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#61 of 76 Old 02-14-2008, 05:56 PM
 
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"I want to outline an alternative ethical philosophy, developed by Ayn Rand. It is an individualist ethics, which defends the moral right to pursue one's self-interest. Altruists argue that life presents us with a basic choice: we must either sacrifice others to ourselves, or sacrifice ourselves to others. The latter is the altruist course of action, and the assumption is that the only alternative is life as a predator. But this is a false alternative, according to Rand. Life does not require sacrifices in either direction. The interests of rational people do not conflict, and the pursuit of our genuine self-interest requires that we deal with others by means of peaceful, voluntary exchange....

<snip>

How then should we deal with others? Rand's social ethics rests on two basic principles, a principle of rights and a principle of justice. The principle of rights says that we must deal with others peaceably, by voluntary exchange, without initiating the use of force against them. It is only in this way that we can live independently, on the basis of our own productive efforts; the person who attempts to live by controlling others is a parasite. Within an organized society, moreover, we must respect the rights of others if we wish our own rights to be respected. And it is only in this way that we can obtain the many benefits that come from social interaction: the benefits of economic and intellectual exchange, as well as the values of more intimate personal relationships. The source of these benefits is the rationality, the productiveness, the individuality of the other person, and these things require freedom to flourish. If I live by force, I attack the root of the values I seek.

<snip>

In light of the many benefits we receive from dealing with others, it is natural to regard our fellow humans in a spirit of general benevolence, to sympathize with their misfortunes, and to give aid when it does not require a sacrifice of our own interests. But there are major differences between an egoist and an altruist conception of charity. For an altruist, generosity to others is an ethical primary, and it should be carried to the point of sacrifice, on the principle: give until it hurts. It is a moral duty to give, regardless of any other values one has; and the recipient has a right to it. For an egoist, generosity is one among many means of pursuing our values, including the value that we place on the well-being of others. It should be done in the context of one's other values, on the principle: give when it helps. It is not a duty, nor do the recipients have a right to it. An altruist tends to regard generosity as an expiation of guilt, on the assumption that there is something sinful or suspicious about being able, successful, productive, wealthy."

http://www.objectivistcenter.org/cth...apitalism.aspx
I choose to help. I believe in no obligation.


Labor alone does not produce a product, except in primitive goods and services. There is financial risk associated with capital investments and the pursuit of creating a product or service which is more valuable to the consumer than the laborer alone could provide. Or else, the laborer, himself could offer his services alone to the market and make what the company makes directly.

For example, building a house. The company (stock owners) invests in buying the materials, hiring workers and finding buyers. The laborer's effort is not the value of the finished product, it is a part of the whole. The management and coordination and risk assumption provides value to the buyer, by doing the buying of materials, hiring workers, etc for the buyer. The company provides a service to which they are compensated in aggregate, more than the laborer's added value. If the labor desires to provide the service directly, he could. There is no impediment to a laborer doing the management himself of himself, except for ability, time, risk assumption, etc. The laborer is not exploited, he chooses to provide labor. Or he does not labor. He can be his own company. It takes risk and investment to do so. THAT is what the company is compensated for.

All wealth accumulation (profits) benefits society. Accumulated wealth is either invested (ie. made available to others to use as risked capital) or spent. Money spent to purchase any goods or services distributes money to the laborer/society.

Yes, I believe that “forced handing over of funds”, also known as taxation, is stealing.

Btw, to Brigianna, I paid my own way through my private nursing education. I worked and paid taxes for roads. (No grants, loans or financial aid.) I prefer user fees for utilities. None of my public education had value toward my nursing education, imo. We homeschool precisely because of my perceived lack of value of public education. And no, I don't believe in publicly funded education.

Oh, and
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People die, but if someone dies as a result of someone else's choice, isn't that homicide? If I went to your house and slipped poison into your drink and you died, I would be prosecuted for your murder. But if I were a corporation and I dumped poison into the air and water of your village, and you died, there would be no consequences for me.
I don't believe in obligation to act. But, do believe in my obligation not to intervene in another's freedom. Intervening to preventing the act which endangers another's life and liberty (against their will) does seem the only role of government which I could support. Although, I'd philosophically call myself an anarchist and believe that consensual solutions can always be created. I do recognize that others (most of you all, lol) embrace forcing folks to do what you want them to do.

The only post which causes me any discomfort, was this
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As soon as the first person staked out more land than he could tend and told others that if they wanted to get enough to eat they could work "his" land and pay him for the privilege by letting him keep some of the fruits of their labor the exploitation began and it has increased exponentially. When the first person claimed "hunting rights" and told others that they could only gather and hunt for food if they would pay him, thus forcing them to settle for less than what their labor was worth exploitation was in play in a huge way. Nothing has changed about that.
However, the use of force to create this claim was against my beliefs in finding a consensual agreement. The construct of property rights is an interesting one. I am not sure of a more logical distribution than through a perceived exchange of value (ie. beads for Manhattan) though.

And ftr, I am not a Christian and do not believe in the guilt of obligation to others. One can judge my beliefs. They are my own. And as a disclaimer/clarification, all who practice or embrace Consensual Living are not capitalist.



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#62 of 76 Old 02-14-2008, 06:44 PM
 
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However, the use of force to create this claim was against my beliefs in finding a consensual agreement. The construct of property rights is an interesting one. I am not sure of a more logical distribution than through a perceived exchange of value (ie. beads for Manhattan) though.
It's against your beliefs... but it's what happened... and everything that flows from those acts is the fruit of a poisonous tree.

Beads for Manhattan? Oh my... see, here's the thing. It wasn't beads it was copper pots... something of actual use and value. Oh, and the Dutch bought Manhattan from people who didn't own it, and who were in fact in opposition to the people who owned it. And they knew that pretty quickly because the rightful owners wanted it back almost immediately. The Dutch kept it by force. That's what the Wall that gave Wall Street it's name was for. To forcefully prevent the stolen land from being reclaimed by it's rightful owners. A fitting beginning to the center of the Capitalist universe, if you think about it.
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#63 of 76 Old 02-14-2008, 06:57 PM
 
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Well Pat, at least now I understand where you're coming from: you believe in Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. And Objectivists do believe that the vehicle to reach Rational Self-Interest is through laissez-fair capitalism.

As an American, I completely support your right to believe in Objectivism even though I personally do not believe in it. I've studied it and it never appealed to me. It always seemed more Orwellian i.e. self-interest is the highest morality and selflessness is immoral. :

Ayn Rand did not understand religion and so I don't think you can persuade anyone that Objectivism has a religious basis. Nor would she have thought so.
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#64 of 76 Old 02-14-2008, 07:00 PM
 
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Ayn Rand did not understand religion and so I don't think you can persuade anyone that Objectivism has a religious basis. Nor would she have thought so.
good point.
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#65 of 76 Old 02-14-2008, 10:18 PM
 
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You have set up a false dichotomy: either one does things based on individual choice OR one is coerced. There are many examples of countries (Sweden, Germany, France) with various amounts of socialism as their national philosophy because the people made the collective choice to do so. They were not coerced into having, for example, socialized medicine programs. The citizens consistently and repeatedly refuse to change those programs and are horrified at the American system based on so-called choice.
I'm an Aussie, my post will make more sense knowing that.
I recently saw Sicko and well... what can one say? If that is "choice", you can bash it .

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Even in places w/universal health care, for example, people go hungry and homeless.
This is too simple a statement for the complexity of the reality. We are given almost 400 bucks a week just for being out of work, straight into our bank accounts. Even in the most expensive city in the country you can get share accommodation and live quite well for that. I earned 30 bucks more than that when I lived in the States and worked for United Airlines! I worked my butt off for that amount of money, and always had the horrendous threat that if I lost my job, I'd get NOTHING.

I don't live with that fear here.

And it is fear that will poison a nation. It is fear that instigates war (9/11 anyone?). It is fear that causes crime.

After I studied Buddhism in my spiritual quest, I was turned off by the rules involved. I have spent years looking into the world's major religions and when I studied Taoism I thought it was grand. However, I was turned off by one of it's premises/philosophies as taught by Osho, and I quote:

"I teach selfishness. I want you to be, first, your own flowering. Yes, it will appear as selfishness; I have no objection to that appearance; it is okay with me. But is the rose selfish when it blossoms? Is the lotus selfish when it blossoms? Is the sun selfish when it shines? Why should you be worried about selfishness?" - Excerpt from "The Book of Understanding" by OSHO.

I looked further into this take on "selfishness", to correct what I hoped was just a misunderstanding on my part. But it ain't no misunderstanding. Yes, it is similar to the Buddhists who dedicate their lives to their own enlightenment... "for the good of all sentient beings"... but there are differences too complex to impart here.

I know from experience of a truly capitalist country and a more socialist one that I feel happier and freer than my family and friends in the capitalist one. They are hungry emotionally, they are scared, they have no safety net, and whether you want to believe this or not, they are FORCED and COERCED to live a certain life to simply survive.

My brother took a year off work to "think" and was paid by the gov't/people for that, as much money as our US friends get for working 40 hours a week because they "choose to work to get xzy for their children", I think is how a post was previously worded in this thread. Ie, forced to work to survive. I get 360 bucks a week plus free this and that and thousands extra a year as "child bonuses" and I will get 4 grand for having my baby next month. My people support me, just as I support them when the table is turned.

As an AP advocate, I believe the best place for a mama is at home with her children. A strongly capitalist country does not support that so tell me, where is the consensual arrangement for a child that wants his mama... and she's at work?

I am paid by my people to stay home with my children. When I work, I pay mothers to stay home with their children. Real choice is when a mama chooses to go to work, but NOT because of necessity.

An American tourist friend of mine got sick here and went to the hospital. In two hours he was seen by a doctor and treated, and was given a bagful of medication and walked out without paying a dime. He was treated like a citizen, like a human being, like a sick person who needed assistance.

I have no way of fathoming an ideal that does not encompass this. No Australian would agree to turn this around.

Hunger is political.  Wherever there is widespread hunger, it is because people with guns are preventing other people from bringing in food.  
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#66 of 76 Old 02-15-2008, 01:10 AM
 
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I don't know about 'evil' but it is ethically questionable at the very least so long as there are those whose access to resources is compromised or denied in order to pursue material gain.

Mamajama,

Totally offtopic.. just coming in to say, clear out your PM box.
I've been trying to PM you for over a week.


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#67 of 76 Old 02-15-2008, 02:03 AM
 
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Mamajama,

Totally offtopic.. just coming in to say, clear out your PM box.
I've been trying to PM you for over a week.

done!
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#68 of 76 Old 02-15-2008, 02:12 AM
 
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Well Pat, at least now I understand where you're coming from: you believe in Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. And Objectivists do believe that the vehicle to reach Rational Self-Interest is through laissez-fair capitalism.

As an American, I completely support your right to believe in Objectivism even though I personally do not believe in it. I've studied it and it never appealed to me. It always seemed more Orwellian i.e. self-interest is the highest morality and selflessness is immoral. :

Ayn Rand did not understand religion and so I don't think you can persuade anyone that Objectivism has a religious basis. Nor would she have thought so.
True, although I think it is a spiritual philosophy all its own....

one with which I disagree, mind you, but still...
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#69 of 76 Old 02-15-2008, 06:10 AM
 
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#70 of 76 Old 02-15-2008, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I posted this thread originally but have not posted since, because I wanted to see what you had to say first.

I think that all of you are correct in what you say, even when you disagree with each other.

In each age we are able to see the defects of prior ages and in doing this, we can contrast what is good about our era with what was bad about others. But each age has a blind spot about itself. We have to live in our age, of course and make decisions within it related to our spiritual (and material) life. I think we all know that in our history this has never been easy for anyone.

To make progress we have to really look at what is going on and what are assumptions are about our world. Some people look at capitalism as neutral, some as radically liberating, some as ruthlessly exploitative and evil. It is, in fact, all of these at the same time. (It is interesting, if you think of it, that in the sentence above that begins with "some people" one can replace the word "capitalism" with "religion", "secularism", "modernism", "tradition" and come up with the same sense.)

To me, the real question about capitalism isn't "how is capitalism neutral or radically liberating or ruthlessly exploitative" but "how can capitalism be all of these things at the same time"?

Talking about the effect of capitalism on our material or spiritual lives complicates things a bit. Part of life is endurance and part of spirituality is learning how to deal with adversity. In this regard, one's environment is not necessarily relevant, since one needs skills for dealing with adversity regardless of one's environment. A second complication is in the relationship between oneself as an individual and oneself as a member of a community. Is spirituality only a matter of the individual or does it also involve the community? And if it involves the community, how do we define the community? If the spiritual resources of dealing with adversity are personal, does this mean that at one level we are radically separate from the community? Or is some sort of community always a part of our necessary resources with dealing with adversity.

Finally there is the distinction between personal spiritual strength in adversity and spiritual flourishing. Are the conditions of spiritual flourishing only personal or do they require certain kinds of community?

I have opinions about all of these, naturally, and I'll post them in the next day or so. But I wanted to put this out now, because at least in my posts I'll be talking about the question of religion and capitalism in these terms.
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#71 of 76 Old 02-15-2008, 03:50 PM
 
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I grew up in Communism and now live in Capitalism. I see evil in both. Just like Smockering said, there is no perfect system in this world.
I'm just looking forward to afterlife, where I believe the system will be perfect.
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#72 of 76 Old 02-20-2008, 04:21 PM
 
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My thoughts are that modern capitalism is not a morally neutral system, as it basically is motivated by greed. I think it should be a religious concern, and frankly, it baffles me a bit that there are currently such strong ties between Chritsitanity and big business capitalism.
I agree with this. While I do think that Capitalism has some good qualities, I think at it's base it is inherently exploitative because it is based on winners and losers. You cannot "climb the ladder" without stepping on someone else on the way up. Any economic system that is devoid of restraint is dangerous in my book. I too am appalled at mainstream Christianity's approval of and participation in big-business capitalism. The capitalism of America is, IMNSHO, the worst of its kind because it has no checks and balances built in. Currently, corporations have more rights than human beings. How can we tolerate this as Christians or religious folks of any kind?
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#73 of 76 Old 02-20-2008, 07:58 PM
 
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I agree with this. While I do think that Capitalism has some good qualities, I think at it's base it is inherently exploitative because it is based on winners and losers. You cannot "climb the ladder" without stepping on someone else on the way up. Any economic system that is devoid of restraint is dangerous in my book. I too am appalled at mainstream Christianity's approval of and participation in big-business capitalism. The capitalism of America is, IMNSHO, the worst of its kind because it has no checks and balances built in. Currently, corporations have more rights than human beings. How can we tolerate this as Christians or religious folks of any kind?
It shouldn't really be tolerated regardless of whether a person is religious or not I think it's a moral and ethical issue for humanity overall.

Peace
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#74 of 76 Old 05-02-2008, 11:38 PM
 
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want to post - must go to bed . . . . .

Wendy ~ mom to VeeGee (6/05), who has PRS, Apraxia, SPD, VPI, a G-Tube, 14q duplication, and is a delightful little pistol! I'm an English professor and a writer.
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#75 of 76 Old 05-13-2008, 10:45 AM
 
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WuWei, I love you.

~ Colleen ~ Joyful Unschooling Pagan mama to hearts.gifenergy.gifsuperhero.gifjog.gif and babyf.gif
"When I'm sad, I stop being sad and be AWESOME instead."
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#76 of 76 Old 05-13-2008, 06:14 PM
 
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WuWei, I love you.
We are on this path together.


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