Friday, May 21, 2010

This Is Disappointing.

He makes arguments for capitalism, but the Dalai Lama is a Marxist.

TIBETAN spiritual leader the Dalai Lama says he's a Marxist, yet credits capitalism for bringing new freedoms to China, the communist country that exiled him.

"Still I am a Marxist," the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader said in New York, where he arrived today with an entourage of robed monks and a heavy security detail to give a series of paid public lectures.

"(Marxism has) moral ethics, whereas capitalism is only how to make profits," the Dalai Lama, 74, said.

However, he credited China's embrace of market economics for breaking communism's grip over the world's most populous country and forcing the ruling Communist Party to "represent all sorts of classes".

"(Capitalism) brought a lot of positive to China. Millions of people's living standards improved," he said.
I have to ask:

Where has Marxism done any good for the people?

Marxism has done what, exactly, for people and their standard of living?

Capitalism, by his own admission, has done what, exactly, for people and their standard of living?

As for so-called moral ethics, I can name lots of communist countries that had a secret police and barbed wire borders to keep people in.

Capitalist countries, at least those not run by dictators, generally don't have a secret police, and border security is generally to keep people out.

Where are people free enough to worship how they like?

Generally I like the Dalai Lama and at least understand what he says, but here he's completely indecipherable.

13 comments:

Ellen K said...

When you are insulated from the consequences of your words or actions, it is difficult to get a feel for what happens in the real world.

Law and Order Teacher said...

Ellen is correct. To the Dalai Lama, Marxism is some abstract idea. He will always eat. His people will not.

EK said...

In my book, the Dalai Lama's stock took a major hit today with this little bit of information. I'll never see him quite the same way ever again.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Ellen's observation is just as worthwhile explaining the views of the wealthy and out of touch American left. Insulated from the consequences of their words and actions that can blithily espouse policies that inevitably result in tragedy and despair.

maxutils said...

I totally disagree . . . Marxism is virtuous, if applied literally. It's drawback is inefficiency, and as such it doesn't benefit people. Especially since the greed that makes capitalism work so well also makes Marxism impossible to enact in its pure form I don't think there's anything discordant about acknowledging the virtue of Marxism, and wishing to do for the community, while still acknowledging the good that capitalism has done for a country.

Ellen K said...

Allen-Exactly. Having to pay more for insurance or a can of beans means nothing to a millionaire, but it's make it or break it family economics to most of us. Which is why the healthcare bill's sudden precipitous cost rise is alarming.

Darren said...

Peace love and tie-die sounds great, too, but like Marxism, it doesn't work in practice. What's the point of holding a view that sounds pretty but doesn't work?

maxutils said...

Empathy and principles. And, it can also foster morality within capitalism, whichsomething which I wish more of our CEOs had.

MikeAT said...

maxutils

I just had my retirement party but I wasn't that drunk...

Marxism is virtuous, if applied literally. It's drawback is inefficiency, and as such it doesn't benefit people. Especially since the greed that makes capitalism work so well also makes Marxism impossible to enact in its pure form

Give me one example of Marxism helping people...give me one example of a Marxist country where try to get there....as opposed to risking their lives to get away.

maxutils said...

Why do you bother quoting me, if you're going to ask a question that doesn't pertain to anything I wrote? I said, if applied literally. It hasn't been. I also said it's inefficient and "AS SUCH DOESN'T BENEFIT PEOPLE". So . . . your question, again?

MikeAT said...

Why do you bother quoting me, if you're going to ask a question that doesn't pertain to anything I wrote? I said, if applied literally. It hasn't been. I also said it's inefficient and "AS SUCH DOESN'T BENEFIT PEOPLE". So . . . your question, again?

I will rephrase the question in a moment. Now, as to you assertion that Marxism hasn’t been applied literally, I disagree. Well, what is Marxism?

The three primary aspects of Marxism are:

1. The dialectical and materialist concept of history — Humankind's history is fundamentally that of the struggle between social classes….

2. The critique of capitalism — Marx argues that in capitalist society, an economic minority (the bourgeoisie) dominate and exploit the working class (proletariat) majority. Marx argues that capitalism is exploitative, specifically the way in which unpaid labor (surplus value) is extracted from the working class (the labor theory of value), extending and critiquing the work of earlier political economists on value. He argued that while the production process is socialized, ownership remains in the hands of the bourgeoisie…

3. Advocacy of proletarian revolution — In order to overcome the fetters of private property the working class must seize political power internationally through a social revolution and expropriate the capitalist classes around the world and place the productive capacities of society into collective ownership. Upon this, material foundation classes would be abolished and the material basis for all forms of inequality between humankind would dissolve.

Did Lenin or Stalin or Mao apply this? That can be argued. They did seize private property and force people into “collective ownership and labor” and yes, they did smash the inequality between social orders…they made everyone miserable (except the “public servants” struggling at the top…Lenin, Stalin and Mao didn’t seem to be short of anything). As Sir Winston Churchill said, “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

Why didn’t it work? Because it goes against man’s natural yearning. Man doesn't live to be directed to do something for others…he lives to better himself by pursuing his self interest. If he sweats his ass off and gets no more than a idiot who just sits there, quickly he becomes lazy…hey, that’s the point of busting your ass when I get as much as the other guy screwing off.

BTY, it’s not greed that makes capitalism so efficient. In one of the biggest false lines from a movie people like to say quote Michael Douglas in Wall Street, “Greed is good”. No, he said “that greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” There are better words. Ambition. Drive. Desire. Determination. Motivation. Freedom. Liberty. Those are the things that drive people to do extraordinary things, like Henry Ford with the assembly line, Fred Smith with shipping packages and Bill Gates with software.

So yes, I say Marxism was applied literally in the 20th century and is still going on in certain countries like the worker’s paradises of Cuba and North Korea. Again I ask you, where has it worked?

maxutils said...

Well, you can say it was applied literally, but it wasn't. Each of those societies, as you asserted, had an elite at the top that 'did not want for anything.' That was not Marx's vision at all. Rather, that is socialism. Marx envisioned a society where all labor was rewarded in proportion to its usefulness and efficiency, and where there was communal ownership of resources. His quarrel with the capitalist was that the capitalist had not provided any direct labor of his own, but rather had profited from his ability to put together capital resources which made his laborers more efficient than they would have been otherwise; these continued profits would lead to greater class distinctions and further 'exploitation'. Marx advocated revolution not because he liked revolution, but rather because he recognized that capitalists would not give up the deal they had willingly.

That said, I agree that it doesn't reward innovation, and as such is doomed to failure. It doesn't change the fact, though, that it is a well reasoned theory from a moral standpoint. Adam Smith ran with the labor theory of value, but conveniently departed from it when it was convenient.

And, I wouldn't cite Gecko about greed, I'd go to Smith . . . to paraphrase, 'each man, working only to seek his own best interest is led as if by an invisible hand to promote the welfare of society as a whole.' Or something like that.

Just because Marxists were seen to be the enemy for so long, and because their system doesn't work well in practice, doesn't mean you can't take something of value from the theory. It's very easy to say communism = bad, and be done with it, but it's fairly close minded to do so.

Finally, there are kibbutzes in Israel and small collectives in France that work very well using the Marxist model -- however a) they are small, and limited in scope, b) everyone involved buys into the system, and c) they might well be better off if they followed a capitalist model.

maxutils said...

Pardon . . . 'kibbutzim'. I',m such a goy . . .