A debate on Capitalism

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17 Jul 2011 00:00 by ads Star rating. 4025 posts Send private message

For those who haven't seen this documentary by Michael Moores, titled Capitalism a love story, here's a free video to start off a debate!

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/capitalism-love-story/

It's an amazing documentary, here's the overview.

"Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story comes home to the issue he’s been examining throughout his career: the disastrous impact of corporate dominance on the everyday lives of Americans (and by default, the rest of the world).

But this time the culprit is much bigger than General Motors, and the crime scene far wider than Flint, Michigan. From Middle America, to the halls of power in Washington, to the global financial epicenter in Manhattan, Michael Moore will once again take film goers into uncharted territory. With both humor and outrage, Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story explores a taboo question: What is the price that America pays for its love of capitalism? Years ago, that love seemed so innocent.

Today, however, the American dream is looking more like a nightmare as families pay the price with their jobs, their homes and their savings. Moore takes us into the homes of ordinary people whose lives have been turned upside down; and he goes looking for explanations in Washington, DC and elsewhere.

What he finds are the all-too-familiar symptoms of a love affair gone astray: lies, abuse, betrayal… and 14,000 jobs being lost every day. Capitalism: A Love Story is both a culmination of Moore’s previous works and a look into what a more hopeful future could look like. It is Michael Moore’s ultimate quest to answer the question he’s posed throughout his illustrious filmmaking career: Who are we and why do we behave the way that we do?"





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19 Jul 2011 20:01 by xetog Star rating in Wiltshire/holiday ap.... 514 posts Send private message

How apposite! Watching the reputations of News International and the Metropolitan Police unwind in a slow car crash on TV today, we can only hold our breath in anticipation of the revelations to come of the corruption endemic in our major institutions.  Having only had time to watch about 40 mins of this 2 hour + film, I can only say that although Michael Moore is careful to show only one side of an argument in his films, one has to agree that the USA has sunk to lows of moral decay that we would not have thought possible.  Having spent much time in the USA, the issue that has always struck me is the huge gap between rich and poor, especially in terms of healthcare for those without insurance, but I have still always viewed the country as a land of opportunity, perhaps I should revise that view.  With the latest developments in the UK we now see how big business desires the power to dictate to all of us by corrupting our public bodies in order to wield absolute power from behind the scenes.  The banks are still threatening our well being by insisting on unreasonable levels of profit and they don't care if the rest of us go bankrupt in the process.  I have written in EOS threads on several occasions of the futility of fighting corruption in Spain until we can clean up our own act at home and now we have a little insight into how the corporations want to influence our lives whilst increasing their own profits.  Perhaps the British public will now wake up to the fact that phone hacking is just the tip of the iceberg as far as moral decay in Britain is concerned.  I am sure that this is not the only time that I will be commenting on this thread, thanks ads for starting us off.





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19 Jul 2011 20:15 by mike_walsh Star rating in Torrevieja. 594 posts Send private message

mike_walsh´s avatar

Quote:

"If the citizens neglect their Duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the Laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizen will be violated or disregarded."

Noah Webster (1758-1843) American patriot and scholar, author of the 1806 edition of the dictionary that bears his name, the first dictionary of American English usage.



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19 Jul 2011 23:21 by Hammersfan Star rating in Body in Essex, Heart.... 160 posts Send private message

Ask anyone who suffered years of communism behind the iron curtain what they think of capitalism....

Human nature being what it is, there will always be people who are rich and people who are poor and it's a socialist myth that people areborn into poverty and can't do anything about it

Capitalism allows people who started with nothing e.g. Alan Sugar, Richard Branson to make something of themselves and in the process employ thousands of others

Bruce Springsteen put it very eloquently in "Atlantic City"...."out here there's just winners and losers and don't get caught on the wrong side of that line"

Ultimately a person's view on capitalism will be based on what side of that line they are on.

 





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19 Jul 2011 23:36 by campana Star rating in Marbella. 474 posts Send private message

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I have to agree with you, Hammersfan.

Nothing is black and white as in "capitalism is bad" and anything else is "good". 

And then add human nature into the mix...

 

Patricia

 





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19 Jul 2011 23:40 by campana Star rating in Marbella. 474 posts Send private message

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Utopia:

 

Utopia An ideally perfect place, especially in its social, political, and moral aspects.

An impractical, idealistic scheme for social and political reform.




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19 Jul 2011 23:46 by ads Star rating. 4025 posts Send private message

Is it not possible to have a form of adequately regulated capitalism, with inbuilt enforceable mechanisms in place to ensure transparency and accountability by those in power? In other words, why does it have to be one extreme or another? Isn't it the case that where capitalism has failed is wherever there has been lack of enforceable regulation?





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19 Jul 2011 23:52 by campana Star rating in Marbella. 474 posts Send private message

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In an ideal world, Ads, what you say would be the case.  Unfortunately, the world is not an ideal place, it is very imperfect, and so are those who inhabit it. 

Never mind the great truism that "life is unfair".

 

Patricia

 

 





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20 Jul 2011 10:11 by goodstich44 Star rating in northampton. 1648 posts Send private message

ads

yes, adequately regulated capitalism surely has to be the way?, otherwise we end up with extremes of rich verses poor. Corruption by any other name.  I don't think many people live in the communist fairy tale of equality, but wealth creation must go hand in hand with human rights, minimum wages, decent working conditions etc, otherwise we take a huge step backwards, which of course some would love to see,....... perhaps some on this thread even?

 Most of my friends are self employed or run their own business as I do, but it's very easy to see that the often single minded drive and hard work required to do this often blinds those people to the rights of  choice for others.  I don't  think many workers despise success as long as it's not based on greed at the expense of those who just want a fair days pay for a fair days work. 

Of course it cuts both ways, if the monies not there, then it can't be paid, so striking etc, is just a waste of everyones time and money, but having been in a union when times were good, it was very plain to see that the greed of those at the top needed keeping in check, otherwise the workers would have soon been back where they were a 100 years ago!.

It's all back to balance isn't it?, just not straying to far left or right.





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20 Jul 2011 11:54 by xetog Star rating in Wiltshire/holiday ap.... 514 posts Send private message

A huge step backwards is clearly not the answer, in fact any step backwards is not the answer.  In past times corruption was even more rife than it is now, but maybe on a slightly less ambitious scale.  With improved communications has come an ability to build truly global empires which can be remotely controlled from any part of the world.  We have become puppets to internationalisation and solving the issues involved becomes more impossible as days go by.  Who do we trust?

  • Elected politicians (snouts in the trough, dependancy upon big business etc)?
  • Banks (snouts in the trough, unaccountability)?
  • Newspapers (ditto)?
  • big business (ditto)?
  • Police (ditto)? 
  • EU (ditto, ditto, ditto)? 
  • Church ( vast wealth and cover up's)?

 Everywhere that we look for some institution that will form the bedrock of a new, moral society, we find self interest and corruption.  Corruption on a small scale can be tolerated.  Who for instance would not use their influence to get their offspring a job?  I have done it., so have many others.  Who has not accepted the odd "free lunch" knowing that some preference was the expected outcome?  Yes, some people work incredibly hard to build a business and expect to reap the rewards at some stage in their lives and I cannot see anything wrong with that ambition.  But now we are uncovering corruption on an industrial scale by those whom we trusted to form the basis of an honest and moral society.  It seems that whatever 'ism we subscribe to there will be those who take advantage of the disadvantaged, thepoor and the trusting to get more from the pot than they are due.

Transparency is good, but who polices the veracity of that system and will they not become equally tempted by the immoral to gain more than they are due by showing preference?  Power corrupts and the more power we allow individuals to have the more corrupt they become.  Perhaps part of the answer is to reduce the power that individuals can weild.  I believe we should start by calling our politicians to account.  Basic pay packet only, no allowances (do you get extra to travel into work or to get lunch? - neither should they).  They should all be in the "house" from 9.00 till 5.30 (2 x 15 min teabreaks and an hour for lunch) and be allowed 4 weeks anuual holiday + bank holidays.  If the job means they need to talk to their constituents, they can do it in their own time. They should all be subject to the private pension provision that the vast majority of us now have to use to save for retirement (that will open a few eyes I am sure) and get in the queue for treatment on the NHS (they would not be allowed treatment in the private sector).  All decisions to be taken by Parliament (scrap government by cabinet).  Then start to think how we can make them transparent and accountable!

Then start on the Police.  Any officer taking any kickback whatever should be suspended and if found guilty, sacked with loss of pension.  No senior officer needs to hobnob with the rich, what to they employ public relations staff for?

OK, I am getting boring, so I won't go on, but I am sure that you get the gist.

Mike





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20 Jul 2011 12:29 by goodstich44 Star rating in northampton. 1648 posts Send private message

Mike

yes indeed. Those in high positions must show by example, otherwise why shouldn't everyone expect greed and corruption to be normal, acceptable?.   Recently someone posted that the reason the EU wont get involved in the dreadful injustice in Spain is because the UK is in a sort of ''I'll scratch your back'' situation with Spain and no doubt other EU countries, so they they won't risk treading on toes. So again, those in power are as corrupt as you like at the expense of the poor sods at ground level just trying to follow the rules.  People know this though and find the 'Do as I say, not as I do' attitude totally unacceptable, as right they should.





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20 Jul 2011 13:42 by xetog Star rating in Wiltshire/holiday ap.... 514 posts Send private message

Capitalism is by definition a system driven by the profit motive.  Unfortunately, big business is no longer driven by the desire to make a reasonable profit, but to capture entire markets by the exercise of influence upon governments in persuit of power and excessive wealth.  This is in turn driven by investors demanding ever larger returns to increase share values.  Perhaps we should tax at 100% all profits over say 10% of capital invested?  I can immediately see many holes in this proposal, but those of us who simply have savings (which are in turn invested by the institutions) are lucky to get 3% return and with inflation running at 5% (at least) we are always on the loosing end.

I have always maintained that to keep one family in luxury, at least 10 must survive in poverty.  Pure Capitalism doesn't seem so attractive from the bottom of the heap.

Mike





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20 Jul 2011 13:55 by goodstich44 Star rating in northampton. 1648 posts Send private message

.......or perhaps any position in the heap for those with a sense of fair play?





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20 Jul 2011 15:03 by ads Star rating. 4025 posts Send private message

Part of the answer is definitely to restrict the power of the individual but through a means of credible and ethical accountability via an effective rule of law that follows pre-determined regulations and ethical standards. It's for the voting public to ensure their voices are heard and responded to in this regard and to seek the establishment of INDEPENDENT regulatory bodies (to control banking, legal, political etc abuse of power) and ensure that they too are accountable within the rule of law. No regulatory body should be exempt from accountability.

IMHO it's for the people (the voting public) to make clear to the EU that this level of institutionalised abuse of power will no longer be tolerated from within their own countries. We should all be working together as citizens to ensure a basic provision of regulation and ethical standards prevail. It isn't rocket science to state that if good enforceable regulation is in place from the outset  with the ability to counter the excesses via a decent and effective rule of law, then these abuses can be managed from within. The problem comes when there are escape routes due to ineffective regulation or ineffective enforcement (just as one example as we see in Spain via their systemic failure to enforce the law in a competent and effective manner, and the lack of an effective legal regulatory body to counter abuse within the legal profession.)

Within the EU these regulations could easily be standardised across the board, as a means of workable and basic consumer right for any EU citizen. The World Justice Project appears to identify a workable and effective way forward, so we should all be demanding this form of regulation/ethical standards to be put in place across all EU countries.

Surely its possible in this day and age to address these issues and not be dismissed as an an ideal. We have seen that through well organised and effective campaign groups (AVAAZ being just one!) that change can be effected.  Everyone needs to believe that they have the ability and power to influence change for the better and IMHO we should all be striving for workable mechanisms to move forward. 

After all, the large majority of citizens under this more ethical approach would benefit. It doesn't have to be a case of inhibiting wealth or profit or whatever, but an ability to restrict abusive and corrupt practice within an effective and workable rule of law and to set in place some well overdue ethical standards in the process.

 

 



This message was last edited by ads on 20/07/2011.



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20 Jul 2011 17:15 by xetog Star rating in Wiltshire/holiday ap.... 514 posts Send private message

Whilst we are holding forth against institutionalised corruption in the capitalist system, we should recognise in the UK that moral turpitude is endemic in our society.  In our country we have a safety net provided by the state called the Social Security system.  There are hundreds if not thousands of so called benefit cheats, who take advantage of genuine needy people to rip off all taxpayers.





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20 Jul 2011 17:19 by ads Star rating. 4025 posts Send private message

Agreed xetog, and without doubt this abuse needs to be addressed also without fear of undermining our social security system for those who are valid claimants.

 



This message was last edited by ads on 20/07/2011.



This message was last edited by ads on 20/07/2011.



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20 Jul 2011 17:49 by CAMPANA Star rating in Marbella. 474 posts Send private message

CAMPANA´s avatar

You took the words out of my mouth, Xetog.

"....moral turpitude is endemic in our society."

I described this on another thread some time back as the "bread and circuses" syndrome.  The majority of people will vote for the government likely to provide the best handouts.  The majority are not interested in nor do they wish to think about corruption, ethical standards, regulatory bodies, or what those in power might be doing, (unless it is silly or salacious gossip).  An awful lot of people don"t even "think", in the sense of getting to the bottom of something.  Usually the reason is because they find it scary, disturbing and better left alone.   Thinking is rather like a dark room where it is best not to enter because you never know what you might encounter in there.

 

Patricia

 





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20 Jul 2011 18:29 by hammersfan Star rating in Body in Essex, Heart.... 160 posts Send private message

Patricia

i would go further and suggest that Uk society is now divided into those who play by the rules, pay their taxes, care (to a point) about some of the issues you mention...

...and those for whom nothing matters, they take no interest in anything other than their own little circle and for example couldn't  even name the Prime Minister, let alone give a sh you know what about corruption etc...

 

For example, my Brother in law is in his forties, has never worked and spends his day on his playstation or watching his widescreen TV which we the mugs of society have kindly provided for him. talking to him is about as interesting as talking to a gold fish.... 





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20 Jul 2011 18:37 by ads Star rating. 4025 posts Send private message

I disagree Camapana as most of the people I speak to are sick to the teeth of  unaccountability and corruption from those in power whether it be Bank or Government (EU included) and without exception everyone seems to be bemoaning the status quo in terms of wanting reform and some form of  ethical standards (although they don't word it in that exact fashion!).

Question Time which travels the UK is a great TV program where various questions from the public are given to a panel of "experts" with wide ranging political views, and most of the time the general public give the impression that they are very concerned about the issues. The audience are supposed to have been drawn from a  wide range of public but there has been a definite theme of public concern relating to accountability and transparency re all manner of issues.





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20 Jul 2011 18:54 by goodstich44 Star rating in northampton. 1648 posts Send private message

Patricia said

''The majority of people will vote for the government likely to provide the best handouts.'' 

some will no doubt vote as you say, but the majority?, I don't think so, and I hope I never take that superior attitude!. It's certainly not the case in the last general election. I think the majority (including you) vote on which party in their eyes are most likely to reform the things they feel the current party are doing wrong for individuals and the country as a whole.  I think the majority do care about the economy, immigration, health etc, and how a governments actions will alter their lives and that of their loved one's for better or worse?.





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