Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Martell Spy

Workable Socialism

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, ThinkerX said:

Clear definitions are needed.  Elsewhere, I have encountered intelligent conservative types who carefully point out that Social Security, Medicaid, and whatnot are 'social programs,' not 'socialism.'  They deem it acceptable to expand these programs - assuming suitable funding - but vehemently reject other 'socialist' programs.  

 

There is also the 'Venezuela' argument - this country is favored strawman of conservatives regarding socialism, closely followed by the old USSR.  For older conservatives and centrists, these examples of socialist evil are enough to condemn the entire argument.  (I recently read a paranoid screed on this by an apparently otherwise sane author.  He acknowledged that younger folks had cause to gripe about student loans, medical costs, and other things, but expressed horrified bafflement they would even consider socialism a viable solution.)

Well, obviously the solution is to expand these programs, then. Assuming, we can get the parties to agree on it. 

As for why they would consider socialism a viable solution I would say older people have put younger people into this situation.  Lower wages, student loans, extremely high housing costs. It is no surprise that socialism is more and more popular. It will just keep growing until it explodes. And really, I have zero sympathy for whatever happens to the capitalists after. They refuse to negotiate. 

Edited by Martell Spy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Martell Spy said:

Well, obviously the solution is to expand these programs, then. Assuming, we can get the parties to agree on it. 

but it’s not obvious at all, there are a great number of parties that want the exact opposite of that, and expend great amounts of money and influence to convince others to get on board despite being indirect conflict with their self interests 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 minute ago, a good and nice guy said:

but it’s not obvious at all, there are a great number of parties that want the exact opposite of that, and expend great amounts of money and influence to convince others to get on board despite being indirect conflict with their self interests 

What parties?

And in what country, I would add. I'm an American.

Edited by Martell Spy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Martell Spy said:

What parties?

chiefly the owners of capital, those that directly or indirectly profit from the current health care system (speaking of the us specifically) i mean there are any number of politicians that run on or have policy planks related to the defunding or privatization of social security, medicare, etc. are you unaware of these?

 

eta: not sure if the confusion is related to the term “parties”, which in this case i mean affected individuals, groups, or organizations, not necessarily us political parties (which both have a vested interests, differentiated by degree rather than real distinction)

Edited by a good and nice guy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, a good and nice guy said:

chiefly the owners of capital, those that directly or indirectly profit from the current health care system (speaking of the us specifically) i mean there are any number of politicians that run on or have policy planks related to the defunding or privatization of social security, medicare, etc. are you unaware of these?

Oh, I'm quite aware of the Koch brothers and their ilk. I though you were speaking of political parties, such as the Republicans and Democrats.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, OldGimletEye said:

First we need a workable definition of socialism.

Need to stop certain sorts of people always wanting to play a game of calvin ball with that term.

I want to pick up on this and what you mentioned in the politics thread. I think I understand your frustrations with how some people will play the definition game, but I also think we shouldn't cave to their nonsense. I mean, it's not like there's one definition/type of capitalism. What we have in the U.S. is far different than Saudia Arabia or Hong Kong or many other countries. I remember in the Republican debates in 2015/16 they talked a lot about crony capitalism, democratic capitalism, and many other types. People who insist we find one specific definition for socialism are being dishonest. Like any economic system, there are numerous types of socialism--some much more successful than others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, dornishpen said:

Generally socialists define socialism as the workers (the people) owning the means of production. Strong laissez-faire capitalists often define socialism as a planned economy (command). I would be more inclined to go with the first definition, which means that the Nordic model is not socialism, it's social democracy, which is I'm pretty sure what most of them would say and seems to be a very workable model as a sort of compromise between communism and laissez-faire. I don't know if socialism (by the first definition) works on a large scale, historical examples of communism are pretty terrible, but democratic socialism hasn't been tried much (it hasn't worked so well in Venezuela, but I don't think we should apply one country universally). It can work well on a small scale (kibbutzim for example).

I think this gets too lost in the details. Richard Wolff explains why far better than I can.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, Martell Spy said:

Marx and Lenin don't have the benefit of being in 2019. 

Lenin is still around in a way . :) More importantly, there's a reason the old socialists defined socialism as they did. As long as the means of production are controlled by a small number of capitalists, government programs to help people are merely going to help some people at the expense of large numbers of others. This is basically what has been happening in the US and some other capitalists countries for decades: no matter who is in power, the capitalists keep getting richer and more powerful while the programs that help people amount to redistribution from one group that doesn't have much to another such group with the capitalists taking their cut of the transaction regardless of which groups are involved.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Altherion said:

Lenin is still around in a way . :) More importantly, there's a reason the old socialists defined socialism as they did. As long as the means of production are controlled by a small number of capitalists, government programs to help people are merely going to help some people at the expense of large numbers of others. This is basically what has been happening in the US and some other capitalists countries for decades: no matter who is in power, the capitalists keep getting richer and more powerful while the programs that help people amount to redistribution from one group that doesn't have much to another such group with the capitalists taking their cut of the transaction regardless of which groups are involved.

So, you are calling for a larger wealth tax to pay for these programs?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Martell Spy said:

Marx and Lenin don't have the benefit of being in 2019. 

 

Agreed. In fact, Marxism cannot be associated only with Marx since there is over a hundred years of Marxist theory that has expanded on Marx and Engels initial work. Though even their initial work, they viewed emancipation from alienation in work as the primary consideration. Later thinkers such as Gramsci and Althusser examined how the state (or big business) was allowed to operate against the interests of the people without ever having to subdue the people. Ideology and cultural hegemony. If you can get people to believe in the shitty programs that hurt them, it's so much more effective than using force to subdue them.

Cultural hegemony and ideology explain why people are so insistent that "socialism" needs a single, defined example when no other economic system has ever functioned that way. Imagine if you threw those conditions at the people arguing with you: to define capitalism and to stick to that single definition. It's what OldGimletEye talked about in the politics thread: they would get trapped into defining capitalism and accepting all the aspects of it they don't agree with. Economic systems are fluid, and socialism that has worked has worked because smart people have pushed to evolve it.

Edit/P.S.

I also like that you included working definitions for threads. One of the interesting things about the type of socialism that brings democracy into the work place is that Elizabeth Warren has advocated for this, and she describes herself as a capitalist. 

Edited by Simon Steele

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Martell Spy said:

So, you are calling for a larger wealth tax to pay for these programs?

not to speak for altherion, but i doubt it (also doubt he is raising these issues in good faith) basically socialism wouldn’t have this kind of wealth to tax, which is why most socialist call for a more revolutionary overthrow of the current system. there is no way to truly reform the neoliberal system that only serves to placate the working class while maintaining the power structures of capital that give it primacy how our society is organized

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Martell Spy said:

This is a thread inspired by a recent U.S. Politics fracas. It is titled as such since it is authored by a liberal with leftist leanings. How do you get to workable socialism in a society? I assume it is workable as a starting off point.

The Nordic model. This is probably the most well-known model and the one that is seen as working fairly well. 

Socialist Firms. This is where workers own at least a certain percentage of the firm. I tend to think this would work pretty well, but is obviously opposed by the rich straight white males of the world. Because obviously they should own all the money in society and be able to rape or torture anyone they wish with impunity. Because anyone who is not a rich white straight male has no merit or value.

The Soviet model. This is the one that often gets brought up as an argument to how socialism is a failure. Communism, lots of goose-stepping, and violations of civil rights. I would note though it is the uniforms and the torture and the faces getting stomped in that terrify people. The people in cages, much like is happening in the U.S. right now. That is what terrifies people, and it has very little to do with how economics are arranged.

Your first two examples are clearly workable and unobjectionable.  The third is where problems arise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

of course the soviet system had issues, and it’s easy to paint in a negative light when you ignore the fact it brought a massive nation from a backwards agrarian country to a space daring super power that rivaled the united states in 50 years without the massive head start the west got from its centuries of exploitative colonialism and mercantilism that cause far more death and misery but on a less compressed time scale so it’s easy to dismiss

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Martell Spy said:

The Nordic model. This is probably the most well-known model and the one that is seen as working fairly well. 

It's different though in the American context.  All 3 (4 if you count Denmark) Nordic states have been largely homogenous for a very long time.  The US has never had that luxury, and anti-immigration is how it's expressing white racial resentment.  We've always lagged in terms of the social welfare model, and frankly it's not looking good right now.  Based on the institutional structure, it's a lot harder to implement here than over the pond.

2 hours ago, OldGimletEye said:

Now with regard to the reasons those systems didn't work, perhaps it wasn't the ban on the private ownership of capital per se that caused the problem, but was more because the informational requirements needed for highly centralized systems are just too demanding.

I think you've touch on a good point (one of my points, actually, so shut your face!) that centralization actually leads to a decrease in coordination.  However, I disagree that the informational requirements were "too much" for anybody.  It's just because the people in charge don't care enough.

1 hour ago, Altherion said:

This is sort of what OldGimletEye is saying though: people don't agree on what socialism means

Socialism definitely does not mean communism, or Marxism.  More and more people understand that, although yeah, it's just the younger crowd of Americans.

1 hour ago, Martell Spy said:

As for why they would consider socialism a viable solution I would say older people have put younger people into this situation.  Lower wages, student loans, extremely high housing costs. It is no surprise that socialism is more and more popular. It will just keep growing until it explodes.

Yup.  The Boomers had their 60s moment then felt guilty and acted like they had to champion capitalism to end the cold war - and then beyond.  We're gonna say go fuck yourselves, we need this because you Boomers - mom and dad - fucked us over.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

socialism absolutely means marxism, the socdem bruenig nordic shit is just less terrible neoliberalism  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, a good and nice guy said:

socialism absolutely means marxism

No, it doesn't.  Socialism is part of any mixed system, which in this day and age means all of the developed world.  Even the US has plenty of socialist policies.  That's not communism, at least not how Marx would want to define it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, DMC said:

No, it doesn't.  Socialism is part of any mixed system, which in this day and age means all of the developed world.  Even the US has plenty of socialist policies.  That's not communism, at least not how Marx would want to define it.

but again, that’s not really socialism. at best it’s social democracy. purity politics aside, that isn’t really socialism while you have such entrenched wealth equality, the existence of a capital class, profit driven markets, etc. this bullshit that is social democracy reforms is just neoliberalism, in (as you said) a racially homogenous venue that is designed to keep the working class that is not viewed as a racial underclass from rising up and eating the bourgeoisie 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

sorry for the double post, but it has to be said that just because the government is spending money does not make something socialism. police are not socialist. the military is not socialist. means tested welfare is not socialist. the owner class deciding to share some of its ill gotten gains, as opposed to those gains being completely in the ha da of the proletariat, is not socialism. 

and on a semi related note, where the fuck is @sologdin 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, a good and nice guy said:

but again, that’s not really socialism. at best it’s social democracy.

Right.  That would be why it's called a mixed system.

48 minutes ago, a good and nice guy said:

this bullshit that is social democracy reforms is just neoliberalism, in (as you said) a racially homogenous venue that is designed to keep the working class that is not viewed as a racial underclass from rising up and eating the bourgeoisie 

Oye.  Enough with the classist bullshit.  It's not gonna fly electorally, and will do more harm than good.

45 minutes ago, a good and nice guy said:

police are not socialist. the military is not socialist. means tested welfare is not socialist.

The first two, yes.  But social security is certainly socialist.  Medicare is socialist.  Medicaid is socialist.  Alaska's Permanent Fund is socialist.  That's what a mixed system means - having both socialist and "neo-liberal" policies.  Right now we're on the wrong end, aye.  But don't act like there's nothing there that's been institutionalized.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, DMC said:

Right.  That would be why it's called a mixed system.

Oye.  Enough with the classist bullshit.  It's not gonna fly electorally, and will do more harm than good.

The first two, yes.  But social security is certainly socialist.  Medicare is socialist.  Medicaid is socialist.  Alaska's Permanent Fund is socialist.  That's what a mixed system means - having both socialist and "neo-liberal" policies.  Right now we're on the wrong end, aye.  But don't act like there's nothing there that's been institutionalized.

right, a mixed system is not socialism. social security, medicare, etc are socialistic (dumb made up word but no better alternative comes to mind) but existing as they do in the overwhelmingly capitalist system, they do little to further the aims of a flattened, egalitarian society, and without radical expansion serve capitals interests by placating those that have the most to lose and thus (along with aforementioned lack of class consciousness) blunt the edge of labors revolutionary wrath. and who said anything about electoralism, save that shit for your stupid horse race thread... of course we are never going to be able to vote out those in power with the processes deliberately designed to keep the “great beast” at bay. (and no, the ak permanent fund is not socialist as long as it creates profits for private energy concerns)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

×