Budimir Zdravkovic

PhD student in biochemistry/cancer biology,

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Politics: What political movement do you identify with and believe will lead to human well being? Why?

I like the anarcho-syndicalist movement. My old girlfriend used to fall asleep everytime she listened to Noam Chomsky but I think he is great. Eventhough he is a professor it seems to me he is more of a politician than politicians.

Here are a few links by Noam Chomsky that hopeful gives you an idea.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDHBvQRyOr0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5bYAEs29cs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2cABXPVuS4&feature=related

etc...

  • Mar 15 2011: The Pirate Bay, intellectual property just promotes artificial scarcity, and Capitalism.
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      Mar 15 2011: Yeah I agree, the property can serve the purpose of luxury or it can serve the purpose of producing more profit.

      Most of the property actually just serves the purpose of producing more profit, I might have a different political view of what constitutes a decent society from the capitalists but to me the whole idea of owning all that property seems adsurd, I don't see a point in it.

      I used to chat on the Myspace philosophy forum back when it was active and there were quite a bit of brilliant people on there. I also met a few anarcho or laissez faire capitalists on there and from what I remember they were against wage labor so I could come half way and agree with them on some ideas,

      But it seems that capitalists have differing views on the matter. At least when there is no wage labor the worker has some say in determining what the fruits of his labor are worth. When you take that away as well then the market value of the labor determines the worth of the person's labor, it's practically treating the worker like a commodity.
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    Mar 21 2011: lol.....Krisztian, I don't think we should call it anarchism, but the belief that the world as it is structured today, is not beneficial to humanity in the long run, because it rather separates us instead of bringing us closer together.
    To tackle the world's challenges we need to develop common goals and work together towards achieving them.
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    Mar 18 2011: I'm not well versed on tha many many ways of government that exists through out there. I like to think as Montesquieu did, each people has it own necessities. I think it's impossible to define a universal political movement.

    I really like Democracy though.
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    Mar 17 2011: We probably should think beyond political movements.
    Humanity faces a number of challenges that require solutions. Period.
    No political system is needed for that, but only creativity and will to tackle the issues at hand.
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      Mar 17 2011: sorry, but there is no way out. politics mean "public issues". and when you say "beyond politics", it is politics. you are discussing how we should conduct our lives. by definition, this is politics. there is no escape from politics.
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        Mar 17 2011: I didn't say we need no politics, but we should look beyond political movements.
        Each set of rules (and society can't function without them) can be called politics. So, yes, we clearly can't do without politics.
        However, if we look at a country, we could look at it as we look at a company ? Can you imagine any functioning company that has a group of leaders and another group that is in opposition ?
        Most probably not, right ?
        Usually (exceptions apply) a company has a clearly defined mission, vision and goals and everybody is working towards these goal.
        So why shouldn't we be able to run a country like a company ?
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          Mar 20 2011: In my opinion companies only function well because they have one leader who decides the fate of all other workers, if you put the idea of private ownership at the level of politics that could have bad consequences your boss can fire you from work but he doesn't have the power to fire you from the country. And I don't think any single person should have that kind of power.
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          Mar 20 2011: because company operates that well only in the state of competition. alone, the company is just a dictatorship that trashes the economy.

          but we digress. not all political movements results in a leader group and an opposition group.
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        Mar 21 2011: Budimir, not really, you should see it like a public company, the people being the shareholders. You can't fire a shareholder, but the collective of shareholders can fire the leader or even the whole leadership team.
        The leader wouldn't have unlimited power, because the people (shareholders) could fire him any time if his performance isn't as expected.
        And under performance, I mean accomplishing clear defined goals.
        Krisztian: a) there are companies out there operating well even without competition and b) even countries compete (e.g. economically with other countries).
        I'm not sure I understood your second paragraph. Sure, you could have a movement with a leader, but how long would this movement last ? Eventually somebody has to hold the strings together. There might be ad hoc movements to further a single cause for just a limited time. In this case, perhaps, the movement can do without a leader.
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          Mar 21 2011: a, no. there is always a possibility of competition, and it is enough.

          b, but they also limit your free movement quite a lot

          2nd par: you does not seem to buy into any kind of anarchism :) well i do, but don't tell anyone.
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    Mar 14 2011: chomsky's political views might be solid, but his knowledge of economics is ... well ... rather limited. he repeatedly calls for "undoing the division of labor", even telling that adam smith himself was against the division of labor. that is not even false. without the division of labor, we would revert to some form of neanderthal lifestyle. i understand that he misuses the term, and actually refers to wage-labor. but that is no excuse for confusing basic economic terms. plus it is not true either, the wage-labor is completely OK, it is a voluntary exchange with mutual benefit.

    to answer the question in the caption: my view is anarcho-capitalism or voluntarism, which is called libertarianism in the US. and the why: it is the only philosophy that does not try to tell people what they should do. it does not patronize them. it trusts people that they can make decisions for themselves. it treats people as responsible adult beings. a light introduction to the topic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muHg86Mys7I
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      Mar 15 2011: Alright, thank you for sharing your views.

      I would like to point out two things about what you said, the anarcho syndicalist communities that have existed in the past were not archaic and caveman like, and they have functioned well with the economics Chomsky proposes.

      Second thing I wanted to mention. it seems strange to me that you are not against wage labour and also support a completely free market. I mean it's debatable whether Adam Smith was for or against wage labour, but I think anarcho capitalists tend to be against it no? They prefer to see self employment.
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        Mar 15 2011: i said that abolishing the division of labor would throw us back to stone age. nothing like that was even tried in any communities. that's my problem, chomsky does not seem to understand what division of labor actually means. he is not against that, but then why saying so?

        no, anarcho-capitalism says that your life belongs to you to do whatever you want with it. if you want to work for someone else, it is OK. everything that people do with their own property and body with mutual consent is OK. economically, wage labor is about risk management. workers don't participate in the risk bearing, they get previously agreed upon fee. the risk falls on the owner. risk management is widespread in a well functioning economy. insurance is one example.

        strangely, this is what upsets chomsky. he does not want people to give away the risk, as they become sheep. ancaps think that people should manage their risk as they see fit.
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      Mar 15 2011: Krisztian: I'm not sure what you mean by Chomsky's refering to "undoing the division of labor". He does, however focus a great deal on the issue of power - it's concentration and the resulting inherent abuse (as in - "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely"). How do you see the anarcho-capitalist system addressing abusive concentrations of power? Are periodic revolutions part of the system?
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        Mar 15 2011: it was not figurative talk. chomsky literally said, with his own mouth, that our problem is "how could we undo the division of labor". and he also said adam smith was against the division of labor. literally. his own words. you should really ask him what he meant. i can't speak for him, i can only guess that he meant wage labor actually. smith indeed was concerned that a wage earning class would form that would be largely ignorant about the world, and be much like sheep. i don't think it happened, but hey, many people watch football, so there might be some truth to it (kidding).

        i'm against all forms of power. you have full power over your own property. but you have zero power over my property. so unless you abuse your power, and commit aggression against me, i don't see any possibility of harmful power concentration in a free society.
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          Mar 16 2011: I would argue that history teaches us that power does tend to become overly concentrated. But perhaps, before discussing that, we need to explore your concept of a "free society". Can you describe that?
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        Mar 16 2011: that's a good one. i was about to say that a society that has no central planning, and develops naturally. but then i realized that our society developed naturally into what we have today. feudalism also came to life naturally. so it seems natural development is not a guarantee of anything.

        let's just say that free society is one in which majority of people agrees to and follows the one and only law: don't commit aggression against another person's body or property. that is the "non-aggression principle".
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          Mar 17 2011: Great. That's a good starting point. I'm all in favor of a stable (and minimal) set of ground-rules for a functioning society.

          But I would argue that such a system will result in detrimental concentrations of wealth that have to be addressed. Few people owning all the property.

          Take the case of the Irish potato famine. The English bought all the property, exported the food for the higher paying markets. The Irish starved. Wouldn't it make sense for the Irish to revolt and re-establish their ability to survive?
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        Mar 17 2011: you say: "detrimental concentration of wealth". what do you mean? wealth concentration is a problem per se? let me ask a real question: if i own an acre of land, and shameful capitalist owns a thousand acres, this is a detrimental concentration of wealth? detrimental because ...why? he can not in any way force me to use my property as he see fit.

        in a democracy, i have a word what the state does with my tax money. but in a free society, bill gates decides to launch a space vehicle. it is his money. he earned it. it is not my concern if he spends his money on space exploration. so what?

        what do you mean by "detrimental concentrations of wealth"?
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          Mar 17 2011: Yes, you bring up a valid point. Don't wish to argue for perfectly even distribution of wealth. We live in an imperfect world. And in any case, it can be argued that it is beneficial as a factor in motivation to have some inequity. But "detrimental concentration of wealth" would be a situation which is resulting in a declining standard of living for the middle class. Although "a rising tide raises all ships" doesn't necessarily mean that a rising upper class results in rises for the rest. But a rising middle class will also raise the lower class.

          It should be a goal of government to see that the middle class is rising. If it's not there is bound to be revolt. In fact it was a rather conservative Bismarck who early on proposed social programs (retirement, health care, disability insurance) as a means of heading off a revolt of the masses.
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        Mar 18 2011: i still don't understand your point. first, you still insist that inequality is wrong in itself. you say inequality is imperfection. i don't see why.

        i also don't get how the middle class would have a declining standard of living. so bill gates offers an operating system that everyone can use. bill gates receives truckloads of money. your time is now a little more effectively used, and you slightly get richer. everyone is better off, though you are only a bit better off, while gates hit the jackpot. i fail to see how could that lead to decline for anyone.
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          Mar 21 2011: Perhaps we've hit the limit of our discussion. To me history teaches us that there are natural forces toward concentration of wealth and feudalism. You seem to feel that Ayn Rand, von Mises, Hayek, Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan have proven that things don't really work that way.

          Any way we can analytically evaluate our difference of opinion?
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        Mar 21 2011: not really, because i still don't see where we differ. i agree that wealth accumulation happens if we let things go uncontrolled. i just don't see why would that be wrong. in feudalism, not the king's wealth was the problem for peasants. but the king's soldiers who took away their property.

        the names you cited are a good team, EXCEPT greenspan, who is a determined enemy of free markets. and rand is a little romantic to my taste. mises is probably one of the biggest thinkers ever lived.
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          Mar 21 2011: So, with extreme wealth accumulation you don't think that those with the power are going to buy the mercenaries, the politicians, the land, etc. and push the others farther down?
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        Mar 21 2011: i can't be sure. but i think if people are aware of the threat, being much greater in number, they can protest.

        but i also believe that big corporations don't try to force people to do things. they see people as possible customers, not slaves. big corporations on the other hand are happy to cooperate with governments in spending tax money. or cooperating with cleptocracies or warlords to get minerals a little cheaper. or abusing state created law to benefit themselves (IP laws).

        question: can we cite a case when a powerful company directly committed aggression to people, without the help of a government or a dictator or a criminal?
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          Mar 22 2011: Would these be considered forms of aggression?:
          . Polluting the air and water.
          . Fencing off ocean beaches, lakes, etc for private use.
          . Shooting union demonstrators.

          I don't think these things require a government or dictator or criminal for them to occur. Basically corporations are non-ethical entities (after all they are not human, no matter what the laws say). That's OK, as long as they are properly constrained they can most efficiently provide for human needs.
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          Mar 22 2011: This whole idea about seeing if we can analyze whether unconstrained wealth accumulation is detrimental to society has got me thinking. It seems like a good problem for game theory. I'm trying to find some research into the topic. Appears that it has been studied, but it's one of those things where the initial assumptions can make all the difference.

          Have you come across anything on game theory and wealth accumulation?
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        Mar 22 2011: - polluting: you have to ask for permit from everyone who uses the same air or water, provided that negative effects can be demonstrated. if there is no negative effects, you are free to pollute.

        - fence: if you own the piece of ocean and the piece of land, you can build a fence between them, on your own property. again, provided that it does not damage others' property, for example a fence so high that it blocks sunlight from your neighbor's crops or something.

        - killing: never. killing is only allowed as self defense, as last resort.

        game theory: i can't recall anything like that.
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    Mar 14 2011: Budimir - Very interesting topic. And I'm a big fan of Chomsky as well.

    Personally I'm torn over what the "best" system is. Anarcho-syndicalism has it's appealing aspects. Liberation of the individual. Cooperation in providing for common interests. Etc. On the other hand, free market economies have proven themselves, historically, most effective at providing food and shelter for their members.

    Some mixture of free market and cooperative government (on multiple levels), I think will provide the optimal mix of individual freedom and group security. The big question is - what is the best mix? And how do we find it? The major problem seems to be that people so often act dogmatically out of some political belief system and avoid analyzing solutions to each issue based on it's merits.

    Questions - What do you like most about Anarcho-syndicalism? What possible shortcomings do you see?
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      Mar 14 2011: Nice! Good to meet others on here that appreciate his ideas.

      With anarcho-syndicalism. I like the idea that there is no wage labor and that it is oriented towards the worker. That is the workers actively participate in their work environment and the decision making process, as oppossed to a boss or a CEO who doesn't have to necessarily work much in the company or do anything for that matter but still decides the fate of the workers. It is a society that has a socialist distribution of resoueces but still allows for creative human expression.

      The short comings of an anarcho syndicalist society primarily come with the decentralization of the communities. Such communities are not good for providing protection from external military violence, because decisions are made at the level of community not on a national scale, that miscommunication can be a hinderence in an event where security is threatened. If you look at all the anarcho-syndicalist societies that existed in Spain they were very cooperative and thriving at the community level. But they didn't last long because they were so decentralized they couldn't protect themselves from the Spanish military.
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    Mar 14 2011: Any movement that involves introspection will do a great job!
    This is because thoughts result in action.

    And only way to improve thought is through introspection which is "THE" ability that differentiate animal kingdom from us
    PS: I assume you are human:)
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      Mar 14 2011: All humans are also animals in my opinion.

      But there is an easier way to distinguish humans from other animals, the fact that I am using language and addressing you with a coherent message makes it very unlikely that there is a goose at the end of my computer plucking away at the keyboard.

      I think language is also a very definiing feature of being human.

      But with regard to your idea, do you think any kind of introspection will ultimately lead to consience.action?
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        Mar 14 2011: When i used the word "animal" i meant the creatures who dont have an ability to analyze their thought pattern. They cant differentiate between good and bad as good as we do. If you think it over, Humans are far too intelligent than ape who are considered as our immediate ancestor, Why? Simply because we can analyze thoughts.

        Now how analyzing our thought can help making our life better?
        I would use an example from history of Indian independence to prove my point. When Britain ruled India, Indians were slaved not because they were physically inferior to British invader but they let fear rule their consciousness. Now many Indians made efforts for freedom by calling political meetings, protest, forming political party's which is what we do now. This proved out to be completely useless. Real matter remained unheard. Then came Mr Gandhi who taught the principle of Ahimsa and reflection.
        He taught Indians to be self reliant and fight injustice with non violence. He re structured the human brains and configured them with fearlessness. People learnt to be independent ie to think independently.

        This proves that if one re-programmes his/her mind, one could get desired effect. Outer world is just manifestation of inner world.
        Those who understand this principle were ruler as its found to be correct and tested by time.

        Well wishes!

        PS: I too respect Mr Naom Chompski, Mit scientist.
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          Mar 14 2011: Interesting, your example reminds me of Frederick Douglass' struggle with slavery. He made the case that knowledge is power, you are saying introspection is power but I think introspection ultumately is a means to acquire knowledge about yourself.