Monarchy vs Democracy

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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Zhen Li » Mon May 27, 2013 6:09 am

Nilasarasvati wrote::shock:

I might as well have spoken Dutch.
Thank you for testing my patience.
:toilet:

I did not have time when I replied to address everything you said, but now I do let me do so.
I hope you know that this is really, really, really offensive.
Like denying the halocaust. Keep quotes like that under your hat from now on.

You keep making wild analogies without any explanation. What did I deny? And how is that denial equivalent to denying the holocaust?
1. You don't have to be a "commie" to think Capitalism is a reprehensible form of global exploitation that has ABSOLUTELY nothing to offer a Buddhist system of ethics. Sure it often accompanies a democracy..but it's generally the influence that ruins said democracy. There are many other alternatives to Stalinist, Maoist forms of economy and governance. I think Communism, especially, is abhorrent. Except in Cuba. Maybe.

Like I said before, you can't imagine anything other than capitalism in reality. Communism is just capitalism where a party or dictator controls everything, rather than free individuals owning property. To ask what is the alternative to capitalism is like asking what is the alternative to weather.

Capitalism sucks. Everything about it has drawbacks. But what alternative do you have? Whenever people try to control the economy it ends up creating lower supply and a lower quality, as well as higher inequality. Soviet Russia and Communist Cuba had/have far greater inequality than states with free markets, and more importantly, far less social mobility - stratification into party elites will always occur when you give that much power to a few men and women.

The only major advantage, politically speaking, governments which are not socialist over governments which are socialist have, is that they allow the dispersion of power as much as possible. Too much power is the worst thing to give anyone, wherever you come in contact with it, try to disperse it as much as possible. Spread power to each individual - that's what capitalism allows.

It isn't perfect, but it affords greater benefit to sentient beings overall. Therefore, the Bodhisattva should not be a commie.
2. I never claimed to be logical, by the way, and I don't need to be. I'm a polemicist and a radical and I'm arguing with emotion. I don't care. There are other faculties and modes of cognition that we use to make sense of the world; you may think you're more rational than me, but we're about the same. Mainly I just wish you'd look at the consequences of everything you're advocating: they're all over the planet.

This is really too vague to address. I'm not completely clear what you mean here.
The parallell I'm drawing is this. Or at least, this is the impression you're giving: "the poor are poor because of their lack of merit. The rich are rich because they have merit. Let's leave it that way except by voluntary charity from the rich. This is better than forcibly taking from the rich to give to the poor because it deprives them of an opportunity of merit. And it's breaking the 2nd precept."

Firstly, merit or the lack thereof are not the cause of wealth or poverty - they contribute to your attainment of liberation. In fact, the person with the highest amount of merit is also the poorest person on the planet - because they have no attachments.

Secondly, I assume you mean karma. What I said was,
A lot of people have stuff and we don't understand why. A lot of people do not and we don't understand why. We cannot comprehend fully the law of karma and can control human lives such that people get just what they deserve - this occurs by itself. We can encourage people to give, and that is the Buddhist approach, but to actively reorganise the world would be offensive to the security of property and order of society.

I said, we can't fully understand the reasons why. And furthermore, we must be generous and give to all people. But to think that we can eliminate poverty through utopian social engineering and communist revolution is contradicting the law of karma. ONLY by encouraging people to be generous and practice good thoughts, words and deeds, can you stop poverty - you MUST encourage good actions, you can't force it through material means, the law of karma is all about intention and people's minds. If you reorganise society, but society is still bitter and angry and full of harsh emotions, you get the Soviet Union and Communist China. Such societies are also doomed to fail because they're founded in non-virtue and immorality - primarily killing and stealing.
MN 135: Culakammavibhanga Sutta; III 202-6:
3. "Master Gotama, why is it that human beings are seen to be inferior and superior? For people are seen to be short-lived and long-lived, sickly and healthy, ugly and beautiful, without influence and influential, poor and wealthy, low born and high born, stupid and wise. Why is it, Master Gotama, that human beings are seen to be inferior and superior?"
13. "Here, student, some man or woman does not give food, drink, clothing, carriages, garlands, scents, unguents, beds, dwelling, and lamps to ascetics or brahmins. Because of performing and undertaking such action ... he is reborn in a state of misery... But if instead he comes back to the human state, then wherever he is reborn he is poor. This is the way, student, that leads to poverty, namely, one does not give food ... and lamps to ascetics or brahmins.
14. "But here, student, some man or woman gives food ... and lamps to ascetics or brahmins. Because of performing and undertaking such action ... he is reborn in a good destination.... But if instead he comes back to the human state, then wherever he is reborn he is wealthy. This is the way, student, that leads to wealth, namely, one gives food ... and lamps to ascetics or brahmins.
20. "Beings are owners of their actions, heirs of their actions; they originate from their actions, are bound to their actions, have their actions as their refuge. It is action that distinguishes beings as inferior and superior."

In that way, it's almost identical to social darwinism. You never advocated this--I just want you to know this is what ends up happening a lot of the time.

Gee, thanks for the help. You know I never advocated it and yet you accused me of doing so?
You seem convinced that free market Capitalism works without exploiting and destroying the global poor, the developing world, and the oppressed races of every nation. this makes me really, really, really frustrated. I have to admit.

This has nothing to do with rich people sneaking into the homes of the poor and robbing them blind in the middle of the night. It seems like that's the only concept you have of what the rich stealing from the poor might look like.

People who argue otherwise are not just Communist conspiracy theorists or something.

String of rhetorical questions: Haven't you ever worked a minimum wage job where you put in way more than you received back? Been forced to work unpaid overtime? Been a victim of sexual harassment? Been a victim of rape? (this is not a separate issue.) Haven't you ever seen the maimed and wretched beggars in the streets of every major city in the world and wondered why can't there be a place for them? Haven't you had parents and grandparents work themselves til death to make another man's fortune? Haven't you ever taken a bite of food and thought "wow, this came from halfway across the planet."

In your house, or your apartment building, don't you think at least one article of clothing was made in that Bangladeshi garment factory that collapsed a month ago and killed over 1,000 workers?

There's blood and sweat and poverty and prostitution and narcotics residue on all of our hands. As Buddhists, as Mahayana Buddhists, because of pratitya sammutpada, we have to look at this whole mess and realize the fault does not lie with the powerless. The more wealthy we are, the more relative privilege we have, just the fact that we can speak English and have access to a computer to write this on---damns us with responsibility. Our money did not come from a magic wishing tree, nor did it come solely from our hard work. It came from those below, even if only in the most fractional, infantessimal ways...it is the sum total of a world built on exploitation. This is karmic debt. Because it all came from them. The workers at Foxconn who made my computer or the children who sewed up my really nice shoes, or the farmers who grew my rice who can't afford medicine for their kids. The rabbits and guinea pigs who were tortured to test my shampoo. The Native Americans who were cheated, bullied, massacred, imprisoned, enslaved, endoctrinated, robbed of their children, sequestered to reservations so that I and my race could build freeways and strip malls all over the whole nation.

Does any of that make sense? I mean, I'm not completely crazy! I'm not a master of logic, but please express to me that some of this made sense to you.

Once again, you seem to be trying to imply that I am saying to people, "Hey everyone, break the five precepts!"

You also seem to believe that I advocated somewhere not helping people in need, or stopping people from being treated like slaves.

It's a pretty big jump to think that everyone who isn't a Socialist wants to do all those things.

I said it and I will say it again, killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct as well as other things you listed, which include things like willful negligence, are all non-virtuous actions, and if they are not illegal, they should be. This is different from the entire conversation about whether socialism really benefits people better than free markets. It's a straw man, you are building up an image of your opponent which is completely contrary to what he actually is, and then knocking it down. It is no use in this discussion, to take crimes committed by or related to companies (who manage most economic affairs in the world), and say that as a result, the only way the exchange of value can possibly occur (i.e. capitalism), is worse than Socialism. Especially when they're already illegal.
In summary, and to prove that you can break not only the 2nd precept but any and all of the precepts
Santideva said,

"Therefore understand this well,
And always labor for the benefit of beings.
The far-seeing Masters of compassion
permit, to this end, that which is proscribed."


It's well known that to refrain from supposed nonvirtue when compassion clearly demands it is actually breaking the Bodhicitta vows.

If you do not, you will be called a cowardly Bodhisattva.

Sorry I misspoke: the 3 negative actions of mind can never serve the purpose of benefiting beings, so they are always proscribed.

But everything else must be discarded if the Bodhicitta demands it.

This is different from saying that you will have less poverty, less inequality, and so forth, if you just use redistribution to attain that, instead of the free market. Since the free market, actually has attained that, and socialism always has failed and always causes more negligence, lower quality, lower produce, more poverty, inequality, less responsibility, less work ethic, innovation and initiative, and so forth, I think that Bodhicitta demands the support of my position. :P
Ben, fundamentally how can you think that a system which is predicated on greed can achieve wholesome results? Is this not the very root of samsara?

Like I said, sure it sucks. But there's not an alternative, and in the end it does produce MORE wholesome results, than the alternatives which have been tried.
It's a specious argument to say that taxation takes what is not given. It is part of the social contract to pay taxes. If businesses do not want to participate in taxation, then the roads they transport their goods on are not freely given, the ports that are maintained are not freely given, the courts that protect contracted entities are not freely given, the police that keep social order are not freely given, etc. In short, businesses can not benefit from the social framework they depend on without contributing back to it.

Yes, I agree. I said this before in fact. There's a basic requirement. But to go from that to saying it should be the basis for all action in the world is nonsense. It's even more nonsense to believe that it is ALWAYS the BEST way to achieve a certain result. With equality and wealth, it obviously isn't - just take projects in American cities for example. Everyone knows that poverty was on the whole decreasing in minority populations before welfare kicked in. People often end up with much better results when you just let them choose what is best for themselves on their own. Included in the notion that the government is not always the best way to achieve a certain result, is indeed roads - you often will end up with higher quality roads and lower traffic when roads are privatized, this was shown with the highways in Oslo quite recently.
In the US today, we have a bizarre situation where those who benefit *the most* from all of the investments in infrastructure don't pay the equivalent share of the expenses for it. It's unfair from any perspective, buddhist or otherwise. Ideally, society has to be built around the idea of caring for each other with the Sangha as our model. Was not Lord Shakyamuni's idea of the Sangha far closer to socialism than capitalism?

Of course it is unfair. The US government makes it practically impossible for any regular person to start a company which can compete with the top dogs by legislating endless arrays of useless regulations. That's called corruption, it doesn't make the US economy in any way closer to a free market than countries like Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore or Hong Kong.

As for the Sangha being closer to Socialism, within the organisation itself, it was arranged like an ancient Indian guild. In it's activities with other agents, it acted and still acts like a corporation. This kind of idealisation of the Buddha's Sangha as being non-materialist is a kind of orientalist fantasy which simply isn't grounded in any fact. See Gregory Schopen's "The Buddha as Astute Businessman, Economist, Lawyer."
The residential schools are only a very small part of the problem. Obviously, you have no understanding of Canadian history. The Micmacs for example were exterminated. In most cases the treaties were negotiated under duress and though viewed as sacred covenants by the native people, were viewed as simply an expedient means to expropriate the natives of their land so that the resources could be used by the European invaders. Many treaty claims have not been honoured, particularly when oil or precious metals are found on native land.

I dispute none of this. Please explain how this has anything to do with the conversation.
It's sad to think that Ashoka was maybe the last decent ruler in human history. And some doubt that we are living in the Kali Yuga.

How do we really know? All our knowledge of him is from his own propaganda. That's like saying, 2000 years in the future, that Mao was the last decent ruler in human history, based purely upon the libretto to The East is Red.

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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon May 27, 2013 7:53 am

Ben Yuan wrote:
If you cannot see how these examples fit into the discourse of the manner in which Capitalist corporations LEGALLY steal from the poor then this discussion is over.

Stealing is taking what is not given. Please explain.
The state, on behalf of the corporations (or a sanctioned private representative, ie another employee of the corporation) holds a metaphorical or physical gun to the poor persons head and says: "you will work for a pittance or else I will kill you" (either with hot lead or via starvation). That is how corporations steal from the poor.
I never said I was supporting a political position. I am saying that Socialism is immoral and that there are more opportunities to be generous when there is economic freedom. I am not supporting a political position when I am saying this, Capitalism exists in Socialism, it's just different people who are in control of the money - the government versus people. To suppose that there is some position other than capitalism which one can move the economy is like wishing for weather to stop existing - it's just the way the exchange of value works.
It's the way that the exchange of value works under capitalism, not the way it works per se. Capitalism is just one type of political economy. It has not existed forever and will not exist forever (remember the Sutra you quoted). It is as immoral (perhaps even more so since it is based directly on greed, clinging and desire) than any other form of political economy.
As for breaking the precepts. Please do not interpolate Santideva to me Nilasarasvati, do not add or remove one tittle of what he has said, it is perfect just as it is, and trying to use his words to political ends is laughable.
Whereas trying to use Sutras for the political end of supporting Capitalist exploitation is not laughable? Actually it is not laughable, it is really, REALLY, sad.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby kirtu » Mon May 27, 2013 8:10 am

Ben Yuan wrote: Since the free market, actually has attained that, and socialism always has failed and always causes more negligence, lower quality, lower produce, more poverty, inequality, less responsibility, less work ethic, innovation and initiative, and so forth, I think that Bodhicitta demands the support of my position. :P


This is just silly. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Holland, Iceland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland - these are failed states? On the contrary, they are some of the most successful states on Earth, far more successful socially than the US (and yes, I have lived in three of them [technically only 1 but I've visited two others so frequently that I practically lived there too ...]). They do harness the free market but keep it in check so that in general it doesn't create too much inequity in society while producing benefit.

The free market left mostly to it's own devices as in the US and the UK is a cancer.

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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby kirtu » Mon May 27, 2013 8:14 am

Ben Yuan wrote:
It's sad to think that Ashoka was maybe the last decent ruler in human history. And some doubt that we are living in the Kali Yuga.

How do we really know? All our knowledge of him is from his own propaganda. That's like saying, 2000 years in the future, that Mao was the last decent ruler in human history, based purely upon the libretto to The East is Red.


We know a bit more than that about Ashoka and have objective knowledge of his rule as well (wasn't all roses even after he stopped his wars of conquest).

That he was one of the few, mostly sincere Dharma rulers is well attested and not just from his own propaganda.

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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Zhen Li » Mon May 27, 2013 8:37 am

The state, on behalf of the corporations (or a sanctioned private representative, ie another employee of the corporation) holds a metaphorical or physical gun to the poor persons head and says: "you will work for a pittance or else I will kill you" (either with hot lead or via starvation). That is how corporations steal from the poor.

If it is a physical gun, I, nor any sane person, would endorse it.

If it is metaphorical, it's not actual. We aren't actually talking about intentional actions here on the part of these corporations, they will offer the lowest wages which the state allows for non-skilled labour. It has always been that way, and always will be - you can't have any alternative without having the state take over enterprise. So, do you advocate for a minimum wage in the 3rd world? Then, the next question is, will people really be better off once a minimum wage has been enforced in the third world? Wouldn't the rising cost of everything just make value even itself out and make them actually receive the same value until the wage is raised again, ad infinitum? And if you forcefully take X% from each corporation, wouldn't the same happen? Would any real value really increase anywhere in the long run? Especially when efficiency and all sorts of other measures would decrease as a result.

You have to actually consider the practicalities of these situations. What are you proposing which would actually make people richer? I can only see charity and technological innovation as really having any benefit, alongside various ground level essential provisions which either the government can provide or can require of a corporation. E.g. either providing sewage services, or by providing a company with the responsibility.
It's the way that the exchange of value works under capitalism, not the way it works per se. Capitalism is just one type of political economy. It has not existed forever and will not exist forever (remember the Sutra you quoted). It is as immoral (perhaps even more so since it is based directly on greed, clinging and desire) than any other form of political economy.

This is more or less a Marxist view of economics, i.e. viewing Capitalism as a temporary stage or type of political economy. I personally think it's wrong, the exchange of value in all circumstances is purely exchange of value. You can call it capitalist if you like, but that's really just reification.
Whereas trying to use Sutras for the political end of supporting Capitalist exploitation is not laughable? Actually it is not laughable, it is really, REALLY, sad.

I did not link it in any way to capitalism or exploitation of any kind. I quoted the Sutra to provide an example of how you must change the intentions and morality of a populace if you wish to remove poverty, you cannot force it through material means.
This is just silly. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Holland, Iceland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland - these are failed states? On the contrary, they are some of the most successful states on Earth, far more successful socially than the US (and yes, I have lived in three of them [technically only 1 but I've visited two others so frequently that I practically lived there too ...]). They do harness the free market but keep it in check so that in general it doesn't create too much inequity in society while producing benefit.

Great. I'm all in favour, so long as it is sustainable and doesn't run up a debt (good luck).
The free market left mostly to it's own devices as in the US and the UK is a cancer.

In fact, in terms of free market. Denmark and Switzerland have far less regulation of the market than the US and UK. Anyone who has tried to start a business in the US or UK can tell you that things aren't as simple as some socialists like to think.
We know a bit more than that about Ashoka and have objective knowledge of his rule as well (wasn't all roses even after he stopped his wars of conquest).

That he was one of the few, mostly sincere Dharma rulers is well attested and not just from his own propaganda.

I would hardly support speaking of Asoka with the same kind of certainty that we speak about modern figures - the null hypothesis towards history is often the best approach to these matters. That being said, no matter how good he was, I see no reason to attach to him - he died as an individual human being after all, making it all the more blatant - that is something harder to discern and observe in political regimes.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon May 27, 2013 9:33 am

Ben Yuan wrote:If it is metaphorical, it's not actual. We aren't actually talking about intentional actions here on the part of these corporations, they will offer the lowest wages which the state allows for non-skilled labour. It has always been that way, and always will be - you can't have any alternative without having the state take over enterprise. So, do you advocate for a minimum wage in the 3rd world? Then, the next question is, will people really be better off once a minimum wage has been enforced in the third world? Wouldn't the rising cost of everything just make value even itself out and make them actually receive the same value until the wage is raised again, ad infinitum? And if you forcefully take X% from each corporation, wouldn't the same happen? Would any real value really increase anywhere in the long run? Especially when efficiency and all sorts of other measures would decrease as a result.
Yeah, you are right you know. Corporations should just continue paying starvation level wages to their workers and continue reaping billions in profits, just in case prices go up and the starving workers starve. Earth to Ben, come in Ben!
You have to actually consider the practicalities of these situations. What are you proposing which would actually make people richer? I can only see charity and technological innovation as really having any benefit, alongside various ground level essential provisions which either the government can provide or can require of a corporation. E.g. either providing sewage services, or by providing a company with the responsibility.
What job do you do Ben? I am currently working causal shifts as a waiter for 20euro a day and trying (and failing miserably) to live off that. As far as charity goes, my employers are pigs and many time do not even give us a plate of food at the end of our shift. The customers are pigs too, they know the situation yet they leave spare change (sommtimes even copper) as "tips". My government knows the situation yet is in the process of abolishing minimum wages. They are swine too. The Fascists (real seig heil-ing skin head fascists) took 7% of the vote in the last national elections and are using their presence in parliament to set up military style units in all the major cities (with the financial backing of serious capitalists), they reckon it is the immigrants fault that I am getting paid 20euro per day and beat the crap out of them in the streets. Swine!!! Good thing is though that corporate taxation is falling.

So excuse me if I do not rely on the generosity of all these swine in order to survive. Excuse me if I believe it is necessary for people to organise socially and DEMAND their fair share from the swine. Excuse me for having some contact with the reality of free market politics. Basically, the free market is only free for the rich, for the poor it is incredibly expensive.
This is more or less a Marxist view of economics, i.e. viewing Capitalism as a temporary stage or type of political economy. I personally think it's wrong, the exchange of value in all circumstances is purely exchange of value. You can call it capitalist if you like, but that's really just reification.
I call it directly contradictory to the Sutra you quoted. ALL things are impermanent. The Capitalist method of the assement of value is limited to a particular type of political and economic reality, to consider it otherwise is to ignore the whole of history. You want to ignore history? Bully for you! I personally do not feel like blinding myself to reality.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Zhen Li » Mon May 27, 2013 10:29 am

Yeah, you are right you know. Corporations should just continue paying starvation level wages to their workers and continue reaping billions in profits, just in case prices go up and the starving workers starve. Earth to Ben, come in Ben!

How do you change them? Who will control your collective farms? Who will be your Commissar of Industry?

You can't force the economy to obey your will. Every time you increase the minimum wage, everything else will get more expensive too, rendering it useless. What mechanism? What revolution? What putsch do you propose to change the stars and render reality non-existent?
So excuse me if I do not rely on the generosity of all these swine in order to survive. Excuse me if I believe it is necessary for people to organise socially and DEMAND their fair share from the swine. Excuse me for having some contact with the reality of free market politics. Basically, the free market is only free for the rich, for the poor it is incredibly expensive.

Since you are in the EUSSR, I'm not sure exactly what you mean by free market. I am by no means opposed to the idea of collective bargaining, I think it's great, and is wholly different from socialism so long as it's not forceful and coercive. The EUSSR is just a prime example of the problems with trying to coerce economies into the shape which the utopians and ideologues who run it dream.

Might I remind you that Greece scores 55.4 ("Mostly Unfree") and ranks 117th in the Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom, right behind Senegal and in front of Malawi. So, hardly a fair example by any stretch of the imagination.
I call it directly contradictory to the Sutra you quoted. ALL things are impermanent. The Capitalist method of the assement of value is limited to a particular type of political and economic reality, to consider it otherwise is to ignore the whole of history. You want to ignore history? Bully for you! I personally do not feel like blinding myself to reality.

I don't think there's a capitalist "method" of assessing value, there's just the assessment of value. To say that it's an impermanent 'thing' is like saying logic or the law of gravity are impermanent. Perhaps when the world system collapses in many kalpas, things will be arranged differently but within this present world system, could you please give an example of another method which has existed in history?
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon May 27, 2013 11:32 am

You can't force the economy to obey your will.
Really? Here in Greece they purposefully have devestated the economy in order to push through free market political and economic changes. I don't know what planet you live on, but the one I inhabit is basically owned by the IMF. The IMF told the Greek government which changes to effect, changes that lead directly to an economic depression.
Since you are in the EUSSR, I'm not sure exactly what you mean by free market. I am by no means opposed to the idea of collective bargaining, I think it's great, and is wholly different from socialism so long as it's not forceful and coercive. The EUSSR is just a prime example of the problems with trying to coerce economies into the shape which the utopians and ideologues who run it dream.
Whereas in the Americas the state does not intervene on behalf of corporations? It does not tinker with taxes? etc... For your information I have also lived in New Zealand and Australia for most of my life.
there's a capitalist "method" of assessing value, there's just the assessment of value.
Of course there is, it is called "the market".
To say that it's an impermanent 'thing' is like saying logic or the law of gravity are impermanent.
Of course, capitalist political economy is eternal isn't it? Like the THEORY of the law of gravity has existed forever? Like the METHOD of logic existed forever? You are gibbering Ben, please keep the conversation intelligent.
Perhaps when the world system collapses in many kalpas, things will be arranged differently but within this present world system, could you please give an example of another method which has existed in history?
Feudalism. That one just whized straight past you? Commons. There's a pre-communist (theory) form of communism. And that's just in Europe. All the social/political/economic structures utilised by indigenous /aboriginal peoples where there was (and still is in some areas) no such thing as property and ownership. You miss that one too?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Son of Buddha » Mon May 27, 2013 1:12 pm

Ben Yuan wrote:How do you change them? Who will control your collective farms? Who will be your Commissar of Industry?

You can't force the economy to obey your will. Every time you increase the minimum wage, everything else will get more expensive too, rendering it useless. What mechanism? What revolution? What putsch do you propose to change the stars and render reality non-existent?


Increasing the minimum wage doesnt cause everything to become more expensive.inflation comes from the supply and demand of the products themselves(cost to make and demand/over abundance,under abundance)

Also the inflation of money in america is directly caused by the central bank charging a penny on every dollar it produces in effect creating debt on every dollar created,and causing more money to be produced to pay the debt,of course with the moneys that produced to pay the debt also is charged a penny to produce hence you to create debt to pay the debt,hence a never ending cycle of debt and the cause of the constant inflation of our money.

Also higher wages does cause everything to become more expensive,it actually does the opposite,you see when people get better wages,they all have more to spend,creating a higher supply and demand,in turn actually growing the economy and causing more goods to be produced creating a supply for the demand.

If you wish to see deflation look at burma back in the day,everything was so expensive cause nobody had the money,hence with nobody to by my product I must charge more just to make a living myself.

You see the more money flowing the more demand,then companies have to DRIVE DOWN PRICES just to compete against each other.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Nilasarasvati » Mon May 27, 2013 4:18 pm

I still feel really unheard. It seems to me like you argue the particulars when you want to ignore the general, or argue with vast generalizations when you don't understand the particular.

It's like you're having a debate solely in the world your own weird perceptions and definitions. You've pasted and "responded" to my words but captured none of my meaning. I say its offensive to minimize the oppression and genocide (or as you euphemistically put it "land ownership") of Native Americans and compare it to denying the Halocaust and you go off about how I need to explain that comparison like it's totally absurd crazy. It makes me feel baffled and unheard.

My last comment here will be to plead with you:

6-7 of us now, articulate, intelligent, educated adults are trying to express, in general, that your perspective is contrary to the ideals of the Dharma, or based on inaccurate history or grave misunderstanding of the world, or shows no real grasp of our own comments, only contradiction of them.


If you go out your door one morning and the first person you see tells you "you have a tail."
you'd think they were insane.
If the next person you encountered said the exact same thing, you'd think
"That was bizzarre."
If the next four people you saw said something similar, I know I would turn around and look.
How many people will it take for you?

:toilet: Thank you and Good day.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Zhen Li » Wed May 29, 2013 2:32 am

Really? Here in Greece they purposefully have devestated the economy in order to push through free market political and economic changes. I don't know what planet you live on, but the one I inhabit is basically owned by the IMF. The IMF told the Greek government which changes to effect, changes that lead directly to an economic depression.

Well, I have a particular distaste for the IMF too and don't think it's the best proponent of economic liberty. I don't want you to think that their opinion is mine.
Whereas in the Americas the state does not intervene on behalf of corporations? It does not tinker with taxes? etc... For your information I have also lived in New Zealand and Australia for most of my life.

Who said I believe the Americas to be heaven? My stance is that no state is worth attaching to and none is perfect, but the best fruits tend to spring from seeds of non-interventionism in my opinion. NZ and Australia are certainly better exemplars than the US.
Of course there is, it is called "the market".

That's just assessing value. They seem more or less synonymous. Where has a market not existed in human history? Even the Sangha engages in market interactions.
Of course, capitalist political economy is eternal isn't it? Like the THEORY of the law of gravity has existed forever? Like the METHOD of logic existed forever? You are gibbering Ben, please keep the conversation intelligent.

What you call capitalist political economy, I just call judgments of value. Wherever exchange takes place, so do judgments of value. No, the method of logic has not existed forever, but I would certainly say logic has, and that the universe is logical. Even in discussing paradigm shifts in science, such as with the theories of gravity, logic is a prerequisite. In order for you to write the sentences you are writing, logic is a prerequisite which you have accepted. You are accepting the notion that there is a true and a false and are trying to discover a true - the fact that we are engaging in a conversation requires as a prerequisite that we both accept and agree on that premise. Thank you for cooperating.
Feudalism. That one just whized straight past you? Commons. There's a pre-communist (theory) form of communism. And that's just in Europe. All the social/political/economic structures utilised by indigenous /aboriginal peoples where there was (and still is in some areas) no such thing as property and ownership. You miss that one too?

Now, in fact, this is just accepting the Communist Manifesto hook line and sinker. Wherever exchange took place and still takes place in pre-modern societies there is the subjective assessment of value. Feudal societies had markets and value, and tribal societies engage in trade and evaluation. Even the principle of "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need," is an evaluation of the value of labour (which I don't believe is magically or scientifically objective as Marx or Ricardo did).

In fact, Marx knew this all too well, and the question as to how one transitions from the law of value to the law of socially-direct labour proved impossible to solve. He brought the problem to his grave and still stands to the present day. Probably because it's insolvable. In Critique of the Gothe Programme he shows how just about any scheme you can think of to switch from capitalism to 'communism' or some higher mode of social organisation, is full of wholes, and just ends up creating a distorted version of capitalism (as evidenced in all such attempts since).
Increasing the minimum wage doesnt cause everything to become more expensive.inflation comes from the supply and demand of the products themselves(cost to make and demand/over abundance,under abundance)

Thank you, I did not claim direct causation.
Also higher wages does cause everything to become more expensive,it actually does the opposite,you see when people get better wages,they all have more to spend,creating a higher supply and demand,in turn actually growing the economy and causing more goods to be produced creating a supply for the demand.

This is just a contradiction of the above statement. You're just shifting money around, not value. Moreover, the loss in terms of increase unemployment (as seen in stats of min. wages vs. unemployment in each US state) makes any benefit from increased wages for a few workers, less desirable. There may be something to say for having absolute safety net min. wages BELOW the equilibrium value of a wage, but it would be unlikely to ever have any effect.
I say its offensive to minimize the oppression and genocide (or as you euphemistically put it "land ownership") of Native Americans and compare it to denying the Halocaust and you go off about how I need to explain that comparison like it's totally absurd crazy.

Nowhere did I minimize this, nor did I even mention it. You brought it up, and think I am claiming some kind of minimization based upon no evidence, reasoning, or explanation. That is why I asked you to explain it - I will ask again, please explain it. It is a wild and insanely offensive and cruel suggestion which you should not throw around so lightly. Nowhere once did I say that there was no oppression or genocide - this is all your own accusation based upon no evidence or reasoning. You are attacking a pie in the sky, a creation of your own mind; you're hearing ghosts talking into your ears.
6-7 of us now, articulate, intelligent, educated adults are trying to express, in general, that your perspective is contrary to the ideals of the Dharma, or based on inaccurate history or grave misunderstanding of the world, or shows no real grasp of our own comments, only contradiction of them.

I can't agree if I think it is false, poorly thought out, and not fundamentally leading to greater welfare for humans - you may think the opposite. For me to agree would be dishonest and contrary to the ideals of the Dharma - for you to agree would also be dishonest and contrary to the Dharma. I ask you to evaluate what is being said by the same standards as I evaluate what you say - if you convince me otherwise, then I will agree, I ask the same of you, this is simply how debate of an issue takes place. I don't think that my views are correct because I have the support of a majority, that's called argumentum ad populum - I ask the same of you.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby kirtu » Wed May 29, 2013 3:10 am

Ben Yuan wrote:
This is just silly. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Holland, Iceland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland - these are failed states? On the contrary, they are some of the most successful states on Earth, far more successful socially than the US (and yes, I have lived in three of them [technically only 1 but I've visited two others so frequently that I practically lived there too ...]). They do harness the free market but keep it in check so that in general it doesn't create too much inequity in society while producing benefit.

Great. I'm all in favour, so long as it is sustainable and doesn't run up a debt (good luck).


So you have deified the lack of a debt? Debt can be necessary in economics and is dealt with at length in different economic philosophies but basically debt can be a useful tool to recover from poor economic conditions (see Keynes). The debt can then be eliminated during periods of economic expansion.

The free market left mostly to it's own devices as in the US and the UK is a cancer.

In fact, in terms of free market. Denmark and Switzerland have far less regulation of the market than the US and UK. Anyone who has tried to start a business in the US or UK can tell you that things aren't as simple as some socialists like to think.


I'm surprised to see Switzerland lauded in this respect. Normally it is very easy to start a business in the US. Succeeding at it is another story ...


We know a bit more than that about Ashoka and have objective knowledge of his rule as well (wasn't all roses even after he stopped his wars of conquest).

That he was one of the few, mostly sincere Dharma rulers is well attested and not just from his own propaganda.

I would hardly support speaking of Asoka with the same kind of certainty that we speak about modern figures - the null hypothesis towards history is often the best approach to these matters. That being said, no matter how good he was, I see no reason to attach to him - he died as an individual human being after all, making it all the more blatant - that is something harder to discern and observe in political regimes.


The reason to study Ashoka is that much of politics, west and east, after Ashoka is the simple power of the gun variety. Ashoka saw that the power of the gun was limited and deficient and used Dharmic principles to usher in a kind of golden age. Which was subsequently erased from history until the 19th century rediscovered him. Ashoka also shows that humans *can* create near utopias (at least compared to the usual social/historical/cultural construct).

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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Namgyal » Wed May 29, 2013 3:51 am

Ben Yuan wrote: Feudal societies had markets and value, and tribal societies engage in trade and evaluation.

''...When you mention the idea of anarchy to most people they will tell you what a bad idea it is because the biggest gang would just take over. Which is pretty much how I see contemporary society. We live in a badly developed anarchist situation in which the biggest gang has taken over...'' (Alan Moore)

''...I am very fond of the anarchist proverb regarding laws – good people have no need for them, bad people pay no attention to them, what are they there for, other than as a symbol of power – ‘We can say this is law’. I could say I rule the universe, it depends on whether anyone believes me or not...'' (Alan Moore)
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Zhen Li » Wed May 29, 2013 4:13 am

So you have deified the lack of a debt? Debt can be necessary in economics and is dealt with at length in different economic philosophies but basically debt can be a useful tool to recover from poor economic conditions (see Keynes). The debt can then be eliminated during periods of economic expansion.

Personally yes. But in terms of governments and reasonable debts, we are talking about two different things. One is an investment with a clear possible payoff, the other is establishing a permanent incurer of debt which causes lower growth to boot based upon faulty expectations that universal justice shall be paid thereby.
I'm surprised to see Switzerland lauded in this respect. Normally it is very easy to start a business in the US. Succeeding at it is another story ...

The biggest problem with the US economy and society is the oligopoly of a few massive banks. Try opening a bank in the US and introducing some competition with the fat cats. You would need to be a multimillionaire to even be able to afford the number of lawyers necessary to wade through all the paperwork and regulations one must constantly observe. It's a never ending cycle, these viciously rich banks will fund lobby groups for more regulations, constantly tightening their grip over any possible competition.
The reason to study Ashoka is that much of politics, west and east, after Ashoka is the simple power of the gun variety. Ashoka saw that the power of the gun was limited and deficient and used Dharmic principles to usher in a kind of golden age. Which was subsequently erased from history until the 19th century rediscovered him. Ashoka also shows that humans *can* create near utopias (at least compared to the usual social/historical/cultural construct).

There is nothing I haven't said before which does not here apply. My response will be the same, 1. the actual pacifism and Dharmic nature of Asoka has been and still is an area of debate, 2. all political regimes are impermanent and incur suffering by necessity, so should not be attached to.

RE: Alan Moore
- Yes, we really are anarchistic in essence, since we live according to mutual agreements and don't need to exact force against one another in order to maintain our society or economy. Anarchism really is the only TRULY Buddhist position in such affairs in my opinion, the abandonment of all political qua political positions, as per the dictum of Nagarjuna, that the teaching of the welfarers is simply put as the "abandonment of all views."

Like I said before, the Cakravartin rules the world not through conquest, but because he is invited. Abandoning politics qua politics, the abandonment of the use of force and the use of voluntarism are the only real way to any Dharmic conception of societal arrangement. (And I am not talking about the Cakravartin in the sense of some individual human or actual historical event, one must keep a sense for metaphor when talking about such fantastic concepts)

The various stages which Greg talks about, are just different manifestations of gang rule in the eternal human societal sea of anarchism. Just waves in the ocean of a truly interdependently arisen humanity.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Nilasarasvati » Wed May 29, 2013 4:23 am

Ben Yuan wrote:
That is why I asked you to explain it - I will ask again, please explain it. It is a wild and insanely offensive and cruel suggestion which you should not throw around so lightly. Nowhere once did I say that there was no oppression or genocide - this is all your own accusation based upon no evidence or reasoning. You are attacking a pie in the sky, a creation of your own mind; you're hearing ghosts talking into your ears.

6-7 of us now, articulate, intelligent, educated adults are trying to express, in general, that your perspective is contrary to the ideals of the Dharma, or based on inaccurate history or grave misunderstanding of the world, or shows no real grasp of our own comments, only contradiction of them.

I can't agree if I think it is false, poorly thought out, and not fundamentally leading to greater welfare for humans - you may think the opposite. For me to agree would be dishonest and contrary to the ideals of the Dharma - for you to agree would also be dishonest and contrary to the Dharma. I ask you to evaluate what is being said by the same standards as I evaluate what you say - if you convince me otherwise, then I will agree, I ask the same of you, this is simply how debate of an issue takes place. I don't think that my views are correct because I have the support of a majority, that's called argumentum ad populum - I ask the same of you.
:namaste:



Ben Yuan, this is perfect springing point because it shows how we have really different goals right now. You I'm more focused on the interpersonal dynamic in this thread and how it's failed/failing. seem to be trying to "convince." I'm not.

That's why I'm not making an argumentum ad populum--because I'm not saying "the reason we're correct is that we outnumber you." I''m not saying we're correct. I'm just saying we're intelligent people you haven't really communicated with as such. Our words have passed off you like water from a lotus. Maybe that's a good thing, but in my perception a lot of things people have said in this discussion are like a whack-a-mole you reflexively contradict without really understanding them. You seem super rigid and show little comprehension of what some of us mean.

You've quoted piece after piece of our statements and then enumerate exception after exception you have with them, but ultimately your understanding of what we're writing often misses the mark or like I said earlier, ignores the particular or ignores the general whenever it suits you. Many of us on here have made that worse by doing the same right back; clearly it's often the standard on these forums especially when arguments get long and drawn out and complicated. Nobody, at this point, could easily summarize what this discussion is even about. For all the many ways I've made it worse: being contentious, radical, uncensored in my aversions, too abstract or catastrophic in my language etc. I apologize.

But I want to express again how I feel really unheard. It's my bottom line. I can safely say you haven't really understood what I meant in any of the posts I've made in this discussion. And I don't want to explain or respond to why I said x,y,z, anymore. Because I'm 99% sure that my statements are clear to others.


P.S. This is all my perceptions--I realize you will probably disagree with a lot of it, but you can't tell me I haven't experienced these things; it's not really up for debate. It's my experience. All I want to hear from you at this point is an acknowledgement of what you've understood from this. I just want to feel heard. To find some commonality over which we can then agree to disagree. :coffee:
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Karma Dorje » Wed May 29, 2013 4:40 am

Ben Yuan wrote:Personally yes. But in terms of governments and reasonable debts, we are talking about two different things. One is an investment with a clear possible payoff, the other is establishing a permanent incurer of debt which causes lower growth to boot based upon faulty expectations that universal justice shall be paid thereby.


This is a misunderstanding of the difference between public debt and personal debt. What is debt for a country is (taxable) income for its citizens. If properly spent on labour intensive infrastructure projects it bootstraps the economy in times of low private sector activity. The working and middle class percentage of income is a direct measure of how healthy the economy is. Henry Ford understood this when he paid his workers enough that they could afford to buy his own vehicles. Money in the lower 80% of earners circulates many more times than money in the upper echelons of the economy. Hence Keynesian stimuli are virtuous debt mechanisms leading to greater growth without nearly as much attendant pains of the boom-bust cycle.

We don't have a debt problem in first world countries right now. We have a revenue problem. The wealthy are not paying their fair share. As the rich extract more advantage, they should shoulder more of the burden for infrastructure costs. If we returned to the tax load at the beginning of the Reagan years, most all of the funding problems would go away in the US for example. You posited in an earlier post that the poor were better off before the New Deal. History shows this to be little more than polemic.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Zhen Li » Wed May 29, 2013 5:55 am

Karma Dorje
What is debt for a country is (taxable) income for its citizens.

Hilarious. Let's play hot potato with green pieces of paper, nothing is more productive of value. :bow:
If properly spent on labour intensive infrastructure projects it bootstraps the economy in times of low private sector activity.

Who pays?
We don't have a debt problem in first world countries right now. We have a revenue problem.
Deficit problem.
As the rich extract more advantage, they should shoulder more of the burden for infrastructure costs.

Privatise infrastructure. Problem solved.
You posited in an earlier post that the poor were better off before the New Deal.
No I didn't.

Nilasarasvati
And I don't want to explain or respond to why I said x,y,z, anymore. Because I'm 99% sure that my statements are clear to others.

If you're trying to convince me, as you said you were, then the fact that other people are clear, doesn't help you in that task.

You can say you are trying to do nuance A, B and C. But if you don't put it in words here, I won't get it. On a forum words are the only medium and moreover I am a very auditory and linguistic thinker, with the exception of metaphor and allusion, these things, if not explicit, will usually not be noticed by me. I can't read your mind. Sorry.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed May 29, 2013 6:52 am

Ben Yuan wrote:Wherever exchange took place and still takes place in pre-modern societies there is the subjective assessment of value. Feudal societies had markets and value, and tribal societies engage in trade and evaluation.
I disagree. I believe that you are merely projecting you current view of value onto relations that may not have had any basis in modern interpretations of value and exchange. It is impossible for us to objectively assess how (or with what criteria) Indigenous/Aboriginal people engaged in exchange (or even if they viewed it as exchange). There can be valueless exchange. Gifts (for example) can be a form of valueless exchange. Selfless sharing can be another. Just because you are limited by your judgements of value and "fair" exchange does not mean everybody else is. Just because you may consider something fair and objective does not mean that everybody else does.
"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need," is an evaluation of the value of labour...
Your interpretation of this statement is a perfect example of how skewed your view is. This statement has nothing at all to to with the evaluation of the value of labour, quite the contrary, it is a radical departure from the logic of exchange.

You see, unlike you, my dear Ben, I was never a Communist. What that means is that I studied Marx and Marxism (and neo-Marxists) directly. Even going as far as to study Hegel. What that means is that unlike Communists,that normally read the Manifesto and whatever skewed interpretations of Marx the Communist cult group they happen to belong to regurgitates in their direction, I have read, studied and discussed Marx extensively. Given the attitude of myopic zeal that you currently display I would guess you were some type of 4th Internationalist in your past incarnation?

Politically I would say that I am an Autonomist (with Anarchist leanings). What that means is that I am not bound by the political/social/economic ideology of any system. I am quite happy to apply the logic/methods of almost any system as long as it is liberatory and leads to a reduction in poverty and suffering for the majority of people. I am not the kind of moron that would blind himself to the injustices of a system, just because they happen to identify with that system.
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Zhen Li » Wed May 29, 2013 7:21 am

Gifts (for example) can be a form of valuless exchange. Selfless sharing can be another. Just because you are limited by your judgements of value and "fair" exchange does not mean everybody else is. Just because you may consider something fair and objective does not mean that everybody else does.

Gifts are, by definition, not exchanges.
Your interpretation of this statement is a perfect example of how skewed your view is. This statement has nothing at all to to with the evaluation of the value of labour, quite the contrary, it is a radical departure from the logic of exchange.

I admit that I spoke too fast, you are correct in that this is trying to capture the idea of some kind of non-Law of Value economy.

But if you believe the statement in any way is realistic you still have to explain how one can achieve socially direct labour without running into all of the pitfalls and distractions which Marx enumerated amongst the attempts contemporary to him.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed May 29, 2013 7:24 am

''...When you mention the idea of anarchy to most people they will tell you what a bad idea it is because the biggest gang would just take over. Which is pretty much how I see contemporary society. We live in a badly developed anarchist situation in which the biggest gang has taken over...'' (Alan Moore)
This is a typical example of the confounding of the term An-archy (Αναρχία) with the term A-nomia (Ανομία). As soon as you have a "biggest gang in control" you have an -archy (αρχή). You can have an -archy and have anomia: ie when a group utilises its grip on power to benefit itself rather than to ensure the "correct" or "smooth" functioning of society. That is what is happening currently. We do not have anarchy right now, we have anomia.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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