Originally Posted by 6cubed
You like philosophy, so I’ll spew an elementary Karl Popper idea (as long as a soft science qualifies as scientific): Just because something cannot be falsified or disproven doesn’t mean it’s true. For this reason I can’t discredit socialism. Maybe it’s the next step in evolution after capitalism. Marx himself pledged that communism (not to associate socialism + communism although they are closely related) must arise from an already industrialized nation. Perhaps communism failed in the Soviet Union and China (Mao’s central planning resulted in the Great Leap killing millions and only when it accepted capitalist principles did it begin to thrive) for this reason. More to the point, socialism is too burdensome on the state. On the economic side of socialism and any notion of a planned economy, Hayek made the best point when he said that planned economies fail because it’s impossible for a small group of humans/planners to predict how to allocate future resources. Free markets do a better job. Most economic growth is experienced in countries that liberalize their economies. Socialism hinders progress.
There’s no need to bash Nietzsche. He’s not the only person with an ego… I’ve heard Michael Jordan had quite an ego too. Nietzsche’s central message (perhaps most popularized one) is for everyone to be their best and to enhance humanity to another level.
1.a) it is a fallacy to assume there is some kind of teleological evolution in human affairs. there is change, and things do evolve, but there are no necessary next steps, there is no necessary progress, and no continual movement from worse to better. there is simply change. marx was looking at a certain set of circumstances and trying to make sense of what came next. he did some valuable work, but fell victim to precisely this kind of talk about teleology. and that same fallacy is carried by the right in guys like fukuyama. there is no gradual climb towards the better, and there is no perfection.
1.b) given that the global system is mostly capitalist (with the more collectivist components generally resisted by power brokers), it is no surprise that capitalist systems have thrived in planned national economies.
2. this notion that free market economies do a better job is focused on an infintessimally small notion of what a 'good job' is. if it is simply to allocate resources to generate the most wealth or the greatest opportunity that one individual can generate extreme wealth, then you and hayek may
be right. but if 'good' is defined, as ligeia has mentioned, by creating a broad sense of happiness or by caring for vulnerable people, or by improving a widespread standard of living or by eradicating poverty/starvation/diseases, etc, then free markets have proven themselves time and time again to be a failure. the notion that socialism hinders progress is only vaguely true if progress is narrowly defined, and if you assume that fallacy that i mentioned in 1.a. by shifting the lens it is just as easy to paint capitalism as a bust as well.
and there is no reason to throw away neitszche, but there is considerable reason to criticize his 'philosophy', such as it is. i don't see how you can say that his central message was for everyone to do their best to improve humanity if he was ready to throw pretty much all of humanity under the bus in favour of the ubermensch. it is an astonishingly simple reading of neitszche to come away with the idea that if we all do our best humaniity will improve in some kind of boy scout manner - dyb dyb dyb dob dob dob. in fact i would argue that to him, in the grand scheme of things, the average person was almost completely irrelevant and it was only through world historical figures and heroes that humanity managed to accomplish anything. i'm sure michael jordan thinks similarly. but then again, mj wasn't primarily concerned with improving the lot of humanity. he was interested in winning.