“Private capital wealth tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly
because of competition and partly because technological development
and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger
units of production at the expense of the smaller ones. The result of
these developments is an oligarchy of private capital, the enormous
power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically
organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative
bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise
influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes,
separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that
the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the
interests of the underprivileged population.
The profit motive, in conjunction with…unlimited competition leads to
a huge waste of labor, and to the crippling of the social consciousness
of individuals. This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil
of capitalism. Our whole education system suffers form this evil. An
exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is
trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future

The situation has decidedly worsened since the Old Man wrote that.

Kapitalism is Kaput.

Einstein, the noted economist?

I’ve heard all this before.

I’m still a communist…

It’s an elegant and largely accurate indictment of western capitalism sure, however it does fall at the same hurdle as practically every other piece of socialist polemic in that it offers no realistic alternative. To borrow from another old man it’s the worst system there is, apart from all those other ones which have been tried.

This does not mean that we should go on and on supporting it until such time it has squeezed every last drop of profit out of the planet. There are better ideas out there. But while the mantra: It ain’t perfect but it is the best there is.
continues to stuff up our ears they fall on stony ground. Einstein put his finger right on the problem at the child indoctrination level fifty years ago, and nothing has been done about changing our focus. The net result is a massive loss of business ethics and an over-exploited global environment in dire straights. Yet it is still business as usual with nobody prepared in the least to listen to alternative systems of planet management.

Einstein was suggesting an alternative - a political one, a New Democratic Deal, if you will.

what does it matter? he was right

he was obviously right

all it took was a glimpse at human nature

and here we are, standing on a house of cards

We have been through worse. Anyone here remember the S & L collapse?

I do.

10% unemployment?

I do.

Big companies going out?

I do.

It’s not a house of cards, it’s a recession.

We needed one - things got too hot.

Remain calm.

and people take dichotomies like ‘socialism/capitalism’ far more seriously than they deserve to be taken, as though they exist as absolutes

there are infinite variations and blends of both ideologies, and hitherto our attempts to adhere to either one have failed and will continue to fail - that is until a powerful majority acquires a better understanding of themselves and of human nature.

perhaps the coming global calamity is a precursor to this realization? or perhaps we’re at the end of our evolutionary rope, and we’re unconsciously preparing to extinguish ourselves?

time will tell :banana-dance:

And we don’t have pure capitalism now - and we didn’t when Big Al wrote that. And we never will.

Don’t you think I wish I were French?

What’s that, a twenty hour work week, eight weeks vacation and all the arrogance you can eat?

Next we’ll be told that you can’t pick an economic system unless you have lived in Africa.

You would certainly know which ones not to pick.

[i]Ahh le francais… je t’adore…

La politique, je ne sais pas…[/i]

The capitalist argument is inherently cynical. It argues that man is a lazy ape and will only work when handed a banana.
The profit motive is inherently unethical and ultimately self-destructive.
Legalizing ownership is an artificial premise that can only be sustained by endless law-making and endless policing.

MM -

That is merely a burlesque of the capitalist argument.

It’s no such thing. There is nothing inherently unethical about gain. Gain is not necessarily the result of a zero-sun scenario. Wealth can be created without taking it form anyone - that’s Economics 101. It’s what “manufacturing” is.

That’s correct. So what? The same can be said for any social activity - including Stone Age tribalism.

I believe it is the false foundation. Intelligent labor and personal integrity, provided far beyond that paid by minimum wages, is the real capital of human evolution and the font of all profits. The modern capitalist is selfishly reaping the vast well of ancestral imprint for private gain. It could only be moral if it was not used to disproportionally enrich one’s personal estate, with all profits re-invested in the commonwealth.

Private material profit cannot be drawn out of a vacuum. Some natural resource must be exploited. Nature is finite.

We are no longer greedy apes or warring tribes. We have evolved the capacity for custodianship. That is the true ethic of the estate steward. It resolves the vast waste of law-making and policing and unemployment. It allows the full effort of man to be devoted to estate improvement.

humans are no longer humans…

be a slave for humanity…

great argument

(gird your loins just in case)



Labor and integrity are certainly important elements of capitalism. One could call division of labor “intelligent labor” - so, yes. But there is no reason to leave out wealth. It accumulates in every known economic system. The difference between capitalism and socialism is that, under captilism, many more people have control over more of that wealth than under socialism. There is a theoretical, and, at times actual meeting point between the two systems - they are not mutually exclusive.

There we go with the ancestors again. Most of mine are dead. I don’t care about them. Except for a few good italian food recipes.

I wonder what the priest caste of the Old testament would say to that. I don’t think they would be too enthused. Neither would the great Catholic orders of the Middle Ages, nor the Vatican. Nor would most tribal chieftans.

In fact, however most wealth is reinvested. Which is one of the best things about money. It’s difficult to re-invest cattle to provide mortgage money for the middle class.

Of course. Every economic system depends upon this.

Actually, there are still many warring tribes in the world. But it’s nice to see you admit that this condition is not universal.

It doesn’t resolve any such thing. All social groups have rules and a means to enforce them. And no system is wholly efficient.

Human ego is a phantom creation. It is therefore super-natural. It drives us to to improve on Nature. It turned a wild blossom into a rose. A wild horse into thoroughbred racer. A one-horse carriage, into 400 HP super-charged Ferrari.

I willing slave for my immediate family. And it only has relevance within the larger human family.

Many more individuals control wealth in capitalism. Individualism, though encouraging diversity, also tends to unnecessarily duplicate manufacture. This then leads to waste in advertising. Advertising promotes unnecessary consumerism. Waste in advertising budgets dilutes the resources needed to instill quality in the product. Ultimately the system encourages greed.

In socialism the wealth of the many is pooled. If it removed the artificial restrictions of money, natural creativity would flourish.

I do not understand why you are so consistently dismissive of genetic behavioral input. That is established science. If it were not true, every capitalist would have to invest in training a chimpanzee to man the mass production lines. Each child is born human. What does than mean, is it not just more than being hairless? Try and teach a chimp to talk inside one year.
I repeat, the capitalist is getting a priceless free ride with every human he employs. There is not enough money on the planet to pay for such evolved genius. You cannot just dismiss that fact.

The present presents a problem that needs to be resolved. not repeat the mistakes of the past.

The current economic melt-down suggests that most wealth has been gambled away. Cattle pro-create. They provide milk and cheese and hamburgers.

And ends up cutting down 99% of virgin forest and severly polluting the planet, and now refuses to pay to clean up the mess. An economy based on custodianship would replant it and view that restoration as net profit.


Ownership has created so many artificial rules no single library can contain them. No army our police force on the planet can fully enforce them. Custodianship may never be wholly efficient, there will always be a few rotten apples in the barrel. but it certainly presents the ideal of a better mouse trap than the one we have at present…

MM -

Correct. That’s what I said, I think. People = individuals.

It also creates competition, and therefore increased efficiency, and therefore, lower prices. But you knew that already.

You have it backwards - excess consumerism creates advertising. And it’s greed that encourages the system.

Or, we could constantly blame overwhelming forces beyond our control.

I don’t look at many ads because there is very little that i want. I have worked with ad agencies in the past, and they will tell you that people tend not to notice, or pay attention to, ads for things that they are not already interested in. I have experienced this myself, which is why this came to my attention. I was in an ad agency, and rather made a fool of myself, because I didn’t know this, then.

There is no more creative place on Earth than the US. Creativity requires leisure, and therefore wealth.

I am dismissive of fictitious genetic input. The desire for gain is fundamental to our nature. That this gain is individual or collective is merely a choice. Again, the desire for gain neither necessitates nor precludes socialism. You are simply rehashing Marx, with a biological flavor. Instead of History, you are positing Evolution. Neither has a goal - either theorem is merely Hegelianism. Which I do dismiss, but not capriciously.

What is established is the past, but not the future.

I will admit that I have no idea what this means.

Sure I can. The best argument against raising the minimum wage is (90% of) Wal-Mart employees.

blah blah blah
Whatever genius wrote that is blind to the larger picture of reality: statesmen use coercive powers to pick winners and losers. Cronies, court-toadies and lobbyists lick the boots of politicians to gain favors.

The “capitalism” about which that old guy is talking is not much different from today in principle.