Re: Private Property and Capitalism

Oliver Seiler (
Thu, 17 Oct 1996 14:30:26 -0700 (PDT)

I just love arguments (as this isn't much of a debate) on the relative
merits of socialism and capitalism. Recently I've tended to be more
"socialist" in that I have misgivings on how capitalism and the free
market work. My main problem is with money and it's social effects. I
do believe money is a pretty good invention, but I think it's possible
to do better with alternative socio-economic systems. No, I don't have
a replacement though I think any replacement will have to occur at the
community level.

As for the argument:

On Thu, 17 Oct 1996, Ian Goddard wrote:

> At 11:58 AM 10/14/96 -0400, Suresh Naidu wrote:
>> shirts made in Haiti by women paid seven cents an hour and sold for
>> twenty seven dollars. Where does the money go? I see something
>> immoral there.
> IAN: The Haitian govt has largely crushed the free enterprise of its
> people.

And why have they gotten away with it? Because North Americans tend to
support it (out of sight, out of mind...) Shifting the blame to an
oppressive government that happens to allow money to concentrate into
the pockets of small number of people ignores the question of where
that money is coming from, and who in turn is supporting it.

> IAN: Out of hundreds of communal experiments across the U.S., none
> prove to be dynamic systems that foster material progress and/or
> innovation. They are, for the most part, stagnant backwaters that
> quickly fall apart. Realizing the failure of voluntary
> collectivism, the socialists then call for forceing everyone into a
> grand central socialist plan.

Personally I believe people are generally selfish. Not a bad thing,
but when most people's lives revolve around money and the gathering of
things money can buy, not to mention the consumer culture we've
created, then I think most communes will fail.

I'm slowly working on what I call my "complex". I figure I'd be most
happy in an environment where I can do a wide variety of work
(software, hardware, biotech, etc.) without a lot of requirements for
monetary gain. I'm hoping that the only money I'll require once the
complex is "complete" is to pay property taxes. I also need other
people involved, not only because being holed up by myself could get
pretty dull, but also having a wide variety of people involved in the
project will be the only way it'll get completed.

I expect there'll be some sort of socialism in place, though I won't
call it a commune. I don't expect a money based system internally. It
will probably be a corporation for legal purposes. Contracts will
likely form the bulk of arrangements with people involved. I expect
there will be a limited form of democracy for high-level things, maybe
a voted board of directors. These things are to work out. One thing
that I think will be necessary are a good set of written goals, short
term to long term. I do believe most communes fail because of a lack
of focus of the participants, and a bit too much freedom.

>> Hmm, maybe. Co-ops don't work well on a large scale, unlike cults
>> or corporations. Where they do work, however, is in the industries
>> that are the most exploited. Agriculture, for example, has always
>> worked better with labour coops than corporate farming. As I said
>> before, I am looking into starting a software co-op, but who knows
>> what may happen.
> IAN: Cooperative farming is not illegal in the U.S., but it does not
> seem that have blown out the competition.

I don't know what to make of this statement. If the intent was to blow
out the competition, then I guess they failed. If the intent was to
produce quality goods while supporting the people involved, then who
knows? And don't US farmers get substantial government subsidies
still? Perhaps it's not a level playing field. I don't know enough
about the US agricultural industry to comment too much.


/ Oliver Seiler \/ Need a problem solved? Erisian has the answers! \
\ /\ Erisian Development Group - pure R+D /
/ \/ POB 3547 MPO, Vancouver, BC CANADA, V6B 3Y6 \