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Does Capitalism Breed Conformity?

DetectableNinja
Posts: 6,043
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11/24/2012 7:03:24 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
This topic was inspired by Malvina Reynold's song "Little Boxes." You can listen to it in the Youtube video, and read more about it in the Wiki article.

Anyway, it got me thinking: one reason I support capitalism is because I feel it fits under a means of people being individualistic. However, the case can definitely be made, I believe, that capitalism, by nature, does the opposite, influencing people to fit into certain labels, or types, that companies market.

What do you think, though?

https://www.youtube.com...

http://en.wikipedia.org...
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
royalpaladin
Posts: 22,357
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11/24/2012 7:13:34 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 11/24/2012 7:03:24 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
This topic was inspired by Malvina Reynold's song "Little Boxes." You can listen to it in the Youtube video, and read more about it in the Wiki article.

Anyway, it got me thinking: one reason I support capitalism is because I feel it fits under a means of people being individualistic. However, the case can definitely be made, I believe, that capitalism, by nature, does the opposite, influencing people to fit into certain labels, or types, that companies market.

What do you think, though?

https://www.youtube.com...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

This has always been my criticism of AnCap. For the sake of efficiency and what the market desires, individual freedom is severely restricted by capitalism.
DetectableNinja
Posts: 6,043
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11/24/2012 7:14:13 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 11/24/2012 7:13:34 PM, royalpaladin wrote:
At 11/24/2012 7:03:24 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
This topic was inspired by Malvina Reynold's song "Little Boxes." You can listen to it in the Youtube video, and read more about it in the Wiki article.

Anyway, it got me thinking: one reason I support capitalism is because I feel it fits under a means of people being individualistic. However, the case can definitely be made, I believe, that capitalism, by nature, does the opposite, influencing people to fit into certain labels, or types, that companies market.

What do you think, though?

https://www.youtube.com...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

This has always been my criticism of AnCap. For the sake of efficiency and what the market desires, individual freedom is severely restricted by capitalism.

Could you go into a little bit more detail?
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
royalpaladin
Posts: 22,357
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11/24/2012 7:31:04 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 11/24/2012 7:14:13 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
At 11/24/2012 7:13:34 PM, royalpaladin wrote:
At 11/24/2012 7:03:24 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
This topic was inspired by Malvina Reynold's song "Little Boxes." You can listen to it in the Youtube video, and read more about it in the Wiki article.

Anyway, it got me thinking: one reason I support capitalism is because I feel it fits under a means of people being individualistic. However, the case can definitely be made, I believe, that capitalism, by nature, does the opposite, influencing people to fit into certain labels, or types, that companies market.

What do you think, though?

https://www.youtube.com...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

This has always been my criticism of AnCap. For the sake of efficiency and what the market desires, individual freedom is severely restricted by capitalism.

Could you go into a little bit more detail?

Basically, capitalism requires that you make a choice. Either you conform to certain requirements in order to live a good life or you can struggle for the rest of your life and be free. It basically compels people to "voluntarily" give up their freedom in order to live. In addition, it boxes people into specific identities for the sake of efficiency. Nobody can test whether or not you have specific skills, so capitalism requires stereotyping and imposition of identities in order to maximize efficiency while searching for jobs, for example. Third, capitalism has a very limited sense of freedom insofar as it does not protect people from domination. For example, in the capitalist sense of freedom, there is nothing wrong with a boss soliciting sexual favors from a subordinate as a requirement for her to retain her position; the only thing protecting female workers right now is the government and the threat of lawsuits. If a worker is compelled to give sexual favors to a superior in this manner, the loss of freedom is just as great as it would have been had she been raped. Only a more civic conception of freedom can account for the need to protect people from domination.
OberHerr
Posts: 13,062
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11/24/2012 7:32:45 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Depends on the diversity of the population. Also, the only reason this works is because people do it themselves.
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MochaShakaKhan
Posts: 12
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11/24/2012 7:50:05 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I don't see why capitalism would make you more or less conformist than communism. Conformity has to do with group solidarity, which can be high or low regardless of how the market is ran.
R0b1Billion
Posts: 3,733
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11/24/2012 8:57:57 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I hate wearing suits. But if I don't wear one at job interviews, I might as well not show up.
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
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charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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11/25/2012 3:55:06 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 11/24/2012 7:03:24 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
This topic was inspired by Malvina Reynold's song "Little Boxes." You can listen to it in the Youtube video, and read more about it in the Wiki article.

Anyway, it got me thinking: one reason I support capitalism is because I feel it fits under a means of people being individualistic. However, the case can definitely be made, I believe, that capitalism, by nature, does the opposite, influencing people to fit into certain labels, or types, that companies market.

What do you think, though?

Okay, firstly, capitalism promotes conformism because freedom under capitalism is certainly not at all what it's cracked up to be by capitalism's true believers. The degree of genuine freedom, in a humanistic and existential sense of what it means to be liberated, that we enjoy within our capitalist status quo and culture is quite underwhelming, shall we say. That is, the very freedom requisite for individuality and authenticity is in too short a supply due to the controlling social and cultural influence of economic motives, conditions, and, power-possessors (bosses, owners, capitalists), all of which conduces not to an orientation to individuality and authenticity, as humanizing axiological priorities, but rather to the subordination of such values to bourgeois priorities such as "making it in the corporate world", where one has to "play the game" and to some extent sacrifice who one really is. Mm-hmm, the upshot of all of this is indeed diminished individualism and greater conventionalism and conformism.

Well, as you might have noticed (or as one who isn't intellectually ensconced in the ideology of conservatism or market fundamentalism might have noticed) under capitalism workingpeople, who of course constitute the majority of the members of society and whose situation therefore defines the reality of our society, are a subject people, i.e., subject to the pervasive social and economic dominance of fat cats (to use the technical sociological term), subject to the dictatorship of the workplace, subject to the power that others hold over our livelihood, etc.. Our subject condition and status is of course not exactly as palpable as that of a 19th-century Russian serf, and so we can be thoroughly fooled, and readily fool ourselves, into believing that being able to vote in political elections, and whatnot, means that we're free. But, I must again point out, when it comes to freedom in the sense of full human and spiritual liberation, capitalism and its power structure are contraindicated, to put it mildly. Most of us are indeed under the social hegemony, as it were, of our capitalist masters, who most certainly can and do enforce a considerable measure of obedience and conformity.

And, of course, that workingpeople aren't really their own masters means that they aren't even masters of their own creativity, i.e., their productive activity is objectified, commodified, and bought & owned away from them by capitalist employers. That is, their very creativity is alienated from them, they no longer experience work to the fullest as creative self-expression, as a means to the actualization of their personal distinctiveness. Well, absent creative individualism, mediocre conformism abounds.

The very possibility of creativity is in fact largely removed from the production process under industrial capitalism and workers are seriously dehumanized into mere flesh & blood pieces of equipment in a plant, the proverbial living cogs in a machine. Needless to say, the diminishment of their humanity and transformation into interchangeable cogs obviously bodes ill for individuality and well for conformity.

Well, it's certainly not in question that capitalism depersonalizes many workers, by treating them in a quite blatantly impersonal fashion, by viewing them as automatons performing a function, and by such infringements of their personal rights as enforcing a uniform code of appearance on them (take Disneyland, for instance, where workers aren't even free to choose their own hair length or to wear well-groomed mustaches!). Need I point out that this often promotes conformism to the point of uniformity?!

Mm-hmm, capitalism has evolved, or devolved, as is its tendency, into an impersonal mass society, one that mass produces the same sort of people, i.e., a fairly standardized and socioculturally sheep-like humanoid product, Homo economicus, who in many cases displays little significant variation from individual to individual. Again, I ask, need I state the obvious, that such a mass society is deeply conducive to conformism?

Of course every culture in history enforces some degree of conformity, this is simply what cultures do; mm-hmm, it's their primary function, to some extent, to be forces for Procrusteanism, to promote social cohesion by producing people from the same mold. Capitalist society is certainly no exception to this universal sociological rule, it simply does not promote the kind of freedom and individuality that would make it exceptional in this regard.

It certainly doesn't promote such exceptionalism in the economic dimension of life. To sum up, in the economic dimension of our existence capitalism is defined by the dominance of nonhuman values that don't promote self-actualization and individuality; by the social hegemony of capitalists, which doesn't permit anything approaching the optimal liberation of human individuals; by a homogenizing mass culture oriented toward career and consumerism rather than the development of one's unique personhood. The economic sphere of our human world may not be as all-determining as some old-school Marxists believe, but it certainly has a deep and major influence on the rest of man's life. That much of this influence under capitalism encourages, enjoins, and enforces a fairly large bit of conformism is quite clear, and one of the worst marks, from a humanistic perspective, against the entire capitalist form of society.

Well, such is my thinking. Now then, back at you, what do you think?
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
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11/26/2012 5:45:26 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
No doubt most "libertarians" won't really even come close to grokking much of my above reply. Por que? Well, I honestly don't wish to be unduly harsh, but so-called "libertarians" quite simply suffer from a blind-to-the-human-dimension, Mr. Spock-like political conception of freedom, in which it's reduced to little more than a pseudo-logically dictated right to be free of government regulation; to the cold, hard proposition of having license to follow one's social-Darwinian aspirations to be a successful Mammon-worshipping, exploitative, and dominant alpha capitalist. "Libertarians" naively-deludedly think that if people enjoy freedom in this flatlanderishly free-marketarian sense that they then are perfectly free to be "self-owning" non-conformist individuals!

Our dear "libertarians" quite abjectly fail to apprehend and appreciate how being subject to the social dominance of, under the command and control of, capitalist captains of industry - i.e., how being lowly working-class corporals in the capitalist command structure - can significantly check and constrict one's social freedom to express one's personal hopes, dreams, and vision for one's life, i.e., one's authentic personality and individuality.

"Libertarians", that is, utterly and epically fail to understand how being in a position of social and economic subordination and vulnerability, as workers most certainly are, means not being in an optimal position to be a social maverick, how it conduces to our sequacious adaptation to the socially repressive norms of capitalist society, to compliance and conformity. Yes, despite their self-styling as "libertarians", there is much indeed about freedom that "libertarians" don't seem to understand very deeply.

And, furthermore and alas, their tendency is of course to vicariously identify with masterful capitalists and corporate power players. When they're in their ideological zone, so to speak, they certainly don't feelingly relate to workingpeople and their existential plight of wage-slavish conventionality; no, they truly have no empathy for the average working individual's lack of genuine freedom, and for his/her socioeconomically-imposed distinctiveness-diminishing conformity. Conformity is in fact a fundamental and inescapable feature of our existence under capitalism, and "libertarians" don't even glimpse, let alone grasp it. Yeah, so much for their name.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
Paradox_7
Posts: 1,870
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11/26/2012 6:44:21 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 11/24/2012 7:03:24 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
This topic was inspired by Malvina Reynold's song "Little Boxes." You can listen to it in the Youtube video, and read more about it in the Wiki article.

Anyway, it got me thinking: one reason I support capitalism is because I feel it fits under a means of people being individualistic. However, the case can definitely be made, I believe, that capitalism, by nature, does the opposite, influencing people to fit into certain labels, or types, that companies market.

What do you think, though?

https://www.youtube.com...

http://en.wikipedia.org...


Lol, the theme song to weeds?
: At 10/23/2012 8:06:03 PM, tvellalott wrote:
: Don't be. The Catholic Church is ran by Darth Sidius for fvck sake. As far as I'm concerned, you're a bona fide member of the Sith.
YYW
Posts: 36,426
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11/28/2012 6:17:57 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 11/24/2012 7:03:24 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
This topic was inspired by Malvina Reynold's song "Little Boxes." You can listen to it in the Youtube video, and read more about it in the Wiki article.

Anyway, it got me thinking: one reason I support capitalism is because I feel it fits under a means of people being individualistic. However, the case can definitely be made, I believe, that capitalism, by nature, does the opposite, influencing people to fit into certain labels, or types, that companies market.

What do you think, though?

https://www.youtube.com...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

I think it's probably salient to begin by describing what we mean by conformity, but I'll let you take care of that.

Anyway, I'm quite of the opinion that it does -and I'm not so sure that's a bad thing either. Foucault talks about this a bit in Discipline and Punish.
Tsar of DDO
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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11/28/2012 2:56:42 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 11/28/2012 6:17:57 AM, YYW wrote:

I think it's probably salient to begin by describing what we mean by conformity, but I'll let you take care of that.

Anyway, I'm quite of the opinion that it does -and I'm not so sure that's a bad thing either. Foucault talks about this a bit in Discipline and Punish.

Well, of course some measure of conformity (defined as a compliance with norms that reduces individuality) is certainly necessary, lest we fall into social anarchy (in a negative sense of the word), but too much conformism, the excessive amount of conformism that we have in a capitalist culture, is downright inimical to creativity, which is of course the whole point of our existence. Mm-hmm, the inbuilt tendency of capitalism to produce excessive conformity and to prevent creative self-actualization runs contrary to the very telos of being a human being, to the creative telos of the whole universe, for that matter, and is needless to say a serious, i.e., a damningly serious problem with our system from a critical existential and humanistic perspective. It is in fact a fundamental reason to oppose capitalism, one that certainly takes precedence over the usual one-sided, half-truth-spinning "libertarian" emphasis on the materialistic productivity of market economies.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
jat93
Posts: 1,440
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12/1/2012 4:37:49 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 11/24/2012 7:03:24 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
This topic was inspired by Malvina Reynold's song "Little Boxes." You can listen to it in the Youtube video, and read more about it in the Wiki article.

Anyway, it got me thinking: one reason I support capitalism is because I feel it fits under a means of people being individualistic. However, the case can definitely be made, I believe, that capitalism, by nature, does the opposite, influencing people to fit into certain labels, or types, that companies market.

What do you think, though?

https://www.youtube.com...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

I can't think of a system that doesn't breed conformity to the status quo, the establishment, the man. By definition this is what any political system does.

Libertarians/anarchists always rail against democracy, and justifiably so, for being nothing more than mob rule, and mob rule by a generally politically/economically illiterate population no less. Doesn't the free market run into similar problems? If stupid people choose to purchase/institute stupid companies and their products, that's what society/the world will be left with. In short, the question boils down to how important granting people personal freedom over their decision making is when compared to actually getting good sh!t for everyone. Then again, the best metric for deciding what is good sh!t is what someone chooses for their own life; we all have differing opinions on what it means to make choices that maximize utility and enhance our own happiness, so creating a monocentric, centralized system of government " one law forced down the throat of a giant population - necessarily runs into this problem.

Indeed, one could say that allowing people personal freedom would result in bad/stupid policies for society, but then who should be the ultimate judge and enforcer of policies? Who has the right if not the sovereign individual? Given the reality of differing subjective preferences on any given issue, it would seem the individual is indeed the optimal choice. But if you pursue this train of thought to its logical conclusion, don't you wind up basically with direct democracy? How can you oppose direct democracy - which it seems to me is basically complete and total freedom of individuals, with the individuals in total control of their representation/choices as opposed to some central authority - on the grounds that allowing people too much freedom over personal choices will lead to crappy results since most people are generally ignorant, and yet go on and tout the virtues of the free market system which leads effectively to the same thing - that is, allowing the products most popular among a given society to be necessarily the ones that people are faced with? Personal economic/financial/consumer choices affect others, because in a market system, individuals decide which products and systems will be provided, based on which has more popular support. So by your support or lack thereof of any policy or product, you are effecting the choices everybody else in that society has as options they can or can't choose.

No matter what, I think, you're going to be left with the tyranny of the masses. Is there any other way?
YYW
Posts: 36,426
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12/2/2012 12:34:38 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 11/28/2012 2:56:42 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 11/28/2012 6:17:57 AM, YYW wrote:

I think it's probably salient to begin by describing what we mean by conformity, but I'll let you take care of that.

Anyway, I'm quite of the opinion that it does -and I'm not so sure that's a bad thing either. Foucault talks about this a bit in Discipline and Punish.

Well, of course some measure of conformity (defined as a compliance with norms that reduces individuality) is certainly necessary, lest we fall into social anarchy (in a negative sense of the word), but too much conformism, the excessive amount of conformism that we have in a capitalist culture, is downright inimical to creativity, which is of course the whole point of our existence. Mm-hmm, the inbuilt tendency of capitalism to produce excessive conformity and to prevent creative self-actualization runs contrary to the very telos of being a human being, to the creative telos of the whole universe, for that matter, and is needless to say a serious, i.e., a damningly serious problem with our system from a critical existential and humanistic perspective. It is in fact a fundamental reason to oppose capitalism, one that certainly takes precedence over the usual one-sided, half-truth-spinning "libertarian" emphasis on the materialistic productivity of market economies.

I don't disagree. Foucault sought to "suspend" the microphysicial influence of power to make room for creation, for something new, for something different than that which preceded it. Nietzsche made similar arguments about art. Foucault also expanded on that in Madness and Civilization.

I'm starting to like you, Charles.
Tsar of DDO
sadolite
Posts: 8,842
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12/2/2012 5:37:06 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I see nothing wrong with a degree of conformity in society. It gives us all something in common. Unlike it is now, where everyone is offended by everyone and everything. We have nothing in common and no common aspirations for this countries future. What in gods name this country will look like in 20 years is anyones guess. No one can agree on anything, we all have nothing in common. We are "multicultural" each culture wants it own vision for America.
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

If liberal democrats would just stop shooting people gun violence would drop by 90%