12 votes

Is the human race ever going to desist from putting profit over people?

Are we ever going to stop profiting off misery of our own kind?

12 comments

  1. Staross
    Link
    I'm not sure the human race is doing anything ; there's plenty of individuals that puts people over profit, and others that don't. It's a political struggle and the balance might shift one way or...

    I'm not sure the human race is doing anything ; there's plenty of individuals that puts people over profit, and others that don't. It's a political struggle and the balance might shift one way or the other, but I don't see a reason why it couldn't go more in people direction.

    9 votes
  2. [5]
    patience_limited
    Link
    Game theory and evolutionary studies show that there will be competitors (individual profit seekers) and cooperators in coexistence with each other. It's unlikely, and potentially bad (like...

    Game theory and evolutionary studies show that there will be competitors (individual profit seekers) and cooperators in coexistence with each other. It's unlikely, and potentially bad (like eventual extinction-type bad), for either group to eradicate the other completely. Complete cooperation is the stasis of the beehive; complete competition is the stasis of the shark. Even though both have persisted for millions of years, neither can adapt quickly enough to the rapid pace of change a catastrophic event (like humanity) can inflict.

    In humans, at least, neither state is permanent; people can shift from one group to the other, and most of us have already seen this simulation. The trick is to contain the damage that a small number of profit-seeking competitors, or totalizing cooperators, can inflict before they take over the system.

    8 votes
    1. [4]
      modern_prometheus
      Link Parent
      The problem with this paradigm lies in the fact that it effectively reduces people to being either completely egotistical or completely selfless, neither of which is, or at least shouldn't be,...

      The problem with this paradigm lies in the fact that it effectively reduces people to being either completely egotistical or completely selfless, neither of which is, or at least shouldn't be, true. But I guess our inability to acknowledge this had led us to become caricatures of ourselves, which explains the exacerbated decadent state of the world.

      2 votes
      1. Loire
        Link Parent
        You hit something on the head here that I would like to add on to. With the growing anti-capitalist movement there is a lot of conflation of egotistical behaviour endemic to our current culture...

        But I guess our inability to acknowledge this had led us to become caricatures of ourselves, which explains the exacerbated decadent state of the world.

        You hit something on the head here that I would like to add on to.

        With the growing anti-capitalist movement there is a lot of conflation of egotistical behaviour endemic to our current culture with the conceot of "profits". In reality, at least I believe, the issue is not so much to pursuit of profit but the decaying sense of community and empathy fostered by the Reaganesque neoliberal movement.

        Competition is healthy for a society. Competition breeds improvement and advancement. "Profits" are an end result of competition in the market. Profit is usually an indication of a successful business/product. But what is the point of profits if they aren't spread to everyone within that company? From the CEO to the machinist on the floor, each member of that corporate community played a part in those profits, and by spreading the wealth you ensure continued cooperation between that community towards further improvment and success.

        One could even argue that profits are good for the larger community when corporations pay their taxes. Higher net = more revenue for the government.

        This Gordon Gecko "Greed is Good" society we've created where Jeff Bezos can accrue a net worth of 115 billion dollars and pay the employees, essential to Amazon's success, peanuts. Where American companies that do the majority of their business in America can easily dodge their taxes and are essentially encouraged to do so. This isn't strictly about profits, its about sociopathic individual gain at the expense of all else. It's about abusing your community for your own benefit. These people have become completely egotistical.

        You can have profit in an equitable corporate set up. Hell you can have "profit" even if the workers own the means of production. The decadent state of the world and how we encourage it is the core of the problem.

        7 votes
      2. [2]
        patience_limited
        Link Parent
        The paradigm doesn't do that; it's capable of accommodating context-dependence, e.g. selflessness with family, selfishness outside the clan or for the clan's benefit. All these models coexist with...

        The paradigm doesn't do that; it's capable of accommodating context-dependence, e.g. selflessness with family, selfishness outside the clan or for the clan's benefit.

        All these models coexist with each other, but we can't effectively stamp out profit and demand cooperation in all contexts.

        1 vote
        1. modern_prometheus
          Link Parent
          Well, how considerate of your model to make such accomodations! You don't need to trump the individual to strenghten the whole of humanity, in fact attempting to do so would be counterproductive....

          The paradigm doesn't do that; it's capable of accommodating context-dependence, e.g. selflessness with family, selfishness outside the clan or for the clan's benefit.

          Well, how considerate of your model to make such accomodations!

          All these models coexist with each other, but we can't effectively stamp out profit and demand cooperation in all contexts.

          You don't need to trump the individual to strenghten the whole of humanity, in fact attempting to do so would be counterproductive. The point is that letting the tasteless individual run amok is destined to fail too, for they will dedicate their efforts to insipid pursuits.

  3. JamesTeaKirk
    Link
    I think so much of this has to do with accountability. Modern day corporations have little to no reason to not be sociopathic in their pursuit of growth. There's a clip going around where a young...

    I think so much of this has to do with accountability. Modern day corporations have little to no reason to not be sociopathic in their pursuit of growth. There's a clip going around where a young Michael Moore brings up this point to Milton Friedman. He points out a real world case where Ford made a calculation that led them to knowingly allow hundreds of people to die because the cost of allowing it was less than the cost of fixing a defect ($13 per car). Friedman's response is that the company should be punished by the courts to discourage them from doing this in the future.

    I'm unsure if Friedman was not understanding the point or if he was intentionally deflecting it. Ford baked the potential court fees into their calculation and figured it would be easier to deal with the deaths than to fix their car. They can do this because no one is personally accountable for what a corporation does.

    Here's the clip on YT

    5 votes
  4. [4]
    mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    Yes. Humankind is now vastly better than in other historical periods. We’re increasing our empathy for all races and non-human sentient creatures. Things that are now localized, such as slavery...

    Yes. Humankind is now vastly better than in other historical periods. We’re increasing our empathy for all races and non-human sentient creatures. Things that are now localized, such as slavery and child labor, were once universally accepted.

    Remember: the lamp is brighter right before it explodes (that’s Dragon Ball Z BTW). All the hate were seeing is the desperation of those that know, deep down, that history will surpass them.

    2 votes
    1. [3]
      Staross
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Arguably the balance shifted more towards profit since the neo-liberal revolution. In France for example a lot of things have been privatized since the 80s ; things that were public services with...

      Arguably the balance shifted more towards profit since the neo-liberal revolution. In France for example a lot of things have been privatized since the 80s ; things that were public services with explicit aims to serve the people became for profit organizations.

      I think also in the past profit wasn't necessarily the main motivation, for example Christianity was a huge force that had it's own logic, we do live in a time were material profit is explicitly touted as the ultimate goal.

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        mrbig
        Link Parent
        That’s a political shift, they come and go like the tides. I’m talking about an overall shift towards a broader spectrum of empathy. That’s more about ethics than it is about politics.

        That’s a political shift, they come and go like the tides. I’m talking about an overall shift towards a broader spectrum of empathy. That’s more about ethics than it is about politics.

        3 votes
        1. Staross
          Link Parent
          I agree there's been some progress on that front.

          I agree there's been some progress on that front.

          1 vote
  5. Kuromantis
    Link
    It's not really 'the human race', it's really only a few tens of thousands of rich businesspeople using their wealth to gain more wealth via politics and the rest of us are either going along...

    It's not really 'the human race', it's really only a few tens of thousands of rich businesspeople using their wealth to gain more wealth via politics and the rest of us are either going along because of:

    Their political parties have tied some other ideological thing you like into their party (see every conservative party who also likes privatization for some reason)

    We (as in the human race) read the news they broadcast and don't hear what you do (see everyone who watches cable/TV news)

    Are too focused on our own lives to sit down and think about it

    Just don't know about it because we weren't taught about it on school

    Just don't know what to do about it (Those politicians are not chosen by democratic processes and will kill you in a heartbeat, or corruption is too 'occulted' for you to trust anyone who's been there for more than 5 years or you have no better solution to it or you can't fund a grassroots candidacy, see a lot of Latin America, the middle east, Africa and South/Southeast Asia)

    That or we're doing something.

    2 votes