quote:Originally posted by umbrarchist:
Garbage is a higher class of trash. Like an empty tin can that used to contain caviar versus an empty tin can that used to contain tuna.
Have you gone elitist on me now?
quote:Adam Smith advocated a system in which each individual pursuing his self interest resulted in what was best for society as a whole. But Adam Smith did not live in a world of planned obsolescence and Freudian marketing techniques. The self proclaimed cpitalists in this society hold up Adam Smith as their Lawgiver (see Planet of the Apes) but they don't talk about how much this pseudo-capitalist system is different from what Smith was talking about.
True. Capitalism doesn't sound that bad in Adam Smith's original envisionment of it. Adam Smith, although a capitalist, was actually pretty socialistic in heart in many of his views. He believed that people would be able to use capitalism to benefit society as a whole and he had a real disdain for businessmen and aristorcracy. However, he also distrusted the people, he believed that capitalism could be properly used by "enlightened statesmen" and "philosopher kings" to aid the people.
That's where I depart from him, he had a naively altruistic view of educated bourgeois intellectuals and an overly skeptical view of common people.
quote:China has problems with corrupt officials taking bribes and making policies to enrich themselves. They have executed some of these people but it persists. An ideology doesn't change human nature.
Of course. I'm not suggesting that it will. Like I said, socialism could work even if everyone decided that they hate everyone else. Perhaps humans will never be altruistic (although I personally believe human nature can certainly be improved from the point where it is now), but it doesn't need to be for people to help one another.
quote:The socialpsychology of the culture has more influence on how people behave than the ideology. The Amish have a somewhat communist society. If someone's barn burns down they get together and bring the materials and work to build another barn. This is more efficient than paying insurance companies. In a sense capitalists are afraid of socialists because they don't want people cooperating with each other, that reduces their power.
Of course, that's why all upper-class capitalists hate socialism. It threatens their power hegemony and monopoly capital. That's the hidden motivation behind all their anti-socailist rhetoric and policies. What's really interesting is that they have convinced a sufficient amount of the labor population that they share the same interest as the employees and that resisting socialism will benefit them too.
quote:In a way I am talking about going back to Adam Smith. In order for people to serve their best interest they need to understand accounting and something about technlogy and some psychology would not hurt. We need a society where individuals are more aware of the power games that are going on. Theoretically our educational system could do this but I think it is used to play the game on students rather than help students become better players. They are taught that their goal is to climb the corporate ladder rather than to defend themselves from the corporations that are scamming them.
Since the internet provides us with a technological Matrix to fight the EuroCorporate Matrix I chose to go to battle in the global mind war.
Haha, so you're like a puritan capitalist, sort of?
While I respect your view (I certainly respect it more than Neoliberalism), I respectfully disagree that it would achieve it's goals. I still feel that it would leave room open for a resurgent capital class to monopolize power and wealth and return to the old current system. It's in human nature for people to protect their amassed wealth and exploit others with it to gain more if the system allows. Adam Smith's ideal capitalism would require business owners and business leaders with the morality of saints and a very educated population (but then again, so would ideal communism so I'm not in any position to point fingers). lol
In many ways, my views are probably not so different than yours. You'd be suprised how similar capitalists and socialists are when it comes down to key issues. My only departure from Adam Smith's ideal capitalism (as was Marx's and Bakunin's) is that owners are not neccessary. I think it would ultimately be a better deal for the employer-employeee dichtomy/dualism to be abolished. Socialists and communists such as myself don't wish to "rid the world of bosses", I wish to make the boss and the worker one and the same thing.
It's interesting that you mentioned the Matrix, many people see the Matrix as a pro-commie movie:
quote:Some academics have argued that the Matrix series is consistent with a Marxist analysis of society. Professor Martin Danahay and then PhD candidate David Rieder co-wrote a chapter of the best-selling book The Matrix and Philosophy: Welcome to the Desert of the Real (ISBN 081269502X ) in which they argue that the movie gives a visual image of Marx's ideas, particularly in the scene where Morpheus tells new recruit Neo that the computers have reduced him to nothing more than a battery.
Being slaves to the machine... "Humans in The Matrix must produce electricity to run the machines that enslave them, just as workers in Marx's analysis must produce surplus value through their work," Danahay explained. "Also, the rebels in the movie liberate Morpheus from an office, and they rescue Neo from his white-collar job. The rebels are trying to get workers to wake up and realize they are being exploited, which is one of Marx's aims, too.".
Danahy and Rider also argue that rebellion against the machines' domination is an analogy for the modern-day workplace with the evil agents dressed like corporate executives, and Neo escaping from his cubicle to escape them. When he ambushes the evil agents later in the movie, they are in an office high-rise complete with impersonal decor. (Source: Arlington Star-Telegram, June 10, 2003).
Similarly, the Maoist International Movement has adopted the Matrix as one of its favourite films asserting that they "could not have asked for more in a two and a half hour Hollywood movie" and views it as an exercise in dialectics in which a new mode of production is explored, the "battery mode of production". 
The youth wing of the Russian Communist Party has also embraced the Matrix and its sequels with youth wing leader Oleg Bondarenko asserting there is "no difference" between Neo and Lenin as revolutionaries.
There are also elements of conspiracy theories. Similar to John Carpenter's They Live, the Matrix is presented as the 'System', which secretly controls everything and which, according to the theorists, will eventually consume everyone. In the Matrix, high positions in companies and organisations are held only by those who are part of the System (programs, like Smith or Ramakandra). The Agents are those who uphold the 'order' and keep the 'conspiracy' safe, like the Men in Black of pop culture.
Furthermore, the city of Zion is a communist city as it must be to allow the humans to survive. No form of money or commerce is ever seen, the public has access to food and facilities. The citizens share tasks and labor is volunteered as seen by Zee's shell making and no entity steals the labor of others. This is seen by some as primitive communism and by others as state level communism.