Re: The Poor Masses

Suresh Naidu (
Wed, 16 Oct 1996 10:16:24 -0400 (EDT)

Suresh Naidu
occaisonal student
math 1a, computer science

Ask not what your brand name can do for you,
but what you can do for your brand name.

On Tue, 15 Oct 1996, John K Clark wrote:

> 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
> humane.
> 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.

Capitalism is better at centralizing wealth. The thing is, capitalism
doesn't CREATE wealth any better than any other system, that will always be done through
ingenuity and innovation and better resource gathering methods. In our
blessed capitalism, we have enormous waste on one side, while the other
side isn't doing quite as well. There is plenty in the pie for all. The
problem in the world is not lack of wealth, it's waste of wealth. All the
resources that go into making a sonic toothbrush that is only cared for
by people with money to burn are resources that could be better put to
use. We also have severe food waste problems here, like McDonalds , while
people are starving. We may have to adopt a more environmentally friendly
lifestyle, but that's what technology helps us do, but we wouldn't have
to scale down the standard of living. Everybody can have the same access
to wealth. The people in the Third World have more of a power imbalance
than a food shortage. Why is the alternative worse? That's the question.
Libertarians say that everybody can make choices, but doesn't take into
account that some people have choices that suck more than others.

Same thing in the soviet union. Created plenty of wealth, but wasted it in a system that was very
bureaucractic and elitist.

> >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.

No, because in the free market, that's the only way they can eke out a
living. Like I said, everybody has choices, just some have choices which
suck. Why can't they start a union? Because they'll all be fired. The
alternative, starvation. Why?

> >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.
So you think Libertarism will minimize force? The foundation of the
system is that people should be willing to use force to defend their

> >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.

Yeah, I'm afraid of that. But there are so many brilliant programmers
here at UW that just will not work for a company on a full time basis.
They hang around the CSC and watch Anime, because they don't want to start
a business, and everything else sucks. So they hack Linux kernals for
fun...In my software job, I only get to write objects for other
programs (this could be because I'm only frosh). Many programmers resent
that, and like to write entire programs for themselves. By coordinating
themselves, they have a lot more freedom. Top-notch programmers might
like not being told what to do. I really have no
idea. But I think we'll start by writing some good software for Xwindows.

> >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.

When I mean scale, I mean size. A huge corporation is large scale, a
small business is not. A coop is egalitarian, so it is hard to coordinate
activities around the world, because everybody gets a say. Since
descisions are made to be as close to consensus as possible, it is not as
time-efficient, but that doesn't matter, because if everybody owns the
business, they will do whatever it takes to make it better. However, the
first priority is making sure eveyone has a say, not profits.

> >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.
No, but everybody, I guess, is a Thought Police, because when you screw us,
we want to know. It takes a lot to screw

> >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.

Why would you do that? If a person builds an energy efficient house without
taking too much resources from everybody else, we'll be the first to
applaud. We won't confiscate it, in fact, if it's a great house,
then we'll all pitch in and help everyone get a good house too.

> >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.

So your way involves fencing off territory that belongs to everybody. So
you are a thief, and are thus infringing on our rights
in the commune. Of course, if you don't hurt anybody,
then squatters rights are respected. You can live on territory and be
self-sufficient, but you can't overfish, poach, start forest fires, and
enslave people. If the commune finds out your doing this, they'll get
angry. Hell hath no fury like an anarcho-syndicalist commune scorned.

> 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.

Yeah, so you can enslave the people in your business, preach to them
about the evils of "those commie scum" and keep them in such a state of
fear that they'll work for whatever you feel nice enough to give
(crumbs). You can do your thing, but so can everybody else. In order for
that to happen, they'll have the same property rights as you. Unless you
do something benevolent to make the "rabble" respect your property
rights, they'll get pissed off and come tearing at your doors. Nobody has
any control over anybody else, so even that rabble would be doing it
because each member is pissed, not because some demagogue is whipping
them up. It's just extended democracy.

> >
> John K Clark
> Version: 2.6.i
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