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Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...

Cyu,

>>You speak of anarchism as if it were an end in itself.<<

Not at all. I’m not sure what gave you that idea, but I can’t imagine anything further from a correct description of my beliefs. If you let me know more specifically what you’re talking about, I’ll do my best to explain.

>>I was attracted to anarchism because of what it promised for society, not the fact that it was anarchism.<<

Well, yeah. Of course. I don’t get off on calling myself an anarchist. I’m an anarchist activist because I see it as the only way to preserve the wonderful diversity of ideas, cultures, values, etc, that make us each unique – that make us who we are. I see democracy as doing the polar opposite: It works to homogenize a diverse society, only allowing the ideas of the majority to be put into action; while suppressing the minority. It’s a system based on intolerance.

>>I have no problem with a market economy, provided everyone has relatively equal amounts of spending power. <<

I’m not sure how you would achieve this – or, rather, how you would sustain it. Let’s say we redistributed all wealth in this country evenly tomorrow: How long do you think it would take before it was unequal again? (Probably just as unequal, though I don’t doubt that it wouldn’t necessarily be in all the same hands as before.) People are different. We have different values, and, when we’re allowed to act on those values, we make different decisions. Some of those decisions will result in more wealth. Some won’t.

>>The basic problem with the wealthy is that they can spend much more money than everyone else. <<

Yes, the wealthy can spend more, but there are fewer of them! I don’t have any numbers to back this up, but I would guess that, right now, the middle-class (as a group) has more spending power than the wealthy (as a group). I guess it depends where you draw the line between the two; I mean, right now, one out of every 127 Americans is a millionaire, so if we’re thinking of “the wealthy” as the economically-elite, then I don’t know that simply being a millionaire qualifies anymore.

>>The result is that everyone else suffers from less resources being available to produce for them. This screws up the entire method of allocation of resources within a market economy because it means a much larger percentage of people will be devoted to serving the very few. <<

Again, I don’t think this is true, though I’m not positive what you mean when you say that the problem of the wealthy is that they “screw up” the method of allocation of resources. What do you mean by “screws up”? You can’t mean that everybody wants to produce for the rich, leaving nobody to produce for the poor. We do have both Hyundai & Ferrari involved in producing cars, for example.

I mean, that doesn’t even make sense in a free-market model: Supply of “luxury-type” goods would be so high, that prices would plummet! That problem would correct itself very quickly – there simply isn’t that much of a market for the goods desired by the wealthy. Everybody would be making Ferraris, but there wouldn’t be demand for all those Ferraris. The price of Ferraris would drop, as sellers fought to be competitive-enough to sell all their Ferraris; and eventually it would reach a price too low to make it worth the Ferrari-producers’ efforts. Some (most) would stop, and look for another market niche to fill. (There is, after all, among the poor, a demand for automobiles still; and Hundai, with it’s sub-$9k new cars, is a very profitable company, despite not catering to the wealthy.)

I think the more compelling argument is that, in a democratically-controlled system of production, you’d have production resources exclusively allocated to filling the wants of the majority; with a very small percentage of resources going to meet the demands of the minority. At least in the free-market model, I’d have a chance of making trade-offs (according to what I value more), or improving my lot enough to get what I desire the most. In a democratically (or technocraticly, or whatever) controlled system, the only way I can get what I want, is to /change/ what I want; or to convince the majority that that’s what they want too. I’d rather take my chances in the market; trying to alter the values of half the freakin’ populous sounds just about impossible!

At least, in a free-market, the minority’s needs are served too.

>> If you want a society in which everyone is better off, you have to allocate resources in such a way that there's enough people producing things for everyone.<<

That’s just the thing: There aren’t enough resources available to produce everything that everybody wants, under any economic model! I wish that weren’t true. I wish we all had replicators like on Star Trek. Then nobody would have to work, and all our material desires would be taken care of. But unfortunately it doesn’t work like that.

The other option is to limit production just to those things people “need” instead of what they “want”. (Keep in mind that we all want the things we need – I want food & water, because I need food & water –so when I use the term “wants”, I’m referring to essential needs as well.) The problem here again, though, is how do we decide what people “need”? Doing so requires a value-judgment: What we “need” is a description of means: It can’t be defined without first deciding what the goal is. Do we only need those things that allow us to stay alive? Living just to stay alive doesn’t seem like a rewarding endeavor. Why bother living, if just for the sake of living?

Maybe the goal is to stay alive and happy: Who gets to decide what “happy” is? If we do it democratically, then we’re back at the same problem – the majority gets what it wants, while the values of the minority are ignored. A free-market system allows people to pursue whatever it is they want, according to their own individual systems of values. That’s why I’m an anarcho-capitalist. (Not because it sounds cool.) ;)

>> The answer, I believe, is anarcho-syndicalism - or in other words, democracy in the workplace.<<

Nothing prevents you from running a democratic workplace within a free-market capitalist system. The only thing you wouldn’t have is the ability to coerce people to participate…and, if you think that’s what’s necessary, then you’re talking about something other than anarchism – you’re talking about government.

sh(A)ne

BTW, why are all my respectful, thought-out responses getting negative ratings, while dogmatic references to infoshop.org & threats of physical violence are getting the highest ratings on this thread? That really says something about the people who read this stuff, doesn't it?
 

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