討論逐字稿 for Becoming Workshop 4: Business or Friendship? Part 2

This is the transcript and notes to our fouth Hands-on Philosphy workshop at Becoming, 'Business or Friendship'.
The transcript below actually starts at the end of the discussion with the Concluding Statements, which was where all the participants in the discussion made a statement on something they understood during the class or answering one or some of the questions provided for focus.

After the concluding statments are the notes and transcript from the first part of the class.


Concluding Statements:
-What’s the difference between sharing and trading? Friendship and business? Communal and transactional relationships?
-Could money substitute for communal relations? Does money displace communal relations? Does introducing money end communal relations?

-There's a question lingering for me, there's a value statement
-Like debt is a moral issue?
-I feel like there's an assumption or value judgement, or talk about how you value things, before we can answer this questions. Or maybe they're leading there. But going back to exploring why these universal or general values, how they came to be, or the historical or social roots of these values...In sociology we talk about paradigms, like in terms of abortion? It fundamentally gets down to how you view the world, and what you value. So you can talk about things to no end, but if you don't know your own values, you can't convince other people. So there’s' this fundamental difference going on, that's at the core of this class. It's almost like do you like or dislike money? Is it fundamentally bad? Is it necessary or good? You can also say you're both. It's hard for me to answer these questions in this way.

-If you have a relationship, you don't pay money to get anything, and if you don't have a relationship, you can't pay any amount of money to get it. I think it's important to define these details, to get to what sharing is what trading is.
-I would say, sharing I would put them into the two ends of the line. The more lines there is, then it would create a net. It's important to differentiate these things so you can know what the net is. And everybody has their, on the line, you may be close to another end or, it's like you have a color, but the color has different tones, and you can choose the tone you want and add it to the other colors as you like to create the whole picture. If you don't differentiate, you won't know where this color comes from and know how to make the color you want.

-That's a pretty analogy.
-Because that hurts me. I grew up in a traditional family, when I first met foreigners I thought they were selfish and petty and won't love you, it was extreme for the culture I grew up.
...
I started to realise it's not that way. Some people make money a good way, or a bad way, you can see if someone is good or bad. My culture say if you paint your nail or dye your hair, you're bad, if you smoke you're bad, but actually there are people who do all that who are not bad. But my culture tends to think that if your heart is that way, you will have that appearance, they're linked together and cannot separate them. But foreigners do that kind of thing, but are not that way inside, so it's important to differentiate things. -Well said! This makes me think I'm answering my own question, but is this all about in the end who we can trust?
-Maybe for you!
-Not for me, but why are we talking about this? We are all sharing and trading every day, why do you need to analyse?
-You're the one saying people have to become enlightened, how do you do that if not by asking these questions!
-We have to take the fish scales out of our eyes.
-That's biblical, right?

-For business opinion, I think if we know the relationship and if you know how the relationships work in the world, maybe you can make big money. You know who can share the thing with you and who won't. You can get the money value maximised, because you know who and what the, how many money can buy the maximum material. If you know the relationship, you know who will share with you, no need for money. If they don't want to share, then you need the money. You don't need to pay the money if you know who wants to share with you.

-well it's trusting your needs will get met
-but also if you're talking about business, you can use your knowledge of social structure an d human nature for good and for very bad too. Obviously we have the entire financial industry around that. You use the relationship...you use human relationships and human exchanges, quantified or not quantified, and if you know enough about what the system works, and how each person ticks, you can use your powers for good or evil. That's moral judgement too, but you can go a long way in business or whatever you're doing.
-I think the purpose is always for the good thing. If you want to hurt somebody, the business will get along, but you get what you deserve.

-I think that money is a tool, it's not necessarily, it' s just a tool, it's morally neutral, like a transaction. I think money and community relationships, I don't think they are completely antithetical or opposed. I don't think it ends relationships, it doesn't necessarily end them but it does dilute and displace them. But if you have like a purely fair, quid-prod-quo kumbaya, then it's possible on a small scale for a period of time, but if you want to know who to trust and not have society collapse in a messy fashion then you have to…
-shall we go on while you’re thinking how to finish?
-yes, sure

-I agree with some of ben's points...
-yeah but you can't just agree with me, I haven't finished what i'm saying, it's like driving onto an unfinished bridge...!
-She's agreeing with some of your points, not the whole bridge, just let her go forward? -Yes, money is a tool for exchange. Somehow it has become something very important, that some people value money even more that relationships. But In my opinion, I think people, not all people, but most people they're in a relationship, they're looking for something more than money, they're looking for something that money cannot buy. In our lives we are trying to get enough money to live, and it's a basic foundation. And when we have enough money to live we start to think about more, like we try to seek something meaning full in relationship, in caring for people, like she mentioned she has some opinions about capitalism, when we have a stable life we start to think about what we can change the world, I think during this process, while we exchange our point of views with people in many relationships, we can get more knowledge from that to strengthen our inside part, we can have the power which is able to affect other people to have similar thoughts. To persuade people, and when more and more people have similar thoughts, you can cooperate together to change the world, even just a little bit.

-And I’ll finish what I was saying, I believe what humanity to survive, there is the two extremes of self interest and community and looking out for others, looking for something greater, these are coexisting. And money is an important tool but it's important to know that money is a value system, and individual transactions, it's a community thing, but it can be a slippery slope into self-interest and if you are not aware enough, if you just let the system develop unchecked, which it will the you will be just entirely in that one side of humanity. It's why I think community by necessity is everyone, it's not like a hive mind, but everyone looking above and beyond themselves for something greater. Like community after a great disaster. If you're not careful with money, just like putting a quantifiable value onto everything, it's a slippery slope into a Hobbesian existence. And humans are by nature, they have the brutal self interest side, and they have the higher cooperative, transcendent side.

-I don't think money can substitute for communal relations. They're supposed to be together on a parallel. Money cannot buy you happiness or friendship. Everyone has their limitation, if you want to share, have friends, have communal relations, you must have more than you need so you can share with others. Those who don't share, they’re not selfish, they just don' have enough for themselves, so they don't share. Money would help this kind of situation. Money and communal things would have to be balanced. Like parents working too hard but no time for their kids. They use money to buy their kids, but the kids don't have mutual love for their kids, so this kind of family is broken.

-if you quantify an emotional bond..
-I think they both exist and cannot be replaced by each other.
-do they mutually support or just exist side by side?
-Side by side. We just said, you don't have to deal with the milk-dealer face to face. It's like a more effective way to lose the money system and communal system together. It won't work if you only have money or only have emotional things to deal with others. It's more efficient if you also have the money system. Human beings need emotions to support them to make them feel belong or loved or care. What I want to say is money is important and emotions are important so it needs to be two systems in a balance.

-I agree with her that both things are necessary for survival, relationships are obvious, relationships can be destructive as well. When you're in a community and people are dependent on that community for survival, I don't think o fit as a great thing, because I don't think everyone is so kumbaya either. We're all at different stages of wealth and maturity. I don't think it's safe to be in a community where as soon as you piss someone off they can deprive you of what you need, or where they can ostracise you. So I in that situation, relationships are not all that wonderful. So I actually think that money is something that has made things more efficient and therefore provide for more peoples' needs, even if not always fairly. I think people choose, or they don't have a choice, or they think they don't have a choice, but they participate in these systems. I'm not going to go there in absolute worst scenarios, but in North Korea, we think they have such awful lives, but maybe they don't think so, maybe they’re fine. I just think both are important, both money and relationships are important, it gives you more choices so you can take care of yourself, because there's money you can choose your relationships, in a way that's positive, and you're not forced to stay in negative ones.



Transcript/Notes from the first part of the class: What’s a transaction? What kinds of transactions are there? Is there a difference between a ‘transaction’ and an ‘exchange’? Are transactions always fair?
-Paper money transactions
-Doesn't usually involve emotion
-I give you something I get something back -Exchange doesn't involve money -Transaction involves money
-Miriam Webster: A business deal,
Goods services or money are passed from one person or account to another
-It's ‘Language exchange, not language transaction’
-Is always about business or commerce?
-So does it imply that profit is involved?
-Does exchange imply profit?
-Sometimes
-Inner profit nei bu cheng ben
-Virtual profit
-Hard to calculate it
-Gross profit maoli
-Net profit jingli

Profit = you get good things
Profit = making money apart from the cost, making money through selling things.

-I don't think transactions imply profit
-But why would you transact if there's no profit?
-Maybe the profit doesn't happen for one or both sides
-It doesn't have to mean profit, it might mean revenue.
-Revenue is about the exchange, and profit is after the cost is subtracted. -So...transaction is about revenue
-And people seek profit from the revenue
-I'm confused...if ben's coffee, he paid for it, so that's a transaction. So the coffee is his revenue?
-So the transaction is not always equal.
-The presence of fair trade coffee implies that most transactions are not equal

-Are transactions always fair?
-No, because if they were fair the revenue would equal to cost.
-You just blew my mind
-Wait, what is fair?
-What is fair to everyone. If he bought it for 50, he thinks it's fair, but maybe it costs 30 at another shop, when he found that out he might find it to be unfair.
-Fair doesn't mean equal!
-He thinks its fair because he's unaware of the wider picture?
-But if someone makes a 50 dollar coffee, and sells it for 50...but there's also the labour, so the 50 dollar coffee would become 60.
-But that's a bit different. Labour is already part of the cost of the coffee. When you are trying to make profit from coffee, you're supposed to sell it for a higher price. But if shop A sells it for 50, and shop b sells it for 70, people who buy at shop b would think they are cheated.
-This is interesting, there's another way to look at it. Maybe transactions are always fair, if you think that the responsibility lies with the person selling or the person buying. If the buyer expects the services to be catered to the buyer, then the buyer has the responsibility to be out there in the market. If the buyer has responsibility and choice to decide what to do with there money, then there is no transaction that that is unfair.
-Transactions are not a priori fair. Some are fair, some are not fair.
-So okay, if there's threats and violence then there's no benefit.
-Not fair ones have violence as extra components
-Fair ones have good intentions as extra components
-The difference between exchange and transaction. Exchange is between two sides, and transaction is like we just said, there's different kinds of layer, there's a chain,
-Of events?
-Of transaction.
-So exchange is just the one event? Is it more simple or is it different
-1 time, between two sides, and when it's done it's done, but transactions can keep going on.
-I feel like it's not gotten to the core of this.
-I agree.
-I feel like the core is more to do with it's not emotional. There’s some fundamental difference between the two.
-What's the dictionary definition for exchange?
-The benefit is purely non-emotional
-Benefit is always like, "yay"
-No emotional obligation then?
-In a friendship there's no emotional obligation as well
-I'm nice to you, but you don't have to be nice to me
-That's not true, as soon as I'm not nice to you for too long, then we're not friends anymore there’s an expectation your friends are nice to you.
-But in families, the parents treat the kids very well, but the kids just don’t pay back
-I don't know, that's different that's blood.
-Exchange: giving one thing in return for another, an occurrence in which people give people of similar value to each other.
-Transactions are not about equality, whereas exchange is
-Because she said if a transaction were fair, the cost would equal the profit.
-There's still two parties in a transaction, why would you engage in it? Besides threats and violence, in a normal exchange without violence, you can choose not to be part of the transaction. My point is that it's still fair, there's still exchange in the transaction.
-So you just used the word exchange to mean fairness.
-Why would you choose to take part in it if you didn't benefit?
-So maybe there's something fundamentally equal about transactions.
-Supply and demand?
-If it's not necessarily equal, it's because the powerful party has the command of the market or the resources, can charge more, or they have no competitors, some
-Yeah like the 70nt coffee shop is in dong chu so the rent is higher.
-Or they're the only coffee shop in town

-It's hard to have this conversation if there's a right or wrong answer. -I'm trying to say transactions can sometimes be fair
-I'm saying that they're not intrinsically fair or not.

-Transactions are fair. The outside is fair, but inside there's a part that's not fair. But the whole thing is fair.
-If it's fair, then revenue is equal to cost. But the people want to gain profit from it, so it's considered not fair. And I think what she's saying is how much profit you gain from it, if it's reasonable, then the transaction is fair. But the more money that adds to the thing, the more unfair it gets. So if the coffee shop in dongchu is more expensive, then it's fair, because of the rent. But if the coffee shop on the outskirts of the town, if it has the 70NT coffee, then it's unfair.
-And we're talking about fair and unfair, because there's a wide range to be discussed. And some people think the things between those two, different people have different feelings towards it, so it's complicated.

Transaction
-A transaction is a business deal, money changes hands, it can be good or bad, but the transaction is what it is.
-The transaction means there's no care about the well-being of the other party. You could care, but there is no assumption of care.
-Your focus is on what you're gaining.
-You could make it about wider self-interested.
-But that's not included in the basic premise.

Exchange:
-Similar value, equal value
-But not involve money?
-It could but doesn't have to.
-If it involves money, what would be the difference from a transaction?
-If I had 500, then you gave me 500? That makes no sense.
-You exchange US dollars for NT dollars.
-You can say it's a transaction as well, because you pay some fee for that, that's a transaction.
-I still think that exchange implies a form of equivalence.
-Something about equality that implies a sense of caring about well-being.
-I agree with that, because we exchange things at a flea market, it has a sense of caring about well being, I have what you need. It's not doing a transaction.

"Exchange is all about equivalence. Both sides are keeping accounts, it’s okay for both sides to keep account! Also, the entire relationship can be cancelled out, and either party can call an end to it at any time." (paraphrase of) Debt p.103

-This is more like exchange vs. friendship, not exchange vs. Transaction

-I just realized, I have a very distinct view about equality, related to this topic, maybe I have an assumption that we are all responsible for our fates in life. Maybe other people don't think this. So lots of people feel sorry for other people out there. I think no one can help you except yourself. You have to empower yourself ultimately, even the victimized people, you have to recognize that you're on the unfair side of the transaction, but you have to do something about it. If you don't stand up, it will continue. Outsiders can try to help, but you have to help the change too.
-I totally agree with you, but I think those people are victims, they can't stand up. Even If they can see it, they'll still be victims.
-It's awareness, they have to be able to see it, they have to have a choice. Then they have to pull themselves up.

-So slaves just have to revolt and it'll be okay?
-They have to, but how else is it going to change?
-I have to say that the change that has ever really happened, is that both sides had to work for power. The people in power also had to recognize that things had to change for the change to happen.
-I feel that the powerless people take away the advantage, it's a moral, you erode the advantage, you make it impossible morally for the people to continue.
-But the people in power have to also recognize that the thing can't continue, have the awareness, and then be willing to work for change
-For example Rosa Parks, the civil rights movement, when black people said, you know, equal rights. She said, I'm not going to go sit in the back of the bus. They said, we're not going to take it anymore.
-Look. In the American south there were 5 slave revolts, each time the result was more inhumane restrictions on slaves. But you know when the slaves were freed? When it was politically convenient for Abraham Lincoln to do so. Maybe he actually wanted to free the slaves anyways at some point, but he only did it when he needed it as a tool to destabilise the South as a war tactic. The slaves didn’t free themselves. The person in power, in this case Abraham Lincoln, he freed the slaves. For his own reasons, for his own purposes. Yes, the result was the slaves were freed. But! It had to come from the people in power! Yes the people victimized have to realise this and work to free themselves, but it cannot just come from them! The people doing the victimizing have ALSO got to see that shit’s wrong and do something to change it as well!
-So I think this course is about: 1. Do you accept there is a self-interested aspect to human beings?
2. Do you also think that human beings have hearts and can feel for other people as well? I feel what both are true. Can you accept that both are true?
-It's not like Lincoln was a bad person because he made a calculating decision.
-I do accept that both things are true. People are self interested. People also care about other people. The thing is, I understand that it’s the background system that you put people in, that will affect their behaviour. If you put humans in a position where they will kill to survive, they will do it. But if you put them in a position to care for others to survive, they will do it.
-Do you accept that everyone and everything, people especially, every aspect of a person's nature, emotional or physical, can be turned into a neutral, detached value? I think you're worth this much? Like the extension of the market society?
-Like, capital is moving beyond money to absorb all forms of...
-Human interaction!
-Social capital, human capital.
-I accept it as inevitable, I feel you're angry that you don't accept people are like this. I don't feel anger, because that is how human beings behave.
-I think you're misreading what I'm angry about. I'm angry about being forced to participate in a fundamentally unfair system, from which there is no exit--if you don't play, you don't eat. I have no choice to be part of this system, which means I’m hurting people with my very economic existence. This is what pisses me off.
-If we go back to the original, the system now is not quite fair. So I'm asking how this system came about? If we did it all over again, would it be better? But we're human being, and wouldn't it just come out the same way again?
-I'd just like to know which human behaviours are fundamental to human beings, and which ones are trained by the present system?


-We go to school to prevent us from hurting by this unfair system. And those who don't learn will be hurt by the system.
-Knowledge is power.
-Because you can see something, first you have to be able to see, that you're victimized. That's critical thinking.
-If one learns and the other don't, then that one is hurt. But if both of them learn, but with a different pace, the slower one will be hurt. So humans are struggling to be the ones who are not hurt, but in the same way hurt the other one. But this is kind of a sad conclusion.
-So the reason I’ve been so interested in human beings, sociology, international affairs, because I fundamentally believe what you're saying, that a lot of human self-destruction and destruction of others has to do with their emotional unawareness. They don't even see it, they think they have no control over it either. They're acting instinctively emotionally. But if each individual can resolve the emotional baggage, if they can just see themselves, see other people, they would choose a better way, but it takes time, a lot of working through. It's not just knowledge, it's not just critical thinking, it's also emotional. We have to empower ourselves through seeing that side of things, then we're free to live in a positive way.
I want to add about a book I'm reading ANTIFRAGILE. In the book, it's in English, so far my understanding is that antifragile is a whole thing, inside there's a small fragile, to what we're saying is kind of sad, but maybe it's not sad...
-We're helping others to become anti fragile because our fragility
-What does antifragile mean?
-It means we can sustain…like antibodies.
-Like you're resilient, you're strong.
-It's the same author of the Black Swan. Resiliency is bouncing back, fragile is breaking, and anti fragile is you come back majorly strong.
-Some things benefit from shocks, they thrive from disorder and uncertainty, but there's no word for the … it's beyond resilience or robustness. … it gets better. It's a convex response to a source of harm.
-What’s the difference between a debt and an obligation?
-An obligation is a service is provided to you, and you return the service or good deed.
-A debt is something has been done for you, but it's quantifiable, and fun and nasty tools can be added to it, like interest.
-An obligation is not quantifiable ,it's your responsibility to returns something,
-Debt is emotionally detached quantifiable…it's necessarily about the money.
-Why is this difference important?
-An obligation is a moral issue, like paying someone back, reciprocity, that's a good thing to do, right? But people think debt is a moral issue, it's self-evident, but the history of debt is brute history domination.
-Obligation is personal, and debt is personal
-Like 3rd world countries ran up debts when they had dictators but now that they're democracies they're still on the hook for the money.

No comments:

Post a Comment