Comments

  • The Belief in Pure Evil

    You could call a teapot evil, I wouldn't know how to "defeat" your argument but what I'd do in that or this circumstance, would be to tell you that your assertion lacks any utility or truth value and is uninteresting. I'm comfortable with my assertions coming from me, don't feel undermined by acknowledging them as assertions either.

    Your logic can't be judged, some of your premises seem absurd, such as that humans can be consciousness, (did you mean conscienceless? that would make a lot more sense). Your logic can't be judged because "pure evil" is just some nonsense term you made up. It's like if I made a thread talking about "hyper evil" and saying certain crimes are hyper evil and some aren't, without defining what hyper evil was, totally meaningless. Meaninglessness isn't bad in some contexts, it's just pretty bad in philosophy.
  • The Belief in Pure Evil

    Evil doesn't exist as more than a description of things made by humans, who are free to dictate to others what their description means and what prompted or justified its use. Treatment of good and evil as objective truths is nonsense as is to attempt to dictate the rules these truths operate under. Your extensive list of assertions are all baseless, you seem intent on giving them an authority they're not entitled to. Your ideas have as much legitimacy as the rules written in a book like Harry Potter for a fictional world, mere productions of your imagination, hope you at least have some reason for bothering with it.
  • Afghanistan, Islam and national success?

    The citizens cannot hold the government accountable, the government is supposed to be self-regulating. In Australia, where I live, politicians are forced to resign because of mishandled travel expenses. One example:

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/feb/19/liberal-mps-shock-2am-resignation-while-facing-icac-charges-plunges-sa-into-minority-government

    It can be quite comical to see what Australian MPs are charged with when juxtaposed with what the politicians of other nations are able to get away with. But it's what a healthy democracy looks like, and Afghanistan's corruption problem going unaddressed is the biggest problem here. Neither unifying people with Islam nor educating the populace is going to help much.

    Do you disagree and why do you think either of these things would help?
  • Afghanistan, Islam and national success?

    The reason democracy-building in Germany, Italy, Japan and SK was easier is because the legal and social infrastructure existed prior to the attempt. it's not because the West did a better job of convincing people of the merits of democracy. The second reason it was easier is that the democracy was established during peacetime, those nations had stopped resisting and weren't being attacked. Lastly, the existence of these nations wasn't controversial, there was one language, one culture, one identity (largely).

    Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan were all cases of higher difficulty, in every sense. These nations lacked that legal and social infrastructure, corruption was rampant and war was endless. National unity was lacking, there were so many economic, social and political problems in each case.

    When one looks at flawed democracies or dictatorships in South America, Africa, SEA and around the world, you see the population knows their government is corrupt and inadequate. But unless the accusation is highly specific, backed up with evidence and made by a government body with the power to inflict consequences, it doesn't mean much. I think Americans in particular, have a naive view about themselves, they think their democracy exists because the citizens want it more and are more willing to defend it. As I already said, with the Arab Springs, populations were willing to overthrow their governments, that is the highest level of resolve, to risk life and limb for democracy. The end result was chaos and anarchy because that's not really how democracies work, they don't survive based on the level of enthusiasm of their citizens. It's just American political campaigning, stroking the ego of voters to secure votes.

    A big issue also is that all three wars, the US never really went in intending to do any nation-building. They ended up doing it as a result of necessity and did a pretty half-assed job. The key thing to do is to set up these institutions, to give the means to a country like Afghanistan to root out corruption because that clearly didn't happen, the Taliban was able to walk over Afghanistan as if it didn't even have a government.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/america-enabled-afghanistan-s-corruption-years-taliban-knew-it-ncna1277327
  • Afghanistan, Islam and national success?

    You could try making a thread about what's required for democracy, I think one can make an argument for culture being important but only way before the actual democracy has fallen. Most democracies don't even get off the ground, they start without the necessary legal institutions to defend them and fall into authoritarianism from the getgo. It's just impossible for civilians to investigate and redemy corruption, to
    charge politicians with criminal activity, to prevent laws from being passed or repealed, at least as a long-term strategy.

    In recent times, we've seen populations organise through social media to demand democracy, such as with the Arab Springs, but it did not result in any democracy, only chaos and anarchy after the authoritarians were deposed. The citizens can organise demonstrations and revolts, but they cannot manage a long-term democracy, that requires the necessary institutions and laws.
  • Afghanistan, Islam and national success?

    I think your question needs to be tweaked. Not who would want such leaders, but under what conditions do such leaders come to power? A hidden question, is the US experiencing conditions that could lead to that kind of power taking control?Athena

    A lot of my understanding about this topic of historical Islam comes from this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60JboffOhaw&ab_channel=CaspianReport

    This channel, caspianreport, is probably the best place to learn about geopolitics around the world. There are many interesting videos on the Taliban and Afghanistan, as well. That is the best place for you to go.

    I say the Taliban are sophisticated because they know how to use social media, they know how to play the media, they are involved in deeply complicated geopolitical games. It's not a high standard for sophistication but all of these terrorist groups are fairly sophisticated in this sense. It's not as simple as running around with guns and terrorising the innocent, like what you see in Africa. They're far more sophisticated than the Nazi party was before they came to power.

    How do groups like ISIS, The Taliban or the Nazi party come to power? The answer is simple and always the same, it's misery and hardship. ISIS took power because of the chaos in Syria and Iraq, the Taliban took power because of the war with the Soviet Union, the Nazi party took power after WW1 and during the great depression.

    What protects nations like the US from such events isn't the people or culture, it's the democratic institutions and strong legal system. For the US to become an authoritarian state (in the true sense of the word), would require these institutions to fail. Trump's antics demonstrate just how hard it actually is to disrupt these Western democracies. The system rebuffed his efforts to claim the election was a hoax and the march on the capitol pretty easily, it didn't come close to threatening to change anything. For a Western democracy to fall, something catastrophic would need to occur, not saying that's the only way but it's the most likely way.
  • Afghanistan, Islam and national success?

    Islam succeeded mainly because of its geographical location as the centre of the world, between Europe, India and China. Trade brought through combinations of technology, philosophy and goods that nobody else had access to. This changed when boats began to replace carts as the major form of transportation for goods.

    The complexity of Islam needs to be addressed also, theological interpretation is varied and ranges from a complete denial of free will and rationality to the celebration of free will and rationality. Those latter interpretations were more dominant during the 9th-12th centuries. Not only is Islam a varied religion today but interpretations throughout those times have changed.

    The Islam of the Taliban is quite clearly counterproductive, compare them with the CCP who act like corporate overlords hellbent on efficiency, development and surpassing the West. The Taliban is more concerned about theological, philosophical and moral matters. To succeed, the Taliban could try to extract the resources of Afghanistan and use those funds for development but that would require collaboration with foreign powers. I don't think the leaders of ISIS or the Taliban are primitive, they're actually quite sophisticated but Islam isn't just supremely counterproductive, it's a distraction.

    In the 9th century, a government can clumsily and ineffectively allow science to be practised in the ideal location and see positive results, while still practising backward traditions. They can outpace the other primitive and backward cultures of the world while doing that. Now, our expectations and standards are higher, meeting the standards of being a developed nation is an incredibly difficult task. Afghanistan had a chance, when it was becoming secularised and Westernised, Islam, corruption and communism ruined that chance.

    Most importantly, ISIS and The Taliban are militia war groups and terrorists, even if they weren't Islamists, who would want such leaders? Who would expect anything from their leadership?
  • Eleven Theses on Civility

    What I see from the radical left is an urgency and importance that creates impatience and frustration and that's where the anger and incivility come from. There are civil ways of conveying radical leftist ideas and quite a few posters on this forum demonstrate it. Some of us take offence to the insinuations of how their race, class, gender, experience have implications on them that undermine their individuality, which colour their actions or imbue them with often insidious meaning. But there is a way to convey it which minimises the offence but many such as streetlightx don't ever go for it. I think that's because, as I said, the line for unacceptable behaviour is aggressive, to the extent that honest interpretation or inaction are tantamount to supporting inherently racist or sexist structures and defend unequal structures and oppression.

    The second thing is uncharitable perceptions and an interpretative emphasis on insidious, hidden motivations. Such as a white person voting for Trump, no matter their reasons, the thought of possible underlying racist motivations is is often way beyond what I could ever consider reasonable. The singular voter for Trump carries the weight of all Trump's sins, the obstacle to morally paramount social, economic and environmental changes. Which is very characteristic of their brand of identity politics, and ideas of group responsibility.

    The article says the opposite of civility is militancy and I think that sums up my views as well. A zero-tolerance policy, take-no-prisoners, maximum accountability for offenders, aggressive attitude that goes against what it means to be civil in discourse. This could be done with any non-mainstream view, the alt-right could do this, theoretically. Probably you're right and OP is talking about incivility as opinions with unpleasant consequences but at least, I think the political polarisation comes down to the culture of political expression as much as it is the views themselves. Which is impacted by internet anonymity, for example, which just makes people less civil period. The diversification of news media sources, the influence of social media, the ability for fewer people to project a louder voice. Cultural and technological factors have helped to make things less civil, but politics gets all the blame. I see the exact same thing with anti-SJW, anti-radical left approach of insults, mockery, condemnation, memes etc. Probably liberals like myself unwittingly bemoan changes caused by technological advances that can't be reversed, like conservatives doomed to be dissatisfied. We call for civility but it's futile. Everyone will have to adapt.
  • Eleven Theses on Civility

    Civility is a standard for behaviour that generates a particular type of discourse that can be valued in itself. It prevents situations from breaking down into avoidable conflict, it's a practical consideration as well as the extension of moral tenets like treating others as you'd like to be treated yourself. In politics, civility is giving someone the benefit of the doubt or acting like you are, that they came to their opinion without some major character deficit nor to make their opinion a major character deficit. Thus, yes, some words can't be considered civil, they unleash the full brunt of your discontent and invite conflict. I don't see the value of your distinction.


    I am rarely interested in coming to a conclusion on somebody else's intelligence or goodness. I hold a relativistic outlook, and I see my positions as being products of my psychology, personality, experiences, education, culture and so on. So I am more interested in understanding how someone came to a conclusion, and why I didn't come to that conclusion, which helps me to learn about myself and others. I also value the product of an idea in relation to its impact on a person, rather than thinking ideas have intrinsic merit. But I do think we draw a line, that regardless of experiences or product, certain things are not okay. I think where the radical left is militant is that where they draw a line is incredibly assertive and disruptive. Which they take pride in. I absolutely will go in on somebody for being overtly racist in my presence, I go from wanting an interesting dialogue to fulfilling a moral obligation if that makes sense. I sympathise with that element of the radical left, I just think sometimes it's ridiculous how little it takes. Simply hearing someone supports Trump is enough to deserve disdain and disgust on a level that truly shocks me, one dumb comment on Twitter sends people into a frenzy, it's too much. There's no mitigation either, it doesn't matter if someone has a good heart and good intentions, I don't agree with that. I end up asking for civility because I don't agree with why they say civility is no longer appropriate.
  • Eleven Theses on Civility

    Many topics in political discourse for the left are of great moral importance and strong emotional views and expression are natural and justified.

    The first component I see, of incivility in the left, comes from the circumstances surrounding the moral implications of their claims. Claims of racism, sexism, oppression, inequality, anti-LGBT, corruption and the list goes on. Directed at the system and individuals, for saying, supporting, or even just not doing anything to stop, any of these things. Where it's justified to drop civility because an uncivil response to racism or sexism is justified, one can be forceful without being rude but if there's a time to be rude, it's when one is dealing with things like these. Of course, I don't agree with how someone like you sees these things even remotely, but I'm not in a position to dictate how others feel.

    The second component is addressing the system and structure of society and expressing one's discontent with strong language. Criticising capitalism, for example, and the counterarguments of capitalist culture, and risking offending people affected or potentially even implicated with your criticism. And for this one, again, I think it's justified, People are justified in expressing their moral outrage and disapproval in a way that feels natural to them, especially because it's a topic of moral importance. Calls for civility can deny and attempt to invalidate the outrage which is warranted by the nature of the criticism and often of what is being criticised. Calls of civility in this context say that this topic is not a topic where that kind of strong feeling is justified and puts the critic on trial for their (warranted?) anger.

    However, civility towards others should be the basis of most people's politics, the recognition that it's guaranteed that people don't think the same should lead people to the conclusion that treating people who think differently from you rudely can only lead to its prevalence in discourse. Rudeness towards others fosters tribalism, close-mindedness, ignorance and activates nearly every psychological barrier to listening to or understanding others. Incivility towards structures needs to be earned and incivility towards people needs to be earned. But again I don't get to dictate for others, when it is or isn't earned.

    Since the radical left's ideology based around postmodernism orientates itself around issues to do with race, gender, LGBT, oppression, inequality and so on, every political issue is an issue which warrants outrage and is an issue which can't be compromised on. And so with you and many others, the fair exception for incivility is just the new norm. How you are uncivil is the totality of how you communicate your political ideas.

    The issues are always high-stakes and anything less than the strongest criticism for apologists or offenders is an unpleasant compromise. If you truly think someone is defending something you believe that absolutely must be stopped then what kind of speech isn't justified? What if a substantial percentage of people are part of the problem?

    There are so many different contexts, and ways of being uncivil, different intentions and what else accompanies it, there's no way to address them all. When I call for civility, it's because I don't think the level of incivility has been earned and that's the issue. I'll treat someone I think of as racist harshly and that's justified but if you call someone racist, I'm unlikely to buy that and when you treat that person bad with aggression. I feel like you're being unreasonable and disruptive, I want that person to be able to have a seat at the table but I wouldn't feel that way about someone I thought was a racist. I wouldn't have asked for civility if I thought they didn't deserve it.
  • The Shoutbox

    Some aspects of Britney's life story are very sad and make me so angry, it's stories like these that should serve to remind us that we're not nearly as advanced a society as many like to think. The other interesting thing about it is how these really pathetic articles from predatory tabloids that search for misleading and compromising pictures and stories gets commented on by comedians, celebrities, news media and the like and becomes fact. "Everyone says/knows" is such a dangerous justification.

    And then the with guardianship/custodianship, I've heard of horror stories before but it's something one can only be so desensitised to. The circumstances are too absurd for fiction, but it's the world we live in, apparently.

    https://www.youtube.com/c/DeepDiveProductions/videos

    Very thorough documentary on these topics can be found here that I recommend for any interested.
  • Is terrorism justified ?

    Your logic is so childish, amounting to "do me wrong I do you wrong" except "you" = civilians who have no hand in military decisions. "Two wrongs make a right" is the level of your justification.

    . Obviously, it's difficult for Al Qaeda ( or then Taliban ) to target America to this extent, however, they have succeeded in convincing American public to NOT INTERFERE IN THEIR OWN REGIONAL AFFAIRS.Wittgenstein

    The US public is tired of war, they're not tired of terrorist attacks on US citizens.

    Infact, I would make sure l slap twice so my opponent doesn't even think of retaliation.Wittgenstein

    Think about the topic you're talking about, with the US war on terrorism, your logic is worthless but that you use it on a thread about terrorism is just so funny.

    Terrorism very rarely has any kind of success but backfires often, it's done by radicals who have no other means, that's all. Guerilla warfare has had success but terrorism very rarely does anything but upset and anger people. The media and politicians blow up terrorism for their own benefit, in reality, the scale is negligible, and it accomplishes nothing.
  • Criteria for a stance-independent definition and the definition of involuntary suffering

    Stance-independent definitions are just definitions all the major stances agree with. "Disvalue" can never be a consistent term, it's just that for language to function we can't iron out the details, good enough has to be good enough. When a term becomes crucial philosophically, and the details matter, the differences are revealed. The differences justify the different philosophical positions or the philosophical differences justify the details for the different parties. And commonly, all parties, in an attempt to give their view some authority, try to claim that authority through language. Involuntary suffering, disvalue, whatever terms you decide on, are insufficient as their mere dictionary definitions. I'm talking about interpretation, application, characterisation, emphasis, consequences, hierarchies of value and the list continues on. All you can do is argue for your stances and explain when it is best and why.
  • Free Speech and Censorship

    Free speech, much like anything really, is just a convenient name, which if we weren't being lazy, should actually be broken down into a multitude of contexts and circumstances. A student at school doesn't have free speech, one will be punished for expressing certain opinions but this is necessary for maintaining order and protecting students. Even here, you're talking about censorship with private businesses in social media but private spheres such as this very forum, actually do have the right to police the types of speech allowed on their platform. Your positions sound nobler than they are, really, free speech isn't free anymore if it's restricted? Then there's nothing for you to protect, no such free speech exists.

    Your only problem is that private businesses have so much influence now, such as Twitter actually being in a position to seriously restrict a president's ability to communicate directly to the public. You worry over private businesses ability to censor on their platforms, that is your main concern, correct? Not only this but also people being disincentivised to speak by being barraged by others (or seeing this happen) on social media and the consequences of these activities, right? I think you see yourself as defending the status quo but you're actually calling for reform and don't realise it. Isn't it your duty to tell us how things should be reformed or at least state what you're trying to change? You actually want more rules, more policing of speech and more policing of business practices but instead, you talk about slippery slopes like you are protesting such things. Your position is confused because you do not call for reform but maintenance of a status quo that doesn't exist nor solves any of the problems causing your concern.

    Who would you trust?ToothyMaw

    Probably the most important aspects of free speech and where it's generally wrongly restricted; is the ability for one to criticise those with power and secondly, to criticise social, cultural, religious institutions and practices. To be able to express oneself freely is something we all value but it's also essential for the survival of democracy and to allow people to shine a light on problems that people without free speech, aren't able to. That is why I find some definitions of sexism and racism to be too broad, as to be ideological, and to curtail one from criticising the government freely. I don't believe logic should be censored for the sake of promoting the "correct" way of thinking, which is indoctrination. I don't believe one's offence or interpretation should serve as an objective measure for what shouldn't be allowed to be said. But who makes these decisions? There are many contexts that call for restrictions on speech, mainly because maintaining order depends on it in contexts such as classrooms and workplaces and now many online spaces such as this one. Generally, we gave freedom to teachers, bosses, moderators to make these kinds of decisions and the kinds of decisions they made and what decisions are considered acceptable to make has evolved with the times. Now on social media, corporations such as Facebook and Twitter, moderate with such power that it can affect the entire democratic system. Thus, this freedom has become a new kind of potential tyranny, where such corporations can restrict speech on their platforms, which are monopolies with virtually no alternatives. And the second problem is that through social media, unpopular opinions can cost people through damage to reputation, their jobs, safety, mental wellbeing and so on. This is free speech magnified to the extent that it harms people. Neither of these problems has simple solutions.

    For the first one, probably these tech giants need government oversight and specially crafted laws which name them because they are too big to be left alone but I don't know the specifics of how this might look. For the second, I have no idea, I don't know if there is a solution, maybe but I can't think of one. And as for what kind of censorship I would like, I no longer feel that this is worth discussing in your thread, you have enough to deal with as it is.
  • Is Human Nature Inherently Destructive or Not?

    Through transparency and oversight, methods of holding those in positions of power accountable, a system of consequence for abuse of power can rein in this tendency to abuse. That is likely the only practical approach, we can not hold out hope for better.
  • Is Human Nature Inherently Destructive or Not?

    Give a man power and take away consequence and watch the transformation from a good man to a tyrant. We confuse fear and concern of consequence with decency, power reveals this mischaracterization.
  • Free Speech and Censorship

    The question isn't whether one "needs" to be silenced, it's about whether there's sufficient justification and motivation for silencing. It's not about silencing people who think differently, it's about viewing speech as a vehicle for power. The consequences of that power can't be corrected so easily, it's not as though opposing views cancel each other out. Each person who stops to think, whether unfavourable treatment of a minority is justified and decides it is, is likely going to be worse now having done that than if they hadn't had the opportunity.

    Defending free speech as a principle sounds nice but what is actually being defended? There are consequences on both sides of the issue and it's an evolving issue because technology evolves and changes the game. You use slippery slope fallacies to defend a hardline stance which doesn't actually make much sense. This idea of "festering" makes little sense. When a view is given a platform, even if only 1% of people agree with the message, that's just a numbers game. Reach enough people and 1% is a lot, views which don't recruit new members, wither and die.

    There is only really a single problem I recognise which is "who decides what speech is harmful" and that is a very serious problem. Many posters here, who I agree with a lot, I would never want to trust to make this decision. There are some truly disagreeable ideas out there on what constitutes racism, sexism, anti-trans and anti-Islam and how these things (their interpretation of them) can never be appropriate. Postmodernism in general has a view valid points but is overall highly disagreeable to me. But I think that's where the discussion should be, to figure out what speech can be limited to protect the vulnerable, without tearing apart our ability to criticise political, cultural and social trends and decisions in a way that is too broad.
  • Free Speech and Censorship

    Everyone agrees that free speech should have some limits, the one which is pertinent here is the exception of violence and oppression. Perhaps this is best defined as a disagreement between enlightenment principles and postmodernism. Free speech is used by those in power as a means of oppressing minority groups, basically, the free speech of some leads to the oppression of others. Postmodernism says that rather than our rationality being imperfect, it's a product of our race/gender/wealth and our rationality just reinforces convenient logic. So Trump talking about banning Muslims is a rich, white, powerful male using his free speech to oppress and disadvantage Muslim minorities. To protect these minorities, a valid response might be censorship, which's far easier than alternatives and if oppression is occurring then the stakes are arguably high enough to go to such measures. Violence could be redefined as causing damage, which speech can do, violent speech can be argued to be censored.
  • Bannings

    The admins just dislike weird grammar and odd styles of articulation and such has been banned here many times. Also, the number of posts there are, she did what, 113 in 1 or 2 days? I don't personally believe these things merit a ban but considering who gets banned and who doesn't, these things seem to all be factors. A "high quality" post might just be one that has proper punctuation and grammar, on-topic and etc. Plenty of posters go against what the admins believe on a regular basis without being banned.
  • The Ethics of Employer-Employee relations

    You might be right, I understood you to be arguing in favour of something bizarre but it appears those concerns were invalid. Perhaps if we discussed libertarianism, we would disagree more but it seems we agree on most things here.

    I agree that it's a systemic issue, not anything about specific people. My contention though is that it's the inequality of wealth that creates and perpetuates those class differences that underlie the employer-employee relationship. That some people own the means of production and others don't is why those others have to work for the first class. I don't see how you would go about fixing the abusive employer-employee relationship without freeing the employees from their dependence on the employers, which dependence comes from their unequal wealth.Pfhorrest

    The transfer of the means of production would be sufficient, that's what I think. At worst, what I want is the democratisation of workforces, even if the workers do not own the means of production, simply having them be able to decide things and have leaders accountable to them would be preferable to this. There is a range of acceptable solutions though some are more ideal than others.

    I don't know my preferred solution to rent currently, it's something on my list of things to think about and research. So, I'll discuss it another time.


    Please clarify this. Who are you talking about? The founder? CEO? The person interviewing you for the job? The hiring manager who approves the applicant? Or are you talking about just the entire company as an abstract entity?BitconnectCarlos

    The owners or their representatives, aka not employees.

    Well "the system" starts with a job offer in a free market.BitconnectCarlos

    And a tsunami consists of droplets of water.

    I remember your definition of oppression, you mean "unfair", right? "Unjust"? You're asking whether offering someone a job is unjust? You've already shown your proclivity for allowing dumb exceptions to save your positions, if you want to talk about what you know, the literal employer of a business, give me an example and we can explore it.
  • The Ethics of Employer-Employee relations

    My point was that in these delegations of power - even under Hitler - people within those ranks of bureaucracy have latitude and real decisions to make. Middle management are not mindless automatons mindlessly following orders. The way you phrase things is like only the head boss has agency and everyone else just follows his orders. It's not reflective of reality at all.BitconnectCarlos

    I seemed to you to think delegation doesn't exist or you are just making nonsense points to distract from criticisms of capitalism? Your "point" is noted. The employer makes all the important decisions, they wield absolute authority - similarly, Hitler wielded absolute authority, delegation for either role doesn't change how much authority either has. I factored all of this in when arriving at my conclusion, but it's not good enough, delegation of power isn't a substitute for democracy or any of the other things I value, nor should it work that way for you.

    Anyway, back to an earlier question: Is it immoral for me to offer you a job? Is it abusive?BitconnectCarlos

    I'm not interested in discussing the morality of employers, only the ethics of the system.
  • The Ethics of Employer-Employee relations

    It is about capitalism, this is but a single justification of yours, which isn't a justification at all but a distraction. Authoritarian governments delegate power, so what? Hitler, a dictator? Not really, there were many German commanders, lieutenants, officers who had authority in Germany! Except that's not how we define what a dictatorship is, it's not how we define democracy, the natural consequence of the necessity for delegation is not a way to equalise every political and economic system. Your point is moot, it is another low bar set for capitalism, but my question is why? Why are you trying to make things so easy for capitalism by giving it hoops to jump over like slavery and authoritarianism?
  • The Ethics of Employer-Employee relations

    "Good" is subjective, whereas "true" is objective.James Riley

    No, true in this contexts refers to ideological interpretation, it's no different than dictating what a "true" patriot does, as though, a patriot's interpretation of their patriotism must conform to certain rules. It is not objective, it's just a different and more oppressive form of "good". Capitalism has innumerable variations but most of them do not pervert the basic system. I don't know if any one variation has a monopoly on the term, you just need to meet the basic requirements. If one variation is a failure, another can still be a success. That is why I am not interested in arguing what is the "true" capitalism, it is a distraction, a pedantic discussion, which does nothing but change the meaning of a word. Capitalists can kill their golden goose, they can tax evade, externalise costs. Especially since I'm saying that the employer-employee relationship is flawed, I am largely uninterested in these variations, though I recognise a hierarchy.

    I don't know exactly how you want to calculate the externalised costs, I presume you don't stop at subsidies but environmental, health, business costs and so on? Or is it just businesses receiving money from the government that you care about?

    Capitalism has so many problems, and given what I've read from you, I'm surprised to hear that your only problem with capitalism is on this single issue. An issue which could actually affect socialist organisation such as co-ops and so isn't even a solely capitalist issue. It's more of a governmental issue than anything else. Externalities is a fine topic that demonstrates a flaw in capitalism, the capitalist weighs up the profit motive for a decision but only includes costs that the capitalist needs to pay for. That a community, society, person - whoever has to pay an extra financial, emotional or cost to their well-being isn't factored in. You're talking about such problems, yes? Or just government subsidies?

    If your only concern is government subsidisation, why? If it's not, how can this not be included in capitalism? How can cost externalisation possibly be calculated and paid for by the capitalist? Is this less complex than I'm making it out to be? That you think this should be the norm, how does it work?
  • How do you think we should approach living with mentally lazy/weak people?

    And what's the context of this living within society? Talking with people?
  • How do you think we should approach living with mentally lazy/weak people?

    Another nice proverb is "one man's trash is another man's treasure".

    But, what context are you talking about? Living within society? As family and friend? What?
  • Responsibility of Employees

    I guess for the sake of figuring this out, we can include illegal and legal activities. A Netflix documentary called "dirty money" has quite an interesting number of mostly illegal examples. Banks, factories, car manufacturers, real estate moguls who game the system illegally. So, we might ask, how responsible are the employees for these illegal activities? When their job depends on them toeing the line?

    For a specific example, ICE is an interesting case. Their operations changed dramatically when Trump was elected and their new policies were very divisive. From ICE's perspective, they do what they're to told, they don't have the power to go against a democratically elected leader. That is their job, but still, they are ultimately responsible for carrying out these acts that people dislike. But it's precisely the people who are being deported, that have no ability to talk to the people in power who make those decisions and only deal with the employees. And even whether ICE should be blamed, its agents or just the policy is divisive. If Trump's policies are in the right, this example doesn't work, but assuming they're in the wrong, what level of moral accountability does each agent have for what they do?

    Or present your own example, there's no shortage of them.
  • Responsibility of Employees

    What personal sacrifices should someone be forced to make, when they know their resignation won't have an impact on anything? Are they doing anything besides saving their own conscience? To what extent do you think it's justified for a third party to blame employees as being responsible for the situation? Given that theoretically if all employees refused to participate in perpetuating an unfair or harmful operation, then the problem would be resolved.


    You are never alleviated of moral responsibility. I tried to draw that distinction between ethics and morals on the thread about that subject. Moral responsibility it your responsibility to yourself.James Riley

    Sure, I agree, but I am interested in what grievances a person has with a company can reasonably carry over to employees.
  • The Ethics of Employer-Employee relations

    Okay, it seems we have the same values but tell give different explanations for why things should be the way we want and why things are the way they are. We both favour co-ops, but I see the employer-class as unethical and undesirable, I don't want a return to any "natural state", I want society to make an ethical and practical decision to rearrange things and abolish capitalism - or create a hybrid between capitalism and socialism where socialism is favoured and promoted. I don't think Democratic Socialism is enough but it's better than nothing.

    To perhaps better relate everything back to your primary concern about the employer-employee relationship: we can start off asking why abusive forms of such relationships exist.Pfhorrest

    While your analysis about how wealth inequality leads to further wealth inequality is correct, how employees aren't property but buying consumers and need buying power to live, the only way to get that buying power for the majority is to exchange labour for wages as an employee. It will always be this way in capitalism and the disparities can only increase. Technology similarly through increased efficiency, capabilities and automation can cater to ever greater numbers and a handful of companies, after defeating their competitors over and over again, rise to the top.

    The employer could have more or less wealth than the employee but the power imbalance is inherent in their positions. The employee exchanges wages for labour, nothing more, what wages and what labour, are the only questions. The employer owns his business, makes all decisions regarding the businesses direction, chooses how his business will operate, promote, demote, fire his employees. Should the business care about the environment? Should it care about the community? Should it do anything? Only the capitalist decides, the employees have no voice. That is why it doesn't matter if we're talking about high-level employees or low-level employees who make nothing, we're only talking about the ability of an employee to negotiate or resign in opposition more easily. The profit drive is to pay for expenses, enable the business to grow and enrich the capitalist. The employee only exchanges labour for wages, they're not involved in what happens to profit. In every single situation, about everything, the employer has near-absolute command and his authority is in-built into capitalism. It's not dependant upon his wealth, status or connections, the employer-class simply has these authorities over employees and that's how capitalism works.

    So, I contend it's the very system, rather than the specifics or specific people and the unethical employer-employee relation which is by itself, a class-based system. The unequal resources are a product of the unequal system, the inequality of the relationship goes deeper than that for me.



    I'm going to use this opportunity to respond to these comments about how an employer might treat his employees, publically owned companies and employee agency.

    Firstly, with regards to how employees are treated, really by other employees or employers, can be viewed through the lens of common decency and respect. That should be promoted and is but it doesn't address the underlying problems. It is not exceptionally different from how a master might treat his slave well. My point isn't to compare employees with slaves, just to say, if it can be true in a situation that is much, much worse, then it can be true here. Slavery is a problem regardless and I contend employers are a problem regardless, the relation is inherently unethical.

    When it comes to publicly traded companies, the employees can own it if they buy stock. Then, we'll have to see where their morals lie when they are looking at quarterly dividends versus "doing the right thing" generally.James Riley

    I don't actually expect employees to always be doing "the right thing", I expect them to view their interests beyond the scope of what makes sense from the perspective of capitalists or investors. Giving themselves better working conditions, protecting their local environment and community, all while making a profit, people are often just talking about making things better for themselves. They are the local community and exist in the local environment. They are the workers. If workers choose to screw the environment for profit, that's a separate problem. We can look at existing co-ops to see how this might work, not how capitalist structured publically owned businesses run. Employers, employees, investors, they're all just people, how they act depends on the situation you put them in.

    Have you never met a shift supervisor or a manager?BitconnectCarlos

    By necessity, the employer must delegate tasks but how these tasks are performed and judged, the authority and resources they have, are all things he decides. I'm not interested in democratising the power of a shift supervisor, the decisions they make don't interest me. What's your game here anyway Carlos? Why do you care so much about capitalism that you're willing to resort to these absurd tactics to defend it?
  • The Ethics of Employer-Employee relations

    Well, my position is focused on the employer-employee relation, and that is where I think most of the problems of capitalism come from. I'm not clear on your model either but to me, capitalism represents something that is exceptional at maximising various ends, to the detriment of others. Any criticism of capitalism should consider how recommendations for change can hurt what makes capitalism in many areas so effective. The basis for production in capitalism is the drive for profit, to create goods and services and property for selling at the market, to pay for the expenses of the production and a little extra to maintain growth for the business and profit for the capitalist. Capitalism is defined by the employer-employee relationship, which is different from the master-slave relationship, the employee is not property, exchanges labour for wages and participates in the marketplace as a buying consumer. If Socialism was defined by group ownership of enterprises, co-ops, then it would be distinct from capitalism by lacking the employer-class. But the removal of the capitalist doesn't mean an end to the immensely imbalanced resources held by enterprises that currently exists today, though the situation wouldn't be nearly as bad. The "capitalist" account of who owns what is not much different from the master-slave and co-op account of who owns what. Only that people aren't property and businesses are conjointly owned/run by the workers.

    What I don't want to see is the employee being treated as an asset, rather than an end in themselves. To see production and labour through the lens of profit, as opposed to its workers' happiness, environmental costs of their business, impact on the local community and so on. Capitalist businesses don't reflect the values of their workers, they only reflect the drive for profit and the need to comply with (or not comply with if they can get away with it) various government laws and regulations.

    Most of what you see, in dictating who owns what, how goods are exchanged in the marketplace, how capital functions in the economy, I am not trying to change. That is not to say that I have decided there is no better system, there is a lot to be said about how the marketplace and private property currently function is broken and unethical but I lack the confidence to promote a different system. I hope this explains my position but I will return to your criticism.

    In a co-op, as an example, the workers do indeed own the factory they work at, they own the tools and materials they use. But what rightfully belongs to whom is still determined in exactly the same way as before, the workers conjointly own the business and these articles of property belong to that business. Is this kind of model something you could get behind?

    As for land, capitalism has very little to do with how that's handled. Land could be nationalised and leased such as in Singapore, it's still capitalist. Help me to understand you. Currently, land is bought, rental properties are built and leased out, without any profit motivation to build these properties for sale or rent, who is going to build up these properties for people to live in?
  • The Ethics of Employer-Employee relations

    I was discussing this sort of thing with @Kenosha Kid in
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/11135/the-ant-and-the-grasshopper-immediate-versus-delayed-return

    About the move from egalitarianism to social hierarchy, about its inevitability when switching to a delayed return society from instant return. That is a better place to discuss the "natural order", not in 21st century capitalist society.

    How would they figure that out, and what would the resulting answer look like?Pfhorrest

    I honestly have no idea but I also have no idea how society works with your justification of use. No marketplace is going to function, the concept of money wouldn't work, getting people to do anything for you without a personal relationship seems unlikely. Perhaps a natural consequence of the inability to hold private property without using it would that it was community-owned and each person receives on the basis of need, or otherwise, communism. Why not advocate for communism instead of having private property operate in such a disorganised way?

    That raises the question of how the law got and stays so different from the “natural order” so to speak.Pfhorrest

    Just status-quo capitalism and private property should be sufficient to change things over time, even with a reset, to get things back to normal. What we have isn't a product of history it is a product of capitalism. Capital is invested, and capital is uneven, investments perform differently and the winners get ahead and gains advantages that skew the playing field further and further until society is marked by those who own a lot and those who own very little. But the investment of capital isn't just a mechanism for maintaining social hierarchies, it's a process of importance, much of what we have today is a result of that process. The "natural order" is of absolute poverty where there's no property to bicker over. We need to manage our productive power to serve the majority, not dismantle that power because it's currently being used to serve the few. Thus, people argue about how to use our productive power but the "natural order" doesn't teach us this, do you have a model to propose?
  • The Ethics of Employer-Employee relations

    If your priorities are to retain the exact business structure of capitalism then capitalism is the only thing that can deliver that. How can a single person start a business with their own capital, with their own vision, to control what happens in their business and employee people as the business grows, at their leisure and call that socialism? At best, you could have a hybrid system that aimed to convert or forced businesses to convert to socialism after meeting a certain set of criteria. Thus retaining this element of capitalism, where a single person can start their own capitalist business.

    The employer is paying the employee for a job. If I offer you a job for $100/hr is that me being oppressive? Would I be making you my slave now? Is that how jobs work? I'm sure there's a job to be a slave out there but most aren't. I feel like you're talking about low-level jobs here, is that it? You're talking about the type of jobs.

    You just don't like how certain employers treat their employees which is natural; employers can be dicks! Not all are though.
    BitconnectCarlos

    A slave has no political or economic agency or autonomy, they are property, which is quite different from an employee's position. Is slavery the bar that teaches us right from wrong? If an employee isn't a slave then thus we know there's nothing further to be discussed? Yes, the employer gives the employee a wage for labour, that's the basic principle of capitalism. If you offered me a job for $100/hr it'd be because you believed it'd help you make a profit, that is also a basic principle of capitalism. The employer has absolute authority to determine what he does with his business and what shall be done with the profits, again, a basic principle of capitalism.

    Your position is coherent, you support the capitalist system 100%. The wage for labour is a fine system, it's fine for the value to be determined in negotiations and in the marketplace. It's fine that employees don't get to make any decisions at the companies they work at, ideal even. Your reasoning is that "it's not slavery, get over it". Can't really argue with that, your values are "ensuring individuals can start capitalist businesses", and that certainly needs capitalism to happen. I'm not going to argue against your values and your application of them is sound, I suppose, lol.
  • Is it better to learn things on your own?

    Copying is better in nearly every way but there is an enjoyment of being free to experiment and enquire and learning something on your own.
  • The Ethics of Employer-Employee relations

    It's not the police that says so, it's the recognition of the transfer of ownership that occurs through the marketplace. If someone buys a rental property, or a factory, or a website, then they become the legal owners of that property. Living in a rental property doesn't make it yours, working in a factory doesn't make it yours, using the tools provided to you at your place of work doesn't make them yours. I'm sure you're aware of this, your interpretation of ownership would have radical implications for the world in which we live. You know what the status quo is, you know it's not dictated by the police, it's the law and I'd argue a part of the law the vast majority of people accept and want to keep.
  • The Ethics of Employer-Employee relations

    Do you mean a "good" capitalist? Why is your adjective "true"?

    You want the state to ensure businesses abide by certain standards, but these standards are just to make living conditions for workers more tolerable, the capitalist doesn't see workers as ends in themselves but just as a means to make a profit. That is true capitalism, that is how capitalism operates. Minimise expenses wherever possible including taxes, of course, capitalists have an obligation and necessity to reduce all expenses including taxes to a minimum. I dislike it when people slap "true" on something and then insert their ideals as if the status quo is a perversion rather than the norm. Has capitalism been misunderstood? What problems can be truly ascribed to capitalism and which constitute a perversion?

    Isn't it inherently true that within the business, the employer must be given extensive rights to do with his business as he sees fit for capitalism to function correctly? How many regulations and rules can be effectively enforced and to what extent do they really change anything?
  • The Ethics of Employer-Employee relations

    Ok, explain to me how businesses get started then. Give me a better model.BitconnectCarlos

    You and I could discuss alternatives but there's no point to that from my perspective. You missed my meaning in my last comment. What are your priorities? How do we measure success? What is your stance on the ethics of employer-employee relations? Should employees be entitled to some control over the businesses they work in? And many more questions need to be answered to know what a better model is. Socialism maximises different outcomes, has different priorities. Many of which make no sense if you don't agree with the criticisms of capitalism that they're operating under. If employer-employee relations can be that the employer has absolute control and authority and agency and the employee is just there to receive a check then that's how we might arrive at the conclusion of B) in:

    A) The status quo is fine
    B) Democratic Socialism is the way to go forward
    C) Other

    Because for B) you see that there are some problems, just not the problem this OP is talking about. This is basic, no successful business would operate this way. You acknowledge problems and then you brainstorm solutions, what problem are you asking me to solve? You want to work backwards. Brainstorm solutions and then figure out what the problem is. Do you not see how impossible that is?

    Why is it stupid? Did I misrepresent your position somehow? Does your employee not deserve equal representation? Tell me what was wrong with it.BitconnectCarlos

    You know why it's stupid, don't give me that. You're not stupid, why do you keep acting like you are? You described an incredibly dysfunctional system that no sensible person would advocate for and declared "checkmate". All you did was reveal that you have no idea what you're talking about, which makes me even less inclined to discuss it with you. I want to discuss the ethics of the employer-employee relation, not correct whatever misunderstanding of socialism you can conjure up.


    All the materials in the factory and the factory itself belong to the owner, the police would protect the private property of the owner and that should happen regardless of whether of what the property is being used for. Capitalist culture and logic are mainstream, I suspect it'll take nearly a hundred years before anything of significance happens to overthrow this norm. It seems obvious that you think employer-employee relations are inherently unethical, I lean towards this conclusion as well but unless such a conclusion is reached by the majority, then your examples sound rightly illegal. I do believe private property should be respected, I don't think the slaves should have been entitled to own the land they worked on either, just that the master-slave relation was unethical and needed to be outlawed. Wouldn't things work similarly for a condemnation of capitalism or is there something else that takes precedence for you?
  • The Ethics of Employer-Employee relations

    How do you define voluntary? Can't power dynamics potentially pervert the spirit of any mutual agreement? Also, do you disagree that the employer-employee dynamic is necessary for capitalism? Why would that be necessary for socialist forms of organisation such as a co-op?


    Don't you think capitalism suffers from survivorship bias? We hold up a success story as though "anyone can do it" but this kind of success can only be enjoyed by a few. It resembles a pyramid scheme, but we know that the top of the pyramid needs the bottom of the pyramid to be a much larger group. There to be need millions of workers at say, Walmart but there's no space or need for millions of owners of Walmart. So how we treat the bottom and mid-tiers reflect how we treat the majority, but they have no control over the businesses they work in and they're paid based on whether the employers can make a profit for themselves. I think most people know what you said but how should things be improved? Do you lean towards Democratic Socialism then?
  • The Ethics of Employer-Employee relations

    If we were to force workplaces to be democratic then we wouldn't have the same capitalist way of starting a business. Your example of starting a capitalist business and then hiring a single person and having it all be ruined is stupid. There are many, many ways that socialism could deal with the problem of new businesses being started but really, to contribute to that kind of discussion there needs to be an incentive, such as believing having employer-employee relations in the workplace is unethical. Without these or similar criticisms of capitalism, we wouldn't try to look for a better way of doing things, why fix what isn't broken. You are starting from the perspective that what we do now is the only option, rather than being open to any criticisms of capitalism. And if after you criticised capitalism, in this case, to say those relations are unethical, you could still, after noting there's no better alternative, conclude, that there's no better alternative. It's the price we pay for these benefits that you see. But trying to use a perceived lack of any alternative as a way to deny criticism of capitalism is wrong, you're doing things backwards.

    Concluding that it's totally fine for these relations to exist and concluding that it isn't fine but it's a price we have to pay as it's the best of bad options may amount to the same thing of maintaining the status quo but are very different conclusions. The discussion following each respective conclusion should be incredibly different. To either determine whether it's actually ethical or not and to determine whether it's the best option or not, are very different questions.


    How do you feel about worker co-ops or similar alternatives to state ownership?
  • The Ethics of Employer-Employee relations

    The ability for an employee to be advanced into a position of authority over other employees doesn't resolve any employee's problem of being powerless within the enterprise relative to the employer. Nor does the employer stop making all of the important decisions in how their business is run. The employer may have many different roles available in his business and some roles may come with more decision-making power and freedom than others but all of his employees must obey all of his reasonable commands or risk being fired.

    We might agree that within a political system, very few people would want to be responsible for debating or deciding political matters but is that a justification for authoritarianism? A nation like the US only had 60% of its population vote in the 2020 election and that was considered a record turnout. Does this mean we should get rid of democracy, seeing as so many have no interest in being involved? How do we decide whether it's okay to base our decisions on some people not being interested and determining that it is fine that the majority should have no say?

    The owner is in their position by virtue of them being the owner, it is not a merit-based system. The owner may be more competent and knowledgeable than his employees or he may not be but once again. That the owner should be more competent at running his business than any one of his employees seems irrelevant. In a democracy, are the voters more competent than the politicians they vote for and if we determined they weren't then would that undermine the democracy? Couldn't most of your justifications for why the employer-class should have such authority over their employees be used to justify authoritarianism in the political sphere?
  • The Ethics of Employer-Employee relations

    We shouldn't treat this like an inevitable feature of capitalism. I've worked for start ups where I have equity in the project which makes me a part-owner of it and some measure of decision-making power. Then again, yes, the bulk of the decision making power is going to come from the founders and the higher ups because they're actually the ones driving the project and they're doing a lot more work than me. They also know a hell of a lot more than me or the vast majority of people for that matter about the project.BitconnectCarlos

    You might feel it is better or justified that the decision-making power is concentrated in the hands of the owners and their representatives but it is not in their hands because of any other reason than the fact that they own the business. It's theirs to run into the ground incompetently or sell or do whatever they please with. If the business is better off this way then that's an argument you could certainly make.

    Well do they even want governance control? When I worked at a department store in college all I wanted was to collect a wage and leave. We shouldn't immediately conclude that everyone wants to spend extra time in meetings or learning about potential decisions or projects in the company (especially ones in other areas of the company where you're not involved.) If you are interested in something more you'll probably have to work your way up or talk to management.BitconnectCarlos

    I'm not really sure about that, I guess some would and some wouldn't but I couldn't guess what the majority of people would think was ideal.

    In all organizations you get more decision-making power when you climb up the ladder. But you also take on more responsibilities which can be seen as restricting and will take up your time. The idea that workers must be entitled to strong governance authority simply upon agreeing to do work for the employer is ridiculous. How much decision-making power are we to give a complete newcomer who just joined up? As a founder you're the one who started it and gets to make the rules. If you want to start a business and make it a complete democracy where anyone you hire gets an equal voting opinion then go for itBitconnectCarlos

    I'm struggling to determine the tone of your message, are you saying it's a matter of earning your way, having the suitable expertise, the rights of the founder or something else?

    For those who see the employer-employee dynamic as immoral, I guess they'd want to shut it all down, not just make their own business that does things differently. On what basis would it stop being ridiculous for a worker to have a say? What about after they've been at the company after a certain period of time or other pre-requisites for having a say?
  • The Ethics of Employer-Employee relations

    IF we take it for granted that the employer actually is the rightful owner of the place of employment, and that the various obligations traded in employment contracts are within the power of the parties to them to create, then the "libertarian" analysis could hold up. But how exactly does rightful ownership get determined? And exactly what rights -- liberties, claims, immunities, and especially powers -- does ownership of something convey? If ownership is determined by use or convention, like meaning in language is, then it seems ludicrous to suppose that the workers who use the means of production are not either automatically its rightful owners because they use it, or that they (and we all, the mostly-workers of the world) truly agree to the convention that their employer is the rightful owner. And if it is not within the power of the employer and employees to create the obligations that are traded in the contract, then the contract simply isn't valid, regardless of who owns what.Pfhorrest

    Isn't the status quo that the means of production are recognised by all relevant parties to indeed belong to the owner and the employees don't consider themselves to be the owners. If the business or its assets are sold, that all profit will go to the owner is everyone's expectation. The choice to do that is with the owner. The workers of supermarkets and stores don't see themselves as the rightful owners. Also, the terms of the employment are recognised by employer, employee, the government and all parties. It seems I don't understand what you're saying or I'm just missing the point