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Old December 7th, 2012, 09:12 AM   #31

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If a wealthy donor funds a politician's political campaign, does that not give him power over that politician? Surely the politician will think twice before risking his patron's good will. Does not the capitalist who owns the factory have power over the labourer who needs work to provide for his family? In almost any transfer of funds (except those ordered by the state), the purchaser has power over the seller. When you're one of a hundred million purchasers buying from a large company, you may not have much influence individually, but collectively the purchasers still hold the power.

Also, the poor have greater need of money than the rich; the rich have their needs fulfilled and extra funds are used on luxuries, but the poor need money to survive. By necessity, the poor can be compelled to do things for money that the rich would not even need consider (like working a minimum wage job). There is a violent force behind all economic transactions, but it's not a force of man, it's a force of nature: scarcity. Because of scarcity, there's the threat of destitution for a large majority of the world's population and this need of resources for survival grants inherent power to those who control the most resources.
Constantine, I'd pretty much go along with everything you're saying here. But compare your post #30 to your earlier post #17. I think you're talking about different situations in them.

The situations you're talking about here are certainly different from what I did today--that is, go into a shop and buy a belt.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 09:47 AM   #32
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Constantine, I'd pretty much go along with everything you're saying here. But compare your post #30 to your earlier post #17. I think you're talking about different situations in them.

The situations you're talking about here are certainly different from what I did today--that is, go into a shop and buy a belt.
You may be further removed from economic details, but everything I said is still applicable. Someone spent time making the belt for you, I'm sure they would have been preferred to be doing something else, but they wanted to make a portion of your money. Likewise someone shipped it, someone sat down and figured out the logistics to move the leather to the factory then the finished product to the store. I'm sure the pilot/driver and people in charge of scheduling would have rather done something other than transport or plan the transport of your belt to you, but they wanted a portion of your money too, so they did it. Furthermore, I'm sure the person selling the belt to you would have rather spent their time doing something more entertaining, but they too wanted your money so they spend their day in their store waiting for you or others to come in and purchase something because they wanted your money. All the way down the supply chain, you got people to help you get a product instead of doing a more enjoyable task because of your purchasing power.

Now, the amount of power you exert purchasing a single belt may not be substantial. It's a relatively low cost item that's mass produced. It becomes far more pronounced if you make a larger purchase, such as a yacht or a factory, where you're getting several people to give years of labour. But the fundamental mechanics remain the same.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 09:54 AM   #33

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You may be further removed from economic details, but everything I said is still applicable. Someone spent time making the belt for you, I'm sure they would have been preferred to be doing something else, but they wanted to make a portion of your money. . .
And I agree with all this too. But when you buy a belt, where do you get the money to buy it with? Doing the same thing as everybody else. So again, I'm on an equal footing with everybody else.

I agree that people often have power over others. How could anybody disagree with that? But for the above reason, I can't see that buying a belt gives me any power over anybody.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 10:45 AM   #34
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And I agree with all this too. But when you buy a belt, where do you get the money to buy it with? Doing the same thing as everybody else. So again, I'm on an equal footing with everybody else.

I agree that people often have power over others. How could anybody disagree with that? But for the above reason, I can't see that buying a belt gives me any power over anybody.
You're right, for the middle classes, this tends to be a relative equilibrium. I may make more than the person who made the belt, but I probably make less than the person who manages the supply chain; but I still have to sell my labor to gain resources. But this is only true for the professional and working classes. Once you start looking at inherited wealth, stock dividends, options, etc. and the quantity of resources that can be amassed with relatively little effort you can start to see the relatively large amount of power that is obtained through wealth.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 04:02 PM   #35
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A conscience needs to be created. A "school" of conscience, like religion or philosophy, is required.
There is almost certainly some kind of rudimentary 'morality' or 'ethics' that is in our DNA that was necessary for the group dynamics that humans have been good at since long before we were humans.

Whether this lines of well with philosopher's liberal outlook on the world (liberal as in the old sense, not the political sense necessarily) is an interesting question, and one I think he might be disappointed to explore.
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Old December 8th, 2012, 02:57 AM   #36

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You're right, for the middle classes, this tends to be a relative equilibrium. I may make more than the person who made the belt, but I probably make less than the person who manages the supply chain; but I still have to sell my labor to gain resources. But this is only true for the professional and working classes. Once you start looking at inherited wealth, stock dividends, options, etc. and the quantity of resources that can be amassed with relatively little effort you can start to see the relatively large amount of power that is obtained through wealth.
I'd go along with all of this. There's no doubt that wealth gives people power, and most of them aren't reluctant to use it.
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Old December 8th, 2012, 09:34 AM   #37
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Why do you assume that there is a clash between these two? I am quite sure the most fanatic ideologists have the most clear and undivided consciences you will ever find in human beings, exactly because they are absolutely convinced that they are in the right.
I don't think so. I believe most communists, liberals or conservatives (I know they claim not to be ideological btw.) believe in their cause just for the fun of it.

It is just like when a psychopathic murderer kills someone: It is for the fun of it.
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