21 votes

Finland is a capitalist paradise

45 comments

  1. [21]
    moonbathers
    Link
    I don't think the author has really thought about what anything to the left of capitalism is. They still have a capitalist mindset: growth is the most important metric of a country's success,...

    I don't think the author has really thought about what anything to the left of capitalism is. They still have a capitalist mindset: growth is the most important metric of a country's success, disruption is inherently a good thing, innovation is something only capitalism does. Socialism is framed as something that goes against the natural order of things in Finland despite enough people disagreeing that there was an entire civil war over it. Upscale shopping malls and fancy cars are framed as markers of success, completely ignoring the probably-majority of people who can't afford or don't want those things.

    The crux of socialist/communist critique of capitalism is that by simply having money you can make more money. By merely owning a small apartment building you can live a decent life only doing the work of managing the building's utilities and accounting and having a maintenance person to come fix things occasionally.

    17 votes
    1. [20]
      Loire
      Link Parent
      I guess I just dont see how that very specific case is an issue. Sure billionaires, and 9 digit millionaires being able to essentially grow their fortunes exponentially at no risk is an issue but...

      The crux of socialist/communist critique of capitalism is that by simply having money you can make more money. By merely owning a small apartment building you can live a decent life only doing the work of managing the building's utilities and accounting and having a maintenance person to come fix things occasionally.

      I guess I just dont see how that very specific case is an issue. Sure billionaires, and 9 digit millionaires being able to essentially grow their fortunes exponentially at no risk is an issue but a middle class landlord with a walkup or condo is a problem?

      3 votes
      1. [5]
        tlalexander
        Link Parent
        The concept of land ownership and rent collecting is what is at issue here. Landlords are often criticized as unnecessary features of a functioning economy who only drain money from others for...

        The concept of land ownership and rent collecting is what is at issue here. Landlords are often criticized as unnecessary features of a functioning economy who only drain money from others for doing no work (aside from maintenance which must be paid for). In Vienna Austria for example they have 400,000 publicly owned apartment units and they are adding 50,000 a year. The state owns the land and so doesn’t need to collect high rents. It seems to work.

        A major socialist critique is that treating land as a commodity is what raises housing prices.

        10 votes
        1. [4]
          papasquat
          Link Parent
          Land ownership is an issue, why? The people buying that land are doing the work of researching desirable plots of land, deciding what the price for the use of that land should be, and doling out...

          Land ownership is an issue, why? The people buying that land are doing the work of researching desirable plots of land, deciding what the price for the use of that land should be, and doling out access to it. Real estate doesn't manage itself.

          Land isn't treated as a commodity in a capitalist economy. In fact, it's the exact opposite. Some land is naturally more valuable than others. Pricing all of it is the same is how you get stuff like warehouses in the middle of a busy downtown area where it could be put to much better use.

          3 votes
          1. [3]
            tlalexander
            Link Parent
            In Marxism a commodity is any item that can be bought or sold. So when I say land is treated as a commodity, that is my meaning. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodity_(Marxism) I’m certainly not...

            In Marxism a commodity is any item that can be bought or sold. So when I say land is treated as a commodity, that is my meaning.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodity_(Marxism)

            I’m certainly not suggesting that land all be priced the same. I’m suggesting that some land be held in common, outside of traditional market mechanisms, and be lent out for use based on merit. This is how they handle a lot of the housing in Vienna for example:
            https://www.huduser.gov/portal/pdredge/pdr_edge_featd_article_011314.html
            (Looks like it’s 220,000 units, not 400,000 units as I thought)

            The problem with private investment in land is that the price of the land tracks the market. With very wealthy people present in the market the price will rise well above what poorer people can afford. And while some use of markets may be best in land use and other situations, it may be a good idea to hold some land outside of that market system.

            Traditionally that kind of system is managed by some sort of committee. Of course it is important to make sure the committee remains fair, but the significant advantage of this system is that poverty does not become a barrier to housing. In a market based system no committee exists because people are automatically prevented from access due to lack of funds. That makes poverty a death sentence for many, and as I have shown such a situation is not necessary.

            3 votes
            1. [2]
              papasquat
              Link Parent
              We already have committees that decide the best use of land in most places; they're the zoning authorities in a given municipality. They, in theory, decide if an area is best served by a specific...

              We already have committees that decide the best use of land in most places; they're the zoning authorities in a given municipality. They, in theory, decide if an area is best served by a specific kind of property. One of their most common criticisms is that they're prone to corruption and favoritism. That makes the idea of a committee that decides not only what type of property, but to who that property can be used by and just giving it to them for free even more problematic, and is endemic of most centrally planned economies.

              When you start doling out resources based on "merit", "merit" has a tendency to become synonymous with "people I am friends with".

              2 votes
              1. tlalexander
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                I would urge you to study how things are done in Vienna. They don’t give the land away for free. The government holds the property and pays developers to build housing. Then they rent the units...

                I would urge you to study how things are done in Vienna. They don’t give the land away for free. The government holds the property and pays developers to build housing. Then they rent the units for below market rate.

                I understand your concern for potential problems this could create, but the current system has obvious problems too. That is the problem that poverty becomes a death sentence for many. Either a literal death sentence for the many homeless who die of exposure every year, or a figurative death sentence in which the individual cannot live a fulfilled life because of the difficulty of poverty. The only way to avoid those problems is to hold some part of civic life in common for use even by the poor. Capitalism will never solve that problem through market mechanisms alone.

                EDIT: I should add that I am generally anti-state. But these things don’t have to be done by the state (though there is a certain convenience to that). Land trusts and other public ownership methods can be used to hold the land in common.

                4 votes
      2. [14]
        moonbathers
        Link Parent
        It's the same thing on a smaller scale. What have they done to earn their tenants' $700 (or more) a month? No, they're not becoming fantastically rich off of it, but they can live comfortably...

        It's the same thing on a smaller scale. What have they done to earn their tenants' $700 (or more) a month? No, they're not becoming fantastically rich off of it, but they can live comfortably without having to do much work simply because they already had money (in this case a building to rent).

        8 votes
        1. [13]
          Loire
          Link Parent
          They put together the money to buy the property in the first place. They also avcomodate all the risk especially in communities with strong renter protection. Just because its not labour doesn't...

          They put together the money to buy the property in the first place. They also avcomodate all the risk especially in communities with strong renter protection.

          Just because its not labour doesn't mean they do nothing.

          3 votes
          1. [12]
            moonbathers
            Link Parent
            Right, so having money makes you more money. I don't think there's nearly as much risk in renting a house/apartment as in pretty much any other way you can earn money. What is the extreme worst...

            Right, so having money makes you more money. I don't think there's nearly as much risk in renting a house/apartment as in pretty much any other way you can earn money. What is the extreme worst case for a landlord? The tenant completely trashes the place? Yeah, that sucks, but they've got the security deposit for that reason. Landlords make money hand over fist in most places, and even where it's a smaller margin, it's still more money than people who work a lot harder (janitors, service workers, etc). What are they actually doing? They handle maintenance requests, they talk to potential tenants and show them apartments, and they handle the building's accounting. That's nowhere near the full-time work that the rest of us are forced to do to exist.

            6 votes
            1. [11]
              papasquat
              Link Parent
              No. Remember the housing crisis? That. Plummeting real-estate costs makes your investment nearly worthless and cuts off your only source of income.

              What is the extreme worst case for a landlord?

              No. Remember the housing crisis? That. Plummeting real-estate costs makes your investment nearly worthless and cuts off your only source of income.

              4 votes
              1. [10]
                moonbathers
                Link Parent
                That affects everyone though. At the end of the day you've still got an apartment building which is a lot more than a good amount of people could say. And why is everything an investment? Why does...

                That affects everyone though. At the end of the day you've still got an apartment building which is a lot more than a good amount of people could say. And why is everything an investment? Why does it matter how much the building is worth for a few years when you're still getting rent money (unless your tenants lose their jobs and can't afford rent). Plus it didn't take all that long for housing prices to get back to their 2007 level.

                5 votes
                1. [9]
                  papasquat
                  Link Parent
                  Because at some point you paid for that building, usually with a loan. If the price of the building dropped significantly, the rent money is nice, but you're still losing money every time you pay...

                  Because at some point you paid for that building, usually with a loan. If the price of the building dropped significantly, the rent money is nice, but you're still losing money every time you pay your mortgage on the building. Most landlords can't afford that, and end up selling the building at a loss, losing a bunch of money and an income source in the process.

                  1. [8]
                    moonbathers
                    Link Parent
                    How often does that happen though? I just find it really hard to believe that buying a building wouldn't pay for itself within a decade. And how are they losing money if the price of the building...

                    How often does that happen though? I just find it really hard to believe that buying a building wouldn't pay for itself within a decade. And how are they losing money if the price of the building drops? If you're just gonna flip the building in a few years, then yeah you're shit out of luck but I don't have sympathy for anyone who does that sort of thing anyway. In the meantime you're still getting rent money which is more than millions of people who lost their only source of income in the recession could say.

                    4 votes
                    1. [7]
                      papasquat
                      Link Parent
                      You're kind of misunderstanding the field. Most people who do real-estate for a living do not buy properties with cash outright. Not many people have 500k+ laying around to buy a house or...

                      You're kind of misunderstanding the field. Most people who do real-estate for a living do not buy properties with cash outright. Not many people have 500k+ laying around to buy a house or apartment building. They finance it through a bank just like you would through a home mortgage. They pay this loan every month, and hopefully the equity they're building in the property + rent covers the cost of the loan + maintenance + administration costs. If it doesn't, then they're actively losing money, which is worse than millions of people that don't have income, because they're not only not making money, they're actively losing money.

                      Most people cannot afford to lose money every month for a long period of time, so in a down market, most of these landlords sell their property at a loss, which still sticks them with a big chunk of that loan they have to pay off. It happens once every 10 years on average during national economic downturns, but locally depending on the real estate market, it can happen more often than that. If real-estate was as safe of an investment as you're making it out to be, everyone with the credit score to do it would be. It's actually a risky, heavily competitive market where you can easily lose a ton of money.
                      The top .1% of landlords don't have to worry about risk as much because they have enough capital to cushion themselves against it, but the vast majority of people who own rental properties are not in that boat.

                      3 votes
                      1. [6]
                        moonbathers
                        Link Parent
                        I must be missing something, because it seems like a guaranteed bet. Using a personal example, I looked up the apartment building I lived in in college. It was assessed at $564,000 in value this...

                        I must be missing something, because it seems like a guaranteed bet. Using a personal example, I looked up the apartment building I lived in in college. It was assessed at $564,000 in value this year and the owner paid $13,000 in property taxes. I'll be conservative and say rent is the same as it was at the beginning of the decade, so the landlord is making $75,000 a year in rent, minus property taxes is $62,000 a year in profit. I'll guess maintenance is around $10,000 a year. That leaves $52,000 a year to put toward whatever you want if you're administering the building yourself, which isn't all that much work for that kind of money. If that's your only source of income, then yeah, it's gonna take a while to pay off, but you're still making good money working part-time.

                        4 votes
                        1. [5]
                          papasquat
                          Link Parent
                          Yes, you are missing something. Just because it's assessed at $564,000 now, doesn't mean it always will be. Your landlord is probably paying somewhere around $47,000 a year for the loan on that...

                          Yes, you are missing something. Just because it's assessed at $564,000 now, doesn't mean it always will be.

                          Your landlord is probably paying somewhere around $47,000 a year for the loan on that property. If over the course of a few years, the real estate market in your area plummets and that building is now worth $250,000, he's still on the hook for that $47,000 a year, even though he's not going to be able to charge the same amount for rent due to the lowered market. So now he's making maybe $35,000 a year in rent, and losing something around $30k a year on this property. That's in a perfect world where he's able to instantly fill all of the units in the apartment in such a turbulent market.

                          Basically, he's screwed. He can either try to tough it out and hope the market recovers (I don't know many people that can afford to lose $30k a year for any long period of time), or sell at a loss to try to settle what's left of his loan.

                          1 vote
                          1. [4]
                            moonbathers
                            Link Parent
                            How many years is this loan? And wouldn't property tax go down if the value of the building goes down? He'd still be losing money, but the difference between like $23k and $30k is enough to note....

                            Your landlord is probably paying somewhere around $47,000 a year for the loan on that property.

                            How many years is this loan? And wouldn't property tax go down if the value of the building goes down? He'd still be losing money, but the difference between like $23k and $30k is enough to note.

                            And do any major cities actually have vacancy issues aside from maybe some Rust Belt cities? In my hometown there's an issue with too few vacancies, not too many. I went looking for housing prices over time and found this: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CSUSHPINSA , which isn't perfect, but it's something. It looks like it took 8 years for the housing price index to get back to where it was when the recession started, but from the same site https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/RRVRUSQ156N , the rental vacancy rate increased from 9.8% in Q3 2007 to a peak of 11.1% in Q3 2009, which is about a ten percent increase. I don't think that's a substantial change. By the end of 2010 the vacancy rate was back to what it was before the recession.

                            No, a lot of people can't afford to lose $30k a year, but the number of people that happens to is pretty small I'd guess. It's still a safer bet for a lot less work than a regular full-time job where you work for someone else.

                            2 votes
                            1. [3]
                              papasquat
                              Link Parent
                              It's a totally hypothetical scenario to illustrate risk. Real-estate is a notoriously risky investment market. If it was a sure bet like you're making it out to be, everyone would be doing it. A...

                              It's a totally hypothetical scenario to illustrate risk. Real-estate is a notoriously risky investment market. If it was a sure bet like you're making it out to be, everyone would be doing it. A lot of middle class investors have totally ruined themselves by jumping into real-estate without knowing the risks even in decent markets because of bad tenants or shoddy research or a million other factors that go into buying buildings. It's an extremely iliquid asset with a lot of money lost on tenant churn, mortgage processing fees, taxes, maintenance and a bunch of other considerations that people investing in financial instruments don't have to deal with.

                              A lot of people have made the mistake of thinking that because real-estate has appreciated in value almost everywhere in the world regularly that real estate is a relatively safe investment without taking into consideration that things like maintenance costs, taxes, insurance, and inflation have also gone up at a fairly proportional rate. It's one of the most common fallacies among newer investors.

                              I'd suggest reading over something like this that details all of the considerations a lot better than I can.

                              2 votes
                              1. [2]
                                moonbathers
                                Link Parent
                                That's fair for if you're planning on flipping houses, but it makes no mention of renting. If you're planning on buying a house or condo to just hope that it appreciates, then yeah it's risky. But...

                                That's fair for if you're planning on flipping houses, but it makes no mention of renting. If you're planning on buying a house or condo to just hope that it appreciates, then yeah it's risky. But with renting it out, now you've got a stream of money coming in and you probably don't care much about the building's appreciation rate.

                                1. papasquat
                                  Link Parent
                                  It applies to renting also. No one buys a property for a long period of time without planning on renting it, unless it's their residence. Most of the time if you're renting a place, the rent will...

                                  It applies to renting also. No one buys a property for a long period of time without planning on renting it, unless it's their residence. Most of the time if you're renting a place, the rent will just barely cover the cost of the mortgage after all other costs, so unless the building appreciates significantly, you're not going to make any money on your investment.
                                  People who buy houses to flip generally don't care about appreciation. They're looking for bargains that they can resell at a current market value, or they're attempting to put work into the house to make it more valuable. They don't hang on to it long enough for it to appreciate significantly because they'd be losing a ton of money on interest, maintenance, and taxes if no one was renting the place.

  2. [23]
    Loire
    Link
    While it isn't the point of the article this is as good an explanation as any as why I don't subscribe to (full-blown) socialism/communism, why I don't believe in late stage capitalism, and the...

    While it isn't the point of the article this is as good an explanation as any as why I don't subscribe to (full-blown) socialism/communism, why I don't believe in late stage capitalism, and the inevitability of suffering under a capitalist system.

    Capitalism works, where it's being conducted "properly". It can improve a population's live. It's not that massive inequality and suffering, as seen in the United States, is inevitable in a capitalist system, it's that American politicians and elites have unabashedly built the system that way.

    Capitalism is working in the nordic countries. Capitalism is working in Germany. Capitalism is working in South Korea. Capitalism is working in Luxembourg and Switzerland and the Netherlands and Belgium. Capitalism is sort of working in Canada where the country doesn't succumb to Americanisms.

    American style capitalism isn't working. American style capitalism has been conciously designed as neo-feudalism.

    11 votes
    1. [8]
      vegai
      Link Parent
      Is there any non-joke system where this wouldn't be true?

      Capitalism works, where it's being conducted "properly".

      Is there any non-joke system where this wouldn't be true?

      9 votes
      1. [2]
        Liru
        Link Parent
        That depends on if you view libertarianism as a joke system or not.

        That depends on if you view libertarianism as a joke system or not.

        5 votes
        1. vegai
          Link Parent
          I'm sure there might be a way libertarianism would work too, even if I cannot immediately imagine how it would be.

          I'm sure there might be a way libertarianism would work too, even if I cannot immediately imagine how it would be.

          2 votes
      2. [5]
        Loire
        Link Parent
        It's never been proven with socialism/communism, despite repeated attempts at it.

        It's never been proven with socialism/communism, despite repeated attempts at it.

        3 votes
        1. [4]
          moonbathers
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Cuba's life expectancy and literacy rate are both on par with the United States, and has a higher high school graduation rate. Edit: Those alone don't mean their brand of not-capitalism "works",...

          Cuba's life expectancy and literacy rate are both on par with the United States, and has a higher high school graduation rate.

          Edit: Those alone don't mean their brand of not-capitalism "works", but it counts for something at the very least.

          6 votes
          1. [3]
            Loire
            Link Parent
            As is their successful healthcare system! (although the infrastructure is supposedly crumbling). Trust me, I'm not the kind to think socialism/communism is evil and what not. I just believe where...

            As is their successful healthcare system! (although the infrastructure is supposedly crumbling).

            Trust me, I'm not the kind to think socialism/communism is evil and what not. I just believe where it's been conducted properly capitalism has proven itself the most effective at improving the lives of the people.

            7 votes
            1. [2]
              vegai
              Link Parent
              What would capitalism be today if socialism had never been discovered? I think it's quite clear that a significant amount of social progress has roots in socialism.

              I just believe where it's been conducted properly capitalism has proven itself the most effective at improving the lives of the people.

              What would capitalism be today if socialism had never been discovered? I think it's quite clear that a significant amount of social progress has roots in socialism.

              13 votes
              1. tlalexander
                Link Parent
                Agreed. The “capitalism” we have today comes after over a century of fighting for workers rights. And many of the problems we have come from the erosion of those socialist protections. Though the...

                Agreed. The “capitalism” we have today comes after over a century of fighting for workers rights. And many of the problems we have come from the erosion of those socialist protections. Though the story for this article highlights a capitalism with those socialist protections... which in my mind shows why a mixture of socialism and capitalism is what is working there.

                7 votes
    2. [13]
      thundergolfer
      Link Parent
      Let's think about how we draw boundaries on this "population". What if it was say, the whole world that must be considered the population that capitalism must support? Are you aware that those...

      It can improve a population's live

      Let's think about how we draw boundaries on this "population". What if it was say, the whole world that must be considered the population that capitalism must support?

      Capitalism is working in the nordic countries. Capitalism is working in Germany. Capitalism is working in South Korea. Capitalism is working in Luxembourg and Switzerland and the Netherlands and Belgium. Capitalism is sort of working in Canada where the country doesn't succumb to Americanisms.

      Are you aware that those countries have built a lot of their wealth by extracting (some say stealing) it from the global south? Yes if you're lucky enough to live those particular countries you listed above, and if you're in at least middle class (ie. not poor) then yeah, it's not bad. But what about literally everyone else who is affected by the capitalism being practiced? What about the hundreds of millions of people that will become food insecure because capitalism caused climate change and still now has a role in preventing climate action? Do we just ignore those people when considering how well capitalism does?

      The global south is not magically separate from the capitalist nations that interacted with them (and in many cases colonised and subjugated them). Those nations are also part of the capitalist system and capitalism has really really sucked for them in comparison to people in Germany or the Netherlands or Belgium.

      9 votes
      1. [10]
        Loire
        Link Parent
        Ah yes the well known colonizer's and resource exploiters Canada, Norway, and Finland. Capitalism didn't cause climate change. Human advancement caused climate change. Are you seriously going to...

        Are you aware that those countries have built a lot of their wealth by extracting (some say stealing) it from the global south?

        Ah yes the well known colonizer's and resource exploiters Canada, Norway, and Finland.

        What about the hundreds of millions of people that will become food insecure because capitalism caused climate change

        Capitalism didn't cause climate change. Human advancement caused climate change. Are you seriously going to try and argue a dominantly socialist world would not have made use of carbon energy sources to industrialize?

        2 votes
        1. [3]
          Sunward
          Link Parent
          I don't think this sarcasm is helpful or contributes to the discussion. I'm not going to try to argue that a primarily socialist world wouldn't have used carbon-emitting energy sources to...

          Ah yes the well known colonizer's and resource exploiters Canada, Norway, and Finland.

          I don't think this sarcasm is helpful or contributes to the discussion.

          Capitalism didn't cause climate change. Human advancement caused climate change. Are you seriously going to try and argue a dominantly socialist world would not have made use of carbon energy sources to industrialize?

          I'm not going to try to argue that a primarily socialist world wouldn't have used carbon-emitting energy sources to industrialize (I'm also not the OP, so I can't say that that is actually the entirety of their argument). However, I would point out that, while "capitalism caused climate change" might be somewhat facile and un-nuanced on the one hand, on the other hand a "growth at all costs and damn the externalities" mindset tends to go hand-in-hand with capitalism, especially in the last 40-50 years or so, and carbon emissions (and their effect on the climate) are one such externality that, absent measures like carbon taxes, tend to be ignored by participants in capitalist economies. Of course, socialist economies could easily fall victim to that same indifferent mindset, but presumably in a world where the workers own the means of production, attitudes would be more collectivist and everyone would feel a sense of responsibility for keeping the planet habitable, even at the cost of slowing growth and innovation; after all, what good is a newer, better, faster widget if the planet's going to be too hot for anyone who would use it to live on?

          9 votes
          1. [2]
            Loire
            Link Parent
            The sarcasm is warranted because the argument is (unintentionally) disingenuous. Just like the "America is the cause of all ills in the world" argument it takes a half truth in order to provoke an...

            I don't think this sarcasm is helpful or contributes to the discussion.

            The sarcasm is warranted because the argument is (unintentionally) disingenuous. Just like the "America is the cause of all ills in the world" argument it takes a half truth in order to provoke an emotional response to a nuanced issue. The majority of the "global south" as it's being referred to here has historical issues that long outdate modern capitalism/globalism, or issues that "successful" nations faced within their own history and overcame with better results. It also ignores traditional "global south" nations that overcame that label and became successful within the capitalist system, while also ignoring "global north" (i.e. European) nations that have failed despite positions of power.

            The most obvious answer is China. A socialist nation that wallowed in abject poverty until their turn to capitalism which has turned them into a global superpower and the second strongest, soon to be strongest economy in the world. China was at one time exactly the sort of nation OP would have referred to as "the global south" and now they have risen to striking distance of most powerful nation on earth. It just doesn't fit the model.

            Another example is comparing Colombia to Venezuela. Both are very similar cultures with very similar people. Hell, they were founded as a single country. Now they serve as a perfect little dichotomy of two different political/economic paths. Colombia is a well run and relatively succesful capitalist nation. Venezuela is inarguably a failed state of its own making.

            Yes western nations, especially the US, have played their part in exploiting foreign resources, but it's not the glass ceiling to advancement some people would argue.

            But none of what I just said will make a single difference to type of person that drops the argument the OP made because, as I side, they are beyond the nuance of the situation. Venezuela, was destroyed by the U.S. not of its own actions. The entirety of the African continent continues to struggle entirely because of European colonizers, that's just the way it is. There's no discussion to be had and so why waste the 15 minutes I just wasted typing out this comment, or god forbid, the hours it would take to go through each and every example with the proper detail it deserves?

            Of course, socialist economies could easily fall victim to that same indifferent mindset, but presumably in a world where the workers own the means of production, attitudes would be more collectivist and everyone would feel a sense of responsibility for keeping the planet habitable, even at the cost of slowing growth and innovation; after all, what good is a newer, better, faster widget if the planet's going to be too hot for anyone who would use it to live on?

            I genuinely fail to see how a dominantly socialist culture would be different from our own in this example, should they have made their society dependant on fossil fuels like we have. The inertia against green proposals isn't jist about making more money. Hell, there is insane profit in being the corporations that produce the green industries of the future. The problem is that we have created so much momentum in one direction that stopping the train has become simply unimaginable to a significant population of people. Genuinely consider every aspect of your life and how dependant it is on fossil fuels. Your heat, your electricity, your plastics, your medicine, your makeup, your food, your water. Literally every single aspect of our lives is touched by fossil fuels, and now we need to turn that off.

            A collectivist society would be facing the exact same dependencies.

            3 votes
            1. Sunward
              Link Parent
              The point was, maybe they wouldn't have. Insofar as I'm invested in this debate at all, it's mostly as devil's advocate for the "capitalism really is the source of all the world's ills" side...

              I genuinely fail to see how a dominantly socialist culture would be different from our own in this example, should they have made their society dependant on fossil fuels like we have.

              The point was, maybe they wouldn't have. Insofar as I'm invested in this debate at all, it's mostly as devil's advocate for the "capitalism really is the source of all the world's ills" side (though I am no fan of capitalism either, especially the barely-regulated form that we now live under). At the same time, I don't think it's that "out there" to suggest that that's not too far off the mark. Since fossil fuels have become the main thrust of this conversation, let's use them as the poster child for malignant capitalism: look at all the fossil fuel companies who secretly funded climate change denialists even as their own scientists were sounding the alarm internally about climate change. Shell, ExxonMobil, BP, and their ilk could have been funding research into sustainable and renewable energy technology decades ago and spearheaded a more gradual transition when it might have made a bigger difference in the warming we and future generations will experience, but they didn't, because the ROI on making it seem like it was A-OK to keep burning dinosaurs was higher. They're only pivoting to renewables now because, as you say, there is profit in it. Ultimately, my point is that a system that prioritizes ill-defined "growth", and profit, over all else--even over preservation of the environment (both literal and metaphorical) that makes that growth possible--is what got us into the mess we're currently in. I think it's telling that it's difficult--for either of us--to even coherently imagine a world where the highest priority is keeping the world livable (in all senses of the world).

              1 vote
        2. [5]
          sinyavitsa
          Link Parent
          A Canadian company currently extracts practically all the gold in my country, while giving the government 1.5% of the value of the extracted metals. So yes, even your "woke" western countries...

          Ah yes the well known colonizer's and resource exploiters Canada, Norway, and Finland.

          A Canadian company currently extracts practically all the gold in my country, while giving the government 1.5% of the value of the extracted metals. So yes, even your "woke" western countries actively participate in imperialism around the world, robbing poorer countries out of their resources.

          6 votes
          1. [4]
            Loire
            Link Parent
            Which company and which country? Seventy five percent of the worlds mining companies are based in Canada due to favourable tax laws. That doesn't mean they are owned or staffed by Canadians nor...

            Which company and which country?

            Seventy five percent of the worlds mining companies are based in Canada due to favourable tax laws. That doesn't mean they are owned or staffed by Canadians nor does that mean the profits are going to Canada. They are no more Canadian than Microsoft and Google are Irish, it's a tax evasion scheme.

            1. [3]
              sinyavitsa
              Link Parent
              Dundee Precious Metals, Bulgaria. The Dundee Corporation was founded by now 82 yo Canadian entrepreneur Ned Goodman, who even frickin got the Order of Canada in 2016 - one of "only 113 Canadians...

              Dundee Precious Metals, Bulgaria.
              The Dundee Corporation was founded by now 82 yo Canadian entrepreneur Ned Goodman, who even frickin got the Order of Canada in 2016 - one of "only 113 Canadians to be recognized with the country's highest civilian honors." So yeah profits are definitively going to Canada and the Canadian government is apparently proud with the outstanding work of this citizen.

              5 votes
              1. [2]
                Loire
                Link Parent
                Reuters is telling me the country gets over 7.5%, as well as a 25% stake in the processing facility. Are you sure about your numbers?

                Reuters is telling me the country gets over 7.5%, as well as a 25% stake in the processing facility. Are you sure about your numbers?

                1. sinyavitsa
                  Link Parent
                  The Reuters article is from 2008. Here's an article from 2017 by Capital (it's probably the most trustworthy Bulgarian newspaper) which you can run through chrome's translator....

                  The Reuters article is from 2008. Here's an article from 2017 by Capital (it's probably the most trustworthy Bulgarian newspaper) which you can run through chrome's translator.

                  https://www.capital.bg/politika_i_ikonomika/bulgaria/2017/12/04/3090854_durjavata_se_opitva_da_promeni_koncesiiata_za_zlatoto/

                  "The agreement provided for the state to enter into the project with a minority stake, a 50% reduction in the concession fee and the company to start paying according to a new ordinance adopted in 2007, ie. between 2 and 8% of the value of the metals in the ores extracted. However, the environmental impact assessment was appealed by non-governmental organizations and overturned by the Supreme Administrative Court.

                  How much it currently pays
                  DPM Chelopech pays 1.5% of the value of the metals in the ore extracted, which the Court of Auditors notes is within the statutory limits."

                  So yeah nothing happened. Even if it did end up paying 8% that's practically nothing as well. Our democracy is in shambles and you bet western corporations are going to take advantage of that.

                  3 votes
        3. thundergolfer
          Link Parent
          Even if those countries didn’t actively partake in the colonising, their economies obviously participate in and benefit from the wider system that does, yes? No I would not argue that, but...

          Even if those countries didn’t actively partake in the colonising, their economies obviously participate in and benefit from the wider system that does, yes?

          No I would not argue that, but unsustainable growth and resource consumption is a feature of our Capitalism. Also you’ve leapt to considering Capitalism against some hypothetical alternative socialist world order. We don’t need to do that to criticise Capitalism’s role in Climate Change.

          I guess you agree though that it is a force actively preventing climate action? I said that too.

          5 votes
      2. [2]
        papasquat
        Link Parent
        I'd rather be poor in those countries than anywhere else in the world, so adding the caveat "if you're not poor" is meaningless without a basis for comparison. Being poor is not fun anywhere in...

        I'd rather be poor in those countries than anywhere else in the world, so adding the caveat "if you're not poor" is meaningless without a basis for comparison. Being poor is not fun anywhere in the world. It's much less fun in 99% of other countries.

        1. thundergolfer
          Link Parent
          Of course, that’s a clarification . I was pointing out that this “population” that Capitalism is “working” for is actually quite exclusive. If you’re poor in a Capitalist country im not...

          Of course, that’s a clarification . I was pointing out that this “population” that Capitalism is “working” for is actually quite exclusive. If you’re poor in a Capitalist country im not comfortable saying it’s still “working” for you just because you are doing a better than other foreigners also under the system.

          But yes, they are better off and it isn’t taken for granted. It’s not any reason to be contented, however.

          5 votes
    3. archevel
      Link Parent
      I think there's some distinctions to be made with "X is working in Y". No matter if X is capitalism, socialism, or even an authoritarian dictatorship. Systems always works for some subset of...

      I think there's some distinctions to be made with "X is working in Y". No matter if X is capitalism, socialism, or even an authoritarian dictatorship. Systems always works for some subset of people. They also always work until they don't. So you could say that communism (depending on your definition of communism) works in China. It is still around. It benefits some part of the Chinese population. The question is: a) who benefits from the current system? And b) can we do better?

      4 votes
  3. Eric_the_Cerise
    Link
    Very explicit, personal, hands-on comparison between US and Finland, by Americans who moved there. A good read, especially for anyone who still buys the "US capitalism over Scandinavian socialism"...

    Very explicit, personal, hands-on comparison between US and Finland, by Americans who moved there. A good read, especially for anyone who still buys the "US capitalism over Scandinavian socialism" story.

    10 votes