The underlying source of all society's problems
"It is one of the few dependable rules of history that, given enough time, private interests will always triumph over public ones simply because their advocates, as they stand both to lose and to gain more than do the guardians of public property, are infinitely more resourceful."
-- Richard Pipes, "Russia Under the Old Regime" p 130
July 31st, 2007 2:02pm
Eh, using Russia as an "example society" has all kinds of problems. It's dark and cold in the winter there, for one thing.
July 31st, 2007 2:05pm
July 31st, 2007 2:06pm
Isn't that a good thing?
While community values and activities contain positives, if the predominate over all over forces, conformity, lack of freedom, and lack of innovation, are inevitable consequences.
July 31st, 2007 2:07pm
I don't think socialism need distinctly exlude or diminish individualism.
July 31st, 2007 2:09pm
You aren't doing well for reading comprehension these days, Allan... the quote has nothing to do with Russia.
It's a pretty obvious concept, that personal gain is a more effective motivator than some more lofty and nebulous goals, it was just a coincidence that I came across the quote while re-reading that book.
July 31st, 2007 2:11pm
Sorry, I was thrown off by the "always triumph", and the "infinite resources", and the title of the book had "Russia" in it.
I mean, he couldn't be talking about America, after all. We have checks and balances to prevent Private Interests from completely overwhelming Public Policy.
July 31st, 2007 2:14pm
Silly quote. Rasputin was pretty resourceful.
July 31st, 2007 2:15pm
That's the biggest problem with trying to institute much socialism into today's society. The mindset needed to make it wok simply isn't there. People are selfish twats and there is little pride in anything aside individual achievement.
July 31st, 2007 2:16pm
But not "infinitely resourceful".
When people start throwing around absolutes, it's usually pretty safe to rebut them. Almost all of the time, there's almost always one or more exceptions to an absolute rule that makes the absolute false.
July 31st, 2007 2:16pm
nope, ... Russians are emotionally bipolar, it's one thing or the other. It's all about the Absolut.
July 31st, 2007 2:21pm
July 31st, 2007 2:25pm
>>> That's the biggest problem with trying to institute much socialism into today's society. The mindset needed to make it wok simply isn't there.
What appealed to me about the quote is that I think people generally do have a mindset to make some "socialistic" endeavours work. But a simple "profit, profit, profit" mindset is easier to appeal to, and ... (here's what I think is critical) easier to harness.
Commercial enterprises exist to make money. Once a company starts up in the field of widget-making, it's easy for it to focus on widgets to the exclusion of all else. If it turns out that there's some reason why widgets are bad, it's possible for a group to form to oppose it, but on the one hand the company that makes widgets has a strong interest in promoting widgets and it makes sense for the company to pay to promote widgets in any way possible. OTOH, the anti-widget group probably isn't getting paid for being anti, and the people involved have to keep up their efforts by thinking of some greater good.
July 31st, 2007 2:29pm
"easier to harness"? Geez, before you start criticizing somebody's reading comprehension, look to yourself.
"private interests will always triumph over public ones" doesn't make "private interests" easy to harness -- in fact, I'd say it says the opposite.
July 31st, 2007 2:33pm