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Thread: Is Big Business Really That Bad?

  1. #11
    Anarquistador StanStill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    The issue is not whether big business is, or should be, a democratic type of institution; clearly, it neither is nor should be. The problem is that more and more wealth flows upward, leaving less and less for everyone else; and with that wealth goes power - power over resources in the private sector, and ultimately political power in the public sector. That undermines a democratically-oriented political system such as we have cultivated. And since the love of power over other people (being represented on the surface as the love of wealth) corrupts people, it is inherently untrustworthy, as are the people who possess that love and seek out wealth to excess.
    But that's just the issue. If we believe in the concept of democracy, then by definition we are against having a tiny clique of people be vastly more powerful than everyone else. Wealth inequality is power inequality which is anathema to democracy. Plato referred to oligarchs (wealthy) and democrats (everyone else) within a city as two cities that are at war with each other (although he also did mean it as a literal war of assassinations and slaughters).

    But just for the sake of discussion, why shouldn't industry be run democratically?
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  2. #12
    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StanStill View Post
    But just for the sake of discussion, why shouldn't industry be run democratically?
    Technically, it sort of is already - i.e., democratically amongst stockholders, albeit with one vote per share rather than per person.

    For it to be truly "democratic," however, the state would have to own all businesses, which would be antithetical to a free-market system.

  3. #13
    Anarquistador StanStill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    Technically, it sort of is already - i.e., democratically amongst stockholders, albeit with one vote per share rather than per person.
    Well if we're going to be technical, that is plutocracy.

    For it to be truly "democratic," however, the state would have to own all businesses, which would be antithetical to a free-market system.
    Well that's not quite true. The people who work there could own it. There's no need to get the state involved. And what would be more free market than people having say in decisions that will affect them?

    "Man never regards what he possesses as so much his own, as what he does, and the laborer who tends the garden is perhaps in a truer sense its owner than the listless voluptuary who enjoys its fruits." Wilhelm von Humboldt

    Anyway, enough armchair philosophizing...Work awaits!

  4. #14
    Bizarroland Observer Thx1138's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    Technically, it sort of is already - i.e., democratically amongst stockholders, albeit with one vote per share rather than per person.

    For it to be truly "democratic," however, the state would have to own all businesses, which would be antithetical to a free-market system.
    Not to mention the ultimate vote of not buying that product or service.

    (Wake the fuck up America, we have ALL the power if we could only come together for the greater good and BOYCOTT! damn-it!)

    Yet, I believe what we are getting at here is business above the law or taking a hand in making the law...

    Corporations are not people and are entitled to no representation or opportunity to acquire such.

    But, I'm sure there is a law that says it's okay for corporations to write legislation, or at least no law against it, huh Ian?

    Thx
    Last edited by Thx1138; 13th March 2018 at 09:35 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StanStill View Post
    Well if we're going to be technical, that is plutocracy.



    Well that's not quite true. The people who work there could own it. There's no need to get the state involved. And what would be more free market than people having say in decisions that will affect them?

    "Man never regards what he possesses as so much his own, as what he does, and the laborer who tends the garden is perhaps in a truer sense its owner than the listless voluptuary who enjoys its fruits." Wilhelm von Humboldt

    Anyway, enough armchair philosophizing...Work awaits!
    The people that work there could buy stock and own it.

    The UAW and its members could buy their way onto the boards of the car makers if they wished, but then they wouldn't have a bad guy.

  6. #16
    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StanStill View Post
    The people who work there could own it. There's no need to get the state involved.
    It is still a "workers own the means of production" kind of thing, and not only denies the person who built the business the fruits of his labor but removes one's incentive to build such a thing in the first place. Sure, he might be idealistic, but most people are not.

    Quote Originally Posted by StanStill View Post
    And what would be more free market than people having say in decisions that will affect them?
    "Free market" has nothing to do with who runs a business.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thx1138 View Post
    Not to mention the ultimate vote of not buying that product or service.
    Now that is an expression of a free market.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thx1138 View Post
    Yet, I believe what we are getting at here is business above the law or taking a hand in making the law...

    Corporations are not people and are entitled to no representation or opportunity to acquire such.
    And that is where there is a problem with "big business." Government and representation is by people, not by wealthy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thx1138 View Post
    But, I'm sure there is a law that says it's okay for corporations to write legislation, or at least no law against it, huh Ian?
    Correct.
    Thanks from Thx1138 and Friday13

  7. #17
    Anarquistador StanStill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    It is still a "workers own the means of production" kind of thing, and not only denies the person who built the business the fruits of his labor but removes one's incentive to build such a thing in the first place. Sure, he might be idealistic, but most people are not.
    But saying the owner “built” the business is like saying the plantation owner “built” the plantation, or the conductor “played” the symphony. The owner has lots of help building the business. The owner “directs” the building of the business.

    Then theres this other bit about owners not having the “incentive” if they don’t have ownership. But don’t all those employees do plenty of work too, with no ownership? For them having a somewhat comfortable life and a happy family and not being evicted and homeless is plenty of incentive. Sounds like simple idealists are quite plentiful to me.

    "Free market" has nothing to do with who runs a business.
    Yeah, I know. “free market” is one of those terms of art that tends to denote freedom of owners to move money across borders as they please, make decisions as they please (within the bounds of the law, when it can’t be overturned) but never the freedom of the population to cross borders as they please in search of the best price for their labor, or to be part owners in their own livelihood. In practice, free markets also mean (quietly) that private capital can call on the state for alterations to tax laws, environmental regulations, subsidies, and if it all goes south—bailouts. There’s a reason that capitalism hasn’t done away with government. It’s because it needs government to survive, to get the population to absorb the costs while they handle counting the profits. Without government, capitalism would collapse the economy.

    Believing in “free markets” is like believing in an utopian world that we should constantly strive for, but which paradoxically, we can never get to because of capitalists.

  8. #18
    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StanStill View Post
    But saying the owner “built” the business is like saying the plantation owner “built” the plantation, or the conductor “played” the symphony. The owner has lots of help building the business. The owner “directs” the building of the business.
    He also invested more than just his time, but also his own money.

    Quote Originally Posted by StanStill View Post
    Then theres this other bit about owners not having the “incentive” if they don’t have ownership. But don’t all those employees do plenty of work too, with no ownership?
    The employees have guaranteed pay for the duration of their employment. The owner takes all the risk, and must eat the losses.

    Quote Originally Posted by StanStill View Post
    In practice, free markets also mean (quietly) that private capital can call on the state for alterations to tax laws, environmental regulations, subsidies, and if it all goes south—bailouts. There’s a reason that capitalism hasn’t done away with government. It’s because it needs government to survive, to get the population to absorb the costs while they handle counting the profits. Without government, capitalism would collapse the economy.
    Yes, an unregulated market would be bad.

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