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  1. #21
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    when i read about these concepts of socialism and capitalism or whatnot i agree that they cannot be faithfully carried out in a practical manner. i listen to economists theorize about the economy and i'm reminded that politics cannot be theoristic! i mean who ever heard of a utopian society? see what i mean? just isn't possible nor realistic! i do not believe societal trends can be capitalized upon.

  2. #22
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    Being a product of the US, I've grown up to believe that capitalism is the "best" structure. However, there is this movie that I watched several years ago and am watching again right now called The Corporation, which really shook those beliefs and made me question a lot of things about our society. Key points (this may be a US view):

    - Corporations are considered in a legal sense as a particular kind of "person"
    - This is a person with one goal to which it is ideally and very efficiently designed - to make profits
    - They compare the corporation to a psychopath (if it were a person, it has callous unconcern for the feeling of others, reckless disregard for the safety of others, incapacity to experience guilt, repeated lying and conning others for profit)
    - The main issue is that in the search for profits, there are numerous decisions which are made and things that are done, which have significant negative external impacts (environment, chemicals causing cancer, etc.). Since the corporation doesn't care about people, it does not do things for the benefit of them.

    It has made me wonder about a lot of things. I don't have an answer.

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by nozflubber View Post
    Capitalism is "trendy" ? What do you think Capitalism actually is?

    It never ceases to amaze me how most Irish know next to nothing about their most famous philosopher. I was at a pub in NYC and the bartender there didn't know at first hand who Adam Smith even was, until I reminded him. So sad.
    Is this one of the Drunk posters?

  4. #24
    Senior Member Qre:us's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    What is an oligopoly but cooperative? Sure, every business dreams of being a monopoly, and monopolies do exist here and there, but oligopolies are more common, more feasible, and more stable. In many cases, the attempts made by all to become a monopoly is more self-damaging than agreeing to collude, and become an oligopoly. So we have a cooperative norm.
    How about a "cooperative competition"? That which I was proposing as the ideal - the seesaw, when balanced?

    So like you point out later, I don't think an oligopoly can be classified as strictly cooperative.

    EDIT: And let it be said that a monopoly is neither cooperative nor competitive. It is singular, so devoid of any relationship dynamic. It takes a sort of competitive behavior to become a monopoly (though it's usually caled anti-competitive since it ultimately aims to destroy competition). So where to put a monopoly into this system isn't quite clear itself.
    As well:

    It defies human nature - not accounting for competition. And, vested interest drives competition, so oligopoly rises primarily when vested interests do not veer too far off each other's radars. There is no guarantee of this though, and that's when you see a few of the big dogs monopolize the markets because they make a 'pact' with each other, of sorts.

    E.g., the phenomenon of superstores, like Walmart, big businesses collude with such aims to profit off their cooperatively determined "singular" aim, like, McDonald's are placed in such stores. What happens to the local business owners? The family-run grocery store? Do they get to be part of this "cooperation"? No, because their vested interest is radically different than the superstore phenomenon.

    Monopoly is a practical byproduct of colluding (oligopoly).....it's not all cooperation, there is competition but the competition may very well be non-apparent because of the monopoly by the large few for the market's share. So, all you see is the surface level oligopoly which you term "cooperation".

    It's not an ideal dispersion of all vested interests. It's not an ideal cooperation. The cooperation is driven by competition, and not all can be part of the game. Some are told to sit on the sidelines. Monopoly.

    Game theory accounts for both cooperation and competition, not just cooperation.

    The idea that success, particularly the maximization of self-interests, lies always in competition, is a popular philosophy but one thoroughly disproven by game theory, even without citing the real life examples I use. Cooperation and/or reciprocation will often get you more.
    And, I think Avis hit on this point well, and succintly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Avis View Post
    Cooperation does not always rule out competition. One could say that oligopolies exist because they are expedient in competition against individual companies and other oligopolies.

  5. #25

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    OK, I generally consider this topic besides the economic realpolitik because I do believe that there are no such thing as any pure systems in reality, at one time or another the policies or practices associated with one or another dominate or are imagined to but it doesnt change things.

    The reason I query this is that I do believe that Schumpeter was the most in tune with the spirit of the future when he speculated about the economy and socialism and capitalism, creative destruction, novelty and those sorts of things are more important and more en vogue and they arent imagined much in the socialist philosophy.

    Its a bit like that bit in Shakespeare, there is more in heaven and earth and are dreamt of in their philosophy and capitalism has been able to harness that thinking, whether its true or not. On the other hand I only see that happening were relative prosperity exists and there is a relative class consensus rather than pitched class struggles.

    The other account which I think disects its well is Libindinal Economy (spelling) it was a bit of a shit book but the basic idea that capitalism would appeal more to the gambling, irrational imagination and therefore succeed long after it's apparent obsolescence was a good point. I tend to believe the behavioural economists who suggest that narratives and popular narratives about what is happening in the economy are as important and objective conditions in motivating all the key players.

    I also tend to think that socialism in many ways was atavistic at the time it arose, it was like the conservatism of the working people and really about preserving the culture and way of life of an earlier time. Marx criticised this and said it was Utopian because he was a bit in love with capitalism's capacity to create greater and greater surpluses.

    "Modern Economics" probably will be were things go from here, I dont know what sort of a reception it will have with the die hards, there arent that many socialist ones left but since capitalism remains trendy it wont give way without a struggle.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by nozflubber View Post
    Capitalism is "trendy" ? What do you think Capitalism actually is?

    It never ceases to amaze me how most Irish know next to nothing about their most famous philosopher. I was at a pub in NYC and the bartender there didn't know at first hand who Adam Smith even was, until I reminded him. So sad.
    Maybe because Adam Smith was Scottish?
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander29 View Post
    Being a product of the US, I've grown up to believe that capitalism is the "best" structure. However, there is this movie that I watched several years ago and am watching again right now called The Corporation, which really shook those beliefs and made me question a lot of things about our society. Key points (this may be a US view):

    - Corporations are considered in a legal sense as a particular kind of "person"
    - This is a person with one goal to which it is ideally and very efficiently designed - to make profits
    - They compare the corporation to a psychopath (if it were a person, it has callous unconcern for the feeling of others, reckless disregard for the safety of others, incapacity to experience guilt, repeated lying and conning others for profit)
    - The main issue is that in the search for profits, there are numerous decisions which are made and things that are done, which have significant negative external impacts (environment, chemicals causing cancer, etc.). Since the corporation doesn't care about people, it does not do things for the benefit of them.

    It has made me wonder about a lot of things. I don't have an answer.

    I believe they actually use the term "sociopath" in reference to corporations. The theory itself behind that work is stupid, though. A corporation is NOT an individual human being, so to compare with one is ultimately fruitless. Also, it is awful smearing of all corporations with the behaviors of some. To claim that EVERY corporation repeatedly lies, disregards the safety of others, and has no regard for anyone's feelings is not just false; it betrays a mindset akin to that of racists ("this is what they're all like!"). If corporations are a kind of people, is it not wrong to paint them all with the same dirty brush?
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  8. #28

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    It is a generalisation but then the whole of economics is a generalisation, fairly accurate in practice though so therefore useful enough for people to make reference to.

    The reality is that many of the key decision makers within corporations have to act and make decisions as though they were sociopaths or psychopaths, whether they feel that way or not, I think it could promote that sort of personality ahead of the rest but perhaps it just promotes that sort of behaviour.

    The reason is and always will be that if you put conscience or good practices ahead of profits you will fail and with that others less scrupulous succeed therefore even the more conscientious are forced into a zero sum game, whether they like it or not they will have to play the game, it was I think the chief of Nike's response to being interviewed by Mike Moore one time and that's it pretty much.

    The rules to the game made corporations possible and necessary and therefore they were, now perhaps the market has stopped being a good servant and become a bad master, that was Marx's point, one of them, back in the day and its been the point of some critics since.

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Maybe because Adam Smith was Scottish?
    Correct.

  10. #30
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    I believe they actually use the term "sociopath" in reference to corporations. The theory itself behind that work is stupid, though. A corporation is NOT an individual human being, so to compare with one is ultimately fruitless. Also, it is awful smearing of all corporations with the behaviors of some. To claim that EVERY corporation repeatedly lies, disregards the safety of others, and has no regard for anyone's feelings is not just false; it betrays a mindset akin to that of racists ("this is what they're all like!"). If corporations are a kind of people, is it not wrong to paint them all with the same dirty brush?
    I do not think that comparing the business form to a human is so pointless as it is an entity in our society, which interacts with the rest of society. The point I took out of it is not that EVERY corporation literally does the things you mention. There are people working in these organizations who are moral, responsible, etc. What I took out of it is that there is enormous pressure in the system, and present in the overall value structure, to make decisions to achieve continued and growing profits, which benefit the corporation but are not for the benefit of humans. It is a critique on the business form which has become a dominant force in our society and the externalities that occur as a result of lots of those entities being around and continuing to increase in power and influence. The evidence would appear to be everywhere around us that the analysis has some merit.

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