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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mailvox: Marxism and the Shoe Event Horizon

DB asks about a past SmartPop essay:
I am an Italian university student, and at the moment I am writing my thesis, which is about Douglas Adams and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. While gathering some material to work on, I found The Rough Guide to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Marcus O'Dair, in which he maintains that you stated that "the Shoe Event Horizon [is] a dig not at capitalism, but rather at the Marxist notion of capitalist crisis, which is pretty much its antithesis" (page 71).

I have been trying to find the original source of this idea, but I am not sure whether it is this one:

With this letter, I would ask you if you could briefly explain how the "Shoe Event Horizon theory" is to be considered a critique to Marxism rather than to capitalism itself (I am not an expert in the fields of philosophy and economics).
My essay in THE ANTHOLOGY AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE was indeed the original source of the idea,  which I mentioned in a one-off line without explaining it. Neglecting to explain things is a time-honored personal tradition. I'm not usually doing it to be difficult, it's just that I tend to have a very hard time grasping what is, and is not, obvious to other people.

Adams manages to mine this unlikely field, economics, for some of his most scathing barbs. The dismal science does not often figure into fictional plot lines and still less is it played for laughs, but nevertheless, it has an integral role in both the overall story and Adams' underlying theme. Indeed, Adams betrays a remarkably sophisticated understanding of economics when he pokes fun at the Marxian concept of capitalist crisis in the Shoe Event Horizon that ruins the world of Frogstar World B.

Before I can explain why the Shoe Event Horizon is poking fun at the idea of a crisis in capitalism, I should probably cite the relevant event as recounted by Pizpot Gargravarr.

From The Restaurant at the End of the Universe:
Many years ago this was a thriving, happy planet—people, cities, shops, a normal world. Except that on the high streets of these cities there were slightly more shoe shops than one might have thought necessary. And slowly, insidiously, the numbers of these shoe shops were increasing. It’s a well-known economic phenomenon but tragic to see it in operation, for the more shoe shops there were, the more shoes they had to make and the worse and more unwearable they became. And the worse they were to wear, the more people had to buy to keep themselves shod, and the more the shops proliferated, until the whole economy of the place passed what I believe is termed the Shoe Event Horizon, and it became no longer economically possible to build anything other than shoe shops. Result—collapse, ruin and famine. Most of the population died out. Those few who had the right kind of genetic instability mutated into birds—you’ve seen one of them—who cursed their feet, cursed the ground and vowed that none should walk on it again.
There is no singular coherent theory of capitalist crisis, there are, in fact, several, but they are summarized more or less accurately on Wikipedia.
In Marxist terms, the economic crises are crises of overproduction and immiseration of the workers who, were it not for the capitalist control of the society, would be the determiners of both demand and production in the first place.

These systemic factors include:
  • Full employment profit squeeze. Capital accumulation can pull up the demand for labor power, raising wages. If wages rise "too high," it hurts the rate of profit, causing a recession.
  • The tendency of the rate of profit to fall. The accumulation of capital, the general advancement of techniques and scale of production, and the inexorable trend to oligopoly by the victors of capitalist market competition, all involve a general tendency for the degree of capital intensity, i.e., the "organic composition of capital" of production to rise. All else constant, this is claimed to lead to a fall in the rate of profit, which would slow down accumulation.
  • Overproduction. If the capitalists win the class struggle to push wages down and labor effort up, raising the rate of surplus value, then a capitalist economy faces regular problems of excess producer supply and thus inadequate aggregate demand.
All such factors resolve to the synthetic viewpoint that all such crises are crises of over and/or misappropriated production relative to the ability and/or willingness of the workers who generate the bulk of demand to consume.
As he later does with the concept of Keynesian monetary policy still being pushed by the likes of Krugman and Abe today, Adams takes the concept of capitalist crisis stemming from overproduction to absurd and hilarious extremes. In the tragic case of the world of Frogstar B, the people actually reduced their aggregate demand by evolving into flying beings in order to escape the terrible results of the crisis caused by the overproduction of shoes.

The connection between the Shoe Event Horizon and capitalist crisis struck me as so obvious as to need no explanation, but then, it belatedly occurs to me that perhaps not everyone recognizes the implicit connection between capitalist crisis, overproduction, and inadequate aggregate demand, which in the case of Frogstar B, eventually plummeted all the way to zero.

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65 Comments:

Anonymous Jimmy February 17, 2015 12:16 PM  

Oh geez that's funny. I haven't read THG so this is the first time I've been exposed to the Shoe Event Horizon, but it struck me as so obviously a parody of capitalist crisis that I laughed out loud awkwardly in a public space. Thanks Vox.

Blogger Student in Blue February 17, 2015 12:22 PM  

I, for one, did not make the connection because I am not sufficiently read up on Marx, so I was unfamiliar with the Marxist concept of "capitalist crisis".

Anonymous jamsco February 17, 2015 12:34 PM  

Here's me thinking it was just making fun of how many shoe stores there are.

Blogger CM February 17, 2015 12:53 PM  

Here's me thinking it was just making fun of how many shoe stores there are.

Yup.

But I love stories that are entertaining on a surface level and pack a big punch between the lines when you know more.

Anonymous Daniel February 17, 2015 1:00 PM  

It takes a special writer to be able to take government arts money in order to rip down the absurdities of government arts money. I still can't believe he wasn't disappeared before the first program aired.

Blogger Vox February 17, 2015 1:01 PM  

Here's me thinking it was just making fun of how many shoe stores there are.

That's why Adams was so special. His humor worked on every level. Jamsco, you drive me up the wall sometimes, but your unpretentious honesty always forces me to take you seriously.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet February 17, 2015 1:18 PM  

I tried to think of some witty joke with 42 in it, but ran out of time. Such a disappointment.

Blogger Joshua Sinistar February 17, 2015 1:22 PM  

The idea of Capitalist Crisis is interesting but places at its basis the mistaken belief that markets are guided by consumption other than management. Irregardless of Laissez Faire fetishists who would like to believe that the consumers control the market, in actuality such consumers have little or no effect on production or policy. Capitalists are not trying to meet a demand mostly they try to create one by using misleading ads to entice the gullible consumers and reducing sales to mere aggregates of monetary value. In short, they know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
This whole fiasco of Free Trade and Cheap Labor is hardly an abberation, but merely a reflection of the reductio ad absurdum of the Capitalist Psychology of maximizing profit. Much like the Laffer Curve for tax policy, there is a point where excess profit for management and owners loots the company and makes further business impossible. No nation is so rich it can continue to exist without a consumer and tax base. The greedy vampires that suck the lifeblood of the economy leave little for workers or citizens with which they see value for effort and leave them with nothing but a bad taste in their mouths for the entire false paradigm of Capitalism.
Wise men and philosophers have for centuries stated clearly that Gold is not an end to itself. However, capitalists still ignore everything but the glimmer of the gilded cage of their Greed and unbridled Lusts.

Anonymous Fisk Ellington Rutledge III February 17, 2015 1:30 PM  

Of course in a Marxist/socialist system, the ruling elites are essentially creating a permanent crisis that is advantageous to themselves while forcing the Peepul to turn into birds; or the New Soviet Man as some would define it. Political Correctness is our very own attempt to deconstruct and redefine human nature.

Blogger CarpeOro February 17, 2015 1:31 PM  

Gives me a reason to consider picking up the book. Passed it by for years because humor is SciFi has been rather iffy in many cases and the book blurbs weren't compelling for me.

Anonymous Stephen J. February 17, 2015 1:35 PM  

"I tried to think of some witty joke with 42 in it, but ran out of time."

42's your answer for everything, isn't it.

Blogger IM2L844 February 17, 2015 1:40 PM  

So Adams was using a variation on the agree and amplify theme as a humorous remonstration of an absurdity? I've read THG a couple of times, but it's been nearly 20 years. This makes me want to dig it out and read it again.

Blogger CarpeOro February 17, 2015 1:40 PM  

Careful there Joshua, your feeding the system of Capitalism. You should just walk away from all of the things you don't need that have been foisted upon you. Like that computer. And that dwelling it is in (unless you are outside in the tropics or a cave. In that case, ignore that). Oh, and manufactured clothing (hey, tree bark and fig leaves are even green. In both sense of the word. Again, ignore if naked in the tropics). Oh, and of course, drop the shoes. Wouldn't want an event horizon.

Anonymous Blume February 17, 2015 1:53 PM  

That is the second time this week I have heard someone say that capitalist manipulate the market through advertizing. But I just don't buy it, mainly because I don't buy what is advertised to me. And no one I know does either. I see car ads all the time but I drive a 16 year old car that I have had for 10 and don't plan on changing that until it explodes and then I am probably going to just buy another Toyota because that car had last so long. Beer commercials are every where, I drink shiner and craft beer. Budwieser's superbowl commercial made all my friends go buy more craft beer to spite them.

Blogger Josh February 17, 2015 2:00 PM  

there is a point where excess profit for management and owners loots the company and makes further business impossible.

Define excess profit.

Blogger CM February 17, 2015 2:05 PM  

NorthernHamlet,

The correct number of shoe shops to run the economy is 42.

It's the answer to everything, after all.

Blogger Student in Blue February 17, 2015 2:08 PM  

Advertisements don't force anyone to purchase anything, but just getting notoriety is what's desired, particularly in this current world of too-many-options. The more present your brand is, the more likely it'll be used as a go-to for people who don't know any better, don't care, or don't have the time to research.

The car ads are there to convince people who are buying now to spend it on their car, and to convince people who are not buying that their product exists.

Capitalists do manipulate the market through advertising, else they would quickly be put out of business by competitors who do not, but it's incorrect to think that they can spend unlimited money on advertising and make unlimited money. There's only so much that can be manipulated by advertisement and good PR.

Anonymous grey enlightenment February 17, 2015 2:08 PM  

rabid puppies vs. sad puppies

Anonymous grey enlightenment February 17, 2015 2:10 PM  

That is the second time this week I have heard someone say that capitalist manipulate the market through advertizing. But I just don't buy it, mainly because I don't buy what is advertised to me. And no one I know does either. I see car ads all the time but I drive a 16 year old car that I have had for 10 and don't plan on changing that until it explodes and then I am probably going to just buy another Toyota because that car had last so long. Beer commercials are every where, I drink shiner and craft beer. Budwieser's superbowl commercial made all my friends go buy more craft beer to spite them.

That's because you and your friends probably reside on the right side of the Bell Curve, but to quote Feynman, there is plenty of room at the bottom.

Anonymous Trimegistus February 17, 2015 2:17 PM  

Marxists have to believe that "capitalists" manipulate the market through advertising, etc. It is necessary for their ideas to work.

If humans are hard to manipulate and have innate personalities, desires, and behaviors, then Marxism cannot remake humans into New Socialist Men -- which means all the murder and torture of the Revolution is just senseless bloodshed.

In addition, if markets are (semi-) rational systems of people acting according to their desires and needs and businesses doing likewise, then there is no need for a Marxist revolution and the Marxist State will never do as good a job of making people happy.

These two notions are intolerable to Marxists. Therefore they constantly tell themselves and everyone else that the workers/consumers are helpless pawns of the power of Advertising. Of course, if this was true, all movies would be blockbusters and we'd still be drinking New Coke. But facts are not something Marxists like to think about. They prefer their fantasies of torture and bloodshed as they punish everyone who has more than themselves.

Anonymous Alexander February 17, 2015 2:20 PM  

If the car advertisements really made everyone buy brand new cars, we wouldn't have had to have the government step in 2009 and obliterate the national supply of used cars.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet February 17, 2015 2:23 PM  

Blume,

I see car ads all the time but I drive a 16 year old car that I have had for 10 and don't plan on changing that until it explodes and then I am probably going to just buy another Toyota because that car had last so long. Beer commercials are every where, I drink shiner and craft beer.

And your perceptions of each of these is likely affected by marketing, which encompasses far more than merely traditional advertisements.

Toyota: word-of-mouth advertising had perpetuated the myth that they last longer since as long as I can remember.

Shiner: Yellow is the color that is most noticable to the human eye, making it stand out on the shelf.

Craft beer: Are you kidding me? The term itself is a meaningless marketing ploy. Remember microbrews? Throw in fake small runs to increase demand and localized place marketing and its an ad itself.

Blogger Joshua Dyal February 17, 2015 2:29 PM  

The idea of Capitalist Crisis is interesting but places at its basis the mistaken belief that markets are guided by consumption other than management. Irregardless of Laissez Faire fetishists who would like to believe that the consumers control the market, in actuality such consumers have little or no effect on production or policy.

In the long term, they absolutely do, yes. Management may want to produce all day long, but if they're not getting consumers, that's not going to happen for long. History is littered with failed products that couldn't find a market that demanded them.

In the long run, demand, i.e., consumers, have the ultimate control. I will, however, grant you your point in the short term, while simultaneously pointing out that the short term doesn't matter.

Capitalists are not trying to meet a demand mostly they try to create one by using misleading ads to entice the gullible consumers and reducing sales to mere aggregates of monetary value. In short, they know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

That's just stupid. Not all ads are misleading, and even the ones that are have an extremely limited shelf-life before consumers (on aggregate) are on to them. Advertising can bring awareness is all. The notion that I only buy stuff because it's advertised to me is ridiculous in the extreme.

I've never once seen an advertisement for gasoline, for example.

Blogger Vox February 17, 2015 2:36 PM  

I've never once seen an advertisement for gasoline, for example.

Put a tiger in your tank....

Anonymous WaterBoy February 17, 2015 2:38 PM  

Blume: "That is the second time this week I have heard someone say that capitalist manipulate the market through advertizing."

I think it's more accurate to say that businesses try to manipulate the market through advertising. Just getting name recognition to people who haven't previously heard it is attempting to influence the market in their favor. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes, they don't even have to do the advertising themselves, as was the case with the GoDaddy ad not in the Superbowl this year. And it isn't intended to influence everybody...just enough of them to grow sales beyond the cost of doing so.

Vox has previously said that one of the most difficult hurdles a new writer faces is just to get his name out there; advertising does that, and applies to other business endeavors as well.

Blogger Roy Lofquist February 17, 2015 2:41 PM  

Now I finally understand why the Edsel is the most popular car in the US.

Blogger Joshua Dyal February 17, 2015 2:43 PM  

Put a tiger in your tank....

Well... you got me there. I'd totally forgotten that ad.

Then again, I never buy Exxon gas either.

Blogger Joshua Dyal February 17, 2015 2:45 PM  

I think it's more accurate to say that businesses try to manipulate the market through advertising. Just getting name recognition to people who haven't previously heard it is attempting to influence the market in their favor. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes, they don't even have to do the advertising themselves, as was the case with the GoDaddy ad not in the Superbowl this year. And it isn't intended to influence everybody...just enough of them to grow sales beyond the cost of doing so.

Influence =/= manipulate. Sure, companies want to sell products. The notion that they are in the position of power in that dynamic is ludicrous, though. Unless, of course, they've croneyed up to the government to the point where we're mandated to purchase something, a la health insurance.

Anonymous JI February 17, 2015 2:48 PM  

I've long thought that THG should be required reading in high schools for various reasons, and now here's another great reason - the of Economics.

Anonymous WaterBoy February 17, 2015 2:52 PM  

Joshua Dyal: "I've never once seen an advertisement for gasoline, for example."

BP did a boatload of advertising in the face of consumer boycotts in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. While not directly promoting their gasoline products, it was an attempt to rehabilitate their market image in the eyes of the public and would directly affect their sales.

Blogger James Dixon February 17, 2015 2:53 PM  

> Then again, I never buy Exxon gas either.

It wasn't an Exxon ad, though I'm sure they'd like to claim it. :) It was an Esso ad. Yeah, the same company, but not the same brand.

You hear people all the time practically screaming about how important branding is, but very few companies actually understand it.

Anonymous WaterBoy February 17, 2015 3:00 PM  

Joshua Dyal: "Influence =/= manipulate"

manipulate:

2. to negotiate, control, or influence (something or someone) cleverly, skilfully, or deviously

I'm not talking about manipulating the market in the sense that the Hunt brothers tried to do with silver. But advertising certainly fits in the above description.

Blogger Student in Blue February 17, 2015 3:04 PM  

@Joshua Dyal
[...] a la health insurance.
Or, ISPs.

Blogger CarpeOro February 17, 2015 3:05 PM  

Shell, Sunoco, BP, Speedway... If your in the USA, and ever turn on a broadcast TV channel you have seen them. The reason that you forget them was that they failed to register in your immediate memory. Which means you have placed a higher priority in your mind on other advertising. Careful, you may stop buying gas because you have been programmed to believe it isn't important.

Anonymous Blume February 17, 2015 3:31 PM  

See but you don't spend money on word of mouth. It is the markets natural advertising. You aren't manipulating the consumer, the commander through consumption is manipulating the market.

Anonymous Off Balance February 17, 2015 3:32 PM  

Wait . . . the bit about shoe stores was funny because it was about socialists? I thought it was funny because it was a metaphor for Starbucks. I'm so confused.

Anonymous Steve February 17, 2015 3:34 PM  

"Passed it by for years because humor is SciFi has been rather iffy in many cases and the book blurbs weren't compelling for me."

Yeah,I've never been smitten with the idea of reading the atheist bible,either.Full of names and places that sound like they were made up by a mentally-impaired drunk 12 year old.

"Grugglywuggly","Kulookookooka","jarblerajjj" and whatever. How do you explain what you've just been reading to someone unfamiliar with it without sounding like a complete fag?

Blogger Cataline Sergius February 17, 2015 3:35 PM  

... The accumulation of capital, the general advancement of techniques and scale of production, and the inexorable trend to oligopoly by the victors of capitalist market competition, all involve a general tendency for the degree of capital intensity, i.e., the "organic composition of capital" of production to rise. All else constant, this is claimed to lead to a fall in the rate of profit, which would slow down accumulation....


I thought that the collapse of the old Galactic Empire by Magrathea's over accumulation of capital would qualify, as a well.

But now that I think about it, (for the first time in decades please note), I'm not certain it qualifies as anything other than an extended recession.

Apparently, one that is still on going at the start of HGG.

Blogger IM2L844 February 17, 2015 3:42 PM  

As I was thinking about this, I just heard the State Department has plans to Tweet and Hashtag ISIS into submission...an idea any self-respecting Vogon would be proud of.

Blogger Cataline Sergius February 17, 2015 3:42 PM  

The night Obama was elected my first thought was, my God Zaphod is now our president.

When you look at how the onerous process of selecting an American President is driving away the best and the brightest from that job. I can't wonder if Adams was right about power slipping, effectively down a rung or two down the ladder.

Of course America being America, I think a President Camacho is much more likely.

Anonymous Anubis February 17, 2015 3:43 PM  

"But I just don't buy it, mainly because I don't buy what is advertised to me. And no one I know does either."

I doubt an ad for a payday loan at over 900% APR interest would tempt you but some cities have passed laws banning new liquor and payday loan stores from opening. Anyone who has given a cashier extra money to get a specific amount back can understand who it is aimed at. Women make the majority of purchases and are more susceptible to ads also.

Before I read the article I thought it was someone confusing Crony Capitalism= Fascism with real capitalism, its been a while since I read thg

Anonymous Anubis February 17, 2015 3:49 PM  

"think a President Camacho is much more likely"

You remember the debate when there was no teleprompter and his earphone was jammed. Without continues help his is President Camacho

"See but you don't spend money on word of mouth."
They actually do. There are companies that do viral advertising that do things like leave packages with the brand name on them outside doors in places like NYC. Kind of like buying yourself thousands of twitter followers for $5.

Blogger Joshua Dyal February 17, 2015 4:19 PM  

2. to negotiate, control, or influence (something or someone) cleverly, skilfully, or deviously

I'm not talking about manipulating the market in the sense that the Hunt brothers tried to do with silver. But advertising certainly fits in the above description.


You have a higher opinion of advertising as a vocation than I do. It's neither clever, skillful nor devious; it's simply throwing money at the airwaves in the hope that it engenders name recognition in the hope that that in turn engenders sales. And at the end of the day, all advertisers can do is entreat potential customers to give them a look-see.

That's not really what I'd call manipulation, exactly. Especially not with the implied sinisterness that the Marxists imbue it with.

Blogger frigger611 February 17, 2015 4:21 PM  

I think being an American of a certain age has inoculated some of us against the foolishness of Marxism. But I work with a lot of Europeans (Brits mostly) and they have been, to a man, steeped and marinated in a lifetime of schooling and societal influences telling them that Marx had it right.
I used to make a point to peruse bookstores throughout the UK. The philosophy/econ sections always chock full of Marx and Che garbage everywhere. Once in a great while you could find a lone work by Adam Smith. But NEVER anything from the Austrian school, nor anything on the founders of America.
In fact, I think most Brits are still stinging from the loss of the American colony, and wish that that uncomfortable little point of history could be shown in a way that tells the world that the USA was wrong and England correct. In order to do so, to justify it in their own minds, they bitterly cling to their Communist Manifestos and gun-banning laws.
Yes, what should be easily recognized as an obvious bashing and ridiculing of some half-assed commy ideal is easily missed by most - and I am not surprised that the Italian writer admits as much. I do hope he (or she) experiences an "eyes-opened" moment.
BTW perhaps you should write a more formal treatise or critique, along the lines of the one that was written on The Wizard of Oz - being an allegorical tale of the gold standard and bimetallism in the age of William Jennings Bryan

Blogger Joshua Sinistar February 17, 2015 4:40 PM  

I am hardly a Marxist. I Hate Communism, but Capitalism is hardly helping people either. Business and Capitalism are not the same thing. Sure Henry Ford wanted to make millions, but he didn't do it as a stockbroker. He had a dream of using assembly lines to build cars the average American could afford, and he started a car culture where Americans could just pack up and drive all over the country experiencing a level of freedom that had never before seen. An entire country benefited from his innovation of giving Americans transportation they could use for vacations that used to cost more than they could afford.
Look at what these bastards are doing now, by replacing Americans with H1-B Indians and Mexicans. Americans are experiencing the first generation of lowered expectations and the diminished returns of this larceny are turning the country into a Third Word Cesspool. People who scrimped and saved their entire lives to afford a house in the suburbs are now besieged by peons who have more cars on their lawn than a small used car lot and their property values are in the toilet making their mortgages cost more than their home is worth.
Capitalism is great for banksters and bad for people who work.

Blogger frigger611 February 17, 2015 4:54 PM  

Joshua, I agree with just about everything you said above. But you've "defined" capitalism poorly. It's simply a system that allows people the freedom to trade value for value.
Cronyism and fraud creep their way into everything, (as Thomas Paine said, "nothing but Heaven is impregnable to vice") so the best we can do is strive to make sure we teach kids proper morality from Kindergarten through grad school.
Which is forbidden these days.
In the old days, (better days), parents could inform their children of right v wrong and know that the rest of society would back them up - from the school to the neighbors, to the town shopkeepers, and even to the media and entertainment cultures.
But now all those other elements of society cannot be relied upon. In fact, they are usually hostile to a proper morality and act against the parents' wishes for raising children properly.
Space is limited her, but western civilization (Christendom) had these kinds of safeguards in place, and even Rand's atheistic Objectivism describes a role for a proper morality, and a defense of capitalism.
What we have these days in NOT capitalism. It's a fascistic alliance between business and government, actually fostering and perpetuating cronyism. We feel the squeeze. Define your enemies more carefully.

Blogger Ben Cohen February 17, 2015 5:18 PM  

Hilarious books. Horrible movie

Anonymous kfg February 17, 2015 5:30 PM  

"So Adams was using a variation on the agree and amplify . . ."

Agree and Amplify is a PUA rebranding of Argumentum Reductio ad Absurdum.

Blogger frigger611 February 17, 2015 6:11 PM  

Nice summation.

Blogger automatthew February 17, 2015 6:26 PM  

There's an older and more virtuous form of advertising, the kind you see in niche publications, that exists merely to notify the reader that a certain product, with certain features, is available. I used to subscribe to a homesteading magazine, and many of the ads (which were printed on the outside margins of the text) were as interesting as the articles.

"Wow, so that exists?" Make mental note.

Blogger automatthew February 17, 2015 6:27 PM  

Rather, Agree and Amplify is what you do when a reductio is called for, but your interlocutor isn't rational.

Anonymous AT February 17, 2015 7:55 PM  

Speaking for myself, I was most impressed and enlightened by the learned utilization of "irregardless" in the erudite discussion above.

Blogger frigger611 February 17, 2015 8:16 PM  

I don't know what all the fuss is about. It's a perfectly cromulent word.

Blogger Joshua Dyal February 17, 2015 9:49 PM  

I Hate Communism, but Capitalism is hardly helping people either. Business and Capitalism are not the same thing. Sure Henry Ford wanted to make millions, but he didn't do it as a stockbroker. He had a dream of using assembly lines to build cars the average American could afford, and he started a car culture where Americans could just pack up and drive all over the country experiencing a level of freedom that had never before seen. An entire country benefited from his innovation of giving Americans transportation they could use for vacations that used to cost more than they could afford.
Look at what these bastards are doing now, by replacing Americans with H1-B Indians and Mexicans. Americans are experiencing the first generation of lowered expectations and the diminished returns of this larceny are turning the country into a Third Word Cesspool. People who scrimped and saved their entire lives to afford a house in the suburbs are now besieged by peons who have more cars on their lawn than a small used car lot and their property values are in the toilet making their mortgages cost more than their home is worth.
Capitalism is great for banksters and bad for people who work.


I don't disagree with anything you said except the label. That's not capitalism, that's cronyism that you're describing. Which is a watered down version of syndicalism, which is the prototype for fascism which is... of course... a type of applied Marxism.

Blogger Akulkis February 17, 2015 9:55 PM  

"That's why Adams was so special. His humor worked on every level."

"... hovering in the air in the same way that bricks don't." has got to be one of the most insanely precise and hilarious phrases I have ever read. I've never come across another writer who comes close to Adams' ability to be paint a picture in the reader's mind and entertain at the same time.

Blogger Akulkis February 17, 2015 10:01 PM  

@ Carpe
"Gives me a reason to consider picking up the book. Passed it by for years because humor is SciFi has been rather iffy in many cases and the book blurbs weren't compelling for me."

Understand this, first and foremost: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe is NOT -- I say again NOT -- a work of science-fiction. It is a comedy book, written in a science-fiction setting.

Why?

Because it gives an intelligent writer such as Adams was far more freedom for plot lines and to set up jokes.

Anonymous Jack Amok February 17, 2015 10:18 PM  

The problem with lampooning Leftist political and economic thought via Reductio ad absurdum is that it's damned hard to reductio their arguments to be any more absurd than they already are. You run the risk of people thinking you're a Leftist yourself.

That is the second time this week I have heard someone say that capitalist manipulate the market through advertizing. But I just don't buy it...

Ha, ha, ha, that's a good one Blume. A theory on advertising and he doesn't buy it...

Blogger Akulkis February 17, 2015 10:46 PM  

NEVER use the word Capitalism to defend free market economics.

Capitalism is a term invented by Marx for the purpose of making a strawman argument. As soon as you use the word Capitalism, you are de facto buying into Marx's strawman (that moron couldn't tell the difference between free trade and the European-style nobility class system), and it is therefore impossible to win any argument by arguing for Capitalism... because you're arguing that the strawman who was literally designed with his clothes on fire is going to survive 5 minutes in a flaming-arrows fight.

Blogger ManiaC Provost February 17, 2015 11:22 PM  

Capitalism is a phenomenon that usually occurs in a free market. Occasionally, under some circumstances, other phenomena can be almost as strong as capitalism.

Capitalism is when economic growth results primarily from the accumulation of capital; this results in exponential growth, and the relative concentration of capital in the hands of those who started out with it. When capital is the limiting factor in the economy, as it usually is, capitalists also have disproportionate control over the direction of economic growth, and other aspects of society.

If the limiting factor is labor, or there is a strong bonus to having the best personnel, then labor can be more profitable than Capital (Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson). If the economy is fully developed, then innovators dominate and capital must compete to work with them.

I don't know if there's a name for those situations.

Blogger Joshua Sinistar February 18, 2015 11:23 AM  

Calling the Free market Capitalism is like calling Religion Spiritualism. Religion is not about the spirit its about God. Business is not simply about money its about Trade and Work that enriches people and helps them live a better life.
Capitalism reduces everything to economic units which is just a small part of doing business. Money is simply a unti of exchange that allows for Specialization where everyone can concentrate their efforts on what they're best at and not have to do everything themselves. When you don't have to grow your own food, build your own house and make your own clothes you can have a specialized occupation like writer or scientist. Its the basis for Western Civilization. Money is necessary for Civilization to continue to exist, which is why its a bad idea for a tiny few to have it all sitting in a bank and not circulating to keep the organs of business and trade running.

Blogger Akulkis February 19, 2015 2:49 AM  

You're buying into Marx's bullshit.

STOP DOING THAT.

Blogger Akulkis February 19, 2015 4:06 AM  

Trade and Work that enriches people and helps them live a better life.

ALL volountary trade is for such a purpose -- if you don't think it will enrich you or make your life better, then you won't participate in the transaction of your own free will, but instead, only under duress.

Saying that voluntary trade is ONLY a trait of Marx's"Capitalism" is to miss the point entirely.

Blogger S Jon February 19, 2015 10:30 AM  

Remember hhgttg was originally a radio series. I still prefer that manifestation.

Blogger Joshua Sinistar February 19, 2015 3:37 PM  

Akulkis, I am not using Das Capital as a model at all. Capitalism is a false paradigm. Business is about trade and Capitalism is just about money. Money facilitates trade, it has no intrinsic value.
Gold is pretty and shiny, but you can't eat it. Even if people like it, it is not necessary for life like food clothing or shelter. People in America are unemployed and can't find work. Capitalist vampires are throwing them out of work by discriminating against them and hiring aliens that are subsidized by the Government.
Calling me a Marxist will not fool anyone. Its the Capitalist vampires that paid Marx to get their grubby paws on this last few kopecks they couldn't steal with a rigged market and a legalized counterfeiting ring. We are on to this scam. Hey squirrel does not work here. You are way above your pay grade little boy...

Blogger Akulkis February 19, 2015 5:39 PM  

Joshua... now you're getting the point.

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