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

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Tue May 12 04:09:45 UTC 2009

2009/5/12 painlord2k at libero.it <painlord2k at libero.it>:
> Il 11/05/2009 17.12, Stathis Papaioannou ha scritto:
>> However, the more interesting point you make is that Obama did not
>> work hard for his money. I am surprised that as a supporter of
>> capitalism you would hold this against him. As I said in a previous
>> post, a definition of capitalist success could be making more and more
>> money while doing less and less work.
> This is not a possible definition of "Capitalist Success".
> This could be a definition of "Aristocratic Success" or "Political Success"
> or a definition of "Criminal Success".
> But I doubt that there is something like "making more money doing less
> work."

If you make money at a higher hourly rate, then you are considered
more successful. This means more money for less work. The hourly rate
can be averaged out to include any study or training: there's not much
point to it (from a capitalist perspective) if the time spent working
but not earning money won't be at least repaid when when you do start

> In your example about Mr. Buffett, you imply that the work done by him could
> be done by any plumber or farmer with a minimum training. If it was so,
> there would be many Warren Buffett and Mr. Buffett would not be so special
> or rich.

No, I think he was just lucky, as most studies of investors show that
they are no more likely to be successful in the future if they have
been successful in the past. But even if in fact he was successful
because he was smart or because he risked his capital, it doesn't
change the fact that he made a lot of money doing a little work a
*lot* less work than someone has to do to obtain the dole.

> So, we can suppose that Mr. Buffett is doing something that not all people
> are able to do at his level of skill. And his earnings reflect how much he
> is able to produce for his investors.
> But to help you, I propose another way to classify "capitalist success":
> "doing the most requested works with the minimum efforts", with "most
> requested" defined by how much people is willing to pay for.
> Usually, to do a work with the minimum effort the capitalist use his
> capital.
> For example, Robinson Crosue on his island could have invested his leisure
> time to build a stick and a basket, so he could be able to gather more
> berries and keep them. Having a better berries production line would have
> enabled him to commerce with a hunter for game with greater profits for
> himself and the hunter.
> Now, Crosue had a competitor for the commerce of berries with the hunter but
> the competitor is not willing or able to invest his leisure time to build
> his basket and his stick and compete on the same level with Crusoe. Do this
> fact cause Crusoe to do "less work for more game"?
> I think not. He is doing more work with less efforts.

Very few wealthy people make their money purely through their own
efforts. Your Robinson Crusoe story is an example of this, but the
usual capitalist way is if Crusoe could get several competitors to
gather food and give him a proportion of it while he sits back. For
example, he could set up a shop trading one type of food for another
and keeping a profit. Now, this takes *some* work, maybe even hard
work, and perhaps it helps the other hunters as well as the
shopkeeper, so that everyone is happier than if there had been no
shop. But the fact remains, if the shopkeeper makes a profit much
larger than that of the hunters, he is effectively sponging off their
work. This was the Marxists' essential criticism of capitalism: they
valued hard work, and they thought that workers should be able to
profit in proportion to their labour. Government welfare payments etc.
was not a feature of communism. In fact, I believe that in some Soviet
Bloc countries it was actually illegal to  be willfully unemployed.

Stathis Papaioannou

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