Capitalism does not promote "Self Reliance" or reward according to Labor (11)

1 Name: Citizen : 2008-02-08 00:17 ID:QQLro7rb

the assumption is that the market encourages "self reliance" by forcing people two work. well, it doesn’t, and this is because of two reasons.

the first reason is that the market does NOT reward people according to work. work is only one factor out of many. some of these factors are good and should be rewarded, like ingenuity. some are either a-moral or immoral, like luck or privilege. privilege can also be explained as owning the necessary capital to invest. there are a lot of hardworking people out there without anything to invest in.

this whole "capitalism rewards according to work" thing needs to be explained in context. when capitalism was just starting, it was fighting against an immoral system where people were rewarding with wealth and power according to nobility. they did not have to work to be rich- they were born rich. Adam Smith, therefore, in trying to convince people that capitalism was better then feudalism, devised a theory on why things are expensive (or not expensive). to him, something is only expensive if it takes a lot of effort and labor to make. therefore, capitalism rewards according to labor.

this became the dominant theory of value for over a century. it was called the "Labor Theory of Value." (LTV)

however, this theory was debunked when Alfred Marshal came along and created a new theory of value, called "Marginal Utility." This is a very complicated value theory, but in essence it said that the price of a commodity is all relative to a number of different factors. Marshall said that just because something takes a lot of work to make doesn't mean its worth much; if nobody wants it, then its not very valuable. therefore, labor is not the sole factor in determining how people are rewarded.

Marginalism has now become the dominant theory of value and has been for almost a century and a half. the LTV is now considered quaint. nobody believes it nowadays, and anybody who does is not taken seriously.

the second thing that flies right in the face of the idea that capitalism promotes "self reliance" is a market externality. again, we go back to Adam Smith. Smith tried to convince people that a government that governed the least was best. his reasoning was that the market would price socially unacceptable things as expensive and unprofitable, and good things as inexpensive or profitable, therefore encouraging people to do good things. the idea was that if people didn’t like something, there would just be no demand for it. therefore, if something is profitable, then it must be good. therefore, there is not a lot of need for government to make a bunch of laws because people will naturally do things on their own.

let me explain this in a different way. an advocate for the free market says that because markets require voluntary agreements that are mutually beneficial to both parties involved, then they are a much better way of solving problems between people then government. however, markets only see two kinds of people; buyers and sellers. but what of these two groups of people come up with an agreement that hurts a third party of people who were not involved in the market agreement? they get no say in this particular market, even though they might be hurt by it. this is called a market externality.

market externalities also mean that markets don’t price things very well. an externality is basically a cost that someone else pays who is neither a buyer or seller in a given market. therefore, someone else is paying for your actions. it's like going to a restaurant and saying "i'll pay half for this cup of coffee, and the guy across the room who I don’t even know will pay the other half."

how, then, can anyone even suggest that capitalism promotes "self reliance" if you're 1) not rewarded according to your hard work and 2) not responsible for your own actions? the whole "self reliance" argument is only promoted by people who know nothing about economics and ideologues (mostly both).

2 Name: Citizen : 2008-02-08 02:25 ID:P63SG924

Do you feel that Self-Reliance is an illusion or that Self-Reliance within a capitalist society is an illusion. Because although I understand where you're coming from, thinking on a larger scale I come back to the thought that no society has Self-Reliant individuals.

In either case, I think the people whom appear to be most individual or "self-reliant" are the ones with a lot of resources.

3 Name: OP : 2008-02-08 04:10 ID:rj06AI2s

this is copy pasta. i have no clue. good question, though. wasnt expecting a response this intelligent.

HOWEVER, i think that the issue isnt black and white. there are some people who really are self-reliant in capitalism, BUT just because a person does not have the resources to take care of them self doesn't mean everything is their fault. also, just because a person has all the resources he needs to live, doesnt mean they worked for those resources. marginal theory proves this.

this guy probably has a different viewpoint then me. i dont know his exact views, but i dont think he views capitalism as a good thing. me, i dont think capitalism is good or bad. it's a-moral. it can do good things, it can do bad things. i just get very annoyed with people who try to make capitalism out to be moral. you know, like the paulfags.

4 Name: Citizen : 2008-02-08 07:08 ID:P63SG924

Please feel free to stomp all over my current perception of Adam Smith's definition of "Self-Reliance", I learned about him some time ago and I've been doing some googling. But it seems that in "Self-Reliance" Adam Smith writes that a Self-Reliant individual is one who is entirely self-sustaining. But that isn't how free-market or even soc-capitalism works, it is entirely reliant on interdependency, trade, communication and social structure. It really brings out that hokey image of the intelligent age-of-reason frontiersman heading out west to find a solitary and successful existence.

Also I think of Buddha, and about our everyday reliance on living things such as grains of rice or wheat or animals. etc. etc. You can go really far with this idea.

Of course in another sense self-reliance often just means "Gets by in today's society".

On the topic of morality in an economic structure, I definitely see government types and economic systems as tools, like memetic tools to form civilization. I feel similiar to you in that the ones who get annoying about it are the ones who clutch to their breasts a favored dogma, like the Paulfags, like republics or democrats, whatever, getting attached to these things is why we can't have nice things.

5 Name: Citizen : 2008-02-08 08:10 ID:hMFHlB4z

I agree with this. Back in Smith's day you could just buy a farm and live off your own land. you could seek a profit if you wanted to, but if you grew all your own food you were not totally dependent on the market. the Market itself (with a capital M) was voluntary.

you cant do that today. individual markets may be voluntary, but the Market is not.

I completely agree with this post. i find it totally ironic that no real economist would say that the market rewards according to labor and hard work unless he's just saying what people want to hear. and yet, even though the subjective POV on value is dominant, people (especially politicians) go back to the LTV as propaganda.

however, let me play devils advocate. if there are bad externalities, wouldn't there also be good externalities? isn't it possible that the good externalities, in which third parties in a market profit, can even out the bad ones? just a thought.

6 Name: Citizen : 2008-02-08 08:12 ID:hMFHlB4z

also, and i mean no offense by this, but is English the OP's original language, or are those just a bunch of sloppy typos? it's hard to believe that someone who understands the difference between the LTV and Marginal Utility would make all these errors unless they didn't speak English.

7 Name: Citizen : 2008-02-08 10:07 ID:P63SG924

So (I think) you are pointing out that the externalities (The effect of an (economic)exchange outside of the exchangees) are a good way to view a poor perspective on modern self-reliance?

In that case, I mean, regardless of whether or not the externalities have a negative or positive impact, it leads to the thought that there can be no Self-Reliance unless we are, per your example, going off on our own, building a farm, etc. And that's on the economic level, not the philosophical or agricultural in which we are never ever self-reliant. There can definitely be good externalities though, but I feel there would be more in a culture where consumption is less important than value on work and commodity.

On another note, what do people think of Self-Reliance in a post-Singularity civilization? Assuming (probably correctly) that space-travel and/or nanotechnology will create enough resources and space to make quite possibly all individuals wealthy enough to be completely independent. IS that true self-reliance?

I'm tired.

8 Post deleted.

9 Name: Citizen : 2008-02-09 09:44 ID:SeKBcocx

You're talking about a post-scarcity society, right? Well, I'm kind of cynical about that idea, but I guess it might happen. I guess that would be self reliance, but nobody would work for their own food. Is that really self reliance?

10 Name: Citizen : 2012-03-08 08:05 ID:+q4nSu5D

Let's expose corporate crime in English!

3 名前:名無しさん@英語勉強中[] 投稿日:2012/03/08(木) 15:34:59.66
"Watami Co., Ltd.," formerly called as "Watami Food Service Co., Ltd.," killed a young Japanese lady by violation of Labor Standards Act.

Ms. Mina MORI, who belonged to Watami, killed herself at the age of 26 in 2008, due to mental instability by excessive and illegal hard work.
The bereaved family claimed workers' compensation around four years ago. As a result, the examiner of Workers' Accident Compensation
Insurance officialy affirmed the petition, and the determination letter dated on Feb.14, 2012 says; "She could not afford holidays at all
because her overtime work is more than approx. 140 hours per month. We suppose that the main cause of her suicide would overtax by
excessive hard work."

A store manager and a careworker, both of who belonged to Watami, witness similar hard work and depose with evidences that Watami
violate the Labor Standards Act, especially constantly unpaid overtime work. If any of them were true, Watami commit organized crime.

~ News Sources (ニュースソース) ~
All of the following sources are written in Japanese only.

ワタミ社員の過労自殺を認定 入社2カ月の26歳女性

まるで現代版『ああ野麦峠』和民元店長が経験した修羅場 - 雑誌記事:@niftyニュース

ワタミ反省の色なし!? 自殺した女性の勤務内容について一切回答せず / 「遺憾」とした文書を削除 2012/02/25(土) 12:46:58 [サーチナ]

ブラックなのは居酒屋だけじゃない! 「ワタミの介護」元職員が労災申請拒否を告発 - 日刊サイゾー

11 Name: Citizen : 2012-05-15 22:16 ID:w/ktYaDc

I'm coming into this thread very late and admittedly have only skimmed most of the replies-

but, I don't even understand why "self-sufficiency" is a relevant question at all. Persons perform differing degrees of labor and are influenced differently by fate, but I'm at a loss how this has become a moral question at all. The entire statement is framed in moral terms and it seems increasingly silly to me. A thousand mouths, each demanding their own sanctity as if it had a value. Such is politics.

Entertaining side note: Marx also believed in the labor theory of value. It has some relevance to him in the sense that it reflects the social character of capital. I don't really see how the LVT leads necessarily into the fiction of the invisible hand of the market at all.

This thread has been closed. You cannot post in this thread any longer.