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If capitalism is so evil, why are the most prosperous coutries on earth capitalistic? China's prosperity began when it adopted capitalism.

Socialism produces dependence upon the state and kills individual initiative.
Capitalism(trickle down economics) allows the individual the opportunity to succeed or fail, depending upon his/her talent, drive and opportunity.

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    Apr 26 2011: My understanding is that the Chinese economy is mixed. Yes, they are taking advantage of the tool of capitalism. But they also have quite a bit of government intervention. High import tariffs. Progressive taxation. Government supported industries.

    The west should learn from China. A mix of capitalism and socialism works. The issue is not which is better. But - what is the proper mix? And - how can we improve its functioning?
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      Sky F

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      Apr 27 2011: This^

      No one reasonable is promoting pure capitalism or pure socialism.
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      Apr 27 2011: Birdia: Fascinating article on the "Harmonious Society". Thanks for posting.

      Particularly liked President Hu's quote:

      "[A harmonious society is a society that is] democratic and ruled by law, fair and just, trustworthy and fraternal, full of vitality, stable and orderly, and maintains harmony between man and nature."
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          Apr 27 2011: After reading the article I also was curious about President Hu. The wikipedia entry mentioned his promotion of "soft power". That is, promoting Chinese foreign interests by sending doctors abroad, cultural exchanges, etc. This has been effective in increasing Chinese influence in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Another lesson the US should learn from China.
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      Apr 27 2011: Birdia, If I had never gained anything more than the opportunity to read the documents you posted from my TED experience, I would count it well worthwhile. Thank you for posting such an insightful document.
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          Apr 28 2011: Birdia, I wonder if I might be able to study during the time I am in China. I am deeply curious about China and its history. I have heard that Chinese universities are very competitive but I have an MA and an MBA. I wonder how I might find out if I could both teach and learn?
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          Apr 28 2011: Birdia! Its more than OK- I am utterly delighted!
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    Apr 26 2011: I agree with your statement. The one issue is how does everyone get a fair opportunity? I have said a couple of times before that we do not inherently have rights as human being, if we did it would mean that someone else would be born with the responsibility to give them to us. Logic dictates however that we should agree to get along and in doing so, some of that getting along takes the shape of rights. Financial supports in times of crisis, medical support, free education and so on. While Capitalism is the only way forward how do we distinguish between basic needs (Rights) and the need to let others flourish under capitalism?
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    Apr 30 2011: On the last paragraph, think of it this way, imagine a ingenious scientist with no access to libraries and technology trying to cure cancer and then imagine a mediocre scientist who is fortunate to find himself in a lab with all those gadgets, who do you think would make more progress?
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    Apr 30 2011: Standard of living is not a measure of the ethical character of the system. Although "real" socialism has not been seriously implemented there have been "socialist" countries that have had an amazing standard of living, look at Yugoslavia under Tito's rule. Russia was doing great until the cold war arms race completely ruined them.

    The standard of living even improved during slavery in America. Some people were better off as slaves because they had wealthy masters.

    Drive and talent all of that is ok. Opportunity that is the big word, even if everyone was brilliant you need an incredibly large working class population to drive production and service. Capitalism does give you opportunity but it's so narrow, there is so little room to be on top that the opportunity is equivalent to playing the lottery. So the third factor that comes into making success possible kind of cancels out talent and drive, Becuse there can be many talented people but they are not "needed" at the top. They are needed to pump your gas, so the whole premise that talent and drive will ensure success collapses.

    Another relevant point I wanted to raise was, what about the fact that the most popular products in capitalism tend to be mediocre works of art and literature? Is wealth the standard for quality and talent, because most people in the general population don't read books by Nobel Prize Lauterates, they read books that academia wouldn't approve of which is our major foundation of knowledge in society.

    Finally in capitalism property is inherited. The general notion is suck it up get in the race and compete, well it's kind of hard to race someone who is starting the race with a sports car while I am starting out with a meager scooter. I mean seriously I could be a genius but if the resources I have to work with are only 0.0001% compared to the Hilton family. It's absurd to believe that my genius will actually out compete them even if they completely lack talent.
  • Apr 28 2011: depends on definition of prosperous.

    if prosperous= money.
    and its clear capitalism=money
    then

    capitalism=prosperous

    not need to question. its axiom

    if prosperous has other definition then first should prosperous be defined.

    how to talk about what is not known?
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    Apr 27 2011: An aside on the capitalist/socialist controversy.

    Sweden, by most measures is more socialist and has a higher standard of living then the US.

    Ikea, a Swedish company recently opened a plant in the US. Employees there earn an average $8/hr vs $19 in the Swedish factories. Plus they have hired a union-busting firm to assure that the US workers don't unionize as the are in Sweden.

    http://www.salon.com/technology/how_the_world_works/2011/04/11/ikea_s_third_world_outsourcing_adventure_in_the_united_states/index.html
    • Apr 27 2011: Presumably Ikea manufactures where the cost is lowest. So how does it feel to be the country being outsourced TO for once?
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        Apr 27 2011: Feels like we are a country in decline. Seems like Marx's theories on unrestrained capitalism (concentration of wealth and decline in wages) is coming to pass.
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        Apr 27 2011: This is precisely what I was referring to when I talked about the long term consequences of empowering a few to pursue 'self interest' that was not compassionate. Those few are never the ones who bear the consequences of their actionsl What goes around comess around with an extra jolt because people feel justified by historical precidence.
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      Apr 27 2011: Tim, thanks for posting this. I blows me away. So obviously, there is a difference between what people advocate for their own and what they advocate for others. One fact that I found quite interesting is that when the Chinese employ African workers - they pay them exactly the same as they pay their own workers in similar jobs in China.
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    Apr 27 2011: capitalism with open trade borders and international relations also drives down the middle class of everyother country expanding the poverity of thrid world countries. nothing is free.
  • Apr 26 2011: Most western countries are pretty much socio-capitalist these days anyways, I think America is the only pure capitalist country left.
    The emphasis should be on America's work ethic and innovation in the past, not just the the economic ideology.

    Also China is still considered to be a communist state.
    • Apr 26 2011: America isn't purely capitalist, all the corporate and social welfare make it not so.
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        Apr 27 2011: its more easy to set up shop in a mall in japan than america
        • Apr 30 2011: Well I guess there are no purely capitalist countries left then. Dare I say GOOD.
          That sort of fundamental capitalism is optimistic but in reality it benefits about 400 people and the majority is better off with at least some sort of social security net i.e. unemployment insurance, universal healthcare etc.
          It worked 30 years ago though, a wide open market attracts big business(the people who benefit from it)and so that used to mean jobs. Now they have the jobs done elsewhere and stick around to exploit such a secure and yet unregulated market. Smart thinking on their part
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    Apr 26 2011: Whichever dress you decide to put on the dummy, the average worker foots the bill.
    • Apr 26 2011: Who is "the average worker"? If you mean the middle class, isn't the existence and affluence (or otherwise) of the middle class the generally accepted measure of a nation's prosperity?
  • Apr 26 2011: I think that you should properly define "prosperous" in your question. Most people in any society that has private interests in the economic system are not prosperous, but use the majority of their income on bills, rent, and interest. With capitalism you also get recessions every 20 years that leads to wealth shifts (i.e. in the U.S. in 1970 the top 1% owned about 20% of the country's wealth and nearly doubled by 2000). The problem with the socialist and communist governments is that they, like the capitalists, use the means of production primarily for their own groups interests. With your argument about socialism killing individual initiative, capitalism doesn't provide the best way either. competition is counter productive to creativity. Everyone is working on their own initiative, rather than collaborating, and hinders progress. also, people are more likely to alienate those who could be of help to them and it negatively links everyones fate. if i succeed at something, then you must fail, which only allows those that think they have a serious chance of success to participate. In capitalism the individual would have an opportunity to succeed or fail on their own if the chances for success were equal. People are born in different countries, with different socioeconomic status, different educational opportunity, different social influences, different resources of success (i.e. educated parents), and a different gender or race, which if you've ever heard of "the glass ceiling", then you'd know how that can have an effect as well.