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Facts About Socialism

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posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 02:18 AM
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i noticed there is a lot of discussion on here about socialism and even though there are multiple people here that have a good understanding of it and they have explained it in detail in various threads, there is still A LOT of confusion as to what socialism is, how it works, both in theory and in practice, etc. i want to use this thread as a reference to educate people on the topic and also to have some discussions with people who agree and disagree. so, if you are in opposition to socialism, read this post and discuss it from here. if you are a proponent of socialism and you agree with me on what socialism is, then feel free to add on to anything i left out. if you are a proponent and disagree, let me know why. here we go...

i will start by saying that...

Socialism is workers' control over the means of production.

nothing more, nothing less. i felt the need to magnify the size of this statement because, while this has been explained over and over again, people still seem to overlook this fact or not quite understand it. what this means is that workers, whether as a collectivized group or as individuals, would possess direct authority over the tools and the raw materials used in the production process. beyond this, the word "socialism" says nothing else about society, the economy, our government, etc. socialism is an economic theory. it may exist within the constraints of various political structures but it always retains the above principle (in large print).

Communism is a form of socialism based on the guiding principle "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

in other words, in order to be a communist, one must believe in two things:

1. workers' control over the means of production.
2. distribution of goods based on the needs of individuals.

again, like the broader term socialism, communism is simply an economic theory. there is nothing about communism that presupposes any specific political or social order. other stipulations on the theory, including various other economic stipulations such as whether or not there is taxation and how high the taxes are, have nothing to do with communism or socialism as a whole and are only determined by what type of socialism/communism is being discussed. socialism and communism are as varied as the governing bodies of the various jurisdictions of the world.

based on the principles upon which communism and socialism are based, and since in "communist" countries throughout the world worker control is/was rarely practiced...

The USSR, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, etc., are not, were not, and never will be true examples of socialism.

and this is the point at which arguments usually delve into a realm i like to call theory vs. practice:

-"But that is what 'actually existing communism' has amounted to. it has never, and will never, work in reality, even though it seems good in theory."

actually, that is false. many examples of actual socialism and communism have existed and continue to exist to this day, and they often work quite wonderfully:

The Spanish Revolution
The Ukrainian Free Territory
The Israeli Kibbutzim
Freetown Christiania

in addition, one could break down socialism to economic units and discuss a business model that exists in countries all over the world and is gaining massive popularity that could be seen as the basis of socialist thought...

Worker Cooperatives

"A worker cooperative is a cooperative owned and democratically managed by its worker-owners... In traditional forms of worker cooperative, all shares are held by the workforce with no outside or consumer owners, and each member has one voting share. In practice, control by worker-owners may be exercised through individual, collective or majority ownership by the workforce, or the retention of individual, collective or majority voting rights (exercised on a one-member one-vote basis)."

en.wikipedia.org...

according to the International Co-operative Alliance, "The Co-operative Movement brings together over 1 billion people around the world." according to the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, "Though we lack comprehensive data on the nature and scope of worker cooperatives in the U.S., researchers and practitioners conservatively estimate that there are over 300 democratic workplaces in the United States, employing over 3,500 people and generating over $400 million in annual revenues." around the world worker cooperatives often make up larger chunks of their respective economies. in Spain, the Mondragon Corporation is one of the greatest examples of large scale worker cooperation in practice. employing over 83,000 people worldwide, it is the 7th largest business in Spain and rivals many Fortune 500 companies (since it isn't publicly traded it doesn't get mentioned on such lists including it's global counterpart the Global 500, but it has received many rewards for its excellence such as the M.A.K.E. top 10 list, made by the same people responsible for the Fortune/Global lists). also, evidence suggests that worker cooperatives are, on average, more productive, better ensure job and income security, and last longer than their hierarchical counterparts:

Worker Cooperative Productivity
Collectives in the Spanish Revolution
Business Ownership by Workers: Are Worker Cooperatives a Viable Option?

another argument that i commonly see takes this basic form: "but socialism and communism prevent individualism and subvert individuals to the group."

There are many different strains of socialism

to start, communism isn't the only form of socialism. there are collectivist, communist, and individualist strains and subdivisions within each of those. some prominent socialist theorists and the theories they champion include...

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
Mutualism

Mikhail Bakunin
Collectivism (Collectivist Anarchism)

Pyotr Kropotkin
Anarcho-Communism

other prominent individualist, anti-capitalist thinkers (though it is unclear whether or not they were socialist) include:

Lysander Spooner
Josiah Warren
William Godwin

i hope this info proves to be useful.
edit on 9-2-2012 by eboyd because: part of post wasn't working correctly.
edit on 9-2-2012 by eboyd because: (no reason given)




posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 02:45 AM
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An excellent post. Too many people accept the labels of the past combined with the poorly run systems as exampled by those you mentioned, among them the USSR, China, Cuba, and North Korea. They confuse the odd mix of political and economic systems which resulted and still result in poorly run countries where the means of production have actually been in control of a few at the top rather than the workers. The greed and corruption of those at the top meaning the suffering of those at the bottom along with people willing to accept what they don't deserve and doing little to deserve what they do get. In theory, they work well if the darker side of human nature doesn't take control, but this can be said of all systems, including out own capitalist system which has led to the 1% controlling the other 99%. While capitalism has created high standards of living, it has also created artificial obsolescence. We now create crap so it can be replaced quickly with more crap rather than producing quality products. We are wasting resources and polluting the planet this way, to dire results with more to come. Sensible and practical methods and systems fall before the power of greed and corruption no matter which system is utilized. Without control over those in power, as in, Government BY the People, OF the People, and FOR the People, we are in big trouble here in America. It is now BY the Rich, the Elite, and the Corporations, still OF the People, but not so much FOR the People anymore either. Wake Up America! Think the labels through! It's too easy to call someone a Socialist or Communist or Capitalist. Think each issue through and consider the values of each system as well as the weaknesses, mostly based on Who Is In Power!



posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 03:04 AM
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posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 03:14 AM
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thank you! glad you guys enjoyed it. now let's get some nay-sayers opinions!


any takers?.....



posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 04:01 AM
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I remember back to childhood, going to school, when we were first introduced to different sorts of political systems. Suffice to say, this was a very very long time ago, when Russia was still The USSR, The cold war was well entrenched, decades before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

When we got to communism and socialism, the point was made that these were the socio-political-economic systems of the 'bad-guys'.
I was a quiet child, never want for sticking out, so, I kept mum on my thoughts about the subject, but, I distinctly recall, on listening to the details about each system how they seemed closer to Utopian ideals, and more of a good thing, and didn't 'get' why the 'bad-guys' were the 'bad-guys' if this was the only reason they were indeed the 'bad-guys'.

I thought the principals behind communism and socialism sounded pretty smash bang good.

This was when I was a mere 6 or 7 years old.

Of course, I see now, in a world filled with humans who have a nasty disposition for power, control, wealth beyond their needs, and needs beyond sensibility, that Communism, or Socialism as beautiful as the ideas are, won't work on National scales.

Voluntary Cooperatives, Small Community organizations, and Collective effort businesses, however, so long as there are definitive mechanisms to prevent parties or personalities from becoming MORE EQUAL than equal, I think could work.

These could be done inside a Capitalist system, where a business founds itself on these principles of Socialism, or Communism where all the workers, up to and including the President, Board Members, CEO, Management, middle management, on down to the common worker, essentially get the same wage.

Unfortunately, I don't think there's a one business that operates on anything close to such a foundation where everyone contributing and working shares in the returns of said business.

It could happen, but, as cool as that would be, I doubt anyone driving any successful business would ever keep such a system for long once that old familiar human condition of greed starts setting in. Sad.

My two cents.

edit on 9-2-2012 by nineix because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 05:47 AM
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The world has been fed a big load of propaganda on socialism. I am neither a capitalist or a socialist. I think we need to find a new way of doing things..



posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 06:18 AM
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reply to post by purplemer
 


A third way you say, socialism for thr nation.....



posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 12:31 PM
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Originally posted by nineixOf course, I see now, in a world filled with humans who have a nasty disposition for power, control, wealth beyond their needs, and needs beyond sensibility, that Communism, or Socialism as beautiful as the ideas are, won't work on National scales.


you should actually click on the link i posted to the Spanish Revolution. i'm going to borrow a part of a post from dadgad on another thread real quick:


Originally posted by dadgad
I would like to quote some passages about this incredible period called the Spanish Revolution, the true workers revolution, the anarchist and libertarian socialist uprising.
Also I want people to understand that Ron Paul is a crook for stealing the term Libertarian and turn it into a capitalist thing.




In Spain during almost three years, despite a civil war that took a million lives, despite the opposition of the political parties (republicans, left and right Catalan separatists, socialists, Communists, Basque and Valencian regionalists, petty bourgeoisie, etc.), this idea of libertarian communism was put into effect. Very quickly more than 60% of the land was collectively cultivated by the peasants themselves, without landlords, without bosses, and without instituting capitalist competition to spur production. In almost all the industries, factories, mills, workshops, transportation services, public services, and utilities, the rank and file workers, their revolutionary committees, and their syndicates reorganized and administered production, distribution, and public services without capitalists, high salaried managers, or the authority of the state.

Even more: the various agrarian and industrial collectives immediately instituted economic equality in accordance with the essential principle of communism, 'From each according to his ability and to each according to his needs.' They coordinated their efforts through free association in whole regions, created new wealth, increased production (especially in agriculture), built more schools, and bettered public services. They instituted not bourgeois formal democracy but genuine grass roots functional libertarian democracy, where each individual participated directly in the revolutionary reorganization of social life. They replaced the war between men, 'survival of the fittest,' by the universal practice of mutual aid, and replaced rivalry by the principle of solidarity....

This experience, in which about eight million people directly or indirectly participated, opened a new way of life to those who sought an alternative to anti-social capitalism on the one hand, and totalitarian state bogus socialism on the other.





I had dropped more or less by chance into the only community of any size in Western Europe where political consciousness and disbelief in capitalism were more normal than their opposites. Up here in Aragon one was among tens of thousands of people, mainly though not entirely of working-class origin, all living at the same level and mingling on terms of equality. In theory it was perfect equality, and even in practice it was not far from it. There is a sense in which it would be true to say that one was experiencing a foretaste of Socialism, by which I mean that the prevailing mental atmosphere was that of Socialism. Many of the normal motives of civilized life—snobbishness, money-grubbing, fear of the boss, etc.—had simply ceased to exist. The ordinary class-division of society had disappeared to an extent that is almost unthinkable in the money-tainted air of England; there was no one there except the peasants and ourselves, and no one owned anyone else as his master.

en.wikipedia.org...

That was socialism.
edit on 9-2-2012 by dadgad because: (no reason given)


i'm going to have to continue this into a second post...



posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 12:55 PM
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Voluntary Cooperatives, Small Community organizations, and Collective effort businesses, however, so long as there are definitive mechanisms to prevent parties or personalities from becoming MORE EQUAL than equal, I think could work.


i'm not quite sure i see why there is a danger of someone/a group becoming "too equal" if this idea is left unchecked. does MORE EQUAL mean taking more than their share? i don't see how this would happen and in practice i've never seen any complaints of existing worker cooperatives falling victim to this, but i could be wrong. i guess i'm still not quite clear on what you mean here.


These could be done inside a Capitalist system, where a business founds itself on these principles of Socialism, or Communism where all the workers, up to and including the President, Board Members, CEO, Management, middle management, on down to the common worker, essentially get the same wage.


i guess i need to be clear on what capitalism is here as well as there seems to be a common misconception....

capitalism is not synonymous with the free market

read up on the link i posted to mutualism. if you equate capitalism to the free market, upon your first read of the idea you will automatically equate it to capitalism... but it is a form of socialism. capitalism is defined as private ownership of the means of production

as for "all workers... including the President, Board Members, CEO, Management, middle management, on down to the common worker, essentially get the same wage", i think you still are not quite understanding how these businesses work. none of these positions exist. it may sound crazy at first, but these businesses work on a completely egalitarian basis. they don't necessarily all get paid the same, but everyone is involved in a democratic decision making process based on one worker one vote...

Worker Cooperatives are business models in which there are NO bosses

and somehow, though it may defy all logic, it works! extensive research has been done on them and they are generally more productive, ensure job and income security better, and last longer than capitalist firms. there are various barriers to entry and such, however, that one of the links i posted (this one) discusses that make worker coops in our current economic situation more rare than they should be.


Unfortunately, I don't think there's a one business that operates on anything close to such a foundation where everyone contributing and working shares in the returns of said business.

It could happen, but, as cool as that would be, I doubt anyone driving any successful business would ever keep such a system for long once that old familiar human condition of greed starts setting in. Sad.

My two cents.

edit on 9-2-2012 by nineix because: (no reason given)


read my posts in a bit better detail, please! in both posts i discuss both the theoretical and practical applications of socialism on various scales, ranging from the national to the community to the business levels. within each i gave not only the theoretical application of how they would function, but i gave at least one example of it actually working! again, check my statistics. worker cooperatives make up a pretty substantial chunk of the world economy, they are, by all accounts, generally superior to capitalist firms, and are even more egalitarian in principle than the idea of a pipe dream business that you discussed here.



posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 01:07 PM
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reply to post by purplemer
 


I agree.

People are too quick to pigeon hole and categorise everything and everyone.
Everyone and everything has to fit nicely and neatly into a pre-determined box.

We need to start judging things on their own individual merits free from political, religious, social dogma's etc.

Of course I could offer some political framework that could help provide support for such a change....but unfortunately it also requires a radical change in the thought process of people conditioned to rely on such pre-determined absolutes etc and that's something well beyond me.



posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 01:37 PM
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Okay, help me out here, cause I am trying to imagine and apply how such a business would work....

Socialism is workers' control over the means of production

Meaning that a group of people get together, pool their resources and work together to create a business and then run the business with a hierarchy of bosses and workers, but they all share equally in profits?

The bosses handle the paperwork/management and the workers carry out the day to day business operations and they work in harmony to create the best product or service together because they know the better they work together the more profit they stand to make?

I just want to make sure I am understanding this correctly....If I am going too far off topic, disregard my post, I am not trying to wreck the thread!!!



posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 01:38 PM
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I really want to read all your thread can you make the larger words a little bit smaller so they don't jumble on top of one another please?



posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 01:47 PM
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reply to post by Mijamija
 


This is pretty much what I got out of the thread. I couldn't read some of the bigger words as they jumble together, but that is not a complaint against the topic.



posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 01:52 PM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 



posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 02:09 PM
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reply to post by eboyd
 


Thank you for the informative post.

The propaganda that has instilled the programming into the public that socialism/communism is the manifestation of pure evil on Earth will be tough to break through in most, though. Its really kinda funny how that works... the public would benefit massively from a true socialist economy, yet they not only desire, but demand, their own wage enslavement via capitalism.

The jokes on us, while the plutocrats laugh all the way to the bank.



posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 02:17 PM
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The best example of socialism was (and I stress the WAS ) kibbutzism in Israel. I lived on a kibbutz for 10 years and tell I you that it was those that love to work for the greater good carrying leaches that found an easy life. The kibbutz movement has imploded and although they still call themselves kibbutz they now have differential wages and the original ideals are long defunked. Unfortnately socialism simply has no allowance for human nature and therefore cannot exist for long.



posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 02:37 PM
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reply to post by eboyd
 


like i've said before, socialism would be awesome IF AND ONLY IF people don't fall to greed or megalomania.

the ego is the only thing holding us back from a truly free and thriving society.

humans = spiritual infants



posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 02:53 PM
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Originally posted by cody599
The best example of socialism was (and I stress the WAS ) kibbutzism in Israel. I lived on a kibbutz for 10 years and tell I you that it was those that love to work for the greater good carrying leaches that found an easy life. The kibbutz movement has imploded and although they still call themselves kibbutz they now have differential wages and the original ideals are long defunked. Unfortnately socialism simply has no allowance for human nature and therefore cannot exist for long.


I agree with you on that point. Its a depressing point to me, really, but its the evident fact of the matter in my eyes.

Perhaps humanity on the whole will evolve to a point someday where the desire to serve the greater good will take precedent over the urge to hoard shiny things and control their kin.

Maybe someday we will be able to say "Fortunately, capitalism simply has no allowance for human nature, and therefore cannot exist."



posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 02:57 PM
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Originally posted by calnorak
I really want to read all your thread can you make the larger words a little bit smaller so they don't jumble on top of one another please?


it won't let me edit my post anymore unfortunately but here are the things that i posted in large letters that got jumbled:

Socialism is workers' control over the means of production.

Communism is a form of socialism based on the guiding principle "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

The USSR, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, etc., are not, were not, and never will be true examples of socialism.

There are many different strains of socialism.

capitalism is not synonymous with the free market.

Worker Cooperatives are business models in which there are NO bosses.



posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 03:26 PM
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Originally posted by Mijamija
Okay, help me out here, cause I am trying to imagine and apply how such a business would work....

Socialism is workers' control over the means of production

Meaning that a group of people get together, pool their resources and work together to create a business and then run the business with a hierarchy of bosses and workers, but they all share equally in profits?

The bosses handle the paperwork/management and the workers carry out the day to day business operations and they work in harmony to create the best product or service together because they know the better they work together the more profit they stand to make?

I just want to make sure I am understanding this correctly....If I am going too far off topic, disregard my post, I am not trying to wreck the thread!!!


not exactly. there would literally be NO bosses. i know it is a bit hard to fathom, but it's true and it somehow works. there are some managerial duties that come up on occasion and different coops handle them in various different ways. this video might help you understand it better:






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