Re: ECON: What Jim Legg doesn't understand

J. de Lyser (
Mon, 03 Feb 1997 19:51:03 +0100

What Jim Legg DOES understand is that our current system of production and
the WAY in wich it is valued, is rapidly changing.

I doubt if the system he proposes would work, as few people would be
inclined to become more productive, as they would know anyway it wasn't
going to do them any good. Viewed in this way, he may be a neo socialist,
leftist etc. But viewed from the RATIONAL point of view that value in
Money, isn't allways the same as the effective or real value, he offers
some interesting points for discussion.

The Real value of production.

Occupating oneself with production of goods and services that are not
neseccarily meant to increase ones wealth, are important for society in two

1) The enrichment of your personal individual development. (note that this
includes, science, memes, and possibly this list :-) )

2) The productions that aren't commercially exploitable straight away, but
that carry the seeds for the possibility to become so. (note that this
includes research etc.)

Any system that ingnores these, or has a low tollerance and high barrier
levels for personal, and individual initiative, is doomed to halt progress.
Not seeing the benefits of your production does the same in a socialist
society, but not having money to begin with, to start initiatives is a very
severe limiting factor in a capitalist society.

Being a slave of money, spending all ones effort on gathering resources can
severely limit the individuals personal development, in other areas than
the area of production he is asking money for, and the chances he has, of
ever commercially exploiting one of the other areas.

In fact the current system thrives on specialization to a point where it's
influence on the individuals development can become questionable, and
possibly counterproductive to society as a whole.

Jim is very right in observing that what he calls 'a ruling class' are
people who have the benefit of exploring these other areas better, as their
wealth allows them to do so. Whereas they don't really need to (for reason
2 that is!), as they have already found a succesful way to provide for

Secondly, Jim has observed correctly that the value of goods and services
is shifting from value expressed in money, to more abstract definitions of
that value. The Internet probably serves as the best example, (freeware,
and making information available for free, but also various copyrights
violations.) Many types of businesses will find they cannot compete with
free services offered on the web anymore, as the quality of the free
services offered is often higher than those of the commercial services.

Whatever happens, our capitalist system is changing, and to ignore that, is
just as 'tradidional or shortsighted' as calling Jim traditional or

Personally i prefer a free market sytem, but i would refrain from saying
it is the 'perfect' situation, and that problems that exist are not
structural with regards to the system, but incidental. Anyone who does is
ignoring the roots of certain problems in society. Never would i say that
there is no room for improvement, even structural. I think doing so is very
dangerous, as contentment often kills inventiveness...

J. de Lyser.