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Martell Spy

Workable Socialism

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17 minutes ago, a good and nice guy said:

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.

Um, this reads like right out of the extreme leftist playbook, but - as a suggestion - you don't want to refer to the status quo as an "egalitarian" society.  An egalitarian society would be a good thing.  Not something to fight against because the rest of us are so so stupid and we need you to save us from the tyrannical capitalist system.

23 minutes ago, a good and nice guy said:

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)

The Permanent Fund is undeniably a socialist policy.  The government is receiving returns from a company and disbursing it equally.  That is socialism.  Other than that, sorry I tried to post in this thread?  I'm not entirely clear what the "great beast" is anyway?  Trump?  Nah, he's a fat slow orange beast.

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, DMC said:

Um, this reads like right out of the extreme leftist playbook, but - as a suggestion - you don't want to refer to the status quo as an "egalitarian" society.  An egalitarian society would be a good thing.  Not something to fight against because the rest of us are so so stupid and we need you to save us from the tyrannical capitalist system.

The Permanent Fund is undeniably a socialist policy.  The government is receiving returns from a company and disbursing it equally.  That is socialism.  Other than that, sorry I tried to post in this thread?  I'm not entirely clear what the "great beast" is anyway?  Trump?  Nah, he's a fat slow orange beast.

read it again chief: “they do little to further the aims of a flattened, egalitarian society,”

i am clearly saying the egalitarian society is the goal, which the means testing social programs are getting in the way of, while they are executed by the neoliberal state on behalf of capital interests. 

mad to the great beast quote, it’s from, maybe apocryphally, hamilton; speaking of the poor unwashed masses

Alexander Hamilton was among the guests; and, his patience being somewhat exhausted, he replied with much emphasis, striking his hand upon the table, “Your people, sir,—your people is a great beast!””

eta: extreme leftist playbook? me?!:o

Edited by a good and nice guy

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19 minutes ago, a good and nice guy said:

read it again chief: “they do little to further the aims of a flattened, egalitarian society,”

Ah, fair enough, I'm pretty high and that was hard to parse.  And don't call me chief, you're not Robin Williams.  At least I hope not.

21 minutes ago, a good and nice guy said:

mad to the great beast quote, it’s from, maybe apocryphally, hamilton; speaking of the poor unwashed masses

Alexander Hamilton was among the guests; and, his patience being somewhat exhausted, he replied with much emphasis, striking his hand upon the table, “Your people, sir,—your people is a great beast!””

eta: extreme leftist playbook? me?!:o

I don't understand any of this.

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if you need to bow out of this conversation, just say so chief 

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6 minutes ago, a good and nice guy said:

if you need to bow out of this conversation, just say so chief 

What, you afraid chief?  It's not your fault!

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One of the really simplistic, annoying arguments that defenders of rampant capitalism often make is "well if you have socialism then you won't get smart people like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk who invent stuff". 

That's what my dad says anyway, and my rebuttal is that there's plenty of smart inventors in countries like Sweden, Denmark, Canada etc where they don't viciously screw over working people the way companies in America do; you just don't hear about them as much as you hear about Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, because you watch American media which is only going to report on the achievements of Americans.

That's one response. Another is that for every supposed "genius innovator" like Steve Jobs there's about twenty other "entrepreneurs" who basically just ended up running major businesses and corporations because of nepotism and/or inherited wealth, and did not get their position based on merit.

 

 

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14 minutes ago, DMC said:

What, you afraid chief?  It's not your fault!

apologies, i gave you the benefit of the doubt and took your “i’m too high” post as face value, assuming you simply wanted to bow out of a conversation you were incapable of having, as opposed to your typical tactic of: nitpick minor language issues > “oh i’m drunk/high can’t be accountable for my posts” > try to get the last word in though belligerence because you have run out of meaningful dialogue. it’s been a while and i wasn’t sure if you’d grown out of it. anyway, i hate to be responsible for harshing  anyone’s mellow, so if anyone else has any questions or thoughts regarding socialism, what it is, and how it could benefit you, please feel free to let me know, more than happy to discuss. :commie:

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6 hours ago, Martell Spy said:

Also, should Democracy be involved?

Certainly! Indeed, you can't have democracy without socialism. In a hypothetical perfectly capitalist system, there could be no democracy at all because everything is entirely up to the free market and there isn't anything to vote about. A mixed economy can be democratic to the extent that it incorporates socialist policies (eg taxing business to pay for free public education), and the more of the economy is under public rather than private control, the more democracy is possible.

Unfortunately democracy isn't an automatic consequence of getting rid of capitalism - you can also have authoritarian restrictions on the free market. I guess capitalism, democracy, and authoritarianism make a kind of triangle. And not all authoritarianism is necessarily bad, eg banning discrimination even when bigots are in the majority, though I think such exceptions are reasonably rare.

6 hours ago, Martell Spy said:

Capitalism works fairly well though, this is well known.

Capitalism hasn't collapsed yet; it's obviously unsustainable, though, since you can't keep concentrating wealth indefinitely.

6 hours ago, Martell Spy said:

We could start these policies at modest amounts and slowly increase them. However, billionaires and their lackeys are highly invested in stopping any of this from happening.

The obvious solution is to get rid of the billionaires in one blow. I don't mean getting rid of them as people, just removing their billionaireness - confiscate all their wealth overnight, and they no longer have any power (or at least, no more power than anyone else, and since they're such a tiny minority, the Give-us-back-our-money Party is unlikely to gather widespread support).

6 hours ago, OldGimletEye said:

Of course, if we narrow down the definition of socialism to mean there is no private ownership of capital, then those systems didn't work out too well. 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. The price system solves those informational problems to a great extent, but doesn't work quite as well as in the over-active imaginations of some libertarian types or free market fundamentalist types.

There's no reason you can't use the price system under socialism; public ownership doesn't automatically require anything else to change. Most of the time, it doesn't matter to a business who their shareholders are. Though having shareholders who are more concerned with the public good than maximising profits could be a massive improvement in all kinds of ways.

And information technology has come rather a long way since the Russian Revolution!

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26 minutes ago, Darryk said:

That's one response. Another is that for every supposed "genius innovator" like Steve Jobs there's about twenty other "entrepreneurs" who basically just ended up running major businesses and corporations because of nepotism and/or inherited wealth, and did not get their position based on merit.

And twenty thousand other people with just as much genius but without the resources and/or personality to be capitalist entrepreneurs, who could make a much greater contribution under a different socioeconomic system.

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23 minutes ago, Darryk said:

One of the really simplistic, annoying arguments that defenders of rampant capitalism often make is "well if you have socialism then you won't get smart people like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk who invent stuff". 

That's what my dad says anyway, and my rebuttal is that there's plenty of smart inventors in countries like Sweden, Denmark, Canada etc where they don't viciously screw over working people the way companies in America do; you just don't hear about them as much as you hear about Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, because you watch American media which is only going to report on the achievements of Americans.

That's one response. Another is that for every supposed "genius innovator" like Steve Jobs there's about twenty other "entrepreneurs" who basically just ended up running major businesses and corporations because of nepotism and/or inherited wealth, and did not get their position based on merit.

 

 

there is more to it than that; most of those “success” stories have a lot of capital behind them before they eve get started- musks family famously owned emerald mines in occupied africa, and jeff bezos was a hedge fund manager prior to taking $300k from his parents to start amazon

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27 minutes ago, a good and nice guy said:

assuming you simply wanted to bow out of a conversation you were incapable of having, as opposed to your typical tactic of: nitpick minor language issues > “oh i’m drunk/high can’t be accountable for my posts” > try to get the last word in though belligerence because you have run out of meaningful dialogue. it’s been a while and i wasn’t sure if you’d grown out of it. anyway, i hate to be responsible for harshing  anyone’s mellow, so if anyone else has any questions or thoughts regarding socialism, what it is, and how it could benefit you, please feel free to let me know, more than happy to discuss. :commie:

Ah, as opposed to your tactic of saying insanely stupid shit, having me respond to it, then trying cast me as a centrist/racist.  Because that's always fun.  Please, let's start that little guy.

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7 hours ago, Martell Spy said:

Also, should Democracy be involved? If not, what else?

I'm of the opinion that socialism is democratic by definition. Imho socialism isn't about "ownership" of the means of production but really "control" of the means of production. It's about people working together to achieve common goals.
Even socialized systems (healthcare for instance) are about pooling resources for everyone to share the benefits and are less likely to work when people don't adhere to the principle as they will "game" or abuse the system, or quite simply turn against it.

And this is both the greatest strength and the greatest weakness of socialism.
Its greatest strength because it's really the most spontaneous system of organization humans will use, because we are "civilized" apes and social animals. Give a bunch of humans a factory making food and they will spontaneously run it through some form of socialist system (with a strong attachment to fairness) ; the capitalist system otoh amounts to giving "ownership" of the factory (and most of the profits derived from its production) to whoever thought of it, which requires so many abstractions I can't be bothered to list them all (money, banking, projection... ).
Its greatest weakness because socialism requires intense cooperation between humans and such cooperation works on small scales but tends to break down on large ones. How do you get millions of people to agree on a socialized system? Or worse, to cooperate on specific projects and resource allocation? You may get to this through cooperation-based education that would constantly underline the benefits of socialism, but from the outside this will always look like totalitarian brainwashing and your overall system is still vulnerable to any significant (/organized) minority that would reject socialist principle/ideology.
So in the end, whatever you come up with will be vulnerable to... propaganda. Right-wing thinkers and think tanks figured out some time around the early 70s that all they had to do was to convince a minority of the masses that socialism is fundamentally bad/evil and it would never ever possibly be implemented.

6 hours ago, Martell Spy said:

I'm not a communist and I've never felt that the government should run everything.

Sorry to take this as an example, but I would say this sentence  shows the impact of anti-socialist propaganda.

The fallacy here is to assume that communism means delegating power to a distant government that will take decisions for the people. But the "communist idea" (to use Badiou's term) doesn't imply that at all. In fact, if you think about it the idea of giving power to a minority (whether elected or not) and the abolition of private property are not naturally linked (unless you assume that humans are uncapable of agreeing on communism without coercion, which ends up being a form of circular reasoning).
Because communism ultimately entails eliminating money, social classes, and state, any government-controled society would only be an intermediary step in the direction of communism. This confusion between the ultimate goal and the steps to reach it has been cultivated by both the right and left, especially as regards Marxist-Leninist countries like the Soviet Union which were not democratic.

BTW, a quick word on the Soviet Union. I'm of the -uncommon and unpopular- opinon that the Soviet Union was a breathtaking economic success. As @a good and nice guy said it brought tremendous wealth to what was a backward country in just a few decades. It ultimately failed for many reasons, but imho the main one was precisely that it was undemocratic and that people *lost faith* in the system. Since people had little power over... well, everything, they had no reason to be involved in the system, which led to so much corruption and incompetence that the system could no longer function. 
Ironically, capitalist systems are *not* immune to the dangers of people "losing faith", but that's for another day.
 

6 hours ago, Altherion said:

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.

Sure. If you ignore decades of post-WW II growth and policies that were extremely successful at keeping inequalities to a minimum throughout the West while improving the standards of living for almost everyone.

Why did things work so well at the time, uh? If only there were people who'd spent years studying all that and had written books about it...
 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, a good and nice guy said:

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)

So the kids you kill with your violent actions to bring about your utopia are justified deaths?  That is my problem with any extreme position that claims “their violence is justified by the greater good.”  It is the fact that they attempting to justify violence not in self defense but to bring about their “perfect world”.

The “perfect world” doesn’t exist and regardless of the economic system used or the government created to protect the economic system the human animal will always produce people who game that system and accumulate power.  Be the system Democratic Socialist, pure Capitalist, or Soviet Style communist, people will abuse their positions and claim that the largesse that abuse produces is justified by “the greater good” and the death of your family was a regrettable consequence of bringing about their “perfect world”.  

This is why I strongly suspect the motives behind anyone who claims their system is so pure and good that it justifies violent actions.  There is no system so justified or righteous that is justifies killing an innocent to bring it into existence in my earnest opinion.

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison

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7 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

So the kids you kill with your violent actions are justified deaths?

A quick word on this as a hardcore socialist.

A tiny bit of violence could be justifiable under a fuckton of conditions if it guaranteed eventual success over anti-socialist forces. Among other things, such violence would have to be largely symbolic and aimed at the current power structure.
As things stand today, it's the very opposite: not only violence is completely unjustifiable but it is fundamentally counter-productive. At best it's a terribly bad -and unimaginative- way to deal with one's frustration.

The right has shown us that the war of ideas must be won again before anything can happen.

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9 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

A quick word on this as a hardcore socialist.

A tiny bit of violence could be justifiable under a fuckton of conditions if it guaranteed eventual success over anti-socialist forces. Among other things, such violence would have to be largely symbolic and aimed at the current power structure.
As things stand today, it's the very opposite: not only violence is completely unjustifiable but it is fundamentally counter-productive. At best it's a terribly bad -and unimaginative- way to deal with one's frustration.

The right has shown us that the war of ideas must be won again before anything can happen.

Please see my elaboration.

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7 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

A tiny bit of violence could be justifiable under a fuckton of conditions if it guaranteed eventual success over anti-socialist forces.

It's not possible anymore.  This is literally what Jefferson said in the Declaration, but when you can just shoot people in the head, the point becomes pointless.

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1 minute ago, DMC said:

It's not possible anymore.  This is literally what Jefferson said in the Declaration, but when you can just shoot people in the head, the point becomes pointless.

Indeed.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Simon Steele said:

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.

I think people can have good faith disagreements about what socialism means.

The problem is of course that certain sorts of people take advantage of the confusion or disagreements over what it means in very bad faith.

Personally, I have a set of policies I prefer or like. Whether the sum of the those policies are socialist can be a legitimate matter of dispute, I suppose. My only thing is don't change your definition as it suits the particular argument your making.

A few years back there were conservatives that were calling the FED's interest policy "central planning" and of course "gasp" that meant it was bad, evidently. Well, I have no idea whether its interest rate policy was "central planning" or not and could care less. What I did know, along with the rest of the reality based community, was that it was insane for the FED to raise rates. Of course some of those conservatives that were cool with the charge of "central planning" back then now have changed their tune,  seemingly, having got on board with team Trump. They were playing word games and not doing it in good faith.

Edited by OldGimletEye

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44 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

This is why I strongly suspect the motives behind anyone who claims their system is so pure and good that it justifies violent actions.  There is no system so justified or righteous that is justifies killing an innocent to bring it into existence in my earnest opinion.

I wholeheartly agree with you from a theoretical perspective, but from a practical one it's vastly more complicated.

From a theoretical perspective any ideology condoning violence in its name is corrupted from the start and its disregard for human life will sooner or later give birth to something monstrous.

But from a practical perspective it is very difficult to systematically condemn violence in the pursuance of progress. To make it simple, because progress saves lives, you quickly end up with a classic case of an ethics trolley problem.

17 minutes ago, DMC said:

It's not possible anymore.  This is literally what Jefferson said in the Declaration, but when you can just shoot people in the head, the point becomes pointless.

I'm really not sure what you're saying.
I think you're pointing out that symbolic/limited violence is no longer possible because firearms greatly facilitate lethal violence or even genocide... ?
Or is it because any amount of violence in the pursuit of "revolution" would lead to massive repression using firearms?

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18 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

So the kids you kill with your violent actions to bring about your utopia are justified deaths?  That is my problem with any extreme position that claims “their violence is justified by the greater good.”  It is the fact that they attempting to justify violence not in self defense but to bring about their “perfect world”.

The “perfect world” doesn’t exist and regardless of the economic system used or the government created to protect the economic system the human animal will always produce people who game that system and accumulate power.  Be the system Democratic Socialist, pure Capitalist, or Soviet Style communist, people will abuse their positions and claim that the largesse that abuse produces is justified by “the greater good” and the death of your family was a regrettable consequence of bringing about their “perfect world”.  

This is why I strongly suspect the motive behind anyone who claims their world is so pure and pure that it justifies violent actions.  There is no system so justified or righteous that is justifies killing an innocent to bring it into existence in my earnest opinion.

Let's turn this question around a bit.

Here are the victims of White Terror and "collateral damage" of anti-communist wars in different countries (Wikipedia figures):

- Indonesia, 1965-66: 500 000 - 3 000 000

- Vietnam, 1960-75: 123 000 - 500 000 (not including disputed deaths from Agent Orange)

- Cambodia: around 60 000 (civilian casualties of US bombing)

- China, 1927-49: no reliable estimates, at least several hundred thousand

- Mozambique, 1975-92: at least 500 000

- Angola, 1975-2002: at least 100 000

- Chad, 1982-90: around 40 000

- Spain, 1936-45: 58 000 - 400 000

- Korea, 1950-1953: 74 000 - 230 000

- Russia, 1917-23: 20 000 - 300 000

- Haiti, 1957-86: 40 000 - 60 000

- Guatemala, 1960-1996: 140 000 - 200 000

- Salvador, 1979-92: 40 000 - 50 000

- South America during "Operation Condor": 60 000 - 80 000

- Finland, 1918: around 10 000

- Malaysia: 1948-60: around 5000

- Taiwan, 1949-87: 3000-4000

- Hungary, 1919-21: around 1000

Do you claim that deaths of these millions of people are justified to preserve your preferred system of society, government and economy?

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