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Communism vs Capitalism


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#1 Darkademic

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 10:02 pm

Felt like starting this debate since I've been playing WAR all day. :P

I'm an Objectivist, which politically means I am a free-market capitalist. Until 2004 I was a communist.

The debates from 2004 where I debated as a communist are still up at:

http://z7.invisionfr...p?showtopic=202

http://z7.invisionfr...p?showtopic=303

and

http://z7.invisionfr...p?showtopic=300

They are all very long threads, particularly the last one, so it's not like I've not been through all this before.

I made the same cases about Soviet Russia not being communist, but you can't really go into that until getting right to the fundamentals.

Some people argue that communism is a great idea but can't work in practice, or that it is a noble goal which is thwarted by human nature, whereas I argue that it is a wholly evil idea, and that is why it is also impractical.

The first question I should probably ask is "do I have the right to exist for my own sake?" - I.e. do I have the right to be free to pursue my own happiness?

If I do, communism is evil because it violates my rights. If I don't then I am a slave.

The fact is, communism is not possible without state control. Communism (or socialism) IS a controlled economy. That implies controlled by somebody.

Obviously this needs far more detail, but that should get the ball rolling.
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#2 Placidarm

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 11:19 pm

Felt like starting this debate since I've been playing WAR all day. :P

I'm an Objectivist, which politically means I am a free-market capitalist. Until 2004 I was a communist.

The debates from 2004 where I debated as a communist are still up at:

http://z7.invisionfr...p?showtopic=202

http://z7.invisionfr...p?showtopic=303

and

http://z7.invisionfr...p?showtopic=300

They are all very long threads, particularly the last one, so it's not like I've not been through all this before.

I made the same cases about Soviet Russia not being communist, but you can't really go into that until getting right to the fundamentals.

Some people argue that communism is a great idea but can't work in practice, or that it is a noble goal which is thwarted by human nature, whereas I argue that it is a wholly evil idea, and that is why it is also impractical.

The first question I should probably ask is "do I have the right to exist for my own sake?" - I.e. do I have the right to be free to pursue my own happiness?

If I do, communism is evil because it violates my rights. If I don't then I am a slave.

The fact is, communism is not possible without state control. Communism (or socialism) IS a controlled economy. That implies controlled by somebody.

Obviously this needs far more detail, but that should get the ball rolling.

Communism is a classless, stateless society. This is the most basic definition agreed upon by nearly everyone who really knows what communism is. Now, people often talk about freedom and restriction in a communist society, from the point of view of "Communism restricts my freedom to be a capitalist", essentially.

If we understand Communism from the Marxist perspective, it is the final stage of society, after socialism. It is charactersied as such:
As afore mentioned, it is a classless, stateless society.

There is no employer and employee, beacause there is no private property. The means of production are publicly owned, and people freely take from the pool of resources available to them, which are accumalted through the cooperative labour of the people. These people will bearranged in democratic communes and councils who will vote on the running of their workplace/immediate area, and decide on the issues of distribution and production, etc, by a popular vote. As such, the people have control over their lives in their area. No government adminstrating over everything. Therefore, the people control themselves, by democracy. Everyone in the commune will be taking from the commune, naturally, because the commune is the source of the neccesities of life. Therefore they will work in and for the commune, and thus be part of its decision making body.

They have an equal say in its management as everyone else in the commune will. I see no control - each person is controlling their own life, as a member of the commune.
Now, you would argue that the person is being controlled by everyone else in the commune, or by the majority/plurality of the vote. I.e., if they vote for something, but everyone else votes against it, and the opposing idea to theirs is thus passed, they are being controlled by the others. This is the nature of democracy. Under communism, no one could infringe on someone elses liberty of rights, I.e., the rest of the commune could not vote to kick you in the face every day because they feel like it, but obviously under democracy, within thelaw/rules, what the majority wants goes.

Assuming you wanted to become capitalist, this would mean you personally would be taking from the resources of the commune, in order to accumulate resources for some kind of business, from which you would operate in a capitalist maner. Now, we're in a communist society. For it to exist, the people msut have wanted it to exist and will have experienced it existing. So what makes you think they would freely vote to allow you to take resources from the commune in order to get yourself more wealthy? They would see no justification, because under communism all are equal and get what they want form collectivised stores anyway. You would be being greedy, tyrannical - you would seek to seeize the work of others, make it solely your own, then force others to work for it. This would be theft and exploitation, and would seem strange, wrong and backwards in a communist society. You would be taking what is someone elses undemocratically and then using it to force them, at ransom, to work for you. This is clearly wrong, inhumane and barbaric.

If we assume, and strange as it is, that a large number of people wanted to create capitalism udner communism as you would also like too, in your general pursuit of personal 'happiness'. This again would assume that you all collectively would be taking some resources to set up an enterprise. Ok, so you'd all take your equal share from the commune stockpile, and decide with these resources you'd set up the infrastructure for a business. Capitalism would be against the communes rules, because it is exploitative and cannot work with a communalistic lfiestyle which would have been set up. So you'd leave the commune with your portion of your equal share, with all other pursuers of capitalism. You'd have to use this equal share to then set up a business. So lets assume you'd be hoarding your share of the communes produce for ages, so you had alot of resources. Under communism there is no money, because its been abolished during and after socialism. If there is money, it isn't communism. There may be vouchers, reedemable for food and resources which would serve as money. But obviously it would only function within the commune because otherwise it's only paper. So you have either vouchers, or a stockpile of resources you stored which you received in return for your vouchers. So you and your others initially would have to set up a commune in which you all survive, somehow, from your positions of equality, all work udner a capitalist system for each other. But who would work for who? Perhaps you'd have enticed someone from the communist commne who had less of a stockpile than you who would work for you for some strange reason? You'd then make that person work for you, working your resources, in order to receive money from which they could buy bck what they produced from you, but less of it. Because you're a capitalist. You'd be making profit from this worker, thus you'd be paying him for less than what he produced. Why would he do that? He could be in the commune receiving his fair share. Why would he come work for you for less? It seems irrational and highly unlikely. You capitalists would be on your own, somehow creting businesses in a society which had abolished the need for them.

Aside from the fact that no one would work for you, you'd also be limited in land and resources because most would be owned collectively by the commune. So creating a business empire would be hard. Who woudl buy from you?

What I am getting at is that under communism, there'd be no reason to follwo you in your tyranny. People would have the freedom too, but why would they? You might lie to them, but they'd soon realise the trick. You'd be isolated, alone, rejected by the commune for being selfish and greedy in a society where there is no need for selfishness or greed.

A communist society implies the state has been abolished. There is no control, except the democratic control exerted by the commune through popular, free and fair voting. If you disagree with democracy then this is a whole different debate altogether.

You claim you are a slave if we do not let you practice capitalism. You can do what you want, but you cannot do it in our commune. emocratic voting would vote you out. You could take your share of the communes produce of that time and leave, because you've broken the rules. But you'd find nowhere to go, except your capitalist societies where everyone either exploits each other or exploits a few people who for some strange reason decided they want to work for less than what they had before. We'd let you go. Therefore you are not a slave because you are in or out of the commune through choice.

It is not oppressive, after democratic voting on the issue, to deny someone the right to break a law which everyone in the commune, incuding them, voted for.
It is not oppressive to prevent someone from harming others by exploitation and stealing, which is what you'd be doign int rying to set up capitalism within our commune.
It is not oppressive to tell someone to leave and go pursue their own pursuit for 'happiness' elsewhere with anyone who wants to go with them.
It is the basis of all laws and punishments that someone does not have the right to do what they want if what they want breaks democratically agreed on rules and if what they want harms and takes away the freedom of others.

Welcome to communism. :)
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#3 Darkademic

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 01:43 am

All the above seems to imply a voluntary system where you can come and go as you please.

If that is what you're suggesting, then such a society can exist within a free-market capitalist society. In fact, it can ONLY exist in a free-market capitalist society since such is the only truly voluntary system. It's not the other way around as you mentioned, where a capitalist society could be set up within a communist society. Capitalism is the absence of all restrictions and regulations over people's lives - other than those which protect individual rights. A free market means people are free from government coercion.

I am opposed to democracy because it is majority rule. Of course, if it's a closed system where people voluntarily submit to such a method of decision making, then that's fine, but I'd want no part of it.

The problem is, communism simply won't work if people can come and go as they please. Communism is the redistribution of wealth. It sees "the good" as being when all people are made economically equal. To achieve this, even those who don't wish to share their wealth must be forced to do so. If people are free to either share what they produce, or not, what do you think most people are going to choose? If I wanted to right now I could share my wealth with a random homeless person, and so could anyone. That doesn't make it communism.

So whilst your proposed version of communism is voluntary, it isn't evil as such. However, as demonstrated by the economist Ludwig Von Mises, socialism/communism makes economic calculation impossible. Marx said "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need", however this fails to identify what "need" actually means. There is no cut-off point where a need becomes a luxury, because one's life is a continuum between being dead and living a long, healthy and happy life. It then fails to take into consideration that different people need/want/value different things at different times. The basis of economics is value. What people value is what causes supply and demand. Supply and demand determines what is produced. The Marxist idea replaces value with an arbitrary notion of "need" which is never adequately defined (because it can't be).
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#4 Placidarm

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 03:48 pm

The idea of "to each according to need" comes from the idea that if its communism it is a society where there is enough to go around, so by virtue of being communism there is already a surplus people can take from. People are not forced to share what they own, but they work and produce communally, so as part of the commune they are taking from a collective resource bank. What everyone makes goes to a pile everyone from take from, basically. Or, people get vouchers reedeemable for a certain amount of product. The idea of this is to ensure no one takes more than what they should take, that is to say, they don't take so much that someone else has to take less, which would restrict their freedom. Communism does not need economic calculation, because we're working under the idea that there are alot of decentralised communes controlling small areas, so its pretty clear how much you have and thus how much each individual can take.

Your fourth paragraph seems to miss the whole point of what communism is. Communism is merely an social and economic structure, the way a society acts. The communes become how that society is run. Thus, people will rely on the commune, each individual person, for survival. They could leave if they wanted too, the same way that I could currently leave capitalism and go live on my own in the woods. But then I would die, because as it is, I rely on society and how it functions to survive. I work for money, I get money, I buy food, I eat, repeat. It will be the same with communism, if the society in palce is truly communism. I will work as part of the commune and take my free share from the commune. If I remove myself, on my own, I will probably die, because I will have little means of acquiring resources. You seem to believe communism is an act, as opposed to a society, an act of taking from someone within the framework of a quasi-capitalist society and giving their stuff to someone else. This is not so, and is the major point as to why many people misunderstand communism.

I see no reason why supply and demand is an obstacle to communism. The commune will still produce according to what is needed, the distribution weill just be fairer. Everyone will be in an equal position to take from the community stores because everyone will start from en equal base, and will be rewarded equally for equal work. If the people of the commune desire an increased amount of item x, they can produce this. The workers councils and local, democratic meetings are communisms strength, because in small societies it is easy to determine how much is needed and what needs to be done. Communism is planned. Therefore, regular targets and plans as to production replaces the capitalist 'supply and demand'.

Your notion of capitalism as a truly fair and free society is absurd. How is it free and fair if a few hold power and thus hold the others hostage, forcing them to work to survive while the capitalists do nothing? Capitalism is when a few have seized control, perhaps even hundreds of years ago, and now use there position of power, which is backed up by the army, state, police, all of whom are kept loyal by money, which the capitalists have in abundance. They use their power and ownership of resources to thus force others to work for them so that they can gain a profit. Its like holding someone hostage. Because the capitalist already has the power, everyone has to accept his power and work for him, at fear of poverty or death. This is not fair. Capitalism cannot be fair. If we started again, everyone equal, everyone holding 1000, and no one holding any resources, and implemented a capitalist system, who would exploit who? Because all are equal, there is no one who can be forced to work for someone else. No one has more than anyone, no one has the resources. There would be a rush to seize resources, alleigances and monopolies would be created, people would thus start oppresing those who did not grab the resources, those who did not get into some sort of alleigance with the others. Capitalism relys on some being poor and some being rich. It is never fair. Neo-liberals who call for the state to leave people alone and allow for a completely free market basically ask for the rich and powerful to be alllowed to do what they want. You expect us to trust the rich and powerful to act for socieities benefit? Ridiculous.

Your free market encourages and thrives on and relies on exploitation. Capitalism has a warped idea of liberty - under your capitalism, everyone is 'free', but what good is freedom to those who have nothing? Those in this 'free' society who did not enter this 'free' society already wealthy will be forced to work for the capitalists to survive. Thus, they have no freedom, because they have no choice. They can either work for you or die. With great wealth you have power and then liberty. You want freedom for the rich and powerful to fo as they please. People are 'free' and have no money. Others are free and have much money. I can see whose going to come out the loser in that situation.

Neo-liberal capitalism, or libertarianism, as its been called lately, has a concept of freedom as being no control from state, no coercive power. The market is coercive. Poverty is coercive, because lack of money forces you to do things you otherwise would not do. Abundance of money lets you do whatever you please.
Capitalism is freedom for those who are already rich, and a superficial 'freedom' for the poor, a freedom where they are at the mercy of the rich and powerful, a freedom where they rank below the capitalist, a freedom where they are forced to work for their overlords of the free market.

You call that freedom?
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#5 Darkademic

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 04:54 pm

People are not forced to share what they own, but they work and produce communally.


Then it's not communism. The above means the rich could keep their wealth.

You call that freedom?


Yes. You are exaggerating the "power" of the rich.

It is true that the freedom a man may have in a market economy is not a perfect freedom from the metaphysical point of view. But there is no such thing as perfect freedom. The Marxist notion of freedom is freedom from reality.

Because of capitalism, the standard of living for EVERYONE has increased so much that barely anyone is really in poverty any more - at least in Western countries where capitalism was/is most prominent.

Is it a coincidence that if you rank countries along a continuum according to whether they are closer to being free-market economies or whether they're closer to socialist or planned economies, then rank those countries by average per-capita income; we will find a noticeable if not perfect correlation whereby those countries having a larger free-market sector produce a higher standard of living for their citizens than socialist economies? Planned economies always, ALWAYS fail - to the extent that they are planned. There is not one example EVER which counters this fact.

Because of free-markets, people are far more free than they would be otherwise due to the incredible wealth markets generate.

So you have to face the empirical fact here. Free-markets generate wealth, planned economies don't. If your objective is equal prosperity, planned economies demonstrably do not achieve it. As my sig says: "While capitalism may be the unequal distribution of wealth, socialism is the equal distribution of poverty."

How is it free and fair if a few hold power and thus hold the others hostage, forcing them to work to survive while the capitalists do nothing?


Nobody is forcing you to work under capitalism, only reality is. Contrast to communism/socialism where you are forced to work.

Capitalism is when a few have seized control, perhaps even hundreds of years ago, and now use there position of power, which is backed up by the army, state, police, all of whom are kept loyal by money, which the capitalists have in abundance.


This is a characteristic of a mixed-economy, not true capitalism (which has not existed). State funding or support of any private business is a STATIST concept and is not capitalist.

You expect us to trust the rich and powerful to act for socieities benefit?


If their activities do not benefit anyone, they won't make any money. So, yes.

Because all are equal, there is no one who can be forced to work for someone else.


Right, first you said that people don't have to share what they already own - so they're not equal to begin with. Now you're saying nobody is forced to work - yet they will still get their equal share? If they can sit around doing nothing and still get an equal share, why would they work? They'd have to be forced. Moreover - how would you determine wages? Some jobs are much more difficult than others, and if everyone is going to be made equal, wages must also be equal - however then it is unfair to those who do more difficult jobs. If those who do more difficult jobs get paid more, then things become unequal again. It fails.

Your free market encourages and thrives on and relies on exploitation.


Exploitation is a buzzword and an anti-concept. Nobody is "exploited" - people can either choose to work for an agreed wage, or not. It is their choice.

Consider how the wealthiest individuals in any free economy, businessmen, make their money. The job of a businessman is to orchestrate productive enterprises that efficiently coordinate people, resources, and tools to create valuable products. Businessmen profit when they bring out valuable products at desirable prices; thus, they are continually making more, better, and cheaper products for everyone to purchase. Businessmen profit when they make others more productive; thus, they are continually seeking to create new jobs that can add to their bottom line, and providing their workers with as many productivity-enhancing tools and technologies as they can. Businessmen's pursuit of profit has been the driving force behind the incalculable increase in our standard of living over the last 150 years--and economic history shows that the freer they are left to make money, the greater the increase in productivity and wages at all levels.

You suggest the rich get richer at the expense of everyone else--that if some get big slices of pie, the rest get only crumbs. But the exact opposite is true. Since wealth (including pie) is created, there is no limit to how much can exist--and the wealth of others cannot inhibit us from creating and enjoying our own. Further, the wealth creation of the richest people makes us far more productive and well-off.

In a market economy, the individual has the freedom to choose whatever career he wishes to pursue, to choose his own way of integrating himself into society. But in a socialist/communist system, that is not so: his career is decided by decree of the government (or the majority). The government (or majority) can order people whom it dislikes, whom it does not want to live in certain regions, to move into other regions and to other places. The government (or majority) is always in a position to justify and to explain such procedure by declaring that the plan requires the presence of this eminent citizen five thousand miles away from the place in which he could be disagreeable to those in power.

Socialism: Slavery vs. Freedom (1 of 4)
Socialism: Class Warfare vs. Harmony of Interests (2 of 4)
Socialism: Central Planning vs. Freedom (3 of 4)
Socialism: Inability of Economic Calculation (4 of 4)

Socialism is Evil Part I
Socialism is Evil Part II
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#6 Twilight

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 06:42 pm

Good points DR, but Placidarm didn't directly answer the fundamental question "do I have the right to exist for my own sake?"

If yes, the rich will stay rich and communes exist already. If no, he advocates forcible expropriation of wealth followed by slavery. The discussion could then end there.

I'd like to contribute more but I assume this is some sort of private DkR related debate?
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#7 Darkademic

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 06:48 pm

Oh hey, thanks.

Yeah I got that, but I think he implicitly thinks the former. I'm just not sure how you can get equality without forcibly equalising everyone first.

It's an open debate, but it's upto Plac since he might not want to respond to two people.
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#8 Placidarm

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 06:50 pm

Firstly.once more, stop setting up a straw man communism - communism is not a force it is a state of society, communal organisation - the final stage after the revolution, socialism, etc. There is no "Communism makes you do this." Communism is a descrption of how society is run.

So there will be no rich and they will not have wealth to continue owning - they will have already had it claimed by the workers.

Secondly, where are your planned economy facts? And nearly everyone is rich? that's just insulting. I could fire at you hundreds of facts about how many people die each day from dirty water, what the average wage is in 90% of the world, there are countless examples.
From Wikipedia:
Extreme poverty is the most severe state of poverty. Many cannot meet basic needs for food, water, shelter, sanitation, and health care.[1] To determine the affected population, the World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than $1.25 per day (adjusted for PPP)[2]. The bank estimates that 1.4 billion people currently live under these conditions.[2]
Africa, the most poverty inflicted continent, has suffered at the hands of capitalist imperialism and now TNC exploitation. that's exploitation in the sense that you pay someone a pittance, do not allow unions and gain massive profit. That is capitalism.

The free market is not freedom in any sense. It is taking away all restrictions on the rich. You let them do what they want. No minimum wage laws, no welfare state. that's insane. The free marketeers/neo-liberals are already forcing millions into fuel poverty in the UK alone through privatsation and market comepetiton, lets not lie to ourselves and say somehow, them making more personal profit will translate into higher standards of living for the poor.

1945, and the welfare state is created. Why? Because the people needed it, because the capitalist system meant many people were too poor to afford healthcare. It is the same in parts of the USA, and any other country without free healthcare.

Now, I also think you've hardly been reading what I've said, because you've set up another strawman, that I claimed that no one has to work under communism. If you read, I was saying that under a pure capitalist society, if everyone started equal, no one would have to work for anyone else, and because capitlaism is ufnair, no one would want too. So I'll ignore any arguments in that paragraph.

In the countries with the most urnegulated capitalism, I.e. African countries with governments too corrupt or weak to oppose the TNCs, the capitalists pay the lowest amount, absolutely nothing. In the companies with the highest standard of living, capitalism is regulated, I.e. Britain, where we have a welfare state and minimum wage laws.

In a free market, those who are poor, and lack say, education, are in a ghetto, a rut. There is no welfare state to give them a boost. They will only get poorer, and will be forced to work for unregulated capitlaists who will thus pay them the lowest possible amount, in order to generate the highest possible profit. Because there is nothing stopping them.
"But the exact opposite is true. Since wealth (including pie) is created, there is no limit to how much can exist--and the wealth of others cannot inhibit us from creating and enjoying our own. Further, the wealth creation of the richest people makes us far more productive and well-off."
This assumes that when the rich get richer and buisnesses get higher profits, loads of it spills down to us poor folk. There is no proof of this. At the moment, the main energy providers in Britain are enjoying their highest profits in years, something like 3 billion, yet energy bills are at their highest in a long time. There is a big campaign at the moment centrered around the 2 million plus residents of the UK (one of your wonderfuly brilliant capitalist countries, which is at the moment under a neo-liberal government who are attacking workers rights, the welfare state etc) who are currently in fuel poverty, deciding whether to eat or to heat.

If there is no reason (I.e., a left wing government forcing them) for capitalists to share wealth, why would they?

You talk of how the 'free market' has increased the wealth of people over the past 150 years. Certainly, industrialisation was neccesary, feudalism needed to be abolished, etc. But who have always been there creating the welfare state, giving union rights and fighting for wage increases? Socialists. Those who rode the wave of the industrial revolution were not setting out to increase the wealth of everyone. They were there to maximise profit. Note the squalour people lived in during capitalisms developement in the 1800's and early 1900s, in Britain and across the world. This squalour has only improved with the introduction of the NHS by the socialist, Nye Bevan, by the work of the unions, etc. There have been inevitable gains forced through by the people from the profit of the capitalists, but just look overseas to see the results of this. In order to improve the living conditions of British working class, Britain needed an Empire. Capitalism turned to Imperialism. Capitalism is not the wonderful self generator of wealth - it has to be exploiting someone. So it fights wars and goes overseas, like in the Iraq War.

Nor is it stable. Look at the current economic crisis. Try telling those out fo work at the moment about the benefits of capitalism! When you rely on rich gamblers with excessive bonuses in the City to do as they please, should you really be suprised when banks collapse? Note how recently, the US and the UK, two countries with governments firmly chasing the neo-liberal ideal, have been NATIONALISING banks. Why? Because capitalism screwed up. We left the rich unregulated, let them trade and gamble and whatever else they do, and now, the Government, the state you abhore, has had to intervene to save the banks and the capitalists. The state is stable, capitalism is not. It has its crisis. The crisis is paid for by the state, and thus the tax payer. Capitalism recovers and goes about its daily bussiness.

Capitalism is unstable. This is understandable, because its the pathological pursuit of wealth by a few who fear no punishments for what they do. That is why it fucks up. You take aay restrictions on those seeking money, they will do as they please. Lower wages, worse working conditions. I doubt your free market wll particularly love trade unions, will it? Seeing as they're contrary to its interests.

When people are in absolute poverty, 60p an hour is a wage to them. Thus they earn money. If there is nothing else going, they will work for you, work for capitalists. Hence, as the alternative is no work, no money and no food, the people 'benefit' from 60p an hour, or a day, as they get in parts of the third world. This does not mean it is good, fair or nice to them.

Extra fact for you: In Anarchist Spain, production icnreased by 10% when the indsutries became worker controlled. that's not a failure, I think you'll agree. And look at the Soviet Unions industrialisation - that was a planned economy, state controlled, and a miracle of advancement too.
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#9 Darkademic

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 08:26 pm

I appreciate the time you're putting into these responses, but I have a feeling it's going to become so massive and we won't have time to reply to everything. I'll try to summarize at the end, don't feel you have to respond to everything.

Firstly.once more, stop setting up a straw man communism - communism is not a force it is a state of society, communal organisation - the final stage after the revolution, socialism, etc. There is no "Communism makes you do this." Communism is a descrption of how society is run.

What? Communism is political system, of course it "makes you do things". Communism is a political system based on force - without force it cannot sustain itself. Communism REQUIRES force and is the direct result of the forced redistribution of property - demonstrated below. I don't know how that is a straw man. It's a system, a structure, which requires certain things to exist, so my point holds. What you're saying is akin to detaching serfdom or a class sytem from feudalism.

So there will be no rich and they will not have wealth to continue owning - they will have already had it claimed by the workers.

I.e. stolen by the workers. So in other words people WILL have their property taken and redistributed. So much for opting out..

Secondly, where are your planned economy facts? And nearly everyone is rich? that's just insulting. I could fire at you hundreds of facts about how many people die each day from dirty water, what the average wage is in 90% of the world, there are countless examples.
From Wikipedia:
Extreme poverty is the most severe state of poverty. Many cannot meet basic needs for food, water, shelter, sanitation, and health care.[1] To determine the affected population, the World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than $1.25 per day (adjusted for PPP)[2]. The bank estimates that 1.4 billion people currently live under these conditions.[2]
Africa, the most poverty inflicted continent, has suffered at the hands of capitalist imperialism and now TNC exploitation. that's exploitation in the sense that you pay someone a pittance, do not allow unions and gain massive profit. That is capitalism.

Straw man. I said Western countries; I.e. the most capitalist countries, I did not say the whole world was rich.

Africa is starving because of socialism, e.g. Mugabe's failed planned socialist hellhole.

Capitalism is the Cure for Africa's Problems
An Explanation for Third World Poverty
The Tragedy of Africa: Foreign Aid, Debt and Forgiveness

Planned economy facts... seriously? Isn't the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, Eastern Europe etc. enough? The video I posted, and the related statistics, clearly show that economic freedom creates prosperity and economic control creates poverty.

The free market is not freedom in any sense. It is taking away all restrictions on the rich. You let them do what they want. No minimum wage laws, no welfare state. that's insane. The free marketeers/neo-liberals are already forcing millions into fuel poverty in the UK alone through privatsation and market comepetiton, lets not lie to ourselves and say somehow, them making more personal profit will translate into higher standards of living for the poor.

False. Minimum wages do nothing except create unemployment and the welfare state is a horribly inefficient and ineffective provider of that which it is supposed to provide.

Minimum Wage, Maximum Stupidity
The Economic Effects of the Minimum Wage
Minimum Wage, Maximum Folly

1945, and the welfare state is created. Why? Because the people needed it, because the capitalist system meant many people were too poor to afford healthcare. It is the same in parts of the USA, and any other country without free healthcare.

I suppose that's why thousands flock from Canada (which has universal healthcare) to the USA for surgery and other treatments because of the horrendous waiting times in Canada? The welfare state was, and is a mistake.

Daring to Question the Welfare State
Income Facts: Work Pays
Almighty Government, Please Bless Us and Take Care of Us

Now, I also think you've hardly been reading what I've said, because you've set up another strawman, that I claimed that no one has to work under communism. If you read, I was saying that under a pure capitalist society, if everyone started equal, no one would have to work for anyone else, and because capitlaism is ufnair, no one would want too. So I'll ignore any arguments in that paragraph.

What? Nobody would have to work for anyone else? It's the total opposite - everyone would be forced to work for everyone else.

I simply took what you said - that nobody would be forced to work - I even quoted it, so I can't see how it's a straw man.

In the countries with the most urnegulated capitalism, I.e. African countries with governments too corrupt or weak to oppose the TNCs, the capitalists pay the lowest amount, absolutely nothing. In the companies with the highest standard of living, capitalism is regulated, I.e. Britain, where we have a welfare state and minimum wage laws.

In a free market, those who are poor, and lack say, education, are in a ghetto, a rut. There is no welfare state to give them a boost. They will only get poorer, and will be forced to work for unregulated capitlaists who will thus pay them the lowest possible amount, in order to generate the highest possible profit. Because there is nothing stopping them.

Erm, the countries with the most unregulated capitalism are places like Hong Kong, the United States and to some extent the UK, which you can clearly see by watching that video, and visiting the site which contains all the statistics. African countries are not free, they are ruled by mobs and gangs with guns. That is not capitalism, that is mob rule.

The Hong Kong / China example is a profound example of how capitalism is infinitely superior to a planned economy. Hong Kong flourished and has gone from a poor harbour town to having one of the highest per capita incomes in the world in a few short decades - by having an almost completely free-market.

This assumes that when the rich get richer and buisnesses get higher profits, loads of it spills down to us poor folk. There is no proof of this.

Except in every Western country where the even the poorest people are richer than those in third-world countries or sometimes even second-world countries, and certainly richer than the poor were say 100, 200, 500 years ago..

At the moment, the main energy providers in Britain are enjoying their highest profits in years, something like 3 billion, yet energy bills are at their highest in a long time. There is a big campaign at the moment centrered around the 2 million plus residents of the UK (one of your wonderfuly brilliant capitalist countries, which is at the moment under a neo-liberal government who are attacking workers rights, the welfare state etc) who are currently in fuel poverty, deciding whether to eat or to heat.

If there is no reason (I.e., a left wing government forcing them) for capitalists to share wealth, why would they?

Inflation and tax are the contributors to increased fuel prices. Inflation means everyone's money is worth less, and tax is also constantly increasing. This is why fuel in the UK is more than double what it is in the USA. The profit issue is irrelevant, as this is not what is driving costs upwards. Both inflation and tax are direct results of government.

You talk of how the 'free market' has increased the wealth of people over the past 150 years. Certainly, industrialisation was neccesary, feudalism needed to be abolished, etc. But who have always been there creating the welfare state, giving union rights and fighting for wage increases? Socialists. Those who rode the wave of the industrial revolution were not setting out to increase the wealth of everyone. They were there to maximise profit. Note the squalour people lived in during capitalisms developement in the 1800's and early 1900s, in Britain and across the world. This squalour has only improved with the introduction of the NHS by the socialist, Nye Bevan, by the work of the unions, etc. There have been inevitable gains forced through by the people from the profit of the capitalists, but just look overseas to see the results of this. In order to improve the living conditions of British working class, Britain needed an Empire. Capitalism turned to Imperialism. Capitalism is not the wonderful self generator of wealth - it has to be exploiting someone. So it fights wars and goes overseas, like in the Iraq War.

No no no. During the industrial revolution, prosperity and average living standards, including life expectancy, increased dramatically. The previous times were utter hell for most ordinary folk (hence being called the Dark Ages - a time of total stagnation). It is only when socialists started to screw things up that the progression started to slow down. From 1800 to 1900 you had huge and rapid progress, then over the 20th century it slowed down and in some ways regressed. Living standards were already improving just fine before the NHS. Artificial wage increases, unions etc. are all part of the problem not the solution, explained a bit more below with sources.

Nor is it stable. Look at the current economic crisis. Try telling those out fo work at the moment about the benefits of capitalism! When you rely on rich gamblers with excessive bonuses in the City to do as they please, should you really be suprised when banks collapse? Note how recently, the US and the UK, two countries with governments firmly chasing the neo-liberal ideal, have been NATIONALISING banks. Why? Because capitalism screwed up. We left the rich unregulated, let them trade and gamble and whatever else they do, and now, the Government, the state you abhore, has had to intervene to save the banks and the capitalists. The state is stable, capitalism is not. It has its crisis. The crisis is paid for by the state, and thus the tax payer. Capitalism recovers and goes about its daily bussiness.

You do realise that the systems in both the UK and US are not truly capitalist. The UK in particular is a horrible mish-mash of socialism and capitalism. Inflation is ever increasing because the government just prints more money when it needs it, and interest rates are arbitrarily decided upon DETACHED from the market. Of course it's going to be unstable. The instability is entirely thanks to the government intervention into the economy.

Capitalism is unstable. This is understandable, because its the pathological pursuit of wealth by a few who fear no punishments for what they do. That is why it fucks up. You take aay restrictions on those seeking money, they will do as they please. Lower wages, worse working conditions. I doubt your free market wll particularly love trade unions, will it? Seeing as they're contrary to its interests.

Historical precedent displays the opposite actually. For example Henry Ford, back when economic regulations were almost non-existent: His workers saw huge pay-rises and improved working conditions when his business started to boom. How about Google today? Hardly terrible working conditions there and they make billions.

When people are in absolute poverty, 60p an hour is a wage to them. Thus they earn money. If there is nothing else going, they will work for you, work for capitalists. Hence, as the alternative is no work, no money and no food, the people 'benefit' from 60p an hour, or a day, as they get in parts of the third world. This does not mean it is good, fair or nice to them.

How many people in Western countries are on a 60p wage? Absolute povery doesn't even exist anymore in the West.

In poor countries sure they accept such a wage, but their alternative is starving to death. Capitalism is enabling them to survive.

Extra fact for you: In Anarchist Spain, production icnreased by 10% when the indsutries became worker controlled. that's not a failure, I think you'll agree. And look at the Soviet Unions industrialisation - that was a planned economy, state controlled, and a miracle of advancement too.

The Soviet Union was a catastrophe. I don't really know how you can justify using it as an example considering the tens of millions dead from famine and persecution. Sure, they built some factories and produced some steel and power, but what for? None of it benefited the population (part of the problem with a planned economy - what they produce is not decided by consumer demand, but by what those in power deem to be necessary). I actually made a long and detailed thread about the "success" of the Soviet Union: The Facts About The Soviet Union

Anarcho-socialist Spain? Sorry but a 10% production increase is not worth being condemned to 40 years of fascist rule afterwards due to the overall failure of it. You can't take an isolated "success" out of context. The Soviet Union succeed in building a ton of factories - but at the cost of tens of millions, and with nothing substantial to show for it. A lot of the real success actually came from foreign aid.

========

My main two arguments then are:

I don't think it's even arguable that planned economies have been successful. The evidence showing the success rates of free-markets is absolutely overwhelming. The free-market does create prosperity - it's an almost perfect correlation. This is enough to debunk communism imho; planned economies fail, communism is a planned economy, communism fails. The amount of writing and empirical evidence to back this up is enormous.

Communism requires the inititation of force both in its formation (through the state orchestrated expropriation of private property during socialism) and throughout its duration (through the redistribution of everything people produce and the banning of private enterprise). You can say it's voluntary all you want, but then why aren't you living in one of the communes which already exist? There's no point advocating something if it wouldn't involve it affecting the whole population.

========

Anyway all this is eerily similar to my arguments against capitalism years ago. The way I shook off communism was by starting from the beginning - with philosophy. Politics is a high level abstraction which requires a sound philosophical underpinning of metaphysics, epistemology and ethics.

Politics is supposed to be the translation of ethics to a society. My politics are entirely informed by the above hierarchy of philosophy whereas you seem to be taking for granted that equality is the ultimate good. It's not. Politically, freedom iis the ultimate good. Not freedom from eating or having to put in effort to live happily, but the freedom to use your mind to create your own means of surviving. The freedom from the government pointing a gun at you and stealing your property. The freedom from FORCE.

Metaphysics - Reality
Epistemology - Reason
Ethics - Egoism
Politics - Individual Rights
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Рациональный разум. Военачальник Загадочных Призраков.


#10 Twilight

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 08:44 pm

Without capitalism, there would be no IBM, no Microsoft, no Ford, no computers, no cars, no technology, no advancement, only stagnation and death. Capitalism (I.e. freedom) allows innovation, productivity and development because it rewards these things. Communism does the opposite; it punishes the most productive and innovative members of society.

It's funny when lefties attack capitalism using technology which was only made possible by capitalism.

What has gone wrong here? Why can these people not see what is obvious? Why can't people sitting amidst market-created plenty, enjoying all the fruits of capitalism every minute of life, see the merit of the market but rather wish for something that is a proven disaster?

Wow, perfect quote for this thread.

http://mises.org/story/2982 - Everything You Love You Owe to Capitalism

You should probably read the threads DR posted when he was a commie at Capitalist Paradise, as he said, eerily similar. Please don't let this one take 60+ pages though. :mellow:
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#11 Insathius

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 09:04 pm

Agree! This was all really pretty much explained through the Capitalist Paradise thread (which I must say helped me through my leftist phase lol).

Nice to see a new post here at politics though! :D
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#12 Placidarm

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 08:03 pm

What? Communism is political system, of course it "makes you do things". Communism is a political system based on force - without force it cannot sustain itself. Communism REQUIRES force and is the direct result of the forced redistribution of property - demonstrated below. I don't know how that is a straw man. It's a system, a structure, which requires certain things to exist, so my point holds. What you're saying is akin to detaching serfdom or a class sytem from feudalism.

Communism is the state a society is in where the wealth as already been seized from the few and put into public control. Communism does not require force as a system, but yes, in the general Marxist viewpoint getting to it requires force, I.e. a revolution. Communism is not a force, it is the result of a revolution in which the resources were taken back into the hands of the people.

I.e. stolen by the workers. So in other words people WILL have their property taken and redistributed. So much for opting out..

These people stole the wealth in the first place,by seizing it through violence, initially, going back hundreds of years. What gives them the right to the wealth and means of production? They gained it through force, and now use it to harm others through long hours and bad wages. We are going to take it back. They stole it initially and are now abusing it; they have no right to it. No one owns this world.

Straw man. I said Western countries; I.e. the most capitalist countries, I did not say the whole world was rich.

Africa is starving because of socialism, e.g. Mugabe's failed planned socialist hellhole.

Africa is starving because of a legacy of imperialism mixed in with oligarchic capitalism holding people in place. You never get authoritarian governments in oppressively poor countries who do not hold great amount of wealth. You say this is a failure of the state. The state is just a grouping of wealthy individuals, the same as a corporation. Some states are good, more left wing most, especially nowadays, are not. You rarely find poor statesman, they nearly all have links to the rich, landowning class.

Planned economy facts... seriously? Isn't the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, Eastern Europe etc. enough? The video I posted, and the related statistics, clearly show that economic freedom creates prosperity and economic control creates poverty.

In response to this, I would say: New Orleans, the countries which are not Zimbabwe in Africa, Russian Federation, India, Pakistan, Chile under Pinochet, I could go on forever, because most countries are capitalist, and in a condition where the state either cannot or will not resist the rich and controlling few who wish to advance their own interests.

False. Minimum wages do nothing except create unemployment and the welfare state is a horribly inefficient and ineffective provider of that which it is supposed to provide.

So to you, there should be no minimum wage laws, and we should allow the bosses to pay workers as little as they want? Yeh, that works, thats why migrant labourers exploited because they fear being expelled from the country are prospering on half the minimum wage in the UK. Oh, wait.

I guess thats also why the African countries in which Nike, Coca Cola, etc are paying their workers a pittance also have such high standards of living and thriving economies. Once more, shit. If you were an unskilled labourer in an inner city, youd understand why the minimum wage is so necessary.

The welfare state is there because without it, thousands of people cannot afford education, healthcare, etc. it was created because most of the population of Britain was suffering from disease and illnesses. The NHS is the largest provider of jobs in the world, and it gives people FREE healthcare. Thats FREE. Contrast that to the USA, where the healthcare is in fact in a state, with grossly high health insurance costs and the like, or any given third world country where most people wont ever see a doctor in their lifetime.

I suppose that's why thousands flock from Canada (which has universal healthcare) to the USA for surgery and other treatments because of the horrendous waiting times in Canada? The welfare state was, and is a mistake.

I guess thats why thousands of people flock to the UK in order to use the NHS because of its reputation for good quality, free services to people who need it. In fact, so many people come here theres a lot of calls for so called health tourists to be denied treatment.

What? Nobody would have to work for anyone else? It's the total opposite - everyone would be forced to work for everyone else.

I simply took what you said - that nobody would be forced to work - I even quoted it, so I can't see how it's a straw man.

Once more, read what I said, You quoted me describing your form of capitalism. What you dont understand here is that youve fundamentally misunderstood what Im saying.

Erm, the countries with the most unregulated capitalism are places like Hong Kong, the United States and to some extent the UK, which you can clearly see by watching that video, and visiting the site which contains all the statistics. African countries are not free, they are ruled by mobs and gangs with guns. That is not capitalism, that is mob rule.


The Hong Kong / China example is a profound example of how capitalism is infinitely superior to a planned economy. Hong Kong flourished and has gone from a poor harbour town to having one of the highest per capita incomes in the world in a few short decades - by having an almost completely free-market.

Hong Kong poverty rates: http://www.hkcss.org..._rate_91-05.pdf
China has been moving from feudalism to capitalism, with a sort of restricted state capitalist phase in between. It never had socialism or communism. All countries get better moving from feudalism to capitalism.

Except in every Western country where the even the poorest people are richer than those in third-world countries or sometimes even second-world countries, and certainly richer than the poor were say 100, 200, 500 years ago..

I said loads of it. Look at the income of the city bankers who have landed the UK in the shits at the moment, versus the income of your average nurse or teacher. Income moves downward through taxes. You want to get rid of taxes. How will the wealth of the few benefit the poor then?

Inflation and tax are the contributors to increased fuel prices. Inflation means everyone's money is worth less, and tax is also constantly increasing. This is why fuel in the UK is more than double what it is in the USA. The profit issue is irrelevant, as this is not what is driving costs upwards. Both inflation and tax are direct results of government.

Fuel poverty has been caused by the fact that energy companies have created a monopoly over the energy market because there is no regulation. Herein lies the main problem of your ideal system: If you leave the rich and powerful unrestricted, they will do as they please. We let them do as they please under a neo-liberal government over here, and as a result, they have pushed prices up, dumping millions into fuel poverty, and their profits have quadrupled. This is what happens when the rich are left to do as they please.

No no no. During the industrial revolution, prosperity and average living standards, including life expectancy, increased dramatically. The previous times were utter hell for most ordinary folk (hence being called the Dark Ages - a time of total stagnation). It is only when socialists started to screw things up that the progression started to slow down. From 1800 to 1900 you had huge and rapid progress, then over the 20th century it slowed down and in some ways regressed. Living standards were already improving just fine before the NHS. Artificial wage increases, unions etc. are all part of the problem not the solution, explained a bit more below with sources.

This is just insulting, and I dont understand where your conception of history comes from. Things were just fine? We wouldnt have the 8 hour day if it wasnt for unions, people would still be scared to go to hospital because of the costs if it wasnt for the welfare state, wed still have loads of illiterate people if it wasnt for free education. Living standards were improving just fine? People lived in slums all over England. This is insanity, what you claim, absolute madness. Its like holocaust denial, its baseless, it ignores the evidence, and is thus not worth arguing against.

You do realise that the systems in both the UK and US are not truly capitalist. The UK in particular is a horrible mish-mash of socialism and capitalism. Inflation is ever increasing because the government just prints more money when it needs it, and interest rates are arbitrarily decided upon DETACHED from the market. Of course it's going to be unstable. The instability is entirely thanks to the government intervention into the economy.

Unemployment in the UK has been at its highest during the last 20 or so years of right wing governments.

Historical precedent displays the opposite actually. For example Henry Ford, back when economic regulations were almost non-existent: His workers saw huge pay-rises and improved working conditions when his business started to boom. How about Google today? Hardly terrible working conditions there and they make billions.

Your point being? What about the sweatshops for Primark in India and the factories of Africa and Asia?

How many people in Western countries are on a 60p wage? Absolute povery doesn't even exist anymore in the West.

Yet many people still have to balance several jobs, and fuel poverty is rife. The UK has the highest rate of child poverty in Europe.
http://news.bbc.co.u...lth/1207241.stm

In poor countries sure they accept such a wage, but their alternative is starving to death. Capitalism is enabling them to survive.

And socialism would let them live, not just survive. Capitalism keeps people in a miserable existence with no hope of progression or indulgence.

The Soviet Union was a catastrophe. I don't really know how you can justify using it as an example considering the tens of millions dead from famine and persecution. Sure, they built some factories and produced some steel and power, but what for? None of it benefited the population (part of the problem with a planned economy - what they produce is not decided by consumer demand, but by what those in power deem to be necessary). I actually made a long and detailed thread about the "success" of the Soviet Union: The Facts About The Soviet Union

Anarcho-socialist Spain? Sorry but a 10% production increase is not worth being condemned to 40 years of fascist rule afterwards due to the overall failure of it.

This is disgusting. The Spanish Anarchists had a revolution because of the awful condition people were living in, ad the church, the monarchy and the rich landowners held all the land. The Spanish anarchists created a truly equal society, and were the first to mobilise in resistance to Franco. They mobilised long before the Republican government.

You can't take an isolated "success" out of context. The Soviet Union succeed in building a ton of factories - but at the cost of tens of millions, and with nothing substantial to show for it. A lot of the real success actually came from foreign aid.

Ok, so state capitalism was a failure. Well done. But this was a planned economy and it moved from semi-feudal to highly industrialised.

My main two arguments then are:

I don't think it's even arguable that planned economies have been successful. The evidence showing the success rates of free-markets is absolutely overwhelming. The free-market does create prosperity - it's an almost perfect correlation. This is enough to debunk communism imho; planned economies fail, communism is a planned economy, communism fails. The amount of writing and empirical evidence to back this up is enormous.

And the evidence showing that unregulated, neo-liberalism means that wages go down and living conditions fall shows to me the failure of capitalism. The examples of poverty in every country of the world, from your beloved Hong Kong to the socialist-capitalist UK to the USA, two countries currently relying on state intervention to fix the problems caused by the selfish and unregulated rich, all the way to Ethiopia and the other African nations where the government leaves business to do as it pleases, all these examples demonstrate how leaving the rich to do as they please always has negative results.

Communism requires the inititation of force both in its formation (through the state orchestrated expropriation of private property during socialism) and throughout its duration (through the redistribution of everything people produce and the banning of private enterprise). You can say it's voluntary all you want, but then why aren't you living in one of the communes which already exist? There's no point advocating something if it wouldn't involve it affecting the whole population.

I dont really understand you, but I dont live in a commune because I want to spread socialism through the world as it is rather than bury my head in the sand and ignore the suffering of my fellow human beings.

Anyway all this is eerily similar to my arguments against capitalism years ago. The way I shook off communism was by starting from the beginning - with philosophy. Politics is a high level abstraction which requires a sound philosophical underpinning of metaphysics, epistemology and ethics.

Politics is supposed to be the translation of ethics to a society. My politics are entirely informed by the above hierarchy of philosophy whereas you seem to be taking for granted that equality is the ultimate good. It's not. Politically, freedom iis the ultimate good. Not freedom from eating or having to put in effort to live happily, but the freedom to use your mind to create your own means of surviving. The freedom from the government pointing a gun at you and stealing your property. The freedom from FORCE.

Thats why communism is freedom. No one steals your labour or the shared property of all human beings. No one points a gun at your head saying Work for this system or die. I like freedom.

I wish capitalists wouldnt steal my time by forcing to me to work for them so they can profit from my need to eat and drink. Thats another reason why I am a socialist, because I dont like the fact people have in possession the things I need to survive and are forcing me to sell my labour to get it back from them. Like I said, this is no one world to won. Hence, communism, where everything is publicly owned and thus everyone owns it in equal measure. Shorter working days, production geared to need. Much better than production, conditions and wages geared to profit. The only thing preventing the capitalists from making as much as they want is the people exercising their will through government as it is. When the government panders to the neo-libs, as it does now and always eventually will, we need direct peoples control, or socialism.
If I try to get better wages and fight against this system, capitalism will use FORCE against me, force by imprisoning me or sacking me or cutting my wages.

And I don't understand your dream. I'll use logic.

Capitalism is about profit. So to make the most profit, the capitalist needs the workers to produce us much as possible for as little money as possible. It is against the capitalists interest to make the living conditions better for his people.
You believe that leaving this few rich people to do as they please their wealth will somehow move down to the poor of the world. At the moment, the only way the wealth of the rich trickles down to the poor is through taxes, I.e. through the medium of a state. Because capitalists have always charged more than there services or products are worth (that's fundamental to capitalism, obviously), the state has also had to give free healthcare and education and benefits to the very poor. You somehow believe getting rid of all of this will benefit these poor people.

Do not take this as ad hominem, but I think that this idea is pathetic and shortsighted, and only makes sense from a priviliged and intellectual point of view, that is to say, the only people who would seriously advocate this pure capitalism, which is essentially a perversion and misintepretation of Adam Smith's ideas, are the people who are already in a position of wealth and security, because such people have nothing to lose from such an idea and everything to gain.
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#13 Twilight

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 12:28 am

Placidarm, do you not read the articles DR has posted? You are coming up with the same fallacious arguments about the successes of socialism / economic planning, straw men against supposedly capitalist systems which are actually socialistic, and you seem to completely ignore the mountains of economic research which demonstrate the efficacy of the free market. The rest of what you say is just generic Marxist ramblings about exploitation, imperialism and the power of the rich which have no relationship to reality.

If, as you say, unrestricted trade only favors the wealthy, and regulation is essential, why does America have the highest standard of living in the world for ordinary people who would be considered "prolateriat"?
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#14 Darkademic

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 12:48 am

This is the reason I asked how old you were in WAR, because all of the above sounds like it's straight out of an A-level sociology textbook. No offense, because that's exactly where my communist ideas got reinforced.

To quote things put the text in quote tags. [ quote] TEXT [ /quote] - minus the spaces.

Communism is the state a society is in where the wealth as already been seized from the few and put into public control. Communism does not require force as a system, but yes, in the general Marxist viewpoint getting to it requires force, I.e. a revolution. Communism is not a force, it is the result of a revolution in which the resources were taken back into the hands of the people.

The ends do not justify the means - though the ends in this case are still abhorrent.

Communism is simply stealing from those who produce more and giving to those who produce less. It's a complete evasion to suggest that communism is perfectly fine because it is not the same as the methods used to bring it about. You could use this to justify ANYTHING - including the millions dead under Stalin and Mao. Socialism and communism are two sides of the same coin - they are just complete control of the economy by bureaucrats and tyrants. It is absolute nonsense to suggest that the running of the entire economy could be done via a democratic vote without any regard for supply and demand - someone HAS to be in charge.

Even after socialism has successfully stolen all wealth and miraculously spread it out evenly to everyone, those who produce more and work harder will have their excess efforts stripped from them and passed around to those who put in little effort.

These people stole the wealth in the first place,by seizing it through violence, initially, going back hundreds of years. What gives them the right to the wealth and means of production? They gained it through force, and now use it to harm others through long hours and bad wages. We are going to take it back. They stole it initially and are now abusing it; they have no right to it. No one owns this world.

Who? Which specific people siezed the means of production through violence? I run my own company, did I sieze the "means of production through violence hundreds of years ago?" This is completely basesless and ignorant. Microsoft started out small and has become huge, what did Bill Gates steal? Is everything just a free for all? Do you have as much right to my house, my car, my property as I do? Do you not believe in property at all?

Africa, the most poverty inflicted continent, has suffered at the hands of capitalist imperialism and now TNC exploitation. that's exploitation in the sense that you pay someone a pittance, do not allow unions and gain massive profit. That is capitalism.

Africa is not capitalist - again, demonstrated by the statistical evidence I gave. You are talking about anarchy and mob rule. Capitalism means a free market, and freedom involves the protection of individual rights. In most African countries there IS NO defense of individual rights - it's just might makes right.

Exploitation and imperialism are just buzzwords.

Africa is starving because of a legacy of imperialism mixed in with oligarchic capitalism holding people in place. You never get authoritarian governments in oppressively poor countries who do not hold great amount of wealth. You say this is a failure of the state. The state is just a grouping of wealthy individuals, the same as a corporation. Some states are good, more left wing most, especially nowadays, are not. You rarely find poor statesman, they nearly all have links to the rich, landowning class.

The state is an agent of force. A corporation is an agent of trade. They are not the same by a long shot.

Socialism IS authoritarianism. As for holding people in place, it's actually the most economically free countries which have the greatest amount of economic mobility, so wrong again.

In response to this, I would say: New Orleans, the countries which are not Zimbabwe in Africa, Russian Federation, India, Pakistan, Chile under Pinochet, I could go on forever, because most countries are capitalist, and in a condition where the state either cannot or will not resist the rich and controlling few who wish to advance their own interests.

You are not understanding capitalism if you think these places are capitalist. All of the above (except New Orleans) rank extremely LOW on the economic freedom index. Economic freedom is THE indicator of capitalism. For example Russia is 134th. Chile has been increasingly improving since Pinochet, through the adoption of more free-market policies.

Seriously, you aren't understanding what capitalism is - you are using the nonsensical Marxist definition. Capitalism means economic freedom. Economic freedom means prosperity, period. Fact. Proven. Empirical. You are arguing against systems which I don't even support.

So to you, there should be no minimum wage laws, and we should allow the bosses to pay workers as little as they want? Yeh, that works, thats why migrant labourers exploited because they fear being expelled from the country are prospering on half the minimum wage in the UK. Oh, wait.

I guess thats also why the African countries in which Nike, Coca Cola, etc are paying their workers a pittance also have such high standards of living and thriving economies. Once more, shit. If you were an unskilled labourer in an inner city, youd understand why the minimum wage is so necessary.

I'm guessing you didn't read the links then, because all of that is Marxist bunk. I've already said that those low wages are still better than what they would get otherwise. The sweatshops thing is socialist propaganda. The minimum wage creates unemployment because employers will simply employ less people or cut costs in other ways. It also raises prices so that people end up paying the extra money right back when they purchase goods. You do realise the minimum wage came in in 1997? Do you think people were living in absolute squalor before that and then suddenly the minimum wage fixed everything? If anything the economy has DECLINED.. and hey presto, we're heading towards a recession! Obvioulsy minimum wage is not the only cause, but general STATE MEDDLING in the economy, is.

The welfare state is there because without it, thousands of people cannot afford education, healthcare, etc. it was created because most of the population of Britain was suffering from disease and illnesses. The NHS is the largest provider of jobs in the world, and it gives people FREE healthcare. Thats FREE. Contrast that to the USA, where the healthcare is in fact in a state, with grossly high health insurance costs and the like, or any given third world country where most people wont ever see a doctor in their lifetime.

Healthcare is not free, nothing is free, it's funded through taxation. I suppose you haven't notice the RIDICULOUSLY high taxes in the UK where maybe 50% of your wages are disappearing through VAT, council tax, income tax, stamp duty etc etc ad nauseum. The US system is not free and not capitalist, it is PACKED with statist red-tape. Do you also understand that the only reason CHEAP PRIVATE health-care doesn't exist is because there is no MARKET for it? Why pay for mediocre healthcare when the NHS gives it to you for "free"? Albeit in a far more inefficient manner since they have NO COMPETITION and no reason to improve. The NHS is just a big bureacratic mess which cares more about meeting abritrary government defined targets than it does about treating patients.

Fuel poverty has been caused by the fact that energy companies have created a monopoly over the energy market because there is no regulation. Herein lies the main problem of your ideal system: If you leave the rich and powerful unrestricted, they will do as they please. We let them do as they please under a neo-liberal government over here, and as a result, they have pushed prices up, dumping millions into fuel poverty, and their profits have quadrupled. This is what happens when the rich are left to do as they please.

Conjecture. Why is fuel half the price in the USA which has LESS regulation??

Unemployment in the UK has been at its highest during the last 20 or so years of right wing governments.

Right wing?? The left-right model is pointless and incomplete. Politics can not be understood on a one dimensional scale. The Tories and Labour are almost identical, and FAR from being capitalist. They are both social-democratic types. More socialist than anything else. The government interferes with EVERYTHING.

I guess thats why thousands of people flock to the UK in order to use the NHS because of its reputation for good quality, free services to people who need it. In fact, so many people come here theres a lot of calls for so called health tourists to be denied treatment.

The NHS has a reputation for good quality??! People have been DYING in wards because they're not clean enough! People are DYING on waiting lists because the NHS has to meet targets for particular TYPES of medical problems, so people with serious conditions lose out to people with less serious conditions just so they can tick their boxes!!

Once more, read what I said, You quoted me describing your form of capitalism. What you dont understand here is that youve fundamentally misunderstood what Im saying.

Then you're creating a scenario detached from reality. There can never be capitalism where "everyone starts equal" - there can never be ANY system where this is the case. Equality is a metaphysical impossibility.

This is just insulting, and I dont understand where your conception of history comes from. Things were just fine? We wouldnt have the 8 hour day if it wasnt for unions, people would still be scared to go to hospital because of the costs if it wasnt for the welfare state, wed still have loads of illiterate people if it wasnt for free education. Living standards were improving just fine? People lived in slums all over England. This is insanity, what you claim, absolute madness. Its like holocaust denial, its baseless, it ignores the evidence, and is thus not worth arguing against.

You're comparing conditions to now rather than the previous centuries which makes this a non-argument.

It is absolutely in line with the evidence I think you'll find. Before capitalism and the industrial revolution you had THOUSANDS OF YEARS of what would now be classed as absolute poverty. Thousands of years of religious and feudal oppression stifled innovation and development. Then, the enlightenment loosens these chains and we see dramatic improvements in two short centuries thanks to CAPITALISM. It is the remnants of a slowly decaying freedom which has allowed things to get better still.

Oh I find the equivocation with holocaust denial to be offensive. This is nowhere near anything like that. The evidence for the success of free markets is glaring and obvious.

Your point being? What about the sweatshops for Primark in India and the factories of Africa and Asia?

My point being you are wrong.

I've already talked about sweatshops. They pay better than the alternative, which is often ZERO. People aren't forced to work in sweatshops, they go there willingly because the pay is relatively high. Penn and Teller did a "Bullshit" episode on this.

Yet many people still have to balance several jobs, and fuel poverty is rife. The UK has the highest rate of child poverty in Europe.
http://news.bbc.co.u...lth/1207241.stm

Mixing definitions now. I said absolute poverty, this is talking about RELATIVE poverty (which is a flawed concept, often used by Marxists). Relative poverty can include absurdities like not owning a television or a computer. It doesn't matter how you try to dance around the facts, freer economies ARE richer, FAR richer, than more heavily regulated ones.

And socialism would let them live, not just survive. Capitalism keeps people in a miserable existence with no hope of progression or indulgence.

Despite history showing quite the opposite? Socialism CAUSED and CAUSES misery, poverty and mass-starvation, whereas free markets / capitalism has caused the prosperity that is all around you.

Ok, so state capitalism was a failure. Well done. But this was a planned economy and it moved from semi-feudal to highly industrialised.

I was wondering when you'd start using the term "state capitalism". State capitalism is an anti-concept. State control of the economy IS socialism. I'll post up some videos which discuss state-capitalism, as well as why Nazi Germany was socialist, and why socialism is totalitarian.

The Soviet Union and Maoist China were socialism excercised to near perfection.

And the evidence showing that unregulated, neo-liberalism means that wages go down and living conditions fall shows to me the failure of capitalism. The examples of poverty in every country of the world, from your beloved Hong Kong to the socialist-capitalist UK to the USA, two countries currently relying on state intervention to fix the problems caused by the selfish and unregulated rich, all the way to Ethiopia and the other African nations where the government leaves business to do as it pleases, all these examples demonstrate how leaving the rich to do as they please always has negative results.

Mixing of absolute and relative poverty again. This really doesn't counter my argument. The fact is that more capitalist countries are richer OVERALL. Socialist / planned economy countries are poorer OVERALL. Less regulation does not mean wages and living conditions fall AT ALL - all the evidence shows the opposite - I've already linked you to it. I can find some more if you really want. Literacy, mortality rates, per capita income, leisure time, working conditions ALL rise with FREER markets.

The Hong Kong link you posted, again is totally based on some arbitrary definition of poverty. "We define poverty as living under a
monthly income less than or equal to half of the median income of all other households of equal size". Do we? Why? This is not a measure of poverty it's a measure of EQUALITY - a typical Marxist tactic. Hong Kong has gone from THIS to THIS in a few decades. THAT is what capitalism has done.

I dont really understand you, but I dont live in a commune because I want to spread socialism through the world as it is rather than bury my head in the sand and ignore the suffering of my fellow human beings.

You want to spread socialism using tools created by capitalism? That computer you are using, those clothes you wear, the supermarket you visit - well I hate to break it to you, they are all supporting and part of capitalism. It's rather hypocrtitical if you ask me.

Thats why communism is freedom. No one steals your labour or the shared property of all human beings. No one points a gun at your head saying Work for this system or die. I like freedom.

You've never experienced this supposed "freedom". You've got it backwards. Communism IS the stealing of labour and property and it IS pointing a gun at you and forcing you to work.

I wish capitalists wouldnt steal my time by forcing to me to work for them so they can profit from my need to eat and drink. Thats another reason why I am a socialist, because I dont like the fact people have in possession the things I need to survive and are forcing me to sell my labour to get it back from them.

So you'd rather just steal it from them instead. Maybe that's too obvious. You want the state, under the guise of "the people" to steal it for you, then give it to you.

They didn't steal anything from you. If I bake a loaf of bread, does that make it rightfully yours to "take back"? Just because you need something doesn't give you the right to steal it from somebody else.

Like I said, this is no one world to won. Hence, communism, where everything is publicly owned and thus everyone owns it in equal measure. Shorter working days, production geared to need. Much better than production, conditions and wages geared to profit. The only thing preventing the capitalists from making as much as they want is the people exercising their will through government as it is. When the government panders to the neo-libs, as it does now and always eventually will, we need direct peoples control, or socialism.

Conjecture. Socialism has only ever accomplished creating mass-starvation, stagnation and death.

If I try to get better wages and fight against this system, capitalism will use FORCE against me, force by imprisoning me or sacking me or cutting my wages.

You don't understand what force is. Getting the government to hold a gun to your employer's head for artificially increased wages is force. Employers can pay you whatever they want, it is NOT FORCE.

Capitalism is about profit.

No, capitalism is about freedom.

So to make the most profit, the capitalist needs the workers to produce us much as possible for as little money as possible. It is against the capitalists interest to make the living conditions better for his people.

So why are working and living conditions better in more capitalist, less regulated countries? You are ignoring the fact of competition. In a marketplace if you pay your employees too little, or have too poor working conditions, they can go elsewhere.

You believe that leaving this few rich people to do as they please their wealth will somehow move down to the poor of the world. At the moment, the only way the wealth of the rich trickles down to the poor is through taxes, I.e. through the medium of a state.

Except the rich can quite easily avoid taxes through offshore finance companies, whereas the poor get stuck with the bill. Taxes harm the poor far more than doing them any good.

Because capitalists have always charged more than there services or products are worth (that's fundamental to capitalism, obviously), the state has also had to give free healthcare and education and benefits to the very poor. You somehow believe getting rid of all of this will benefit these poor people.

Who are you to say what products are worth? I can go to Tesco and get everything I need for a pittance. Convenient and cheap. People are able to have a far more lavish and luxurious lifestyle than they did 50-60-70 years ago.

Do not take this as ad hominem, but I think that this idea is pathetic and shortsighted, and only makes sense from a priviliged and intellectual point of view, that is to say, the only people who would seriously advocate this pure capitalism, which is essentially a perversion and misintepretation of Adam Smith's ideas, are the people who are already in a position of wealth and security, because such people have nothing to lose from such an idea and everything to gain.

BS. I recognize that capitalism has created and continues to create prosperity and wealth that would have been unimaginable 200 years ago. I think it's utterly ignorant to blank-out the HORRIFIC failures of socialism and communism. Marx was wrong.

And believe me, capitalist economic theory has come a LONG way since Adam Smith. Try Mises, Rothbard, Reisman, Hayek et al.

This is LibertyIsNotGiven talking about free market vs socialism and the false dichotomy between workers and owners:




George Reisman talking about Nazism and Socialism:



The following is a video by Stefan Molyneux. He is a market anarchist rather than a minarchist like myself, however he has very similar ideas about the free market.


Free markets work, and they are what have given you all the stuff you take for granted - the computer you're on, the supermarkets and shops you buy all your stuff from, all capitalism, markets, trade. Then you go and add injury to insult by supporting a system tried and tested, which has caused hundreds of millions of deaths from starvation. No, not state capitalism, that is an anti-concept because state intervention is anti-capitalist. The USSR and Maoist China were perfect examples of socialism, and are what happens when you take economic planning to the extreme.
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#15 Twilight

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 02:01 am

DR, whilst you clearly have a good understanding of the issues, and have the time to write these huge replies, I don't think it will get you anywhere. Like Inspector's (and the others') debate with you, you'll have to dig down to deeper philosophical issues.

Socialists have no integrated understanding of economics, nor a grasp of any particular or solid philosophical foundation. That, combined with a tendency to believe what they believe in the face of amazing contradictions and contradictary evidence, and you quickly find they are impossible to reason with. It's exactly like debating with the White Nationalists.

Placidarm, if nothing else please read the article I linked to earlier. http://mises.org/story/2982

If you still have no doubts about socialism then, well good luck to you.
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#16 Darkademic

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 12:02 pm

Mhh, alright. Plac just answer this. Yes or no.

Do I have the right to exist for my own sake?
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