Home | About | Donate

Making Beautiful Things Where Everyone Gains and No One Profits


#1

Making Beautiful Things Where Everyone Gains and No One Profits

Cynthia Kaufman

My friend Annette Aylward is trying to make a living as a crafts person. She makes beautiful handmade linen towels. She believes in craft. She loves to make these things. To make a living making handmade things woven out of linen she needs to charge a lot of money for them. And she is successful at that. But she’d rather be able to make a living making these towels and selling them to people with less money.


#2

Lots of great info and ideas here, and no reason not to take steps in our own lives to stop feeding capital and start feeding ourselves and the Earth. That's all positive, and helps prepare us for taking care of ourselves, each other, and the Earth on a more comprehensive basis.

But the writer underestimates the power and will of capital to use that power to attack, disrupt, and destroy us when we stray outside their control, and when we get organized to live outside their control.

Making beautiful things outside the rule of capital is important. It is part of the puzzle. But it alone will not end the rule of capital. To end the rule of capital, we will need to consciously organize to end the rule of capital, and we will need to face an enraged capital that attacks us when we do so.


#3

What a great article, powerful ideas: "Markets don’t exist in isolation. Rather they are shaped by policies.” - this is impossible for some to understand, many libertarians included.


#5

It beyond belief with all that multinational corporations and banks have done to cause the ongoing financial crisis--or demand ongoing wars---that---taxpayers are still secretly forced to hand-over their hard-earned tax monies to these same thieves who never have paid their own way.....Enough paying, time to withdraw and start taking care of Main Street.....screw Wall street that Ponzied all of us in the first place --2008...


#7

Liberals make, create, invent beautiful and useful things, most believe in science and have the best sense of humor.

Conservatives profit off the things liberals create, most are anti science, and conservative comedians aren't funny:

www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/...conservative.../385480/
http://washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/septoct-2012/why-arent-conservatives-funny/
https://www.reddit.com/r/.../why_are_there_few_if_any_conservative_comedians/


http://gawker.com/5460506/why-arent-conservatives-funny


#8

I was asked the other day about the advantages and disadvantages of the "free enterprise" system. I wrote this reply -
Well, to start with, there is no such thing as “free enterprise” and what is referred to as a “free enterprise economy” is in fact a mixed economy with the Government establishing the rules and largely funding and providing most of the infrastructure for the economy to exist. The “free enterprise” system is associated with capitalism and is basically compared with that other mixed economy system called Socialism. Socialism in turn, is usually, falsely and incorrectly related to that unworkable and proven extreme version called Communism. The advantages of the so called “free enterprise” system can be measured in the degree of restriction it places on initiative and creativeness, and also in the way it approaches “ownership” of ideas and property. “Free enterprise” systems do tend to be more productive in many ways and capitalism is geared to encourage that productive ability as long as it can be done profitably. The fundamental disadvantage of this system is that it has never worked out a rational and effective way to balance production with consumption.
There is absolutely no point in producing anything at all, products or services, unless they can be consumed. For consumption to balance production the consumers must have sufficient purchasing power to cover all the routine production cost, the overheads, taxes and the necessary profit margin.
As the vast majority of consumers are ordinary people, so far, our history has shown that the only generally accepted way to get purchasing power into the hands of the majority of consumers is through having a job and paying them wages. The problem with that system is that the wages component of the total price of any product or service, is normally in the range of 25% to 35%. Hence, the average consumer is always behind the eight ball, and that is why, to live by today’s normal standards of living, they have no choice but to go into a perpetual cycle of debt.
As industry strives to maintain their profitability in an increasingly competitive market they have no choice but to automate and/or offshore their production. That in turn, reduces the overall domestic purchasing power of the consumer market and becomes a self defeating exercise.
Again the Government has to step in and set up safety net programs in order to provide some basic purchasing power, albeit at a very low level, to those people made redundant and expendable through the progress to achieve more with less labour.
Essentially, the “free enterprise” system as it is currently pursued must collapse through the inability to provide the purchasing power to its necessary consumers. Somewhere along the line, a nation’s productivity must be balanced with its consumption capacity. The system must meet the necessary domestic consumption, plus any external consumption its production aims for, but a balance has to be achieved if the system is to survive.

Actually, it is a fundamental truth in life that if we don't make a "profit" out of what ever we set out to do, we will never advance and improve things. In this sense, "profit" is synonymous with "gain" - we have to learn from our endeavours, and even mistakes are part of the learning curve. Simply getting enjoyment from our endeavours is a "profit", and despite all the hard work and toil that might be necessary to achieve a goal, that goal is the "profit" we get when it is achieved.


#9

We don't have a free market system! We have a lot of socialism for the rich and mostly capitalism for the berift poor. As she says, this is a simply political decision which could be changed around into anything we are enlightened enough to want to create.
What's that Jill Stein says? It's in our hands?


#10

Ahhh...William Morris, one of my favorite socialist thinkers, sadly not as well known in the US as in the UK.

“One man with an idea in his head is in danger of being considered a madman: two men with the same idea in common may be foolish, but can hardly be mad; ten men sharing an idea begin to act, a hundred draw attention as fanatics, a thousand and society begins to tremble, a hundred thousand and there is war abroad, and the cause has victories tangible and real; and why only a hundred thousand? Why not a hundred million and peace upon the earth? You and I who agree together, it is we who have to answer that question.”

A pity that the author of the article does not take on board the Morris idea that it is not a redistribution of profits that is the solution to our social ills but the abolition of the actual profit system itself.


#11

Did anyone else notice the link to buy the writer's blatantly advertised own book — from Amazon? Not quite a linen tea towel reserved for baking bread.


#12

We don't see shoddy stuff from the old days because it all fell apart. They made lots of it. We preserve stuff that is valuable. It is the same thing with movies. They made all sorts of crap back in the thirties, but all we generally see are a few masterpieces. It is not evidence of a golden age of quality.

Let's take the case that your friend Annette needs a day to make a quality tea towel. How much money does it cost her to live one day. Divide her rent by thirty. Figure ten to twenty bucks a day for food. Add something for entertainment and clothes. She needs whatever tools and materials are required to make the towels.

The only way she can make towels cheaper is to make more of them by automating her process and reducing quality.

I am getting into carpentry, building bookshelves, desks and chairs. It is fun, and it will be cool if I ever sell any of this stuff, but the results will not be cheap.


#13

Ironic thate this "Everyone Gains and No One Profits" article follows on the heels of a Kaufman article bashing the Green Party as we are admonished "to hold our noses and vote for Clinton" who has enabled and will expand a world where few of the 99% gain and the 1% always profit.


#14

If a company refused to label "their GMO stuff" how would we know whose products not to buy? If the people don't know that the toys have lead in them, how could they decide on that basis, not to buy them? I don't understand your position. Can you clarify?