Email: Divided between Communism and Anarchism

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Recently someone sent me an email letting me know that he likes the content of the Division by Zer0 (Thanks!). Along with his email, he sent some of his own musings which I found interesting enough to deserve some extra publicity. So I got his permission to post them on the blog. Enjoy.


Why I’m divided between “communism” and “anarchism”

By Scott

I have been, for the last few years of my life, moving radically leftward, from my rather innocuous beginnings as a “Trotskyist” to simply a “Marxist” to being labeled a “Left-Communist” to where I am now, which is on the fence between “communist” and “anarchist”. Both sides have their influences; the “communist” side has given me a strong respect for Marx’s historical analyses, as well as his critiques of the Capitalist system, among other things, while the “anarchist” side has given me the example to live by, for many anarchists are “lifestyle” anarchists, living their lives as withdrawn from the capitalist system as possible. Their world-wide actions (notably the recent “unrest” in Greece, along with the French riots a few years ago) have made world powers shake with fear, governments almost collapse, and the entire world watched as cars burned and the streets were controlled by police no more.

So what am I to do?

I believe that the best solution is simply to ignore these labels and be reminded of what is important: ending capitalism’s reign of terror. All who oppose the horrors of capitalism must work together under that banner, not as “communists”, not as “anarchists”, but as people who believe in the survival of humanity, and who believe that humanity cannot survive under the conditions of imperialism, oppression and slavery. What you want to add to that (from environmentalism to animal rights to “power to the people” to whatever else) is up to you. But we who oppose capitalism must not be divided by these ideological differences. Even the most dogmatic of communists from the same party cannot agree on everything, so why should we try? Instead, we should act. An action carries only the message that is put behind it, and a Leninist and an anarchist can both protest against imperialism in the 3rd world. They can both protest against the treatment of workers in many workplaces. They can both agree that community activism is a good thing. So why can’t they work together? We’ll sort out our differences (in a comradely fashion) when capitalism is no longer our enemy. Until that time, though, we must focus on our common struggles.


Truth is that I’ve had similar thought myself but the more I read and interact with Marxist-Leninists, the more stark the differences become between us. While theoretically what Scott says seems reasonable, the problem appear very soon once one tries to actually cooperate as it’s all a matter of how each movement tries to go about bringing down Capitalism.

The biggest difference imho is how one side (M-L) wants a vanguard party to lead the struggle while the other wants the revolution to occur through spontaneous and decentralized actions of the workers. There can be no agreement on this point. Anarchists cannot commit to promoting a vanguard party and M-L very often refuse to support and occasionally oppose struggle which is not led by them.

It is exactly because the methods by which we try to achieve the future society will make or break the revolution that there can be no cooperation when there’s a fundamental difference in tactics. It is exactly because the difference in tactics between Anarchists is not fundamental that they generally cooperate while on the other hand distance themselves from Marxist-Leninists and Rothbardians.

So as nice it would be for all of us to cooperate to bring about a better world, there’s also a reason why this doesn’t generally happen. The best we can do instead is patiently explain and convince people that our tactics are the ones that can work.

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

    Revolutionaries usually ignore what happens afterward, because they are focused on expedient methods of monkey-wrenching and getting into power. All factions would do well to study power and diplomacy, because it's a whole different matter to build and hold the center of a system than to tear it down. My opinion is that both anarchism and M-L communism ignore the rules of human nature and the immutable laws of power–which is why they are destined to remain in a state of perpetual proposed revolution. This stance takes them out of the political process, except that of protest, since they don't want to be labelled as collaborators. Anarchists and communists both insist that humans left to their own devices will cooperate for the good of all. But they seem unable to even take the first step and cooperate with each other.

    This is why In my opinion, some form of participatory regulated capitalism with all its flaws, will rule the day. It rewards cooperation, but doesn't require it, allowing all comers from all different evolutionary approaches.

    Now fire away with all your distortions about "wage-slavery," "might makes right" and the like. It's all non-accountability and refusal to confront the realities of human drives for power. We are dominators. We establish hierarchies and tribes. Power is who we are and what we do.

    So let's design a system that harnesses that drive for the good, instead of fighting it.

    • Shaun

      >Anarchists and communists both insist that humans left to their own devices will cooperate for the good of all. But they seem unable to even take the first step and cooperate with each other.

      What an absurdly ridiculous generalization.

    • Scott

      The reason I chose to "ignore" what happens after a revolution is simple: I do not have a time machine. If I had one, I would write exactly how society will be set up and how we will achieve that society. However, given my limited resources (the time machine on eBay is currently a few million dollars more than my budget allows, and it probably doesn't work) I will not write how society will be run. There are a few reasons for this:

      1. I do not know how nor when capitalism will collapse. I do not know the circumstances behind it, nor what society will look like when it happens. I do not know what the conditions of the world will dictate. What I do know, however, is that trying to analyze such things is simply not possible, and thus a waste of time. That is not to say that I believe theory is a waste of time, because I don't. But i do believe that trying to predict what the society that replaces this one will look like is not possible, just as someone from 1300s France couldn't imagine what capitalism looks like.

      2. There are enough people out there spending all their time discussing these topics and not doing anything else. I do not need to become another one of them. Instead, I would prefer to act upon my beliefs, and in so doing, create a better unity amongst the radical left. (see my post below for more details).

      Also, a quick note as I am about to go out, I am not saying that "humans in their environment will cooperate". I'm not saying that "human nature is cooperative". I'm saying that there IS NO HUMAN NATURE. Our minds, personalities and life outlooks are created by 3 things: genes, experiences, and society. Genes pass on certain physical and personality traits, this cannot be denied. Our experiences (including how we were raised as children) also have a large part to play. Society as a whole, and our interactions with and influences from, is also a part of how we came to be who we are today.

      …i would love to sit here and type more, but right now i must leave, so i will finish this later. for now, read my post below.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

        Refer to Stephen Pinker's classic "The Blank Slate." There is most definitely a human nature. That doesn't mean it's not shaped by upbringing. But it goes beyond human nature to the nature of all life: since the first cell division, all life has been subject to ruthless competition. It's been a drive for efficiency as well as dominance. Natural selection only operates by ruthlessly rewarding and punishing good and bad approaches. So it is in politics and society. Examining game theory, we understand that in iterated prisoner's dilemma there is an incentive for cooperation. So it's definitely there, but is always balanced by the competitive drive. To get rid of capitalism, you have to get rid of the profit motive, which is embedded in all life. We only do things when the reward is greater than the effort expended–not merely equivalent.

        I often think what communists and anarchists are trying to achieve–which is a system of some kind of equality and social justice–will be better achieved through regulation of capitalism.

        This comes through the identification of externalities, (torts against third parties, if you will) committed by those engaging in economic transactions. For example, companies which exploit workers rely on governments to pick up the slack in social and health services. If such companies were regulated and required to pay the true costs of hiring said workers, then the abuses would be curtailed. There is a similar logic to environmental regulation. If everyone paid the true costs of goods and services, sustainable methods would be the profitable methods. It is my opinion that the failure of capitalism to account for externalities is its biggest problem. If that could be changed by intelligent regulation, it would solve many problems. I don't have a crystal ball, but neither do anti-statists or communists. I don't think the state should go away, just get a lot smarter and more accountable.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

          Natural selection only operates by ruthlessly rewarding and punishing good and bad approaches.

          To put it simply: You are wrong.

          Natural selection benefits the species which can adapt to its environment better. It does not care on the way by which this is done as long as it leads to it passing on the genes. A very succesful strategy for this is Mutual Aid and in fact it is a practice that not only abounds within species but also crosses specie boundaries. All of this haps been apty researched and demonstrated in Kropotkin's Mutual Aid

          As such, it is plainly wrong to assume that humans cannot avoid "ruthless competition" and we will have to settle for a life of strife and suffering for many.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            I'm not denying that organisms cooperate. There is a strong incentive for reciprocal altruism. But if you don't get a reward greater than your effort, that incentive disappears. Every transaction or event has overhead or inefficiencies. There is also opportunity cost. Therefore, the reward must be greater than the effort expended, otherwise the organism will eventually run out of energy to continue.

            It is the same for businesses. The founder of the business must take the risk of leaving gainful employment. Therefore he/she is entitled to a bigger payoff than someone who just kept right on working for a wage. Or there would be no incentive to take the risk.

            Those individuals who repeatedly make bad choices end up running out of energy (money) and fall on the evolutionary scrap heap. It is this suffering of natural selection that is inherent to life and cannot be eliminated.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            Therefore, the reward must be greater than the effort expended, otherwise the organism will eventually run out of energy to continue.

            And what I'm saying is that cooperation results in greater reward than the effort extended. As such, your argument that Capitalism is natural because it is in line with human nature is false, especially if one looks back at the historical examples of human cooperation.

            However this is not the case in Capitalism where the effort extended by people does not correspond to a relevant result. One person's huge labour might be rewarded with breadcrumbs while the other's slight labour (hiring a manger) can be rewarded with millions. As such, if anything, capitalism goes against what is the normal state of affairs in nature.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            Competition/cooperation is a continuum. Smart people cooperate because it provides them with a competitive advantage over those who don't. Still each person must make an evaluation on their own as to what is a good strategy. Then they are rewarded or punished based on that choice.

            Your argument somewhat mirrors the theory of group selection, which to my understanding has been largely discredited.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            I do not know the theory of group selection, I am talking about Mutual Aid for which I've provided an encyclopedic link to you.

            And yes, people cooperate because it makes sense. And it made sense for millions of years for pre-civilization humans because it provided a competitive advantage in their environment. As such, cooperation is far more a human nature than competition and systems build around this (ie libertarian socialism) can function just fine by using the natural urge of humans to cooperate with each other for the common benefit.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            Those individuals who repeatedly make bad choices end up running out of energy (money) and fall on the evolutionary scrap heap. It is this suffering of natural selection that is inherent to life and cannot be eliminated.

            Human societies have been built around the concept of avoiding natural selection simply because of it's unguided brutality. To claim that we should reintroduce a form of natural selection within our own is a ridiculous proposition. If you're going to do that, perhaps we should stop medicine and farming as they go against natural selection as well.

            But all of this is absurd. There are ways to avoid the social darwinism of capitalism, and even you propose as such with the regulation. The problem is that regulations are a failed tactic.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            I don't think we want to allow unrestricted social darwinism. But we need a way to reward good methods that produce good results and punish bad ones (for the good of all). We're not re-introducing natural selection, it never went away. All we can do is blunt the worst abuses of power. But we can't make them disappear, any more than we can get rid of crime or insanity. People, and all other consuming organisms, will take for themselves whatever they can get away with. Even without money, I can guarantee that people would find a way to exploit each other. You'd have to micro-manage every aspect of their lives, and it still wouldn't work.

            I'm arguing for a system that holds the tension of the opposites: self-interest and altruism. If we know people will act a certain way, then we provide checks and balances to get the desired outcome.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

          To get rid of capitalism, you have to get rid of the profit motive, which is embedded in all life. We only do things when the reward is greater than the effort expended–not merely equivalent.

          Again wrong. The profit motive is most definitely NOT embedded in all life. That is an assertion with no basis and in fact countered by us looking at how life operates. Profit only exists when the possibility for accumulation exists. Take away the ability for people to accumulate wealth (ie private property) and you take away the reason for profit as a motive. This is incidentally what socialism tries to achieve.

          But of course you may say that we do things when we have a reason, but profit is but only one of the reasons we might have. Unless you tried to equivocate profit to the general concept of self-interest, then I would say that it is far better to do things to receive emotional reward than material one, and in fact, this is the reason most people act.

          Not to mention that cooperative reward is generally higher than individualistic reward. The only reason why the later persists is because the environment we have around us (Capitalism) is positive to it. In other words, it naturally selects for individual rewards rather than cooperative. But this is the fault of the system, not the human nature.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            Businesses are a form of cooperation. Workers get offered a flat-fee reward because they did not take the risk. Founders get a scalable reward because they took a risk. They can also lose everything. Workers can walk away. They are not invested in the business to the same degree. Business owners may be denied credit after having failed.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            That's nothing more than a rationalization of abuse. Risk is a scare tactic and as far as arguments go, not very convincing.

          • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            That's nothing more than apologetics of the system. Risk is a scare tactic and as far as arguments go, not very convincing.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            I read your link, and I still have a problem with this. Somehow, risk must be quantified. We buy life insurance and health insurance. There is time-value of money. There is opportunity cost based on a limited lifespan. Again, this goes back to natural selection and efficiency. It's not like a gambling casino. Some people are better than others at evaluating risk/reward ratios. Such knowledge and information has larger social value (causes increased productivity and higher efficiency, therefore living standards). It should be rewarded. Now would I accept regulation to balance exploitation? You already know the answer. I'm not arguing with your goals. I'm primarily arguing methods.

          • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            There is time-value of money.

            No there isn't.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            It is not a subjective preference. It relates to opportunity cost. It is not about consumption alone, but investment to bolster future opportunities. Again, if we did not have limited lifespans, this would not be true. Borrowing capital gives us the ability to go into our future earnings/savings. Someone else started saving three years ago, but we need the money now for a project. We pay them for their thrift and leverage our opportunity without having to wait. Hence the value.

            How would anyone accumulate the money needed to build a factory or launch a spacecraft without incentives? This is what the time-value of money is about.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            Your argument fails once someone considers that profit is not the only incentive. There are other incentives such as future security in life, or wish to help others and whatnot. In fact the time value of money fails once we notice that people can give out their money on zero or even negative interest.

            As for borrowing being necessary, that is only true in a market economy. In a communist economy it doesn't have to be. Someone who wishes to start a project can easily do so because they do not have to worry about their basic needs. All they need is to convince the community the project is worthwhile. The incentive is the benefits the community would receive from this project.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            Many innovations would never have happened if you had to "convince the community." This is why it won't work. An individual who has a vision no one else can see puts up their own money and takes the risk. Most people can't see the value in anything but doing things the way they have always been done. We need visionaries and risk-takers. Communities are not experts, and can't evaluate new ideas effectively. Especially in a high-tech fast moving world, where new product cycles are ever more expensive to initiate. There is no way to avoid large amounts of capital expenditure and therefore time value of money and distribution of risk (through shareholders).

            "Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see."
            Arthur Schopenhauer
            German philosopher (1788 – 1860)

            Tell that "convince the community" thing to Schopenhauer.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            Many innovations would never have happened if you had to "convince the community." This is why it won't work.

            Just because you assert it, does not make it so. The experiments in production in the Spanish revolution proved otherwise. The many geniuses which invented even in the face of starvation (see: Tesla) prove otherwise. If people can be provided the base necessities of life, innovation will happen and in a cooperative world, communities will always be open to inventions that reduce their workload.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            Most people can't see the value in anything but doing things the way they have always been done. We need visionaries and risk-takers.

            You are talking about the current system which puts everyone down and does not allow them to do anything else other that do what they have done always. Because it saps the inherent individualism and creativity of humans through forcing them in a robotic workplace where no individualism is allowed. If people go through that for most of their lives, it is understandable that they will not be able to innovate, anymore than a human growing in a glass box will be unable to grow tall.

            However, when human freedom and inviduality has been allowed to work, then always innovation followed, and this can be seen both from such experiments in small scale, as well as in the enterprises which do the most innovation lately, which are the internet startups which, who would have thought, own their own means of production and are generally very egalitarian and open (at least in their beginings)

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            Somehow, risk must be quantified. We buy life insurance and health insurance.

            Why? Why must it be quantified? And don't you go against this theory by supporting regulated capitalism which actually socializes the risk?

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            Some people are better than others at evaluating risk/reward ratios. Such knowledge and information has larger social value (causes increased productivity and higher efficiency, therefore living standards). It should be rewarded.

            It has nothing to do with evaluating risk/rewards and everything to do with how much money one has. If one has enough money, as I pointed out in my article, then the risk is low due to market research. Not to mention that your argument that some people are better at is unargued from a scientific standpoint. The argument from risk is simply about allowing people with money to make more money simply on the basis that they have more money.

            You also didn't counter the fact that there are other types of risk which are not rewarded as such but are equally important.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            It doesn't matter how much money you have it's still a risk because of opportunity cost. People who have a lot of money only keep it by being very careful. If they blow it in a bad deal, that's it for them and they have to start over. Market research can't deliver on the unforseens. Take Apple for example. They've always had a great product. They've been wildly successful twice. But in between they lost their way and almost went out of business. Big money, also big risk.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            Big money is less risk for those who have it. I billionaire can blow one million in investment with practically zero risk while for a small-time businessman, even 20k is too risky. So yes, how much money you have plays a large role on how much risk the same investment has for you. What you are doing in short is circular reasoning on what constitutes risk.

            And Market research may not deliver on the unforeseens but it helps to reduce risk to a large degree. Your example of Apple is unfortunate as I consider their products to be shite and they deserve to lose market share for their attempts at fascist control on their product.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            Everything is relative. Principles are not. Risk is risk, no matter how you slice it. It's easy to look at billionaires and assume things are qualitatively different for them. But they are lust playing in a larger arena. The same rules apply.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            If money is the reward for the risk taken, then it matter how much risk one personally takes, not the amount of money they put. No matter how you slice it, your argument is reduced to this and thus fails.

          • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            If money is the reward for the risk taken, then it matters how much risk one personally takes, not the amount of money they put. No matter how you slice it, your argument is reduced to this and thus fails.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

          I often think what communists and anarchists are trying to achieve–which is a system of some kind of equality and social justice–will be better achieved through regulation of capitalism.

          How exactly do you think that? Capitalism has shown that it will dismantle and roll back all attempts at equality attempted through it. The last 100 years should be ample proof of that. The equality and standard of living you see now on the wealthy countries is built on the backs of the 3rd world and the hyper-exploitation of workers there. To expect capitalist regulation to achieve egalitarianism is nothing more than a utopian dream. A dream that is shown to be more false by the day.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            Actually, capitalism has improved over time, and especially in Europe established a pretty solid welfare state. As time goes on, more and more benefits have come to be expected and delivered to citizens. As the 3rd world industrializes, they will begin to see their own health and environmental priorities require them to establish stronger social services. Key to this process is the codification into law of sustainable methods.

            Communism has proven to have an even worse track record on the environment everywhere its been tried. There is utterly no transparency or accountability in these dictatorships. Ironic you should use the word Utopia, which is generally accepted to refer to communism. How can you make the claim that it will be better when your only historical examples have been police states? No society voluntarily accepts communism, it is always imposed by force, with forced nationalizaton of industries and silencing of opposition. I can't believe you sweep this under the rug.

            If you want to debate the two systems on the merits, you have to take both of their real-world applications, not the idealized version against the real-world version of your opponent. There is utterly no evidence that a peaceful communist state with protection for human rights could exist. The opposite is true for many–not all–capitalist democracies. Especially when they are social democracies such as in many parts of Europe. They are closer to what you are looking for than any real-world communist state ever has been.

          • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            If you want to debate the two systems on the merits, you have to take both of their real-world applications, not the idealized version against the real-world version of your opponent.

            There is no real-world application of communism. Fullstop. You cannot take a failed revolution and demand that I use whatever the result is as my base. This is simply an argument from ignorance.

            So yes, I will argue from the theoretical concept position, especially when I point out that the elements of this position work to some extent even in the hostile environment of capitalism. If you want to argue for an ideal capitalism (which you do btw, when you talk about the regulated western capital) then I will proceed to point out why your argument fails.

            There is utterly no evidence that a peaceful communist state with protection for human rights could exist

            Really? Even at this point I could point out the vast emancipation of the women in the Russian revolution, the secularization of society and marginalization of the clergy. There's a lot of this. But I'm guessing it's all "no evidence".

            And this is from a society that I do not even promote! Imagine if I WAS a Stalinist. Believe me, there are many of them that would put your claim about evidence to shame.

            As for the Capitalist democracies showing respect. Don't make me laugh. Need I remind you that segregation was removed only a few dozen years ago in the face of popular demand? Need I remind you that women are still not equal to men in pay? Need I remind you again that western democracies are build on the backs of everyone else? If Capitalism is supposed to bring human rights and whatnot, then the abject failure of most capitalist nations to achieve this, and in fact go backwards, is ample proof of the opposite.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            I didn't say that the Russian revolution didn't have some limited benefits, especially when compared to the monarchy it replaced. But it came at a great cost to internal liberty and also generated a very aggressive state. It was also a terrible economic failure.

            I never said capitalist democracies were free from abuses. Just that they are a better reflection of the state of nature. One would expect vestiges of tribalism to exist (which is what racism is). Equality is not the only measure of a society. I'd argue that total equality is impossible. What we are after, I think, is continuous improvement.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            The personal liberty on the first steps of the revolution severely increased until the revolution was hijacked by Lenin. Even then, personal liberty still remained higher than Tsarist Russia. Sure, a failed revolution had a cost to the populace, but so did the failed democratic revolutions of Europe from the revenging nobility. Is that maybe an argument against democracy?

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            Just that they are a better reflection of the state of nature.

            Bullshit. Absolute, pure bullshit. There is no evidence whatsoever to base this on other than vague references to "human nature" which end up begging the question.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            What we are after, I think, is continuous improvement.

            We have reached the limits of improvement in Capitalism. All we can do now is go backwards or discard the old skin and move forward. You argument is just like a noble under the feudal lords claiming that they're looking for "continuous improvement" rather than radical ideas of free markets.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            What we are after, I think, is continuous improvement.

            We have reached the limits of improvement in Capitalism. All we can do now is go backwards or discard the old skin and move forward. You argument is just like a noble under the feudal lords claiming that they're looking for "continuous improvement" rather than radical ideas of free markets.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            Actually, capitalism has improved over time, and especially in Europe established a pretty solid welfare state. As time goes on, more and more benefits have come to be expected and delivered to citizens. As the 3rd world industrializes, they will begin to see their own health and environmental priorities require them to establish stronger social services. Key to this process is the codification into law of sustainable methods.

            No, Capitalism has not improved over time. In fact, capitalism has been worsening within the last 30 years more and more. The benefits of workers in now are nothing compared to what they had 30 years ago. A simple look at UK and US is enough to put this nonsense to rest. Not to mention that those "solid welfare states" are nothing more than the rose coloured glasses that social-democrat US Americans look through, ignoring the fact of the severe curtailment of freedom, the nanny-state, the governmental stagnation and a myriad of other issues.

            You claim that the 3rd world will industrialize and then we'll all live like a happy family, further ignoring that the developed world has not interest in the 3rd world industrializing and becoming part of the 1st, as they are the ones who provide the cheap materials and production that can sustain the 1st world's luxurious lifestyle. What you're seeing as progress of capitalism is simply the exploitation of other nations by the developed world as a whole.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            This is a problem with unsustainable methods. We have to get beyond scarcity in order to fix the developing world. The only way to do that is focus on sustainability from both an environmental and economic standpoint. Exponential population growth makes that even harder–but it is the only option. We can't fix the world by more evenly dividing an insufficiently large pie. We have to expand the pie.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            You cannot achieve sustainability within Capitalism. The system is built on the premise of Grow or Die, which is the reason for it's rampart environmental and social destruction. For all the efforts of sustainability, the markets and the working of the system do not allow movement towards sustainable methods, which is why it required anti-capitalist methods to make miniscule steps in the right direction, steps which faced such opposition by those who control the power and have the most to lose, that they cannot achieve anything in time.

            And yet, in the face of the abject failure of governmental regulation to prevent environmental destruction, you still retain hope that if we just had more of it, all our problems would be solved, but don't even think how we can get more of it, when the whole system works against that.

            Your whole argument is based on taking the examples of the western democracies as standalone, without realizing that they do not exist in a bubble. Their success is based on the failure of many others.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            There are many companies which have embraced sustainability and become more profitable than ever. The best example of this is Interface Carpets. Sustainabilty eliminates waste, which is why it is such a key.

            Governments have pushed fossil fuels and once-through manufacturing methods, granting them tax breaks and subsidies in the interest of growth. All our development is based on finite fossil fuels and pollution. This is definitely unsustainable in any sense of the word.

          • http://dbzer0.com db0

            There are many companies which have embraced sustainability and become more profitable than ever. The best example of this is Interface Carpets. Sustainabilty eliminates waste, which is why it is such a key.

            Most companies who have "embraced sustainability" have simply put a layer of greenwash and it's what is most commonly happening. Sure, some companies might be able to make cheaper products on more ecologically friendly methods but that does not mean this is an absolute. Not only that, but it ignores the immense pressure the companies who are against this will put, directly (on politicians) or indirectly (eg buying patents on green technology so that it can't be implemented by opponents).

          • http://dbzer0.com db0

            There are many companies which have embraced sustainability and become more profitable than ever. The best example of this is Interface Carpets. Sustainabilty eliminates waste, which is why it is such a key.

            Most companies who have "embraced sustainability" have simply put a layer of greenwash and it's what is most commonly happening. Sure, some companies might be able to make cheaper products on more ecologically friendly methods but that does not mean this is an absolute. Not only that, but it ignores the immense pressure the companies who are against this will put, directly (on politicians) or indirectly (eg buying patents on green technology so that it can't be implemented by opponents).

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            Interface Carpets is not greenwash. Check them out.

            http://www.interfaceglobal.com/

            We're talking about cradle-to-cradle methods. Closed loop processes. Anything else is not sustainable. It is where all of industry is headed.

            Think again about the word "sustainability." It means "can grow without restraint" it means "can do it forever with no consequences or resource limits." It means your outputs become your inputs. I know it's a hard thing to grasp, but it's possible and some people are already doing it.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            And again, I said just because one enterprise has done it, does not mean that all can. The trend is unfortunately for greenwashing.

            It means your outputs become your inputs. I know it's a hard thing to grasp, but it's possible and some people are already doing it.

            Then you have already failed, because capitalism is "Grow or Die"! Not only that, but by keeping the same resource inputs/outputs we have now (greatly reduced of course) you still cannot provide for the 3rd world while keeping the same standard here. You still end up with millions starving and miserable, only that you simply do that in perpetuity.

            And that is even if you can reach that stage.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            OK, grow or die it is. But it's not only capitalism. It's the whole human race. in a resource-constrained environment, the only way to grow is to first increase efficiency. Then to use every physical resource again and again. The only infinite resource is solar energy.

            Otherwise, earth is a closed system with a growing population. Regardless of the economic system, we have to grow outputs of food and goods while using finite resources (other than energy). Thus sustainability has become a matter of life or death for may people as yet unborn.

            You can lay a lot of the environmental destruction at the feet of a growing population and ignorance. The economic system encouraged the externalization of risk and the internalization of profits. That works as long as you have infinite resources. Now we don't have them anymore.

            We fix it by forcing all comers to assume the risks and costs as well as the profits. That will be inherent in the new resource-constrained economy. It might be heretical for you, but these theories are layed out very well in the book Natural Capitalism.

          • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            No, it's not the whole human race. The whole human race managed to live thousands of years before going into the environmental crisis we have now. In fact, within an anarchist system it's sustainability that will be promoted and it's a well known fact that it's povertry that causes fastly rising population. As such, in an egalitarian system, humanity will eventually reach an equilibrium between rising population and constantly increasing production technology (at a slower pace than capitalism of course).

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            "The whole human race managed to live thousands of years before going into the environmental crisis we have now."

            With a population of less than a billion people!! You keep missing the point. Population has doubled since you and I were born.

            I agree that humanity will reach an equilibrium. Birth rates are inversely proportional to wealth. The best way to cut down the population growth rate is to enrich society. Or you can do it like China.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            You are the one missing the point. You do not stop to ask why the human race managed to stay below 1 billion for thousands of years and yet reached 7 billion within a 100. The answer? Capitalism and the vast impoverishment it has created around it.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            The best way to cut down the population growth rate is to enrich society. Or you can do it like China.

            Exactly. And since Capitalism impoverishes society by extending inequality (an empirical fact) then it's obvious that the system itself needs to go. The only way to enrich society as a whole is by achieving egalitarianism and Anarchism is the only tactic which has shown even a modicum of success in this regard.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            We fix it by forcing all comers to assume the risks and costs as well as the profits. That will be inherent in the new resource-constrained economy. It might be heretical for you, but these theories are layed out very well in the book Natural Capitalism.

            It's not about it being heretical. it's about being Utopian. As I said again, you have no idea how to reach this Natural Capitalism, only vague faith that "it will happen". I've already shown you how it cannot happen through republics and the best you could master was a misguided tu quoque.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            Please read Natural Capitalism by Amory Lovins. It is very specific. it's not faith-based at all.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            Fine. Then please read an Anarchist FAQ. It is also very specific and counters all the arguments you've put forth thus far, as well as answers all the misconceptions you have about Anarchism.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            Governments have pushed fossil fuels and once-through manufacturing methods, granting them tax breaks and subsidies in the interest of growth

            And yet, you don't even wonder why this is. Why governments are somehow taking care of the interests of those with most money (Oil capital). No, you somehow expect governments to change their minds by good eco-rhetoric and good arguments. As if that has ever affected politicians.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            I don't wonder because I know why. It was started in a time when it seemed the Earth's resources were unlimited. We got a good couple of hundred years growth out of the deal. Time to change.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            You have already decided what is best and are just looking for the confirmation bias.

            The government has always been taking care of the interests of those with the most money, wether financial capitalist (see last 30 years) or industrial capitalists (not only oil). The state of the environment is irrelevant. Only the money the lobbyist have.

            You still have no idea how to change that, except nice rhetoric. "Time to change" sounds very much like "Hope" and we've all seen how well that is working.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            We can't fix the world by more evenly dividing an insufficiently large pie. We have to expand the pie.

            How do you expand the pie? By exploiting the environment even more? Doesn't the pie example go against your arguments for regulation (ie against aggressively expanding the pie) once more? I think you are somehow split between your liberal mentality on economics and your environmental concerns but you simply cannot imagine a solution outside of capitalism so you end up supporting a regulated system and end up making arguments countering your own position.

            In fact, we have more than enough productive capability already to sustain our current population, albeit possibly with a reduction of the rampart luxury that exists in the western nations. The only reason this is not done, is because there is not profit in it. Capitalism does not care about how many people live or die, only about expanding. Even if we conquered the stars, starvation would persist as people would still not afford to feed themselves.

            It's an unfortunate event that the fact of the persisting starvation in the face of massively increased production does not faze the apologetics of capitalist "sustainability".

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            I'm telling you, you think you are frustrated trying to explain communism, I'm terribly frustrated trying to explain sustainability! It is not a zero-sum game environment vs. productivity. That was the old way of doing things.

            In fact, we have more than enough productive capability already to sustain our current population,

            The answer is, no we don't. We hardly have any sustainable productive capacity. It's all based on ruthless resource exploitation. We've burned through a hundred million years of stored solar energy and minerals in a couple of hundred years. This is not prosperity, but shameful waste.

            At the same time, we receive massive current energy inputs from the sun, and we have not learned to use it. We have not figured out how to reuse our materials except in a very limited way. Product designs and packaging have not been geared toward "cradle-to-cradle," but "cradle-to-grave." This is a recipe for disaster, regardless of the economic system.

            Sustainable means sustainable, meaning you could continue doing it forever, or you could expand it without resource limits. That's what I'm talking about. It's not a pipe dream, it exists and some people are doing it. It should be required by law. Because what we are doing now is borrowing from our children and grandchildren. That's a gross violation of the human rights of people who haven't even been born.

            Capitalism does not care about how many people live or die, only about expanding.

            But growth is what allows people to live. The earth's population has doubled in the past 40 years.

          • http://dbzer0.com db0

            You cannot build for sustainability in a system which promotes a "grow or die" mentality because sustainable methods do not grow fast enough! Again, our current system has enough productive capacity to provide the basic needs for everyone, and this is not done, and yet you wonder why sustainable energy, which for starving people would be a luxury is not implemented. As if those who don't care when millions starve, will care when millions don't have heating either.

            The reason why we have not progressed towards sustainable production is because of the system. It's the system and it's effect on politics that prevents such solutions until our current path is exausted (most likely with disastrous effects).

            You call me naive but you just somehow expect for people to one day see the light and select politicians who will stay uncorrupted long enough to pass the laws without resistance. If that's not utopianism I don't know what is.

            The only way to achieve sustainability is to get away from the current system which promotes rampart exploitation. Here's an anarchist perspective on environmental issues. Since this is your main interest I suggest you read the other ideas.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            "sustainable methods do not grow fast enough"

            That's because not enough people have been using them. In the near future, sustainable methods will be the only ones to allow growth, and will become mandatory. The old once-through extract-manufacture-sell-dispose model is FINISHED.

            When that old model dies, you will see most of the excesses of capitalism curtailed naturally. There will be no need for an alternative political system, because most of the problems are economic, and are based on misuse and misallocation of resources. It's all about eliminating unpaid externalities. That's what communism seeks to redress, but it tries to do it in a way that ignores the rapacious nature of humans.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            That's because not enough people have been using them

            Nobody has been using them because they do not grow fast enough. They do not make enough profit! That is Capitalism!

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            In the near future, sustainable methods will be the only ones to allow growth, and will become mandatory. The old once-through extract-manufacture-sell-dispose model is FINISHED.

            Yes, sure, once it has already ruined the environment and depleted the limited resources it will stop as it will have reached it natural limits. But by then, the disaster brought on will be horrendous and I'm certain the liberals will be crying in their pillows that their oh-so-good intentions couldn't stop it.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            When that old model dies, you will see most of the excesses of capitalism curtailed naturally.

            What a faith-based assertion. Ideologues have been predicting this since 200 years ago, when they considered the resources of the planet unlimited once more. Gee, look how well that has worked out.

            I mean, 60 years ago, when resources *where* practically unlimited and there was no environmental concetn, was capitalism curtailed naturally? No. Even in a sustainable capitalist system, it does not mean that those who have no money will be fed. It does not mean that those without jobs will find one.

            And then you dare accuse me of utopianism…

            I've already countered the argument about the "nature of humans" but you seem to find it irresistible to use even when baseless.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            When that old model dies, you will see most of the excesses of capitalism curtailed naturally.

            What a faith-based assertion. Ideologues have been predicting this since 200 years ago, when they considered the resources of the planet unlimited once more. Gee, look how well that has worked out.

            I mean, 60 years ago, when resources *where* practically unlimited and there was no environmental concetn, was capitalism curtailed naturally? No. Even in a sustainable capitalist system, it does not mean that those who have no money will be fed. It does not mean that those without jobs will find one.

            And then you dare accuse me of utopianism…

            I've already countered the argument about the "nature of humans" but you seem to find it irresistible to use even when baseless.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            Communism has proven to have an even worse track record on the environment everywhere its been tried.

            By Gawd, I expected less intellectual dishonesty by one such as you. But I guess if one needs to discuss political subjects all this gets thrown out of the window.

            Communism has never been tried anywhere. Communism is not a dictatorship. Communism is not USSR. All of this is knowledge even the most introductory look beyond US anti-communist propaganda would have easily informed you.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            Ironic you should use the word Utopia, which is generally accepted to refer to communism.

            Utopia is a dreamland that people imagine existing but have no idea how to get there. Much like humane Capitalism or various forms of state socialism (such as oxymoronic concepts such as governmental communism). Anarcho-Communists on the other hand, have a very clear idea of how to achieve communism and put little thought in the exact specifications of a future society. As such, this it not utopianism

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            How can you make the claim that it will be better when your only historical examples have been police states?

            Because they are not my examples?

            No society voluntarily accepts communism, it is always imposed by force, with forced nationalizaton of industries and silencing of opposition. I can't believe you sweep this under the rug.

            I can't believe you would make such a uninformed argument! Have you even read on how socialist revolutions happened or did you limit yourself to high-school propaganda? To date, all such revolutions have been very non-violent compared to the current state oppression. Go look at the Russian February Revolution. Go look at the Spanish Revolution. They always happen because the majority wishes them.

            The violence comes from the state and later on by the "humane capitalist" liberals you suppert, when they back brutal dictators (Franco, Pinochet etc etc) or simply invade themselves (see Russian Civil War). So before you go calling communism a failure, perhaps you can see what is that caused its failure and what was it that the people wished for.

          • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            How can you make the claim that it will be better when your only historical examples have been police states?

            Because they are not my examples?

            No society voluntarily accepts communism, it is always imposed by force, with forced nationalizaton of industries and silencing of opposition. I can't believe you sweep this under the rug.

            I can't believe you would make such an uninformed argument! Have you even read on how socialist revolutions happened or did you limit yourself to high-school propaganda? To date, all such revolutions have been very non-violent compared to the current state oppression. Go look at the Russian February Revolution. Go look at the Spanish Revolution. They always happen because the majority wishes them.

            The violence comes from the state and later on by the "humane capitalist" liberals you support, when they back brutal dictators (Franco, Pinochet etc etc) or simply invade themselves (see Russian Civil War). So before you go calling communism a failure, perhaps you can see what is that caused its failure and what was it that the people wished for.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            People always want what they can't have. When they try to change too much, too quickly, they can often make things worse. Democracy is no panacea. Of course people want to throw the bastards out. But they almost always get a new set of bastards. Because that's what humans do. Abuse power. So I'm advocating gradual building of a better structure–not tearing it down and starting over.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            Because that's what humans do. Abuse power. So I'm advocating gradual building of a better structure–not tearing it down and starting over.

            Pray tell, how will those abusive people at the top build a better structure? By abusing their position?

            If your argument against social change is on the built-in failure of humans to function socially, then you have already defeated your position of trusting those at the top (who are just as flawed as the rest of us) to not only fix the world, but stay pure while in power.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            Pray tell, how will those abusive people at the top build a better structure? By abusing their position?

            Accountability. Transparency. Checks and balances. Do not rely on any one person's purity or "goodness." Build a structure that functions properly regardless of the behavior of individuals. No one is indispensable. A person screws up, they are replaced and no one else suffers.

            Anarcho-anything relies on the inherent goodness and cooperation of people who've already proven they will take advantage of others as soon as they get the chance, which is why IMO, it can not work.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            What Accountability? What Transparency? What Checks and balances? Are we even living in the same Universe?! You bring these up in a time of wars based on lies, tortures, bailouts and scandals left and right? Are you trying to make my point for me?

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            I think you are making my point for me. How do you expect the same people who brought all that about to suddenly change and move toward a cooperative anarchy? That's even less likely.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            I don't!

            This is why I am saying that you are arguing against something that you don't understand. I've told you from the start and you still haven't made even a modicum of effort to learn about it.

            I don't expect the people who brought this all about to suddenly change, mostly because they are already dead. I also don't expect the people who in the current system are the ones "responsible" for change to self-regulate or regulate the system, as you think. Unless you can explain how this might happen with the currently failing methods and the ways I explained why it fails, then you have no case argument anymore other than blind faith in republics.

            I attempt to make everyone else, those without power, those exploited, to change their mind and move towards anarchy and that will happen through arguments and through the continuous and heavier dehumanization the system forces on them, which will then make them fertile ground for anarchist arguments.

            That, as history has shown many times, is not unlikely.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            Anarcho-anything relies on the inherent goodness and cooperation of people who've already proven they will take advantage of others as soon as they get the chance, which is why IMO, it can not work.

            No, it doesn't rely in the inherent goodness of people. You should really learn what Anarchism is before you try to argue against it. Anarchism (in very short) is about building a society that naturally selects for the type of behaviour we consider positive.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            And I think regulated capitalism is the best way to get there. Perhaps we can agree to disagree at this point.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            I've already countered the idea that you can regulate capitalism but if you must stop…

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

          If such companies were regulated and required to pay the true costs of hiring said workers, then the abuses would be curtailed.

          Who's going to decide what the "true costs" are? The corporate lobbied government? Disconnected bureaucrats? Do you think that central planning can work then? You are simply suggesting to replace on failed system with another. And one that will soon be removed by propaganda once it starts to show its failures (as has been done in the last century with the swings from regulated capitalism to neoliberalism. You are just now part of the same idealists wishing to swing once more to the other side for a bit)

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            If economics is an empirical science, then economic modeling should be able to identify what the true costs are. Sure it's open to manipulation, but everything is! It doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

            In communism, you have a similar problem. If you want to eliminate profit and demand equality, you have to somehow establish your true costs so you can determine how much people should be paid. Same problem, different application. That's what I'm saying, is that communism doesn't get you away from having to sweat the details. In fact, you have to sweat more details, because you don't have a market to set value. You have to set it yourself. That's even more complicated.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            If economics is an empirical science, then economic modeling should be able to identify what the true costs are. Sure it's open to manipulation, but everything is! It doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

            if you think that economics is an empirical science, then you do not understand economics. Economics has not a shred of empiricism in it. It's all based on assumed axioms and imagined concepts such as perfect competition. Economics is as much a science as Alchemy.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            I'd say you're correct if you're referring to outdated theories which generalized based on woefully incomplete information. But today, practically every transaction is done on computer. There's no reason that information can't be amalgamated and studied. Increasingly, it is.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            Computer calculations on economics work on particular models (one of those outdated theories you are talking about) and thus produce results accordingly to what those models would say. You can have a computer and just feed it current prices but this will tell you next than nothing unless you program it to analyze the data in a particular way.

            So yes, data is studied, but it's studied from a particular predefined perspective.

            And those outdated theories you were talking about? You know they still teach them in economic courses right? You know that this "woefully incomplete information" is still the basis for all amalgamation and study right?

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            That's what I'm saying, is that communism doesn't get you away from having to sweat the details. In fact, you have to sweat more details, because you don't have a market to set value. You have to set it yourself. That's even more complicated.

            Which is why Communists abolish money? And before you go on about how this is impossible, I'll pre-empt an argument from personal incredulity on you. If you don't understand how this is possible, perhaps you need to investigate it.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

            Even if you abolish money, you still need to account for value. Even if people cooperate, you still need a way to punish cheaters and slackers. Some form of incentive is inevitable unless you live in a world free from scarcity. Money, with all of its problems is simply a way to deal with allocating scarce resources.

            In one of the Star Trek movies, Picard said that in the 24th century, "we don't work for money, we work to better ourselves."

            I have no doubt that a world which has solved its energy and resource problems would have less need for money. But we can't get there without many, many changes which are not likely to happen in our lifetime. So we are still left with a need for accountability.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            Money is but one way to allocate scarce resources but it's apparent that it's far from the best way, particularly the way it allocates resources according to wealth but not need, leading to mass starvation for some so that other can eat meat every day.

            It is precicely because we live in a world of scarce resources that we should not allow further accumulation of them, as this simply leads to people going without while others have more than they need and they withhold that so as to achieve power over others.

            Socialism is simply a way to assign scarce resources according to need, not according to privilege. There's many ways we can achieve that, the main of which is by preventing accumulation (ie abolishing private property) and money. Once people have no need to accumulate, the surplus resources, of which we have more than enough to fulfill our basic needs, can be distributed according to needs.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            But we can't get there without many, many changes which are not likely to happen in our lifetime. So we are still left with a need for accountability.

            We certainly won't get there through Capitalism that is for sure, as it requires scarcity if it is to even continue functioning. Which is incidentally why artificial scarcity is introduced where none exists.

            It is no wonder that even though humanity's productive capability (and thus energy and resource production) has increased geometrically in the last 100 years, people on average still do not work less, nor do we have less scarcity on our basic needs. In fact scarcity in water and food is only increasing. It takes deliberate effort to ignore all this and claim that the markets "efficiently allocate resources" or some other such nonsense.

  • Scott

    I know full well the problems that exist between the M-L side and the more radical side (not even just anarchists…I have had issues with them as well, and would not label myself anything more than “revolutionary communist”) of the left, and of course everything in between. But in my own personal experience, those who act will, by their actions, inspire those around them. The ones that matter, anyway. The party leaderships will never be convinced that they are wrong under any circumstances. But the memberships of these parties tend to not be so dogmatic, and, especially in the youth contingents, are much more open minded. They simply fall into party lines because they are not as well read or as experienced as those they see around them in the party. What starts out as hope of changing the world soon becomes “I don’t like the inaction of this group but there doesn’t seem to be anyone out there doing anything, so i might as well stick around”. This has happened to me and nearly everyone I know in the political scene. How many people really stick with the ideology that they are given by their first experiences with radical politics? People jump around all the time. And these people can be influenced by direct action. So if an anarchist does something that a member of a M-L party admires/agrees with/likes/etc, and that person’s party leadership denounces it, suddenly that part has one less follower. And then another action, and another member is gone. Finally, all we have is a group of revolutionary anti-capitalists who may not agree on whether or not Lenin was a great hero of the people, or whether Trotsky would have been better for the USSR than Stalin, or whether Cuba is socialist or not. But what you have is a group of revolutionaries that do what they can to bring down capitalism. And in so doing, you meet both the “vanguard” idea and the “spontaneous” idea, because this new revolutionary group is “leading”, but only by example. And it will (hopefully) inspire others to act without any communication with the original group, thus creating the de-centralization that anarchists are looking for.

    By uniting under a revolutionary anti-capitalist banner, much more can be achieved than by thousands of hours of political debate.

    That is what I meant when I wrote this article, though given that it was written at around 3:30 a.m., I suppose I didn’t give the detail that was needed.

  • http://dbzer0.com db0

    If that could be changed by intelligent regulation, it would solve many problems. I don't have a crystal ball, but neither do anti-statists or communists. I don't think the state should go away, just get a lot smarter and more accountable.

    Then you are being utopian. You expect somehow for problems to be resolved if we just had "intelligent regulation". It's all nice and good fantasizing of how perfect things would be if things were perfect, but this is all just irrelevant. It's how we get there that is important. And Capitalism has proven time, and time, and time again that it cannot be reformed. The whole system is built to resist this kind of reformation. From the difficulty of getting people to do this "intelligent regulation" in office in the first place, to the resistance they will face there from the bureaucracy working against them, to the eventual corruption they will enter once the people which are rewarded with power by the system being less regulated lobby against them.

    The Anarchists have a way to get to egalitarianism. They have actual, practical recommendations for the here and now. Not vague dreams of "intelligent regulation" which will never happen by people voting for Obamas or Chavezs. Those who would betray you sooner (see: Obama) or later (see: Chavez).

    And that is the problem. You say that Capitalism can be better if reformed but have no idea how to achieve this, other than by keeping on doing the same failed stuff: Vote for politicians and hope they won't stab you in the back the minute they get into office. And for someone who suggests that human nature makes people look for the "profit", it's especially naive of you to expect some people (ie Politicians and government) to somehow rise above their "human nature"

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

      Both sides suffer from the same problem. But with capitalism, we have a real-time model where we can try things. In fact dozens of them, each with slightly different real-world conditions we can study. No communist society exists that's not a police state.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

        No communist society exists.

        FTFY.

        Plus I do not see what you say is anything close to countering my argument above

  • http://dbzer0.com db0

    And this is what Anarcho-Communism proposes, to change the environment so as to get the desired outcome (cooperation). What you don't see is that you cannot provide "checks and balances" to get the desired outcome within a system which works to promote the opposite outcome. You are simply trying to hold the flood back.

    There are other ways to promote good behaviour and punish bad ones, the capitalist way has proven not to be a particularly good one at that as it promoted bad behaviour (greed) and punished good ones (altruism) and this cannot be modified as it is required by the system to function.

    Furthermore, your claims that we have never avoided natural selection simply flies in the face of experience in medicine. And that's for starters. Human societies have the purpose of avoiding natural selection (ie survival of the fittest) and the better they achieve that, the better they work. As such, introducing a system as better simply because it mimic natural selection but on the social level (ie free markets), is entirely the wrong approach.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

    It must be quantified because it involves people expending large portions of their lives in pursuit of some goal. No one would do it otherwise. There is self-interest in socalizing risk. that's what insurance is. Externalities of transactions socialize risk without paying for it (i.e. pollution, climate change). By regulating externalities, you get a handle on this problem.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

      It must be quantified because it involves people expending large portions of their lives in pursuit of some goal. No one would do it otherwise.

      Sure they would. If I had the possibility of expending large portions of my life in pursuit of a risk-free goal that will benefit me and the community around me, I would still do it.

      Externalities of transactions socialize risk without paying for it (i.e. pollution, climate change). By regulating externalities, you get a handle on this problem.

      "Regulating Externalities" is just a dream. Even if practically possible (see: limited information) You assume that the politicians will pass laws against the people they are supporting. In the real world, we notice that the exact opposite is happening.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/BlackSun BlackSun

        I say anarcho-communism is just a dream. At this point we are at an intellectual stalemate. There is no way to prove what you are proposing could work. In the real world, you are expecting the powerful to voluntarily cede power to the weak.

        • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

          No I don't. That is the point of being a revolutionary. Again, you cannot argue against me, without having any idea what I'm talking about.

          I can prove that it can work by pointing out to experiments in the same path that confirmed the theories of anarchism (eg Spanish Revolution, Christania). All we need to do, is avoid the mistakes they did.

          In the real world, I am expecring the system to go into crisis (as it does) and enmiserate millions of people who will then start thinking of alternatives. If there's enough of us Anarchists pushing in the right direction, a revolution can happen wether the powerful want it or not.

  • http://dbzer0.com db0

    No I don't. That is the point of being a revolutionary. Again, you cannot argue against me, without having any idea what I'm talking about.

    I can prove that it can work by pointing out to experiments in the same path that confirmed the theories of anarchism (eg Spanish Revolution, Christania).

    In the real world, I am expecring the system to go into crisis (as it does) and enmiserate millions of people who will then start thinking of alternatives. If there's enough of us Anarchists pushing in the right direction, a revolution can happen wether the powerful want it or not.

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