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Thread: Why we need a strong government to check capitalism.

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    Default In Praise of the 900lb gorilla; Why we need a strong government to check capitalism.

    Just came across these pictures I took a few years back and that might be something a few folk may not have seen.



    Those are Mill Coins, from several of the cotton mills in South Carolina. They are an example of true capitalism; the company looked out for the workers, provided stores where they could buy the needed products, owned the houses and the land the church was built on and the pastor worked for the company, the graveyard and streets, employed even the doctors and owned the hospital. The police and firemen worked for the company. The company owned the baseball team and the field they played on. It owned the school and the teachers

    Now many of you may be familiar with "Company Money" from the folk song, John Henry, but these were not pile drivin' men but rather Lintheads. The dust and lint from the milling machines filled the air, covered their hair and clothes, filled every breath they took.

    Now this wasn't slavery, anyone could quit work if they wanted. Of course you could not strike; strikes were broken up by the police, the State Militia, hired thugs or even the National Guard when necessary. But individuals could quit. And if your lungs got so bad you couldn't work you could still live in the house as long as the rent got paid; paid in Company Money. If you did quit you could keep your clothes and other possessions you actually owned but that was it. Leave town.

    And there was the rub.

    When you are paid in company money it can only be used in the company store. Go back and look again at those coins. They are non-transferable, could not be converted into US currency or even used anywhere BUT the company store. You could not even use it in some other company's store.

    Often, the lint dust (or coal dust or ...) led to severe breathing problems that made it impossible to work. As long as you had a spouse and kids that could go to work in the mill, you could continue to live in the house. But if there were not family members that could pay the rent in mill coin, you had to leave.

    You had to leave with absolutely no money. Even if you had saved your Company Money it was not convertible. If you had a car or truck, you might be able to take your clothes and furniture and pots and pans but few folk had a car or truck and if all you had was Company Money you could not even hire anything but a Company Truck with a Company Driver. If you were well loved in the company that might happen.

    But that was long ago.

    Actually, no. It is what existed even through World War II. Look at this next picture.



    Look at the date on the coin in the lower right.

    And the next time someone tells you we need a small government, to get rid of all the rules and regulations, the EPA, the Clean Air Act, the Fair Labor Practices and all the other governmental benefits we have implemented in the last half century, take a look again at these coins and the pictures of the Lintheads.

    We need a 900 pound gorilla to act as a check against rampant capitalism.
    Last edited by jar; February 29th, 2016 at 08:13 AM. Reason: stupid spell checker ... coal NOT cold
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    Default Re: In Praise of the 900lb gorilla; Why we need a strong government to check capitali

    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    Just came across these pictures I took a few years back and that might be something a few folk may not have seen.



    Those are Mill Coins, from several of the cotton mills in South Carolina. They are an example of true capitalism; the company looked out for the workers, provided stores where they could buy the needed products, owned the houses and the land the church was built on and the pastor worked for the company, the graveyard and streets, employed even the doctors and owned the hospital. The police and firemen worked for the company. The company owned the baseball team and the field they played on. It owned the school and the teachers

    Now many of you may be familiar with "Company Money" from the folk song, John Henry, but these were not pile drivin' men but rather Lintheads. The dust and lint from the milling machines filled the air, covered their hair and clothes, filled every breath they took.

    Now this wasn't slavery, anyone could quit work if they wanted. Of course you could not strike; strikes were broken up by the police, the State Militia, hired thugs or even the National Guard when necessary. But individuals could quit. And if your lungs got so bad you couldn't work you could still live in the house as long as the rent got paid; paid in Company Money. If you did quit you could keep your clothes and other possessions you actually owned but that was it. Leave town.

    And there was the rub.

    When you are paid in company money it can only be used in the company store. Go back and look again at those coins. They are non-transferable, could not be converted into US currency or even used anywhere BUT the company store. You could not even use it in some other company's store.

    Often, the lint dust (or coal dust or ...) led to severe breathing problems that made it impossible to work. As long as you had a spouse and kids that could go to work in the mill, you could continue to live in the house. But if there were not family members that could pay the rent in mill coin, you had to leave.

    You had to leave with absolutely no money. Even if you had saved your Company Money it was not convertible. If you had a car or truck, you might be able to take your clothes and furniture and pots and pans but few folk had a car or truck and if all you had was Company Money you could not even hire anything but a Company Truck with a Company Driver. If you were well loved in the company that might happen.

    But that was long ago.

    Actually, no. It is what existed even through World War II. Look at this next picture.



    Look at the date on the coin in the lower right.

    And the next time someone tells you we need a small government, to get rid of all the rules and regulations, the EPA, the Clean Air Act, the Fair Labor Practices and all the other governmental benefits we have implemented in the last half century, take a look again at these coins and the pictures of the Lintheads.

    We need a 900 pound gorilla to act as a check against rampant capitalism.

    Those of us who lived before EPA and the government programs of the 1960s and later ought to very well know why these watchdog agencies are needed. Dumping all kinds of crud into the ground and water. Working in the city and finding the smog fallout on your shirt collar.

    It's a free country, and you can vote the way you want, but if you are not among the very rich there are parties whose candidates want to emasculate protections, and are you wise to vote for them? Even if you are among the very rich, you have yours and do you want some bunch of fools to drive the common man to rebel peacefully or otherwise? Destabilizing the status quo? Even the Romans had the coliseum and wheat giveaways.

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    Default Re: Why we need a strong government to check capitalism.

    Same sort of thing could be said about EU - however, this time for environmental reasons. The rubbish got dumped, not sure what rules and regulations there were but in 1990(?), EU regs limited the ability of toxic stuffs in the waste to leach out in new landfill sites..

    There are a few community currencies in the UK, e.g. http://bristolpound.org/ but there, via the one bank/credit union, you can get sterling out of it. Also http://www.totnespound.org/ but there is a commission to convert back into sterling.
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    Default Re: Why we need a strong government to check capitalism.

    Indeed. When people talk about regulation and stuff, I tell them that we sometimes need strong government regulation because "people can often be greedy jerks" (to put it bluntly). In a perfect world, yeah, we wouldn't need it, but it's an imperfect world full of imperfect humans.

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    Default Re: In Praise of the 900lb gorilla; Why we need a strong government to check capitali

    I don't think there was company money but there were company stores in the mining industry in the UK. It was effectively the same because that was the only shop available in many mining towns. By the time you paid the rent for your company house and paid their high prices for food there was nothing left. That went on until 1945.
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    Default Re: Why we need a strong government to check capitalism.

    Just phoned a friend. There were mill coins in the UK, and also in mining towns.... outlawed in the UK in about 1910, he said.

    Folk music - http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/t/t...teen_tons.html - Tennessee Ernie Ford
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    Default Re: Why we need a strong government to check capitalism.

    That is the same basic system used in the Hawaii sugar plantations, for immigrants that were brought in as indentured servants from China, Japan and the Philippines.

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    Default Re: Why we need a strong government to check capitalism.

    Like that song, "Sixteen Tons" - Saint Peter, don't you call me, cause I can't go: I owe my soul to the company store!

    I remember Tennessee Ernie Ford as a silly comic with a silly voice from my childhood. I was amazed at that song - a startling piece of social commentary.

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    Default Re: Why we need a strong government to check capitalism.

    I grew up listening to the songs of Guthrie, Woody not Arlo, and there were many such songs. I was also lucky enough to wander around Appalachia before it was chic and saw the ruin caused by modern mining and around Arizona to see the mountains that were just tailing from the copper mines, in the south when in the second largest city in the state over half the roads "south of the tracks" were still unpaved and city sewer and water was a reality only "north of the tracks" and when a billboard at the edge of town said "Nigger, don't let the sun set on you here! signed the sheriff" did not even garner comment. My wife was an art teacher at the "separate but equal junior high south of the tracks" and none of the ceiling lights in her classroom had bulbs and her supplies were one fifty pound hunk of semi-dried clay.

    AbE:

    If you ever get the chance listen to Lady Day sing "Strange Fruit" and Odetta sing "Careless Love" and Big Momma Thorton sing "Houn' Dog".
    Last edited by jar; March 2nd, 2016 at 09:29 AM. Reason: see AbE;
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    Default Re: In Praise of the 900lb gorilla; Why we need a strong government to check capitali

    I love jazz and swing dance and I never really thought about what 16 tons was other than a catchy song. That is absolutely Terrifying.

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    Default Re: Why we need a strong government to check capitalism.

    For those not familiar with the history two good places to start are the General Textile Mill Strike of 1934 but in particular, the small event that came to be known as the Honea Path Massacre.
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    Default Re: In Praise of the 900lb gorilla; Why we need a strong government to check capitali

    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    We need a 900 pound gorilla to act as a check against rampant capitalism.
    I'd rather have a 50 pound dog with teeth. 900 pound gorillas cost too much and just lay around doing whatever they want. I can train the dog, but it's not safe to even get close to the gorilla.

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    Cool Re: Why we need a strong government to check capitalism.

    All I want for Christmas, is Direct Democracy

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_democracy

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    Default Re: Why we need a strong government to check capitalism.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIR View Post
    All I want for Christmas, is Direct Democracy

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_democracy
    As long as the Direct Democracy is limited by some 900 pond gorilla (for example a Constitution and legal system) which can override the will of the people it is possible acceptable; not ideal but acceptable. The major problem is that in most instances there does not exist and informed citizenry that has been taught HOW to think, the process and mechanics of thinking or history.
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    Default Re: Why we need a strong government to check capitalism.

    Override the will of the people?!
    Jesus and Barabbas is your fear, perhaps?

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    Default Re: Why we need a strong government to check capitalism.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIR View Post
    Override the will of the people?!
    Jesus and Barabbas is your fear, perhaps?
    Not at all; ignorance, particularly of history (witness the posts in this thread from folk who were not aware of rampant capitalism) and an uneducated electorate that have never been taught how (the process) to think is what I fear. We need protection from a tyranny of popularity as well as rampant capitalism and fascism.
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    Cool Re: Why we need a strong government to check capitalism.

    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SIR View Post
    Override the will of the people?!
    Jesus and Barabbas is your fear, perhaps?
    Not at all; ignorance, particularly of history (witness the posts in this thread from folk who were not aware of rampant capitalism) and an uneducated electorate that have never been taught how (the process) to think is what I fear. We need protection from a tyranny of popularity as well as rampant capitalism and fascism.
    The problem I see with representative democracy is that many staff - civil servants, parliament members, and ministers, to name a few - lack life experience; they have been bred, raised, and groomed for their roles or largely come from the world of business, hence why I can see the appeal of socialism, communism, and anarchism to the 'masses'.
    Being British, I have been surprised by the effectiveness David Cameron has shown, but on the other side his support for one side of the argument in terms of EU membership and the attempts to shepherd the rest of the party into supporting his agenda shows the weakness of party politics.
    I'd much rather all members of parliament were independents, I'd also much rather have no monarchy or an absolute monarch than a constitutional one, but then again I'd rather just have Vladimir Putin than either the Queen or David Cameron, and I'd much rather have a direct democracy with a secure constitution than any or all of the preceding.

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    Default Re: Why we need a strong government to check capitalism.

    I am sorry to disagree with my friend, SIR, but the problem with direct democracy is the underlying assumption that a hundred idiots can make a better decision than one genius.

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    Default Re: Why we need a strong government to check capitalism.

    In an ideal capitalist market, for any industry, one company will begin to dominate and eventually will monopolize the market which anyone who took intro Econ class will know that is a very bad thing. A 900 lb gorilla alone is not enough. First, we need a strong, "smart" laws and rules in place. Then we need a strong government (900 lb gorilla) that is willing and able to enforce the laws.

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    Default Re: Why we need a strong government to check capitalism.

    Quote Originally Posted by RNHC View Post
    I am sorry to disagree with my friend, SIR, but the problem with direct democracy is the underlying assumption that a hundred idiots can make a better decision than one genius.
    By whose standards do you judge them idiots and what is the cause of them being idiots?
    Just because we don't understand them does not mean they do not understand us... or that they are less intelligent, but mental aptitude is only inherent to a certain extent, a lot is the result of nurture and methods of teaching; further, economic and other issues extrinsic to education, learning, and social integration play a very large part in shaping mental development. Freud is renowned for overlooking environmental influences in the analysis of psychology and mental development.
    We need to get away from the idea of 'original sin'; investment in a persons development is multifaceted - differences in spiritual, emotional, psychological, intellectual, and sociological factors should not preclude an individual's involvement in communal politics.

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