Private Properity and Capitalism

John K Clark (
Tue, 15 Oct 1996 12:54:09 -0700 (PDT)


On Mon, 14 Oct 1996 Suresh Naidu <> Wrote:

>Buy low, sell high, a maxim of capitalism.

A fine maxim it is too, just follow it and you will become rich, although I
admit it's sometimes easier said than done. I am also as certain as I am of
the Laws of Thermodynamics that it is impossible to do the reverse, at least
not for long.

>How many children don't get an education because they have
>to work in sweatshops in order to support themselves. India
>is a good example of capitalism running amuck.

Do you think people in India are sub human? Do you think they love their
children less than we do? The reason they send their young children to work
in factories is that the alternative is worse, starvation and death, you've
said the same thing yourself " they will do anything to survive". You want to
stop this child labor, the thing that let's them survive, and that doesn't
seem like a very smart thing to do, and it CERTAINLY doesn't seem very

Only about 6 or 7 percent of the people on this planet have what you or I
would consider an acceptable standard of living, at most one in a thousand
lives in a way we would envy, most people live in appalling poverty.
No matter how you divide up the pie, the average person is going to be living
in intolerable conditions until we get a bigger pie. The Free Market is very
good at creating wealth, if History has taught us anything it is that
Socialism is not. You have virtually admitted as much in your posts, that's
why you don't want to let me do my Capitalist thing, but I have no fear of
you doing your Socialist thing. We both know how such a contest will end up.

>I see something immoral in keeping a section of populace as
>cheap reserve labour for our needs. Like those Pocahontas
>shirts made in Haiti by women paid seven cents an hour

Would it be more moral to fire 99 workers and pay the remaining one 7$ an
hour, or fire 999 workers and pay the remaining one 70$ an hour? Yes I know,
I should pay 1000 workers 70$ an hour, but I simply wouldn't have the money to
do that because nobody would buy my shirts because nobody could afford them.

You seem to think you would be doing the Haitian people a great favor if you
could get me to junk my entire Haitian operation and fire everybody. Stop
theorizing and ask the workers involved if they think you're their friend,
but do it over the phone not in person, I'm afraid they'd try to lynch you.

>Putting up electric fences and hoarding resources with
>superior firepower is not accepted by most people.

If you are looking for a workable system in which force is never used, you
will be looking in vain forever. The best we can hope for is to minimize it.

>I am looking into starting a software co-op

I don't think software is a good candidate to a co-op. While the difference
between a good programmer and a poor one is no greater than in other fields,
the difference between a good programmer and a great one is huge. To these
prodigies your co-op will not look very attractive and you'll be stuck with a
lot of mediocre people; but give it a try, I could be wrong, the more
experimentation the better I say.

>Answering a question of who determines need: In small scale
>operations [...] Co-ops don't work well on a large scale

Then why are we talking about them? You're writing about changing the social
structure of the world, nothing "small scale" about that.

>it's quite easy to spot who's not carrying their fair share
>or is hoarding too much

Again we have the "quite easy", perhaps it's easy on Planet Suresh but not
on Planet Earth. "Hoarding" by its nature is a secretive activity, you can
only tell I'm doing it if you're smarter than I am, and you're certainly not
smarter than everyone. Perhaps I do work less than you, but that may be
because I'm smarter than you and work more efficiently. Do you really want to
discourage initiative and productivity? There is nothing "quite easy" about
all this, you'll need to have your thought police monitoring me every second.

>and to have a chat with them.

Chatting may not be enough. When you tell people that the house they have
built with their own two hands is too good for them and you have come to
confiscate it, I fear they will tell you to do things that may not be
anatomically possible. To be obeyed you're going to need an army, and a
big one.

>If you don't like it, leave the commune.

Excellent! Fine! You don't have to tell me twice! I am out of here!

>This is made easier because there is no tie to property.

Maybe not in the commune but I'm out of that hell hole.

>If one commune screws up, the people can leave and go their
>individual ways.

And my "individual way" is Capitalism.

>you can do what you want. But you can't infringe on anybody
>else. That means you can't take property and keep it from
>everybody else.

Now you're going backward. I'm not bothering you, why not let me do my thing
and you do yours? Just order your subjects not to have any dealings with me,
perhaps they'll obey freely, and if not you always have the Thought Police.
As long as I'm not living in your commune what do you care what I do? This
is exactly the asymmetry in our positions I was talking about.

John K Clark

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