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Socialism & Capitalism

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Modder_Mode, Jul 22, 2018.

  1. Lexicus

    Lexicus Warlord

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    I think I grasp the scope of what is going on here better than most people. I actually believe that some form of widespread political violence is nearly inevitable at this point. Perhaps it will rise to the level of civil war rather than insurgency, but we'll see.
     
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  2. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

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    I think more and more that the period of Obama was a wasted time. Not so much for the Presidency as such, but for developing the Democratic party in a direction and strenght that could safeguard against the current abuse of the loopholes of the institutions that were never constructed for the brutal attacks that are now taking place.
    Democrats seemed to be more busy with details than with the bigger picture.
    And you build not up anything with whining.
     
  3. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    That was basically Clinton’s argument in 2008.
     
  4. cardgame

    cardgame Sensual Kitten

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    So it's really all Obama's fault for winning 10 years ago?

     
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  5. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    Well, having a mature non partisan popular technocrat is probably best for the long run.
     
  6. GoodSarmatian

    GoodSarmatian Blackpilled Idealist

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    Obama made many mistakes, but I think Clinton would have been worse.

    Perfect GIF.
    The cookie represents the right-wing and particularly the corrupt Wall Street guys who caused the crash and GOP officials who started needless wars and torture programs. Instead of dunking them in the Milk of Justice, Obama gives up and blames himself for his failure at the first sig of resistance.
    He can't even see the easy solution to all of America's problems: break the damn cookie. There will be crumbs, but there will always be crumbs.
     
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  7. brennan

    brennan Argumentative Brit

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    Been thinking about this a lot recently, i'll try to explain where I am at the moment, although this will likely come out a bit muddled:

    A lot of people look at capitalism and socialism as mutually exclusive, I think this is a false dichotomisation of the two concepts. (I just checked and yes, that's a word).

    Capitalism is a risk/reward system of economics. Owners of capital can invest it (risk) and potentially profit (reward). Freedom of ideas and opportunities can lead to more successful ventures. A fundamental problem is that people with capital can exact more value from their workers than some would say they are morally entitled to, some have historically left their workers in extreme poverty while living in extreme opulence - a new aristocracy that claims to be a meritocracy because 'I worked hard to get where I am today'.

    Socialism is a principle of governance that recognises that a society can be better off when it protects its weak. Workers that are looked after (e.g. fed and housed) when they are not in work will be more productive when they re-enter employment. People entering the labour market can be more innovative and productive if they are healthy and educated. Thus social security, state sponsored healthcare and education are all tools that can actively assist capitalists. Fundamental to the history of socialist ideas is the criticism of capitalism - that it exploits workers - and the notion that workers should have more of the reward, since it is actively produced by their work.

    Arguments in this topic tend to include the following:

    1. Hitler was a socialist
    2. 'Capitalism won the cold war you idiot, this conversation is over'
    3. Socialism removes any motivation to work because everyone is paid the same
    4. Companies are great at everything, the state ruins everything
    5. Private industry creates wealth, government spending just makes the deficit bigger
    6. Capitalism requires and leads to freedom, socialism requires and leads to repression
    Let's look at these and since it came up on page one of the thread, let's do Fascists and Nazis first:

    1. The Fascists did indeed have a fair number of socialist policies, as did the Nazis, but the motivation for them was not to overcome class boundaries and empower the proletariat - It was vicious populist nationalism with a side order of (genocidal) racism, these are all motivations traditionally associated with the political right. They are in fact an embodiment of the horseshoe theory - which states that the far left and far right have much in common, particularly an element of authoritarianism or totalitarianism. It is worth noting that neither the fascists nor the Nazis nationalised much industry and both exerted significantly less ruthless control over their wartime economy than Churchill's coalition in the UK. In my experience no-one serious ever tries to argue that the Nazis were socialists.

    2. Let's go over the confounding variables that get in the way of declaring that the USSR lost the cold war purely because socialist economies do not work:
    • The USSR's economy was never more than half the size of the USAs. That pretty much kills off any fair analysis instantly
    • It is debatable how socialist a totalitarian state run by the secret police is. When the primary goal of government is to tell the populace how great everything is instead of actually making it so then things go sour pretty quickly - especially when the modus operandi established in the initial power grab is to murder critics a million at a time
    • Economic growth in the USSR outstripped that of the USA for about fifty to sixty years, initially by a huge margin. Not bad considering all the mistakes that were made and the silly proportion of GDP put into military expenditure by the paranoid leadership. Enlightened state investment and demand can be an extremely powerful economic force
    3. Just not true. There is no a priori reason why someone who does more work, or more valuable work, should not be compensated commensurately under a socialist system, indeed one of the basic principles on which the idea of workers ownership and reward is based is that they do not get paid according to the value of their labour, ergo someone who does more labour or labour that is harder/more skilled should be compensated more under a socialist system. c.f. The perverse incentive of the capitalist system is that the more capital people own the less they have to work.

    4. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: the US healthcare system versus the NHS. Or you could have the union carbide scandal (and many others) versus state-run vaccination campaigns. Which company would you have tendered out to win World War 2? None? You'd rather leave that to a government? There is simply a false dichotomy in saying that if a company employs people to do something it is inherently better than the government doing exactly the same thing. Problems inevitably come from bad management either way, whether it is the profiteering within the insurance system in US healthcare or the frank idiocy of the 1970's UK car industry. Following 1979 a series of industries in the UK was privatised - this has been such a monumental failure that renationalising almost all of them is now popular with a majority of the electorate. Pretty much everything got worse and more expensive, while a small portion of the populace (the ones who had the most money to start with) rake up lots of everyone else's money.

    5. Wealth comes from productive labour. The idea that only private wealth can generate this is just silly. If a rich guy builds a house then a society has gained a house. If a local council builds a house then the society has also gained a house. Where the money comes from is largely irrelevant - and it all came from the government originally anyway.

    6. Read Orwell's 'the Road to Wigan Pier'. Contemplate that the conditions described followed about two centuries of the industrial revolution in the UK/GB. One of the central tenets of socialism is that those who start at the bottom overwhelmingly stay there, exploited and impoverished. There are two cases really to consider in this debate and it pays to be mindful of the starting conditions in each: In Europe the industrial revolution made very little impact on living conditions for the poor over a very long time period. This is probably because the capitalist class had all the political and practical power and they used it to cement their positions. R>G, for those who've read Piketty. Only when scared or threatened by the power of organised labour did the capitalist class give ground - and it is telling that during the period that the most socialism was allowed to creep into government (the post-war period) that the biggest advances by far were made in 'raising all boats'. By comparison the US seems to have been less exposed to socialist pressure, likely owing to the sheer amount of land and resources to go around. The 'working class'; in most of the 19th and early 20th century US was probably proportionally smaller and wealthier simply because there was so much to go around (i've been struggling to find data on this by the way so if anyone can give me some sources i'd appreciate it).

    Overall I see socialism as a complement to capitalism, not a contradiction, it is often pointed out that the Communist Manifesto begins with a paean to the wonders of capitalism and Marx obviously thought that the one would grow out of the other. Marxist style socialist theories are often revolutionary in nature and this is a problem. Marx wrote the Manifesto during a period when violence, wars and revolutions were commonplace and he was not really in a position to understand that industrialisation was going to make such conflicts deadly to a degree that had not been dreamt of. I suspect if he wrote today that Marx would be much less willing to rite about revolution. Discussions of socialism are often tainted with talk of the mistakes of the past, as though capitalists never starved people to death to make a quick buck and more importantly as though a middle ground is not possible - and a look at the successes of socialism demonstrate how successful and prevalent it is in recent history. Socialist policies are deeply embedded in the fabric of every major economy, education, healthcare, social security, labour representation and so on are present to a large degree even in the US and more so in Europe and other 'Western' economies. The policies not only counter the negative effects of capitalism, they enhance it as an economic force: Innovative companies have more capable workers; workers in general are healthier and more productive; better conditions improve morale and productivity; better pay leads to better motivation - and also enables workers to spend money, which boost demand and increases the velocity of money in the system. The two systems in other words are better off synergising together to produce a more productive economy than competing as mutually exclusive ideologies.

    I hope that makes some sense. Rant ends. :)
     
  8. Modder_Mode

    Modder_Mode Chieftain

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    I wasn't aware the allies used mefo bills in their rearmament policies? I guess the big difference being the Allies weren't trying to hide their rearmament programs. The whole structure of Nazi Germanys rearmament and the Allies was different. Most of the Nazi's initial polices were employment/welfare policies and big public work programs. The whole "6 years head start" is a bit of a myth, most of the world was rearming even after the Versailles treaty had been signed, even before Hitler's rise to power. Anyways give me some clear cut definitions of socialism that would say otherwise, but I fear you might struggle on this front because of the vast definitions from the left and the right. Take your argument up with the professors and book writers who coin the terms...

    - Socialism constitutes an attempt to create a society in which rewards and efforts are shared equally through public control of the major agencies that shape people's lives.
    - Nationalisation of key elements of the economy.
    - Fundamental to socialism is the belief that the state is the best organiser of society.
    - Socialism has come to mean chiefly the extensive redistribution of income through taxation and the institutions of the welfare state.
    - Socialism and communism differ in their views on capitalism. Socialists regard capitalism as a threat to equality and public interest. They believe, however, that there is no need to eliminate the capitalist class because it can be used as a good instrument in the transition to socialism as long as it is properly controlled. Socialists also believe that capitalism can exist in a socialist state and vice versa. From the point of view of the communists, capitalism must to be destroyed totally in order to give way to a classless society.

    Bernie Sanders views on socialism are even more confusing....



    Not really, most of the Nazi's initial polices were employment/welfare policies and big public work programs, there's debate amongst academics on whether rearmament even had such a big impact on unemployment and the economy like some claim.

    The central feature of Nazi policy was a program of government spending and public investment designed to stimulate demand and expand income.
    The Nazi government was particularly anxious that employment should be increased as rapidly as possible because it had come to power on the promise to provide "bread and work."

    A detailed study of rearmament expenditure shows that it was much less important in the early years of recovery. Later years of the Nazi economy obviously focused more on rearmament.
    The key years of economic recovery from 1932 to 1935 were years of relatively low military expenditure. From 1932-3 to 1934-5 the aggregate figure of secret budget expenditure for military purposes was 3.4 billion marks. To this should be added a figure of 2.1 billion for the special armaments bills used to finance the build up of military industries and infrastructure. Total government expenditure over the same period was 31 billion marks. Rearmament represented some 17 per cent of total state expenditure, and only 1.3 per cent of GNP.

    Much of the expenditure was devoted to administrative and wage costs, or to military services (in 1936 the army budget devoted only 8.6 per cent to weapons, but almost 5 per cent to horses and fodder). Military expenditure and rearmaments are not the same thing. Much of the discussion of the effects of rearmament has assumed that the money was spent on industrial investment and high quality industrial products. This was true to only a limited extent. Not until the onset of the Four Year Plan in 1936, with the large industrial projects designed to free Germany from the threat of blockade, did military preparedness make exceptional claims on the industrial economy.

    Which means it wouldn't matter which major party the US elects, you're going to get the same result? Maybe Donald & Bernie are the only exceptions?

    Theres a slight contradiction with your statement though, you say that on one hand the Nazis were not socialist because the businesses were left in private ownership, but then you go on to say that Western counties are socialist (despite businesses being left in private hands in Western countries):

    I have absolutely no problem with what you have said, I'd even agree that most of the policies that Western countries adopt are great for the citizens, but do you see the problem here, who gets to pick what socialism is? Who gets to choose what policies are "socialistic" and who gets to determine who gets labelled a socialist based off their train of thought. Could you call me a kind of "socialist" because I agree with some of the "socialist" policies that you listed, I wouldn't even have a problem with anyone calling me a socialist, but I'm not out there trying to virtue signal at every chance I get so it doesn't really bother me.
     
  9. Robo-Star

    Robo-Star Chieftain

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    If by "public" you mean "worker", maybe.

    Uh...not really.

    Nope.

    Because if anyone was a bleeding-heart liberal, it was Otto von Bismarck.

    From the point of view of the socialists, capitalism must be destroyed in order to give way to a society in which each member of said society has equal freedom to produce and administer goods and services (rather than members of a capital-owning class being privileged); from the point of view of the communists, capitalism must be destroyed in order to give way to a society in which each member of said society has a common entitlement to produced goods and services (rather than some individuals being entitlted to more than others).

    Probably because he's not a socialist - he's a social democrat i.e. a capitalist who supports a liberal welfare state.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
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  10. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    In absolute literal terms, that is not socialism. And if you are using it as socialism, then you clearly have no understanding of what the word socialism means.
     
  11. brennan

    brennan Argumentative Brit

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    Again, socialism as in apportioning ownership of capitalist resources to the workers is intended to meet the goal of making the system fairer for the workers at the bottom. If other means of redistribution perform the same function, then i'm not sure there's really a distinction to be made. Early socialists like Fourier suggested mixed systems in which workers would be allocated shares for example.
     
  12. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    You're missing the point of your own argument. In the post I quoted, you claimed that the Nazis organized the economy this way as an ideological attack on business and not as anything else, and claimed that mass spending on social welfare was the cornerstone of Nazi economic policy. You also claimed that these policies were not part of a war economy and predated it. Claiming that the rearmaments drive began in 1936 rather than 1933 still isn't really compatible with this earlier argument. Even if we accept that the "Battle for Work" was more than propaganda covering a relatively modest investment into work-creation schemes that tailed off after eighteen months, we can't really say that it was the "central feature of Nazi policy" if it was abandoned at the latest within three years. It also seems impossible to square this claim of increased spending on welfare policies with the real fact of no improvement in civilian standards of living during the Nazi era.

    I would be interested to see this paper you've mentioned. The claim is certainly an unusual one. I do notice that your recounting of the budgetary items ignores the change in those numbers from before the Machtergreifung. Surely what is important here in discussing Nazi priorities is how they were different from the Brüning/Schleicher/Papen governments, not in merely listing decontextualized total expenditures. I would also be interested to see how the author deals with the assertion that most if not all growth in spending on "civilian" endeavors in the Reich budget and secret budget during those first few years was merely just a Gleichschaltung repackaging of Weimar-era local expenditure as Nazi-era state expenditure.
     
  13. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

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    There were throughout the 30ies everywhere in the world social welfare improvements going on
    Meaning that going with the flow of the general time spirit is no special achievement.
     

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