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Jan. 15th, 2003 | 01:52 am

So I went to the lesbian chat group tonight and the facilitator asked during the introduction period if we had any topics. I said I had plenty but they weren't lesbian related. When asked what one was, I tossed out "Subvert global capitalism".

Not only did I then discovere that one of the women in the room was interested, she went to the 20,000 person anti-war protest and is housing activist.

I even managed to speak with her briefly before my shyness sent me off to the corner. (It didn't help that she was also really pretty which is unfortunatly intimidiating.)

Also the woman I carpooled with to chat, is cute, available (though because she's shy and doesn't have much time for dating). Thinks George Bush is evil, understands that driving less and eating less meat are good things. She took a philosophy class and read Marx and realized that she actually prefered his ideas to capitalism.

And to top it all off she's lives about 4 blocks away and is taller than me.

How can I not be interested? (okay she does actually own an SUV, but I think it's a cast off from her parents. And she's willing to try switching to the light rail which scores counteracting points, and she does try to set up carpools.)

My doubtful side briefly wondered if she was actually trying to be someone I'd be interested in.

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Comments {8}

adrienne

(no subject)

from: sapience
date: Jan. 15th, 2003 03:07 am (UTC)
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Wow. That rocks!

And carpooling is just the sort of thing to get you all hot & bothered, huh? :)

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Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Jan. 15th, 2003 11:02 pm (UTC)
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You should see what happens when someone starts talking about metros and livable cities... I'm completely beyond control.

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Global Capitalism

from: anonymous
date: Jan. 15th, 2003 10:41 am (UTC)
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I do read your LJ with interest, but you do realize that "global capitalism" is one of the reasons that you're able to afford the computer(s) you own? If it wasn't for capitalism, and on the scale we see it, the parts in your computer, the memory, the chips, the CPU, the motherboard, the case (unless you don't use a case), the keyboard, the mouse, the speakers, wouldn't have been able to have been built, created, shipped, and into your hands at an affordable price. Demand for faster and larger memory, the ability to manufacture these memory chips in the cheapest places possible, the capability to get these into the hands of consumers like ourselves means we can have computers under $1000.

Otherwise we'd still have computers that cost $10,000 or more. Consider SGI, back in the day that SGI machines were hot. $10,000 was cheap for a machine with 3d graphics boards, speed, power, etc.

I know you protest against many of the bad things that the Shrub represents, and I do too, but don't forget if it wasn't for some form of capitalism that which enables us to work, live, and play (computers) would be extremely cost prohibitive and we'd live much like folks did in the last decades of Communist Russia.

There has to be some balance somewhere. You can't just cut off global capitalism like a discarded organ, and expect everything to work perfectly. No, global capitalism isn't perfect. But it is the closest thing we have to a world economy. I think that if people world-wide realized that, there would be fewer wars and fewer strife. You know, the whole "we are all one" thing. Factories in Malaysia, or Mexico, or Mundania help to stimulate the economies there even if "jobs are taken" from the United States. Paying "cheap" wages to people in other countries where the costs of living is lower than here, (not in favor of child labor or slave shops!!), helps to give people there jobs, create products that are cheaper, and the competition helps to ensure that companies look for a way to produce better, faster and cheaper ... and that appeals to the consumers. (A study of economics...)

I don't intend to change your mind or anything, just pointing out that a lot of the things we enjoy and even those things we want; zero-emissions automobiles, electric trains, environmental friendly products, have to be produced at a price that is affordable so that they will be purchased, they will be used, and they will have a positive impact on the environment. Without global capitalism to help that process it would be impossible, and we'd be driving 1960's automobiles and be worried about where our next meal is coming from. A person can't fight to save the environment without realizing that the "environmental friendly" products that help do that are products of our global capitalism world.

Unless one is a complete luddite, and proposes everyone to live in log cabins in the words, poop in a hole in the woods, and grow or gather all our own food. But if you recall, even in the "Old West" when people did that, mortality rates were high, environmental impact was high (cutting down trees for fuel, for example), and a lot of "killin'" went on.

I applaud your stance, D, but please understand there is a larger picture in order to make that "ideal situation" work. (But I think you know that already which is why you grumble so much, huh? ;) )

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Diane Trout

Re: Global Capitalism

from: alienghic
date: Jan. 16th, 2003 01:08 am (UTC)
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When pushed I'll admit that when I refer to "global capitalism" I am specifically referring to the current laissez faire form that is being practiced right now.

For instance, No Logo claimed that Chinese workers employed by contractors for Nike are being paid $0.13/hr when the cost of living in their region is closer to $0.87/hr. Assuming 5,000 employees working 12 hours a day 5 days a week for 52 weeks a year with an overhead of twice their salary, it would cost Nike an additional $23,088,000 per year to pay their employees a living wage.

Nike (at least at the time the book was written) was a $4 billion dollar company, paying the contractors a living wage would cost Nike 0.5% of it's "value".

Also one of the things I find objectionable about Capitalism is it's belief that the best decisions are made by everyone operating purely within their self interest (and that people are motivated primarily by greed).

The parable of the "Tragedy of the Commons" shows how unrestricted capitalism collapses. See Of Caviar and Capitalism for an example. However if the ranchers of the parable got together and discussed the problem they could just as easily come up with a system of regulation that would allow them to sustainable use their commons.

People can be motivated from a desire to contribute to the common good. (For instance Linux).

If I recall correctly some of the assumptions of the philosophy of capitalism are, the neither the buyer or seller can manipulate the by mechanisms outside the marketplace and that both buyer and seller are well informed. (I don't remember if it required being completely informed or not).

The fiasco with deregulation in California is an excellent example of how capitalism as it is currently practiced doesn't meet the requirement that seller can't manipulate the marketplace. (The shortages were artificially created, which in an ideal world should have resulted in criminal charges.)

We consider the price of a good to reflect the costs necessary to manufacture an item, however many of the costs are externalized to the taxpayer. For instance the result of the savings and loan scandals were bailouts at taxpayer expense. Or perhaps the health care costs from additional cases of lung cancer and asthma are paid not by the oil and automobile companies who are responsible but by the individuals affected.

Some of the excesses of capitalism as currently practiced can be traced to the system of short term stock speculation. By requiring that a company show significant changes in its profit in a quarter, it encourages CEOs to take short term cost cutting measures that may ultimately destroy the company. (By replacing all of your skilled labor with unskilled labor you may be able to produce your current goods, but it may become increasingly difficult to create new product.)

Additionally consumer goods are rendered cheap by mass production, which is a specific industrial technique, not necessarily related to capitalism. One could imagine a communist economy using the techniques of mass production to give everyone a computer.

Also I'm going to state without proof that I believe that the best way to limit excesses of power is to distribute it as widely as possible. The modern corporation has a great deal of centralized control and there's little that individuals can do to influence.

For instance I'd like to tell Disney that I think their exploitation of our cultural legacy while simultaneously preventing anyone from making derivative works of their products is destroying our cultures ability to create.

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Vicky the Compost Queen

Re: Global Capitalism

from: vixter
date: Jan. 16th, 2003 09:17 am (UTC)
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There is something wrong with global and American capitalism. I think it has a lot to do with greed.
And I don't know what to do about it; except the little choices I try to make (collecting the coffee grounds at work to compost, not coloring my grey hair, shopping at the farmer's market and smaller grocery stores instead of the big chains, growing some of my own food and not buying into the cults of celebrities or professional sports) I think this puts me quite high on the subversive scale compared with mainsteam America.

But it's like spitting into the wind. But I will continue because it makes me feel better. And I usually get positive comments about the coffee grounds.

I think Disney is in trouble. I certainly don't want to see a cartoon movie that looks like the last 15 movies they have produced. Even the American public is getting tired of wacky side-kicks characters. I also seem to recall that attendance is down. Partially due to few foreign visitors.

About the women in the chat group. Can you use that time honored technique that shy people have used for centuries? Do you know anyone well enough to be an intermidiary?

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Diane Trout

Re: Global Capitalism

from: alienghic
date: Jan. 17th, 2003 01:23 am (UTC)
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I know the feeling I try to do what I can to resist the unrestricted short-sighted greed from damaging our world, but it's tough. Even with a great deal of motivation, I still own a car. I use it as little as possible, but there are few alternatives to a car for coming home from a friends house 14 miles away at 3am. (Though it irks me since as far as I can tell pretty much every oil company has engaged in rather inhumane activities.)

It's been my theory that since the modern corporation is derives its power from money, if most people stopped buying from them they would stumble and eventually collapse. (or at least start to compromise). As far as I've been able to figure out the best way of diverting money away from global corporations is to shift to locally produced goods. (or what you're currently doing).

As for the women in the chat group, no not really... though I hadn't thought of that idea. Mostly my algorithm is to spend time around people I find attractive and try to slowly get to know them by talking to them in small doses.

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wig

Re: Global Capitalism

from: wig
date: Jan. 17th, 2003 12:40 am (UTC)
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BRAVO! *applauds*

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Diane Trout

Re: Global Capitalism

from: alienghic
date: Jan. 17th, 2003 01:25 am (UTC)
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Thanks, I wrote that little essay late at night and was worried that it wasn't going to be all that coherent. Though reading it now, it mostly seems like it was a little abrupt in its transitions. (Though the content does sound good, all that reading about the current state of the world has paid off.)

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