Political Philosophy
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01-05-2011, 07:09 PM
 
Political Philosophy
I consider myself a Libertarian, but I'm curious about Socialism. Unless I'm mistaken, the majority of(at least that's what I've been told, I don't know any statistics) atheists are liberals/socialists, whichever label you prefer to use. I'm interested in capitalism versus socialism, and what the problems are with a true free market that would cause someone to prefer socialism.

I'm not looking for a debate(I don't know enough about the topic to competently debate), I just want to know what people who hold views opposite of my own(or similar to mine) feel personally about the two opposing ideas, and I'm more interested in how people feel about an ideal free market versus an ideal socialist economic system(rather than a debate about the many problems that corporations do create, particularly when they have a strong influence over the government, or similar issues with socialism and communism when implemented in the real world).

If I had to say why I like the idea of a free market, it would be for two reasons:
-The same reason I prefer the government stay out of peoples' business when it comes to issues of religion, sex, drugs, etc. People should be free to make whatever choices and agreements they want with each other(although I'm wary of anything that involves one person giving up their rights, I'm not saying I would take this to an extreme such as enforcing a slavery contract).
-Competition just seems to work. It forces countries/states to make more appealing laws if they want citizens to tax, companies to make better/cheaper products if they want people to buy their stuff, etc.

Now, I'm not very knowledgeable about politics, economics, etc. I'm not convinced my own views are right, or that I have the necessary understanding of relevant issues to form these views. If I've made a mistake or misrepresented something, that was not my intention. I just want to better understand both sides.
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01-05-2011, 11:40 PM
RE: Political Philosophy
Socialism doesn't mean their's only one economic model. There are many different economic theories within socialist ideology.

"Liberty without socialism is privilege, injustice; socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality." Mikhail Bakunin
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02-05-2011, 08:16 AM
 
RE: Political Philosophy
Is there a fairly general socialist philosophy when it comes to economics, though? I'm just trying to use a less specific term to refer to the other end of the economic spectrum.

I just want to know how others personally feel about being economically conservative versus economically liberal, and better understand both sides, especially the one opposed to my own. I'm not trying to oversimplify anyone's views, particularly those which I don't understand very well.
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02-05-2011, 11:19 AM (This post was last modified: 02-05-2011 11:23 AM by Kikko.)
RE: Political Philosophy
I don't know what my political stamp is, but when I used a couple of voting advice applications a few weeks back (Finland's parlamental elections), I got candidates mainly from the Social Democrats, the Left Union, the Greens and the Pirate Party. So I guess that makes me a dirty hippie-pirate who wants to punish people for being successfull. Smile

I think that business must not be allowed to go over the well-being of people. I don't think it's right to exploit the poverty of others in poorer countries to produce cheap coffee, cacao, clothing, etc. to richer countries. It would not be legal in most western countries, but since the ethically dirty actions are done in other countries, the companies can freely trade the product in the west.

I think that businesses should not be free for environmental issues too. Why would an energy company use renewables, nuclear power or troll science if coal is cheaper? Why would an oil company try to produce real eco-oil, if producing pseudo-eco-oil by cutting forests and replacing it with non-sustainable monoculture oilpalm fields is more profitable? Why would an electronics company produce long-lasting devices, if making short lasting, non-repairable by yourself, electronic devices, that'll be transported to some poor country in less than a year to be ''recycled'' in non-proper conditions is more profitable?

But don't the laws of supply and demand decide the moral issues? Well, they do, but you need a shitload of aware consumers to make any significant effect on anything. And when a big portion of the consumers think the worlds gonna end in their lifetime or just don't care, there will still be a big demand for products that are produced only thinking of the costs and profits.

I've heard people talk that the latest depression, was it 2008 or 2009, and the Greece crisis were caused by the same banks and investors who's asses we're now saving to stabilize the economy. I do not understand economics, and I have no idea if it's true.

Correct me when I'm wrong.
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02-05-2011, 12:37 PM
 
RE: Political Philosophy
Thanks for the reply Kikko, your position seems very reasonable to me. Smile

I don't necessarily agree with cheap overseas labor being exploitative though. If people work at a company's sweatshop, then I would think it's because they have no better option available to them. The company could certainly afford to pay them better and just make a smaller profit, I wouldn't argue against that, but I think it's hard to force a business to do this. You make them pay more, then they'll attempt to increase profit by working them harder and hiring fewer people(resulting in better jobs for some and worse/no jobs for others), or find some other place with less regulation. The best way to ensure that these businesses benefit people(In my uninformed opinion Tongue) is by making them all compete with each other to offer the most appealing jobs.

As long as there is no force involved, and nobody is being threatened, beaten, or stripped of their rights, then I don't see a problem with someone choosing to take a low-paying job if it's the best one they can get.

But I understand where you're coming from. It isn't in the interest of businesses to protect the environment or improve peoples' lives, their only goal is to make the biggest profit they can and beat their competition. I completely agree that those are issues and that supply and demand may very well not be sufficient to solve them.

To me the best way still seems to be to encourage competition in every aspect of business, but as you said it's hard to address the environmental issue. I know the way some free enterprise people like to get around that is by pretending it doesn't exist, which is never a good way to address a problem.

One other thing I want to mention - my problem with trying to control business through the government is that the government is often influenced very strongly by the bigger corporations, and a lot of laws can end up being used by one company to sue another or otherwise reduce their competition.
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08-05-2011, 09:59 AM
 
RE: Political Philosophy
I'm a strong believer in the social democracy you find here in scandinavia. In my not-so-humble opinion, Norway is a great example of government interference gone right! Rolleyes

In the 1960s large amounts of oil was discovered in the north sea, which every multi-national corporation had their eyes on. Unlike the UK (who governs the other side of the north sea), Norway decided not to leave the oil in the hands of the private market. Today the goverment owns 60% of the business and tax the profits enormously, giving the norwegian people the money made from the limited natural resources found in norwegian territory.

A portion of this money has been invested in what is called "the goverment pension fund", which was made because we know the oil will not last forever. It now has more than 100,000 US dollars for each and every citizen of norway (3,100,000,000,000 NOK ~ 550 billion dollars).

I really don't buy the argument that you shouldn't have hard government regulation because they might be corrupted by the large companies. Deregulating and giving control over to the large companies directly surely won't solve the problem. Undecided

I could go on forever on topics like this, but nobody would read my post so i'll stop. Rolleyes
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08-05-2011, 12:47 PM
RE: Political Philosophy
I don't have a political philosophy, but libertarianism is the closest to my beliefs. I value personal freedom above all else.

For God so loved the world that he arranged for everyone to both have free will and to suffer the terrible consequences of making the wrong choice. Kind of a dick move, God.
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08-05-2011, 04:42 PM
RE: Political Philosophy
Ideal Capitalism as in no corporate bullshit, people get what they earn, and those too lazy to earn die-off and the human race evolves in a positive direction?

Ideal Socialism as in everybody contributes equally and gets equal shares of what their community earns? No professional couch potatoes? And no "invaluables" in society?

If this is what you are refering to, they are both the same, Capitalism simply cuts out the middle-man. Of course we can't have either situation do to the existance of couch potatoes and corporate bullshit, so the only logical solution in a real-world situation is a very careful mix (this is in my unproffesional opinion). I personally believe that capitalism should be primary in this middle-ground.
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10-05-2011, 12:11 PM
RE: Political Philosophy
Quote: You make them pay more, then they'll attempt to increase profit by working them harder and hiring fewer people(resulting in better jobs for some and worse/no jobs for others),
Well, if you can really make them work harder than they already do, raising salaries isn't much without reasonable working times and conditions. The situation was pretty much the same in western countries during the industrial revolution, but then people started to unionize and got workers more reasonable salaries and working times. We would be in the same position, as the hard working poor people, if unions wouldn't have acted to limit the businesses' rights and actions.
Quote:or find some other place with less regulation.
Sad
Quote:The best way to ensure that these businesses benefit people(In my uninformed opinion Tongue) is by making them all compete with each other to offer the most appealing jobs.
What do you mean by 'making them compete for the most appealing jobs'? The only thing I know that businesses compete about is profit.
Quote:One other thing I want to mention - my problem with trying to control business through the government is that the government is often influenced very strongly by the bigger corporations, and a lot of laws can end up being used by one company to sue another or otherwise reduce their competition.
Aren't big businesses already influencing politics to their own benefit? (Not that I'd allow businesses to affect politicians through indirect/direct bribes.)


Basically, I think it's wrong that others can make millions by simply owning a company, or a piece of it, while the lowest workers of the company make merely enough to stay alive, although they work the hardest.

Correct me when I'm wrong.
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12-05-2011, 02:38 AM
RE: Political Philosophy
As there is mountains of evidence and historical/economic data to support, capitalism that is regulated by the government so that the free-market profiteers are not allowed to abuse their workers, rip off/maim/kill their customers, pollute the environment at will, or benefit from public-provided infrastructure without paying for a portion of it through fees and taxation, is the way to reach a balance where investment and competition are still encouraged, but rampant corruption and greed is not allowed to supersede the greater good.

Unfortunately, in most parts of the world, perhaps with the exception of parts of Europe like Norway, finding the balance between corporate greed and the greater good has proven to be diffcult. As the recent recession that resulted from the sub-prime mortgage fiasco has demonstrated, too often are elected representatives of the people willing to screw the people over for their political donors in the corporate sector. The current skyrocketing price of oil is also a result of speculation by investors that is not regulated closely enough, so that again the greater good is suffering because the people entrusted with protecting the majority of citizens from the rampant greed of a minority of them just are not doing their jobs. I could give dozens more examples but they would be redundant.

So while the best system is to have capitalism tempered by socialism, currently in most parts of the world there is far too much capitalism and not yet enough socialism to keep the profiteers operating ethically and humanely.

The way to see by Faith, is to shut the eye of Reason. - Ben Franklin
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