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  1. #41
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    Re: Capitalism and racism

    Woops, just realized that I never actually posted this:





    Czahar
    I don’t accept Merriam-Websters for things that require the technical definition. MW is good for common uses, but insufficient for things like philosophy.
    So I found the page for it on the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy but discovered that there was more debate about the subject than I thought. I’m going to post the section about the coerciveness of choice, since that is what we are discussing but then concede since this ensuing debate would be 1. Way off topic and 2. Way too involved for me right now.
    Quote Originally Posted by [url
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/coercion/[/url]]
    2.4 Coercive Offers?
    While the dominant strand in recent theory has associated coercion with threats, and denied that offers can be used to coerce, this sharp differentiation of these two sorts of proposals has come in for some criticism. The parallel structure of conditional threats and conditional offers has led some to deny that there is a deep distinction to be made between them. Others have focused on the role of both in the broader political and economic context, and found that these broader conditions make coercive offers a live possibility. Dealings in capitalist markets are often highly exploitative; governments often condition the provision of ordinary benefits on the satisfaction of unrelated demands (such as making highway funding conditional on states' passing particular laws). Given the potency such offers possess, one might suspect that there are many offers that one cannot reasonably refuse, possibly reflecting great imbalances in power or prior historical injustices between the bargaining parties. (See, for instance, O'Neill, 1991; and Berman, 2001.)
    Of those who have argued that threats and offers can both be used coercively, David Zimmerman has been most prominent (Zimmerman, 1981; others who have argued offers can coerce include Frankfurt, 1988 [1973]; Held, 1972; Lyons, 1975; Van De Veer, 1979; Benditt, 1979; Feinberg, 1986; Stevens, 1988; for criticism of Zimmerman, see Alexander, 1981; for criticism of Held, see Bayles, 1974). Retaining the baseline-approach to coercion found in Nozick, Zimmerman urges that in setting a baseline for judging a proposal, we should take into account the possibility that the proposal maker is actively hindering the coercee from obtaining a situation for herself that would be better than the situation the coercer proposes. So, for instance, if a person is destitute on an island, and someone proposes to employ this person for a life-sustaining pittance, this proposal may count as an offer, since it is an improvement over the “pre-proposal” situation. But if the person is destitute and unable to obtain better conditions only because the employer actively prevents the person from leaving the island (say, by preventing the building of boats), Zimmerman suggests the offer should be regarded as coercive. That's because the appropriate baseline for evaluating the proposal is the state of affairs that the recipient would face in the absence of special interference by the proposal maker. (In the present case, this might be the situation the island inhabitant would face were she able to build a boat and return to the mainland.) If relative to this baseline the offer is less favored, then it should count as coercive, Zimmerman thinks.
    Do such offers coerce? The dispute between those who say offers can coerce, such as Zimmerman, and those who insist only threats coerce may be more verbal than real. While Zimmerman, for instance, would label the offer itself coercive, what appears to do the coercing here is whatever means were or are being used to keep the recipient of the offer from reaching a better bargaining state. If the offering party here has created the conditions that make even very unattractive offers still the best available, then the coercion, if there is any, seems to be vested in the offerer's actions that prevent the recipient from improving her situation or finding better offers elsewhere.
    Zimmerman grants that even if the offering party does not cause the recipient to be in the position she's in, we may still want to criticize such offers. In these cases, the offer-maker may be guilty of engaging in exploitation, though not coercion. When one party is in a much stronger bargaining position than another, the stronger party sometimes uses its advantage to keep for itself most or all of the gains to be had from cooperative interaction between the parties. So employers who are in a stronger bargaining position than their employees may exploit them by paying them a small fraction of the value their labor contributes to the production of goods for the employer. This is especially feasible when one party has a relative monopoly position with respect to some valuable good (say, employment opportunities). So, reconfiguring Zimmerman's results somewhat, we might retain the exclusive connection between threats and coercion by saying that offers made from a position of superior bargaining strength are very likely to be exploitative; and that sometimes coercion is used to create or maintain one's bargaining advantages.
    Not all, however, would accept that the coerciveness of a large differential in bargaining power depends upon its causal origins. Joan McGregor, for example, gives an analysis of such offers in an account that eschews the baseline approach. She argues, “the ‘better off’/‘worse off’ distinction ignores the power relationships that occur when there are radically disparate bargaining strengths” (McGregor 1988-89: p. 24). To assess the coerciveness of something like an economic transaction, one must instead attend to the relative strengths of the bargaining positions between parties involved. “[C]oercion involves exercising power over another; in the market, it involves exercising superior bargaining power” (McGregor 1988-89: p. 25). At least two of the conditions for having bargaining power sufficient to coerce another are that the weaker party is dependent in some way on the stronger party (e.g., there are no other options or potential exchange partners), and the stronger party has influence over whether some significant evil occurs to the weaker party (such as loss of life, health, security) (McGregor 1988-89: p. 34). If in addition the stronger party decides to take advantage of these conditions, then this is not just exploitation but coercion. While the details of her account of bargaining strength may raise difficulties, her attempt to incorporate a measure of the coercer's power into the account of coercion seems a useful if relatively under-explored approach.




    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    Ignoring the simplicity of this statement for the time being, how is captialism responsible for this?
    The problem with is that we don’t agree on the scope of capitalism. You would hold it only to its economic characteristics, in which case you can always place blame on the legal institutions that have failed to outlaw whatever grievance I have. I, however, am using the assumption that the economic system of a government is intertwined with public policy, since economic system requires a government to back it up, and a government gets its money through an economic system.
    I am going to try to reach a middle ground by conceding a few assumptions I started off with and try and shift the discussion.
    I will concede that capitalism has no direct effect on the institution of slavery since slavery can only be outlawed or legislated through a government, and in a pure conception of capitalism, the government and capitalism are totally separate (right?).
    However, in order to practically implement an economic system, the government must support it. This is a mutually beneficial relationship and you can’t have one (a practically implemented economic system) without the other (a government)
    Because of this, it is my position that capitalism and the state should share equal blame in regards to unjust social institutions such as American slavery.
    American slavery supported capitalism (guilty) and capitalism allowed for American slavery (guilty)
    As far as the ending of slavery, my new position requires that capitalism and the American government deserve equal praise, this does not, however, speak to capitalism’s motive in the ending of slavery-which simply abandoned the practice when a more efficient form of exploitation came along.


    Slavery pre-existed capitalism. Slavery began to fade away as capitalism replaced feudealism and mercantlism. Today, it does not exist in any industrial, capitalist nation.
    “fade away” is the problem. I place capitalism in the same realm as socialism (as do a lot of other people), and socialism could have at least potentially dealt with the problem. Capitalism, however, only paid attention to numbers. It is guilty through willful ignorance.


    Quote Originally Posted by Iblsd
    The industrial revolution is what we refer to as a paradigm shift. There was a transition period where conditions were bad and child labor was the norm. Let's get beyond the surface though. Let's look at child labor, since you bring it up. Did capitalism lead to an exploitation of children as you imply? Why were parents sending children to work in England in the mid 1800's? Why were so many children on the streets and left to work in these factories? Let's go even further and ask the question anti-capitalists like to avoid. What would happen if there were no factories for these children. The fact is that the mercantile and feudal systems created huge swaths of poverty. Children were on the streets because their parents couldn't feed them. So, these children found work. Lucky for them the industrial revolution and capitalism was replacing the old economic models and there was available work. Because of capitalism, these children did not starve. Something else miraculous happened. Several things really. First, factories, prior to regulations, began to modernize. Why? It wasn't for the children. It just happened that efficient factories that utilized technology made larger profits. Such factories required fewer workers, but also relied on more skillful workers. So, children began to be phased out. That was ok since the wages were greater and fewer families needed working children or felt the need to kick their children out onto the streets. By the time England actually legislated against child labor, the primary group of children still working in factories were those placed in state-run orphanages. Capitalism was managing the problem just fine and was years ahead of the moral outrage.
    I think child labor (by which I mean the child labor prevalent during the Industrial Revolution) is an excellent issue to base our debate around. If my perspective is true, their situation and the source of their situation should be noticeably similar to slaves’, since it is my contention that both American slavery and child labor share a unique characteristic which I think can be summed up as “slaves due to an economic system.” More specifically, I say that they are of a class specific to capitalism, thus capitalism is most responsible.
    If you are correct then child labor is not slavery due to the fact that child labor offered a better situation than their current one, thus they chose to go. Here is how I refute that:

    I think it would be hard to argue against the idea that there could potentially be someone worse off than an American slave. Let’s say a prisoner of a sadistic captor. So:
    1. It is rational to prefer a situation that causes the least possible distress.
    2. It is possible that someone’s situation is more distressing than slavery.
    Thus it can be rational for someone to the life of a slave.
    Your objection to this is probably that if someone chooses to be slave, they are not a slave at all, or at least not a slave in the same way as someone forced into it.
    But did the prisoner of the sadistic captor actually choose to be a slave, or does the sadistic captor deserve part the blame for forcing him?
    I think most rational people would say that the sadist deserves at least some of the blame for the prisoner’s choice.
    Technically the prisoner did choose to be a slave- He weighed the two options and came to a rational conclusion and then acted on his decision.
    Thus it is possible to choose to be a slave
    Therefor the concept of “choice” is not part of the core assumptions of slavery.
    The only objection to this that I can think of is that children aren’t allowed the same freedom as adults because they are not yet fully mature and thus it is okay for someone else to make their decisions for them. This is true to an extent, but in order this to be true across the board you would have to assert that child slavery is theoretically impossible, which would be quite the assertion to make.
    Quote Originally Posted by wiki
    Prior to the capitalist era in human history, structural unemployment on a mass scale rarely existed, other than that caused by natural disasters and wars. Indeed, the word "employment" is linguistically a product of the capitalist era.
    A permanent level of unemployment presupposes a working population which is to a large extent dependent on a wage or salary for a living, without having other means of livelihood, as well as the right of enterprises to hire and fire employees in accordance with commercial or economic conditions.
    The permanent level of unemployment, which is a fixture of capitalist society, allows for exploitation and forces unjust conditions on children because that is how they become economically viable (through exploitation) and of sudden worth to society.
    If a family or orphanage wanted income, a large part of the responsibility fell on children, who had no choice but to obey their parents or guardians:
    Quote Originally Posted by wiki
    The Victorian era became notorious for employing young children in factories and mines and as chimney sweeps.[6] Child labour played an important role in the Industrial Revolution from its outset, often brought about by economic hardship, Charles Dickens for example worked at the age of 12 in a blacking factory, with his family in debtor's prison. The children of the poor were expected to help towards the family budget, often working long hours in dangerous jobs for low pay,[7] earning 10-20% of an adult male's wage. In England and Scotland in 1788, two-thirds of the workers in 143 water-powered cotton mills were described as children.[8] In 19th-century Great Britain, one-third of poor families were without a breadwinner, as a result of death or abandonment, obliging many children to work from a young age
    .
    Capitalism certainly isn’t helping these families, it just forced them to send their children away for subpar wages.
    The more correct statement would be that capitalism gave adult jobs to children. Obviously that is a very big difference.






    Quote Originally Posted by iblsd
    Yes, I read the Wiki article. Super. There must be some common characteristic among all forms of capitalism and the common characteristic is that individuals control their own means of production. We are all free to engage in the economy based on our ability and desire. Systems which do not have that component are not capitalist.
    Uh huh… well, I’ve provided support for my position, so I’m not really sure what to do with this. Even if this statement was the one that totally convinced me of your knowledge or whatever and I agreed with you 100%, all I could say was “I agree with Ibelsd’s conception of capitalism,” and really, who cares about that?
    Also, please support that child laborers of the Industrial revolution were more free to engage the economy than adults were in a mercantilist system.

    Quote Originally Posted by iblsd
    Is it your contention that they are?
    I asked you if your contention was that they are not. You can ask me a question, but you still need to answer mine.
    The answer to your question is pretty clear throughout the rest of this post, which all have various sources and whatever, but in the interest of clarity: y


    [/quote=ib]
    This is a fallacy. Interestingly, a fallacy the Southern states believed to be true as well. Capitalism produced more wealth than a mercantallist system. Slavery can exist in a mercantallist system since costs and production and exports/imports are tightly controlled. In a capitalist system, slavery is not efficient. So, the existence of slavery may offer a decent option under a mercantallist economy, but that will still be less efficient than a slaveless captialist economy. [/quote]
    I’d like to see the source of your reason for separating the north and south into two distinct economic systems. Where was the separation?



    Quote Originally Posted by ib
    1. Considering the very definition of socialism makes EVERYONE a slave, your opinion is laugh out loud funny.
    Quote Originally Posted by ib
    2. Wage slaves.... another of your euphemisms. Just attaching slave to a word does not make one a slave. If I decide to call people who earn minimum wage, "wage heroes," do they suddenly all become heroes? What if we call them wage frogs? Slavery means you don't own the right to your own labor. It means you are a piece of property. Someone earning a wage, by definition, is not a slave. Every single adult person in the U.S. has the right to work or not work and has the choice of seeking any opportunity they desire (incarcerated individuals notwithstanding). Can you make that claim about folks living in a socialist system? Interesting, one of the key components of slavery is the lack of right to private ownership since fundamental in socialism is that private ownership does not exist.
    “wage slavery” is an actual term, buddy.

    wage slave
    n.
    A wage earner whose livelihood is completely dependent on the wages earned.


    (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/wage+slave)

    I’ll provide a def for “slavery” since it may clear some things up:
    Quote Originally Posted by http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Slave+labor
    slavery, institution based on a relationship of dominance and submission, whereby one person owns another and can exact from that person labor or other services. Slavery has been found among many groups of low material culture, as in the Malay Peninsula and among some Native Americans; it also has occurred in more highly developed societies, such as the southern United States.
    It is my position that controlling someone’s livelihood (wage slavery) is the same as owning them (slavery).
    -AuspiciousFist-
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  2. #42
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    Re: Capitalism and racism

    Quote Originally Posted by AuspiciousFist View Post
    It is my position that controlling someone’s livelihood (wage slavery) is the same as owning them (slavery).
    I don't see how anyone who is paid a wage is a slave. They may be underpaid or even exploited, but a slave they are not. The whole point of slavery is that you don't have to pay your slaves, providing free labor.

    It's how Southern plantations before the rise of industrial equipment (like the cotton gin) were profitable. The owners didn't have to pay anything to the armies of slaves required to pick and process cotton by hand over huge areas of land.

  3. #43
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    Re: Capitalism and racism

    How can Capitalism use race as a tool? People can use race as a tool, but Capitalism?

    The theories of Capitalism are based on supply and demand. Capitalism is inherently agnostic on the issue of race it has not inherent end goal or social agenda. The only ideology of Capitalism is that prices and profit be driven by market forces, as a result, Capitalism can function regardless of a societies views of race.

    Contrast that to other economic systems: Feudalism, Communism, Fascism, Nazism, Socialism. These systems are more than mere economic systems, they are also social systems. They take an ideological view on issues such as class and an ideal "end state" for society as a whole that must be worked for. For example, central to Marx's communism is an equality of economic outcomes for all people. Thus such factors as class and even race are inherently economic concerns. Capitalism as ideology and theory is unconcerned with this because such "goals" do not exist as part of the ideology.

    When one encounters class warfare in Communism, that is expected, because it is part of the ideology. But when one encounters racism within a Capitalist economy it is wrong to conclude that Capitalism is the source of such racism and realize that there is another non-economic ideology at play. That is where you fail. Because your thought system is tainted by the colored glasses of Marxism, you are unable to separate economics from any other part of human life. While economics is important, it alone cannot describe all of human history. Man is motivated by more than money or class warfare, he is motivated by faith, by love, by anger, by rationality, by glory, by shame, by obligation. To apply only the one filter will inevitably lead one to conclude (wrongly) that all of this is tied together, it is not.

  4. #44
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    Re: Capitalism and racism

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    How can Capitalism use race as a tool? People can use race as a tool, but Capitalism?

    The theories of Capitalism are based on supply and demand. Capitalism is inherently agnostic on the issue of race it has not inherent end goal or social agenda. The only ideology of Capitalism is that prices and profit be driven by market forces, as a result, Capitalism can function regardless of a societies views of race.

    Contrast that to other economic systems: Feudalism, Communism, Fascism, Nazism, Socialism. These systems are more than mere economic systems, they are also social systems. They take an ideological view on issues such as class and an ideal "end state" for society as a whole that must be worked for. For example, central to Marx's communism is an equality of economic outcomes for all people. Thus such factors as class and even race are inherently economic concerns. Capitalism as ideology and theory is unconcerned with this because such "goals" do not exist as part of the ideology.

    When one encounters class warfare in Communism, that is expected, because it is part of the ideology. But when one encounters racism within a Capitalist economy it is wrong to conclude that Capitalism is the source of such racism and realize that there is another non-economic ideology at play. That is where you fail. Because your thought system is tainted by the colored glasses of Marxism, you are unable to separate economics from any other part of human life. While economics is important, it alone cannot describe all of human history. Man is motivated by more than money or class warfare, he is motivated by faith, by love, by anger, by rationality, by glory, by shame, by obligation. To apply only the one filter will inevitably lead one to conclude (wrongly) that all of this is tied together, it is not.
    I suggest you read the thread. And then answer this.

    How come, in the advanced capitalist countries, black people are the poorest?

    and then this

    How come the phenomenon of racism never really existed until after capitalism got properly up and running in the late 1700s in England?

  5. #45
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    Re: Capitalism and racism

    I suggest you read the thread. And then answer this.

    How come, in the advanced capitalist countries, black people are the poorest?

    and then this

    How come the phenomenon of racism never really existed until after capitalism got properly up and running in the late 1700s in England?
    These questions have nothing to do with what Capitalism is. Now either prove that racism has anything to do with the Capitalist theory, by way of pointing to it's actual content, or concede. Views alternative to yours (and every bet as logical) have been provided at every step, so by default the historical debate has been nullified. There is no more historical content left to consider, there is only the issue that is left to consider.
    There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance.
    Nahj ul-Balāgha by Ali bin Abu-Talib

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    Re: Capitalism and racism

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukecash12 View Post
    These questions have nothing to do with what Capitalism is.
    Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukecash12 View Post

    Now either prove that racism has anything to do with the Capitalist theory, by way of pointing to it's actual content, or concede.
    I never said capitalist theory.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lukecash12 View Post

    Views alternative to yours (and every bet as logical) have been provided at every step, so by default the historical debate has been nullified. There is no more historical content left to consider, there is only the issue that is left to consider.
    Would you care to summarise these views?

    I will summarise mine:

    The capitalists exploiting the Americas at the end of the 1600s were short of willing labour, so they got slaves. They then invented racism to excuse or justify it.

    Later they invaded and took over Africa, and again racism was used, not only to justify it, but as a divide and rule tool.

    Today the poorest countries are the non-whites, especially Africa, and the poorest people in capitalist countries are black, the legacy of 300 years of racism, invented by capitalism.

 

 
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