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Thread: What kind of worker benefits from increased government involvement in private businesses?

  1. #121
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    Re: What kind of worker benefits from increased government involvement in private businesses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Glitch View Post
    All unions are communist and therefore anti-American by definition, comrade.
    Most people care about their bills and their personal problems. They don't care enough about politics to have read Marx, Engels or any other strand of socialist literature. They do not have the luxury of perusing through philosophy all day long.

    So, what do union members want? Exactly what they demand: good working conditions, good paychecks, some employment security, and nonwage benefits like pensions, reasonable schedules, health insurance, etc. Those are things that solve problems for them, their family and perhaps also their community if they're part of the people who still care to donate time and effort.

    Nice strawman, by the way.

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    Re: What kind of worker benefits from increased government involvement in private businesses?

    Quote Originally Posted by ashurbanipal View Post
    Just thought I'd point something out -- your point here begs the question against Marx.
    Begging the question requires that my answer be a corollary of my definitions, which is not the case. I ascribe the rightful property of capital to entrepreneurs, but my argument does not rest on this assumption and does not follow directly from it. I said that entrepreneurs contribute far more to production than just financing the activity (materials, machines, and buildings). I said they bring ideas, management, and organization to the table and that they risk losing all the resources they invest -- and that it is because all of these things add value that they have a rightful claim to profits. Whether they can legitimately depart with the capital afterward is a slightly different question.

    (1) Even if they didn't rightfully own the capital, they still stand to lose them so it is still a risk;
    (2) Even if they don't rightfully own the capital, they still take care of a long list of things that need to be done just right for a business to become and stay profitable and that affords them a rightful claim to profits;
    (3) Marx still doesn't talk about that part, even if it is a very big part of why people have jobs in the first place; and
    (4) That part is not an assumption, but a fact: people actually need to come up with ideas, to organize every aspect of a project and to find the necessary resources before anything happens.

    Granted, if the capital was acquired illegitimately, something might be said for the board to be slanted toward some people more than others. This might have been truer in 1860 than in 2019, however.

    Quote Originally Posted by ashurbanipal View Post
    Without some argument about the actual ownership of those resources on your part--and argument that will succeed against Marx on this specific question--you cannot just help yourself to any assumption that the resources being "risked" are owned by the entrepreneurs risking them.
    Let's assume entrepreneurs are thieves, as you did above, and that property rights really are a sort of legalized money laundering scam. You understand that when I bet my "spoils," even if they come from a robbery, I stand to possibly lose them? The same system which you depict as crooked and which would legitimize a scam for entrepreneurs imply they have no protection against bankruptcy. Even thieves can bear risks with the spoils of their theft.

    I also have a very simple argument against your claim with regards to property: voluntary transactions ascribe rightful property. In other words, theft requires coercion. If we could undo the consequences of all the violations of this principle in the past and present in a way that would produce the world that would have had risen had these violations not happened, it might be ideal to do just that. However, we neither have the knowledge nor the capacity to do anything even remotely close to it. Your best shot is to limit those problems now and to institute programs that seek to give people a fair shake of rising in the social ladder going forward.

    It's very hard to object to voluntary transactions, except in cases where market failures are large can be reliably addressed without causing problems bigger than those we seek to solve. It's also the only way you won't create casts in society with some people placed above others. Voluntary means I have to convince you, by your own lights, to get what I want from you.

    Quote Originally Posted by ashurbanipal View Post
    But I don't like to see bad reasoning.
    My reasoning wasn't bad. It might have been unclear and might have been poorly expressed.

  3. #123
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    Re: What kind of worker benefits from increased government involvement in private businesses?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist View Post
    Begging the question requires that my answer be a corollary of my definitions, which is not the case.
    Makes no sense to me. Begging the question (AKA circular reasoning) just happens when a person assumes as a premise, stated or not, and whether or not as a definition or corollary or whatever, what she sets out to prove. Any time you simply help yourself to a premise (stated or not) that an interlocutor outright denies (especially if, as Marx does, that interlocutor has an argument against that premise), you're begging the question against your interlocutor. The question begging occurs by virtue of the fact that you must deny Marx' conclusion here (that is, you must conclude his point is false), but to do so, you merely assume it is false, thus assuming as a premise what you must conclude.

    That's obviously bad reasoning. The best, and really only, way to argue is to start with premises with which your interlocutor agrees, and work forward by inference or induction from there.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist View Post
    I ascribe the rightful property of capital to entrepreneurs, but my argument does not rest on this assumption and does not follow directly from it.
    I never said your argument follows directly from the rightful property of capital to entrepreneurs (as you put it). However, if those entrepreneurs are risking other people's resources rather than their own, any ethical claim to profits from the use of that capital are very nearly nullified--in fact, entrepreneurs bring nothing more to the table than do other workers.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist View Post
    I said that entrepreneurs contribute far more to production than just financing the activity (materials, machines, and buildings). I said they bring ideas, management, and organization to the table
    Sure. So do all the other workers--though usually on a more fine-grained level, their contributions along those lines are still entirely necessary to the successful running of a business. If those things secure a claim to ownership of an enterprise for an entrepreneur, they do for workers as well, by parity of reasoning.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist View Post
    (1) Even if they didn't rightfully own the capital, they still stand to lose them so it is still a risk
    The concept of "risk" here seems to involve a necessary component of ownership. If I could somehow legally, and just like that, get control of your money, I would hardly be taking any risk by investing it. You would stand to lose a lot; I would stand to lose nothing, other than perhaps the time I've put into my nefarious scheme.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist View Post
    (2) Even if they don't rightfully own the capital, they still take care of a long list of things that need to be done just right for a business to become and stay profitable and that affords them a rightful claim to profits;
    Again, so do the workers. And if the principle works to guarantee profits for the entrepreneur, then it works just as well for the worker.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist View Post
    (3) Marx still doesn't talk about that part, even if it is a very big part of why people have jobs in the first place; and
    Actually, Marx has rather a lot to say about this, but I'm too lazy just now to go look up where, exactly. However, in general, just as the person stocking the merchandise for $9 an hour couldn't do what she does without the work of the CEO, the same holds in reverse. CEOs would be screwed without workers.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist View Post
    (4) That part is not an assumption, but a fact: people actually need to come up with ideas, to organize every aspect of a project and to find the necessary resources before anything happens.
    I might quibble with a bit of what you say (every aspect sounds like overkill), but I also don't see that any of this is relevant. I'll be happy to start scheming and organizing and planning what to do with your money and property if mere possession of the resources is sufficient to guarantee my ownership thereof.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist View Post
    Granted, if the capital was acquired illegitimately, something might be said for the board to be slanted toward some people more than others. This might have been truer in 1860 than in 2019, however.
    Not in my experience, which is both relevant and considerable.

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    Re: What kind of worker benefits from increased government involvement in private businesses?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist View Post
    Let's assume entrepreneurs are thieves, as you did above
    I made no such assumption. Marx makes it. I'm pointing out you cannot assume simpliciter the opposite in your effort to dismiss Marx when he has an argument that entrepreneurs (or capitalists) really are thieves, in essence.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist View Post
    and that property rights really are a sort of legalized money laundering scam. You understand that when I bet my "spoils," even if they come from a robbery, I stand to possibly lose them?
    I'm not so sure it's possible to lose what you should never have had, except in a trivial sense of misplacing it.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist View Post
    The same system which you depict as crooked
    Well, Marx thinks so. I'm not discussing my own views.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist View Post
    Even thieves can bear risks with the spoils of their theft.
    Not in the appropriate way here. As a matter of mechanical process, you may be right. But when we ask the question (as people often do) what entitles the entrepreneur to her profits, the answer has to involve some ethical force. She gets the profits because what she risked was hers, not merely by possession, but by right. This latter concept is not one that can be legislated into or out of existence (any more than murder would stop being wrong even if we repealed all laws against it).

    The mechanical process in question is, in Marx' view, merely one of possession. So, for example, if I came to your house while you were away and carted everything you have off, I've completed a mechanical process whereby I take possession of your stuff. However, hardly anyone would believe that my doing so entitles me to your stuff.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist View Post
    I also have a very simple argument against your claim with regards to property: voluntary transactions ascribe rightful property.
    I'll grant this point arguendo.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist View Post
    In other words, theft requires coercion.
    Just as often, deception or concealment, but again, I'll grant the point for the sake of argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist View Post
    If we could undo the consequences of all the violations of this principle in the past and present in a way that would produce the world that would have had risen had these violations not happened, it might be ideal to do just that. However, we neither have the knowledge nor the capacity to do anything even remotely close to it.
    I'm not sure I see the relevance, but go on.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist View Post
    Your best shot is to limit those problems now and to institute programs that seek to give people a fair shake of rising in the social ladder going forward.
    Seems clearly false to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist View Post
    It's very hard to object to voluntary transactions, except in cases where market failures are large can be reliably addressed without causing problems bigger than those we seek to solve. It's also the only way you won't create casts in society with some people placed above others. Voluntary means I have to convince you, by your own lights, to get what I want from you.
    Ok, sure. By that definition, almost no transactions, especially where work and wages are concerned, are voluntary. I think that's Marx' point here.

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