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

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

  1. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

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    I'm well aware of the context. We know from history exactly what the allowances of these men whose only concern was property were prepared to tolerate; it was indeed, as you say, an appeal against the specter of communism and the fear of the propertied against losing their power that led to the Nazi destruction of Europe. To Von Mises fascism was an inconvenient necessity in the face of communism; to fascism's, and thus capitalism's, victims, irrelevant.

    They go hand in hand: that is to say, the aggregation of capital you identify as a problem is at its root the most fundamental economic critique of capitalism, that it is unsustainable because capital aggregates in such a way so as to make the markets dysfunctional. The fact of exploitation is a sidecar to that: there could be no capitalist exploitation if capital couldn't aggregate. There may be other forms of exploitation, but it wouldn't be capitalist exploitation vis-a-vis private profit. Any Plenty that markets could provide is eliminated by the beggaring of those markets to big capital: whenever the capitalists get richer, the workers' share of the industrial output drops, and they naturally, by market mechanisms, become unable to afford as much of the industrial output that they could afford before. In my view this aggregation and this beggaring of the workers is a natural capitalist process.

    This is why this concern or anxiety you identify is there: if it is indeed the tendency of capital to accumulate, then what must be done to prevent it from accumulating or, indeed, reverse that? There is a good deal of reason to be pessimistic about the capitalist accumulators having any interest in voluntarily ceding the power they've worked so hard to gain, so we're forced to ask what options are available to everyone else to, say, avert climate disaster and make the capitalist accumulators accountable to the society they've profited from and the environment they've destroyed.

    A hypothetical society that eliminated capital accumulation must necessarily be socialist in my view. Even if the mechanisms are a sophisticated mix of market and planned economics, if capital cannot accumulate so as to make people unequal, then that is not capitalism.
     
  2. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    Yeah, that's what I was calling the failure mode earlier on in the thread.

    And then we ask Amadeus, were you referring to current 'capitalist' countries? Or were you referring to a more hypothetical version of capitalism? Under modern systems, I think that a great deal of the accumulating imbalance can be handled through proper taxation

    I don't really see a solution for the tragedy of the commons in anything we've discussed here. I don't see a government-based (treaty) solution cropping up in time. The alternative pathway to the problem is to create alternatives that literally out-compete whatever it is that is destroying the commons. That would require government spending, I'm not sure it matters what the source of the underlying economy is other than that it'd be robust
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
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  3. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    Insisting on some form of good faith is hardly a thread-breaking paradigm. I tend to long, sourced posts, often with related articles. I enjoy OT. I, however, don't have anywhere near as much time as I'd like. Besides, these things often come across as such by accident, which is why I explained why I thought it was in bad faith. But nevermind.

    The question as it was intended was very open-ended. What may be clear to you isn't clear to someone else, like me for instance, who's been through multiple different angles on this subject. amadeus isn't the first to ask about how increasing worker profits could result in some form of benevolent capitalism and they won't be the last.

    When you say "partisan", you reach the wrong way. Noun-wise, it means a strong supporter of something. In context of the apparent mistreatment I'd consider the adjective, which refers more to a type of prejudice. Am I wrong?

    The entire framing of this could be worth exploring, but it tends to the personal. What you perceive as a straightforward question is due to whatever inherent bias you hold towards considering such a thing logical. And I don't mean bias in a bad way, just the simple existence of the thing. Nicer than saying partisan anyhow!

    To me, the answer to amadeus' question was so self-evident I had to be sure. Never a guarantee of being right, but I had a solid and as you could later see well-formed answer pretty much immediately available.

    It is interesting, but I also think it's a bit too meta for the general thread. I say, after the post.
     
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  4. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    Totally conceded. My bad, I was misusing the term with regards to what I was trying to say
     
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  5. NinjaCow64

    NinjaCow64 Thought Bubble Thinker Supporter

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    In this hypothetical scenario what is stopping the extremely rich from funneling this great wealth to themselves through underhanded tactics? We already see this dynamic play out in the Global North (cutting services that are primarily used by the poor and the working class, restructuring the tax system to be more regressive ect).

    Capitalism self-selects for people who only care about profit. Capitalists show time and time again that they care more about mindless aquisition of wealth than anything else. I can’t envision this utopia happening under Capitalism because there’s no way that Capitaists would ever leave that much money on the table.

    I don’t believe that greed is human nature, but I think that Capitalism selects greedy people to be accelerated to positions of great power and influence. Capitalism is at its core a big pile of perverse incentives designed to accelerate the worst kinds of people to the top of society.

    I believe we need to redistribute wealth and then completely redesign society so that people with bad intentions find it near impossible to accumilate influence and that mindless greed is no longer treated as virtuous.
     
  6. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Deity

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    If you want to get rich you would have to invent something in a narrow field.

    Billionaire, trillion sure type rich.
     
  7. innonimatu

    innonimatu Deity

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    It's possible to find all kinds of quotes about visions for the future. But the left did consistently aim for democracy, they just argued about how to get there. The bolshevik tactic of direction from above was decried as a dangerous experience with dictatorship by Rosa Luxembourg back in 1918, for one example:

    There were then, and are now, other paths to that goal of socialism - which, I stress, has always been all about full democratic participation. The unfortunate thing then was that the bourgeoisie in power was very effective at suppressing socialists everywhere (Rosa wouldn't be allowed to live one year after writing this...) but in Russia, and even there they tried very hard. So only one experience was done and its path (much of which was due to the specific situation in Russia) set a template for the following ones throughout the century.
     
  8. Estebonrober

    Estebonrober Deity

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    I watch this guy sometimes. He's quirky and kind of fun to have on, he makes a bit of a show of it. Yes he's a leftist. Yes he's queer. BUT! he does a good job explaining things. It reminds me of things I've read in the past and introduces new things to me. . .
    anyways

    I liked this one because of his take on Malthus and how he still has influence on conservative thought to this day. For me it helps the way he demonstrates the right as having this endearment for eugenics like policies that go back a long way, so even though they've evolved fundamentally its still the same smash the filthy low life classes until they learn to better themselves.
     
  9. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Retired Moderator Supporter

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    @Estebonrober I watched your video. It was interesting. Thx.
     
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  10. amadeus

    amadeus The Choice of a New Generation

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    The most relevant of Mises' works here would be Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth, which identified one of the key failures of socialism re: capital goods. In some respects, Hayek expanded on this in The Use of Knowledge in Society, although they are not quite the same argument and I think Hayek’s contribution was more persuasive than that of Mises.

    Of course, Mises in Liberalism was not praising fascism as a system of government and the whole essay outlines its failings. Note too that it was published in 1927, long before the Nazi seizure of power in Germany so conflating that with Mises’ work published years prior is disingenuous.

    Furthermore, one does not need to subscribe to the Austrian economic theory of business cycles in order to appreciate the arguments of Mises, Hayek, et. al. Much of the work of Menger, for instance, is part of the economics we know today with his contributions in marginal theory.

    As a personal anecdote on top of that, I don’t agree with Paul Krugman on his political policy platforms, but he has contributed valuable thought in international trade theory. Good reading.

    In my reverse hypothetical, I was talking more about any economic system that would be described as non-capitalist. My arguments against them come mainly from a consequentialist standpoint, where the socialist economic planning doctrines simply do not work.

    The socialists that say computers can do the calculations necessary for a planned economy are trotting out arguments they themselves used in the 1960s. According to them, we had enough computing power then to run an economy as productive and efficient as that of the market-based countries (I’m including the heavy welfare state countries too here as they have private property, although with varying degrees of state intervention.)
     
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  11. Denkt

    Denkt Left permamently

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    It have alot to do with technology development, I have heard some claims that the progress made in the first 20 years of 21th century is similar to the whole 20th century. World economy during 1960 to 2020 increased by around 8 times and gdp per capita about 3 times.
     
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  12. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    I would argue that calling 1927 "long before the Nazi seizure of power" is disingenuous, personally. Both volumes of Mein Kampf were published in the two preceding years (1925 and 1926). It is still, what, half a decade before the literal seizing of power, but it would be ahistorical to claim that a) this is "long before", and b) that Hitler's plans were somehow non-existent before said literal seizing of power.

    Historical anecdotes aside, here's my main concern (sorry, I wasn't invested in the actual argument, I'm just a fan of history. Unlike other periods in time, Weimar and Nazi Germany is something I had to study three times over. It comes back to me easier). My main concern is that throughout your theory,you criticise (nominally) socialist systems for essentially not being perfect. You are holding a theoretical form of socialist governance to standards you do not hold current capitalistic systems to (at least, by your posts. Maybe you do).

    They don't have to be perfect. They just have to be better than what we've currently got, and while that definition will differ between, say, Japan, the US, and the UK, it's at least a fairer starting point than you seem to be espousing. We could even debate the merits of transitioning capitalist aspects of existing systems to a more socialist methodology, as a kind of halfway house. As it stands, you seem to be looking for a complete solution, but you also seem to oppose minor reforms that would make a complete solution (in terms of a functioning socialist political state) possible in real terms.
     
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  13. Aleksey_aka_al

    Aleksey_aka_al Smiley

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    There was progress in XXI century? Hmm...
     
  14. gay_Aleks

    gay_Aleks communism will win.

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    Sure, a lot of capitalists got their pocket lined up during the Iraq War and then in 2008. Isn't that enough?
     
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  15. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    I quite agree that a series of partial solutions to the failures contained within models are necessary. I don't know how that squares with some people's claim that a certain outcome is inevitable.

    Lack of experience on my part, but I cannot discern whether a successful fix that is implemented on capitalism is "Marxist" or just "socialist".

    There has been a lot of technological innovation! People have a hard time following the breadcrumbs, but we have a technological development process where early foundational investment by public bodies create discoveries that are followed up by market forces or further public investment
     
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  16. amadeus

    amadeus The Choice of a New Generation

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    The Nazis less won than 3% of the vote in 1928. Who's being disingenuous about it? Mises had no knowledge of the future economic crash, Bruning's bungling, or the backdoor shenanigans of Von Papen, etc. that got Hitler into the Chancellorship in the first place.

    They have to be better, but they've demonstrably been not so. Let's take Japan, the U.S., or the UK; which socialist country outperformed any of them? I mean even in a relative sense because most of them started at lower levels of development than the West (though I would say Japan was actually quite a poor country by comparison until the 1950s)
     
  17. Estebonrober

    Estebonrober Deity

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    Ive always viewed Japan and the UK as semi socialist compared to the US.
     
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  18. amadeus

    amadeus The Choice of a New Generation

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    I can't speak to the UK under than under the Attlee ministry with the nationalizations of steel, etc., but even those were rolled back later on and didn't approach anything like an Eastern bloc country. Japan on the other hand had a relatively free market during its postwar boom years with not much government intervention. The influence of MITI, the former Ministry of International Trade and Industry, has been vastly overstated and their mistakes long forgotten. Among other things, they told Sony that transistors weren't worth the capital investment and Honda shouldn't make cars because Japan had too many car companies. :crazyeye:

    Sorry the graph here is in Japanese, but this is government expense/GDP by country. Japan (日本) is the blue line.

    20180209-00081380-roupeiro-002-5-view.gif

    Forgive the bad formatting here but I'll list all the countries as they are listed here.

    AUSTRALIA --- CANADA --- DENMARK --- FRANCE
    GERMANY ----- ITALY ---- JAPAN ----- KOREA
    UK ---------- USA ------ OECD AVG -- G7 AVG
     
  19. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    I'm not well-read on Marxism, but I would imagine it depends on the severity of principles implemented (let's contrast for a second, UBI, and eliminating the concept of billionaires. Both are wealth distribution, both are transformative, but the severity is a scalar apart or so) and subsequent implementation of said principles.

    Like I said, the historical thing was a bit of an aside. Regardless of your fixation on the amount of the vote they garnered (their social platform was something else, and votes do not reflect this accurately), I was challenging your claim that Mises was so far out of the loop that a comparison cannot be made. It's not even a matter of being in the same generation, we're talking about two things that relate to the same half-decade span of history. That is very close together for any kind of historian. Incredibly close together. Virtually overlapping.

    This is a false equivalence. We were talking hypothetical political systems, not actual systems. You're stipulating a dependency on the existence of a future socialist country on the existence of a past successful one. That is not how you get new things to occur. That is how you perpetuate the status quo.

    If you want to talk about socialist countries, we cannot do so without also including a historical primer on capitalistic intervention in such countries, and the relevant power dynamics that (continue to) allow this to happen. How many governments has the US interfered with, in the past half a century or so? This is another reason why attempting to demand historical precedent is unfair. Countries run in an arguably capitalist way have spent a lot of time and money ensuring that their way continues to be a popular way with no visible alternatives. A lot of (periodically) dominant political systems have done so throughout history.

    A good tangent would be to look to the countries handling Covid-19, and which of those are using more socialist principles to do so, contrasted against the countries that are retreating further into the private sector (funnily enough, two good examples of the latter being the US and the UK).
     
  20. amadeus

    amadeus The Choice of a New Generation

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    LIKE THE ONES THAT STARTED IT?
     

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