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Jiminez's avatar

In regards to economics, what are you?

Asked by Jiminez (1248points) May 4th, 2009

Are you a capitalist, a socialist, a subscriber to the third way? What are you?

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32 Answers

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Mamradpivo's avatar

I’m a consumer and an independent actor. That’s how I interact with the economy. I think that most people are neither a true capitalist or a true socialist, so I’m going to stick with being a consumer and independent decision-maker.

Zaku's avatar

Alternative.

oratio's avatar

The third way? Would that be consumer power?

Jiminez's avatar

@ubersiren Don’t want to say?

Jiminez's avatar

@Mamradpivo It’s not a question of how you interact with the economy. It’s a question of what kind of economy you prefer.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

I asked my friend Joe and I asked my friend Jake…
they said it was fhqwhgads.

wundayatta's avatar

I like to see incentives for innovation (so people should be rewarded for good work), protection for those who are less fortunate, and socially sponsored efforts to help them join the innovators, and finally, lots of cooperation. I guess you might call me a cooperativist, socialized capitalist. Whatever the fuck that means.

ru2bz46's avatar

I used to be a consumer whore, but something changed in me a few years ago, and I really don’t care so much for material possessions anymore.

I am still a supporter of the capitalist system on the whole, but socialism is just fine on a small scale, like several families sharing resources. Once the socialist community becomes larger than that, a “leader” always emerges to “manage” the resources. Then you have one (or a few) that have a lot, and many that have little. Corruption always spoils the fantasy.

ubersiren's avatar

@Jiminez : Yeah, it’s like walking in front of a moving train to answer questions such as these. I’ll just read. :)

theartfuldodger's avatar

I’m not a fan of the current iteration of the capitalist system, nor am I in favor of the way Russia implemented the socialist system.

I’m somewhere in between. Let me explain further.

In my opinion, Government should be in control of sectors that affect the human well-being, such as health, education, farming and banking. That’s the socialist side.

In my opinion, Citizens should be in control of anything related to investments, consumer products, and everything else I may have missed. Entrepreneurship and success should be encouraged.

[Typing on the fly here, there are probably some other human well-being things I may have missed.]

Jiminez's avatar

@theartfuldodger Well, I’m close to you (I agree that government should be in control of sectors that affect the human well-being) except I don’t think entrepreneurship and (personal) success should be encouraged, though ingenuity should. It sounds radical, but it’s really not (I think this is the way things are going anyway): everything should be open source/copyright free/patentless, so that everybody can continuously improve on everybody’s products, so that we have the best quality stuff. The private sector should consist of worker’s co-operatives/unions instead of private, hierarchical businesses. All decisions should be made by consensus processes or by a directly democratic vote.

_bob's avatar

I do okay. Heh.

Capitalist, with some socialist ideals.

squirbel's avatar

@Jiminez: I am theartfuldodger, i finally got my wish. cryptic?

Anyway – I believe you can have entrepreneurship without the current copyright system. I HATE the current system, because it hinders progressiveness. Any number of people can think of the same idea, and just because the first person to register does so should not have any effect on the next man who thinks of it.

I love the iPhone, don’t get me wrong. But if there weren’t so many patents held on it, we would have had an iPhone that was worlds better 3 months after the first one released. We probably wouldn’t still be driving in gas cars – we’d probably be flying in hovercars or some type of personal flying vehicle.

Seriously.

cwilbur's avatar

I’m a classical liberal, as far as economics goes. I think socialism is a very fine idea but unlikely to work unless you can find a way to make the incentives for doing the right thing for the society line up correctly. Collectivism is even worse—there are slight benefits for everyone for cooperating, but major benefits for individuals for cheating.

Most of this is easily predicted by basic microeconomics and game theory, which is why I think it is so tedious to discuss it extensively.

kenmc's avatar

I’m far left in economics. Except that I don’t believe gov’t should control choice. You can choose to start whatever business you want and you can choose whatever business you’d like to buy from.

When the ‘socialism’ steps in is when a business gets too big for it’s britches and starts running other businesses that it’s not supposed to run.

I’m all for free enterprise… unless you own a multi-national diverse corporation. Then fuck you.

_bob's avatar

@boots I work for a company that employs 50,000 people, in 17 countries, in 4 different industries. What the fuck is wrong with it?

kenmc's avatar

@bob_ Welll… it employs you.

(tongue in cheek…)

_bob's avatar

@boots Touché.

Bagardbilla's avatar

Fiscally conservative, socially liberal.

YARNLADY's avatar

I believe I lean toward being a Utopian Socialist

wundayatta's avatar

@bob_ : Seriously, lately, we’ve seen a bit about what’s wrong with companies that are very large. Too much power concentrated in unregulated hands, will lead to corruption and theft. It is probably better to break these companies down into smaller parts. I heard someone talk about this on NPR in the last couple of months, and they said that the idea of greater efficiency of large organizations is a myth.

At a certain point, there is no increased efficiency, and, in fact, things may get less efficient. It makes sense to me. I see what happens when supervisors don’t know their employees. I have seen analyses that say the largest a group can effectively get is 2000 people.

This is where my cooperativist view comes from. Organizations do not grow larger than 2000 folks, and these organizations can cooperate with each other (or compete… or both) on larger projects, but the essential responsibility is to the home group of 2000 folks.

squirbel's avatar

I’m of the opinion that corporations in and of themselves are not bad. Their tax escapes are bad, and the fact that they are allowed to monopolize is bad.

But corporations are not bad. I do not believe that success and largess should be hindered.

_bob's avatar

@daloon What are your sources?

squirbel's avatar

@bob_ : I’ve never seen you source anything!

wundayatta's avatar

@bob_: sorry, but this is old knowledge, and I can’t remember where I learned it. If you really need sources, I’m sure you could find some.

_bob's avatar

@squirbel I’ve never made any claims that required sourcing.

@daloon I don’t need them, I’m just curious about this “old knowledge” of yours.

YARNLADY's avatar

This article from about.com says “Although there are many small and medium-sized companies, big business units play a dominant role in the American economy. There are several reasons for this. Large companies can supply goods and services to a greater number of people, and they frequently operate more efficiently than small ones. In addition, they often can sell their products at lower prices because of the large volume and small costs per unit sold. They have an advantage in the marketplace because many consumers are attracted to well-known brand names, which they believe guarantee a certain level of quality.”

The Encyclopedia of Earth has an excellent article that addresses both sides of the issues “The growth of large multinational corporations (MNCs) in recent decades has produced some undeniable benefits. The ability of large corporations to seek out low-cost production opportunities provides a benefit to consumers in the form of lower prices…....”
“Large corporations offer some advantages to their employees, who are more likely than workers in small firms to receive fringe benefits such as health care and pensions. Average wages in the U.S. for employees in firms with more than 500 employees tend to be higher than in firms with fewer employees”

and for the negative side, visit the site .

Jiminez's avatar

I’m of the opinion that all for-profit companies are bad; corporations are the worst. Comparable to cancers, really. Just a little perspective from your friendly neighborhood socialist.

resmc's avatar

I believe societies would be more prosperous if wealth was not funneled upwards as it currently is – even if that allows a few people the ability to do really neat things with their power over concentrations of wealth. What we as a community do economically would be way more useful to us, far more in-line with our values & interests – if everyone who made wealth could have their fair say in how/when they worked, for what means, rather than their employers & speculators. But seeking a means to make society more prosperous is not at all what drove me to conclude we need serious restructuring of our economic system.

(Was a very straight-forward matter of ethics & logic… it’s so unstable & harmful to exploit all the people our current system does; victims of profit-driven wars, the sweatshop workers who make most of our stuff, even those of us lucky enough to be able to enjoy the material fruits of all that exploitation… we don’t see much of the wealth we earn, and usually endure insecurity & lack of control over our own working conditions.)

In the operative sense, at the moment my own economic activity is mostly supporting local & fair trade businesses/farms and making an effort to be thrifty, self-sufficient and environmentally responsible… using basically allowance money :-/

@squirbel I highly recommend the book Divine Right of Capital… it’s not an expose of the specific bad things a number of corporations do/have done, nor a socialist polemic, but rather a really novel angle on their basic structure, and its flaws, (plus ideas for improving them).

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