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LibertariCAN
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Re: True Democracy
Reply #10 - Aug 3rd, 2013 at 12:33pm
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Proletariat wrote on Aug 3rd, 2013 at 2:44am:
I googled “define power” and got “the ability to do something or act in a certain way”. Clearly a CEO who can outsource work at will and increase/ decrease wages at will has far more power than a grocery clerk who most of the time can not even bargain to be paid above the minimum wage, despite the fact that both are theoretically equal citizens granted equal voting power.

Furthermore, owning things allows one tremendous power in not only “acting a certain way” for their own benefit but power in “acting in a certain way” to alter the lives of others. Owning skills (e.g. being an engineer, lawyer, etc…) gives you limited power in controlling your own life (e.g. asking for a raise, moving to a better company,etc…) but not much in terms of controlling others. So, let’s say power is the ability to control one’s own life and the ability to shape and dominate the relations one has with others. Powerlessness is the inability to do so and taking the passive and obedient role in relations with others. And yes, Marx would probably agree.



Let’s, in line with the earlier part of my comment, say that exploitation is a person using their greater power or leverage to, with or without direct physical force, dominate and dictate their relations with another. With, of course, the intent of this relation being to further the interests of the powerful regardless of how it affects the powerless. E.g., my earlier Dante’s Inferno example would be a good example of exploitation. And yes, I believe in a limited democracy.




You've defined power quite broadly, but exploitation a bit narrower.

Now that I see where you're coming from, I can provide an appropriate response.

The reality is that, the way I see it, there is nothing wrong with the situations you are describing. As long as no force or coercion is involved between two entities, there is no moral (and should be no legal) problem that involves government intervention.

Of course a CEO has more "power" than a grocery clerk, that is a given, and I understand taking the farthest of dichotomies to prove your point. However, there really is no problem with a grocery clerk in possession of limited skills, being payed for what the market allows for limited skill labor. Furthermore, they need not have any say in how the company is run and if they have a huge problem with their employment, there are many things they can do in a free society to make a statement. 

Overall, the only power that is "owed" to people in a free society is the COMPLETE power over themselves and their endeavors. Stating that a grocery clerk is being exploited has always, in my opinion, been a stretch.
  

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Re: True Democracy
Reply #11 - Aug 4th, 2013 at 1:12am
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Crystallas wrote on Aug 3rd, 2013 at 4:51am:
Anyone that would be forced in(or not have the power to opt out), would be violated. Individuals that do not want to be part of the system, do so for a reason. And those that do, is because you either; fufill their needs, wants, and motives through the best interests of each other(determined by the individual, and not others determining for them), or you brainwash them somehow with either strong tactics or very mild tactics.

Now, on other grounds, other than libertarianism(again, compatable, but not tied to): The economic standing of someone who gains ownership, must also be done without violating the NAA. Here we could get into economic law(not theory) of how the two most important factors could be easily ignored. The economic law of scarcity, and the pricing system. These are more commonly referred to as the law of Supply and Demand. However, the law of supply and demand only describes what happens within scarcity. The law itself(when I use the word law, I mean natural law. A law we have no authority over, can't falsify by writing legislature, or manipulate without an incredible amount of unintended consequences, much like the laws of physics) has given us a great deal of guidance on how to apply action in a society through the use of the marketplace. Human behavior in a marketplace of scarcity is extremely violent, contributes to enormous amount of theft, and is highly immoral without the means of peace we call the pricing structure.

The issue with ownership today, in a world where capitalism exists nowhere, and has not existed without the incredible manipulations of different ruling classes in a few lifetimes now. The special classes(which libertarianism is against, due to getting special treatment from the power of the state, more power the state has, the more power the privileged classes have, ect) would have normally been subject to the natural economic law of the marketplace. They would have failed, if they would have violated others. Instead, they are protected, and those who are weak, are not allowed to compete in the marketplace, unless they magically can afford the special permission(licenses, permits, credentials) to start their business.



Mine isn't a society, and it is not forced onto you. I can not stress this word enough to anyone who is studying libertarianism, but the word non-utopian is quite a bit to wrap your head around. It's something you have to really think through. Without an understanding of utopian vs non-utopian, libertarianism makes little or no sense. Unfortunately, with new generations being raised with/by computers that work off a user giving a command, and the unit processing the command, the deep distinction is going through a period where individuals do not experience such concepts on a socio-developmental level.


But this is all very theoretical. North Korea is a very real, non theoretical example of the upper classes using the state to exploit its' citizenry. The Industrial Revolution is a very real, non theoretical example of the upper classes being able to exploit the proletariat without using and state force/privilege whatsoever. Force and exploitation do not go hand in hand necessarily and, in some cases, we need force to get rid of exploitation. E.g. capitalists today will go to 3rd world country A, exploit the holy shit of their labour and then the second these labourers start demanding better wages and working conditions, they will pull out and go to 3rd world country B and do the same before moving on to 3rd world country C. Without any force at all, the workers of this 3 countries will be pushed into a race to the bottom in the meanwhile we here sit back and talk about how "they made a choice to work in the sweatshop, no one forced them". But the second you, through the use of force, slap some 1st world labour laws on the bourgeois you got yourself a far less exploitative situation. It's still a sweatshop, but these guys are clocking out at 5, are earning a minimum wage, and are even possibly unionised. I am oversimplifying like crazy but you get the point, it's not a simple as force = bad, voluntary agreements = good.  There is a lot of gray in between those two blacks and whites my brother. And yes these workers stuck in the race to the bottom are technically "having their needs met" by the sweatshop onwer, but who wants to be in that situation and who wants their fellow proletariat in that situation?

By the way, I am really enjoying discussing this stuff with you in these two threads.

  

"You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population." -Karl Marx
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Proletariat
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Re: True Democracy
Reply #12 - Aug 4th, 2013 at 1:22am
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LibertariCAN wrote on Aug 3rd, 2013 at 12:33pm:
You've defined power quite broadly, but exploitation a bit narrower.

Now that I see where you're coming from, I can provide an appropriate response.

The reality is that, the way I see it, there is nothing wrong with the situations you are describing. As long as no force or coercion is involved between two entities, there is no moral (and should be no legal) problem that involves government intervention.

Of course a CEO has more "power" than a grocery clerk, that is a given, and I understand taking the farthest of dichotomies to prove your point. However, there really is no problem with a grocery clerk in possession of limited skills, being payed for what the market allows for limited skill labor. Furthermore, they need not have any say in how the company is run and if they have a huge problem with their employment, there are many things they can do in a free society to make a statement. 

Overall, the only power that is "owed" to people in a free society is the COMPLETE power over themselves and their endeavors. Stating that a grocery clerk is being exploited has always, in my opinion, been a stretch.


My response to Crystallas applies here too. There is practically nothing the grocer clerk can "do in a free society to make a statement". Next to nothing. Also, "voluntary association" is one of those buzz words like "freedom to choose" that really means nothing. It's not that simple. Those who have no alternatives but to be grocery clerks as a career (i.e. they have little power over their lives and they take what they can get due to a lack of alternatives) deserve a minimum wage, safe and clean working conditions, etc... And we, as fellow citizens, absolutely owe them that. And we, as fellow proletariats, would be wrong to support abstract moralisms such as the "right to choose" over vigilantly struggling for decent living/working conditions for our fellow proletariats stuck (either by choice or circumstance) at the bottom of the totem pole of the labour market.
  

"You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population." -Karl Marx
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Re: True Democracy
Reply #13 - Aug 4th, 2013 at 1:29am
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keauxbi wrote on Aug 3rd, 2013 at 9:33am:
The thought of constructing a democracy within a business enterprise is pure lunacy and would thus doom the business to bankruptcy.  Are there rare occurrences where this has worked in a business? Sure, probably.  But when you turn over control of a enterprise to majority rule then you would quickly have those on the bottom, which would make up a majority, earning as much as the owner at the top.  The workers would agree to make (just to throw out numbers) $100,000 for their unskilled physical labor and they would all vote for the CEO to make $50,000 since he just sits in his office all day.  Without the financial incentive to be in business the owner would either shut down the business or sell the business off.  The workers, making so much money, would also vote themselves more leisure time, probably a new wave of hiring to spread the workload and in a very short amount of time complete dry up the financial assets of the company. 

If you look at the historical evidence of union labor you will see the same type of democracy at work.  The unskilled union laborers only care about themselves and their financial security when voting for union contracts and are easily swayed by their wealthier union bosses.  They do not have the interest of what is best for the business long term nor the environment nor any thing else in mind when voting democratically.

I dare say that the last thing we need in an effort to promote liberty and libertarianism is more democracy. 


Laws could be set in place to limit what the workers can and cannot vote for. E.g., the manager can't earn less than the workers do. E.g., a private company would have to raise their own funds and couldn't just pull 100, 000 dollars out of the taxpayer's pocket. The workers wouldn't bankrupt a company if their salaries depended on it. E.g., a public company couldn't be worker operated. Etc...
  

"You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population." -Karl Marx
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Crystallas
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Re: True Democracy
Reply #14 - Aug 4th, 2013 at 2:01am
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Proletariat wrote on Aug 4th, 2013 at 1:12am:
The Industrial Revolution is a very real, non theoretical example of the upper classes being able to exploit the proletariat without using and state force/privilege whatsoever.


Without using the state? In order for me to take you seriously, who taught you that? The state was very much involved in many levels to concentrate power. The state was used TO concentrate the power by using many methods.

Proletariat wrote on Aug 4th, 2013 at 1:12am:
Force and exploitation do not go hand in hand necessarily and, in some cases, we need force to get rid of exploitation. E.g. capitalists today will go to 3rd world country A, exploit the holy shit of their labour and then the second these labourers start demanding better wages and working conditions, they will pull out and go to 3rd world country B and do the same before moving on to 3rd world country C. Without any force at all, the workers of this 3 countries will be pushed into a race to the bottom in the meanwhile we here sit back and talk about how "they made a choice to work in the sweatshop, no one forced them". But the second you, through the use of force, slap some 1st world labour laws on the bourgeois you got yourself a far less exploitative situation. It's still a sweatshop, but these guys are clocking out at 5, are earning a minimum wage, and are even possibly unionised. I am oversimplifying like crazy but you get the point, it's not a simple as force = bad, voluntary agreements = good.  There is a lot of gray in between those two blacks and whites my brother. And yes these workers stuck in the race to the bottom are technically "having their needs met" by the sweatshop onwer, but who wants to be in that situation and who wants their fellow proletariat in that situation?


I prefer to be objective. Nation A has x capital, and B has z capital. If A is poor and B is rich, A invites B to use that capital in A. A gets a share of that capital and skills development. It's not "capitalism", but the natural order of the marketplace. In my view, it is not only fair to give A this opportunity, but very generous, as B could ignore A all together and let them remain a deep third-world.

The fact of the matter is, when a nation digs itself into a hole due to their policy, they will face consequences. When investors take advantage of the market in their own greedy interest, a side-effect of that greed, is that it still benefits all parties, unless the state creates special havens for businesses to shield them from the market(which slows the individual down, from digging themselves OUT of the hole.) Do you think it is fair that the USA used numerous nations, post war, or post-default(economic) as strong arm tactics to give their favored corporations(not a free market) special privileges in foreign policies, which were also endorsed by the other nation for the same reasons?

Proletariat wrote on Aug 4th, 2013 at 1:12am:
By the way, I am really enjoying discussing this stuff with you in these two threads.


You're welcome to the forum. Everything you are talking about has been meticulously debunked in multitudes of methods using immaculate empirical research and effort. Feel free to read through the site. I have been nn active libertarian(consciously) of many decades(and maybe a socialist when I was a teenager), we have a handful of students here, a handful of long-experienced libertarians, and many who are somewhat new. There is just so much information, and so much time for most of us to repeat the same things over, so I hope you enjoy all of the discussions found here.
  
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Re: True Democracy
Reply #15 - Aug 4th, 2013 at 2:19am
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I'll respond more later because I most log out now. In the meantime, here is something I decided to copy and paste from a nice little blog for all of you.

http://raikoth.net/libertarian.html#externalities

"2.5.1: But workers don't need to coordinate. If working conditions are bad, people can just change jobs, and that would solve the bad conditions.

About three hundred Americans commit suicide for work-related reasons every year - this number doesn't count those who attempt suicide but fail. The reasons cited by suicide notes, survivors and researchers investigating the phenomenon include on-the-job bullying, poor working conditions, unbearable hours, and fear of being fired.

I don't claim to understand the thought processes that would drive someone to do this, but given the rarity and extremity of suicide, we can assume for every worker who goes ahead with suicide for work-related reasons, there are a hundred or a thousand who feel miserable but not quite suicidal.

If people are literally killing themselves because of bad working conditions, it's safe to say that life is more complicated than the ideal world in which everyone who didn't like their working conditions quits and get a better job elsewhere (see the next section, Irrationality).

I note in the same vein stories from the days before labor regulations when employers would ban workers from using the restroom on jobs with nine hour shifts, often ending in the workers wetting themselves. This seems like the sort of thing that provides so much humiliation to the workers, and so little benefit to the bosses, that a free market would eliminate it in a split second. But we know that it was a common policy in the 1910s and 1920s, and that factories with such policies never wanted for employees. The same is true of factories that literally locked their workers inside to prevent them from secretly using the restroom or going out for a smoking break, leading to disasters like the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire when hundreds of workers died when the building they were locked inside burnt down. And yet even after this fire, the practice of locking workers inside buildings only stopped when the government finally passed regulation against it."

It seems like we may need some sort of horrid, fascistic, tyrannical government to intervene in the otherwise, wonderful, free and mutually beneficial and, of course, voluntary associations between free, equal individuals.

  

"You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population." -Karl Marx
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Re: True Democracy
Reply #16 - Aug 4th, 2013 at 2:23am
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"4.2: Is this really true? Surely people would investigate the safety, ethics, and efficacy of the products they buy.

Below follows a list of statements about products. Some are real, others are made up. Can you identify which are which?

1. Some processed food items, including most Kraft cheese products, contain methylarachinate, an additive which causes a dangerous anaphylactic reaction in 1/31000 people who consume it. They have been banned in Canada, but continue to be used in the United States after intense lobbying from food industry interests.

2. Commonly used US-manufactured wood products, including almost all plywood, contain formaldehyde, a compound known to cause cancer. This has been known in scientific circles for years, but was only officially reported a few months ago because of intense chemical industry lobbying to keep it secret. Formaldehyde-containing wood products are illegal in the EU and most other developed nations.

3. Total S.A., an oil company that owns fill-up stations around the world, sometimes uses slave labor in repressive third-world countries to build its pipelines and oil wells. Laborers are coerced to work for the company by juntas funded by the corporation, and are shot or tortured if they refuse. The company also helps pay for the military muscle needed to keep the juntas in power.

4. Microsoft has cooperated with the Chinese government by turning over records from the Chinese equivalents of its search engine "Bing" and its hotmail email service, despite knowing these records would be used to arrest dissidents. At least three dissidents were arrested based on the information and are currently believed to be in jail or "re-education" centers.

5. Wellpoint, the second largest US health care company, has a long record of refusing to provide expensive health care treatments promised in some of its plans by arguing that their customers have violated the "small print" of the terms of agreement; in fact they make it so technical that almost all customers violate them unknowingly, then only cite the ones who need expensive treatment. Although it has been sued for these practices at least twice, both times it has used its legal muscle to tie the cases up in court long enough that the patients settled for an undisclosed amount believed to be fraction of the original benefits promised."

But then again, people should claim full "personal responsibility" for all the products they consume right?
  

"You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population." -Karl Marx
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Crystallas
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Re: True Democracy
Reply #17 - Aug 4th, 2013 at 2:47am
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Proletariat wrote on Aug 4th, 2013 at 2:19am:
"2.5.1: But workers don't need to coordinate. If working conditions are bad, people can just change jobs, and that would solve the bad conditions.

"4.2: Is this really true? Surely people would investigate the safety, ethics, and efficacy of the products they buy.


Whoever wrote this doesn't understand libertarianism. Maybe we need a state funded program to teach everyone what libertarianism means, and no strawmen or propaganda.  Grin

Libertarianism isn't for or against organized labor. Different universes of discourse. This is what happens when lazy people don't bother doing research and make assumptions. All because they want their poorly constructed opinions to be heard. Well, all is fair, but if they want to blog about a topic, get the details straight.

Also, the other statement.  Grin   If I had to grade that blog on being factually accurate(and be 100% honest and objective), then I'm not sure if anyone on earth has developed a pen that contains the ink to point out all of the bad assumptions. The author isn't talking about libertarianism. The author is talking about their impression of libertarianism.
  
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Re: True Democracy
Reply #18 - Aug 4th, 2013 at 9:01am
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The Industrial Revolution is a very real, non theoretical example of the upper classes being able to exploit the proletariat without using and state force/privilege whatsoever.

You assume that workers during the industrial revolution were exploited.  The fact is they weren't.  If there was a better wage to be had, they would have gone after it.  The workers that were "exploited" in factories of that time were "exploited" on a voluntary basis since working in the factory provided the best means of employment for them.  That is the common misconception that many socialists have.  The better standard of living that the poor now enjoy, the progeny of the "exploited" worker, comes from the "exploitation" of the industrial revolution era. 

Certainly the workers could have had a better wage provided by their employer and certainly they could have had better working conditions but the fact remains that they chose of their own free will to work at those places.  If you deny their choice then you assume they were sold into slavery to the robber barons of the day.

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Laws could be set in place to limit what the workers can and cannot vote for. E.g., the manager can't earn less than the workers do. E.g., a private company would have to raise their own funds and couldn't just pull 100, 000 dollars out of the taxpayer's pocket.  Etc...


So you set a law that does X or Y, at the end of the day you give an unskilled, most likely uneducated worker a say so in dooming the company.  So everyone's wages are raised and now the company must "raise their own funds", but where do those funds come from?  No investor would willingly risk money in a company with such mismanagement as that leaving the check to be paid by the customer.  To cover such a hefty pay increase the customers would leave seeking a less expensive competitor.  In the end, the company goes bankrupt.

Quote:
The workers wouldn't bankrupt a company if their salaries depended on it. E.g., a public company couldn't be worker operated.


Ever heard of Hostess? GM? Chrysler?  Detroit? Our recent economic history is rife with union workers bankrupting their employer that their salaries depend on for the sake of their self interest.
  

Keauxbi
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Re: True Democracy
Reply #19 - Aug 4th, 2013 at 9:08am
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Crystallas wrote on Aug 4th, 2013 at 2:47am:
Whoever wrote this doesn't understand libertarianism. Maybe we need a state funded program to teach everyone what libertarianism means, and no strawmen or propaganda.  Grin

Libertarianism isn't for or against organized labor. Different universes of discourse. This is what happens when lazy people don't bother doing research and make assumptions. All because they want their poorly constructed opinions to be heard. Well, all is fair, but if they want to blog about a topic, get the details straight.

Also, the other statement.  Grin   If I had to grade that blog on being factually accurate(and be 100% honest and objective), then I'm not sure if anyone on earth has developed a pen that contains the ink to point out all of the bad assumptions. The author isn't talking about libertarianism. The author is talking about their impression of libertarianism.


I like how you avoided addressing the points: that many people can’t really just choose to change jobs and, without the intervention of the government, are stuck in horrid working conditions and poverty. Some people aren’t the products of personal responsibility but are instead the products of an unfair dictatorship or unfair “free market”. (And before anybody brings it up, yes technically libertarianism do believe that voluntary unions are fine and that anyone who is being mistreated at work can form one but what’s to stop an employer from firing all of them at once?)

  

"You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population." -Karl Marx
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