Hilarious!: ‘Too rich’ Brits lack desire, says Heseltine

(137 Posts)
ttosca Mon 25-Mar-13 13:01:44

By EMMA CLARK
Published on Monday 25 March 2013 07:20

BRITAIN lacks a “national will” to improve its economy because people are too rich, former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine has suggested.

The Conservative grandee questioned whether people who live comfortably in advanced economies are motivated to strive for better.

However in economies like China and India, which are growing at a much faster rate than Britain, people are driven to overcome “real problems”.

In an interview with the Independent, Lord Heseltine warned that the economy could keep drifting down.

He told the newspaper: “There is no God-given rule saying you’ve got to have a well-performing economy. It could be an indifferent economy.

“It’s a question of whether the national will is there; whether we want it. And the richer you get the less imperative there is.

“Maybe one of the problems of advanced economies is that people are sufficiently well off that they don’t need to drive themselves any more.”

He later added that it in the nature of most people to “desire to do something and to do it better”.

He also questioned official GDP statistics and instead pointed to rising employment and house prices as indicators that the economy was recovering.

Lord Heseltine is a senior adviser to the coalition Government on growth, focussing especially on the regeneration of cities.

www.scotsman.com/news/uk/too-rich-brits-lack-desire-says-heseltine-1-2855791

--

You got that? Brits are 'too rich' -- that would explain the huge rise in homelessness and use of foodbanks in the past few years.

So presumably he'd supporting huge confiscatory taxes on wealth so that all the richest people become more so that they can work harder for the sake of the economy?

Or is it just more of the same: the rich need to be paid well to be motivated to work but the poor need to be paid poorly in order to be motivated to work?

Un. Fucking. Believable.

ouryve Mon 25-Mar-13 13:03:53

YABCT

(Yet Another Bloody Clueless Tory)

FasterStronger Tue 26-Mar-13 14:14:35

Desperation is the mother of invention.

duchesse Tue 26-Mar-13 14:16:44

Talking out of his arse like the rest of the Tory front bench. It's the I'm all right Jack school of politics.

I think you are misinterpreting the whole 'rich' definition.

FasterStronger Tue 26-Mar-13 14:56:47

He is talking about average people in the UK being rich relative to average people in China and India. I think he is correct.

duchesse Tue 26-Mar-13 15:00:45

These would be the average Chinese people who are utterly exploited and have to sell their entire soul to their employer, would they? Or the average Indian people struggling to make a living in a country with too little money in the hands of the majority, and an elite so rich they are world-class and don't need to even operate within their own markets?

FasterStronger Tue 26-Mar-13 15:03:04

yes (but I disagree with your description of India)

MiniTheMinx Tue 26-Mar-13 18:49:31

Perhaps he has dementia poor love.

The same people he encouraged to aim at this 'richness' then. Hypocrite.

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Tue 26-Mar-13 18:52:18

He's a multimillionaire with one of the most beautiful houses in Northamptonshire. So I guess he knows what he's talking about hmm

MiniTheMinx Tue 26-Mar-13 19:05:07

Yes he must find working such a bore. Maybe that is why he spouts such crap.

FasterStronger Tue 26-Mar-13 20:13:34

but he has made his money himself hasn't he?

so he probably knows something about how to make money.

which we as a country need to pay for education, health care, pensions for an aging population....

MiniTheMinx Tue 26-Mar-13 20:29:59

perhaps he would like to hand over some of his then to pay for it smile

FasterStronger Tue 26-Mar-13 20:33:31

well I hope if he aggressively avoids tax he gets his arse hauled over the coals. grin

Salbertina Tue 26-Mar-13 21:20:11

Relative to most people in the world, I agree with him.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 27-Mar-13 06:11:41

I think he makes a good point. You don't have to be rich to take things for granted and squander opportunities. If you look at the life trajectory of the average inspirational leader, captain of industry or entrepreneur it's quite normal to find some early difficulties (economic, social, emotional) that motivated the person to get on. Look at the way the children of immigrant families consistently perform well at school.... because their parents understand the benefits of education, value the opportunities and make sure their children make the most of it.

Hamishbear Wed 27-Mar-13 12:38:14

Yes, that's it exactly Cogito. Other cultures/countries place a higher value on education and are hungrier. Our children will be competing with theirs in the global marketplace of the future...

ttosca Wed 27-Mar-13 17:32:23

Iain Duncan Smith heckled at speech

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-21953896

Well put.

ttosca Wed 27-Mar-13 17:36:30

No, he doesn't make a good point at all. Not surprised that you agree with him, Cogito, seeing the reactionary views you've put forth on this forum before.

The people of rich developed countries have no problem leading in innovation and excelling at education and businesses. That's partially why they are rich and prosperous to begin with. Germany, Denmark, Italy, France, etc. are some of the richest countries in the world, and also the most innovative.

This crap from Haseltine is just more hate speech that we've come to expect from the Tory party with its hatred for the poor and struggling middle-classes.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 20:10:30

It depends who Heseltine means by 'too rich'.

It is the rich comfortable elite that is 'too rich' and is stifling economic growth. The type of people who ride bicycles, hug trees and stifle our growth by imposing 'green' taxes on our industries and who shut down our coal-powered power stations and increase our fuel and energy costs with their 'green' taxes and their 'carbon cons'. They are not like the elites of India and China who ride a Mercedes to work rather than a bicycle with a helmet.

We are led by wallies who are comfortable and rich and who prevent the progress of the population.

The people aren't too rich. People are cutting back on their food to pay their bills, mong them the energy and water bills which are increasing under the policies of the 'too rich' elite and their green gamble. People are using food banks and payday loan stores are on many high streets. The people aren't 'too rich'.

The people are hardworking, ambitious and aspiring, buyt they are hgeld back by the wallies on bicycles with their green slogans.

It was Thatcher that won elections by appealing to the hardworrking aspiring working and middle classes who wanted growth and rewards and progress. They saw in her a chance to succeed. But Thatcher is gone and has been replaced by the low-growth, no-growth, zero-growth, comfortable, 'too rich' windmill wallies on bikes and that is why the country is being overtaken by much of the rest of the world. They have fewer wallies and fewer windmills.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 20:15:40

Our comfortable policy wink 'too rich' elites work in charities and foundations and 'think tanks'. They have never worked in industry. They don't understand engineering. That is why exporting, manufacturing countries like Germany can run rings around our windmill wallies and why we have such large deficits.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 20:23:51

They work in the 'third sector' and their spin doctors spin about the 'thord way' and that is why we are declining and slowly becoming 'third rate' compared to dynamic socities. That is why we are going downhill faster than a polar bear on a toboggan on an ice capwith a windmill on top.

ATouchOfStuffing Wed 27-Mar-13 20:25:07

I think he may find the main difference is they have more jobs...

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 20:37:26

It is not because the people are 'too rich' that we give billions to bail out bankers or witness an NHS where scandals are so frequent. It is due to the people in charge on their huge salaries and expenses and perks.

We have been let down by their policies, by their spin and by their gagging clauses. It's not the people's fault, it is the fault of the 'too rich' elite.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 20:41:20

They talk about progress and say they are progressive but then they pedal their bikes uphill on a snowy day oblivious of the fact that that is why humanity invented the automobile. They are jokers and jesters but the tragedy is all too real.

MiniTheMinx Wed 27-Mar-13 20:44:50

The only decent thing Heseltine has ever done was chuck Maggie out of number 10.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 20:48:43

Maggie was always more popular with the people than Heseltine, though he may well have been more popular with the elites.

Maggie was for the people. I'm not sure about the bicycle riding, hug a hoodie elite.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 20:59:43

Heseltine has a point. People who are too comfortable and 'too rich' don't feel the need to change and innovate - they will even go backwards to the days of the horse and cart and the bicycle. People who are too comfortable tend to become lazy and satisfied and exhibit the I'm Alright Jack tendencies about fuel costs while millions of ordinary people struggle to pay their bills.

But ordinary people are not 'too rich', they have not lost their dynamism and maybe that is why George Orwell's character said "Hope lies with the proles".

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 21:01:41

they will even go backwards to the days of the horse and cart and the bicycle and of course the windmill

We are witnessing this decline and this pedalling backwards at full throttle.

Varya Wed 27-Mar-13 21:02:21

Another ancient politician who should accept he is past it and keep his opinions to himself and his mouth shut.

ttosca Wed 27-Mar-13 21:04:27

Claig - you are confused and incoherent.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 21:04:50

Many of our charity bosses probably earn more than our manufacturing bosses. No wonder the country is in decline.

ssd Wed 27-Mar-13 21:10:24

claig...."maggie was for the people"

shock

what universe are you occupying???

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 21:14:55

I think this is symptomatic of why we are in decline.

Who do you trust more, the innovative, skilled, educated engineers from the great manufacturer, Mercedes, or the EU bureaucrats who think that windmills are the answer to our energy needs and who only tell us they want to "save the planet" for us?

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2298132/New-Mercedes-face-ban-British-roads-flouting-EU-rules-green-air-con.html

MiniTheMinx Wed 27-Mar-13 21:16:27

The rich can never be totally idle. Capital surpluses must be reinvested, they always are, the problem is where. Money can not be idle.

Heseltine's ideas for regeneration last time included garden parties.....the man is a bloody numptie.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 21:17:35

ssd, the people voted Maggie in again and again in elections. She represented the aspirations of the majority of ordinary people. Rich Tories are a minority of the population, it was the people who voted Maggie in, and many of the rich Tories looked down on her and weren't keen on her - some thought she was common and vulgar and not like them.

I assume he isn't referring to actually rich people. He's whinging about how the lower classes have it 'too easy'. hmm

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 21:19:58

'The rich can never be totally idle'

But the phrase 'idle rich' has become common parlance, just like the phrase 'New Labour spin'.

They both reflect some truth.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 21:23:11

'Capital surpluses must be reinvested, they always are, the problem is where'

Yes but if they are invested in windmills, then that is a waste of precious monetary resources which should be put to use in creating jobs that lead to exports.

MiniTheMinx Wed 27-Mar-13 21:26:19

monetary resources can not be wasted it is actually impossible!

That is the sort of myth that allows Osborne to peddle his crap.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 21:33:34

'monetary resources can not be wasted it is actually impossible!'

Are you saying that bailing out banks with billions in quantitative easing is a better use of scarce monetary resources than building homes and stimulating the real economy?

Are you saying that banks gambling with people's savings and then blowing that money is not a waste of valuable monetary resources?

Are you saying that paying taxpayer money to house someone on benefits in Belgravia is not a waste of public funds that could be more efficiently used by housing that person somewhere where ordinary people can afford to live?

Are you saying that using taxpayer money to subsidise rich aristocratic landowners to erect inefficient windmills is not a waste of public money?

I say bring back Maggie. She would sort some of this craziness out without doubt!

ssd Wed 27-Mar-13 21:34:32

claig I couldn't disagree with you more re "maggie"

no more to add, really

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 21:36:45

Are you saying that paying some NHS Trust bosses their huge salaries and expenses and sometimes first-class rail travel is not a waste of public money that could be put to better use to provide better patient care in the NHS?

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 21:39:24

ssd, OK, we will have to agree to disagree on that one.

MiniTheMinx Wed 27-Mar-13 21:45:32

Claig you would make an excellent socialist if you would just leave off the conspiracy (very strange man) ! wink

Elites.....what or who are they, I would propose that first you need to understand what capitalism is and isn't.

It isn't simply the way in which we exchange money and goods. That has gone before in every socio/economic system throughout human development. We used shells as means of production in some societies in others glass beads and metals, eventually gold coin.

What it is characterised by is: Exploitation of workers and the accumulation of capital surpluses. In later stages of capitalism you have monopoly tendencies (or as Lenin said imperialism) This concentrates wealth in fewer and fewer hands......these are your elites. They are capitalists.

Windmills, oil, green lobby, carbon trading how does this fit in?

I would suggest that as we live under the socio/economic totality of capitalism that these phenomena are caused by the need to create capital surplus. (you have to otherwise you go broke) In the 1900s the mining companies pushed up commodity prices by claiming there was a shortage of key natural resources, Opec have pushed up oil prices claiming we have a shortage, elec/power companies make similar claims and then invest money in deriviatives and windmills are just another way of extracting money out of us (remember money can not lie idle) and then you have hedge funds that sell short and so it goes and others that bet on commodity prices whilst others horde certain key essential commodities to push the price up.

There is no great secret.

Hamishbear Wed 27-Mar-13 21:48:02

I think as times have been comparatively prosperous for many in the last 20 year or longer a certain complacency has set in. In the past even if you haven't busted a gut you could still generally find a position that meant a job for life. If you lost your job and your money ran out you wouldn't be made homeless or reliant on food stamps. Your family wouldn't starve to death.

There's an emerging middle class in countries where traditionally if you haven't worked you've starved, countries where education is valued so highly children would walk miles without shoes to get to school. We need to be worried.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 21:48:58

''monetary resources can not be wasted it is actually impossible!'

Are you saying that using taxpayer money to pay for some MPs' moats, duck houses and bath plugs was not a waste of monetary resources?

It is all about priorities. Time and money are finite, they do not grow on trees as some in New Labour seemed to believe. Godon Brown's reported statement that New Labour had abolished boom and bust was patently false, and as Mandelson recently said they had abolished boom.

There is lots of waste because there are lots of wrong ideas and decisions made by policy wonks who work in charities and foundations and think tanks but not in industry.

MiniTheMinx Wed 27-Mar-13 22:02:33

We used shells as means of * exchange (sorry rushing, should be working) must make more money.

OK, money can not be wasted in the way that you probably think. Money is the means of exchange, the only way in which a worker can acquire the means to maintain and reproduce (his) life. That is the purpose of money. However because value must be stolen from the worker in the form of the profit or surplus value he produces, workers will never have enough money collectively to buy all the commodities that they produce. Capitalists then start to feel the pinch because some commodities go unsold...ie no demand. So the capitalist then looks around and finds new areas of exploitation/markets, ideally ones where the product produced has to be purchased without exception and it becomes a non-discretionary commodity, like fuel but increasingly health and education. Can you see though there is a potential problem? thats right we still won't ever have enough money to pay for it. More so because what is being produced relies on less labour hours.

So of course these elites are simulataneosly acting as a class but also in competition to each other.

Money can not be wasted, as long as money is in constant circulation through many hands. However because the worker hands over the surplus value he creates in his labour, the money does not stay in circulation in the "real economy" acting as means of exchange btw workers and btw workers and capitalists. Increasing accumulation at the top. This money then must be reinvested.

Thus capitalism can only work where money as exchange never stands still and where new areas of exploitation/markets can be found and where there is 2-3% compound growth.

Where it fails in short crisis, some wealthy people become wealthier, however they can not and will never be able to maintain their wealth in a no growth economy. Hence why the elite will never be cycling backwards.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 22:05:28

Mini, although Marx and Marxists are wrong on most things, they are correct that elites do exist

'The relevance of Marx’s Das Kapital to the modern capitalist world is once again getting a hearing. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the opening up of China to international capitalism the political and economic elites declared that a new economic paradigm had arrived, bringing with it undreamt promises of wealth and consumer bliss as long as the market was left to do its own thing.'

www.counterfire.org/index.php/articles/141-literature/15849-why-reading-marxs-das-kapital-still-matters

I haven't read Marx, but I am sure that in all of his thousands of pages, he must have mentioned elites.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 22:11:08

Mini, you are wrong about the reason why the elites push the green agenda. Yes they will make money out of it but that is not their main goal. Their main goal is to stymie the progress and prosperity of the world population.

They don't need windmills in which to invest their capital supluses. They could more usefully put it into house building, which would give the homeless and people living in overcrowded accommodation somewhere to live and which would provide jobs and increase the standard of living of the country.
But that would be helping people.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 22:17:23

' However because value must be stolen from the worker in the form of the profit or surplus value he produces, workers will never have enough money collectively to buy all the commodities that they produce'

The founders of Microsoft and the early employees all had shares in Microsoft and when their enterprise succeeded many became multi-millionaires overnight. No one stole from these workers, they became rich. The 25 year old traders who are lucky enough to work in a successful bank often earned hundreds of thousands with their bonuses. No one stole from them, they were in the right place at the right time and were given opportunities.

Capitalism is a force that aims to create successful businesses which generate profit and which employ people, some of whom become rich in these enterprises. No one is stealing from the employees.

MiniTheMinx Wed 27-Mar-13 22:18:33

Marx is not wrong. Cultural marxists???? ignore. Increasingly those on left are going back to the source instead of poncing about worrying about how some literature was produced or some other obscure nonsense. I think what you have been picking up on is a lot of cultural marxism.

Marx doesn't call them elites (that's not to say that he never did) but capitalists and in later volumes covers monopoly tendencies.

I starting reading Marx because I considered it a must read like Robinson Crusoe, Madame Bovary, Crime and punishment...... I had no idea that I would never "think" in the same way ever again grin

MiniTheMinx Wed 27-Mar-13 22:23:14

I can't do this anymore........read the bloody book grin Capitalism is not a force of good or evil, just a plain old socio/economic system no better or even worse than what went before. It will fail because of the reasons I listed above and other contradictions (in total about 7-10 major contradictions) we won't have a choice and we will develop other social systems over time. Revolution is slow..........just as we were not made in seven days.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 22:25:13

'So the capitalist then looks around and finds new areas of exploitation/markets, ideally ones where the product produced has to be purchased without exception and it becomes a non-discretionary commodity, like fuel but increasingly health and education'

Capitalists are in a competitive environment, they try to create products that are better than their competitors. There is no easy "exploitation" of anybody, because there is always competition from competitors who provide products that stop another company from exploiting anyone. Competition gives the consumer choice and those who fail to compete go out of business. The consumer makes the decision about which product is best. The consumer is not an easy sitting target for exploitation because of free competition in an open market.

However, arbitrary taxation on the population and carbon taxes and green taxes etc could be considered as a form of exploitation of ordinary people by an elite who faces no competition. There is no choice for the public, they have to pay. They are hostage to the system and although communities do not want windfarms on their unspoilt greenbelt land, there is not much they can do about it, because there is no competition of ideas - the elite are all in it together, they are not in competition, unlike businesses in a capitalist system.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 22:41:00

Steve Jobs was a great man who spent his time thinking up new products to help people and to stay ahead of his competitors. He didn't have time to think up how to exploit anyone. He wasn't interested in that, he was interested in product development and business.

It is policy womnks who make decisions that affect the lives of millions, that decide on taxation or energy policy etc. They often have not worked in industry and usually end up in think tanks or charities or foundations etc. They are not interested in business decisions or beating competitors in a free market. They are not capitalists, they operate in a different sphere and sometimes from ivory towers. Steve Jobs knew what people wanted, he met customers, he listened and produced what people wanted. He, like most capitalist business people, was not in the game of spin, deception or exploitation.

MiniTheMinx Wed 27-Mar-13 22:51:01

In that case you won't be too concerned that the NHS is being auctioned off piecemeal to American corporations.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 22:56:59

No I don't agree with that. Because healthcare is not a product, it is a matter of life and death and we pay our taxes to have that service provided.
The overall regulation of the health service is the government's responsibility. They appoint the bosses who male policy, so it is not an autonomous business like Apple or Microsoft, and unlike Apple or Microsft to whom our taxpayer money is not paid, we pay for the NHS out of our taxes.

If you get run over, the ambulance service will rescue you. We don't have competing ambulance services. We have one coordinated service that we all pay for.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 23:01:10

There are certain things that we all use and that are common to all of us and these are best nationalised and paid for out of all of our taxes.

We don't all buy Apple computers, so that does not need nationalisation. It is not an essential and needs to compete in the market for the consumer's attention.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 23:04:35

The other great thing about a nationalised industry is that we have a say in its management through our representatives in parliament. We have a say in these scandals that have occurred. We want changes made so that they never happen again. But we have no say in how Apple operate their business, and rightly so.

MiniTheMinx Wed 27-Mar-13 23:43:12

Policy wonks, these people do not exist outside the social totality anymore than you or I. Just as the Club of Rome or the Mont Pelerin Society (just two examples) have been funded by someone but who? I didn't fund them, you didn't and neither did the tax man. So who did? wealthy people who want to shape policy and education. These ideas are pushed by a wealthy class who wish to maintain their wealth, they are pushed into universities where they assume a veneer of respectability under the auspices of academia.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 23:48:04

Yes, I think the elite funded the Club of Rome and its 'Limits to Growth' study, which started the whole green bandwagon which is all about 'limits to growth' of ordinary people.

MiniTheMinx Wed 27-Mar-13 23:52:08

Because healthcare is not a product, it is a matter of life and death and we pay our taxes to have that service provided

So you'll join my protest over the privatisation of water then smile

What other things should be considered a matter of life and death......food perhaps, clothing, shelter? I can think of many others too, child care, education (at least basic life skills) reproduction, warmth, travel to be able to access all of the aforementioned necessities.

Health care wasn't always free and paid for through tax but fire wood was free until you had enclosure acts, water was free, many of the main necessities of life could be had without exchange for money.

MiniTheMinx Thu 28-Mar-13 00:00:18

I think we have more say in how Apple operates than we do in Westminster

Fewer people vote because people are realising that our elected representatives do not act in our interests. Politicians are the puppets of business, so increasingly people lobby the business by withholding their custom. This is because of corporate and wealthy sponsorship of think tanks and because of direct/indirect lobbying, party donations and party membership.

claig Thu 28-Mar-13 00:00:20

'So you'll join my protest over the privatisation of water then'

Yes, but only if you join my protest over the possible privatisation of Royal Mail.

No, I don't think those things are matters of life and death or safety and security like the NHS, fire service and police service.I don't think farms should be nationalised, because I believe in freedom of the individual and believe in an aspiration nation where individuals produce more when they feel they are in control of their own affairs and work for themselves rather than for a collective.

Water can't be free anymore because we live in a sophisticated society and someone needs to purify the water, fix the drains and sewers and fix the broken water pipes and that all costs money. But I think it should be nationalised.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 28-Mar-13 06:58:36

"Germany, Denmark, Italy, France, etc. are some of the richest countries in the world"

Italy? France? grin Most developed Western nations with a social welfare system are...let's call it 'comfortable'... when compared with some of the emerging or third-world nations. Some might say that, freed up from worrying about basic needs by guaranteed health-care, a good standard of living, free education etc., the population can aim high. Others might observe that in spite of having basic needs met and many opportunities/privileges besides, there is a disturbing CBA or 'what's the point?' attitude.

MiniTheMinx Thu 28-Mar-13 08:31:22

What would you have, starve the people into perpetual poverty just so they work harder. Is that what the WTO, The fed and the IMF are doing in the third world, indebting them so that these people work harder?

What do you think when you see a war torn and ravaged part of the world with children begging? oh bless look at them, how hard they work?

MiniTheMinx Thu 28-Mar-13 08:34:58

The royal mail is not comparable to water Claig

So you don't consider water, shelter, warmth or food to be essential to life. I think you'll find that these essentials must be met long before access to state of the art medical care, unless you want everyone DOA. Go back to your biology books, what is essential to maintain life food and water or operations?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 28-Mar-13 10:16:40

"What would you have, starve the people into perpetual poverty just so they work harder"

That's a silly argument. However, what I do think when I hear people who have all the advantages of being born into a free and socially responsible Western society saying 'what's the point'... of working hard, or getting an education, or even something as simple as relocating.... is that they are squandering chances and opportunities that others would give their right arm for.

ttosca Thu 28-Mar-13 13:08:28

Cogito-

> Italy? France? grin

Yes, Italy and France too.

> Most developed Western nations with a social welfare system are...let's call it 'comfortable'... when compared with some of the emerging or third-world nations. Some might say that, freed up from worrying about basic needs by guaranteed health-care, a good standard of living, free education etc., the population can aim high.

Err, well, that's actually the case. If you don't have basic needs met then you can't concentrate on curing cancer or theoretical physics, can you?

> Others might observe that in spite of having basic needs met and many opportunities/privileges besides, there is a disturbing CBA or 'what's the point?' attitude.

Yes, reactionary and nasty people might say this. This attitude isn't borne out of any facts, but instead contempt for the working poor and the social security system.

The countries with the highest labour productivity are also the most developed and most of them have very good social security/welfare nets:

www.jpc-net.jp/eng/research/2012_02.html

ttosca Thu 28-Mar-13 13:09:32

> What would you have, starve the people into perpetual poverty just so they work harder. Is that what the WTO, The fed and the IMF are doing in the third world, indebting them so that these people work harder?

It's that old right-wing chestnut: The poor must be deprived in order to make them work harder, whilst the rich must be richly rewarded so as not to discourage them.

ElBurroSinNombre Fri 29-Mar-13 09:08:34

Mini,

I am intrerested in what you are saying as a Marxist. I will outline my argument very briefly;
Earlier on in the thread you concede that almost every society has had a means of exchange (be it shells, stones, money etc.).
Take a step back and ask yourself why this same economic system has arisen spontaneously and independently in so many different societies. To me, it is because it is in our very nature (i.e. it is a behaviour that has evolved with the human race). And for the same reason that is why Marxism is doomed to fail whenever / whereever it is attempted (because it is not in our nature). I doubt very much that you can give an example in the whole of history of the Marxist / Socialist model that has ever existed that is stable and remains true to Marxist principles.
This does not mean that we should accept unfettered capitalism without any constraints. It just means that we should accept that capitalism is the least worst option - given our nature - and make a form of capitalism that allows all of the population to have - at the very least their basic needs met.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 14:20:08

ElBurroSinNombre I will try to answer you but DP is on the rampage round the house with a saw, asked to do some DIY, he is now a very bitter man!!

It would seem that exchanging "commodities" is part of human nature when in actual fact the ability to and now under capitalism the requirement to exchange through the market shapes human nature just as much as the other way around.

Did men seek to find ways of producing surplus that would allow the formation of class society, creation of mediums of exchange (money) private property and wealth/social power ? Did anyone think that far ahead? History doesn't happen to us, we shape it in our quest to acquire our subsistence but in doing so it shapes us. The mode of production shapes history/society those changes shape our means of production etc,..

So are we competitive and selfish by nature? No. Going back to tribal society, the strong and the fit would have surrounded and protected the children/women/vulnerable as there was a division of labour, what they produced they would have shared. No point hunting wild boar and eating all of it if you end up with no women, how will you reproduce? who will scavenge for berries or make pots.

The same could be said even now, if tomorrow capitalism came crashing down (it won't) then we would find other means of meeting our own needs, that doesn't mean that in meeting my own I can't allow you to eat. Adam Smith said that the best economic system is one where people compete to do what is best for themselves and their folks, socialism is about the realisation that in meeting my needs I meet yours. If you make pots and I make pasta, we must realise that we need each other in order to eat. The capitalist mode of production and the exchange of commodities in the capitalist market obscures this relation.

The main difference: under socialism workers are in control of the means of production and no one takes a surplus from your labour to get rich. Property can be held in common and we can start to see the "social" nature of production. You will need my pasta for your pot in the same way I need a pot in which to cook my pasta smile or better still, we need our pot to cook our pasta. The defining characteristics of capitalism is worker exploitation and capital accumulation because "capitalists" own the means of production and therefore social power.

The human nature argument actually is fairly weak but hegemonic capitalist thinking and propaganda in education and media, in people's communities etc, is accepted without question. It doesn't require an argument but different way of thinking but the way in which people think is shaped by the totality "capitalism"

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 15:57:54

But thought existed before capitalism and capitalism was created out of thought, not vice versa. Even in tribal societies, the chief and his family probably got the best cuts of meat and the rest had to make do. That is human nature.

'You will need my pasta for your pot in the same way I need a pot in which to cook my pasta or better still, we need our pot to cook our pasta'

But I don't want pasta and don't need your pot, because I want lasagne (and preferably without any horsemeat in it). I don't want to play the "community spiel", I want to keep it real, I don't want the "community" meal in "our pot", because I want to be free to decide what I want to eat in "my pot". I don't support Pol Pot.

You can buy your own pots and pasta, and I can buy mine and different privaye producers will provide different versions of them all.

I believe in a capitalist cornucopia of choices and listening to individuals' voices.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 16:15:07

"“it is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but, on the contrary, their social existence that determines their consciousness.”

"The materialist conception of history starts from the proposition that the production of the means to support human life and, next to production, the exchange of things produced, is the basis of all social structure; that in every society that has appeared in history, the manner in which wealth is distributed and society divided into classes or orders is dependent upon what is produced, how it is produced, and how the products are exchanged. From this point of view, the final causes of all social changes and political revolutions are to be sought, not in men's brains, not in men's better insights into eternal truth and justice, but in changes in the modes of production and exchange"

""Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like an Alp on the brains of the living...."

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 16:17:16

oh and this is an excellent read : www.marxist.com/historical-materialism-study-guide.htm

ElBurroSinNombre Fri 29-Mar-13 16:22:32

I notice that you have not answered my question in that you did not name a Marxist society that has remained true to the principles of Marx and is stable. You may want to ponder why such a society never has existed (and never will). All you can say is that people 'need' to change how they think.

Capitalism is precisly about mutual beneficial behaviour and creating synergies between the different parties. Most of the human race are not so hung up on class (or ownership of the means of production as you put it) as Marxists are, because in a free society (such as ours) we have a choice.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 16:39:47

And that choice is? who to sell your labour to, whether to work at all????? not really. There is no choice.

You can not have socialist states sitting beside capitalists states. Look at the news today, what is America up to? flying training flights over North Korea. That tells you all you need to know about how socialism is undermined by imperialist forces. www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21972936 and don't get suckered in by the corporate bias in the reporting!

The problem is one of a corporate owned press feeding bullshit to those of us in the west so that we back American imperialism.

ElBurroSinNombre Fri 29-Mar-13 16:46:01

Are you saying that North Korea is an example of a Marxist state and that you would prefer to live there than say the USA?
And also are you saying that we should have the choice not to work at all and therefore exploit the hard work of others ? I thought that you were against the explotation of workers.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 16:52:34

'The materialist conception of history starts from the proposition that the production of the means to support human life and, next to production, the exchange of things produced, is the basis of all social structure'

How are families and marriage determined by "production of the means to support human life"?

'the manner in which wealth is distributed and society divided into classes or orders is dependent upon what is produced'

But aristocrats produced nothing so why were they at the top of the tree?

'the final causes of all social changes and political revolutions are to be sought, not in men's brains, not in men's better insights into eternal truth and justice, but in changes in the modes of production and exchange'

But it is brains (or lack of) that generated Marxism and the argument that "modes of production and exchange" needed to be changed?

'Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like an Alp on the brains of the living...'

That is correct and only natural. The past plays a large part in the present. Who you are today depends on your past and your history. History matters. But that is why Marxists are unrealistic since they want to banish history, tear up the past, remake history and create a "year zero", a nirvana, a utopia that only exists in their "brains" and not in "modes of production and esxchange".

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 16:53:52

I am not saying that North Korea is a Marxist state what I am saying is that they have attempted to move towards socialism and they are undermined, in the same way as Russia, Bolivia, Argentina, Vietnam, China, Valenzuela and Cuba and many more.

This will make you think about how capitalism wins it's wars

www.youtube.com/watch?v=W96GLQ8bpew

This is also worth a watch as it explains both the reasons why and the methods used to undermine other states so that corporations can profit from privatising that countries resources such as oil.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqIHKWd9rSc

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 16:59:39

Capitalism creates unemployment. How often have you seen me jumping up and down about benefits cuts? I don't believe in paying people to sit idle but capitalism creates both the exploitation of workers for profit and the exploitation of workers who pay taxes to keep other workers that capitalism chucks on the unwanted heap.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 17:05:41

'The materialist conception of history starts from the proposition that the production of the means to support human life and, next to production, the exchange of things produced, is the basis of all social structure'

The Marxists wronly believe that social structure is caused by "production". It has nothing to do with production and everything to do with power and privilege passed down through history. It is social mobility and capitalism that allows people like Alan Sugar to become a Lord that reforms the social structure from one based on privilege to one based on merit.

The social elite and ruling classes hold back the population and true social mobility by using false proletarian prophets who spout fallacies, destroy freedom and force communal uniformity on people.

The UN recognised Pol Pot as a legitimate government for 15 years after teh genocide.

Pol Pot's regime believed in communal values and suppressed individual freedom.

"Property became collective, and education was dispensed at communal schools. Children were raised on a communal basis. Even meals were prepared and eaten communally."

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pol_Pot

This is unnatural and imposed on the population by a ruling elite. That is why it has passed and natural order has once again been restored. Puppets and their masters will one day try to suppress the people again, but such tyranny and unnatural social structures will never prevail because humans yearn to be free. That is nature and it will always prevail and the utopian, dystopian messiahs are always doomed to fail.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 17:07:41

Marxist do not believe that structure of society starts and ends with production. There is a dialectic btw production and social structure. This means that production shapes society, society shapes production. Chicken and egg and all that Claig.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 17:22:58

The greens and elites want to reduce production and consumption. They say that production is wasting resources. They intend to reduce the standard of living of the population, to set them back by limiting their productive capacity and pricing it out of existence by carbon taxes which raise the cost of energy thereby hindering production.

Capitalists want production, they want to create goods and create wealth for their companies and the employees that work for them.

A socialist regulated controlled production system confines and regulates the population. A free, open, capitalist production system frees the population to pursue their own interests and dreams rather than communally dictated ones, and creates innovation and progress for the population. That is why controlling elites and their puppets want to suppress the creative spirit of capitalist enterprise and production.

Human beings are naturally productive and want to produce. I think that even the Bible says something like "go forth and produce". But the elites and the greens want a reduction in world population, a lowering of production of people and goods. One is natural, the other is unnatural.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 17:32:49

I think it is entirely possible to cut production and reduce population without starving people into an early grave claig. I am not Christian and have no interest in what some funny little book written by jumped up sexist men has to say about reproduction grin we do have a population problem, there said it, now what? It is entirely possible to increase living standards without littering the globe with widgets.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 17:48:01

'It is entirely possible to increase living standards without littering the globe with widgets'

Businesses create widgets and hire people to create those widgets. Businesses create employment and raise the standard of living of their employees and of society. As society becomes richer, the standard of living increases. 100 years ago most people had outside toilets, now with the increase in wealth brought about by capitalism, this is no longer the case.

Austerity and depression will set back the progress of the population and reduce the standard of living created by hard-working people and hard-working businesses.

Business require capital in order to thrive and they are being starved of capital by banks who are building up their own balance sheets with billions of pounds of public funds. In Cyprus, we have seen banks raid the accounts of the public and businesses and churches and of pensioners' life savings to build up their balance sheets. The people who have raided the people's capital are not capitalists, they don't run businesses, they are a ruling elite who have decided to dispropriate the people.

'I think it is entirely possible to cut production and reduce population without starving people into an early grave'

It is about reducing the standard of living of people, making them work longer, cutting their pensions, cutting their benefits, cutting their rights. It is happening because there is no growth, a reduction in production and consumption, a reduction in the production of widgets by companies. The solution is growth, not more austerity. The solution is a cutting of carbon taxes, an end to double digit rises in fuel bills, so that hard-working people have more money in their pockets. The solution is an end to the picking of people's pockets in order to reduce their standard of living.

'we do have a population problem'

That is what the elites and the greens say. They don't believe in production or the productive capacity and abilities of the population. They don't believe in growth and progress, they believe in cuts and austerity.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 18:06:43

They tell us that we are wasting food and are wasting resources. They put propaganda on our TV screens with earnest young leftwingers preaching to us how we should scavenge in bins for sandwiches that supermarkets throw away because they have passed their sell by date. They tell us that that is wasteful and we are being profligate. They pretend they want a zero waste society. But there is no such thing. If a child leaves half their dinner, it is not a waste, it is because the child is full up. We don't have to stuff our selves silly in order to meet their "zero waste" targets by eating food that would go off anyway if passing its sell by date.

They want us to buyt less carrots and buy less widgets. But this means that the farmer and producer will sell less carrots and less widgets and hence make less profit. That is what they want. A reduction in the profitable productive capacity of the workforce.

They look at "production" figures but ignore the real purpose of production - the creation of wealth by the supply of goods for people's needs.

The farmer's field will produce more carrots every year because there is no threat to the planet, the earth replenishes itself. There is no need to cut back, cut population, cut wages, cut benefits, cut consumption in order to "save the planet" as their propaganda constantly tells us.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 18:28:18

We have seen how they plan, regulate and run things with their "target culture". We have seen how this "target culture" led to the unnecessary death of thousands of people in our hospitals. They set targets for waste, and tell us we are wasting resources.

They look at numbers and resources and targets and value them more highly than people.

Put people at the forefront, relegate the planners' numbers second. Put growth, production and wealth creation at the forefront, relegate targets and controls second.

Free up business, give capital to business, turn the wheels of the economy that makes society rich.

Serve the people, not targets.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 19:05:58

These arguments seem familiar to me. Oh yeah, I've listened but he overlooks the fact that capitalism itself is flawed. I also don't go in for greenies whether they be tree climbing or devil worshipping.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 19:11:57

Capitalism turned the United States into the wealthiest country in the world - a country founded by poor immigrants from Europe only a few hundred years ago.

Capitalism is not flawed. It is communism and its control society planning mentality that is flawed, because it removes freedom and reduces individual creativity and incentive and makes them secondary to communal planning conducted by committee and think tank.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 19:17:18

Thousands of people from Latin America try to enter the United States each year in order to escape grinding poverty and work their way up in a capitalist society that offers individuals more rewards for hard works.

They don't head to the US to be exploited, they head there for a better living.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 19:22:52

The communist societies built walls to stop their people escaping and banned them from travelling abroad. People from the West weren't flocking to enter communist countries.

The communist experiment failed and has largely been disbanded.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 19:30:15

Maria Sharapova has earned somewhere in the region of 200 million dollars. Much of that has been paid by capitalist advertisers and sponsors who used her image to sell their products. Everyone's a winner. Individuals couldn't receive those sorts of rewards in a communist system.

That is why most people, even though they will never earn those rewards, prefer to live in a society where that is possible than in one where their earnings are distributed communally.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 19:31:49

Did you watch that short history lesson I linked to? can't have done.

American/corporate imperialism has undermined the entire globe through a mixture of trade arrangements, under-cover terrorism, sanctions, military actions and bribes to dictators. It does this so that the bank/corporate nexus can continue to grow rich at the expense of both the American state itself and the vast numbers of poor and starving people in the west and also in underdeveloped countries.

There are families living in tents in major U.S cities and it has the greatest wealth inequality of any nation. How you can say that vast wealth side by side with people living in tents and lacking even basic health care and food can be good, I don't know.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 19:37:30

I'm not in favour of large state socialism claig smile

Housing co-operatives, worker co-operatives, community organising, democratic process at every level. I am not in favour of a vanguard of "elite" thinkers taking control. What went before failed because people haven't willingly wanted socialism. You can't make socialism work it requires cooperation.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 19:42:33

All countries are engaged in realpolitik. The Soviet Union was an empire that ran other countries and imposed its will on them.

I don't think wealth inequality matters as long as people do not live in poverty. I don't care how much money Tony Blair or Tony Benn have. It is nothing to do with me.

There are people living in tents in our country too. It is not good. But I would still prefer to live here than in a communist country where ambition and progression are capped and limited and where there are "limits to growth" unless you join the party and are in with the right crowd.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 19:53:42

We live in a free society. Labour say they are socialist. If you don't think so, then you are free to set up or join other socialist parties and try to convince the electorate that you have the best policies. I believe in freedom and democracy. What I don't believe in is the "my way or the highway" philosophy of communist systems that stop other parties existing and standing for election.

Today I read a report that Dennis Healey said something like UKIP are bastards. There are millions of people who disagree with him and have the right to express that at an election.

What I would not like is a band of socialists and committees determining the rights of the rest of the population who don't agree with them. I don't believe in elites from Oxbridge or think tanks telling the rest of the public what is good for them. If the people want socialism, then so be it, that is democracy.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 19:56:22

Capitalism has created the technology to feed the world and prevent disease and yet it lays humans to waste all over the globe in its relentless pursuit of that golden 3% growth.

I am particularly interested in history, antiques and art. I feel very strongly that art should be available to all people not held in vaults for private collections. Poetry, art, great antiques, literature and medicine should be available to all, widgets won't feed the world and neither will art but our greatest human achievements are either private property, the pursuit of the rich or largely unobtainable. People can not meet their full human potential on empty bellies.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 20:06:11

Capitalism turned the United States into the wealthiest country in the world with the largest debt.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 20:14:18

'Capitalism has created the technology to feed the world and prevent disease and yet it lays humans to waste all over the globe in its relentless pursuit of that golden 3% growth.'

It is not capitalism that does that. It is people and often elites. There is a difference between them and capitalism.

It is certain green policies made by elites at global conferences that have set "targets" with their "target culture" that mean that certain crops that could be used to feed people are instead used to create "biofuels" in order to, so they say, "save the planet", which has resulted in food prices rising and has led to food riots in some countries. Capitalists didn't create the "target culture", it was people who have probably never run businesses who set those targets while saying that they only wanted to "save the planet".

When Microsoft or Google create their European HQ in a European country, it is major news and the Prime Minister of that country goes on TV to tell the people because it is a very good thing. It means that local people will be employed there and will improve their skills. It helps the whole country. That is the good that capitalism does.

And when Microsoft sets up subsidiaries in Bangalore that is a very good thing and hundreds of Indian highly-trained graduates benefit from that investment and can improve their skills and prospects by working for one of the world's top companies.

Companies don't spend their time plotting how to exploit their workers. Businesses are a force for good. Investment is a great thing.

I don't agree with you about art. I don't think that the government should have the monopoly on art. If someone bought a work of art, then it belongs to them. I don't believe a government should strip that from them. If the government wants it for the people then they should buy it in the market.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 20:18:15

'Capitalism turned the United States into the wealthiest country in the world with the largest debt.'

Yes, but only the largest economy in the world can sustain that level of debt.
America has the ingenuity, the dynamism, the system and the people to turn that around. It all depends on the policies of the politicians.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 20:30:01

So poor people get no pleasure from looking at a Jan van de Cappelle. well I guess those elites would say the people are too stupid to enjoy something so simple as art appreciation, that should be reserved for privileged people, civilised people. Let the poor eat crap and take drugs, that's what they like.

Art can be appreciated and made without cluttering up landfill, there is more to life than producing widgets you can not afford to buy just so that you can afford some low grade craparolla fish fingers, if your lucky.

Education should be democratised fully and all privilege within education scrapped. That way you can live in your meritocracy claig and perhaps the poor will grow to appreciate art and music instead of being brain damaged by a diet of hamburgers and Brittany spears!

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 20:36:54

Here is a great picture of american ingenuity, now compare that to the van de Cappelle.

lightbox.time.com/2011/11/17/below-the-line-portraits-of-american-poverty/#1

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cappelle,_Calm.jpg

Note the picture is of a little 3 year old boy of immigrant parents who moved to America in search of that elusive dream.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 20:45:28

It is about freedom. Many works of art and antique cars and antique furniture etc etc are not currently in state hands. Some have been owned by families for generations and people paid good money for them or their ancestors commissioned the works and paid for them at the time.

I don't believe in the government stripping people of their possessions of homes just because they are valuable and unique and objects of beauty.

Then it is also a matter of money. Governments have public money taken from people's taxes. I think it would be a waste of the public's money for some art committee of the great and the good to decide to use the public's money on buying up a Jan van de Cappelle (what the hell?) rather than investing that money in education and hospitals.

I think the public has different priorities to the great and the good and the Lords and the Dames.

'the poor will grow to appreciate art and music'

I think this is elitist and the philosophy of the great and the good. More people like the Rolling Stones than Jan van de Capelle, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Apparently the Bowie exhibition at the V&A is the most visited V&A exhibition. I wouldn't go to see it, but I believe in letting the public decide if they want to see Bowie or Jan.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 20:59:26

Yes the Jan van de Capelle is good.
There are poor people all over the world and in Cuba too.

Many poor people in America have done well with time. America is a more dynamic system with less of a class structure and more social mobility than we have here. That is why more people from around the world want to go there than want to come here.

ElBurroSinNombre Fri 29-Mar-13 21:37:28

Mini,

You do seem to be a more than a little prescriptive. Because you like art, other people must like art. Because you want socialism, it must be what the people reallly want - even if they are too stupid to know it yet. I am not sure what point your portraits of poverty in the US is trying to show. There will be winners and losers in any economic system - even the socialism that you espouse. The main difference being that there will be far more losers in a socialist system. Ask yourself why people have consistently risked their lives to leave places like Cuba and the Eastern bloc. None of the people shown in the portraits are close to starving to death precisely because the US has wealth created through capitalism. If they lived in a different part of the world, in a less successful economy, then you can be sure that some of them would be close to starvation.

You misunderstand capitalism. If there was a demand for fine art amongst the masses then that need would be identified and sated in some way by an entrepreneur or movement. Because the need for fine art amongst the masses does not exist at the moment does not mean that people must be educated. If you look hard enough you will find all sorts of art in popular culture - it is just not treated in the same revered way.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 22:08:55

Having read capital and a great many other books about capitalism I know a bit. I know enough to say that capitalism shapes peoples desires through media.

I think you misunderstand the point I am making. Fine art is considered civilised, for the privileged few whilst mainstream art like advertising, pop music and fashion is the working man's art. But that art is actually the art of the capitalist, used to shape desire and spending patterns, used to make profits. The fine art isn't always appreciated by those who can afford it, it is an investment. It realises more money for them. Whilst the working man's art is a commodity and creates a profit that shows up on some other persons balance sheet.

Modern culture is not revered and treated in the same way because it is not produced in the same way and with the same purpose as fine art, not because people are too thick to appreciate ascetic beauty.

Porn, that's a great example of modern media art. Should that be revered and appreciated? or is it there to dumb people down and pick their pockets with little care of how they react to it?

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 22:21:55

Porn is not art.

There is nothing wrong with popular art. I think some of teh distiction between popular art and fine art is due to snobbishness and elitism. Elites always want to distinguish themselves from the masses and what is popular so that they can look down on the masses. We see the same philosophy in teenagers where as soon as a song is in the cahrts, that artist is no longer cool, becauae the unsophisticated majority like it.

I saw a report about a Scottish artist called Vettriano where he said something like the art establishment didn't like him too much even though one of his paintings is the highest selli ng print or something like that. The public likes his work, so many of teh critics who see themselves as superior to the masses, don't like him much.

This sort of elitism is similar to the stratification of our class society with different accents and different clothes in order to distinguish themselves from the majority.

Some of these people think that common people are vulgar and that the art that they like is vulgar too and that they are more spohisticated than them.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 22:27:39

'Whilst the working man's art is a commodity and creates a profit that shows up on some other persons balance sheet.'

Just because something is popular and people want to buy it or own it, doesn't make it worth less. Its value is not diminished by filthy lucre. Profit is not a dirty word. The Beatles sold millions of records because they appealed to people and their art resonated with people. The money that was earned is immaterial.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 22:29:53

What about films, are they not art? Are they not a cultural form? What makes Lord of the rings different to Dolly dimple does Dallas (or whatever) ? it is something to be viewed and it elicits a response. The purpose of art is to elicit a response, porn does that but you are dismissing pornography. Why?

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 22:33:14

'The fine art isn't always appreciated by those who can afford it, it is an investment.'

But so what? It is a free society and a person can choose to invest their money as they see fit. The great and the good and the socialist can't decide to take it off them just because they do not think that the person appreciates it sufficiently.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 22:39:39

Now you are getting into the philosophical question of what defines art. Not everything that is produced is art in my opinion. There is a large difference between a Truffaut film and its deep reflection of life and character and Dolly Dimple does Dallas.

I think art speaks to the soul and stirs and moves the soul in a spiritual way. Art touches and changes a person.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 22:41:28

Pornography changes people, it changes the way in which men relate women.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 22:47:02

But it doesn't touch the soul.

I think this is another reason that Marx has got it wrong. Marxism is about materialism, it sees the world in terms of material production and material and economic value. It wants to abolish religion. It sees no place for the spiritual or the soul. It believes those things are the opium of the masses. It fails to understand real value and possibly even fails to distinguish between true art and porn, seeing them both as material goods which have been produced and failing to see the spirit behind true art.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 22:53:06

Music is the language of the soul. It plucks heart strings. It moves in an inexplicable way because it speaks directly to the soul and not to the brain.

It is not a material, rational thing that is processed by a rational mind, it speaks to a spiritual soul. No Marxist or rational materialist can control the reaction that people feel when hearing it. Just like religion, it is the opium of the masses, beyond the control of the materialist, rational control freak.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 22:59:25

So there is spirit in pop music, spirit in advertising pictures , music videos, coronation street and other brain rotting craparolla but not in pornography. Or are you now saying that there is no spirit in the culture and art favoured by the working person? or is that these commodified cultural forms are not infact art/culture at all but just commodities like bubble gum and cheeseburgers and cheap t-shirts?

Why would someone who appreciate art reduce it to a mere material thing? because I am not, I am distinguishing art from commodity, making art does not exploit people, making commodities does but they both inspire desire and elicit responses.

Religion has the same history as class society and came about because of mans desire to control womens reproductive capacities. It is made made just as all social constructs are.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 23:00:43

*man made

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 23:01:38

anyway, we may find something we agree on one day Claig grin
Have a good easter
Night

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 23:02:38

ElBurro said

'You do seem to be a more than a little prescriptive.'

That is socialist. The prescriptive, know-better, nanny state, control freak that knows what is best for other people.

Dennis Healey, a very distinguished politician, is an example of someone who thinks he knows best. His reported comment that "UKIP are bastards" shows, I think, his lofty out-of-touch condescension towards another political party that has different views to his, and it also possibly shows what he thinks of the millions of people who agree with UKIP. I think it shows a lack of understanding of others and even a disdain of someone who thinks they know best.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 23:06:06

I hope we are in agreement that global warming is a load of man-made hot air.
Happy Easter.
Good night.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 23:08:46

'I am distinguishing art from commodity, making art does not exploit people, making commodities does but they both inspire desire and elicit responses.'

Yes, but porn is not art, it is a commodity.
Real art elicits a spiritual response, a commodity is just material.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 23:31:56

As is coronation street and cash inducing advertising pictures. All reduced to just commodities.

How do you feel when faced with a picture of a starving third world child? I want to pick them up, feed them and comfort them. What am I suppose to think? "I'll get my credit card"

global warming is a load of man-made hot air,

ahh but if you are looking for the spiritual you might miss it under capitalism. If there was meant to be a real purpose to life on earth it can't have been to fill it with discarded plastic widgets.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 23:43:21

'How do you feel when faced with a picture of a starving third world child?'

I feel sad. But some people exploit those feelings in order to collect cash and sometimes only a small percentage of the cash goes to help people in need. Sometimes charity bosses are on huige salaries and quite a large proportion of the money collected goes on "administration".

Plastic is made from oil, so plastic can be converted back into oil, which is a great thing that helps people be productive and travel and keep warm. Most of teh plastic collected now just ends up in landfill. It is not converted back to oil. That is a waste.

What the purpose of life is, no one really knows, but helping people to prosper and progress is part of what we all should do and trickery and manipulation by elites who wish to reduce population, production and prosperity of people is not part of our purpose.

ElBurroSinNombre Sat 30-Mar-13 10:48:19

Mini,

You may find it hard to believe but the piece of fine art that you have shown us will have been produced by the artist for money. It was, is, and always will be a commodity. That does not mean that there is no artistic merit in it. This is very similar to the examples of art in popular culture that you give (except that now items can be replicated with ease). If there was no anticipation of payment by the artist then the fine art would, in all likelihood, not exist. That is capitalism at work - economic activity that meets a demand of some sort and is mutually beneficial to both producer and consumer.

ttosca Sat 30-Mar-13 14:27:17

ElBurro-

> You may find it hard to believe but the piece of fine art that you have shown us will have been produced by the artist for money. It was, is, and always will be a commodity. That does not mean that there is no artistic merit in it. This is very similar to the examples of art in popular culture that you give (except that now items can be replicated with ease). If there was no anticipation of payment by the artist then the fine art would, in all likelihood, not exist. That is capitalism at work - economic activity that meets a demand of some sort and is mutually beneficial to both producer and consumer.

lol! Another case of a conservative thinking that everyone is a selfish and greedy and him or herself.

This is historically inaccurate. In fact, much (most?) fine art was produced for the church. In fact, for much of history fine art was limited to religious art, as other art was forbidden.

In the modern era, most artists are not paid very well at all. Hence the stereotype of the 'starving artists'. Van Gogh died poor and penniless, and is not considered one of the greatest artists of all time.

https://mentalfloss.com/article/28010/10-cultural-giants-who-died-coinless

Countless artists of all kinds have produced their works because of the love of what they do, not for an expectation of monetary reward.

This spirit continues today when, not just artists, but programmers write the very software you are using to connect to the internet for absolutely free - with expectation of monetary rewards.

That's life, ElBurro, not everyone is a selfish conservative dickhead.

MiniTheMinx Sat 30-Mar-13 14:52:31

There was a reason I used Cappelle in my example. He produced very few paintings, perhaps only 500 (estimated number) he was a businessman in Amsterdam, he inherited the business from his father and he was actually fairly wealthy from the merchant class (ie pre-capitalist class) and he was a collector of fine art. He didn't though produce his own paintings for exhibition or sale, he painted for the love of painting and what he produced is widely regarded as very good.

In short his paintings were not produced to be exchanged and therefore they were not produced to be a commodity.

ElBurroSinNombre Sat 30-Mar-13 15:14:00

Thanks Mini,
It makes sense why you chose that particular painting. But he was only able to paint for pleasure because he was successful in other areas of his life. Are you saying that Capelles work has more artistic merit than something that was comissioned?

ttosca Sat 30-Mar-13 16:59:56

> This spirit continues today when, not just artists, but programmers write the very software you are using to connect to the internet for absolutely free - with expectation of monetary rewards.

I should really stop posting without ingesting sufficient amounts of coffee. I meant:

"This spirit continues today when, not just artists, but programmers write the very software you are using to connect to the internet for absolutely free - without expectation of monetary rewards."

MiniTheMinx Sat 30-Mar-13 17:17:12

ElBurroSinNombre, without realising you have hit the nail on the head, some people are sufficiently successful or lucky enough to be able to pursue their talents because they have enough money and time.

In the states we now see the rise of not just huge inequality and unemployment but the three income family, where some families have two adults working the equivalent hrs as three full time jobs. Does this leave time and resources to pursue interests? NO, and in that way capitalism means a huge waste of human potentiality.

If you consider some of the naturalists of the victorian era, mainly male, almost without exception upper/middle class with income from family businesses, inherited or shares capital etc, or working full time but only being able to pursue what they were clearly very talented at on a part time basis.

I suggest that there are huge numbers of people who never reach their full potential and as a result the human race is all the worse for it.

Solopower1 Tue 02-Apr-13 23:20:58

'Maybe one of the problems of advanced economies is that people are sufficiently well off that they don’t need to drive themselves any more.”

Hilarious! Of course - if we are too rich to exert ourselves in order to improve our standard of living - then surely that means we have enough. Doesn't it? So why should we want more, Mr senior adviser to the coalition Government on growth?

If it's not broken, don't fix it. So put the NHS back together, give us back our benefits and we'll all think it was just a bad dream.

MTSgroupie Sat 06-Apr-13 17:14:47

'Too rich' is a bad choice of words but his.assertion is backed up by various studies over the years.

Basically, we reach a certain point where we feel that the extra money earned isn't enough to compensate for the effort. So if you are on £40k pa and your boss offered you OT on weekends many would decline it since family time is more important than the extra income. However, if you was on £15k you would probably welcome the OT.

Looking at it as a country, many Easter Europeans come to the UK to find work. Yet many 'locals' won't travel down the M1 to find work or to take up a better paid job.

MTSgroupie Sat 06-Apr-13 17:22:42

We see this lack of desire in education as well. My SIL is Chinese. Her parents worked two jobs each in order to earn enough to get her an British education and from there escape the cycle of poverty in their village. Contrast that with some of the attitudes here. I mean, my SIL's parents would have killed to have access to a GS education. They would have gone WTF! at some of children shouldn't be pressured opinions expressed her.

The national salary is £26k. For many of us that is 'rich' enough. Hence the lack of motivation to study/work harder.

ttosca Fri 26-Apr-13 14:40:44

> The national salary is £26k. For many of us that is 'rich' enough. Hence the lack of motivation to study/work harder.

So, hang on... you're saying that we should be motived to study/work harder even though we're satisfied with how rich we are?

Xenia Fri 26-Apr-13 21:29:43

He makes a good point. The Chinese work hard to drive themselves out of poverty and have created a new middle class. They have the work ethic which a few in Britain have (I probably have it) which most do not have. I often feel I have more in common with the Chinese and their equivalents than many British mothers. Those people "get me" right away.

If you watch series on youtube about the change from hunter gatherer to the neolithic period from about 10,000 years ago it was when suddenly people had crops and ready sources of food that they had time for some people to sit around, write, paint, sculpt. One reason most successful artists and musicians have always been male is because men exploit women to serve them as so many housewives no musmnet know only too well whilst the men have all the free time to do other better things. Feminism and a man scrubbing your loo can be the key to having the time not only to follow your own stellar career but to have time for your creative hobbies too.

ipadquietly Fri 26-Apr-13 23:04:29

Do you have data to support your claim that 'few' people in Britain have a work ethic?

ttosca Sat 27-Apr-13 17:36:01

> Do you have data to support your claim that 'few' people in Britain have a work ethic?

It's more reactionary nonsense. In fact, Britain has a Protestant work ethic, coming from it's Church of England and Capitalist roots.

In fact, if you look at the number of Working hours and Productivity/hour:

www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/dec/08/europe-working-hours

You see that:

a) The UK is near the very top in terms of working hours

b) Productivity is above the EU average

So, no. Not only is there no evidence that there is 'no work ethic' in the UK, there is evidence that people work harder and longer here than in most of europe.

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