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> Socialism, it no longer fits?
Bikerdad
post Feb 16 2016, 06:00 PM
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"In a time where consumers have almost unlimited choices of music, movies, websites and every product you can imagine in the supermarket, socialism is an outdated economic system that no longer fits with the world we live in." - John Hawkins

John Hawkins makes the above statement in a column I encountered over at Townhall.com.

With an admitted socialist duking it out with a sometimes admitted & proud progressive for the Democrat nomination, perhaps it is worth examining a simple question, suggested by the above quote.

Question for Debate:

1) Has technology and the abundance it fosters rendered socialism unnecessary?

2) What are the specific shortcomings that socialism, when it was formulated in the early to middle decades of the 19th century, sought to resolve?

3) If the shortcomings have been resolved, what then should socialists of today do?

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Gray Seal
post Apr 27 2016, 04:42 PM
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AuthorMusician, I am not sure where you learned that stone age people did not have a use for money. I do know that greenstone was used by Maori as money. I learned that after finding small samples of this green rock in New Zealand. Some locals told me the history about the greenstone when I described it to them.

I think the survey of young people about capitalism reveals how poor our public education system is. I expect most only know of the word "capitalism" as a sound bit on the news. Young people do not know much about economics, what money it, nor what freedom is. The survey revealed those surveyed did not have any general support for any economic system.

Of course, that can be interpreted to support your idea that some different economic system, something unheard of, is about to surge to the forefront, as young people are rejecting current known economic systems. I think ignorance is a more likely explanation of the non-support for various economic systems.

Our current government manipulation of money, the growth of government, and the never ending deficit spending are leading to wealth shifting to those connected to government. This process is not an aspect of capitalism. It is counter to capitalism.

There are those politicians who are quick to suggest economic problems are due to capitalism. But such suggestions are made because capitalism is counter to these politician's aims. 'Might as well blame the enemy of their shenanigans. The ignorance masses do not know better. And it does work to do so.

-------

Technology will flourish with capitalism. Socialism suppresses progress. Why? Central management decreases choices.

Technology does not suppress socialism, per se. However, people should recognize their lives are better with technology which leads to support for capitalism as capitalism supports technology.

If technology worries you, by all means support socialism. Socialism is a good counter to progress via technology.
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akaCG
post Apr 28 2016, 07:11 PM
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QUOTE(Gray Seal @ Apr 27 2016, 12:42 PM) *
AuthorMusician, ...
...
I think the survey of young people about capitalism reveals how poor our public education system is. I expect most only know of the word "capitalism" as a sound bit on the news. Young people do not know much about economics, what money it, nor what freedom is. The survey revealed those surveyed did not have any general support for any economic system.
...

In addition to the woeful degree of general ignorance on the part of 18-29 year olds in regards to these matters, let's also not forget that the youngest of them were about 9 years away from yet being born and the oldest of them had only just barely gotten potty-trained in 1989, a.k.a. the Year of Tiananmen Square and the Berlin Wall.

ps:

"Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, ..."

--- Ronald Reagan, California Gubernatorial Inauguration Speech, January 5, 1967


This post has been edited by akaCG: Apr 28 2016, 07:18 PM
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Hobbes
post May 3 2016, 02:48 PM
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QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Apr 27 2016, 10:12 AM) *
QUOTE(Gray Seal @ Apr 26 2016, 11:01 AM) *
Speculation of the future is a positive thing. Suggestions of what if's are an important process. I think we can dispense with some what if's easily by observation of history. Other what if's are possible.

Actually, history is becoming less important for figuring out the future. That's because what's being developed has no precedence in history, or if it does, it goes way back to before currency was invented. For example, Stone Age humans had little need for currency because the idea was for everyone in the group to survive, therefore sharing was the important principle. Labor was shared, products were shared, food/water was shared, and entertainment was shared.

Capitalism isn't doing well:

More people rejecting capitalism in the US


QUOTE
The results of the survey are difficult to interpret, pollsters noted. Capitalism can mean different things to different people, and the newest generation of voters is frustrated with the status quo, broadly speaking.


Exactly. If you asked those same people what they thought capitalsim meant, I'd be willing to bet that most of them would be wrong. And even more of them, as the survey indicates, couldn't articulate what they would prefer instead:

QUOTE
It isn't clear that the young people in the poll would prefer some alternative system, though.


This poll is simply a result of the current angst many have with the state of the economy. It is worth noting that one of the big reasons for our economic malaise is the huge debt our government has accrued pushing socialist policies.

QUOTE(AM)
This is a trend that capitalism has built, and it's not the first time that too much wealth has gone to the top due to capitalism. However, people might know what they don't like, but at the same time they don't know what would be a better system. This is where the economic world is right now, and history is no help. That's because the better system has never existed, except maybe during the early times of human history, and that had a whole different set of environmental pressures.


Which is exactly why history is indeed a big help. It shows, quite clearly and starkly, what system works, and which ones haven't. The most efficient means of distributing goods and services is through a market. Everything else is HUGELY less efficient and effective, creating WORSE conditions for everyone. So, unless people are a big fan of 'worse conditions for everyone', they are actually in support of capitalism.

QUOTE
It is interesting that you have to get to people over 50 years old to find a majority in favor of capitalism. Interesting and very important, since the most active brains are generally under 50 years of age. The newer generations will be finding their ways out of this jungle we call capitalism, socialism, or any other economic system tried to date. They will do this because they will have to do it, and they will have to do it because the old systems simply don't work well enough for enough people. A better system has to develop or the human race will whither away, and that is unacceptable to everyone but the most warped from bad nurturing.


Interesting, as this would be...capitalism in action. So, no, they won't find a better system. They would just be using the current one to improve things, which is what capitalism is all about.
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akaCG
post May 4 2016, 04:53 PM
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QUOTE(Hobbes @ May 3 2016, 10:48 AM) *
...
... history is indeed a big help. It shows, quite clearly and starkly, what system works, and which ones haven't. The most efficient means of distributing goods and services is through a market. Everything else is HUGELY less efficient and effective, creating WORSE conditions for everyone. So, unless people are a big fan of 'worse conditions for everyone', they are actually in support of capitalism.
...

Indeed.

Related:

"Vietnam, ruled by communists for 40 years, is now the No. 1 fan of capitalism on the planet"

Make sure you scroll down to the survey at the bottom of the article.

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Hobbes
post May 5 2016, 05:58 PM
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QUOTE(akaCG @ May 4 2016, 11:53 AM) *
QUOTE(Hobbes @ May 3 2016, 10:48 AM) *
...
... history is indeed a big help. It shows, quite clearly and starkly, what system works, and which ones haven't. The most efficient means of distributing goods and services is through a market. Everything else is HUGELY less efficient and effective, creating WORSE conditions for everyone. So, unless people are a big fan of 'worse conditions for everyone', they are actually in support of capitalism.
...

Indeed.

Related:

"Vietnam, ruled by communists for 40 years, is now the No. 1 fan of capitalism on the planet"

Make sure you scroll down to the survey at the bottom of the article.


I think there is a simple explanation why developing countries are at the top of that list, and developed countries are lower on it. Developing countries are more aware of the benefits of capitalism, as their experience prior to that is still fresh in their mind, and they have seen, as in Vietnam, the marked change and progress as capitalism became more prevalent. Developed countries, like the US, Germany, etc. are pretty far removed from that, and so are mainly just seeing some of the pains and issues, without much grasp of what things were/would be like without capitalism, even though examples are still all around us.

Are there any examples of where capitalism was implemented and things got worse? I think the question even applies beyond economics, into social justice, etc. Free markets bring freedom in general, which is why so many autocratic governments are reluctant to implement it.
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akaCG
post May 11 2016, 04:06 PM
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QUOTE(Hobbes @ May 5 2016, 01:58 PM) *
...
... Developing countries are more aware of the benefits of capitalism, as their experience prior to that is still fresh in their mind, and they have seen, as in Vietnam, the marked change and progress as capitalism became more prevalent. Developed countries, like the US, Germany, etc. are pretty far removed from that, and so are mainly just seeing some of the pains and issues, without much grasp of what things were/would be like without capitalism, even though examples are still all around us.
...

Fresh example of a developed country that is, finally, slowly, painfully, ... beginning to get a clue (bolding mine):

QUOTE
...
Franceís Socialist government, having concluded that socialist labor legislation is stifling job growth and propping up the unemployment rate, is enacting pro-business economic reforms over the objections of more left-wing members of the party. ...
...
Vallsí decision is part of a long-running trend: For decades, the decline of the blue social model has been pushing many European countries, including ones we think of as social democracies, to abandon some of the more statist features of their economic agendas. Policies that worked relatively well in closed, stable, national economies of the mid-20th century fail to deliver in the open, dynamic economies of the 21stóand even center-left governments are forced to adapt to this reality once they take power.
...

Socialism getting mugged by reality, as always.

ps:
I like the title of the piece ("French Socialists Arenít Feeling the Bern"). But it would have been even better if it started with "Even". smile.gif

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Dingo
post Jun 1 2016, 01:10 AM
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QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Feb 16 2016, 10:00 AM) *
"In a time where consumers have almost unlimited choices of music, movies, websites and every product you can imagine in the supermarket, socialism is an outdated economic system that no longer fits with the world we live in." - John Hawkins

John Hawkins makes the above statement in a column I encountered over at Townhall.com.

With an admitted socialist duking it out with a sometimes admitted & proud progressive for the Democrat nomination, perhaps it is worth examining a simple question, suggested by the above quote.

Question for Debate:

1) Has technology and the abundance it fosters rendered socialism unnecessary?

2) What are the specific shortcomings that socialism, when it was formulated in the early to middle decades of the 19th century, sought to resolve?

3) If the shortcomings have been resolved, what then should socialists of today do?

Apparently you didn't get the memo dude. We're already socialist. What do you think Social Security and Medicare, not to mention a host of other things like the military, policemen, courts. prison and the public schools, oh and my favorite national and state parks. The rest is pretty much the crony system as in for example the MIC.

Capitalism and the Free Market is 95% denial.
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Hobbes
post Jun 6 2016, 07:15 PM
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QUOTE(Dingo @ May 31 2016, 08:10 PM) *
Apparently you didn't get the memo dude. We're already socialist. What do you think Social Security and Medicare, not to mention a host of other things like the military, policemen, courts. prison and the public schools, oh and my favorite national and state parks. The rest is pretty much the crony system as in for example the MIC.

Capitalism and the Free Market is 95% denial.


In what way are Social Security/Medicare government takeover of the means of production? Public schools a fair example, as are several of the others. But they by no means define the rest of the economy.

We are neither socialistic, nor purely capitalistic. From an economic perspective, we are much closer to capitalism than to anything else. How long a list of things we can buy through a market do you think one could name, to contrast with the list you provided above? Millions of items. Same for companies the government doesn't run. If you had to pick one or the other, it would clearly be capitalism that more closely describes our system. Tempered, to be sure, but still capitalism. Even the Socialist Labor Party admits this, mentioning most of the very points you brought up.

The SLP says that socialism is something entirely different. After all, we have plenty of government or state ownership in America today, but who would argue that America is a socialist country because of it?

QUOTE(From their statement)
This is a capitalist country, not a socialist one. Yet many cities own and run their own hospitals, libraries, transportation systems and utilities. The public schools, state college and university systems are government owned. The federal government owns and controls the FBI, the CIA, the army, the navy, the air force, the U.S. Marines and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Why, it even owns all the national forests and national parks. Yet, who would call these institutions examples of socialism? Who would say that today’s government is socialist because it owns all of these things? Not the SLP.


I guess you didn't get their memo? wink2.gif

But, I think arguing over socialistic vs capitalistic isn't really the point, or productive. Simply labels that immediately bias the discussion. Much better to simply look at any given policy and determine its benefit and costs on its own merits. Many policies you might consider socialistic might also be considered good policy from a capitalistic perspective. Social Security, for example, was put in place to keep older people from crowding younger people out of the job market. The government is going to inject itself into business activities. That doesn't make something socialist.

This post has been edited by Hobbes: Jun 6 2016, 09:35 PM
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Gray Seal
post Jun 6 2016, 07:36 PM
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QUOTE(Hobbes)
In what way are Social Security/Medicare government takeover of the means of production?
Dingo will have his own perspective but I have an answer. Retirement management is a service businesses can sell. Providing healthcare is a service businesses can supply. Government is using taxation to subsidize government run businesses as well as placing mandates to pay for government services whether you use them or not.

Capitalism does exist in the United States. So does socialism. So does facism. Progressivism has taken over to be the predominant economic force in the economy. The free market is mostly suppressed. As capitalism is free markets I can not see how the United States may be described as having capitalism.
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Hobbes
post Jun 6 2016, 09:59 PM
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QUOTE(Gray Seal @ Jun 6 2016, 02:36 PM) *
QUOTE(Hobbes)
In what way are Social Security/Medicare government takeover of the means of production?
Dingo will have his own perspective but I have an answer. Retirement management is a service businesses can sell. Providing healthcare is a service businesses can supply. Government is using taxation to subsidize government run businesses as well as placing mandates to pay for government services whether you use them or not.


Yes, that is government entering into the market. But is government taking over all the other suppliers? No. Hence...not really socialism. Government regulates just about every business. That doesn't mean business isn't conducting in a market.

QUOTE
Capitalism does exist in the United States. So does socialism. So does facism. Progressivism has taken over to be the predominant economic force in the economy. The free market is mostly suppressed. As capitalism is free markets I can not see how the United States may be described as having capitalism.


Is it socialism? Fascism? Communism? No. While I agree it isn't 'pure' free markets, it is still capitalism. One can create a product, and sell it in the market, at a price they choose, if people are willing to buy it. That's....capitalism.
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Gray Seal
post Jun 6 2016, 10:22 PM
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No matter how oppressive government is, always there is a black market. Black markets are not pure capitalism but since some people are still making product and selling it voluntarily to people at a price they agree, would this be sufficient to say the country can be described as capitalism?

How crippled from government control does a country need to be before it no longer is considered to have capitalism?

I think defining a market to be capitalist when there is so much non-free market activity confuses people as to what capitalism is. For example: people think business bribing politicians is capitalism. While such corruption is not socialism it is more likely to see such activity when government controls more of the transactions. It certainly is not capitalism.

There is bureaucracy to handle before you can sell a product. There is more bureaucracy to handle as your business flows. How can so much bureaucracy be considered to be free market capitalism?

The United States has more socialism than capitalism.
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Hobbes
post Jun 6 2016, 10:45 PM
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QUOTE(Gray Seal @ Jun 6 2016, 05:22 PM) *
No matter how oppressive government is, always there is a black market. Black markets are not pure capitalism but since some people are still making product and selling it voluntarily to people at a price they agree, would this be sufficient to say the country can be described as capitalism?


No. It would be defined by the predominant market mechanism.

QUOTE
How crippled from government control does a country need to be before it no longer is considered to have capitalism?


When said government control removes most control and ownership from the owners themselves.

QUOTE
I think defining a market to be capitalist when there is so much non-free market activity confuses people as to what capitalism is. For example: people think business bribing politicians is capitalism. While such corruption is not socialism it is more likely to see such activity when government controls more of the transactions. It certainly is not capitalism.


A good example of how government intervention does not mean it isn't capitalism.


QUOTE
There is bureaucracy to handle before you can sell a product. There is more bureaucracy to handle as your business flows. How can so much bureaucracy be considered to be free market capitalism
?

If, at the end, said goods and services are still being sold in a free market where one is able to pick and choose which product or service they want, it is a free market still. Too much confusion over markets and bureacracy. One does not preclude the other. If everyone competing is dealing with the same bureacracy, it isn't even a factor, really. A separate discussion could be had on whether whatever amount of bureacracy exists is beneficial to society or not, but it doesn't change that goods and services are still being sold through a market, where others compete.

QUOTE
The United States has more socialism than capitalism.


No, not by a longshot. Even the socialist party agrees on that. What percent of the products available today are only produced by companies owned and run by the government? When that percent gets above 50%...then and only then will we be more socialist than capitalist.
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Gray Seal
post Jun 8 2016, 07:06 PM
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When is a free market no longer free? At what point is there no predominant market mechanism?

Does socialism end where fascism begins? Does capitalism only end when all free market mechanisms end?

If a government controls employment conditions (minimum wage, must provide healthcare, overtime rules, taxation upon the wages, who can you employ, conditions for firing employees) is there a point where this is socialism?

How much government mandated overhead must be imposed before a private business is a government directed business? Does a government need to own a business for it to no longer be based upon capitalism?

Is fascism a type of socialism or a type of capitalism? Is crony capitalism more capitalism or more socialism? If there was a term called crony socialism what would it be like? Is fascism essentially crony socialism? What is the difference between fascism and crony capitalism?

There are so many taxes. There are so many regulations. There are so many laws. Is this freedom?

How much do you need to pay in taxes before the government has more say so on the fruits of your labor than you do? Is that the line between socialism and capitalism?

Are there conditions where capitalism (a free market) has lost its definition but it is not quite socialism either?

At what point is freedom gone? At what point are you comrade? Are these different points?
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droop224
post Jun 23 2016, 03:58 AM
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Hobbes

Well I'm not sure how much to applaud you on the fact that you can recognize our oppressive nature of other human societies as a nation when you don't factor that in to the lack of monetary success. In other words it seem highly hypocritical to say "Yeah I know we are doing our best as a nation to stifle the economic growth of socialist societies but lets ignore that and point out why socialism works." i mean, of course you can do this... but is that intelligent?

And you are right a country that just went through a military revolution, replacing the government and revamping the economic system would see a decline in economic well being, but even you'd have to admit that is a "duuuuhh" conclusion. I'm hard pressed to think of how such a revolution wouldn't create economic fallout. But that fallout doesn't explain why the human citizens of this nation oppressed the human citizens of Cuba for over fifty years. For what? Why would we treat humans in such a way because they choose socialism or at least live in a socialist economy.

If socialism is its own failure then it makes absolutely no sense. Same with NK. I know less of the history of NK so i won't debate too much on it, other than to say that the information regularly fed to western democracies, come from capitalist neighbors such as South Korea, but i know plenty when it comes to Cuba. Things that historians are finally admitting, like it was US policies that actually pushed Cuba into the open arms of the Soviet Union. My point is that there is a reason, why western capitalist nations push socialist nations to failure. That is a question that suggests that those in power fear the spread of socialism, which according to you should be of NO concern to capitalist nations.

QUOTE
I don't disagree...but the entire world's viewpoint is wrapped up in world history, and it was world history I was referring to. Socialism/communism hasn't fared well...globally and pretty much universally. China might be an interesting case study as a potential current exception, but one could also argue that is because they are adopting more capitalism.


Not exactly. Your viewpoint is wrapped in your understanding of world history. You have to percieve history as does everyone else. Your perception of history is based on the volume of history you consume. Your perspective on history is based on what you choose to believe. Again, this is true for all of us.

Now I'm not trying to make an argument that no event ever happens in history. But context can be added or removed, there can be truths and falsehoods, exaggerations and minimizing of certain facts, etc etc.. when discussing world history.

Why is this important? For a couple reasons.

1. For one the world history you refer to, does not exist.
2. When pointing to socialist failures you acknowledge yet completely ignore the influence of western capitalist democracies very real and documented policies and acts of aggression to promote the failure of these socialist societies.

whats important is as you said you have always thought that a country becoming a socialist should not lead to the sanctioning of a nation. Yet, the power to be of our nation disagree. A country moving towards socialism is enough to arm small capitalistic factions of power and promote civil war. The simple truth is that socialism anywhere to a capitalistic State is the same as democracy anywhere is to a Monarch or dictatorship. It is an idea\concept that is dangerous to a relatively small, but extremely powerful people and small groups.

A rhetorical point, but by no means evidence, if a society were moving toward socialism why care at all if it had no effect on us as a capitalist nation. We must lose something Hobbes to use so much in resources stopping it on a global level.

QUOTE
Ok, I shouldn't have said 'all the power in the world'. But my point still stands. Everyone here has tremendous power, and that is why so many immigrants come here.
No i would think that refuted your point. I had this discussion the other day with a coworker and she ased similar rhetorical questions of "why citizens around the world seek to come here" I believe the answer is opportunity. People of any nation have opportunity, the stories of rag to riches are not unique to the US or even western societies, or even this time in history. However the sheer expanse of our wealth and the lack of understanding of how that works domestically sends people here in droves, but they also all want to get to european states as well. Now most citizens in the US do not have tremendous power because most of us have very little abililty to control. But there is opportunity to gain power.

QUOTE
Do you believe individual's having power over their own lives is a bad thing? I suspect not...but then you are espousing a governance concept that essentially takes that away, so maybe you actually do believe that.
No, I don't, to both your question and your point. Let me make an argument in the extreme then work it back.

If we have a slavery. I buy a slave and I make the slave do labor for my business which deals with crops. Society says... "no more slaves" they use the government to make laws stating that slavery is prohibited and that all slaves are now free. Did the government essentially take away my freedom to own slaves. Yes it did. However it didn't take away any of my power to control myself, just my ability to control others.

Let say slaves are free now, but they have nothing. They are free to work wherever but no one is hiring former slaves and i see an opportunity. Though the government freed the slaves, the land they worked is still mine, the slave quarters still mine, so i say i will pay them pennies on the dollar of the crops worth for their labor dealing with crops. Its brilliant I still have the power to become extremely wealthy with this idea. But then society starts looking at the hours of labor put in by the people actually doing the picking and their meager ability to provide food while you become wealthy from their labor... and society says no more. So the government makes laws and the law states that people who work the land, OWN the land. Now the government is limiting the freedom of someone owning as much land as they want, but it does so to allow other the ability to own land that they work. The government is not preventing you the freedom of owning land. Its saying you, personally, need to work the land you own. So get out there and WORK just like the other people are working the land. So now through law the government has made it less possible for you to earn of anothers labor using the leverage of land. It's taken your power to control others through the leverage of land. You still have complete control over you.

So lets keep it moving. So society sees that there are businesses that are getting cheap labor for manual task like cleaning, cooking, serving, and society says... no more. If you want to have a business that hires people you will pay them minimally this much. Laws are created that state a minimum wage. Someone with a business feels this sting and says this is unfair you are taking away my freedom to dictate what I will pay and employee. And that business person has a valid point. Government did take away the freedom for me to dictate to me that i can't pay someone lower than "X" amount of dollars. But government didn't tell me I have to start a business or that my business has to hire people. I am FREE to make this choice. Government simply said that if i am going to employ a HUMAN BEING, I will need to provide minamally whatever things are required by law. I don't have the ability to control the worth of labor of other individuals as much. Lets say the society decides that no person even a business owner can set any salary at a greater or lower ratio to 10:1. So no person in a single company can have a salary that exceeds 10 times the lowest paid person. I am still free to raise my minimal level to raise my top level or vice versa. Also, I am free to run a small business with just me. I will do all the work and recieve all the benefits and i am free to do that.

We could run other scenarios like pricing of resources, property ownership, inheritance, and in all cases i would state limiting a persons freedom in how exploitive they can be is indeed a limitation of freedom, but I would argue it is not a limiting of freedom of how someone power over their own lives. 100% of socialist ideas are limitation on how you as individual have power limited over OTHER people lives, not your own.

QUOTE
Again, it's corrupting because of the power of government. If government didn't have the power, there wouldn't be anything to corrupt, nor any reason or benefit in doing so. This corruption still exists in socialism, and almost always at a much higher degree. Look at all the socialism examples we have around the globe, and in recent history, and you will see that they were far more corrupt than anything we have here. Because there isn't any power other than the government to counter that.
No its corrupting because the individuals of power within and outside of the government. If i am an individual outside of government and i use my wealth to hire lobbyist to create push a law that benefits me, that is one part of the equation of corruption. If I am in the government and there are laws that hurt milions but enriches a few and i take lobbyist gifts and promises of future wealth, that is the other part of the corruption that is the part of the equation of corruption in government.

Now if I am senator making a law that in my view benifits the constituents as a whole I am not being corrupt. Thats how a republic is supposed to work. If i am a beauracrat, following the guidelines of the law, i am not being corrupt, even if the the law is corrupt. That is the job I am supposed to do. If some individual offers me something to act outside the law or act in a specific way within the law that gives preferential treatment, then there is corruption.

Socialism seeks to limit the ability of an individual to use influence to corrupt a government, so government can function the way it is supposed to.

Quick question... whats the number reason you hear why people prefer college level sports over professional, for those people who do. Might seem off topic, left field, but the answer i generally get tends to be like... college players play with the hearts and pros are better but they play for money.

Its the idea of personal wealth and power that corrupts all of us Hobbes, IMO. People in government are just American citizens like people not in government. Vast majority of government offical are hired or elected American citizens born and raised in America. So if the government is corrupt, why is it corrupt? There is no foreign entity ruling over us. Legislators that can make laws... are elected. Executives that can sign executive orders are elected.

Here is a hint... maybe.. just maybe a society that believes that an individuals utmost purpose on earth is to ... seek power... seek wealth... seek greatness for yourself and your family... IS the truly corrupting factor, not the government.

HEEEEEYYYYY!! GET MONEY!!!

QUOTE
Cuba's economy took a downturn immediately after Castro took over, and implemented socialism...but I get your point, and used to argue that very thing in debate in which foreign policy was the topic, and our platform was that we should stop trying to influence other countries by restricting trade there. It doesn't work (note that Cuba hasn't changed its government due to our policies) AND it reduces our ability to influence the very changes we seek to bring about. But that is a whole different debate.


This is still a dodge in a way. Why are we human beings of this nation using our power to make life worse for the human beings of that country? Why do we want to change their society, when they chose it for themselves. Were all people on board, absoluely not, but enough for the revolution to be successful. And what were the Cuban demands to the U.S. .. nothing. They just put an end to the corrupt Batista rigime practice of selling out the cuban people's interest to the highest American bidder. Tehy weren't trying to get paid off by American capital, we offerred, they refused. Look at the comments made by Castro when visiting America in 1959.

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I don't take pride in it...but that doesn't mean that Cuba isn't one of the many, and universal, examples of the economic failures of socialism.

Yes but you know we actively play a part in that economic failure, so how does it exemplify the failure of socialism due to socialism in and of itself? Its like saying a woman is dying of respitory failure due to her two pack a day smoking habits and ignoring a 300 pound man sitting on her chest and two hands around her throat strangling her. And you just keep repeating..."smoking is bad that why you can't breathe"

That intentional blindness on your part speaks volumes, because it shows.. there is no blindness, just you refusing to look that way. But there has to be a reason why we have foreign policies that treat socialist nations the way we do.

QUOTE
See my question above. Do you really believe we should limit the power of ... everyone?
1. we already do to some degree or another 2. Yes we should. We want to limit an individual's power to control others. It is in the absence of control that the masses will find freedom and less corruption.

QUOTE
Yes, government is made up of people. Always has been, and is true no matter what the form of government is. Your point
Well my bigger point is to stop the disassociation that happens in American politics in general, but conservative circles even more.. of our government and our citizens. The obvious link needs to be constantly reiterated. Our government is not made up of just "people", but our people, American citizens, born and raised here just as you have been and I have been. Which is important to internalize so you can understand the next greater point.
QUOTE
But then government's without power are nothing, so the two go hand in hand. You want to give the govenment even more power, hence it will become even more corrupt.
A government without power is not nothing, but it can't govern, which makes it a failed state...hence why North Korea is not a failed state. We both agree that power can corrupt Hobbes, but now its time to dig deeper due to this belief you state. Use of power isn't always corruption. If a government functions exactly as it is intended, would that government be corrupt? Think about it. Most would argue the corruption is when power is used inappropriately.

Lets talk IT governance, something you are familiar with. If I work the firewalls for the network on a government system I have to have the power to do my job correct. I obvioulsly need the elevated privileges to do that job, correct? So if a helpdesk ticket come in with an approved change request to open a port on the firewall and allow any incoming outgoing traffic over the port, and I change the government firewall, am I acting corruptly, am I corrupt? Most people would say... no. Yes I have power and privilege and I may work for the government... none of that make me or my actions corrupt.

Now, lets tweak that scenario to say some body offered me twenty thousand dollar to open a port on the firewall and create a new firewall rule to allow incoming outgoing traffic. Now that is corrupt, now I am corrupt.

It wasn't power or privilege that made me corrupt, it wasn't working for government that made me corrupt. But working for the government making an unauthorized change for my own benefit that makes me corrupt.

Lets tweak it more. Let say I make an authorized change again, but unbeknownst to me the change came from 4 higher key officials on the change board that were all paid 20k to authorize the change. Am I corrupt for making the change, no I am not, I have the privilege, the power, the authority, and I made the change in accordance with the way change is supposed to be made. I am not a corrupt government official in this scenario, but there is corruption, systematic corruption.

Now to your belief that I want to give government more power increasing its corruption. Not true at all. Putting a speed limit doesn't increase corruption, even if it allows the government the authority to ticket speeders. Its true the government has to be able to find some one to enforce a speed limit, but that not corruption.

In the same vein its true that a socialist government would limit people in ways that are not currently limited, but that doesn't make it a more corrupt government or even a more powerful one. Corruption generally, but not always, when people are using power for their own self interest. All I am suggesting is that it is in people's BEST interest to limit what any ONE of us can do in our OWN self interest.

Reason being quite simple and bluntly put.... when I am caring about by own self interest I can care less about anyone else's interest.

I'm not saying you should be of the same opinion, but I am trying to understand your understanding of the link between power and corruption.

QUOTE
Yes. But those are the very people who run for government, so again not sure what your point is.
Wrong, or at least overly generalized, you get to a certain level of politics its hard unless you are a "socialist democrat" (what is it about socialist that love to stand up against corporate money, weird, for a bunch of people that love corruption)
But why is that... why is it hard at a certain level to prevent corruption. Oh that's right... a bunch of people are paying people in government to do things specifically for their own self interest and our society hasn't figured out how to put controls on it...

QUOTE
Ah, but you DO advocate that. You just don't realize it. The government you seek would be more corrupt than the government we have currently. History tells us this quite clearly, as does any knowledge of human behaviour. Again, the saying 'power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely' doesn't exist for no reason.
I realize what I advocate, and yes corruption will exist. But more corrupt... we live in a society... have you seen our society? Corporate owned prisons... never mind.

QUOTE
All socialism does is transfer that same power to others. It doesn't limit it. At least not intentionally. It does eventually limit it, because it is then followed by reduced economic output, thereby applying its own limits and reductions.
So it does limit the power of individuals... or it doesn't seems like you are saying it does and doesn't at the same time.

QUOTE
Plus, it isn't really power that drives most people (you might not fall into this category) to support socialistic policies. It is money.
Oh man, oh man, oh man. .... man.... enlighten me.

QUOTE
No, they aren't completely and utterly socialistic. What means of production was taken over by the government in those scenarios? One could say they are socialist leaning, most likely, but not 'completely and utterly socialist'...because they aren't. As you yourself explained. It takes a whole lot more than a program being done for social good to make it 'socialist'. Socialism has a very clear definition in terms of form of government...and it is when the government takes over the means of production.

Before you start arguing that...keep in mind that this actually leaves the field better suited for debate of what you probably consider socialistic policies. It is much more productive to argue the benefits (AND the costs) of various social programs if one doesn't wrap them up in a pursuit of a socialistic government, which, as I have been saying, history pretty clearly shows doesn't work, and hence is pretty easy to argue against.
I have to argue with you in a weird way because you just made a weird point. You clearly distinguish what it take to be a socialist government, but I never argued that the welfare made us have a complete and utterly socialist government. I think like you on this that there is some sort of threshold that would have to be exceeded and we aren't there in the least bit.

That being said if you want I can differentiate the difference from welfare state programs and socialism.
For instance if the government were to simply pay for education and pay for healthcare, I am fine calling this socialist welfare rather than calling it socialism.

The issue is... that while me and you can understand the difference there are going to be people that will join in the debate from your side that will call these items socialism because they will not distinguish based on government controlling productivity or the business aspect as the criteria of calling something socialism. Too many people see merely the government in control of something as socialism... so for me i can see it becoming difficult to debate you who draw the line at "government controlling productivity=socialism" and someone else "government paying for a service for citizens=socialism"

By all means the Greater welfare state will come first, as Mrs P points out all the signs point to its necessity, because the small powerful minority believes its power and wealth are earned. The consequence of this belief is currently be felt by more Americans than not.

You can look to history all you want but the philosophy of socialism is something you haven't seemed to take issue with. There is no philosophy of socialism that thinks a small minority of government people should rule over people. The philosophies of socialism believe the "working class" or proletarieat need to the driving political force. You may not agree with this philosophy either, but if you argued against this I'd have something to debate rather than phantom socialism, that isn't.





This post has been edited by droop224: Jun 23 2016, 03:59 AM
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Eeyore
post Jul 13 2016, 03:35 AM
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1) Has technology and the abundance it fosters rendered socialism unnecessary?


No technology was the cause of the socialist movement in the first place. Global capitalism still creates vast inequalities in wealth that threaten the heart of democratic societies.

The abundance being fostered should not be distributed equally, but it is being distributed so unequally that the middle class is significantly shrinking. A shrinking middle class is mad for democracy, so a little more socialism in our discussions is a good thing. Declaring socialism dead becose of robotics or technology or abundance is definitely not the way I think it should go.

Personally, modern economics had made me MUCH more socialist leaning.

2) What are the specific shortcomings that socialism, when it was formulated in the early to middle decades of the 19th century, sought to resolve?

Well if Marx is the model, he spoke about the industrial laborer receiving compensation that was exploitative in order to reward the capitalist inordinately. Clearly subjective stuff, but income inequality is on the rise and not the decline.

3) If the shortcomings have been resolved, what then should socialists of today do?

I argue the opposite, even if the worker is not always the factory worker that Marx envisioned, the basic problem is still as bad as when Marx wrote about it.
The compensation for labor is too low compared to the compensation for capital. As we have globalized the rewards to the few only accelerate. The theory behind socialism is as valid today as it was in 1848.

Socialists should advocate for labor unions, the value of labor, a social welfare net including universal health care, a discussion of CEO/average pay ratio in the USA, property and estate tax conversations among other things.

Those who concede that the system of capitalism creates greater wealth for society should focus on tax systems that redistribute wealth and make it less likely for large fortunes to be handed down family lines through inheritance without substantial taxing.
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post Jul 13 2016, 05:10 PM
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QUOTE(Gray Seal @ Jun 8 2016, 08:06 PM) *
When is a free market no longer free? At what point is there no predominant market mechanism?


Some definitions of capitalism include free markets, but others don't instead confining themselves to the nature of the ownership of business actors. I like this definition better, because it makes "free market capitalism" less of a tautology and more of a useful distinction between capitalism that operates in free market economies and capitalism that doesn't operate in free market economies. Capitalism in this context is an economic system where most of the business activity is carried out by individuals and by privately-owned companies. Socialism is where the ownership is predominantly confined to the state. Neither situation is automatically the same, or automatically prohibited, by how free the markets are (or are not).

QUOTE
Does socialism end where fascism begins? Does capitalism only end when all free market mechanisms end?
Only if your definition of capitalism is the same as "free market capitalism". Since there is more than one form of capitalism, and varying degrees of freedom (not a binary "free" and "not free")

QUOTE
If a government controls employment conditions (minimum wage, must provide healthcare, overtime rules, taxation upon the wages, who can you employ, conditions for firing employees) is there a point where this is socialism?


The point at which regulation of employment rights (for employers and employees) turns into socialism is the point at which a regulation is passed which transfers ownership of the business away from the individual or the stockholders and gives it to the state. That's what socialism is. You can have a market that is regulated to within an inch of its life, and it's certainly not a free market in that event, but it stays capitalist as long as the state doesn't compulsorily purchase the ownership of the business (with or without fair compensation).

QUOTE
How much government mandated overhead must be imposed before a private business is a government directed business?
Infinity. It's the ownership that has to transfer to the government, not the management (though I will allow that, at the extremes - none of which are reached in any market in the USA or Europe, by the way - they amount to the same thing)

QUOTE
Does a government need to own a business for it to no longer be based upon capitalism?
Simply, and emphatically, YES

QUOTE
Is fascism a type of socialism or a type of capitalism?
It's a type of capitalism where the state directs the whole economy but that economy still remains in private hands - think BASF, Volkswagen or Siemens under the Nazis. Profits are still made, and those profits still accrue to the owners of the businesses who are private individuals and not the state itself.

QUOTE
Is crony capitalism more capitalism or more socialism?


The clue is in the question - it's more capitalism. Crony socialism exists, for sure; it's where you put your mates in managerial control of the state owned industries. Crony capitalism is quite similar; your mates get the cushy government contracts (and you get backhanders, or just 'donations', from them)

QUOTE
If there was a term called crony socialism what would it be like? Is fascism essentially crony socialism? What is the difference between fascism and crony capitalism?


I believe I have explained it above. Crony socialism is where you and in government and you use that power to advance the interests of yourself and your cronies within the state owned businesses that you control. Fascism is not crony socialism, because it involves private ownership of businesses profiting from the (at the extreme, as per Nazi Germany, and Fascist Spain and Italy) total state control of the economy.

Crony capitalism is where you are in business OR government and either use your wealth to buy up the operations of government, in return for special treatment, or you use the power of governmental office to advance the interests of your sponsor businesses. Usually both processes

QUOTE
There are so many taxes. There are so many regulations. There are so many laws. Is this freedom?


What is the difference between a law and a regulation? It seems to me that it depends purely on whether you support it or not- if you care about clean water, a law that prevents you dumping your toxic industrial waste into the local creek is a useful and necessary law. If you care more about the cost of disposing of your toxic industrial waste safely and would rather just dump it in the local creek, it is a burdensome regulation. So the answer very much depends on what the laws, taxes and regulations are, and who you ask.

QUOTE
How much do you need to pay in taxes before the government has more say so on the fruits of your labor than you do?


Oh, I don't know. Add up everything you pay in taxes. Subtract the real value of all the tangible and intangible benefits you get from the activities of government (not the value you would choose to pay now, but what you would actually pay in some free market anarchy to get all the same benefits); I'm talking about things like peace, roads, the rule of law, enforcement of contract law, of course, but also all of the technological advances and infrastructure developments that have been paid for by research grants, defence spending and direct and indirect infrastructure investments, and so on.

If the result of that sum is still more than 50% of your total income, then yes, maybe the government has more say on the fruits of your labour than you do, but not before.

QUOTE
is that the line between socialism and capitalism?


o_O No. The line between socialism and capitalism is whether the state owns the businesses that transact within the economy, or private individuals and companies do.

QUOTE
Are there conditions where capitalism (a free market) has lost its definition but it is not quite socialism either?


Yes. That sentence loses the definition of capitalism, by conflating it with a free market. The two are separate things. A free market with no government intervention or regulation of any kind is one which cannot enforce any standards, cannot offer any redress for unfair dealing, cannot punish wrongdoing, and cannot enforce contracts. The first governments in human history, and the first laws they passed, were there precisely to enforce contracts and ensure fair dealing. You talk about regulation and government as if they are inimicable to free markets (and you conflate free markets with capitalism, but I've talked about this elsewhere). They are not. Government is the natural and inevitable by product of any kind of market, because any transaction works more smoothly when both parties to it have recourse to an impartial third party in the event of any dispute.

QUOTE
At what point is freedom gone? At what point are you comrade? Are these different points?


Again, the only freedom that is gone in 'pure' socialism is the freedom to own a business. Of course, no implementation of 'pure' socialism has ever existed any more than any implementation of 'pure' free market capitalism has (not least because no society has ever organised itself without government, in the latter case), so a lot of other freedoms get removed too.

But, again, you seem to see freedom as a simple binary; either one is free, or one isn't, and any incursion of any kind on your definition of freedom (which, I dare say, is not completely dissimilar to mine, but not identical either) and freedom is gone altogether. Freedom is a spectrum to begin with - different people hold their freedom to do different things as paramount. So, of necessity, there is no "freedom", there are "freedoms". You can argue that just because I don't consider a particular aspect of freedom important (e.g. the right to bear arms, which I don't have as a British citizen and don't especially want either), it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. That's your prerogative, but it isn't objectively true, because freedom is subjective anyway, isn't it? If it isn't, what is it?

I know I keep harping on in this thread about definitions, but it strikes me that the only reason it's been continuing for however many years now is that we all, collectively have still not agreed on what 'socialism' is, what 'capitalism is, what 'free markets' are and if they are the same or different from 'capitalism', and what 'freedom' is. So we're continuously arguing past one another, at what we believe someone else has said, seen through the prism of our own beliefs and definitions of the topics at hand.

I am increasingly of the view - particularly given the dire state of UK politics just now - that the most intractable political problems are almost entirely caused by people selecting the facts to fit their opinions, and treating their subjective opinions and beliefs as being somehow superior to the dull business of objective evidence. We all have a right to our opinion, but opinions based solely on beliefs and opinions are simply wrong if they do not also fit the objective evidence. Sorry, I'm rambling a bit now - it's been a long three weeks over here, and I'm a little exhausted by it all, but still trying to make some kind of sense of it.

QUOTE(Eeyore @ Jul 13 2016, 04:35 AM) *
1) Has technology and the abundance it fosters rendered socialism unnecessary?


No technology was the cause of the socialist movement in the first place. Global capitalism still creates vast inequalities in wealth that threaten the heart of democratic societies.

The abundance being fostered should not be distributed equally, but it is being distributed so unequally that the middle class is significantly shrinking. A shrinking middle class is mad for democracy, so a little more socialism in our discussions is a good thing. Declaring socialism dead becose of robotics or technology or abundance is definitely not the way I think it should go.

Personally, modern economics had made me MUCH more socialist leaning.

2) What are the specific shortcomings that socialism, when it was formulated in the early to middle decades of the 19th century, sought to resolve?

Well if Marx is the model, he spoke about the industrial laborer receiving compensation that was exploitative in order to reward the capitalist inordinately. Clearly subjective stuff, but income inequality is on the rise and not the decline.

3) If the shortcomings have been resolved, what then should socialists of today do?

I argue the opposite, even if the worker is not always the factory worker that Marx envisioned, the basic problem is still as bad as when Marx wrote about it.
The compensation for labor is too low compared to the compensation for capital. As we have globalized the rewards to the few only accelerate. The theory behind socialism is as valid today as it was in 1848.

Socialists should advocate for labor unions, the value of labor, a social welfare net including universal health care, a discussion of CEO/average pay ratio in the USA, property and estate tax conversations among other things.

Those who concede that the system of capitalism creates greater wealth for society should focus on tax systems that redistribute wealth and make it less likely for large fortunes to be handed down family lines through inheritance without substantial taxing.


Well put. Come to the UK and drum that into the heads of about half the population (who straddle both sides of the Leave/Remain EU vote; it's not a partisan point) who badly need a reality check. Please?
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