[ExI] anti-capitalist propaganda, was: retrainability of plebeians

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Sun May 10 15:12:09 UTC 2009

2009/5/10 spike <spike66 at att.net>:

>> I was referring to spike working for low pay, not Obama. I
>> don't understand how one could begrudge an unemployed person
>> a subsistence level of income but think it's OK for other
>> people, rich people, to "earn" more for doing less. The
>> capitalist who makes profits in his sleep takes the money
>> from the people who actually do the work just as surely as
>> the unemployed person getting the dole does...
>> --
>> Stathis Papaioannou
> Stathis, the key to understanding the above statement is in the phrase "the
> money" as in "...takes THE money from the people..."  A capitalist creates
> wealth by investment, so it makes more money.  The beekeeper puts down his
> own money to invest in hives, the bees create honey, which is wealth, then
> the capitalist hires indolent youths (such as me) and others to work for pay
> which they otherwise would not have had.  The capitalist doesn't take THE
> money, she creates wealth which would not otherwise exist, and partners with
> labor, so that they earn some of the created wealth.  Everyone wins.  Cool!

If I pay you $1 to make a widget which I then sell for $100 I may have
done something legal, even admirable in some peoples' eyes, but to my
way of thinking I have exploited you. I have been paid at a huge rate
for the work I have done, even though the enterprise may not have got
off the ground at all without that small amount of work. It's just
that the market and the legal system have allowed my work to be rated
far more highly than your work. Pragmatically, you could argue that
things should be left this way since the possibility of reward
disproportionately high compared to effort motivates people to attempt
projects they otherwise would not. In fact, you could summarise
capitalist success as the achievement of making more and more money
while doing less and less work. But this does not, in my view, make it
morally right, although of course we may come to an impasse when it
comes to defining moral principles.

> My heartburn with Obama is that he never had that experience, he didn't do
> grinding labor for a pittance, didn't risk his own capital to start or run a
> business.

Well, most supporters of capitalism would say that if a capitalist
built a billion dollar company by doing *less* work and risking *less*
money, that's even more impressive. That reward should be in
proportion to effort sounds more like something Marx would have
approved of!

> His professional experience is in suing businesses for a ton of
> money.  This would cause him to see business as prey, as opposed to partners
> with goverment in wealth creation.  He is running the country like a
> teenager snorting cocaine.  It sets off alarm bells in my head when he
> utters comments like "We all benefit when we spread THE wealth around."  THE
> wealth?  Define THE, sir.

I don't disagree that some lawyers earn too much but they're probably
in the middle range of those who earn too much; not up there with
bankers and celebrities. But I'm surprised that you would find fault
with someone who, after all, only earned as much as the market would
stand. Is there any businessman who would not do the same? Is there
any businessman who would not sue a competitor if he thought he could
benefit financially by doing so? You are showing, dare I say, the sort
of scruples a socialist would show. And whatever else Obama is, he
doesn't claim to be a socialist, not would anyone identifying as a
socialist claim him as one of his own.

Stathis Papaioannou

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