# Global Poverty and Capitalism

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TheStatutoryApe said:
I see you've completely side stepped my mentioning the fact that a slave is treated completely differantly and is considered property.

At any rate, my point was that the worker can find another job. As soon as he leaves one he can look for another. Regardless of how long it takes or if he gets government help or not he will always have that choice.

A slave does not have this choice. He is property. He works or he will be beaten until he either works or has been beaten to death.
Do you have your fingers in your ears and are you singing LALALALALALA?

[URL said:
http://www.ethicalmatters.co.uk/articles.asp?itemID=44&title=Exploitation]Poor[/URL] wages are by far the worst aspect of the sweatshop. Workers in China manufacturing Nike and Adidas trainers earn as little as 16 cents (US) a day, while the trainers sell for $100 or more in the US. More crucially, these workers are paid far less than the cost of living in their own countries. Development experts define a living wage as an amount, per hour, where a worker can afford to feed themselves and perhaps children, pay for basic clothing and accommodation, and have a little to spare to save or help with ageing parents. In China, these basics can be bought for just 87 cents an hour. The worker sewing shoes on a Nike assembly line is paid less than a quarter of that. Workers making Disney jackets and cuddly toys at the Megatex factory in Haiti make$2.15 a day, while their basics cost $6.12 a day. Conditions in far off factories that manufacture goods for western consumption are notoriously harsh. Reports emerge of beatings, rape, fires and forced labour. Everyday conditions, which in the West would horrify, are more or less taken for granted: bans on socialising or even talking, monitored toilet breaks for which wages are deducted, stuffy and poorly ventilated factories, no protective gloves or masks, short term contracts with no consideration for sickness or redundancy pay. Hours are also long, often with no pay for overtime. In China it is rare for a worker to do less than 60 hours a week. In the Li Wen factory, workers sewing handbags for Wal-Mart and Kathy Lee routinely do 84 hours a week - and suffer 24 hour stretches when orders need to be fulfilled. Last edited by a moderator: TheStatutoryApe said: I see you've completely side stepped my mentioning the fact that a slave is treated completely differantly and is considered property. And what do you think the government officials receiving the kickbacks consider the population in their area? Do you think they are getting elected? Who answers to whom? Who do you think those riot troops work for? What happens to those protestors when they are out of view of the foreign cameras? What is 're-education'? Pengwuino said: And there were LAWS to enforce this difference! There were laws to enforce this difference? Wait, are you stating there are laws protecting the rights of the Chinese? What planet are you from? This is the country that manufactures 'knock-offs' of every big ticket item in the west, right? Do you know how it is done? Armani, YSL or Prada gets product made at a sweat shop. Once the run is complete, the factory continues to produce until maybe twice the number is created. Half goes to the customer and the rest hit the markets. Why am I telling you this? ... Because this is the type of businessman you are dealing with. This is the brother-in-law of any mayor or police-chief in China. There is even a term for it ... Guanxi. Yeah ... there are 'laws' in China. WTO threats have a problem being enforced against counterfeit goods ... how well do you think those labour laws fare? These people ARE property and don't even consider it other wise. Astronuc said: Eminent domain has been part of the US political-economic system since day 1. Cheers for that. I was beginning to think I was alone here for a second. loseyourname Staff Emeritus Gold Member Astronuc said: Eminent domain has been part of the US political-economic system since day 1. That doesn't make it capitalistic. One of the key tenets of capitalism is the dictatorial control of a landowner over his own land. In a pure capitalist nation, the government would not be capable of exercising eminent domain. Art The Smoking Man said: Cheers for that. I was beginning to think I was alone here for a second. I think you'll find you have plenty of support for your point of view from contributors to this forum but as it is impossible to have a meaningful discussion with some of the right wing zealots posting here, most of us simply ignore their more ridiculous rants. They have no interest in exchanging ideas or information. They only want to promote their own twisted sense of values and morals. When you do tie them down on some particularly outrageous comment they've made, their tactics are obfuscation, denial, semantics or their other key fallback position - you're anti-american. Last edited by a moderator: loseyourname said: That doesn't make it capitalistic. One of the key tenets of capitalism is the dictatorial control of a landowner over his own land. In a pure capitalist nation, the government would not be capable of exercising eminent domain. LOL. But since this is 'the' most capitalistic society in the world according to the most 'Right Wing' here, that makes this the most typical, N'est-ce pas? Just as there is no example of pure communism EVER in the world, there has been no example of 'pure capitalism'. Oh, and it would be the MOST capitalistic person who runs things who would be able to take advantage of the rules in eminent domain. Sort of like the party bosses in local government in China ... go figure. Art said: I think you'll find you have plenty of support for your point of view from contributors to this forum but as it is impossible to have a meaningful discussion with some of the right wing zealots posting here, most of us simply ignore their more ridiculous rants. They have no interest in echanging ideas or information. They only want to promote their own twisted sense of values and morals. When you do tie them down on some particularly outrageous comment they've made, their tactics are obfuscation, denial, semantics or their other key fallback position - you're anti-american. Cheers ... I'll take that under advisement. (Although it has been fairly obvious.) russ_watters Mentor The Smoking Man said: :rofl: Apparently you really ARE out of it because in most cases, that is exactly the SAME result here. Well in that case, I revoke my complimenting of China's progress - China has some massive problems they need to fix. Because Russ, I am an independent consultant working in domestic and foreign corporations to improve the lot of people in China as I did in the Philippines 10 years ago. I'm not impressed by your resume. I propose solutions every day across board room tables. Then it should be a piece of cake to give me one. russ_watters Mentor The Smoking Man said: Oh, I don't know ... Maybe the fact that their liveliehood as farmers was just taken away from them!? Doh! Their "liveliehood"? Weren't you just the one complaining about China's poverty rate? China's poverty rate is decreasing, not increasing with China's move toward capitalism. The solution is to make the people of the countries of these foreign corporations aware of what is going on and have them act in their own countries. And that means what? For foreign companies to stop building factories in China? How will that help China's economy? Did you expect that Burma was going to act AGAINST Halliburton for instance? Burma is a country, Haliburton is a company. Yes, Burma had the option to do whatever they wanted. If they are that inept, you're just proving my point: Burma needs to fix its government. Even YOU state that it was the Burmese Government who employed the people when just a little common sense would tell you that the Government knows NOTHING about the construction of a pipeline. Common sense? How about providing some facts. It seems to me when emotions get involved, "common sense" leads people to the wrong conclusions. http://www.earthrights.org/halliburton/rerelease.shtml [Broken] is an article critical of Haliburton. But read what actually happened: From 1992 until the present, thousands of villagers in Burma have been forced to work on these pipelines and their related infrastructure, have lost their homes due to forced relocation, and have been raped, tortured, and killed by Burmese soldiers hired by the companies as security guards for the pipelines. Under Cheney, a joint venture of Halliburton and Saipem (Italy) laid the offshore portion of the Yadana pipeline. Halliburton's participation in these projects shows a callous disregard for the consequences of their business behavior. The human rights abuses associated with the Yadana pipeline form the basis of the landmark lawsuit Doe v. Unocal, which is scheduled to go to trial this fall. (Halliburton is not a defendant in that case.) Not only were the perpetrators Burmese soldiers and governemnt officials, Haliburton didn't even work on the same part of the project where these things happend. In a lawsuit over this, Haliburton isn't even a defendant - they had nothing to do with it! This has very little to do in the foreign nations that have corrupt governments. They are merely the facilitators of the abuse. If that were true, then why don't such abuses happen in 1st world nations? People like yourselves are deceived into the idea that the slow move towards rising wages for the employed solves problems when in reality you are quoted rising wages while rising costs are hidden. This means that those NOT employed in those areas are thrown even further into poverty. This is the danger of those nasty things called statistics. A statistician is a person who can have his head in the oven and his feet frozen into a block of ice and say, "On average, I feel okay." Take Bill Gates and stick him in a room with 9 people about to die from starvation and you get an average income in that room of$4 billion.

YOU are being manipulated by statistics.
That isn't how poverty statistics work and you know it. You're being purposely deceptive.
If you can honestly say with a straight face that you don't know if those farmers are better off or not now they have lost their land, you have some serious issues.
Those specific farmers may or may not be - and you can't know either - but the overall impact of capitalism in China has unquestionably been a positive one.

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russ_watters
Mentor
The Smoking Man said:
And what do you think the government officials receiving the kickbacks consider the population in their area?

Do you think they are getting elected?

Who do you think those riot troops work for?

What happens to those protestors when they are out of view of the foreign cameras?

What is 're-education'?

There were laws to enforce this difference?

Wait, are you stating there are laws protecting the rights of the Chinese?

What planet are you from?
No, China doesn't have such laws - thats exactly our point! So it really sounds like you agree that China needs to fix its own laws. Answer this for me: If China were to adopt the same economic and social policies as the west and enforce them, would that fix the problem?

russ_watters
Mentor
The Smoking Man said:
LOL.

But since this is 'the' most capitalistic society in the world according to the most 'Right Wing' here, that makes this the most typical, N'est-ce pas?

Just as there is no example of pure communism EVER in the world, there has been no example of 'pure capitalism'.

Oh, and it would be the MOST capitalistic person who runs things who would be able to take advantage of the rules in eminent domain.

Sort of like the party bosses in local government in China ... go figure.
Uh - you didn't disagree with him there. The fact that the US isn't a "pure" capitalistic society was exactly his point: eminent domain is one of the many socialistic practices/programs in place. Its something that those who favor capitalism do not approve of.

alexandra
russ_watters said:
Only in the mind of Marx and his followers. In reality, no such society has ever existed and that's good enough evidence for me that no such society is possible. The reason why is simple: there are only two ways for absolute equality to be possible - either everyone with more must voluntarily give up what they have or it must be taken from them by force. Marxists always say that, but never say how equality can be achieved if not by force, except possibly by changing human nature.
All transitions from one form of society to another occur forcibly. The transition from feudalism to capitalism was consolidated by the French Revolution, which established the political power of the new dominant economic class, the capitalists. So a transition from capitalism to socialism would also entail force. But once the transitional period is over, no force will be required to implement a system of real equal opportunity.

russ_watters said:
Where are you from? In the US, anyway, there are opportunities for such kids.
I have lived and worked in South Africa and Zimbabwe and am now in Australia. In all places, my personal experiences have demonstrated that the rich are educationally privileged and the poor are severely disadvantaged. It's not merely a matter of whether or not people have access to education - sometimes people may even have access to (inferior quality) schooling if they are poor, but their poverty and general family/life commitments make it impossible for them to 'choose' education. I have also done a lot of research on the links between socio-economic background, education and general life chances, and it seems the educational and life-chance disadvantages faced by the poor are not limited to the countries I have lived in.
russ_watters said:
I've asked before: why is that unfair? Part of freedom is the freedom to be able to use your money to provide for your children. Those spoiled rich kids may be lucky that they were born into wealth but that doesn't make it unfair. Its precisly the same as saying it is unfair to the losers for anyone to win the lottery, because that's what it is: a genetic lottery.
A genetic lottery of what socio-economic group one gets born into? Well, ok - this is how it works in a capitalist society. In a capitalist society this is not unfair. In a human/humane society it is most unfair.

russ_watters said:
What is unfair is when kids like that are given special priveleges because of "who they are". Ie, having the money to pay for an exclusive prep-school is not unfair - being accepted to college in a "legacy" situation (because your parents went) is.
Alright, you have defined the capitalist view of what is not fair. This sort of unfairness happens too (the 'old school tie network' sort - but russ, please don't ask for evidence; perhaps you are willing to concede that it happens? Everyone knows it does).
russ_watters said:
I said capitalistic societies. Companies will always follow profits and the fact that they will follow those profits to immature societies is the whole point that I was talking about. If such societies had similar laws to those in mature capitalistic societies, companies would not be able to go there and disregard the environment.
But the IMF and World Bank will only provide 'aid' and 'loans' if the goverments allow foreign corporations to operate in their countries. These institutions do not allow governments to enact laws that would protect their populations! What a vicious argument you make here, Russ - the 'immature societies' are truly cornered and have no choice, and then you turn around and blame them for not looking after their own peoples' interests. This is not logical.
russ_watters said:
The only possible basis for that that I can see is that you see the failure of Marism as a desperate situation for you, ideologically. Because as far as the rest of the world is concerned, actual living conditions are what is important. I hope you're not trying to say that a 50% drop in poverty in 20 years is a "disaster". That still doesn't explain why we shouldn't continue the way we are going - and cut poverty in half again in the next 20 years...and again in the following 20 years....and again in the following 20 years....and again in the following 20 years. If the trend continues, poverty could drop from 18% to 1% in my lifetime. Is 1% poverty a "disaster" you wish to avoid?
The disaster I spoke of is environmental. I happen not to agree with your 'raising people out of poverty' argument either, but we have already discussed this at length and neither one of us is going to shift the other's thinking on this issue. However, I do want to clarify that the 'desperate situation' I referred to is environmental, not at all ideological. Capitalism has not 'won', as I have previously stated several times, and this is not 'the end of history' - if the environment holds out, that is.

russ_watters said:
I continue to be amused by that - one thing about people who predict the end of the world is they always predict a date, otherwise no one would buy their book. There's no panic if the "disaster" isn't imminent. Yet you refuse to make predictions on a timeline. Certainly, we are currently in an unstable situation: GDPs are increasing and poverty is decreasing. Will the miraculous improvements ever reverse themselves? - I don't know, but there is absolutely no evidence in the trend that they will.
It is the environmental scientists who are predicting catastrophe, Russ, not I. I just read their predictions. They cannot give a firm timeline because they just don't know - they can, however, tell us about the danger signs and about the dangers of passing the point of no return in a system as complex as the one they are studying.
russ_watters said:
Part of the reason there is so little support for Marxism today is people see the vast successes of capitalism and see no reason to assume those vast successes will lead to disaster.
When one only speaks to people who agree with one's view, one gets a distorted belief that everyone agrees. I can bet you anything you like that not everyone in the world is as convinced of "the vast successes of capitalism" as your group is.

russ_watters said:
Meanwhile you are left to point at a graph of poverty's dramatic decline and call it evidence pointing to an inevitable "disaster". I think, alexandra, you may be reading the graph upside-down. Predictions can't be "true" in that sense - they either come true later or they don't. Marx's prediction may have been reasonable given the assumptions he made, but the assumptions proved false and that's why the prediction continues to fail. The predictions are only "true today as it was when he wrote it" in that they weren't true then and they still aren't.
When you found evidence (references) that poverty was decreasing, I found evidence that poverty was increasing - so no, I am not "left pointing at a graph of poverty's dramatic decline". The fact is, there are many, many different ways of measuring poverty, and experts in this field do not agree on how to measure it. I don't think it would be fruitful for us to pick up this argument again, but I wanted to set the record straight: I question the 'evidence' that poverty is on the decline. As for your assertion that Marx was and is wrong - well, I disagree

russ_watters said:
No, China doesn't have such laws - thats exactly our point! So it really sounds like you agree that China needs to fix its own laws. Answer this for me: If China were to adopt the same economic and social policies as the west and enforce them, would that fix the problem?
Alexandra did a great job of answering this with her point about the World Bank and the WTO.

I would also like to add however that 'aid' is rarely given without strings.

For example, much of the aid from Japan going into China is in the form of loans and even when it does appear in the form of grants, tender may only be accepted from Japanese Companies.

In other words, much of the 'funding' is actually a business improvement program for Japanese corporations in the area.

Current rates of taxation for foreign companies is also sitting at a rate of 10% with additional perks while the local industry is at 15% with no perks.

This was also mimiced in the Philippines when I was living there. I managed to watch the debates over the disposition of Clark and Subic while I was there.

The senate revealed that previous occupation of the bases came in the form of $325,000,000 and was earmarked by the USA to be spent on the communitis surrounding the two bases. If you go there, you will find Angeles City around Subic is a picture of 'Little America'. China is only just giving up the aid packages supplied by the west this year if you were not aware. Canada is making their last grain shipment in August. As rosey as America tries to paint the picture for China, the reality is that industry is arriving here at a price to be paid both by the poor in the USA AND the poor in China. Remember 'capitalism' knows no borders and has no patriotism It's the people with the money that set the laws and not the bulk of the 'people'. As I said ... Guanxi or 'the Old Boy Network'. russ_watters said: Uh - you didn't disagree with him there. The fact that the US isn't a "pure" capitalistic society was exactly his point: eminent domain is one of the many socialistic practices/programs in place. Its something that those who favor capitalism do not approve of. Right ... there are hundreds of little people running around using eminent domain against major corporations. So, who do you think uses this facility in American Law? I have seen Eminent Domain used by local government in the USA to secure land for housing. Construction companies submit bids for the property and designate a 'percentage' of the property as 'affordable housing'. By the end of the process, 'cost overruns' and a significant drop in the percentage of affordable housing makes most of these companies quite rich. Take your pick of links: http://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=slv5-&p=affordable housing scandal USA eminent domain&ei=UTF-8 Here's a good one on Pfizer using Eminent Domain: [PLAIN said: http://www.planning.org/planning/nonmember/kelo.htm?project=Print[/PLAIN] [Broken] ] But in early 2000 the development corporation designated the area, including her home and 63 other residential properties, for demolition as part of a plan to redevelop the Fort Trumbull neighborhood with offices, a hotel, and upscale housing. It was a step that this depressed city saw as a way to provide jobs and revenue — and a logical extension of a$270 million project being built in the neighborhood by Pfizer, the giant pharmaceutical firm.

Kelo and eight others, who own 15 properties in all, refused to sell. When the development corporation resorted to eminent domain in November 2000, she and the other holdouts initiated a legal challenge that has since gone from the Connecticut Superior Court (which sided with the plaintiffs) to the Connecticut Supreme Court (which sided with the city) to the U.S. Supreme Court.
That looks more to me that the large corporations are USING the law and not shunning the law.

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loseyourname
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
The Smoking Man said:
LOL.

But since this is 'the' most capitalistic society in the world according to the most 'Right Wing' here, that makes this the most typical, N'est-ce pas?

Just as there is no example of pure communism EVER in the world, there has been no example of 'pure capitalism'.
So? If you're trying to denounce capitalism by citing eminent domain, it won't work any more than trying to denounce communism by citing China liberalizing its markets. If you want to say the US is bad for seizing property to make railroads, fine, I agree. As far as I'm concerned, that makes the case for private control of land and resources, rather than government control, that much stronger.

Oh, and it would be the MOST capitalistic person who runs things who would be able to take advantage of the rules in eminent domain.
How does doing something anticapitalistic make a person the 'MOST capitalistic?' A true capitalist would not even support, much less exercise, eminent domain.

Sort of like the party bosses in local government in China ... go figure.
Hey, it's only when you allow the government to control resources that corrupt men can take advantage of that control.

loseyourname
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
The Smoking Man said:
That looks more to me that the large corporations are USING the law and not shunning the law.
Sure, and what they are doing is anticapitalistic. We seem to agree in denouncing this practice. So do we agree that the government should not have this dictatorial right of final control over land and resources and that a capitalistic solution to this would be better?

loseyourname said:
Sure, and what they are doing is anticapitalistic. We seem to agree in denouncing this practice. So do we agree that the government should not have this dictatorial right of final control over land and resources and that a capitalistic solution to this would be better?
One of the things I have noticed about a lot of people is a penchant to pegeonhole.

We've seen references to capitalism with no true capitalistic societies and no true communist societies.

Regarding eminent domain: I'd like to see any business NOT agree to it when they need transportation and the govornment has no right to recover land to put in a spur to a newly developed business or industrial estate.

Transport requires a series of properties linked to create a highway or railroad.

Without it, industry remains a cottage industry.

loseyourname
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
The Smoking Man said:
One of the things I have noticed about a lot of people is a penchant to pegeonhole.
Words like 'capitalism' have definition, Smoking Man. Keeping with these definitions isn't so much pigeonholing as it is precision. If you're going to condemn the anticapitalistic actions of governments and businesses, then you are not condemning capitalism. Period.

We've seen references to capitalism with no true capitalistic societies and no true communist societies.
I don't know about you, but I haven't been aiming to make any judgements about real societies. Real societies are malleable and change all the time. The things that don't change, that can be criticized, are actions that have already taken place and the systems of ideology that determine the actions.

Regarding eminent domain: I'd like to see any business NOT agree to it when they need transportation and the govornment has no right to recover land to put in a spur to a newly developed business or industrial estate.
And I'd like to see roads and rail routes built by private developers through land that they actually own. Again, it would seem that we agree here. We don't like it when property is seized without the consent of the property owner. Are we even arguing?

loseyourname said:
Words like 'capitalism' have definition, Smoking Man. Keeping with these definitions isn't so much pigeonholing as it is precision. If you're going to condemn the anticapitalistic actions of governments and businesses, then you are not condemning capitalism. Period.
To speak of an ideal that HAS never existed is an absurdity.

The history of 'the world's greatest democracy' and capitalistic society becomes a pointless exercise when, in fact, all that makes it great are the 'socialist and communist' policies that cause them to function.

Emminent domain and right-of-access have been the cornerstones of the legal systems literally for centuries.

It is the very concept of the rights of society OVER the right of individuals that make a society work.

Were it not for zoning, water rights, right-of-access, eminent domain and social programs, 'society' in general would be run at the level of a game of 'Go' with the parties involved literally dying when the 'Rules' are strictly enforced.

loseyourname said:
I don't know about you, but I haven't been aiming to make any judgements about real societies. Real societies are malleable and change all the time. The things that don't change, that can be criticized, are actions that have already taken place and the systems of ideology that determine the actions.
No, what you have done is argue the point that differeing philosophies behind government are mutually exclusive rather than being a matter of degree.

To argue the point that 'eminent domain' is something diametrically opposed to Capitalism and that 'all true capitalists' should shun the action as offensive is patently absurd.

I have given an example of Pfizer being involved in one 'eminent domain' controversy but if you shift the focus to 'generalities' ... to none real societies as you suggest, then I can argue the point that zoning, water rights, right-of-access, eminent domain and social programs are seen by true capitalists as just more comodities which are bartered and traded.

Who isn't familiar with the philosophy of purchasing all the property in a specific area when it is suspected that the government may use 'eminent domain' to aquire that land at a future date at severely inflated prices?

True 'capitalism' and capitalist philosophy is not opposed to the concept of communism or socialism when the true capitalist can seek ways of 'charging' for or profiting from socialism or communism.

loseyourname said:
And I'd like to see roads and rail routes built by private developers through land that they actually own. Again, it would seem that we agree here. We don't like it when property is seized without the consent of the property owner. Are we even arguing?
Well that is great but as Robbie Burns is wont to say, 'the best laid plans of mice and men often gang awry'. When two private developers with properties that abutt on their east/west property lines agree to build a road or grant access, one at the north and one at the south of his property the roads simply do not meet.

Multiply this by the 10's of thousands of 'individual capitalists' who make up a highway route or rail accesss lane and you have the silly notion of trying to produce transportation routes along the edges of crazy paving.

Allowing any single 'capitalist' to deny the right of the other 9,999 to transport goods based on the decision of any 1 individual to deny access is patently absurd and will turn the 9,999 into socialists screaming for 'the greater good' in a heartbeat.

To argue absolute philosophies or 'stick to the dictionary definition' in the name of 'precision' is patently absurd and reduces society to the level of idiot savant; Rainman screaming 'my shows are on'.