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  1. #41
    Oberon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    On the other hand I generally ignore anyone who is a fan of Any Rand, I hate her books and think differently of anyone or any book which has recommended them.
    Well, at least you're honest and up-front about your prejudices, which is more than can be said for most of us.

    I don't think I would have liked Rand personally, and having read Anthem and Atlas Shrugged, I think her books are both poorly written and reactionary in their philosophy.

    I do think that Rand had two valid ideas about economies, which are as follows:

    1. There are net producers and net consumers in any economy, and
    2. Lean too hard on the producers, and they will bow out. I've seen it happen.

    Rand's primary mistake was in thinking that her observations about economies were actually observations about the world at large... i.e., she measured personal worth solely as a function of personal productivity, which is as absurd a premise as any that Marx ever dreamed up.

  2. #42
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    Well, at least you're honest and up-front about your prejudices, which is more than can be said for most of us.

    I don't think I would have liked Rand personally, and having read Anthem and Atlas Shrugged, I think her books are both poorly written and reactionary in their philosophy.

    I do think that Rand had two valid ideas about economies, which are as follows:

    1. There are net producers and net consumers in any economy, and
    2. Lean too hard on the producers, and they will bow out. I've seen it happen.

    Rand's primary mistake was in thinking that her observations about economies were actually observations about the world at large... i.e., she measured personal worth solely as a function of personal productivity, which is as absurd a premise as any that Marx ever dreamed up.
    Yep, she forgot about part 3: the producers are nothing without the consumers. Demand drives the economy, not supply.

  3. #43
    Oberon
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    Yep, she forgot about part 3: the producers are nothing without the consumers. Demand drives the economy, not supply.
    This is true, but not what I was getting at... I mean that there are net producers (those who provide more value to the market than they consume) and net consumers (those who provide less value to the market than they consume).

    Rand's primary error lay in asserting (or presuming) that net economic value was the sole arbiter of moral value. In other words, she thought that everyone was morally obligated to be a net producer, and that all net consumers deserved whatever happened to them as a result of their poverty.

    This perspective contains no room for consideration of personal circumstances, economic disadvantages, physical handicaps, learning disabilities, and so forth. Like I said, I don't think I would have liked Rand personally, and I disagree with her polarized view of the world.

  4. #44
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    This is true, but not what I was getting at... I mean that there are net producers (those who provide more value to the market than they consume) and net consumers (those who provide less value to the market than they consume).

    Rand's primary error lay in asserting (or presuming) that net economic value was the sole arbiter of moral value. In other words, she thought that everyone was morally obligated to be a net producer, and that all net consumers deserved whatever happened to them as a result of their poverty.

    This perspective contains no room for consideration of personal circumstances, economic disadvantages, physical handicaps, learning disabilities, and so forth. Like I said, I don't think I would have liked Rand personally, and I disagree with her polarized view of the world.
    I see what you're saying, it's just that I believe the issue is more fundamental than that - technology means that the number of consumers far outpaces the number of producers. Her problem isn't simply one of morality; it's that her ideas just don't work.

  5. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    Well, at least you're honest and up-front about your prejudices, which is more than can be said for most of us.

    I don't think I would have liked Rand personally, and having read Anthem and Atlas Shrugged, I think her books are both poorly written and reactionary in their philosophy.

    I do think that Rand had two valid ideas about economies, which are as follows:

    1. There are net producers and net consumers in any economy, and
    2. Lean too hard on the producers, and they will bow out. I've seen it happen.

    Rand's primary mistake was in thinking that her observations about economies were actually observations about the world at large... i.e., she measured personal worth solely as a function of personal productivity, which is as absurd a premise as any that Marx ever dreamed up.
    See the funny thing is that given my comprehensive knowledge of Marxism I could confidentially say what you outline as Rand's premise IS Marx's premise. Although the turn of phrase "dreamed up" belies your own prejudices.

    I learned a lot about politics from considering NLP, there's a hell of a lot of good socialist writing which has disappeared down the memory hole, Orwell's socialist books, GDH Cole who developed his premises from Edwardian liberalism, Eric Fromm, all of which proceeded from norms of personal responsibility and productivity, Marx saw mankind as frustrated producers and paid big tributes to capitalism in The Communist Manifesto. Although NONE of that will chime with the popular American prejudices about socialists and socialism and Rand is to blame for that.

  6. #46
    Oberon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Although NONE of that will chime with the popular American prejudices about socialists and socialism and Rand is to blame for that.
    Rand may be at fault, but she's not the only one. I don't think she was or is influential enough to accomplish that all by herself.

  7. #47
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Marx saw mankind as frustrated producers and paid big tributes to capitalism in The Communist Manifesto. Although NONE of that will chime with the popular American prejudices about socialists and socialism and Rand is to blame for that.
    I notice that Americans commonly mistake "managerialism" with socialism.

  8. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    I see what you're saying, it's just that I believe the issue is more fundamental than that - technology means that the number of consumers far outpaces the number of producers. Her problem isn't simply one of morality; it's that her ideas just don't work.
    Those ideas are in many ways out paced and obsolete, however there's no denying the popularity of the ideology that valourises productivity and villifies consumerism, its got across the spectrum appeal.

    My politics are socialist but I've got to say that I read a lot of paleocons or early conservative reaction to not just political revolution but modernism or industrialism, like William Cobbett, and enjoy reading it. It resonates and is less confused or convoluted than, for instance, Marcuse (who I actually suspect was more than a little crazy).

    If you read closely the various "socialisms" that Marx criticises as "utopian" many of them resemble varieties of "conservatisms" in the US scene, like palecons resembling the "feudal socialists" who Marx thought wanted to turn back the wheels of history. I'm not suggesting that he had any gift of prophecy, just that if his work could be assessed for what it is, time and context specific there's good perrenial points, the problem being that like Rand people tend to belong in either the fan club or the opposition and there's little middle ground.

  9. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    Rand may be at fault, but she's not the only one. I don't think she was or is influential enough to accomplish that all by herself.
    I wouldnt under estimate her importance, perhaps its a little like the influence that Freud, Jung or Horney have had at a cultural level, a lot of people may not have read them but their influence can be tracked or traced back to them as the point of origin.

  10. #50
    Sniffles
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    Interesting you label William Cobbett a "conservative" Lark.

    I don't know if "feudal socialism" can even truely exist within the American context since feudalism never really existed here. Closest that ever existed was in the South.

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