Mic: You have no right to take the land of farmers away, these people work the land and therefore they deserve to own it. Why should someone who has not bought land to work on it be given it for nothing ? That is stealing, giving land to people who didn't bother with land before.
Jos: Do you know why we have laws against killing people ? We could have laws that say you can't become 40 without having killed someone. Why don't we. We don't, because we want laws that provide for a certain living environment which is most pleasurable to all, laws that are good for survival too. Take note of the technology around you. Done ? This can not survive next to violence, war and crime, it will destroy humanity. But do you like your TV, your computer and your Usenet ? If so, you have an interest in a certain kind of society above another. From there on it is a matter of designing it.
In order to have a peaceful, productive and surviving society/humanity, you need certain rules that may not always appear obvious at first glance (?). Why can you not burn down the house of your neighbor when he's insulted you ? A deep philosophical question. But here's an answer: it is just too ******* tiring to put all the fires out all the time, and it isn't good for our productivity, therefore trade and luxury.
So, what is your design for society. My design is based on *trade*: you do something, I do something, and we swap it, through the intermediary money if it is available. The reason is that we can exclude freeloaders, that is the biggest reason. Without freeloaders, we wouldn't need trade. Why do we want to exclude freeloaders you ask ? Why shouldn't we give money to people who don't work, such as private investors (perhaps you?) ? It is bad for productivity, and luxury. It makes you feel bad and angry if you work all day, and someone else doesn't but takes the fruits of your work for granted, for nothing. Such a set up does not work, literally, it is bad for all productivity.
However there is a solution: people who like great income differences and freeloading - such private investors - can be allowed by the people who don't like this. The investors/rich that like income differences and investor-free-loading, though, are to pay the price for their unfair/unequal society, it is after all they that want this `product,' buyer pays. So: private investors and people who like income differences will work for next to nothing, while the rest lives in fairness. That way everyone has what they want, income differences for the free-loaders-investors and rich, and desired equality for the rest. The people on a fair wage will then probably be so friendly to exploit the self-professed investor free-loaders and "people who like income differences", so as to grant them their wish.
Trade goes wrong when the power of both trading partners is different. For instance I make a cake and you make a bread. We take both equally long to do that work, say 1 hour of equally hard work. We meet and start trading. I say: ``I own all water holes within 3 days walking, if you give me half that bread for one slice cake, I'll allow you to get water tomorrow.'' Then we trade, and I get 30 minutes work from you (on the bread), and you get 5 minutes work from me (on the cake). Because I do this with everyone, I'm always getting roughly 8 times in effort from others then they get from me. There are about 8 working hours in a day (currently), if I work 4 and the rest work 8, I'm still 4 times as rich as everyone else. But I could work more. For that to happen you would need to take my control over the water holes away. Then I'd be forced to cut the `I'll allow you to get water' out of my trading routine, and substitute ``look at this nice cake, isn't it lovely?.''
For maximum productivity and equality-of-effort in a society based on trade, the POWER that people have needs to be EQUALIZED. If it is not equal, it is payed for in proportionally different prices (extortion prices). When there are no power differences, it is the amount of *work* (standardized, calculating difficulty, dangers etc) that is swapped equally. This is because people will try to do the most profitable work, making price for its fruits come down again. Hence a "perfect" economy has us exchange cake/bread one half for one half, assuming the work (including getting the ingredients) was equal. If cakes are more profitable, the next day there'll be 10 more people baking cakes: price comes down until it equalizes. Then people start doing just what they like most. There can be some deviations because of danger and difficulty, but these should be readily obvious. To steal meat from a lion, even if it takes a few minutes, will have a premium for danger. That is something entirely different from me holding the well-control over your head. Meat stealing is a difficulty/severity issue of the work itself which is not a "power position," the second is a "power position," no danger/difficulty involved (except perhaps criminal violence, which is neither good for society).
So, what is `owning land.' ? It is a power position. It needs to be distributed in a society based on trade, to make power as equal as possible, so that trade is equal and productivity (and psychological justice) highest. This promotes greatest luxury and peace, which equate to survival and maximum pleasure (absolutely, and for all).
Note by the way, that soil is often owned by speculators and not the actual farmers. In my proposal at least, the farmers remain farming, they just rent the land from someone else then the bank, namely individuals. This system should promote the start of small businesses, and it is a convenient way to deal - in principle - with unemployment; although in practice probably not enough, it is a start and an improvement over the present situation -- it also diffuses soil speculation, which is a lasting favorite of organized crime and speculator parasites.
Jos: In capitalism with extreme income differences, you can only be a victim or a perpetrator, or you can try to be some of both at the same time. If you are a cleaner and you work hard, and if you are an honest person, you will never be rewarded to the extend of your effort.
Mic: Then maybe you should try to find a job that pays better, or if you provide good work ask to be payed more. That is how it works: you work well, you get to demand improvements.
Jos: There is nothing inherently dangerous or extraordinarily difficult about managing companies or making financial investments. Cleaning is probably much more dangerous (for back and health). Why are the differences in income so great between low wage productivity jobs, and power jobs ? Because of the "power position," therefore the cleaner - and so many others - is being extorted out of their "actual value", and the buyer - managers, owners - get work-value for nothing except "political favors", such as "allowing" you to keep your wage slavery job, and/or "not speaking badly of you with other company owners." I agree that cleaning will probably never be one of the high paying jobs, unless people start to get more of a dislike for it to do it (and if the rich stop importing aliens to do it cheaper). But while some difference can be explained as difficulty and labor market availability, the extreme differences can only be explained by power position, people are being forced. Make the power position bad enough, and you get everything for subsistence wages (slavery).
Cleaning is intrinsically a high value product, if it isn't done nothing is done. If workers combined and employers were forced to not import aliens, the wage would become fair. This organization makes the power of cleaners better, closer to that of the bosses. I guess you're then primarily trading power, rather then trading work, which is kind of sad.
Mic: Investors deserve their income, why should they not get what workers get ?
Jos: Why is it good that people who work get money and people that don't - even cause damage and are only gambling for themselves - get no money ? Because exploitation of other people degenerates society into chaos, it makes people who do good unhappy and a minority that does bad happy. People lose motivation to work for the investors parasites/clowns, lose their fun in work and being productive. The country goes to hell. That is not in your interest if you happen to be in that country. ;-)
Jos: Bad still should be punished, and for capitalism as a whole that means bankruptcy through revolution. The individual/group reward/punishment cycle has to be applied to private capitalism, and punishment has to mean its removal, because it is intrinsically bad (`investing for private profit').
Mic: Investors give workers the money they need to work, why should that be wrong ? Why should investors not get their reward for their effort ?
Jos: `Providing investment that workers need', is investment that is being done to serve their needs. Investing is a political tool, you can either invest in me or you, for instance. If there are two sugar producing farms, you can either invest in the slave factory, where slaves are payed "not 10 whip lashes, a bowl of Greece and a bucket of water". Or you can invest in another business, where everyone gets a fair living wage; say an equal share of profit. If you provide `investment that workers need', you invest in the egalitarian business, drive the slave-owners out of work, even if that makes the price of sugar go up some. But private investors (with a brain) won't do that, because they know that the slave-factory has way higher profit margins, and is therefore more stable. Stupid investors will invest in the egalitarian business, and will soon be broke and looking for work; you can't make money reliably by being a `good investor,' and you'll always be losing big time from those that invest in companies with cheap labor. The slave-factory can deal with much lower prices then the other, it can always whip the slaves some more for little cost. Hence it will survive an economic downturn in the sugar market easier, still turning profit. Invest money in the slave-factory, make it have low prices for 2 years until the other business is bankrupted, take over the market share and double profit, then demand your investor kick-back. Private `investment that workers need' ? Investment that is at war with workers as a matter of inescapable principle, even if investors don't want it to be that way (but there is always someone else, waiting in the wings, or will be, one day ...).
Jos: When capitalism reaches its ultimate end-state, the war of all against all would be won by some people, and you end up with corrupt communism: all practical power into one hand, flowing down of course through a pyramid of other people. Under capitalism that pyramid consists of a financial control structure over the markets, and within companies from bosses to managers to workers. The financial layer constantly plays companies against each other, to find the most abusive companies to stimulate; the small businesses on the edges serve to give the impression that the system is fair.
Mic: The financial markets do not focus on abusing companies, they focus on where they can make money, they focus on where profits are high.
Jos: Exactly, and that usually are abusive and dictator style companies. A company with a dictator at the head can be negotiated with from an investor standpoint: one guy, the exploiter, offer it a deal to improve its income over the backs of whomever, especially the workers. Workers just won't agree to that sort of thing as quickly as a company dictator would.
Mic: Consumer pressure on companies, labor pressure on companies and investor pressure on companies, all are consumption pressures on companies. Why else are people investing, what good would it otherwise do ?
Jos: Consumer pressure seeks the best products, unfortunately often for lowest price. That is a great problem on the part of the consumers, and one they pay for in abusive companies, because such companies can make things for lowest prices (lowest worker costs). The system is at least fair, since consumers tend to be workers, and they'll get what they deserve. Labor pressure seeks to avoid dangerous companies and seeks high wages, normally high profit should mean high wages, and high profit comes from good products for a good price.
Investment "pressure" is in principle neutral. If it is "non-profit", it is a purely political instrument that can be applied whatever way, for a slave or egalitarian economy, depending will. If it is "for profit", it will always seek to stimulate businesses with high profit and low costs (on average). Good working conditions and good wages are cost factors from the investor perspective. Both need to be as low as possible, and that implies worker abuses. We have seen worker abuses throughout the history of Capitalism, and we've seen the demise of democratic and enlightened initiatives. For-profit investment explains that: the economy goes to hell with private for profit finance.
There is no reason to support for-profit investment in the economy, and every reason to replace it (in whole) with political non-profit investment. There is also no reason to support theft in the retail economy, that's why society tries to get rid of it. It just doesn't work well, and so it is with private investing for profit. Investing is gambling, it is not working: also from an individualist perspective it is wrong. Go to the casino if you can't get away from gambling. Maybe they can invent a game that is similar to the economy, my guess is investors would like horse-races and dog-fighting.
Jos: It is much more `democratic' then capitalism (because of resource-distribution and the freedom for democratic businesses from private finance war).
Mic: Your "freedom from private finance war" is an anti-democratic proposal. It means money goes to the wrong companies, companies the people do not want.
Jos: Freedom from finance war is democratic, because it subjects finance to the democratic will of the People. Besides, in my proposal I'm not even eliminating all private investment, just replacing it in the major league of money. Much is done just by removing the judicial support, turning investments into gifts above a certain amount, and confiscating investor income above a low amount. You can still `provide the capital workers need', as long as you don't do it for for yourself. If you want to do it, do it right, and in the interest of society. In that case, if you're serious (in my system): get an investor permit and make your case that you'll use your power for good. Maybe you'll get your permit, and can have some judicial protection for your investment money. See how friendly the system is, if you really mean well. You can make no money that way, but you might persuade the government to pay you an income for providing political investment services to the community, or do it as a hobby. It would be a job, investing would be work. Just like everything else, from cleaning to being a politician. Removing private investorism really just normalizes the economy, takes out the insanity (IMHO) and boosts the power of democracy.
Government is not evil, but `evil' can control Government. Then set up the government in such a way that its self-interest lines up with the interest of society, IOW democracy. That excludes a for-profit finance sector, which is a sector of Government become private ( = corrupt / dictatorial).
Al: Is there an alternative for Capitalism that can replace it ? Perhaps Communism or socialism ? But what are you going to do about freeloaders, and what to do with communities who like to live in a Capitalist system ?
Jos: When will people start to differentiate Trade from capitalism ? Get your head out of the American-USSR propaganda war. "Socialism" does not imply a plan-economy just because everyone says so.
Al: I know there is a difference between trade and capitalism.
Jos: Good. How do you want to deal with the freeloaders, the private Capitalists who gamble on companies in hopes of getting rich without doing the work, Capitalist Freeloaders ?
Jos: Communities that prefer capitalism are no problem at all, never were. The only problem is that the dictators that they will bring to power must not be allowed to attack other countries, and that they should restrict their financial gambling system that breeds abusive conditions to within their own borders. You want capitalism, then you pay the price. Capitalists that start manipulating other markets have their funds seized, and may face charges if caught in a democratic and anti-capitalist free market country.
Al: You want to FORCE the people in your country to behave like socialists ?
Jos: I am going to remove any and all laws that SUPPORT private Capitalism, and then I am going to REPLACE the finance gap in the economy by *political investment*, which is by definition non-profit (it is not the politician's money), and I want to keep that system under the market-pressures of free elections. Well, actually much more then free elections, more like a mix between a referendum and representative democracy. People can cast block-votes on all government issues, which is an advisory function that the state can only ignore so many times according to the constitution. Then people can organize referendums which are, of course, binding. I want, however, that the votes that are not cast, the abstentions, to be divided among the people in the representative body, and the representatives can cast these abstentions. This perfectly describes the outcome from any referendum, and never makes a referendum useless. Then I describe the power of the referendum to degenerate in time: it loses power with the same rate that people die, makes sense. This gives a legal framework for what the power of an old referendum is in the present, and how to compare it with a new referendum on the same issue.
Al: It does not bother me at all if communists or socialists set up companies or even entire cities in my capitalist nation. If they want to that's fine with me. If it works for them it works for me, fine.
Jos: Because you know that will never work. It won't work or be difficult, because the private finance sector will forever and ever work to seek to stimulate "the dictatorial, the bad" over "the democratic, the good". It takes a lot of effort to make a democratic/good business survive in a hostile finance environment, and it takes no effort to create that hostile finance environment. Therefore eventually the communes, villages and cities will be worn down.
What Capitalists will probably be less happy with, is the removal of law-enforcement of investment contracts. What the Capitalists will also be less happy with is the competition for Capital from political investment. And another is, indeed, to make Capitalism a crime, primarily punishable by loss of funds and fines. Capitalism is not different from littering public areas or causing toxic spills, such things are illegal because they damage nature; Capitalism is to be illegal because it damages the economy. I want to make it illegal to earn more then 5% of an average wage per month from selling money (loans, investments). It isn't a heavy-handed system, but should be more then adequate to diffuse the hand of private Capitalism in practice. It doesn't burn it away everywhere (causing collateral damage). It is just one more crime to the list of crimes, such as running a stop-light or theft. It cuts private finance back and replaces it with an alternative, and that is probably all that it will take.
Jos The problem with capitalist countries is that they will not likely be able not to attack other countries (openly and secretly), because attacking other countries is what the criminals that will come to control capitalist countries do.
Al: Capitalists aren't necessarily criminals, communists aren't necessarily free-loading marihuana addicts.
Jos: True, and you don't have to be a murderous maniac to kill someone. I realize that many people involved in Capitalism really don't know what they are doing. But they can be shown how it works and how what they do is not work, and come to understand and support why we should put laws in place that prevent it as much as possible, while creating an alternative for the gap that leaves in the economy. I fully realize that there is going to be corruption in such a politically run investment sector, but the money then lost as "corruption," is currently lost under the heading of "profit." Against profit you can't do anything, but corruption can at least be enforced laws against, and it be kept to a minimal loss.
Jos: Capitalist countries will perhaps need to be closely monitored as to their weapons build up, and have their excessive weapons seized and destroyed before they are able to launch war. War is the nature and effect of private capitalism, whether one is not paying "the working poor" their fair wage, or whether one is attacking another country to seize control of its oil, it is essentially both war, with the same results. (To reiterate again and again:) Private capital invests in dictatorial and abusive companies, therefore abusers of people will increasingly dominate positions of economic power, financial and industrial (implies media), which will eventually extend into the state/government. At that time, the country will be under a leadership that is so amoral that it is likely to go to war, which is not only a natural extension of the obsolete animal instincts that rule these leaders, it is also political opportunism/strategy. *)
Al: You can not confine the problem to just Capitalism. Other countries such as Socialist or dictatorships have also waged war and oppressed people. It is more likely to blame on lazy voters and the kind of people that are attracted to power within systems that don't work.
Jos: True, and so have "democracies" and Capitalist countries. It doesn't matter what a country calls itself. But capitalism is a root cause, even if it certainly isn't the only cause. Capitalism stimulates that which is already rotten. For the real root cause, check: http://www.socialism.nl/~joshb/technical_darwinism.html The animal habit to dominate power hierarchies, inbred in humanity and brought easier to power in a Capitalist environment (investments are done in dictatorial companies with lowest cost and highest profit margins: companies with steep hierarchal organizations, preferably using slave labor, which is low cost).
Al: You want to do exactly the same bad thing: "have their excessive weapons seized and destroyed before they are able to launch war", that is preventive war.
Jos: My mistake. I propose a global model that has fully sovereign nations, these nations can talk but their meeting can not decide or impose. This official meeting is never involved in waging war, preventive or other, because that would expel the attacked nation from the meeting, which is unacceptable for the future of the meeting system. The meeting can discuss, but decisions can only be made by the procedure in each country. When for instance a country masses extreme weapons and gets ready to attack another country in conquest, then the highest official meeting remains neutral, so that it can later sit in justice over the entire process, as a neutral judge (more or less). See http://www.socialism.nl/~joshb/revolution.html#global.system One of the things that countries could do is preventive attack on a country that is in possession of extreme weapons and looking to use them, or which has already used them. This is like a murderer walking around with a machine gun, what are we to do: let the maniac walk free to destroy until it gets bored, what if it never does ? But whatever happens, the official highest meeting can never declare a war, and coalitions, even an overwhelming world majority, have to go around the official highest meeting to commit their defensive action. Preventive war is certainly a bad thing in principle, my bad.
Jos: Freeloaders ? There is nothing to load, you have to work in order to have something to trade with. Nobody gets something for free in principle, and that especially extends to the private investors.
Al: The right to own things is important in trade, and it is a vital component of Capitalism. Without ownership rights capitalism is not possible.
Jos: Hence ? You can own a knife, does that mean you are allowed to use it to kill someone. You are allowed to own capital, goods, businesses, resources in my system, but that does not mean you are allowed to significantly private finance other businesses, because it hampers the market operations of the free market.
Jos: Capitalism will be replaced by free trade and democracy. If that sounds like a contradiction, that is because of the pro-capitalist propaganda war who has planted its distortions. It makes that people have a one-switch mind: either it is `private capitalism with companies in a trading context', or it is `planned economy'. Try to add another switch to your options list: `companies in a trading context with distributed resources and non-profit political investment'. Now you have 3 options.
Al: I see no reason that I would want to work for no profit. Who will own the "non profit" organizations I am supposed to be going to work for ?
You work for profit, company profit. I'm differentiating two types of
the profit from work is company profit;
the profit from investment capitalism is nefarious and to be removed. But you can't just remove finance and expect the economy to do well, especially because it invites investorism back in. Therefore I want politics and the people (through strict democratic control) to direct the investments. These will by definition be "non-profit", because the profit goes to the treasury. That's what I meant with "non-profit": a political investment group will invest as "non-profit". But you as a worker/owner of some business work for profit, the company profit.
One trick I'm looking for with these political non-profits, is to allot them a sum of money X. This money they get to invest with, and they can ask rent and profit, which goes to the treasury or back to the sum X. The politicians/people tell them to implement a certain policy, if they do that well they keep their job (they work for income, profit if you like). They can not just steal money from sum X, because if the sum X declines that is a sign they might be corrupt or incompetent. They could lose their job, or worse.
Al: The majority of economies are not purely capitalist or socialist. The USA for instance has fire departments, education, police, justice and transportation in public hands.
Jos: That is good to hear, but it seems to be declining. `They' are trying to sell things off to the finance markets: transportation, health-care. I don't think they really have a clue what they are doing, or they just don't care and are seeking quick money. There should be more order in why something is publicly held and why something isn't, currently this is just rocking back and forth without cause or reason.
Jos For this reason the Communist revolution to be global, because of the imminent threat of violence from Capitalist countries, which of course came out exactly true: Capitalist countries never seize to attack anti-capitalist countries, it is a matter of principle for them.
Al: I am a little unclear about the "free-trade" economy you talk about, it does not seem to mean opening up borders for international free trade. How do you envision it ?
Jos: I've written a lot about it; reasons, law system, implementation (doesn't render OK in Microsoft-Browser, tables are wrong and figures are missing, seems to be mistakes in M$): http://www.socialism.nl/~joshb/democracy.html http://www.socialism.nl/~joshb/constitution.html
How I envision it, well, see: http://www.socialism.nl/~joshb/david.jpg That is the visual model: the double-triangle represents democracy. In the middle is the society-model: the blue above is the "non profit political investment" system. The yellow triangles immediately below it, represent publicly held industries which are publicly held because there is no significant consumer competition feasible (such as public transportation), much of it might be infrastructure-like, power grids, sewage systems, etc. Below that in red is the real "economy": free floating businesses of whatever size that have developed from entrepreneurial effort. One key point about them: once the original starter leaves the business becomes a democracy, unless it is smaller then a size N, in which case it remains in the hand of the entrepreneur. I have proposed some rules to make this transfer to the workers smooth and fair. It won't always be smooth and fair, so there will be more common law build up around this problem, but it is better then that these businesses remain dictatorships, and grow out into an elite class of incompetent and undeserving sons-of-sons-of-sons.
Below that, the lowest triangles can be agricultural businesses, is a resource-distribution system. This means that everyone will own a resource right, which can be rented out. I've attempted to play the interests of the owner and user against each other, so that the system can work as smooth as possible. This gives people a stronger position of power, which is IMHO vital in an economy based on trade. That is the basic "vision."
Thanks for your interest, I appreciate it. It is not a fixed system, it implies/needs improvements and taste changes, and should/could be different in different countries.
-- Udall's Fourth Law: Any change or reform you make is going to have consequences you don't like.
Gish: The rules that apply to the economy are:
1. Capitalism provides those that work to be rewarded for their effort.
2. When someone wants to pay a price that a producer wants to produce for, the economy grows.
3. There is education, those who persevere to complete it become producers, they become prosperous.
Jos: Be precise: Trade allows that, Capitalism fights it. The private investors attempt to steel the rewards from the producers. You seem caught up in the plan-economy versus Capitalism dichotomy. Capitalism is not Trade, Capitalism is just a certain disease in a trade system. Trade is much older then capitalism. The capitalists pretend to be part of trade, because it works ideologically. They are hiding themselves is trade rhetoric, but they are not themselves producers.
Trade is good, because equal value is swapped between between producers, rewarding them both and excluding parasites. For this swap to be equal, both parties need an equal amount of power, because power difference translates in unfair price difference (think of robbery, monopoly, etc). A society build around trade, has to be build around the principle of equal power, which implies democracy and resource distribution.
Capitalists do not produce, they `hold a power position', which is their capital. Quite often this translates into resource hoarding and controlling management, which affords more positions of power, which can be turned into extorting value from producers against unfair prices.
Your point on education is true, but don't forget that while some people are unproductive students, others are working and producing, keeping the students alive from day to day. These others have the determination to work, which ought to lead them to prosperity. The large wage differences between people who studied more and people who worked more is probably in large part because private Capital fears the educated people more (who can easily dismantle private capitalism if they wanted to), and therefore offers them a premium on their wage to keep them sweet. This wage problem is also territorial: the workers in the western world could easily dismantle private Capitalism, therefore they get a premium on their wage and more severe exploitation is leveraged against the third world nations with less practical capacity to threaten private Capitalism. This leads to the illusion that private Capitalism is a reasonably good system for the people who receive a threat premium. This premium is also based on a power position, rather then on actual productivity, as it should be in a trade system.
Gish: Capitalism is fighting with trade?
Jos: Yes: in a trade-economy there is to be good produce because of consumer choice. That consumer choice is the pressure that keeps companies "good". But what is "good" ? It is "what consumers want", it is relative to their needs/wants. So what do consumers want ? It can be anything, it can be cheap trousers made by near-slave labor in China. It can be an economy that is more fair in its distribution of profit, so that these consumers have a greater chance to find a fair job when they look for one (the rational long-term consumer, who understands there is no future for war, crime and racketeering). What the consumer wants, the consumer gets. There is also some labor-pressure, like people not willing to do certain work meaning the price goes up or such companies are removed. This is equally good. So far, so good: this is trade.
But what is Capital ?
- it does not work (it is a casino game layered over a true economy)
- it stimulates companies abusing workers (makes for higher profit margin)
- it stimulates companies who evade the law successfully (fewer costs)
- it stimulates dictatorial businesses (easier negotiations for Capital)
- it destroys as collateral democratic businesses (money to competitors)
- it produces an elite class of free-loaders, Capitalist parasites
In short, all bad: this is Capitalism. It fights what trade should be achieving. There are two hands in the economy: labor/consumer choice, and private Capital. The hand of capital fights the hand of consumer choice.
Gish: Investors rob ?
Jos: They are gamblers, do nothing productive. But someone is paying for the bread they eat, the boats they sail; these things don't come from nowhere. They are being build, which takes effort. What do the people, the entire economy, that builds these things get back from the Investor? More market manipulations, more loss of profit.
Gish: Ideological it is working?
Jos: Seems to work on you, works on most Americans. This is probably due to a heavy dose of anarchist sympathy in Americans (wild west cowboy attitude), a certain inability to think in terms of "common interest" and "group processes." When there is no group dimension within the grasp of reason, the conclusion quickly becomes: live and let live, we'll see what happens. But recognize it or not, group processes exist. If you invest money in a group, and not another, if you invest in a slave-driver company and expect a good kick-back (while doing nothing at all in work) later, that has repercussions for the entire civilization in time. It wouldn't be a problem if investments were randomly distributed among initiatives, but they aren't. That's where these things go wrong: masses of investors, all doing more a certain thing then another. The result is mass damage, like it or not. It isn't a matter of willing or not willing to recognize a group dimension, it is there so deal with it.
Gish: What do you want to say ?
Jos: The truth, as I see it :-).
Gish: Do you suggest that capitalism is bad ?
Jos: Y E S
Gish: It is better then socialism or communism were.
Jos: Maybe, if you mean the plan-economy I say: you are right, but both are bad.
Gish: Knowledge is power in capitalism.
Jos: That is always true, especially when it comes to insider trading.
Gish: Everyone (in the USA) can get an education, therefore it is a fair system. I did it, so can everyone else. I found a way for myself, and could pay for bachelors and masters degrees from respected colleges, so now I am looking forward to a cozy old day.
Jos: You incorrectly assume that in my system chances won't be fair, that there is some kind of antagonism between my proposal, and your "equal chance" system. Because "you have claimed equal chance", I can no longer ? Is this some kind of tribal contest, pick a label but once you got one nobody else can pick that anymore, because it would confuse the fight ?
Better, I have much much more equal and continuing chances in my proposal then Capitalism. Capitalism has "the art of making money from money, without doing even management work", which is Capital investment for private Capital; that is not something that belongs in a trade economy (or any other economy). Capitalism is like a bad drug in a trade economy. What is good in Capitalism, was already good because of trade. What is bad, the reduced chances, the dead-end jobs, the power elite and its wars, that is introduced by Capitalism. Capitalism makes trade antagonistic, no longer trade between equal people leading to fair trade and mutual benefit, but a fight for capital and consumers, a fight for the Big Money in the Top Jobs, from where you can comfortably retire as long as you don't give a shit about people in dead-end-jobs, without future and hope. It is disgusting, and will not lead to good things. I note a high crime level in the US, many serial-killers and school shootings for revenge. The morality of the leaders is copied by the flock.
Gish: I did it, I found a good career and am productive.
Jos Screw tightening is productive too, something which is needed, therefore something that is to be rewarded.
Better: when we (as a society-system that tends to reward productive work) reward it, when we make the screw tighteners happy, they can open up to education more, and who knows what they will come to do for society if given a chance. They got no chance in Capitalism, because they're continually exploited to the maximum, and that maximum is simply the edge of revolution. Capitalism brings instability to the economy, always seeking the bleeding edge of profit for the investor sector and power elite.
Gish: My story is proof that it works, there is a chance to be productive and to study.
Jos: You can "personally attest". This is supposed to be representative for an economy of billions of people ? You're just one data speck, insignificant and therefore irrelevant. Use it to illustrate an argument already proved, but not as proof ...
Gish: Why should capitalists fear educated people to be dismantling capitalism?
Jos: What do you think smart people do when they feel oppressed ? They figure a way out of it, and that means removing Capitalism and getting back to a trade economy. Smart people under the yoke of wage-slavery, will work diligently, until they find what is bugging them, and then solve it to make their life better. What do you think I'm doing here ! :) Some people have no problem abusing others, and they are `upwardly mobile' in the Capitalist power hierarchy.
Gish: Capitalists look for educated people, so they can become productive and produce more income for Capitalists, how about that ?
Jos: What about it ? That is because of trade, it happens in a trade economy where profit depends on well made products/services. Capitalism follows trade here, Capitalism is like a cancer in a trade body.
Gish: Why would someone want to dismantle it?
Jos: Because there is something better: a trade economy, and the entire self-serving investment-sector enslaved to the public interest through a democratic process. You cast the word `Capitalism' (as Americans do) wide, to include trade. In your speak I would say: we change something about the Capitalist system: we bring investment capital under democratic guidance, so that it works according to the will of its new master: The People. If that isn't `American'... To do this properly, it basically means a financial revolution. I'm not looking for pretense solutions such as "guidelines for investment funds". I am looking for more then a token gesture.
Gish: Capitalism is not an illusion.
Why don't you offer an alternative, besides saying Capitalism is so wrong ? You are not productive, everyone can whine about what's here.
Jos: Reprehensible. I do nothing else but suggest improvements. Why don't you educate yourself and read my book to be released... http://www.socialism.nl/~joshb/book.html Even makes me a few bucks, thanks. :-) You judged me too soon, mistake me for someone else I guess.
Gish: If you feel so bad, why don't you move to a non-capitalist country ?
Jos: Do the capitalist countries promise not to attack it ? Can they even make that promise given history ? What have Capitalist countries done in the past, but trying to attack everything that does not support the Casino Capitalist system ? This is why the communism movement wanted a global solution, to end this international war-making on their socialist revolutions. This is why I also need a global solution, to prevent an international Casino Capitalist coalition from attacking a free-trade public-funded Europe. I don't care what people do elsewhere, but unfortunately Capitalists worldwide do care what happens here. So I have to care what happens with them too, to keep this place safe. A military problem.
Gish: And the USA is not entirely capitalist. It has some laws that stop the system from being purely capitalist.
Jos: I know. If there weren't, the system would bleed over the edge and into chaos, then possible revolution. -- Let's make peace and democracy.
Jos: If you think "the poor" are morons who don't want to work and would starve to death quickly if the rich didn't turn them into (wage) slaves "for their own good", then you'd be thinking like a plutocrat.
Gish: There are poor morons. People who work on themselves to improve themselves, will end up being better. The kind of people that show up for work at the conveyor belt to tighten the same screw all day, for years and years, and then think they deserve wage improvements are living in a dream. That is not how the system is working.
Jos: No, you live in an illusion-world if you think mutual violence and strife between people (on that level as you suggest) can be sustained into the era of high tech. Many rich have just inherited their money, they are the ultimate morons, don't even learn how to tighten a screw.
What you seem to miss is a sense of justice. If that screw doesn't need tightening, there wouldn't be someone doing it. If that screw isn't tightened, the entire business is bankrupt. Everything that happens (in principle) in a business is essential, or it wouldn't be done. If everyone is equally important, that mean from a justice viewpoint, that everyone has an equal share in the continued existence of the business and therefore its proceeds (profit).
But what that screw-tightening person shouldn't do, is not wait for a higher wage. It should go to my website, learn about a better set of rules for society, make it happen, and then look forward to a better (up to equal) share of profits. This depending on business setup. Screw tighteners of all lands, wake up, and demand your law.
Gish: Sense of justice? A representative democracy with a free trade system and an anti-monopoly police results in a "sense of justice."
Jos: Then I suppose you are on board with my system, because you just described it.
Gish: Screw-turners should get what they are worth, why do they demand more ?
Jos: What decides what a screw-turner is worth ? Its power, its availability in the markets, the manner in which businesses divide the profits. Give a screw-turner independent power or a way to escape a wage-slavery job, and price for screw-turning goes up. Reduce the availability, price goes up (trade). If you have businesses who divide profits fairly, for instance because they are representative democracies, wage goes up...
But if you introduce Capitalism: slave-drivers who employ screw-turners get all the money in the world, the people are deprived a right to own their share of Earth: fewer power and fewer options, no choice in different businesses means a low wage. How low depends on the will of the screw-turners and other victims to overthrow the current system and government, because that is of course the constant fear of the Capitalist class. That they are rounded up and put to screw-turning themselves, that's the limit of their power. In the end, this economy is not about trade anymore, it is about power and oppression, only vaguely organized along the lines of a true free-trade economy (such as I want).
Gish: I feel your laws will prevent screw-turners from pursuing their own interests. It will be impossible for them to become a boss and reap the benefits of that achievement, your rules will likely stifle progress.
Jos: You have a feeling, but it isn't like you feel. You probably associate me with the plan-economy. In my system anyone can wake up and say: hey, I have this resource right in my pocket, I can't lose it. So why don't I check out some land on which it is allowed to build something, and then build myself a shed in spare time. Having done that, 3 month later, the screw-turner still hasn't run up a debt (unlike under Capitalism, where you would have to buy land for extreme prices). So, then the screw turner begins for himself, and being a good screw-turner, makes great planks with screws to hang coats on. Pretty soon his colleagues, tired with their bossy boss, join their comrade, who then becomes the boss. At this point the boss-man can own its company for life, and retirement is payed for in a share of future profits in the continuing company and a fair sale of the company to the employees; unless the company only has 5 men, in which case he can make his son boss or sell it to another boss-man/women. If it is sold to the employees, they then elect a boss-men from then on, and can decide on some rules with the exception of turning the business into a dictatorship again. That is a void decision according the constitution proposal, because it has no use. If workers want a dictator, they can appoint one, but retain the right to remove him/her.
Gish: Nobody needs screw-turning, why would anyone need screw turning ?
Jos: Trust me, it has to be done. And if it isn't screw-turning that is the best example, take cleaning, or brick-laying, or canal-dredging, or pipe-laying, or shrink-wrapping material, fixing escalators, etc. There is always some dirty job that simply needs to be done, and in fact on which depends the life of a company, the life of a society.
Gish: People get rewards to the extend of their production, so they produce as much as possible. If more is produced, prices are reduced, if something costs to make then society wants to pay for it then society does not want that product.
What else can do that, what else can produce products for the cheapest prices besides Capitalism ? In Capitalism new workers will learn that turning the same screw all day has no future, it is a dead-end. The ones who learn will try to get better jobs, for the rest I have no sympathy
Jos: But screw tightening still has to be done, or it wouldn't be done.
What are you going to do about the Capitalist free-loaders, the people who just gamble with their money in the economy and do nothing at all useful ? This gambling with money stimulates companies that abuse workers most, because that is where profit margins are highest and costs least. The screw-driving people are the result: a dead-end job. So, what should they do, buy a gun and shoot their bosses ? Screws still need to be tightened, you can't do these people away, you will therefore have people in "dead-end jobs."
What you do, like the typical American, is confusing Capitalism with free trade. What I want is to do away with the Capitalist-free-loaders, why should they be given income for doing nothing but damage ? Why should rich people leave their wealth and business to their children who have never achieved nothing, making them the ultimate free-loaders ?
Are you in favor in principle of democratic organization above dictatorial, if possible ? Wasn't America founded on ideas opposing inherited power, such as land-lordism and nobility ? Free trade: yes! Free money: no! Private Capital gambling and inherited power: no!
Gish: Free trade belongs to Capitalism, I don't confuse the two.
Jos: Free trade is its own thing. Capitalism grew up into trade, came to take advantage of the work of others, and it has been rotting ever since, until it has now basically engulfed society and trade, turning much good in trade on its head. Trade is its own thing, it can exist with or without even money, much more so without Capitalism (private investors). The simplest thing is a swap-trade, does not involve money. Free trade is not "a part of Capitalism", but no doubt that is what the investors like you to believe.
Gish: So you admit, under your "better set of rules," there has to be people in "dead-end jobs?" How do you keep them there?
Jos: You didn't read right (or I was confusing): I meant in your Capitalist+Trade system there will be people in dead-end jobs. Under my system there are no "dead-end" jobs, because all companies become democracies and many will be continuously democracies. Power means a life, whether you turn screws or punch numbers into calculators (typical boss-man activity).
Gish: Talk is just talk, though it might sound good.
Jos: It does, and it should sound even better if you know more details. I figure this kind of stuff should go real easy with people ranging from the left-communists up to the European-liberal-right=American-conservatives, especially "the people", not so much the politicians and bankers and investment funds, since they stand to loose a lot of power. It probably won't go well with organized crime either.
What you are missing by the way: Capitalism is a failure, and no matter how you spin it, no matter how you implement Capitalism, it still is a failure. But trade is not a failure, it is a huge success. It is free trade (free initiative, free price setting) that keeps Capitalism going. Free trade has a long history, unlike Capitalism, which was for a long time but a fringe phenomenon: some lending for interest. But even in the distant past, the Capitalist phenomenon has produced the opposition of the most powerful movements, Islam, Christianity and first Judaism. These religions were opposed to Capitalism, even when it was far more crude and fringe then it is now. So, the history of anti-capitalism is almost older then modern capitalism... maybe something to think about if you're "pro-capitalism". These religions had no point whatsoever with trade, they were probably in favor of it.
Gish: Capitalism has succeeded, it makes my day. Most people in the USA like it.
Jos: The rest of the world isn't happy with the US system, and that is important because the US has its power projected everywhere. The top criminals are also happy with their business, does not mean it is a good business.
Gish: Why don't we get into the real details ? What do you precisely want to do to equalize power "positions" ?
Jos: Precisely ? That is a long story, book length. I'll list the major points, if you find them unclear or false, "feel free to ask" what I mean. It is hard to know where to start...
The Government is to be tied hand and foot to the will of the people, no more "we are chosen to decide", no they are "chosen to execute our will". The Government is in a constant dialogue with the people. See: http://www.socialism.nl/~joshb/constitution.html#toc.3 The Government ministers (etc) have a wage tied to what occurs mostly in the economy, this makes them loyal to how that wage is made higher, and the only way to do that is make everyone richer, not excluding the poor wage earners. That twill equalize the power of all people unto the Government. The Government is meant for the majority.
The same applies to businesses, they are also organizations. To equalize power inside a business, they are to be democracies. However that does not work well for small businesses, businesses that are just starting. So the democracy-rule in businesses only becomes active once the original starter leaves and a company is larger then size N (10 people). The starter must sell to employees, but it is not a free trade but to be a fair trade, so that the former employer is not duped. This will prevent the occurrence of inherited power and the growing up of a childish power elite of people who just inherited money that others worked for (their parents, and the employees of their parents). This improves the position of power of the majority of people dramatically. It takes much of the extreme strife out of the economy, the kind of strife that is based on competition between business-bosses, which is another kind of strife then that based on market competition alone. I believe this solution will do something for unemployment, as workers will have power in the larger/older businesses, may take more kindly to themselves and their unemployed colleagues (potential).
Finance becomes a tool of the majority of the people, this directly makes all people more powerful. It removes much of the (IMHO corrupt) power of the banks and major private funds, when this power is removed power of others becomes better of course. The purpose of this is also long term, to remove the influence of private investors (Capitalism) in the economy (trade), which can only lead in the long term to investments going more to abusive/oppressive companies, the kind of companies that make power between employer and employed maximum unequal. It gives democratic government a tool to implement its agenda received from the people (voting), it makes money laundering much more difficult for crime syndicates.
Probably the most unusual part: everyone gets a share of the resources of the Earth as an inalienable right. You can rent this out. This will clearly improve the power of everyone, and shatter the power of resource speculators etc. This will do much to equalize power, not in the least because it is a fall-back position in times of stand-off.
Free and Fair trade.
The whole economy revolves around trade, and trade is a free decision between two people. The economy is probably the most important part of society, so the whole society is about something that is cooperative and free, which should promote a free and fair society.
Bonus: the theory of Technical Darwinism will prove where violence and war come from in humanity, and how this is obsolete because humans have technology. http://www.socialism.nl/~joshb/technical_darwinism.html This will prove why "good" people are "good", and this could feed back into a will in the people "to do good", translated in a market economy as buying products from well-behaved companies, completing the circle of worker protection (while maintaining freedom).
Bonus: I've pioneered some democracy technology, with which you can vote and the results can not be corrupted by the person (Government) running the program and generating the results. In the more morally advanced societies this can be used to tighten public control over Government and business democracy. In the more violent/crude societies it is not useful because votes can be sold, but at least there is a goal to reach for.
The international situation is based on sovereign nations, the `international highest' entity is a no-consequences talk forum, where countries can decide to propose certain changes to the proper procedures in their respective country.
Gish: People would work until they reach 4.9 times the average, and then give up because working is no longer useful to them.
Jos: No they could go happily on unto 30 times average. You can design a government any way you want, as long as it reflect the accurate will of the people enough.
The wealth-maximum of 30 is to deny people access to money that is so massive, that it is important for the entire nation. For instance if it costs 50 billion to set up a health-care system, then 50 billion is money in the "politicians league", of national interest. I therefore say that it concerns amounts that are not to be in private hands.
Someone owning 50 billion and wasting it on luxury should get their ass spanked, because you could build a health-care with that (or provide clean drinking water, or whatever you can do with that). 50 billion to spend on luxury is sick, it is medieval. A couple of million, ok, I suppose we can be a good sport, why not. But there is a limit above which it is not funny anymore, because of what other people are suffering that they wouldn't if the money would be spend in the public interest. The luxury would rest on the unnecessary misery of others, an interesting way to enjoy material pleasure, sick too. People who disrespect the nation/community, their fellow country-men, by wasting billions on luxury, have lost my loyalty and I'd rather kick them out and let them fend for themselves in `Anarchia' (or wherever). I'm not willing to support them, and I wouldn't want to gear major sectors of productivity to the production of the extreme luxury consumers. Their "golden spoons", "swimming pools with diamonds on the side", and like nonsense.
The problem is that the capacity for money to buy happiness reduces as it becomes more. If you own 100 bucks, and that is all that you own, that 100 dollar makes you really happy. It means living for a week. Now give that 100 dollar to someone already owning a 1500, no debts and a place to live. This person could "get their eyebrows done". So this person gets their eye-brows done. "Great." But the amount of happiness increase isn't extreme, such as with the 100 dollar in the poor person, for whom it is life or death, and a sigh of relief to have 100 dollar. The 100 dollar is the same, it buys the same amount of effort in society, but it buys less if it went to a greater heap. Now give the 100 dollar to Monia. She gets her eyebrows done every month (whatever), at 50.000 dollar a piece - she flies in a private jet to NY (saw it on TV). What she does with that 100 dollar, is maybe, I don't know, buy one piece of high end chocolate ? What's the amount of happiness bought, when you are already dressed with gold and diamond, and have eyebrow-peeling the price of a small house ? It is pretty much a waste of money. If she threw that 100 dollar out of her jet and it landed in a poor home, the amount of happiness bought with that 100 dollar skyrockets. And happiness in the economy, and the total happiness on Earth, that is what an economy should be set up for, isn't it.
So I don't want to waste money, I want to put it where it generates happiness. The greatest amount of happiness bought with money, is where happiness is lacking most - especially material happiness. To stop the rich gearing the economy to their sickening toys, they are deprived the more extreme wealth in my EXAMPLE. But it is just an example system based on the 4 points of democratic government, democratic businesses, democratic investment/finance, democratic resources. If you think you can implement these 4 points without a maximum on wealth, then it would still be the basic system. The wealth-maximum is just a little extra. Maybe only for the more morally advanced cultures with a higher sense of community and unity, maybe not for the US, I don't care. It is just a detail, and details will be either this or that when you implement a given design. But what they are isn't the essence of it. The greater goal is democratic government, and a public finance monopoly.
Gish: England did something along these lines. From the point that more work just makes the Government rich, shops simply close for the rest of the day.
Jos: It is true that if people hit the maximum, they will stop working. But in my system most businesses (larger/older ones) are democracies, which means they will distribute wealth more. There aren't many bosses anymore who skim money from thousands of backs to become super rich. So it will be much harder to get the kind of money that pushes you up to the 30 times maximum. Money won't be so cheap for the suckers-up into the Capitalist hierarchy - you have to work for it and make your costumers (or bosses that would often be workers) happy. No more gambling. Go to the casino instead, at least they work for their money (in principle, not counting illegal laundering).
Gish: Then almost all businesses would have FEWER then 9 people ! Almost no successful business executive wants to work just for 5 times the average in the country.
Jos: If there are few businesses above 9 people, so what ? But probably there wouldn't, because business leaders aren't all going to care that above 9 they can't inherit it to their children. If they don't care, the monopoly is the limit. I don't mind entrepreneurs setting up major empires: if the workers can't organize themselves and do it, then they shouldn't complain that some would-be dictator does it.
Gish: Oh sure, next thing you know workers take all cash out of the company until it collapses.
Jos: And then they would have nothing, would they. So ? Point ? You prove my system will work, because workers are going to learn how to do these things well, because they are the primary beneficiaries of when it goes well, and when it goes wrong they get primarily hurt. A sure fire way to be educated quickly. Who pays for the pension ? The turn-over in the company, profit, which is created by workers and entrepreneur and/or business leader. There's really no problem and hardly much of a change here: competent business leaders simply get themselves elected as leaders, the bad ones get fired by the workers. All they have to do is be loyal to the workers and produce. They may even get high wages, it is up to the workers to decide. The good will survive, the bad will be quickly sacked, isn't that what applies to all workers, and which is to be so good about the economy ? You don't have that now with Capitalism, bosses can't be sacked by their employers (the workers). That is a problem, because bad workers need to be sacked.
Investors are not bosses or managers with a stake in a well functioning economy / business, they are parasites and stimulate the abusive and disloyal bosses who try to exploit workers to the maximum, depriving workers of what they produce in value and deserve as a consequence in return. When workers can fire and hire their boss - after the original starter has sold fairly - the boss comes under control, while the boss controls the individual workers (depending on set-up, which depends on will of that particular group of workers). This results in a power balance, call it checks and balances. Workers have a great interest in a well working company, and they tend to be loyal if given the slightest of chances. It's the bosses that are disloyal, not the workers. Workers tend to care, entrepreneurs care too because it is "their baby", other bosses don't care. Graduate side-in-streamers don't care, they only care for themselves. Workers and entrepreneurs care, and workers always care if it is their livelihood.
Gish: What does that mean for 1 square meter in the New Mexico Desert, how does it compare to one square meter of soil in Manhattan ?
Jos: What counts is economic value. Again the main point is: distribute resources. You can probably implement that in a million ways. I've tried to produce one example, which isn't easy given the complex economy of today.
When it comes to living area you are always by definition living on your own soil, you can rent additional but you don't live on other mans soil. If you live in a flat, you only have to have a tiny bit of soil checked out for living, since it is a shared area with others. This promotes reduced usage of Earth for living and hence room for nature, since resource not checked out for living can be rented for profit.
Someone who builds a house in Manhattan could charge a high price, as the markets might be crowded with buyers. But it wouldn't be soil-price, you can't buy or sell that soil because you can't keep it if it is sold for living. In practice this means the soil-price will be a location addition to the house-price, changes in size being taken/added to the recourse-right of the buyer/seller. If you move there to live then it is a given that you will "own" the soil, and if you move you lose it to someone who will live there. The high price would only be in the building, which of course has a location. So in that sense it does not matter much; it would be the same but have different names. If you buy another home that is on a large area, larger then your right, you would be cutting into someone else's resource right, and are going to have a rent-contract with that person from then on, forever, or until you stop using above your share.
Since resources are alloted on the basis of economic value, you could perhaps check out 10x10 meter of Manhattan "suitable for office-building-rent" (not living), or you could check out 1,000x1,000 prairie "suitable for cattle ranching," or you could check out 10,000x10,000 of desert "suitable for survival tours", although it is more likely that the desert is already declared of no economic value and outside the pool you can get; probably some nature reserve. Wouldn't want to cut everything up, because you need nature and public areas, etc.
Cities are highly crowded areas by definition, it seems difficult to allot slots of land there, especially if it would be discontinuous with buildings. But resource-rent is an obvious business opportunity: setting up a business that takes care of the renting-out problem that will clearly be a great burden for individuals, or just people that find this too much work. That is the whole idea: specialized businesses which take care of these problems for a fee, and if none are around the Government could jump in - it is the People who can make demands from Government in my system.
So you own an abstract "resource right", it can be anything, from a part in a fish quota, to a part of the desert, to a part of Manhattan working areas. This abstract right you can proxy to a company, which looks for something which has a user and is not yet claimed but in the pool of things that can be claimed. It then puts out the claim and the user has a month to find another resource-owner. If it can't, then you can charge rent up to the maximum, negotiate a deal. The proxy business can take a percentage or a fee for the activity. The renting business cut a deal for 10x10 in Manhattan with some office building for instance, or cut a deal with a large fishing-boat that uses more resources then it has owners/workers. Or maybe some rich dude has a golf course and uses 50 times a personal land-right, meaning he has to rent land from 49 people to be able to use it as a golf-course. Or maybe some larger part of the dessert (which seems unlikely, since it would probably be in the nature-pool, but what-if): cut a deal with a tour-guide that wants to use it for survival-games. The Manhattan and crowded cities is probably the hardest problem, in reality the office-building owner would negotiate a resource-rent contract. But who is the office-building owner ? It could for instance be a building company that hasn't sold, but has a renting department. So there are employees in this company, all of which have natural resource-rights. They can check these out in the interest of their democratic business, put them under their office buildings. That would take care of the rent issue: no rent, user and owner are the same persons.
I think this is a more fair system, because the fish in the sea if from everyone, and so is the desert, the soil in Manhattan, and the prairies. Sure one can say: it belongs to the person who is productive. So then I can say: ``now I will be productive too, give me that land you farm now, it's my turn, and I will do even better if given a chance.'' What right does a resource-user have to say, `you shouldn't.' I figure the resource-user does not have that right, everyone should have their fair and equal chance. Should the soil be owned by banks and speculators ? Even less fair then when owned by farmers. Giving each person an equal share of Earth in principle solves this problem: farmers can use their part of Earth in land freely, but if they want more then their share, they are cutting into the immediate chance of other people to use their part of Earth (which they could alternatively take by force of arms), they are using the fact that other people have not moved in to take the territory. So they could pay for using that land left alone by people working in the city.
This is not a great economic problem: the price for food simply goes up if price for production goes up by higher land-rent, and consumers have more money in hand from that rent to buy the produce. This rent would then be budget-neutral, price be higher/lower, but more money in hand of the people to match a higher price. Then what is to gain ? It removes the Capitalist anarchy, the soil speculation by banks and organized crime. It gives people a better position of power in the economy. They always have their resource-right, and if they are lucky they have some loose change in their pocket from it. Not too much, that won't work economically, obviously. But something, better then nothing. I think it is better that this money goes to all individuals, then to the bank-speculators and such professionals. Let these professionals work in resource-rent proxy companies, and work for the people instead. They can take their cut from that, but the profit goes to the individuals, the people. The resource-right is an obvious advantage compared to having nothing, to start our own business, become an entrepreneur easier.
I agree that there are some problems to solve with this, but it improves individual power of all people, it should work economically as far as the cycle of money is concerned, and it removes the Capitalist anarchy and power imbalances that induces (making trade non-free and unfair). Many farmers etc, are just slaves of the banks now, who try to squeeze them. This system, with a set-maximum rent price, would put that control in the hands of all individuals, and I think that is at least better then in the hands of banks, professional speculators, and crime-organizations looking to store their excess value in real-estate. Such a resource-distribution system would probably need some experimentation and problem-fixing, but given a will I don't think it is impossible, especially since it would be a business sector (primarily) run by professionals. With the help of computer-accounting systems, it probably could be made to work. What alternative is there, Capitalism with its natural-resource anarchy doesn't work, Communism with its everything-nationalized doesn't work either. So go for the third option: fractional distribution. Why not. It is already fractional now, just not distributed fairly.
Too bad land-distribution isn't a long-standing tradition, it would have been much easier in a simple farming country. To implement it, it is probably useful to start small and with obvious things such as farming. Basically nothing would change much, farmers have rented soil for ages.
Gish: Only trade between two people, so businesses with more then 10 people will be unable to trade ?
Jos: Between two entities, don't be a pain.
Gish: I never said that Capitalism promotes aggressive business venture and elbowing. It's just the case that the guy who produces for the least costs wins the game.
Jos: Yes, but look closer: not only is this done by consumers, companies that produce cheap are also popular with investors. So the cheap producer wins both: the greedy consumer contingent, and the investors (who as a matter of competence have to invest in cheap producers, since that's where best returns are made in principle). I can't do much about the greedy consumer, but I can do something about the investor: nationalize it, so it becomes non-profit. Then investment can work to relieve the pain the greedy consumers cause in certain workers, rather then making it worse.
There is a vicious circle with Capitalism: Capital goes to cheap producers, cheap producers have low-wage workers, low-wage workers have not enough money not to choose for cheapest products. So you end up with a lot of companies that have low wages (and in the past this extended to having little children work themselves to death in factories, which explains Communism/Socialism for you). But there is no need nor is it fair to have so much cheap labor working for private investors: private investors don't do anything useful in the economy. Big money is thrown to the dogs, the private investors. I don't see what is hurt by removing this, it even gives the private investors a chance to search for a decent job and learn something that matters. Like I said: Capitalism is like a bad drug in the economy.
Gish: I guess some strong competition could be the result of this, but if you prevent people from generating their opportunities to produce cheaper and a higher quality product you end up with more struggle.
Jos: In a trade system cheaper is always better, but in a trade system an activity becomes more rare once the wage for a certain activity drops below average. Then people want to be elsewhere. In modern Capitalism things have gone so much out of control that this normal trade effect is barely noticeable anymore. Trade is being crushed by unequal power and the long term effects of money gambling, which promotes unequal power, all kind of vicious circles in Capitalism: wage<->price<->wage, Capital<->wage<->Capital. It keeps the economy in a state of disease.
Gish: It works that way, and it works. First you have nothing, like me. A worker is a machine, a good that can be traded. So you want to be a valuable machine, one that works well. The worker wants to get most income possible, and the employer want to give the worker least possible. If a worker remains stagnant in its abilities, they don't become worth more to employers, they made that choice. There are a million stories of people who made it in the Capitalist world. This is the problem in socialism, socialism is holding people back, prevent them from making themselves worth more and be more. That's what made socialism fail.
Jos: There is story after story of how people became successful in the Mafia. So the Mafia is good ? It is a "fair chance for everyone", so "if you don't make it, blame yourself." And indeed, that is how it is. So why shouldn't we all join in. [[You can not compare my system with old style socialism with a plan-economy, my system has free markets and free initiative - even more then Capitalism. You can and are expected to "make it" in that trade economy. You can get rich, you can end up lazy and poor, just the familiar operations of trade in a trade economy.]]
The economy is different from Mafia infighting, a trade economy is not ideally a race to a top, it is a race to balance. When you do something and I do something, I demand equal value back from you: balance between us two. When something is profitable, people go do that, satisfy the market, price comes down: balance between all is restored. Some people remain doing it, and become real good and efficient. And there is a major problem with your Capitalist-anarchy-sucking-up-to-Capital investors and their entourage system: when people become efficient at, say, cleaning toilets, it is great that they are efficient, they should keep doing it. Makes sense, they do a productive and extremely valuable work (without which countless disease would ravage the country, people would go puking from room to room from the smell, etc). They are well versed and highly experienced, which makes them per toilet faster, cheaper and better then any other startup-cleaner. That is the problem with your game: in your system almost everyone eventually wants to get into certain specialty jobs, which make a lot of money, probably because they involve a lot of power. But such jobs are specialties in their own right, such as management, and what you need in them is the actual specialists. But if they are so high-payed above their fair economic value because Capital loves to promote abuser-bosses for instance, competent or not, all you get is fortune-seekers, not the real natural talents for management. You economy becomes degenerated, the boss just a useful idiot-dictator in an empire in which there is no free-trade seeking its balance. What has gone wrong, is that the boss can not be fired for being a bad boss !
The boss is all-mighty, and the rest must lick its toes. That has nothing to do with what a trade-economy should be doing. If I could force you to buy my produce (being non-removable boss), but I could reject yours (worker hanger-on), needless to say you need to sell me at a fraction of your true fair value (equal effort, quite precisely actually). It's like the king and a subject: subject gives all for the right not to get its head chopped off. Great sale ? Sure. A free market striving for balance ? Not exactly, IMHO.
You should get everyone going for the boss-positions if they are so high priced because there is apparently a scarcity for competent bosses, until they are filled and price comes down. Then eventually only the specialists will remain, who are most efficient and produce high quality. But how do you do that ? Simple: introduce a system that makes being-boss just another job, susceptible to hire and fire. How ? Democracy, democratic inheritance. The workers then hire their boss, and can fire him/her. That puts bosses to the test, as everything, every product and every service, should. Entrepreneurs are also put to the test: they started with nothing and build something up, that was their test. Once they are gone, a new test is required for the boss, and that is best judged by those most involved and most hurt/rewarded by how the business is doing: the workers, the majority.
Gish: You might think that people have just one chance to make it, but ask those that have done it, became rich, the winners: did you win by one lucky shot ? You get the answer that they tried a million times, that is how it is for most winners in society.
Jos: This seems to be a different subject, namely the subject of whether it is allowed to destroy/kill/exploit other people, as long as everyone in the pool had the same chance to become the top dog. Is it OK to be a dog, if everyone has a chance to be a dog ?
My answer: all that belongs to the era of wild-animals, then we needed to fight with each other so to find the best breeding material. If we hadn't even thrown a stone, and you were big and strong and therefore the Top Dog; then you better have all power, food and pups, so that the next generation of dogs better fight with hyena packs, better at taking a bigger deer down. And there is no choice, other animals do the same thing, it is a multi-million year arms race. In dog society, all dogs have equal chance to become Top Dog, and constant infighting makes sure the best is really on top.
Humanity is different now, not only in what it needs which is not bodily violence/strength but getting competent work done, and it is also different in chances, because there barely is a realistic chance for almost all people to become Top Dog even if they were best. So the current fight for Top Dog position (in which fight you say you have advanced some) is both about the wrong subject, and it is extremely unfairly "done." I see it as a degenerative activity, it isn't the force of direction of humanity, but a phenomenon that is dying out and destined to sink away in crime, prison and extinction. Still it is making much of the headlines, but that doesn't mean it has a future.
Gish: Consumers greedy ? Nationalized finance ? Who gets to direct the investments ?
Jos: The democratic enslaved government decides what gets invested in.
Gish: Nobody wants to invest if there is no profit to look forward to, why would anyone ?
Jos: Because doing good in the economy makes voters happy and keeps politicians in their job. Having a job means having an income, politicians therefore want to please voters. The money, profit and loss are all to the Government, an individual profit or loss mean little, inflation and how the economy is doing (how the people are doing), that means everything.
Gish: You don't make sense...
Jos: I'm making sense, though inventing a new constitution isn't always easy. The part about public finance is the easy and obvious part, it is the part about resources that is difficult. So I also want to implement that last, and leave it open until after the other things are done (public-finance, democratic businesses), so that it could be a tender and careful process/attempt.
Gish: Investors produce potential in the economy, they generate jobs.
Jos: Investing would be done in the public interest, job opportunities wouldn't be accidental or exploitive as under private capitalism, job opportunities would be a natural goal of the investments. The investments are non-profit, because profit is not the point of political investment (pleasing voters is, or better: executing their orders). If the people need more jobs, they order the Government and politicians are looking to make that real, using investment for instance, even if that costs some money. Which means there is much more capacity for creating jobs and opportunity for workers, it does not even have to turn a profit for the investor.
Gish: Private investors know what is important.
Jos: ``Themselves, /screw/ everyone else.''
Gish: Communism and socialism forces people to screw screws all day, it is better to give people a way to advance themselves and become rich. All your ideas only work if you pressure people to work for you.
Jos: In my system people have a resource-right, in Capitalism they have nothing. I'm forcing nobody to do anything.
Gish: Do you want removal of inherited wealth?
Jos: Well, not exactly. I want to do away with inherited business power, with executive power in businesses, for businesses larger then 10 people. I don't want to do away with inherited money or property, because 1. it is hard to do, not always fair and mostly irrelevant in my system because 2. property is already limited to a hard maximum of 30 times average wealth for all. You simply are not allowed to own more then an amount N times average, this N is in the constitution and will/can be different in different countries. In my economy, you make money by working for it, rather then gambling in the economy or extorting powerless workers. This should automatically translate in a much more equal distribution of wealth, because I think wealth follows power. Distribute power is distribute wealth, which is more fair.
Gish: Lobby the Government, ask whether they will impose 100% Capital tax, a death-tax on Capital.
Jos: I have no law for inherited wealth in my proposal, because I don't mind it since the money can't be used for gambling anyway, and the money won't be a matter of national health either, since it won't be too extreme.
Gish: These "better set of rules for society", what are these.
Jos: http://www.socialism.nl/~joshb/constitution.html I'm posting this 1 chapter a week in alt.politics.communism.
Gish: jos -> ``How do you propose doing away with "Capitalist-free-loaders?"''
Just ask for a 100% taxation to collapse the capital, win the vote in government.
Jos: I have already lobbied most political parties, to suggest my system, which has a death-tax for wealth above 30 times average (by default, you can change that). But this death-tax is not enough to get rid of private investors. Therefore I also make all investments above 25% average wealth gifts, so that a lender/investor loses all protection from the state for its nefarious gambling game. It is ridiculous, isn't it, that the money of the state and public, is being used to support the damage the Casino Capitalists do to the economy. That is like if you want to rob a bank, the police will smash the door in for you. How does that help anyone, what does this Capitalism have to do with public democracy ? Then, least as important, I want investments to be done by the public for the public, so that the finance hole in the economy is filled up with something that prevents Casino Capitalism back in.
Gish: Be exact in your answers if you can. Then we'll find out where it fails, it fails every time.
Jos: no problem, the more details the better. The only problem is the volume. I hope you find a flaw, though I don't think you will. If you do, I can correct my system and make it better, that would be great. What do you mean with "every time it's tried" ? This system hasn't been tried before that I know, although many points can be found in various systems that exist(ed). A true free economy, with companies becoming democracies after entrepreneur leaves, with distributed resource right and a public funding monopoly. I don't know of any such attempts, although there have been similar systems. Moses did something similar with anti-capitalism and resource distribution (acc. to the ancient texts), Yugoslavia had its self managed companies system, land-distribution has long been a favorite hot item the world over. Every time something is tried (such as Capitalism, which fails every time unless you're in with the exploiters and don't care about anyone else), we learn more.
Gish: So Capitalists are "dogs". Where did I hear that before.
Jos: I'll also happily call criminals dogs, so why not Capitalists. They are only in it for themselves, are unproductive and cause massive damage (and wars). I already said it would be great if they join in for real work, and besides I love dogs.
Gish: ``All are equal, but some are more equal then others ...''
Dude, I'm done with this. Use your freedom of speech to go on if you like.
Jos: I have you in the bag, and you know it. Cya.
Jos: For centuries now, economists en-masse refuse to acknowledge the simplest of conclusions: the private finance-sector is a hostile factor in a free trade (free price setting) economy.
Pet: Why don't you go on and explain to us here how mutual banking contradicts private ownership of the means of production ?
Jos: Public banking is not opposed to private ownership. Public investing is not opposed to private ownership. Natural resource distribution is not opposed to private ownership. Democratically inherited businesses are not opposed to private ownership. A maximum on wealth is not opposed to private ownership. I am not opposed but in favor of private ownership. But not of everything, only the things that it works for, not the excesses and not the wrong sectors (such as investment finance and resource speculation/hoarding, or inheritance of business empires).
Rinl: Private ownership works where ? How come that it works there ? Why does it not work in the area of investment financing ?
Jos Rinl, private ownership works in a trade economy, where people own what they produce so that they can swap this with someone else, who also owns what he/she has produced. The swap is to be based on agreement, and then benefits both players. This method is important in order to prevent people who do nothing to get access to the products/services of people who work. It is also useful to keep a measure on things. In tight-knit groups it becomes less important, as extensive social familiarity with your trading partner, and an ability to ask someone to work, can render the formal trading ritual superfluous. Trading in such small groups tends to have a more virtual character "I did that yesterday, now you must ...". It is still trade, but less formal.
In a larger scale you get people searching for products to produce that others want, especially those that other people want badly because these are worth more because of the market competition. If there is a shortage in the market, it is filled up quickly. The free trade economy seeks balance in products and services, and it also seeks balance in how wealth resulting from the produce is distributed among workers. It turns out that when you work, the value of the products eventually becomes the amount of effort you put in. This can be shown by the fact that people will seek to make products that are easy to make and expensive when sold. The machines only have a temporary effect, until their use becomes permeated. The use of machines does not alter the seeking of balance in the trade economy, the products/services- and wealth-distribution.
Private finance is a completely different phenomenon, there are many reasons why it has no place in the free trade economy.
When I own 1.000.000 money units, and give them to you, it is as if I give you a machine. I do no work whatsoever when you use it (1). Why can not every one have such a machine, to equalize use and bring prices down ? If everyone had a "big money lending machine", the value of money would collapse. High end finance is by definition a monopoly-business(2). Monopolies subvert the markets, because they do not just trade their own "effort" `if you can do it cheaper you will and price comes down', they have a power position. With monopolies that is one or a few sellers. Therefore monopolies are either broken up, or they need to be run by a democratic committee of consumers/workers, so that the POWER POSITION inherent in monopolies, is not exploited against the natural balance that the free market seeks.
Private finance is not a neutral player in the markets, that makes funds available to the best companies. Because, what are "the best" companies ? In the eyes of investors, the companies that produce most return, profit. That tend to be companies with low wages, so that's where the investment money is going. The private investment money stimulates companies that evade the law successfully (fewer costs), and that are as close as possible to slavery (fewer costs) (3). Private finance stimulates dictatorial companies, and history has shown that only dictatorial companies can survive in a free trade economy with the Capitalist investment game layered over it. Private finance will fear to invest in democratic companies, or profit sharing companies. There are several reasons: if there is no company dictator, there is nobody to leverage against the workers, to extort workers more and turn a profit. Another reason is that democratic businesses stimulate the power of workers who do not share an interest with the private financiers for the maintenance of certain law and capital privileges. Workers who work, rather then investors who gamble, have an interest in public-funding, the removal of private finance, and a return to balance in the economy. Free and democratic businesses are not only a direct financial threat and bad choice for investment, they are also a political threat.
What clearly has to be done is to make certain that finance /is/ directed in a way that suits the people. Private finance can not do this, but finance directed by that will of the people - democracy - can. Then finance can be used in response to the people's needs. Clearly private finance is a threat to public finance, which is the final reason to remove it (4).
1. Private financiers are not productive, they abuse a power position.
2. High Private finance is by definition a monopoly business, which therefore needs nationalized.
3. Stimulation of law-evaders and dictatorial businesses.
4. Threat / subversion to the will of the people.
Capitalists have long proclaimed their allegiance to democracy and the free markets. They should put their money where their mouth is: concede to democratic government, and leave the free markets to be what they are.
Rinl: Can you provide a pointer to a research project that proves investors to invest in `dictatorial businesses' ?
Jos: No, but I haven't looked into studies. If there are studies, you would need a control-group, but in a trade economy with the Capitalism game placed over it, there is no group of companies not under the influence of private finance. Unfortunately the USSR etc, tried the "plan economy", so they don't provide a control either, to see what investors are doing compared to a control.
But if you think a little, you can see without (limited) study data that investors who are to be successful in the long run, will have an appetite for businesses with low costs. A low cost in the company automatically translates in a high profit margin in the business. Every dollar spend in wages can not be spend in profit for investors. I would be curious to know if you have a counter-argument to that investors seek low-cost companies - an argument with logical substance, not a few examples. There are always examples for everything, it is the bigger picture that matters.
If there is an empirical study, it is the history of capitalism itself, which is rife with abuse of workers, continuing to this day. Today many companies move to "low wage countries", China, India. This is often not in the interest of the majority in these companies (workers), who are laid off. So it is in the interest of management and investors, investors who keep management sweet by giving them high hourly wages. (Such wages aren't even high if you look at it from an investor perspective: a manager at least still works 40 hours or more a week, so its income is not infinite per hour. But investors don't work at all, so their hourly income is by definition infinite (income/time).)
Can you show a mechanism that proves/shows why investors will have an interest in promoting profit sharing and democratic business relations in industry (equally convincing/effective as my argument with respect to where the gambling profits are to be made) ? I guess if you're not unwilling to see the problems in Capitalism, you'd have to agree that most investors in time will seek companies with low costs. It is crazy not to.
Rinl: If an investor is not to look forward to the best return on an investment, the best profit to get, then what should he be looking for ?
Jos: They should expect their game not to last forever, because the workers / producers will one day be fed up with paying huge amounts of money to people who do only damage and are exploiting them with their game, subverting the true operation of the free trade economy. They should expect to lose their gambling money (game over), and to be looking for a true productive job that someone needs and pays money for (trade).
In a market, services and products are to be traded between producers who own and manage themselves.
There is no use for allowing a market that trades companies.
Trip: Why, can you please explain?
Jos: Once you have companies and costumers that trade between themselves, you have achieved job specialization, a method of distribution the products to productive people, renewal in the economy from fresh startups, lazy and incompetent companies get a kick in the butt while hard working businesses are rewarded, you have a level of autonomy and self-management in the economy which is good for power distribution.
You have all these things already, if you remove the market that trades companies themselves you loose nothing there. What ``trading companies'' does is remove the self-management of the company from that company, because only if you own something can you sell/trade it, and if you own it you manage it. Trading companies costs the company their self-management, for no valid reason. If you can not direct yourself, your life will be less worthwhile, you'd be a tool for someone, part of a machine, a component. Selling companies produces a confusion in the markets, who owns who, who owns `us' (the workers), additional economic volatility. Workers are in the end not only deprived of their power, but also of their income, since they are always under the power of the owner. If workers have the power in the company, they will make sure they get their fair share, and are likely to see to it that the Company becomes a democracy. There is nobody else besides the business starter and the workers who has a right to direct the company anyway. The starter for starting, and the workers because they are the company, both of whom have a vested interest in keeping the company going well; it is their livelihood (and presumably pride and joy, especially when they manage it).
Allowing a business starter to sell its company to just anyone is what can result in the superfluous ``trading companies'' layer (over-stretch). However, by removing ``trading companies'' you remove the possibility of the business-starter to sell its company to anyone else but the employees, such a forced sale is likely to be on the cheap at the detriment to the starter. If you want to remove that layer - as I suggest we should do as soon as possible - you have to make laws that weigh both the interest of the business starter and the workers.
My proposal for such a law is the sale to the workers can only happen when there are a certain minimum number of workers, and that the sale is to be fair (not free), involving a cut out of future profits for the business starter of a value above a legal minimum. A sort of `legal minimum wage' for the business starter. With such a law in place, the market over-stretch of selling businesses is removed, and workers are working in their own companies: managing themselves and making sure the profits get divided fairly and evenly. All needed market functions proceed as before, there is only a benefit to democracy and the happiness in the people. Even the business starter may in the end not loose out (much). Because of the interest in future profits, the business starter who sells to workers retains an interest in the proper functioning of the business, and may act as an adviser in its own interest ...
An economy is defined by the law, good law = good economy, bad law = bad economy, little is `natural' about an economy. So let's make good laws, and have a good economy.