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Communism, Marxism, Socialism, Capitalism, What are your thoughts?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Joij21, Jun 28, 2020.

  1. Tee Kay

    Tee Kay Silly furry

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    If it's not universal then it's not a UBI. The universality of such a program is the whole point. Most Western countries already have social welfare programs to varying degrees, but a UBI shifts the framework to fundamentally treating people as human beings with inherent right to basic needs, rather than having to prove their worthiness for the state's largesse.

    But yes, if we're talking about dollars, we already do pay a non-insignificant portion of the population for existing. We subject many of those people to pretty dehumanising treatment, but we pay out nonetheless.

    For me even a low UBI is better than none at all, because you establish the principle of the inherent worth of human beings, regardless of ability or any other criteria. It's the logical next step for the modern concept of universal human rights that rose out of the ashes of the Second World War. We have things like freedom of speech and freedom of assembly*; with UBI those rights will be backed with actual material value.

    *not always respected of course, but the principles are well-established
     
  2. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    Okay, and what implications does this have on the theory of technological development espoused by Marxists today, in your view? That's what I wanted to know when you got abruptly defensive about it.

    It's hard to respond when there's no clear hypothesis to respond to in a critique. The only thing that could be said is if you're comparing modern institutional economics with thinking that is a century old, then it's no surprise that you'll find the latter less nuanced. And I'm not even sure your assertion is true. Marxism doesn't ignore institutional factors at all. It just subsumes institutional factors under economic/material factors. So, again, it's kind of hard to provide a response as it is beyond just saying you're wrong or you're making an unfair comparison.
     
  3. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    If it's not distributed to every person on the planet, it's not Universal. We mean national basic income.

    How do socialist societies maintain the value of their currency? I assume people still take on debt? And then there's a ceiling to how much you can profit from that debt?

    I assume there must be a balance with controlling inflation. Making debt too easy to take on and to discharge will be a pressure. Riveting how much you can gain from an enterprise will be potentially a strong downward pressure
     
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  4. REDY

    REDY Duty Caller

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    Ideally there is no currency.
     
  5. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

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    • Where did I say anything about "value" to society? In addition, I put "bell curve" in quotes for a reason: to indicate that the distributions had the general shape that we call a bell curve. Most people in the middle and and two tails.
    And the fact that wealth is distributed in a lopsided manner is pretty well known and no one that I am aware of is arguing something different. That is one of the problems with our current system. Deaths from heart disease is also a lopsided curve. You have missed the point of my post which was: if skills, talents and individual capabilities are distributed unevenly across a population, how would socialism deal with that situation?
     
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  6. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

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    I did some light reading on Lassalle. He sounds like an interesting, early revolutionary.

    In regards to what you quoted about him I found this:

    https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/bernstein/works/1893/lassalle/chap05.htm

    And yes it does sound like he sees the State as the entity which would try to balance out many of societies inequities. I dd not find anything that spoke how the state would do, just that it would. Such ideas are fine with me, but I do wonder and do like to ask when such ideas get promoted how they would be carried out and what the new society would like.
     
  7. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

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    Well how does the state enforce equality between a powerful person and a weak person? It holds them to the same standards in law; remember that Hammurabi quote everyone knows. The objective, then, in the context of socialist law is to value the well-abled and the disabled the same, to not endow privileges on the former at the expense of the latter.

    In a sense this may seem like a doomed prospect. Of course if anyone does have hypothetical extraordinary ability, they have also the hypothetical ability to climb the ladder and make themselves powerful. To correct for this would be the purpose of not only law but transparency and accountability, which are old problems. It is expected these problems are easier to control for in the absence of large private stores of wealth, using the same mechanisms anyone uses to prune corruption.

    Socialist safety net and socialist democracy are therefore the two major solutions to this problem. If people are all endowed with a minimum good quality of life, and the needs of the needy or the disabled are met, then in at least the basic dignities of human livelihood are they equal to anyone else. If people have also equipped themselves with democracy, they retain the power to recall those whom they invest that power in.

    I’d argue in a society without private property, it is actually far easier for the people to exercise their rights and impose law against tyrants.
     
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  8. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

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    UBI is a small but important fix. In the big scheme of things it is also pretty easy. To get the changes socialists want there are things that need to be undone and things that need to be done.

    Problem areas, as in how will socialists answer the questions that surround each of these?:
    • Wealth inequality (accumulation of assets, past and future)
    • Private property
    • Prices
    • Jobs
    • Income inequality
    • Economic growth
    • Incentives and motivation
    • Poverty
    • Education
    • Controlling the future
    If socialism has any chance of taking hold, its agents need to be able to provide answers in all of those areas. We already know how market driven capitalism does so.
     
  9. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

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    You could have just read the communist manifesto.
    No inheritances, no rents
    None
    Fixed
    Guaranteed
    Low
    Not important once you're developed
    People remember what it was like slaving for capitalists and kings
    Social assistance programs
    Free
    Planning

    I know how market-driven capitalism does, but I'm not sure most capitalists do.
     
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  10. EnglishEdward

    EnglishEdward Deity

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    Not after 73 years (1917 to 1990) in Russia.
     
  11. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

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    Working backward up your post...
    We have no disagreement with a well structured safety net for a quality life for all and a democratic process to help maintain it.

    A general rule to constrain the talented seems to work contrary to the public good. No Bach, no Mozart no Leonardo, no Edison, no Einstein, etc. Now if you only mean those with political talent and the charisma to move crowds, that is somewhat different.

    If one has established a QoL minimum and safety net that meets all the requirements, why would you need to cut off the ability of greater wealth for the skilled? If wealth did not lead to political power, why cap it at some artificially low level?

    You anticipated my post above. How would you get there? Would you just steal all the fancy homes and tear them down? Give them to government officials? Open them to public use? Who would then own all that wealth? Much of it would not be cash to be spent, but it would be cars, clothes, houses, art, that no longer had any value. If Mr. billionaire owns ten houses and you take them from him, what happens to them? No one can own them, no taxes can be collected on them. What happens to my house? It's paid for. Do I move out? Do I now have to rent it back from the state? Who is going to pay for a new roof in 5 years?

    Good luck with eliminating private property. :)
     
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  12. Denkt

    Denkt Left permamently

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    We could as well talk about moving the other direction, instead of socialism, what about dismantling countries altogether and make everything private owned.
     
  13. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    I can't imagine that. Currency has too many useful functions

    I certainly don't see how this can work, you'll always need economic growth, if only because we're still drawing down on the natural capital reserves of the ecosystem. You need growth just to stay afloat. And, of course, growth is necessary to retain self-defense capability.
     
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  14. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

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    I added my comments in on the appropriate lines. I'd be curious how you get from the here and now to your new world order without the destruction of what exists. for example, I kinda assume that in your new world insurance would no longer be needed. What new jobs would you find for the 1.2 million people who work in that industry?
     
  15. gay_Aleks

    gay_Aleks communism will win.

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    One wonders how many Bachs and Mozarts and Leonardos have died in the past millennia, because they lacked good graces of the aristocratic patrons? The constraints of the talented are placed upon by the society that forces them to sell their labour, not the other way.

    They could pick up useful jobs, like street sweeping, sewer maintenance, etc - much more beneficial to the public good than 'insurance', which only profits off those less fortunate, especially so in the healthcare sector.
     
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  16. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

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    I'm sure they would be very happy citizens.

    Hmmm...so that fact that we lost some great talents (never developed) because of the rise of
    capitalism means that we should not allow any such people any more. What a great plan. Was Mozart a better composer because he had to compete? Was Bach?
     
  17. Grendeldef

    Grendeldef Trancerelic

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    I just have a tiny wish that people would use the terms if not correctly at least remotely similarly with each other. It would help immensely with the actual discussion. Anything left of slavery isn't necessarily socialism.
     
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  18. red_elk

    red_elk Deity

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    If you go to Moscow, you'll notice that many hospitals, universities, museums, embassies, government buildings, etc., are located in former mansions and palaces of Russian nobility.
    Finding a good use to a fancy home is not really a problem.
     
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  19. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

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    80% of people voted to keep the Soviet system.

    Now why do you suppose that any of these people would be constrained? Under socialism they'd have plenty of freedom to pursue their passions, arts, musics, crafts, etc. They might also work other jobs, but the point is that under capitalism these freedoms only exist for those who have money; working shorter hours with more holidays, I don't see how artists would be prevented from doing arts. People like Einstein could work on their theory of relativity without having to slave 40 hours a week as a patent clerk. They might work 20 hours a week on some other socially necessary labor, but on the balance he's still discovering relativity.

    This is the argument of the current Chinese socialists, and it's a good point. Maybe this is one way to approach it. At the same time there is no denying wealth and markets are the twin engines of capitalist power.

    Well suppose you were a worker's republic and your primary objective was seizing the means of production and ending society's life support for the indulgences of the capitalist class. I think a lot of your questions demand context.

    Suppose a capitalist lives in a very large home with a very large footprint, suppose also they are an active reactionary agent trying to destroy the worker's republic. Their fate is as vae victis.

    Now suppose you have a well-off person, capitalist or no, in a very large home with a very large footprint, and they are ambivalent about if not supportive of the worker's republic. They don't necessarily need to have their property seized, but, suppose that this is a large estate in Los Angeles - a desert city - where water is a precious commodity. It is a fact, then, that this well-off person's lush green estate can no longer be supported by an equitable distribution of water. If they have swimming pools, private water parks, baths, it stands to reason that an ecologically responsible state cannot support this indulgent wastefulness. So the water will be rationed.

    Now suppose it is a truly giant estate, and for whatever reason it does end up seized by the state. That would be passed along to the urban planning department for their decision on what to do with it. Could it become a mall, museum, a public promenade that people could go relax in? Who knows! But most people's houses would not be touched. Why bother? A billionaire owning acres of land guzzling limited resources is different than families living in their homes. Everybody is pretty much dimly aware of this fact in reality even if they want to pretend it's the same thing.

    Confiscating large amounts of real estate and private industrial or productive property is one thing, but as you say, there's no real purpose in taking people's luxury sports cars and fur coats. At best they can be resold, at worst it's just stuff nobody needs. I say you let people keep their sometimes environmentally wasteful personal property, and if it's especially wasteful you tax it. No need to be dramatic.

    The important thing is reforming the system that allows billionaires to own ten homes and consume all these sybaritic luxuries. That tap will be shut off. So go ahead and let the former elites live their lives, some even continuing to occupy the tasteless mcmansions they own, because if all that remains of their privilege is some exotic personal effects like sports cars and fur coats, they're effectively neutered.

    As a Marxist, I believe private property will eliminate itself. :lol: Capitalism is self-cannibalizing. See: the inexorably growing wealth gap.

    Yeah but you don't need that much. You need enough to sustain retiring populations and employ new populations productively and in such a way those new populations can build their lives. Japan's economy crashed in the 90's and their solution was to just eat the debt. They accepted low growth and have been trundling along at that low level ever since. Foreign observers say this was a death knell, that with this low growth Japan is dooming itself, but at the same time the Japanese quality of life is still good, they're still making products, and Japanese society is continuing on in a stable and prosperous fashion. They are still capitalist, but they have opted to preserve social stability at the cost of growth. I think if we do look at the actual situation Japanese people are in, we have no reason to suppose this low growth is actually deleterious. When the Chinese system crashes and China takes the same path, we'll also see how this rationale can be generalized.

    What is deleterious to the Japanese economy is the population decline, but that has nothing to do with growth per se. In an abstract sense you can say growth encourages immigration, and it does sometimes, but the question of immigration in Japan is a topic substantially its own.

    At any rate, we do observe that in the presence of industrialization, even a socialist state will grow, and it'll grow reasonably fast. The Soviet growth rates are testament to this. But we also observe that once a state is industrialized, it can't industrialize again and capitalize on those same gains: a worker does not need two wrenches, so to speak. (Unless you make it so he must buy a second... there's a reason planned obsolescence is a form of rent seeking). What we observe therefore is a tendency of the rate of profits to fall as a country industrializes. My thesis is simply this: once industrialized, a socialist economy does not need and cannot actually benefit from "growth" in the capitalist sense.

    Firstly this is a bad assumption. Insurance specialists deal a lot in planning and risk analysis which would be useful in a socialist economy. Secondly, yes, some people would be out a job. I'm thinking of a lot of financial parasites and investment bankers that have overstayed their welcome.

    Thirdly, the destruction of what exists is generally inevitable. Many of those people who you expect will hypothetically become out of a job under socialism will already be out of a job under capitalism, as capitalism fails. Socialism's unenviable task will be cleaning up the ruins and rebuilding the broken parts of the economy. You may disagree with this hypothesis, but I've been fairly resolute all along in my insistence that socialism arises in response to capitalist failure, so feel free to treat my arguments as hypothetical in that case.
     
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  20. REDY

    REDY Duty Caller

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    This is my understanding of "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs". There will be no private property, the people in society will have like family relations, you do not ask your dad for currency, nor making tracks of what you get and what you give. But lets say that there will be something like social points. Each member of society will be born with 500 points, for good behaviour he will get plus points. for bad behaviour he will lose points and he may spend them on goods except standard housing, healthcare, education, hobbies, food, vacations etc.
     

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