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How does capitalism affect crime?

by Curious2
Tags: affect, capitalism, crime
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DaveC426913
#19
Jul6-08, 09:45 AM
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Quote Quote by Alfi View Post
People, ( real people, not just relative people ) still make decisions of will it be food or medicine because it won't be both. I have known more than a couple of people in the situation. They're poor. Poverty exists in their world. Is that real or just relative?
Definitely relative. They're still doing way way better than a large protion of the 3rd world. They don't have to worry about dysentery do they? For a good indicaton of how well they're doing, look at their life expectancy.

Quote Quote by Alfi View Post
Is it not possible for any other group of people to form a system other than capitalism that can also eliminate poverty?
Maybe, maybe not, but that is not the point of this discussion. That is the fallacy known as wishful thinking.
Quote Quote by Alfi View Post
Capitalism is based on continued growth. It is not sustainable in a closed system.
Also not the point. Nobody says capitalism is perfect.
TheStatutoryApe
#20
Jul6-08, 09:48 AM
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Quote Quote by arildno View Post
For run-of-the-mill companies,providing sufficient "research space" is an uncertain, risky and COSTLY investment; a more realistic approach for such companies is mere applied science were ready-made technologies is put into use, or only altered in minor ways.
Do you think that capitalism may speed the implementation and dispersal of new innovations and technologies?
DaveC426913
#21
Jul6-08, 09:56 AM
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Quote Quote by TheStatutoryApe View Post
Do you think that capitalism may speed the implementation and dispersal of new innovations and technologies?
He did say "[not] AS SUCH", meaning "it helps but is not the root cause".

That being said, I'm with you. I think capitalism is the cause and innovations are the effect.
arildno
#22
Jul6-08, 10:46 AM
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Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
He did say "[not] AS SUCH", meaning "it helps but is not the root cause".

That being said, I'm with you. I think capitalism is the cause and innovations are the effect.
I totally disagree, and you don't have the evidence with you.

Scientists are NOT primarily driven by the prospect of commercial success, nor are their general interests to improve current technology, but rather, their primary drive is "self-competition", i.e, to understand more tomorrow than they did yesterday.

As long as scientists are provided, by some means, the luxury of time to develop their ideas, for example by being gentlemen of the leisured class, they will trundle along in their knowledge production projects.
arildno
#23
Jul6-08, 10:54 AM
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Quote Quote by TheStatutoryApe View Post
Do you think that capitalism may speed the implementation and dispersal of new innovations and technologies?
Most definitely, yes.
DaleSpam
#24
Jul6-08, 12:30 PM
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Quote Quote by arildno View Post
It is not free trade and the free circulation of capital AS SUCH that has eliminated poverty in the West.

Rather, it is the countless technological INNOVATIONS that have revolutionized produce extraction&distribution which must be regarded as the direct causes within poverty elimination.

The primary beneficial role of our economic system in this, is the swiftness by which the market forces distribute these innovations throughout society. This, of course, should not be forgotten, and illustrative comparisons are plenty:
1. In the medieaval age, monasteries and the manorial systems were often "experiment labs", where new techniques of agriculture, for example, were implemented.
But these important techniques were impeded for swift distribution by the closed, "cellular" economy of those times. Ideals were those of self-sufficiency and suspicion towards "strangers", and trade were looked down upon.
Thus, important innovations took a very long time to distribute themselves.'

2. In the Soviet Union, scientific expertise was at least as prevalent than in the West (the maths&physics education were, in general, superior to that in many Western coun tries), but the planned economy ideas failed to distribute growth in any rational manner, so that economic development was extremely patchy and inconsistent.


However, we shouldn't assume that capitalism and "fierce" competition PER SE stimulates technological growth, on occasion it does, but not as a general principle:

Most innovators and scientists have rarely been inspired by the idea of making a monetary profit, and this constraint may not really be conducive to the growth of KNOWLEDGE.
To learn, and develop ideas that MIGHT be useful, involves much trial and error and conditions of growth seem rather to be to let scientists be luxuriously "independent" of profit considerations and have the time to mature their ideas.

The most important parts in scientific, AND technological progress has happened within UNIVERSITIES, rather than in run-of-the-mill companies involved in the daily struggle for existence and profit margins. (The main exceptions are huge, almost monopolic companies like GM which can AFFORD a large staff of scientists ambling about, mostly in the same manner as if they had been tenured professors)


For run-of-the-mill companies,providing sufficient "research space" is an uncertain, risky and COSTLY investment; a more realistic approach for such companies is mere applied science were ready-made technologies is put into use, or only altered in minor ways.
I definitely agree with you on the key importance of innovation in the economic growth of the past two centuries. I also think your description of scientific expertise in the USSR and universities is accurate.

However, as you yourself mentioned in the USSR example, simply having good innovative people is not enough. It is a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition for the economic prosperity enjoyed under western capitalism. The key ingredient that was missing in the USSR is entrepenurism, and that is what capitalism fosters better than any other economic system ever used. Without entrepenurism, innovation has little economic benefit. With entrepenurism and innovation together you can create great economic prosperity, as demonstrated under western capitalism.

Btw, the reason I keep using the qualifier "western" capitalism is precisely because it is not a pure laissez-faire capitalism, but rather a system that also invests heavily in the universities and basic research that may have little immediate economic pay-off. As you noted, that investment in innovation has proven crucial over the last century or two.
arildno
#25
Jul6-08, 12:38 PM
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As for entrepreneurism, I can only agree with you.
After all, there are many areas in which production levels may be raised significantly (or production costs lowered significantly) by "clever thinking" alone, a quality that has not been monopolized by scientists or engineers.

And for those areas, the motivation and possibility for gain fostered by capitalism is a major causative factor.
marcus
#26
Jul6-08, 01:02 PM
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Quote Quote by TheStatutoryApe View Post
Do you think that capitalism may speed the implementation and dispersal of new innovations and technologies?
So also can war speed technological innovation, and coldwar, and competitions for prestige like the moonrace.
Even athletic sport can sometimes speed tech innovation. Like with bicycles and ski racing and lightweight sport equipment etc.

In my lifetime war had an incredible effect on tech innovation. Jet aircraft. Radar. Computers. Semiconductors. Nuclear technology. Submarines. Spy satellites. Global positioning satellites. Rockets. Guidance. Laser applications. Mostly supported by TAX DOLLARS through the military and other government agencies for the national interest.

Government support at first, often military is the first customer, then new technologies picked up and adapted by private business.

But even though war was largely instrumental, I don't especially favor war. there is a wise degree of regulation appropriate to all these things: war, capitalism, national ambitions, athletic competition, extreme sports. they all can spur technology but they also require political processes of control.
====================

about crime. I guess you are asking for people's opinions. this is my personal view:

I think market economics and private capital CAN lead to improved living standards and a more comfortable life for the average person. It can also lead to famine and huge differences in wealth----undermining social unity. Great differences in wealth can in some cases actually contribute to crime. (if large numbers of people see no hope of bettering their condition and turn to drugs violence etc.)
It depends a lot on culture.

There is no readymade culture of capitalism. Capitalism is a legal and economic system. How capitalism or any other system actually plays out in the real world depends on the culture of the society that it goes into.
Are they controlling their birthrate. Are they overcrowded or not. Is their culture compatible with sustained use of the environment. Is honest business practice and rule of law the norm. Are they tribal or motivated by family and clan loyalty. What kind of media. What kind of family structure and education norms do they have.

Capitalism poses a lot of questions. It is not an answer to everything. I think sometimes uncontrolled capitalism could make crime problems worse, in some situations. But in others it could contribute to a peaceful law-abiding society.

so there is no one unique answer to the thread question
DaveC426913
#27
Jul6-08, 08:30 PM
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Quote Quote by arildno View Post
Scientists are NOT primarily driven by the prospect of commercial success, nor are their general interests to improve current technology...
I think this is a great oversimplification of the forces at work. I'm not suggesting that scientists are driven by anything, I'm not even suggesting that scientists factor in except peripherally.

It is consumers with money and businesses willing to take it and an economy to facilitate the process that drives innovation.
arildno
#28
Jul10-08, 04:44 AM
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Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
I think this is a great oversimplification of the forces at work. I'm not suggesting that scientists are driven by anything, I'm not even suggesting that scientists factor in except peripherally.

It is consumers with money and businesses willing to take it and an economy to facilitate the process that drives innovation.
So, consumers and businesses stood behind, pushing Newton into excellence?
Oersted? Faraday? Maxwell? Kelvin? Tesla?

You MIGHT make a case for, say, Reynolds, Heaviside and Marconi, but I think that would be a weak one.

You are right, of course, when it comes to Edison, and possibly the Wright brothers.
TheStatutoryApe
#29
Jul10-08, 08:00 AM
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Quote Quote by arildno View Post
Tesla?
Tesla certainly led a rather ostentatious lifestyle for a time but from what I have read it was more a factor of his not paying attention to money. When Westinghouse was unable to pay him the agreed amount of royalties on his technology he allowed them to rework their contract and eventually even nullified it if I remember correctly.
He makes a perfect example of a major innovator that cared little for the commercial end of his business; excepting that it funded further tinkering and made his inventions available to the public to better society.



Edit: Funny. I don't quite remember whether Tesla leaned toward capitalism or socialism. I think that he approved of the way capitalism seemed to make innovations more accessible to the public but his vision was often more socialist. I'll have to look that up. Edison may have illustrated some of the worse aspects of capitalism for him.
arildno
#30
Jul10-08, 08:35 AM
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It should be stressed that a certain level of material independence is crucial if ANY scientist or engineer is to have the leisure to peruse literature that might come in handy in his research, the time to make errors, the time to hone his skills, the time to chat on a variety of subjects with others in his field, and the time to mature his ideas.

But, luxury and independence are by no means something that only can be achieved by engaging in capitalist ventures, robbing a bank might be a simpler way to achieve that independence.
DaveC426913
#31
Jul10-08, 08:42 AM
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Quote Quote by arildno View Post
So, consumers and businesses stood behind, pushing Newton into excellence?
Oersted? Faraday? Maxwell? Kelvin? Tesla?
Are we still talking about capitalism reducing crime here? I think your argument has gotten derailed.

You were closer with Edison and the Wright Bros.
arildno
#32
Jul10-08, 08:45 AM
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Are we still talking about capitalism reducing crime here? I think your argument has gotten derailed.
Did this post address the issue of crime&capitalism??
Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
I think this is a great oversimplification of the forces at work. I'm not suggesting that scientists are driven by anything, I'm not even suggesting that scientists factor in except peripherally.

It is consumers with money and businesses willing to take it and an economy to facilitate the process that drives innovation.
I am perfectly willing to let the thread wind into its ordained habitat, but I certainly dislike dishonest out-weaseling of the type you just committed.
DaveC426913
#33
Jul10-08, 09:00 AM
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Quote Quote by arildno View Post
Did this post address the issue of crime&capitalism??


I am perfectly willing to let the thread wind into its ordained habitat, but I certainly dislike dishonest out-weaseling of the type you just committed.
Can you elaborate? There was no intent to be dishonest or to weasel.
arildno
#34
Jul10-08, 09:08 AM
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Your previous comment (no 27) contained two points:

1. A question whether this had anything to do with the thread head, i.e, capitalism&crime.
Of course it did not, since it was a response to YOUR post that didn't have anything to do with the thread's intended content, either.

2. An assertion that my argument was "derailed".
Derailed from what?
Your previous post, to which it was a response, or to the thread's intended content?

By constantly driving at the intended content of the thread, and underplaying the fact that I made a response to YOUR post that had nothing to do with that theme, either, you are deliberately obfuscating your way out of your assertions made in your previous post.
DaveC426913
#35
Jul10-08, 09:32 AM
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OK, for starters, the fact that you perceive yourself to have gotten caught with your pants down does not mean I am responsible it, nor that I did it deliberately. I take umbrage with the accusation. At the very least, grant that we may have our wires crossed.



Quote Quote by arildno View Post
1. A question whether this had anything to do with the thread head, i.e, capitalism&crime.
Of course it did not, since it was a response to YOUR post that didn't have anything to do with the thread's intended content, either.
I have been maintaining the point all along that innovation is driven by consumers and corporations. I don't see anything I've written that does not directly or at least subsequently address that. You - from where I'm standing - believe that scientists are at the root of it. I see that as a misstep in logic.

I paraphrase:
1] OP: Does Captialism reduce crime?
16] Arildno: It is not capitalism that reduces crime, it is innovation.
21] DaveC: No, IMO capitalism is the cause for innovation.
22] Arildno: Scientists are not driven by commercial success...(This is where I believe you made an assumption, and began of the argument "spur")
27] DaveC: Scientists?? What do scientists have to do with anything??? I'm talking about consumerism and corporations being responsible for innovation.
28] Arildno: You're linking scientists to consumerism? You're saying Newton is...
31] DaveC: Again with the scientists! What do scientists have to do with anything??? I never mentioned Newton or any other scientist - that's YOUR argument. I don't think scietists have anything to do with this equation (and I say so, explicitly, in post 27). I think this talk about scientists is not addressing the central issue.

From where I stand, I never deviated from the original post; at every turn I said, IMO, you're on the wrong track (bringing scientists into it). I did not intend to obfuscate anything (and I don't think I did), I think you may have misunderstood my stance.
arildno
#36
Jul10-08, 09:48 AM
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The lines of argument was, roughly as follows:

a) Poverty elimination in the West has reduced crime (granted by most posters)
b) Capitalism has reduced poverty..hence, caused crime reduction, by a) (held by many posters)
c) Here, I intervened, saying it was not capitalism per se that had eliminated poverty, but the revolutionized processes of production, through the inventions made by various scientists/engineers (capitalism effectivizing immensely the spread of technologies) (post 16).
Certainly, that was a juncture point in the thread, from which it has gone down two separate lines.
d) Then YOU came on board, asserting that capitalism was the mechanism driving invention forwards.
e) To which I objected, saying most scientists aren't primarily motivated by capitalist considerations.
f) Whereupon YOU, suddenly shifting tracks, asking what this has to do with "crime".

If you want that connection, go back to c).

Besides, you have, as you say, only MAINTAINED that consumerism drives innovation, i.e, made a wholly empty assertion.

To take another counter-example to that:
The chemical industry was revolutionized in 19th century Germany, NOT through free-market trade mechanisms, but by a network of state officials and huge corporation TRUSTS (an anti-market institution), like IG Farben, that financed, and upheld thousands of scientists and engineers.

19th century German economy was a Prussian command economy, not a libertarian laissez-faire economy of the British and American variety.
Similary hold for both the German and Japanese "Wirtschaftswunders" after the second world war.


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