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Re: [anthroposophy] The Market

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  • DRStarman2001@aol.com
    ... *******But of course the economic system of production, distribution and consumption of commodities is not an end in itself. It supplies the things we need
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 23, 2002
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      sgroth@... writes:
      >>>    One of the greatest and most difficult challenges of today is dealing
      with economy.No matter how good ideals and fine visions we have,
      there's a little chance of achieving anything lasting, if we don't
      approach the economical aspect.
      The system of "planned economy" failed, and this is now taken as an
      argument for that the best system of all times is the "free market
      economy". But the latter is certainly not perfect and can in no way be
      a goal in itself.

      *******But of course the economic system of production, distribution and consumption of commodities is not an end in itself. It supplies the things we need to live---what we live for, it does not supply.

      >>The first thing necessary, is to expect something from an economical
      system. It is surprising how often this is neglected. You will hear a
      lot about trade balance, interest rates, inflation a.s.o. well and
      most of all that the value of capital is growing... this don't have to
      mean more is done and people get more, just that the value the figures
      of the wealth is increasing.
      How often do you hear economists discuss the purpose of the economy.
      Often it is turned around, for most people the sytem demands more than
      they can expect from it.
      So let's start at the basics. Living in a physical existence has
      certain conditions, fundamental survival, such as need of food, fluid,
      shelter a.s.o.. When fullfilling these needs, we can say we are
      consuming, we become consumers. So far this also count for animals,
      but as human beings we achieve knowledge and conscience, and have
      developed ways to fullfill our needs, further than just collecting
      food. We use our knowledge to gain the goods we need by work, by
      working we become producers . In early stages of development the
      producer and the consumer was often the same, but this is not the case
      today. You produce what others consume, you consume what others
      produce. To approach this in a positive way, we can say that this is a
      social development: you work for others, others work for you.
      This social element ought to be an outstanding factor in economy.
      Instead we see a world situation, where many work a lot for others,
      without getting much back, while a few consume a lot without caring to
      contribute with their work. Some don't even get their fundamental
      needs fullfilled, while others die from overconsumption. The "free
      market economy" shows no capacity of solving these problems...

      *******I disagree; the free market is constantly delivering more to people and raising the general standard of living. The countries where people are staying poor are those where the economy is NOT free to do this. The problems of overconsumption, though, are within the individual spirits of human beings themselves, not any economic system. Both rich and poor people overconsume food, alcohol and drugs and destroy themselves. People in the ghettos do it just like Elvis Presley.

      >>>....and will eventually lead to a collapse as it is an ineffective system, just as

      it happened with the "planned economy".

      *******Whoa, that's quite a stretch! Where you get that from?  Marx predicted it 150 years ago and he was wrong and it never happened.  What evidence do you have that it's going to now? And why? I don't see where that follows from anything that you just said.

      >>>What's the problem ?? The system of distributing what I produce to
      others, and what they produce for me is not corresponding with its
      social pupose in the "free market economy" system !!!!!
      Trade ought to be an expression for this social aspect, instead it is
      infected with antisocial elements.

      *******When I trade with another person, where is the antisocial element in that?

      >>>To be working with trade ought to
      be producing a service, not a way to redistribute wealth from the poor to the rich.

      *******How is the accumulation of wealth taking something from the poor?  The poor own nothing, by definition.  What is taken from them?
          This sounds just like Lenin's old "imperialism" argument, where the failure of Marx's prediction that workers in the developed world would get poorer and poorer, was explained away by saying that the capitalist countries had "postponed" the impoverishing of their workers (predicted by Marxist dogma) by "draining the wealth" from the Third World. But the Third World countries HAVE no wealth.  If the developed world wanted to to exclude them from trade entirely, it could do so and just trade amongst itself ,and would still continue to grow. (I can back this up with the statistics if you wish to see them.) But it would grow faster if these poor countries also develop markets, so it's in the interests of capitalists that they advance. That's why the G-7 nations want to foster capitalism in the Third World, to have more customers, not slaves. And doing so raises the standard of living of the poor, it doesn't lower it--- which would serve no purpose because people can't buy your products if they have no money.
         You don't seem to understand that the economics is not a 'Zero-Sum Game', where for some to win, others must lose--- but rather that, while trade raises the standard of living of the poor, it does NOT have to correspondingly lower the standard of living of the wealthy to do so. "A rising tide lifts all boats."
         Of course, you come from a socialist country, not a free market one. But compare the standard of living of any country in the developed or developing world now and 500 years ago, and you will not find the standard of living has gone down. (If you think this is the case, I would like to see some evidence for it.  All the evidence I have seen says the opposite.) Now, that should hint to anyone that wealth in a modern economy is not like material goods in a pre-modern economy, where there is a fixed number of gold nuggets or whatever, and, in order for some to have more, others must have less. When the market is left to do the distributing, instead of non-economic entities, there is always more to distribute.

      I still see some kind of market economy, a truly free market, as the
      solution, where the role of the market, trade, is clearly viewed as a
      social tool for distribution of what I produce to others and what they
      produce to me.

      *******So do I. I don't believe Steiner's threefold social order had anything to do with replacing the market, but with reforming its relations to the other two social spheres.
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