A philosophy webcomic about the inevitable anguish of living a brief life in an absurd world. Also Jokes

2577

Herbert Spencer Visits Pittsburgh

Herbert Spencer: "Much like the evolution of species, free market capitalism gives an evolution of society. "

Spencer: "The stronger, more efficient companies survive while the poorly managed ones die off."

Spencer: "The wealthy deserve their position, it is right and natural that superior people who advance society should be at the top."

Spencer: "Likewise, poor laws, in which the government helps the poor with charity, are unnatural. They interfere with the progress of purifying society through the survival of the fittest."

Messenger: "Herbert Spencer, Andrew Carnegie is a great admirer of you and wants to invite you to Pittsburgh to see the advanced industrial production of capitalism in America."

Spencer: "Excellent! A chance to see my ideas in action!"

Andrew Carnegie: "Welcome to Pittsburgh"
Spencer: "Thank you, i can't wait to see how you've improved efficiency so much."
Carnegie: "Great! Let me show you to the factory."

Spencer: "Is the air always this foul? Why doesn't anyone try to prevent the factories from spewing toxic fumes in the air?"

Carnegie: "Ahh, well you see, that's what we call an “externality”."
Carnegie: "You see, we don't have to pay for polluting the air, so if i spent extra money to prevent spewing toxins into the air constantly, and my competitors didn't, i would go out of business. "
Spencer: "Of course..."

Carnegie: "Here is the factory, in all its glory."
Spencer: "Good god, these men look practically dead."

Carnegie: "Well yes, they work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week in the scorching heat."

Spencer: "I think this one might be dead."
Carnegie: "No, he is just... napping, I'm sure."
Spencer: "Right..."

Carnegie: "Although you must agree, if i valued safety over profits and my competitors didn't, well... survival of the fittest, right?"

Spencer: "Why don't they just unionize so they can bargain for safety measures and days off?"
Carnegie: "Well, as you know I respect unions and would never prevent that."

Carnegie, whispering: "...at least that's what I tell the press, if my workers try to unionize I just shoot them."

Carnegie: "So as you see, it's a scientific fact that someone like me should rise to the top. There is nothing unnatural or evil about it."

Carnegie: "So what do you think of the great industrial Pittsburgh?"
Spencer: "Six months residence here would justify suicide."
"Does Capitalism encourage the worst men to have power? No, Americans are just bad."

Herbert Spencer was a libertarian capitalist philosopher, who thought the government should interfere as little as possible with the free market. Like most libertarian philosophers, he thought government intervention interfered with human freedom and our ability to make contracts with each other freely. However, he also believed that government intervention, such as with poor-laws (i.e. welfare) interfered with the natural process of evolution. He believe the brutal competition of capitalism was good, because weak firms would die out, which would lead to an improved society. Government should not assist firms that are financially struggling, since it only harms society in the long run by allowed inferior firms to survive. He also applied this logic to individuals, however, believing the humanity must undergo a "purifying process" to create better genetics that would be more suited to deal with the new industrial form of society. Eugenics was not an uncommon idea at the time, but Spencer was very enthusiastic about it, and is the philosopher most associate with Social Darwinism and the phrase "survival of the fittest", which he very much applied to humans. He more or less thought it would be good for the genepool if the poor died out, because they are obviously unsuited to flourish in the next stage of human history.

Andrew Carnegie was very pleased with Spencer's philosophy, because it showed that it was right and natural for men like him to be on top, and he wasn't evil or oppressive at all, but in fact driving society forward towards the better. He invited Spencer to Pittsburgh to see the advanced capitalist production that his ideas inspired. Spencer was extremely disappointed with Pittsburgh, finding the city to be dirty, polluted, the factories were oppressive, and the capitalists overly obsessed with competition, saying about Pittsburgh "six months residence here would justify suicide."

Carnegie, like the comic shows, gained a competitive advantage in part through brutally oppressing his workers, making them work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week (they only got the 4th of July off, to celebration the greatness of America), and forgoing safety measures to increase productivity. At one point they tried to unionize, and despite claiming to have never hired scabs or opposed unions, he left the country to avoid responsibility and make it clear to his underling to do whatever it took to stop it. Workers ended up getting killed, and the attempt to unionize failed.

You can read more about the real story here.
You can read more about Carnegie breaking unions here.

Herbert Spencer was a libertarian capitalist philosopher, who thought the government should interfere as little as possible with the free market. Like most libertarian philosophers, he thought government intervention interfered with human freedom and our ability to make contracts with each other freely. However, he also believed that government intervention, such as with poor-laws (i.e. welfare) interfered with the natural process of evolution. He believe the brutal competition of capitalism was good, because weak firms would die out, which would lead to an improved society. Government should not assist firms that are financially struggling, since it only harms society in the long run by allowed inferior firms to survive. He also applied this logic to individuals, however, believing the humanity must undergo a "purifying process" to create better genetics that would be more suited to deal with the new industrial form of society. Eugenics was not an uncommon idea at the time, but Spencer was very enthusiastic about it, and is the philosopher most associate with Social Darwinism and the phrase "survival of the fittest", which he very much applied to humans. He more or less thought it would be good for the genepool if the poor died out, because they are obviously unsuited to flourish in the next stage of human history.

Andrew Carnegie was very pleased with Spencer's philosophy, because it showed that it was right and natural for men like him to be on top, and he wasn't evil or oppressive at all, but in fact driving society forward towards the better. He invited Spencer to Pittsburgh to see the advanced capitalist production that his ideas inspired. Spencer was extremely disappointed with Pittsburgh, finding the city to be dirty, polluted, the factories were oppressive, and the capitalists overly obsessed with competition, saying about Pittsburgh "six months residence here would justify suicide."

Carnegie, like the comic shows, gained a competitive advantage in part through brutally oppressing his workers, making them work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week (they only got the 4th of July off, to celebration the greatness of America), and forgoing safety measures to increase productivity. At one point they tried to unionize, and despite claiming to have never hired scabs or opposed unions, he left the country to avoid responsibility and make it clear to his underling to do whatever it took to stop it. Workers ended up getting killed, and the attempt to unionize failed.

You can read more about the real story here.
You can read more about Carnegie breaking unions here.

Philosophers in this comic: Herbert Spencer
Support the comic on Patreon!
Follow on RSS Follow on twitter Follow on facebook share with reddit share on twitter share with your friends on facebook share with google employees