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If you want to advocate socialism, please tell me how it works...

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posted on Feb, 19 2012 @ 07:20 AM
The general theme I've gotten so far is that people do not think total socialism is necessarily a good thing, but that elements of the economy should be socialized within a "capitalist" market.

What does the economic-political structure of this look like? What is the role of government? Who works to produce in the sectors that do not make money then, and more to the point do they choose the job or does the job choose them? If the former, what happens if not enough people choose said job? Does that not lead to the latter? How do they pay for the things they need in Society?

posted on Feb, 20 2012 @ 06:05 PM
reply to post by ProgressiveSlayer

That's precisely correct because socialisation of free enterprise means that people or democracy control and prevent the worst excesses of capitalism.

Small countries can't any longer control their own destinies because of global free trade. To step outside that system now means cutting off one's nation from finance and trade, which is what the bankers and corporates want, but a nation as huge as USA could and should take such steps.

In fact although bad examples for their human rights situation, China and Russia in fact manage free enterprise for the benefit of the nation rather than private individuals. Were those countries to have a more acceptable humane and democratic system they would be superior models to capitalism...

They however are poor examples as they have not shaken off some of the worst aspects of communism.

One of the worst aspects of Capitalism is that commodities, energy and oil now have their prices set by market speculators and not by pure supply and demand. Under a more socialised system governments would intervene and create regulation which would prevent speculation.

Speculation is anti-social and damages the fabric of society.

Capitalism is itself ultimately self destructive.

Another example is how companies owned in rich countries can outsource production to where labour is cheapest (and often labour laws and human rights are lacking) and then expatriate funds to a third country to avoid repatriating funds to pay taxes where the company is owned. That is anti social.

The blue print of this new world order was in many ways hammered out between Nazi Germany and USA Summner Welles between 1939 and 1940 to become the blueprint for today's global free trade. It was the Nazis who insisted on access to other country's markets and the portability of capital, patents and company ownership. Modern capitalism was practically invented between US bankers and the Nazi government.

posted on Feb, 21 2012 @ 07:43 PM
reply to post by ProgressiveSlayer

The general theme I've gotten so far is that people do not think total socialism is necessarily a good thing, but that elements of the economy should be socialized within a "capitalist" market.


ProgressiveSlayer, so many great questions! (Is this a dream? I thought the internet was just for authoritative-sounding banter?) I have a Political Theory degree, so if we’re lucky, perhaps something worthwhile might come from my post! Maybe. Can’t promise.

I believe responsible free market capitalism is the strongest and most robust form of economy in the world. But this “Responsible” caveat is a HUGE one—and when social values (Socialism) demands it plays a hand. To be sustainable, free market capitalism needs the soft touch of “socialism,” or the whole economy will collapse into a horrendous power-grab feudalism (just like Communism can). Yet, how much of a “social touch” is needed, will forever be a point of debate. Just turn on the news if you’d like to watch.

All ideas are tools. Capitalism is a tool. Socialism is a tool. And communism is a tool. It all depends on the means and context of their use—and no one conceptual tool will apply equally well to every situation. The right tool for the right job, that’s the wise mission of any good theorist or policy maker.

Capitalism does a horrible job within “family economies.” Imagine a house where you, mom, dad, baby-sister, and grandpa, all must pay each other credits for their services? It’d be ridiculous because capitalistic values would seem absurd in that context; how the hell are kids supposed to honestly make credits to pay for their meals and clothing? This “family economy” also applies to your friends a bit. You don’t charge your friends the use of your car when you all carpool to the bar, but you still hold a bit of a market ethic: everyone pays their own way as best they can, as no one wants to be a “mooch.”

“Family economy” = theoretical communism
“Friend economy” = theoretical socialism

Now, in studying the capitalism of our greater economy, there are theoretical Free Markets and “real world” Free Markets. Theoretical Free Markets exist only on paper (and in Ron Paul’s mind :p) but nowhere else. And we could write a whole book together on the various aspects of “real world Free Markets” let’s just stick to theoretical free market capitalism here, which some might call Libertarianism—find the absolute minimum of government control or intervention, and let the free market work. This philosophy works great to efficiently communicate value to resources in a world where everyone has similar levels of health, education, and life advantages. Because capitalism works great in managing the working, middle, and upper classes where there is no outside disruption (like hurricanes or terrorist attacks or surprising health problems or technological change).

However, on a practical level, a huge flaw to the capitalist system sits by its failure to properly account for the very poor and the very rich. And this is where the necessary touch of “friend economy” values (socialism) step in to stabilize the capitalist system—to prevent the very poor from becoming a humanitarian and rioting disaster, and to prevent the very rich from completely steamrolling over even the most hardworking and capable middle class individuals. (But of course, if you have too many friends in this friend economy, it becomes impossible to effectively track and balance resources, things get sloppy and some people don’t pull their weight, and eventually too much of a friend economy becomes a huge inefficient mess…)

Thus, in my opinion, a market economy is a very important thing to have, yet it must preserve some aspects of socialism to account for the values market mechanisms cannot account for: the environment, the balance of power, and not getting murdered by starving mobs.

posted on Feb, 21 2012 @ 07:48 PM
reply to post by ProgressiveSlayer

I think I asked you a couple of time in that thread to watch this video...

Google Video Link

Any questions?

As far as how big it can get, what is limiting it? It's obvious when capitalist companies get big small ones cannot complete so small mom and pop companies rarely exist anymore. The average person cannot compete in the capitalist market, this means wealth is being centralized into smaller and smaller groups of people. More wealth, more power to manipulate society to further their control.

I think you are just confusing the idealized theories of 'free-markets' with capitalism, which is the private ownership of the means to produce for the market, not the market itself (even though the market is capitalistic in nature as private ownership creates profit motivation). The market may be free, but the means to produce for that market (the important part) are owned by a small minority who use that capital to exploit those who don't have the means to produce for your 'free-market'. To those people it makes no difference if the market is free or not. They still have to sell their labour to the 'private owner' at a lower rate than the product they produce. The only freedom is for the capitalist to exploit using his capital, to create artificial scarcity by underproduction in order to ensure they make profit, not to make sure we as a community get all we need. All done under the laws they wrote for themselves.

edit on 2/21/2012 by ANOK because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 21 2012 @ 08:01 PM
reply to post by ProgressiveSlayer

What does the economic-political structure of this look like? What is the role of government? Who works to produce in the sectors that do not make money then, and more to the point do they choose the job or does the job choose them? If the former, what happens if not enough people choose said job? Does that not lead to the latter? How do they pay for the things they need in Society?

Each one of these questions is a great topic for a huge PhD thesis! It might be time to work towards a grad school program?

Every country and economy in the world suffers these questions and there are no clear answers, right? As every economy has their own unique blend of the Capitalist/Socialist mix.

I would argue that the US military runs close to communist economic principles: the state plans the education and labor of the various logistics movements and missions, each individual works according to their tested ability; everyone wears government clothing, eats government food, and sleeps in government housing. All those questions you ask about shortages and mismanagement of labor are problems in the military, as they are in the capitalist side of American society. During the War on Terror: does the military have enough Arabic interpreters, and how can they get more? During the Great Recession: what the new jobs exist for the millions of unemployed in this new economy, and how can they find them?

posted on Feb, 21 2012 @ 08:08 PM
reply to post by RussHaywood

Everyone assumes that socialism/communism is some kind of state controlled system, it isn't.

Both are economic systems and can in theory be both either totalitarian or libertarian (anarchism), much like capitalism can be.

But socialists believe that when the workers own the means of production then it would be hard for someone to have ultimate control, that be the state or whatever.

The only form of socialism that advocated a state system was Marxism, and then it was only temporary until production could be raised to the point of providing peoples needs, and then the state could be abolished and true communism implemented.

There are many other forms of socialism and communism that do not advocate a state system, such as libertarian socialism, anarcho-sindicalism etc. (yes anarchism is a form of socialism)

"Anarchism is stateless socialism" Mikhail Bakunin.

Read through the thread the OP was talking about for more detailed information on this.

posted on Feb, 23 2012 @ 05:13 AM
i noticed you mentioned petrus in the first paragraph of this thread but, as he is not a socialist, i think you may have confused him for me. i will try to answer your questions in as much detail as possible as to help you understand this stuff as i was myself raised a conservative and it took me quite some time to understand this stuff and come around to the ideas i now espouse.

Originally posted by ProgressiveSlayer
I wanted to hear how socialism would tackle the questions mentioned above and deal with society as a whole with or without a formal government.

So here's your chance: Please build a picture of how socialism would look at the ground level, describe any means of distribution or government structure necessary, and maybe how large you think the system could get before having problems...

this is a tough one. the reason none of us have given you a definitive answer is because such is very hard to foresee and there are so many different theories on how this would work. there are a few limited examples of how this actually functions in practice, as well as various theories on how it could function, and of course i have my own theories, but no two socialists will give you the same answer. everyone deep enough into the theoretical aspects of it will quote you a different vision. this is why people like Noam Chomsky call themselves libertarian socialists and leave it at that (Chomsky labels himself a libertarian socialist with anarcho-syndicalist tendencies). the following videos show how such a society could run in practice:

skip to 1:05 on this one:

and for more info on Christiania, specifically the economy, check here to start:

the info i was able to gather was, unfortunately limited and for that i apologize, but at least this will get you started in the right direction if you wish to do further research.

another example would be the Israeli Kibbutzim which operated on socialist principles for several generations but slowly degenerated into a more capitalist lifestyle after the State of Israel was established and, in large part, the community was pushed into reform by the newly formed state. to this day, however, a small handful of these communities still run as small scale socialist societies:

here's an incomplete list of social anarchist communities that exist or have existed in the past:

by clicking on each link you will notice how drastically varied these projects were. some, such as Utopia and Modern Times, drew influence from Josiah Warren (who, in large part, was one of the leading members of those communities) who had a very individualistic vision. others, like the Kibbutzim, were very communistic and stressed communal living. others, such as the Freetown, are/were collectivist in nature. the larger societies, such as Spain and Ukraine, have had various mixes of each.

the general idea, i feel, is to have small, autonomous communities that run on their own basic principles and associate loosely through mutual aid with other communities. rules are deliberated from the bottom up rather than being dictated to the community by a governing body.

here's a video i found yesterday where Stephen Shalom discusses his concept of "nested councils":

here's Michael Albert discussing Participatory Economics:

Albert and his partner Robin Hahnel have written several books on Participatory Economics that you can check out here.

posted on Feb, 23 2012 @ 05:48 AM

Originally posted by ProgressiveSlayerThe next part of your answer is the part that never makes sense to me. If the workers own the factory, what happens to the stuff the factory produces? Does it get sold with in some kind of market within the society and the profits divided among the workers? Does it go into a pool of resources that gets split by everyone in the society?

again, there are many different views on this. since i already addressed these different views i will use this comment to address my personal views.

i believe in a gradual change over time in which we would start by implementing more and more worker ownership over time in a capitalist market economy in which worker coops would function the same as capitalist firms, only under worker ownership. steadily, i believe, we would see this form of business as viable for an entire economy (or at least most of it) and we would then realize that society could be run such as well. my eventual goal would be various alternate business models, all run under worker control, that work best for various industries. the ideal business in my future system would be one that is actually owned by the community it functions in and funded mainly through mutual aid donations. in such a business, people would work "voluntarily", meaning they would not be employed, but rather they would have the economic fluidity to float between businesses as they please, though worker consistency in one firm would be encouraged. being as the purpose of the currency is to regulate products based on scarcity, there would be a currency, backed by real labor, that would fluctuate directly based on the scarcity of products in a given economy. here's how it would work: say i go to work making widgets. i produce 10 widgets. my 10 widgets means that i also produced 10 economic units (whatever we decide the money to be) and, shall i surrender these widgets to the market, i receive all 10 of those units. if i produce those ten widgets but decide i wish to keep 2 of them, then i end up leaving work with 2 widgets and 8 units. once i labor, my units (i am fond of the idea of electronic credits backed by some sort of hard notating system to ensure we don't fall victim to computer failure) are created. once i choose to take a certain amount of widgets, the remaining units are "deleted". these units would be used to purchase things of equal value on the market. their value would be determined by an averaging of the difference between demand and supply of all products in a given economy. those products which are in surplus would have no value and would therefore be given away for free, though they would be monitored in case they became scarce. as there are commodities, such as used commodities and artistic commodities for which the value could be much more subjective, there would be a separate type of currency which could be purchased on the market as equivalent in price to the units and could be looked at as a form of "labor notes". these could also be used to donate to the community-owned businesses. they would take the form of checks which would have a specific name to identify to whom the funds were intended to be transferred and that person would only be able to use that check once. these communities would be autonomous and loosely associated with other communities through mutual aid agreements.

What if you no longer like working at the factory and want to do something else? Is it fair to have your own company where you are the only person working and get to keep everything you produce? What about service-based jobs? Are those non-existant?

i do not see a problem with any of these, nor did Proudhon who felt most people should have their own means of production. this is also seen in practice in places like Christiania.

If the "pool of resources" exists how is fairness maintained?

on an economy-wide level i don't see how it would be. that's why i don't advocate that. on a business level we see it all the time and it works fine. check the video ANOK posted.

These are questions I keep asking but it always comes back to "the workers own the factory" and apparently I'm supposed to take it from there but I guess I'm too f***ing stupid to do that for myself or something. No offense intended RandomAct.

that's because, without going into an insanely long diatribe as i just did (and i only covered a fraction of the details), it is impossible to discuss all the different varieties of ideas, and i'm still not personally 100% comfortable with my own ideas so i try to avoid discussing them a lot.

posted on Feb, 23 2012 @ 06:04 AM

Originally posted by eboyd
i noticed you mentioned petrus in the first paragraph of this thread but, as he is not a socialist, i think you may have confused him for me.

It is correct that I do not self-identify as a Socialist, nor do I agree with several of the elements that I have seen, of Socialist philosophy. I would self-identify as an anarchist; but that is only true to the degree that I believe that no national government currently on the planet, has a legal basis which is legitimate, or based ultimately on anything other than a monopoly on physical violence.

I therefore instinctively believe that transcending the desire or need for centralised government, is the single most important or beneficial political act that any individual can engage in. I believe very strongly that every human being in existence needs to go through the type of experience that Evey Hammond was shown going through as a result of the concentration camp sequence in V for Vendetta, and that the survival of the species as a whole, in fact depends on such.

For this reason, I actually anticipate with great enthusiasm, the commencement of the operation of FEMA-run concentration camps, on American soil. I believe that the re-creation of Auschwitz in America will be one of the most positive events that has occurred in recent decades, and I will openly celebrate it when it occurs. The reason why, is because I know that it will require such an event, for the American people to finally accept the fact that their Republic truly has been taken away from them, and that they therefore need to fight in order to take it back. Before the concentration camps arrive, American fascism will always be controvertible or deniable by the sufficiently brainwashed; but once the concentration camps begin to openly operate, it will not be. Everyone will be forced to confront and admit the truth; and if they do not admit it while still in their own homes, then they will definitely do so after they have been taken for processing.

I want humanity to be placed in a situation where it is undeniably faced with the imminent possibility of its' extinction; and the reason why, is because I believe that said extinction already is imminent, but it is still sufficiently concealed as to be deniable. I want the element of deniability to be removed; because then, and only then, when it is clear that our backs are against the wall and there is nowhere else to run, will corrective action begin to be taken, which may offer us a small chance of avoiding it.

I am not a Capitalist, or a Communist. I am a strong believer in antitrust law, as well as the dissolution of corporations such as Monsanto, when they have a consistent history of actions that are opposed to the public interest; but that does not necessarily mean that I am completely averse to the existence of business, providing that it does not grow beyond a certain size.

I believe that both Capitalism and Marxism have been shown at times to have merit; we have both great Capitalistic corporations, and in other places, we have large scale co-operatives, farmers' markets, and so on. I have also come to believe that neither of these ideologies can or should operate in complete exclusion of the other; that both should exist, and that both should have the right to, but that neither one should reach a point of excess.
edit on 23-2-2012 by petrus4 because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 01:43 PM
What happened to the OP?

Are you going to address what we've said ProgressiveSlayer? We answered your question.

posted on Feb, 25 2012 @ 03:32 AM
Op can't post while at work anymore.

posted on Feb, 26 2012 @ 09:10 AM

Originally posted by ProgressiveSlayer
Op can't post while at work anymore.

aw damn, lol. well, i'm eagerly awaiting your response when you are able to give a proper one.

posted on Feb, 28 2012 @ 07:36 PM

Originally posted by ProgressiveSlayer
Op can't post while at work anymore.

So the OP is a 'worker', and feeling the effects of the oppressive capitalist system eh?

All this time I'm thinking you must be some kind of capitalist, seeing as you support the exploitation of labour so much.

posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 04:24 AM
reply to post by ANOK

Yes, my friends (I consider you friends after all,) I am a worker. However, I am not feeling "oppression" from the system, I've messed up a lot of stuff in the past and accept the cards I have been dealt as a result. I value personal liberty, and I believe socialism offers the greatest chance for those privileges to be taken away. I know you all disagree, but in my mind that sad fact is that I must agree with Petus... psychopaths exist and must be dealt with. The only way to do that within the morals I have come to value in my limited experience on this Earth is through a smal government charged with protecting the peoples' rights. I realize the American government does little to abide by this now, but once upon a time this was the ideal. Government, IMHO, is a necessarily evil, but to deny this and to consider it wholly unacceptable is to be naive. Yes, in a world without psychopaths, socialism may be a viable option, but in a world where people exist who would readily take our freedom only free markets, capitalism, and limited but dutiful government can fill our needs.

This will be my last post on this thread. Responses will be read, but reactions will be hard to render due to outside influences as you have seen recently. I wish all of you well, but I truly wish you all accept the existence of psychopaths when considering any economic or political system and weigh heavily the means by which they are kept in check. ANOK, you provided with samples of these systems and I thank you for that, but even you must admit they are subjected to the mercy of the madman. Eboyd, you are brash and assumptions that make an a$$ out of u and me, but I admire your courage. While I do not share your beliefs, these convictions can change the world. I no longer aim to change your mind, I only wish that you can see my side of the argument and one day inspire others with your grit.

Peace all,


posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 05:35 PM
reply to post by ProgressiveSlayer

i am a bit disappointed as it seems as though you did not read much of my post and still fall for the same line that capitalism = free markets. this is blatantly false as my vision of a socialist society is as much (if not more) of a free market system as true free market capitalism is. i wish you would have actually responded to the ideas which i presented in intricate detail, but you didn't. i understand that this is because your personal time to browse the internet is limited so i don't blame you for this. however, it does show me that you had a predisposition in mind when creating this thread to begin with so i will think twice before wasting my time to respond in such detail the next time we have such a discussion.

posted on Mar, 16 2012 @ 02:27 AM

You may not consider me a Socialist, eboyd; but after reading the above post, I suspect you will begin to think that as far as conversion to the red cause is concerned, there is still some hope for me.

posted on Mar, 17 2012 @ 11:30 PM

Originally posted by petrus4

You may not consider me a Socialist, eboyd; but after reading the above post, I suspect you will begin to think that as far as conversion to the red cause is concerned, there is still some hope for me.

i don't expect you to seek my approval, nor would i consider that comment in any way to have anything to do with socialism. do i feel that in a capitalist/fascist system such as this one we need government regulation to at least cushion us a bit from corporate greed? absolutely, but my personal views on socialism have nothing to do with big government. that's neo-liberalism. i oppose neo-liberals as much as i oppose neo-cons. they are two heads of the same three headed dragon with the third being the monied individuals whose interests they represent. socialists merely seek workers control over the means of production. that doesn't come with big government and political reform. that comes at a grass roots level through education, through individuals coming together to form worker cooperatives and doing other things to help each other out, and through civil disobedience. politics, while occasionally minutely helpful, is usually more of a burden than it is a blessing and so that is the very least important channel to seek social change through.

posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 03:11 PM
I am curious why the OP speaks of socialism as if it's a hypothetical system that's never existed. Or does he consider all the current socialist countries as not pure examples of socialism?

posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 03:20 PM

Originally posted by CB328
I am curious why the OP speaks of socialism as if it's a hypothetical system that's never existed. Or does he consider all the current socialist countries as not pure examples of socialism?

Because it is. There are no socialist countries. There has never been a socialist country, ever. If the workers do not own, and control, the means of production it is not socialism.

The countries you call 'socialist' are just as capitalist as the USA, they're just more liberal. Capitalism being the private ownership of the means of production. Free health care does not make a country socialist.

This is the misunderstanding these threads are supposed correct. If you read and understand what socialism is it should become pretty clear that there are no socialist countries.

Are there any socialist countries in Europe?

Sometimes countries have governments that call themselves 'Socialist,' but they do not carry out genuine socialist policies.

For instance, in the past the Labour Party in Britain was often labeled "socialist". When the Labour Party was in government, people sometimes used to say "We have a socialist government," and even that Britain was socialist.

But this was not true. Labour governments did not go beyond the boundaries of capitalism. The country remained capitalist.

Socialism is not government, there is no such thing as 'socialist government'. Socialism is an economic system, and can be libertarian (anarchist), no government required.

"Anarchism is stateless socialism", Mikhail Bakunin

edit on 3/25/2012 by ANOK because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 03:25 PM

The countries you call 'socialist' are just as capitalist as the USA, they're just more liberal

In European countries, the state generally controls, at least partially, large industries right? I always understood that was why European countries are socialist.

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