Why Revolutionary Socialism is the answer we need

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Salut Escapists,

image

You read the title, you know what it's about. But before we get into it I think it's wise to be clear about what I will and will not do. In this thread I will outline in general terms my political views. If you do not find an answer to your question straight away, don't assume I don't know, and don't assume you've "got me there". Just bring it up, and we can discuss it. I will not respond to lazy, outright hostile, overtly uninformed or illegible replies. I wll engage thought-out, coherent statements to the full extent of my ability, be it quickly or after a while.

In this thread I will not enter into any conversations with regards to how socialism should be brought about, that is a discussion for another thread. Before we figure out how to go somewhere, we must figure out where we want to end up. If you're of the type to respond with "sounds great but it will/can never happen", take a hike and please come back when you have something useful to interject. I d have ideas on how to bring about the changes I'm about to outline, you're just going to have to take me at my word for now.

What is this thing I am proposing?
I am a revolutionary socialist, I think we need a radical new way of organising ourselves. Capitalism isn't working, and no amount of tinkering will get it to work properly, ever. By its very mechanisms it concentrates power in the hands of the few, is forced to expand ever-outward and brings out the most short-sighted and greedy elements within ourselves. But this thread is not so much about why capitalism is problematic (I just mention it to weed out the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" crowd), it's about why socialism is a good way to go.

Workers should own the means to production. That is the essential cornerstone of what I am proposing. Instead of factories and workplaces being owned by an individual or a company, the actual people doing the actual work should have the say in how things are run. If you're a baker in a bakery with 9 other people, you guys collectively have the power to decide what happens. You can elect a representative to speak with other bakeries to figure out how much bread is needed in that area, and you can send representatives anywhere to participate in negotiations for policy on a larger scale. No Patrician class needed.

Such a change should not be confined to one or a few nations, instead it should be global, with all peoples sending representatives from their own ranks to conferences and make collective-democratic-agreements on how we should do things for the betterment of all. It's conceivable that money would no longer be necessary, we can be rid of financial interference with research, education, healthcare, politics etc.

I know this is very brief and leaves a lot of things unsaid. To prevent TL;DR I decided to give only this very short outline and respond far more in detail to directed questions, rebuttals and statements. Monologues are far less engaging after all.

Some Pre-emptive rebuttals:
- Nazism has no links to Socialism, don't expect me to explain it to you.
- Cuba, China, North-Korea and the USSR are/were not Socialist nations, they're State Capitalist at best. Lenin himself wanted to kick Stalin out of the Bolshevik Party.
- Socialism is anti-State, it wants to abolish governments in their entirety. Centralised planning of economies are a caricature of what socialist writ advocates.
- Human nature is malleable, and dependent on context. There is such a thing as collective self-interest. Greed is not a default human condition. We are not solely motivated by money or greed.
- Socialism does not mean that you have to give up your teddy bear, it does not deal with personal belongings, it deals with collective control of the means of production. Computers and bicycles can be personally owned, although there is discussion whether or not you'd even want to have those, considering elements I'd have to devote a lot of text to.
- Socialism does not rely on "everyone doing the right thing" or "people being nice"; instead it relies on people trying to improve their lot in life, but instead of pitting them against each other, we try to get those drives to complement one another.
- The picture(s) of Lenin Cat is not necessarily coherent with my words, it's there for levity.

So, what do you think my fellow Escapists? Have at me, I knew the risks when I began writing this thread.

And finally, some food for thought:

Cheers... comrades.

TheMatsjo:
What is this thing I am proposing?
I am a revolutionary socialist, I think we need a radical new way of organising ourselves. Capitalism isn't working, and no amount of tinkering will get it to work properly, ever. By its very mechanisms it concentrates power in the hands of the few, is forced to expand ever-outward and brings out the most short-sighted and greedy elements within ourselves. But this thread is not so much about why capitalism is problematic (I just mention it to weed out the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" crowd), it's about why socialism is a good way to go.

Okay, this is just wrong.

Capitalism is working, and working beautifully. Yeah, it's not perfect, but claiming that "no amount of tinkering will get it to work properly" is flat-out false, as evidenced by social market states such as Germany and Sweden. If you counteract the mechanisms that concentrate power in the hands of the few through moderate wealth distribution, social safety nets, and things like the estate tax. Even in the places where it's failing miserably like the USA, people still have a ridiculously high standard of living brought about by tempered capitalism.

There is a hell of a lot wrong with the rest of your post, but I honestly can't be fucked. "Let's move to actual socialism!" is just that bad of an idea. ^

Yeah, let's start killing people almost randomly and especially kill off the intellectual classes that have governed the country very effectively for centuries, and then try to let a mob of dumb factory workers run a country.

I mean, there have only been like 15 miserable failures of that idea. Surely if we try the same thing again, the outcome will be totally different this time.

The answer? The answer to what, specifically?

I'd say that capitalism isn't itself failing (in those places where people say failures are occuring). In other places it's working quite well, it would seem that when there's a failure it's not due to it being inherently doomed to failure.

On the other hand, that's not really that important, if the system is failing, the exact cause sn't always that important to pin down if you want to replace the whole thing.

Amongst other things, socialism fails because hardly anyone wants it. If every was mad keen on it, yeah, it'd probably work, but the same is true of most systems.

In the US (I assume you are talking about issues such as the US has), "socialist" seems as big a problem as "muslim" "black" or "gay" in political circles, because people hate and fear it. Doesn't matter if they are justified or not, they won't accept it, and will fight bitterly against anything that looks like it, even if you really hate to squint.

Hehe. 'Was' tempted to think this was a republican posting as an extremist socialist to undermine the moderates. But he has 300 so.. I dont think thats the case.

OT: I agree with the others OP. We are actually doing pretty well. Social/Liberalism in a capitalist system is the way to go. Instead of trying to get 100% socialism, try to get socialist values into the capitalist system to balance things out. You will find its much easier and just as satisfactory.

Stagnant:

TheMatsjo:
What is this thing I am proposing?
I am a revolutionary socialist, I think we need a radical new way of organising ourselves. Capitalism isn't working, and no amount of tinkering will get it to work properly, ever. By its very mechanisms it concentrates power in the hands of the few, is forced to expand ever-outward and brings out the most short-sighted and greedy elements within ourselves. But this thread is not so much about why capitalism is problematic (I just mention it to weed out the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" crowd), it's about why socialism is a good way to go.

Okay, this is just wrong.

Capitalism is working, and working beautifully.

You could argue though that capitalism as is and has been for the 20 years or so in the United States is working beautifully too. It just depends on who you're asking. I'm certain the richest people in the United States have no problem with the unemployment rate as it is, or a lack of a safety net.

It's very easy to come from a first world nation, and look at the wonders of capitalism has produced (for your nation), and say "This is working fine", as much as it's easy to come from a millionaire family, look at something like people complaining about health care and say "Health care is working fine for me, watch as I go right into a doctor's office and get everything I wanted or could ask for."

Again, it's a large point of view problem.

Stagnant:
Yeah, it's not perfect, but claiming that "no amount of tinkering will get it to work properly" is flat-out false, as evidenced by social market states such as Germany and Sweden.

Again, it's entirely possible that first world nations, as they are, capitalistically, can only exist as long as there's third world nations to exploit or grow into.

It's also entirely possible that your social market state is doing better than, say, the United States, because it's not entirely embracing capitalism.

I'm not saying that throwing Capitalism out is necessarily a great idea. But it's not beyond the pale for it to be a bit unacceptable to look out on a high perch and go "all is good everywhere" while tossing your waste down hill, as if nobody lives on the bottom of that mountain.

Stagnant:
If you counteract the mechanisms that concentrate power in the hands of the few through moderate wealth distribution, social safety nets, and things like the estate tax. Even in the places where it's failing miserably like the USA, people still have a ridiculously high standard of living brought about by tempered capitalism.

Again, at what cost to others? And how long is that feasible? The United States and the West have been doing so good for so long largely by cannibalizing the rest of the world, the same as the richest in the United States have often done as well as they have by doing the same to others.

Is it possible to make a global system that is mostly capitalistic that distributes wealth and has a social safety net on a global scale? Possibly. I honestly hope it is.

Is it possible that such a system only works on a micro scale while that system has room to exploit and grow into? Possibly too. And sadly the stock market seems to support this theory, that there is no homeostasis in capitalism to be found, there's only growth or decline.

We can't really explore these possibilities though going through a motion of "The old system worked just fine for some of us!", any more than you can get social equality in the United States by letting the rich tell you the same thing.

Blablahb:
Yeah, let's start killing people almost randomly and especially kill off the intellectual classes that have governed the country very effectively for centuries, and then try to let a mob of dumb factory workers run a country.

I mean, there have only been like 15 miserable failures of that idea. Surely if we try the same thing again, the outcome will be totally different this time.

Hah, if you think that people in charge of things are there by virtue of being smart wise and capable, please do explain our government.

Uhhh... no. I would be considered socialist in most countries, but I recognize that capitalism works, it just tends to be self-destructive over time. You address this problem with regulation, public-private partnerships/corporations, and effective policing mechanism as well as a strong labor movement, education, and a progressive tax system.

Damien Granz:
Hah, if you think that people in charge of things are there by virtue of being smart wise and capable, please do explain our government.

Not sure which 'our government' that is, but it flies even in the US. If nothing better, it takes a brain to lie and manipulate. Look at the totally dogmatic Ron Paul for instance. Purely reciting libertarian and extremist Christian dogma, mot an original thought in that lifeless husk of a head of his. But yet with enough brains to figure out to get kids voting on him, he must appeal to them, so he wants to legalise weed, so all the potheads who'd ussually hate the republicans even if they were raised by republican voting parents will vote for him, thus accessing an electoral group ussually unreachable for republicans. Just one of many tricks.

Besides, the unwise policies they have are just what the voters wants. The politicians themselves aren't stupid, the politicians have been conditioned to advocate stupid stuff their voters want.

TheMatsjo:

What is this thing I am proposing?
I am a revolutionary socialist, I think we need a radical new way of organising ourselves. Capitalism isn't working, and no amount of tinkering will get it to work properly, ever.

This contradicts our observations at this stage.

TheMatsjo:

By its very mechanisms it concentrates power in the hands of the few, is forced to expand ever-outward and brings out the most short-sighted and greedy elements within ourselves.

And this process will eventually require us to move to the stars, ending all issues with raw material supplies and living space. As for short-sighted and greedy planning this problem also exists amongst workers on lower levels. For an example of this one can look at the Greek debt crisis - People know that not paying taxes and taking up debt is going to kill the nation, but no significant part of the populace thought it worth bothering with until shit hit the fan.

TheMatsjo:

Workers should own the means to production. That is the essential cornerstone of what I am proposing. Instead of factories and workplaces being owned by an individual or a company, the actual people doing the actual work should have the say in how things are run. If you're a baker in a bakery with 9 other people, you guys collectively have the power to decide what happens. You can elect a representative to speak with other bakeries to figure out how much bread is needed in that area, and you can send representatives anywhere to participate in negotiations for policy on a larger scale. No Patrician class needed.

Except for the representatives. The issue here is that by utilizing collective leadership one introduces a slower decision making process. This also raises issues with the right to personal property.

TheMatsjo:

Such a change should not be confined to one or a few nations, instead it should be global, with all peoples sending representatives from their own ranks to conferences and make collective-democratic-agreements on how we should do things for the betterment of all. It's conceivable that money would no longer be necessary, we can be rid of financial interference with research, education, healthcare, politics etc.

The issue in doing this is that it is not a practical way of doing it at this stage. Capitalism itself is hardwired to push for more efficiency perpetually. At one point our ability to produce will outpace our ability to consume, and at that point this sort of re-organization will come about naturally.

TheMatsjo:

- Nazism has no links to Socialism, don't expect me to explain it to you.

Except for the populist socialist rhetoric that brought it to power.

TheMatsjo:

- Cuba, China, North-Korea and the USSR are/were not Socialist nations, they're State Capitalist at best. Lenin himself wanted to kick Stalin out of the Bolshevik Party.

Maybe so but their development is a part of the legacy of socialism nonetheless.

TheMatsjo:

- Socialism is anti-State, it wants to abolish governments in their entirety. Centralised planning of economies are a caricature of what socialist writ advocates.

And yet you advocate that the world economy be centrally planned by an assembly of technocrats.

TheMatsjo:

- Human nature is malleable, and dependent on context. There is such a thing as collective self-interest. Greed is not a default human condition. We are not solely motivated by money or greed.

But it is the most effective means of motivation we have at the moment.

TheMatsjo:

- Socialism does not mean that you have to give up your teddy bear, it does not deal with personal belongings, it deals with collective control of the means of production. Computers and bicycles can be personally owned, although there is discussion whether or not you'd even want to have those, considering elements I'd have to devote a lot of text to.

At this stage we are not able to produce in vast enough quantities to furnish everyone with as many consumer goods as they would like. Humans are wired to desire consumer goods and as such there will be competition over these materials.

TheMatsjo:

- Socialism does not rely on "everyone doing the right thing" or "people being nice"; instead it relies on people trying to improve their lot in life, but instead of pitting them against each other, we try to get those drives to complement one another.

Lack of competition and danger leads to a laxness that is intolerable at this stage however.

TheMatsjo:

- The picture(s) of Lenin Cat is not necessarily coherent with my words, it's there for levity.

No picture is being shown. D:

Blablahb:

Damien Granz:
Hah, if you think that people in charge of things are there by virtue of being smart wise and capable, please do explain our government.

Not sure which 'our government' that is, but it flies even in the US. If nothing better, it takes a brain to lie and manipulate. Look at the totally dogmatic Ron Paul for instance. Purely reciting libertarian and extremist Christian dogma, mot an original thought in that lifeless husk of a head of his. But yet with enough brains to figure out to get kids voting on him, he must appeal to them, so he wants to legalise weed, so all the potheads who'd ussually hate the republicans even if they were raised by republican voting parents will vote for him, thus accessing an electoral group ussually unreachable for republicans. Just one of many tricks.

Besides, the unwise policies they have are just what the voters wants. The politicians themselves aren't stupid, the politicians have been conditioned to advocate stupid stuff their voters want.

If you think that people fucking me (wily or not) for their own gain is, to me, considered a more wise and capable government than people acting sluggishly but in my and our collective fair interest, then I think we have entirely different aims on what a capable government is.

If a person sold me snake oil, and made good money doing it, they're a capable con artist, I give you that, but that doesn't make them a capable doctor, and that sure as hell isn't the way I'm going to measure if somebody is a good doctor or not.

Capitalism isn't working, and no amount of tinkering will get it to work properly, ever.

...Source? And by what standards?

Considering that all the most wealthy nations, as well as the ones with the highest level of income equality (the Scandinavian ones) have firmly capitalist economies (if regulated, highly taxed and supplemented by a welfare state), that's hardly a claim that can be made out of hand. Especially when every country that have ever actively aimed for a socialist economy isn't nearly as well of, save China which have long since abandoned its attempt in all but name.

But by all means, complete an economics degree and convince the world that a communist economy is the best of all things.

In this thread I will not enter into any conversations with regards to how socialism should be brought about, that is a discussion for another thread

A utopian fantasy cannot stand alone, since the path/cost needed to actually get there is an integral part of evaluating its merit.

Qua the whole "revolutionary" thing, my guess is that you're not going to respect the democratic process or the rule of law, and are trying to not get called out on it.

While Milton Friedman puts waywaywayway too much faith in the free market than is healthy, I do like this quote by him that sums up what I believe is one of the flaws of a full socialist state: "A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both."

Attempting to impose a completely egalitarian society is to create a society that will never prosper. A capitalist society, while having an ugly side, will bring the greatest amount of prosperity to the greatest amount of people.

Let's chop up your post.

What you actually want;
Workers should own the means to production. That is the essential cornerstone of what I am proposing. Instead of factories and workplaces being owned by an individual or a company, the actual people doing the actual work should have the say in how things are run. If you're a baker in a bakery with 9 other people, you guys collectively have the power to decide what happens. You can elect a representative to speak with other bakeries to figure out how much bread is needed in that area, and you can send representatives anywhere to participate in negotiations for policy on a larger scale. No Patrician class needed.

So I'll 'attack' what you actually want.

This sounds very nice.

In a completely static society, where never anything changes, and where the The Great Comrade Matsjo just walks in and says; And now, bakers, you will give your property to the working class! And they just do it, and everyone lives happily ever after.

But how do you want to apply this to, you know, The Real World?

Seriously, I'm one of your Patrician class. I build websites together with a friend. I'm the one who does all the talking, I'm the 'owner', I'm the 'boss', I make the decisions. My friend does most of the actual programming. Should he own the means to production; my computer, my programs, my chair, my desk? We do kind of decide together what happens, but in the end, I make the decisions. I have more 'decision power' than he has. And now TheMatsjo-government is going to storm in, and declare all property 'Collective' and turn it into a democracy where we both have half of the voting power? And we need to send representatives to the Soviet[1] to discuss who may build what website?

When we apply your ideas to the real world, they'll have to adept to, you know, the real world. Where not all 9 people are generic Soviet Citizens who all do their equal share of the work.

I mean, you can't give everyone the same 'Voting power', can you? It's not fair if the guy who works 80 hours every hour gets just as much voting power as the guy who only works 2 hours a week. And don't you think the surgeon who does very hard work should get more of a reward than the game tester?

Look, I completely agreed with you. When I was fourteen. Seriously, I was a Communist, and I employed the same examples and 'rebuttals' as you did.

Look for example at the Kolkhozy. Kolkhozy and sovkhozy were collective farms in the Soviet Union.
There were collective grounds, where everyone worked collectively, with the newest machines, the best seeds, the best fertilizers, et cetera. But everyone had a small individual piece of ground too. There they had to work with their own, old tools, with left-over seeds and lower-quality fertilizer. But the individually owned ground was way more productive than the collective ground.

I'm sorry, communism just doesn't work :(

But if you need a good dose of idealism and hope to fix the world...
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/528.340737-Why-youll-be-immortal-if-youre-still-alive-in-2040

[1] "Soviet" is derived from a Russian word signifying council, advice, harmony, concord.

My question is, how does such a society invest in future businesses and industries? Take it as given that capital has no function in a business beyond its initial creation, and that workers are indeed fully capable of running a business for themselves. How does one initially build a factory, say, without a concentration of wealth provided by a capitalist, or a state acting as a capitalist?

TheMatsjo:
Salut Escapists,

Workers should own the means to production. That is the essential cornerstone of what I am proposing. Instead of factories and workplaces being owned by an individual or a company, the actual people doing the actual work should have the say in how things are run. If you're a baker in a bakery with 9 other people, you guys collectively have the power to decide what happens. You can elect a representative to speak with other bakeries to figure out how much bread is needed in that area, and you can send representatives anywhere to participate in negotiations for policy on a larger scale. No Patrician class needed.

Interesting idea, but would it be implemented?

For example, I work part-time at a local restaurant with about 20-or-so other employees (Only about 8 are there at any given time, almost everyone but the chefs work there a few days out of the week). The owner, my employer, bought the property and building with his own money (or a loan in his name) and completely renovated it into the state it is today, which must have cost a huge amount of money (not to mention the risk of opening any new business).

He's pretty attentive to everyone's opinion, but at the end of of the day it's his business and he makes the final decision. If someone really doesn't like how the place is being run, and he's not willing to change it, then they can quit and find somewhere else to work.

How would existing businesses go from being privately owned to collectively owned?
Would that require that the property of current business owners be seized?
Would they receive equivalent compensation?
How would new businesses be established, and would it then be a government, rather than private matter?

TheMatsjo:
In this thread I will not enter into any conversations with regards to how socialism should be brought about, that is a discussion for another thread.

You already did. Revolutionary Socialism by it's very definition requires a revolution and that is ALWAYS violent, especially in any system where a coup d'etat will not work. I live in America, so I think I will respond with the immortal words of Dirty Harry. Go ahead. Make my day.

With over half the world's supply of civilian weaponry, any socialist revolution army would be mincemeat before it took 2 steps out the door.

Its niave to say that monetary reward is all that drives a person. Lets review some of the greatest products available for certain platforms.

Wikipedia. Free, THOUSANDS of man hours put into it for.... what reward?

Linux. Free, THOUSANDS of proffessional technical code put into it for... what?

Skype. Free, again WHY?

Firefox. Free. What? Why is this?!

Its a trend that companies that allow autonomy and strive to work for a good product and a good impact on the world create: better products, faster, cheaply and are VERY innovative.

Valve for example is VERY worker focussed and gives workers a LOT of autonomy. We consitantly see new ideas explored and good games produced along with a good work ethic. Why is this?

I cant say capitolism doesnt WORK but these things show a clear trend that the more a worker feels involved and free to do their own thing the better the quality of work produced.

We should use this. We have a large number of highly trained proffessionals making vastly popular products at a competative level for free in their own time just for fun. Tell a business man that you have a free, intelligent, technical workforce willing to put their own time into a product for free that they give away and he will laugh at you. But it exists. Is there NO way we can utilise this success and make more like it?

BiscuitTrouser:
Its niave to say that monetary reward is all that drives a person. Lets review some of the greatest products available for certain platforms.

Wikipedia. Free, THOUSANDS of man hours put into it for.... what reward?

Linux. Free, THOUSANDS of proffessional technical code put into it for... what?

Skype. Free, again WHY?

Firefox. Free. What? Why is this?!

Its a trend that companies that allow autonomy and strive to work for a good product and a good impact on the world create: better products, faster, cheaply and are VERY innovative.

Valve for example is VERY worker focussed and gives workers a LOT of autonomy. We consitantly see new ideas explored and good games produced along with a good work ethic. Why is this?

I cant say capitolism doesnt WORK but these things show a clear trend that the more a worker feels involved and free to do their own thing the better the quality of work produced.

We should use this. We have a large number of highly trained proffessionals making vastly popular products at a competative level for free in their own time just for fun. Tell a business man that you have a free, intelligent, technical workforce willing to put their own time into a product for free that they give away and he will laugh at you. But it exists. Is there NO way we can utilise this success and make more like it?

Notice the fact that all you're examples are internet-companies. "Internet-rules" do not apply to "real life" economy. It's not like people suddenly became Jesuslike on the internet and started handing out free stuff, it's internet what made free distribution a lot easier. The baker is still not going to hand out free bread.

Danyal:

Notice the fact that all you're examples are internet-companies. "Internet-rules" do not apply to "real life" economy. It's not like people suddenly became Jesuslike on the internet and started handing out free stuff, it's internet what made free distribution a lot easier. The baker is still not going to hand out free bread.

The baker is a poor analogy. I mean in terms of innovation and new ideas better things tend to flourish where more freedom is alloted to the workers compared to a simple monetary reward. I know the internet didnt make people jesuslike but people have always had the drive, some people anyway, to do something fun and innovative if only they had the chance. I can see potential in companies giving workers the ability to decide where to go next or offer up ideas that they would happily work on at home.

Basically this drive to work for free exists. The quality is good. And yet we only see such motivation on the internet. Companies can distribute. Cant we channel this awesome work force?

Matsjo, me is disappoint! You didn't reply to anyone!

TheMatsjo:
If you do not find an answer to your question straight away, don't assume I don't know, and don't assume you've "got me there". Just bring it up, and we can discuss it. I will not respond to lazy, outright hostile, overtly uninformed or illegible replies. I wll engage thought-out, coherent statements to the full extent of my ability, be it quickly or after a while.

This really made me expect.. you know... replies.

TheMatsjo:
Capitalism isn't working, and no amount of tinkering will get it to work properly, ever.

There is general agreement that capitalism is an economic system that includes private ownership of the means of production, creation of goods or services for profit or income, the accumulation of capital, competitive markets, voluntary exchange, and wage labor.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism

This sounds horrible and unworkable to you? No amount of tinkering will EVER make it work properly? I thought you're Dutch. Is our society so f*cked up? Do you have to work so f*cking much and are your rewards so incredibly bad? Can this easily be fixed by forcing bakers to give their ovens to "the collective"?

TheMatsjo:
By its very mechanisms it concentrates power in the hands of the few, is forced to expand ever-outward and brings out the most short-sighted and greedy elements within ourselves.

Short-sighted? Creating a proper company is severely harmed by short-sightedness.
Greedy? That's why capitalists only get their reward if they have properly served the community by creating good products.

TheMatsjo:
Such a change should not be confined to one or a few nations, instead it should be global, with all peoples sending representatives from their own ranks to conferences and make collective-democratic-agreements on how we should do things for the betterment of all. It's conceivable that money would no longer be necessary, we can be rid of financial interference with research, education, healthcare, politics etc.

This sounds very Occupy-like.

TheMatsjo:
give only this very short outline and respond far more in detail to directed questions, rebuttals and statements. Monologues are far less engaging after all.

Still waiting for the responses.

TheMatsjo:
- Nazism has no links to Socialism, don't expect me to explain it to you.

image
Except for the fact that 'Nazi' stands for 'National-Socialist'. It's like saying "Nazism has no links to Nationalism, don't except me to explain it to you.". If you National-Socialism has no links to Socialism, you really don't know anything about the history of Socialism.

TheMatsjo:
- Cuba, China, North-Korea and the USSR are/were not Socialist nations, they're State Capitalist at best. Lenin himself wanted to kick Stalin out of the Bolshevik Party.

Socialismis an economic system characterised by social ownership and control of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy,[1] and a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises, common ownership, direct public ownership or autonomous state enterprises.[2] There are many variations of socialism and as such there is no single definition encapsulating all of socialism.[3]

Oh wait. They are/were socialist. Seriously, the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics (commonly abbreviated as 'USSR') was socialist. Maybe not the specific flavor of socialism you like, but it was socialist nevertheless.

TheMatsjo:
- Socialism is anti-State, it wants to abolish governments in their entirety. Centralised planning of economies are a caricature of what socialist writ advocates.

While the Soviets were often called communists, they saw themselves as socialist; a transitional phase between capitalism and communism, where a state was needed to bend stuff in the right direction. It seems you're looking forward to some kind of Communist Utopia, and you need state intervention to get there. (and of course, after the transitional phase, this dictatorship of the proletariat is not needed anymore)

TheMatsjo:
- Human nature is malleable, and dependent on context. There is such a thing as collective self-interest. Greed is not a default human condition. We are not solely motivated by money or greed.

Sorry, human nature is nature, and it can be modified somewhat by proper nurture. But human nature id definitely not nurture. And we aren't solely motivated by money or greed, but capitalism deals with scarcity, and regarding scarcity, yes, we often are quite greedy.

TheMatsjo:
- Socialism does not mean that you have to give up your teddy bear, it does not deal with personal belongings, it deals with collective control of the means of production. Computers and bicycles can be personally owned, although there is discussion whether or not you'd even want to have those, considering elements I'd have to devote a lot of text to.

In TheMatsjo-world I don't want a computer?! WTF?!

TheMatsjo:
- The picture(s) of Lenin Cat is not necessarily coherent with my words, it's there for levity.

Your picture doesn't seem to work.
image

People ask "What would motivate people", but that's honestly a simple thing to puzzle out if you think about it.

We have people, RIGHT NOW, with advanced degrees making minimal wage, putting in hard hours and getting blamed by society that both they make too much money AND on every one of society's problems. And they LOVE THEIR JOB. I'm talking about teachers.

People that work happiest in a career are motivated by the career. You hear it said time and time again. This is how people that work creative careers function despite their otherwise hellish job description, and the reason people in 'jobs' almost universally hate their job.

And why the two camps can rarely understand the other's work ethics.

Yes, greed is a motivator that will get somebody that is otherwise unmotivated in your career or project to take interest in it. But their interest isn't to produce that product faithfully to those motivated by the actual project. Their interest is greed, so their product is self interest and greed. They cannibalize those that are motivated 'by the project, for the project' to fuel their greed. Their end result is waste.

Greed isn't the best motivator, it's actually the worst motivator we have. It's just the laziest and most 'universal' motivator that applies to most people in a very vague way. It's a tar brush to paint all people with because the system is too lazy to figure out what motivates a single individual best. Greed is the lowest common denominator, and to use it as your only tool is stupid on a magnificent scale.

Greed as a motivator doesn't lead to meritocracy or efficiency, because greed isn't a moral or ethical system. If your system is set up around greed, greed will be its end product. It's a self fulfilling prophecy.

All these limiters to capitalism are there to limit greed, it's supposed main motivation force. This is an inherent conflict of interest. The only way capitalism survives is to be less capitalism at its heart.

You say "Greed is all we need to motivate people", but then go "Ok, but these guys are too greedy, so we're going to limit monopolies. These guys are too greedy, so we're going to limit nepotism. These guys are too greedy so.." etc.

If the best tool of a system is the one thing you have to limit the most then chances are the system's values need totally rehauling.

I'm not in the interest to taking an ideology and sticking entirely to it evidence be damned. I don't frankly fucking care if we're a capitalism, a socialism, a communism, as long as it fucking works and we're happy as a society with it, both the big and the small. That's all I give a shit about.

If capitalism or a system with 'money' in it can do this, fine. But I honestly think that praising greed is the absolute worst way to do it and the absolute worst global motivator the system has.

If socialistic ideas, or communistic ideas can come together with what we have and fix it, fine. Let it be fixed. I don't mind living in a capitalistic society that borrows heavily from their ideals.

If it's the other way around, and that we need a socialism that borrows a few capitalistic ideas, fine too. Because we can't afford the luxury of thinking one ideal or the other is right in the face of failure because we're too proud to think of anything new.

Being too proud to think of anything new is precisely why the internet is decimating businesses like big name producers and Hollywood.

But to say that the system as is is perfectly right in the head, that's an absolute lie that only the people on top should or can believe.

It's not a system that will last forever, or even much longer, it seems. The West and the United States, their capitalistic systems REQUIRE the cannibalization of rest of the world to survive.

China or India becoming a new superpower is a threat the United States, not because they as a super power will contest the United States militarily (though that might happen), or because they'll 'outdo' the United States and use us as THEIR exploitable partner (though that might happen), but because it means we're entering into an age where there will NO LONGER be a third world to rape. And we live in a system with no homeostasis, only growth or decline.

So the United States and the West needs to build a system where they can live in a first world lifestyle without the need to exploit others, or it's going to lose that lifestyle forever.

If being #1 is the only way that the United States can survive, then that's not a system that is set up to last forever. Period. The United States needs to find a way to survive in the way it wants to that is compatible both with it being number one, and being number 120th.

Only then can a profitable and ethical system on a global scale be managed.

If we require greed as the global motivator, then we have a system where there can only be GROWTH and DECLINE, and if we're incapable of infinite GROWTH (and China and India becoming super powers is basically a hard stop to that), and we have no way to live comfortably in homeostasis, then decline is all we have in store for our future.

Honestly, saying greed is the best motivator because it's the lowest common denominator, would be like being a chef, and having 3 recipes. One calls for butter in the mix, but water can be used as a substitute. Another calls for milk, but water can be used as a substitute. A third calls for tomato paste to be used, but water can be used as a substitute.

What we're doing is substituting water for EVERY dish because we have a system that can't do anything else, then telling ourselves that we have the best food that can viably be cooked, ever.

Yes, water worked in all these cases, but you have some pretty sub standard dishes made. To praise water as the best sauce ever, though, seems foolish.

ravenshrike:
You already did. Revolutionary Socialism by it's very definition requires a revolution and that is ALWAYS violent, especially in any system where a coup d'etat will not work. I live in America, so I think I will respond with the immortal words of Dirty Harry. Go ahead. Make my day.

Not necessarily. We Dutch had a socialist revolution in 1918. Some guy by the name of Troelstra declared the socialist revolution. But the socialist armies kind of failed to show up. What basically happened is everybody just went 'cool story bro' and carried on, so it failed before it began. ^_^

Blablahb:

ravenshrike:
You already did. Revolutionary Socialism by it's very definition requires a revolution and that is ALWAYS violent, especially in any system where a coup d'etat will not work. I live in America, so I think I will respond with the immortal words of Dirty Harry. Go ahead. Make my day.

Not necessarily. We Dutch had a socialist revolution in 1918. Some guy by the name of Troelstra declared the socialist revolution. But the socialist armies kind of failed to show up. What basically happened is everybody just went 'cool story bro' and carried on, so it failed before it began. ^_^

True, I should have started that sentence with "In order to succeed".

How is capitalism not working? Please explaining me how it is a complete and utter failure that needs to be destroyed? We have tried, we have failed, and at best we got mixed economies like Sweden.

Also, where do plan to find this support to rise up? Socialists and marxists are not easy to find now a days, particularly if your in the US. We only have an 8th of the workers unionized, and even then that is mostly in a handful of fields that basically require to be in an union to work in the field (such as nursing).

oh god, that would be terrible.
It would be incredibly slow, the major advantage of having a boss is that orders and decisions go through quickly and smoothly. Sure it doesn't always work for the best, but it's better than having a factory of 100 workers constantly having to vote to put something through.

It seems that your system of worker ownership would trend to something akin to the guild system that existed in the medieval ages. This would not necessarily be a bad thing in and of itself, but I cannot imagine that such a system would not quickly become corrupt and make its aim the protection of its own monopolization of its trade.

Also, about capitalism not working: That, in my understanding, is because the current system of capitalism is crippled by government intervention and regulation. (Don't read that as a vote for complete deregulation)

randomsix:
It seems that your system of worker ownership would trend to something akin to the guild system that existed in the medieval ages. This would not necessarily be a bad thing in and of itself, but I cannot imagine that such a system would not quickly become corrupt and make its aim the protection of its own monopolization of its trade.

Also, about capitalism not working: That, in my understanding, is because the current system of capitalism is crippled by government intervention and regulation. (Don't read that as a vote for complete deregulation)

Even Milton Friedman isn't for complete deregulation.

To the OP:

I like the lame "state capitalism" line to brush away the inconvenient truth that Marxist-Leninism is utterly terrible in practice and consequence.

By that line I know you are a dogmatist of the Tony Cliff school of revolutionary socialism.

At one point I knew more expelled members of the Socialist Workers Party in the UK (the strongest adherents of the state capitalism argument) than actual members. They take their dogmatic purity that seriously.

The more I hear the word "state capitalist" the more I think of lame-assed semantics dressed up as analysis.

The problem was democratic centralism (dictatorship by the central committee) and an overly arrogant and elitist "scientific" pretension to socialism.

When revolutionary socialism has been tried according to the Marxist-Leninist model it has been a spectacular failure and claiming that it hasn't failed and that those failings were "actually" capitalist failings - special "state capitalist" failings - is really pure double-think.

There was and is something very rotten in scientific Marx and Lenin and even in modernity itself that led to those failings. Calling it state capitalist is just denial.

Your revolutionary Tony Cliffism will lead to the exact same horrors of "state capitalism" if it were ever to succeed in any nation in Europe or beyond.

Regards

Nightspore

TheMatsjo:

Instead of factories and workplaces being owned by an individual or a company, the actual people doing the actual work should have the say in how things are run.

If you think the people running companies don't do actual work then you don't know much about running a company. Maybe you should learn that first before trying to come up with ways of doing it better?

what both national socialism and communism both have in common is having marxism as its basis and i suspect your idea has the same basis. im generally wary of any belief system that argues for eliminating enemies of the state whether class or racially based.

interesting fact the earliest national socialist publications emphasised how close they were to communism but it was dropped as it wasnt popular with voters

TheMatsjo:

Because this is a complex area and I don't want to have to have about 12 sets of quotes in 3 posts time, I've spoilerized the OP, and I'll quote in "double quotes and italics" the parts that I'm responding to.

First, I'd like to raise a few points about your rebuttals:

"-Cuba, China, North-Korea and the USSR are/were not Socialist nations, they're State Capitalist at best. Lenin himself wanted to kick Stalin out of the Bolshevik Party."
Claiming that what are commonly called 'communist states' were not socialist in origin is a little whimsical. While I can, to some degree, accept the "State Capitalist" moniker, claiming that they had no ideological links to socialism simply isn't correct. It's also unfortunate, because one of the more interesting aspects of this debate would be how to avoid totalitarianism in practice.
In addition, using the line 'Lenin didn't like Stalin' is a non-argument. Just because Stalin was a psychopath doesn't mean that Lenin gets let off the hook. Hell, Leninism itself is primarily concerned with bringing about a uber-nationalised society run by the party. Arguably, Stalin achieved that. It's up to subsequent movements to install a genuine form of socialism or communism. Neither Lenin or Stalin were socialists, but their stated long term ideological aims were to bring about a socialist state in line with Marxism, which is socialist.

"- Human nature is malleable, and dependent on context. There is such a thing as collective self-interest. Greed is not a default human condition. We are not solely motivated by money or greed."
There is most definitely collective self interest (I'd argue that on a genetic level as well), but it's also true that we are competitive and care more about ourselves and people we know than some abstract other person that we'll never meet.

"- Socialism does not mean that you have to give up your teddy bear, it does not deal with personal belongings, it deals with collective control of the means of production. Computers and bicycles can be personally owned, although there is discussion whether or not you'd even want to have those, considering elements I'd have to devote a lot of text to."
The problem is that many socialist ideologies also come with the baggage of abolishing private ownership. In it's purest form you're correct and private belongings aren't impinged upon, but in practice it's very difficult to define. Is a farmer's land that has been his family's for six generations private property or a business enterprise? The demarcation is difficult, and I'd be genuinely interested to see where your utopia draws the line.

"- Socialism does not rely on "everyone doing the right thing" or "people being nice"; instead it relies on people trying to improve their lot in life, but instead of pitting them against each other, we try to get those drives to complement one another."
Thank you for making the point that it's not about "being nice", that's an all too common mischaracterisation! Though tbf, I think that saying that capitalism is all about "pitting [people] against each other" is a similar level of mischaracterisation. Anarchism pits everyone against each other, at least with capitalism there are social constraints.

Anyway, back to the start!

First off, it does seem a little odd that you characterise yourself as a "revolutionary socialist", but are refusing to discuss how it should occur. Why not just call yourself a socialist for the sake of this debate? That doesn't make you less 'radical', it just means you forgo the 'revolution by force' bit of the ideology (and, I might add, the bit that has caused all major left wing causes to betray themselves).

I don't have a problem with any of your critique of capitalism except when you say that:
" and no amount of tinkering will get it to work properly, ever."
At the risk of sounding pedantic, "ever" is a very broad statement. I agree that there need to be changes in the way things happen, but there's no reason to believe that capitalism is beyond the point of redemption. There are plenty of economies that haven't been hit that hard in this recession. It's the financial sector playing with pretend numbers that fucked things up, not the manufacturing sector or the services sector or capitalism as a whole.

"Workers should own the means to production. That is the essential cornerstone of what I am proposing. Instead of factories and workplaces being owned by an individual or a company, the actual people doing the actual work should have the say in how things are run. If you're a baker in a bakery with 9 other people, you guys collectively have the power to decide what happens. You can elect a representative to speak with other bakeries to figure out how much bread is needed in that area, and you can send representatives anywhere to participate in negotiations for policy on a larger scale. No Patrician class needed."
And this is the crux of the debate. And yes, it does sound nice in principle. It works great for small companies or groups within a capitalist architecture. My mother used to work in a company that made every decision by committee and it worked fine, even if reaching a decision did take *a bit* longer. But what's the macro-structure? What works for a small company doesn't work necessarily work for a whole country. For example:

We take your bakery idea. Every worker there has a vote on what happens and you have a rep who travels around and assesses what everyone needs. Cool. But is this part of a state-owned industry, where prices is set by plebiscite? Or do you have rival bakeries next door that you are competing with to produce the best product? Neither of those options are 'true socialism'.
If it's decided you need to increase the pay of everyone who works in your factory (I assume a flat hourly rate with productivity bonus?), who green-lights that? Is it the workers in the factory? Or is it the everyone in the region? - after all, they're going to need to pay more for bread if the workers get paid more.
Perhaps you can simply reduce the amount you pay for wheat, but then that'll hurt the farmers, who'll undoubtedly have similar decisions to make!

Can you see what I mean? Whichever way you do things there are going to be conflicts between everyone's ownership of everything! These conflicts, by and large, are bypassed with capitalism because there's a sort of natural set of checks and balances. It's a fundamentally self-righting system. I agree that there are excesses, and things need to change, but socialism paralyses itself because of these conflicts of interest. I'm going to refrain from saying that you'd always get Holodomor-esque problems with such a system, but the fundamental problem remains that with socialism there isn't the same type of balance that a degree of competition provides. It's kind of like the church vs science:

That's about all I've got to say really. I have every sympathy for people who want an end to corporate excess, but pure socialism, especially of the revolutionary variety, is fundamentally flawed in outlook.

EDIT: Quote fix

I don't think he's coming back...

But just on this point of what is or isn't Socialism. You can argue all you like that the Soviet Union, China, Cuba et al. were technically Socialist, or not Socialist, or based on Socialism or whatever, and you might even be right to some extent (though I must say comparisons to Nazism is a little suspect). However, this is not what the TC is suggesting or defending. The TC does not want the Soviet Union, China, Cuba et al. and if you are asking him to defend such systems on the grounds that he used the word Socialism, then that is still a straw man.

BiscuitTrouser:

Danyal:

Notice the fact that all you're examples are internet-companies. "Internet-rules" do not apply to "real life" economy. It's not like people suddenly became Jesuslike on the internet and started handing out free stuff, it's internet what made free distribution a lot easier. The baker is still not going to hand out free bread.

The baker is a poor analogy. I mean in terms of innovation and new ideas better things tend to flourish where more freedom is alloted to the workers compared to a simple monetary reward. I know the internet didnt make people jesuslike but people have always had the drive, some people anyway, to do something fun and innovative if only they had the chance. I can see potential in companies giving workers the ability to decide where to go next or offer up ideas that they would happily work on at home.

Basically this drive to work for free exists. The quality is good. And yet we only see such motivation on the internet. Companies can distribute. Cant we channel this awesome work force?

No, not really, at least not in the same fashion.

-Time is the only significant resource consumed in all of the examples you mention, unlike nearly all other kinds of products.
-Most of the professionals involved did NOT work for free. (just because they don't sell the product doesn't mean they are not acquiring money in other ways from their efforts.)

Regardless, people keep claiming that they don't want something like what has happened in Russia, Cuba, etc. But they also keep ignoring WHY a system that started out just like what they dream of devolved into such a nightmare. Here's a hint, Stalin was hated for good reason, but he saved the USSR from collapsing under its own weight. The dream of a worker's paradise simply was not enough to keep the quotas filled on its own.

First of all, I love the fact that revolutionairy socialists will often claim that the well known communist nations, the USSR, DPRK, PRC, DDR and holy shit what is it with these places and acronyms? Back on track, socialsts will claim that these were not true solcialst states, but neglect to ponder why that is so. What happened in between free bread for all and gulags for all that has ensured that every communist or full socialst nation that does not adopt at least some capitalist ideas ends up as a failed state?

Personally, I think it is a part of the process of a revolution, in that the average person simply wants things to be better, they won't organise revolutionairy cells or things of that nature and so the power always devolves to the active revolutionairies. These are the ones that actually care about the political ideas, and so they are the ones with the most investment in ensureing that their idea is maintained. Because of this, they wind up taking more and more power to 'do the right thing' and then, because all of this power winds up in the hands of the few, their either die, reveal thier true colours or are corrupted by the power that they hold. This is where your Castros, your Stalins, your Maos, your Kim Il Sungs etc come from. In a capitalist system, those bastards are their, hidden away, but they check each other's power.

That is the problem with an economic system the size of the world's today, every small issue is magnified until a decimal point in the wrong place has the chance of ruining hundreds of lives. As a system grows, the chances of some sociopath trying to take over approach one. Capitalism, flawed as it is, in built against that happening, because it allows hostile interaction between economic groups, the lip service to cooperation that is nessecary in socialism ensures that sociopaths either end up on the same side or kill each other until one is left in charge.

Next up, the average western citizen lives in unparralled luxery. We enjoy the highest standard of living in human history to a point that even the poor would seem to be as rich as creosote to someone from say..200 years ago. Yes, there is inequality, but there will always be inequality, that is an inherent flaw in the human condition. Yes, african nations are in a worse state, but if you look at the cold war, at least half of that is the fault of the warsaw pacts interactions. The developed world fucked on africa, but that is flaw in the way that nations interact, not capitalism.

Finally, people forget that economic management is a skill, that capital, the thing that allows interaction between the baker and wheat field, is a product that needs to be produced, distrubted and managed like any other. Just like Joe is a carpenter, who can shape wood into a chair, Jim is a manager, who knows where chairs are needed and where the most efficient supply of wood is. Jim cannor survive without Joe and Joe needs Jim to be able to interact with the economy at anything other than the extreame-local level.

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