What exactly is socialism

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In another thread, polycarp2 made this comment regarding socialism:

Quote "polycarp2":U.S. liberals sometimes support elements of a social democracy. They never, ever support socialism. No country ever has.... given its historical definition.

It's much easier to discredit what it isn't...than to discredit what it is.

It seems evident that there is some disagreement as to exactly what socialism is and is not. I have always thought of socialism in the way that Austro-Libertarian described it: "the system of production where the means of production are under social control," although I would probably add the word coercive to distinguish state socialism from voluntary arrangements such as families, worker-owned firms, and monasteries. That would make my definition more like, "the system of production where the means of production are under coercive social control."

I'm not particularly thrilled with that definition, as it might also include corporatism and fascism as well (where corporations own the means of production, but they are controlled by the government.)

Thoughts?

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I think socialism encompasses a broad array of ideologies. At heart, it's control of the means of production, property, and wealth by a community - be it the State, or a workers collective, or what have you.

Within that, you could go a lot of different ways, though. The hallmark of the sort of socialism that the Right rails about, and somewhat correctly so, in my opinion, is socialism which results in a top down, central planning of the economy. But, there is also market socialism, where the means of production is owned by the State, but market forces are allowed to set prices and guide production.

My personal opinion is that consolidation of power is always bad and that pure laissez-faire capitalism and pure centrally-planned socialism both lead to a relatively small oligarchy with a disproportionate amount of power and wealth. What is needed is 1) a grassroots approach, and 2) a balance of central planning in limited areas and market forces in other areas.

For aspects of life that do not lend themselves well to profit motives, most things that fall within the public interest, such as preservation of wilderness areas, or our health and well being, a socialist model works quite well. Though I think those things should still be balanced by democratic or at least representative decision making. And that decision making should be checked and constrained from the tyranny of temporary majorities by a strong system of rights (such as the Constitution). But there are right not enumerated in the Constitution that we should also hold as fundamental, such as the right to a clean environment, the right to have wild and open spaces. And for some things a market driven socialism seems better suited. It seems to be education is one of those areas. All people deserve the right to a high quality education, and in that sense I think the State should pay for college, but I don't think the they should impose a one-size fits all curriculum or dictate beyond perhaps a broad framework what or how to teach.

I do not think that all property should be communal or that private property is theft. I don't begrudge people the ability to privately buy and sell goods, or provide services and products. So long as capitalism and mercantilism is well regulated and the public interest protected. Capitalism with strong consumer protections against fraud, and measures to prevent the consolidation of wealth in a few powerful monopolies, can be a vibrant and positive force.

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Poly has commented elsewhere, and I agree that what we ought to use to distinguish "socialism" from other more coercive forms of social organization is its "bottom-up" sense of ownership and the State.

This is both an honest appreciation of the old traditional exposition of the problem of "ownership" and the theft of the Commons and a useful corrective to the Central Command and Control models of tyranny that are top-down authoritarian in nature. It does not matter if the leadership elite calls itself Right or Left, Marxist or Capitalist--and it is always a lie when the present it as "liberal democracy"--bottom-up and "indigenous" development applies to Main St. economies as well as to any Third World projects.

The presumption that the State is always coercive and controlled by a small elite against the people is the argument that democracy does not work. If it is too complicated or idealistic, what politics are we left with?

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drc - I'm a little unclear about how socialism is bottom up. It sounds like you don't agree that socialism is defined as government owning the means of production, but I'm not quite sure how you are defining it.

As has been mentioned, it's difficult to discuss the merits and drawbacks of socialism if we dont all know what it is we're talking about.

Any other definitions than "government control over the means of production"?

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Over in this thread (http://www.thomhartmann.com/forum/2010/04/increase-jobs-thru-eminent-dom...) polycarp2 offers this definition of socialism: "Direct worker ownership of their workplace is socialism."

If that is socialism, then I'm wondering what we ought to call the system that existed in the Soviet Union?

If you think socialism is "direct worker ownership of their workplace" and I think socialism is "government ownership of the means of production" then we certainly are comparing apples to oranges.

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Defining socialism in our country is quite simple actually. Anything that helps the super rich stay rich like bailouts, free credit, et. al. is good socialism. Anything that helps the rest of us is evil, Godless socialism... [g]

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I posted on this same topic today, but I will try a different version here. To me the primary outline for this discussion is a citizens attachment to set and of rules and behaviors of a group to economic activity. Whether or not the name "state" or "private" appears on any given set of rules may or may not add up to any clear distinction between the free market and marxism. The citizenrys obligation to adhere to the compact is similar in both circumstances I agree with RBS in that centralization and strict authoritarianism is often associate with socialism, but I see nothing fundamental in the idea of group ownership or so called private individual rights being derived from a group as being fundamentally different.

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Just to sum up- I would say capitalism is esentially a form of economics that allows wealth to establish avenues of non-democratic control into the system. And such avenues of control are usually referred to as personal freedom

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What socialism is...and isn't. How the term came to be redefined.

Noam Chomsky Short video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4Tq4VE8eHQ&feature=related

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Industrial feudalism vs. the desire to own and control one's own work and the institutions directly influencing one's life.

Is the latter not basically what our Libertarians desire? They just are not very optimistic about institutions being able to be controlled by "the people" instead of "the bosses."

Which gets us back to Slab's Dilemma. How to be for small government and big business. He is a practicalist about business because what it does determines how big it needs to be. I think the same applies to government, and confronting and controlling the forces of industrial feudalism is what democratic or even "republican" government has to do if anyone is to be free other than the wolves. Sorry about that insult to the wild canines.

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I watched the the Chomsky video. It seems as if we've been talking apples and oranges. If, as Chomsky points out, socialism simply describes worker ownership of production, that's a whole different story. I have no issue with worker-owned businesses. In fact, I think there are many good examples of employee-owned businesses.

That's the problem with assigning an -ism. Often we can get so wrapped up in arguing whether or not a given policy is socialist, we never get around to actually discussing the merits of the policy itself. We go back and forth saying, "That's not socialism." "Yes it it." Very third-grade.

As long as there is no government force involved, it seems that socialism (worker-owned businesses) can live happily side-by-side with capitalism (owner-owned businesses).

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rbs wrote: "That's the problem with assigning an -ism. Often we can get so wrapped up in arguing whether or not a given policy is socialist, we never get around to actually discussing the merits of the policy itself " -----------

poly replies All socialism is is direct ownership of one's workplace. Elements of a social democracy can be added to that...or not. In themselves, they aren't socialism. The decision to run a fire department as a function of society isn't socialism anymore than operating a public utilitiy as a social function is..

rbs wrote: "As long as there is no government force involved, it seems that socialism (worker-owned businesses) can live happily side-by-side with capitalism (owner-owned businesses)."

poly replies: Socialism is (owner-owned, owner operated business.) You are making a distinction that would no longer exist...one between worker and owner.. They would always be one and the same. HIring an employee would be in the form of taking on a partner.

Exceptions would be those things a society chose to operate in common, such as libraries, fire deparments, etc

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I think socialism is something that ain't ever going to happen.

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Quote "polycarp2":Socialism is (owner-owned, owner operated business.) You are making a distinction that would no longer exist...one between worker and owner.. They would always be one and the same. HIring an employee would be in the form of taking on a partner.
You are correct. I didn't make an meaningful distinction. What I was trying to point out was that, with your definition of socialism, there's no reason that socialism could not exist in a free market. In fact, if one believes Wikipedia, the list of notable employee-owned companies is already quite large. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_employee-owned_companies)

My point was that many people, having had socialism defined to them as Soviet style totalitarians, are justifiably leery of the idea. They hear socialism and they think Cuba, or welfare-statism. But if socialism is merely worker-owned companies, there should be no objection, as we already have many such companies.

What I personally would resist would be such a system being forcibly imposed by the government, or some sort of forced collectivization. As long as socialism is simply a matter of voluntary association, I think it's a wonderful idea.

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Well, a self-employed individual is living a socialist principle. A family/owned operated business is a socialist enterprise.

When the country was founded, the majority of the non-slave population were self employed farmers, shop keepers, craftsmen.. The U.S has socialism in its roots.

Industrialization changed that. The population began losing its economic independence . Economies favored the efficiencies of mass production at low wages. Socialism was an attempt to interject worker ownership into industry....a maintenance of economic independence/ownership.

As Chomsky explained in his video., there isn't a term to describe socialism before it was redefined....to be its opposite!

Socialist thought, before the redefinition of it, is barely known. So for all practical purposes, it doesn't exist. There is no reference word for it to even begin discussion about it.. It's a "1984' sort of thing....where ideas are purged with a redefinition of language.

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polycarp2
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Quote "polycarp2":Socialist thought, before the redefinition of it, is barely known. So for all practical purposes, it doesn't exist. There is no reference word for it to even begin discussion about it.. It's a "1984' sort of thing....where ideas are purged with a redefinition of language.
Wouldn't it be easier if you just said you advocate employee-owned companies? Most people assume that socialism involves government force. You say socialism, and I bet most people think Cuba, not the family farm. You've got a huge education effort ahead of you.

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Quote rbs:
Quote "polycarp2":Socialist thought, before the redefinition of it, is barely known. So for all practical purposes, it doesn't exist. There is no reference word for it to even begin discussion about it.. It's a "1984' sort of thing....where ideas are purged with a redefinition of language.
Wouldn't it be easier if you just said you advocate employee-owned companies? Most people assume that socialism involves government force. You say socialism, and I bet most people think Cuba, not the family farm. You've got a huge education effort ahead of you.

Of course people think that. Its part of the redefinition.when referenced to the self-defined Marxist models...not so much so when applied in reference to the self-defined Socialist European/Scandinavian models.

It also includes bottom up decision making...not top down.hierarchies. More individual freedom...rather than less. Elected hierarchies to coordinate and impliment policies...not instigate policies.

Education? Socialism has become just another swear word...and people don't even know what it means when they use it. Noam Chomsky provides the proper definition. He's a much, much better educator than I.

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polycarp2
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rbs- I am going to try to but in once more. You seem to be O.K with cooperative organization of individuals, but not with government. I know the common perception of government is that of "other than us." But at the same time the conservative liberal debate often follows a distinction between group and individual. So it might be said that if you support group dynamics in general then you support the idea of government in some kind of cooresponding manner. Yes the question of scale and whether represenative government can ever serve as facsimile for a real group are lingering questions that surround the issue, but that would not seem to effect these fundamental aspects which I am suggesting. So I am not saying there is anything wrong with your position, but I hope you can see how it might seem outside the commmon associations for me.

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Early America featured a number of voluntary associations as well as pre-industrial artisans and small businesses. The early 19th Century was also a time of big boom investing and expansion schemes, and here come the machines!

As Poly points out, "Socialism" becomes the attempt to apply worker ownership and "freedoms" to the industrial workplace. In the heteronomy of the "boss" run business to these worker oriented values, "Socialism" gets redefined into systems of big government control.

People write about this "Socialism," but they do not read the American Socialists like Norman Thomas or earlier self-identified advocates of worker ownership and control of the workplace. The Red Scare takes over.

The Cold War poisons the discourse thoroughly. There is nothing "socialist" about the Soviet Union or the Chinese People's Army. They are all central command and control, just like Wall St. Big Industry is boss culture, and even when employees can "own" a business, they are operating in a financial system run by the bosses.

The issue of government needs to be emphasized. Government secures our freedoms and orders the civility of equality required for liberty and justice for all. We need to own it instead of having it owned by rulers with too much money for a democracy to withstand. When we own the state, we use it for the interests we share together as Americans and citizens of our states and cities. When others take it over, it becomes our enemy.

The anti-government rhetoric and the perverse use of government in Commerce Uber Alles are both crimes against democracy and America as a democratic "experiment." We need to take back the Commons and control Commerce's outlaw tendencies. Democracy without government is an oxymoronic piece of moronic thinking.

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Quote "mattnapa":rbs- I am going to try to but in once more. You seem to be O.K with cooperative organization of individuals, but not with government. I know the common perception of government is that of "other than us." But at the same time the conservative liberal debate often follows a distinction between group and individual. So it might be said that if you support group dynamics in general then you support the idea of government in some kind of cooresponding manner. Yes the question of scale and whether represenative government can ever serve as facsimile for a real group are lingering questions that surround the issue, but that would not seem to effect these fundamental aspects which I am suggesting. So I am not saying there is anything wrong with your position, but I hope you can see how it might seem outside the commmon associations for me.
You are correct in that government is just one more form of organization, and I don't regard it as "other than us." It is simply a group of people, just like any other organization. However, government is unique among every other form of organization in that we authorize it to use force in order to accomplish its goals. No other person or organization is legally allowed to use force to accomplish its goals.

Now of course we must allow government to use force, because its very reason for existing is to protect us. The role of government is to protect each of our individual rights, which is why peace officers and soldiers are armed. I think that some here have the impression that I am somehow opposed to the idea of government. This could not be further from the truth. I am heartily in favor of a government that protects each of our individual rights.

However, because they are authorized to use force, I hold them to the highest standard. Often, a government strays from its legitimate role, and instead of protecting each of us, it mistreats some so as to favor others. (Can you say Wall St. bailout?) Once it does this, I hold it in the same contempt that I hold an adult who mistreats a child left in his care. The protector who becomes the predator has committed the gravest of sins, but the true protector should be held in hight esteem.

[I'm sorry that I have not participated as much lately. I find the mechanics of the board make it almost unusable. I really am looking for a thoughful progressive board with standard BBS features, such as "mark all read", "view threads in which I have posted", "view all posts by user X", etc. If any of you participate in such a board, please let me know.]

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rbs, this is the heart of the matter, we either govern ourselves or others rule over us. Bad government is that where we are ruled by others, but when we are in a democratic civil community, we agree to work with collective rules of procedure and conduct. We could greatly improve our voting system and use much more representative methods. We could adopt a parliamentary approach with multi-party coalitions.

We both favor the basic restraints of the Bill of Rights where even majority rule is not enough to quiet free speech or coerce conscience. We could brush up on that last item and stop the politics of conscience around women's choice and gay and lesbian civil rights. But the basic idea that our conscience and personal life is off-limits to majority rule or snoopy busybodies is terrific.

I want the government out of our bedrooms, but I want the weak and vulnerable protected from abuse. I want the government in the boardrooms of Corporate Amerika and protection for our Commons and natural assets. I want really good labor laws protecting workers and keeping bosses out of their business. No bars to the right to form a union.

The issue of force is a bit of a red herring. The enforcement of contracts and equal protection under the law require more than voluntarism. The issue is to whom the enforcement personnel are accountable. While the dream of economic fortune hunting and striking it rich is a very American meme, democracy requires a relative equality of wealth to avoid the power of money overwhelming "one person, one vote."

We tend to think of democracy in economic terms, making questions of voting into transfer of wealth issues. If we think of ourselves as a political democracy where citizens can have different economic levels, and if we agree that the old idea of those who have more being required to give more makes human sense, our votes and our taxes are not the same thing. What we put into the general fund in our taxes should be entirely separate from our franchise.

Decisions about spending that money belong to the people on one person, one vote. If the wealthy are paying for the schools of the poor, that is how it ought to be. They also should be caring about the lives of the poor and wanting a land of liberty and justice for ALL instead of their dirty class warfare.

The people who play with other people's money in this country are the filthy rich. We need to be able to hold them to democratic accountability, and that means the political integrity to control the economic power. We cannot give up on government or treat it as so suspect that we give up the tools of democracy.

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Quote "drc":rbs, this is the heart of the matter, we either govern ourselves or others rule over us.
You are correct, but your use of the plural obscures the situation. How about this: one either governs one's self or others rule over him. Are you proposing that you would be the ruler over me or I be the ruler over you? Clearly, you want for one of us to rule over the other.
Quote "drc":The issue of force is a bit of a red herring. The enforcement of contracts and equal protection under the law require more than voluntarism.
Of course the government ought to use force; that's the only reason there's a government in the first place. The issue is not merely about force. The issue is whether force is going to be used to protect people, or whether it is going to be used to victimize people. For example, if a gang of criminals invades my home, they will be met with deadly force. I am clearly within my rights to defend myself and my family, so this is a legitimate use of force. On the other hand, were I to knock someone over the head and steal their wallet, well obviously this is predatory force. So getting back to your example of using force to enforce contracts or for equal protection, well these are essentially defensive examples of force. And this is the sort of force for which we establish governments in the first place, and that is their only legitimate use of force - to protect us from predators.
Quote "drc":If the wealthy are paying for the schools of the poor, that is how it ought to be.
Thanks, this statement brings me back to the topic of this thread. When people say things like this, or when President Obama says that we need to "spread the wealth around", I think most normal people regard that as socialism. However, now that we know that in Thomland socialism is simply employee owned businesses, I'm wondering what I am supposed to call this idea of stealing from the rich to give to the poor? Is this social-democracy? Democratic-socialism? Communism?

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rbs wrote: "when President Obama says that we need to "spread the wealth around", I think most normal people regard that as socialism. However, now that we know that in Thomland socialism is simply employee owned businesses, I'm wondering what I am supposed to call this idea of stealing from the rich to give to the poor? Is this social-democracy? Democratic-socialism? Communism? "
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It depends on the definition of "stealing". Some thefts are legal, some aren't. Some people produce stuff, and exchange the stuff they produce for other stuff. Other people produce nothing....just generate claims on stuff others produce.

25 Hedge Fund Mgrs. received claims on 28 billion dollars worth of stuff produced by others....while producing not even one drop of oil nor one grain of wheat themselves.

Claiming stuff without producing anything. That sort of thing used to be limited to monarchs and despots. It's predatory....and has a tendency to collapse economies over time.

Socialism is nothing more than direct worker ownership of their workplace. If you need a term to describe other activities, make one up.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Quote rbs:There is some disagreement as to exactly what socialism is and is not.

Socialism is just a symbol that signifies an idea or intellectual concept. The symbol signifies whatever idea or intellectual concept the person who used the word was trying to convey.

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There are lots of views on what socialism is or isn't. Probably you'd get a better definition of what it is or isn't by asking a aocialist rather than MSNBC.

The core principle of socialist thought is direct worker ownership and control of their workplace.

QUOTE: "The workers not only recovered a factory by taking over the manual tasks. The workers are also taking charge of the administrative areas. Currently, a group of workers are studying administration at the state-run university. They are proving wrong the theory that workers are unable to run a factory if they don’t have a manager watching every move they make. Factories under worker control function democratically, unlike with a boss. All of the decisions made at INVEVAL are made in a workers’ assembly. The factory is run by worker delegates."

VENEPAL and INVEVAL are at the forefront of the worker controlled factory movement. The working class in Venezuela is gaining strength and there’s a lot of interest to continue to nationalize industry and put it in the hands of workers. We are going to push so that workers can recover their companies shut down by the owners and start up production under worker control."

http://www.greens.org/s-r/43/43-15.html

Give the workers ownership...and you have socialism.That may or may not include elements of a social democracy such as Universal Health Care. Each country decides matters such as that themselves whether they are socialist or non-socialist.

The only nation state that has ever resembled socialism was the U.S. at its founding...when the majority of the people were self employed...owned their own workplace. That wasn't so in any other nation state on the planet. It never has been.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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If I am not mistaken, socialism was a term originally separate from statism which individualist anarchists such as Benjamin Tucker, Lysander Spooner, and the mutualist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon used to describe a social system aimed at solving the woes of labor during the Industrial Revolution. Thanks to Karl Marx, however, the term socialism has become conflated with and interchangeable with statism. So socialism is good in my book -- in the former way, that is. It is entirely compatible with -- and the outcome of -- free markets.

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Yeah, but who protects the worker/owners from predators? Who secures the financial system that allows the market to have definition so plans can be made? We could easily agree that one huge state does not allow local and bottom-up authority enough power. Or, the macro has to be in a productive and supportive relationship with a variety of "indigenous" local governments at the micro level. When it is the director and controller of policies that are only implemented on the ground, it is authoritarianism in any organization. It is the Corporate Model and I do not want that model replicated in government.

You have not provided any theories of government needed by your economic ideology to have any chance of working. We are not saints, so we cannot organize our human communities on voluntarism and the hope that all will be moral and wise as well as personally responsible.

Economics is no more a realm of pure thought than diplomacy. I am not deeply impressed at the ability of Political Science to make politics rational and well-managed. What it takes to study and discern using science is not what it takes to act. The science has to be made into economics or politics in the human world, where both "disciplines" tend to want people to live up to the epistemological ideal rather than accounting for the pathologies and psychosis.

Where they embrace the reality of the latter, they tend to express disappointment and a cynical politics and economics. We get a lot of people who cry about the "sheeple."

I am afraid that economic rationalism will not save us. Uncle Miltie Friedman also said that "if people made rational decisions, my economic system would work perfectly." He said that in a lecture at Stanford Biz Bible School when he was Reagan's economic policy guy. I knew it was crap then, and boy have I been right. Wish they had been.

Anarchism devolves to extremely local governance, but how the web of localities stays in balance instead of becoming conquests is not addressed other than by romantic hope. Democracy is about active self-governance. It is not about either micro or macro but the balance and productive relationship. I think bottom-up and "indigenous" is the truth about how things work and command and control is not.

Obviously, command and control backed by tons of money and lots of guns can overwhelm the natural. The empire is an establishment of ideology backed by the power to speak power to truth. The political ability to speak truth to power includes the institution of governance. The "truth" is the people's interest. That is how it gets defined. Organizing for our collective benefit and security is all we are talking about. We need that to be free and to have a fair market where personal freedom is honored.

Progressives are not looking to have a more might empire in the process of restoring self-governance and government that serves the public interest. Korten and Patel provide some interesting alternatives to the images of big Marxism and Soviet State "Socialism." Pardon the oxymoron.

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Quote DRC:

You have not provided any theories of government needed by your economic ideology to have any chance of working. We are not saints, so we cannot organize our human communities on voluntarism and the hope that all will be moral and wise as well as personally responsible.

Economics is no more a realm of pure thought than diplomacy. I am not deeply impressed at the ability of Political Science to make politics rational and well-managed. What it takes to study and discern using science is not what it takes to act. The science has to be made into economics or politics in the human world, where both "disciplines" tend to want people to live up to the epistemological ideal rather than accounting for the pathologies and psychosis.

Good points, DRC. I would like your criticism of my short piece Green Free-enterprise.

Poor Richard

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Probably, DRC, the nation should be governed in smaller regional units. 3-5 nation states rather than one.

A political democracy doesn't functon well indefinately in any industrial society without economic democracy alongside it.... anymore than a worker/owned economic system can function in an industrial society with an unworkable political system alongside it.

No social structure lasts forever. Even the change from absolute monarchies to limited representative political democracies began as a leap into the unknown....the creation of previously non-existent structures to replace ones that were becoming increasingly dysfunctional. We are perhaps approaching that point again.

Just as loose-knit feudalism gave way to unified monarchies and mercantilism, and monarchies gave way to limited representative democracies....limited representative democracies will give way to what? Each advancement thus far has improved the human condition.

Nations that remain in previous structures fall into a pit...like Afghanistan. A country run by tribal warlords. They didn't even make it to a unified monarchy!

I'm impressed with the new Bolivian Constitution. Whether or not they will be allowed to keep it is another question. They may have to contend with domestic insurrection financed by a large "terrorist state" known for doing that throughout the region, or contend with attacks on their economy, etc.

Monsieur, I do agree with this quote from Spooner, "..... almost all fortunes are made out of the capital and labour of other men than those who realise them." While I agree with a lot of Libertarian points...I disagree with many of their solutions. They don't solve the core economic structures of vast wealth accumulation which inevitably leads to the capture of any government, no matter how small, by special interests. It's then molded, and laws interpreted, to suit themselves.

Corporations are human beings. Right. LOL

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

"Socialism" is a concept that died in the late 1960's and which the republicans are desperately trying to breathe new life into because their party has been shooting blanks ever since they got STOMPED by the Democrats in 2008.

Next question....

kwikfix
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Quote polycarp2:

A political democracy doesn't functon well indefinately in any industrial society without economic democracy alongside it.... anymore than a worker/owned economic system can function in an industrial society with an unworkable political system alongside it.

I beg to differ about a worker-owned economic system failing in a bad political environment. Worker-owned enterprises are often born in environments that are bad both politically and economically. Its about all you can get going besides a mom & pop popsicle stand in a failed state. This is because the typical absentee capital investors (both in-state and foreign) depend so totally on favorable rule of law. This should be almost self-evident but there are several examples of worker-owned enterprises rising in times of economic collapse and co-morbid political chaos.

Quote polycarp2:No social structure lasts forever. Even the change from absolute monarchies to limited representative political democracies began as a leap into the unknown....the creation of previously non-existent structures to replace ones that were becoming increasingly dysfunctional. We are perhaps approaching that point again.

I suspect that is so. That is why I propose "circling the wagons".

Quote polycarp2:Just as loose-knit feudalism gave way to unified monarchies and mercantilism, and monarchies gave way to limited representative democracies....limited representative democracies will give way to what?

Good question. You are thinking ahead of most people.

I suspect that government as we know it historically is approaching its obsolescence, to be replaced piecemeal by non-governmental local and regional federations of economically democratic enterprises like worker-owned and consumer-owned cooperatives.

Green free-enterprise may be locally and regionally political, but not necessarily in the traditional, formal sense, and it is better off to remain nationally a-political.

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Poor Richard wrote: "I beg to differ about a worker-owned economic system failing in a bad political environment."

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Well, can you envision U.S. workers taking over a defunct Whirlpool plant that chose to outsource production....and operating it as a collective in the U.S. as is done in some So. American countries? Probably the power of the state and its political institutions would clamp down....with the National Guard forming the physical battle lines..

Many So. American nations have developed from U.S. political models...and then gone on to surpass them. I look for new models to be developed in So. America for enhanced political/economic democracies rather than Europe or the U.S.

In 20 years, people will be immigrating to some of those nations rather than the U.S. for economic opportunity and enhanced human rights. The new Bolivian Constitution, for example, builds upon our own Bill of Rights...by including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights...and encourages collectives and bottom up democracy rather than top down governance.

Chinese think tanks debate how to best manage the decline of the west, particularly the U.S., for it's own advantage. "What Does China Think" - Mark Leonard, Exec. Dir. European Council On Foreign Relations.

Two models of the future are the Chinese model..or So. American models. A new battle line. State/financier capitalism....or worker capitalism (which is socialism).

The west is politically/economically bankrupt....clinging to models that are becoming increasingly dysfunctional.

I find it interesting that the originators of Libertarian thought, Benjamin Tucker, Lysander Spooner, and the mutualist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon often quoted by Libertarians, supported core socialist principles! However, libertarians tend to pick and chose what they accept/don't accept...leaving their entire theory full of unworkable holes. Marxist deviationists and Libertarian deviationists have a lot in common...both twisting theory and important prime principles to suit themselves.

There is much to be admired in original Libertarian thinkers.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

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Quote polycarp2:

Poor Richard wrote: "I beg to differ about a worker-owned economic system failing in a bad political environment."

--------

Well, can you envision U.S. workers taking over a defunct Whirlpool plant that chose to outsource production....and operating it as a collective in the U.S. as is done in some So. American countries? Probably the power of the state and its political institutions would clamp down....with the National Guard forming the physical battle lines..

The suppression of worker-owned enterprise is largely a myth. There are many in the US, although consumer-owned enterprises are more common today.

Columbia Forest Products is one of North America's largest manufacturers of hardwood plywood, veneer, and laminated products as well as hardwood logs. The employee-owned company manufactures.... Columbia Forest Products began in 1957 with a plywood plant in Oregon and has grown to operate around a dozen plants in the US and Canada.

Notable employee-owned corporations include the John Lewis Partnership retailers in the UK, and the United States news/entertainment firm Tribune Company. The most celebrated (and studied) case of a multinational corporation based wholly on worker-ownership principles is the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation (Employee Ownership, Wikipedia)

I'll look for US stats when time permits.

Many So. American nations have developed from U.S. political models...and then gone on to surpass them. I look for new models to be developed in So. America for enhanced political/economic democracies rather than Europe or the U.S.

You may be right.

In 20 years, people will be immigrating to some of those nations rather than the U.S. for economic opportunity and enhanced human rights. The new Bolivian Constitution, for example, builds upon our own Bill of Rights...by including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights...and encourages collectives and bottom up democracy rather than top down governance.

There were an estimated 200 worker owned enterprises in Argentina as of 2005 and Venezuela has a policy of financing worker cooperatives, resulting in a growing number in that country.

Two models of the future are the Chinese model..or So. American models. A new battle line. State/financier capitalism....or worker capitalism (which is socialism).

Worker capitalism need not be considered socialism if it is decentralized. Socialism technically only applies to state ownership and I think the term is growing obsolete.

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Worker owned/operated business is socialism, Richard. That's all socialism is. Tucker called it "mutualism"....a replacement for capitalism/communism.....and it utilikzes basic capitalist fundamentals. Capitalism is economics...not a social structure, and can be applied in numerous ways.

While the U.S. doesn't shut down collectives....it would probably frown upon workers taking over a defunct, outsourced production facility and operating it on behalf of themselves.... with not a whole lot of difference in wages from one worker to the next.

In Venezuela, the cooperative CEO makes little more than the janitor. Income from the enterprise is distributed in an egalitarian manner. Could just as well say, the janitor doesn't make much less than the CEO.

This isn't Argentina, Venezuela or Bolivia.

If you want to know what socialism is, ask a socialist...or Chomsky... rather than Fox News or MSNBC...neither of which would be pleased if their employees got the idea they should replace their CEO's and give themselves a raise based on the incomes of the enterprises..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4Tq4VE8eHQ&feature=related

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"Socialism" is when a bunch of inept Wall Street bankers suck $700 billion out of the national treasury with no strings attached, and then turn around and accuse Democrats of socialism.

Next question....

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Quote kwikfix:

"Socialism" is when a bunch of inept Wall Street bankers suck $700 billion out of the national treasury with no strings attached, and then turn around and accuse Democrats of socialism.

Next question....

Nah. That's Corporate Statism of a sort. Prof. Wolin describes it in his book, "Democracy, Inc."

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so·cial·ism

a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.

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Quote polycarp2:

Worker owned/operated business is socialism, Richard. That's all socialism is.

You are egregiously wrong about this, polycarp2.

Every community in the US has some publicly owned property, public employees, and a perhaps a local food coop or two. There are also innumerable small business that are worker owned and operated whether as sole proprietorship, partnerships, or variously incorporated associations.

On the other hand, socialism (for most purposes interchangeable with communism) pertains to the state per se and in the extremes, such as North Korea, it invokes top-down economic command and control which involves the exclusion or suppression of private property and private enterprise. However, in self-declared socialist states around the world, many of the command and control aspects are gradually being eased and replaced by state-regulated economic democracy with only a core of key industries and services being actually retained in the public sector.

Socialism is an obsolete theory of economics, as are most other "isms".

While the U.S. doesn't shut down collectives....it would probably frown upon workers taking over a defunct, outsourced production facility and operating it on behalf of themselves.... with not a whole lot of difference in wages from one worker to the next.

I don't give a shit what the corporate state frowns on. Only what it does or doesn't shut down. (If it isn't frowning on me, I'm doing something wrong.) The fact is that large corporations, which hate and envy our civil rights, are restrained from fully restricting progressive free-association and free-enterprise by their own self interest. True, they have manged to get many anticompetative loopholes encoded into our law, but the main thrust of our legal regime is to permit unfettered free enterprise within the law. Aside from breaking the law and doing excessive harm, our law permits all kinds of creative associations, ventures and contracts.

This isn't Argentina, Venezuela or Bolivia.

So what, we drink the corporate Kool-aid? Do we have no imaginations of our own?

If you want to know what socialism is, ask a socialist...or Chomsky

I love Chomsky, but I do not cede the language or the frame to him or to you. Socialism applies to the policy of an entire society or state, not to local communities or organizations. The language of "a community as a whole" used in some one-line definitions of socialism such as:

"a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole... http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/socialism")

is very misleading. The word "community" is not interchangeable with "society", "nation" or "state" to which the term socialism properly applies.

Do you see, ploycarp and volitzer? The frame is important and to the extent that you label any form of free enterprise or free association as socialism you are buying into and perpetuating the economic myths of TPTB (The powers that be).

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As I said before, Poor Richard. If you want to know what socialism is, ask a socialist, not MSNBC. Read early socialist thinkers rather than a dictionary.

Community-run fire stations aren't socialist enterprises. The firemen don't own them. They are elements of a social democracy. They can just as well be the elements found in a tyrannical state, such as Hitler's Germany.

Community-run fire stations work better than privately owned fire departments. You don't have to make certain you call the fire dept. you signed up with when your house catches fire. There isn't the duplication of fire houses in every district with a dozen firms competing for the business. It's more efficient to operate them as community...and it isn't socialism. They are found in every system of government.

Socialism is nothing more than direct worker ownership of their workplace. Anything other than that is just anything other than that.

If you want to know what Catholicism teaches, ask a catholic, not a Baptist. If you want to know what socialism is...ask a socialist rather than a corporate-published dictionary..

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

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Quote polycarp2:

As I said before, Poor Richard. If you want to know what socialism is, ask a socialist, not MSNBC. Read early socialist thinkers rather than a dictionary.

Huh? WTF does MSNBC have to with the price of tea in China?

I criticized the dictionary one-liner as an example of a BAD definition of socialism.

I have been a radical liberal all my life, or at least since about age 10 when I realized that most conservatives were crackpot racists. I'm nearly sixty now and as a reformed socialist I daresay I know almost as much about socialism as you do. So don't take that tack with me.

Your fire stations are beside the point.

Socialism is nothing more than direct worker ownership of their workplace. Anything other than that is just anything other than that.

Direct worker ownership of one workplace does not a socialism make.

When any writer who is characterized as a socialist writer describes a workplace they are not interested in one particular workplace but in a norm for society. Creating any kind of idealized norm across an entire society requires some degree of command and control. It is Utopian thought. I have come to reject all such Utopian formulae.

My objection to calling any workplace in a diverse economy "socialist" is 1) that the term has a lot of baggage we don't need to dump on good hard-working people (the powers that be do that enough) and 2) it is semantically improper in the first place because the term applies to a society, not a to a workplace. I don't care if you call the Mondragon Corporation or Columbia Forest Products worker-owned, cooperative, mutualist, egalitarian, or any number of nice names, but you needn't and shouldn't call them socialist.

Socialism applies to a society, nation, or state--not to a community, a workplace. or even to a particular style of workplace. If early socialist writers disagree with that, I can excuse their ignorance as a product of their time and a limitation of their perspective.

If you or some socialist writer considers socialism a theoretical abstraction then you fall into the same trap as the libertarians. The issue is what would a monolithic socialist or libertarian society look like? In the real world either one would turn out looking like hell on earth.

I believe in experimental diversity, not in theoretical purity. Look what The Nature Conservancy accomplished by doing something new under existing law. It just so happens that our legal framework in the US is open to all kinds of business structures (including non-profit-making) and forms of ownership (including worker-owned and consumer-owned). Our biggest problem is not some bias in the law, real or imagined, but our brainwashing and our dependence on our paychecks from the state or from corporate capitalist pigs. We lay our labor at their feet in return for a few scraps from their table. They have us convinced that if we want change, it can only come through struggling with the political process. That is the myth and we comply. The truth is that we can build any kind of workplaces and institutions we want entirely outside of the political process. As twenty percent of the population we have far more potential power in our labor, our imaginations, and in our wallets that in our votes.

But instead we gather and wave our pitchforks and torches at the castle all day and all night, and the fat cats laugh all the way to the bank (they have secret tunnels under the walls).

If you want to know what Catholicism teaches, ask a catholic, not a Baptist. If you want to know what socialism is...ask a socialist rather than a corporate-publishe d dictionary..

Really? Are you content to simply sidestep the issue of language and framing this way?

Poor Richard

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Poor Richard wrote: "I have been a radical liberal all my life, or at least since about age 10 when I realized that most conservatives were crackpot racists. I'm nearly sixty now and as a reformed socialist I daresay I know almost as much about socialism as you do. So don't take that tack with me"

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Richard, when I first tossed away my property as a young man, I became very involved with a socialist political party. Went from one extreme as a money grabbing staunch conservative to the other extreme. I hadn't yet learned the Buddhist concept of the "middle way".

I studied socialism weekly. for about 2 years at small forums...and did extensive reading on the topic......became engrossed with it....and ultimately rejected their proposed political structures as being totally unworkable. And at its core, socialism is nothing more than direct worker ownership of the workplace. Unless that occurs, there is no socialism.

The U.S., at its founding, resembled a socialist state...most owning/operating their own workplace. Something Europe never had and attempted to duplicate. It was something U.S. socialists sought to restore when the industrial revolution reversed that...most coming to work for another at absurd low wages.

Raising living standards and quality of life is a concern. That may or may not include elements of a social democracy such as universal health care...and in itself, isn't socialism.

Venezuela has at least part of it right when they refer to worker operated industry as a socialist enterprise. If they'd add worker ownership of industry, then it would be a socialist enteprise.....and economically, Venezeuala is making a lot of errors just as we are.

Many monasteries operate as small socialist nation-states...with workable political structures. I don't think those structures could be applied on a large scale. They require intensive democratic participation..

At it's core, socialism is nothing more than direct worker ownership of their workplace. Unless that occurs, there is no socialism. In that respect, early libertarian thnkers were proposing socialist solutions. I find it amusing that current day libertarians reject core libertarianism just as many modern day socialists reject core socialism..

I'm glad you gave up socialism that isn't socialism. False socialism can become dangerous stuff for the large majority. Real socialism can be dangerous stuff for a small minority. . Chomsky has it right.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4Tq4VE8eHQ&feature=related

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Quote polycarp2:

I'm glad you gave up socialism that isn't socialism. False socialism can become dangerous stuff for the large majority. Real socialism can be dangerous stuff for a small minority. . Chomsky has it right.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4Tq4VE8eHQ&feature=related

I agree with everything in the Chomsky video and with almost none of your argument with me in this thread.

I don't know why you are not engaging any of my actual points but rather just waving them all away with your oft-repeated "worker-owned=socialism" proclamation. I am thinking "this has to be either arrogance or ignorance and poly doesn't seem like an ignorant guy".

So, my last attempt. A single worker-owned enterprise (or 1000) doesn't equal socialism. Socialism also requires a command and control infrastructure. Worker owned enterprise can exist perfectly well within any state that allows a degree of free enterprise as the US does. The existence of worker-owned cooperatives in the US isn't socialism and doesn't make the US socialist.

I would agree that socialism=worker-ownership (not vice versa) in theory and in socialist apologetics but in historical practice it has tended toward state ownership, as in the Soviet Union or North Korea.

Recap:

"worker-owned = socialist" is False

"socialist = worker-owned + state infrastructure" is True of classic socialist theory but not history

"socialist = state-owned and controlled" is True of many socialist historical examples

Am I just pissing in the wind here, poly?

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Quote polycarp2:

Chomsky has it right.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4Tq4VE8eHQ&feature=related

BTW I was interested in the reference to "partipatory economics" in Chomsky's video.

Quote Wikipedia:

Participatory economics, often abbreviated parecon, is an economic system proposed by activist and political theorist Michael Albert and radical economist Robin Hahnel. It uses participatory decision making as an economic mechanism to guide the production, consumption and allocation of resources in a given society. Proposed as an alternative to contemporary capitalist market economies and also an alternative to centrally planned socialism or coordinatorism, it is described as "an anarchistic economic vision",[1] and it could be considered a form of socialism as under parecon, the means of production are owned by the workers.

The underlying values that parecon seeks to implement are equity, solidarity, diversity, workers' self-management and efficiency. (Efficiency here means accomplishing goals without wasting valued assets.) It proposes to attain these ends mainly through the following principles and institutions:

Now isn't that, or economic democracy, better terminology for us to be using in this day and age to describe both worker-owned and consumer owned enterprises in the US than the tired old term "socialism" (despite the gratuitous nod to socialism in the above quote)?

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Quote polycarp2:
Quote kwikfix:

"Socialism" is when a bunch of inept Wall Street bankers suck $700 billion out of the national treasury with no strings attached, and then turn around and accuse Democrats of socialism.

Next question....

Nah. That's Corporate Statism of a sort. Prof. Wolin describes it in his book, "Democracy, Inc."

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

Wrong. "Socialism" is when a bunch of inept Wall Street bankers suck $700 billion out of the national treasury with no strings attached, and then turn around and accuse Democrats of socialism.

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Quote kwikfix: "Socialism" is when a bunch of inept Wall Street bankers suck $700 billion out of the national treasury with no strings attached, and then turn around and accuse Democrats of socialism.

Could you just give me the bumper sticker version, please?

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Poor Richard wrote: Now isn't that, or economic democracy, better terminology for us to be using in this day and age to describe both worker-owned and consumer owned enterprises in the US than the tired old term "socialism" (despite the gratuitous nod to socialism in the above quote)?

---------------

The title of this thread is, "Just What Exactly Is Socialism"....a challenge to my definition.

I've often referred to economic democracy....and if someone asks me what socialim is, it's direct worker ownership of their workplace. I've not been asked what Parecon is.

"Participatory economics, or parecon for short, is an economic vision proposed as an alternative to capitalism, and also what has historically gone under the label socialism."

http://www.zcommunications.org/zparecon/zpareconfaq.htm

"Parecon owes, in particular, to the anarchist and the libertarian socialist heritage,......

http://www.zcommunications.org/parecon-today-by-michael-albert

{Note early libertarians strongly advocated direct worker ownership of the workplac as being an essential of libertarianism. It's the only way libertarianism can function} It's the libertarian socialist heritage.

Spooner: First and fundamentally: Every man should own the fruits of his own labor.

Second: To own these fruits, “each man should be his own employer, or work directly for himself.

http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0510d.asp

Tucker said, "the fact that one class of men are dependent for their living upon the sale of their labour, while another class of men are relieved of the necessity of labour by being legally privileged to sell something that is not labour. . . . And to such a state of things I am as much opposed as any one. But the minute you remove privilege. . . every man will be a labourer exchanging with fellow-labourers . . . What Anarchistic-Socialism aims to abolish is usury . . . it wants to deprive capital of its reward " Tucker 1854-1939

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Tucker

The on-going debate among Parecon proponents is by no means settled.. Some are still stuck on many elements of command economies. They don't work.The complexities of it overwhelm the economic functioning. "The Collapse of Complex Societies" - Tainter.

http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/topics/parecon

I sometimes wonder what libertarians think when they run across libertarianism's socialist roots,, that unless adhered to, make libertarianism unworkable..Funny. It would send a few former libertarians on this board into a tail spin. They found economic democracy worrisome.

And you're right, Richard. A worker- owned business doesn't a socialist society make. It just makes for a business.operated on socialist principles. The U.S. at one time in its historical past resembled a socialist society. It wasn't one..... and it resembled a socialist society more than any other nation state ever has,.Most owned their own workplace. Resembled is always included when I make the reference.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

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Quote polycarp2:...if someone asks me what socialim is, it's direct worker ownership of their workplace.

Do you not acknowledge the following distinctions?

"worker-owned = socialist" is False

"socialist = worker-owned" is False or ambiguous (truth cannot be determined without further information)

"socialist = worker-owned + state infrastructure" is True of classic socialist theory but not history

"socialist = state-owned and controlled" is True of many socialist historical examples

There is no simple, logical, one-to-one identity between socialism and worker-ownership. Your insistence to the contrary is gross oversimplification and disinformation.

You could say that socialism does not own worker-ownership. Worker-ownership is an element of other systems as well, including capitalism.

If worker-owned = socialism, then socialism = capitalism, an absurd result.

quod erat demonstrandum

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Nope,. You're confusing our application of capitalism as being Capitalism. It's just a contradictory application of it...and not one that works very well.

Every society is bound by fundamentals of Capitalism as economics not Capitalism as an Ideology of Application.

.That's why the Soviet's went splat., They didn't adhere to the fundamentals. . That's why the U.S. is going splat. It doesn't either.

One principle: You have to produce more than is consumed in order to maintain production by exchanging the surplus for more materials, such as lumber, to make more chairs,.The cost of chairs (an exchange of goods or services we make with money) has to include costs of production (a return of capital to maintain production) as well as wages. When an economy doesn't do that, it goes splat.Soviets didn't do that.

Sort of like using 2 barrels of oil energy to pump one barrel of oil. There would come a point when there wasn't any oil left to maintin pumping oil. It's a simple principle of capitalism...of economics.,.not a principle of Ideology or social structure..

The sale price of chairs has to include production costs...and incomes capable of buying the chairs.. We ignore the wage part and production slows or ceases. The Soviets had wages,..and no production. Their system couldn't maintain it. The command economy ignored production costs. Our ignores the means of distribution.....wages.

Producton cost / wages / money supply = aggregate. The whole of an economy. When any part of that equation is disturbed, an economy will ultimately go splat...regardless of the social/economic structure...the "ISM".

You can't eat more than you produce, I don't care what ism you are operating under. It's another fundamental of capitalism. And if you don't plant a surplus of food,,..and allow it to go to seed, you'll starve the following year. The real capital, seed, will be depleted and production will stop. Fundamental capitalism. Can you envision a social structure where that wouldn't be so? We should probably call the ideological component Moneyism rather than capitalism. Then maybe people wouldn't confuse the two.

Socialism is nothing more than direct worker ownership of the workplace. What people chose to have or not have alongside that isnt socialism. It's chosen sociological components. Without direct worker ownership...socialism doesn't exist. That's what gave rise to socialist thought in the first place!

There has never been a socialist nation state...unless you accept the definitions of those who've redefined the term for their own purposes. Like Chomsky and the folks at znet, I don't.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Quote polycarp2:

Nope,. You're confusing our application of capitalism as being Capitalism. It's just a contradictory application of it...and not one that works very well.

Every society is bound by fundamentals of Capitalism as economics not Capitalism as an Ideology of Application.

Ah, the old capitalism capitalization dodge.

We have not been distinguishing thus far between socialism and Socialism, have we?

But Capitalism does not prohibit worker-ownership any more than capitalism. In either case the organizational structure of ownership is irrelevant. Worker ownership is just as kosher under C/capitalism as under S/socialism, unless in particular ideological/practical applications (and I know of none other than some nominally socialist states) it may be specifically suppressed.

And what about the rest of my points? I don't like lectures that are not responsive to my points.

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Of course Capitalsim as economics doesn't prevent worker ownership. That's how it was in the U.S. upon our founding. Most owned their own workplace. And capitalism as an ideology has created economic and production structures where the majority no longer do that. If you read early socialist (or libertarian) thinkers, that's what they were addressing. Worker ownership of the workplace. That's all socialism is. Anything other than that is anything other than that...good or bad...self-determined by each society.,

If the Chomsky video didn't address your concerns, I certainly can't. I'm not one of the world's greatest thinkers...he is. If you want to reject his thoughts on the matter, reject them. If you don't want to read what socialist thinkers have to say on the topic, stay out of libraries...and away from znet.

I've never seen a political structure proposed where socialism could function really well. The debate on that is on-going. Possibilities, just possibilites. South America will probably solve it. The new Bolivian Constitution is a gem.

We'll probably keep the Constitution that was created for a country that no longer exists...and hasn't for a century. Antiquated and incapable of addressing the problems of the era. Thus we get such nonsense that corporate charters locked up in safes are really people. What kind of convoluted thinking is that?

If that's so, my dog should probably apply for food stamps.. She at least breathes, eats and poops. She has more shared qualities of people than a dead piece of paper does.

Heck, even the country I was born into disappeared over 30 year ago.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

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Maybe Chomsky would be more clear if you'd watch his video on Leninism....the great usurper of socialist thought, You'll find it on the same page as the link to his thoughts on socialism.

Socialism isn't "obsolete". Worker run and operated industry in Venezuela now has the power of the state behind it. All they lack now is the ownership. Employee Share Ownership Plans in the U.S. are small steps towards socialism. Self-employed individuals are immersed in their enterprises...embracing the prime socialist principle without knowing it. It isn't obsolete.

Bolivia is doing better....giving worker owned/operated enterprises a lot of autonomy...and a strong preference over state ownership.. I never thought I'd see the Universal Declaration of Human Rights placed into any Constitution in my lifetime...and did. Bolivia. Their new Constitution is a gem. I hope they'll be allowed to keep it.

Boliva and Venez. refer to their structures as "socialism". They aren't....and they are certainly closer to the definition than any country ever has been....other than our own at its founding,

RBS, read my thread "Early Libertarian Thinkers - Not All Bad". Or just scroll up and read Tucker's direct statement that includes the term.

Originators of libertarian thought refered to worker ownership of their livelihoods as socialism...and worked towards that. . They rejected statism as all socialists do if they adhere to the basic principle. Worker ownership/control...not state ownership/control. Spooner, Tucker, Proudhun saw working for wages as little better than slavery...That included working for a government employer,.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

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Who Should an Economy Serve?

The top one percent own half of all the world's assets. In stark contrast, the bottom fifty percent of the world owns less than one percent. According to the 2014 Global Wealth Report from Credit Suisse, global inequality has surged since the 2008 financial collapse. The report explains that while global wealth has more than doubled since the year 2000, the vast majority of overall growth has gone to those who were already wealthy.

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