What, exactly, is socialism? Again this discussion seems necessary.

Discussion in 'Economics & Trade' started by Kode, Aug 19, 2018.

  1. Kode

    Kode Well-Known Member

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    Again, it seems necessary to comment on what socialism is and what it is not.

    To say "collectivism" is socialism, is like saying that production of goods is capitalism. Socialism may involve collectivism, and capitalism may involve production of goods, but every economic system from feudalism to capitalism and socialism all involve both of them.

    Socialism is, in the first analysis AND the final analysis, a national economic system that is intended to free the worker of exploitation. It is intended to end capitalism, therefore.

    If those two rather tightly related conditions are not present as an expressed purpose and goal of a proposed economic system, it is not socialism being described. And, as well, if those two conditions are not present in an actual, existing economic system, that system is not socialism.

    Socialism is a socio-economic system, whether it is a proposed national system, or an actual national system. An assortment of social programs in capitalist economies has been found to be beneficial to the continuance of the capitalist system. They serve to diminish public opposition to the system because they diminish social problems created by capitalism. So their inclusion in a capitalist economy is a tool of capitalism and not an indication of the existence of "socialism" since they do not in any way convert, or threaten to convert, the capitalist economy to a system that ends private ownership of the MoP or the private profit it generates. They do not end worker exploitation under capitalism.

    Yes, there has in every case been a mix of seeming economic systems in any country, but one is just about always dominant as the main one that is sanctioned. In fact, we could probably say one is always dominant, just out of logic, although I haven't researched the subject. And so the appearance of there being a "mix of economic systems" in play is merely a myopic and unsophisticated view of the situation. And such a view of economics does far more to confuse and perpetuate confusion about economics than to resolve any confusion.

    So the existence of social programs in capitalist systems does not negate the dominant system of capitalism in such cases. The trend is still that workers are exploited and private profits are being generated by the system.

    The USA does not have a socialist system. Our economy is not socialism. It is fundamentally capitalism, with a diminishing number of social programs in place. And the diminution of those programs is paving the way to an increase in the negative effects capitalism has on the population.

    It is this worsening condition that 57 democrats are resisting as indicated in the OP. But when any politician says they view socialism positively, they actually mean they advocate social programs to "take the edge off" worsening conditions of capitalism. They are not calling for an end to capitalism. They prefer to avoid being specific about it in order to stand under a larger tent.
     
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  2. danielpalos

    danielpalos Well-Known Member

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    we really just need a fifteen dollar an hour minimum wage, unemployment compensation for being unemployed on an at-will basis in our at-will employment States, and Industrial Automation to help with social costs.
     
  3. Kode

    Kode Well-Known Member

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    The subject is "What, exactly, is socialism". Your post is off-topic.
     
  4. Polydectes

    Polydectes Well-Known Member

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    Socialism goes against human nature. Survival of any animal is based on how much material they can acquire. The show humans are instinctively driven to gain more material. Why socialism fails within the human species is because it doesn't take into account this aspect of humanity.

    Further socialism can only exist in the husk of a capitalist Society or a wealthy Society because it needs seed wealth and the problem socialism always runs into is they spend exactly as much as they have to make sure everyone gets what they need so when the economy takes a blow it's the Hunger Games.

    Just look at Venezuela during the oil Surplus.

    It would be bad for the US because our major exports is innovation. Socialism stifles innovation because why bother you're not going to get rich.
     
  5. Reiver

    Reiver Well-Known Member

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    I'd refer to two problems with your argument...

    First, there are no set characteristics for human nature. They are endogenous and inherently dependent on the economic paradigm. This has been understood, at the very least, since the days of Adam Smith and his reference to egoistic preferences in conflict with our cooperative nature. Thus, it's neoliberalism and 'greed is good' ideology that allowed behaviour which previously was naturally curtailed (e.g. tax dodging, pollution, corruption etc).

    Second, if anything, socialism has a greater claim for consistency with human nature: from Christian Socialism (and focus on the ethical planks that guide our lives) to Market Socialism (which protects individualism, while creating both efficiency and equity gain through cooperation in big business).

    Wrong again. First, we know innovation in capitalism is characterised by market failure (e.g. lack of innovation in pharmaceuticals in areas such as new antibiotics). Unsurprisingly it has been heavily reliant on public sector interventionism (e.g. academic research; military R&D for spin-off technologies etc.). Second, socialism is capable of generating real economic choice. For example, we know that in capitalist countries there is a significant divide between actual and desired self employment rates. Market Socialism would eliminate that gap. It therefore generates firm creation opportunity and the economy more fully benefits from our creativity skills.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
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  6. Polydectes

    Polydectes Well-Known Member

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    I reject this Neo post-modernism. There most certainly is a set of characteristics for Human Nature.
    So why does it feel every single time it's tried and not just fail it crashes and burns miserably.
     
  7. Reiver

    Reiver Well-Known Member

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    So you reject Adam Smith?

    The anti-socialist will typically make the assumption that we are hyper rational beasts. That notion, neither consistent with anthropology or economic history, is a recent corruption (engineered by the likes of Thatcherism and Reganomics). Even orthodox economics has to reject it. Take the Prisoner's Dilemma, an analysis into interdependence and how self interest can be destructive. When tested, we find it fails (even for criminals used to explain it's nature). Why? Because we are innately cooperative. Indeed, behavioural economics very much focuses on trying to embed that cooperation within standard economic modelling.

    We're left with a simple outcome. Socialism isn't against human nature (e.g. market socialism embraces the individualism characterised in Austrian Economics). It thrives on it (e.g. unleashing our tendency to work together and be creative, improving on entrepreneurial outcome)

    Weird argument. We know that free market capitalism fails (given capitalism requires interventionism to stabilise). We also know that state capitalism fails (given the reliance on hierarchy). We know that socialism, in various guises, has delivered (e.g. see post 1945 Britain).

    The real interesting question is "what form of socialism is best?". I'd go with market socialism. We already know, for example, that worker ownership increases productivity (demonstrating how socialism delivers efficiency and equity gain)
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
  8. Polydectes

    Polydectes Well-Known Member

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    We don't know capitalism fails we've never tried it.
     
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  9. Reiver

    Reiver Well-Known Member

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    "Free market capitalism" is neither achievable or desirable. Its only used to encourage greater class divides (e.g. the extreme income inequality in Anglo-Saxon capitalism). I noted that you provided no critique of anything said about socialism.
     
  10. Polydectes

    Polydectes Well-Known Member

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    Disagree.
     
  11. Reiver

    Reiver Well-Known Member

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    It's not achievable as government is the key economic agent in capitalism (e.g. even countries espousing free trade used government to develop and create markets) and its not desirable due to market failure.

    These issues are less pertinent to socialism. For example, a fairer economy will tend to have more macroeconomic stability (and therefore be less reliant on government "waste").
     
  12. Polydectes

    Polydectes Well-Known Member

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    What? Capitalism is simply trading things of value for other things of value. There is a market anywhere somethings values things. Government isn't the slightest bit necessary.
     
  13. Reiver

    Reiver Well-Known Member

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    Completely wrong. The market is neither a sufficient or necessary condition for capitalism. The existence of market socialism gives the game away somewhat.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
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  14. Polydectes

    Polydectes Well-Known Member

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    I'm dead on right.

    This argument doesn't seem to have any substantive value.

    Capitalism is Absolutly the trading of things of value. The market forms by the existance of things of value not government. Capitalism can exist in anarchy.

    If all you are going to do is squawk "completely wrong" and repeat incorrect assumptions over again you fail to argue.
     
  15. Reiver

    Reiver Well-Known Member

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    Can you critique socialism if you don't even understand capitalism? You need a definition. Here's one: Capitalism is 'an economic system in which surplus value is extracted in the production process by using wage labour and utilized in the circulation process to sustain capital accumulation'. We can of course refer to economic history and refer to how it has evolved over time. Thus, We could then talk about 'classical capitalism' where we have concentrated private property and labour relations are characterised by the bourgeoisie buying control of the proletariat in exchange for a wage. We could then ramble on about how things have changed, given some diffusion of financial wealth. The definition of capitalist then just has to refer to the capital accumulation process, i.e. quoting Screpanti (1999, Capitalist forms and the essence of capitalism, Review of International Political Economy) capitalists are "the material subjects of capital accumulation" and are the "functionaries of capital". But we have one common aspect: that process is built on coercion and theft of labour's output.

    How do you account for market socialism and its consistency with Austrian Economics? You need to 'up' your content level. So far you've been completely reliant on cliche and half truth.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
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  16. Polydectes

    Polydectes Well-Known Member

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    capitalism is extremely simple. Just because you insist that it's not, likely to prop up poor ideas, doesn't mean it isn't.
     
  17. Reiver

    Reiver Well-Known Member

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    Me insist? I referred to definition. I also referred to economic history and how it fits within classical economics. If you want to reinvent what capitalism means I look forward to your publication in a history of economic thought publication.

    Please can you answer my question, ensuring that you're not derailing the thread: How do you account for Market Socialism and its consistency with Austrian Economics?
     
  18. Polydectes

    Polydectes Well-Known Member

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    definitions are descriptive not prescriptive.

    Yet have an enormous blind spot for the history of socialism. The genocides the authoritarian dictatorships, the inevitable fall that results in people literally starving to death.

    Reinvent?
    :roflol:
     
  19. Reiver

    Reiver Well-Known Member

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    A definition accepted since classical economics, but you don't like it? Gosh! I reckon your treatise will rival Keynes' General Theory

    Can you show that socialism has led to more democide than capitalism? Try not to make the mistake of including state capitalist dictatorships within the socialist ranks.

    You continue to fail to answer my simple question. How do you account for Market Socialism and its consistency with Austrian Economics?
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
  20. Polydectes

    Polydectes Well-Known Member

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    It's still descriptive.


    Capitalism has never been tried. And the Nazi regime has a death toll of 20 million.


    Market socialism isn't a thing.
     

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