I am a woman born 1949 and my quest is to find a mindmate
to grow old together as a mutually devoted couple
in a relationship based upon the
egalitarian rational commitment paradigm
bonded by intrinsic commitment
as each other's safe haven and secure basis.

The purpose of this blog is to enable the right man
to recognize us as reciprocal mindmates and
to encourage him to contact me:

The entries directly concerning,
who could be my mindmate,
are mainly at the beginning.
If this is your predominant interest,
I suggest to read this blog in the same order
as it was written, following the numbers.

I am German, therefore my English is sometimes faulty.

Maybe you have stumbled upon this blog not as a potential match.
Please wait a short moment before zapping.

Do you know anybody, who could be my mindmate?
Your neighbour, brother, uncle, cousin, colleague, friend?
If so, please tell him to look at this blog.
While you have no reason to do this for me,
a stranger, maybe you can make someone happy, for whom you care.

Do you have your own webpage or blog,
which someone like my mindmate to be found probably reads?
If so, please mention my quest and add a link to this blog.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

181. Honesty and Capitalism

Honesty and Capitalism

For christians, absolute honesty is required as obedience to their god.   If christians are honest, they expect to be rewarded in the afterlife, and if they are honest with detrimental consequences, they expect a bonus reward for it.

Rational people evaluate the feasibility of honesty depending on the social context and the circumstances.   For people, who want to be honest, capitalism is a harsh world, where one has to control the personal and spontaneous inclinations as a necessity for self-protection. 

There are basically two different kinds of social relationships and interactions:

1.  Private relationships between mates, spouses, friends, family members, that are based upon benevolence, based upon the principle of fairness and the caring for the others' wellbeing and equal entitlements to benefits and advantages. 

There can be no doubt, that caring and benevolent relationships between private people require absolute honesty and sincerity, trust and trustworthiness, without hesitation and exceptions.   

2.  Business relationships of any kind, where both sides attempt to ruthlessly get as much profit and onesided advantage from the other as they can.    People doing business cannot be honest by the very definition of business, because honesty would jeopardize the profit.   They are as malevolent as they can while still succeeding to profit.  
Business interactions are quite often asymmetrical in the distribution of power.    The powerful person dictates the conditions.   Therefore a person with economical power doing business is automatically the other's ruthless enemy.
2.1.  The powerful business enemy decides the price of something, that the other needs.
2.2.  The powerful employer enemy decides, how much he pays for the work.

In business, there is a limit of justifiable honesty, beyond which self-defense against the enemy is vital and honesty self-damaging.    Absolute honesty with the enemy cannot be rationally justified, because the enemy is not honest.   

It is a difficult task to draw a line.   But when honesty would facilitate and enhance the honest person's exploitation, then this justifies to limit honesty in self-defense.    Nobody is obliged to contribute to being taken advantage of.   Of course, this is no justification to become as ruthless as taking advantage of others as an over reaction.  

In short, reactive reduced honesty to the dishonest business enemy is not the same as dishonesty by own initiative and a voluntary decision.

Someone gave me an example of a moral dilemma.   He got offered a 30% discount on glasses as a member of AAA without even being required to show the membership card.   

But to me, the moral dilemma is not about just being tempted, but that there is no fair deal.   

In this example, I see two scenarios:
1.  AAA pays money to the optician to compensate for the discount.   People join AAA to get help with their car, not to pay for other people's glasses.   When AAA pays money to opticians, this adds to the membership cost and this is money stolen from their members.  
2.  AAA does not pay money to the optician.   Then the people, who are not members, pay a higher price to compensate in the optician's calculation for the discount given to the members.   Again, this is stealing some customors' money.   Shops should calculate the lowest possible price for all customers and make them only pay for what they really want. 
An example: The optician calculates the minimum price, for which he considers to be able to sell glasses without a loss for himself.    If the glasses would cost 120$ for all customers, and he would sell them for 30% discount to every third customer at 93$, then the other customers would have to pay 133$ to compensate for the loss.  

Therefore in scenario 2, the dilemma of the customer is not just that between being honest or being dishonest, but between either taking advantage or being taken advantage of oneself.    I have no answer, maybe the best way is to make one's own average with the world by saying yes to the membership questions only once in a while.    

Sometimes I check, if the prices are correct on the paper slip from the cash register.   Lately, I discovered, that instead of 12 items, they had only made me pay for 2.   It was not a big thing, maybe 4€, that I had paid less.    Prices in supermarket are calculated in a way, that all the losses by some people's shoplifting are paid by all the not stealing customers.    Therefore I did not feel any obligation to go back and pay for their mistake.   Instead I felt that for once I got a compensation for all the money, that I had paid over a long time for the dishonesty of others.    I have no choice to pay the price, that they calculate, without buying food I would starve.   

The optician calculates the price of the glasses by costs, like raw material, equipment, the shop location and expenses like taxes, that are outside his influence.   But he has two own decisions:  How much interest he decides to get from his investment in the business and how much wages he pays to himself compared with what he pays to his employees.   
So if an optician calculates on a basis, that his income is 5 times that of his poor customer, is he honest?    The customer may have to live on potatoes and spaghetti for a month to afford the glasses.   If all opticians use their power to decide to earn that much, the customer has no choice for a cheaper price elsewhere.    

There are these food store chains, who sell food for low prices.   They use their economic power to press the farmers to sell their produce for prices so low, that it is nearly their ruin.   Poor people go there and count the coins in their pocket, if they rather can afford bread or milk.    But the owner of those supermarkets get rich, some of them have become multimillionaires.    Are they honest?   Or are they thieves, who got rich by using their power to steal money from the farmers, from their customers and from their employees?  

We have a choice to limit private relationships to those people, with whom there is a basis of trust and unconditional honesty.   We have a choice to select our contacts for where we have the safety of being able to be honest without risk.  
But unfortunately, survival in a capitalist society requires to carefully dose honesty with the business enemies, whom we cannot avoid, else we perish.   
In capitalism, honesty gets punished.    For any person, who prefers honesty, this is one more reason to loathe capitalism as inhuman.