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Thread: Communism and Capitalism: True Opposites?

  1. Top | #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jokodo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jokodo View Post

    This argument seems to stem from some kind of alternate universe. Yes, wealth is relative, but this doesn't subtract from my point. Not only do people in wealthy countries have fewer children on average than those in poor countries, but additionally, within both wealthy and poor countries, the more educated, wealthier, urbanised segments of the population have fewer children. For example urban India has a fertility rate well below replacement.
    Could that be because we raised the quality of life of the poorest people up enough that they're willing to have kids, and those people are the most likely to have kids despite their inability to access wealth? Could it also be that the most educated and wealthiest people are the least likely to want kids, and those with the least time to actually produce them?

    This speaks exactly to my argument. By making it easier, not harder, for people to live, you produce a glut of population, which is exactly what happened in North America in the twentieth century, and why there are so many unskilled, unemployable people out there now.
    If you're too lazy to Google basic data before making bold assertions that don't tie with reality, you'll have to start paying me an hourly rate for private tuition.
    If you're going to sling pejoratives and parrot whatever you heard on Fox News or CNN or whatever you read without question, then fair enough. But so far all you've done is show me trivial talking points with little insight into how anything actually works.

    I'm open to being wrong, you just haven't presented that argument yet.

  2. Top | #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jokodo View Post

    This argument seems to stem from some kind of alternate universe. Yes, wealth is relative, but this doesn't subtract from my point. Not only do people in wealthy countries have fewer children on average than those in poor countries, but additionally, within both wealthy and poor countries, the more educated, wealthier, urbanised segments of the population have fewer children. For example urban India has a fertility rate well below replacement.
    Could that be because we raised the quality of life of the poorest people up enough that they're willing to have kids, and those people are the most likely to have kids despite their inability to access wealth? Could it also be that the most educated and wealthiest people are the least likely to want kids, and those with the least time to actually produce them?

    This speaks exactly to my argument. By making it easier, not harder, for people to live, you produce a glut of population, which is exactly what happened in North America in the twentieth century, and why there are so many unskilled, unemployable people out there now.
    When you find that you are looking for new data to support your otherwise seemingly unsupported idea rather than looking for new ideas to explain data that isn't explained by your previous ideas, it's time to wonder whether you've walked off a bit of a cliff in terms of sound reasoning.

  3. Top | #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jokodo View Post

    If you're too lazy to Google basic data before making bold assertions that don't tie with reality, you'll have to start paying me an hourly rate for private tuition.
    If you're going to sling pejoratives and parrot whatever you heard on Fox News or CNN or whatever you read without question, then fair enough. But so far all you've done is show me trivial talking points with little insight into how anything actually works.

    I'm open to being wrong, you just haven't presented that argument yet.
    Alright, here's total fertility rates (lifetime births per woman) for the UK since the early modern era: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demo...United_Kingdom

    The figure peaks in 1815, steadily falls throughout the 19th and early 20th century, first drops below replacement in the late 1920, rises again during WW II, and finally drops below replacement, this time for good, in the mid 1970s, when average Joe was, for the first time in history, able to afford a car and a washing machine.

    You're invited to cross-correlate this data with data about available income for the bottom 60% of the population yourself, I'm not going to do all your work for you. I'll only say this much: if you genuinely believe that 1815 is when "quality of life of the poorest people" in England and Wales climbed the most, you are delusional.



    More examples: Here's a discussion of fertility rates in India (by state and urban vs. rural): https://economictimes.indiatimes.com...5.cms?from=mdr

    It gets even better: Even when a country becomes wealthy "undeservedly", i.e. not by working their way up through improved education, creating a higher quality workforce, but because they find themselves sitting atop huge oil reserves, it has the same effect on fertility. Here's the development of total fertility rate for some such rentier economies: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator...BH-KW-AE-BN-SA

    As an image in case you're to lazy to click the link:



    Also "so many unskilled people now" isn't a thing. The general evel of education was never higher. I trust you can Google the data yourself if you don't believe me.

    You now owe me 15 dollars for your education and another 10 for alleging that I read without question and without looking at actual data.
    Last edited by Jokodo; 09-20-2019 at 08:15 PM.

  4. Top | #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Yes it is a problem. Who wants to work hard if there is no level of comfort. Back in the 50s a guy working in a grocery store or a shoe store could afford a small house and family on a single income.
    But then in the 50s there were almost no taxes for the average family or businesses compared to today. Today the average family pays out of their income something like 30% as federal income tax, somewhere between 5% to 15% state income tax, state sales tax depending on the state (my state is 7%), some cities and/or counties also levy income tax, then businesses taxes have increased which ends up as rising price of goods they sell to cover their business taxes so it is the final consumer actually pays the business taxes. Where the average family in the 50s paid on the order of 5% to 10% of their income in total taxes, today total tax bite can easily be greater than 50%. And then property taxes have steadily increased to where, in some locations, a family home is now a liability. Today with better than half the family's income going to taxes, the second income is needed to survive for many.


    In the 50s the workforce was primarily white male with others restricted access and lower pay. Thermodynamics of a sort. Employment for all over 18 means the pie is distributed among more.

    We get a lot for taxes. Public education, water, sewage, fire, police and so on. Pre WWII that was not a universal given in the USA. Before workers compensation and OSHA if you got hurt on the job you were shit out of luck unless there was someone to care for you. If you were the wage earner then your family went hungry.

    The fact remains manufacturing and farm technology has been wildly successful. A fraction of the population is required to provide basic needs compared to 19th century to 1950s. Everyone down to janitors helped make it happen.

    The question what is fair and what is necessary to maintain stability.

    The fact remains our infrastructure and education system is a mess.

  5. Top | #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jokodo View Post

    This argument seems to stem from some kind of alternate universe. Yes, wealth is relative, but this doesn't subtract from my point. Not only do people in wealthy countries have fewer children on average than those in poor countries, but additionally, within both wealthy and poor countries, the more educated, wealthier, urbanised segments of the population have fewer children. For example urban India has a fertility rate well below replacement.
    Could that be because we raised the quality of life of the poorest people up enough that they're willing to have kids, and those people are the most likely to have kids despite their inability to access wealth? Could it also be that the most educated and wealthiest people are the least likely to want kids, and those with the least time to actually produce them?
    You seem to operate on the unspoken assumption that there are essentially two species of people, let's call them homo smartus and homo dumbus, where the latter is intellectually incapable of achieving a solid education and holding a well paying job, and also has essentially unlimited fecundity, invariably having as many children as they can afford. So the only way to prevent them from outbreeding us is to make sure they can't afford many children.

    Well, the data is in that this is not what's going on. Looking at longitudinal data from any society undergoing the demographic transition, it becomes painfully clear that it's the children and grandchildren of the women who had 6 or 7 children on average who now opt for small families of 1 0r 2 children, not a different species.
    This speaks exactly to my argument. By making it easier, not harder, for people to live, you produce a glut of population, which is exactly what happened in North America in the twentieth century, and why there are so many unskilled, unemployable people out there now.
    If you had taken even a cursory look at real world data, you'd know this is not at all what went on in 20th century north America.

    Here's some reality for you: the percentage of adults with completed high school rise from 13.5% in 1910 to over 80% at the end of the century, labour force participation rose from less than 50% as late as the early post war years to 65%. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...=1569075926249

    Idiocracy is not a documentary anymore than genesis is. Your position is every bit as well funded in reality as Young Earth Creationism, though arguably more dangerous as it carries the potential of harmful policy recommendations
    Last edited by Jokodo; 09-21-2019 at 04:06 PM.

  6. Top | #96
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    tl;dr: the reason many unskilled people today struggle to find any job at all isn't that the supply of unskilled labour had risen - it's actually at an all-time low. The reason is that demand has dropped even faster.

    Here's some more data to show this: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Educ..._United_States
    Last edited by Jokodo; 09-23-2019 at 08:38 AM.

  7. Top | #97
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    A similar thing has happened globally, though at a lower level. In 1976, more than 30% of the world's adult population could not read and write. As of 2016, that figure has dropped to under 14% (and ~10% for men): https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/se.adt.litr.zs

    Even accounting for population growth, there are now, in absolute numbers, over 250 million fewer adults who cannot read and write than there were 40 years ago.

    That time grandpa told you how everything was better when he was young? He was lying (alternatively: seeing the past through rose colored eyes since he was having a good time, being younger, and generalising from there).
    Last edited by Jokodo; 09-23-2019 at 12:35 PM.

  8. Top | #98
    Veteran Member PyramidHead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post

    It's also simplistic because it assumes that there's an economic model called 'capitalism' with an intentional origin, that's separable from human nature. IOW, that humans had anything to do with 'capitalism's'arrival, and the global economy not instead being an emergent property of how we organize ourselves.

    'capitalism is to make a profit'?

    To be alive is to acquire resources for one's own survival and reproduction. Yes we're a social species and community has become a part of that, but 'profit', or more simply, acquisition of needed goods for survival is inherent in what it means to be alive.

    You can try to improve the model, but you can't extract human nature from it. And the model isn't 'capitalism', it's people solving problems for material gain, which has been central to every way of life in history.
    Good summary... well said.

    Capitalism isn't an invented economic system but simply a name given to how independent people naturally live when not having an alternate lifestyle forced on them by some authority.
    This old chestnut again. It's truly a shame the kind of thoughtless nonsense that gets accepted and regurgitated by otherwise smart people.

    Profit, by definition, is a surplus over and above what is required for survival, over and above even the survival surplus that is put aside for hard times in the future. Profit has no meaning outside of capitalism, which is the only system in which resources are owned not to use them for survival, but to generate wealth by charging others to use them for survival. It arose in a specific period in a particular region of the world, despite literally tens of thousands of years of human existence (during which we are forced to assume "an alternate lifestyle" must have been brutally imposed on the entire species until sometime in the last 500 years). This is public knowledge in any history curriculum, even the bourgeois version of events.

    However, Rousseau gets pretty close to the truth when he says the global economy is an emergent property of how we organize ourselves, and not an intentional artifact. This concept is, in fact, at the center of Marx's philosophy of dialectical materialism.

  9. Top | #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    ... snip ...

    Way back in Econ 101 the prof asked 'What is the purpose of capitalism?'. I responded something like to provide the greatest number of goods at the lowest cot for the most people.

    He pointed his finger at me and said sharply 'No ! The purpose of capitalism is to make a profit'.

    It took years on the job for that to fully sink in.
    That is true but simplistic. The way to make a profit is to supply a good or service that the customer wants and at a price the customer is willing to pay. It is a meeting of minds between the producer and consumer. (how much effort and expense are you willing to put in for the price you charge and how much is the consumer willing to pay for the final product? - when these two meet, there is a sale.) Also, since there is competition from other producers, the price and quality needs to be competitive to attract the consumer to your product or service rather than the competitor's.
    It's also simplistic because it assumes that there's an economic model called 'capitalism' with an intentional origin, that's separable from human nature. IOW, that humans had anything to do with 'capitalism's'arrival, and the global economy not instead being an emergent property of how we organize ourselves.

    'capitalism is to make a profit'?

    To be alive is to acquire resources for one's own survival and reproduction. Yes we're a social species and community has become a part of that, but 'profit', or more simply, acquisition of needed goods for survival is inherent in what it means to be alive.

    You can try to improve the model, but you can't extract human nature from it. And the model isn't 'capitalism', it's people solving problems for material gain, which has been central to every way of life in history.
    A lecture on human nature by a guy who thinks idiocracy is a documentary? Not buying.

  10. Top | #100
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    I almost want to start a thread on dialectical and historical materialism, but so much of the theory comes from Stalin that I doubt anybody here would take it seriously, even though it says what everybody claims to support. Namely, that nature is constantly changing, always resolving internal contradictions between opposing forces, nothing occurs in isolation from everything else, human beings are subject to natural laws, and the universe is knowable through observation. All of Marxism-Leninism is predicated on these basic principles, but critics of communism generally have never read anything written by a communist, so they seem to think pointing these things out is somehow news to us.

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