Reagan Vs. Obama - Social Economics 101

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Reagan Vs. Obama - Social Economics 101

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3h8O7V-WxWQ&feature=youtu.be

Seen this on youtube.com too funny and based in fact on a real college experiment.

An economics teacher made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had once failed an entire class.
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That class had insisted that President Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The teacher then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan".

All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.
The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

All failed, to their great surprise, and the teacher told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great,
but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

Could not be any simpler than that.

(worth passing this on?)

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antikakistocrat
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Apr. 18, 2012 3:41 pm

Comments

I have seen this as part of a chain email. It is false as are all of the right-wing propaganda emails that I have seen.

The one that I saw actually mentioned the college where this was supposed to have occurred. That college has no such instructor.

I hope that you are providing this as an example of the kind of silly propaganda that makes the rounds in reactionary disimformationists circles.

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olenzekm
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Oct. 26, 2010 11:01 am

Wouldn't it be a better world if all those intilectually capable of getting an A helped the others out a little bit and they all got an A? or do the A students feel a need to show their superiority and keep their knowledge to themselves?

True social economics involves the first sentence. Phony social economics involves the latter.

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Bush_Wacker
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Jun. 25, 2011 7:53 am

When Gingrich dropped out yesterday, he didn't yet officially endose Romney, but he said the choice is clear: "Romney or the most radical Leftist president in the History of America." Where are the facts to support that statement? This will be the platform until November. It has no supporting evidence, but it's the best euphemism for "black man" that they can conjure up wihout sounding racist. It's the best chance they got because facts and figures are not in the GOP's favor.

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Laborisgood
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

This is standard Repub hyperbole. They make nonsense statements like Obama is a socialist, Obama is a Muslim, or the nonsense in post #1.

Rational people will just blow those statements off as patent nonsense. But there is a large segment of people that love this steady diet of red meat. Some of them are racists, some are government haters, and others are poor-people haters. They share the characteristic of having more hate than reason.

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olenzekm
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Oct. 26, 2010 11:01 am

This fits in with other viruses of the mind. Other examples are in the link. There is also no Neiman Marcus chocolate chip cookie recipe, or Bill Gates money giveaway, or stolen kidney victim in an iced bathtub.

The we only use 1/10th of our brain is another. [though I like Ellen Degeneras's "think what we could do if we used the other half"] Water whirlpools clockwise in the northern hemisphere, and counter clockwise in the southern hemisphere. Great Wall of China can be seen from space. All BS, but worthy of fox. O'really says the tide proves god exists, too.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Another bullshit meme - Ryan budget is bold and courageous,

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Do you all think that a class that is graded individually will perform better then a class where the grades are averaged out?

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WorkerBee
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Apr. 28, 2012 12:22 pm

Of course the individually graded class would perform better. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” does not work. People don’t work that way in a classroom or in the real world. That is the basic naiveté of Marxism.

The basic naiveté of laissez-faire capitalism is that capitalists will not join together into trusts and monopolies and that the financial system can regulate itself without ending in disaster.

Both Libertarians and Marxists are naïve utopians. Marxism could only be instituted by force. Since Libertarians do not believe in totalitarian government, there has never been a Libertarian government and never will be.

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olenzekm
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Oct. 26, 2010 11:01 am
Quote WorkerBee:

Do you all think that a class that is graded individually will perform better then a class where the grades are averaged out?

It's a smoke and mirrors story. It says that "socialism" will fail because there's no incentive for doing a better job than the next guy. By incentive they really mean "money". The reward he speaks of is money. In real life there are much greater rewards than money. Teachers find great reward in helping students become more intelligent and better persons. Doctors find great reward in healing. Carpenters find great reward in immaculate wood work. I myself find great reward in making my customers happy and knowing that I did a great job without cutting corners.

There will always be the lazy person who is willing to let somebody else brunt the labors and dangers of life. (Lazy assholes and super rich assholes can be one in the same) That's no reason to shun the great things that come from a socialized society unless you've got an agenda. As usual the agenda is money and power. Socialism will forever forward be a dirty word because of the greedy and power hungry.

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Bush_Wacker
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Jun. 25, 2011 7:53 am
Quote olenzekm:

Of course the individually graded class would perform better. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” does not work. People don’t work that way in a classroom or in the real world. That is the basic naiveté of Marxism.

The basic naiveté of laissez-faire capitalism is that capitalists will not join together into trusts and monopolies and that the financial system can regulate itself without ending in disaster.

Both Libertarians and Marxists are naïve utopians. Marxism could only be instituted by force. Since Libertarians do not believe in totalitarian government, there has never been a Libertarian government and never will be.

poly replies: Well, there has never been a Marxist society though there have been egalitarian ones such as the Iroquois Confederation. It maintained a successful democratic functioning society for well over four centuries before we destroyed it.

"The state must wither away" - Marx. I've never seen that happen in any society claiming Marxism. Calling a cow a duck doesn't make it a duck. Calling a non-Marxist society Marxist doesn't make it Marxist.

As to Obama's "socialism", I don't see him advocating direct worker ownership of their workplace. Socialism. The cry of early U.S. socialists at the beginning of the industrial revolution,,"Those who work at the mill should own the mill" is ignored in favor of screaming what socialism is not.

It isn't likely we'll return to our socialist roots when the majority of the population owned their own workplace as farmers, shopkeepers and independent craftsmen. It was an experience Europeans never had and wanted to duplicate. They called it socialism.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Poly:It isn't likely we'll return to our socialist roots when the majority of the population owned their own workplace as farmers, shopkeepers and independent craftsmen.

Poly, what are "our socialist roots"?

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Karolina
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Nov. 3, 2011 7:45 pm

Top Estate Tax under George W. Bush: 45%, nothing on first $3.5 million.

Top Estate Tax under Marxist W. Kenyan: 35%, nothing on first $5 million.

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

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

poly replied: Well, there has never been a Marxist society ...

Of course there has never been [large scale] “true” Marxism. That is because true Marxism is a utopian dream and is impossible.

Here is how Marxism is supposed to work:
1) Overthrow the capitalists
2) Establish the dictatorship of the proletariat
3) Redistribute the means of production to the workers
4) Workers set up their cooperatives
5) When that is all done, the dictatorship of the proletariat dissolves itself and they join the workers

This has to be the essence of naiveté. There ain’t no powerful group that will dissolve itself. It would much rather stay in power and have the other schmucks become workers and then lord over them. Somehow “communism” always gets stuck in the dictatorship-phase. That is why I term it a naïve utopia.

I never called Obama a socialist.

My characterization of libertarians as also being naïve utopians still stands.

The problem with extreme philosophies is that they think that they can remake human nature to their liking. If you allow me to design human nature I can make any economic system work: communism, laissez-faire capitalism, slavery, or socialism. You name it and I could design a human nature that would make it work.

The problem is that we are stuck with the human nature that we have. People that think otherwise have caused more misery in this world than any other misconception.

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olenzekm
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Oct. 26, 2010 11:01 am

Poly wrote: It isn't likely we'll return to our socialist roots when the majority of the population owned their own workplace as farmers, shopkeepers and independent craftsmen.

How is this socialism? It sounds like Jefferson's dream of a predominate yeomanry. I agree that this would be a good thing, but I disagree that it is socialism.

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olenzekm
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Oct. 26, 2010 11:01 am
Quote olenzekm:

Poly wrote: It isn't likely we'll return to our socialist roots when the majority of the population owned their own workplace as farmers, shopkeepers and independent craftsmen.

olenzekm replied: How is this socialism? It sounds like Jefferson's dream of a predominate yeomanry. I agree that this would be a good thing, but I disagree that it is socialism.

poly replies: Well, read early U.S. socialist writers of the late 1800's.. Socialism is nothing more than direct worker ownership of their workplace. The early slogan of U.S. socialists reflects that. "Those who work at the mill should own the mill". Not government ownership.

Direct worker ownership was the American experience when the majority of the population owned their own workplace as farmers, shopkeepers and independent craftsmen. Europeans wanted to duplicate it...something they had never had. They called it socialism. .

Government ownership is not socialism. Government ownership is merely a change of employers. When Germany nationalized some industries under Bismark, Engles denounced it, didn't he?

Socialism has been so misconstrued, it's now called Parecon. Participatory Economics.

Chomksy on socialism. What is it and isn't and how the misconstrued definition came about. http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=+you+tube+noam+chomsky+socialism&mid=E3F263785080F59F3F9FE3F263785080F59F3F9F&view=detail&FORM=VIRE5

The U.S. at its founding was the foundation upon which European socialist thought was first built. It was the example. The core principle of socialism is direct worker ownership of their workplace. By that definition, the U.S., at its founding, was primarily a socialist country outside of the plantations of the south.

Elements of a social democracy, such as Universal Health Care are another story. Such elements could be found in socialism if people democratically choose to establish them, but in themselves, they aren't socialism.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The reduction of story to form easily filled by timed scenes of dramatic tension and release played by characters we already "know" in terms of role and mind, is all part of the simplification of the world to easily understood and accepted "realities" that do not require thought or reflection, just application. Or, technique.

What is amazing from this awful faux anecdote is that it is accepted as how human motivation and satisfaction is achieved. It defies military unit solidarity where bringing up the weakest link in the chain is the way to survive and succeed. It runs counter to our moral maxims, but only those we call moral. It only serves our economic souls, our sold out to "economic man" reduced humanity and our theology of individualized striving for reward.

Being a tough guy who strives is to be a hero in this story. Help is for those who are also striving, not for those who question striving. Not very much for those who can't strive either. Reality is harsh for them. Only the strivers reach the Good Life money can bring. Why waste time and money on welfare instead of reward for striving? Look at all the corruption of welfare and the cheating! Don't blame the banksters for striving!

I am afraid that the "Liberal Culture" that is America plays all too easily into this false 'realism' about economics and American power. Surprise, the Age of Reason leads to simple answers to dumb questions. It does not lead to epistemological sophistication and wonder but goes to "fact" and deduction" slick as can be. Rather than serve science, this linear and literal bias serves ideology very well. When commercialized, it all comes down to marketing and manipulation rather than "art." There are few stories that stretch our moral imagination or question our basic narrative in our media diet, and a deluge of propaganda for a world where we need superheroes and Big Empire to save the world from aliens and evil ones.

Exceptional! Insane. Wrapped up in our own story and ignoring the rest of humanity or portraying them in our story on our terms. Emotionally committed to failure no matter what.

I think this is falling apart and that a lot of people are going to be going through pain even if the economy does not crash and burn. How much will Obama get blamed for the loss of their American Myth even if he is really doing nothing to reveal the illusion? How many will find hope and confidence in the Ken Doll of Wall St. and the nostalgia of culture war?

The mass level is not the real problem. When the herd changes direction, it will be a big shift. There is a lot of myth left to discard and the people running the herd still have some power left. But they have no future. Hang on.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm
Quote olenzekm:

Here is how Marxism is supposed to work:
1) Overthrow the capitalists
2) Establish the dictatorship of the proletariat
3) Redistribute the means of production to the workers
4) Workers set up their cooperatives
5) When that is all done, the dictatorship of the proletariat dissolves itself and they join the workers

This has to be the essence of naiveté. There ain’t no powerful group that will dissolve itself. It would much rather stay in power and have the other schmucks become workers and then lord over them. Somehow “communism” always gets stuck in the dictatorship-phase. That is why I term it a naïve utopia.

I have personally observed a bewildering number of interpretations of Marx's structural analysis of Capitalism. You've produced maybe a condensation of one, and one that probably Marx himself would have never proposed, nor even implied. Though I don't doubt that idealists of any stripe could produce such a formula -- idealists, after all, see the world idealistically -- Marx himself was more of a structural materialist, which of course has its shortcomings dealing with the psychological realms of human behavior. But he also provided some interesting ways of analyzing social phenomenon.

To understand Marx's social theory you have to have at least a rudimentary understanding of his notion of the Greek's original recognition of a what they viewed as a natural process that's always taking place, threading through and along with a lot of other societal processes, and one that can be improved upon if people are conscious of it. That is what Marx referred to as the dialectic, which has been central to Indian and European philosophy since antiquity.

A dialectical process is different than debate. One is a "reasoning together with empathy" kind of process while the other is more like combat. Debate can override the dialectical process in a society and dominate it. Debate can be better recognized as an egotistical process that takes place amongst those who are committed to their points of view and support them as if to the death. Dialectical reasoning is a process where the contradictions are presented, observed and can be resolved through efforts at mutual understanding.

The ancient differences between rhetorical sophistry and dialectical dialogue is probably one of the most apparent phenomenon one can observe in modern society, or would be, if there were enough opportunities to observe a dialectical dialogue taking place. Unfortunately, perhaps thanks to the nature of how we go about imagining our society and the way it is shared through technologies like television and radio, all supported by commercial principles, it seems that the sophists always have center stage in the process. After all, sophists, renowned for their love flamboyancy, illusion and spectacle as a form of persuasion, mark the more desired features of extroverted personalities that make a sales and an objectively commodity-oriented social system work.

These sophistic emphases in style can be selective so that they will generally tend to appeal to baser emotions in crowds of people watching rather than to the higher reasoning that can take place in a quiet atmosphere among friends sharing tea and coffee along with their conversation. That's a style of conversing which could also entail the incorporation of evolved nuanced emotions, if those also happen to be encouraged by society; emotions that connect rather than disconnect heart/mind. But we don't see many examples of that these days.

Dialectical reasoning praxis has dwindled now to only a few practicing introverts who pretty much have to find ways to exist at the margins of modern societies, while an extroverted society as a whole burns brightly, consumingly, perhaps even to the extent of eventually achieving a form of mass necrophilia through an entrenched societal objectification processes.

Marx took this dialectical concept and attempted to develop a structural analysis of society where a materialistic-based dialectic is taking place. This was in a kind of philosophical contradiction to the prevailing views of idealism at the time. He was completely unaware of the psychological power of the processes he was trying to describe in their infancy to absolve those material contradictions he perceived. As we have witnessed -- with some degree of horror at least for me -- through the Twentieth Century, mass absolution would be achieved by modern-day media techniques, which, anyone might observe, act quite effectively to transform and mold human thinking to fit the form of the capitalist mode and means of production, which Marx, in his time, imagined to be a natural part of that material-based dialectical process, inspired by an expected consciousness-based struggle (which in fact was taking place at the time, think of the Luddites as one example, when he was observing industrialization taking root in Manchester England) as the result of recognition by people of their contradictory circumstances as tools of the owners of those production features.

We may be seeing why Marx's predicted dialectical historical process -- whereby those who are oppressed would necessarily rebel against their oppressors -- will finally come about in a way that the mass media can no longer diffuse with spectacle and illusion. We are seeing movements against the status quo in a planet wide revolt now that the Capitalist contradictions have run to an extreme, abusing not just people but the planet itself. Perhaps it has only been delayed and therefore exaggerated by factors Marx could not have predicted. One of those factors would be the evolution of technologies based on cheap, condensed stored energy. We call them fossil fuels these days: Oil, coal, gas.

But the original post has nothing to do with any of this. Or, more accurately, this has nothing to do with the original post, which is basically an authoritarian mode of thought invention. Actual human cooperation tends to work quite differently than being graded competitively in a classroom. That's an extremely juvenile level of thought. But perhaps that's the best this society can do on a mass level.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

.ren

I am always eager to learn. I admit that my concept if Marxism and more generally Communism was not obtained by concentrated study on those subjects and may contain elements of anti-communist propaganda. Having said that, I would like to ask a question and make another statement.

Your reply goes through a lot of Marxist philosophy. But I understand that Marx was also a man of action and wanted philosophy to become reality. What is your understanding of Marx’s plan-of-action? How did he want to get from the dictatorship of the bourgeois to the workers’ paradise?

I offer below the Encyclopedia Britannica’s article on the Dictatorship of the Proletariat for consideration. It does differentiate between Marx’s vision and that of Lenin. As a practical matter, I do not see a way to implement the Dictatorship of the Proletariat any way but Lenin’s.

The Britannica article: In Marxism, rule by the proletariat—the economic and social class consisting of industrial workers who derive income solely from their labour—during the transitional phase between the abolition of capitalism and the establishment of communism. During this transition, the proletariat is to suppress resistance to the socialist revolution by the bourgeoisie, destroy the social relations of production underlying the class system, and create a new, classless society.

The dictatorship of the proletariat originally was conceived by Karl Marx (1818–83) as a dictatorship by the majority class. Because Marx regarded all governments as class dictatorships, he viewed proletarian dictatorship as no worse than any other form of government. However, the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917 resulted in a dictatorship not of the majority class of proletarians but of a political party that claimed to represent proletarian interests. Contrary to Marx's vision and as George Orwell (1903–50), Mikhail Bakunin (1814–76), and others had foreseen, the proposed dictatorship of the proletariat eventually became a dictatorship of former proletarians.

("dictatorship of the proletariat." Encyclopædia Britannica. Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2012.)

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olenzekm
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Oct. 26, 2010 11:01 am

olenzekm, I am by no means a Marxist scholar, nor a Marxist. What I've learned has been more by default through tracing back from other sources that interest me. I happen to like to follow threads of thought back to their sources and then work at seeing how things connect. That helps to create a huge and dynamic spider web of relationships in my imagination is all. The "dialectic" understanding itself comes from my interest in philosophy and especially the philosophical views of Plato (therefore Socrates) and how those views have effected some of the directions in the Twentieth Century debate about a rationalist-centered logical positivistic science, to which our present system of rational liberalism is deeply indebted, but which perhaps needs to be tweaked now that we recognize not only the limits to our rationalism, but it's potentially dangerous effects when applied to an atomistic versions of the social sciences, especially psychology, economics and politics.

I have noticed that the term "dictatorship" in "dictatorship of the proletariat" was not meant to convey the same meaning as "dictatorship" in "dictatorship of the elite". From my investigations, it appears the term was originally coined by Joseph Weydemeyer and later adopted by Marxists.

There were a lot of thoughts fomenting in that period when Marx was writing and thinking. People didn't have television for pablum so they actually had to thinkj, talk and write about what concerned them. It was happening because a huge transformation of society was taking place, so it's natural that people would sit up and take notice that their world is changing. Marx did not invent the notions of socialism nor communism. What Marx and Engels did was study the beginnings of industrialization in one of it's prototype cities in England. Manchester, specifically. They developed their theories on the burgeoning of something quite new in history, a mass labor force, and sort of (in my observations) sort of fashioned it into this dialectical, evolutionary process of theirs, based mostly on that new phenomenon, from what I can gather, maybe without recognizing just how new and extraordinarily revolutionary it was to indigenous, organic human society making, perhaps even to the civilizing process that had been taking place over the past 6000 years or so. I suppose that's endlessly debatable.

To my own way of seeing it, after much struggle and after working from different perspectives, their ideas are coming out of a slice in time that comes after a period when many of the basic concepts of democratic freedom and small community ownership of what Marx identified as the means and modes of production had already worked free from previous social relationships. Consider that the reaction to this early industrial destruction of ways of life occured before Marx's studies and works. An example would be the Luddite (a much misused term) Rebellion in the early 1800's. Marx took structural concepts and applied them to something that was actually occurring as a form of revolution (the "industrial revolution) and by the time he looked at it, it had dramatically displaced people from their root ways of being as artisans, craftsmen and farmers (like the Luddites who smashed the factories and were quelled by the forces controlled by the elites, the British Army).

I think it can be helpful to try to develop a broad historical overview to see where Marxist thought fits into where we are now, and where the majority of people are now as a job-seeking labor force instead of self employed artisans, craftsman and a locally-oriented democratic polis, which might better describe the social nature of the people who revolted in the colonies and created the U.S. Constitution. That's what I think polycarp is referring to in your earlier response. Works like Wolin's Democracy Incorporated: Manage Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, which I know poly has read, and which he quotes from time to time, and the implications of how an inverted totalitarian system like Wolin describes comes about can make a bit more sense with that perspective. Managers just don't manage people who make their own living, own their own means and modes of production. Just my opinion.

What Marx and Engels observed was the result of industrialization as it was occurring in Manchester England. What polycarp is referring to in his version of socialism, also what Chomsky is talking about in that linked talk is a different strain because it refers to a time before people had been displaced and before they had become slaves to the machines of industry, rather than owners and creaters of their own technology. People need to get that. Otherwise we talk past each other.

Marx appears to have developed an ontological view of the process where it goes from that situation where people had already lost their autonomy in the early stages of the industrial revolution and had become part of the citifying industrial process. And then he seems to go from there as the social groupings formed in centralization of cities through industrialization become a different form of democratic mass, who as a whole run some sort of government.

Obviously to me he was imagining an abstract map, not a functional, working territory view of how this could happen, and his map was not only filled with unknowns it was poorly conceived, kind of like some of those early maps of the world before we developed better measuring techniques, and eventually got the view of earth from outer space.

For one thing, I don't think Marx recognized the flaw that industrialization as a process actually is. His vision seems to have been based on a continuation of that process, not an ending of it. I don't think he recognized the embedded potential of creating hierarchies and how some humans will employ them to create some of themselves as eventual elites from the proletariat, so from my view, Marx was never that much of a visionary. But I came along after a point where I already saw those flaws and started looking back at Marx, so my own perception has its influence on how I see Marxism, socialism, and communism. But he did provide some remarkable analytical tools that have helped others who followed and tried to make sense of his works to develop a better understanding of what humans do when they develop social organizations.

Many years ago when I was studying anthropology I was directed to Jane Jacobs: The Economy of Cities. At the same time I was directed to a range of other thinkers who I would now call post Marxian; some were in anthropology who were sharing their direct experience with a wide variety of indigenous cultures and could see from that experience many flaws in Marxian vision. These people were making major revisions to his works, though they acknowledged their debt to his basic conceptions of the tools of structural analysis. Among them were people like Karl Polanyi and his The Great Transformation (I still have a $2.95 copy of that book). Polanyi's survey of history puts Marxist thought into a much broader context, and as a result I never felt the urge to study Marx because we are so far past it now.

Another important thinker from that group I got into at that time would be someone like anthropologist Eric Wolf, who studied peasant cultures around the globe, as well as cultural process in Latin America. While he wrote many important books about peasant culture, his culminating assessment in his later years came out in Europe and the People Without History. If one wants to understand that perspective, it's might help to look at an area in international relations studies that those involved in that broad field (see the IR Theory Knowledge Base for some hints to its breadth) call World Systems Analysis, which is more a critique of other theories or modes of theorizing, modes that would include a somewhat antiquish Marxian theory.

I've been able to more or less hold my own with experts in various International relations theory simply by being aware of it, and by having read Eric's works back from the early seventies and into the early eighties. Most of this stuff is just variations on themes, and many of those themes trace back to Marx. I would venture that even some of the themes in industrial scientific management owe their techniques to Marx. And not surprisingly I have recently been noticing people in economics recognize their debt to Marx's structural techniques. Can't find the source for that.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Several points:

In Marx's day, there was no way for a peaceful transition to occur. Governments of Europe weren't democracies. Democratic functioning was pretty limited in those nations that did allow it.

Worker Councils first initiated in the Soviet Union were quickly dismantled. A Marxist state can't exist without them. Marx's theories were barren without the democratically functioning councils..The revolution was usurped. As with most violent revolutions, the new government and systems came to resemble the old government and systems. Just a change in titles and priviliges. and in new beneficiaries of the new order. A change in hierarchy.

It isn't that different in the U.S. Monarchs, Lords and Ladies have been replaced with titles of CEO and Financier. Same functions, same priviliges...the new beneficiaries of the new order. A change in hierarchy.

Marx's observations on the functioning of capitalism as applied in his day (and ours) were accurate. The contradicions, periodic collapses, trends for higher profits at the expense of lower wages and environmental destruction are just as present now as they were then. They are accelerating. His solutions for replacing applied capitalism with a different application of capitalism were way off the mark.

In the U.S., we have what are called ESOPS. Employee Share Ownership Plans. Employees own shares in the firms they work for. If workers owning those shares had direct voting rights in the firms as other shareholders do, then Marx's goal of worker ownership of their workplace would gradually come to fruition. Peacefully.

A self-employed plumber is running a Marxist enterprise. He owns his own workplace.

In some areas, Marx was right on the mark. In other areas he was far, far from it..

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease".

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Isn't Reagan vs. Obama - Social economics like saying Pot vs. Kettle? I don't know how much closer Obama can get to Reagan in the political scheme of things.

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Bush_Wacker
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Jun. 25, 2011 7:53 am
Quote Bush_Wacker:

Isn't Reagan vs. Obama - Social economics like saying Pot vs. Kettle? I don't know how much closer Obama can get to Reagan in the political scheme of things.

That was my first impression when I observed the headline of this thread. But people like to think in simplistic binary terms, so you have to deal with that too.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am
Quote polycarp2:

A self-employed plumber is running a Marxist enterprise. He owns his own workplace.

I understand what you are saying, poly, and I appreciate your effort to stand the scatology of conservative beliefs about Marx and socialism on their heads with such statements.

But I am also aware of how Marx's works were used as an ideology, and I'm familiar with some of what went into those idea structures from Marx's work, and that has to be dealt with at a different level, unfortunately. What you are referring to with Joe the Plumber there is truly pre Marxist, and I don't feel like giving Marx credit for it.

Whether Marx actually thought he was plotting a way back to that, I really don't know. But I do recognize it's what the Luddites in the early 1800s were trying to preserve.

It seems to me Marx was mostly dealing (and I'd say heroically, in his own way) with rising of pools of mass labor as a class, along with the horrors of caged humans in horrendous living conditions of early city-related social formations as it was evolving, and imagining how it would evolve further. Jane Jacobs showed how it didn't evolve very well in Manchester, but a more artisan and entrepreneurial form did later in the not so showcased Birmingham, England, which Marx didn't study.

And, as you say, Marx had a pretty good structural analysis of the driving force behind this cultural disruption, capitalism (eventually it would be dubbed by some of his 20th Century students as "Monopoly Capitalism), as well. But that force itself is very mechanistic as a societal form and much more plot-able in abstract terms than any form of structured indigenous rebellion against it. And I suspect that's what he was trying to chart. I think we are today once again facing the potential flaws in that form of mass rebellion as the OWS movement faces the problem of articulating itself in the face of enormous, global-in-scope, hierarchical institutional forces, inevitably controlled by whatever forces of power can grab the head of such things.

Marx if anything contributed (perhaps unintentionally) more to developing ideological structures involved in modern management theory (which of course includes corporate management as well as bureaucratic government management) than he did to helping society recover what it had lost due to the revolution that took them out of their artisan shops and small farms, and displaced their hand crafted lives before Marx's studies in Manchester. I don't think he grasped the power of technique involved in hierarchy or he may have ended up writing more as an anarchist like a number of thinkers of his time did.

I don't see any evidence of that in his thoughts as I know of them, but then I'm not a Marxist nor Marxian scholar. I certainly don't idolize him. I think he's been overrated in relationship to concepts like socialism, and unfortunately so. But maybe that's also an inevitability due to the arc of the industrial revolution and its as yet unknown ending point. As you say, the workers councils were usurped. Unions have been usurped. People look for blame, like blaming the actions of Wilson and the Creel commission, or Reagan and his actions as a early form of Unitary Executive acting against unions. But I argue for much the same mistaken ongoing misreadings to occur due to a lack of recognition of the power embedded in a hierarchic organization, the need involved for productive efficiency whether capitalistic or socialistic on a large scale. Marx's theories, then, would be just as barren with those workers councils as without them if one recognizes the inevitability of that usurption from the embedded structure of hierarchy as long as there's a larger mass force of society involved.

You don't need huge fancy theories to hand craft your own life. Anarchists like Thoreau didn't need to read Marx. For over fifteen years I was a self employed general contractor remodeling old Craftsman styled homes some of the people in the S.F. Bay area (especially Berkeley) loved and wanted to preserve. I grew up learning to make things work on a family farm. I've been pretty much self employed all my life. I can, therefore, speak from experience. I also happen to know the history of those Craftsman homes and their designer's historic existentially-based aesthetic movement to struggle against the forces of industry at the time. They included people like Frank Lloyd Wright of whom just about everyone has heard, though probably very few really understand what he stood for. All these abstractions I do here are merely a form of recreation compared to the actual doing.

Quote Richard Heinberg:

In North America, Frank Lloyd Wright led the “prairie school” of architecture, which sought to make buildings fit into the landscape rather than arbitrarily dominate it. Wright hated the modern industrial city and its ubiquitous symbol, the skyscraper, which he regarded as a “human filing cabinet.” “The skyscraper as the typical expression of the city,” he wrote, “is the human stable, stalls filled with the herd, all to be milked by the system that keeps the animals docile by such fodder as it puts in the manger and such warmth as the crowd instills in the crowd.” 1 Wright viewed the urban street grid and the skyscraper as mere expedients of power and social control with “no higher ideal than commercial success.” A truly democratic society, he argued, must consist of a decentralized, organic human community integrated into the landscape around it.

Heinberg, Richard (2010-08-27). Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines (p. 71). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition. From Chapter 3: (post-) Hydrocaron Aesthetics

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.ren
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Ren wrote: Marx's theories, then, would be just as barren with those workers councils as without them if one recognizes the inevitability of that usurption from the embedded structure of hierarchy as long as there's a larger mass force of society involved.

poly replies: I agree with that. Marx is perhaps among the best known for opening up an area to be explored, and certainly isn't the last word on it. He opened questions and his.solutions to his own questions stink. The questions remain. to be explored.

While the very core of socialism implies direct worker ownership of the workplace, in a mass society with a hierarchal structure to direct it, many problems endemic to corporate ownership would naturally become identical with direct worker ownership.. It's the same corporate structure, same size, etc., and the same motivations for continual expansion and the like.They still operate within a structure of outside hierarchal control whether the state capitol, Washington, D.C. or Wall Street..

While workers of GM, for example, would gain the full share of what they produce if they owned GM,. the same motivations for continual expansion, growth,, mass superfluous consumption,, hierarchal management and competitiveness with similar firms would remain along with lobbying for their own particular interests.. Not much would change except ownership and distribution of profits..

Socialism (as direct worker ownership of their workplace) would in no way alter any of that. Different social structures would have to be devised...locally, smaller and with reduced consumption. if there is to be any sustainability.

Probably the breaking up of large nation-states with centralized hierarchies would be a part of that either through intention or from a break-down as they implode upon themselves. (I'm thinking of Tainter's work along those lines, The Collapse of Complex Societies).

Having said that, whenever anyone labels socialism as government ownership, I'll probably still pounce on them and set it straight.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

.

polycarp2
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Quote polycarp2:

Having said that, whenever anyone labels socialism as government ownership, I'll probably still pounce on them and set it straight.

Nasty work, but someone's got to do it here in the arena of the blogosseum, I guess. They will come, they will jab with their empty rhetorical labels. They may never be set straight, but uppercuts stand them up momentarily.

Fortunately they haven't a clue. You'll never need to explain yourself or what Tainter is talking about.

Probably should mention here something about movements like permaculture, transition communities and works by awakened economists like David Korten and his Yes! magazine. The conservatives won't get it, but, we probably won't have enough life rings to throw out when the house of cards collapses. We are all going to be struggling.

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.ren
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polycarp: A self-employed plumber is running a Marxist enterprise. He owns his own workplace.

me: Rent the movie "Sin Nombre" on DVD (it was an award winning film a couple years back) and listen to the commentary. The director points out that gangs are communist or collectivist organizations. Everything is shared. Watch episodes of "Sons of Anarchy" where it is characterized.

polycarp: In Marx's day, there was no way for a peaceful transition to occur. Governments of Europe weren't democracies. Democratic functioning was pretty limited in those nations that did allow it.

me: Do we have a functioning democracy anymore in the US? It seems to have been co-opted by the corporations. We are on our way to a fascist dictatorship with the sheeple marching along in step. So it may take a violent uprising to change things. Or we can hope that the oligarchs so mangle things that the entire economy collapses and a new one can arise that at least for a few decades will favor the people not just the rich.

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captbebops
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3hY1eagq88&feature=endscreen

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CollegeConservative
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May. 4, 2012 2:22 pm

In addition to being a huge hypocrite, Reagan was an economics ignoramus. I suggest you find a copy of David Graeber's DEBT and further your college education with some useful correctives to this nonsense. While I think there are much greater problems with this economy than what the Obama/Biden administration is working on, there is nothing deficit creating in their use of a deficit to fix what is broken. It was the Bushies who created the deficits and the problems that need some spending to fix. While they stole, they also neglected.

Think about a house with a leaking roof. You cannot afford to let it keep leaking so you have to find the money for a new roof. You borrow to save the house even if the previous owners wasted the money that should have been used for the roof. Bush started with surpluses and created deficits. Obama is stuck with the deficits, but also with the disloyal opposition that refuses to cooperate with sound economic policies. If they can get the gullible to believe that Obama is making things worse because he is not doing what caused the problem and that doing more of that would be a great answer, they will be political geniuses, but still be economic idiots or criminals.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

@poly

You seem to acknowledge that socialism will inherently lead to a less productive society. Or am I misunderstanding your points?

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WorkerBee
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Quote WorkerBee:

@poly

You seem to acknowledge that socialism will inherently lead to a less productive society. Or am I misunderstanding your points?

Nope. The same people who work in businesses now would still work there. The only difference is, they would own it. GM, for example, would be owned by those who worked there from the janitor to the executive suites. The change would be in ownership and profit distribution. Workers would receive the full value of what they produced. Productivity might even increase with that incentive.

However, critical problems endemic to our society would remain. Changes in ownership wouldn't change an economic structure based on perpetual growth, resource exhauston, environmental destruction and ever-rising consumption...none of which are sustainable.

Socialism is no cure-all for anything. Same structures we have now, just different owners..It would, however, tend to lower poverty rates. in the short-term. They would dramatically rise again with the merging of resource depletion and environmental destruction.

I've a feellng that resource depletion and environmental degredation will bring a return to the socialism we had when the nation was founded. A nation of small farmers, shopkeepers and craftsmen...most owning their own workplace. It was replaced with industrialized societies built upon cheap, abundant energy. They aren't sustainable for more than a decade or two..

Univ. of Colo. Lecture: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY

That which isn't sustainable won't be sustained. - Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate.

I'd suggest Ren's link to "Yes" magazine for ideas on what is sustainable..

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

How would a new company come about?

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WorkerBee
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Apr. 28, 2012 12:22 pm

Form one...or buy an existing one. However, since firms reyling on the model of industrialzed mass consumption will go defunct in 20 years or less, what would be the point? The whole house of cards is going to come tumbling down with the merging of economic, resource and environmental collapse...none of which are being addressed.

Your best bet would be to check resources in "YES!" Magazine.Lots of practical stuff..

http://www.yesmagazine.org/

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

..

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

ESOPs are one version of employee ownership. Publix supermarkets are ESOP [employee stock ownership plan]. There are coops, too. One of the earliest civilzations to offer ownership in the community was the Incas. They built such labor intensive municipal structures, that ownership of some of the product was found to avoid discouragement. The sense of accomplishment was the same as a sense of pride, because some of it was your own.

One of the problems of government was the redistribution of food and clothing. The corn, potatoes and cotton needed by millions of people were all produced in different areas of the empire. The Inca solved this by developing a form of practical socialism. Each village produced what its ecosystem would permit and gave its surpluses to other villages in different areas. In return, poorer villages farming in the infertile mountain terraces received the products that they could not grow themselves. Some of the surplus was stored to feed soldiers or labor crews that were building temples or roads. This is called a system of reciprocity, and that is why the Inca did not have markets. Everybody supplied and received the necessities of life through this system of reciprocity.
This is only the agriculture socialism, the building payoffs I saw on the history channel.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Your example, Douglaslee is economic functioning at its very core...without all the hoopla. and nonsensical explanations for "poverty".amidst plenty. It doesn't contain the nonsense of why we have to slaughter dairy herds because we can't sell the needed milk. The Inca would have simply distributed it. to where it was required...and distribute to the dairyman what he required.

Not a bankster in sight to finance any of it.

We use money to make those distributions, but the distribution of money itself is so out of kilter, that needs capable of being fullfilled can't be....so production shuts down or is cut back. Nonsensical.

You';ve posted the very basics of all economic functioning. We've added layers and layers of nonsense on top of it to justify the way we distribute goods....some with more than they'll ever use, and others with nothing. Good job!

A successful economy is nothing more than the production and distribution of required goods. How many times have I said that on these blogs? The Inca had one. We fail miserably when it comes to distribution. Failures in distribution cause failures in production. Production is cut back. when needed goods can't be distributed under our system We call it Depression/Recession..

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote polycarp2:

Form one...or buy an existing one.

If it is supposed to be worker owned how would this work? Take Henry Ford for example, he was a man who thought outside the box and his ideas and drive transformed the lives of billions of people for the better. If every decision is made by a committee of employees where Mr Ford would just have one vote would that not tend to flatten unconventional ideas?

And what would be the point of Mr Ford starting up his business in the first place? According to what you are describing the first time he "hired" someone he would have to give that person 50% of the company. Do you think that would encourage or discourage new companies with new ideas from forming?

This is why socialism failed and will fail in whatever form you wish to describe it.

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent vice of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries"-Winston Churchill.

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WorkerBee
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Apr. 28, 2012 12:22 pm

"The only traditions of the Royal Navy are rum, sodomy and the lash."

- -- Churchill's assistant, Anthony Montague-Browne said that although Churchill had not uttered these words, he wished he had.

http://www.winstonchurchill.org/learn/speeches/quotations/quotes-falsely...

The mensa of Gallipoli and the Bengali Famine.

"Famine or no famine, Indians will breed like rabbits."

Why do we need to know the name of this turd?

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The only thing you have to say about my points is to attack Churchill?

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WorkerBee
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Quote WorkerBee:
Quote polycarp2:

Form one...or buy an existing one.

If it is supposed to be worker owned how would this work? Take Henry Ford for example, he was a man who thought outside the box and his ideas and drive transformed the lives of billions of people for the better. If every decision is made by a committee of employees where Mr Ford would just have one vote would that not tend to flatten unconventional ideas?

And what would be the point of Mr Ford starting up his business in the first place? According to what you are describing the first time he "hired" someone he would have to give that person 50% of the company. Do you think that would encourage or discourage new companies with new ideas from forming?

This is why socialism failed and will fail in whatever form you wish to describe it.

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent vice of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries"-Winston Churchill.

poly replies: Are you suggesting that socliasm (direct worker ownership of their workplace) in the early U.S. was a failure? Worker co-ops are formed all the time. Some succeed....some don't. Same as with any business.

Just exactly who was Leonardo deVinci's employer?

A monastry is owned/operated by the entire community. What happens is, those most knowledeable about any particular aspect of the "business" tend to be listened to. A monk with a knowledge of construction keeps his nose out of the operation of the greenhouse. once he's finished constructing it to fit the needs of the gardener. The gardener doesn't tell him how to set the foundation. When innovation is proposed, it's usually supported when everyone benefits.

The Father of Genetics was a monk...operating out of that system. It seems he thought outside the box of his era..Contrary to popular beliefs, money isn't the only motivator in this world.

The man who developed the polio vaccine (Salk) gave it away. Those who don't develop a passion for something other than money...and pursue that passion...should probably be pitied.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"...

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote WorkerBee:
Quote polycarp2:

Form one...or buy an existing one.

If it is supposed to be worker owned how would this work? Take Henry Ford for example, he was a man who thought outside the box and his ideas and drive transformed the lives of billions of people for the better. If every decision is made by a committee of employees where Mr Ford would just have one vote would that not tend to flatten unconventional ideas?

And what would be the point of Mr Ford starting up his business in the first place? According to what you are describing the first time he "hired" someone he would have to give that person 50% of the company. Do you think that would encourage or discourage new companies with new ideas from forming?

This is why socialism failed and will fail in whatever form you wish to describe it.

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent vice of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries"-Winston Churchill.

Look into how it works. Ford wouldn't have to give someone 50% of the company. He could retain 90% of the company and give out the remaining 10% in whatever way he saw fit. There are companies doing it all of the time. Everybody doesn't get the same wage. It depends on their contribution to the company. They get a voice in the direction of the company but not neccesarilly an equal one. What's with all of the Winston Churchill quotes anyway. That's as impressive as quotes from Gingrich. Since when did Churchill become such an American hero?

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Bush_Wacker
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Jun. 25, 2011 7:53 am

Creativity, invention and the profit motive are not as directly related as our economic fundamentalists like to think. Making something useful that benefits others brings its own reward, and if that includes a bit more money, great! We do far better when we think of the collective benefit of our enterprise than when we focus on the money we will make. There is no reason to suppose that civil employees engaged in important social missions like clean air and water would not be focussed on the mission rather than their own personal pay. There is no evidence that the employees of big corporate cronies deliver better quality for a lower price. There is less evidence that the owners care about anything other than profits.

Churchill was a wit who reflects a conservative and antiquated cultural and political vision. He gets to say some things now that he is dead that he never said in his life. But, he could be droll; and his quip about democracy being "the worst possible political system--except for all the others" does return "democracy" to political realism rather than a utopian dream of improved human beings.

Clinton shares this short-sighted focus on "the economy" as if it were the theology of our humanity in social function and vision. Our motivation is far more complex than "profit" can calculate, and our soul is part of a lot more than work or commerce. If we are only voting for alternative teams of technocratic managers who have minor disagreements on how to play the same game, "the economy" could be sufficient to cast a ballot. But, if democracy matters because all the other ways of going about this are worse, then we need to be dealing with a lot more than the Stupid Economy in the pursuit of democracy in action.

The only "failed" forms of socialism broadly conceived were the state take-over central command and control national security states of "Communism" and the utopian collectives of religious and moral piety. I include the Hippies in the Latter to the extent that there was an alternative offered to politics in "dropping out" and going to the land. Some of them grew roots, but the love community vision has not really worked.

The idea of reciprocity and a life to enjoy is enough for inventive and creative commerce and professionalism elsewhere. Being "the guy" who increased the value of our common efforts may be cheapened rather than enhanced by the cash. Having all the cash for doing something great may not be all that great when trying to be "one of the guys." Money is messing up the way we are thinking about being human very seriously, and we have to think about why this is going on.

We have hardly entertained any policies that would eliminate getting rich in the American Dream. We are talking more about the great disparity and what the power of money that is not being reinvested in the functional economy does to everything. We are asking if destroying the village in order to "save it" makes any more sense now than it did in Vietnam or the Old West?

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm
Quote polycarp2:poly replies: Are you suggesting that socliasm (direct worker ownership of their workplace) in the early U.S. was a failure? Worker co-ops are formed all the time. Some succeed....some don't. Same as with any business.

I guess I am not following exactly what it is that you are advocating. From what I understood you are for making it illegal to employ someone.

At what point of the process is the company no longer under the control of the founder and is turned over to the employees?

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WorkerBee
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Apr. 28, 2012 12:22 pm
Quote Bush_Wacker:Look into how it works. Ford wouldn't have to give someone 50% of the company. He could retain 90% of the company and give out the remaining 10% in whatever way he saw fit. There are companies doing it all of the time. Everybody doesn't get the same wage. It depends on their contribution to the company. They get a voice in the direction of the company but not neccesarilly an equal one. What's with all of the Winston Churchill quotes anyway. That's as impressive as quotes from Gingrich. Since when did Churchill become such an American hero?

This happens all the time though under how things are constructed now, what is it exactly that should be changed?

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WorkerBee
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Apr. 28, 2012 12:22 pm
Quote WorkerBee:
Quote polycarp2:poly replies: Are you suggesting that socliasm (direct worker ownership of their workplace) in the early U.S. was a failure? Worker co-ops are formed all the time. Some succeed....some don't. Same as with any business.

WorkerBee replied: I guess I am not following exactly what it is that you are advocating. From what I understood you are for making it illegal to employ someone.

At what point of the process is the company no longer under the control of the founder and is turned over to the employees?

poly replies: At what point in the process is a company no longer under control of its founder now? Usually upon their death or the sale. CEO's of many U.S. corporations certainly didn't found them. They are just employees who have usurped the power, income and priviliges of their founders. Don't fret. it isn't likely the U.S. will return to its socialist roots when the majority owned their own workplace.

.On the other hand, there is a possibility it could occur if industrialized structures collapse from a lack of cheap, abundant energy.or when economic inputs exceed economic outputs as outlined in Tainter's work, "The Collapse of Complex Societies"..Societies break up into smaller units...with simplification of economic functioning.

However, I'm not advocating socialism. Just making observations. Socialism in itself would solve nothing because the primary impetus of continual growth, resource depletion and environmental destruction, etc. remain intact in industrialized profit extraction economies, Other than more equitable income distribution it solves nothing of critical importance..

A self-employed plumber is operating a socialist enterprise. He owns his own workplace. Just an observation...not an endorsement for it or against it. The plumber himself is certainly aware of benefits and drawbacks from that, isn't he?

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease".

polycarp2
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