Friday, September 24, 2010

The real basis for capitalism, I -- imperatives

Moral: Wherein we turn away from belaboring the error of ways and start to honor Adam Smith by having another look at the appeal, of capitalism's message, even to those who, currently, are exploited by the ideas.


For one, we all know that top-down does not work. We saw it in the family. How often was your mom or pop able to get your little behind to behave? Always? Oh wait, many were angels from the get-go!

We saw with certain 20th century experiments, that state planning does not work. For the most part. And, many took great pleasure in that. But, hey, capitalists, show me something of yours that has endured, other than exploitation of labor (see Image).

You see, the ravages of improper handling of undecidables, plus the fact that decisions are not made EVER with 20-20 foresight (despite the ASSumption by economists of rational (hah!) agents with perfect knowledge; that is beyond words - we cannot fathom such idiotic thinking) makes things fuzzy (at best).

Also, some have taken a firm hold on private property, and individual motivation, to support their laissez faire ideology, but that is not as strong as these think.

Adam and David might have been concerned about motivations (Keynes, I ought to use John to be consistent, used a metaphor of animal spirits). Yet, this, too, can be misconstrued. Perhaps, an update, using modern existential verities, might be a good way to start.

Hence, imperatives. However, we're not starting categorically though, at some point, this may be of interest. Way to go, Immanuel!


No, we can start with imperatives in a biological sense, yet with a human orientation. Every live entity subsumes its own piece of space, has its own metabolism, and such. Though, we may come to see parasites as something of interest to the discussion.

So, individuation is one concept that applies within all sorts of contexts. Independent agents, in other words. Yet, how many workers, especially those under the cloud of indentured slavery that is the modern corporate experience, consider themselves independent? Hey, if you take exception to that, look at any non-disclosure agreement forced upon the workforce and tell me that it is otherwise.


Yet, there is also the team requirement, in more than the military or athletic context. That is, no one is John Galt or Atlas, for that matter. In other words, the degree of individuation, economically (as in other domains), would be a spectrum. You have those who are bound into some type of group (by the way, how many of those high-class families could provide someone who could endure the enlisted man's burdens?)

Then, there are those who are free. Mind you, we think of this as the monied state in the capitalistic world. Yet, those who live simply are free, to boot.

That is, what is required to meet imperatives? You know, eat, sleep, ... Where in the list does one find this: have a huge mansion, with countless servants, in an area of utmost wealth, and such?

Aside: just as some cried over missed bonus money (even when their actions led others to states of extreme deprivation), all through history, we have had the takers and the doers. We'll be talking more about those on the take and those who actually do useful things.


If you had not seen it coming, we contend that capitalism is the way for us to have a more just society. But, not for the reasons put forth by those under the influence of the libertarian world view.

Let's get back to individuation and motivation (from biological imperatives and their social superpositions). You see, the former is one source for the arguments about private property. Oh, yes, accumulation to the max. But, just like the deleterious effects of too much fat on our bodies, there is a bad side of too much accumulation economically (oh? you might ask, why so? - ah, we'll get to that, too). Actually, near-zero is the concept for us to discuss here.

Now, given that property acquisition comes up, is it the key motivator? Well, that may be for some. What about doing a good job (the lowly worker who puts his heart and soul into performing well for a heartless company run by a soulless slob) which can be psychologically pleasant (actually, it's related to neurotransmitters - yet, a simple accomplishment can be as effective, in this manner, as the accumulation of billions of bucks - remember, near-zero)? There are other motivators, including those related to big-T issues.


Actually, it looks like accumulation is part of a measuring scheme which itself will bring in some type of palpable benefits. Is accumulation there by necessity? If you look at the majority, in the capitalistic sense, the accruals have some future goal. For many, just simple desires for a healthy and happy retirement.

To wit, though, we have to look at how many of those simple goals were trampled under given our present capitalistic makeup.


The following list of future topics is not a complete.
  • labor, it's a role, folks, not a class, and consumers must have some resources
  • we'll take a re-look at markets, as necessary, unfortunately we have only seen ca-pital-sino, so far -- not what is needed
  • private versus public needs some more attention - public goods may be handled by private hands (with caveats and by those who live simply) but ought not be privatized (someone will own the earth? hah! they don't own their own shadow!)

12/13/2011 -- Pavlov and dogs. May seem appropriate, yet dogs eat mostly to live (that is, we're talking about Pavlov frustrating a biological imperative). We, on the other hand, do not need the ca-pital-sino (invisible hand? -- fantasy).

09/21/2011 -- On Wealth and the CEO MVP.

01/03/2011 -- Ah, how timely, a Roadmap for Growth. Yes, the golden people demand. Where is our Magna Carta to protect ourselves against these folks?

11/08/2010 -- Big Ben, the basis that you learned in school, propagated as a professor, and are now trying to demonstrate as a wizard is suspect. You need to know this. Linear logic, et al, can help us discuss the issues. Are you really a proponent of capitalism or ca-pital-sino

11/03/2010 -- A big oops is emerging.

10/26/2010 -- Adam knew the failings of 'free markets' quite well.

10/22/2010 -- We need more Orwells and Tolstoys and Perelmans.

10/14/2010 -- Capitalism, as known now, requires an endless supply of suckers.

10/13/2010 -- A couple of recent items were talked about here several times. For one, foreclosures are under scrutiny, again. Now, that some legal processes were less than sound and true is coming out. Perhaps, 'real capitalism' does not need any legal intervention. (See Remarks) Secondly, Paulson, from Goldman Sachs, helping GS with his decisions. Ah, love it!!

10/07/2010 -- Several principles need to be explored, such as the ergodic one.

Modified: 12/13/2011

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