- Date published:
8:32 am, November 19th, 2015 - 160 comments
Categories: capitalism, Economy, Environment, political parties, Revolution, Social issues, socialism - Tags: chris trotter, tragedy of the commons
I may be forced1 to buy Chris a drink next time that I met him where the bloody wine he likes to imbue is available. His latest post at Bowalley Road elegantly and clearly differentiates what I consider the key difference between the left and the right is.
What differentiates the Left from the Right is the former’s fundamental rejection of the strongest human-beings’ proclivity to dominate, coerce and exploit the weakest. Without this proclivity, none of the economic and social systems elaborated by armed minorities throughout history could have endured. Not the empires of the ancient world; not the feudal structures of the middle ages; and certainly not the capitalist system of the modern era. All of these civilisations were built on the ruthless exploitation of the weak by the strong – exploitation enforced by extreme and unreproved violence.
As it was, so it is still. Strip away all the piety, mythology and outright lies about our present, capitalist, civilisation and you will find, at its core, the domination, coercion and exploitation that its political guardians, the Right, recognise as its true essence, and will defend – to the death.
Actually he is wrong in that last point. The ‘right’ is usually more interested in putting other people to death. And he points out that often includes the revolutionary successor governments to oppressive regimes.
One of the Right’s most important misunderstandings of the Left is that it can, somehow, embrace domination, coercion and exploitation – and remain the Left. Notwithstanding its logical absurdity, it is the condemnation one hears most often from the Right: that the Left, in the shape of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, or the Communist Party of China, is responsible for upwards of 100 million deaths.
They forget, of course, that the vast majority of those killed were individuals who refused to accept the right of either of these parties to impose their will on the people in whose name they had accomplished the overthrow of the old oppressors. Whether it be the rebellious Russian sailors at Kronstadt in 1921, or workers and peasants across the whole of China from 1949 to the present day, whoever, in the name of justice and equity, takes a stand against an oppressive system of domination, coercion and exploitation is, by definition, a leftist.
And unfortunately that is the reality of bloody revolution from almost any perspective. They usually inherit the mantle of their predecessor regimes and then just become oppressors themselves. Sometimes they are better and more efficient oppressors like the Leninist or Maoist state. Sometimes they are the more stupid oppressors like the effect of the revolutionary Baathism of the 1960s. The downstream of that failure is still playing out in the middle east at present, most notably with the with the equally revolutionary and homicidal ISIS.
Chris then has a poke at capitalism. I have just as many issues as he does with unrestrained capitalism which is such a corrupting short term philosophy that usually takes little notice of the damage that it has in its pursuit of profit at all costs. Its basic problem is that the participants implicitly exploit the “commons” in a conundrum of capitalism known as the tragedy of the commons.
The tragedy of the commons is a term, probably coined originally by William Forster Lloyd and later used by Garrett Hardin, to denote a situation where individuals acting independently and rationally according to each’s self-interest behave contrary to the best interests of the whole group by depleting some common resource. The concept was based upon an essay written in 1833 by Lloyd, the Victorian economist, on the effects of unregulated grazing on common land and made widely-known by an article written by Hardin in 1968. “Commons” in this sense has come to mean such resources as atmosphere, oceans, rivers, fish stocks, an office refrigerator, energy or any other shared resource which is not formally regulated, not common land in its agricultural sense.
The tragedy of the commons concept is often cited in connection with sustainable development, meshing economic growth and environmental protection, as well as in the debate over global warming. It has also been used in analyzing behavior in the fields of economics, evolutionary psychology, anthropology, game theory, politics, taxation, and sociology. However the concept, as originally developed, has also received criticism for not taking into account the many other factors operating to enforce or agree on regulation in this scenario.
But in my view it also is a key factor in the common failure of unrestrained capitalism in its short-term rush to exploiting the people who make up its workforce and consumers. It means that in the medium term unrestrained capitalism becomes indistinguishable from simple warlord behaviours founding aristocratic family behaviours, where it isn’t how talented you are but how well your parents were at concentrating capital that determines your opportunities in life.
The self-entitlement of the untalented progeny of the talented and humane capitalists throng the halls of elite learning and learn the skills to suppress the talents and skills of others. This is a pattern that isn’t hard to see in leading capitalistic states from Rome to the USA. Or for that matter in New Zealand. As Chris says
Capitalism kills. It has done so from its earliest beginnings, and it does so still. The only distinction between the history of capitalism and the history of the Mexican drug cartels, is that the cartels have never pretended to be advancing the progress of humankind.
The “left”, in my view are those people who provide the vision and tools that ameliorate pursuit of self-interest on the behalf of others.
Oh, how the Right will bridle at that last sentence! How loudly they’ll protest that capitalism has lifted millions – no, billions! – out of poverty. That it was capitalism which boosted incomes, upgraded housing, delivered improved health and education, and generally uplifted and prolonged the lives of the masses.
Poor creatures. They have to believe this. Because not to believe it: not to be absolutely certain that it was the system that sent gun-thugs to break-up strikes; adulterated food; presided over slums; polluted whole regions; and sent entire nations off to war; was (and is) the sole source of all that is wholesome and good in the world, raises the awful possibility that something, or someone, else is responsible for making life under capitalism just that little bit happier and more fulfilling for humankind.
And who could that possibly be? Surely not the trade unionists, who forced up workers’ wages? Or the social reformers, scientists and doctors, who discovered how to ward off illness and disease? Or the progressive architects and city planners, who designed cheap and sturdy housing for the poor? Or the progressive, social-democratic and labour parties, who gathered together all the agents of economic and social progress, won state power, and fastened a strong regulatory collar around the capitalist beast?
Surely, it wasn’t – no, no, it couldn’t possibly have been – the Left?
And that is why I support the left. Because most of the effective people in it are after progressive rather than revolutionary change. Most of the people of the left I know or admire don’t expect more than opportunities should be lifelong, or that over the long potential long lifetimes of humans, we can’t change the exploitation of the common resources. Like the horrifying climate change issues that have become quite apparent in my lifetime, or that we try to make peoples lifes better rather than merely providing a ramp for other vaulting ambitions.
I’m a devout capitalist because of the benefits that it has. But capitalism by its very nature causes the short-term profit focus on exploitation of the commons. I see the glaring deficiencies of it as an over-arching model, especially when people have such long lives – far far longer than the three year (or even quarterly) focus that many capitalists use. People have time to fail and recover from causes ranging from poor education, unexpected parenthood, injury or disease, addiction, or simply over-extending into failure in the way that capitalism depends on for growth into depending on the charity of their fellow citizens.
It doesn’t mean that they or their children should be consigned to the Colosseum mob in the way that this government and its paranoid preening idiot progeny and their unthinking imitators seems to view them. It just means that room should be provided for them to develop opportunities without being stomped on or exploited with those wielding capital into foiling the opportunities to grow to develop a better life for themselves or others.
Updated: If anyone is interested in an example of how the right reflexively responds without reading the content of a post in exactly the manner predicted by Chris, go and read Wayne’s comment that got shifted to OpenMike. Diversionary and completely off topic within my post, with what looks like a unthinking cut’n’paste of the usual right response. His comment at Bowalley Road was even more of an extensive example (but I can’t seem to link to that directly)
well said, both of you.
Good stuff and spot on
Capitalism is good for making plastic buckets and other warehouse junk but that is about it.
Capitalism is certainly no use in many other places – examples, mining on the west coast, weatherproof housing, banking, ….
Capitalism is often useful for concentrating the resources to do those things and many others, but it needs regulation and legislation to constrain the abuses that it is inherently prone to. Indeed it inherently relies on that regulation to function.
The most obvious aspect is that capitalism simply doesn’t function efficiently without the regulation that is built into the legal systems from everything from property rights to being able to rely on contracts. Without that, it merely becomes gang warfare.
Like many “isms” in its purest form it may work but we have yet to see any ism in its purest form, devoid of the personal greed of those touting and exploiting it.
That’s a really good summary of capitalism its advantages and problems lprent. Thanks for those well put words. Are you home now? It is great to have that input from you fitted in with other matters of importance.
I see your note that you are still in Italy…
Chianti now your preferred tipple?
It is the particular exact issue that fools on the right just don’t see. Is it because they are proven to be of lesser brain and just don’t understand things?
People simply don’t like to accept when their beliefs are wrong.
since the repeal of Glass Steagal the trend was de regulation and laughably self regulation by the financial sector.It gave us the GFC and today little has changed…cue the next crisis.The financial power of Wall St lobbyists ensures the status quo.
And who repealed Glass Steagal? Bill Clinton.
Since that day the Clintons have received hundreds of millions in donations from the financial sector.
Nope, not even useful for that. Those resources are, pretty much by process, already concentrated. What we really need is the distribution of those resources to what the community wants to do with them and the best way to do that is actually democracy.
Yep and the best way to produce that legal system is, again, via democracy. The one we have has been created by the capitalists over centuries and millennia and they reflect the laws that the capitalists need to “dominate, coerce and exploit the weakest.
Gang warfare is a good description of capitalism even with the laws we have in place.
Tend to agree capitalism leads to more efficient allocation of resources than government trying to pick winners, however a degree of regulation is required as markets are not perfect, hence why we have the firm or corporate as transaction costs due to market imperfection prevent pure entrepreneurial structures ( virtual firm with entrepreneur simply coordinating external resources with a claim on residual profits) as contracts are not costless.The interesting argument is why does firm ownership by far sit with patrons who provide capital and not other patrons, of the firm e.g. suppliers, buyers, workers etc who could adopt a more leftist leaning
“a degree of regulation is required as markets are not perfect”
no, because some humans are greedy to a poin tof harming others.
Some German companies issue shares to their workers (only able to be sold when they leave the employ of that company), have worker committees that can feed ideas and feedback to employers (Boards, CEO’s) etc…
It’s not rocket science, involving people in the business, feeling part of it, valued etc engenders loyalty and productivity.
As long as we think it is either Capitalism or Communism, we (that is, the majority) lose, and the vulnerable are fucked in both systems.
If employee participation has such an advantages Tracy why don’t we see more employee owned firms, I am not disagreeing with your point but there is no God given law that capital has to own the firm, capital can be supplied externally just like any other inputs to the firm. This is my challenge to the left and unions, go and start your worker owned firms, cooperatives etc, apply your beliefs and if you are right you should have a lower cost of ownership and a superior product and price
Because too many business owners are sticking to the way things have been run for decades. This notion that business owners and CEO’s or CFO are all innovative and change supportingis a myth. MOST owners are conservative.
Just like it never made economic sense to mainly choose your employees from men, ignoring women (for various reasons) cos it meant you were not always employing the best, and yet, empoyers have done and do that.
Your not getting my point Tracey
There is no given law that a firm has to be owned by capital and the connotations you raise re capital owners CEOs, the agency cost and or conflict between capital owners, managers, employees etc. Go and start new firms that are employee, union owned, etc, compete and prove there is a better way, ie walk the talk
Good timing with this post. thanks Lprent
Certainly a brilliant piece from Trotter.
I was at a lecture the other day where the speaker suggested (and I am super-paraphrasing) that the difference between Feudalism and Capitalism (in practice) is that Capitalism spent some of the profits on the business and the rest on creating/maintaining wealthy lifestyles, while Feudalism only did the later. The majority of the population continue to struggle to make ends meet in either system…
For example, he quoted a source that states we have more people in slavery today than at any other time in our species history.
Mind you income inequality is falling as well
all those are simply cover stories for the 0.01% who are raking in billions from across the world and giving a tiny bit, crumbs, to the poorest in order to have them work as serfs.
Oh of course they are. The empirical data that supports the findings cited by PR is all the result of a conspiracy promulgated by some fictitious ‘.01%’ (whoever that is). Tin foil hat anyone?
What empirical data?
from the academic paper PR and you claim to “prove” that equality is improving and referred to in the articles:
read and weep
(this is the article the ny times refers to in its spinner.
Basically the academic article reinforces what Draco, CV, I and others have been saying for a long long time here; the effect of globalisation has been to “benefit” workers in developing economies at the detriment of workers in “mature” economies. Aided and abetted by FTAs. You will also note (or more probably not because it doesn’t fit your world view) that the incomes of the uber rich are excluded from the analysis.
Unfortunately for your argument, the article “proves” that the workers of the whole world are becoming equally poor, it does not prove that inequality is decreasing.
Your facts are correct, your conclusion utter nonsense. When the poorest of the poor are enhanced, we are all enhanced. When we trade with the third world, we enhance their lifestyles, improve their standard of living, and ultimately influence their political culture. Trade means less aid. The workers of the world are not becoming “equally poor”, and there is no evidence for that conclusion. Even your own citation reads “gained the least”…GAINED. Re-balancing inequality will never be achievable on an absolute basis evenly across all markets. It is a journey, and one capitalism is supporting well.
Maybe you might like to do a little inquiry into the actual working conditions of those working 12 hour shifts 7 days a week in the sweat shops of China and India before you say that their lives have been enhanced.
here is one recent example for a start:
now now macro, slavery is better than starvation, so therefore every slaveholder is a saint…
Sorry? those with jobs are less unequal than they were so having more in slavery evens it out???
Well of course wayne would put the worst spin on Iprent s post……….
Just like I could say Wayne would probably support Hitler over Stalin ….. or over 1 million Vietnamese being killed by the u.s.a to fight socialism ( and lets remember the yanks and us lost that war but we did succeed in bringing pol-pot to power)
Fair call wayne ????????
Basically wayne comes here to the standard to spin in a very negative pro-national fashion ….. like infused and co.
Most reasonable readers would have agreed with the thrust of post ……..
“I’m a devout capitalist because of the benefits that it has. But capitalism by its very nature causes the short-term profit focus on exploitation of the commons.”
I moved that comment thread to OpenMIke simply because he clearly hadn’t actually read all of either post. If he had then he’d have been arguing about Chris’s anticipation of his probable response. If you want to argue that, then do it on the OpenMike thread or I’ll start moving comments there .
Well you would be wrong.
That’s kind of worse then Wayne…
That is what I have to think as well. Trotter argued for a mixed economy. I argued even more for a mixed economy.
In your reply, Wayne, you ignored that – and argued for a mixed economy.
Chris also pointed the exact reflexive response that the right usually make, which we both argued was completely fallacious when applied to what we considered the left to be, which isn’t extremely coercive regimes (left, right, and even religious).
Wayne, you used exactly the argument that we’d already referred to and countered without referring to our argument or viewpoint at all as far as I can see.
Clearly you didn’t seem to have read and comprehended either post. Not your reading skills? Possibly your ability to understand anything more complex than a simple conditioned response to what you thought we’d missed (and wrote about).
FFS Wayne – I realise it is early there for government work, but take some coffee or tea, read the posts again, and argue on what we wrote rather than using some idiotic rote line that you happen to know off by heart.
Actually I now realise I did not read your last two paragraphs. They are not what I would have expected, having read the prior material, which is what I had reacted to.
Good to see you back, Dr Mapp. Now could you answer the question I asked you nine months ago? …
you can take the man out of the cabinet but you cant take the national party out of the man 😉
It’s their education policy
Rote learning no room for any other ideas as lprent has pointed out.
Well put by Trotter indeed.
Now the real problem is getting the difference between Left and Right over to the electorate. Currently National revels in the meme ‘they are all the same” which perpetuates a voting pattern where many people who should be voting Left vote Right (for various reasons, such as they buy into Key’s “good-guy” manufactured persona) or they don’t vote at all because it makes no difference.
Maybe Labour’s next election slogan should be “There is a Difference” and then a kind-of pledge card list showing the key differences.
yep, people clearly do vote against their material best interests for subjective reasons, or more likely not vote, for example in the 2011 election just the simple act of voting in a Labour/Green/Mana/ majority would have seen an increase in the minimum wage and no return to youth rates and no 90 day “fire at will”, not liberal social policies but bread and butter economist ones, money in the pocket but it did not motivate enough people to register and vote
as society increasingly goes bad for hundreds of thousands even enrolling to vote which requires a stable address, is a step too far, let alone the unpublished roll which thousands could use also
meanwhile others of course like SME operators and self employed/contractors of which there are over half a million, vote Nat exactly to keep house prices, rentals and unemployment up, oblivious to the eventual fate of accommodation supplements and other tax payer largesse from a lowered tax take
It’s more than that Tiger. There is a particular strategum at play.
Thanks for putting the link to ‘making-the-opposition-the-enemy/’
so we can catch up with your thoughtful post. Will save it to study later. Looks most interesting.
Firstly, hyper-sensitivity to criticism is not the unique gift of “the right” whatever that is. Hell, check out TRP going unhinged at CV the other day, announcing that CV was a “spittle-flecked loser”. And that was just within the Labour Party, in public!
Secondly Trotter can’t figure out if the virtuous Left always rebelling against the nasty Right is good in a reformist sense, or a revolutionary sense. I’m sure there’s some Slippery Slope argument he’s making in there somewhere, but I just can’t see it for the historical arm-waving. His heart remains as ever somewhere on the Battleship Potempkin, but I think it was the film version.
He also struggles to distinguish between individuals rebelling against structures – which is an instinct common to anarchists, existentialists, and Act – and oppressed groups rebelling against their oppressors, which is a progressive instinct.
Chris’s post also presumes that only the Left do good in the world:
” And who could that possibly be? Surely not the trade unionists, who forced up workers’ wages? Or the social reformers, scientists and doctors, who discovered how to ward off illness and disease? Or the progressive architects and city planners, who designed cheap and sturdy housing for the poor? Or the progressive, social-democratic and labour parties, who gathered together all the agents of economic and social progress, won state power, and fastened a strong regulatory collar around the capitalist beast?”
It’s really not that hard to roll off the Right’s own list of goodness.
Once he’s finished with his rendition of “Can You Hear the People Sing?”, he’d realize that “The Right” also do good. In fact good change can happen on the left or right, whether it’s religious or otherwise, from the rich or the poor. Granted, good change is harder if you’re weak. But I don’t think Righties doing good are more or less egotistical, vain, damaged, weird, or virtuous than the Lefties.
I have no idea what Trotter’s audience was, but he didn’t fool me for a second.
he’d realize that “The Right” also do good. In fact good change can happen on the left or right, whether it’s religious or otherwise, from the rich or the poor.
Do good yes … but for who?
The right is far more likely to frame life as a competition in which winners take all, and if they feel generous may share some with the losers.
So while I accept the left has no monopoly on virtue, I’m generally less impressed by the right’s record.
Kinda unfair given that the Left as Trotter conceives it has only been around for a couple of hundred years, whereas the Right has ruled the earth forever.
I’d argue there always has been a ‘left’, just not in the modern secular form we know of it today.
The tension between our individual and collective interests is as old as humanity itself, and the scars of that battle are writ deep in our DNA.
Which kind of waters it down to the banality of the baddies versus the goodies since Adam was in short pants, doesn’t it?
Not really – the Right has found many ways to assert it’s drive towards individual dominance over the course of history. Unconstrained capitalism being just the latest.
Equally the left has always devised it’s own responses but given that history does tend to get written by the winners, we have not gotten as many headlines. But I’d still argue strongly that the secular left is merely our most recent adaptation. We’ve been around a lot longer than the Labour Party.
To dismiss this deep story as a banality of baddies and goodies does it no justice whatsoever. Indeed I’d argue the opposite, the modern left would do much better to examine it’s historic roots and ancient motives a lot more carefully than we normally take the time for.
Time for you to do a post on that Red.
Make it more coherent than Trotter though will you?
Fair call mate.
Nice to see people disagreeing in a measured and courteous way, thanks guys. And RedL, yeah more posts boy!
you could argue that it was the left that wrote the “magna Carta” which is in ‘caucasian’ european’ terms the first human rights document. And people died for that one .
As I don’t think that you will actually click on a link i do a copy paste job of ‘human rights issues’ in Europe
The history of human rights in Europe is marked by a contradictory combination of legislative and intellectual progress and violations of fundamental human rights in both Europe and its colonies.
1215: Magna Carta
1222: Golden Bull of 1222 of Hungary defines the first time the rights of the nobility.
1264: Statute of Kalisz – the General Charter of Jewish Liberties introduces numerous right for the Jews in Poland, leading to an autonomous “nation within a nation”
1367: Statutes of Kilkenny
1463: Sultan Mehmed II’s firman grants freedom to Bosnian Franciscans after the Ottoman conquest of Bosnia
15th to 19th centuries: African slave trade
1505: Nihil novi in Poland forbids peasant from leaving their lands without permission from their feudal lord
1529: Statutes of Lithuania
1550–1551: Bartolomé de Las Casas debates Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda on human rights (Valladolid debate)
1573: The Warsaw Confederation confirms the religious freedom of all residents of Poland
1650–1660: Jesuit priest Antonio Vieira fights for the human rights of the indigenous population of Brazil and obtains royal decrees against their enslavement
1689: The English Bill of Rights is established
1689: The Claim of Right Act is passed by Scottish Parliament
1690: The Second Treatise of Civil Government by John Locke
1750–1860: The Inclosure Act is passed by the United Kingdom Parliament, enclosing common land and assigning private property rights to lands which formerly had not been private
1772: British court ruling by William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield sets a precedent that slavery had no basis in law
1781: Serfdom is abolished in the Habsburg countries through the emperor Leopold II ( Bohemia, Moravia and Austrian Silesia)
Serfdom is abolished in the first German state, Baden[clarification needed]
Poland-Lithuania abolishes corporal punishment
1789: The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen is introduced in France
1790: Rights of Man by Thomas Paine
1794: France abolishes slavery
The Proclamation of Połaniec, Poland partially abolishes serfdom and grants substantial civil liberties to peasants
1802: France re-introduces slavery
1804: The Napoleonic code forbids privileges based on birth, establishes freedom of religion, and specifies a meritocratic system for government jobs
1807: Britain abolishes the slave trade (but not of slavery itself)
1810: Prussia abolishes serfdom
1832: The British Reform Act extends voting rights and legalizes trade unions
1833: Britain abolishes slavery
1845: Another United Kingdom General Inclosure Act allows for the employment of inclosure Commissioners, who could enclose land without submitting a request to Parliament. Private property rights over formerly unenclosed lands expand.
1848: France abolishes slavery
1859: On Liberty by John Stuart Mill
1861: Russia abolishes serfdom
1863: The Netherlands abolishes slavery
1867: Britain’s Second Reform Act extends voting rights to all urban male homeowners
1884: The British Representation of the People Act extends male voting rights from the town to the country
1906: Finland is the first European country to introduce universal suffrage in national elections
1917: Finland extends universal suffrage to local elections
1918: Another British Representation of the People Act grants suffrage to nearly all men, along with property-owning women over age 30
1933–1945: The Holocaust
1954–1956: Britain tortures and kills at least 50,000 Kenyans in the Mau Mau Rebellion
1954–62: Both France and the FLN use torture in the Algerian War of Independence
1961: French police massacre pro-FLN Algerians in a peaceful demonstration later known as the Paris massacre
1972: British Army shoots unarmed protesters in Northern Ireland, later known as Bloody Sunday
1974: Turkey invades and ethnically cleanses 80–87% of the population of Kyrenia, Ammochostos, Rizokarpaso and parts of Nicosia Cyprus. Turkey’s use of Napalm on civilians is condemned. Systematic Rape requires the passing of emergency legislation by the British Parliament to allow Medical Officers to perform emergency abortions of raped women. Missing people number about 1,652. Footage of civilians taken to Turkey reveal some people were taken alive but still remain unaccounted for.
1978: European Court of Human Rights rules that torture by the British government of suspect IRA members constitutes “cruel and inhuman treatment”
there is more at the wiki page that i have linked too, you could read it if you wanted too. And I am sure that in civilizations that are older then the european one such as China and India, or that have vanished from the earth by now – Sumerians, Ancient Greeks, Ancient Eqyptias and others , we will also find documentations that will discuss precisely that, what are human rights, how to enshrine them into law and how to protect them. And throughout people will have fought and died for them, and throughout we will find examples of ‘human rights’ legislation passed that is in fact nothing more then a blue print to exterminate a group of people deemed ‘Untermensch’ or ‘wrong kind of’.
It is only the term “lefty” that is relatively new, the struggle for the rights to live a live in decent conditions free of abuse and harm is a very old one.
Thank you sabine. I’m now embarrassed that I was too lazy to do my own homework to support my own case 🙂
Is this what Trotter was on about? Human rights? Really?
Anyone can do a version of history. Hobsbawm has the full red-tinted spectacles.
Then there’s AJP Thompson, for the statist British view.
Nice counter-statist ones from Negri.
Histories about the liberation of sex from Foucault.
Whole Marxist historiographies from Lucacs and spooky melancholic ones from Adorno.
There’s all sorts of filters to run an interpretation of history’s great and good, however one defines it. But Trotters’s Left Melancholy of that kind is just an insidious disease.
That’s half the problem people like Trotter have – they want history to be written by the left, but, regrettably, history is written by the victors.
Your list doesn’t support Trotter’s rant at all. Or anything.
And please do better than just cutting and pasting someone else’s stuff.
stop showing off.There are many versions of history.How can you have a ‘victor’ in the chronology of history?
How many Maori histories of the whole of New Zealand have you read?
I’ve read the Land Wars by Belich…does that count?
By Maori histories of the whole of New Zealand, I mean written by Maori. They are exceedingly rare, and pretty unusual, and angry.
whats your point?
Read Ad’s first comment above. Ad makes an overly harsh critique, seeming to forget that Trotter’s piece is a blog post not an academic essay on political philosophy.
Trotter is merely contradicting the sweeping and idiotic claims from vested interests that ‘capitalism’ (whatever that means) is the cure for all problems.
The claim that Capitalism is an inherently good force in history is laughable, perhaps Ad is referring to biased works like Niall Ferguson’s “Ascent of Money” … briefly reviewed here
Thanks for this Sabine.
People historically (and currently) born “Right” by virtue of the wealth of their fathers doesn’t enshrine them as Right for life.
Well said Ad, the most intelligent comment I have read here for a long time, Chris writes some good stuff but he has one major failing that many of us on the left have and that’s the longing for and comparisons of the “good ol days” problem is when both major parties are fighting for the centre, those days are well and truly over, I find it pleasant to reminisce but find no value in living in the past as Chris to often does
Well all I can do is repeat a comment I made earlier but got moved to Open Mike along with the comment it was attached to.
Yup, minds AND hearts…
It seems that Chris is arguing for a longer memory than encompassing what happened a few decades ago. We have just spent considerable money on honouring the dead from 1915, and I think that we should be able to draw some useful lessons from that time and apply them today. Also that commemoration because of some year with a 0 at the end, is part of using selective memory for the past.
Mainlander you are guilty of that by simplifying and decrying looking to the past for examples to guide us for the future.
My comment might seem a bit harsher towards Chris than I intended as I fully agree with you, after all where would we be without learning those lessons from the past, maybe its just Chris’s melancholic tone that leads me to think as I do and he has become a lot more reflective of days gone by in some of his posts in recent times, but then as I type this I realise I will probably be one of those “back in my day” type of people myself one day, although not to soon I hope
Chris seems to be doing a wide sweep of background and past history. He was no doubt melancholic which drove him to do so, and reading again about those past events has magnified his distaste for the lack of absorption of the reasons for those events and the lessons they carried. I think that is how he feels, I feel like that.
Its so sad to be old and not see the wisdom of age and experience applied to the present day. Only a few more years left till … irreversible climate change, I die, large numbers of potentially wonderful humans isolated and ignored by gated minds of the self-satisfied comfortably off, kiwis become extinct, the country laid bare and brown or under an umbrella of vines, good people muted or disappeared by a fascist callous regime – more than one of these is definite.
Good thinking people need to support each other, most of the time.
“I’m a devout capitalist because of the benefits that it has.”
“Capitalism kills. It has done so from its earliest beginnings, and it does so still. The only distinction between the history of capitalism and the history of the Mexican drug cartels, is that the cartels have never pretended to be advancing the progress of humankind.”
Chris, is there a middle ground between those 2 statements?
Can you conceive of a version of Capitalism that fulfills all the ideals of The Left, or is LPRENT a deluded adherent to a system that is inherently and irredeemably evil?
Does Chris Trotter post here sometimes?
I’ve always thought regulated capitalism (such as implemented by Western social democrat/Labour style governments of the 1940’s to 70’s) is the middle ground.
Does Chris Trotter post here sometimes?
I’d be surprised if he doesn’t follow things here at least.
Would be very interested to hear his response if so?
Personally I think his worldview view is flawed by a classic Leftist preoccupation with human systems , while not granting enough significance to the human nature that actually drives the systems we have evolved.
Capitalism ‘works’ about as well as any system tried so far can work if it is to accommodate human nature.
That is, it’s about as perfect as human nature itself.
But to a workable degree, all the varying manifestations of human nature can find a way to be partly satisfied in our current democratically regulated Capitalist societies, and relatively few people feel completely thwarted in their ability to express their nature.
Consequently, few people would claim it is anything like perfect, but even fewer would support a complete ditching of it for an alternative.
The issue with any alternative that has been tried seems to be that a significantly large number of people will feel the alternative is stifling their nature to a degree that is intolerable. And so they set about subverting it…..
I think that one could have a look at Germany.
We don’t do ‘capitalism’ per se, but what we call a “sociale Marktwirtschaft’ a social Market society. The market is largely self regulating, but the Government has a duty to regulate for the greater good.
A good example is housing.
The Market can build Houses, to the size and the amenities it believes it will get best monetary value for, and offers these for rent or for buy at the best price. This is classic Capitalism.
The role of the Government now is to insure that those that are left out by the Market planning and production are still being housed. It can do so via regulations.
A. Housing Benefits that everyone can apply for – no discrimination here, but only those that qualify will receive it.
B. Housing Corporations. Everyone can join a Housing Co-oporation, pay a anual stipend / fee and get put on a list for a flat at cheaper rates then the free Market offers. The Government can provide grants to these Co-operations to build and maintain their housing stock. People often live their whole lifes in these flats, decorate the walls and bring their own carpet. Children have the right of first refusal should elders die.
C. Social Housing. Housing that is build for people of low income, such as young families, students, people living on a disability allowance, retirees without any extra income. All people can apply for, but only those that qualify will receive a place to rent. These arraignments will be periodically rewied as that housing stock is for those on a very low income/social welfare income.
D. Housing Rent Mirror (loosely translated), i .e. the Government regulates how rents can be set. I.e. location, amenities such as public Transport, Schools, etc, how many rooms, central heating, double glazing, cave/attic space, new build, old build etc. All these will impact the setting of a rent. So naturally some places will be cheaper then others. However, non will have leaking roofs, or mould on the walls, as Rental Properties have to have a certain minimum standard. Cheapest rent is usally $ 10 per square meter. So a student on a fixed income should be able to rent a 30 sqm Flat for 300$ a month.
Now you see, the Government is actually not regulating the market. The developpers still can build to their liking with a desired return in mind. But, the rules regarding rentals stipulate that the Walls can not be moldy, that the roof can not leek, that double glazing is now a standard building requirement and so is insulation, and that a room needs to be at least 8 sqm large.
And as such the Government fulfills its role to protect the ‘commons’ or the greater good of society, houses its people safely, reduces the sick days taken per year, reduces the cost of emergency hospital care etc etc etc .
And i would venture to guess that one could not accuse Germany of not being a capitalist nation, or a hot bed of revolutionary lefties. I would consider us rather pragmatic and practical. And sometimes revolutionary also, The iron Chancellor Bismark implemented his laws in regards to unemployment benefits, sickness benefits because as a capitalist/royalist/conservative he knew full well that if he did not regulate to the best of all Germans, revolution would have been the plat du jour for all, inclusive the very rich.
I freaking love Germany.
For a lot of those reasons.
Plus involving workers at Board level.
Plus really strong universities.
Plus open arms to immigrants since unification.
Plus diverse industries with great salaries.
Plus they understand what a nice strong state is good for.
And train stations and train systems so good I just want to stand at the great Berlin Station and shout for joy.
None of which is an argument in favour of Trotter’s post. After all the Spartacists lasted all of what six days and got creamed.
Definitely supports Lyn’s line though.
Highly regulated capitalism: definitely.
Just for the record Germany has taken refugees well before the Unification, we have Syrian Christians and Muslims, Vietnamese, Kurds, Palestinians, Iraqis, Turks, Lebanese, Iranians, Cambodians, Tibetans, South Africans and plenty others living in Germany. The unification has nothing to do with our immigration policies.
And yes all of it supports Trotters Post. Bismark had a choice, allow the hungry, unwashed and unhoused masses that worked for the robber barons and lived in company towns to finally just revolt or implement some of the demands of the leftwing socialist agitators – the red brigades or the red socks – and keep the Peace.
I suggest you read up on some of the ancestors of the lefties, you might find it interesting
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosa_Luxemburg – killed and thrown into a canal in berlin, a classic case of ‘othering’ and removal of the human right to dignity and a funeral in her name.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Liebknecht – killed and brought to a morque without name, a classic case of ‘othering’ and removal of the human right to dignity and a funeral in his name.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Zetkin – she went to Russia and died there in 1933 after Hitler came to power and dismantled the communist party in Germany.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Harris_Jones – named in 1902 the most dangerous women in the USA, cause clearly advocating for a bit of fairness for children would go in the way of profit cause capitalism.
Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living – Mother Jones.
these are just a few to name, but without these and many many others, we would have non of the rights that we take for granted today. The child would work still in mines because it would be cheaper then the man or the women, you could get docked for damage done to a machine that just ripped your arm off, you would work 12 – 16 hours a day and if you could not do that you would be without a job. You would have no rights to medical care unless you could pay for it. You would have no rights to education unless you could afford to go there or send your child to school instead sending it to the fields or mines. Your wife would not be allowed to vote, she would have no control over her fertility, she would give birth until a. she died, or b. stopped having sex. You would work until you dropped dead cause feeding families with 10+ people is hard work and cost a lot of money.
Capitalism only ever gave you the choice between the red pair of shoes or the black pair of shoes, the left fought and died for your right to earn enough money, and have enough free time to choose one pair or buy both.
Save me you are trying to capture Bismark for the Left? I haven’t heard a stretch like that for a while. What next, Kaiser Wilhelm was a commie?
I am pretty familiar about the Left’s antecedents. Like I said before, do better than just posting links.
But now let’s go at Germany. It’s the exemplar modernist state. Now.
Do I have to remind you what it’s gone through in the last 100 years to get to that point? Hardly some leftie’s utopia was it? Hardly in fact any good illustration at all of Trotter’s frantic frothing.
It’s not too much of a stretch, if I remember my Adorno and Horkheimer rightly, that the actions of Germany over the last century near-broke not only the idea of socialism permanently, but also damn near broke and certainly permanently damaged the idea of enlightenment, rationality, and in fact the entire concept of Europe.
So putting Germany up as an example of leftie goodness in support of either Trotter or Lyn is a really bad idea.
No I am not saying that Bismark was a lefty. Maybe he was, but i would not know and he would not tell, so lets just stick to what he was, deeply conservative, deeply royal and deeply loyal german.
But it was him that gave Germany retirement benefits, unemployment benefits and accident compensation. Not as we know it now, but the ancestors of our current benefits if you so want.
Why did he do it? Cause it was either do something for the people or risk a French revolution in Germany.
In fact the term welfare state comes directly from his ‘social staat’
The German term Sozialstaat (“social state”) has been used since 1870 to describe state support programs devised by German Sozialpolitiker (“social politicians”) and implemented as part of Bismarck’s conservative reforms. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welfare_state
Smart man that Bismark dude. You can read up on him a bit, but i copy paste a small expert to make it easier for you
“Bismarck implemented the world’s first welfare state in the 1880s. He worked closely with large industry and aimed to stimulate German economic growth by giving workers greater security. A secondary concern was trumping the Socialists, who had no welfare proposals of their own and opposed Bismarck’s. Bismarck especially listened to Hermann Wagener and Theodor Lohmann, advisers who persuaded him to give workers a corporate status in the legal and political structures of the new German state. In March 1884, Bismarck declared:
Franz von Lenbach’s portrait of Bismarck, painted in his 75th year.
The real grievance of the worker is the insecurity of his existence; he is not sure that he will always have work, he is not sure that he will always be healthy, and he foresees that he will one day be old and unfit to work. If he falls into poverty, even if only through a prolonged illness, he is then completely helpless, left to his own devices, and society does not currently recognize any real obligation towards him beyond the usual help for the poor, even if he has been working all the time ever so faithfully and diligently. The usual help for the poor, however, leaves a lot to be desired, especially in large cities, where it is very much worse than in the country.” Quote end.
That does sound eerily familiar does it not? So maybe he was a lefty, reluctantly but never the less.
And while he was very reluctant to do many things he did this : Quote: The program included sickness insurance, accident insurance, disability insurance, and a retirement pension, none of which were then in existence to any great degree. Quote End.
And frankly i really suggest that you read up on it, as it is excellent reading material.
You can then offset what this guy did with another really good read, Sleepwalking through History – the Reagan Years , which would be John Keys Hey Days at the traders desk.
So putting up Germany as an example of lefty goodness in support of Trotter and Lyn is a really good idea. Because it is a fine example of a ‘regulated’ capitalism in which the capital flows freely, innovation is demanded and sought after, where business can be undertaken very successfully, where people are having a relatively high living standard, good schooling, good vocational training be it via apprenticeships or university, where people can be naked in a public park without causing outrage 🙂 – try that in the US..:), and so on and so on.
Yes and they have free trade agreements, and they export knowledge to China, and they invest in green technology, and they still have money, and music, and beersies…and stuff.
In fact, Germany is the poster child of what Capitalism can be, when the Government does the job it was elected for, namely protect the wellbeing of the country and not just a few rich country men.
And in saying that, Germany itself is in danger of negative change. First Chancellor Kohl and Schroeder now Merkel. ouch.
Europe is in interesting times, and Germany will most likely change. Time will tell.
And much the same could be said of Britain. It has been said that the British upper class owed a huge moral debt to the Unions and Labour party for introducing just enough reform to forestall a bloody revolution in the 1930’s.
Have you seen the Mike Leigh film “The Spirit of 45”?
Makes me weep still.
No … but I will look it up now.
On the same theme – in hindsight the most formative book I read was Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London set in the Depression years.
As the years go by I find myself going back to it over and again.
While it is possible to be a little skeptical of Orwell’s artifice in separating himself from his usual income and assets in order to create the narrative – I never doubted his sincerity.
Certainly he was able to capture the bitterly corrosive social inequality, the demeaning miserable working conditions and the hopelessness of the poor in a way few others have ever confronted so openly.
He remains one of my heroes.
he is integral to one of my passwords which requires constant changing
Chris Hedges holds Orwell up as the epitome of journalistic integrity. A combination of non-negotiable respect for the reader and for the truth.
You boys playing gnicely together, brought a tear to my eye!
Presuming my gender?
And no one would argue Sabine that Germany also does the production of wealth side of Capitalism quite well.
It seems to me that the best kind of Capitalist countries are those that understand that the more cake you make, the more you are able to share around the table.
The more you must share around the table
My point being that, given a genuinely democratic system of government, the more cake you have to discuss, the more likely it is that a higher % of the people will be happy with the sharing.
The smaller the cake the fewer the options.
yes but the cake (GDP) has been getting bigger for decades and yet the gap between the bottom and top is FAR greater… Able to has not equated to is.
I agree absolutely that there needs to be a readjustment in the way the cake is being shared, and that’s a discussion that is well underway throughout the Democratic world.
But what you leave out of your comment is the crucial point that even if the gap has been increasing, the great majority of citizens have been getting a bigger piece of actual cake over time.
And they know it. As long as that is the case, and democratic systems are maintained, Capitalism will continue to be the dominant economic system.
look at it from this way.
Marie Antoinette did not loose her head because she had cake.
She did not loose her head because she liked cake.
She lost her head because she expected people to eat cake without sharing the only cake that was. She lost her head because she did not share her cake.
While I agree with the concept I cannot agree with the perpetuation of the notion of Marie Antoinette and cake. Ther eis no evidence she ever told anyone ” let them eat cake”.
YES she was privileged but she was also maligned, firstly by those who wanted to usurp the power of her husband and then by those seeking to throw aside the monarchy. For example cartoons were distrbuted depicting her having sex with her household pets, her ladies in waiting, and so on. She was easily vilified because she was Asutrian and it descended fromt here. She is much maligned, and in so far as she was privileged and part of the higghest aristocracy, perhaps deserved, but much of that maligning was made up, by those seeking, wait for it, power for themselves.
Back tot he cake, Antonia’ Fraser’s research suggests that IF she said “let theme at cake” it wa smore likely out of her ignorance and belief that if there was no bread, the eople should be given cake. A tip to her total lack of knowledge about flour and how bread (and cakes) were actually created etc….
To my knowledge there is no…
Never in your wildest dreams would it occur to you that the sharing comes first, and in doing so fosters the productivity.
Only now it does.
And only after ridding itself of state-backed socialism completely.
Better question would be: if that’s what it takes to make a really good modernist state, was Germany’s last 100 years worth it?
I note that your comment above is couched in such vague and ill-defined terms that it has no meaning.
Is this the same ill-defined notion of “human nature” that leads you to post arrant nonsense about “choices”? I note you failed miserably to provide a single piece of evidence that any of these things you refer to exist.
I have observed many times that you reject the existence of both ‘human nature’ and ‘choices’ OAB.
Little surprise then that you are endlessly surprised and outraged that real people in the real world do not behave in accordance with your worldview.
I have observed many times that you’ve failed to provide any evidence that they exist in any meaningful fashion. What do you mean by them that hasn’t already been completely unpicked?
Ah, the RWNJ cry of No, it can’t change because we’re always going to be the same… despite the fact that, over the last few thousand years, we’ve obviously changed and evolved.
Our society may be capitalist but it’s not democratic. In fact, capitalism is anathema to democracy.
I haven’t noticed any alternatives being tried as the capitalists don’t allow them.
Giving them a home for life, not wondering if the Landlord is going to sell up and throw em out, giving them a space to feel proud off. In Auckland rental yields are pathetic, hence the buy-sit briefly-sell cycle.
I can, but we are not living in it. And as you point out the crux is sharing. Not the ability to share but the desire to share.
I know many people living in lovely homes, earning more than 6 fiures per year (often both partners), have overseas travel, bach and so on. And they regularly bemoan how much tax they pay to prop us others and so on and so forth. We have to find a way to address that, and feeding a nasty self interest/importance isn’t going to resolve that (but it does elect parties).
I do actually agree with Lyn’s point that capitalism delivers well for people but needs constantly kicking up the arse to stop its own arrogance and destructiveness.
Boadly: Revolution Bad, Reform Good.
Except we could have a well controlled capitalism that more evenly distributes wealth and still have climate change. It’s the power imbalance between those with capital and their agenda and everything else that’s the problem. So socialist capitalists could still be environmental ignoramuses. Reform won’t be enough to deal with climate change.
A well regulated global economy hasn’t really been tested.
Coherent globalized international trade law, and global climate change agreements, will be more effective and less disruptive to society than some revolutionary onslaught.
9 times out of 10 revolution does far more harm than good.
9 times out of 10 diplomatic agreements work.
revolution doesn’t have to be onslaught, although I get that that’s how Lynn was using the term.
“A well regulated global economy hasn’t really been tested.”
In which case the best we can say is we don’t know whether it will work or not 😉
But let’s say we had a traditional Labour government that was regulating the economy well. It’s still taken Labour until now to start to get serious about CC. We needed that 15 years ago. So we could have the coherent globalised law etc, but if the people running those things don’t have the right consciousness (eg environmental) then those things won’t get dealt with adequately. It’s an issue of who has the power. No matter how good willed they are, if the power is centralised it’s always going to serve the people in charge first.
Or, maybe explain how this regulation would accommodate the Rights of Nature, which is going to be the new emerging ethico legall issue of the next few decades. The people on the edge know what is what. If the people in power don’t listen to them, how is good regulation going to help?
I would refer you to my post precisely on the relationship between climate change and industrial change. I explored industrial patterns, and government responses through regulation, and other stuff, through it.
Also, thanks to MMP, we don’t have to imagine the standard old Labour Command and Control economy of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. The Greens will have to be in there.
I read your post Ad, it’s very good. I haven’t followed the main link yet.
I don’t think that answers my point though. If capitalism can deal with the issue that I raise, I’m interested to hear it. I’m not sure if you are saying that well regulated capitalism works, or if you are saying that’s the best we can do with the situation we are in now (being the pragmatist that you are, and I have some sympathy for that approach). Nevertheless, well regulated capitalism is still dependent on the hearts and minds of the people in control and I don’t see how they would (have) gotten to grips with CC in time.
I wasn’t thinking of old Labour, I was thinking of a hypothetical more leftist (caring) modern Labour in an MMP environment but still working from a place of power over. Even now Labour would exclude the GP and their advanced thinking about CC if they could. It’s a fucked model, and MMP gives us an opportunity to correct some of the worst of it but MMP is still open to abuse (looking at your Winston Peters).
revolution assisted the birth of Capitalism surely?
Capitalism Kills: Why, For The Right, The Left Is Always Wrong
Actual link to Trotter’s post. I assume that you copy/pasted the link and didn’t realise that you weren’t on the page for the post (Been there, done that).
Link to Wayne’s first comment
Link to Wayne’s second comment
The link to a comment on blogspot is the date at the end of the comment.
Thanks and Yep. And it also was the italian page for Bowalley courtesy of blogspot.
The strongest physically and/or by number will conquer OR successfully defend a nation. Many a weak person has ruled a nation or had a hand therein. Greed causes the corruption of social equality and leads to the exploitation of the poor and uneducated.
To say the stongest exploit the weakest is therefore wrong. Those who are sick on the inside with the disease of greed or lust for power – they exploit. The proposition that greed makes you stong is a misnomer.
Though the skum may often rise to the top – take solace knowing pride comes before a fall.
This is not about “strong people” vs “weak people.”
This is about people with power, privilege and authority vs those without.
Don’t you get the difference?
I said lust for power. You’re just trolling my posts now.
“Ha ha ha, ho ho ho, he he he! Get him a bucket of water!!!”
An unusually inane and depraved edition of The Panel
Radio NZ National, Thursday 19 November 2015
Jim Mora, L. Prent, Lisa Scott, Morrissey Breen, Susan Baldacci
L. PRENT: Chris Trotter is on fire.
M. BREEN: Chris Trotter’s on fire?!?!?!?!? I’d pay to see that! Where is he?
J. MORA: He can jump in the ocean near where he lives!
M. BREEN: Haw haw haw haw haw!
LISA SCOTT: Yeah! Ha ha ha ha ha!
M. BREEN: Haw haw haw haw haw!
BREEN: Yeah! Ha ha ha ha ha! Or get him a bucket of water! THAT’s what he needs!
LISA SCOTT: Ha ha ha ha ha!
SUSAN BALDACCI: He he he he he!
TROTTER: I suspect whoever set me on fire was just sick of the sight of me! “Are you ever going to LEEEEAAAVE?”
JIM MORA: Bucket of water! Get him a bucket of water!!!
LISA SCOTT: Ha ha ha ha ha!
I’ve been thinking in the past couple of months that consciously or unconsciously, the genocide of indigenous people, among the most famous in North America, was about destroying any other system that could prove humans could exist comfortably and in great numbers in alternative economic systems to Capitalism. It is now thought that there were upward of 50 million indigenous peoples living in North America when Columbus arrived, funded by capital provided by the Spanish Court, which demanded a profit in return which Columbus was obliged to return, leading to a holocaust on the island of Hispaniola, the levels of depravity of which equaled many a Nazi in World War II.
Prior to the arrival of Capitalism, it wouldn’t have all been wine and roses but the levels of happiness and prosperity of the indigenous peoples were probably not much different than what is being achieved now.
Here’s a great discription of exactly what went on at Hispaniola – http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/10/14/8-myths-and-atrocities-about-christopher-columbus-and-columbus-day-151653
Columbus’ depravity is pretty well documented and understood now.
However, he’s not to blame for the total collapse of the native american population in North America. That lies solely with an outbreak of disease which, regardless of whether or not Columbus landed in Hispaniola, would have eventually made its way through the North American population. By the time the pilgrims landed on Plymouth rock 120-odd years and 2600km away, it had wiped out about 95% of the indigenous population.
Updated: If anyone is interested in how the right reflexively responds without reading the content of a post in exactly the manner predicted
There is a charming irony that lprent would, after so frequently and vociferously reminding us there is no “the standard” but instead a collaborative of authors each with their own independent viewpoints, calling one comment “the right”.
Good point. Added in the words “an example of”, which is what I meant. It was referring to the part in Chris’s post where he said that the reflexive response of those on the right is to reach for ‘the left is stalin’ and similar stupidities. Basically grabbing the variant of Godwin’s law as a comforter.
I don’t do as much proof reading on updates as I’d like.
Yep, agree. Mr Trotter has nailed it.
Capitalism and market economics is by some distant the system most likely to lift the masses out of poverty and into a life of some quality. Socialism and Communism have failed virtually everywhere they have been tried, and rather spectacularly. But that’s not my main reason for being a capitalist. In the vast majority of cases where it is deployed, capitalism is aligned with liberty, with freedom of thought, of expression, of association. The absolute opposite is true of socialism and communism. The latter economic system seems to be only able to be sustained under duress of the population, and is invariably associated with suppression of individual expression, of the freedom of thought and other liberties. Communism becomes a type of ‘theocracy’, where the god of the state is to be obeyed at all costs. Even unto death.
What a lovely strawman, Daniel. Did you make it yourself?
The thrust of the argument is that Socialism plus Capitalism plus Democracy has worked better than any of the other systems that have been tried.
As Chomsky says “Capitalism? Show me some!” by which he points out that your first sentence is meaningless, since you can provide zero examples of purely Capitalist systems.
By comparison, Socialist Democrats can point to the New Deal, or the NZ Labour Party’s relative track record on unemployment or per-capita GDP. Not to mention child poverty and homelessness.
Daniel Cale first blessed us with his presence on 2 November 2015 to comment on the post about Slater’s comment about ISIS, muslims, “they”, kill “us”… (bear in mind Slater editted his comment which caused some confusion). Since then he has joined us here to share his particular brand of wisdom.
OAB – “The thrust of the argument is that Socialism plus Capitalism plus Democracy has worked better than any of the other systems that have been tried” for once we are in agreement, but then you go and ruin it by saying “By comparison, Socialist Democrats can point to the New Deal, or the NZ Labour Party’s relative track record on unemployment or per-capita GDP. Not to mention child poverty and homelessness”, you still haven’t given citation for any of this because history shows very little difference overall between Labour and National on any of these points:
history shows very little difference overall between Labour and National on any of these points
So there’s a difference then, which you’ve quantified as “very little” and I’m calling “better”.
Socialist democrats do not advocate socialism. Socialism is a very different beast.
Social democrats support capitalism and work within a capitalist economic environment to achieve social justice. They support private ownership and enterprise, but use the levers of state to influence the distribution of rewards from that endeavour. NZ has employed a type of social democrat society for decades, and most certainly over the past 30 years as progressive capitalist policies have delivered economic results (with the exception perhaps the last 3 years of the Clark/Cullen debacle).
Socialism is about ‘society’s’ ownership of the means of production. Private ownership is not necessarily outlawed, but it is actively discouraged. Socialism displays many of the anti-democratic affronts to liberty I touched on above.
The notion of socialism + capitalism + democracy is a fictional construct. Socialism and capitalism as economic systems are incompatible.
And I would make this point. It strikes me as interesting that the left is now beginning to embrace capitalism. I have observed this overseas, and it is clear that the left is waking up to the fact that most of the planet’s inhabitants have rejected the failed experiments of both communism and socialism and have realised that capitalism, in it’s various forms, is the only economic system that lifts the spirits and lives of humanity.
“the left is now beginning to embrace capitalism.”
Are you really Rip van Winkel??????
Yawn. I note that the only way you can address the argument I’m making is to misrepresent both it, and the nature of Capitalism.
I haven’t misrepresented anything. You don;t understand the terms you are using, that is clear.
I just think it’s foolish to claim all the benefits of a mixed democratic economy for Capitalism. Or perhaps utterly ignorant of history, which is a very special kind of foolish.
Makes you wonder why this Government ( and some prior) have deteriorated the freedom of democracy thingy through abuse of the OIA Daniel? Together with use of urgency, more widespread powers for the state to collect information of citizens and so on. John Key promised ttransparency and higher standards. We all foolishly thought he meant than the prior Labour Government, but evidence shows that was not who he meant. Who did he mean Daniel? Who was his benchmark when he ,ade those promises? The currency trading industry perhaps? Nothing more “Capitalist” than that aye.
Governments have always passed legislation under urgency. Governments have always passed legislation that the majority of citizens disapprove of (remember the anti-smacking law?). Governments have always engaged measures to ‘protect’ their citizens, sometimes well meaning, sometimes not. But every three years you and I have a free and democratic choice about whether they continue to govern.
And while we’re at it, who gave Cullen the authority to commit economic sabotage with kiwirail, the extension of WFF, interest free student loans? Who approved of Labour’s over spending that saw their legacy as a decade of deficits, and a low growth/high interest and inflation economy? And so we did what we can do again with the Nats. We booted them out. It’s called democracy.
There was no overspending: Lab5 paid down debt and ran nine surpluses in a row. The so-called decade was a prediction by Treasury based on completely unrealistic premises.
If you cared a shit about “overspending”, by the way, you’d be bagging National for fiscally irresponsible tax cuts, and you’re a hypocrite, so you won’t.
The faeces is strong in thise one OABie
Huh? No ‘overspending’? Labour ‘bought’ the 2005 election with the interest free loans. WFF was the largest middle class welfare bribe in christendom. As for surpluses, they left a huge deficit (2008, 09), and despite what you say, Treasury were predicting 10 years of deficit funding. Finally, tax cuts aren’t ‘spending’. They are fiscally responsible ways of stimulus during recession, a recession Labour caused even before the GFC.
A Treasury prediction, you say! Based on what assumptions?
Lab5 ran nine surpluses in nine years. I’m not sure where your version of history comes from, although I note some fiscally irresponsible tax cuts in 2008.
Government spending was the same proportion of the economy in 2007-08 as it was in 1998-99. So much for your drivel.
Here’s a little pop quiz: who said “this is the rainy day the government has been saving up for”, and when?
My God you are just one slogan after another arent you. Its not free when people are being conned. You are either the conned or the conning…
Yes, what has happened to Chris? Is something being slipped into his tea? Once a rather moderate historian of the labour movement in New Zealand, he now seems to have decided on a bid to be the Lenin of our times. Very odd, but I like it. After all someone needs to decide what is to be done. Along with sipping chardonnay 🙂
trotter’s description is pretty weak. “the left are the left until they’re bad, at which point they have become right wing”. did the farrar and whale oil slip leftward today when they stuck up for dolestas against the nats’ retrospective law change?
Alasdair MacIntyre discusses the fluidity of ideas in his short history of ethics. he’s a brilliant marxian philosopher who turned Catholic several decades ago. his point in the book is that there’s no such thing as a transcendent idea such as, say, justice, but that many people have meant many things by the same word over time. I’d liketo make that point here in relation to the tterms ‘left’ and ‘right’. these terms have meant different things to different people, and all these meanings don’t resolve into one transcendent concept that sits somehow outside of history.
we really need a new discussion on power. it’s framed quite negatively in contemporary culture, but then what of divine power or aesthetic power? I raise power as a concept cos I think that power is what distinguishes the right from the left, not perverse domination. both right and left dominate perversely, but through different powers. the left through state apparatus, the right through capital. they’ve both left enormous trails of destruction, but this is to focus on the negative. if we’re all creatures of a loving God, we need to be sensitive to the gifts the people who are different from us have to offer.
so who’s your favourite tory? mine is Chris Patten, who did a world of good as the last British governor of Hong Kong…
(this is a bit truncated due to time limit, hope readers can get the gist)
Left and Right is just a convenient (lazy?) wy to divide and distract. I do it myself sometimes for the former, not the later reason.
To: Sabine Concerning Marie Antoinette
“Marie Antoinette did not loose her head because she had cake.
She did not loose her head because she liked cake.
She lost her head because she expected people to eat cake without sharing the only cake that was. She lost her head because she did not share her cake.”
Your analysis seems to me to be exactly correct
The few who have the wealth and power, whether gained by fair means or foul, are subject to the demand of the human species that wealth be shared.
As we all know, The Resources of the world are owned by fewer and fewer. Which makes the right so obscene midst the poverty, degradation and slavery they push onto the masses. Whether their names be Talley or Bill English or Elizabeth Windsor – they are Antionettes with so called divine rights.
Lots of ordinary people suck up to the wealthy hoping for crumbs from the rich table as they grovel on the floor. “Yes Sir” “No Sir” “Three bags full”
Which is why we have to read so much grovelling comment from brown nosing supporters of the Right on The Standard.
While I agree with the sentiment expressed by Sabine the historicity of ‘let them eat cake’ is dubious at best. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_them_eat_cake
The let them eat cake background is something I have mentioned here some time ago. And it is all believable.
We know from our own comments here all typed up and most of us being literate, that some people are unable of reading more than the top sentence of each paragraph. From that they fill in the rest from their own prejudices. I’ve done it myself, to my shame. And notice it frequently with others.
No wonder the story can get around about Marie A and the cake. Though it is a good line to toss in when one wants to illustrate the contempt and disinterest of the upper crust for anyone poorer than themselves. The wealth are into style and have developed ways of doing things that the hoi polloi are unlikely to know, thus being revealed as non-persons and of no standing. (You don’t use the fish knife for butter, you cut your bread slice into four then butter it, you call a champagne glass a flute, you don’t say ‘golly’ when surprised, you don’t indicate surprise as that shows you aren’t in the loop of gossip etc. Or so I believe!)
“I’m a devout capitalist because of the benefits that it has. But capitalism by its very nature causes the short-term profit focus on exploitation of the commons. I see the glaring deficiencies of it as an over-arching model, especially when people have such long lives – far far longer than the three year (or even quarterly) focus that many capitalists use. People have time to fail and recover from causes ranging from poor education, unexpected parenthood, injury or disease, addiction, or simply over-extending into failure in the way that capitalism depends on for growth into depending on the charity of their fellow citizens.”
lprent, based on this statement our view on how the political landscape should lie is fundamentally the same. I view myself as centrist rather than Left though (and certainly not Right wing as I am generally labelled here), and by Chris Trotters definition so are you… “One of the Right’s most important misunderstandings of the Left is that it can, somehow, embrace domination, coercion and exploitation – and remain the Left”, “Without this proclivity, none of the economic and social systems elaborated by armed minorities throughout history could have endured. Not the empires of the ancient world; not the feudal structures of the middle ages; and certainly not the capitalist system of the modern era”, you see, by Chris’ definition you cannot be a ‘devout capitalist’ and ‘Left’.
If you ever read what I actually write about myself, I make it perfectly clear that I personally operate somewhat to the right of any “centre”. The centre takes up most of the political centre anyway apart from the nutter fringe – everyone thinks that they are the centre. Basically I’m just the type of arrogant over-educated self-centred and sarcastic bastard that everyone I ban thinks I am.
But I’m completely uninterested in the acquisition of toys because the process of acquiring it isn’t that interesting. It is too simple a problem.
However I’m also acutely aware of the limitations of the warlord/capitalistic/aristrocratic model which seems to demand that we respect the stupid unthinking progeny of otherwise intelligent parents worth respecting. This is an attitude that defies the biologics of genetic and environmental inheritance. Generally they are dumber and less effective than their parents, usually quite a lot more.
But that particular genetic trope of parents looking out for their kids denies more interesting kids their opportunities to add to our community. It also directly leads to the violent suppression of those with talents and ideas to allow their damn kids room to become a social disease.
So politically I’m left and in my actions towards others including my own reflects that. It is basically keeping the idiots who let their biology overcome their brains under control.
My attitude is quite orthogonal (nice word) to any of the usual ethos. So I help those I think tend towards a better future for all kids. It does help that I haven’t managed to find time or a willing partner in time (ie before having kids became risky) to pick up that wee curse of humanity.
Now look through Trotter’s take on it, and you’ll find that he is is much more of a conservative. 😈
yesterday I was most vehemently attacked by one poster as being anti Labour and not attacking the National Government, enough and too left.
IF that then makes me the centre, then from many of your comments I would suggest we are not in the same centre
In general terms I think we are the same center, we just have very, very different views on how to get similar outcomes 😉
Oh, and the part where the outcomes you say “will” happen under your policy prescription, don’t. Ever. Anywhere on Earth.
I heard a report on APEC, supposed to be discussing economics, was thinking about action against terrorism. What was said about the disgraceful actions of a wealthy Malaysian businessman setting much of Indonesia’s forests on fire and causing health risks to neighbouring countries as well as locals. The locals include endangered orang outang. Where’s a responsible politician when you want one- they make them out of shoddy facsimiles these days.
NZ had cleared the entire country of its bush by the late 1800s. England got rid of almost all its forests by the 1700s. These other countries are just doing the same.
Yeah but I don’t think you want them to do you. That was then and now we have to say taiho. Or whatever that is in Indonesian and Malaysian, Chinese or Australian et al.
Yes. Good can come from the right yet don’t overlook that the truth can come from the Middle.
I wish to CAUTION the contributors to the use of the word “KEY”
May I suggest that one definition of this word is’…such that affords a means of clarifying a problem..’ I DON’T think so,
We have a “KEY” problem in our country, and that is the Prime Minister.