An entry-point into thoughts about money

My qualification was that people don’t effectively use technologies which they take for granted. And why I think this is troublesome with regards to money is that most people I speak with refuse to even recognize it as a human technology. They explain it away as some supernatural agency or force of nature which nobody controls or understands. Yet it supposedly shapes human society and the planet, all by itself. Even in casual conversation, people say things such as “things cost money” rather than “people charge money” - implying that the money itself is where the agency lies, rather than the humans who serve as passive vectors for it. Or worse, saying that a person is “worth” an amount of money, when it was supposed to be used to measure work or commodities. The use of money appears to be, to some extent, actively mystified. For any sort of technology, such an attitude seems problematic.

Informed by whom? Like any social structures, these all seem to “work” according to whatever biases and assumptions people build into them. It sounds to me like you are again taking certain kinds of human systems and universalizing them. If these systems serve people, then the specifics of how/if they work will be dependent upon any given implementation.

Are you even aware that stating systems to be “alternatives” suggests a bias towards some? So, how would we know what is an alternative? And what distinguishes a “main alternative” from a “minor alternative”? Aren’t you trying pretty hard to explain things away by dismissing any number of possible systems - of, presumably, measurement and distribution of wealth - by the use of such stilted phrasing? Couldn’t it be said that “Western capitalism” basically amounts to some aloof “elites” declaring themselves victors of a game they made up themselves, as measured against their own self-minted tokens? I would be interested in how people might “sell me” on the merits of joining such a game myself. But, believe it or not, even considering how “obvious” this supposedly is, the rhetoric people use strikes me as rather unpersuasive. And if we measure the efficacy of individuals or other systems against Western capitalism by using the benchmarks of this same system doesn’t actually tell us anything.

Simply mentioning to people and reminding them that they have other possibilities seems more helpful than assuming otherwise. There is a risk here of framing the situation as “me” versus “what I imagine everybody else does”, which would be neither fair nor accurate. It is not a matter of people doing things “my” way or “the real way”, it’s a matter of people using the best systems they can devise. And if even the idea that people can choose is so controversial, then yes, it has become necessary. It seems to obvious to me to call it educational, it might encourage some people to think.

As much as any other vague references might. Do vague references of using money actually mean anything? I was trying to be brief, but what I meant was that, in terms of cause-and-effect reason, survival skills are less fallible and more easily achievable than choosing to have faith in a system of artificial competition which is run by strangers who by all accounts are not concerned with your survival. Not unlike homeopathy, the only reason money works is because some people choose to believe that it does. That there is no scientific basis behind organizing society this way doesn’t seem to bother many people. It terrifies me the same way a non-Catholic might feel about the Inquisition. A senseless loss of life over some supposedly civilizing fiction, perpetrated by self-important gits. If you don’t believe it, can’t/won’t play the game, kiss your ass goodbye. People say that there isn’t anything outside of it’s rule because they’re scared, but in my experience it has been surprisingly easy.

Not at all. Provided that the average person has real input into how it works. The use of a single fiat currency in most localizations has damaged this relationship by centralizing its control. This is where problems of capital seem to lie. Unfortunately, a minority of people can then re-define how wealth itself is defined, resulting in a metaphysical game without end. Then people need to break out of that cycle and devise systems for describing what they consider wealth, and provide an ecosystem of currencies with which to do this.

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This strikes me as a rather dishonest process. So, if it’s implicit and universally understood, I must be taking the piss to not assume it myself? Being too thick to understand, or deliberately iconoclastic for tedious personal reasons. Could it be the unthinkable? That it really isn’t universal? And so what if it was? It’s not like many apparently implicit truths haven’t been outgrown over time, despite the discouragement of people who felt invested in perpetuating them.

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There are any number of scholarly works on the nature and history of the technology known as money. You don’t seem that conversant with many—if any—of them.

Or possibly just a descriptive acknowledgment of the ubiquity of capitalism? I might similarly say that the dvorak keyboard is an alternative to the qwerty keyboard (which has effectively won the keyboard-layout war) without taking a normative position on the issue.


How is using descriptively accurate phrasing, and not mentioning—let alone dismissing—any particular alternatives, an example of me trying pretty hard to dismiss possible systems (which should not be called alternatives, apparently).

Sure, you could say that (but I don’t necessarily think you would be right). It could also be called the dominant, and near-universal, economic system on the planet known in English as Earth (hope I didn’t make too many assumptions there).

[quote=“popobawa4u, post:1, topic:53678”]
And if we measure the efficacy of individuals or other systems against Western capitalism by using the benchmarks of this same system doesn’t actually tell us anything.
[/quote]Are standard of living benchmarks inherently capitalist? Gross national happiness? Access to education? Educational achievement? Access to health care? Homelessness rates? Food security and hunger rates? Life expectancies? Migration rates? Infant mortality rates?

Again, this is you sounding out of touch. Asking people to opt out of capitalism and renounce using money as it is used in modern society is unrealistic, and to suggest that people who have to support a family have an effective choice is ridiculous.

References to money are pretty easy to understand since everyone uses it on a regular basis and understand references to it more than to “survivalism.”

What strikes me as dishonest is responding to a particular individual who does nothing more than incorporate the same assumptions as everyone else in responding to a topic that incorporates those same assumptions, and suggest that this person in particular is making (unfounded or unjustified) assumptions. If you want to challenge things that are widely believed and understood, perhaps it better (and more honest) to to do so as a general critique of the system than as a problem with an individual’s thought process.

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True. But also, I am not trying to persuade others to use it. What I find hypocritical is these masses of people (in general, not necessarily yourself) who seem so keen on it aren’t conversant with them either. If they were, perhaps they would present something resembling a cohesive argument. You at least ask good questions and seem to have some thoughts on this.

Ubiquity with regards to numbers of people who find it useful? Or ubiquity of applications? Do masses use capitalism because it truly addresses their goals as people, or do they change their goals to address what capitalism can facilitate?

If a person requires a maximum of choice, of possibilities, would it be worth their while for any particular system to “prevail”? It sounds a bit animistic to me. And if its use decreases options for systems to choose from this could be used to coerce people. Options which do what I need are practical than those which don’t, regardless of how many adherents there may be.

How accurate your descriptions are might depend upon how you frame the relevance of such a system. As well as how you extend this to relate it to other people. Saying that a technology, such as a keyboard or a system of financial symbols has “won” anything serves only to abstract something made by people, and conveniently remove it from the sphere of human accountability. This seems to be an injection of animism into industrial-age mass-production thinking, which was already quaintly anachronistic even when it was new. It seems that you posit conflicts which were relevant to only a tiny minority of people generations ago as being relevant to people generally now, despite those conflicts not withstanding much scrutiny. Should I really base my keyboard decisions upon the goals and circumstances of some people decades ago? Why would a person do this? The one obvious answer which spring to mind is that of the same mass-production paradigm - one solution which needs to be good enough for anybody. Reducing the choices for the many because it’s convenient for a few.

Not many assumptions, but several largely problematic ones. What business does anything have being “dominant” in civilized society? Doesn’t it appear “near universal” simply because those who don’t use it aren’t counted? This comes off as a conveniently self-congratulatory way of stating that “it’s used by those who matter”, which would be a contrived excuse for ubiquity. It certainly seems far from universal with regards to organizing human activity, beyond a fairly poor system of “resource management” which barely deserves the name. Also, most of the Earth’s inhabitants aren’t human, so they aren’t likely to be impressed by much of this.

Yes, they typically are. Because they tend to be based upon the fundamental assumption that people would not possibly have things such as food, housing, education, etc without the use of money, as if a symbol with arbitrary value, controlled by a minority, somehow made it all possible. And, perhaps worst of all, completely precludes people from having any individual standards or goals - falling back upon base instinctively driven criteria.

It’s me sounding defensive, because people seem to get quite strongly reactionary! Of course people can opt out. Or, better yet, implement something else. Knowing that there are choices seems to generally be construed as “A Good Thing”. I think it would be callous and cynical to prefer people to go through life without considering the choices available to them. When people know that at least they can choose, they are more likely to discuss choices, and even think of some themselves.

Again, it seems more likely that “everybody uses it” is a value-loaded term which serves precisely to explain away those who don’t. Many people tell me that they don’t trust those who control their currency, or enforce their laws. So are they really more likely to find any security by paying lip service to such parties? More than they can find in relying upon the impersonal cause and effect relationships which actually decide how food grows? How your body stays alive? How the world around you works? If capitalism was based upon science it would be called “mathematics”, and not be based upon games of wishful thinking and petty primate territoriality.

It’s dishonest to not share a set of assumptions? Could you put forth a more conformist idea if you tried? There is also the possibility that you aren’t certain what the other participants implicit assumptions might have been. Again, it seems to single me out. If I work from a set of implicit assumptions, why should I assume others there might not share them? I don’t presume to know what people’s foundations or justifications may be. But I give them the respect of acknowledging that they are free to discuss whatever assumptions they may work with. But I see these as their own subjective concern, rather than a groupthink exercize.

If your concept of Universal system was as you describe, why should we assume that they even have individual thought process? Perhaps they are merely emergent phenomenon from this all encompassing system? How I see the situation is almost entirely opposite of how you describe it. That even if each person thought they were part of the same system, that they might understand and interact with it in different ways. Those who control such a system would, most probably, understand a very different concept of it than the average person would. Not unlike the story of blind people describing an elephant. But I see systems of living as a personal choice, which is why it makes more sense to talk with individuals about how they live, about what systems they have made with others. Even if there was such a vast, monolithic system as you describe - it would be distant enough from most people to be immune to critique and change on such a scale. The best critique would be using a different system instead.

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You really seem to have problems with the difference between normative and descriptive statements. Why is it necessary to turn a descriptive statement on the ubiquity of capitalism into a question on the normative value of that ubiquity? Do you agree that society is capitalist? Do you see that this is not the same as me asking you whether you agree with capitalism?

Far from it: the only way that any technology can “win” is because people have made choices about the technology they use. Bad technologies (like qwerty) may win, but if you look at why they won you will probably realize there are pretty good economic explanations for why they won.

It seems you posit that these conflicts don’t withstand much scrutiny without offering any evidence that they do not.

If capitalism is so bad, and people only suffer it because they don’t know anything else, then why do so many people try so hard to get into the countries that most fully express the ideals of Western capitalism, and so few people try to leave them?

Transaction costs exist and are huge, and standardization (such as in this mutually-intelligible form of English we are communicating in) does have benefits.

What if everyone had their own keyboard layout? Are you going to carry your own personal keyboard with you all the time? Will your employer allow you to use your own?

Should restaurants allow for endless personalization of menus? Do you think that doing so involves costs?

I find the uniform rules of traffic to be highly restrictive and a form of social oppression that don’t reflect my goals and circumstances. Why can’t I opt out?

Feel free to make a generous estimate of the people on Earth who don’t use capitalism and compare them to those that do. Let me know if capitalism looks less dominant.

OK, let me know how what economic system best describes how animals manage their resources.

No, they don’t. Food, housing, education, etc. is not money. In most western countries access to primary education isn’t predicated on money. Gross national happiness is itself a metric founded in the idea that financial prosperity isn’t the same thing as happiness or fulfillment.

How does using any of these metrics preclude anyone from having individual standards or goals? Oh, you have a place to sleep and food; guess you can’t have any other dreams, then?

Again, saying the everybody uses money is descriptive, not normative. The number of people who don’t use, or rely on, money at all is very small.

And are you saying that those who distrust those who enforce the laws are anarchists who don’t believe in laws?

So, capitalism is based on primate territoriality? I though that animals weren’t capitalists? And everything based on science should be called “mathematics”? Maybe if evolution were based on science it would be called mathematics, too.

I think you need to re-read what I wrote. I explicitly said that it’s dishonest to suggest that a particular individual is making unfounded assumptions when they are merely incorporating the assumption that are built into the topic. I also explicitly said that it would be better to discuss those assumptions in a general way instead of calling out a particular person for comments that reflect those assumptions.

Somewhat ironically, you also feel I’m personally calling you out.

You’ve gone on at length about how brainwashed most people are, and how we engage in groupthink and adhere to anachronistic dogma (while simultaneously arguing that capitalism is not ubiquitous). I think it’s pretty clear you do presume to know what people’s foundations and justifications are.

Great! People are apparently chosing capitalism in great numbers. And if you don’t like how people are responding to your views and thought, I guess that also tells you something about how the choices these sentient, agency-laden individuals have made.

Lots of people have had the same thoughts you have, mainly when teenagers. Your mind-blowing critique of the system doesn’t seem to have progressed much beyond that, however, and honestly doesn’t seem to offering up much food for thought.

Because its scorched-earth, plundering style is so profitable in the short term, and sadly trumps any other style at the game theory… tragedy of the commons and all that.


Absolutely and that mystification is entirely the point, obscuring the real value of objects that circulate in the global economy.

There is a master narrative about money that doesn’t just emerged from people biases and assumptions. Money will work the same way even if you DON’T buy into those things. And those biases and assumptions are widely shared enough to be a social construction. You may not agree with the technologies of currency, but they work regardless of whether you do or not. You may not think it’s a real thing, or agree its actively obscured (which I’d argue is precisely the point), but when you walk into a 7/11 to buy a slushy, it still works for you.

It doesn’t matter if you buy into it, the fact that most people do gives it the power it has in our society.

I’m not sure it’s quite fair to compare homeopathy and the major economic system. Are there alternatives that function along side it, you bet. But that doesn’t mean that the system doesn’t have real power. Sure it seems to be run by some far off elites, but that’s part of its inherent power, is that it does seem to just happen, rather than to be built.

And therein lies the problem. The truth is that, in terms of the currency that “runs the world”, for lack of a better term, we don’t really have a say. Janet Yellin does, but only so much.


In this case, it’s not even about force, but about persuading people to buy into the system, often in the hopes of future rewards. Capitalism is also a system of pleasure, and that’s part of the charm. Buying in can lead to stability, future wealth, etc. While choices do exist, they are often obscured, I think.

I’m not sure how immigrants are able able to exploit this, or that this kind of present bias is unique to capitalism.

The problem is that I don’t even understand what these supposed alternatives to capitalism and/or money are, or what kind of system could realistically (let alone preferentially) exist that doesn’t involve money. Nor do I understand how currency could be reasonably controlled or influenced by everyday people in a productive and stable manner (which is very different than a central bank controlling money supply and valuation).

I mean, part of @popobawa4u’s complaint is that paper money is an abstract fiat currency. So would things be better if we were back on a gold-backed system with paper currency that could be converted to specie? Problems solved?

Not to speak for @popobawa4u, but I think they’d rather see something more akin to gift/barter economies, that rest of interpersonal relationships. it’s right on the money to be critical of the modern capitalist system, which at its heart, puts the market at the center of all human relationships. You can do that on a small scale, i think and people do this on a small scale all the time. It brings exchange back into a more equitable relationship with other human activities. But, I don’t know how we’d do that on a larger scale, in order to effectively compete with the capitalist system. Maybe the point isn’t to compete, but to get enough people to drop out to make the system unstable enough, so it collapses under it’s own weight… the problem with that is the aftermath.

And what of the myriad government services we receive? How are they funded? I mean, there’s reason to believe that currency was first created as a way of paying government taxes, and that it’s the ability to satisfy public debts with it that makes it so powerful.

More generally, I don’t think that capitalism places the market at the heart of human relationships. Most people don’t view marriage as a financial transactions in modern capitalistic societies (despite there often being a tax advantage to marrying), whereas they certainly did/do in less capitalistic societies (where dowries, inheritances, and clan linkages are more important). And barter-based systems would seem to exacerbate transaction costs and magnify differences in bargaining power, as a farmer may need medical services more than a doctor needs sheep.

Oh, no I agree with you. I’m talking of alternatives to our current system that @popobawa4u might be suggesting. I think that they tend to have issues with anything other than looking/thinking locally.

And to be fair, the level of services we get in the US is pretty low, compared to the other western democracies, dwindling daily…


This all depends upon what society you are thinking of, but you pose it here as a blanket, all-inclusive question. Some are, some aren’t. But you seem to refuse to acknowledge this since it isn’t sufficiently “universal”. When you say that those who aren’t don’t count, then yes, this sounds like a normative outlook.

In a mass-production paradigm, the average person “chooses” only from what’s on offer. So this could effectively subject the majority to the “economic explanations” of the minority with the capital for mass-production.

My post was already getting long. It was bed time and I would have taken too long to address even this point alone.

What does it mean to say that capitalism is bad? We could posit any number of systems which could be described as capitalism. Even among it’s adherents, there does not appear to be a lot of consensus about what it should be, and how it should work.

Let’s ask them. Do you have any names? I’d say that it hardly matters why, since there are no countries organized around anything like rational behavior. And by “rational” I mean supported by formal reason, rather than arbitrarily affixing a number to things. You seem to be under the impression that having only capitalist countries to choose from indicates ubiquity, yet all of the countries I know of are run by tiny minority sections of the population. So it hardly follows that whatever philosophy we could ascribe to them carries over into the population at large. Also, my experience is that many of these countries purposefully make emigration difficult. And there are reasons within the capitalist worldview - such as having always been in debt.

You seem to be dwelling upon a world view which involves a minority of people providing for and dictating terms to the masses. Why should I assume that the obligations of an employment agreement are only one-way? There is such a thing as personalizations of menus - it’s called cooking what you like, or with what you have. Or building your keyboard. If your average person seems unable to negotiate their terms of employment, cook their own food, or make computer keyboards, then perhaps it was in somebody’s interests to discourage them from doing these things.

Why do you assume that you can’t? Of course you can. Rules of traffic are regional. Also, you are not forced to use motor vehicles. Like any system presented to you by others, either work with them to make it something you can work with, or don’t use it. Do something else. If you don’t agree to the rules of somebodys system of motorways or use of money, then you have no business using these.

Nothing looks “dominant”, this is a bogus, loaded term. And FWIW any number of people believing in capitalism does not in itself make it accurate or useful. By the same logic I suppose I should supplicate myself to a giant imaginary person in the sky. Statistical relevance does not equate to situational relevance.

Most of them use some simple form of homeostasis with their surroundings. It’s also easy to observe their territorial impulses and devise ways to work around them in human behavior, instead of indulging in the same thing on a larger scale.

Because the metrics were mostly devised by and encouraging of so called “first world” style development. Based upon the presumtion that economic and industrial development should be desirable to achieve these benchmarks. The problem with individual goals is that, unless they are completely self-absorbed, lead to group goals. And the free organization of groups of people tends to be tightly regulated and shunted into economic activity.

So? A small population and no population are hardly the same thing. In conflating the two you are plainly saying that the small populations who do exist don’t matter. This does make it normative. Here’s an example. In the US, the country itself takes it upon themselves to apply capitalist metrics to what its citizens do, whether they choose to participate or not. If I choose to work directly for food, to the use of avoid money, the state determines a “quid pro quo”, that they judge the transaction to be worth a certain amount of their currency even if we aren’t using it. So, if you ask the US, they will similarly tell you that all of it’s citizens are in fact financial entities. But this does not jive with what the people themselves do. All of this despite there being no legal requirement to have property or use money.

Also, you are again “centralizing” the concept of use of money into your model of capital. Anybody can create and use whatever currency they like without coercing others. Money and capital are distinct.

If I said so, then you could have read it here… I am sure some of them are anarchists. But most of them are those who indicate that laws are made and enforced for other classes or person. That those who control how money is used effectively detourn the force of law to further their agenda. Also, some countries, such as the US, are heavily statist within their borders, yet function as anarchist actors outside of their borders. If a country doesn’t observe laws they have agreed to observe internationally, why should those within it observe the internal laws?

Is that a question? I am not sure what you are asking there.

How do you figure?

Evolution simply means “outwardly moving”. If you are referring to Darwinian “natural selection”, then I’d say this relates to the discipline of the study of biology.

You went beyond that. You told me that by participating in a conversation where I did not share its implicit assumptions (which would seem impossible, since you claim them to be universal) that I was actually attacking people. Simply by not seeing things the same way. A discussion I see as the sum of its participants, and so its assumptions are those of the participants. It would be emergent from our participation and not have any identity or assumptions beyond this. If it was an article about Mark’s new carrot peeler, I would agree with you. But the topic was specifically about how and where people can afford to live, and I think my initial remarks were relevant. I don’t agree with you that anybody’s implicit assumptions are or should be inscrutable. And I certainly disagree that anybody is being attacked be virtue of me not sharing their pet ideology.

This is one of the more thought-provoking remarks you made. But I think again it abstracts systems and assumptions from the people who make them. Ideas do not exist without people. And I certainly wasn’t making person comments about anybody in that topic.

Do I? Not as such. As I already explained, I am tired of topics getting derailed every time somebody feels I have made a controversial statement or question. Not because I mind talking about it, but because it can seem distracting to the other participants. I had typed only two sentences, and didn’t intend to write a whole paper in the middle of the topic. Even trying to figure out how to fork off this conversation too be a few minutes to know what to do - once I changed the group to “wrath” it worked.

Sure, they are individual. Which, paradoxically, means that I do not know what they are. And neither does anybody else, unless people can be bothered to articulate them. People seem to be kept busy with lots of instinctive baggage, irrelevant work, and obscure social rituals simply to prevent them from knowing themselves that well. Asking a person what their goals and systems are is, I think, about as empowering and respectful as interaction gets.

But is falling in line with somebody else’s system really a “choice”, a demonstration of agency? You still seem to assume this a monolithic edifice. Even economists can be mature enough to acknowledge that there can be numerous different implementations of capitalism. So I am still not clear why asking somebody about their own system, or even interpretation, should be seen as an affront.

Such as whom? What is your source for this information?

Then maybe you are working to deflate my end of the discussion by framing it this way, because I never claimed to be offering “mind blowing critique”. Who ever mentioned any such thing? I am not the Godfather of Soul, either. You dropped a lot of indoctrinary-sounding generalizations and asked some good questions, so I thought it could be interesting to let the exchange play out - and at least avoid another derail. FWIW your critique of capitalism sounds like it’s mostly regurgitated, and not based upon any of your own work. When you are convinced that the discussion is “reality” versus “my opinion” rather than “your opinion” versus “my opinion” then you simply push any burden of evidence to my side of the conversation and mostly respond to anything I say with more generalities.

Like I said, if somebody likes to implement capitalist and/or money-based systems, then good for them. What I don’t like is when people seem snarkily determined to dismiss me as sophomoric without making any effort to sell me on their precious view of things. It just tends to come off as smug populism.

So how would this practice ever be worthwhile for the average person? It would seem obvious that there is not much future to it, since planning involves a need for somebody to know what’s really happening. Even finance is supposedly based upon accountability, yet few seem to consider the paradox of doing so using tokens which are themselves deliberately made unaccountable.

Only if they are willing to take my money. If they don’t like me, or my currency of choice, they might not. Then I get no slushy. Also, there are many, many laws about how money works, and how people are to use it. If The State doesn’t like how I use the money they gave to me, then it’s magically not mine anymore. And if I don’t agree with The State’s one-way accountability of keeping their finances extremely opaque, versus opening mine for the world to see - then it seems more strategic to avoid using theirs.

Would you care to elaborate upon this? This seems to relate to what I was talking about earlier with regards to most people appearing to regard capitalist systems as happening independently of people. This really seems to encourage people to give up their agency to it on a popular level. Yet most don’t seem to understand why this strikes me as superstitious and worrisome. How/why does it seem to “just happen”? Part of me suspects that it just aims for a lowest (presumably) common denominator of human motivation. This seems to inspire a lot of “race to the bottom” type behavior and distrust of anything more accurate or sophisticated. And also introduces a lot of wishful thinking which makes real resource management or ecological work nearly impossible. It’s hard for me to buy this as having any universal appeal!

You haven’t pointed to a single ‘society’—however you would like to define one—that isn’t capitalist. Is US society capitalist? Is it anglophone? Is it industrialized? Are all of these questions equally problematic to you?

I thought everyone had agency, and everyone made choices? And I thought that, according to you, not all societies are capitalistic? And—as I’ve asked on multiple occasions—what of people who migrate from less capitalistic (in the Western sense) to more capitalistic societies? They have made choices from everything that’s on offer, including societies that are not capitalistic.

There are plenty of countries that have suffered power vacuums, with effectively no one in charge. There are also plenty of countries where the powers that be are unable to effectively meet the needs of their people. Would it surprise you to learn that black markets flourish in these conditions?

[quote=“popobawa4u, post:13, topic:53678”]
Why do you assume that you can’t? Of course you can. Rules of traffic are regional. Also, you are not forced to use motor vehicles.
[/quote]OK. You’re not forced to use money. Problem solved, no?

Substitute whatever descriptive term you like, I don’t care.

And the logic about religion is not similar, as I was making a simple descriptive statement about how prevalent, ubiquitious, dominant, widespread, or-other-related-word capitalism is. If you want to say that deism dominates atheism among the world’s population, that would be an equivalent statement. And a true one.

Really? Name one that will not expand in resource-rich, favorable conditions. That ecosystems are stable does not indicate an individual preference for stasis.

[quote=“popobawa4u, post:13, topic:53678”]
Because the metrics were mostly devised by and encouraging of so called “first world” style development. Based upon the presumtion that economic and industrial development should be desirable to achieve these benchmarks. The problem with individual goals is that, unless they are completely self-absorbed, lead to group goals.
[/quote]So non capitalistic societies are not in favor of long life spans, reduced infant mortality, access to education, access to health care, food stability. high literacy, etc?

You said, in response to my comment about capitalism being the dominant economic system on Earth, that animals outnumber people. If that’s relevant, it has to be because you believe that they aren’t capitalistic. And yet you start talking about animal territorialism, which is essentially protection of capital.

So you agree that not all of those who disagree with some laws are anarchists. Why do you think that people distrusting the Federal Reserve or whatever are anti-capitalists?

How do you figure that if there was a science behind capitalism or economics that it would be called mathematics?

This is incredibly disingenuous. You say you don’t know what peoples justifications are, yet in the next sentence you start making assumptions and inferences about how they just act instinctively doing irrelevant work and obscure social rituals. I mean, your basic claim is that your ignorance plus their false consciousness means that because you can articulate your beliefs semi-coherently you have better insight into others than they do. And respectfully telling us that others have false consciousness is actually empowering them, but not in an assumption-making way.

And that’s crap. Believing in the false consciousness of others is incredibly paternalistic. You may be right, but that doesn’t make it less paternalistic.

[quote=“popobawa4u, post:13, topic:53678”]
FWIW your critique of capitalism sounds like it’s mostly regurgitated, and not based upon any of your own work. When you are convinced that the discussion is “reality” versus “my opinion” rather than “your opinion” versus “my opinion” then you simply push any burden of evidence to my side of the conversation and mostly respond to anything I say with more generalities.
[/quote]You’re not saying anything! Just a bunch of handwaving to the sounds of “Ooooh, capitalism!”

You haven’t pointed to any society you would consider non-capitalistic.

You haven’t described in a functional way what you mean by “survivalism.”

You haven’t even identified, in a concrete manner, what is wrong with capitalism, or how a non-capitalist society could address those problems.

Again, you need to reread the text you originally quoted, this time without omitting the following sentence. Again, I said that singling out one person who is making the same assumptions as everyone else is an unfair attack on that person. If you have a problem with the entire set of assumtpion underpinning the entire discussion, attack them without singling out an individual participant who is merely reflecting a widely-held set of assumtpions.

It remains ironic that you don’t see your singling out an individual who has unremarkable assumptions as an attack, yet you see others who single out your remarkable assumptions as emotional tirades and personal attacks on you, by virtue of us not sharing your pet ideology (not that ‘pet ideology’ is the sort of charged language you disagree with).

So? How about most indigenous cultures of the planet? There are many more of them than Western industrialized capitalist countries. But since they don’t measure themselves with capital, they conveniently don’t count. Conversely, it’s not like you have provided specific examples either.

Some of it is. Many of the structures of the US as a nation state favor such a system. Again, there is a risk of reducing even an apparently capitalistic place to a unified implementation. Much of the US seems to not agree on precisely how or why they are capitalist.

It largely seems to be. But there are also other colonial languages used, as well as hundreds of indigenous ones.

There is a lot of physical and financial industrial infrastructure. Not as much as there used to be. But this is mostly very centralized activity. The average person seems to not be very involved in its implementation.

Not particularly problematic, no. Why do you ask?

My remark above referred explicitly to “in a mass production paradigm”. This puts forth an idealized model. And not everybody chooses to participate in a mass-production paradigm, which was the point I was making. It’s an old model which is great for the few when they want to profit by exploiting resources for the many. Not so much in an information-based economy where scarcity needs to be perpetuated artificially in order to support their descendants.

Sure, what about them? What are you even asking here? I don’t have any statistics handy or means to ask them now. And their answers would be their own personal/family concerns, and not necessarily imply that they offered some compelling economic insight to address my life’s goals.

It’s something of a value judgement to posit this as “suffering”. Why should we naturally assume that anybody is / should be in charge? And how would we persuade others?

No, it would not especially surprise me. People are often actively discouraged from meeting their own needs outside of prescribed structures and methods. And ruling minorities tend to not be subject to complete transparency. These scenarios are often demonstrably exploitive of people, involving classes who are deprived while a so-called “elite” and/or military engage in hoarding. Also, the minority only provide for the needs of the majority as the minority understands them, and see themselves as having no further obligation.

Not really. I still get a lot of grief for wanting to start competing currencies. And when I mention my current non-use of money, threads get derailed and the dead horse gets flogged again. Let’s say I am ok with it, others, not so much as they keep telling me. As evinced by bizarre sweeping statements such as “Oh, so you’ve got a problem with it, so none of us are supposed to use it anymore!”. Many people really seem to feel compelled to frame it as an all-or-nothing problem. rather than a matter of individual choice.

I just don’t see “dominance” as a real factor. It injects animism into human institutions. And, no, I wouldn’t say that all descriptive terms are equally valid. I’m sure we would need to agree to disagree on these points.

But you appear to be presupposing that their individual preference as a species would matter. I could entreat you to name even one which has an actual reason to expand, instead of doing so merely to fulfill some pre-programmed behavioral imperative.

There is no single, simplistic way to define the goals of societies. Countries are run my minorities, with different goals than the rest of the population. Capital creates different classes of people who choose to identify with different goals. And this is still without considering the possibility of individual goals. And it’s arguable that access to education and literacy are not even subject to actual resource constraints, such as access to food and medicine can be.

One could also ask: “What exactly is the point to having the longest possible lifespan for myself and my family if we are merely domestic resources without the agency to engage in meaningful individual or social activity, except as prescribed?” Living ten years with real ability to organize and participate is a lot more potent than living one hundred years without while biding time, simply because I was afraid to die.

This is somewhat misinterpreting what I said, which was to the effect that most of the Earth’s population is not human. I certainly did not distinguish humans as existing as an order separate to or different from other animals. Humans are animals, but they are in many ways a special case. Their use of language has created history. And their understanding of history has created culture and memetics. Humans are animals who largely design themselves, and are as such able to choose between inbuilt behavioral imperatives, and/or cultivate new ones. For other animals, territorialism comes as part of the package. For humans, it is optional.

I don’t. I never said that money or capital are innately problematic. The problems tend to be only when you are coerced into somebody else’s system. Because you then inherit their values and goals. People often don’t agree as to what wealth is, nor how to measure it. But capital can consolidate and centralize influence, rendering mass participation largely symbolic. Some are happy enough with token gestures towards involvement, some are not, some don’t even notice. The more centralized the actual operation and control money is, the more transparent it becomes who’s “invisible hand” the market represents. I think capitalism does tend towards class division, despite claims of its supposed meritocracy. And market-driven everything in daily life then becomes a means of population and resource control by the few. This is not a problem intrinsic to use of money itself - which is ideally a mere neutral medium of exchange. It can be useful, but I’d argue still not, as such, strictly necessary.

It might be my own “in joke” about the process of modern “rationalization”, the economic trend of describing everything in market terms to make it sound very well-thought out and clever - when it is just people hiding the fact that they are scrambling over resources. There has been a huge effort over the past 150 years or so to frame the more common forms of capitalism is extremely technical-sounding terminology, with the pretense that it was providing something like a scientific treatment of resource allocation and social organization - because “numbers”. I think it’s funny that people have gone to such lengths to make it sound mathematical, because capitalism tends to function not as a science but as a game. There are rules and strategies implicit to it. Which are more or less based upon the hope of getting something for nothing. In other words, wishful thinking.

I agree that this doesn’t sound very good. But what you say here loses the distinction between the individualism / egalitarian collectivity I frame things in, and some implicitly assumed, all-encompassing system that you and many other people tell me is in no uncertain terms their reality. If I think it’s people’s baseline state to choose how they live, and they assert that they are coopted into some system which they then make no claim to understand or explain, then they have not effectively presented an alternate view. Instead, they seem to be hoping that the point will be made by osmosis. So, yes, many - most - people do dismiss what I am saying without offering any alternative perspective, apart from passing the buck to some shadowy “others” who they profess to control all of our lives. I don’t tell people whether they should or not do anything, but I might remark what I think of a given situation. And a person who tries to “convince” about whatever system they provide lip service to while not knowing much about it isn’t doing either of us any favors. I don’t need to declare false consciousness when people merely shrug and say “everybody knows”. They haven’t examined their assumptions and are making no attempt to communicate them.

This is certainly not true of all people. I am perfectly happy to speak with people when neither party agrees, and this can be quite interesting. I would even go so far as to say I would rather discuss something with someone able and willing to articulate a view I disagree with, than a nominal discussion where I apparently agree with someone who declines to really engage with the ideas.

Ha! Now it sounds like you’re the one being disingenuous! I will remind you, that you are the one who introduced the term “capitalism” into the conversation, and stated the intention - the necessity - of framing it this way.

True enough. Take every nation state, and subtract those. Then, with the many thousands of groups left over, make a list of those who do business with capitalist entities because they aim to profit from this, and another list of those who simply deal with them out of necessity. The last group are the ones we are talking about. And they will still, I guarantee you, outnumber the “recognized” countries.

I gave a very stripped-down definition. Whatever depends upon actual cause-and-effect relationships rather than belief in anyone elses institutions. Do a web search for the term, if you like. Most definitions I find out there seem to mention it only as a last-ditch effort in case “society” fails. Which demonstrates some ignorance of the fact that this was the default human condition for hundreds of thousands of years. Depending upon reality instead of people’s BS is only reactionary if you want it to be.

So? Again, you seem to be putting all of the burden of evidence upon me here, when I was not the one going on about the supposed ubiquity of capitalism. I didn’t even mention it except in response to your remarks. But I went into a bit more detail in this post, so, think what you will. As for a how-to guide of making non-capitalistic societies… I am enjoying a discussion here, not writing a whole book! You might think it’s a cop-out, but I prefer to do away with one-size-fits-all attempts of replacing one grand overarching system with another one. Just like I think the era of mass-production of industry is mostly obsolete, I think people should devise systems which address their needs on a small scale. Not needing to assume what their needs, wants, circumstances, goals etc might be is the whole point.

I simply don’t share the assumptions. Me not sharing them is only “a problem” if others make it out to be. And I would expect the onus to be upon them to explain why me not sharing such an assumption would be any sort of real problem for anyone. I simply pointed out that it seemed to be a choice - but I did not tell them what choice to make.

So, how then would I address an individual, yet have this be some impersonal, group communication? My experience is that it doesn’t work to ask questions to or ask clarifications to the group as a whole. Because the participants tend to assume I am not addressing them. But when I ask an individual about what they said, they seem to know who I am talking to, what I am asking about, and are then free to discuss this with me or not. Also, “remarkable” is a loaded term. I remarked upon their comment, so I made it remarkable. While you assert that this shouldn’t be done, I should just leave people alone to their discussions. Or lecture them on a larger scale in terms of discussing systems separately from people. I think this would be a bit patronizing, and as I had explained, I really find systems to not be separable from the people who devise and use them.

Why I see people who single me out as engaging in emotional tirades is because they are often agitated about it, call me names, and refuse to discuss issues which they dumped in my lap. This makes them seem more like tar & feather attempts to let others know they don’t like what I have to say, rather than engaging with the ideas I put forth. There are other options, such as calmly, casually stating their disagreement. Or asking for clarification. Or addressing observations or opinions that I made. Why this suggests to me “pet ideology” is that if I discuss a general idea, but somebody feels personally insulted by this, suggests that they are closely personally identifying with the ideas instead of thinking about them. I think it’s poor rhetoric for one to lose their bearings when somebody simply asks a question. If it was an obviously personal question, I’d understand. I ask an individual their views of society because they are unique, but this doesn’t seem to me to make them deeply personal in nature. But I am willing to concede that others may feel differently.

Do they count? Sure. Are there many people in them? No. Are many of them capitalistic in many respects? Yes. Are they preserving what non-capitalistic aspects of their culture that remain? For the most part, no: they are becoming increasingly capitalistic, largely by choice.

As for examples, I’ve said that capitalism is ubiquitous. The industrialized west is capitalist. The very next thing you quote is me saying the US is capitalist. That’s not a specific example?

I’ve also said that a money-free society would have significant transaction costs and likely exacerbate imbalance in bargaining power, neither of which are advantageous for the less powerful members of society. I’ve also said that it would be very difficult to fund government services (that we all benefit from) without money.

So you seem to accept that we can call the US anglophone even though significantly less than 100% of what is spoken there is English. Yet it is illegitimate to describe the US as capitalist even though more people in the US would describe it as capitalist than speak English as their primary language.

Because you seem to find the assertion that the US is capitalist to be very problematic.

I don’t give a fuck about your life’s goals, and I didn’t think your entire argument was predicated on your individual situation. Society isn’t about you and your personal interests, and it shouldn’t be about you any more than it should be about the powerful and their personal interests. Society is about the community’s interests, and in many ways you participating in the informal/secondary economy is you placing your personal interests ahead of society as a whole. Places where there is widespread participation in the secondary economy, such as through barter, almost always deprives the government of tax revenue. Freeloading secondary-economy participants who simultaneously consume government services (either directly or indirectly) are pushing the costs of providing those services to those who do participate in the formal/primary economy. This has been a real problem in Greece in recent years. Maybe you feel this is a necessary step towards a greater goal, but I’m not sure you do, as many people participate in the secondary economy not for reasons of principle but for financial reasons.

And when it comes to actually talking about what people—and not you individually—want, we can actually look at the expressed preferences of real people making real choice. You keep talking about people making choices—somewhat bizarrely arguing both that people do have real choice and also that they don’t have choice because of groupthink and other forms in indoctrination—but people who physically move/migrate to more capitalist societies are making very definite and considered choices between real alternatives. It’s hard to say that people don’t actually want capitalism when people continuously show through their actions that they do.

Yeah, it is a value judgment to say that people suffer when there are power vacuums and failed states. Ask people who have lived through such situations whether they would like to attach a value judgment to it.

So personally not using the roads solves the problem of road rules, but personally not using money doesn’t solve the problems of money and its rules.

Given your stated beliefs in the evils of fiat currencies, why would you want to start a competing currency (and doesn’t “competing” indicate some sort of value judgment, and some sort of animism to a human institution?)? Your non-use of money may work in your personal situation in the short term, but it is vanishingly unlikely to be supportable in the long term, even as applied only to you.

So one of the problems with money is that impersonalizes transactions between humans, but one of the problems with much of human language is that it anthropomorphizes/humanizes human institutions?

That’s the point: capitalism, exploitation of resources, and expansion is essentially natural, which is why it makes little sense to say that animals outnumber humans or that most ecosystems are in an approximate state of equilibrium.

This is fascinating. So on the one hand you seem to acknowledge that animals are essentially territorial and thus capitalistic in their resource allocation, but argue that since we are reasoning beings we should aspire to something more than these base instincts.

And yet here you have done a 180, and are saying that the instinctual and primitive survivalism that humans (and proto-humans) engaged in for aeons is a potentially preferable alternative to modern (and reasoned) technologies like money and the modern version of capitalism. I’m not sure this makes a lot of sense.

I do think it’s a cop-out. You’re unwilling to assume even basic things, such as that people might want to have shelter, might want to eat regularly, might want to be able to access health care, might want to have their kids survive infancy, might want to live long lives, etc. And that might be the only way to support your idea of these ad-hoc social communities, because once you start to make any of these assumptions, on even a modest scale, you are faced with the need for increasingly large and complex structures to effectuate these goals.

My argument has continued to be that most people think capitalism is pretty good, and better than the alternatives that have been attempted (and yes, this goes for indigenous cultures as well). The global convergence on capitalism is me meeting the burden of proof in this issue, which is why I’ve kept mentioning migration, which is a concrete expression of preference between competing systems through action.

“I find it interesting that this entire discussion/train of though/whatever seems to assume… and this seems weird to me because…”

This addresses the fundamental assumptions without attacking or criticizing anyone. And if it doesn’t garner a response, maybe that’s a reflection of what people think of your ideas: if your commentary only garners responses when you use it to poke someone in the eye, maybe it’s just really uninteresting commentary.

No, you asked me if I thought the US is capitalist. So far, you ask me lots of questions. But when I ask you questions, you seem to offer other people’s answers, so it comes off as sounding a bit indoctrinary.

Governments are the ones who generally create and regulate said money, so they are basically paying themselves by forcing others into various forms of economic activity. I haven’t encountered cogent arguments as to why these crucial government services should themselves be market driven. It sort of makes sense if we start from the assumption that “everything costs money” and backfill our reason from there, but this hardly makes a case for general reasoning.

You are glossing over the huge difference between “what we can call” something, and “illegitimate”. Legitimacy means written into law, which is hardly equivalent to agreeing that something can be framed a certain way. If the US is “legitimately” capitalist, then why are there never any laws stating that I need to own property, or use their money? It is always strongly implied, but never stated outright.

Is that shorthand for you being annoyed that you haven’t convinced me of it? I already said several times before - even in the US, among professed capitalists, there is only so much consensus about what capitalism supposedly is. It feels like you are for some reason interested in making this a debate between token positions of “capitalism” and “non-capitalism” (which seems to be only defined in relation to it’s relationship to capitalism - so, a comparison between one ideal, and its shadow).

Yet, your recurring argument for how capitalism supposedly benefits the average person is self interest! Why is this somehow relevant when you are using it to rationalize your position? I am not dwelling upon it, it’s merely a simple refutation of the case which many people present to me. And as a direct response, it’s relevant. “Because it fulfills everybodys wants and needs!”… “Because all people love capitalism, so if you don’t, you’re either wrong, or you’re not people” You mention in your advice about bulletin board etiquette that it’s rude to personally confront a person’s assumptions, yet this is precisely what happens when people become overly general. Everybody agrees, and I am not supposed to say anything! It should not be a big deal for me to simply remark that I don’t agree, and opt out of being included under whatever given conceptual umbrella.

There is not anything at all informal about what I am discussing. The existence of any “primary” or “dominant” system is acceptance of implicit power differentials between people. This is precisely a concern about how society as a whole operates. Also, sociologically, communities tend to be small, and defined from the inside. Not by abstract obligations to an elite of meddlesome globetrotting interlopers. I am not suggesting that people should bypass one main way of doing things in favor of a second, less formal one. But rather that they embrace a multiplicity, which is what one might naturally assume from an ecological perspective. And, after all, capitalism does like to market itself as an uncontrolled, growing, living thing…

Saying that it’s value is confirmed because they “failed” is simply replacing one benchmark of value judgement for another. Failure depends upon goals, and the goals of one community might not be the same as another. So the natural assumption that someone should unify then in rule is not always reasonable or realistic.

I know. I was just working with the analogy you presented.

You are putting words in my mouth again. I think fiat currencies are impractical, not evil. Money, like any tool, is morally neutral - which cannot be said of those who hind behind the use of a tool to obscure their motives or actions. Yes, “competing” is such an injection of animism. It’s metaphor if we use it, delusion only if we unthinkingly believe it. I do make some concessions to common language to avoid excess verbiage. Anyway, I certainly don’t find it at all unlikely that capitalism can be seen as practical for some. But I have found the extensions of this to include most or all people to be unconvincing, and even outright deceptive.

If I am living in a true meritocracy, this should not be a problem! And as a counterpoint, as I had mentioned, a civilization which deliberately obscure the amount and value of resources is hardly supportable for the long term, either.

The sense of it is that non-human animals, plants etc. are in a more practical equilibrium because they deal with actual resources, actual competitors, actual environments and circumstances. What makes humans special is their use of systems of symbolic representation, such as language, money, and others. Humans folly is the constant delusion that they can actually represent real things as symbols, process the symbols, and have a corresponding change to things in real life. If I juggle the meaning of word “pie” to mean something different, it is not going to directly change the number of real-life pies between us. The entire concept of a system with net gain is based upon an elaborate system of delusions. Other animals do not suffer from this. And even convincing a human of this tends to accomplish little, since they will assume that others believe it to work. Despite centuries of more refined explanation of what capitalism is supposed to be and how it is supposed to work - it still is predicated upon the underpinnings of wishful thinking - that people can somehow get something for nothing. And they can! But this applies to only a very small circle of participants.

No, animals are not capitalistic, for the reasons I outlined above. Also, they tend to be largely unconcerned with resources generally except in a very immediate sense.

Not at all, I defined survivalism twice as being based upon empirical cause-and-effect relationships. As being quite distinct from instinctive territoriality. Also, I never made any claims of what might have been the “essential reasoning” of prehistoric humans. The relevance is to deflate the survival anxiety that is promoted through capitalism, the recurring claims that “there is no other way to survive”. Capitalism does not function as a “reasoned” form of instinct. People plainly tell me that they don’t need a reason to use it, or to expect me to use it. It is a sublimated form on instinct. Meaning that it appears “natural” but is merely “unconscious”. Which is probably why people get upset when they are reminded that they had no compelling reason for it. Claiming a philosophy to be “natural” is basically the basis of fascism and other anti-rational mob behaviors. The closer it seems to be to people’s instincts, the more people get duped into fighting to cling to it. Just because it might be natural does not imply that is accurate or optimal.

Gee… weren’t you arguing a few paragraphs back that capitalism was a reasoned approach to resource management? When I try to trace the reasoning behind it, you tell me that I am unwilling to assume that it has an instinctual basis. Sure, we can assume such things. But to what end?

Yes, this is a familiar follow-up. In terms of modern human endeavor, things like food and shelter are extremely simply goals. No, it does not require huge bloated companies or corporations to help people to facilitate these things. This is just another version of the assertion that capitalism is a prerequisite for survival. Of course people can survive within capitalism (the marketable ones, anyway), but this does not imply the converse reasoning that survival is impossible without it. Modern capitalism is only a few hundred years old, rather than ancient and eternal.

Or maybe it’s you letting other people make your argument for you, a very populist gesture. Also, capitalist control of territory with regards to migration also veils another messy, unexamined implicit assumption. Which is the coupling of civilized human activity with geography. When wealth was equal to the commodities and resources of the natural world, it was safe to assume a correlation between these. But in modern society, the largest scales of wealth tend to be tied up in information. Finance for its own sake. This has decoupled capital from territory, as seen in the increasing influence of multinational corporations, and the value of trade agreements between countries over the sovereignty of their borders. But this is only how the trend manifests at the “top” of the hierarchy. What happens when, at the “bottom” end, people start countries as data? Membership in uncontrollable, non-geographic, non-states which allow for direct governance? This is why there is a clampdown now upon control of networking and non-state actors. Because we actually can succeed them.

That’s not entirely unfair. Except that you are still, even after I point it out several times, framing such scenarios in terms of “me” versus “everybody else”. Why is it that when I speak up, they are supposedly only my ideas? We’ve shared a lot of text in this discussion, and you have not cited a single other person other than nebulous presumptions such as “everybody”, “most people”, etc. Telling me to “ask anybody” does not lend your argument any authority nor statistical weight. That doesn’t invalidate the points you make, but I think you need to be aware that you are ultimately speaking for yourself here, even if you know you are commenting upon a larger social world. I don’t mind if you choose not to agree with what I say here. How I find out what somebody’s fundamental assumptions are in the first place is by personal discussion, and even if you claim that I should be expected to know what strangers think before I communicate with them does not make it so, nor provide any practical way to make such a thing happen.

What have you asked me? And it’s not surprising I’ve given other people’s answers; I’m not an expert in the field, and others have though about this a lot more than me.

I’m not sure I understand what your objection is. That the government should just print more money to pay for public services? That people wouldn’t engage in commerce or trade without the government somehow (and I’m not exactly sure how) forcing people into commerce? (And I appreciate you refraining from the charged language you find so offensive.) Many government services are not market driven, especially outside of the US. K-12 education, roadways, health care, etc. are not typically market driven.

Legitimacy doesn’t have that meaning. It’s legit to say the US anglophone. You’re the one saying it’s illegitimate, wrong, incorrect, whatever to say the US is capitalist.

So what? All of these people disagreeing on definitions would agree that the US is capitalist. People might disagree on the definition of anglophone, or disagree on how to count what languages people speak, but it doesn’t mean the US isn’t anglophone.

If you don’t think the US is capitalist, and you do think that most societies in the world are not capitalist, I’m not sure what your disagreement with capitalism is, or why you think so many people are suffering from false consciousness or are indoctrinated.

Again, there’s a difference between an individual’s self interest and society’s self interest. You seem to recognize this when you talk about plutocracies and the powerful acting in their self interest (as opposed to the self interest of society as a whole). Economics is about maximizing social utility, not individual utility. Individuals can be harmed by policies that raise social utility, and this is fine (especially since, in theory, that utility can be redistributed through individual bargaining).

Your position is like saying elections are illegitimate unless the vote is unanimous, as though every single person must agree. That’s not how it works: it’s about society, not the individual.

You can disagree. I even gave you a template for disagreeing. But if you’re disagreeing with widely-held assumptions, it doesn’t make sense to single out a specific person to disagree with, as your disagreement is with most people and there’s nothing special about the person who you have chosen to disagree with. I’ve said this about five times, and I don’t think it’s rocket science, but you keep saying I’m telling you not to disagree or question assumptions.

[quote=“popobawa4u, post:18, topic:53678”]
The existence of any “primary” or “dominant” system is acceptance of implicit power differentials between people.
[/quote]Or it’s something called mathematics.

These are commonly-accepted terms in English. I’m not going to deviate from standard English because of your ideological beliefs—regardless of whether the commonly-accepted terms are also ideological. You’re free to think in your own idiolect, but don’t object to the use of common language.

Show me a so-called “failed state” where the goals of the community were actually achieved. Show me a community that has effectively welcomed the lack of a stable government.

Well, you were working the analogy disingenuously, it would appear, as the analogous solution does translate to the problem we were analogizing from.

You said fiat currencies damage relationships by centralizing control and the this is where the problems of capital lie. Which is apparently different than assigning a moral value to fiat currencies:

Which is apparently why you believe that most people must be suffering from false consciousness (even while claiming to make no assumptions about people), otherwise it would be difficult to explain why so many people have chosen capitalism over the apparently widespread non-capitalistic choices they are continuously faced with in a world where capitalism is supposedly far from ubiquitous.

“Problem” and “merit” assign moral values and certain perspective. Who should this not be problematic for? What is merit?

[quote=“popobawa4u, post:18, topic:53678”]
And as a counterpoint, as I had mentioned, a civilization which deliberately obscure the amount and value of resources is hardly supportable for the long term, either.
[/quote]Which assumes that capitalism deliberately obscures the amount and value of resources.

Again, this seems difficult to reconcile with your exhortation that man should use reason to rise above the baser instincts of animals. Arguably capitalism, money, language, and abstraction allow us to more meaningfully determine the relative values of a broader basket of resources. I’m not sure how using beads, shells, sacks of grain, grains of gold, or gold-backed currency is a better or more direct and honest method of dealing with resources than using a fiat currency is.

[quote=“popobawa4u, post:18, topic:53678”]
The entire concept of a system with net gain is based upon an elaborate system of delusions. Other animals do not suffer from this.
[/quote]I don’t even know what you mean by this.

What I do know is that animals don’t behave very differently. They store resources. They make tradeoffs between different resources. They exploit other animals, both of their own species and others.

Something for nothing. Like cuckolding animals, or flowers that fool insects into pollinating them, or birds that deposit their eggs in other species’ nests, or animals that raid the food caches of others.

So humans (arguably) have the ability to do what animals do on a larger scale, and that is what makes us capitalist, and them not. If we organized human society like bees, I wonder how you would describe that.

But what does that even mean? What isn’t based on empirical cause and effect?

[quote=“popobawa4u, post:18, topic:53678”]
Also, I never made any claims of what might have been the “essential reasoning” of prehistoric humans.
[/quote]Nor have I, so far as I can see.

[quote=“popobawa4u, post:18, topic:53678”]
The relevance is to deflate the survival anxiety that is promoted through capitalism, the recurring claims that “there is no other way to survive”.
[/quote]A strawman, so far as I can see: no one here has made that argument.

Is this how your thought process actually works? Something being “reasoned” means that people need a reason to use it? The metric system is a reasoned approach to weights and measures. Most people don’t need a reason to use the metric system. Hangul is a reasoned approach to writing. Most Koreans don’t need a reason to use Hangul over other forms of writing. The general theory of relativity is a reasoned approach to gravity. Most people don’t need a reason to use gravity.

Then I’m sure the irony of you claiming that non-capitalistic systems (and survivalism) are natural is not lost on you.

[quote=“popobawa4u, post:18, topic:53678”]
Gee… weren’t you arguing a few paragraphs back that capitalism was a reasoned approach to resource management? When I try to trace the reasoning behind it, you tell me that I am unwilling to assume that it has an instinctual basis.
[/quote]I’m not sure how this objection arises out of my willingness to assume that people like to, among other things, eat.

The end of assuming such things (and we don’t have to assume them, as we can measure them both directly and indirectly) is to understand what society wants, and what objectives society has. Then we can understand what social utility is, and figure out how to maximize social utility, which is what economics is about.

Of course not. How many hours of the day, directly or indirectly, does the average capitalistic American devote to satisfying their food needs? How many hours would they need to devote in a non-capitalistic society? Since food is a basic goal, and there are other goals, isn’t society better served by allowing one to devote as few resources to basic goals as possible, thus giving maximum opportunity to devote to other goals that are perhaps more central to what it is to be human?

Yeah, let me re-write economics and stuff, because I wouldn’t want to be populist. Imagine if Newton had decided to be more original and stand on the shoulders of Liliputians instead of giants.

That’s a completely different issue. Regardless of why borders and barriers exist, the reality is that they do, and that people who do decide to migrate are making observable choices and expressing their preferences.

Hey, I thought I was just quoting others and “letting other people make [my] argument for [me]”? Now, a couple of paras later, instead of letting others make my arguments for me, I’m speaking for myself without any outside support.

Then you should absolutely not be complaining that people attack you and hump on you whenever you say something, or complain that it is frustrating and that this drives you to act/comment in certain ways. As I’ve repeatedly said, you like to have it both ways by pretending you don’t know anything about other people or what they think, while simultaneously dismissing many as being the victims of capitalist indoctrination and false consciousness.

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