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Gisela McKay

President and Co-Founder, pixcode


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Are there any merits to the idea that Communism is "feminine"?

Evolving out of another TED conversation where the discussion turned toward the idea that women mostly want people to "share" whereas men mostly want to watch people get defeated, in a manner where there is a clear victor. (Technically, the phrasing was that most women are secretly communists.)

Now if you know me, you probably realize I don't actually agree with the premise, but it is an interesting topic of discussion. First off, I would replace communism with socialism, followed by pointing out that there is a greater range of difference within a sex than between them.

I'm willing to be swayed, though, if you have a persuasive argument that supports the idea, please feel free to share it.

I am going to ask the mods to let this thread stand as a thought experiment rather than as a definitive description of the world around us.

So, go for it - persuade away!

EDIT: Definitely communism in theory, not in the way we have seen it implemented.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

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    Feb 2 2012: communism so far managed to kill literally hundreds of millions of people. caused massive starvation. caused wars. created totalitarian regimes with massive secret polices and informant networks. the cradle of communism was surrounded by all men. marx, engels, lenin, stalin, mao. it is hard to imagine anything more masculine than that.

    for communism is not about sharing. communism is about taking.
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      Feb 2 2012: Very fair... And, despite our disagreements, I would be very intrigued to hear your perspecive on this topic.

      My question would be... Did they write this philosophy to get laid?

      To you... It might be a better question to suggest... Did they create this philosophy to manipulate the emotions of women?
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      Feb 3 2012: @Krisztian....there is that grainy film footage of the gulag again.....which country? which era? Fidel has achieved sixth place on the happy planet index, not too draconian, if you ask me.America is 150th. Stop pretending Russia was communist, you cant call a fly a fruit bat and turn it into one. Marx never advocated state control. That was something dreamed up in a facist mind.

      Now we come to the crux of this talk, the origins of facism and male violence. The premise Gisela has put up, and David has dreamed up, is not so random after all. (before I get deleted for being off topic)
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        Feb 3 2012: I would only add that... Russia wasn't communist... and America... isn't capitalist...

        My point originally, was that communism, may have actually been a trick used, to convince women to embrace, what often, in practice, ends up being fascism and male violence... by disguising it as sharing, and love. Castro perpetrated a coupe... So did the "Marxist" influence in Russia.

        This position involves trying to meta cognate why Marx chose to embrace a system that is contrary to male biological programming... Maybe he was simply enlightened... but I'm not exactly convinced.

        I'd be interested to hear your take on my second response to Julija, about the sexual politics of Marxism, versus capitalism. My idea that capitalism was secretly designed to get nerds laid : p
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          Feb 3 2012: I am still trying to formulate my answer.....well at least to put it into a 2000 characters.....

          What I have for you is this: Pre Christian Tahiti. Lots and lots of sex. Egalitarianism, no private ownership, no control, no male violence or social violence.

          Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State, demonstrates where sex and politics meet, right there with the first commodities, right there when women became a commodity.

          So.....ramping up to an answer.....the point is; it is possible Marx and Engels wrote because they wanted to have more sex, but not because they thought the theory would impress the ladies, but instead, because they thought if society could be persuaded to return to a more natural state, lots and lots of sex would be one of the beautiful side benefits.
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          Feb 3 2012: I think I disagree with you that any peaceful ideology is against male biological nature. I dispute that. What men are truly, what we humans are truly, we cant say, because we are so contorted by our current cultural paradigms.
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        Feb 3 2012: first: i don't believe in such indexes. there were talks about it, and the conversations below them were very eye opening. one can not trust these numbers. happiness is not to be counted.

        second: some of the figures are released by the establishments of these dictatorships. everything a dictator says worth zero. they lie.
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          Feb 3 2012: Happiness is not to be counted? Personally, I think it is the only thing worth counting.
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        Feb 3 2012: Good point.. I would only add, that sometimes my rhetoric, makes me sound a bit out there... When in reality, I don't mean to suggest "Men are this way, women are this way"... Simply that culture, and/or biology, has lead to a statistically significant increase of one belief over the other.

        In my country maybe 60 percent of men are more capitalist than socialist... and maybe 60% of women have more sympathy for socialism than capitalism. It's not that 90% of men are violent competitors or anything like that... just significantly more men, seem to be violent competitors, than women, under current circumstances... Though Anje fairly called even that into question.
        • Feb 3 2012: David,

          Sixty percent of the women in our country do not think of either Socialism or Communism or Capitalism. Actually, 90%. Maybe 60% of the 10% prefer socialism to capitalism.

          The same is probably true for men as well.

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        Feb 3 2012: Also, my only question about Tahiti... would be... are there any pretty engineers for me to hook up with? Do they have lots of female doctors? Or are they pretty much just sexy people having a bunch of fun chilling by the beach? lol

        The latter sounds fun... but, in reality, I'd prefer the former.
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          Feb 3 2012: Perhaps just a holiday then. You are also going to need a time machine. The christians have taken quite a bit of the fun out of the place after they turned up in the 1800s.
      • Feb 3 2012: Haha, Joanne, don't intentionally twist his words. I don't think English is his first language.

        'Happiness is not to be QUANTIFIED.'

        Fixed it for him.

        The reason that happiness can not be quantified is because quantification requires objective standards, as well as an operating definition. It's a messy ordeal to quantify subjective feelings based on a largely arbitrary and subjective labelling process we call language. People in pre-Christian Tahiti were 'happy' when chilling on the beach and banging apparently, but as David says, his idea of finding happiness is different. David could very well register a '0' on the 'happiness test' while relaxing in Paradise, longing for his college educated Eve with which to discuss gender theory and Chinese wage labor. It's a messy ordeal.

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          Feb 3 2012: Ok you get that one, Seth. In the interests of fairness then, 'happiness cannot be quantified' ok. It still does not mean we do not measure everything by it, though does it. You might have guessed by now, I do think 'objective standards' are also a bit overrated. I am not much of a Descartian.

          I agree David might not be happy in pre Christian Tahiti, without his super hot female engineer, and that we will never know. Standards like the Happy Planet Index are a bit like gender generalisations; pointless, meaningless, and yet we all know true, some of the time.
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          Feb 4 2012: Not 0... Just not pure bliss... I'd get bored. Also my numbers were meant to sound pulled out of my ass on the communism thing. More women I meet, like the idea of community... would be a much better way of saying it.
      • Feb 3 2012: "It's not right to call a Nazi survivor a fascist, no matter his politics."


        'Fascist' is not an insult. It is a description of a person pertaining to a particular philosophy. There are a lot of fascist opinions on this thread, but it is not from Krisztian or Mises.

        Like I have said, your understanding of the terms we use is sloppy. 'Fascist' is not synonymous with 'asshole' or 'homophobe' - though I believe Mises was probably neither.

        Or maybe (more likely) it is not your understanding of these terms that is sloppy, but your use of them seems so because you don't qualify what you mean exactly. If you had said, 'Mises was unegalitarian, as were the Italian Fascists.' that would make sense. But to say someone is 'fascist' because they are unegalitarian and then retract the charge solely because he was a Nazi survivor? As if it is some kind of insult? I can assure you Fascists are proud of the fact.

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          Feb 3 2012: Von Mises seems to subscribe to a form of social Darwinism, he definately believes in un-egalitarianism, this definately fits into the wider definition of 'facist' which has become very broad in its modern usage. However I withdrew it because if it is true that he resisted the Nazis (the German Facists) and had to flee from them. I would not apply this term to him, on the grounds that whatever his political views, it would be a vulgar and inappropriate comparison to make. I prefer to use other terms to describe his politics.

          Someone who had resisted the Nazis and suffered because of it, WOULD take that term as the gravests of insults, whether it had been applied correctly or not.
      • Feb 5 2012: Joanne,

        "...a person's conscious adjustments to the state of the universe that determine his life."

        "Do you think a Kalahari bushman would agree with that world view?"

        Hmmm. Do I think a kalahari bushman feels his life is determined by his conscious evaluation and adjustments of his surroundings?

        Yes I do. Probably why his community or family went to lengths to teach him how to make those evaluations and adjustments. I think that is an exact description of life in the bush, jungle, city and marketplace.

        There are experiences common to all humans - Mises eloquently describes a characteristic of human existence.


        *is the basis of your egalitarianism an observation or a feeling?
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          Feb 8 2012: Hi Seth, I have read nothing of Von Mises to date which impresses me, that he 1. understands human nature particularily well, or 2. has a useful economic model. I see a lot of hero worship though, totally unjustified if you ask me. My attachment to egalitarianism springs from a distaste for witnessing others in poverty, ill and unable to get treatment, or dead for the same reason, especially in places where it is totally unnecessary because there is plenty to go around. What feeling does your enjoyment of Von Mises spring from?
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          Feb 8 2012: joanne, you overcomplicated that sentence. it can be simplified as this:

          " I have read nothing of Von Mises to date"
      • Feb 8 2012: Joanne,

        When you say 'egalitarian' so you mean 'political egalitarianism'?

        Egalitarian is the idea that people are inherently equal.

        Political egalitarianism is the idea that people should have equal political rights.

        I am a political egalitarian (for the most part) but not an egalitarian. It seems illogical to state 'I feel people are inherently equal because I have seen people ill and in poverty' but it does make sense if you mean 'I believe all humans should have equal political rights because I have seen x, y and z.'

        Am I correct in assuming you meant 'political egalitarianism'? Or perhaps you are both and therefore conflate the two of them.

        To be honest, I have only read excerpts on Mises and do not enjoy reading his writing. That is not to say I do not appreciate his ideas, just that his writing is dull and redundant. As is Hayek's.

        Can we agree that economic systems (real, not theoretical) spring from human nature?

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          Feb 9 2012: From Wiki: (though clearly Seth, you already knew this, but just so we are clear) Egalitarian doctrines tend to maintain that all humans are equal in fundamental worth or social status.[1] The term has two distinct definitions in modern English.[2] It is defined either as a political doctrine that all people should be treated as equals and have the same political, economic, social, and civil rights[3] or as a social philosophy advocating the removal of economic inequalities among people or the decentralization of power. An egalitarian believes that equality reflects the natural state of humanity.[4][

          I am a political egalitarian, and somewhat a social egalitarian too. I accept, that since the advent of neolithic farming we have had to live with the heirarchies capitalism produces and the negative (and positive) consequences of those, but I believe it is important to diminish the level of hierarchy to as narrow a band as economic stability will allow. I believe societies are healthier, happier and more stable this way. I do not advocate state controlled oppression, the marxist model as its been interpreted, or even outlined in the manifesto. I think if Marx were alive today, he would change, it, and I would be interested to see what his new model would look like. The problems he pointed to when he wrote it are still the same today.

          Can we agree ' economic systems... spring from human nature', yes I think so, but we might disagree on what determines 'human nature'.

          From some of your posts, the ones I have read, you seem to subscribe to Laissez Faire (correct me if I am wrong) so if this is true, how do you reconcile this with political egalitarianism?
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      Feb 3 2012: OUCH Krisztian, please do no put Marx and Engels on a list with Stalin. Even Lenin and Mao do not deserve that. But Marx? That is like calling Mandela and Eddie Amin brothers.
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        Feb 3 2012: you mentioned women being used as a commodity for sex...

        have you ever considered how the control of sex was used as a way for political, religious and intellectual power?

        This occurs in the Victorian Era and was one of the main reasons as to why Freud was successful earlier in his life.

        If you interested in learning more about this I think you'd be interested in Micheal Foucault "History of Sexuality". I think there are between 4-6 volumes.
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          Feb 3 2012: Hi Orlando, I have heard of 'The History of Sexuality" referred to a few times, have you read it? Something good to add to the reading list. Actually I think sexuality and politics are closely tied. So while this thread is sweet and a bit of fun, I am watching with interest to see what comes out.
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        Feb 3 2012: it was a list about the men around the cradle. they belong.

        granted, marx and lenin are not in the same league. lenin is an active mass murderer. marx is only a cheap propagandist, but in fact, i can imagine that he actually believed what he said. not sure though. communism as an idea was kinda nuts from the very beginning, and the advocates restrained themselves from reasonable, fact and logic based debates.

        for those who are interested in criticism of communism in detail, i recommend two pieces by ludwig von mises: "theory and history" and "economic calculation in the socialist commonwealth".
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          Feb 3 2012: Krisztian, the same Ludwig won Mises who hates egalitarianism and denounces the Feminist movement as socialist? Even Milton Friedman thought him too inflexible. Von Mises thought the traditonal nuclear family was essential to and fostered by free market capitalism. That rules gay marriage out doesn't it. Never mind, we are happy to forgo that aren't we Krisztian, for the sake of all the glorious money a few people will make?
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        Feb 3 2012: Joanne,

        it is getting amusing actually. i wonder what your sources might be. mises as a fasist. mises, who was in the top ten on the list of enemies of nazis, and had to fled austria, and later europe to survive. was a jew btw, but this is minor point. maybe you should take a look yourself, and not believing everything some people tell you about him? mises was probably the biggest mind of the century. worth checking out.

        i denounce egalitarianism too. am i a fascist? that is your way of arguing? namecalling? where would you place yourself on the following chart?:

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          Feb 3 2012: I note there is not a category for 'runs away' which I have seen you do more than a few times. Whatever he might be religiously, nevertheless he still advocates the nuclear family to the exclusion of all others, and extreme un-egalitarianism is a characteristic of facist thought.

          My grandfather-in-law, also fought the Nazis, and spent years in Auswhitz. He was not a facist, he believed in equality and was tortured for it. However, I retract my accusation of facism, against Von Mises, and apologise for it, as it is not correct to call a Nazi survivor a facist, whatever his politics.

          I will take a look at his work, an unbiased look, too. If you manage to change my mind, even one iota I will tell you so.

          The problem with some econmic thinkers, and this is sometimes true of Marx too, they only look at one aspect of society, the exchange action, and the drivers that move it. There are many other things that influence people and make them creative and happy as we are discussing along this thread (sort of). Such a narrow band of thought as laissez faire can only end in suffering, in my view, not only that, I have witnessed such a society at work. Its horrible. I challenge you to try to live in such a place.
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        Feb 3 2012: " If you manage to change my mind, even one iota I will tell you so"

        give me a break.

        "The problem with some econmic thinkers, and this is sometimes true of Marx too, they only look at one aspect of society, the exchange action,"

        or at least this what you were told, and never questioned it. mises describes the focus of his studies this way:

        "HUMAN action is purposeful behavior. Or we may say: Action is will put into operation and transformed into an agency, is aiming at ends and goals, is the ego's meaningful response to stimuli and to the conditions of its environment, is a person's conscious adjustment to the state of the universe that determines his life. Such paraphrases may clarify the definition given and prevent possible misinterpretations. But the definition itself is adequate and does not need
        complement or commentary."

        and later

        "It is usual to call an action irrational if it aims, at the expense of "material" and tangible advantages, at the attainment of "ideal" or "higher" satisfactions. In this sense people say, for instance-sometimes with approval, sometimes with disapproval-that a man who sacrifices life, health, or wealth to the attainment of "higher" goods- like fidelity to his religious, philosophical, and political convictions or the freedom and flowering of his nation-is motivated by irrational considerations. However, the striving after these higher ends is neither more nor less rational or irrational than that after other human ends. "
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          Feb 3 2012: Yeah I have read this. It does not impress me, not at all. To base a whole economic/social system around this one idea 'HUMAN action is purposeful behavior... is a person's conscious adjustment to the state of the universe that determines his life' is utterly ludicrous in my view. You dont think his thesis MIGHT POSSIBLY be a CULTURAL construct? Do you think a Kalahari bushman for example, would agree with that world view? BTW his idea of human action sounds like a recipe for a triple bypass operation.

          And the premis of the second statement; "It is usual to call an action irrational if it aims, at the expense of "material" and tangible advantages, at the attainment of "ideal" or "higher" satisfactions" Usual for whom? Males born in Austria in the twenties?

          His conclusion; 'However, the striving after these higher ends is neither more nor less rational or irrational than that after other human ends' Who says STRIVING is the natural state of humankind? We only STRIVE if we are starving or threatened or in some kind of social slavery. What we do naturally and normally when we can, is lie under the trees, eat drink, sleep, play and have sex like all the other primates.
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          Feb 4 2012: This completely ignores the fact that people are motivated by different factors.

          Once the basics are covered, what prompts people to "strive" varies. Let's take the work setting as an example, from personalities I encountered in the corporate world.

          Some people are motivated by titles - these suckers are awesome, because you can effectively keep coming up with newer and more impressive titles and a teeny pay raise to keep them. As long as they can tell their friends and family something that sounds impressive, they're yours.

          Some people are motivated by money - they're considerably less awesome because they're expensive. Often they also don't care about their title or their role in the hierarchy as long as they're being paid what they think they're worth. Which usually boils down to "more than you are paying anyone else".

          Some people like authority. These people like to micromanage and hover over your shoulder while you are working. They are best dealt with by scaring the crap out of them - coming to a tacit agreement that allows them maintain the illusion of authority in front of other people, but leaving you alone.

          There are others, but I am hopped up on cold meds that I suspect are full of alcohol, so I am going to take a nap now.
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        Feb 3 2012: economists do not base systems on anything. statists does. economists describe existing systems.

        trying to refute that humans act is an action. so that was a quick self defeat. what bushmans would say about it is rather irrelevant, really, if we are talking about the truth. we don't ask them about whether the earth moves or not either. but if you take enough time to explain to a bushman what we already know, he will finally accept. that is how reason changes beliefs. in some cases, at least.

        your ability to find totally irrelevant details, but still get it wrong, is marvelous. should there be "some calls" or "one could call", which does not change the statement one bit, and your arguments fall apart. not very smart. but it takes not much effort to just look around on these forums to see the widespread opinion, yours included, namely that economists only focus on the material. it seems that 70 years ago, mises had to argue that higher values are equally important. but you forgot your own position in the heat of opposing something you don't want to know about.

        i'm a bit sorry for you if the people around you strive only when hungry or threatened. but i can assure you, many of us strive to do good things even when food and shelter is more or less secured. for example, i'm trying to explain some ideas to you, instead of lying under trees.
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          Feb 4 2012: Ah how quickly this has descended to a philisophical debate. Soon you will start to pick on semantics. If this happens, I am going back to what I should be doing.

          'economists describe existing systems'. No they don't. Its philosohical talk. Often utopian. You yourself often cry out, that the laissez-faire model has so far not been tried. (except in Somalia?)

          I did not try to refute 'humans act is an action' which would be silly, I did refute that each human act is 'the ego's meaningful response to stimuli', that all 'human action is purposeful'. I questioned the basic premis behind that statement, quite clearly.

          I am actually genuinely interested in your ideas Krisztian, but we may not have enough common ground to arrive at a discussion, since I do not think a Kalahari bushman requires teaching about anything, in fact, I feel many kalahari bushmen could deliver you and I many important lessons. I think you dismissed without considering it seriously the point I was trying to make, which is the premis behind Von Mises idea is quite 19th century, male and European.

          You are jumping to a conclusion here when you assume I subscribe to this 'economists only focus on the material. it seems that 70 years ago, mises had to argue that higher values are equally important.' I was making the point that his world view is culture specific and heavily influenced by the time and place in which he wrote. From this position, one cannot extrapolate a healthy economic/social model that can be applied to everyone.

          'many of us strive to do good things even when food and shelter is more or less secured.' If you are striving, you are still in a state of suffering. If you are in a state of joy, when you do something, it is called play. Do you see, we are poles apart. Our minds work differently.
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        Feb 4 2012: this conversation goes from mildly amusing to brain dead in a swift fashion.

        how can a description of the world "utopian"? utopia is an imaginary future. you can't describe the current system as a utopia.

        you refused a statement then, that is a tautology. mises explains elsewhere that "meaningful" is subjective. i didn't quote that, since it is not our topic now. now you tried to sell that economists try to describe the world through profit and money. so i showed you the very basics of the misesian thought. so you quickly forgot your own point, and started to talk about the words in the quotes, without even considering what those words can mean in different contexts. it seems that i should quote the entire book so you can not pick on any terms not explained. is that a deliberate action on your part? you try to derail the conversation? or you really don't remember your own position?

        i tell you then: you occupy the doublethink position that economists only deal with the material and economists live in utopia. it might be true for krugman, i give you that. but certainly not true for mises. in fact, that is the key factor that distinguishes austrian economics from the mainstream or the monetary school. we believe that at the root of everything in society, there is the human action, and there is nothing else. we deal with humans, and not equations.
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          Feb 4 2012: This is a tactic I have watched you perform over and over again; if someone touches on an idea that you have no answer for. I remind you, I pointed out the premis behind your hero Mises theory is cultural specific, the product of an male Austrian's 19thc skewed world view.

          Of course you know this is true, and you have no answer for it, so instead of reconsidering your position, or actually engaging maturely in a discussion about it, you go on the attack. I have watched you do this several times in other talks.

          When this wont work (which it clearly hasn't) your next trick, will be one of the following; try to throw the person off, and save some face, by attacking semantics (you began to do that already) but when you know that won't get you anywhere, the hysterical trantrum will follow, then you will blow. Try hanging around, try talking a bit more for once, you might gain something.
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        Feb 5 2012: i wouldn't say i have the faintest idea what are you talking about here. so let me summarize.

        your claim is that economics deal with either only profits/etc, or deal with utopia, or too theoretical, or whatever.

        so i explained you that austrian economics deal with human action. whatever that action is, whatever goals it might aim at, whatever motivation it stems from. i also explained how mises tries to refute the notion of spiritual goals would be less rational. i did that to illustrate that mises did not mean formal logic by rational. or profitable. or wealth maximizing. he exactly meant rational in the sense that human action happens if the actor anticipates it will bring some good results according to his own personal valuations. if one decides to listen to a song instead of visiting a web page, it is an economic decision. he allocated his time, a scarce resource, to some use.

        which refutes your central point about economics. but instead of admitting that, you are trying to make it look like mises based his theories on something obsolete. while actually you only argued that something it denies is obsolete.
      • Feb 9 2012: Joanne,

        "I believe it is important to diminish the level of hierarchy to as narrow a band as economically stable."

        Two thoughts:

        1. A free market achieves just that. As I noted previously, competition keeps prices down. Prices are a result of costs. Compensation is a cost. The more competitive a market is, the less management can allow to pay itself and remain competitive. Competition also rises the wages of skilled labor, as more firms competing in the market leads to more demand for their services. Unfortunately, unskilled labor does see its wage fall under the system, which is why I advocate for a public education system (more on that in a minute).

        2. Social hierarchies will persist even in economic equality. Man is a social animal, and I feel all social structures are inherently hierarchical. I would even argue (as Marx does, I believe) that economic hierarchies form to insulate the social elites (atleast initially; once the system is in place its inertia becomes detached from individual motive and is subconscious). The only way to prevent the social hierarchy from forming economic strata is a. fierce competition and b. political egalitarianism, or equal legal rights.

        I agree with what you said, but feel *diminish* is the wrong perspective, as it denotes an economically active government, which makes matters worse.
        I believe in the free Exchange of goods. I believe it is the most efficient and beneficial economic transaction. I also believe it is natural, which is why the size of a black market correlates with the scope of economic regulation.
        The free Exchange of goods can not take place in anarchy or in a socialist state. Individual property rights are at the heart of free Exchange. If any person's *right* becomes a *privilege* over others, through his physical prowess or bureaucratic dictate, then the free Exchange of goods and the economy as a whole suffers. Therefore I believe in both the free market and political egalitarianism.
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          Feb 10 2012: I see a few problems already, I hope you will answer them;

          1.'A free market achieves just that. As I noted previously, competition keeps prices down. Prices are a result of costs' but this stage is surely transitory, and reliant on the players being relatively equal, in size and power. I think, as soon as one player pulls ahead, a monopoly begins to develop, that grows until it crushes all competition, then whatever egalitarianism that might have been, vanishes. Its what we see over and over again, and not just in governed economies, I have witnessed this perfectly in smalll microbial unfettered economies too. Can you explain how monopolies can be avoided in your model?

          The second problem I see is this: 'unskilled labor does see its wage fall under the system, which is why I advocate for a public education system' A source of unskilled labour or 'cheap' labour is highly desirable to many industries. This creates an intense driver in a society to produce exactly that, a glut of uneducated labour, either a stream of cheap immigrant workers, or by creating a permanent underclass in some way. (lets not bother with examples, I think you can probaly think of a few, as can I)

          3.the third problem I see, is in your climate of 'fierce competition' bad unintended consequences will be the inevitable result. Horrific plunder of resources, without thought of the consequences, disregard for the business climage, environment of the future. What is your answer to this?

          I accept that hierarchies are a consequence of property, ownership, and the other factors of competive capitalism. I advocate moderating to alleviate the worst side affects. I always get to this point in these talks; I can point to a few existing successful models, and if laissez faire is so perfect, why has it not been tried, or why does it not occur naturally somewhere on the planet? Can you answer that questions?

          The 'its natural' argument does not wash at all, and is better left to another thread,
      • Feb 9 2012: CONTINUATION

        I wholeheartedly support the creation of a public education system, civil court system, law enforcment, as well as a few other public services (including a fully public monetary system, but that's another day's debate).

        Unlike anarcho-capitalists, republican capitalist (as well as other laissez faire systems) acknowledges man's need of the rule of law.

        To answer more succinctly, I reconcile my political egalitarianism and my laissez faire economic preference by constructing a government (republic) which respects both.

        I am going to answer the 'human nature' topic in a separate thread at the top, as the conversation is getting disjointed. Feel free to respond to this from the upcoming comment.

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          Feb 11 2012: politics aside for a sec, have you read 'The Turning Point' by Fritzjop Capra Seth? Its relevant to where this is heading; the nature of people, the nature of society.
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      Feb 4 2012: Regarding this 'communism so far managed to kill literally hundreds of millions of people. caused massive starvation. caused wars. created totalitarian regimes with massive secret polices and informant networks'

      UNEGALITARIAN regimes, including those labelled communist, facist, apartheid, and others, have killed millions, caused massive starvation, wars and totalitarian regimes.

      UNEGALITARIAN power structures caused these things. Laisses Faire is a template, a fools errand, for another such unegalitarian society, and which would result in equivalent or worse savagery.

      More EQUALITY, more individual autonomy and representation in the power structure, established through refined highly representative democracy (not the un-democratic model currently in use in the U.S) is the only antidote.
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        Feb 5 2012: so we can say that those who ever attempted to implement communism, turned out the be man's greatest enemy. maybe egalitarianism is only a nice coverup for aggression and oppression.

        on the other hand, the industrial revolution with free market capitalism brought about the greatest increase in human wellbeing in the entire history.

        you can decide which way you want to go.
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          Feb 7 2012: As usual you ignored what I actually said, and created instead what you wish to hear.

          Well at least there is finally some meat in the sandwhich: ''austrian economics deal(s) with human action. Whatever that action is, whatever goals it might aim at, whatever motivation it stems from' Would you care to finish it? Its going nowhere so far.Next: 'the industrial revolution ... wellbeing in the entire history.' You know I fundamentally disagree with this, both the premis behind the idea, and the 'factual' nature of it. I recommend we steer clear of rehashing old themes and work on the new stuff. Lets hear about this great theory. Tell me, how enormous disparity will create prosperity and peace. Please enlighten me.
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          Feb 11 2012: Krisztian; things are never as simple as you would like them to be. Marx is not the source of all evil, and neither is capitalism. In fact, the manifesto was instrumental in creating the kinds of regulatory structures (the miniumum wage, fairer working conditions, healthy and safety, the limited working week,) that tempered the worst ravages of capitalism thereby creating the wealthy middle class we take for granted today in the developed world. Instead of declining into abject misery as Marx predicted, conditions for the working classes improved because of his radical ideas. He caused positive change, and a partnership between the worker and capitalist. We continue to refine that model, in our experiment called civilisation.

          If Marx were here today, I am sure I would squabble with him just as much as I squabble with you, because as a democratic socialist, I am for refining and improving the current model, not doing away with it. I want round smooth tires, not big square lumpy ones on the earth bus.

          Acutally Marxism and your brand of laissez faire have one thing in common, neither were tried, neither occurred naturally, what does that tell you?
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        Feb 7 2012: "Would you care to finish it?"

        no i would not, because 1, it is not an austrian economics lesson, but a conversation about communism, and 2, it would require pages after pages of material. if you are interested, you can find readings.

        " I fundamentally disagree with this"

        fundamentally disagree with a factual statement? i don't know such a thing. but facts are hard to disagree with. living standards, life expectancy, child survival raised in a rapid rate for a good hundred years mostly in the 19th century. good such as shoes and medicine became widely available to masses. and there was nothing else than private enterprise back then to bring it about.
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          Feb 8 2012: You talk pure nonsense, then refuse to back it up. Are you ready to leave again?
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        Feb 8 2012: this is not an argument. let me just reply that these are pure nonsense, not what i say:

        "Mises thought the traditonal nuclear family was essential to and fostered by free market capitalism. "

        "they only look at one aspect of society, the exchange action"

        "We only STRIVE if we are starving or threatened or in some kind of social slavery."
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          Feb 11 2012: You need to think a bit more before you talk Krisztian.
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        Feb 12 2012: "Acutally Marxism and your brand of laissez faire have one thing in common, neither were tried, neither occurred naturally, what does that tell you?"

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          Feb 13 2012: Yes I am not surprised it tells you nothing, so I will have to spell it out for you; the chances of it actually working are nil.
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        Feb 13 2012: so if something was never tried, it means it is unworkable? then what is innovation? the same argument would be usable to defend slavery, oppose equal rights to women, etc. the same arguments actually were used.
      • Feb 13 2012: Joanne,

        Politics aside, have I read the work of a devout ecofeminist? No, I have not.

        "..this stage is surely transitory...as soon as a player pulls ahead, a monopoly develops."

        You are mistaking socialist market dynamics for free market dynamics.

        Free market dynamic: Idea -- new industry -- monopoly -- competition enters -- prices/ROI lowered -- 'equality of firm' stage -- ROI minimized -- resources diverted to new industry with less competition.

        Socialist market dynamic: Idea -- new industry, regulation permitting -- monopoly -- competition (possibly) enters -- ROI lowered -- approximates 'equality of firm' stage -- socially privileged use connections to influence government regulation -- competition decreases -- prices/ROI rise -- monopoly re-emerges, fully entrenched.

        In a free market, the monopoly stage occurs prior to the equality of firms stage, and there us no way to acquire the capital necessary to re-emerge as a monopoly when your ROI is shrinking by the day. In a socialist market, a monopoly re-emerges, in the nature you outlined. Once again, it is government intervention (which you advocate) which causes the imbalance (which you decry). That you think a monopoly can 'crush' its competition or would vanish egalitarianism indicates you presume a particular company would have undue influence on government policy. This is not a given in a free market system.
        A stream of cheap immigrant labor is not a bad thing. It gives them the opportunity to earn more than they would in their home country and allows them to send capital back home. Though we often look down on these jobs and occupations, they provide work for otherwise unemployable people. Fortunately, the need for such jobs is declining.

        Will continue later.

      • Feb 14 2012: Joanne,

        In response to '3.' -

        "Bad unintended consequences will be the inevitable result.."

        Of any human endeavour. Correct. This is true no matter what economic system we utilize. Failure and competition are facts of life. Socialism does not alleviate competing, it simply puts the weight of the state behind a competitor.

        I do not see the use of resources as 'plunder', nor do I think that most businesses act 'without thought of the consequences.' Most catastrophic instances were actually planned for, but the prevention mechanism failed. Once again, failure happens; it is not an indictment on any particular economic system.

        Yes, the 'it is natural' argument does wash. People naturally wish to perform the economic action that is most beneficial to them, regardless of government policy. Similarly, it is natural for people to want to influence other people's economic actions for their own benefit. It is two sides of the same coin - 'Ambition/Greed'. I want to do what I want to with my money (capitalism) and I want to do what I want with your money (socialism).

        These natural impulses, and the tension arising between them do occur naturally and can be observed the world over.

        Which one of the two seem more likely to cause problems that i want control of my resources, or that I want control of your resources? And which impulse should our government reinforce?
        'Self preservation arises from subliminated fear'

        Self-preservation arises from the physiological needs of the organisms that we are.

        But either way-

        We agree that economic systems arise from human nature.
        We agree that human nature is self-preservation and self-expression.

        Can we make the next step and say

        The self a. understands its physiological needs more so than any other organism (the metabolism is soveriegn) and b. understands its emotional needs more so than any other organism (the heart and mind are also sovereign)?

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          Feb 14 2012: Hells teeth. Call me an 'eco feminist' but what a hideous world view. Thats my whole problem with your 'theory', nay, your way of life.

          ' People naturally wish to perform the economic action that is most beneficial to them, regardless of government policy. Similarly, it is natural for people to want to influence other people's economic actions for their own benefit. It is two sides of the same coin - 'Ambition/Greed'".

          Ever heard of recipricocity Seth? Your world view is so diametrically opposed to mine, the premise from which you speak is so abhorrent to me. The things you try to 'prove' are, for millions of humans alive today, for millions of humans who have lived through history a total anathema. You cannot see that, because you live in a culture where ambition and greed feel so innate you think it actually human nature, genetically programmed in us.

          It does not surprise me that an Austrian dreamed up this sick facistic greed cullt. What kind of economic theory would a Kalahari bushman think up, or a Tongan or a Ladhaki? Would you even spare such a notion a thought? I doubt it. Yet if you were even able to perform such an act, even something as small as picturing such a thing, you might be able to begin to lead your life in a more fulfilled way, less consumed by materialism and pointless ambition and greed. Ahh, what silly eco feminist nonsense I seem to talk. Good night TED its been nice knowing you.
      • Feb 14 2012: Joanne,

        Too much wine before TED again?

        'Ecofeminist' referred to Capra, not you.

        I thought it was funny you would preface a reading suggestion with 'putting politics aside', when the author is a staunch ecofeminist, a political stance.

        Scarcity is a fact of existence on Earth. Competition arises from that.

        I don't think we have two diametrically poised worldviews. I think one of is has a worldview and the other has an amalgamation of emotion, ignorance, and an aversion to analyzing their own opinion.

        'Consumed by materialism'

        Like my conversation with Thomas, the charge only highlights your own misgivings about yourself. YOU are so consumed by materialism that YOU think it ought to be the primary role of governmet to redistribute wealth (MATERIAL). I think the government's role ought to be to protect an individual's rights. And I am the materialist? Do you even know what that word means or when it is aplicable? I will correct your sloppy English once again - 'materialist' is not synonymus with 'capitalist'. There are such things as 'socialist materialists', 'anarchical materialists' and so forth. That I advocate free markets does not make me 'consumed by materialism' or even a materialist. (Hint: 'materialism' describes a value system, not an economic one) Aside from my free market position, what indicates to you that I excessively pursue material goods?

        Haha fascist, capitalist, materialist, hideous, abhorrent, my 'way of life' (which is what, exactly?), bigotted -- so we can sum up your argument as 'you are wrong and I hate capitalism'? Or are you even trying to put together an argument anymore?

        '..you could begin living your life in a more meaningful way.'


        '..pointless ambition.'

        Unsurprisingly, for all of your talk about 'empathy', you show no inclinaton to practice it. Perhaps in your economic situation ambition can be described as 'pointless,' but for many people (including the unskilled immigrants of the world) it is a virtue.
      • Feb 14 2012: Maybe after a little sleep you could tackle this:

        Which of these two sentences do you disagree with?

        1. People naturally want to perform whatever economic action is most beneficial to them, regardless of government policy.


        2. People also naturally want to influence other's economic actions to their own benefit.

        In order to disagree with 1, you have to believe either a. economic thought itself is not natural, b. individuals place communal concerns over their own or c. individuals have no interest in economically benefiting themselves.

        In order to disagree with 2, you have to believe individuals naturally respect property rights.


        *no worries, the bushman probably could not answer these questions and as it seems to be your wont to defer to the bushman, I will understand if a reply isn't forthcoming.
        **Also, you ask 'what kind of economic system would a kalahari bushman think up?" I do not know. Do you presume to speak for the bushman? And if so, can you please state explicitly what his preference actually is, rather than using his existence solely as a vague cop out. 'The bushman may disagree with you' does not disprove my argument - it highlights your lack of one.

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