Democracy and its pal capitalism

Had a thought on the way to work this morning — in a democratic country with an essentially capitalistic economy, war instincts are sublimated to other kinds of survival efforts, like making money. If this is true, democracies are healthy things.

Or to reverse it…

…war springs up when there aren’t enough opportunities for making money. Money is a barter token, so by money I mean increase and transfer of value, which enhances survival and comfort.

Probably someone has thought of this before. But this morning was the first time I saw how clearly violence, from personal all the way up to war, is related to narrow opportunities for survival and comfort.

The way I like to think of it is this: democratic capitalism is war of another kind.

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18 thoughts on “Democracy and its pal capitalism

  1. derek says:

    From my perspective, war and money are abstract solutions in our struggle for survival and even the ‘struggle for survival’ is an abstract story we continue to tell ourselves. Capitalism is as much a religion as any other faith. It is defended and kept alive with a very powerful war machine and constant propaganda. How did humanity survive before it? Can humanity survive without it?

    I believe bartering or trading our excess goods is very different than capitalism. One promotes community and equality and the other creates a powerful elite class, detached from the common people.

    just a thought

    derek

  2. heath says:

    Money makes sense. If I have a goat today, and you’ll have mangos in two months, and you want the goat now and I want the mangos in two months, the only way to bridge the time is with a token. Same with distance, if an intermediary is used to exchange goods.

    I’m not judging any systems here. No defense, no support.

    Just the thought that, to survive, people, like all other living beings, have developed tactics and strategies. One of these is the willingness to fight when survival is challenged. Another is to seek comfort.

    The desire for comfort can be so powerful that people will fight when comfort is threatened, as if comfort is a survival issue — and for frail moments in our lives, it is, so that makes sense, too.

    The same motives we use to defend ourselves are also used aggressively when we perceive a larger threat. That’s when we make war.

    Lack of opportunity to survive, have comfort — to thrive, in other words — is a diffuse large threat. When many people in a population feel it, the time for war can be at hand.

    If we could remove some of the problems that have prevented any particular country or region from thriving, there would be no place for war-like groups, otherwise known as terrorists and insurgents and rebels.

    love, h

  3. TD says:

    The pairing of capitalism and democracy comes by no accident. They are the political and economic systems that most perfectly mirror each other as well as the way the human mind functions. Within the economic freedom of capitalism, one votes with their funds every day by purchasing or continuing to purchase product and services whose features, benefits, and values they support. Without the economic freedom of capitalism, democracy becomes a sham.

    The person in the first comment that believes that capitalism is only sustained with a powerful war machine and constantly propaganda sounds miserable and more to the point – jealous. Jealous of those who’s ability, creativity, and volume of work he is either unable and more likely unwilling to attempt to match. I have done it and so have almost all of the job creators in this nation.

    There’s nothing wrong with bartering but there is absolutely no foundation to support the premise that it fosters community. The initial commenter would likely still be just as jealous of others who’s productivity exceeds his, which is why this sort usually ends up supporting a governmental system that forces the productive to be short-changed and the non-productive to be over-changed in the interest of “fairness” that is anything but.

  4. Grafetti welcomes commenters.

    But Grafetti doesn’t allow ad hominem arguments, having seen too much of the damage they can do, over the past 3 years.

    TD, your second and third para’s arguments are ad hominem-style. Please refrain from ad hominems in the future. They’re unfair and they don’t speak to the argument. Even if you knew the commenter about whom you write, that would be so. But you don’t know him, so there’s no way your points have any validity.

    “An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: “argument to the man”, “argument against the man”) consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the source making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim.” — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

    Thank you for respecting the values of this blog, going forward.

    — Grafetti Admin

  5. Ed Croucher says:

    Bees are interesting. If, in your infinite wisdom as a beekeeper, you wish to unite two separate colonies in order to bulk up numbers for Winter ‘defence,’ you dare not just plonk them in together. They will fight to the death and last state will be worse than your first.
    If, however, you place a sheet of paper, of reasonable consistency, between the colonies they will set about removing that barrier with considerable vigour, at the same time sampling each others salival DNA triggers, that are the mechanism which maintains balance in every colony. Lo and behold, they are so taken up by chewing juices that very little war ensues in the morass of amalgamating bees.
    Their ‘leaders,’ (anthropomorphism?) the Queens, may well fight it out for survival of the fittest, but they do that anyway.

    I’m not sure what this has to say about Man’s shenanigans, but I like clues 😉

    ed

  6. derek says:

    Maybe I’m missing your point Heath but in my experience when opportunities for making money narrows, people become more generous. Opportunities for other styles of trade open up. Maybe I am seeing the exception but all around me are generous people willing to work together to create ways through our troubled economy. I am not seeing violence, I am seeing cooperation. But then again I am not a queen bee. I am the bee hanging out in a window of the hive watching the beautiful sunset.

    In my experience people are endlessly creative in ways to have comfort and survival and most do not include violence, I see the violent people as a small minority that is sensationalized by the media. I believe they are .01% of the population and about 90% of what the media focuses on.

    If I am missing your point let me know, my point maybe for another post.

    derek

  7. derek says:

    Hi TD
    Thanks for visiting. I hope you return and join in more conversations. I appreciate your insights and criticisms. We do try to stick to the topic, even when I’m in left field, where I like to hang out.

    derek

  8. derek says:

    My question would be, are humans prewired to fight or is it a choice?
    I personally don’t believe that we are a violent species. Violence is a learned response passed down through generations. Peaceful or mature response are also passed down through generations and practiced, I believe, by a larger percentage of people. I rarely run across violent people in my daily life and I don’t live in a monastery.

    The few times I encountered violence I responded in peace and the situation typically just evaporates, comfort and survival intact.

    If one is fearful of losing comfort or their very survival, then violence is a very effective way of taking control of that individual or of a group. Terrorist are only effective against the fearful.

    derek

  9. heath says:

    “My question would be, are humans prewired to fight or is it a choice?” — that’s my point. We’re prewired.

    But what’s a fight? It’s a fight to wake in the morning sometimes. It’s a fight to concentrate to read something you don’t want to read. A fight is the effort we expend to overcome an obstacle. So then what’s an obstacle? And so on.

    In the US, we’re very lucky to be living in a country where when a male reaches late puberty, he’s not forced to marry or become segregated in bachelor quarters because the sociocultural environment says no mixing of sexes unless there’s a legal relationship. We’re very lucky to be living in a country where if a woman’s husband dies, she’s allowed to go out into the workplace to earn a living, not be forced to rely on her husband’s family or a hostel for widows, or be cast of out society altogether. We’re very lucky to be living in a country where we’ve had one and only one civil war, and there are no repeating cycles of mass violence based on race, tribe, caste or class, and murder, rape and pillage are not regular parts of life, and orphans and discarded infants are rare enough that the industry of artificial insemination had to spring up for couples who are infertile and want children. We are very lucky.

    Twice a day, I open the global NYTimes.com, and I read the ledes for the lead articles for every region of the world, and when the subject is India, Pakistan, or Bangladesh, I usually read further. And I look at the Time’s new The Lens Blog, which has spectacular, honest photos of all the stuff that’s happening, most of it bad. I do this to remember that we are living a dream in the US. Our lives are the exception, not the rule, compared with much of the rest of the world.

    But the dream is a recapturing of humanity’s innocent state, a time when there were always enough resources, when humans lived in temperate areas with enough plant-food and game, and were never snowed under or flooded out or killed by sunstroke or drought or starvation, when there was enough for everyone. A time when wiliness didn’t pay off as a survival strategy. From wiliness comes lying, and from lying, betrayal, and from betrayal, feuds, and from feuds, battles, and when battles are large and repeating, we call them wars.

    So our dream is what humanity wants.

    How do we share this dream with the rest of the world? By helping ensure peoples’ daily survival needs are not stressed.

    Every single war out there is a war of resources. The inciting factor may be a leader, a political issue or whatever. But it’s all about resources.

    The US pretty much has enough resources. That’s why we don’t make war within our borders. We have a very well-developed, complex way of using our inner fighting spirit for other things — we sublimate our fight — to things like commercial endeavors, professional competition, sports, and social games-playing. The wars we pursue are outside the country, and they usually add to or protect, or both, our resources. Usually, it’s about protecting our resources.

    love, h

  10. Dara says:

    Dear Heath, I prefer your comment at No.2 to the original post.

    Coming to your subsequent question, it is true that the lack of something material generates resentment that sometimes eventually leads to violent means. I think this is rather the exception. We are only too aware of it, because as Derek points out correctly, we are made aware of it. Only bad news is good coverage. I don’t think we are pre-wired to fight. In most cases fighting is the last resort. Sometimes when all else, including the legal system, fails, the use of force becomes the only imperative.

    Taking this a little further. I am sure we all know more people who deplore and shun violence, almost as a religion, rather than resort to it. Yet these good people never make it to the front page or even any other page. Perhaps that is also why the coverage you see of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh is almost always proclaiming the bad. More on that later. There can be no denying the fact that the good far far outnumber the bad. Maybe that’s why the bad make it to the headlines. Catch 22! So thats why I think we are nor pre-wired for violence.

    To go off tangentially, human rights’ groups will go further and take this same route of being denied justice to defend the indefensible, including acts of terrorists and the like. Sure the terrorist is as entitled to his rights as I am to mine. However, to defend his rights even when he has willfully and knowingly blown mine sky high is to make a mockery of the whole system of human justice. If a person does not respect the rights of others, should he be entitled to claim his own? My short answer to that is an emphatic no. I am surprised how often others disagree with me on this. But that is another subject altogether.

    Dara

  11. heath says:

    Would love to respond tonight, but have been working for long & can’t keep eyes open. Hasta manana.

    love, h

  12. Dara says:

    Dear Heath,

    While you sleep, others toil 😉

    “So our dream is what humanity wants.

    How do we share this dream with the rest of the world?”

    At one level I want to respond this. At another I hesitate because I may sound arrogant and aggressive without in any way meaning to. I understand where you are coming from. Yet there is a part of me that cringes reading it.

    Anyway, here goes. The fact is what you see in the media is news and is not untrue. Yet fed only on this diet and if not exposed to any other sources, the image that forms of poorer countries in Asia and even more so in Africa is totally distorted. Sure there are immense problems but believe me when I say that though many countries, specially in the West, are sincere in their offers of help and their desire to share their resources to improve conditions, the devil is in the detail.

    Once aid comes in, the urge then is to then go further and improve the way and quality of life in a manner that is most foreign to the recipients. Slowly help turns to tighter controls and condescension which actually create a backlash. This is then closely followed by active interference and moral lectures on subjects such as human rights records, judicial systems, monetary systems and the like. Honest to goodness, well intentioned charity gradually gives way to dictatorial terms. About 10 years ago, India simply refused to accept any more aid from a growing number of countries because of the moralising and the sermonising that came along with it.

    The well intentioned and humane desire to share gradually begins to strangulate ancient ways of life , traditions and customs. Worse it comes with prescriptions to manage foreign policy, financial systems, human rights records etc etc.

    Just one last example. Certain European countries who played supportive roles in Sri Lanka’s battle against the LTTE terrorist menace, led by the UK, France and Germany, were keen to sanction and censure the Sri Lankans over human rights issues and for war crimes during the recent fighting against LTTE cadres. This was based on a UN report that 20,000 civilians died. The attempt was foiled by a concerted effort on the part of Asian nations who came out in support of the Sri Lankans. I’m not going into the merits of this issue here, that is not the point. What rubs people here the wrong way about all this is the sheer magnitude of hypocrisy displayed. Where were these human rights guys when thousands and thousands more died in Iraq? How much noise did these nations make and did they start a process to try and convict Bushco for human rights abuse or war crimes? Does anyone have a count of how many Iraqi’s died in the fighting? Im sure not. But I assure you that if the US were a country that was indebted to some of these same nations they would have raised a stink like they are doing with Sri Lanka.

    Have I made a point here? I’m not sure Ive put it across lucidly. Yet, somehow when I read about your wanting to share, I felt myself go “huh huh, go slow there Heath.” The path to hell is paved ………

    Love
    Dara

  13. Dara says:

    Absolutely Ed, this is one super lady who has more common sense than the rest of us put together. I have heard her taking part in panel discussions and she never fails to impress with her down to earth solutions. No waffling or hair brained schemes from her, just plain old common sense. After she’s finished, I always wonder whether the other panelists were simply creating mountains out of molehills to glorify their own egos.

    Glad to see you after a break. I’m sure Bonnie too will surface soon.

    Love
    dara

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