Originally posted by KrazyJethro
You can do anything you please, but I've little idea of what your ideas are.
Ferpetessake, Jethro, I've been blabbin' about 'em on this thread for days and weeks!
OK, well, let maybe I could be more concise than I have so far. I'll try.
1. The so-called "free market" is not free. It is created by laws and enforced by the government, with a view to setting the rules of exchange and
ownership so as to benefit the wealthiest and most powerful members of society at the expense of everyone else.
2. The only "natural" system of property ownership for humans is what our precivilized ancestors had. Under that system, each individual owned his
or her own clothing, tools, weapons, bed space, and other personal possessions. Capital property (hunting and foraging grounds, flint quarries,
streams and beaches, etc.) were owned collectively by the tribe. No one person owned any of it, and the produce of it was shared. It was a true
communist system, and probably the model drawn on by Marx and other idealistic dreamers.
We cannot return to that system. It only works for societies organized into small bands, living by foraging and hunting, with no formal government or
organized religion. But we should recognize that any departure from it is artificial. That most decidedly includes capitalism, which like all modern
economic systems is an artifice of law, not a work of nature, and should be judged by its fruits.
3. Modern industrial economies have been organized in three fundamental ways: capitalism, strong socialism, and weak socialism. Capitalism at its
purest existed in the United States between the end of the Civil War and the onset of the Great Depression. Strong socialism existed in the Soviet
Union and other so-called Communist countries. Weak socialism exists today in all advanced industrial economies, although a return to capitalism is
being attempted. Of those three forms, we may observe that weak socialism outperforms both capitalism and strong socialism, measured purely by
economic growth and productivity of wealth. It vastly outperforms capitalism, and only slightly underperforms strong socialism, in the distribution
of wealth and the ensurance of a living for all citizens. (It would not be hard to have a weak socialism that didn't underperform strong socialism
in these respects at all.) Weak socialism also somewhat outperforms capitalism, and vastly outperforms strong socialism, in its compatibility with
4. We can define these three forms of economic organization in two separate ways, in terms of ownership of the means of production, or in terms of
for whose benefit the government regulates the economy. (The government ALWAYS regulates the economy; an unregulated economy is an oxymoron.)
In terms of ownership: In a capitalist economy, the means of production are owned by wealthy and privileged private individuals, with full enjoyment
of the benefits of that ownership and little to no public or social responsibility attached to that benefit. In a weak socialist economy, the means
of production are mostly owned by wealthy and privileged private individuals, but strong public and social responsibility is attached to that
ownership and the enjoyment of the benefits thereof is subject to restraint based on that responsibility. There may also be some state ownership and
control of some of the means of production, but this is not the dominant reality. In a strong socialist economy, the means of production are mostly
owned by the state or by collectives.
In terms of for whose benefit the state regulates the economy: In a capitalist economy, regulations are designed to benefit the owning class. In a
stong socialist economy, regulations are primarily designed to benefit the governing class, and secondarily the working class. In a weak socialist
economy, regulations are designed to benefit the working class and the capitalist class, with considerable tension between the two.
(If you get the idea here that I favor weak socialism in preference to either of the other two, you're right.)
5. In all economic transactions, we must recognized the existence of coercion. Just because a person doesn't have a literal gun pointed to his or
her head doesn't mean that a contract is "freely" entered into. In the labor market, for example, jobs are accepted because the worker HAS to have
a job in order to survive.
Note the difference in meaning between the words "has to have a job" and "has to work." Because the means of production are already owned by
others, a member of the working class cannot go out and work for himself to support himself, except under the rarest of circumstances. He "has to
have a job," meaning he has to serve someone else and get paid for it. This is the element of coercion, and means that the job with its attendant
wages and conditions is not agreed to freely by the worker, but rather agreed to under duress, because he has no choice.
For this reason, regulations requiring minimum wages, protecting the right of collective bargaining, establishing minimum working conditions, and so
on do not infringe upon the worker's freedom to enter into agreements that violate those regulations. The worker has little or no freedom in the
process to begin with.
6. All wealth is produced collectively. The share of the wealth produced that each individual involved in its production takes home is determined,
not by his or her contribution to the production, but rather by how much power and control the individual has over the process. Thus to say that what
one has, one has a right to, is unreasonably simplistic. One may reasonably be said to have a right to more, or to less, than one has, depending on
the power one brings to the bargaining table.
That will do to go on.