• TheMadFool
    8.6k
    Nothing for something no more exists than does something for nothing.

    Somebody is paying the freight.

    Even if somebody gives you something for "free," it is not really free, not only literally, but in all the other ways that makes the recipients of free stuff dependent.
    synthesis

    How do people get rich? I can't quite put a finger on it but there must exist an asymmetry in the exchange between, say, buyer and seller, for such a thing as profit to be real.
  • baker
    568
    The arrogance of man, thinking that he can be a threat to the planet.synthesis
    The arrogance of man, thinking that he can't be a threat to the planet.
  • baker
    568
    People can do whatever they like. There are some who are incredible generous, but what's this have to do with my assertion that the main thing going on in this world (especially collectively) is scamming to steal other folks labor value?synthesis
    So you have no trouble with asserting such, but you have trouble with considering that man can do damage to the planet?
  • baker
    568
    I can't quite put a finger on it but there must exist an asymmetry in the exchange between, say, buyer and seller, for such a thing as profit to be real.TheMadFool
    Yes, and this asymmetry has to somehow be considered good and moral, good.
  • TheMadFool
    8.6k
    Yes, and this asymmetry has to somehow be considered good and moral, good.baker

    How exactly, may I ask?
  • baker
    568
    How exactly, may I ask?TheMadFool
    "Greed is good."

    The asymmetry in the exchange between the buyer and seller has to be considered good and moral, trivially so, for both sides to engage in it deliberately and in good faith, and for people in general to promote said asymmetry.

    The assumption here is that people don't deliberately do that which they believe to be evil.

    But if you want to get more Machiavellian about it, by all means, let's wade into that quicksand! We might even find firm ground in the middle of it.
  • TheMadFool
    8.6k
    "Greed is good."baker

    How so? Going down that road, naive it may sound, leads to the rich get richer and the poor get poorer "quicksand" you seem so eager to wade into.
  • synthesis
    333
    Nothing for something no more exists than does something for nothing.

    Somebody is paying the freight.

    Even if somebody gives you something for "free," it is not really free, not only literally, but in all the other ways that makes the recipients of free stuff dependent.
    — synthesis

    How do people get rich? I can't quite put a finger on it but there must exist an asymmetry in the exchange between, say, buyer and seller, for such a thing as profit to be real.
    TheMadFool

    People get rich two ways...either they are working very hard at an endeavor that is rare and pays very well or they are taking somebody else's labor value.

    If you make a pair of shoes and find somebody who needs/wants your product, then they must pay for the cost of the materials, overhead, and your labor. Your labor (profit) will be determined by what the market feel is a fair price for what you have created over your costs.

    The point of this is that people have figured out how to make much more profit from simply manipulating the system than actually being productive. This is something for nothing on a grand scale. But the concept itself is omnipresent in Western society and completely accepted. As a matter of fact, people are admired and congratulated the more the scam the system.
  • synthesis
    333
    People can do whatever they like. There are some who are incredible generous, but what's this have to do with my assertion that the main thing going on in this world (especially collectively) is scamming to steal other folks labor value?
    — synthesis
    So you have no trouble with asserting such, but you have trouble with considering that man can do damage to the planet?
    baker

    Let's say that man blows-up the planet and all that's left is space dust.

    Everybody's problems are solved, right? Why worry about such a thing? I assure you that The Universe will find a way to move forward sans planet Earth.
  • baker
    568
    You don't care about animals and plants??
  • synthesis
    333
    We are all ONE, always changing form. That's about the extent of it.
  • Todd Martin
    202
    @synthesis. You mentioned in the OP, that an example of the person who attempts to get more profit than his labor is worth, is he who takes another as an employee; for, as the case almost always is, the employer pays his employee less than he himself takes from the profit of the company.

    In the trades, such an employee is often a “helper”, ie, someone of inferior skill whose extra hands either assist the craftsman by performing menial low-skill services that the latter would rather not spend time or energy on, or is necessary, inasmuch as some things cannot be accomplished by means of only two hands, eg, moving an object too big or heavy for one person to move.

    But why should one of inferior skill profit the same as one of superior skill? Shouldn’t greater skill be rewarded by greater profit?

    As for the “necessary” employee, the one without which the craftsman would be unable to perform his service, should he be rewarded equally to the craftsman because, without him, the latter would be unable to perform his service at all? Or should we rather reward him less because he is merely necessary, not integral to the enterprise? In other words, it is easy to find a man who can lift the other end of a heavy cabinet; hard to find one who can make the cabinet.

    Then there is the craftsman who decides to become a businessman; instead of building cabinets himself, he hires other cabinet-makers to build them for him. Of course, he keeps more of the profit than he pays them individually. Does this seem fair to you? What are his reasons for profiting more than the men or women who do the actual work?

    Well, it is not as though our cabinet-maker-turned-businessman does nothing. He relieves the cabinet-makers of a lot of the business of cabinet-making that is not germane to the craft: he advertises for customers; he meets with them and figures out exactly what they want; he measures the job, orders the wood and screws, schedules the work, takes responsibility for errors, both financially and reputationally, etc, etc. One might almost say that he is the servant of his employees; and I would wager, when his employees see him this way, that they do not begrudge him his greater wealth, especially if he does not boast about it, or use it immoderately and ostentatiously.

    If instead we take an oath to the credo that a human being should be rewarded according to the amount of work he put into something, regardless of the character of that work...well, we will deal with that if you should take that oath.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    79
    Well maybe some people. My Holy Grail has Indiana Jones in it.
  • Tom Storm
    58
    Now, I am anything but anti-capitalism (it being the least ugly shirt on the rack), but beyond the economic system itself, look at the lengths people go to defraud other folks. We currently live in an era where there are absolutely no limits to the creativity of the professional class of liars, cheats, thieves, and scammers.synthesis

    I don't think this is new. All technologies do is provide new ways to do old things.

    You have expressed at least two distinct ideas. First, that everyone seems to get something for nothing and second, that people commit frauds. You haven't illustrated how these two ideas are connected. There is only a slight resemblance there and that seems to come from the words you have used to describe them. Are you trying to say indirectly that all human beings have intrinsically exploitative relationships with others?
  • synthesis
    333
    But why should one of inferior skill profit the same as one of superior skill? Shouldn’t greater skill be rewarded by greater profit?Todd Martin

    If it were my economic system, everybody would work for themselves (which would solve a lot of problems).
  • synthesis
    333
    Are you trying to say indirectly that all human beings have intrinsically exploitative relationships with others?Tom Storm

    I was saying that it seems like (most) people will do just about anything to obtain something for nothing (and the great majority of it is perfectly legal).
  • baker
    568
    We are all ONE, always changing form. That's about the extent of it.synthesis
    Really? You are, for example, Blondie Orange?
  • Todd Martin
    202
    @synthesis. I’m not sure what you mean by the statement that, in your economic system, everybody would work for themselves.

    Doesn’t an employee work for himself inasmuch as he expects a wage which will cover his living expenses? But you exclude him from your economic system, and the only possible reason that you do is because the work he does does not DIRECTLY benefit him. To take the example of the cabinet-maker’s helper, it is not HIS cabinet he helps to install, but someone else’s. Indeed, the cabinet-maker himself is not working for himself, for it is not HE needs a cabinet, but rather his client.

    Therefore, In the economic system you propose, each individual would work directly to supply himself all his needs, dependent on no one else to either supply them or help him acquire them: I would grow or shoot my own food, dip my drinking water from a spring-house, build a hut from sticks and thatch (there would be no calls to “raise high the roof-beams, carpenters!”), stitch together my own buckskin suit, etc...

    This sort of economic system would certainly hold a lot of self-satisfaction, and encourage individual enterprise...

    ...but it would also be very, very lonely...not to mention primitive.
  • synthesis
    333
    This sort of economic system would certainly hold a lot of self-satisfaction, and encourage individual enterprise...

    ...but it would also be very, very lonely...not to mention primitive.
    Todd Martin

    It's hard to imagine anything more lonely or alienating than what goes on now.

    Obviously you cannot have a system where everybody is completely independent, but you can probably have one where people are MUCH more independent. How about getting rid of corporations and 90% of the government. That might be a good start!
  • baker
    568
    How about getting rid of corporations and 90% of the government. That might be a good start!synthesis
    I live in a country where there is less government than there was up to some 20 years ago.
    Take, for example, the laws and regulations concerning the building of family houses. They are looser now than they were back then, and people are much more left to themselves. Which is good if one is rich, and very bad if one isn't.
  • Todd Martin
    202
    @synthesis. You seem to be waffling, Mr. Composition (for that is the meaning of your Greek nickname; but your spirit is contrary to your name: for you want to separate, not combine ppl, at least in the workplace), in that you originally said ppl ought to work for themselves, but lately asserted that that is impossible; and indeed my description of the cabinet-maker shows that it is indeed impossible. But I will move on from here...

    Something else you said earlier in this thread I would like to bring back to your attention: that nothing is free.

    Consider a man who buys a table from a carpenter at market value: the latter gets compensated for his materials and utilities, for the cost of his helper, etc, and receives a profit commensurate with the value of his skill to help pay for his cost of living.

    Now for one of many possible reasons—maybe he had to move to a smaller apartment in which the table wouldn’t fit; maybe he inherited a better table and had no room for the one he bought; maybe his wife didn’t like it and told him to get rid of it—the man who bought the table sets it out beside the street in front of his house and puts a “for free” sign on it, and I, who need a table, come along and see it, load it onto the back of my pickup and take it home.

    Now, just whose labor was stolen here? The carpenter was fully compensated by the market; the buyer did what he would with his own property and I,...how can you say I got nothing for free?
  • synthesis
    333
    I know of no country in the world which is moving towards more freedom. Freedom is apparently too oppressive for some these days.
  • synthesis
    333
    Now for one of many possible reasons—maybe he had to move to a smaller apartment in which the table wouldn’t fit; maybe he inherited a better table and had no room for the one he bought; maybe his wife didn’t like it and told him to get rid of it—the man who bought the table sets it out beside the street in front of his house and puts a “for free” sign on it, and I, who need a table, come along and see it, load it onto the back of my pickup and take it home.Todd Martin

    Even though somebody ended up with the table and didn't pay for it, it was not free. Somebody else paid for it. This notion of 'free' is one that should die a quick death. It's like the one where the government can print money out of thin air. That's free too, eh?

    To your previous point, a lot of things 'should be' that are 'not going to be' anytime soon. Perhaps one of these days, though, everybody will work for themselves. Stranger things have happened.
  • Tom Storm
    58
    was saying that it seems like (most) people will do just about anything to obtain something for nothing (and the great majority of it is perfectly legal).synthesis

    Minimising work is often a key driver of human behaviour - I suspect we are hard wired for shortcuts. This seems to be the wellspring of most technology. We are a time saving, effort saving species. Given that you have defined a problem or situation, do you have some suggestions towards a solution?
  • synthesis
    333
    Minimising work is often a key driver of human behaviour - I suspect we are hard wired for shortcuts. This seems to be the wellspring of most technology. We are a time saving, effort saving species. Given that you have defined a problem or situation, do you have some suggestions towards a solution?Tom Storm

    Increasing productivity is a wonderful thing, don't get me wrong. And if people don't wish to work very hard, so be it. They should have less. But to have a system so corrupted by all this fraud and stealing (even in the best of times) seems a bit harsh (I would suggest that people in the future will look back on our times as being pretty backwards).

    Even when you point out the absurdities, I've run into few over the years that really have any problems with themselves getting little while the biggest scammers in all fields get rich off of other people. Not that the answer is socialism or communism, God forbid. Those systems take what's not so great and turns it into a f****** catastrophe!
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