that, my friends, was a free lunch

[-] 1 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 10 years ago

I think I agree with your general philosophy, but of course it is still true to say there is "no free lunch". Someone or something paid for it. This is actually usually the working people that have paid the price.

[-] 1 points by sickmint79 (516) from Grayslake, IL 10 years ago

the two things you need to know about economics

  1. there's no free lunch
  2. incentives matter

your post seems to be saying

  1. there's a free lunch
  2. against human nature, you can create a society where community needs are placed above self-interest

good luck on that theory.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 10 years ago

"there's no free lunch" I just explained that there IS such a thing as a free lunch.

"incentives matter" Humans are creative by nature: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WveI_vgmPz8

"your post seems to be saying there's a free lunch" Yep!

"against human nature, you can create a society where community needs are placed above self-interest"!

Humans are altruistic, solidaric, and creative by nature, but these caracteristics are being supressed by capitalism which encourages greed and consumption.

[-] 0 points by sickmint79 (516) from Grayslake, IL 10 years ago

no, there really isn't, and any school of economics will tell you that there is no free lunch. your theory is flawed on this basic core belief from the start.

that humans are primarily motivated by self-interest does not mean that they are not altruistic. we actually see that the "greedy" us has the most charitable citizenship in the world - and this is by far. a system that redistributes forcefully does not do so out of altruism, for altruism is a voluntary act. it also strongly runs the risk of retarding productivity and growth.

[-] 1 points by EAD69 (8) 10 years ago

Please define Democracy as you see it and its juxtaposition to Capitalism as an economic and social system. In your post you mention that the society should focus on people's needs instead of [short term?] profits. Why should these concepts be at odds with one another? If an employer abuses its workers and creates a system where creativity is discouraged and incentives are poor, the result would be poor performance and therefore poor profits. Now consider companies like Apple, Google, and Zappos that made employee culture, focus on innovation, and employee well-being a cornerstone of their success and as a result their profits. If you are an individual with a certain skill set and talents, would not you take your talents to an organization that embraces them and rewards them? The organizations that exploit their workers usually lose and are forced to change their ways. Your point around everyone enjoying a decent life is pure utopia. At least it is in a large diverse country like the U.S. Of course you have places like Norway where you have a small hard working well educated mono-ethnic population with common values system and an abundance of natural resources (oil&gas), then you can tax everyone at 45%, have free education, medicine, etc, and have everyone living in a house with 2 cars. But that's not going to happen in this country. Ever. You talk about wealthy individuals making money by doing very little. In other words, making money off of money. But that's the foundation for innovation. Or at least it should be. In recent years that system did get off track where the capital went towards zero-sum speculative games instead of investment into promising technologies, infrastructure, and services. But the latter part is still there and is essential to our competitive advantage. Also many of those wealthy individuals did not get there by doing nothing. Many of them were in the working class and then moved up into the "Capitalist" class, which is the whole point of the American social mobility. They did so either through being creative, hardworking, getting an advanced education, and putting in long hours to build their wealth. Why would we criticize those effort and vilify hard work and creativity. These individuals did not work 40 hour weeks, they worked 90 hour weeks. They sacrificed their time with friends, their personal lives, their hobbies, etc. And now after years of burning the midnight oil, they can make money with money. What is so wrong with that? I think we as a society should encourage our children to reach for that dream.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 10 years ago

Please define Democracy as you see it and its juxtaposition to Capitalism as an economic and social system.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/replace-capitalism-with-democracy/ I hope this´ll give som idea.

"The organizations that exploit their workers usually lose and are forced to change their ways" The whole system is based on exploitation (cf "capital" in capitalism) Its an necessity in capitalism

If you like the ide of democracy you should be in favor of more democratic workplaces and communities, letting people be in control over their own affairs instead of letting private tyrannies rule society http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqlTyAMVDUk

The alternative: Libertarian Socialism: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDHBvQRyOr0

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

Dear friends! It's simple. The Federal Reserve prints dollars. The dollar has replaced gold, and in 1971 became a place of gold in international trade. In ancient times, alchemists tried to make gold in a cup of cheap metal. Modern alchemists print dollars on paper. That's it! U.S. debt is rising faster than spending on health care and education. Why? Cause they print money with the status of gold! If you make a fraudulent $ 100, you will be arrested. But the oligarchs are legally produced and dollars all over the world exchanging them for goods and labor. The extra dollars are exchanged for U.S. government bonds. And bonds are exchanged for new bonds. This is financial pyramid! Sometimes used military force to make another state dependent on U.S. aid. To puppets borrowed from the oligarchs Wall Street. Now you all understand? Yes, there's Congress, there is a limit of debt, but it's just words. See the main cause of Wall Street greed!

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 10 years ago

this did not have much to do with my post, though..

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

This is the main cause of problems. This way robbery and fraud. Look, you will understand many things.