Capitalism is good

Discussion in 'Markets & Economies' started by mmm....shiney!, Jul 21, 2015.

  1. mmm....shiney!

    mmm....shiney! Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    Phransisku, once more on the topic of creating value.

    Let's examine your statement a bit more closely, firstly, that the house would still exist even if the landlord was not there or he died.

    From a physical perspective your statement is obviously correct. If our landlord dies, barring any mishap or unusual behaviour from relatives or whatever, the house won't crumble into dust or disappear in a puff of smoke. The house will either be sold to another capitalist, who having gone through the same process as outlined previously will purchase it or it will be inherited by the estate of the dead landlord.

    The economic perspective though is far more interesting. In order to continue attracting tenants to the house, the landlord must continue to invest a portion of his earnings back into the property. He must continue to forgo consuming a portion of his current income and save in order to meet future bills/maintenance/improvements to his property. If he fails to reinvest, he runs the risk of losing his market share and would have to lower his rent in order to attract a tenant. If he doesn't, at some point in time his rental property would only be of value to a demolition team.

    This is exactly the same thing that occurs with other products. Capitalists must continue to enhance their productivity by reinvesting a portion of their earnings back into product development, or they run the risk of losing market share. Apple must continue innovating and producing new phones in order to remain competitive, McDonalds must continue to innovate and produce new meals in order to remain competitive and the producer of ovens must continue to innovate, design new ovens that use less materials, less fuel and function better or else lose his market share. Once a product has been produced and released onto the market, the capitalist must continue working, he must continue to provide value to both current and future consumers.
     
  2. mmm....shiney!

    mmm....shiney! Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    I've already countered your claim that the owners of capital goods do not create value by pointing out that in providing a good that enhances our productivity or satisfies a need or desire they are creating value. I've also explained that in order to continue to create value, the capitalist must forgo some current consumption and reinvest his funds into maintenance or the innovation of other capital goods, for fear of losing market share or failing to provide value to his intended consumers .

    Furthermore, value is subjective. How an individual chooses to seek value is personal and no matter how distasteful it may be to another, as long as the individual seeking value harms no one else then what they choose to spend their money on is entirely up to them. Spending all their weekly pay on hookers and blow may not meet with everyone's approval, but that's the nature of a system built on upon the notion of diminishing marginal utility.

    Renting is not disastrous for the economy. From an economic perspective it is sensible. In a world of limited resources it makes good sense to rent a capital good that you would not ordinarily be able to afford or not want to purchase outright (remember the notion of diminishing marginal utility) and in doing so enhance your productivity or meet your needs/desires with a minimum cost and reduce replication or waste, rather than forgo any productivity improvements or the satisfaction of needs whilst you wait to save.

    I dispute your claim that if renting was "forboden" then the cost of capital goods, houses, consumer goods etc would be cheaper. They would not for a number of reasons (a) there would be less demand and supply as manufacturers would be providing for a smaller market, as purchasers would only be buying goods for their own consumption, being unable to rent out machinery and goods to others, (b) history has shown that mass production and the resulting improvements in economies of scale lowers the cost of goods from "luxury" status to an affordable level for most consumers, (c) it would increase waste as capital goods could not be leased out to others when idle, meaning the return on investment would be less and productivity would decline, (d) it would stifle innovation as the market for new products would be limited because of (a) -(c), and (e) houses take months to build, in the mean time, where does the new home owner live? He'd either be forced into buying an established house in a desirable area, which would increase market demand and drive up the price of housing, thereby making the abolition of rent in the first place a pointless exercise, or he would have to buy in a less than desirable location such as further from his work meaning his living expenses would be higher, or he would have to live on the street.

    The decision to rent instead of purchasing a capital good or product or service is an entirely personal decision. As I said before, value is subjective, individuals engage in economic relationships with others in an attempt to meet their own needs/desires and they do this by applying their own knowledge, as imperfect as it may be. Abolishing rent would not reduce the cost of goods, it would deny the individual the freedom to make their own choices, forcing them to spend their own money in a manner which others consider is appropriate.

    I'd rather live in a world where I have a choice, where my decisions are mine to make, rather than made on my behalf by some distant authority I've never met and which is supposedly acting in my best self-interest.
     
  3. mmm....shiney!

    mmm....shiney! Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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  4. Bargain Hunter

    Bargain Hunter Member

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    Mmm.....shiney I think a more useful debate to have is which countries have the least socialist governments and least socialist general public attitudes. By looking at things like tax rates, business red tape, property rights, employment regulations, import regulations, etc. By looking at such practical matters people can potentially plan which country to expatriate too, which country to invest in, which country to setup a second residence/citizenship in, which country to work in, etc.

    As much as I dislike the system, it is the way it is and there is little I as an individual can do about it. Its better if we acknowledge the flaws of the system but move on to thinking about how to maximise our results within the confines of the system we have it is a much more useful exercise.
     
  5. Phransisku

    Phransisku Member

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    I think the easiest way to show how wrong you are is by showing you the communist mirror of yourself:
    Consumption enhances our economy.
    Consumption requires consumers to perform it for without consumers there would be no consumption.
    Therefore, that man not working all day and receiving a 1000$ monthly subsidy from the state is enhancing our economy because he funds companies producing goods and services.


    I've already told you: "When you allow yourself to stretch that far the concept of value creation, you're allowing communists to do the same thing".
    A young and spoiled man inheriting millions from his parents has done for it exactly the same thing as that man for the 1000$ monthly, which was zero. They both have zero productivity regardless of the capital that came into their hands (which was only the result of the way society is organized). If those 2 persons didn't exist, the country would have precisely the same wealth. They didn't generate any.



    The economic perspective is this: the landlord hasn't really worked to get such an amount of money.



    Really? How generous of him. Let's say he gets 1000$ per month from the tenant and he needs to "reinvest" 2400$ per year into the property, so he gets 80% cash flow for him. Do you know who's even more generous? The man that gets 1000$ from the state and spends it all (our should I say "reinvests"?), funding the companies that provide to him goods and services and that pay taxes for the state to hand 1000$ to the man next month. If the man doesn't do it, those companies won't be able to pay those taxes and he won't receive his subsidy anymore.
    But maybe he's being too generous. Maybe he should be just as generous as the landlord and keep 800$ for him, while spending 200$ on goods and services. That way he could fatten his wealth at the expense of the tax payer, just like the landlord does it at the expense of the tenant.



    Exactly. And the landlord must continue to innovate in order to maintain his property. And the man that gets a subsidy must continue to innovate in order to spend everything every month.



    In my honest and humble opinion, those individuals that buy a basic need not for themselves but for others (and with the intent of exploring them with rents, interests on loans, or simply higher prices) are indeed harming those other individuals. Maybe we have different concepts of "harming". If I go into the desert and find you thirsty and with no water, and if I walk faster than you and find ahead water being sold at 1$ per liter, if I buy all the water and sell to you for 1000$ per liter, I believe I'm harming you. Without me, you'd be paying 1$ per liter. How can you tell I'm adding value to you?



    Then you would love to live in that society where everything is rented and you have nothing that is really yours, right?



    (a) As it happens with clothes, right? Since there are no clothes investors enlarging demand and supply, the market is small and clothes are expensive. So expensive that you can't afford and you could only rent them. Don't you see that if houses were cheaper people would buy a couple of them, so the market would actually be larger? There would be no speculation and no buildings stopped at the middle of construction. Houses would be easily bought and sold. Just like clothes. Because they're cheap, people in general don't have just what they need (5 or 10 dresses), they have far more than that (20 or 50 dresses, sometimes even more).
    (b) Exactly. Mass production of houses would make them cheap and would create a healthy market (without speculations, bubbles, leechers sucking workers' wealth, etc.).
    (c) No, no leasings. ROI would definitely be smaller, specially for landowners (whose land hasn't cost anything but the speculation of other landowners). Profits could actually be greater due to a healthier market with a big volume of units bought and sold.
    (d) On the contrary, it would enhance innovation, just like in any other market with greater volume. See the innovation made on clothes. See the innovation made on cars. Those are products without "lords". People just buy them. That's why there is so little innovation in houses nowadays.
    (e) Do you wait naked for new clothes to be produced? Or do you rent some while you wait for the ones that you want to be produced and then buy them? This is your problem. You look at an industry that is sick (the housing industry) and any changes that would actually cure it, you see them with "sick eyes", and naturally your conclusion is that those changes would make the situation worse.



    The decision to kill someone is an entirely personal decision. Is it good for the economy? Is it moral? Those are the real questions.



    Even if that means living in the second scenario instead of the first one?
     
  6. mmm....shiney!

    mmm....shiney! Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    There is no parallel between houses and clothes, let's get that straight before we move on.

    What's the point in buying a couple of houses? The only incentive would be emotional, or maybe a holiday house. Renting is banned. Your centrally planned economy where you decide that no one is allowed to rent out their private property would result in houses remaining empty which is a complete waste of resources and capital.

    Mass production requires demand and capital investment. If there is no incentive to own more than one property then there would not be any capital investment, therefore no mass production driving the price of houses down.

    As confusing as "ROI would definitely be smaller" but "Profits could actually be greater" is, there'd be no incentive so it's not going to happen.

    No incentive, not going to happen.

    There is no parallel between clothes and houses, a new T-shirt costs $5 - $50, houses don't.

    If I need a new oven at work I'm more likely to lease it with an option to buy at the end of the leasing agreement - because to purchase that capital good would require a substantial amount of funds, and in the meantime while I save for the new oven there is an opportunity cost in lost productivity if I continue to use my old oven while I wait to get enough funds. The fact that I can either purchase an oven outright, or I can choose to lease it does not keep the price of ovens high. Likewise with housing, the fact that I can buy a house outright or rent one does not keep the price of housing high, there are so many other variables involved in the housing market that to point the finger of blame for the high cost of purchasing a house at the capitalist is off the mark.

    Do I wait naked for new clothes or do I go out and rent them, or buy some? Well that is my business entirely and I'm the person in the best position to make that decision. It depends upon a number of factors, marginal utility being the main consideration. I'd much rather rent a tuxedo to go to a ball than spend $100's on buying a new one, to not use it again for another 10 years. ;)

    I'm still waiting for your alternative to capitalism. If the means of production are not best owned privately, then what is the alternative?
     
  7. Phransisku

    Phransisku Member

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    No answer, so by now you've already realized how wrong you were. Or you didn't and now you think that both people are adding value. Are you embracing communist ideas?


    Same thing here. You haven't answered. You're finally accepting there's no difference between the two. Either you now share my perspective or you think both people are adding value, and in that case you now agree with communists.


    You haven't answered my question. Is it inconvenient?


    This must be also very inconvenient...


    What's the point in buying several cars? What's the point in buying several televisions? What's the point in buying dozens or hundreds of clothes (as some people have) if 5 or 10 are enough to rotate between using and laundry?


    First, that is far from being a centrally planned economy. Get real. Second, how do you know those houses would be empty? I bet they wouldn't. If people pay for them, there's no sense in not utilizing them, specially if utilizing is the only thing they can do. It's the world we live in, where chinese "investors" buy flats (and keep them empty) just to speculate on the housing market, that is plenty of empty houses. Do you know of people that buy several televisions and never use them? Do you know of people that buy several cars and never use them? I don't.


    What if there is? Without landlords, creditors and other leechers that strech prices to the extreme, houses would be much cheaper (just like cars). Houses being cheaper would make people buy more often (instead of buying a house for life and paying it for 50 years, they would buy it for 5 to 10 years and pay it instantly, just like cars) and hold several units for different purposes / occasions (just like cars). In total, houses would be bought in a much bigger volume (mass production) driving the prices down (just like cars). Is that hard to immagine? Just look at...cars.


    Confusing why? Do you know how ROI and profits are calculated?


    Are there differences between houses and clothes? Of course there are. That's why it is a parallel and not the very same thing.
    But you haven't answered my questions: "Do you wait naked for new clothes to be produced? Or do you rent some while you wait for the ones that you want to be produced and then buy them?"
    Nevermind, I'll answer them for you: no, you don't. You always have several clothes and, when you go to buy some more, you still have clothes. It would be the very same thing with houses. Any reason to be otherwise?


    Then you should sell all your silver. It's an opportunity cost in lost productivity. Do you know how are called people that say one thing and do the opposite?


    Because few people do it. If everybody either rented ovens or went into debt to buy them, you can be sure banks would create "cooking loans" while "ovenlords" would proliferate. Prices would spike and bubbles would occur from time to time.


    My alternative to Capitalism (capital at the center) and Communism (community at the center) is some kind of "Workism" (work at the center). The one system where only work is remunerated. Not capital, not "tears", work. Do I suggest a disruptive change into that system? No. Communism was disruptive and see what happened. It got subverted to its core. Capitalism wasn't disruptive. It changed and evolved along the time from Mercantilism to nowadays' financial Capitalism. So, even now with several crashes and many bubbles, people don't see Capitalism as bad as Communism. Some simple measures could be taken to walk slowly but steadily towards Workism. The day when capital wouldn't get remunerated by itself would be the day when all the capital would be owned and controlled by workers. Still far from our reality and even hard to imagine but definitely possible.
     
  8. mmm....shiney!

    mmm....shiney! Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    I didn't answer most of your questions or rebut your points because in the main, they are fallacious.

    So the worker owns and controls the capital? Presumably then the worker would also own the means of production? And where did that capital originate? So there would be no private ownership of the means of production, it would be a collective?

    Now where have I heard that before Komrad?
     
  9. Ipv6Ready

    Ipv6Ready Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    Nothing wrong with this concept, as long as I get paid better and many multiples of the average, since I own the capital not an issue.
     
  10. mmm....shiney!

    mmm....shiney! Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    Agree, but that would entail that there would be private ownership of the means of production. Which is exactly what capitalism is. That would entail that we must have capitalists in the first place in order to invest in capital goods. And if you want to risk that capital by deferring current consumption in favour of purchasing capital goods that may reward you many times over in the future because of their ability to enhance productivity and create value, then that's all fine.

    Until we can "will" consumer goods into existence then the best system to have is a system where the means of production are owned privately. That doesn't mean it will be perfect, that's a Utopian fallacy, there will always be individuals that fail to utilise their capital to create wealth, for whatever reason, and it's entirely their own business - that is human nature, but we can only fulfill our potential when have rights both over our selves and our property. The private ownership of the means of production is part of that.

    Phransisku is dancing on the fringes of logic in his attempts to deride capitalism. He has confounded this whole debate with meaningless analogies, logical fallacies, false definitions and folk economic wisdom.
     
  11. boyd_05

    boyd_05 Member Silver Stacker

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    Ahh shiney... I admire your patience.
     
  12. Bargain Hunter

    Bargain Hunter Member

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    Mmmm....shiney, most countries including Australia live under a partially democratic system. As we all know government is the great fiction by which everybody tries to live at the expense of everybody else.

    Given that is the case, combined with the three year election cycle, under this system is nearly impossible to have a completely free market system. Because the majority of the population do not think about 20 or 30 years into the future. They want free handouts now even if it adds to government debt (which means higher taxes and or higher inflation in the future), because they get the benefit of government spending now but the majority of problems do not surface until years later. Also you have the issue that less productive people want a bigger share of the economic pie then they generate. Yes under a free market system the overall pie would be bigger but in the current system perhaps they get a larger slice of the smaller pie (via tax redistirbution, etc) which is larger than what they would get under a free market system.

    Given these factors how is it even possible to have a genuine free market in a partially democratic society like Australia? You can talk about free markets until you are blue in the face but what chance does it have of actually hapening (as opposed to a continuation of a mixed capitalist and socialist system that we have now)?
     
  13. CriticalSilver

    CriticalSilver New Member Silver Stacker

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    The great irony is that Gough Whitlam was a greater free market capitalist than all the current generation of nanny-statist, career politicians put together.

    Without constraints on government to preserve individual freedom, the violence and force inflicted by the state to steal away personal wealth (whether for fascist or communist ideals) will continue to increase. The oppressive boot heal of the state will continue to grind into the face of the those seeking their liberty and self-fulfillment.

    This is the result of endemic corruption, as generation after generation of career politicians whittle away at the values, morals, standards and laws as they seek their personal aggrandisement in the very temporary positions of power they achieve. No demonstrations of wisdom. No seeking a legacy of lasting public benefit. No ideals of a great society. Just political expediency and pragmatism in the cut and thrust of riding the coat tails of the powerful as politicians are bought and sold, compliant or replaced.

    And yet, we have those who continually call out for more government in their socialist fantasies, or who continually believe the "Hope and Change" story and empty promises of the latest politicians to be thrust to the top of the media cycle...while they fund, arm and support the terrorists they claim to be fighting.

    It is terribly sad that for all our potential in a Universe full of amazing realities, this is the best humanity can conceive of.
     
  14. mmm....shiney!

    mmm....shiney! Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    Small steps BH. :)

    There's a whole thread here dedicated to that very topic, you'll have to join though if you want the pleasure of some 26 pages of debate about the value of democracy and the future of the State. :p

    Edited to include link.
     
  15. Phransisku

    Phransisku Member

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    You didn't answer any. I knew it. The moment I would start talking about my solution, you would just ignore all my other points. You are again running away from the facts and simple logic while (ironically) calling me the "dancer". Well, I can't force you to see the truth. If you reject logic and you rather prefer to venerate the almighty Capitalism, there's nothing I can do. My questions though will remain here in the forum, unanswered by your strange silence, and everybody can see it.


    As I said, I don't believe in disruptive change. I see Workism being implemented step-by-step:
    1 - First, the end of consumer credit and rents. This would end with a lot of leechers, drive prices (of speculated goods) down and credit would only be used to help generate more wealth.
    2 - Then, the end of all credit and financial securities. This would end with barely all leechers. Nobody could suck part of a company's wealth stream (either by bonds or stocks). If you want a company, build one. If you want wealth, work.
    3 - Then, the end of all bequests. Part of this could happen at step 1 or 2. Cash is easy to transfer / reallocate. Proterty can be sold. Companies are more complex on this subject. If the end of all bequests was done at step 2, since in this step no one could buy a company anymore, there would be no alternative but for the company to go to the State. In this step 3, however, this could be done differently: the company could go to its workers. If a man builds a company for 50 years and then he dies, that company should go to who dedicated his life to it (the workers) rather than who did nothing for it (the son of that man). Each worker would own a percentage based, for instance, on the accumulated salary along the time he worked at there. At this stage, capital would become less relevant. Work would be the only way to get wealth.
    4 - In the end, companies as we know them could just disappear. Each worker would be some kind of a company, working together with others through partnerships. He would not be hired or fired. There would be no recruitments, no employment or unemployment. Insted, each person would establish the associations he wanted. Working would be as accessible as consuming. Any person with money can consume (get goods and services in exchange for that money). Just as easily, any person with availability could work (get money in exchange for hours of production).

    Now, answering your questions:
    - Yes, in a way, although capital would make less and less sense. Work would be the real currency.
    - In the end, the means of production would only be about the workers. So, yes, the worker would be the owner of himself.
    - Capital would only originate from work (never from capital alone, as it happens nowadays).
    - There would be private ownership of the means of production, once those would be the workers (and they would be privately owned by themselves).

    Now you see how little sense it makes to see a new system through the perspective of another system. You must free yourself from the capitalist/communist paradigm if you want to perceive other realities.
     
  16. mmm....shiney!

    mmm....shiney! Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    ^ Welcome to the centrally planned State. Welcome to the dehumanisation of individuals. Welcome to captivity. Welcome to Phransisku's Nirvana. :rolleyes:
     
  17. Stoic Phoenix

    Stoic Phoenix Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    ^ Can you explain how you envisage that 4 point plan NOT being incredibly disruptive?
     
  18. CriticalSilver

    CriticalSilver New Member Silver Stacker

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    What's he going to explain? That capitalism is bad, but every worker needs to be an independent contractor who can be miraculously productive and wealthy without being employed or understanding a balance sheet.

    They will be wealthy right? I mean, what's the good of this mind-fart if the workers aren't fabulously wealthy. And there will be flying cars too, right? I mean, with everyone's creativity unleashed from the yoke of free-market capitalism, naturally there will be someone or other collective that will build flying cars for everyone else. And submarine habitats, for those workers who want to be"productive" underwater, someone will build submarine habitats to live in for free, obviously.

    It's a fabulous thing; elimination of assets with unlimited wealth, unrestrained creativity without any means of distributing resources.

    Everyone just an independent contractor with a fair share of the planet...which probably extends to the solar system, or infinity and beyond.

    Now, just checking before I sign up, does this system require an authority group to ensure the continued fairness of sharing between the workers? And will the members of this group, let's call them the Politburo, be of incorruptible character and not require any special exemptions or powers to support their superior responsibilities?
     
  19. Phransisku

    Phransisku Member

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    Yes, I can. Each step could also be progressively implemented.

    For instance, step 1 could start not by forbidding immidiately houses for rent but by putting pressure on the house renting market. For example, taxes could be raised in here. Landlords would either gain less or rise prices (or both).
    Earning less would put pressure on them. Not working would not compensate as much. Some would eventually have to start working on a real job in order to earn a living.
    Rising prices would lower demand, as fewer people would be willing or capable to pay for a rent.
    With less people willing to buy houses for rent (supporting supply) and less people willing to pay for them (supporting demand), the market would diminish progressively, eventually until extinction. In the meanwhile, both suppliers and consumers would have time to adapt to this slowly changing reality.

    Once the market was extinct and some decades have consolidated this change, the State could even lift the political measures taken. The house renting market wouldn't flourish again. With houses costing as much as cars, no one would be willing to rent a house to live in. Any landlord proposing that would be laughed at.
     
  20. Phransisku

    Phransisku Member

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    All States are centrally planned.
    Devaluation of capital + appreciation of people = dehumanisation of individuals ?? I don't think so.
     

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