Debate and Discussion

Of Law and Order, Social Systems, and Corruption
Tantz Aerine at 12:10PM, Jan. 22, 2012
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Across the forums and boards I have been attending, when serious debates come up regarding the worth of anything remotely falling within the fields of social systems, legal systems, political systems and religion, you get the usual ‘pro and con’ arguments. Some completely reject a social system (from democracy to monarchy to anarchy) while others almost fanatically abide by it.

Some declare themselves theists while others declare themselves atheists- but unlike the lack of debate when people state matters of personal taste and/or belief, the debate wars that go on (for the actual constructive discussions on such matters are few, far between and preciously rare) seem to badger on whatever social system a religion might be supporting or basing its protocols on (dogma aside). Even the polemic on the alleged unintelligence of either side (theists vs atheists) invokes arguments regarding what an effect on the social system these people have had, are having, or are running the risk to have. 

The same can be said about those badgering communists, capitalists and the like, from what I have seen.

But what I haven't seen and would like to discuss, is that nobody takes into account that if we put the application of any social system on the table and examine it, its biggest flaws do NOT stem from whatever principles it has and preaches, but from the fact that these rules aren't applied to absolutely everyone within that society

So it comes down to law, really: historically I have yet to find a single period in history (at least western history which I know better) where any system has been tested for its viability while ensuring that EVERYONE is subject to ABSOLUTELY THE SAME RULES, LAWS, PUNISHMENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES/PRIVILEGES.

In sort, it could be argued that the biggest flaw of human society, regardless of the system it ascribes to, is corruption from the initial social system theory. And that includes, in my opinion, capitalism.

Hence, the one viable social system that could be applied, without quickly becoming (or even starting off as) an aberration that pretty much boils down to the same old feudal/caste system of antiquity and the middle ages, would be the one immune to corruption. 

Discuss! :D 
 
last edited on Jan. 22, 2012 12:11PM
Abt_Nihil at 1:26PM, Jan. 22, 2012
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Well, that would beg the question whether any system can be inherently immune to corruption. It would seem that this is in fact a more or less independent point, where just the implementation has to consider the system in question (meaning there can be a system-independent “best way” to combat corruption, but its implementation is then system-dependent. For example, checks-and-balances can be considered system-independently, but checks and balances in liberal capitalism would be implemented differently than in a communist system.)

The way I see it, there are two possibilities:

Either there are systems which are inherently less prone to corruption than others. Then it might still be that there are other factors which override the corruption factor. For instance, dictatorship and absolutism seem somewhat less prone to corruption, since the whole system's aim is to serve the more or less random needs of the ruling class. At the very least, corruption would be harder to define :P

The other possibility: Corruption can more or less occur in any system (again, it's also a question of how to define corruption across different systems). Then we could just eliminate that factor, and compare other properties of the systems in question.

The obvious point, which I don't see the need to discuss, is that systems which are generally considered better than others (such as capitalism > communism) can be undermined by corruption in such a way that an inferior, but uncorrupted system can turn out to be the preferrable one (i.e. uncorrupted communism > corrupted capitalism).
last edited on Jan. 22, 2012 1:30PM
Tantz Aerine at 6:21PM, Jan. 22, 2012
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Does that imply you believe communism is inferior to capitalism, were they both applied in their uncorrupted form? XD

You did signle out the two points I was interested in discussing though: I believe that there is such a system that is virtually uncorruptable. Well, other than a whimsical caste system where the only rule is the upper caste/monarch's wish (that I suppose is also immune to corruption XD)

I would define corruption as the degeneration of a social system from its original form as postulated and delineated in the matching theory or dogma into an aberration that may keep some tags and concepts on a superficial level but renders all mechanisms of that system invalid and unreliable, effectively turning that system into some other system altogether.

In that sense you can have capitalism/communism get corrupted into a corrupted form of communism (soviet style communism for example) and then in turn get corrupted into a form of fascism/nazism, until we get to a full blown corruption to a feudal/caste/ ‘divinely appointed’ oligarchy of sorts without any rules but that oligarchy's whims.  

The only way for these systems not to follow this vicious circle, in my opinion, and thus need bloodshed and revolution to reboot in a sense, would be a way to enforce that the rule book applies to absolutely everyone, without any exception whatsoever, with maybe an inversely analogous level of severity and double checking as the ranks in the system go up. 
Or… you can go for an uncorruptable social system- which I believe can be achieved if you inverse the power grid completely, and have the Peoples control power rather than a small elite.

These two points is what I want to discuss, because so many present the current situation (social system wise) in the western world as an unavoidable status quo. 
 
Abt_Nihil at 3:08AM, Jan. 23, 2012
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Tantz Aerine wrote:
Does that imply you believe communism is inferior to capitalism, were they both applied in their uncorrupted form? XD  
 
I believe a good system is somewhere inbetween, but I generally prefer less regulation and more freedom. That needn't be a capitalist system (I don't believe in money and free trade as a value in itself, but if it serves a more general idea of individual freedom, it seems better than communism), but it's definitely closer. There are definitely areas where I don't want to be free, though - I don't want to be free to do something completely irresponsible today and have tp suffer the rest of my life for this mistake (which is what I take the lack of a proper healthcare system to be).
Tantz Aerine wrote:
I believe that there is such a system that is virtually uncorruptable. Well, other than a whimsical caste system where the only rule is the upper caste/monarch's wish (that I suppose is also immune to corruption XD) (…) You can go for an uncorruptable social system- which I believe can be achieved if you inverse the power grid completely, and have the Peoples control power rather than a small elite.
     
I threw these two quotes together to emphasize that your idea for an incorruptible system is this “people rule” system. You're not saying anything more substantial about that (I also noted that in your first quote it's only “virtually” incorruptible), and I have other points which are more pressing, so I won't discuss that here - just to keep it in mind.
Tantz Aerine wrote:
I would define corruption as the degeneration of a social system from its original form as postulated and delineated in the matching theory or dogma into an aberration that may keep some tags and concepts on a superficial level but renders all mechanisms of that system invalid and unreliable, effectively turning that system into some other system altogether.
       
I think what you're getting at here is a consequence of corruption (and not even a necessary one - consider a society that is composed of perfect, ideal agents - they might exploit forms of corruption, but thus might even improve a bit on the system), and not that much of a definition. I think your following quote is a fruitful hint for what I would prefer as a definition:
Tantz Aerine wrote:
The only way for these systems not to follow this vicious circle, in my opinion, (…) would be a way to enforce that the rule book applies to absolutely everyone, without any exception whatsoever, with maybe an inversely analogous level of severity and double checking as the ranks in the system go up.
       
If we sharpen this “application to everyone” thing a bit, I think we'd arrive at a concept of incommensurable values - values which cannot be traded against anything else. Because to me, the nature of corruption seems to be a trade-off between higher values against lesser values (where “higher” is defined as more suited to the conservation of the overall system), such as trading justice against money or reputation. People who have more money or reputation can get away unharmed in situations in which people with less money or reputation get punished. The idea is to have no one get away with murder, or something like that. Also, corruption is an informal process - that is (and that chimes with your account), it is something that isn't explicitly allowed by the system's rules (but it needn't be explicitly forbidden - I believe that many informal ways of conduct are in fact vital for any given system, and don't amount to corruption. A system can't and shouldn't fully regulate all possible ways of conduct).
My motivation to talk about incommensurable values instead of rules applying to everyone is that social rules should be expected to talk differently about people according to their social roles, and social roles are just a sign of a differentiated modern society, and are completely independent of stratification (i.e. class systems). Being a lawyer means occupying a different role than a gardener, and the system's rules don't have to apply to them in the same way (in fact, it would be rather difficult). What's important is that they both comply with the same general values which the system is built on.
 
Tantz Aerine wrote:
These two points is what I want to discuss, because so many present the current situation (social system wise) in the western world as an unavoidable status quo.  
 
I also loathe the view that there are no potential alternatives to any given system, and it is telling that it is mostly enforced by people who profit from it.
  
  
last edited on Jan. 23, 2012 3:22AM
ozoneocean at 4:49AM, Jan. 23, 2012
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I've read through all posts before responding to my interpretation of Tantz's original post here.
I won't contribute to that thread of the discussion that you two have had because it stems from notions I wouldn't entirely agree with and then goes its own way from there. But it was an interesting read nevertheless!
 
Why do systems corrupt?
 

-Tantz seems to say that it's because they aren't perfectly formed enough. Such an idea seems pretty theoretical to me, like the notion of a perfect conductor, a cosmological constant, or the final full value of Pi.
 
-Feudal systems are very simple but corruption of a feudal system is pretty simple too: It happens when they grow and become complex. That sounds like a joke but that's what happens: The ruling family naturally expands, land holdings expand, succession becomes contested, the authority hierarchy of extended family and servants, soldiers, serfs, slaves etc gets mixed up…
 
People are dicks
-One idea that I've often put forward is that almost any reasonably well designed system (including communism, capitalism, whatever) IS perfect, it's just that people are dicks. And if people weren't dicks they they'd be perfectly content no mater what they called their style of government.
 
Communism
-An idea put forward for the “failure” of communism was that the main problem was that everyone wasn't communist. The idea is that planned economies would've worked as planned if all countries ran the same way so they all mutually supported each other. It would've also eliminated the problem of envying the products and fashions of competing cultures.
This idea actually makes a lot of sense- I'm not advocating communism here, but it DOES explain things: the communist objectives, why the Warsaw pact countries banded together in the way they did, why they tried to be so insular and policed, and why they ultimately failed.
So this problem there wasn't corruption at all, just a failure to achieve the correct conditions.
 
Capitalism
-The chief flaw in capitalism is in its objectives:
It's mainly based on aspiration. You want to get ahead of your fellow man by making more money, impressing people through possession, having an easier life and doing less work etc, but the structure is always roughly a pyramid, with a great deal of poor down the bottom, under-classes, middle-classes, wealthy, rich and super ultra rich at the very top.
It has to be that way. There simply CAN'T be a lot of super rich and few poor and middle classes.
 
The trouble is that a fiction is sold that anyone can go from the bottom of the pyramid to the top at any time. There are few social barriers to mobility, all you need is a bit of education, or maybe great luck, or an amazing idea or special talent and if you're good, stay within the rules and work really, really hard then world is yours!
So the real reason people are poor is because they must be lazy, stupid, lack ambition, talentless and ultimately worthless as human beings.
And the real reason people are at the top is that they're amazingly intelligent, they worked extremely hard, and they're hugely talented.
That's simplistic and somewhat childish, I know, but millions hold exactly those views with a religious fever.
 
The easiest route to social and economic mobility within capitalism is through corruption- at the lowest levels; stealing, drug dealing etc., and at the higher and highest levels; property fraud, political bribes, tax fraud, insider trading etc as well as more informal “moral” and “ethical” corruption like nepotism, favouritism, screwing over partners etc the kind of thing your Bill Gates's and Steve Jobs's would do a lot.
 
Libertarianism
-I think less corruptible systems are small systems (the libertarian model). But the massive flaw with them is that they only work well in isolation.
They can't be large or they become too complex and fail, needing all the same sorts of laws taxes, check and balances as any conventional system that they tried to replace.
And if you applied them on any scale- lots and lots of separately governed libertarian systems (could be a household, a farm, small town etc), then the problems start when they try an coordinate, compete, and collaborate with each other. Complicated systems have to be codified and used or you get conflict… And that results in similar laws, taxes committees as the systems they replaced.
 
—————
OK, I hope someone bothers to read that mass of text…
Discussing flaws is easy though… I don't know any system that's immune to corruption.
 
last edited on Jan. 23, 2012 5:13AM
Genejoke at 6:26AM, Jan. 23, 2012
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People are dicks -One idea that I've often put forward is that almost any reasonably well designed system (including communism, capitalism, whatever) IS perfect, it's just that people are dicks. And if people weren't dicks they they'd be perfectly content no mater what they called their style of government. 
This largely sums up my belief on the matter, a system will only perfect or virtually incorruptable until you introduce it to people.    I only skimmed through the thread so far, time doesn't permit much else for now but in regards to the failure of communism theory…
Can't that logic be applied to all systems?  If people do not believe in a system, they won't support it and will be more inclined to abuse it?  
Sorry this is very short but RL intrudes.  
ozoneocean at 9:17AM, Jan. 23, 2012
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Genejoke wrote:
  I only skimmed through the thread so far, time doesn't permit much else for now but in regards to the failure of communism theory…
Can't that logic be applied to all systems?  If people do not believe in a system, they won't support it and will be more inclined to abuse it?  
Sorry this is very short but RL intrudes.  
If you're responding to my point; you gots it wrong. :(
The idea is that communism can only really work is all countries are communist together.
That's what I meant by “everyone”, and not belief, or people thinking the same or working toward the same goal or anything like that..
 
If all countries were communist in the 1950s for example- then when times were hard with one, all others would've supported them and they'd have worked together, so there'd have been no great famines or anything like that.
There would have been no external threats either so no need to waste resources on a gigantic military and all the infrastructure to produce and develop new weapons.
There'd have been no competing or alternative culture (the west) to temp people away with false promises of easy wealth and material gimmicks.
There's have been almost no need for massive secret police organisations like the KGB so the populace would've been a bit happier and freer.
 
-There STILL would have been some secret police in Russia specifically because that was already part of their culture anyway that they'd already had since the Czars, but probably wouldn't spread to other nations since without an external threat the would be no need to have Russia as such a central controlling focus.
 
That is all completely hypothetical and fantastical though of course. But it's a different and more interesting way of looking at it I think than the usual bog-standard “It was evil and could never work because it didn't!!” Grr grr slobber angry face.
 
Genejoke at 9:57AM, Jan. 23, 2012
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I did gets it wrong, that's what i meant about skimming over it, easy to miss points.  
ayesinback at 5:12PM, Jan. 23, 2012
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I admit that when faced with the erudite and supremely well-articulated expostulations that Tantz and Abti_Nihil seem to effortlessly put forth (you, too, Oz!) - I end up skimming.
 
(I'm not necessarily happy about that.  Given that English is my only language and that I have Years of “experience”, it's rather an embarrassment.  Hats off to bravo who usually fares so much better than I).
 
Anyway, because there is no Divine system of social organization handed down to the clay-creatures, any social structure, from its source, is intriniscally, entirely, historically, regretably fallible.  And even if there Were a Divine structure, not all believe in divinity - so how would it hold?
 
Its not that humans are “base”, but we are un-united.  Even when a vast majority exists, a “deviant” can, and has, interrupted an agreement or understanding made among the majority.  This is basically true of any social concept one may wish to study. If I read correctly, this is in part one of the posits Oz made:  as the social group becomes larger, the greater the actualization of discordance.
 
On the other hand, the willpower of even one individual, given this one individual's power of will, can serve to ignite and unite an entire community –  irrespective of logic, benefit, or end-result of this individual's stance; and again, the smaller the population, the greater the influence. But, inevitably, once that individual ceases, a group gradually reverts to a ground zero, unless another individual appears to continue the will.
 
I have little faith in the philosophy of social structure or government because it does not have its own power of entity.  Instead, it is subject to the interpretation of the people of the time of the place.  A philosophy, as a concept, is like any other label one might print out and put on a folder for filing purposes.  It is entirely subject to the people who hold the label.  And people are (dicks) fallible.
under new management
bravo1102 at 1:31AM, Jan. 24, 2012
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There is no rarified Platonian "Perfect archetype Society' because everything changes when put into practice.  Lenin threw out his copy of Marx in order to take the reins of government.  Soviet Communism was not Marxism and was horribly corrupted by Lenin and other Russian theorists long before October 1917.
 
The Soviet interpretation of the theories of Marx failed.  Not the actual theories of Marx.  Those are still safe in their file as Plato's Perfect Forms. (I like that image ayesinback) The same way that the most corrupt of all governments are absolute governments.  In a completely absolutist government whoever is in charge makes the rules and can change them whenever it pleases them.  Hense, they are infinitely corruptable.  Change the rules or overlook the rules and you get what is behind curtain #1.  People always want more than they have and there is always something valuable to trade.  There doesn't have to be necessarily have to be gold or salt.
 
 
A huge problem in absoltuist forms is the knowledge that people are dicks.  An absolutist government becomes paranoid about it's own security whether it is surrounded by fellow absolutists or exists in a vacuum.  Someone is always out there trying to overthrow the current order.  That one guy that ayesinback suggests.  Stalin had his enemy list just as sure as Nixon and Louis XIV and Charlemagne.  That's why if every nation was Communist in the 1950s there would still have been huge militaries and lots of secret police because of the necessity to effectively police the population and to protect the perfection of one Communist state from another.  Tito and Mao and Ho all practiced very careful balancing acts with the USSR.  Ho especially with his genius of playing Communist Chinese off of the Soviets.  There was no happy world of communism but a game of power and domination.
 
Humans cannot change their social conventions even if they were able to roll back society to digging sticks and clubs.  Humans have still ended up with proto city-states ruled by feudal absolutists in the name of their gods whether it's Europe, China or Hawai'i.
ozoneocean at 4:43AM, Jan. 24, 2012
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Bravo- There was no more or less of a “game of domination” between the communist countries than the Western ones or the non-aligned ones, which you will always get with nationalism.
Tito's main and much noted balancing act was between West and East; the two homicidal, massive inimical powers to either side of him.
 
One key thing we haven't gone into is that communism and capitalism are mainly economic models. You can have capitalist dictatorships or monarchies and communist or socialist democracies quite easily. You can infinitely mix and match and alter and tweak, which is what countries all around the world have done in many varieties.
China is a great example of a capitalist dictatorship, even if they call themselves “communist” and North Korea is a communist monarchy.
 
But can a successful system really be defined by its lack of corruption (the fact that it stays true), or by the contentment of the populace in general?
Neither of-course because the people's “contentment”  could be due to a country's reliance of slave labour, or massive debit, so contentment is only a momentary factor till that system has to deal with the problems caused by those instabilities (debit needing to be paid, slave system collapsing). And systems can stay true, without corrupting, even as a country isn't being run into the ground, simply because it won't change, like the captain of the apocryphal ocean liner  refusing to change course to avoid the iceberg.
 
bravo1102 at 2:11AM, Jan. 25, 2012
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Something you seem to overlook is that you cannot have any social organiziation of people resembling a nation without nationalism.  Organize people into groups and you inevitiably get some kind of group pride.  So therefore you can't have any kind of competiion between groups without that group pride whether its football clubs or Serbians and Croats.  And people compete all the time.  It's part of trying to stay alive and being better at staying alive than the next guy.  So in a world of communist nations each nation would try to outdo its communist neighbor in how communist it was.  Of course each definition of communism would be different so there would split up into sects the same way the Russian political groups did in the late 19th and early 20th Century or how there came to be the Federalists and Anti-Federalists born in the birth pangs of the American republic.  People have different perceptions of the same thing and therefore will implement said thing entirely differently and there'll always be some steadfast defender of supposed orthadoxy who yells “Foul!”
 
Individuals in a society who are complacent and pleased with that society are only willing to remain so because they know nothing better and only so long as they are left alone to conduct their business as they see fit.  Some call this the “peasant mentality” but one doesn't have to be a peasant to behave thus.  Proletarian industrial workers have behaved similarly.  Communism works on the level of the peasant village as has been shown time upon time.  However exterior stresses upon that structure will upset it.  Also one has to be born into it.  Failed Attempts at creating such utopias show time and again that they can't be imposed.  Then of course as Ayes pointed out there are those restless types who want to change things and who can get people to follow them. 
last edited on Jan. 26, 2012 1:38AM
Tantz Aerine at 11:15AM, Jan. 27, 2012
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I'm so intrigued by the many promising-to-be-juicy posts here! I haven't yet had time to invest in reading them all carefully but I will this saturday, I'm hoping :)
 
bravo1102 at 4:04AM, Jan. 31, 2012
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In actual practice one can no more seperate an economic system from a political one anymore than you can seperate the stomach from the digestive system.  You could say the economic system is one way a government digests it's national power.  The government consumes the riches created by its nation's economy.  However most governments have digestive problems and often suffer indigestion depending on what they consume from their economy and how they consume it.
 
Governments are quite intimate with their economies that same as we humans are with our diets and digestive systems.  There are no Platoian Perfect Forms.  China is a Communist oligarchy that has adapted certain captialist economic methods to stimulate growth so the Communist Oligarchy can continue with its plans.  It is and remains a government planned economy not a capitalist one even if it uses certain capitalist techniques to reach its ends.  I recently read some stories about how the British Government mismanaged its Aerospace industry in the 1950s-70s.  The government forced the companies to form and reform themselves before they could conduct any business or design any airplanes.  Sure the companies were capitalist in how they conducted business but the government deciding on where and how each busniness is organiaed and what goods they can sell or manufacture is not capitalism even if the UK is supposedly a capitalist nation. 
 
 
gecko200 at 4:49PM, June 22, 2012
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First , let me say that all big words in thread , make hulk head hurt!!!
  Getting that out of the way,  any system no matter how well thought out will only work as well as the people it is designed to control, help , punish or whatever, but if I understand the gist of this discusion it is, what system, religion , order or what have you is the perfect path to  conjuring  order out of chaos , but once you add the major component humans into the mix it is automatically corrupted and it becomes merely a theory or wish session of what we want in a perfect world. And don't forget I said Humans , that most illogical , imperfect chaotic creature is the only way to implement and guide  the sucess or failure of said system.
last edited on June 22, 2012 4:56PM
El Cid at 6:05PM, June 23, 2012
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That's really only an issue though if the system aims for perfection. If the system's just aiming to facilitate the most satisfactory compromises, then that's totally do-able, so long as it allows for the flaws of its inputs. A system that treats human traits as error rather than attributes is destined to end in piles of dead bodies.
ozoneocean at 10:55PM, June 24, 2012
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@ bravo-
“China is a Communist oligarchy that has adapted certain captialist economic methods to stimulate growth so the Communist Oligarchy”
 
I would disagree, “oligarchy” has just bean used there to try and justify the old notion that China is still communist in the old fashioned way. It's not. Things have completely, totally changed there. It's more capitalist than the USA. (The business I work for deals with China daily.)
You think too strongly in terms of economics and politics being one. They're tied, but they are not one and can be altered, separated and changed.
I think rather you come from a country where people identify so strongly with their economic model, especially since in a large part US nationhood was defined by its opposition to the Soviet Bloc competing economic model during the 20th century. This is an error of perspective, and due to its nature it's no doubt very wide spread and very deeply ingrained!
-So in no way an individual fault.
 
@gecko200-
Systems CAN work with unpredictable components without corrupting. You can always design systems, machines, programs, or rules to deal with unknown quantities, especially if they have the ability to adapt to changing conditions. I think that is the KEY component: adaptation.
The most rigid systems of government were theocracies. All countries did away with those very early on in history (some always try to return to that though), because they become supremely corrupt very quickly, since corruption is the only way to adapt them to changing conditions… and they have a high failure rate.
 
@El Cid-
Even though you don't claim to advocate perfection, I still sense a bit of utopianism is what you say i.e. “system's just aiming to facilitate the most satisfactory compromises” as if it's just design that holds the key. It's a seductive notion, but I doubt that any initial design can ever full account for the complexity and change a society will undergo.Change and turnover is a constant.
 
El Cid at 8:20AM, June 25, 2012
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That's why I was very careful to say that such a government would “facilitate,” rather than provide. Ideally, that government should be a framework under which smaller political bodies and individuals can work out their own problems in a manner satisfactory to themselves, and would only need to intervene where it is not economical to do so.
worldsgreatestlover at 9:45PM, Aug. 22, 2012
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ozoneocean wrote:
People are dicks
-One idea that I've often put forward is that almost any reasonably well designed system (including communism, capitalism, whatever) IS perfect, it's just that people are dicks. And if people weren't dicks they they'd be perfectly content no mater what they called their style of government.
I don't think that's quite right.  I would say that some people are dicks some of the time and some people are dicks all of the time.  Without selective deletion stability can't be achieved.  When faced with the problem of corruption, however, selective deletion is no longer a viable option.  Thus, our present state where corruption is actually encouraged by people who are dicks all the time to people who are dicks some of the time.
Communism
-An idea put forward for the “failure” of communism was that the main problem was that everyone wasn't communist. The idea is that planned economies would've worked as planned if all countries ran the same way so they all mutually supported each other. It would've also eliminated the problem of envying the products and fashions of competing cultures.
This idea actually makes a lot of sense- I'm not advocating communism here, but it DOES explain things: the communist objectives, why the Warsaw pact countries banded together in the way they did, why they tried to be so insular and policed, and why they ultimately failed.
So this problem there wasn't corruption at all, just a failure to achieve the correct conditions.
I dont' agree.  Communism fell not because of envy, but because the system was itself corrupt at its inception, which cannot be avoided.  A ruling class was constructed of trusted individuals that were somewhat more equal than the rest of the populace.  That ruling class passed down their power through the generations enhanced the initial corruption of perfect equality.  

Communism cannot exist because it requires a Papa Smurf figure who is by his very nature an unequal entity akin to a monarch.  
Capitalism
-The chief flaw in capitalism is in its objectives:
It's mainly based on aspiration. You want to get ahead of your fellow man by making more money, impressing people through possession, having an easier life and doing less work etc, but the structure is always roughly a pyramid, with a great deal of poor down the bottom, under-classes, middle-classes, wealthy, rich and super ultra rich at the very top.
It has to be that way. There simply CAN'T be a lot of super rich and few poor and middle classes.
Well said.  I would add that capitalism is a caste-based society.  It inhibits social mobility.  It does not encourage it.  
The trouble is that a fiction is sold that anyone can go from the bottom of the pyramid to the top at any time. There are few social barriers to mobility, all you need is a bit of education, or maybe great luck, or an amazing idea or special talent and if you're good, stay within the rules and work really, really hard then world is yours!
So the real reason people are poor is because they must be lazy, stupid, lack ambition, talentless and ultimately worthless as human beings.
And the real reason people are at the top is that they're amazingly intelligent, they worked extremely hard, and they're hugely talented.
That's simplistic and somewhat childish, I know, but millions hold exactly those views with a religious fever.
Unfortunately the power of that statement is its simplicity.  To most people the world is just.  That is the great error.  The blank slate does not actually exist.  People are, in large part, the victim of their circumstance whether or not it is healthy to see oneself accurately in this light.  The sins of the father, etc. 
The easiest route to social and economic mobility within capitalism is through corruption- at the lowest levels; stealing, drug dealing etc., and at the higher and highest levels; property fraud, political bribes, tax fraud, insider trading etc as well as more informal “moral” and “ethical” corruption like nepotism, favouritism, screwing over partners etc the kind of thing your Bill Gates's and Steve Jobs's would do a lot.
This is an important point, and one I tried to make after SJ's death, much to the chagrin of those around me.  To have such a horrible management figure praised for his viscious ferocity in the media was almost too much to bear.  He was certainly corrupt, and certainly a motivator.  He motivated those who knew him to detest him deeply.
Libertarianism
-I think less corruptible systems are small systems (the libertarian model). But the massive flaw with them is that they only work well in isolation.
They can't be large or they become too complex and fail, needing all the same sorts of laws taxes, check and balances as any conventional system that they tried to replace.
And if you applied them on any scale- lots and lots of separately governed libertarian systems (could be a household, a farm, small town etc), then the problems start when they try an coordinate, compete, and collaborate with each other. Complicated systems have to be codified and used or you get conflict… And that results in similar laws, taxes committees as the systems they replaced.
What's really unfortunate, and not said nearly enough is that Libertarianism is simply a primitive form of totalitarianism.  Might makes right becomes the standard.  The cowboy ethic isn't so much an ethic as it is a target range.  Libertarianism is often quite viscious, and usually is indistinguishable from corruption in its purest form, a la' “I'm gonna be a dick to you before you can be a dick to me.”

The real problem is that people are not consistenly dicks.  There are some good, and some very very bad.  The spectrum is completely speckled with unique individuals that comprise an amalgamation of ethical particularities.  Corruption is part and parcel to humanity.  There is no utopia without mass clensing, which, hopefully, is beyond what anyone would consider reasonable.

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