Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 12th Jul 2017 13:37 UTC
Internet & Networking

FCC chairman Ajit Pai is fond of saying that "the internet was not broken in 2015" when he argues for repeal of our nation's net neutrality rules. This is particularly funny to me, because in 2014 I literally wrote an article called "The internet is fucked".

Why was it fucked? Because the free and open internet was in danger of becoming tightly controlled by giant telecom corporations that were already doing things like blocking apps and services from phones and excusing their own services from data caps. Because the lack of competition in the internet access market let these companies act like predatory monopolies. And because our government lacked the will or clarity to just say what everyone already knows: internet access is a utility.

Most of these things are still true, even after the Obama-era FCC under Chairman Tom Wheeler reclassified internet access as a Title II telecommunications service and imposed strict net neutrality rules on wired and wireless internet providers. And most of these things will get even worse when Pai pushes through his plan to rescind Title II and those rules, despite widespread public outcry.

Hey look, another case of corporations actively working to undermine society by bribing politicians with huge amounts of money that individuals would never (or only rarely) have access to. As long as politicians' power is derived not from the people, but from money, shit like this will continue to happen. Trying to stop Pai's obviously horrible and destructive anti-consumer plans is a noble goal, but these plans are only a symptom, not a cause. We're playing whack-a-mole, while they are playing Jenga.

These corporate criminals and their political lapdogs will keep throwing money at the wall until it breaks - and they have more money than we have bricks and mortar.

Order by: Score:
The Internet is not...
by dionicio on Wed 12th Jul 2017 14:41 UTC
dionicio
Member since:
2006-07-12

But the WWW is at great danger of over exploit and fiscalization. Creating the greatest incentives among good will people to live inside the cracks, or to go digitally anemic.

Anonymity FROM ALL ACTORS [including State itself], has a place at every living democracy.

Maybe it's just a MYTH that it will ever happen at the digital realm. Not my expectation to see it happen at my lifetime.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Lazarus
by Lazarus on Wed 12th Jul 2017 15:07 UTC
Lazarus
Member since:
2005-08-10

"We're playing whack-a-mole, while they are playing Jenga."

I like this way of describing the situation...

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by Lazarus
by avgalen on Thu 13th Jul 2017 09:11 UTC in reply to "Comment by Lazarus"
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

I wanted to comment the same. That is such an elegant description of reality!

/me adds-to-main-vocabulary-storage

Reply Score: 2

To quote Mr. Garrison...
by leech on Wed 12th Jul 2017 15:34 UTC
leech
Member since:
2006-01-10

"Fuck 'em 'til they're dead!"

Pretty much sums up my thoughts on the money-grubbing whores we call politicians.

Reply Score: 3

RE: To quote Mr. Garrison...
by fmaxwell on Thu 13th Jul 2017 09:42 UTC in reply to "To quote Mr. Garrison..."
fmaxwell Member since:
2005-11-13

"Fuck 'em 'til they're dead!"

Pretty much sums up my thoughts on the money-grubbing whores we call politicians.


When we had a Democratic administration under Obama, the FCC was supporting net neutrality. This change is the result of electing Republicans, none of whom give a fuck about the interests of the citizens of this country.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by kurkosdr
by kurkosdr on Wed 12th Jul 2017 18:10 UTC
kurkosdr
Member since:
2011-04-11

As long as politicians' power is derived not from the people, but from money, shit like this will continue to happen.

The politicians' power is derived from the people, not from money, and in a true democracy the politicians are a representation of what each nation wants and deserves.

Most Americans choose to vote based on some manufactured "identity" or based on various bogus issues instead of voting based on the real issues, and their current crop of politicians is exactly what they deserve. For example, most US citizens apparently don't think issues like Net Neutrality are important until after the land grab has been done, and even after that all they like to do is whine about it. This is how the game was played with cable companies (people didn't care until after the land grab was done) which is the primary reason Net Neutrality is such a big issue in the US anyway. Other western nations are probably similar.

Generally, in free elections, each nation gets what they deserve.

Which of course means the 50.1% of idiots can rule over the rest 49.9%. So... cut the benefits of poor uneducated people so they can't reproduce, I guess? Make having children expensive so only wealthy educated people can afford having children?

Edited 2017-07-12 18:20 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by kurkosdr
by leech on Wed 12th Jul 2017 20:10 UTC in reply to "Comment by kurkosdr"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

People always tell me "well, if you don't vote, then you don't have a say in the matter." I don't vote because I'm an anarchist, and because they never offer any choice that I'd ever vote for anyhow. But voting on laws is something we don't get to do on that level, instead we get pompous asses that are bribed from every direction voting for us...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by kurkosdr
by bryanv on Wed 12th Jul 2017 20:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kurkosdr"
bryanv Member since:
2005-08-26

I don't vote because I'm an anarchist, and because they never offer any choice that I'd ever vote for anyhow.


Then the proper thing to do, is to cast an empty ballot.
SHOW UP. Abstaining on a vote actually is _counted_. They see those numbers. Represent your refusal to vote for shitty options by showing up, and refusing to vote for shitty options.

Not showing up is interpreted completely differently than showing up and refusing to pick a bad option.

You have been deceived into thinking that 'not voting' is somehow sticking it to the parties. No, sir.. They _count_ on people like you not showing up.

If it got to the point where voters who abstain were > the margin of victory, you would start to see a different type of candidate next cycle.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Comment by kurkosdr
by Dr.Cyber on Wed 12th Jul 2017 22:13 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by kurkosdr"
Dr.Cyber Member since:
2017-06-17



You have been deceived into thinking that 'not voting' is somehow sticking it to the parties. No, sir.. They _count_ on people like you not showing up.

Not voting means you do not want to be part of it and should be left alone, as is your human rights. No one has the right to force people to either vote or submit. Voting with an empty ballot signals to them that you are a moron who actually thinks they care about your opinion.

If it got to the point where voters who abstain were > the margin of victory, you would start to see a different type of candidate next cycle.

You would not. You would just see a puppet controlled by a banker like you always see winning.

Voting is just there to give the illusion of choice in order to keep people docile. It's better for the elite that the people turn in empty ballots then that the people overtrhow the system and take their freedom back.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by kurkosdr
by kwan_e on Thu 13th Jul 2017 00:10 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by kurkosdr"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Not voting means you do not want to be part of it and should be left alone, as is your human rights.


You want to be left alone, yet allowed to be participate in that society. You can't have both.

No one has the right to force people to either vote or submit.


I believe they do, but then I do like Australia's mandatory voting at state and federal elections. Free societies have few obligations, but there are some obligations I don't think can be shirked in order to keep the rest of the freedoms.

Voting is just there to give the illusion of choice in order to keep people docile.


People treat voting like it's supposed to be done once, decision is final, the winner takes it all. Voting is there to steer society in a direction. You can't do hard turns in society. There is no way to get the exact choice you want, you can only get a choice to steer society in a direction you want.

It's simply infantile to chuck a hissy fit just because you don't get to choose exactly what you want.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by kurkosdr
by unclefester on Thu 13th Jul 2017 09:49 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by kurkosdr"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Australia doesn't have mandatory voting. You are required to enrol and turn up to the polling place on the election day (a Saturday). However you aren't required to vote. In practice there is no real punishment for not following the rules. At worst you will get a samll fine - but nothing happens if you don't pay the fine. The governemnt does'nt want any bad publicity or plolitical martyrs.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by kurkosdr
by Dr.Cyber on Sun 16th Jul 2017 21:08 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by kurkosdr"
Dr.Cyber Member since:
2017-06-17



You want to be left alone, yet allowed to be participate in that society. You can't have both.


Strawman, because I do not want to participate in the governments system, and neither do I want the 99% to leave me alone.
But they will put me in jail should I commit the crime of demanding that my human rights be respected. So I have no choice in the matter. Just like all of you I am just cattle.

I believe they do, but then I do like Australia's mandatory voting at state and federal elections. Free societies have few obligations, but there are some obligations I don't think can be shirked in order to keep the rest of the freedoms.


I am not talking about laws. Any mafia boss can make laws if they have the gun power to enforce it. Governments are just the strongest mafia bosses of a country. Laws are not a guidance of morality.

One of the few obligations a free society needs is to respect that which belongs to other people. Their property, their bodies, etc. And who would enforce that? Not a bunch of psychopaths who steal goods (thus violating the right to property) and use a small fraction of that which they stole to enforce respecting human rights.

If the majority of people respect human rights then the people will enforce it.

And if the majority of the people wants to violate other peoples rights then we are screwed anyway, even if we appoint the foulest of them to be our government and give them absolute power like we have done now.


People treat voting like it's supposed to be done once, decision is final, the winner takes it all. Voting is there to steer society in a direction. You can't do hard turns in society. There is no way to get the exact choice you want, you can only get a choice to steer society in a direction you want.


Voting is there to give the illusion of choice.


It's simply infantile to chuck a hissy fit just because you don't get to choose exactly what you want.

That depends on what it is that I want. For example, not getting beaten up by random thugs is exactly what I want. So if I do not get to choose to not get beaten up by random thugs, will you be standing next to my hospital bed telling me how infantile I am?

Your statement is too general to have any meaning.

Edited 2017-07-16 21:10 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by kurkosdr
by dionicio on Thu 13th Jul 2017 14:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by kurkosdr"
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

"Abstaining on a vote actually is _counted_. " Non voting actually is _counted_, also.

States have census data. Mostly public data.

A bit of confidence placed at an urn on a few self proclaimed messiahs every 4 or 6 years means nothing.

Excluding people from political weight -and visibility- is the most usual way of "faking" democracy. Becoming the new normal at XXI century.

And the reason this renewed effort on fiscalizing the WWW, the most civilian side of the Internet, is so insensible.

Don't believe Europe will follow -at least not so openly.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by kurkosdr
by JLF65 on Thu 13th Jul 2017 20:24 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by kurkosdr"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

Then the proper thing to do, is to cast an empty ballot.
SHOW UP. Abstaining on a vote actually is _counted_. They see those numbers. Represent your refusal to vote for shitty options by showing up, and refusing to vote for shitty options.


Electronic voting machines cleared up THAT pesky problem. You CANNOT cast an empty ballot on eVoting machines. There is only one state (Nevada) that includes a "none of the above" entry on their ballots. California tried to get a similar law in place, but it failed. In all other states, you vote for someone on the list, or you don't vote at all.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by kurkosdr
by _txf_ on Thu 13th Jul 2017 01:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kurkosdr"
_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

Direct voting on Policy is what led to Brexit. Most people are idiots and they vote accordingly.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by kurkosdr
by grandmasterphp on Thu 13th Jul 2017 21:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by kurkosdr"
grandmasterphp Member since:
2017-05-15

Direct voting on Policy is what led to Brexit. Most people are idiots and they vote accordingly.


Switzerland has a referendum on everything, and it one of the best countries in Europe.

Most people in the UK wanted out of the EU for years for various reasons. Attitudes like yours that assume that everyone is stupid and doesn't know what is best for them is a pure demonstration of haughtiness.

If the conservative government at the time didn't promise a referendum, UKIP would have become quite a powerful force in UK politics and we would have had a referendum anyway.

The EU as an economic block is failing, year on year their percentage of world trade falls.

https://fullfact.org/europe/eu-has-shrunk-percentage-world-economy/

Most of the poorer countries are satrapies of Germany anyway. So there is a situation where most of the North European countries are paying for the southern and eastern European countries.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by kurkosdr
by dionicio on Fri 14th Jul 2017 13:32 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by kurkosdr"
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Quite a political lesson, GrandmasterPHP: Didn't matter the Referendum "thing" was technically about nothing.

Tories have themselves been "cornered" to deliver on what British people THINK Brexit is.

If well myths are by definition unreal, have the potential to become REAL FORCES, and the reason they're permanently EXPLOITED.

It's a mistake to believe our personal cosmology is built from IDEAS. As individuals, We lack the resources -and lifespan- to transform it into knowledge.

Edited 2017-07-14 13:49 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by kurkosdr
by dionicio on Fri 14th Jul 2017 14:08 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by kurkosdr"
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Magnificent Apocalypto cinema work is very well into the spirit of this "apocalyptic" way of governance:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocalypto

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by kurkosdr
by dionicio on Fri 14th Jul 2017 14:33 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by kurkosdr"
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Only cultures can afford the cost of truth. On destroying truth, culture itself crumble down. Back to you, Donald.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by kurkosdr
by Adurbe on Thu 13th Jul 2017 09:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kurkosdr"
Adurbe Member since:
2005-07-06

If you want to see what anarchism looks like, go to Somalia and tell me that is how you want to raise your kids. It might sound trendy and "subversive" when you live in a stable western economy. The reality of it in action is truly horrendous.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by kurkosdr
by Alfman on Wed 12th Jul 2017 20:14 UTC in reply to "Comment by kurkosdr"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kurkosdr,

Most Americans choose to vote based on some manufactured "identity" or based on various bogus issues instead of voting based on the real issues, and their current crop of politicians is exactly what they deserve. For example, most US citizens apparently don't think issues like Net Neutrality are important until after the land grab has been done, and even after that all they like to do is whine about it. This is how the game was played with cable companies (people didn't care until after the land grab was done) which is the primary reason Net Neutrality is such a big issue in the US anyway. Other western nations are probably similar.


Generally, in free elections, each nation gets what they deserve.


Emphasis mine. The problem with this argument is that it violates causality. We are only voting indirectly on issues and with lots of unknowns. It doesn't make sense to claim we got exactly what we deserved when we don't know what the politicians will do and there's no obligation for them to do what we want. We don't have a say in what the politicians do once they're elected, even when their actions are historically unpopular with voters. To make matters worse, it takes so much money to win (US) elections that only those backed by corporate money have a real shot at winning.

So you cannot just blame the voters themselves, you also have to blame the politicians and the institutions that enable them to overlook voter interests.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by kurkosdr
by Dr.Cyber on Wed 12th Jul 2017 22:02 UTC in reply to "Comment by kurkosdr"
Dr.Cyber Member since:
2017-06-17


The politicians' power is derived from the people, not from money, and in a true democracy the politicians are a representation of what each nation wants and deserves.

Their power is derived from the belief of the people. They use propaganda, fear mongering, and other such tactics to create an illusion where the people falsely believe that the people are in control, the law is always just, and fiat currency is a fair or necessary system.

Yes, we are being screwed because most people are ignorant and indoctrinated. But this is not what they deserve. Just like a child does not deserve to be ran over by a car for not looking both ways before crossing we do not deserve the predators that is our governments indoctrinating and scamming us.

.

Which of course means the 50.1% of idiots can rule over the rest 49.9%. So... cut the benefits of poor uneducated people so they can't reproduce, I guess? Make having children expensive so only wealthy educated people can afford having children?


If only this were the case it would probably be much better than what we truly have (but still not good enough though). Unfortunately the system we have is like being able to choose between McDonalds fries or McDonalds hamburgers to live on. It's a choice, but you are going to get sick and McDonalds will profit from it regardless of what you choose. Now add the possibility for McDonalds to override your choice at will and we have a good analogy of "democracy" as it is implemented in the US.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by kurkosdr
by kwan_e on Wed 12th Jul 2017 23:58 UTC in reply to "Comment by kurkosdr"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Which of course means the 50.1% of idiots can rule over the rest 49.9%. So... cut the benefits of poor uneducated people so they can't reproduce, I guess? Make having children expensive so only wealthy educated people can afford having children?


So the solution to poor uneducated people is to keep them poor and uneducated and move more people into that category? Having a whole bunch of idiots is bad for society whether or not they can vote.

Reply Score: 2

.
by Darkmage on Wed 12th Jul 2017 22:18 UTC
Darkmage
Member since:
2006-10-20

Ah Anarchy. Anarchy is politics for children. I don't want to play so I'll just pretend that this doesn't exist. Good luck with that. I know some anarchists. They squatted in other people's houses, had run ins with the police, didn't bother to vote in elections, and when conservatives got elected and cut their dole money. They were outraged and upset and couldn't do anything about it. Protip: Choosing to not engage in the political process is choosing to allow Might-Makes-Right to become the government, pick a side and stop being an ass, either you stand for the 99% or you stand for the 1%. If you stand for nothing you'll get trampled by one side or the other. Usually the 1%.
Anarchy is the ultimate system of failure, it can't exist anywhere as a form of government because it immediately gets co-opted by fascists. All you do is convince a small group of people that by taking over by force they can have some people do their work for them. They crush the anarchists under their boots because the anarchists don't want to organise or be in a cause. A few weeks later you're the new dictatorship government, bigger and more awful than the last one.

Edited 2017-07-12 22:20 UTC

Reply Score: 3

.
by Meor on Thu 13th Jul 2017 03:17 UTC
Meor
Member since:
2006-09-29

The internet won't be saved by a benevolent government. It'll be saved by concerned citizens.

Reply Score: 1

RE: .
by fmaxwell on Thu 13th Jul 2017 10:18 UTC in reply to "."
fmaxwell Member since:
2005-11-13

The internet won't be saved by a benevolent government. It'll be saved by concerned citizens.


Yet it was being saved by a benevolent government when Democrats controlled the White House. We had an FCC that was actively fighting for net neutrality.

Trump's Plutocratic administration has no interest in the 'concerns' of citizens. They would happily throw us all into wood chippers if lobbyists for AT&T, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, and Comcast asked them to.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: .
by JLF65 on Thu 13th Jul 2017 20:38 UTC in reply to "RE: ."
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

You're distorting the truth, which was that Tom Wheeler was PURE LUCK. As a lobbyist for cable/telecom companies, Wheeler was appointed because they expected him to continue supporting cable and telecom at the expense of the public. NO ONE had any hope of him standing up for the people, and were pleasantly surprised when he did. The Democrats TRIED to sabotage the FCC and it backfired on them, so you can't now turn around and claim they intended that the whole time.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: .
by rhavenn on Thu 13th Jul 2017 21:35 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ."
rhavenn Member since:
2006-05-12

or maybe as a lobbyist he did his job and then as FCC chairman he did his job.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: .
by Alfman on Thu 13th Jul 2017 21:46 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ."
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

JLF65,

You're distorting the truth, which was that Tom Wheeler was PURE LUCK. As a lobbyist for cable/telecom companies, Wheeler was appointed because they expected him to continue supporting cable and telecom at the expense of the public. NO ONE had any hope of him standing up for the people, and were pleasantly surprised when he did. The Democrats TRIED to sabotage the FCC and it backfired on them, so you can't now turn around and claim they intended that the whole time.


You know, I often feel that government appointments and policies are far disconnected from the voters at the ballot box. Both parties are corrupt as hell. Both have very strong ties to corporate and especially wall street interests. I wish we could get rid of them both.

However I still think fmaxwell's point is valid too, the trump administration's appointments are especially unqualified for and hostile to the departments they head. It's no coincidence that his appointments have been so bad, trump doesn't have the right to change the laws he disagrees with, so the next best thing for trump was to appoint people including FCC chairman ajit pai to undermine his own department at every turn.

Edited 2017-07-13 21:50 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: .
by fmaxwell on Thu 13th Jul 2017 23:17 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ."
fmaxwell Member since:
2005-11-13

JLF65 wrote:

Wheeler was PURE LUCK. As a lobbyist for cable/telecom companies, Wheeler was appointed because they expected him to continue supporting cable and telecom at the expense of the public. NO ONE had any hope of him standing up for the people, and were pleasantly surprised when he did. The Democrats TRIED to sabotage the FCC and it backfired on them, so you can't now turn around and claim they intended that the whole time.

No, JLF65, you are the one distorting the truth. On November 10, 2014, the Obama White House put out a press release:

President Obama Urges FCC to Implement Stronger Net Neutrality Rules
Summary: President Obama asks the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take up the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality, the principle that says Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all internet traffic equally.

After the FCC passed strong net neutrality rules, Republicans were livid, claiming that Obama had pressured Wheeler to support net neutrality. They disclosed that Wheeler met with top White House aides nine times while the net neutrality rules were being formulated. When Wheeler denied discussing net neutrality at those meetings, the Republican Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), said “You meet with the White House multiple times ... and we’re supposed to believe that one of the most important things the FCC has ever done, that this doesn’t come up?” Telecom lobbyists also accused the White House of inappropriate involvement in rule making at the FCC.

This is a classic example of Democrats standing up for U.S. citizens against powerful corporations, leaving Republicans furious.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: .
by JLF65 on Fri 14th Jul 2017 00:36 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ."
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

Obama was infamous for claiming one thing while doing the opposite. The Dems had protecting whistleblowers as part of their platform, and yet Obama prosecuted more than TWICE as many whistleblowers as ALL PREVIOUS administrations PUT TOGETHER. While his people may have claimed he wanted Net Neutrality, he tried to work against it with his appointee, but it backfired on him.

By the way, I'm not a Rep. I voted third-party the last 25 years... and not a single person I've voted for has won. It's not very encouraging to be a third-party in the US.

And for the record, I firmly believe that as bad a Obama was (and man was he bad), Trump is gonna make him look good by comparison... and he's already off to a "good" start at that.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: .
by fmaxwell on Fri 14th Jul 2017 01:52 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: ."
fmaxwell Member since:
2005-11-13

Obama was infamous for claiming one thing while doing the opposite.

Obama claimed, both in speeches and White House press releases, that he was for net neutrality. He appointed an FCC Chairman who put regulations in place to make it happen. I don't see any evidence that he claimed he was for it and then tried to 'do the opposite'.

Edited 2017-07-14 01:54 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Phloptical
by Phloptical on Thu 13th Jul 2017 16:29 UTC
Phloptical
Member since:
2006-10-10

The fascists are winning. In America and the world.

Good luck, and good night folks.

Reply Score: 2

Why stop at condemning capitalism?
by CaptainN- on Thu 13th Jul 2017 17:20 UTC
CaptainN-
Member since:
2005-07-07

Capitalism, a term initially coined as a critique of the American system, is all about giving power to those who own things - the capitalists. The basic idea is that you get to do what you want with the things you own. It's no surprise then that capitalists try to assert that power over the political realm, which is ostensibly about democratic power, and not capital power.

What I don't understand, is even when we understand this truth, and it is clear Thom's post that he understands it at some level, we still can't bring ourselves to speak out against the system of capitalism. Why is that?

Do we need an alternative first? I would offer democratically (and worker) owned capitalist institutions as a way forward (this is generally called "democratic socialism", but I think that's incorrect - it's more like "democratic socialism", because while it distributes decision making power democratically, it still relies on the basic capitalist way of determining power is allocated - through ownership).

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

CaptainN-,

What I don't understand, is even when we understand this truth, and it is clear Thom's post that he understands it at some level, we still can't bring ourselves to speak out against the system of capitalism. Why is that?

Do we need an alternative first? I would offer democratically (and worker) owned capitalist institutions as a way forward (this is generally called "democratic socialism", but I think that's incorrect - it's more like "democratic socialism", because while it distributes decision making power democratically, it still relies on the basic capitalist way of determining power is allocated - through ownership).


I can relate to all of that, but I think the problem is that those with political power can use it to gain economic, and those with economic power can use it to gain political power, and it leaves the working class with no power.

It's always been like this to a point, the "robber barrons" treated workers extremely poorly, some were even compensated with company money that couldn't be spent elsewhere. But after the government began enforcing worker protections and gave workers a right to unionize, many of those jobs became good middle class jobs. These were the golden years for the middle class.

However two things changed:

1. the affluent have become more politically powerful and have used their power to push their corporate agendas at the expense of society as a whole.


2. automation, increased productivity, and global consolidation lead to redundancies and much weaker demand for labor in the workforce. This lead to wage stagnation, cut back in benefits, etc.


#1 might be solvable if we could rid politics of corruption and get representatives who actually represented their constituents, but how? People will vote for what they want to believe (like draining the swap), even if it was all lies. It would be one thing if politicians were held accountable, and I think they should be, but at least here in the US they have no accountability. They are free to lie as much as they want to get elected with no repercussions at all.


#2 isn't strictly driven by malice, being more efficient is ostensibly a good thing and we shouldn't discourage efficiency. The problem is that nearly all of the gains in efficiency have gone to benefit the owners rather than the workers. Obviously we need an economic model where benefits reach everyone.

Solutions should be feasible, but it seems rare for those in power to be willing to cull their own economic advantages over others.

Edited 2017-07-13 18:45 UTC

Reply Score: 2

CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

These are all problems we see time and time again in capitalism and have even solved multiple times, usually through kaynesian economic policy (applying external controls to capitalism). Nothing about automation means people should have to live a crappier life, and that history goes back over a century. All we need to do is make sure we all share in the benefits of automation, but capitalism (defined in my other response) doesn't allow for that because of the way power is allocated. When we have solved these problems in the passed it has been a separate political system (which allocates power differently) applying the fixes in an external way.

Edited 2017-07-14 14:48 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

CaptainN-,

These are all problems we see time and time again in capitalism and have even solved multiple times, usually through kaynesian economic policy (applying external controls to capitalism). Nothing about automation means people should have to live a crappier life, and that history goes back over a century. All we need to do is make sure we all share in the benefits of automation, but capitalism (defined in my other response) doesn't allow for that because of the way power is allocated. When we have solved these problems in the passed it has been a separate political system (which allocates power differently) applying the fixes in an external way.


Well, I agree with all of that and your other post too. That world would be better than this world, but it doesn't give us a clear path to get there. The underlying problem is that people with wealth and control actually benefit from the unfair distribution of resources, and power. And to defend their conscience they've invented this perverse notion that greed is good. How do you propose we actually change things though considering that greedy aristocrats preside at the top of government and corporate institutions? One way would be a revolution where the masses take control by force, but that would undoubtedly result in military power to squash it. Is there any precedence in all of history for a peaceful redistribution of power to the public?

Reply Score: 2

CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

I agree with you on multiple fronts. I propose we get started on the model that would replace the current one. The problem with the current model is that it's unsustainable. Yes it does benefit those greedy bastards at the top to do what they are doing in the short term, but it massively destablablizes the system in the longer term. Eventually, it will cause a crisis that can't be solved so easily by government bailouts (once the mass of people figure out they are the ones paying - and there are signs they are figuring it out).

Since I'm suggesting that since the collapse of that system is inevitable, I think it's best to follow the model of a company like Mondragon, and just get started (they started in the 1950s). We can form 1 vote per person companies today (by tying the number of shares to the number of employees, and distributing shares amongst employees), using existing corporate rules. No need to wait at all! All we have to do is stop tolerating the old command and control ways of doing things, and do it differently.

Reply Score: 3

grandmasterphp Member since:
2017-05-15

Capitalism, a term initially coined as a critique of the American system, is all about giving power to those who own things - the capitalists. The basic idea is that you get to do what you want with the things you own. It's no surprise then that capitalists try to assert that power over the political realm, which is ostensibly about democratic power, and not capital power.


That isn't right unfortunately. You are explaining Corporatism which is essentially corruption.

Capitalism is "an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state."

The UK and the USA are certainly not capitalist, but more corporatist unfortunately.

"Democratic Socialism" is basically marxism which doesn't really work

http://www.pragcap.com/a-cheat-sheet-for-understanding-the-differen...

Edited 2017-07-13 21:21 UTC

Reply Score: 2

CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

We disagree on the definition of capitalism (to an extent). I would define it in terms of how power is allocated. In the economic system of capitalism, power is allocated exclusively to owners. The owner of capital gets to make all the decisions about when, how where, and what to do with his capital. Not the workers, not the communities. It's that simple.

Corporations are simply a way of sharing ownership and a way of distributing power by allocating decision power by share. One share gets one vote, but it's still capitalism. Workers, who don't own the companies for which they work get no power.

Democracy is meant to distribute power by deography, 1 vote per person. But democracy and capitalism are fundamentally incompatible.

My preferred hack as a fix would be to distribute the power of ownership equally among workers at a capitalist institution, one share per worker, to gain them one vote per person per share. Collectively, the idea is these companies would be less willing to do shitty things like grind up their local environments or outsource their jobs, or automate their jobs away and hand over all the benefits of that to just the owners (because they are the owners, they'd reap the benefits)

Marxism through central planning arguably doesn't work (I'd argue it works pretty well for Russia given it's harsh trading geography, but that it has other crappy side effects I don't want) but what I described above is a pretty simple private form of democratic socialism

Edited 2017-07-14 14:43 UTC

Reply Score: 2

grandmasterphp Member since:
2017-05-15

We disagree on the definition of capitalism (to an extent).


Well there is very little point continuing the conversation if you cannot agree to use well understood definitions.

Edited 2017-07-14 16:26 UTC

Reply Score: 1

CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

There's nothing wrong with discussing terms to start with - they do it in university frequently. I'm actually not sure what your problem with that is. Most content on the subject talks about multiple different kinds of capitalism, so it's clearly not something easy to define.

Additionally, most definitions isolate the system to economics and don't use it to define a political system, which itself contradicts your "well understood definition", so if I can't even challenge that, then I guess you have your desired trump card...

Also, capitalism is an economic system. It's not a religion.

Edited 2017-07-14 17:48 UTC

Reply Score: 2

grandmasterphp Member since:
2017-05-15

Not they talk about different types of economic theory, which I linked in one of the comments above.

Capitalism is quite clearly defined.

Edited 2017-07-14 20:15 UTC

Reply Score: 1

fmaxwell Member since:
2005-11-13

My preferred hack as a fix would be to distribute the power of ownership equally among workers at a capitalist institution, one share per worker, to gain them one vote per person per share.


So a form of a worker cooperative:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worker_cooperative

Reply Score: 2

CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

Pretty much - though I think we need to have better models to follow than most of what I've seen. Most of the models I've seen (In the USA) are formed by young folks, and they fail on a number of fronts. The model I want to follow would scale and persist - something like Mondragon in Spain.

Universities do a great job of training corporate lackeys to run those giant businesses - we could use something similar for how to start and run worker coops.

Update: Just to point out though, there are a number of different kinds of coops, and I'm talking specifically about an organization where the workers both own and self direct (if not directly manage) the company. Both of those are part of the hack. THat can look a couple of different ways - but to leave a corporate system in place, it would mean the board of directors would have to be made up of workers from the business (preferably, or maybe exclusively made up of asset producing employees, and not salesmen or managers). They would hire the CEO, and set compensation, etc.

Edited 2017-07-14 18:57 UTC

Reply Score: 2