Ideological question... Lexi Brooks-Binzer - 587th post - 5 Dec 2004 16:26
Is it possible to have democracy, and perhaps more importantly, liberty, without free enterprise? Discuss! :-) [reply] [Complain about this post]
re: Ideological question... Little Richardjohn - 379th post - 6 Dec 2004 10:54
Free enterprise has almost certainly destroyed the planet we live on.
Is that what we mean by liberty? I think I'd call that anarchy. Or chaos. Or sabotage. Or even terrorism. If I was god. But then, If I was god and lived on earth. People would slash my car tyres.
The concepts of liberty were formed at a time when slavery was still widespread, and before we realised that we could actually destroy the entire planet. (Not even Marx actually predicted that.) So it is time we rethought the whole spectrum WITHOUT reverting back to a slave state - which some members of the Monday Club and the Islamic Parliament of Britain would love. How we do that and save the human race from self-destruction at the same time is a mystery to me. [reply] [Complain about this post]
re: Ideological question... peter fluck - 4355th post - 6 Dec 2004 10:59
So you have no alternative forms of governemnt to offer, Mr Richardjohn?
Not even a green dictatorship? Come on; I think you can do better than that. [reply] [Complain about this post]
re: Ideological question... Little Richardjohn - 382nd post - 6 Dec 2004 11:38
I said IF I was God. If.
You want me to construct a society before we've even discussed what we think a society should be, and what it should try to do.
I'm afraid that is a fairly typical reactionary failure of methodology. And a terrible way of building a framework fpr a society. It's exactly the sort of single-career-span thinking which tends to bring about dictatorships, in fact.
The result is it always fails to examine the potential alternatives in any depth because it does not relish the prospect of realising potential in the first place. It therefore feels instinctively threatened by improvements in general living standards, and seeks to prevent them. Reactionaries are the Joneses who don't want to be kept up with.
And that is largely the problem. That is one of the true obstacles to a society which realises everyone's potential. The inability and unwillingness of the sclerotic right to visualise any sort of society better than the one we have. And the irony is that their ideological forefathers were just the same. None of them would have relished the society their descendants live in and defend.
But until the issues of liberty and so-called 'free trade' (which in practise means enormously subsidised by the taxpayer) are addressed and capitalism has its nose rubbed in its own mess, we can only speculate about what a free society would mean.
But the first step is to admit that something is terribly wrong. Glad to see you've taken it.
A brand from the burning, no less. [reply] [Complain about this post]
re: Ideological question... Ivan - 265th post - 6 Dec 2004 14:03
"Issues of liberty and so-called 'free trade'(which in practice means enormously subsidised by the taxpayer)"
I had goods for sale for ten years and traded them at a reasonable profit, paid tax on the profits, never once received a subsidy, not even a small one. How do I receive this subsidy? Any-one know?
Some industries such as agriculture are subsidised, but most are not and as far as I know, no traders receive subsidies. [reply] [Complain about this post]
re: Ideological question... Little Richardjohn - 382nd post - 7 Dec 2004 10:48
How about the health, transport, education and welfare systems, without which your market would have been, for example, too illiterate to read your advertising or too ill to enjoy it or too poor too afford it. Those are the indirect subsidies.
If of course, you were a US steelmaker or nuclear power company or drugs company or (or, or, or, ) then you would have got direct subsidies from the government plus trade tariffs (and in some cases, direct military threats) which heavily favoured you over your cheaper international competition.
And the wages of the workers in those industries would have become the disposable income which ended up in your till.
The states which shout the free market message loudest always distort the market the most. The British empire was the classic case in point. There is virtually no British business until about 1965, when the economic benefits of the empire would have faded away, which were not subsidised by the sweated labour of millions. And the same is generally true today.
If the products you used to sell (or the ones you consume now) were made using raw materials mined or grown in the third world, you can almost guarantee that you were being subsidised. The comfort of our lifestyle is in inverse proportion to someone else's hardship. That's the way Empires work. And we are in an Imperialist economy. Some call it 'global'.
In the American Empire, the bulk of the antibiotics consumed domestically are not used to cure diseases but to make the factory farming of beef possible by preventing disease. The political reluctance to ban this form of environmental pollution has huge benefits for the US drugs industry. You could say that without it the entire thing would go belly up.
The so-called private health induatry in this country refuses to train its own staff. The reason for this is that it is more profitable to allow the state to train them, then poach them at inflated salaries. This is the taxpayer directly subsidising the private sector. In fact, the private health industry is a parasite on the NHS. Without the NHS doing all the hard work, private medicine would shrivel back to Harley Street where it belongs.
Then there was the peculiar tale of the Poll Tax and Private landlords. But I'll keep that for another time - along with the LDDC's dependence on the Rabid Red GLC for its existence.