Communism, Democracy, and Anarchy

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I think I saw an episode of The Outer Limits like this once, well, not quite,
Not even remotely, but it does bring up an important point. Ninty percent of all violent crimes are committed by young men between 18 and 25, and the majority of these men have been linked to a particular genetic makeup. Aggression as I said is supported in nature as survival advantage, but nature prefers to remain flexible on such details. Thus you have cultures like the !Kung who had only one serious rape, murder or theft every fourhundred years before the the white man came. Many have already suggested gene therapy to deal with the problem.

Anyway, the point is, the "kinder, gentler, doers of good deeds" are not always the best people to govern the rest, it really depends on the situation. You can't account for all possibilities all of the time, so you have to try to account for most of the possibilites most of the time and hope the rest don't come back to bite you in the arse.
"Kinder, gentler" are your words, not mine.

Grameen Bank doesn't just give money away, they demand services in return. The vast majority of the people they loan money to are women. The reason why is women are not only less violent, but tend to manage money better and be more reliable in keeping their end of the bargan. Grameen is now worth over a billion dollars and claims to have never had a single person renige on the bargan. The women make sure of that with the ferocity only an outraged mamma can bring to the situation.

However, Grameen presents a threat to loan sharks everywhere who prey on the destitute. If any of them attacked the bank though, they'd have hell to pay not only from these women but their husbands and everyone else as well. Other grass roots organizations such as this, like habitat for humanity, have also proven their ability to survive. In olden times, banks and other corporate interests might have easily destroyed such efforts.

I'm not talking about some kind of perfect lovey dovey Utopia. If you like fiction, Star Trek presents a much better example of the kind of meritocracy I am talking about. The behind the scenes story of Star Trek is that the earth has become a meritocracy in which money plays a vanishingly small role. If someone wants something, they just walk up to the nearest replicator and ask for it. As for maintaining order and being prepared for the unexpected, they have star fleet which serves the entire world.

To a great extent, this process has already begun. As I've already said, ninty percent of the wealth of the world today is essentially speculation, in other words, information. Already one quarter of international trade today is barter trade. It simply makes no sense whatsoever to use money when the Russian Ruble changes value so quickly. Likewise, just as computers keep getting cheaper and more powerful every few years the same thing is happening across the board. Cars today cost one third what they used to, last three times as long, and come with lots of fluffy extras.

These are all trends economists and others have remarked upon for over ten years now. Huge changes in the world economy are expected sometime in the near future, but exactly what they will be and how it will occur are matters of intense speculation. However, a few things everyone agrees upon is that money will play a smaller role, information and barter trade will play an even larger role, and eventually these changes will entirely eclipse the current military/industrial complex just as it eclipsed the agracultural revolution.

I could go on and on, but if you wish to really understand long term economic, political, and cultural trends you should just read up on the subjects. What is certain is that describing them largely in terms of ancient fears, the present, and ethnocentric terms is misleading to say the least. Of all the people that have ever lived in civilization, half are alive today.
 

drag

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What's up with all that optimism Wuliheron ?
Why are people so headstrong and certain that
humanity will be all right and thrive, why
do they think that if they went so far then
there's no chance they can fall ?

Live long and prosper.
 
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The original question invites optimistic anaswers,

"What is a better form of government?"

In addition, nature and history provide optimism. Flexible species like humanity are survivors that adapt to changing conditions. People occupied every single continent on earth, for example, before the advent of civilization and today have no natural preditors.

However, if you want pessimism as well there is plenty that goes with this question. I already mentioned that twenty guys armed with razor blades just brought the world's largest economy to its knees. With the invasions of Afganistan and Iraq its evident the road to meritocracy will not be an easy one for countless millions.

The mongol empire is gone as is most of the culture that supported it, but the mongols remain. Albeit, almost as impoverished as ever. It was this extreme poverty that compelled them to invade china by the millions when starvation set in and the chinese to build enough walls to circle the earth 36 times. Today, the Han chinese are the decendents of some of these mongols and the remaining mongols' war horses have been replaced by food aid. Not an easy way to get a bite to eat.
 

drag

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Originally posted by wuliheron
However, if you want pessimism as well there is plenty that goes with this question. I already mentioned that twenty guys armed with razor blades just brought the world's largest economy to its knees. With the invasions of Afganistan and Iraq its evident the road to meritocracy will not be an easy one for countless millions.
That is not what I'm talking about, but
that is a clear example of the optimism
part. Everyone thinks that history is a
good guide and shows that we always adapt.
But, in the past we always had where to
go. At present, the human race reproduces
at such rate that soon the planet will
not be able to support us in many ways
even condsidering the most dramatic scientific
and engeneering achievments.

Getting back to the subject of this thread,
purhaps, in light of the above, we need
to think in terms of global goverments
taking drastic steps to save us from
these potential future catastrophies.

Live long and prosper.
 
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Everyone thinks that history is a
good guide and shows that we always adapt.
But, in the past we always had where to
go. At present, the human race reproduces
at such rate that soon the planet will
not be able to support us in many ways
even condsidering the most dramatic scientific
and engeneering achievments.
Actually, the latest census figures show that AIDS and other problems are slowing down population growth. Many have also argued that the remaining overpopulation problems are largely due to women being unempowered. In other words, whether or not science and technological developements will be able to keep pace is still up in the air. They may not have to keep pace for one thing.

Getting back to the subject of this thread,
purhaps, in light of the above, we need
to think in terms of global goverments
taking drastic steps to save us from
these potential future catastrophies.
Thinking alone never got anyone anywhere. For thoughts to be productive rather than merely counterproductive distractions requires that they be put into practical concrete actions.

Currently the US is by far the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world today. One could even argue that it already constitutes a defacto world government and the evangelical Bush administration is already putting its rudamentary world governing principles into action in defiance of the UN. Rather than merely reacting to attacks from various states or waiting for support from the majority of nations, the US is taking pre-emptive action in extreme cases.

Along these same lines, the US is updating and shaping the IMF policies, international trade, etc. all in effort not only to promote the interests of the US, but those of other nations as well. Unless other nation's economies thrive, that of the US itself will stall not to mention the resulting wars and terrorism that thrive under poverty.

Of course, you can argue that if the US constitutes a world government, it is not a democratic one and is failing to regulate the environment and what not effectively enough to stave off disaster. That is where meritocracy comes into play. If it isn't enough fast enough, hello stone age. However, there are at least a dozen fully self-sufficient underground cities around the world today. Civilization will likely make a speedy recovery.
 

drag

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Originally posted by wuliheron
Actually, the latest census figures show that AIDS and other problems are slowing down population growth. Many have also argued that the remaining overpopulation problems are largely due to women being unempowered. In other words, whether or not science and technological developements will be able to keep pace is still up in the air. They may not have to keep pace for one thing.
As far as I heard, annual world population growth
is 100 million + . According to a very crude estimate
that puts us at 10 billion before 2030.
Unless, of course, the above mentioned drastic
measures or alternativly catastrophies occur.

Live long and prosper.
 
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The estimated maximum population for the earth is fourteen billion. I know it doesn't look good, but thirty years or more in the future is a long term trend. I refuse to be either pessimistic or optimistic about such things, but instead, perfer to be reasonable. Sorry if that isn't comforting enough for you.

A great deal of the population growth in the world resembles what they call "fish pond" population trends. Boom and bust cycles. Africa's repeated famines and current AIDS epidemic are examples of what often occurs with such cycles. It ain't pretty, but that's the way it goes.

The current thoughts on the subject are that such boom and bust cycles are perpetuated by the disempowerment of women, political strife, and people living on land that simply will not support them. The next major additional cause of such boom and bust cycles is expected to be around access to water. Genetic engineering is making it possible to grow food in the desert and technology is making it possible to not only grow food in briney soil but to desalinate water, so to a significant extent it is the other two problems that are proving to be the most intractable.

As I've already indicated, the US is beginning to assert itself economically, politically, and militarilly as no longer willing to put up with terrorism and the other nasty by-products such totalitarian and repressive cultures and governments create. Exactly how it will all shake out in the end is anyone's guess, but for sure the environment will never be the same and the gravy train capitalist countries have enjoyed to date is on the downhill slide.
 

russ_watters

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Wow, nothing like a little political theory to piss people off. Ishop, your assessment is ALMOST exactly correct, but maybe a little (very little) simplistic...
Originally posted by Ishop
Communism is for the intellegent dreamer,
Anarchy is for the ignorant dreamer,
Democracy is for the realistic.

Democracy, unlike the other two, is compatable with human nature. The problem with the other two is that it does not take into account that human nature is greed and power. Survival of the fitest.
There are many aspects of human nature. You forget selfishness Anarchy fails because it is unstable - people will not live together in peace without laws. It is human nature to want power and eventually someone siezes it.

Communism is similar in that it is also unstable, but it is actually LESS stable than anarchy because it requires absolute cooperation between all participants. Anarchy does not. At the very least anarchy recognizes that people are different frome each other.

Clarification (someone else touched on it): The "communism" I speak of is Marxism or "pure" communism. Various watered down forms of communism have been tried and a few have even remained stable for a while. NONE have really worked though. Not even Cuba.

Also, I subscribe to the political theory of self determination: In order for a government to be "legitimate," the power MUST be derived from the PEOPLE. In practice, the ONLY form of government that meets this criteria is the various forms of democracy. Marxist communism would meet this criteria, and even complete anarchy would. But neither can actually function in REALITY. They are utopian pipe dreams.

Seems we have a breakdown in definitions here. I'd like to take the time to point out that capitalism is NOT A FORM OF GOVERNMENT, it is an economic system.
Capitalism is the economic system that goes with deomcracy. Socialism is the economic system that goes with communism. So I often say "democracy/capitalism" and "communism/socialism" to represent the two systems. Many people use the words interchangeably. Though not technically correct, thats what they mean when they say it.

Editorial note: I find it pathetic that some people can't have a reaonsable discussion (arguement even) without being able to remain civil. Might that be a reflection of the type of government they advocate?
 
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drag

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Greetings !
Originally posted by wuliheron
The estimated maximum population for the earth is fourteen billion.
Can I see that part in a report or something ?
Where's that figure coming from ?

Live long and prosper.
 
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Can you have such a thing as a true democracy without a republic? Or would that be anarchy?
 

russ_watters

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Can you have such a thing as a true democracy without a republic?
Yes. It is cumbersome though and not the best way to do it.
Or would that be anarchy?
No. Democracy means majority rule. "Pure" democracy would mean everyone votes for every law that is ever passed. There would be no president or legislature. It'd be a mess, but thats not anarcy. Anarchy is the complete absence of any government including all the functions of government such as passing laws.
 
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Then what is a republic if it doesn't contain any democratic elements? Would that be Fascism? What would you call the United States if it's both a Democracy and a Republic?

Perhaps "a marriage?" ... Where "the husband" wants to be fiscally responsible (a republican) and "the wife" (a democrat) thinks he's a tight-ass and wants to spend all the money?

I know it's a little over-simplified, but it sounds about right?
 
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There are many aspects of human nature. You forget selfishness Anarchy fails because it is unstable - people will not live together in peace without laws. It is human nature to want power and eventually someone siezes it.
See what I mean about social darwinism? Next you'll be telling us human nature is responsible for all the problems in the world today and that humanity is just inherently evil like the Bible says. Anarchy thrived for millions of years before the advent of civilization.

Sociologists and anthropologists have gone over this issue with a fine tooth comb. What seems to matter most is not some innate drive people have for power, but the availability of resources. That is why groups such as the !Kung don't have a history of egomaniacs desperately seeking power. It isn't human nature, but simple survival, growth, and progress when the local resources are available that drive people to organize in repressive ways, including democratic ones.

Democracy means majority rule.
That is the definition of a mob lynching, not democracy.

Communism is similar in that it is also unstable, but it is actually LESS stable than anarchy because it requires absolute cooperation between all participants. Anarchy does not. At the very least anarchy recognizes that people are different frome each other.

Clarification (someone else touched on it): The "communism" I speak of is Marxism or "pure" communism. Various watered down forms of communism have been tried and a few have even remained stable for a while. NONE have really worked though. Not even Cuba.
I prefer to avoid such nonsensical idiological rhetoric. Marx was one philosopher who lived a century ago, who cares what he wrote other than politicians. Arguably the most communistic state in civilzed history was the ancient Greek Spartans, who were also among the fiercest of warriors (note: not intellectual idealists). Nor was their government unstable, it fit the time and place and survived for many centuries.

No government lives forever anymore than any individual lives forever. The question is whether it suits the time, place, and survival needs of the community. In this rapidly changing and violent world communism remains a viable alternative on any scale. Certainly not a pleasent one for most, more of a fall back position for larger groups when times get hard. As I have already mentioned, England during WWII is often considered the most communistic state to exist in the last century.

Also, I subscribe to the political theory of self determination: In order for a government to be "legitimate," the power MUST be derived from the PEOPLE. In practice, the ONLY form of government that meets this criteria is the various forms of democracy. Marxist communism would meet this criteria, and even complete anarchy would. But neither can actually function in REALITY. They are utopian pipe dreams.
Oh, and I suppose the Russian revolution never took place? Who do you think empowered all these communist dictators? Bozo the clown? Desperate times compell people to desperate measures, something capitalist rhetoric still seems to deny with every breath it can draw and insist that people should just "bite the bullet".

I agree that in the modern world democracy has proven the most functional of governments and that it tends to support more capitalistic economies, but that is not the same as saying it has some sort of divine mandate or reflects "human nature". What it reflects is the availability of resources, the drive for growth and progress in peoples' lives, and the practical limitations of organizing differently or living anarchistically on large scales.

It is equally important to note that most of the world enjoys a much more sociolistic government than the US where the needs of more than just the majority are taken care of. Rather than unconditionally supporting monopolies and rampant capitalism, the state owns basic services.

Editorial note: I find it pathetic that some people can't have a reaonsable discussion (arguement even) without being able to remain civil. Might that be a reflection of the type of government they advocate?
More political BS as far as I am concerned. I am talking about the realities of life, while you are obviously promoting social darwinism and political propoganda. Keep on talking, as far as I am concerned too many people in america today don't realize the difference anymore. With all the major forms of mass media and increasingly the scholarly world itself being owned by a vanishingly small percentage of the population, the internet is the only place left to find unbiased information.

Can I see that part in a report or something ?
I got that figure from Scientific American, sorry, don't remember which issue. However, you might check the UN or just do a websearch. However, I will say that is the top figure they gave with the qualification that some argued it might be lower or higher. Eight to ten billion, if I remember correctly, was what they estimated to be the max number possible without drastic changes.
 
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selfAdjoint

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Sociologists and anthropologists have gone over this issue with a fine tooth comb. What seems to matter most is not some innate drive people have for power, but the availability of resources. That is why groups such as the !Kung don't have a history of egomaniacs desperately seeking power. It isn't human nature, but simple survival, growth, and progress when the local resources are available that drive people to organize in repressive ways, including democratic ones.
There's been a thirty year war between leftist sociologists who conclude as you do and evolutionsts/psychometricians who emphasize inborn factors in human behavior. It is necessary to acknowledge this split when you cite "authority" for it's-not-in-our-genes conclusions about history.
 
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There's been a thirty year war between leftist sociologists who conclude as you do and evolutionsts/psychometricians who emphasize inborn factors in human behavior. It is necessary to acknowledge this split when you cite "authority" for it's-not-in-our-genes conclusions about history.
Exactly my point, people like Malthus have been claiming since before Hitler that it is all in our genes. Blacks are innately inferior, Jews are innately greedy, and humanity is innately power hungery. F**k 'em all!!! These people are willing to stretch any scientific discovery to the extreme in support of their political and religious agendas. They don't care about "truth" or anything else for that matter. All they know is what they have been taught to hate and that the end justifies the means.

Until some serious evidence to contrary is discovered, I'll stick with the sociologists who at least haven't encouraged such people to sterilize, torture, and commit genocide!

PS- If capitalism is inherently superior to communism, it needs no defense. Especially in a world where communism has all but disappeared. What requires defense still is our innate humanity!
 
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S

securitysix

"Kinder, gentler" are your words, not mine.
You are, of course, right. For some reason, my brain went into peacenik mode (didn't know I had a peacenik mode, learn something new every day) and decided that "good deed" and "gentle" are synonyms. They are, of course, not. A good deed is generally considered as "the right thing to do", but is not always gentle and can be percieved as unkind by some.

So, for a meritocracy to work, you would have to establish an absolute moral code, would you not? So one would have to ask how you establish a moral code. I'm sure everyone would agree that child molestation, rape, and murder are wrong, so we'd have no problem there. What about pre-marital relations? Abortion as a means of birth control?

While the idea is great, I'm not sure how one would impliment it on a global scale. I'm not sure it could be done on a national scale, either, at least not with some cultures. Go tell a Wahabist that killing the infidel is wrong, see what he says. Tell a pro choice person that abortion is not an acceptable form of birth control. Tell the Grand Dragon of the KKK or a Neo-Nazi it's wrong to hate blacks and Jews. Tell the Black Panthers that shooting whitey for keeping him down is wrong.

It's possible to do the wrong thing for the right reasons, and it makes it tough to establish a moral code. You talk of population control, and so I impose this question to you: Abortion is a functional method of population control, as is abstinance, which is right? Killing people who are above a certain age (another sci-fi story, sorry, don't remember the name) or with unbeatable diseases (AIDs, some cancers, probably others I can't think of) would ease burdens on the population, should we do this?

The problem I see with meritocracy is: "Who decides what's right?"
 
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So, for a meritocracy to work, you would have to establish an absolute moral code, would you not? So one would have to ask how you establish a moral code. I'm sure everyone would agree that child molestation, rape, and murder are wrong, so we'd have no problem there. What about pre-marital relations? Abortion as a means of birth control?
I don't really believe you need an absolute moral code. Quite the opposite. Every democracy in the world today, as far as I know, is a constitutional democracy that periodically updates the rights of its citizens. The UN as well has worked to promote the growth of human rights worldwide. I imagine for the indefinite future this trend of evolving human rights will continue. Not necessarilly as an expression of absolute rights, but as an explicite expression of what people at the time believe everyone deserves.

While the idea is great, I'm not sure how one would impliment it on a global scale. I'm not sure it could be done on a national scale, either, at least not with some cultures. Go tell a Wahabist that killing the infidel is wrong, see what he says. Tell a pro choice person that abortion is not an acceptable form of birth control. Tell the Grand Dragon of the KKK or a Neo-Nazi it's wrong to hate blacks and Jews. Tell the Black Panthers that shooting whitey for keeping him down is wrong.
Again, this is a natural process. It's important to note that what people often have thought in the past was utterly impossible, wasn't. The wall of Berlin fell, the slaves were freed, our bitter enemies of a decade ago are now our close friends. There are many different things that fuel such transformations, just as there are many that fuel hatred.

There is an old argument about whether great men shape history or history shapes great men. Was Ghandi just the right man for the job, or was he just one of many but the one who happened to be in the right place at the right time? Such are social darwinist theories.

Obviously it happens both ways. Instead of speculating on such things, I look to nature as whole for examples of what the possibilities are. Sure, maybe meritocracy is impossible but if so I see no evidence of that. For the most part nature does not select for inflexibility, and humanity has proven very flexible indeed.

The problem I see with meritocracy is: "Who decides what's right?"
Again, the people and the situation do on an evolving basis. Democracy today is nothing like what it was in Socrates' time. For that matter, life in general isn't the same anymore. In Socrates day grown men having sex with little boys was considered normal. In the last few hundred years the human population has gone from a few million to billions. In the last twenty years starvation worldwide has been reduced from its historical level of half the population to one quarter.

Sometimes its not easy to see the forest through the trees, but it's there nonetheless. :0)
 
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Unfortunately the posting mechanism of PF3 doesn't show the whole thread so cutting and pasting is a pain. Just wanted to make a comment about the belief that all western democracies have a constitution. Australia doesn't. Thank god. What a disaster that has been in America. Not sure about others. Anyway...

To think that Anarchism can work in a large, condensed industrial society is naive to say the least. As has been said time and time again, people are just not like that. There are too many greedy people. I'm not talking really evil people, but people who can't be bothered doing good for others or not getting that extra peice of the pie when they can. Communism hasn't worked not just because of poor economic management but because the countries generally started out poor and had no goods nor the infrastructure to distribute goods and services. There are apparently parts of China that have no idea they are under communism to this day.

Marxism is a paranoid form of socialism. It implies a conspiracy on behalf of the rich against the poor. The reality is that your economic status or ethnicity has nothing to do with how much of a knob you are. Get 100 people from any demographic and I will guarantee that you will find the same amount of bad to good (no particular benchmark used).

I consider myself a socialist. I believe in state ownership of major industry. I also believe in democracy. Why democracy is always associated with capitalism is beyond me. We should be able to chose what it is we need and have the government supply it. At the same time, people need to realise that we all need to spend some time working in a job that we don't particularly enjoy, for the greater good. The pay off is knowing that when I'm shovelling sh*t, my bills are getting payed, I have housing and healthcare, my kids have a good education etc. In a capitalist society your pay is scaled by the stuff you are shoveling. Shovelin' sh*t, sh*t pay. I don't necesarrily believe in entirely equal pay. Some jobs I think require a different level of stress or hard manual labour. Restricting hours of work might be ok to equalise wages in this case but some jobs require continuity. It's not easy.

To answer the inital question. I would love to work on a project to develop a system which provides adequate goods and services to people, probably based on socialist concepts but with small scale capitalistic, highly taxed, enterprises to fill niche markets which are impracticle to cover with goverment industry and allow some creativity in employment. Capitalism works with the idea that everybody can be a millionaire. Clearly they can't, but an ideal socialist system started in a resource, infrastructure rich country could possibly feed the consumerist society so they lived like millionaires, only everyone would have to work.

Raavin
 
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I would qualify your negative assessment of capitalism. Japan has a law on the books that no one in a company can make more than twenty times what the lowest paid worker makes. In the US we have people making more than 200 times what the lowest paid worker makes. Capitalism need not be so cut-throat. Unfortunately for the US the unions weren't as successful as they were in japan. :0)
 
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Any links to stuff about this maximum wage stuff in Japan???

Raavin [?]
 
S

securitysix

OK, wuliheron, you've convinced me that meritocracy COULD work. A couple more problems I have, though.

I don't think the UN should be in charge of creating any form of government, especially a meritocracy. We're talking about an organization that has put Syria in charge of their Human Rights commitee. Iraq is pretty high on the list of countries to head the Disarmament commitee (how's that for irony?).

As far as the slaves being freed, I would like to point out that Thomas Jefferson (a well known historical figure, I'm sure you'll agree), was a slave owner. This is well known. Thomas Jefferson abhorred slavery, yet participated because he felt it necessary. He also tried to treat his slaves very well, though there may be exceptions to this. He tried to get slavery outlawed in Virginia, but never tried too hard for fear of political death. Abraham Lincoln (the man credited with freeing the slaves) was also a slave owner and did not particularly care for the idea of freeing the slaves, but did so to save himself from political death. Had he not done so, many of the people in the North, who thought they were fighting to free the slaves, would have revolted against him at the ballot box. The reason Lincoln went to war with the Confederacy was that he didn't like the idea that a state or group of states could just up and say "F$*# this!" and drop out of the Union. He was trying to expand the power of the federal government while reducing the power of the states. Was he right to free the slaves? I'd say "yes". Did he do it for the right reason? I don't think so.

History is actually filled with people doing the right thing for the wrong reason. I would think that for a meritocracy to work correctly, the people in charge would have to be willing to do the right thing just because it is the right thing to do. Those folks do exist, but not in very large numbers compared to the world population. In fact, why do most people do the "right" thing? Most people will answer that question with regard to themselves as "to either receive reward or to avoid punishment".

If this is the only reason to be good, the reward would have to be good enough for the majority to strive for or the punishment would have to be so horrible as to get most people to avoid it. A balance would have to be struck between the two that would level it out to a point where people would excel on their merits without an alterior motive in mind. They would have to be striving to do good without seeking riches and without fearing retribution, otherwise, I can't see the system working. Without the right balance, greed will take over, or fear will rule, and either way, a tyrant will run things.

I'd love to see meritocracy work, and I think it can probably be worked into, but you can't dump it on people like you can a representative republic or a dictatorship and expect it to keep them in line. It will require subtle implementation and will encounter some resistance even then. I've stopped doubting it will work, I just can't forsee one totally coming into place on a large scale within my lifetime. Hopefully, I'll be wrong.
 
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About the Japan maximum wage stuff. If there is a link that would be great but I'm wondering if there was some confusion. I found this http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm199394/cmhansrd/1994-10-19/Debate-1.html [Broken] and I'm wondering if this is where the mix up is. It's a British parlimentary speech. Here's a snippit

"That leave be given to bring in a Bill to fix the emoluments of chairpersons, chief executives and senior managers of private limited companies and public bodies so that their combined annual earnings do not exceed twenty times the average take-home pay of their non-managerial employees save if the said employees agree through a ballot of their non- managerial employees or through their union to permit salaries of their chairpersons, chief executives and senior managers to exceed a 20:1 ratio."

It uses examples of many other countries where the ratio is lower. Japan for example is between 8 and 12 to 1.

About meritocracy, one problem is that you have to assume that the right person for the job is actually interested in it. When Israel asked Einstein to be their president, he wasn't interested. What about if you wanted a fantastic medical person to head the health department. Then they couldn't do medicine. Politics isn't a 40 hour a week job. Even if you think most politicians are morons, you have to concede that they put in 80 or more hours a week into the job. It is a lifestyle. Politicians would also argue that they are elected because of who they are and the ideals they believe in.

No. Democracy means majority rule. "Pure" democracy would mean everyone votes for every law that is ever passed. There would be no president or legislature. It'd be a mess, but thats not anarcy. Anarchy is the complete absence of any government including all the functions of government such as passing laws.
Exactly. Functional Anarchy relies on people either doing the right thing or dealing with their oen problems. So if someone does something wrong, you, or your local group 'deal with it'. Pure democracy relies on referendum. With technology today this could probably happen but the majority of people don't care about, or have the time to worry about every little law.

Just for fun, here is the start of a prescription for an ideal government.

1. There is a myth that money can't buy happiness. This is only partly true. Concerns about not being able to make ends meet causes huge problem in society. It impacts on relationships, effects health, enflames jealousy, is related to poor education etc., etc. The list goes on from there. Although money might not buy happiness, removal of the stresses caused by not having it could be eleviated so that people could work on other aspects of their lives in comfort and financial security. What does money mean though. Basically money means the ability to have housing, warmth, food, clothing, communications, transport, and a reasonable amount of what are seen a necesarry houshold goods. These days that includes TV, dvd, computer, soundsystem, microwave, furniture etc. (Using the TV as an example, the government might only produce a few sizes of plasma TV and maybe a projector, then produce a variety of covers. What would you prefer, paying hundreds of dollars for a CRT or getting say a Large and medium sized plasma screen with a choice of covers) The government of the day needs to be able to provide these things in abundance by producing them themselves. The actual cost of these things is not high and is only worth the labour invested when you exclude profit and taxes. There would also need to be scope for 'cottage industries' to fill gaps in service. These might be approved on submission of a business plan identifying these gaps just like if you were getting finance in the private sector. Pay structure might start out lower then as the business started succeeding, raised to tie in with the incentive scheme.

2. Wages. There needs to be a formula for wages. Possibly based on things like physical labour, expertise required, responsibility level etc. There also needs to be some incentives. What to do if someone decides to go into another line of work. Possibly a board or commitee of a 'factory' could vote on a financial incentive to keep someone they thought was of great value to the industry. Also providing financial incentives for quality or more efficient work. You could also give the option, where appropriate, to give the option of work sharing arrangements to reduce hours as an incentive.

3. Jobs nobody wants. Ideally you would try to create an environment where people had a choice about the work they did and the opportunity to train for other work. Where work could be replaced by machines this would be done. Where there was no choice, you would provide the incentives above.

4. Doesn't money encourage innovation. Well....I'm not so sure. Applying the incentive scheme to innovation might encourage this without the huge payout. Looking at the Open Source phenomenon, one could also assume that, given the opportunity, people will innovate and create of their own accord. Fame or notoriety, leaving a legacy that people are aware of is also encouragement. Promotion and encouragement of these achievements by the state would be important. How many scientists would be happy jsut to spend time developing different do-dads if they didn't have to worry about how they were going to pay their bills?

This is just a start. I have more bits but not the time at the moment to add them. Please comment on problems and additions.

Raavin
 
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About meritocracy, one problem is that you have to assume that the right person for the job is actually interested in it.
Just as democracy is an evolving form of government, so are meritocracies. If you visit totalitarian countries, you will often find the people have not the slightest real concept or attitude of civic duty. Politics often runs in families, and to a great extent it is these family and cultural values that can promote meritocracy.

Anarchy is the complete absence of any government including all the functions of government such as passing laws.
Anarchy simply means "no rulers", not the total absence of government. Consensual decision making, for example, is a form of anarchy. Just as no country is perfectly democratic, capitalistic, communistic, etc. none could be perfectly anarchistic, but you can incorporate anarchistic elements. Whether or not this can achieved on a large scale remains to be seen.

Doesn't money encourage innovation.
The growing phenomenon, again, is barter trade. Instead of exchanging money, you exchange goods and services. This can leave out the middle men and save time. The pop up advertisements at this website are a good example in barter trade. Whether you support the website directly by buying the cd or not, you support it by putting up with the popup ads. Likewise, the same is true of my email account, and other free online services. They represent a form of barter trade, my time and attention in trade for the service.
 

russ_watters

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Originally posted by wuliheron
Anarchy simply means "no rulers", not the total absence of government. Consensual decision making, for example, is a form of anarchy. Just as no country is perfectly democratic, capitalistic, communistic, etc. none could be perfectly anarchistic, but you can incorporate anarchistic elements. Whether or not this can achieved on a large scale remains to be seen.
No. "no rulers" is the literal latin root, not the definition (though they are similar). Anarchy means "Absence of any form of political authority." ANY political authority.
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=anarchy
Anarchy is an absolute, democracy is not. Certainly there are watered down versons of democracy (the US for example is a representative democracy) but you can't water down nothing. "Consentual decision making" is a weak form of government. But since it is a form of government and not the absence of government, it is not anarchy. And actaully, even if you want to use the literal latin root, "consensual decision making" means the parties that consent to the decision are the rulers. Therefore "no rulers" still applies. Its not anarchy.

I'm not suggesting that you are an anarchist, but many anarchists misuse the word which causes confusion for the rest of us. If you look into some actual "anarchist" ideas, they look a lot more like communism than anything else.
 
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No. "no rulers" is the literal latin root, not the definition (though they are similar). Anarchy means "Absence of any form of political authority." ANY political authority.
Sorry, but as an Anarchist myself I can't agree. This is the biased modern western definition of the term. When discussing politics it is difficult to say the least to find unbiased histories and definitions. The winners in any conflict tend to re-write the histories, spin their opponents in the worst light possible, and all the other things that make politics so infamous as an unattractive way to make a living. You are welcome to insist these people and myself are all deluding ourselves and not really anarchists, but that is just so much political nonsense.

The definition I present here is the one many anarchists themselves use, both in socialist and capitalist countries. Anarchy was a major political movement in the US a century ago, most notably among the suffragetts, but due to bad publicity and politics as usual, became associated with anti-social, violent acts aimed at destroying any kind of order. Today in the west it's sentiments, organization, and political thought can still be most clearly seen in the Feminist movement.

Among communists, anarchists are the extreme liberal end of the spectrum. Usually they support the communistic version of Jeffersonian Demoncracy. Jefferson's idea was to shape america as a country of predominantly gentleman middle class farmers with as little interference as possible from the federal government. The communist anarchist version is communal rather than being geared towards individual family farms.
 

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