Saturday, March 10, 2012

387: The Utopia of the Free Market - Capitalism....

While "Atlas Shrugged" was and probably still is a bestseller among students of American MBA institutes where the captains of industry are prepared for their job,

the book saw a Dutch translation only in 2007, and this just because it was 50 years ago, that it was published in the US and it was even self-published.

It IS the utopia of Capitalism, an economic system of which many people think, that it is the result of an objective process which is not the result of ideas of others or invented.

Nobody seems responsible for its intrinsic ideology and the obvious utopia, as described in "Atlas Shrugged". There would not exists something like "The Capitalist Manifest".

The opposite is true. "Atlas Shrugged" is this manifest, depicting the ultimate capitalist utopia. In addition to the novel Ayn Rand wrote a non-fiction "footnote" as she called it herself: "Capitalism, the unknown Ideal" (1966).

One of the contributors is that well known name: "Alan Greenspan is president of Town-send-Greenspan & Co., Inc., economic consultants."

The book is fascinating. Let me quote Rand herself:
This book is not a treatise on economics. It is a collection of
essays on the moral aspects of capitalism.

Our approach can best be summarized by my statement in the first issue of The Objectivist Newsletter (January 1962):

Objectivism is a philosophical movement; since politics is a branch of philosophy, Objectivism advocates certain political principles

—specifically, those of laissez-faire capitalism—as the consequence and the ultimate practical application of its fundamental philosophical principles.

It does not regard politics as a separate or primary goal, that is: as a goal that can be achieved without a wider ideological context

Politics is based on three other philosophical disciplines: metaphysics, epistemology and ethics—on a theory of man's
nature and of man's relationship to existence. It is only on such a base that one can formulate a consistent political theory and achieve it in practice… (…)

No politico-economic system in history has ever proved its value so eloquently or has benefited mankind so greatly as capitalism—and none has ever been attacked so savagely, viciously, and blindly."

She continues with stating that the truth about capitalism is secretly obliterated, not by a conspiracy of evildoers however,
-quote-" it cannot be done except with the tacit compliance of those who know better.

By their silence—by their evasion of the clash between capitalism and altruism—it is capitalism's alleged champions who are responsible for the fact that capitalism is being destroyed without a hearing, without a trial, without any public knowledge of its principles, its nature, its history, or its moral meaning. (…)

The method of capitalism's destruction rests on never letting the world discover what it is that is being destroyed—on never allowing it to be identified within the hearing of the young."

Now, when you take into account that Allen Greenspan, as a true disciple of Rand and her Objectivism, has systematically ignored all warnings regarding the oncoming financial crisis, the next words of Rand almost sound prophetic…..

"The guilt for the present state of the world rests on the shoulders of those who are over forty years old today (with a very few exceptions)—those who, when they spoke, said less than they knew and said it less clearly than the subject demanded. This book is addressed to the young—in years or in spirit— who are not afraid to know and are not ready to give up."

Of course Rand was thinking of other shoulders than those of Allen Greenspan and the Chicago-economists like Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman.

But it is their Utopia of the Free Market and its shortcomings, that we now put under the magnifying glass and there we see that Rand's theory of man as being the rational, creative and productive individual, already is a utopia.

The Discussion

[13:20] herman Bergson: Thank you.... ㋡
[13:20] : Kime Babenco raises hand
[13:21] Kime Babenco: Applause
[13:21] Lizzy Pleides: Thank you Herman!
[13:21] herman Bergson: The floor is yours.... ^_^
[13:21] Gemma Cleanslate: interesting
[13:21] herman Bergson: floor
[13:22] Merlin Saxondale: I like Rand's idea of blaming the older generation, as a general principle
[13:22] herman Bergson: laughs...
[13:22] Gemma Cleanslate GIGGLES!!
[13:22] Gemma Cleanslate: ...LOL...
[13:22] herman Bergson: good idea Merlin
[13:22] herman Bergson: it was that generation that fed you and educated you
[13:22] Merlin Saxondale: Well, I'm one too, but we all have predecessors
[13:22] Mick Nerido: Do you think man is not rational, creative and productive?
[13:23] herman Bergson: assuming you are the younger generation
[13:23] Merlin Saxondale: Im not!
[13:23] herman Bergson: Ahh Mick....good remark!!!!
[13:24] Mistyowl Warrhol: Never trust anyone over thirty..where have I heard that before LOL
[13:24] Merlin Saxondale: only the over 30's would remember that Misty
[13:24] herman Bergson: The point is that traditionally philosophy assumed that the essence of being human was being rational...have a ratio...think of Descartes
[13:24] Kime Babenco: People are not better than you can expect from people... Altruisme... Great... You find that among soldiers or miners,,, not in business at stock exchanges or at politics
[13:24] Gemma Cleanslate: as old as molecules
[13:24] herman Bergson: However...consciousness as we possess is way more that just being rational
[13:25] herman Bergson: No Kime…Rand even sees altruism as the ultimate destructive tool of capitalism and society
[13:26] Kime Babenco: When people have a lot of power... they like it... We have religious powers, political ones, and financial ones
[13:26] Beertje Beaumont gave you Snapshot : Bergson's, Wainscot (213, 213, 38).
[13:27] Mick Nerido: capitalism assumes everyone is selfish and make it a virtue...
[13:27] herman Bergson: yes Mick...and that is a fundamental mistake...
[13:28] Kime Babenco: Is it the kind of society you would like ?
[13:28] Mick Nerido: Are we not all responsible for our selves?
[13:28] herman Bergson: even from an evolutionary point of view it can be shown that evolution has not led to ultimate selfishness as the way to survive
[13:28] Mistyowl Warrhol: Kime makes some very good points.
[13:28] oola Neruda: no man is an quote another famous source
[13:28] herman Bergson: exactly oola!
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: she would never accept that
[13:29] Mick Nerido: Does Rand disagree with wealth philanthropy?
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: Yes-ah!
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: oh
[13:30] herman Bergson: the quintessential core question of this project is actuallly.....what is the relation between government and the free individual, I think
[13:30] herman Bergson: Like Bill Gates does Mick?
[13:30] oola Neruda: a bit like state's rights... i think...
[13:30] oola Neruda: which the civil war was fought over
[13:31] Mick Nerido: Yes like Gates, she thinks this is bad?
[13:31] herman Bergson: I guess she would disapprove of it yes
[13:31] Lizzy Pleides: primitive peoples have a lot of sympathy with on eanother, so what rand says leads to an inappropriate and unnatural way of life
[13:31] Mick Nerido: She is cold..
[13:32] herman Bergson: Indeed Lizzy....
[13:32] Gemma Cleanslate: she was very cold personally
[13:32] Kime Babenco: Well, I can give an example... In Brasil Lula (ex president) started the zero fame plan (no one with hunger)... And education encouraged... At the other side in USA, the so called rich country of the planet, about 4 million people have lost their house because of stupid bankers
[13:32] Mistyowl Warrhol: and why the silent majority stay silent, while the radicals use every means to shout their greedy ways.
[13:32] Gemma Cleanslate: take a look at her
[13:32] herman Bergson: She really misses the point obsessed by her anti collectivism as she is
[13:32] Mick Nerido: Communism was an attempt to spread the wealth evenly it failed...
[13:33] herman Bergson: Yes Mick..communism is as unnatural as Rands Utopia , I would say
[13:33] Mick Nerido: I agree
[13:33] Mistyowl Warrhol: In her time, there was no fast communication, so did she ever think that there would be those who would share their wealth and power. That was something that wasn't in the news then.
[13:33] Kime Babenco: Communism was a good idea maybe , but in ended up with an elite class of captalism
[13:34] herman Bergson: Yes Kime....
[13:34] herman Bergson: after 1989 all of a sudden there were russian mijardairs...
[13:34] herman Bergson: millionairs
[13:34] herman Bergson: I was flabbergasted....
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: billionaires now
[13:35] herman Bergson: How could that be possible
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: the top of the billionair list
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: came out yesterday
[13:35] herman Bergson: amazing
[13:36] herman Bergson: so...
[13:36] herman Bergson: the essential question here is...
[13:37] herman Bergson: what is the balance between government control and the individual freedom
[13:37] herman Bergson: The Free Market Utopia had its answer as formulated by Rand...
[13:37] Lizzy Pleides: difficult question
[13:37] Mick Nerido: tough question
[13:37] herman Bergson: yes it is....
[13:37] herman Bergson: For instance....
[13:38] Kime Babenco: Does one go into politics because of ideal ? Or because of personal benifits ?
[13:38] herman Bergson: All states in Europe are spending more money than they earn by taxes....all of them...
[13:38] herman Bergson: which household woulddo that for years?
[13:38] Gemma Cleanslate: here in the usa too
[13:38] herman Bergson: oh yes...
[13:38] Gemma Cleanslate: but of course two wars cost a lot
[13:38] Gemma Cleanslate: tsk
[13:39] herman Bergson: The problem is ....when you spend 10.000 dollars you dont have...
[13:39] herman Bergson: you go to a bank and take a loan on those 10.000
[13:39] herman Bergson: then you only have to pay...say...1000 a year for it....
[13:39] Mistyowl Warrhol: After WWII, it was considered one's civil duty to pay taxes.
[13:39] herman Bergson: for 14 years...
[13:39] Mick Nerido: Governments can just print more money
[13:40] herman Bergson: those 1000 you can afford and for the public you can play Santa
[13:40] Lizzy Pleides: the central banks Mick
[13:41] herman Bergson: Well..I'll go on withthis project
[13:41] Kime Babenco: But let's assume you asked 100 000 for the bank to buy a house... and have to pay it as 110 000 in 10 years , but suddenly the houses fall in prices, and the bank is out of money... They want your money still...
[13:41] herman Bergson: and maybe dismantle neoliberalism... ㋡
[13:42] herman Bergson: Yes KIme....
[13:42] herman Bergson: those are the finacial bubbles
[13:43] herman Bergson: There is a flaw in your remakr Kime....
[13:43] herman Bergson: The 10 year contract stands...and the people can pay it ...
[13:43] herman Bergson: whatever the situation of th ebank is
[13:43] Kime Babenco: If failing banks have to be saved by the government when they fail... (so the tax payers), then why don't we see any money from it when they gain a lot ? So I guess banking is better be done by the offical governments maybe... Or at least a very strict control on it ...
[13:44] herman Bergson: Well...without loosing us in all kinds of details....
[13:44] herman Bergson: I'd love to see you agian next Tuesday... ㋡
[13:44] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:44] herman Bergson: Tahnk you all for your participation...
[13:44] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ㋡
[13:44] Mick Nerido: Thanks Herman great subject
[13:44] Beertje Beaumont: thank you Herman:)
[13:44] Kime Babenco: Thank YOU ALL !
[13:45] oola Neruda: take care all
[13:45] oola Neruda: baiee
[13:45] Mistyowl Warrhol: Interesting lecture and ty :-)
[13:45] Gemma Cleanslate: you too
[13:45] Lizzy Pleides: bye oola
[13:45] oola Neruda is Offline
[13:45] Gemma Cleanslate: Bye, Bye ㋡
[13:45] Mistyowl Warrhol: Bye Gemma, tc :-)
[13:45] Lizzy Pleides: bye everybody
[13:46] Merlin Saxondale: yes, bye everyone from me too
[13:46] Mistyowl Warrhol: Bye all :-)
[13:46] Beertje Beaumont: we again have a lot to think about:)
[13:46] Mistyowl Warrhol: Yes, we do.

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