January 20, 2013 at 2:07 am #81633
The following quotes come from an Oxfam spokesperson, ahead of next weeks World Economic forum to be held in Switzerland
"Concentration of resources in the hands of the top 1% depresses economic activity and makes life harder for everyone else – particularly those at the bottom of the economic ladder."
"As a first step world leaders should formally commit themselves to reducing inequality to the levels seen in 1990," Ms Stocking said.
"From tax havens to weak employment laws, the richest benefit from a global economic system which is rigged in their favour.
"It is time our leaders reformed the system so that it works in the interests of the whole of humanity rather than a global elite."
Such a shame Oxfam and others like them can not see the futility in their calls for world leaders to make capitalism nicer. They are almost there in the acknowledgement of the rigged system. We can only hope the sad irony of their call for a return of the poverty of yesteryears finds it's way back to them.
Check out the story in the link below.January 20, 2013 at 9:51 am #91859ALBKeymaster
What is interestnig in the figures Oxfam have produced is that they are talking about the global elite's income rather than their wealth. This avoids the objection that to direct some of their wealth towards the starving would only be a one-off. Highlighting their income is to draw attention to a continuing stream of wealth. Of course it's not going to happen, but it does show that enough wealth is being produced even today under capitalism to eliminate extreme destitution. This vindicates our contentiont that, by in addition eliminating the waste and artificial scarcity of capitalism, socialism could easily produce enough to provide everybody on the planet with a decent standard of living.January 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm #91860
I was wondering if anyone has any possible idea why Oxfam and the like, while seeming to accept the fact the system is rigged in the interests of the rich, think it can be made to work for the benefit of all?How long have these charities been calling for the same things now? Surely there must come a time when (and now would seem overly ripe) these people can see their calls fall continually on deaf ears? I mean calling for a return to the poverty of a previous decade is self defeating for an organisation that claims to want to eliminate it?What is wrong with these people!?January 21, 2013 at 2:42 pm #91861ALBKeymaster
Here's a couple of attempts by OXFAM from the letters column of the Socialist Standard to defend their position:http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2000s/2003/no-1181-january-2003/lettershttp://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2000s/2003/no-1190-october-2003/lettersJanuary 21, 2013 at 11:01 pm #91862
Thanks Adam.The links are good.I still don't get those people. They seem to think capitalism can be made to work fairly. In fact, many supporters of capitalism think that way. How often have we read or seen an interview recently with some one rambling on about how a level playing field will sort the woes of the system out. These people really believe their own bullshit, they have not attempted to avail themselves of any real history. If they did they would be able to see history of reformism repeating itself over and over.On a similar note. Can I ask if anyone has any info or links on the subject of Bill Gates and his charitable foundation stuff. I am aware there is some controversy about what it does and whom it does it with, in other words it isn't necessarily purely altruistic.Anyone?January 22, 2013 at 12:00 am #91863alanjjohnstoneKeymasterJanuary 22, 2013 at 3:25 pm #91864
Very good links there Alan, thanks.I urge everyone to check them out, and check out the further links to the related topics on the site. An interesting one is the links between Monsanto and the Gates Foundation.The following exerts come from a link on a site I found while investigating this issue, it is an interview with Bill Gates.http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript_gates.htmlMOYERS: You were clearly competent at making money. Did you doubt your competence in giving it away?GATES: I actually thought that it would be a little confusing during the same period of your life to be in one meeting when you're trying to make money, and then go to another meeting where you're giving it away. I mean is it gonna erode your ability, you know, to make money? Are you gonna somehow get confused about what you're trying to do?MOYERS: It's a nice confusion. It's a very nice confusion.GATES: So, you know, I didn't want to mix those two things together. The big milestone event for me though was… a report was done, it's called "The World Development Report 1993" that talked about these diseases. And I remember seeing the article and it showed that Rotavirus over a half million children per year. And I said to myself, that can't be true.You know after all, the newspaper, whenever there's a plane crashing and 100 people die, they always report that. How can it be that this disease is killing a half million a year? I've never seen an article about it until now. And it wasn't even an article about that. It was just a graph that had you know these 12 diseases that kill, most of which I had never heard of.And so I thought, this is bizarre. Why isn't it being covered? You know, and there's a mother and a father behind every one of these deaths that are dealing with that tragedy.And so then I got drawn in a little bit. Clearly making money (or mistakes) is important to him. Notice his incredulity at the fact these issues are not being reported in the mainstream media.But check out the following little pearls. MOYERS: What does it say to you that half of all 15 year olds in South Africa and Zimbabwe could lose their lives to AIDS? What does it say to you that 11 million children, roughly, die every year from preventable diseases?What does it say to you that of the 4 million babies who die within their first month, 98 percent are from poor countries? What do those statistics tell you about the world?GATES: It really is a failure of capitalism. You know capitalism is this wonderful thing that motivates people, it causes wonderful inventions to be done. But in this area of diseases of the world at large, it's really let us down.MOYERS: But markets are supposed to deliver goods and services to people.GATES: And when people have money it does. You know when our foundation is not involved in the diseases of the rich world. Not, you know, those are very important, but the market is working there. Between the basic research that the government funds, through NIH. The bio-tech companies. The pharmaceutical companies. You know incredible things will happen with cancer and heart disease over these next 20 or 30 years. Because that's a case where capitalism is at work. Capitalism certainly is a wonderful thing when you happen to have so much money, you have a non too easy task of giving it away. MOYERS: What is your answer to how it is that the resources of the world are so misallocated?GATES: It's a mistake. So the failings of capitalism are merely a mistake, and nothing to do with the fundamental nature of a profit driven economic system? The fact Bill Gates is one of the richest people on this planet, is the result of "a mistake"? He and his peers must be very good at making mistakes, the same "mistake" over and over again!Here we have a mega rich bloke thinking capitalism is failing, or making mistakes, only in the "poor" parts of the world. He obviously has trouble seeing the effects of the mistakes in the USA, and the other "rich" countries.The information is out there, (Gates should be more aware of that fact than most) you just have to be interested. But so often the way with rich philanthropists, they become interested in the plight of others once they have kicked and clawed their way to the top of the shit pile.January 26, 2013 at 2:07 pm #91865alanjjohnstoneKeymaster
Tolstoy said something like:"a philanthropic capitalist is like a kind donkey owner. He will do anything for his donkey – clean it, feed it well – anything but get off its back."
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