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The Forum > Article Comments > Is there an alternative to capitalism? > Comments

Is there an alternative to capitalism? : Comments

By Sam Ben-Meir, published 12/10/2017

One would think that perhaps we would keep an open mind regarding alternatives; instead of buying the tired old argument that anything else must either lead to totalitarianism, or be incurably utopian.

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Workers make decisions; read slush fund supported Union Heavies taking all the cream for them and their "Mates".
Posted by McCackie, Thursday, 12 October 2017 9:30:00 AM
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Educated, erudite and well researched!

Both extreme capitalism and communism have failed, as has thoroughly disgraced trickle down economics/economic rationalism!

The fact that this ideological dogma always always fails, never ever prevents its devotees from regurgitating like the zealots they all too clearly are, with highly misplaced fervent respect!

And out of self delusion or worse? Moribund self serving vested interest!

Trump, six times bankrupt, is not someone I would trust to run a candy store, let alone a multi trillion dollar economy.

What cannot be argued, is the unprecedented period of post war prosperity, created by keynesian economics.

What can be argued is that we can't do better with much lower taxes?

Always providing they're universally applied! And as a single stand alone impost everyone pays as an expenditure tax or fixed percentage of their income as PAYE or PAYG! And completely unavoidable for all!

Pensions and benefits adjusted upward to make sure we just don't create post code poverty traps and systematic inequity, nor harm essential discretionary spending that keeps the domestic economy healthy!

Education and health spending limited to a means tested education and health endowment that the recipient can direct, rather than bank.

Then allow competition and outcomes decide which service provider attracts the most clientele.

This would remove the entirely unnecessary levels of obstructive and costly, control freak administration, except where it was actually needed!

Much much lower energy costs, pivotal and an absolute essential!

In conclusion let me add, co-ops were the only private enterprise, free market business model, that mostly survived the Great Depression largely intact!

And exclude predatory capitalism and parasitic unions alike! Neither of which, nor their counterproductive interference are in any way needed inside a cooperative capitalism model!

And consequently rejected by both! And on the basis of some of the most diabolically disingenuous, risible, asinine arguments ever invented
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Thursday, 12 October 2017 10:15:28 AM
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Of course there is “no alternative to capitalism”. How many ages do we have to pass through to know that nothing else works! Globalism is a rotten thing, but that has nothing to do with capitalism per se, or its practice in sovereign nations. 'Inequality'? Capitalism is the only cure for that. “Stagnant wages”? Blame high mass immigration for that.

Trump? Is there no end to the list of that man's influence? He is not the only capitalist in the world, and what the hell has he to do with Australia? If Sam Ben-Meir wants to influence Australians, he should get off the Trump-hating band wagon and address other jurisdictions. Australia is not
America. People must be sick and tired of hearing about Trump's imagined sins.

This article has sweet nothing to do with us. It is backward, totally ignoring history.
Posted by ttbn, Thursday, 12 October 2017 10:41:21 AM
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Some born to rule advocates, don't want a bar of cooperative capitalism, despite its vastly superior reputation as a practical enduring business model!

Because it rules them and all their predatory practices out!

Or ought with fair competition rules enacted!

Thus Woolies would never have been allowed to elbow its way into Maleny to try and purloin a market, that cooperative capitalism had built, in that rather special town!

Where neither union nor parasitical business practices are particularly welcome, except by the unwary or ill informed?

Cooperative capitalism and lower taxes are almost made for each other, given cooperative enterprise allow the community's money to stay in the community far longer! And where one dollar does the work of seven or more before exhausting!

And given an expenditure tax is applied a say just 5%? still collects sufficient revenue for service provision/public amenity!

Cooperative models often include overrepresented working bees by local volunteers, to get this or that project built and up and running. And inculcated as the accepted norm, by a created from the ground up, inclusive community spirit!

Cooperative capitalism best served by regional autonomy and unpaid volunteer boards, to run public amenity/hospital/education/water boards etc? And usually attract public spirited, retired or semi retired professionals!

Cooperative capitalism needs to be accepted by all levels of fully informed inclusive society! And assisted by completely internalized social credit, plus self terminating thirty year bonds, to facilitate/finance and underpin it!

And essential to prevent sabotage by recalcitrant idealogues with a born to rule agenda!

Just as you can't be half pregnant! You can't be a half cooperative capitalistic society! But rather, one in all in!
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Thursday, 12 October 2017 10:59:25 AM
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The Capitalist horror machine:

War on the Middle Class:- The current attack of capitalism, is against the middle class. The rules for the “war on the poor” are well established.

The new and more ferocious war, is against the middle class. The central theme is wedge politics at its best.

Competition:- The competition for jobs sufficiently rewarded enough to maintain a middle class existence, are globalised free-for-alls.
Short term contracting of once stable middle class occupations, removed security and reduced incomes.

Marxism's march for equality, (sick joke), is securely harnessed by capitalists. This “stupid” not only does not lift people from inequality, but negatively lifts them into the strata of competition, as fodder to the system.

For example, equality for women, in the true sense of equality, would give women a “choice” to become involved in the competition for scarce resources of work, but it doesn't.
Women actually lose choice, by having a Capitalist version of equality forced upon them!

Education: this is another horror story which not only does NOT educate the subject, but grooms the subject to become immune to inequality in the true sense! Education is a “wedge tool” of Capitalism!

Thankfully, the carrot that it is, now glows more brightly. Free thinking is actually discouraged by the institutional Capitalist tool of education. Chances of the educated forging a new way for society, are nil to none here: a very suitable outcome for no-change to the status quo.

The War Machine:- where all challenge to Capitalism is paid for in blood.

The Chinese: the Chinese with two bob each way; Communist iron-fist control of the proletariat, and a quasi Capitalism; which, as in the West, supports a corrupt bureaucracy, through distancing Government from responsibility, by outsourcing and sale of its essential elements, into the Capitalist market system, followed by deregulating controls, in the name of competition: A sure-fire method of reducing the usefulness of essential services to the public. (EG the current power supply debacle).
Posted by diver dan, Thursday, 12 October 2017 2:35:38 PM
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Yet another academic twit actually lamenting the fact that under capitalism academics aren't as close to the centre of the action as under communism. Of course he tries to descise this with a lot of verbiage, & tears for the poor. The whole piece is just envy dresses up as a lament for the poor.

It is true "anything else must [not necessarily] either lead to totalitarianism, or be incurably utopian". However it does necessarily lead to starvation, proven by the failure of Russia & China to feed themselves under communism, now food exporters with the yoke of collectivism lifted.

I personally don't give a damn how much some may have, I don't need a few Ferraris or mansions to be happy. I only require a roof, food & good health care. The rest I am most happy to work for, & provide for my self.

If you want to be taken seriously with this bulldust Sam, try leading with a statement of what percentage of your personal income you give to the poor. Your interest in being generous with other peoples income doesn't cut much ice around here, particularly when your own income comes from the real work of others.
Posted by Hasbeen, Thursday, 12 October 2017 2:57:07 PM
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There are plenty of alternatives to capitalism, the kibbutzes have been operating successfully for decades, the main reason that this model has taken over the world, and that is because most people are not suited for living on a kibbutz.

Mondragon also survives because when sales and prices fall, it can cut the wages of all its employees. Try doing that with the unions here. The workers would prefer to retrench people than take a pay cut.

The only way these systems would work universally would be to use draconian laws to enforce them.
Posted by Shadow Minister, Thursday, 12 October 2017 3:09:22 PM
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Sorry Shadow, can't agree!

First because co-ops almost alone were the only free market private enterprise business model that mostly survived the Great Depression largely intact. and second, where they prevail as the preferred business model, the money they earn is invariably reinvested in the host community!

If you want to see just how well this model works? Take a butchers at the town of Melaney. The missing piece of the puzzle is laws that outlaw predatory pricing and parasitic, profit demanding middlemen!

With the latter made unlawful, the cost of living and or doing business could be halved? And allow many more co-ops to successfully startup!

Finally, these family or community startups? Fail less frequently if they're adequately capitalized and have mentored management and AGM's!

Moreover, have to my limited knowledge, have never ever grown too big to fail!?

And ideally suited to management by a single competent manager, with nowhere to hide! The most efficient and competitive co-ops, would very rarely if ever, exceed a 350 person work force!?

Meaning, the shareholder cohort quickly susses out the incompetents, the crooks, the drones and bottle necks, out of vested self interest!

Unions just don't get a look in and why would the working shareholders need any protection or straightjacket conditions placed, that like the british disease, able to bankrupt and kill entire industries.

The celtic economic miracle was largely created/built on government financed and or facilitated, cooperative capitalism, manifesting as, co-ops, family firms and family farms?

And underpinned by an education system that successfully exported well credentialled graduates, to the world!

We'd lose nothing by taking a leaf from that, [massively successful initially,] book!? Always providing it's always and only, our people and their best ideas we preference!

We have traded or sold our economic sovereignty!

This is perhaps, the only economic model left to us, to win it back?

Now let's see who genuinely backs it and us to know whose fair dinkum and who are the economic Benedict Arnolds hiding in plain sight among us?
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Thursday, 12 October 2017 4:58:07 PM
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yeah capitalism is so far from perfect however the point Hasbeen makes about socialist being so generous with tax payer money is so true. Can you believe some of the abc journalist get paid $300,000 plus pa to push their propaganda.
Posted by runner, Thursday, 12 October 2017 5:41:30 PM
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And worth every last cent of it too.
Posted by ateday, Thursday, 12 October 2017 6:09:25 PM
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Capitalism is not the problem. Predatory capitalism is the problem. Predatory capitalism exists only to create monopolies that in turn exist only to destroy competition and localised self-sufficiency.

Capitalism is a workable system but can only function appropriately if heavily regulated. Those who benefit from predatory capitalism will always use their power and influence to eliminate the rules and regulations that interfere with their profits.

As an adjunct, 'there-is-no-alternative' propaganda is their major weapon. Keep on pushing the propaganda model that socialism equals slavery and that any changes to the predatory capitalist system will automatically create financial chaos.

If all else fails, overthrow any government that represents a serious threat to the predatory capitalist system - just in order to 'prove' that anything other than predatory capitalism is doomed to fail.
Posted by Killarney, Thursday, 12 October 2017 6:24:29 PM
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Alan,

Capitalism is about the market and free trade, that Mondragon manufactures goods and sells it into the market and adapts to suit the changes in the market makes it an instrument of capitalism, with a unique management model.

In the early 1800s, a group of monks dedicated to god and poverty started breeding merino sheep for wool and became enormously wealthy, yet no one is suggesting businesses based on monastic cloisters.
Posted by Shadow Minister, Thursday, 12 October 2017 6:38:42 PM
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Lincoln welders once exported to the world. The workers earned well above the average and the profit stream remained consistent and healthy. Why?

Well because it was run as a co-op with no debt to service and no drone shareholder to divvy up skimmed profits?

I heard a story about a Brazilian manufacturer, facing ruination and bankruptcy? Because a joiner partner and his wife were engaged in some skulduggery and cooking the books to try and hide their criminal activities?

Anyhow this was one tech savvy industrialist who bugged the boardroom, his home and the suspect partners office?

Then arranged to be conveniently out of the way as the pair hatched a plot that would see a compliant bank withhold essential operating capital? Allowing the joint to be sold by the bank to recover a miniscule loan? Then resell for a handsome dividend/profit?

Anyhow, the industrialist was privy to all their plans almost a soon as they were hatched and decided on a course of action of his own?

Namely, to gift a 51 % control to his workforce in lieu of wages?

Which they accepted, then with inventory in hand, put the production line into overdrive and sweethearted many new deals. To get a very good cash flow situation happening, from which they were able to cancel the firm's bank debt inside a month.

Who then lost their business as a first consequence, with another smaller bank reaping the rewards.

Anyhow the minor shareholders tried to undo some of these arrangements, only to be informed that would be met with a strike and a picket line of unheralded length?

And then were put right back in their box by a lawsuit that filed for divorce, alienation of affection and theft of company funds?

The last I heard had the firm going from strength to strength, opening up a company criche and a employee housing co-operative.

And the industrialist jetsetting around the world following golf tournaments, his special passion!

And from his fully franked share of the considerable and growing profit? He'd never been so well off?
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Thursday, 12 October 2017 8:21:54 PM
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Alan,

With all due respect, if these systems were so great they would be worldwide. I bet if you dig a little deeper the reality is far less than the hype.
Posted by Shadow Minister, Friday, 13 October 2017 7:07:43 AM
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Dear SM,

«The only way these systems would work universally would be to use draconian laws to enforce them.»

Nah, this wouldn't work, it would just create corruption.

Alternatives can only work when the participants share common values.
Some examples are the monastic vows in the merino-breeding case that you mentioned, the combination of socialism and Zionism in the case of the Kibbutz, and family values in the case of family businesses.

As it stands, we have no morally-acceptable tools to stop even the worst expressions of predatory capitalism, but if we could have smaller states whose citizens voluntarily agree to participate, based on shared values rather than on geography and coercion, then there would no longer be any moral impediments for those new states to intervene and fight capitalism, perhaps by producing most goods and services by the state itself.

Socialism failed because the people involved had no common values and thus no reason to freely consent to any common effort.
Posted by Yuyutsu, Friday, 13 October 2017 10:23:51 AM
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Rubbish Yuyutsu. Socialism failed because it was obvious right from the start that working for a living was unnecessary, & there was no reward for working. About 15% immediately chose not to work.

Very quickly an increasingly large percentage of people got jack of keeping the bludgers & also stopped working. Very soon no one was working, & they could no longer produce enough food to feed themselves.

The USSR collapsed, & China moved to a capitalist system of production & reward.

Capitalist states were very successful in harder times. You had to work if you wanted to eat. Then the rot of socialism started to creep in. We went from poorhouses to unemployment welfare, & the bludgers started to realise they could vote, rather than work for a living.

Capitalism & democracy are now so far down the socialist path, it is very doubtful if they can be salvaged before a total collapse as in the USSR.

Pity it was a great system before the socialists & the do-gooders [& greens, communists by a new name] infiltrated & sowed the seeds of it's destruction.
Posted by Hasbeen, Friday, 13 October 2017 11:43:57 AM
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Dear Hasbeen,

You are right, because nobody would work for free for others who do not even share their own values.

However, if everyone in a mini-society did share the same values, then this could be different.
Posted by Yuyutsu, Friday, 13 October 2017 12:42:07 PM
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When you respect the family, the neighbour, the street, the neighborhood, the suburb, the state.....in that order,...... is how you end up with a unified community.
Thinking up words to describe ideological values is a mug politicians game.
Nothing replaces 'respect'....the problem is that most Australians think 'respect' is a new brand of soft drink or the latest betting ap
Posted by ilmessaggio, Friday, 13 October 2017 2:14:02 PM
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Hasbeen

Socialism has not failed. In fact, not only does it refuse to die, it's gaining ground worldwide, especially in the West, as capitalism degenerates into corruption, gross inequality and financial chaos.

Countless millions have died, and continue to die, in wars of aggression by capitalists determined not to let socialism succeed in any country on any level. Socialist countries are also subject to draconian financial wars of aggression (sanctions and embargoes) and propaganda wars of aggression to create instability and affect regime change.

'Failed' is not the same as 'not being allowed to succeed'.

ilmessaggio

The UK had a political party called 'Respect', headed by George Galloway - a socialist. It disbanded in 2016 because it didn't want to take political space away from the rise of Labour's Jeremy Corbyn (another socialist) and the subsequent almost 3-fold increase in Labour party membership under Corbyn's socialist leadership.
Posted by Killarney, Friday, 13 October 2017 3:46:47 PM
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You are right in one thing Killarney, there is a rise in Labour party numbers.

This is due to the growth in the number of bludgers getting on the socialist band wagon of everything for nothing. It is speeding the collapse.
Posted by Hasbeen, Friday, 13 October 2017 4:24:26 PM
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aren't all the current crop of Hollywood stars socialist. Their protection of paedophiles and rapist make the paedophile catholic priest tame.
Posted by runner, Friday, 13 October 2017 5:14:36 PM
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runner

There hasn't been a REAL socialist in Hollywood since the McCarthy purges of the 1950s. Even then, those blacklisted lefties had never been allowed to make a genuine socialist film under the studio system. The only Hollywood film that could be even remotely considered socialist would be Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times in 1936.

You're confusing socialism with liberal centrism (what real socialists used to call 'bourgeois'). No one can be a socialist when paid $60 million per picture or when one's Oscar gown carries a price tag of $30,000.
Posted by Killarney, Friday, 13 October 2017 5:47:05 PM
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The only reason that socialism is making a revival is that the millennials that support it have no memory of the complete cock-up that it made of the economy.
Posted by Shadow Minister, Saturday, 14 October 2017 5:34:12 AM
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Capitalism and socialism are such broad terms that criticism of each is meaningless without defining them.
Posted by Aidan, Saturday, 14 October 2017 11:20:22 PM
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Dear Aidan,

Since I am guilty of being the first to mention socialism ("Socialism failed because the people involved had no common values and thus no reason to freely consent to any common effort."), I guess that the onus is on me to list what is objectionable in each:

In socialism, one is told: "this fellow is your brother, you are responsible for each other, so if he doesn't work, you must work for him".

In capitalism, one is told: "you have no brothers. You should all fight each other, compete with each other and let the fittest survive".

Under socialism, production wanes: "why should I work for this stranger?"

Under capitalism, production becomes malignant: unnecessary jobs, products and services are created as uncertainty and the stress level rise.

The middle path, is to allow people to choose who their brothers are. One is happy to work for a brother, but not to work for a stranger.

Now whom are you likely to consider as your brothers? I believe that they would be those who share the most important values with you.

Rather than forcing people to live in a mega-society, spanning a whole continent and a variety of conflicting values and aspirations, people should be able to organise themselves voluntarily into smaller societies where they feel happy to get up in the morning and work for the good of like-minded people.
Posted by Yuyutsu, Sunday, 15 October 2017 8:52:28 AM
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Yuyutsu

No real problem with that. We're seeing this now with the growing independence movements - Scotland, Catalonia and even now the Bretons in France. Not to mention the extremely violent independence movements across the Middle East, especially the Kurds, who are rebelling against the centuries-old dismemberment of their ancient society and culture into a piece of Turkey, a piece of Iraq, a piece of Syria, and so on.

The Tamils in Sri Lanka were perhaps the most tragic, as the fate of their 30-year war of independence was destroyed when the UN dutifully declared them (according to global capitalist dictates) a terrorist organisation. The world community, already starved of media coverage of their plight, abandoned them.

And, of course, the bleeding sore of Northern Ireland never really goes away.

The last few hundred years have seen the mergers, by mostly military oppression, into federated nation states. These mergers are usually accompanied by cultural genocide - suppression of the culture and language and violent suppression of independence activists as 'terrorists', all promoted by an oligarchic imperial-miltary ruling class who reaped the benefits of a much larger income from the public purse.

Yuyutsu, I've gone off on a huge tangent to your post. Apologies. But the historic social, economic and political issues surrounding the destruction of localised resources and production has a long political and military history.

Without any understanding of this history, 'thinking local, buying local' is a well-meaning trope that will never succeed, while mega-corporate interests are committed to a global food production chain.
Posted by Killarney, Monday, 16 October 2017 1:44:27 AM
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Killarney,

I fail to see where my comment on social tolerance and unification being based on respect for one another equates to Galloway's political party.
The social fabric of any community, including Australian, has little or less to do with politics but more to do with the realization that everyone wants the same thing albeit some believing they are entitled to more.
Posted by ilmessaggio, Monday, 16 October 2017 12:43:39 PM
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Dear Killarney,

«I've gone off on a huge tangent to your post.»

But I can see the connection.

The national-separatist movement is a step in the right direction, but is it enough? Will every Tamil see every other Tamil as their brother? Perhaps so in the first couple of years with the euphoria of national independence, but then I think that it will wear off. I would happily be proven wrong, but I'm trying to be realistic: ethnic/national identity is insufficient common-grounds to call our fellow "brother" and be happy to work for them when they slack.

You need a stronger bond.

I don't believe that even blood bonds will hold in the long run, only deep convictions in common values.

I do for example admire the Amish, but unfortunately I cannot fit in their community because I am not a Christian. Common (yet not superficial) religious convictions are probably the tightest bond.

As for 'thinking local, buying local', yes locality only in terms of geography will not succeed: locality should better be also in terms of common values and goals.

But let us not forget the elephant in the room: mega-corporates can only exist and thrive because there are giga-people on earth. Without a drastic reduction in human population, our freedom is bound to remain very limited.

---

Dear Ilmessaggio,

«the realization that everyone wants the same thing»

This is grossly incorrect, unless you refer to the realization that everyone ultimately wants to return to God.

Unfortunately the typical person wants a number of other things in between before they consider themselves ready to return. Different types of people who between them value and aspire to the same (more or less), should be able to group together and pursue their happiness in parallel.
Posted by Yuyutsu, Monday, 16 October 2017 1:26:04 PM
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'Everyone wants the same thing'
a peaceful productive life within which to raise a family and choose their beliefs as they see fit without any encroachment to or by others.
Life is in the struggle not the turmoil.
As to God...if he knocks on your door it's up to you, and no one else, as to whether you let him in
Posted by ilmessaggio, Monday, 16 October 2017 6:08:55 PM
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Dear Ilmessaggio,

Well not everyone wants a family and among those who do, there is a variety of family-types that they prefer (such as nuclear, single-parent, extended, tribal, homosexual, polygamous, polyandrous, living with Mom, etc.).

Unfortunately not everyone wants a peaceful life. Some prefer the thrill of danger and risk-taking, some like to brawl, others are passive-aggressive.

Most prefer a productive life, but not necessarily in the economic sense: there are those who consider playing golf more productive than growing corn or producing auto-mobiles, there are those who consider scaling Mt. Everest as productive, there are those even who consider sexual conquests as more productive, there are those who consider hacking into others' computers as most productive, then there are those like me who consider study, prayer and meditation as the most productive use of life.

Then there are those miserable souls who do take pleasure to encroach on others, that's a fact of life.

Squeezing all those different people with different and incompatible values into a single society/nation, is a recipe for disaster and suffering.
Posted by Yuyutsu, Monday, 16 October 2017 6:46:08 PM
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Of course there's an alternative to Capitalism, Communism which we're headed towards.
Asking for an alternative to our current system of government in the wrong question, look to its faults and failures and refine it.
Posted by Armchair Critic, Tuesday, 17 October 2017 7:46:29 AM
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I think that the last word on an alternative to capitalism is to look at past experiences. All the countries that run an alternative to capitalism also run an alternative to democracy.
Posted by Shadow Minister, Tuesday, 17 October 2017 9:33:00 AM
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