Author Topic: The Profit Motive  (Read 8503 times)

Demolition Squid

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The Profit Motive
« on: July 07, 2015, 08:47:45 am »
The Cold War is often characterized as a struggle between two great ideas: Communism and Capitalism. The accepted narrative is that Capitalism - with its love of freedom, apple pie and Mom - was inevitably going to triumph, and now we live in the best of all possible worlds.

Isn't that depressing? That THIS is the best we can muster?

The triumph of Capitalism has definitely been reaffirmed time and time again over the past thirty years or so. The Left has become a withered husk, horrified at the thought of being labelled 'Socialist'. The Right has become eager to become ever more extreme, so long as 'extreme' means slashing all barriers to the accumulation of wealth.

Societies are defined by what they stand for. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the credit was given to those hard-working industrial capitalists whose Free Market Spirit crushed the Reds and their authoritarian regime. In the aftermath of that, it became downright irresponsible to stop these paragons of virtue from doing whatever they wanted with their hard-won capital.

The main virtue in our world isn't freedom; it is profit.

In some parts of the world, profit is pursued under democracies. In other parts of the world, dictatorships. If you're on the international stage, though, you're really on the international marketplace. We've allowed them to convince us that, in the post-war world, politics is really economics. We've even allowed them to get away with the claim that this is somehow indicative of human nature; that greed is what motivates us all.

Do you believe that? Really?

Most people know that money isn't everything; that the accumulation of wealth isn't a good enough reason to live your life. Most people know that the value of a life has nothing at all to do with how much stuff that person managed to get hold of.

Profit is what drives us to feel helpless in the face of environmental catastrophes (it isn't 'realistic' to expect companies to become environmentally friendly; think of their profit margins!) and it is profit that sees us stand silent in the face of brutal dictatorships and religious extremism (seriously - Saudi Arabia has far more to do with the spread of islamic fundamentalism than any of the countries we've bombed since 9/11).

Our drive for profit is selling the human race down the river.

Shouldn't we pick a better reason to live?
Vast and Roaring Nipplebeast from the Dawn of Soho

Vanadium Gryllz

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Re: The Profit Motive
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2015, 09:51:36 am »
 :mittens:
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Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: The Profit Motive
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2015, 07:40:05 pm »
AMEN.

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“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


The Johnny

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Re: The Profit Motive
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2015, 09:02:08 pm »

I'd like to ask if it's really greed or if greed is a symptom of something even greater, the zeal for feeling superior to others or the desire of power over others and being able to do with others as if they were puppets?
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Re: The Profit Motive
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2015, 03:58:21 pm »

I'd like to ask if it's really greed or if greed is a symptom of something even greater, the zeal for feeling superior to others or the desire of power over others and being able to do with others as if they were puppets?

In my opinion, what it is is simply how we have decided to symbolize social status. The desire for social status is inherent, and when we decided that social status would be symbolized with the hoarding of resources, we doomed ourselves to annihilation by greed.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


Demolition Squid

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Re: The Profit Motive
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2015, 04:16:30 pm »

I'd like to ask if it's really greed or if greed is a symptom of something even greater, the zeal for feeling superior to others or the desire of power over others and being able to do with others as if they were puppets?

In my opinion, what it is is simply how we have decided to symbolize social status. The desire for social status is inherent, and when we decided that social status would be symbolized with the hoarding of resources, we doomed ourselves to annihilation by greed.

Yeah, I think this is on the money. (No pun intended)

Social status and one's 'good character' used to be tied to the good you did for society. Money has never been completely unimportant as such, but the accumulation of wealth was never seen as an inherently worthy pursuit; it was the things you did with that money which determined whether people thought you were a good person worthy of respect, or a foolish miser who nobody would mourn.

Now, you see the profit motive brought up in areas where it would have been completely unthinkable a hundred years ago. How much money will this art make? What is the return of investment in your research?

It used to be that the rich and wealthy would be patrons of the arts and sciences as a way of giving back to society; now we demand that the arts and sciences give back to their patrons because Profit is the highest value.
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Re: The Profit Motive
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2015, 08:53:19 pm »
I live in one of the richest regions on the entire planet, not in terms of money but in terms of real, practical wealth; food production. This is a region so absurdly rich that the previous inhabitants never developed agriculture because they didn't have to. Food is practically throwing itself into your mouth from the moment you go outside in the morning. Nobody was in fear of starving. The climate is mild and trees are abundant, so shelter is not a big worry. They had a lot of time on their hands, which they filled mostly with art and sports. For social status, they cultivated the idea that the more parties you had and the more stuff you gave to other people, the higher your status was, and also giving good advice increased your social status. So people spent all their free time making cool stuff to give away, and tried to only give advice that would actually be useful.

So, basically the exact opposite of the America of today.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


Demolition Squid

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Re: The Profit Motive
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2015, 09:27:22 pm »
I live in one of the richest regions on the entire planet, not in terms of money but in terms of real, practical wealth; food production. This is a region so absurdly rich that the previous inhabitants never developed agriculture because they didn't have to. Food is practically throwing itself into your mouth from the moment you go outside in the morning. Nobody was in fear of starving. The climate is mild and trees are abundant, so shelter is not a big worry. They had a lot of time on their hands, which they filled mostly with art and sports. For social status, they cultivated the idea that the more parties you had and the more stuff you gave to other people, the higher your status was, and also giving good advice increased your social status. So people spent all their free time making cool stuff to give away, and tried to only give advice that would actually be useful.

So, basically the exact opposite of the America of today.

Goddamn, that sounds wonderful.

This rant was partly inspired by the eco discussion we had elsewhere, but also by a radio programme where a Professor of physics was talking about how our obsession with 'marketable' science is holding us back in all sorts of areas. It is very difficult to build a rounded knowledge base, he was saying, because if you only focus on short term 'quick return' studies, you don't open the field to the kind of 'blind' research that has generated a lot of our most exciting developments in the past.

His basic argument was that life is better when you focus on what you want to learn, not what will make a quick buck. That resonated with me.
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Re: The Profit Motive
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2015, 09:58:24 pm »
I live in one of the richest regions on the entire planet, not in terms of money but in terms of real, practical wealth; food production. This is a region so absurdly rich that the previous inhabitants never developed agriculture because they didn't have to. Food is practically throwing itself into your mouth from the moment you go outside in the morning. Nobody was in fear of starving. The climate is mild and trees are abundant, so shelter is not a big worry. They had a lot of time on their hands, which they filled mostly with art and sports. For social status, they cultivated the idea that the more parties you had and the more stuff you gave to other people, the higher your status was, and also giving good advice increased your social status. So people spent all their free time making cool stuff to give away, and tried to only give advice that would actually be useful.

So, basically the exact opposite of the America of today.

Goddamn, that sounds wonderful.

This rant was partly inspired by the eco discussion we had elsewhere, but also by a radio programme where a Professor of physics was talking about how our obsession with 'marketable' science is holding us back in all sorts of areas. It is very difficult to build a rounded knowledge base, he was saying, because if you only focus on short term 'quick return' studies, you don't open the field to the kind of 'blind' research that has generated a lot of our most exciting developments in the past.

His basic argument was that life is better when you focus on what you want to learn, not what will make a quick buck. That resonated with me.

I completely agree with that. Human beings have a drive to be productive, and by defining that as "making money", we are really limiting what form our productivity takes.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


Prelate Diogenes Shandor

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Re: The Profit Motive
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2015, 08:45:49 am »
The Cold War is basically a strawman argument. Russia was a shitty place to live before the Soviet Union and it's still kind of a crummy place to live now.
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Reginald Ret

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Re: The Profit Motive
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2015, 09:51:26 am »
The Cold War is basically a strawman argument. Russia was a shitty place to live before the Soviet Union and it's still kind of a crummy place to live now.
I can see several ways of interpreting that statement.
Could you expand on it a bit?

Here is the Straw man structure.
The straw man fallacy occurs in the following pattern of argument:

    Person 1 asserts proposition X.
    Person 2 argues against a false but superficially similar proposition Y, as if an argument against Y were an argument against X.

When you say the Cold War is a straw man argument: Who is person 1, what is their proposition, who is person 2, what is their false proposition?
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Prelate Diogenes Shandor

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Re: The Profit Motive
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2015, 02:05:54 pm »
Well, instead of comparing Russia during communism to Russia before and after communism to determine the effect of communism on russia's quality of life they instead compare Russia under  communism to a completely unrelated country, ie. the USA
Praise NHGH! For the tribulation of all sentient beings.

a plague on both your houses -Mercutio

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrTGgpWmdZQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVWd7nPjJH8

It is an unfortunate fact that every man who seeks to disseminate knowledge must contend not only against ignorance itself, but against false instruction as well. No sooner do we deem ourselves free from a particularly gross superstition, than we are confronted by some enemy to learning who would plunge us back into the darkness -H.P.Lovecraft

He who fights with monsters must take care lest he thereby become a monster -Nietzsche

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHhrZgojY1Q

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The Wizard Joseph

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Re: The Profit Motive
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2015, 12:42:31 am »
http://m.imgur.com/gallery/rjE84

Just found today, may prove useful. May just start some shit. :)


I get pretty fed up with "ethical greed", especially things like "prosperity ministry" of the sort that implies that your sins must be why you're poor. God help you if you don't throw down in the plate or decide that you don't require excess cash to love God and your neighbor correctly. Or suggest a charity that's "out of network", read not Christian enough, is more worthy and effective. That will get one badmouthed if not "politely asked to leave". Tell them they're thralls to Mammon for a REAL response. Made a pentecostal pastor spittake with that one.   :) good times!
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Re: The Profit Motive
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2015, 01:00:01 am »
The Cold War is often characterized as a struggle between two great ideas: Communism and Capitalism. The accepted narrative is that Capitalism - with its love of freedom, apple pie and Mom - was inevitably going to triumph, and now we live in the best of all possible worlds.

Isn't that depressing? That THIS is the best we can muster?

The triumph of Capitalism has definitely been reaffirmed time and time again over the past thirty years or so. The Left has become a withered husk, horrified at the thought of being labelled 'Socialist'. The Right has become eager to become ever more extreme, so long as 'extreme' means slashing all barriers to the accumulation of wealth.

Societies are defined by what they stand for. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the credit was given to those hard-working industrial capitalists whose Free Market Spirit crushed the Reds and their authoritarian regime. In the aftermath of that, it became downright irresponsible to stop these paragons of virtue from doing whatever they wanted with their hard-won capital.

The main virtue in our world isn't freedom; it is profit.

In some parts of the world, profit is pursued under democracies. In other parts of the world, dictatorships. If you're on the international stage, though, you're really on the international marketplace. We've allowed them to convince us that, in the post-war world, politics is really economics. We've even allowed them to get away with the claim that this is somehow indicative of human nature; that greed is what motivates us all.

Do you believe that? Really?

Most people know that money isn't everything; that the accumulation of wealth isn't a good enough reason to live your life. Most people know that the value of a life has nothing at all to do with how much stuff that person managed to get hold of.

Profit is what drives us to feel helpless in the face of environmental catastrophes (it isn't 'realistic' to expect companies to become environmentally friendly; think of their profit margins!) and it is profit that sees us stand silent in the face of brutal dictatorships and religious extremism (seriously - Saudi Arabia has far more to do with the spread of islamic fundamentalism than any of the countries we've bombed since 9/11).

Our drive for profit is selling the human race down the river.

Shouldn't we pick a better reason to live?

Can I Big Words this whole thing?

Reginald Ret

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Re: The Profit Motive
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2015, 08:04:48 am »
Well, instead of comparing Russia during communism to Russia before and after communism to determine the effect of communism on russia's quality of life they instead compare Russia under  communism to a completely unrelated country, ie. the USA
Thanks, that clears up what the propositions are.
Now, who are the persons?

I'm still not clear if you are commenting on Demolition Squid vs. the Capitalism/Communism debate or on Capitalism vs Communism.
Or maybe you mean Common sense vs Capitalism? I just can't tell.
Lord Byron: "Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves."

Nigel saying the wisest words ever uttered: "It's just a suffix."

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