thundril wrote: Nick wrote:
thundril wrote: We are in danger of actually getting somewhere, Nick! Do clarify, please.
I can't, until you clarify what you mean by "all threat of poverty" and how you quantify whether capitalism is "working well". The ball is still in your court.
OK. We can go round and round, ad infinitum
, with you avoiding an answer by demanding more and more precise definitions, like Slick Willy Clinton who ended up with 'It depends what your definition of is is'.
I'm sorry if you feel it is unreasonable for me to ask what you mean by your statement, but I cannot address something without knowing what you men by it in some meaningful way.
Instead, I invite you to define the terms you use in your own statement ' I don't think any system could be effective if there were no consequences if the able-bodied were not obliged to work.'
So having said you are not going to clarify, you then ask for clarification from me!
Oh well, let's try this as a response. The economic system we have to do, which is complex, too complex to be simply described, is the product of human nature and the evolution of the resolution of conflicting demands within it, which continue to change. Human nature being what it is, if we had cigarette trees and soda water fountains, then human activity would be very different. But we don't. Assuming we want goods and services, the provision of these, ie the allocation of resources tends to be most effective when connected to reward, rather than coercion, through slavery or through command of the state.
Of course, there will be those who are unable to work, being too old or too young or too ill. Societies throughout the ages have had different solutions to this, sometimes killing them, but as societies grow richer, then tend to treat them better (though that is not a straightforward progression). There are also those who are looked after by others, just one example of which might be a "trophy wife". And, in response to Alan's point above, there are those whose "contribution" is financial. And in some cases, they have been given that financial advantage. But that is merely another aspect of looking out for ones own family, or tribe or whatever, another human characteristic. No advanced economy can work purely by an exchange of labour. Is the risk/ reward pattern complex and varied? Absolutely, which is one reason state-run economies tend to be less effective. It throws up all sorts of outcomes, some of them might not be what one would want, but that is not reason enough to get rid of it.
For further clarity: This is where I'm coming from: I am not hankering after any 'non-capitalist' system from history, nor proposing any alternative system in the present, nor dreaming of any other possible system for the future. I am asking about capitalism. In this context, can you explain and defend the statement you made above?
You may accuse me of not addressing "capitalism" specifically, but that is because I think they way in which I view the economic system is more useful; there is no purely capitalist system, one reason why Marx and Engels got it wrong.