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Forum Post: The Power of Community

Posted 9 months ago on July 26, 2013, 6:20 p.m. EST by TikiJ (-38)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

http://www.wsvn.com/news/articles/local/21011197043166/clinic-offering-free-healthcare-for-needy/

All it takes is community. People getting together and addressing the needs of the their neighbors.

Very simple.

48 Comments

48 Comments


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[-] 4 points by itsmyblood (10) 8 months ago

community is what it is all about at a base level we must restore community.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20509) 9 months ago

The problem with charity is that it puts people at the mercy of others. It's a power relationship that puts one person over another. In my opinion, we don't need charity, we need fairness and we need a social contract that is fulfilled.

I'm not saying it is not good to be charitable, but we shouldn't have people in this country needing so much charity. We should have an economic system that works for all people in the first place.

[-] 2 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 9 months ago

Completely agree. We just need a fair economic system. People shouldn't have to ask anyone for charity.

However, unless we organize around implementing a fair economic system, that is never going to happen. And unfortunately, OWS is only interested in protesting, it is not interest in organizing around implementing some solution that makes the economy fair.

I believe the solution that OWS should advocate is what Professors Gar Alperovitz and Richard Wolff advocate which is to get the fed to provide "democratic firms" the same amount of money it has provided capitalist firms. These democratic firms would be a network of companies where you had a right to a job, you were equal owners and where revenue was shared between the entire network of companies so that differences in income were limited to only what is necessary for income to be an effective incentive.

If it limited top workers to getting paid no more than 10 times the lowest worker, that would pay workers from $100k to $1 million per year, enough to make every worker wealthy.

That would solve our economic problems and when you solve the economic problem you solve nearly every social problem.

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (20509) 8 months ago

I think that all makes a lot of sense. Alperovitz and Wolff are forward thinking economists, they are not stuck in the mud of the past.

[-] 2 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 8 months ago

Labor owned firms is actually a very old idea. It is also called socialism.

Since socialism has been the subject of a century of propaganda, its definition has become quite clouded. But it just means labor owns the means of production. Socialism was a labor movement that protested the fact that capitalism was a system that exploits workers by only paying them a portion of what they produce (the remaining portion was paid to capital owners). In order to put an end to that exploitation, they needed to take ownership of the means of production.

American libertarian socialist Benjamin Tucker defines socialism as a system where workers get paid the full value of what they produce.

It's summed up in the socialist slogan, "To each according to their contribution" which means income in the economy is allocated based on how much labor you contribute.

Socialism is defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary as, "a stage of society in Marxist theory between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done."

Karl Marx in Critique of the Gotha Program wrote, "the individual producer receives back from society...exactly what he gives to it. What he has given to it is his individual quantum of labor."

In other words, the only fair economic system is one which pays all income to workers since they do all the work. In capitalism, half of all income is paid to capital owners, the other half is paid to workers. In order to pay 100% of the income to workers, workers must be the owners.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (20509) 8 months ago

Gee, I think it might be more than half of all income is paid to capital owners. But, very well said, DTGL.

I had a conversation with someone today about the fast food strikes in NYC. The person said, well what do you do with workers who are unskilled and doing menial work? I said, well, you share the profits with them. You don't hoard all the profits at the top.

Wages don't have to based merely on skill set. That is very silly. Wages should be set by how much profit the labor is creating and a fair allocation of that profit. Wages should be set so that human beings, actual living, breathing people can live and raise their families.

We need a sweeping change to the way we value labor in this country.

[-] -2 points by Stuffsnotfree (-18) 9 months ago

Rather than demanding the good life, why not earn it?

I'd like to have the easiest, lowest stress job possible if you're going to guarantee me $100k per year and limit my upside from trying harder. I'm thinking maybe a job just leisurely sorting books or something at a library. Problem solved! LOL.

[-] 5 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 9 months ago

"Rather than demanding the good life, why not earn it?"

How do you define earning it?

The good life is living in an economic system where the only way you can get paid is by earning it. And earning it is defined as working hard.

I want people to demand that we get an economic system where you can only get paid for working and the amount you are paid is based on how physically or mentally difficult the job is and based on how you perform in performance based jobs.

That economic system is called democratic market socialism.

Capitalism does not define earning it as how hard you work.

In capitalism, you can get paid millions and billions for being born into a rich family.

And in capitalism, half of all income is paid to owners of capital, as shown here, who do no work at all. And the amount they get paid is based on how lucky they are gambling their investments.

The half that is actually paid to workers is allocated through the market. So you are paid based on how scarce you are, not on how hard you work. It is why Kim Kardashian gets paid hundreds of times what a brain surgeon gets paid.

So in capitalism you earn money based on what family you are born into, how rich you are (how much capital you have), how lucky you are or how scarce you are.

If you are interested in how an economic system based on how hard you work would run, read this short post or google Professors Gar Alperovitz and Richard Wolff.

.

People should demand that the fed provide just as much money to democratic firms as it does to capitalist firms. The fed should provide whatever investment money is necessary to launch enough new companies to fully employ everyone who wants to work for a democratic firm.

In the democratic sector, every worker is an equal, democratic owner, you can only get paid by working, and differences in income would be limited to only what is necessary to get people to work difficult jobs and to give their maximum performance in performance based jobs.

This will give workers the freedom to choose whether they want to work for a capitalist firm in the capitalist sector where you get paid based on how rich, lucky or scare you are or for a democratic firm in the democratic sector where you get paid based on how hard you work.

Competition is good and this will force the capitalist sector to have to compete with the democratic sector for workers; capitalism currently has a monopoly on the world economic system.

.

"I'd like to have the easiest, lowest stress job possible if you're going to guarantee me $100k per year and limit my upside from trying harder"

You are not limited to making more for working harder. Working harder will enable you to earn 10 times more income.

.

"I'm thinking maybe a job just leisurely sorting books or something at a library."

You can only get hired in jobs people are willing to hire you for.

Only in capitalism do you find tens of millions doing pointless jobs like that.

In a socialist system, the goal is to free you from menial labor. Half the jobs we currently do can be automated with existing technology, as explained here. In a socialist system, you would get paid to go to school just like you got paid to work a job. You wouldn't have to waste your life doing such a pointless job.

[-] -1 points by Stuffsnotfree (-18) 9 months ago

So, if I "work hard" at something no one cares about, I'll still get paid well? Who'll be in charge of the "hard-o-meter" that will judge how hard something is and therefore how much it'll pay?

If I dig a ditch by hand because it's harder than using a shovel, can I get a raise in your world?

So, I just gotta ask: If you're setting the wages, but then allowing people to have the freedom in not hiring, why wouldn't we have mass unemployment because so many things simply aren't worth $100k per year? Do you have no idea how an economy functions?

Capitalism is prevalent only because the other approaches, approaches like yours, have imploded and proved to be poverty machines.

[-] 4 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 9 months ago

"So, if I "work hard" at something no one cares about, I'll still get paid well?"

No. Goods and services are allocated through the market. So companies must remain profitable. You must produce something people are willing to buy at a price they are willing to pay.

.

"Who'll be in charge of the "hard-o-meter" that will judge how hard something is and therefore how much it'll pay?"

You can get the details of how income is allocated in this comment.

In short, the law would limit differences between incomes to only what is necessary to get people to do physically or mentally hard jobs and give their maximum performance in performance based jobs.

The actual, specific allocation plan will be democratically approved by every worker in the democratic sector. If, for example, a plan was somehow approved that paid baseball players 50 times more than others and you can demonstrate that it is not necessary to pay workers 50 times more than the lowest paid worker to get people to play baseball, you could challenge that in court.

So that would be a check on the democratic process just like the constitution is a check on our current democratic process.

Mondragon is probably the most successful example of this kind of system. They are a collection of 250 companies with 100,000 workers who are all equal owners. The highest paid worker gets paid 8 times more than the lowest.

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"If I dig a ditch by hand because it's harder than using a shovel, can I get a raise in your world?"

Physical labor would likely all get paid the same. But I suppose you could have different levels of physical labor.

However, since companies must remain profitable and managers of companies will be paid based on how successful their company is, they would likely not pay you to dig by hand since that would be less efficient than using a shovel.

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"So, I just gotta ask: If you're setting the wages, but then allowing people to have the freedom in not hiring, why wouldn't we have mass unemployment"

We will never run out of work to do. Ideally, the fed would provide whatever investment money is necessary to launch enough new companies (or expand existing ones) to fully employ everyone who wanted to work.

.

"because so many things simply aren't worth $100k per year?"

You will only be employed in producing things that people are willing to buy at price they are willing to pay. If nobody buys what you produce, the company will go bankrupt and you will get a job producing something else that consumers are willing to buy.

.

" Do you have no idea how an economy functions?"

I went to business school, worked for the fed, worked as an investment banker, owned several companies and am currently getting a phd in economics. So I have a pretty good idea.

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"Capitalism is prevalent only because the other approaches, approaches like yours, have imploded and proved to be poverty machines."

What I advocate is proven to be successful.

Mondragon has been operating successfully for 50 years.

The University of Maryland's economics department has been studying the success of thousands of labor-owned firms in the US (or pick up Gar Alperovitz's latest book).

.

Capitalism has been the proven poverty machine.

Nearly the entire world is capitalist and nearly the entire world lives in abject poverty.

Half the world lives on less than $2.50 per day and 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.

In the US, after 200+ years of industrializing, thanks to capitalism, it still has 50% of the population living in or near poverty, and 50% of wage earners making less than $26k, and 18% of all available workers unable to find a full-time job, and 55% of the people who do work being wasted by having them do pointless jobs that machines can already do.

It can't even do the simple task of housing all our kids. 1800 kids, from just one Florida county alone, are living in cars. And 1 million kids nationwide are homeless.

According to Pew Research, nearly everyone (92%) is dissatisfied with the economy, 70% have financial problems, 54% of households have somone who is unemployed, 36% of workers have been laid off or given reduced hours, 26% have trouble paying for their medical care, and 24% have trouble making rent or their mortgage.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 9 months ago

Why waste so much energy on such an obvious shill as Stuffsnotfree ?

[-] 4 points by Phanya2011 (908) from Tucson, AZ 8 months ago

I, for one, was very happy to see the response to all of Stuff's stuff. It clarifies the idea when it is set forth in response to an ignorant person's questions. I, too, am an ignorant person as I have been spoonfed all the lies over the decades. It took me a long time just to get to "ignorant" from "misinformed" :) This sounds exciting and possible.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 8 months ago

Yep it is good to see jerks shot down with facts. Though it can get tiring after a couple years of the same BS spewed out by the same shill that refuses to go away.

[-] 3 points by Phanya2011 (908) from Tucson, AZ 8 months ago

It is a view of many people, and some may start out cheering his "shooting down" another theory, but others may already be questioning their programming and see the value in a new approach. The same person presenting the argument is not a problem, because it shows that the same argument is set forth for every new idea presented, thus exposing each new idea to some who may never read it but for the opposition.

[-] 3 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 9 months ago

I'm sure he or she learned a few new things

[-] 3 points by Phanya2011 (908) from Tucson, AZ 8 months ago

A quote from the interview of Alperovitz: The tough part often is we don’t want to talk to people who we think can’t hear, and in my experience, that’s often our problem, not theirs.

[-] 3 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 9 months ago

Well if not maybe someone else who was looking in.

[-] -1 points by Stuffsnotfree (-18) 9 months ago

But even the poor in the United States are vastly better off than billions of others on earth. You talk about a small number of kids in cars in Florida. Do you have any idea of how many people in the world would love to be one of those kids? You wouldn't. I wouldn't. But billions would.

Also, the United States has large immigration of destitute people without any real skills, education, or an ability to speak English. Liberals defend this all day long. Immigration is a poverty machine, friend.

You can add illegitimacy, for example, to that as well. But even with a raging 73% illegitimacy rate decimating the prospects of the black community, poverty pimps like Jesse Jackson still have too much personally to gain by playing race politics. That has nothing to do with capitalism.

If you make even the smallest set of good personal decisions, your chances of being poor in the US go to hardly anything (don't drop a kid out of marriage, finish school, don't commit crime, etc.). Add to that a few higher order traits like a minimal capacity to delay gratification and you're in good shape. Those are simple facts.

Regarding the rest of the world, poverty has been falling at an incredible rate. China has lifted hundreds of millions by adopting more of our system. Africa too is starting an ascent. It's fun to watch the world wake up and join us. Mostly, they're recovering from control economy policies like those you advocate, but that have failed comprehensively.

[-] 2 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 9 months ago

You have a bizarre sense of what is good if you think an economic system that produces massive poverty is good. Being poor but not as poor as someone else is not an accomplishment! You are still poor. It is still a failure of the economic system.

There should be no poverty. If workers did not get exploited and they got paid the full product of their labor without having to pay half of it to owners of capital and most of what's left over to the scarce workers, none of them would be poor. They would all be wealthy.

Workers should have the freedom to choose to work in a capitalist firm where half are poor or a democratic firm where 100% are wealthy. If they were given that choice, there would no longer be any capitalist firms because capitalist firms would no longer be able to profit off of the exploitation of workers.

[-] -2 points by Stuffsnotfree (-18) 9 months ago

Our system has provided the highest standard of living in the history of humanity. Countries that emulate our system also tend to elevate living conditions, typically enormously. That's simply the record.

Countries that pursue collectivist command policies, which is what you're talking about, have a miserable track record. It really isn't hypothetical; the live examples of utter failure are there for you. Are you so isolated in academia that you don't know that?

You ignore the basic fact the even American "poor" are envied by billions. Objective things exist that show us this is true. American poor almost universally have access to clean water, sanitation, safe and abundant food (if you want to dispute this one, show me the underweight people in the US), healthcare (even poor children are born in world class hospitals in the US), shelter, basic social order, electricity, and even television. Most homeless in the US aren't homeless because of "poverty" and capitalism, they're homeless because of addiction, mental illness, and other pathologies. That's not the case in India, for example. People crap outside in the open because they're genuinely poor living in what has for the most part been a command economy. Come on, these are simple facts. You're an educated person, don't you know these things?

With completely open borders, what do you suppose would happen? Almost no one would leave the US and billions would line up to move here. Why? Are they all just crazy? Why would people want to move here to be exploited as you say? Why would probably half of Cuba empty out into Florida if we and they let it happen? Are they just nuts having not heard your theories or do they know something that your isolation has kept from you?

[-] 3 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 9 months ago

If you want to be poor and envied, you should have the freedom to work in a capitalist system.

If you want to be wealthy, envied by nobody, and know that everyone else has the same opportunity as you, you should be free to work in a democratic system.

A democratic system is not a command economy. Your other claims are similarly inaccurate.

[-] -3 points by Stuffsnotfree (-18) 9 months ago

It isn't about wanting to be poor and envied. It's about your lack or perspective and not understanding that even failure in the US is success for billions of people elsewhere in the world. You're educated enough where you should know that by now.

The system you talk about is too a command economy. Well, unless you're about purely some fantasy system that denies human behavior and that's never occurred in history (for a reason).

Universities should be places for legitimate research and discovery, not mere loon nests for cranks with already massively disproven ideologies.

I remember the PSO back in college. They seemed nuts at the time. Then the Soviet Union fell apart, exposing it for the facade of lies it always was. Then Cuba collapsed without its sugar daddy. Then Eastern Europe began to prosper. Then China turned to liberalization and hundreds of millions were lifted out of poverty. Then India started to steer a little towards a market economy and improvements began. All of it was water off a duck for the PSO. Gotta at least give them credit for persistence, even in the midst of crushing reality. But after all that, they aren't just nuts, they're certifiable.

[-] 3 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 8 months ago

Like I said, if you define success as being poor but just not as poor as someone else, you should be free to participate in that system.

Most probably do not define that as success and would prefer a more fair arrangement that actually works.

A command economy is the opposite of a market economy. I advocate a market economy. You do not have your terms straight.

What I advocate works and exists. Read the comments I left again. I explained this already.

[+] -4 points by Stuffsnotfree (-18) 8 months ago

The only way your "economy" could happen is by force, that is command. History shows that. What you advocate doesn't exist other than in some minuscule example that you provided.

You call our system a failure by citing our poor. My point is that even failure in our system (what you call failure) is success compared to elsewhere. It puts your concept of failure and criticism of our system into a much needed context.

[-] 2 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 8 months ago

"The only way your "economy" could happen is by force, that is command"

A command economy is not implementing an economy by force.

A command economy is an economic system where the allocation of goods and services are decided by some central authority. It is the opposite of a market economy where the allocation of goods and services are decided by consumers.

I advocate a market economy.

.

"by force...History shows that."

The history of democratic firms that I mentioned were all implemented without the use of force. So you are wrong on your history.

I do not advocate that we storm the gates of the fed with guns and force them to fund democratic firms. I advocate that we use the democratic process to get politicians elected who will implement a policy that authorizes the fed to fund democratic firms as much as it has funded capitalist firms.

So I do not advocate that we use force.

.

"What you advocate doesn't exist other than in some minuscule example that you provided."

Those "miniscule example[s]" are tests that prove that this idea works and is far superior to capitalism.

[-] -3 points by Stuffsnotfree (-18) 8 months ago

The only way your "economy" would be implemented is by force. Sure, tiny groups of people might organize in all sorts of ways, like your examples, but that hardly establishes that it would work at any sort of general level. One might say the same about the Kibbutz model. Sure, a few may choose to live like that and say it works. Again, that says nothing about it working at scale. The examples at scale show failure and the requirement of coercion (force).

As our existing system spreads, people are being lifted out of poverty and even the word poverty itself in our system has little meaning in the world context of the word. Rather than look at your tiny example, look at the example at scale of capitalism. The record is there. But like the clingers-on at PSO, there's just no convincing some people.

[-] 0 points by frovikleka (2563) from Island Heights, NJ 8 months ago

Restoring COMMUNITY is one of the first steps in the monumental struggle we have taken on

While the end-game should not be charity, but rather advocating for, and the implementation of a single-payer healthcare system....and "hav[ing] an economic system that works for all the people...".

This humane initiative taken on by a Muslim community in Florida sets a wonderful tone..and it sets an example of how much more we could all be doing, and hence the need to change the ethos (your word bw) of our society

~Odin~

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (20509) 8 months ago

Beautifully said, Odin. It's really not that complicated. It's just a matter of changing our priorities, putting people over profits.

[-] 0 points by frovikleka (2563) from Island Heights, NJ 8 months ago

Thanks. That's all we need bw...and like you said, "It's not really that complicated. It's just a matter of changing our priorities, putting people over profits."

Although I knew what the word 'ethnocentric' meant, I had never heard the term "ethos," until you used it here many months ago...along with your passionate call for a change in them. Anyway I thought about that a lot, and I realize it all starts now, in how we treat each other in our everyday lives

~Odin~

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (20509) 8 months ago

I'm glad you are reiterating the whole idea of the ethos, because, in the end, that is the very thing we need to change. It's profound, but it's doable, though it may take a while.

Fast food workers in NYC are trying to shed a light on their own humanity and their need for fair wages so that they can live, at least, a somewhat dignified life.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/07/29/workers-nyc-strike/2597799/

We need more of this. We need more people to see that an economic system should work for the people and not vice versa and that there is no shame in this. This is how it is supposed to be. Humans first.

[-] 1 points by frovikleka (2563) from Island Heights, NJ 8 months ago

Thanks bw. We're all here learning from each other, and passing on our knowledge to others

I think i have mentioned this on here, but while passing by a Wendy's in mid-town about 6-8 weeks ago on my way to an Occupy event, I came across a group who was protesting at Wendy's because they are the only major fast food restaurant that has not signed onto the Fair Food program which guarantees farm workers a long over-due raise

Anyway, I hung out with them, and then joined them to confront the manager in a firm polite way. I re-produced the flyers i got from them and have left them at different places...then I went on to 'visit' ;-) a Wendy's manager in NJ

I made a complete fool of myself though at Seattle airport during a layover. The manager listened very politely and intently. The only problem was, it was not Wendy's, but some Asian (I think) fast food place just alongside of Wendy's . The manager and I both laughed. It did serve as a good rehearsal for the REAL Wendy's...though!

~Odin~

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (20509) 8 months ago

That's great, Odin. If more people like you would get out there and talk about these issues, we might get someplace. We really need to start valuing labor differently and in a way that puts all human beings above the profits that a few human beings hoard for themselves.

So, think of it this way, raising wages to fast food employees should have no negative result to prices or profits, in general. The only change would be that the SHARE of the profits would be more broad as those at the top would have less. That is how I see it.

Solidarity, Odin.

[-] 0 points by frovikleka (2563) from Island Heights, NJ 8 months ago

Thanks bw, but once I either obtain or reproduce the out-reach materials, it really isn't much

I also like meeting and talking to people about what is going on in a calm manner using facts, statisics, logic...reason, and often putting things in a historical context

One of the things that I have mentioned numerous times on here, and learned to do early on was... to start the conversation with this simple debate-disarming phrase, ''This is not about left vs right...it is about right vs wrong

The whole idea of people who play with money in the corrupt Wall Street Casino, pulling down obscene amounts of money while most of us struggle is just blatantly wrong

Unfortunately though through a clever 30 plus year conditioning of the populace, many people have come to accept this as the norm

I believe though, as the corrupt elite keep pushing for more, people will awake to their greed, and how this...neoliberalism is all playing out so negatively on them and their loved ones

It is simply something that cannot not be tolerated any more

~Odin~

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (20509) 8 months ago

''This is not about left vs right...it is about right vs wrong."

So true.

[-] 1 points by forourfutures (393) 8 months ago

Do you know why the Potlatch was outlawed?

[-] 1 points by forourfutures (393) 8 months ago

Okay you don't know. Your link has nothing about the outlawing of the potlatch.

The potlatch was outlawed fundamentally, in a way which deprives humanity of evolutionary unity by enabling survival; in order to more easily make the masses more dependent and a type of slave.

[-] -1 points by Stuffsnotfree (-18) 9 months ago

I'd like someone to address my needs. I'm tired of looking after myself; it's really a lot of work. We need a new social contract where I have better access to other people's stuff.

[-] -1 points by shooz (26677) 9 months ago

Become an EM in the tyranny that is today's Michigan..

Access to all kinds of free stuff, including but not limited to public lands and a constitution you can rip to shreds.

[-] -1 points by Stuffsnotfree (-18) 9 months ago

Huh? I have no idea what any of that means.

But let's get back to me for a second. You might have things I want. Can I have them? See, my new social compact says that you're supposed to share with me even if you do all the work.

[-] -1 points by shooz (26677) 9 months ago

Um.....You should look that up then.

It's the way of your dreams.

It will give you exactly what you're asking for.

[-] -2 points by LordErb (-15) 9 months ago

TikiJ, you are on to it! People getting together and dropping the leash is the answer!

[-] 1 points by itsmyblood (10) 8 months ago

drop the leash drop the leash http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCABp6Wk66I

[-] 0 points by shooz (26677) 8 months ago

Have you considered a transfusion?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jojuPQXMm44

It might help you with you "blood" issue.

[-] 1 points by itsmyblood (10) 8 months ago

i prefer something more like this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pAvITrp4ZA

[-] 0 points by shooz (26677) 8 months ago

Yes, but it's increasingly evident that a transfusion is what you need.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zP4XP8CaX7k

Or maybe a little of that?

teen angst isn't what it used to be.