Certainly the history of socialism is mired in failure and has never come close to the sought after dream that it proposes. The socialism of Nazi Germany, the abssolute brutality of the Soviet Union and China; the more modern attempts by European countries serve to cloud the altruism, peace and harmony that it espouses. Perhaps the brutality that is associated with socialism was the fault of poor or thuggish leadership. Perhaps the new socialism, so desperately sought after by our own leadership will prove more fruitful. It is said that democracy is the only road to socialism and I believe that to be true, but what of the road of socialism; where does that take society. Karl Marx thought that it would lead directly to Marxism or totalitarian rule.There are so many who would attack America and her ideals of freedom, perhaps they would like to stand up and be counted, as socialists or cheer leaders for the dream of a socialistic planet earth.
I would, because I want to destroy America.
Thank you William. Why do you want to destroy America?
Why do you insist on starting forum threads without understanding what you are talking about?
I just asked you a simple question. You want to destroy America; I am interested in why. If you are a reasonable man you should have a reasonable answe. Why would you destroy America?
Do you really think I want to destroy America?
it's obvious you do....
Thats what you said. Have you changed your mind and if so why?
Do you really want to have an honest discussion of socialism? If you do, then why do you say things like:
Like what William and thank you for the nice comment on my blogs. I think it was a nice comment.
Not sure why you can't see what I quoted but here it is again:
Do you really want to have an honest discussion of socialism? If you do, then why do you say things like:
Karl Marx thought that it would lead directly to Marxism or totalitarian rule.There are so many who would attack America and her ideals of freedom, perhaps they would like to stand up and be counted, as socialists
Sorry I missed this one. So you are standing up as a socialist. Am I to infer that you are also a Marxist Socialist or a Naxi Socialist or perhaps a Fascist Socialist or perhaps just a socialist socialist. I have found, over the years, that socialists are usually people who believe that every one else is so stupid that government needs to take care of them and that person wants to be in the government or a person who lacks any ambition or self direction. Which is a fitting description?
He is unquestionably a Nacho Socialist, just like Marshall Tostito of Yugoslavia
Once again, your comments leave me thinking that you don't actually want an honest discussion. So why should I bother having one with you?
I'm glad we can both agree that Glenn Beck is exploitive garbage.
Did you watch last night? He made a really good case for what I have been saying all along, Obama is a socialist. At least now I understand why Obama is a socialist and how he came to be one.
Now, does it matter? Does it matter that the President of the United States is an anti-capitalist socialist?
Yes, because that changes what he does.
Glenn Beck keeps calling himself a libertarian, but he's just a neo-con. So has the Tea-party movement been usurped by Neo-cons.
But on a more relevant note - the Constitution of the US pretty much outlaws socialist tendencies by use of the 10th Amendment. Unfortunately, however, everyone ignores this.
Also, socialism just can't work. period.
Ok, since there's some confusion, let me clarify:
I don't want to destroy America. I was being sarcastic.
I only want to destroy Alabama.
Don't forget in your summation the socialist regime of the Galactic Empire
I never saw the movies, but I think your graphic is superb. That should be the face of socialism. That is precisely what is is and what it conjures up. If that is what you meant?
There can be little doubt that the road which leads from the mouth of Socialism will be one of hardship and war. Americans are not like other people on this planet, for they alone have tasted the freedom so many wish for. We are placing one foot dangerously close to the edge with this president and desperately need to take a step back.
When wealth which is hard earned is taken by force, either the force of a gun, a tax or a cultural slide as we are seeing today, many who have it will enter into the fold in the belief that they will not lose theirs.
When I see the Warren Buffets of the world, the George Soros' of the world start playing nice with the regime it makes me a bit more nervous about our future.
"There can be little doubt that the road which leads from the mouth of Socialism will be one of hardship and war."
you forgot "and horrendous amounts of completely unnecessary death."
ALTHOUGH I AM NOT A SOCIALIST, GIVE ME A REALISTIC DEFINITION OF SOCIALISM, AND THEN I WILL BE YOUR DEVILS ADVOCATE.
Won't someone save America from the socialist evil that has befallen Sweden!?!?!
What is so bad about the socialism that controls Sweden. I heard that they were having a good time and that they were the ideal society, the poster board for the socialist movement.
all these countries call themselves socialist, but they're really no more socialist than America - both/all (except the extreme cases) have about 40% of the market controlled or extremely regulated by the government.
You can live in a country where everyone has the right to be cared for in a hospital without calling it socialism.
You can live in a country where everyone has the right to be educated without that country being called socialist.
Equal opportunity is not socialism, it's justice.
That's because education and healthcare aren't socialism.
It can be considered parts of a socialist system. That is why Americans are fearful of the healthcare plan isn't it?
Socialism is when the government owns the industry. Healthcare insurance still belongs to the insurance companies and healthcare still belongs to the hospitals and doctors. What the government is doing is a form of regulation.
Oh Okay, I thought the U.S. government was in charge of healthcare but was 'leasing' it to insurance companies. It just seems bizarre to me that companies who crave profit can be in control of health. I don't really understand how people could want that. In Ireland it's an entirely different mentality.
" it's an entirely different mentality"
Good way to put it.
Premierkj, I totally agree with you. I was just talking about this with a friend yesterday, asking how on earth private companies can have such a grip on people's health. Scary!!
What the government is doing is taking over the industry by using regulation it doesn't have authority to use!
Legendary makes a fantastic point, but stops two steps short.
"Socialism is when the government owns the industry. Healthcare insurance still belongs to the insurance companies and healthcare still belongs to the hospitals and doctors. What the government is doing is a form of regulation."
1- It is regulation. Massive government regulation is not called "Socialism" - you are correct. Massive gov't Regulation is called "Fascism". (and also "Unconstitutional")
2- The AMA is a government appointed monopoly, and so it is mercantilist in nature.
So far it ain't capitalist
What the government is doing is unconstitutional
In the old America you had the right to achieve what you want, you earn it, you work for it. Under socialism the government dictates what you have and the quality. Regardless of your spin it is socialism and socialism requires a totalitarian rule. Is that what you want?
Those socialist democracies in Europe don't seem to be very totalitarian.
I haven't studied socialism in any great detail but I know what it is. I just didn't know America's situation as well as I should have. I am Irish and I want the government to control our healthcare and education and things that I believe every child should have an automatic right to have.
Government control of education isn't socialism, education is not an industry or business.
I don't know. Maybe Texas just has an agenda of changing history to suit their educators. Unfortunately with such control comes influence and the manipulation of the truth can serve no one well.
There is a socialist element to most of the services we enjoy that mirrors socialism. And as with any form of government nothing is truly unique to one genre.
It is the government control of the agenda of education for the primary benefit of government, to instill in the child the absolute authority of government over the child, family and society. Its purpose is to expand the role and dominance of government, to eliminate self determination and individualization.
Maybe, I don't remember anything like that when I went through school.
It is still not socialism though.
Education is most definitely a business! There are unions, text books, tuition's, loans, etc not to mention various training in many fields of employment and the increase in earnings as a result of education.
Oh, and you wouldn't notice indoctrination if it was taking place. It can be quite subtle. Even the "pledge of allegiance" is a form of indoctrination.
What you listed are all the byproducts of having public education. Education is not itself a commercial activity.
Yes, I know the pledge is indoctrination, however throughout all of my school years government was never even brought up except in my civics and government classes.
It is definitely a commercial transaction. Public school has to be paid for somehow, for me it's through a very evil property tax.
Education is just given money. That doesn't mean its commercial.
What is being transacted? Schools provide a service, however nothing is given in return.
That's because they've been socialized.
If they hadn't been socialized, the only kinds of schools that would exist would be private schools and variations thereof, which charge tuition.
You seem to have this belief that anything run by the government is socialized.
Pretty much, yeah.
Socialism means putting private enterprises under public control. (Exactly what kind of public control varies widely, depending on the exact school of socialism. There is even a branch of socialist anarchism.)
Schools are private enterprises. Ergo, public schools are socialist. So is the post office, the federal highway system, the National Park Service, Social Security, Medicare, and many other programs.
Pure socialism is a nightmare, but so is pure capitalism, so I will stand up in defense of practical, common sense application of ideas from both philosophies. The US hasn't got the mix quite right yet, though. We have an unfortunate tendency to slap stupid regulations onto certain areas while letting corporations get away with murder (sometimes literally) in others.
I don't want to sound picky about your wording but enterprises are businesses, so I disagree with a few of of the items you listed as government owned businesses - like education and highways. However you make some excellent points.
I am not purely against socialism like some people, I can see its benefits, I just believe that it takes away from opportunities for other people to do business and better their lives and the lives of others.
Schools and highways are not government owned businesses, they are government owned services, because the costs of running these services have been socialized to the general public through taxes.
If we had not socialized these services, they would be run by private companies and they would be businesses that would necessarily have to charge for their services in order to stay competitive.
Actually, many governments are leasing toll roads, bridges, and even parking meters to private companies in exchange for up front cash. Some of these leases are long term 99 year leases, which makes the maintenance the responsibility of these private companies. This is another illustration of the incompetence and fiscal irresponsibility of government.
This occurs in healthcare as well. The UK government has had hospitals built by private companies that have a guaranteed lease-back to the government for 35 years. This is a finance issue not a political ideological one. Despite the hospitals being privately owned, healthcare is still provided free to all at these facilities.
That's very different than what I'm talking about. Government hires contractors to do work for them all the time. What is happening here is government is giving up their rights to toll monies and their responsibility to provide maintenance for certain roadways and bridges in exchange for up front cash.
Now private companies which are in business to profit will be collecting tolls and setting the rates! So, why do we need government?
If we keep up the privatization of basic services we'll all be begging for government control in a few years.
The centralized nature of government, and the fact that it is not in business to make a profit but to serve the public, make it ideal for things like interstates and public education.
I don't think I'll ever be begging for government to do anything, except to insure my freedom. They're really not good for anything else, and even at that, they're not doing their job as good as they should be.
How can government ensure your freedom exactly? You are the only one who can do that.
Government exists either by the force of those who govern or by the consent of the governed.
We (think we) need a government to do certain things: provide military protection from foreign powers and regulate trade with foreign powers.
But it also makes sense that government regulate the interstates, prints standardized money, etc.
Some things just can't be done well by the private sector - thus, those things are publicly managed. That's what I mean - we need public ownership and management of certain things - like clean air, interstates, public libraries, the military, etc.
Those are desperate, short-sighted moves in most cases.
.. isn't that what socialism is? the government own the means of production? i thought that was like... THE definition of socialism.
"The centralized nature of government, and the fact that it is not in business to make a profit but to serve the public, make it ideal for things like interstates and public education."
Exactly the opposite.
kerryg, you've missed an excellent chance to shut legendary down:
He just claimed that public education "provides a service, however nothing is given in return."
This is a blatant error:
1- it costs freedom. In order to pay for a public good, everyone has to chip in. How do we make sure everyone chips in? Guns and police! You have to pay for their service, even if you go to private schools.
2- It costs time. Perhaps the children could be learning something else that was better for them. Perhaps the children, instead of learning about the proper use of a semi-colon, they could be learning the inner working of computer programming.
3- It costs labor. All the teachers, who most likely are happy to be teachers, aren't spending their labor in other fields. It is a choice that was made possible only through the theft of tax-money. Each person who is a teacher is not a doctor, or a car-salesman, or a janitor, or a clerk at a store. ... perhaps the labor could be spent more efficiently?
Anyway, these are just three arguments, each saying the same thing - that public services DO cost something.
something IS given in return for public education. It's a horrible fallacy to say that there isn't.
There's this thing called "tax", and if you don't pay these "taxes" the government comes and throws you in jail. These "taxes" then are used to pay for things that people don't value as much as other things - otherwise they would pay for them. Also, because the government wants control over things like "education", "money", "roads" and many other important aspects of our life, it then proceeds to make it almost impossible for private entrepreneurs to enter these markets.
For a further discussion of the "seen vs. unseen", read "Economics in One Lesson" and prepare to have your life turned upside down.
This is either Socialist, or it's Fascist, but it sure as hell ain't Capitalist.
really quick - I have to admit i'm surprised! I'm refreshed to see another person who realizes that freedom is important, and someone who is NOT a socialist!
And to boot, you got a hot naked chick for your image!
Well thank you! What's troubling though is how many view freedom as something that should be achieved by government advocating for the "common good"! The view that such an idea represents freedom is wrong, evil and dangerous, and unfortunately, half of America holds that view. Now, more than ever before, it's important that those of us that cherish freedom stand up and make our voices heard, that we educate the indoctrinated masses of the evil of government and why our founders sought to limit the power of a central authority.
What is the definition of socialism? (Not yours by the way, another source)
Everyone has their own definition but here are some examples:
Socialism refers to the various theories of economic organization which advocate either public or direct worker ownership and administration of the means of production and allocation of resources. A more comprehensive definition of socialism is an economic system that directly maximizes use-values as opposed to exchange-values and has transcended commodity production and wage labor, along with a corresponding set of social and economic relations, including the organization of economic institutions and method of resource allocation; often implying a method of compensation based on individual merit, the amount of labor expended or individual contribution.
I like this definition:
a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
see also the many definitions here:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en& … d=0CAgQkAE
There is some confusion whether or not socialism means state control of economic resources or whether it means communal control.
A worker owned company like Bob's Red Mill could be considered socialist. The interstate system that we all depend on in the US could be considered to be socialist as well.
It doesn't appear that public education falls under those definitions. It's not owned by the public or workers, it's administrated by the government. And its not state owned/controlled industry.
what are you talking about:
"a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole."
This perfectly fits the educational system - the education system is vested in the community as a whole. We have Boards of Education appointed by governors who are appointed by democratic votes. This is a perfect definition of the current mess of education we have.
As Socialism would not exist in its various forms without Capitalism a good definition would be counter-
If this is the case then socialism cannot ever 'work' as it depends on Capitalism to work inside or against. It arose as a movement against the injustices of the Capitalist system pointed up by Marx. As Capitalism is the dominant force in the world through economics and trade, and by successful Capitalists dominating world governments, then Socialism will always be second.
The various social movements and isms all operate first as a counter to the effects of Capitalism, second as an independent system. As making the acquisition of money itself the primary target of society is inhuman, simply fighting against that inhumanity is bound to failure as it does not offer a working system in its own right, it can only ever moderate the Capitalist system. The same goes for Liberalism, it is necessary to have succeeded within the Capitalist system to have the resources to contribute in any meaningful liberal way.
Here's a definition from Princeton... I'd say it trumps wikipedia:
# S: (n) socialism (a political theory advocating state ownership of industry)
# S: (n) socialism, socialist economy (an economic system based on state ownership of capital)
So.. it would seem that I'm NOT confusing Authoritarianism with Socialism..
Hmm... imagine that....
education COULD be a business, it's just that the government has a practical monopoly on education.
It is Socialism because they take my money at the point of a gun and then spend it in the way they see fit.
Who came to you with a gun? Where? I find this interesting..
Try not paying taxes and see what happens.
I'll give you a hint - cops with guns. Try resisting arrest, see what happens.
I'll give you a hint - they hurt you. Try resisting harder, see what happens...
I'll give you a hint - they shoot you.
If you have not studied it then you do not know what it is.
health care CAN'T be a right.
If you have a right to health care, that means you have a right to force a doctor to work for free.
"Ack, i've gotten sick. Even though i have no money, and have not contributed to society in anyway, and even though it's 4 in the morning, IT'S ILLEGAL IF AN AMBULANCE DOESN'T COME TO PICK ME UP RIGHT NOW AND HAVE A DOCTOR WASTE HIS TIME AND RESOURCES ON ME!!"
... the claim that health care is a right is obviously false.
cjhunsinger, I think I have had enough. You started this post and you can't differentiate between socialism and communist? If I rememeber correctly there is some where you pointed it out that socialism was being abused by thuggish leaders; this abuse is what led to communism in the former USSR and not that the abuse has stopped, thuggisg leadership continues to abuse the very principles socialism.
Socialism is all about equal opportunities, the lumpen-proletariat is catered for in form of social-services. I have watched an American documentary called the "sicko" and I have seen how in "the land of the free" people exile themselves to neighboring Cuba to get free medical services. How Americans falsely "fall in love" with Canadians to get health services. What majority of Americans are scared of is to be called a socialist state just like China,Cuba but it goes beyond just branding lets look at the products within the package.
We do live in a country where everyone can receive health care and we do live in a country where everyone can receive an education. The problem with what is currently happening is that it will continually restrictive it what you can and cant do. I tell my children all the time follow the thought to its conclusion...meaning something might seem ok or even good but follow it through to its conclusion before you take that first step. Anyone that thinks this congress has honestly thought out the conclusions of there decisions is fooling themselves, heck several of them even stated publicly that it was irrelevant for them to read the bill they wouldn't understand it anyways...and these are the stellar intelligences you want in charge of how and what is ethical medically?
Nice reply Roxanne, but I think that the ruling body in Congress has thought it out very carefully. It is the ends that count not the means and you have to ask the question; what is the end objective?
I haven't been to the doctor in years. I don't have health insurance and can't afford to go. Sure, if I have a car accident they will stop the bleeding or whatever, but if my body is developing cancer, it will probably be too late to stop by the time I detect it because I can't afford preventive screenings. So I beg to differ with your statement.
I don't disagree with this, but if we are going to follow things through to their logical conclusions, why start with health care? Why don't we start with, say, Medicare? Or even further back, to a standing army? Or even further back - to government itself?
I mean, why give any power to government at all?
no, his statement is pretty accurate: you CAN get health care. It's called "saving up your money."
I would like to add that the major reasons health care is so expensive fall under "socialist" or "fascist" means.
The AMA is a government-granted monopoly that severely restricts entry into the field of medicine. A scarcity of doctors leads to a higher price. This is either fascist, socialist, or more accurate, mercantilist, but it sure as hell ain't capitalist.
Also, doctors run a whole litany of unneeded tests to avoid being sued under malpractice laws. A truly capitalist market would work this out in a much better way: signing contracts that say you won't sue someone for malpractice - sure they might f*** up, but isn't that the same in every industry?
"you CAN get health care. It's called "saving up your money."" Or, it can aslo be called "waiting until you're so sick you have to go to the emergency room, where a) they're legally and morally obliged to treat you and b) treatment costs more than any other place and c) people with insurance end up footing the bill anyway because the hospital will charge people who can pay more for their services to make up for lost revenue from people who can't pay.
"The AMA is a government-granted monopoly that severely restricts entry into the field of medicine. A scarcity of doctors leads to a higher price. This is either fascist, socialist, or more accurate, mercantilist, but it sure as hell ain't capitalist." Are you suggesting that we do away with regulations so that anybody can hang out their shingle as a doctor and treat whomever is willing to take the risk? That may be capitalist, but it sounds an awful lot like anarchy.
They might be legally obligated to help me, but not morally. I think that everyone would say that they SHOULD help out, but I wouldn't say obligated -what if they honestly couldn't afford it?
If you think that simply relaxing regulation on a monopoly granted agency will lead to Dr.Nick-esque quacks all over the place, then you truly have given up on freedom and capitalism.
The simple answer would be that people would rate their doctors, and the ratings would be regularly available. Or, perhaps, there would be tests, exams, and other such VOLUNTARY things that a doctor could WILLINGLY go through, and then they could advertise themselves as having passed such exams, or, if they failed the exams, they could still perform the services (just that customers would probably stay away from them, and they'd go out of business pretty fast)
Capitalism WOULD protect ALL parties involved. If there's a desire for something, then that thing has value, and that thing will be best provided through competitive means. It's pretty simple, really.
Definition of Anarchy - an absence of government.
Definition of Capitalism - a system where people have the private ownerships of their capital.
... they work pretty well together...
Not everyone has the right to be cared for in a hospital, everyone has the right to have life saving health care if needed but you can't have health care just because you think you should have it.
Education? If you remove your child from the Public school system (that your tax dollars pay for by the way) without enrolling them in a private system or home schooling them, you may be guilty of a crime, that doesn't sound like freedom to me.
IT'S CALLED SOCIAL JUSTICE
President Obama called it social justice for all.
Google 'congressional progressive caucus '' in the us house for good reading and an understanding of the progressive goals for our nation.
WAKE UP AMERICA !
we already live in a country like that, and it's called a Republic!
It would seem that no one is willing to stand up and be counted as a socialist or expound on its great triumphs, achievements or even attributes.No one can tell us where this great economic, save humanity, philosophy will take us. Perhaps Obama, Reid or Pelosi would chime in, but they do call themselves Americans, so how than could they be socialists when do be such would be a contradiction in terms.
Socialism and American are NOT contradictory terms, unfortunately...
The constitution does make them contradictory, but it seems everyone has ignored said document.
I'm w/Premie... there are certain issues the gov't should control, like healthcare and education. The bailout plan was bullshit--just because Wall St. lobbies Congress doesn't mean taxpayers should pay for their mistakes--all of them- the banks and Congress. Who votes for these people, anyway? The old and rich??!
I am old, but not rich, comfortable maybe, but certainly I, nor anyone I know voted for these people. The people who voted them in are the ones who feel entitled and who want more of other peoples money.
I hated the bailouts, its bad for capitalism. Bad companies are supposed to fail while good ones rise up to take their place.
Once again we end up talking about Socialism, and listen to everyone’s idea of what socialism is to them, try to remember “We The People” voted them into office, and many of you don’t even realize what socialist programs we have in the United States that benefit you. Take a look below and which one would you stop and to those of you “American” antigovernment unemployed or Social Security recipients. Think hard before accepting your weekly or monthly check you receive from the same government you call socialist. Maybe you should send it back!!!
AMERICA'S SOCIALIST PROGRAMS
Government Worker Programs
Civil Service Retirement Systems
Federal Employee Retirement Systems
Railroad Retirement System
Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Programs
Rental Vouchers & Certificates
Section 8 Housing Vouchers
Shelter Plus Care
Single Room Occupancy
Low Income Home Energy Assistance
Social Security Programs
Social Security (OASDI)
Temporary Disability Insurance
Medicare Prescription Drug Plan
Supplemental Security Income
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
Food Stamp Program
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
National School Lunch Program
School Breakfast Program
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Programs That Threaten Liberties in General
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
What are you talking about?
I was talking about government bailouts.
And I don't receive any money from the government.
did I hit a nerve, sorry put it in the wrong reply, go easy, it won't happen again, and I really don't care if you receive any money from the goverment.
"try to remember “We The People” voted them into office"
'They the people' elected Hitler to office... I guess they all supported and benefited from the massive killing of Jews? ... i guess? ... that's what your logic implies.
"and many of you don’t even realize what socialist programs we have in the United States that benefit you"
You're right. Many of us DON'T know what these programs are. Don't you see ANYTHING wrong with this? Obviously people are NOT benefiting from these programs if they can't even figure out that they exist.
Also, with the whole long list you gave... i've "benefited" from none of them. Every single one of those programs has harmed me. I've paid thousands in taxes, and have received nothing from any of them - so i've lost money thanks to them.
And of the ones that you will argue HAVE benefited me - no. they don't. FDA just restricts medicine and raises costs. EVERY single one that seems beneficial is harmful. In every way. Welfare encourages sloth, medicare and medicaid raise prices... you name it, it's worse than worthless.
I assume the great fear Americans have of "socialism" and "communism" stems from the fun you had Cold War-ing with the russians and real war-ing (or warring..?) in Korea and Viet Nam.
Compared to America the whole world is socialist - but doing rather well at it. Believe it or not, you can provide free education and health care to all without being China or North Korea.
After all, you are arguing about the position of an imaginary line. You pay taxes and it is OK for them to be used to pay for roads but not for healthcare. Everyone needs both.
Pure Communism is a noble concept but just that. A concept. In practice it fails because of human nature. We are programed to look after number 1 and corruption is inevitable.
Like most arguments, the ideal solution lies somewhere in the middle. The rest of the world sees America as being so overly paranoid about all things socailist that the result is an over-correction thats sees third world treatment of anyone without the money to pay for basic services.
Pure Communism is nonfunctional, just as pure capitalism is.
Extremist positions against concepts such as universal healthcare are about as credible as those of Kim Yong-Il at the other end of the scale.
Is there a chance a system (such as universal heathcare) that works in the rest of the developed world may not be the devil afterall?
A well thought out response--thank you. Perhaps, the best defense of the possible intent of socialism I have encountered. Intention however is not reality, nor does it reflect the history of the socialist cause. Growing up during WWII and Korea and the experience of the ruse of the Cold War, with combat in Vietnam and a world traveler; I do have a great fear and a respect for a socialist agenda. I would note one thing however, Korea and Vietnam were not wars, but an exercise in and to failure.That can be another topic for discussion if you like.
Given that the rest of the world is primarially socialistic certainly does not equate with you statement that it is doing quite well. That is certainly not true. Europe verges on financial collapse, Greece is now in financial and social turmoil. China is no less the tyrant save for its capitalistic glaze in Hong Kong. Russia is a disaster. Japan is a propped up economy and for the most part the average healthcare in any of these countries is a cattle call with quality a distant memory. The Arab world is another matter.
Having been in the health care industry your statement regarding healthcare here for the indigent is utterly false.
I have found that technological and scientific advancement, state of the art, in anything including medicine can only be accomplished through a competitive, capitalistic system. Any form of government control serves to breed incompetence and, at best medriocity. We are beginning to see this now in health care.
It was America that brought this type of thinking to the world encased in something called the Bill of Rights, essentially the freedom to achieve.
Government control of education was favored by those great giants of socialism Hitler, Stalin and in particular Karl Marx who saw socialism as the only road to Marxism, communism or, another word, totalitarianism. Government control of education places government in absolute control over young minds, bending and twisting them to better serve its own purpose. Being a little bit socialistic is like being a little bit pregnant.
I would like to continue, but I see I am running out of space. We can continue this if you like. Contact me via hubpages. We can post all communication if that is to your liking.
Woolman and Arthriticknee have the right of it.
Look, there are certain services that it just makes sense for the government to be in charge of.
And even with the USA's so-called socialized services (lots of my friends like to pick on public schools or the post office) there's freedom to compete.
The postal system exists to serve everybody, so that even the very poor can send letters to anywhere. Of course UPS and FedEx can get packages to their destination quicker: they charge more. They don't have to serve everyone, just the folks who can pay. Same with private schools. Lots of folks like to say the USA's private schools are so much better than our public ones, but they don't take into account that a private school can kick you out for being a bad student: they don't have to accept everyone who wants to learn. But public schools must take every child, regardless of their academic ability or lack thereof. (There are other differences.) Of course there's going to be a disparity.
I think a lot of folks here in the USA, especially lately, like to wave the flag around and cry wolf -- um, I mean socialism -- whenever the government does something they don't like, especially if it means spending federal dollars on something that benefits someone who isn't like themselves.
But as long as there's a private alternative to the government service available to those who have the inclination (and the cash) to opt for it, it's not true socialism. As long as we have the freedom to choose a private school instead of the public one, to send our mail FedEx instead of USPS, to save up our own money for retirement instead of depending on social security, etc., then we're in no danger of becoming a socialist country. When it becomes illegal to found a private school, then I'll grab my pitchfork and torch, but until then, all the shrill fearmongering about the looming spectre of socialism is just so much meaningless noise.
Nice response--I appreciate the level of thought and too the decorum.
I don't think that your use of the Post Office as example is a good one, as the price of postage continues to rise, services and quality deminish. And as I understand it mail service will go down to 4 days. The cost of a stamp however will not go down and within a year rise again. This is not good management-this is government. Amtrac is another prime. example. I and my wife had the misfortune to ride the Zypher from Sacramento to Detroit. The trains were filthy, restrooms overflowing. Service and food was horrible. Even though we had a sleeper. Service people were basically indifferent, but constantly had their hand out for a tup. And of course it continues to run in the red. Another government form of management But yet you would want gov to run 1/5 of our economy (healthcare) economy.
I believe you said public schools cannot kick out bad students--yes they, can and do, but many times these bad students are left in the classroom to disrupt, agitate and even undermine the efforts of the teacher and the good students This has a very large negative effect and essentially nulliffies that school day.
Often we are seeing teachers who are simply not qualified to teach, teaching and that too, is very sad. This does not make for a bright Johnny or Mary.
Government is assuming more and more control over Charter or private schools in terms of studies, methodologies. Schools in general are more interested in the teaching of Politically Controlled mandates and your roll in the community or as a global citizen. Our entire school system has failed. I have seen two many college and HS grads who cannot write a paragraph coherently. A long time friend of mine Professor at a CA college system was offered a $500,000 government grant to write a new course for incomming Black students. The course would be entitled Black Physics. Physics was not to be in the course however, algebra would be studied Fraud and deceit are hallmarks of government to promote its own agenda. Is this what we want in healthcare. It is already there with programs entitled 'diversity'
American people have proven to be the most generous in the worldwhen they believe the cause is just, but when money is forcefully taken from then, via taxes, and given to people who have repeatedly abused themselves and the system, who demonstrate no regard for society--then people would be foolish not to be upset.
If I were you I would get your torch and sign ready.
As a child growing up, money was very scarce, but my mother could give me a dollar and I could buy a pair of tennis shoes for .75 and get a hair cut for .25. The shoes were made in the USA. But something happened in the 60's that changed all that, mandated minimum wage, striking unions and costs began to rise dramatically, but that for another time.
Are you gentlemen familiar with the vast history of the socialist movement. It starts essentially in England in the 1700, earlier perhaps when one considers the Serfs and the Serf wars. Normally it is not the down trodden that start such things it is the elite who know what is good for humanity, as money and power come from such movements
I agree with you that this looming spectre of socialism is just so much noise. A Russian once told me that the problem with America and free speech was that everyone spoke and said nothing and then when the truth was spoken no one heard.
Human rights, as stated in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, do not exist in the Bill of rights, but it is human rights that we want. We do not want to achieve we want, which is the gift of the Bill of Rights, a restriction on government. There are no government restrictions in the UN Document. The restrictions are on you.Healthcare as a right is in that document. Read the document then read the Communist Manifesto tell me what find. I would be interested
Sadly America has died and sadly there is nothing left within the people; the integrity, the strength of character, the will to stop the virus. I hope I am very wrong. If you can show me that I am wrong that would be good, but I fear that two many people no longer understand that, as imperfect as she was, she was the embodiment of freedom.
"I believe you said public schools cannot kick out bad students-" I should clarify that: a public school can't expel (or refuse to re-admit) a student for poor academic performance. Private schools can, and many do.
"Our entire school system has failed." Wow, that's a broad statement. I went to an American public school. I feel I'm consistently able to form a complete sentence. Most of my friends also went to public schools. Some of us are good writers, some aren't. Some are good at math, and some, like me, aren't. I wonder how many folks on HubPages are public school students or graduates. I expect that it's the majority.
"But something happened in the 60's that changed all that, mandated minimum wage, striking unions and costs began to rise dramatically, but that for another time." We need to be careful, especially when discussing macroeconomics, of taking one event, like inflation, and grabbing onto another proximate event, like the institution of a minimum wage, and saying, "well, that explains it." There's a lot going on that has caused the price of consumer goods to go up (and sometimes down, but mostly up) over the years.
"I fear that two many people no longer understand that, as imperfect as [the United States] was, she was the embodiment of freedom." Sure, if you were an able-bodied straight white guy, the sky was the limit. That's another thing we need to be careful of: nostalgia for a golden age that never existed. Remember, not too long ago, segregation was the law of the land. Women have only been allowed to vote here for less than a hundred years. Even now, a committed gay couple, no matter how long they've been together, can't count on being allowed visit each other in hospital, since they're not married.
I've read the UN Declaration of Human Rights. I'm not sure where the restrictions on you and me as individuals were. Perhaps I should re-read it.
"the problem with America and free speech was that everyone spoke and said nothing and then when the truth was spoken no one heard." This is about the best thing I've heard about our political environment in a long time.
"The postal system exists to serve everybody, so that even the very poor can send letters to anywhere. Of course UPS and FedEx can get packages to their destination quicker: they charge more. They don't have to serve everyone, just the folks who can pay."
That makes no sense. The Postal Service also only serves those who can pay. UPS and FedEx are businesses that focus on packages as opposed to smaller things like letters and are not necessarily more expensive or quicker depending on what you are shipping and where.
What Jeff Berndt said is clearly true - anybody can afford the relatively small amount to send a letter
If they don't pay, they don't receive the service - just like at UPS and FedEx or anywhere else. It is a failed example.
No, Sab Oh has a point. If I don't have a $.38 stamp, I can't mail a first class letter through the USPS from my mailbox to anywhere in the United States.
Of course, if I don't have $17.55, I can't go to the FedEx store and send the same letter to New York City. And if I don't have $39.22, I can't go to the FedEx store and send the same letter to Honolulu, Hawaii or Anchorage, Alaska.
But my $.38 USPS stamp will get my letter anywhere in the United States. If I need to send that letter overseas, my USPS airmail stamp costs about a dollar. I can send my letter anywhere in the entire world for 1/17th the price it cost to get the same letter from my town to NYC with FedEx. And the post office will come and pick up my letter for no additional fee. That's pretty awesome, for an inefficient, corrupt, incompetent, socialized government program, if you ask me.
There's nothing quite like stealing people's money through taxes, inflation and rampant borrowing, and then using it to supply a service, and then praising it!
"Oh man, the public sector is able to steal my money and then let people use my money to help themselves at my expense! I love being robbed!"
This argument also ignores the fact that it is practically illegal to compete with the USPS (or, at least it was for 200 years or so).
just wanted to point out that I just ran some tests using some online calculators of UPS, USPS, and Fed Ex, and to send a 1 pound package from my hometown to detroit, the costs difference is only about 5 dollars between each service.
Your numbers were way off, is what i'm saying.
Run some tests using a 0.1lb envelope, which is about equal to a first-class letter. That's what I used, and where my accurate numbers came from.
Unfortunately you still didn't take into consideration the massive subsidies that completely alter the prices.
I'm sure that if FedEx had a gigantic organization that would take money from people at the point of a gun (once again, try NOT paying taxes and see what happens - guns are involved), and then give them the money, they would have cheaper prices as well. But it wouldn't necessarily be cheaper.
I somehow overlooked this:
"This argument also ignores the fact that it is practically illegal to compete with the USPS (or, at least it was for 200 years or so)."
What do you mean? It was always legal for me to pay a messenger to take my letter to its recipient. I could also have sent a telegram (after 1843). Of course, I can only do this if I have a lot more money than the price of a first class stamp.
"Unfortunately you still didn't take into consideration the massive subsidies that completely alter the prices."
No, that's the whole stinking point of the post office. It exists so that anybody, even the very poor, can send a letter (to their congressman, for example), and so that reliable, secure, long-distance communication does not have to remain the domain of the wealthy. Is it subsidized? Of course it is. Is it *gasp* socialized? Yes, I'd have to agree that it is. Is it bad that because of the USPS, for all intents and purposes, anybody can send a letter to their representatives in Washington to express their thoughts on policy? I think it's a Good Thing. Perhaps others believe that such activities are meant to be the prerogative of the wealthy, but I don't think there should be too many barriers between the people and their representatives.
"What do you mean? It was always legal for me to pay a messenger to take my letter to its recipient."
But if they put that letter in your mailbox without postage they have technically broken federal law.
So? They can tape it to my door, they can hand it to me, they can leave it under the mat, they can put it under the windshield wiper of my car if I have one, etc.
Who cares? FedEx and UPS are doing okay without using my mailbox.
Do you have an actual point?
do you actually think that a private entity controlling postage in the US would restrict communication to only the rich? really?
As far as socialism goes, I'm less angry about the postal services because it, at least, is Constitutional.
But, it was, and is still, illegal for a private company to send first class letters in the US. FedEx and other private entities have to classify the letters as "packages" (thus the raise in prices that you discussed earlier). Lysander Spooner tried to start a competing mail service, but was practically thrown in jail for trying - this ain't capitalism.
Wells, Fargo & Co. competed in the letter sending services, but was required to pay the USPS 3 cents for each stamp (this accounted for 60% of the cost... aka, overpriced by at least 50%). And even then, amazingly - in a testament to private enterprise - they still outperformed the USPS.
Read more here: http://flag.blackened.net/daver/anarchi … ker38.html (it's from a book printed recently, but it was written back in the late 1800s)
Once again, the private enterprises would be doing much better if not for the legal restrictions put on them in benefit of the USPS - it WOULD be cheaper to send things privately, if not for government. Your argument that the subsidies are needed is thus inaccurate.
Also, the idea that subsidies are needed in order to make things cheaper is nonsense. How can the idea of "taking money from me in order to make things cheaper for me" even hope to make sense to anyone except a mental patient?
"do you actually think that a private entity controlling postage in the US would restrict communication to only the rich?" Without regulation to prevent it? Absolutely. Look at what's happening right now, with the battle for net neutrality. ISPs want to be able to charge extra for so-called "premium" service, so a company can pay extra to speed up their website's response, and those companies (and individuals) that can't afford the premium internet speed will have websites that will be slow to load, meaning it will be harder for individuals and startups to compete. (This is roughly analogous to putting a faster fast lane on the highway that you can only drive [or ship your products] on if you pay extra, and anyone unable or unwilling to pay has to drive slower.)
"As far as socialism goes, I'm less angry about the postal services because it, at least, is Constitutional."
I accept your apology.
"FedEx and other private entities have to classify the letters as "packages" (thus the raise in prices that you discussed earlier)." But they are still carrying exactly the same thing, that weighs exactly as much, to exactly the same destination, and they could charge closer to the price of a first class stamp. Just because it's called a "package" they must charge more? Preposterous, unless you can show me a regulation that requires FedEx to charge a minimum amount, regardless of weight/destination.
Your link is interesting. But here: "The express companies cover practically the whole country. They charge high rates to points difficult of access; but this is only just. The government postal rates, on the contrary, are unjust. It certainly is not fair that my neighbor, who sends a hundred letters to New York every year, should have to pay two cents each on them, though the cost of carriage is but one cent, simply because the government spends a dollar in carrying for me one letter a year to Wayback, for which I also pay two cents." is where it falls apart.
the point of the post office is to ensure that everyone, regardless of situation, can reliably and securely communicate over long distances. To say that "it's only just" for a resident of wayback to have to pay 50 times as much to communicate with their government representatives is to say that the residents of wayback do not, and should not, have the same rights of representation as the residents of New York. I think this is a reprehensible position.
"How can the idea of "taking money from me in order to make things cheaper for me" even hope to make sense to anyone except a mental patient?" And again with the personal remarks, rather than attacking my position. Sigh. One more time, the point is that every US citizen, even the ones in Podunk, Arkansas, have the right to securely communicate with their representatives without discrimination based on location. Yes, folks closer to the seat of government pay more than the true cost of sending their letter, and those far from the seat of government pay less. I do not see this as unjust, but rather more just than the alternative. And this, I think, is where we're going to fundamentally disagree. I don't think price should ever be a barrier to communication, and I don't think private enterprise can be trusted to behave benevolently (mostly because we've seen, both recently and back in history, that unregulated business can lead to economic disaster).
You seem to think it's "only just" that someone in rural Appalachia should pay more to send a note to Washington, and that private enterprise can be trusted with our backs turned. I disagree.
Hey Brendt - it's not letting me reply directly to your recent post above this one, so i'm going to respond to it here. Hope that's cool
Net Neutrality - Why is this so important for everyone? If people hate the idea of non-net-neutrality (i.e., they hate the idea of companies paying more) then why the hell don't they just use ISPs that DON'T use this? It really isn't rocket science - "i don't like the way that (for example) time warner does business, so I'll use a different service!".
Now, you might say "well we don't have a choice! there are only so many companies!", but then I will instantly retort with "Well, why the heck are there so few companies? Why don't we start our own non-net-neutrality company (I'll be called N3) and then make millions by providing people with what they want?" The ONLY reason I would be UNABLE to enter the market would be that there is government regulation restricting me. I would NOT doubt that there already is such regulation...
... so i'll do a quick search... and...
http://mises.org/daily/2211 - discusses how the internet came to be
http://mises.org/daily/2139 - which discusses why start up companies can't come about... reason? GOVERNMENT!
As for what Net Neutrality actually is: isn't it just regulation by the ISPs? We're just replacing regulation by the market with regulation by the government (read: guns).
"This is roughly analogous to putting a faster fast lane on the highway that you can only drive [or ship your products] on if you pay extra, and anyone unable or unwilling to pay has to drive slower."
Why is this a bad thing? don't we want to encourage people to get rich? who would want to be rich if they had to be a penniless bum who couldn't enjoy the finer things in life? If we got rid of the incentives to be rich, many people wouldn't bother working for raises (who would want to work harder just to be deprived of a better life?). Why is this bad? I honestly fail to see why this is bad!
I wrote a long e-mail to a friend who was for Net Neutrality, and I'll make that into a hub - check my hubs in a few hours for "Net Neutrality" or something, to see a more in depth argument.
Post office Schenanigans - Once again, indeed, people need to be able to communicate with their leaders in a democracy. And the USPS is actually constitutional. But (your quote) "the point of the post office is to ensure that everyone, regardless of situation, can reliably and securely communicate over long distances." once again is ignoring the point that Tucker was making: Why does Tucker have to pay more in taxes because jimbob is sending more letters to the Congressional offices. I think that I've already shown that prices AND services would be MUCH better without the USPS, after all, I've already shown that back in the day, when doing things was rough, private companies were a better source of postage even though they had to pay 60% of the money to the USPS (aka, the USPS had AT LEAST 120% benefit on it's competitors, but still was losing the race).
And, although I haven't bothered to look up the facts, if private companies had to THEN pay money to the USPS to deliver a first class letter, I'm sure the same thing, or at least similar schenanigans are at play today. I understand that the Onus is on me to prove this, but this stuff is hard to look up.
"We've seen that unregulated business can lead to economic disaster" - this is simply inaccurate. I have yet to come across any example where a market failure was caused by private companies and withOUT any governmental interference. - indeed, such examples don't exist.
"You seem to think it's "only just" that someone in rural Appalachia should pay more to send a note to Washington, and that private enterprise can be trusted with our backs turned. I disagree."
Every war I've seen was caused by government. Every genocide was caused by government. I have yet to see one private entity do anything remotely as horrible as governments have (without the aide of government). Every loss of free-speech has come from government. Every trampling of rights has been at least aided by governments.
I guess we will have to disagree.
"I don't think price should ever be a barrier to communication"
- or housing, or education, or clothing, or food, or transportation, or plastic surgery, or gold teeth, or music, or vacations, or furniture, or really cool sneakers, or anything else that YOU deem necessary, right? Just come right out and say it.
actually, he didn't win with his statement. He's completely ignoring the "unseen".
There's a huge government apparatus that is subsidizing the USPS with guns ("with guns? are you loony?" - no i'm not loony, try NOT paying your taxes and see what happens). The government just throws money at the USPS, whatever it needs. And thus it's pretty much impossible to know how much it ACTUALLY costs to send a letter. It's impossible.
When coercion is involved, a true price is never known.
" If I don't have a $.38 stamp, I can't mail a first class letter through the USPS from my mailbox to anywhere in the United States.
Of course, if I don't have $17.55, I can't go to the FedEx store and send the same letter to New York City. And if I don't have $39.22, I can't go to the FedEx store and send the same letter to Honolulu, Hawaii or Anchorage, Alaska. "
Of course, UPS and FedEx do not focus on sending small letters but rather parcels, and documents that need to be sent very quickly - services for which they are competitive with the federally-supported USPS in price and far superior in service. If someone started a company selling 'stamps' and competing directly with the USPS in that manner for mass mailing and 'regular' mail they would be in violation of federal law.
"Pure Communism is a noble concept "
NO, it's a stupid concept.
In what way is it a stupid concept? It is possible to disagree with it but it came from greater thinkers than you or I.
"In what way is it a stupid concept? "
In the same way that jumping off a cliff and flapping your arms real hard in the belief that you will become a bird is a stupid concept.
The question that you raised - why is Communism a stupid concept. If you do not choose to answer why post?
I just answered. Look right above your last post.
If you mean this - it is just a childish rude comment of no value. If you cannot answer the question why post at all ?
Do I have to hold your hand? Why is it stupid to think that jumping off a cliff and flapping your arms real hard will turn you into a bird? Come on, a little effort please.
If that one is too tough for you, answer this one: Is it smart or stupid to take a sparrow and hold it underwater in the hope that it will become a fish? What will happen to the sparrow? If you try 50 million times what will always happen to the sparrows?
Oh !! you are a shill or a troll. I see you do this on other threads also.
So you're just going to ignore the questions? After all your insistence?
Absolutely not! I have provided an answer - you are just running mindless interference and can be ignored.
Where did you answer? You asked me a quesiton and I answered several times, but you won't answer mine.
Sab Oh, it seems you are becoming irrelevant to the topic, we can't live an absolute free life. If someone can't pay a peeny for the postal services the very person can blame his gods why is living! It helps us all if we have a base of argument for a meaningful debate.
Socialism (Communism)is impossible. Ludwig Von Mises pretty much proved it in his fantastic work "Human Action".
1- There is no price structure in a Communist/Socialist system, thus it is impossible to know if you are gaining wealth when trading.
2- Profits don't exist in C/S systems - thus everyone must rely on the benevolence of each other and can not rely on greed to help.
3- The tragedy of the commons sinks its fangs into those of a C/S system. Why bother working when everyone else will do the work for you?
4- Who'll take out the garbage? Before you answer "we'll breed a new type of socialist man!", realize that this has never ever happened and will never ever happen.
5- Do you really expect those who implement the system to give up all their power? If so, you are a moron.
6- I could probably go on for days.
Those who argue that Socialism/Communism can work make the argument "We just haven't had the right leaders!". This is nonsense. In fact, this argument proves that Economics is NOT a science: You can not actually test any economic theory, and thuse it is only a praxaeological discussion at best. The closest thing to a MacroEconomic test has been carried out twice: East/West Germany, and North/South Korea. In each situation they had very similar populations, very similar resources, and just about every other constant you could hope for in a test on such a scale, with only one major difference: Communism vs. Capitalism. Capitalism won out on both scenes...
...but now everyone just says "Communism didn't have the right leaders", and completely ignores the lessons learned.
Once again, you are confusing centralized, state controlled economies with communism/socialism.
There are several different things we are discussing in this thread, and the critics of socialism seem to have them all confused.
First is public ownership and control of certain services. We do not question this in the case of the military and the interstate highways. I think only the most radical libertarian would argue that the military should be privately owned and operated. But no one calls this socialism.
Second is pure socialism/communism, what Marx and others envisioned as the final stage of human development. This is the stage at which the workers control the means of production and profit. There would no longer be a parasite class of investors sucking profit from businesses and labor. It doesn't mean there wouldn't be a free market and an exchange of goods. Workers would be in direct control of their economic futures.
Third, what most of the critics are afraid of, is state control of the economy. This is not socialism, it is totalitarianism. Workers in Soviet Russia were never in control of their own economic lives - the government issued quotas, price controls, and owned everything.
This third thing is the end result of pure capitalism as well.
Without investors who provides start up capital or are there no new businesses? Are the "workers" organized into specific groups representing different fields of endeavor or can Joe six pack who has no knowledge of medicine direct research and development. If the workers are organized; who runs the organization. I am sure that this altruism in management guarantees that the greed suffered by the, as you put it, profit sucking parasites, is not suffered by the Joe and Mary six packs.
Some how under Marx human failings of greed for money and power no longer exist. Is that really possible.Can you show me anywhere in human history, any success, of any meaning, using this form of management style in government.
You speak of public ownership, as opposed to a government control; can we use public land, that we now have, which is controlled by government. Is that what you have in mind. Is it not called public land.
Lets use our new health care system, a socialized system of health care. Is this what you are referring to when you say that workers control the system? If so; what workers control what? There is a 3000 page law that says the government is in control. The government now controls GM, not you, major banking, not you. health care not you. Where is your control? Your taxes will continue to go up: at what point do you think that the government will begin to send you a dividend check?
You might check into the above post by Evan Rogers who uses Von Mises, as a source. Socialism, by any altruistic definition results in a totalitarian rule. This is a fact. Government becomes god.
As one who prefesses an Atheistic philosophy I am in awe at the speed at which government is beginning to transpose itself into an omnipotent roll, much like the Soviet Union under Stalin or Germany under Hitler.
As long as day to day business is not centrally planned, each company's workers can structure the business however they want. If they have the money and want to hire a Harvard MBA to be their CEO, there would be no reason why they couldn't. And no, Joe SixPack working on the factory floor wouldn't also be running the engineering department.
There are many employee owned companies in the US - check them out for some examples of what I am talking about.
I'm not talking about government specifically, but in fact the American government is based on this model. We, the people, elect people to run the day to day business. We also own every single mechanism of government, and pay for it by taxes.
We thus have a huge stake in seeing that our investment is run well. Problem is, most of us are too far removed from the day to day functioning.
Actually, yes, we can use public land for many things, although most of the public forests are being rented off to logging companies.
Yeah, so? I am willing to be 20 bucks that you would not be able to read or write without public education, paid for by taxes and administered by the government. If there were no public schools, how many people reading this would have the time to properly teach their children?
Really? Maybe you should go back and read up on what happened with GM. The government owns a major stake in the corporation. They do not control it. There is still a board, a President, and senior management team.
You can accept that the military should not be run by private corporations, right?
"If they have the money and want to hire a Harvard MBA to be their CEO, there would be no reason why they couldn't."
I simply can NOT understand what i'm reading... First you say that investment is evil, then you argue that it's ok as long as poor people do it...
You are demanding that I call Capitalism Socialism, then you demand that Capitalism is Evil, then you say that Socialism (read, Capitalism) is good!
What the hell is going on!? IF people are free to invest their money how they want, and they are free to start up businesses and are free to choose "their control of the means of production"... THAT'S CAPITALISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
When i get a job at a company, I CONSENT that there is someone doing all the other work -they call the consent "a contract". If I don't like "the contract" then I leave the company, or I don't sign in the first place. If I agree that we need to have some 30 bill/year CEO running things, then, daggonit, I agree to it!! THIS IS CAPITALISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"I'm not talking about government specifically, but in fact the American government is based on this model. We, the people, elect people to run the day to day business. We also own every single mechanism of government, and pay for it by taxes. "
At least I agree with you here - the US government HAS overstepped it's boundaries - Article 1 section 8-10 plus the 10th amendment clearly show how much our government has overstepped it's boundaries.
"Yeah, so? I am willing to be 20 bucks that you would not be able to read or write without public education, paid for by taxes and administered by the government. If there were no public schools, how many people reading this would have the time to properly teach their children?"
Hhahaha, Too bad that it happens on a daily basis. And those children who DON'T get a public education regularly do better in life than those who do (not 100%, i'll agree).... IT'S CALLED either HOME-SCHOOLING, or PRIVATE EDUCATION. IT happens every day!!! and the children CAN read!!! and if the Government didn't have a 98% (or so) control over the market of education, private schooling would be much cheaper and more practical. (and better)
"Really? Maybe you should go back and read up on what happened with GM. The government owns a major stake in the corporation. They do not control it. There is still a board, a President, and senior management team"
ermm... yeah, billions of the citizenry's money was stolen at the point of a gun (they called it "taxes" and "inflation"), and then it was given to a bunch of jackasses who don't know how to run a company.
Lord knows I ain't giving GM any more of my money - i'm buying a car that doesn't suck - Toyota? Honda? (and no, Toyota does not deserve the ass-raping it's getting in the media. In the time it took for the media to get all hoot-root-tootin' over toyota, just about every other car company in the world had numerous recalls that were just as dangerous as theirs).
Please understand that you are actually arguing FOR capitalism and AGAINST socialism.
Maybe you should study up on socialism. Read Marx. Don't just read from one perspective.
1st and foremost - I don't want to waste my time with Marx, because he's obviously wrong. How many people have died under socialism? hundreds of millions? yeah, screw that!
2nd- what YOU're arguing, that joe sixpack will hire some harvard MBA to run a company... you don't see how similar this is with capitalism? If you want to have the authority to choose who the CEO of the business is, then you need to put such a power in your contract - obviously this won't happen, but if you want to have that power ANYWAY you need to use force to take control of other people's contracts. The system your advocating is pretty much what we have now. If 30,000 people own a company, and each want to run the business; chaos. If each wants to vote, then they'll vote on issues (which, strikingly sounds like stock-ownership... not really seeing how this is different); it'll be slow, but still work. If you want to have some guy running everything; it might not be happy la-la land, but, dammit, it's worked for 2000+ years.
Also, this CAN HAPPEN in our system - if 10 people pool together their resources, and then hire 30 more people, and allow the new 30 other people control of their business... it's exactly what you're arguing. The problem is that... who the hell would do that? "hey, i'll risk thousands of dollars, and then let everyone else decide how i should spend my money!"
The simple fact that this DOESN'T happen, should be evidence enough that it WON'T WORK!!!
If I am to sum-up all your definitions of capitalism (according to this thread) it is typically "individual freedom." Well, the only difference this (your) definition has with Socialism is "group freedom" Under socialism there is a presumption that, What should be good for you should have a positive impact on society. Most of the laws around the world are based on this presumption. so, socialism in nature is lawful I think it is the more reason a pure capitalist mind would object to it.
The other problem I find in this discussion, is the mentality of 'straight-jacket.' To think that Socialism is this and Capitalism is this and nothing more. That to me is pedestrian, is Canada a socialist state, is Britain a Socialist state? Cause both have social health services. Both Socialism and Capitalism are utopian words describing an ideal social order. However, through History it is pretty evident that non can stand on its own with the numerous economic depressions and territorial sessions.
These facts bring out one reality that we can only talk about "pseudo-Socialism" or "pseudo-Capitalism" a malgamation of sorts.
Capitalism - Having the total freedom to decide how to spend that which you homestead and own.
Socialism - there are 30 billion different definitions... "each according to his means", "state control over the means of production", "workers' control over their production", "each according to his needs", et. al.
My argument is simply that Capitalism ALLOWS socialism. If people want to pool their resources together and then let people decide how to use those resources, they can! But this simply doesn't happen. No one is stupid enough to give someone else 30,000 bucks to gamble for him.
"First is public ownership and control of certain services. We do not question this in the case of the military and the interstate highways. I think only the most radical libertarian would argue that the military should be privately owned and operated. But no one calls this socialism."
I DO!!! I CONTEST THEM!! SO DOES WALTER BLOCK!! THIS IS FASCISM/SOCIALISM!!! END IT NOW!!! DEATH TO THOSE WHO IMPLEMENT MINIMUM WAGE!! DEATH TO THOSE WHO ESTABLISH RENT CONTROL!!! DEATH TO THE AMA!!!
"Second is pure socialism/communism, what Marx and others envisioned as the final stage of human development. This is the stage at which the workers control the means of production and profit. There would no longer be a parasite class of investors sucking profit from businesses and labor. It doesn't mean there wouldn't be a free market and an exchange of goods. Workers would be in direct control of their economic futures."
A parasite class of investors? Sucking profit?! It sounds to me like someone doesn't understand what profits do, what investors do, and how extremely beneficial these two phenomena are. Please check out my Evan's Easy Economics - Profits (should be like the 3rd one). Profits and investment, and just about every other "evil" thing are actually FANTASTIC things that make human life today possible.
"Third, what most of the critics are afraid of, is state control of the economy. This is not socialism, it is totalitarianism. Workers in Soviet Russia were never in control of their own economic lives - the government issued quotas, price controls, and owned everything.
This third thing is the end result of pure capitalism as well."
this is nonsense. Capitalism does not tend to totalitarianism naturally. If anything it fights against it - see how pissed off i get when the government takes my tax money? That's capitalism fighting against fascism.
Also, your definition of socialism "Workers would be in direct control of their economic futures.", sounds AMAZINGLY like capitalism. If I work, and make money, and I'm in complete control of that money, then It's capitalism. Ta-daa!! Socialism is capitalism!!!....
... this is utter nonsense. The one doing the mis-understanding is you, comrade.
Indeed, socialism/communism would be the last step of human evolution, because humankind would perish if socialism and communism were to be implemented. over 50 million died under Soviet Control... but everyone seems to glance over this.
Investment does such wonderful things that the average worker now makes about 1/500th what the average CEO makes. You can't blame that on the minimum wage or Unions.
http://www.epi.org/economic_snapshots/e … _20060621/
This country was at its strongest under the so called "socialist" policies of FDR and Johnson. Since Reagan began dismantling the Unions and worker protections, the middle class has been on the slide. During the height of Union power and government regulation, most Americans, from the bottom to the top of the income scale, saw their incomes increase. Starting in about the 70s and accelerating over time, the bottom and middle class saw their wages stagnate, while the top 5% saw their income more than double.
The end result of that can be nothing but totalitarianism - or more accurately, oligarchy/aristocracy. The poor and middle class are becoming serfs.
Ben and Jerry tried to run a business where the CEO made only ... what was it? 30x the lowest paid employee? ... guess what happened..
THEY FAILED. They gave up on that, and then hired a guy that made 300 times.
Russia, East Germany, Early American settlements, North Korea, China, Cuba and all those other countries experimented with Communism/Socialism.... Guess what happened?
HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE DIED. Things went horribly, people went hungry. "If you saw a line, you got in it, because you probably needed what was at the end" became the motto. When people left their Socialist lives and came to the US - they just went nuts buying the most random things in the world SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY COULD.
If ANYONE believes that Economics is a science, then they HAVE to DEMAND the UNDENIABLE FACT that SOCIALISM DOESN'T WORK!!!!!
I DON"T think economics is a science - you can't run repeatable blind tests. But everything that comes close to being a test shows that Socialism doesn't work.
Economics needs to rely on Praxeology - the study of a subject through logic. And the failure of socialism is nothing more than illustrations of the principles decided upon by the logic.
NOW - on to Minimum wage and rent control. These plagues were established by the government (read: socialism, communism, or fascism, take your pick). These plagues have ravaged cities (rent control and min wage) created unemployment (minimum wage) and led to welfare.
"This country was at its strongest under the so called "socialist" policies of FDR and Johnson."
ARE YOU NUTS?! I have to declare this argument over - how can you even say this? We were in a 15 year depression which should have lasted only a few months (like just about all other depressions in US history). The Depression of 1920-21 (not the G.Depression) lasted only a few months BECAUSE the government did nothing - all the initial stats of the depression were actually WORSE than the crash in '29, but it lasted 1/30th the length!!
FDR and Johnson made life miserable for an uncountable number of people.
Also, to claim that regulation has been decreasing is to speak nonsense. The federal Register (the list of laws and all that) is now entire bookshelves long - over 720,000 pages long. ... i suppose it's now longer than 722,000 pages thanks to the recent health care. There is nothing BUT regulation. To call the current mess of crap we call our economy a "capitalist" system is to show a lack of understanding of what capitalism is.
To add on to this, the Austrian Theory of the Business Cycle explains WHY crashes happen - i highly recommend studying it. If you wish to learn more about capitalism, check out my Evan's Easy Economics hubs.
I agree that the current system is a mess, but you want to see more of what caused the mess, i want less. We need more freedom, not less. Socialism gives control to the powerful in government, capitalism takes it away (proof - i hate giving my money to the tax collector).
It's interesting to notice a steady increase in wage-gaps and how it correlates to further government regulation and interference in the market.
Like what specifically? Which regulations are you talking about?
also very interesting to note the steady decline in Union membership from 24% in 1973 to 12.3% in 2009.
I wanted to comment on this some more: Sure under capitalism the richest make much more than the poorest. But, what the hell do you expect? The people who are rich took amazing risk: bill gates took out money and risked his credit on computers; rockefeller risked his wealth on oil; a lot of people took risks and failed.
But think about this, back in the day of feudalism - when free-enterprise was horribly stifled, the richest had horse drawn carriages, and the poorest had to walk down the dirt streets without shoes on. But after centuries of relatively-free enterprise, the richest might have private airplanes and numerous fancy cars, but the poorest (who actually bother to work and not mooch off of welfare) can afford a beat up car at the very least. The difference is huge.
If you want to contest this based on tech advances, I agree - there is a problem here. But think about the horribly crippling regimes in Africa and other countries: their socialist governments (defined by "the state controls the means of production", which, despite your repeated protests, IS the definition of socialism), the leaders have Super-fancy cars, and the poorest barely can eat.
Once again, this is merely an illustration of capitalism (when someone owns their own property) vs socialism. Economics is not a science for this very reason: you can't run repeated tests to confirm or deny empirical evidence. But, the closest things to tests that have been run show that socialism fails.
And how much of this difference is due to labor unions who enabled the average American worker to own a car and house? How much is due to minimum wage laws which mean that no one can be paid barely enough to eat?
Of course capitalism played a role in this advance. I'm not contesting that - even Marx wouldn't contest that. But don't discount the vital role of democratic institutions acting in the public interest.
Don't be an ideologue, convinced that only your way is the right way. The truth is many faceted.
You should study African history, and think about the effects that 500 years of European colonialism had on Africa.
I'll have more to say on the subject of property but I'm going to have to think about it a bit.
labor unions didn't enable the average american worker to own a car and house. this is nonsense. ... unless you think that "HEY! Let's all quit working, then beat up anyone who tries to work in our stead" in any way generates cars.
Cars and homes became available to the public by the sheer awesome-ness of capitalism. Henry Ford managed to bring the price of cars down... what was it? some 1/6th of their price. (I have a hub on this, please check it out.) That did such an astonishing benefit for so many people.
... but everyone just casually overlooks the fact that Ford was a evil-fat-cat-capitalist who used his own money and efforts to gain profits.
Minimum wage laws are evil and need to be purged from this world. If some guy can only benefit his employer $5 / hour, but the employer has to pay him $7 an hour... guess who's gonna get fired? Minimum wage forces companies to fire their workers and replace them with robotic mechanisms - You could use a robot to do something for 6 dollars an hour, or hire someone to do it for 5... normally you'd choose the Teenager trying to start his long career in hard-working capitalist ventures... but the law forces you to use the robot in stead.
I will easily discount the "vital role" of democratic institutions acting in the public interest. with ease. I have yet to see one good thing that governments do that could NOT be done by a free market. in fact, everything that governments do that are "good" for the people not only could be done by the free market, but could be done cheaper..... and without the genocide and wars.
The truth is many faceted, and socialism ain't in there. Once again, i have yet to see one government service that could NOT be provided by a free market. And i also have yet to see one private company launch an invasion of a foreign nation.
Why shouldn't I be an idealogue? and also, why do you have the right to call me this? I have yet to convince you of one piece of my arguments, just as you have yet to convince me - we're not Idealogues, we're two people who have different opinions who are trying to convince each other.
Also, the entire "idealogue" logic fails to make sense to me. Something can't be half-capitalism and half-communism, or half - egalitarianism, with a pinch of utilitarianism. These ideals are at odds with one another. Sure they have broad areas that overlap (such as, we all want everyone to have a good life) but they contradict vitally on many VERY important issues. ALso, the labels we give to ideas are just completely made up - i could make up a new philosophy on something and then demand that everyone not be an idealogue and force them to accept my way of just-made-up stuff.
European colonialism = government granted monopolies and government enforced horrendous evils. ......
NOT free-market capitalism.
... hooray for TRUE FREE MARKET CAPITALISM -- still has yet to launch a single genocide!!!
"Capitalism does not tend to totalitarianism naturally. If anything it fights against it - see how pissed off i get when the government takes my tax money? That's capitalism fighting against fascism."
Wait, what? No, mate, Laisee-faire capitalism totally leads to totalitarianism. Read up on your history. In the USA, we had people who were debt slaves to the company they worked for, were paid in company scrip that was only good at the company store, and the company did its level best to keep the workers in debt and stop them from organizing. Said company would also engage in anticompetitive practices designed to keep another person or group from taking market share by producing a better widget. These practices ranged from the technically legal (undercutting the competition's prices until the competition fails, then jacking up the prices again) to the blatantly illegal (vandalism, sabotage, arson).
This kind of stuff is what led to the antitrust laws and the rise of labor unions in the USA.
That said, however, capitalism, with reasonable regulation, is a better system for large modern countries than any I've seen so far.
if you confuse America's policies with laissez-faire capitalism, then you don't fully understand laissez-faire capitalism, which would explain why you misspelled it.
for the first 100 years or so, we had slavery - that's not laissez-faire.
since 1914 we've had the federal reserve - that's not laissez-faire.
And in between we've had massive regulation and wars and you name it - that's not laissez-faire.
anti-trust laws are nonsense. There has NEVER - not once in all of history - been a monopoly or cartel in any industry whatsoever without some form of direct government intervention. I put the onus on YOU to prove me wrong. If you can't, then you NEED to agree.
Labor unions are non-sense - everyone can agree with this. If people want to organize and quit their jobs en masse, that's totally cool. But as soon as they prevent other people from working those same jobs - picket lines, etc. - they are evil and should be arrested.
If government is involved, it ain't laissez-faire.
"Said company would also engage in anticompetitive practices"
can you be a bit more specific and give exact examples? and while citing examples, please keep in mind that ANY government intervention that is involved automatically takes away your claim that the practices involved would be capitalism-related.
Before you say "why don't YOU look for examples?!" (actually, you've already claimed this when you told me that i need to read up on history), i HAVE searched. I've come up empty handed. Just about every "failure of capitalism" is, in actuality, a failure of government.
Your claim that businesses did things like undercutting then price gouging... this has never happened. I put the onus of proof on you. I can name one situation where this actually was attempted, but failed horribly - Dow chemicals had to deal with this when Dow was creating Bromine.
Vandalism, Sabotage, and arson are indeed unlawful - those deeds should have been prosecuted....
....but, might i add with a sneer across my face...
.... why WEREN'T they prosecuted?
Short answer - government failed again in it's one POSSIBLY justifiable service.
"we had people who were debt slaves to the company they worked for"
can you elaborate a bit more? if you mean the industrial revolution... then why did the people flock to the industries involved? could it POSSIBLY be that said jobs - however horrible they are by today's standards - were much better than the alternative.
I refuse to let this argument go - unless ANYONE can refute what i've written with direct and precise examples, they NEED to stop using the arguments that Berndt used.
"you don't fully understand laissez-faire capitalism, which would explain why you misspelled it." Ah, an attack on a typo. You sure put me in my place. I should be ashamed to show my face: I misspelled a word! Nothing I say could possibly have any value! Oh, woe!
Okay, now that we're done being silly, I'll try to address your worthwhile points.
"There has NEVER - not once in all of history - been a monopoly or cartel in any industry whatsoever without some form of direct government intervention. I put the onus on YOU to prove me wrong. If you can't, then you NEED to agree."
Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States, 221 U.S. 1 (1911).
SCOTUS found Standard Oil guilty of monopolizing the petroleum industry through a series of abusive and anticompetitive actions.
"Labor unions are non-sense - everyone can agree with this." Apparently, not everyone does, since people are still members of labor unions, and they do picket companies when they're on strike.
""Said company would also engage in anticompetitive practices"
can you be a bit more specific and give exact examples?"
See above, but here's a specific one from the Standard Oil Trust:
"If I put a man on the road to ell goods for me, [testified Peter Shull, of the Independent OIl Company of Mansfield, Ohio] and he takes orders to the amount of 200 or 300 barrels a week, before I am able to ship those goods possibly, the Standard Oil Company has gone there and compelled those people to countermand those orders, under threat that, if they don't countermand them, they will out the price of oil down to such a price that they cannot afford to handle the goods."
This quote is from The History of the Standard Oil Company by Ida M Tarbell, page 116.
Here's another example:
Swift & Co. v. United States
Major dealers of meat in Chicago agreed not to bid against one another in order to control prices.
In a unanimous decision, the Court held that the effect of the trust on commerce among states was not "accidental, secondary, remote or merely probable," but rather a direct attempt to monopolize commerce.[emphasis mine]
And a third:
United States v. American Tobacco Company 221 U.S. 106 (1911), in which SCOTUS ruled that the tobacco trust was "guilty of intimidation and clearly to have shown a purpose to stifle competition."
The quote is from the Spokane, WA Spokesman-Review, May 30th, 1911.
"Your claim that businesses did things like undercutting then price gouging... this has never happened. I put the onus of proof on you."
The Standard Oil example above is exactly that.
"Vandalism, Sabotage, and arson are indeed unlawful - those deeds should have been prosecuted....
....but, might i add with a sneer across my face...
.... why WEREN'T they prosecuted? "
Well, my short answer is that many were, but the online articles that discuss those cases seem to be available only for a fee. I don't have unlimited funds with which to do this research, so you'll have to indulge me while I spend some time doing research the old-fashioned way, at the library.
Of course, I don't expect that you'll have the patience to wait, considering that you underlined your desire to sound derisive "with a sneer across [your] face".
And your short answer, that government failed to prosecute crimes, does not excuse those who committed said crimes.
""we had people who were debt slaves to the company they worked for"
can you elaborate a bit more?""
Sure. Here's an example rom the Pittsburgh Press, Aug 13th, 1933:
"All the miners are forced to deal in the company stores, [said Agnes Steer, president of the women's auxiliary of the National Miners' Union] though prices are much higher on all the necessities of life than in private stores. To force the miners to deal in the company stores the coal operators in most instances have abolished the payment in the U.S. currency and have instituted the company money generally known as company scrip.This scrip is good in the company stores only.
By forcing the miners to deal in the company stores the operators are robbing them of at least 25 per cent of their earnings."
"I refuse to let this argument go - unless ANYONE can refute what i've written with direct and precise examples, they NEED to stop using the arguments that Berndt used."
Didn't think I'd be bothered to look all that up, did you?
I await your concession.
First and foremost -- indeed, sorry about the spelling crack. It was indeed nothing more than a cheap shot. I was originally not going to write it, but couldn't help myself. An honest apology: sorry!
Next -- Indeed, I honestly didn't think you'd had the where-with-all to back up your claims. Most people I argue with don't, so I figured I'd try to weed you out with the rest of them. Bravo, good sir!
Now let's get down to business.
Thank you for giving me examples, I will enjoy tearing them apart with ease.
Standard Oil Co. -- At the time that Standard Oil was being charged with monopolization, it had 137 competitors (Shell, Gulf and Texaco were among them). Not in a single instance had S.Oil been found guilty of 'predatory pricing' -- not a single instance, not even by the Supreme Court. The entire time in question of monopoly control, the prices of kerosene and other oil products were falling ~30 cents per gallon in 1869, to ~6 cents per gallon around 1911 (an 80% decrease!!!). Also, the Supreme Court never broke the company up because of any harm to consumers (or illegal activity), but simply because of some 'intent' to monopolize. Standard Oil not only lowered the price of oil and kerosene, but it also managed to eradicate the horrendous waste of the industry -- it found over 300 NEW uses for the 'gunk' that its competitors thought was just gunk. Also, through this massive efficiency and wonderful economics, Rockefeller (the head of Standard Oil) saved the lives of countless whales; the leading competitor of kerosene at the time was whale oil.
So, in a brief summary -- Standard oil was NOT a monopoly, it did NOT engage in 'predatory pricing', it WAS lowering prices, it saved the whale, found 300 uses for 'gunk', and proceeded to be torn apart by the government because it might have had some sort of intent to monopolize -- this intent was not ever proven.
I'm supposed to [i] not [/u] hate government... why?
Read more here: http://mises.org/daily/2694#4a , and in DiLorenzo's 'How Capitalism Saved America'
Ida Tarbell -- Did you know that she was the direct relative to one of the higher-ups at another oil company, Pure Oil? She had a direct, vested interest in the demise of Standard Oil. She is quoted as saying that Standard Oil is "a marvelous example of economy". And, as stated earlier, Standard Oil was never found guilty of 'predatory pricing', so her quote is likely made up.
Swift & Co., and the 'Beef-trust' -- There were competitors, the price of the beef in question was falling during the so-assumed cartelization, and the quality of the meat was increasing. In the Vest Reports (the document put together by the government to find out if the allegations were true), it was declared that not only was there no evidence whatsoever that there was a cartel, but that they would simply ignore this and tear the company apart anyway:
"Mr. P. D. Armour testifies at Washington that no such [collusive] agreement existed between himself and other packers and we do not contradict this statement... [However]it is difficult to believe that with the most apparent motive for such action the same parties, or their subordinates with their knowledge, do not avail themselves of the opportunity presented by the centralization of markets to combine for the purpose of lowering the price of cattle" (Vest Report, p. 6;emphasis added).
Read more here: http://mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/RAE6_2_3.pdf
So, as you can see, by the very entity created to destroy the 'cartel', there not only was no cartel, but also the company was torn apart on the simple inference that the company would want to create a cartel.
No cartel, no monopoly, better prices, better quality... ... and they get punished.
Tobacco 1911 -- Just like the other examples. Lowered prices during the decades leading up to the suit ($2.77/thousand cigarettes in 1895, $2.20 in 1907, despite a 40% increase in raw materials), better quality, and absolutely no chance of a monopoly. Not only were there thousands of competitors, but tobacco was being auctioned off at the market straight out of the ground at the time -there is simply no way it was a monopoly. The Supreme Court proceeded to use the fact that the companies were merging to 'prove' they were monopolizing.
Read more here: http://mises.org/daily/2694
For a further discussion of what happened in the Tobacco industry after 1911 and how cartelization is nonsense, check out: http://mises.org/journals/qjae/pdf/qjae12_1_6.pdf
The sneer across my face -- I understand completely that research takes money and is a pain in the neck. I don't want to get into the following discussion, but intellectual property is nonsense and has greatly hindered mankind. No this statement is not in contradiction with capitalism, it is in contradiction with socialism (let's not get into it).
I was simply pointing out that the one, single justifiable role that a government has in the market -- the protection of property rights... it failed in. Perhaps -- you can't prove this and neither can I (at this point) -- the supposed fraud and vandalism never took place? Unfortunately, as much as I sympathize with the price of research, the onus of proof is still on you.
Debt-slaves -- I can't seem to find any discussion of this. But from what you wrote, the people weren't slaves, they were simply paid, to some extent (surely not 100%), in some sort of ticket program where they were allowed to exchange the tickets for items they might need. This doesn't sound like debt, nor slavery... perhaps evil, but still not slavery or debt.
I would like to tack on that... if it was so horrible, why did the people not quit?
I'm actually surprised that someone who is for socialism would be so upset by this... what about food stamps? This sounds very similar to these sorts of programs.
Quote Agnes Steer:
"By forcing the miners to deal in the company stores the operators are robbing them of at least 25 per cent of their earnings."
This is not entirely accurate: if the workers agreed to be paid in such a way, they were not 'being robbed'. They were following their contract and were getting exactly what they worked for and agreed to. BUT! If this was a violation of contract, then I have no qualms with seeing the company in question in jail.
I was planning on putting "I await your concession" after each of my arguments, but I'll keep things civil. I hope that at the very least what I've written here (and defended with citations and even a few direct sources) will lead you to re-think your views on Capitalism.
My hat is off to you for actually addressing 1- what I wrote, and 2- addressing the arguments using sources and logic! Thank god people like you are still out there in Forum-land.
"An honest apology: sorry!" No worries. To be honest, I wasn't actually offended; I was just trying to be funny. I hope it came across as funny rather than cranky. If it didn't, my apologies, and hey, I'm glad we can continue the discussion in an atmosphere of mutual respect. There's a shortage of that, as we've both noticed.
"Indeed, I honestly didn't think you'd had the where-with-all to back up your claims. Most people I argue with don't, so I figured I'd try to weed you out with the rest of them. Bravo, good sir!" Thanks. Your challenges were all valid ones, and deserved to be answered with sources. It would have been incredibly lame to blow them off.
Anyway, "Thank you for giving me examples, I will enjoy tearing them apart with ease." Lol, you're awesome! (I say this in a friendly voice with a smile on my face.)
Okay, you've thrown up a lot of data for me to digest, with a lot of links to follow. I look forward to the reading (I really do, no sarcasm) but I'm just plain not going to be able to get to it (not in a way that allows me to pay the attention that this genuinely stimulating discussion deserves) for a couple days. Other responsibilities beckon. Please indulge me for a bit?
"My hat is off to you for actually addressing 1- what I wrote, and 2- addressing the arguments using sources and logic! "
Again, thank you. I likewise appreciate your logical and cited counterarguments. (Whether I end up agreeing or disagreeing, I have to respect your ability to present an honest and logical argument.) It's a bummer that this sort of mutually respectful discourse is unusual.
Take care, and I'll be back when I have time to give this the attention it deserves, hopefully soon.
Yeah, no problem. You don't have to respond to me - As long as you're willing to look into what i've written and think about it sincerely, i'll be more than happy.
if you want to read up more, i'll suggest three books -
1- Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt. This book changed my life. I used to be a socialist (not kidding), and i used to demand the government pay for everything. Now I hate government!
2- Defending the Undefendable, by Walter Block. This book has less to do with Economics than it does with Libertarian philosophy, but the two are interestingly related. (note: in one of the cartoon's the "n-word" is used - I can only say that it is used to illustrate the point at hand, Walter Block has been accused of being a racist, but nothing I've ever heard him say can actually be taken to be racist)
3- How Capitalism Saved America, by Thomas DiLorenzo. This book overthrows a lot of 'common-sense' that has built up about socialism. He talks about the time when the American colonies actually WERE socialist (like, ACTUALLY socialist) and other subjects.
And I said 3, but let's do a fourth one -
4- The politically incorrect guide to capitalism, by Robert Murphy.
these books are easy to read and I was able to read them all in a few weeks (i'm a slow reader! heck, i used to hardly even read at all before I came across Economics In One Lesson).
For short hand, check out my Evan's Easy Economics hubs that I've written. I know I'm just advertising for myself, but I only take credit the words i've written, not the ideas behind them.
"As long as you're willing to look into what i've written and think about it sincerely, i'll be more than happy."
You got it. As an interesting note, once upon a time, I used to be a rabid Ayn Rand-quoting Objectivist. That has changed, obviously.
Though, having read your thoughts here, and having started to read your thoughts (and sources), I suspect that we're not really all that different in our economic values.
I've never been (and never will be) a full-on socialist. I have no illusions that a real communistic society will ever work in the real world, or even that the government can be trusted with our backs turned. It can't. At the same time, I recognize that private industry has accomplished some wonderful things and does a lot of good. But like any human enterprise, private industry likewise cannot be trusted with our backs turned.
When it comes down to it, my view of what government is for is to protect the relatively powerless from exploitation and/or coercion by the relatively powerful. This is not to say that the relatively powerful don't likewise have the right to government protection from those that would exploit or coerce them, it's just that the relatively powerful can generally look after themselves.
"You don't have to respond to me"
No, but I will, once I've had a chance to mindfully read the material. I'm genuinely enjoying the discussion. I don't want to stop.
I must disagree with the statement "government...is to protect the relatively powerless from exploitation and/or coercion by the relatively powerful. " for the most powerful man in the world right now is Obama! So, we're asking the most powerful man in the world to protect us from power? He controls the executive branch of the government - the military and police - and, because no one follows the Constitution anymore, can do much more than what is normally allowed to the president.
I'll just return to my central argument: i have yet to see one exploitation by the private sector that does not use or rely upon governmental interference. This would mean that all evils in the public sector AND all evils in the private sector are governmental in nature.
I WILL concede, however, that humans are inherently evil. Indeed those who are evil will find a way to get what they want - but which system is most likely to prevent such usurpation? A system where you have to convince people to give you money? or a system where those in power can just simply write a few sentences on a sheet of paper and then claim the right to kill you if you don't obey?
To go even farther with this thought - Every time that government makes a mistake, it gets more funding to help out with correcting mistakes. Every time a private entity makes a mistake, it loses a horrendous amount of money...
just look at Toyota: not only did it lose money from the bad publicity, but ON TOP OF THAT it had to pay our evil Uncle Sam $16.4 million!!! AND PEOPLE ARE CHEERING THE DECISION!! This bozo (who i cite only because his thinking is common in the people): http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/s … ine_f.html ACTUALLY thinks that $16.4 million was too little! He actually thinks that, after Toyota has lost Millions from having a faulty product, and losing hundreds if not thousands of future customers, and after having to waste time and efforts on talking with the clowns in DC, on top of all this, they had to pay 16.4 million bucks!!! And people think that Toyota is evil!!!
Yes:Toyota made a mistake. But does anyone think that Toyota was sitting back saying "hey! let's make a horrendously inferior product compared to our competition, which could end up killing people*! Yeah, that'd be a great way to make money!!!"? The bozo in that article compares Toyota to a kid robbing a liquor store!! You've GOT to be kidding me!
(* it turns out, on top of all of this, that the mistakes made didn't cost anyone their lives or safety. the issue at hand turns out to not even have been that big of a deal.)
And on top of all of this nonsense, All of these court hearings and trials and nonsense are costing the people millions in tax dollars - those congressmen and their blue shield health care ain't cheap!
It's astonishing. When FEMA and the Army Corp of Engineers screwed up after Katrina, people were just like "oh, bad levies! jeez, what bozos!" and no one chewed anyone apart (correction: i'm sure some people got chewed out, but nothing along the likes of what's happening to Toyota). Imagine, just for a moment, if Toyota was responsible for those levies and Katrina happened - they would be thrown in jail, they would be executed, they would, even after the jail time and executions, have to pay billions of dollars to those who lost their homes, then they'd have to pay millions to the government... even though their 'crime' would have been exactly equal to what the government had done!! .
Anyway, this is the source of my passion against government: it isn't responsible for anything it does.
"I must disagree with the statement "government...is to protect the relatively powerless from exploitation and/or coercion by the relatively powerful. ""
Well, I do concede that government often fails in this function. Witness the disastrous eminent domain decision a couple years back, where the High Court ruled that it would be okay for a city or state to use eminent domain to force homeowners out of their homes so the land could be developed into a (private) marina. A clear case of the homeowners (relatively powerless) being screwed over by an alliance between the developers (relatively powerful) and the government (misusing its power).
At the same time, though, the government does sometimes function as a shield against powerful interests harming the public. Dow Chemical in Michigan doesn't get to keep dumping poison into the Saginaw River, for example. (There are problems with this situation, too, but it's better than letting Dow keep dumping.)
"But does anyone think that Toyota was sitting back saying "hey! let's make a horrendously inferior product compared to our competition, which could end up killing people*!"
No sane person does. But I can easily see Toyota thinking, "Oh, crud, our cars have a huge safety problem. Let's try to manage this as quietly as possible and not admit that there's anything wrong, or we might lose market share and maybe get sued." And isn't that what occurred? Toyota, rather than do an immediate recall when the problem emerged, evaded, denied, and double-talked.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/art … AD9F11E900
"(* it turns out, on top of all of this, that the mistakes made didn't cost anyone their lives or safety. the issue at hand turns out to not even have been that big of a deal.)"
Except maybe they did. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/03/ … 8603.shtml
Will Toyota lose market share? Absolutely. Is that sufficient punishment for hiding a known problem, allowing people to keep driving an unsafe vehicle, and contributing to the deaths of up to 100 people? For some reason I'm thinking not. But we still don't really know whether Toyota is legally responsible for these deaths. The court cases aren't done yet. It's too early to say "Oh, Toyota's evil!" just like it's too early to say "Oh, Toyota's being unfairly persecuted!" We don't know yet.
Also, the fine you're talking about is an NTSB fine for not reporting a defect in accordance with the law. "Under federal law, once automakers discover a possible safety defect, they have five days to report it to the U.S. government." http://m.freep.com/news.jsp?key=628718&rc=ne
They're not being fined for possibly contributing to anyone's death, but for a violation of a law. It's as if I was speeding and ran over somebody. I'd be prosecuted for vehicular manslaughter, and I'd probably also get a speeding ticket. The $16.4M fine is Toyota's speeding ticket. Is it just? Maybe, but I have no way of knowing. The violation has not been legally proven in court. Rather, a fine was simply imposed. That doesn't sit right with me. (And this is a point for your position.)
"When FEMA and the Army Corp of Engineers screwed up after Katrina, people were just like "oh, bad levies! jeez, what bozos!" and no one chewed anyone apart..." Well, those levees were old, they were reported to be old, they were known to be crumbling, and I'm sure you're aware of the general antipathy to government spending (except when it pays to blow something up). To fix the levees would have cost money. Should the government have fixed the levees? Absolutely. But even if a private company had originally built the levees, how could they have been held accountable for the levees' failure unless they'd also been contracted (and paid) to maintain them? Nobody was willing to pay to maintain the levees, so they were allowed to fall into disrepair, and they failed. A failure of government? Yes. (And by extension, a failure of the citizens.) A failure of engineering, or an example of incompetence or negligence by the Corp of Engineers? I don't think that's been shown.
"this is the source of my passion against government: it isn't responsible for anything it does." But it is. It's our job as citizens to hold the government responsible for what it does (and fails to do). Too many of us, however, are willing to abdicate that responsibility.
Dang if I haven't been drawn into another discussion, and curse you for being a clever and well informed conversationalist! I gotta go. Plus, I still have reading to do.
"Dow Chemical in Michigan doesn't get to keep dumping poison into the Saginaw River, for example. (There are problems with this situation, too, but it's better than letting Dow keep dumping."
Indeed, I can in no way justify what Dow did - dumping chemicals into the air, land or water can easily be shown to be evil. However, if we had private contracts and the sort, this problem could be solved just as easily. the companies were infringing upon the property of someone else: it would be about as equal if Dow chemicals had run up to someone's house and .. i dunno... peed on it? ... ewww
As far as toyota goes, the article relating the numbers of deaths has yet to be proven, it's entirely at this point that people are just trying to milk the cow (although, perhaps a few people did die... from what i've read though, the problems weren't a big deal... i'll have to find the sources again. but i just woke up and am feeling lazy. I'm moving back to the US today). I must admit i don't have the wherewithall to fully defend toyota - after all, they did screw up and deserve to lose money.
Levees - should they have been built in the first place? perhaps the market wouldn't have ever built them to begin with. And if they were needed, I'm sure that they would institute a contractual agreement with the residents the same way they did with the government (perhaps, under free market, there would be private head-counting and address-protecting companies? This certainly sounds needed)
Government not responsible: it really doesn't seem that it is. I have yet to see those responsible for the massive death tolls in Iraq and Afghanistan , and the tortures of guantanamo to be persecuted. Until Bush and cheney and Rumsfeld are in jail, then... ...
Okay, I read the link to the tobacco thing on Mises.org. Actually that page talks about a lot of antitrust stuff. But the page cites no sources. It just says, in effect, "No, it didn't happen," but without citing evidence. Just because many people say something doesn't make it so. You know this, of course.
The PDFs, however, do cite sources (I skimmed them, checking for footnotes) and I'll be reading them soon.
Just letting you know I'm following up.
If we want socialism do all get to wear the same clothes too?
What are you people drinking?
In my opinion, you are reactionary and not connected to reality.
You are making claims that have no basis in anything but you're own minds.
I wonder if you all were so reactionary when Bush REALLY took away our freedoms with the Patriot Act? My guess would be that you were all for it, as you seem to be ideology over all common sense.
William is right...we are becoming rich people and serfs, and any attempt at balancing that out is called socialism?
No, it's called human decency.
5% of the population has 95% of the wealth....this did not happen by accident.
It was given to them. Now they need to give it back.
This is not feudal England.
The Executive does not have the power to unilaterally pass such an Act. Seems like more than a few dems voted to pass that act and to renew it. And then of course president obama signed an extension of the act.
http://educate-yourself.org/cn/patriota … vote.shtml
Some familiar names in there...
I was against the patriot act... but at least it went through both houses of congress.
I hate bush with a passion. I hope he dies a miserable death for the horror and evils he unleashed upon the world.
Obama isn't MUCH better - he didn't start the wars, but he sure as hell isn't ending them.
Indeed, much of the wealth discrepancy can be chalked up to government. ...
But, that isn't Capitalism. If you use government to solve government... you're a nut case. Socialism can't work, it never has worked, and it won't work.
This, indeed, is not feudal England - in feudal england, the lords actually PROTECTED their vassals, instead of invading other countries at their whim. We have 700+ military bases in over 130 different countries! Woo doggies!
Also, in Feudal England, we had lower tax rates!!
Please read "Democracy: the god that failed" and get back to me
"Also, in Feudal England, we had lower tax rates!! " And we had to ask permission from the richest guy in town (our liege lord) before we could go on vacation (pilgrimage).
What claims are being made that have no basis in fact? Can you be specific? Socialism has a history of abject failure resulting in real poverty, hunger and misery. Is that one of those claims?
you forgot the almost 100 million deaths
All of which is to reinforce the fact that all other Western democracies do NOT HAVE Socialist systems. They have capitalist systems. Yes, compared to the US, they tend to be more centrist, or leftist, or social democratic (depending on the place -- they are not all the same, in fact ), but they are NOT Socialists. The very idea is ridiculous. The European Union is ITSELF A MECHANISM FOR TRADE LIBERALIZATION.
How about this for a suggestion. Some things are done better by companies, and some things are done better by public utlities. And it is not always the same thing in different places. How about, instead of saying "privatization is bad" or "publicly-owned facilities are bad", take each case on its merits (in practice this is often what happens in the REAL world anyway). And how come I have never once seen a single comment mentioning Public-Private Partnerships?
All this black-white thinking makes me numb. The real world is grey. Different solutions work differently in different places.
Stop being reasonable! I was very content to dismiss you as a ______ after your "get your head knocked off" empty childish bluster of a few days ago. Don't ruin it for me now!
I'd call it more a mechanism for trade bureaucratisation myself.
Yes, actually I'd say you were right there.
"Some things are done better by companies, and some things are done better by public utlities"
No, this is not true. It's too late for me to argue against this, and you can read my arguments in my hubs - look up "evan's easy economics". I even discuss private-public partnerships in some of them. GSE's helped cause the financial crisis we're in.
Indeed private and public systems both exist in the real world - but this does not mean that they should. Government necessarily means force and theft - try not paying your taxes, and then refusing to be arrested... it'll hurt.
Please. You don't have the faintest idea about my tax-paying history. If you can't accept the fact, for which there are untold mountains of evidence around the world, that some things are done better by companies (sometimes) and some things are done better by public utilities (sometimes) I have nothing left to say to you. Except, perhaps, spend three years in each of two other countries, then come and talk to me. Telling someone to go read your hub is both fatuous and betrays a misunderstanding of the term "debating thread."
"You don't have the faintest idea about my tax-paying history."
Why the hell would i have any business knowing your specific tax-paying history. Indeed, I hope i don't know your history. My point isn't YOU specifically, my point is that, in general, en masse, if people don't pay taxes, and then claim that they don't have to pay taxes, and then claim that they shouldn't be arrested, they usually get thrown in jail at the point of a gun!
Also, you're 'proving' your point by saying, basically "go try living somewhere else"...
... I'm living in Japan right now, and I've lived in Canada for a while. So... yeah...
Anyway, your argument happens to be "our maffioso of thieves is much nicer than other thieves! ergo, hooray for government!". I must admit, I don't follow this reasoning: "Murderer A is nicer and kills people faster than murderer Z... therefore, all murderers are good!"
"Telling someone to go read your hub is both fatuous and betrays a misunderstanding of the term "debating thread."
It is? If I told someone to go read a book, would i still be guilty of this horrendous crime (this evil crime of "trying-to-spread-ideas-in-a-space-conserving-manner")? I just told people to check out my hubs because I've written about these subjects, in depth, over the course of... jeez, has it been 34 hubs or so?
"...untold mountains of evidence around the world, that some things are done better by companies (sometimes) and some things are done better by public utilities (sometimes)..."
I have yet to see these mountains of evidence. Every time i see a quote-unquote 'proof of private market failure', it has the fingerprints of government all over it. Standard Oil - government; the Deaths of Katrina - government; those profiting off of war - government (they declare war); the fact that our dollar is worth 4% of what it was worth in 1914 despite amazing tech advances - government; high costs of health care - government (the AMA is a gov't granted monopoly); every single so called monopoly - government; the fact that our troops didn't have body armor - government; the fact that, even though we have to pay for water services through tax dollars people still buy bottled water instead - government; the horrors of rent-control - government; high unemployment - government (minimum wage, horrendous regulation etc)...
... I could go on for days!
On top of all this, i can even give a quantitatively substantial reason for why government fails and the market succeeds: when market fails, people lose money and property; when the government fails, it doesn't matter because all of its money was stolen anyway. In fact, i've written substantially on the subject, I would suggest reading my hubs about them... but apparently this is illegal...
You name the bad thing, i bet I can find a substantial link to government.
As long as people have free will, and can you imagine a life without free will, socialism/communism will fail
Bit of blatant self-promotion here, but a while back I actually wrote a hub on Marxism/socialism after reading Marx's The Communist Manifesto:
http://hubpages.com/hub/Marxist-theory- … -beginners
So far it's had all of 20 page views so why not take pity on it and give it a read LOL?
I actually think there are some things that should be done by governments rather than private enterprise (for example in Britain we have privatised water companies that are owned by foreign companies... all well and good for now, but what if the unthinkable happens and we end up at war with the country concerned? They could hold us to ransom with the threat of poisoning our water).
I also think that the idea of pooling one's resources and acting as a co-op can be fantastic - the co-operative movement in Britain has a long and distinguished history, for example. But the crucial thing is that it has to be a voluntary enterprise - not forced labour (that's actually in the Communist Manifesto BTW - you can read it online here: http://www.anu.edu.au/polsci/marx/class … festo.html).
Informative Post--You are absolutely right with regard to your water companies and in all probability, at some point, your fears will be realized. I say that not because they are privately owned, but owned by foreign interests who may be, don't know at this point, controlled by foreign government anxious to facilitate the fall of Western civilization, I would be interested in learning who controls the water.
Co-ops can be successful and have proven so here in Agriculture, but these are people who have a financial vested interest and have worked hard to achieve that and as you say have volunteered to participate.
I am reminded of the NAFTA Treaty here that essentially places government in control of North American trade. I will read your blog.
i needed to reply to this: Empress and CJ are missing a gigantically huge issue.
"I actually think there are some things that should be done by governments rather than private enterprise (for example in Britain we have privatised water companies that are owned by foreign companies... all well and good for now, but what if the unthinkable happens and we end up at war with the country concerned? They could hold us to ransom with the threat of poisoning our water). "
"You are absolutely right with regard to your water companies and in all probability, at some point, your fears will be realized"
1st - what does it mean to be "foreign"? All that I understand it to mean is that a different group of people steal my money, and a different set of people are the ones telling me what i can't do.
2nd - if you're trading with a foreign company, your government is MUCH less likely to go to war with that company's government. And that country's government is MUCH less likely to invade your country. This free-trade actually prevents war.
3rd - by nationalizing the water, surely we pissed more than a few people off. "Hey, remember all that money you invested in our country? well, screw you, you're FOREIGN!! Now we own it all, sucker".
4th - sure, now your country owns the water, and that foreign country can't "ransom" you.... ... ... but now your country CAN. It's just a different set of people who can ransom you. You didn't actually solve the problem of being ransomed.
5th - by nationalizing the water supply, you've made other companies very very less likely to invest in your country. the Brits have now shown that they care NOT for private enterprise, but FOR their own coffers. They've shown that they care NOT for free-trade, but for theft. Who will invest in your country now that it has shown no respect whatsoever for such investment?
6th - Isn't "nationalizing" something the same thing as theft? I agree that if the other company or country stole the service in advance, then this entire argument is moot - it would simply be liberating the stolen property... but i highly doubt that this is accurate in this example.
anyway, just some fat to chew on.
No, privatizing public functions is theft.
no, it's liberation.
In order for the government to do anything, it has to take money from its people. It does so at the point of a gun (again: if you don't pay taxes and refuse to be arrested, guns are involved, so, yes, it IS at the point of a gun).
If ANY institution other than this magical thing known as "government" did that to any one of us, we'd call it theft. I call it theft anyway, because that's what it is.
If a private individual takes control of that which was taken by the government, and then proceeds to try to dish it back out in some way, then he is liberating stolen property.
Privatization is liberty, Government control is theft.
Foreign = a different sovereign state from my own (Britain) - France, Germany, America etc.
Not necessarily - one of the "hidden" stories of history (the bits you don't get told in schools or the mainstream media) is just how MUCH "trading with the enemy" there has been in times of war - and during the lead-up to wars. Ever read a book called IBM and the Holocaust? Standard Oil of New Jersey was another company that happily did business with the Third Reich. And George W. Bush's grandfather Prescott Bush actually had his assets seized under the US's Trading with the Enemy Act*.
*http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/se … ndworldwar
Well yes, that is going to happen. Once you sell something to someone, they're not going to be happy if you try to take it from them. Unless you give them a very good price for it.
Can you ever entirely solve this problem though? If you have several different companies providing a service, then they have to compete with each other to provide a good, cost-effective service. If you have a monopoly (be it State-owned or private), then that's when you potentially get "ransoming". I say "potentially" because I can remember when our water system was in government hands and the water rates you had to pay then were a fraction of what we pay now to private water companies.
There are plenty of investment opportunities in Britain that don't depend on who owns the water supply. I suspect that in deciding whether to invest in UK plc, most companies would use other yardsticks like labour costs for example.
Most of our now-privatised industries were floated on the stock market by Margaret Thatcher in the Eighties. Some people would argue that she "stole" them from the people, although I don't buy into that - we were really "renting" them, through our taxes. Now we're paying the companies directly, often (certainly in the case of water) at FAR higher rates than would have been the case if the rates had just kept pace with inflation.
it's too late to address everything you've written - i'll just touch on the easy stuff.
There is no such thing as a private monopoly or cartel. There has never been a single instance of either in all of history that did not in some way have a helping hand from government.
If you're water was being ransomed to you by any sort of institution, that means its price would increase, which means that other organizations would step in to fill the gap. Capitalism would solve this problem without the need for government.
The price of water probably is higher under private ownership, but that doesn't mean that it was cheaper. remember- it had massive subsidies from income taxes et. al under gov't control... heck, it even had raw inflation of money on its side. No private company can truly match this evil power, and thus you pay the real cost under a private company. Also, i wouldn't doubt that there is some fee that the private company has to pay to the government - such things are not uncommon.
to add to my argument (now that i've woken up - actually i didn't sleep well last night), Foreign indeed means a different country. But what the heck is a country? All that a country is, is a different set of people who take my money and tell me what I can't do! It's just a different set of gangsters!
About the entire "trading with enemies" nonsense, and Prescott Bush being a Nazi - Who were the actual evil people in this situation? Let's see!...
Hitler and his third Reich did their best to hide the massive slaughter of Jews and other members of their population - they hid it so well that it took the massive efforts of invading the country and actually entering Auschwitz et. al. to convince the majority of the world that this happened. ... ... So , so far, the government was evil, and, as much as no one points this out, Hitler was a Socialist.
Now, with the entire hiding the holocaust - indeed, the article you wrote doesn't actually say whether Prescott Bush knew of the massacre, and it definitely doesn't say anything about whether he would have kept trading with Hitler if he would have known about the Holocaust.
Quote your article:
"he worked for and profited from companies closely involved with the very German businesses that financed Hitler's rise to power."
You wanna know who else was closely involved with Hitler's rise to power? THE ENTIRE GERMAN POPULACE. Also, a strong argument can be made that Hitler's rise to power was a direct result of how horribly the Germans were treated after WWI, and it can be said that WWI was a war based off of monetary inflation, which would again be socialism (but we can ignore this argument for now)
As for the "trading with enemies" thing, who cares? would we have been more likely to start war with Germany (in either WWI or WWII) if we were trading with them en masse, or if we were not trading with them? Some might even call Prescott a hero for defying his government and trying to create friendly relations with Germany. (Of course, for this to be true, Bush would certainly have to had not known about the Holocaust... anyone for the holocaust is pretty much evil to the core).
Now, going further, which group is evil? The group that creates trade, or the group that steals an entire company from someone who's worked hard to see it succeed? I'd say, along with the vast majority of people, that it would be the person who takes the property away - it's theft!
So in each argument, the problem was government and socialism (indeed the two are related), and not capitalism.
So are you saying you'd like to do away with national borders altogether?
You're absolutely right about the German people bearing a huge responsibility for Hitler's rise to power, as well as the conditions in post WWI Germany. It would be completely nonsensical to ignore these, and focus entirely on the antics of people like Prescott Bush.
Now I've got that out of the way, let me focus on one of your comments:
"As for the "trading with enemies" thing, who cares? would we have been more likely to start war with Germany (in either WWI or WWII) if we were trading with them en masse, or if we were not trading with them?"
It's important to care, because it forms part of the full picture - a part that's been glossed over and ignored (ever hear the saying "Those who ignore the past mistakes of history are doomed to repeat them"?). As to whether the existence of trade would have made us more or less likely to start a war with Germany: my gut feeling is "more". It's entirely possible (and I admit that I can't possibly prove this) that people like Thyssen and Harriman saw Hitler as a potential cash cow from the outset.
Stepping back from Hitler's Germany for a moment and focusing on the whole "government versus private enterprise" debate: you seem to believe that government is the source of all our woes. Often it is the source of our woes, but this is largely because (as you rightly point out in the example of the Germans' support of Hitler) it's because the majority of people want to be led. That isn't IMO going to go away if you adopt a minarchist form of government - you will just get something else appearing in the resultant power vacuum.
Just my (very jaded and cynical) opinion.
As to your gut feeling, i must protest! If your company has thousands of dollars, and your economy millions of dollars vested in a foreign country, it would be foolish to allow your government to invade that country. Your company and economy would have a strong interest in not losing that investment. War would be less likely. Although, gut feelings are gut feelings.
Maybe at one level this would be true, but the people who make money from war are not the small traders as we saw with the Iraq war. The big fish run things and profit from war, they profit from sanctions, and from the so called free trade which is a thin cover for monopoly and favour.
Quote Alternate Poet:
"but the people who make money from war are not the small traders as we saw with the Iraq war. The big fish run things and profit from war, they profit from sanctions, and from the so called free trade which is a thin cover for monopoly and favour."
Once again, I'm utterly floored. People are defining Capitalism as Socialism, and Socialism as Capitalism. Then they remind me that I hate Socialism (they call it Capitalism), and then say that I'M wrong!
People who profit from war are indeed capitalist in nature, but this is to completely ignore what war is = war is when the government uses the resources that it's leeching off of its populace to attack another government doing the same thing. WAR CAN NOT BE CAPITALISM !!! By definition, it can NOT be Capitalism!!!
Let's remind EVERYONE here what the two words in question mean. I will use the Princeton definitions, because, well, I trust Princeton!
1)(n) capitalism, capitalist economy (an economic system based on private ownership of capital)
1)(n) socialism (a political theory advocating state ownership of industry)
2)(n) socialism, socialist economy (an economic system based on state ownership of capital)
I suppose it could be argued that the state doesn't own the industry of warfare... but... it does - it controls how many tanks, how many guns, how many soldiers. The state has a monopsony (no, that's not a typo) on warfare, thus it does own the industry - just indirectly.
Warfare is Socialism, and, unless private enterprise controls the war, war is not capitalist.
Reading this forum repeatedly reminds of George Orwell's 1984. Winston Smith's government, Big Brother, repeatedly changes the definition of words to suit its own malevolent purposes with Newspeak. I keep reading people on this forum demanding that 2+2=5 and that Oceania has ALWAYS been at war with Eurasia!!!
SOCIALISM IS GOVERNMENT!! CAPITALISM IS PRIVATE!! I'LL NEVER BETRAY YOU JULIA, NOT EVEN IF O'BRIEN LET'S THE RATS BURROW INTO MY FACE!!!
(please, everyone, read 1984. It's breathtakingly awesome. If you want a shorter read, but of the same taste, check out Animal Farm)
I did start to try and formulate a reasoned response to this but gave up laughing. you are more confused than very very confused !
I've read 1984, it's one of my favorite books.
Regarding definitions - that's the core problem in this discussion. I've already pointed out that there are at least three different definitions of socialism that are being confused in this thread.
The most basic point of socialism is this: workers directly own and control the means of production.
That is what socialism is.
Funny - that's what libertarianism is supposed to be, right?
Now, I think all the problems and differences of opinion we are having are not about socialism vs. freedom, but about state control of resources and the economy vs. democratic control of resources and the economy.
This discussion is really about power. Who holds the power? Is the current situation just or unjust?
right, there are 8 billion definitions of socialism, and the one that everyone seems to be using is the one the one that is actually capitalism.
The one that all scholars agree with, though, is the one where the state controls everything. I've linked the definitions like 5 times in the thread or in my hubs on this subject.
OK, i'm going to take one more crack at this, this will be the last time i point this out to anyone on this forum.
Even if we use your definition of socialism: "workers directly own and control the means of production." We still run into contradictions.
For example - if a worker directly owns and controls the means of production, and it takes some 100 people to produce steel for another group-of-workers-who-own-the-means-of-producing-railroads, then how are we to decide how much one of these individuals owns?
Scenario 1:Does each worker own a certain part of the means of production? i.e., Does he own the smelt? the forge? the tongs? the safety goggles?
Scenario 2: Does each worker equally own every single part of the means of production? I.e., they have to vote on how to operate the factory?
Scenario 1 - how do we decide who owns what in the factory? via price? via first-come first-serve? How do we decide who owns the iron that comes into the plant on a daily basis? -- each day the raw materials would come in and each day the new materials would have to be dished out to the workers, and then each worker would have to agree to use their property to make the steel. It would be rather inefficient; and obviously this won't work - what if one guy decides to hold out, i.e.: i own the smelt, and so everyone has to sell me their first born daughter in order to use it!
Scenario 2 - (the more likely one) - if everyone at the plant owns everything at the plant, then everyone would vote on how to use the factory. but this is in no way different than a stock-holders situation! I honestly fail to see how this is in any way different than having each workers' contract give them stock options in the company. If you own stock in a company, you are partial owner - thus you own the means of production.
Since it's almost impossible to deny what i've just written (the stocks = ownership), you have to agree that a company operating in this fashion - selling stocks to workers in an equal way - fits perfectly with the definition of Capitalism!!!
To illustrate this, let's say that I start a company making steel, and I invest $30k into the company. I can then, willingly and without being forced in anyway, hire 29 more people to work for me, and give us all (30) an equal share in the company. This can happen under capitalism - it just doesn't because no one would risk their own money just to let some other people decide how to spend it!
"BUT!", you protest, "the reason why this never happens is because private investment is evil!". OK, i'll admit: if we really just want to give the workers control over the company, no matter the cost or morality, we can force the people to invest their money. This means taxes - if you force someone to spend their money in a way they don't want, it is a tax! This means that we now need to have a government. This means that we now have to establish a police to make sure people aren't secretly investing their money for their own benefit.
... And this leads us to the Princeton definition, the one that you are at all costs trying to avoid: that Socialism is the governmental ownership of the means of production
In order to ensure that people have equal control over the means of production of an industry, we have to force the people to give up their own money. The only way to force people to do something is if we develop a military, and tell them that if they don't they either have to go elsewhere, or go to jail, or be shot.
Your definition - the one that doesn't require governmental control or totalitarianism - either leads to crazy consequences (one guy owning the forge, the other owning the hammer, and another owning one day's worth of raw materials and another the next), total governmental control over the economy, or Capitalism.
You simply have to accept this.
"This can happen under capitalism - it just doesn't because no one would risk their own money just to let some other people decide how to spend it!"
Isn't this pretty much exactly what investment is?
I mean, yeah, a smart investor will research the company he's going to invest in to see if it looks like it will grow in value, but unless he's buying up a controlling interest, he is absolutely giving someone else a big bag of money and letting them decide how to spend it in the hopes that someday the bag will have more money in it and he can sell it to someone else. It's not a loan. The company doesn't promise to repay anything. Yes, the investor gets to vote at stockholder meetings (or can delegate a proxy to represent him, as is more common), but as I mentioned, unless he has a controlling interest in the company, he's not going to get his way all the time. If he doesn't like it, he can sell.
Citizenship is a little like stock ownership, except you only own one share in the country, and can't sell. (Well, you can sell; you can go live somewhere else.)
But to expect to live in a country and be protected by its laws/defended by its army, but not be willing to support it with tax money? That's no better than the sense of entitlement that so many are willing to assign to "the poor."
I'm curious what services folks think the government should provide, and how those services should be paid for?
me? I'm for a total stripping of government. But I will settle for a return to the constitution.
If you want to discuss militaristic roles in a free-market, you would see companies supplying "defense insurance" or something. You would pay a company to protect you from aggressors.
Courts would be a big issue, but this would be easy to deal with through the simple process of 'writing contracts' - we'd have a bunch of different courts (like McJudgeJudy, and CourtKing), and you'd write into the contracts that if an argument were to be had about the contract both parties agree to see Court X, Y and Z and take the majority decision (or something). If a court started getting a bad name, surely its reputation would falter, and people would stop agreeing to see it - surely there would be some sort of "court -ranking groups" .. or something like they have for hospitals.
Roads, people would argue, need to be provided by government. But this is nonsense on stilts (as my main man walter block would say), the first roads were private roads!! This proves they don't need to be government controlled. In fact, i think the federal roads system was only put in place in the 1900s (the roads before then were run by the states, which is still government).
I know that I seem like a total radical, but I can justify what i say reasonably. The beauty of not using government is simply that you don't have to have someone taking your money.
"you would see companies supplying "defense insurance" or something. You would pay a company to protect you from aggressors. "
!? So if a foreign power /were/ to invade, we'd have a patchwork of "defense companies" that are only paid to defend their own customers, and under no obligation to defend anyone who hasn't paid them. They would not be obligated wot coordinate their efforts, and in fact, in competition for market share, they'd be incentivized to let their competitors' customers get bombed, taken over, &c, so they can go, "See? GunCo.'s customers are all dead or taken prisoner. You should hire Bazooka Joe to keep your property safe." This just doesn't seem practical.
"If a court started getting a bad name, surely its reputation would falter, and people would stop agreeing to see it -" Or the folks who spend the most money would get the favorable rulings. And how would the rulings be enforced? Like any Utopian idea, (like Socialism) this presupposes that all humans will value truth and justice more than their own status, and that the wealthy will not exercise their wealth/power to become wealthier at the expense of truth, justice, and the less powerful.
Even Jefferson (probably the most anarchistic of the Founders) said: "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country."
"Roads, people would argue, need to be provided by government. But this is nonsense on stilts" But how would a start-up road company compete with an established one? And if there were several competing road companies, where would we build our houses? In the middle of our street, like that song? It just doesn't seem practical to let private industry be in charge of building and maintaining roads. (Though I'm all for private industries being hired to do the actual work of building and maintaining them, and held to the terms of their contract with the government, that is, with the people.)
Actually yeah, I see where you're coming from. Really the so-called "military industrial complex" which we've been alluding to can be more accurately described as either (a) "corporate socialism" or (b) "fascism" (from the Latin word "fascii" meaning "bundles" - a bundle of government and private enterprise).
"What claims are being made that have no basis in fact?"
That this is a government Take Over by Obama and the Democrats. They are trying to level the playing field a little...just a smidgen....from 30 years of corporate rule, rip off and thievery!
That they are planning to come after you, so you'd better stock up on guns.
That you really think you're fooling anybody by bringing guns to an Obama rally---never saw one EVER before.
That what the gvt. gave the car companies were not loans, which they were.
That the banks don't have to pay back the bail-out, they do.
That Obama hates white people.
That all the help he's trying to give the lower classes is "Retribution for slavery"...I'm white and lower class...thanks to Bushco.
That the Insurance Industry was doing a fine job and needs no regulating.
That the banks need no regulating and will fix this mess on their own...let the market handle it.
That poor people pay no taxes.
That rich people get no tax benefits.ie--welfare
That unions are bankrupting the country.
That everybody will be forced to eat the same, dress the same, look the same.
That they want to control the internet and the media...eehhhh TOO LATE! the right wing already OWNS it....best they can do is put a stop to more buying up of the freedom of speech.
That Obama wants to kill your mother.
That you are losing your country...ehhhhh already GONE--thanks to the Bush family....starting with ole grandad.
That you are great Patriots and the rest of us hate America.
Need more? Just let me re-load.
That Sarah Palin is a great American.
That Shawn Hannity is a great American.
That Russsshhhhh Limbaugh knows what he's talking about.
That Glenn Beck-Head is not insane.
That the agenda is not to destroy Obama, by any means necessary.
That the Tea-Party has not been taken over by neo-cons left-over from Chinny Chin Cheney.
That his daughter Mary is not a vile Viper.
That the Republican party is the party of values.
That they follow Christ.
That they know two-squats about how to save money.
That they care about anything other than money.
That they hold any resemblance to what the Republican Party used to be.
The Republican Party, I suspect is in fact originally a party of values. It has just been hijacked. (And don't get me wrong. I am not saying for a minute that the Democrats are not hijacked also. It's just, well, their hijacking has gone more under the radar, because they tend not to involve COMPLETE LOONEY-TUNES in their PR team. Bring back McCain, I say. He wasn't always right, but at least he lived (more or less) on Planet Earth).
Yeah, but he had his moments too.....bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran. Hahaha,funny?
And he looked like a CHUMP having Sarah the Impaler standing with him on the podium...is he that shameless for votes? I mean J D Hayworth is another talk-radio shpin-meister for god's sakes. How hrd can it be to out-smart him????
Oh yeah,right, it's all about hateobama hateobama hateobama chooo chooo
Well, at least for orange faces, they have everybody beat! Hayworth and Boehner that is.
But after the vaca, they'll all come back with a tan, so no one will notice.
Yes--I agree, they are LOONY TUNES!
I keep thinking Limbutt and Beckles heads are going to explode and all their wires and stuff will be spouting out of their heads....robots!
"hateobama hateobam hateoba hateob hateo hate.........ppppsssssssst______________
It bears some serious scrutiny. I mean, my suspicion is that the Republican tradition, if one I disagree with, historically was one you could respect. Someone brought up William F. Buckley a while ago. I mean, he was no clown. And neither was McCain before he decided to run for office. A similar thing has happened in Canada; the Conservatives here have also been hijacked by a different "type" of conservative. Again, I think there should be a party that stands up for conservatives... but ALL conservatives, not just some weird fringe element.
This thread is called "Who would defend socialism and why?" Yet all I've seen you post is an endless rant against the Republican party. Not really on topic are you? (And before you jump to conclusions, I wasn't a fan of Bush either. Or his sidekick, our unlamented ex-PM Tony Blair.)
I haven't checked, but I think that only the last three or four posts have been about that. In addition to which, it became apparent early on that the OP didn't actually want to engage in the question they posed... Instead, surprise, surprise, there was a hidden agenda to their question.
The interesting thing is that BRITAIN should have much more cause to be debating socialism than America... but in the other direction... all those Labour supporters in the nineties who thought they were voting for socialists. Talk about hijacking a party...
It was a bit of a shift to say the least, wasn't it? The Labour party went from Old Labour, Clause IV socialism* to corporate socialism, a shining (if that's the right word) example of which is private finance initiatives** where a private company puts up money to build - say - a hospital, and leases it back to the government, pocketing waaaay more than its initial outlay.
I think New Labour was a slight improvement on Old Labour, but only because Clause IV socialism was so bad. (Although mind you as I said before, I think there are a few things that should be nationalised or at least have a significant government input.)
Indeed. I am not necessarily defending socialism. But, on the whole, I think it's better than plain old slimey
Yes it's probably slimy not slimey. Oh well. All of us who had the privilege of living under Tony's reign know what I mean.....
Yeah, I do know what you mean - he WAS slimy and either a liar or a fantasist (I'm still having trouble working out which). Now he's rich and slimy, due to all those speaking engagements and that nice part-time job as an advisor to J P Morgan.
Someone asked me what they were saying about socialism that I thought was untrue, and I answered. Then it got me on a rant... so sue me.
And if this thread was about socialism, then why the stroll down the path of the usual suspects...Communism, Cuba, and totalitarian gvts.? Oh Gee---could they be trying to make Obama out to be a communist and a tyrant?
Ask them how they feel about Obama...they won't give you an honest answer.
"Oh, I don't hate him per se...." Really? You could have fooled me.
The question should be Do you think Obama is a communist dictator?
If not, stop alluding to it!
Depends on what kind of socialism you mean. Thanks to Nixon's policies, we have been living under corporate feudalism for the last thirty-five years. Feudalism is a primitive form of socialism where the poor are taxed to death and the rich are subsidized. Capitalism has been dead since even Adam Smith's day. So, I guess I'm saying I wouldn't necessarily defend socialism because it's like defending cheese. There's just so many variations of socialism that it's impossible to pin down even what this thread is supposed to be about.
Socialists - I challenge you to answer my arguments put forth in my latest hub:
Please either respond to this post, or to the hub itself.
I don't think that will happen Evan. The socialists or pseudo-socialist can not deal with specifics, as we have seen and as evidenced by the many rants. Since Von Mises the smart socialist avoids any meaningful dialogue. Freedom of speech or of thought, for that matter, have nothing to do with anything that is not pro-socialist. I don't think however, that most of these people have any idea of what they are saying; most are good people, with big hearts who don't want to see or hear of others suffering; therefore the government must care for them. They do not understand how that good heartedness plays out. Also there are those who, for what ever reason, simply want America dead, either they wish to control others through their own participation with Big Brother or they are frustrated with their own inability to achieve, so they side with the bully on the block. This, I think, gives them purpose and direction much like religious belief. Actually there is little difference. Much of this is now taught in our schools and in our society in general, fear and guilt.
I think Walter Block summed up the argument nicely (this is an off-the-top-of-my-head-quotation):
"There are two types of cooperation, Explicit and Implicit. The human-being is hardwired to recognize explicit cooperation and love it. When you see someone without food, you FEEL that you should give him food; when you see a poor man, you FEEL that you should give him money. This is explicit cooperation. Implicit cooperation, however, is actually looked DOWN upon! If I make a profit by helping my fellow man in their time of need, I'm considered evil. Even if I am giving to the people what they need I'm considered bad because I'm asking something in return. Thus the entrepreneur is reviled because, even though he's giving money to his workers, he's making money off of them."
Anyway, that's an off-the-top-of-my-head quote, but I'm sure Block would agree with at least the vast majority of it (i might have gotten a technical point wrong, but the 90% majority of it is ok.)
Current situation unjust
Made unjust by corporate and monied (bank,wealthy people) interests
Helped along by past gvt.s
Current gvt. is trying to rectify....by what little iddy-biddy concessions they can breach into that huge wall of greed and corruption
Any system which lets people die after they have paid into said system that is supposed to help them live is beyond redemption....only thing to do is get rid of it
Unfortunately, the vice-grip is not letting go
Keep plugging Obama and Dems! You will find you have a LOT of people behind you
There is no question that what we have today, in terms of corporate and wealth interests, is corrupt. We have no disagreement there, but that is not capitalism or free interprise. The marriage of corporations and government is as deadly as the marriage between church and state. There is an ism for that and it is not capitalism. Going back to the original premise of this thread. Are you standing up as a socialist and if so, can you make the case for socialism, stand on its own merit type thing, without statements condemning what you perceice as capitalism?
I may be a socialist, I don't really know what one is. Like Gov Dean of Vermont? The other guy from Vermont? I like their ideas, yes. Does that make me a socialist? I don't know.
I live here. I love what this country is supposed to stand for... people from the whole world coming together and living together, a hand up for anybody (used to be), common values of a decent life of safety, education and proserity for everybody (used to be).
All that is gone...in my lifetime!
I see the very top doing better and the middle going down and the very bottom sinking even lower...
All I've seen it rich people helping other rich people get richer. I want it to stop.
Does that make me a socialist?
I would say it has been socialism for the rich. Is that possible? Are THEY socialists?
Me, I want everybody to pay their fair share and share the good things this country has to offer.
If we can give subsidies to businesses, which then rake in huge profits, which then incorporate off-shore and pay NO taxes to the country which made it rich.....
and we have kids going hungry?
Uh Uh...that is not my idea of America.
And I don't want it back!
If that makes me a socialist, so be it.
Oh yes! This current government wants to rectify the situation with those evil bankers...by creating a permanent bail out fund!!!
Yeah keep going Obama and the Dems...it shouldn't be long before you destroy this nation so you can rebuild it as a socialist republic! I know, you're only doing what's best for us since we are too stupid to know for ourselves what's good for us! Thank you Obama and the Dems!
We all live in countries with mixed economies.
The question is where in the spectrum you country is, and where you want it to be.
NO NO NO NO NO!
You either accept the wingnut economic model or you're a Socialist.
THERE IS NO MIDDLE GROUND!
I'm Sarah Palin, and I approved this message.
well, you are the future 'Decider"...
so I defer to your sage judgment
Which "wingnut" economic model is that, free market capitalism?
Yeah that's off the charts wingnut stuff! Hey you crazy extremists that espouse freedom, you're a bunch of wingnuts!
Your Socialist Comrade Fearless Leader and Protector of The Common Good Intellectual Elitist and Inventor of Hope and Change
Barack (Barry) Obama
You say it so much better than I can. I appreciate all you are doing to help me win in 2012.
No, unfortunately no. I wish there were.
as much as I've disagreed with you, god damn is sarah palin a retard.
It is false to think we must choose between Oliver-Twist unchained capitalism
and Joseph Stalin's nirvana
Yes, but consider the negative consequences your philosophy will have on the name-calling / insults industry.
Why you no-good, slightly-left-of-center independent you!
Oh yeah? Well you're a fiscal conservative/social liberal.
Is that the kind of world you and your kind want to live in.
I WANT MY COUNTRY BACK!!
I agree that it is true, because under a free market capitalist society (indeed, capitalism can only be capitalism if it is a free market), there would be no Oliver Twist-ness to the economy.
Are you saying that poverty wouldn't happen under pure capitalism?
child labor was ended by capitalism, not socialism. i have a few hubs on the topic
"If this amendment (child labor law)shall be made to the constitution," pontificated Senator Stephens of Mississippi, "there is no doubt that in a few years there will be attempts made to prohibit not only work on the farm but also work of every character by children under eighteen years of age. this is a socialistic movement and has for its ends purposes far deeper and more radical than appear on the surface. It is part of a hellish scheme laid in foreign countries to destroy our government. Many of the propagandists of the measure are communists and socialists...The child becomes the absolute property of the federal government." (Circa 1925.)
Sounds like some of the stuff we are hearing from the Tea Party these days.
Here's another capitalist mogul, George Baer, president Philadelphia & Reading, 1903. "The interests of the working man will be protected, not by labor agitators, but by Christian men to whom God in His infinite wisdom has entrusted the property interests of the country.
"Labor's Progress and Problems," Millis and Montgomery, McGraw Hill 1938
SO you're arguing that ... child labor laws are a good thing, because you can make fun of people who argue for them?
Sounds like a solid argument, and the type of arguments I expect from Ralph Deeds.
Just because a law maker passes a law banning something does not mean that such a law is a good thing, and it does not mean that the law actually was the reason why the action ended.
Capitalism ended child labor, gave us the weekend, works against racism, and also would have ended slavery much more peacefully and faster than it had been (if not for government intervention - fugitive slave laws et. al. -- slavery would have been much more expensive if the slave owner had to track down his own slaves without the benefit of government subsidies)
Check your history book. The child labor law was passed by FDR in 1938 after years of opposition from the "capitalists." You have a propensity for twisting the facts to suit your extreme libertarian positions.
Then it is true! FDR was a socialist! Thanks for confirming what we all knew.
You are demonstrating your lack of elementary knowledge of economics. Of course you and Evan are free to make up your own definitions of socialism based on Ayn Rand, obsolete, extreme economic theory or whatever.
jeezus tap-dancing Christ. Do i really have to define socialism AGAIN?!!?
I'M NOT MAKING UP ANY DEFINITION OF SOCIALISM YOU CRAZY LUNATIC!!! THE DEFINITION I'M USING COMES FROM PRINCETON
* S: (n) socialism (a political theory advocating state ownership of industry)
* S: (n) socialism, socialist economy (an economic system based on state ownership of capital)
Here's another one from MIRIAM-F***ING-WEBSTER
1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done
I'm not making these things up. I can't believe we're still arguing about the definition of socialism
This is unbelievable. Orwell was right - use language to destroy your enemies.
Deeds - if you can't handle my arguments, and you just want to call me a luntic Mises-worshiping-maniac who likes to sit in a room chanting "laissez-faire" before a cast iron image of the sacred profit Carl Menger, then go right on ahead. I honestly don't care what you think about me.
But please realize this will get us no where.
and p.s. - I've JUST begun reading my first ayn rand novel - atlas shrugged. I'm not very far in.
I'm sure you'll love Ayn Rand. I preferred "The Fountainhead" to "Atlas Shrugged." Greenspan was one of her disciples. Libraries, public schools, fire and police department hardly amount to government ownership of production and distribution of goods. Government regulation of child labor, working hours, minimum wage don't constitute socialism either. Samuelson would be a better source for a definition of an economic term than Webster. You should try not to take disagreement so personally. I don't recall accusing you of "being a liar." Misinformed, yes. Liar, no.
yes they do. I've discussed this in too many posts to just let this go by again.
They are socialist. Government is providing the means of production of "feeling safe if a fire breaks out". And thus it is socialism.
It would be capitalist if a private entity provided the means of "feeling safe if a fire breaks out".
I just can't waste any more time arguing on this point. We'll have to disagree. I'm shocked, however, that using dictionaries is such an impossibly difficult task.
Also, if you mean "Paul Samuelson" in regards to a "good definition of socialism"...
... is that the same "Paul Samuelson" who, in a 1989 copy of his textbook claimed that "the Soviet economy is proof that, contrary to what many skeptics had earlier believed, a socialist command economy can function and even thrive." ?
( Paul Samuelson and WIlliam Nordaus, economics (New York: McGraw-Hill, 13th edition, 1989), pg 837.
Because, if it is, I don't think that i'll be listening to a damn thing he has to say.
every time i read that quote it makes me laugh. God damn that guy couldn't predict himself out of a shoebox.
Well, Paul Samuelson's text was the standard for economics classes for 50 years. It was the most widely used ever. And he was the first American to be awarded the Nobel Prize in economics. He has been called "the father of modern economics." Please tell us how your credentials compare.
Samuelson's comment about the Soviet Union's economic progress didn't constitute an endorsement of the system. Much the same comment could be said about post-Mao China's economy which has made tremendous gains in productivity and living standards at the price of significant human rights deficits.
Paul Anthony Samuelson (May 15, 1915 – December 13, 2009) was an American economist, and the first American to win the Nobel Prize in Economics. The Swedish Royal Academies stated, when awarding the prize, that he "has done more than any other contemporary economist to raise the level of scientific analysis in economic theory." Economic historian Randall E. Parker calls him the "Father of Modern Economics", and The New York Times considered him to be the "foremost academic economist of the 20th century."
He was author of the largest-selling economics textbook of all time: Economics: An Introductory Analysis, first published in 1948. It was the second American textbook to explain the principles of Keynesian economics and how to think about economics, and the first one to be successful, and is now in its 19th edition, having sold nearly 4 million copies in 40 languages. James Poterba, former head of MIT's Department of Economics, noted that by his book, Samuelson "leaves an immense legacy, as a researcher and a teacher, as one of the giants on whose shoulders every contemporary economist stands." In 1996 he was awarded the National Medal of Science, considered America's top science honor, where President Bill Clinton commended Samuelson for his "fundamental contributions to economic science" for over 60 years.
I admit. I have few to no credentials in economics. I also admit that I'm using hindsight in my judgements of Samuelson - I was born in 83, and didn't know what the heck was going on in the world when i was 6 and the USSR gave up.
But, then again, Mises (*gasp*, sorry i have to mention the antichrist again, but he IS relevant to the discussion) discussed in Human Action, and other books, how socialism was doomed to failure.
Henry Hazlitt's book "Economics in One Lesson" written back in the... what was it, the 40s? the 50s?... discussed the unintended consequences of socialist-style regulations.
Carl Menger, back in the 1800s, discussed the dangers of leaving the gold standard and other problems with (artificial governmental) regulations.
Even George Orwell knew that Socialism didn't work and wrote (at least) two books about it, 1984 and Animal Farm.
Adam Smith discussed how the invisible hand of the market would benefit everyone through private ownership. This might not have been a central theme - private ownership - but it was sure implied in quotes like "it is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer and baker that we come to expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest", and "I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.", and "the real tragedy of the poor is not their poverty, but the poverty of their ambitions". Not a single one of these quotes would in any way support the ideas of socialism.
And yet, the nobel prize winning Paul Samuelson decided to ignore all this and claim that socialism not only works, but can "thrive".
"Samuelson's comment about the Soviet Union's economic progress didn't constitute an endorsement of the system."
I suppose he isn't saying "socialism is awesome", but I really think it does sound like, at the very least, an grossly incorrect statement. I would like to back this claim up with the deaths of some 50 million people who lost their lives under the socialist economy of the USSR.
If you really want to call the people who study Austrian Economics... what was your word? a cult? something to do with being worse than evangelicals? true believers?... please understand that in defending Samuelson's quote - which was inaccurate at best, and which ignored mountains of praxeologically derived arguments against socialism - then... i dunno, to each his own? But Samuelson argued for Keynesian economics, and Keynes seems to think that having the government take over the economy to boost aggregate demand is a good thing. (psst, having the government take anything over is socialism - that is, if we use all the, apparently, incorrect definitions that i've linked... You know, like Miriam-webster).
Anyway, I'm really just being uber-critical of you, Deeds, because you treat me with such inferiority in your replies ("pal"). I'm not a cultist, I'm not an ignoramus, and I'm not some sort of 'true-believer'. Here's what I am - a 26 year old kid who stumbled onto Austrian Economics thanks to Ron Paul, and who has yet to be shown that what this school teaches is wrong.
IF you can show me that i'm wrong, instead of just insulting me, then I'll show you more respect.
Samuelson was not an advocate of socialism. He was a firm believer in our democratic, free market system as I am. Nobody but nobody is advocating socialism today. It's a dead issue. For a modern, industrialized market economy certain rules are necessary. The only argument is over what rules are necessary and which ones are most effective. Mises, et al, were correct that market economies are more efficient than socialist economies. However, they have nothing to say about regulating the trading of the derivatives and mortgage backed securities that brought about the current worldwide economic crisis because Mises died before these financial instruments of mass destruction were invented, to borrow a phrase from Warren Buffett. You have fallen in love with Mises and you want to tell the world what a great economist he was, but now you should bring your knowledge up to date by studying some modern economists like Samuelson, Stiglitz, Krugman or just about any other current economist. Nobody is saying that Mises was wrong but rather that it's wrong to conclude from his work that government is the enemy and that unregulated markets will unfailingly and honestly deliver their promised benefits to society.
Ok, you claim that no one is defending socialism, which has been repeatedly defined by more than one source as "The government owns the means of production". But everyone here IS supporting the governmental ownership of the production and operation of roads, fire departments, courts, money, military, health care, and many other aspects of our economy. The state either directly owns and controls these industries with money acquired through taxes, or else it regulates these industries (and, like I've said before, you can't really regulate something you don't own or aren't directly involved in).
If people the people on this forum truly were advocating capitalism over socialism, then they would be saying that these industries need to be privatized.
The simple fact remains that socialism IS alive and healthy in our economy. Just not to the degree that it was in other economies.
I'm for a complete laissez-faire market economy; a truly capitalist society.
Mises and the Austrians did NOT directly talk about the mortgage backed securities industry, or whatever the heck it's called, but they sure as hell talked about interest rates. And they linked interest rates and inflation to booms and busts. The Federal Reserve Interest Rate was below 2% since about the middle of 01 until the middle of 04. Then was cranked up to about 5% through 04 to 06. And guess what happened? just as the Austrians would expect - a massive bursting of bubbles. This pattern of really low to really high interest rates can be found before just about every bursting bubble throughout the 20th century, and before - the dot.com burst of the late 90s, early 00s, the great depression, and on and on.
I have read Krugman - he makes mistakes on numerous fronts. I remember reading his recent book, and he discusses the idea of money using an example of baby-sitter tickets through out a community. Then he goes on to discuss why this means that we need to inflate the money. This is nonsense - the amount of money (in this case baby-sitter tickets) is not an actual problem - aka, the example was completely inaccurate. The problem was that 1- the value of said tickets was being dictated by a central authority 2- the free market wasn't allowed to just up and do what it wanted (i.e., cut the tickets in half and simply use halves of tickets), and many other problems (this is just off the top of my head). After reading his book, I just couldn't believe he didn't see the fallacies of his ideas.
I'll admit that I wouldn't mind learning more about Keynes, but I already agree that most of his conclusions are nonsense - indeed, our goal in an economy shouldn't be to boost aggregate demand - this is nonsense. If this were true, then we should just build tanks up the wazzoo and blow them up with dynamite - that'll get our GDP way up there... but everyone will starve.
Most of my arguments against government don't rely directly on Mises, but from those who belong to the Austrian School today - Robert Murphy, Walter Block, Jeffrey Tucker, Doug French, amongst others. I gotta admit, they make a pretty good case.
Krugman's analogy using the baby sitting cooperative made perfect sense. Perhaps you should read his book again and think about it a bit more.
We already have a private court system of sorts which works pretty well in some circumstances and not very well in others. The grievance arbitration system contained in most union contracts works pretty well to resolve workplace disputes. Those systems provide for truly impartial arbitration. The arbitrators fees are paid half by the employer and half by the union, and arbitrators are selected by agreement or by other methods which are fair to both sides. An example where private arbitration doesn't work very well is in the financial industry where customers of stock brokers are required to agree to arbitration of any claims when they open an account. These systems, in which the arbitrators are paid by the brokers, commonly result in decisions biased toward the brokers and against the brokers' clients.
Krugman's analogy just didn't make sense. He used his argument to say that the government should inflate the money supply, and it doesn't make any sense to do so. Inflating the money supply does nothing but make money worth less. That was pretty much his whole point, but instead of saying things like "there was a much easier solution to have a central authority issuing money" or "why was there even a need to issue baby-sitter tickets in the first place? isn't money good enough?" or "they could have just as easily used the malleability of their money and cut it in half and used the halves as baby-sitter tickets."
Basically he ignored all of the inherent problems in the system as a whole. He ignored that GOOD money can be melted down and reshaped to fit any order, he ignored the problems that all the Austrians talk about with the ideas of fiat money (i.e. - the problem with the whole situation in the first place: they dictated something as money which meant that they were just guessing as to how expensive something was. They didn't know how much the tickets were worth because it wasn't commodity based, i.e. a natural money). And he completely ignored many other important aspects of what money is and how money works, which led him to the idiotic conclusion: in order to make sure that we have people shopping, we need to inflate the money! which in itself is a stupid thing to say. You don't want people SPENDING money, you want people PRODUCING that which others want. That's the whole point of an economy.
I'm going to be honest, the first time i read the book I actually agreed with what he said - i was like "jeez, that makes sense, just inflate the money and then people will spend more!". But then, thanks to Ron Paul's introduction to the Austrian School, i realized just how ludicrous and ignorant Krugman's statements were. He completely ignores just about everything there is to know about what makes money money.
Also... he constantly talks about how we need to raise our deficits in order to keep up aggregate demand. ugh.
I must admit, i'm not very familiar with the grievance arbitration system, thanks for pointing it out. I'll have to check it out. But perhaps the reason why they settle cases in favor of one side of the argument more often is simply because, perhaps, that side is usually right? I dunno. Just throwin it out there.
to follow up with the response I already gave, i wanted to mention more about Keynesian Econ (basically, Economics as advocated by the mainstream Economists today).
Keynes advocated that the government should step up to the plate and spend like a drunken sailor during a recession in order to boost aggregate demand. This makes little to no sense if we just simply point out that the government gets its money from its populace either by taxing, borrowing or inflating the money supply. And because taxes means taking away from the private sector, borrowing means taking away from the private sector, and inflating means taking away from the private sector, it is OBVIOUS to see that Keynes was wrong - having the government spend money does NOT raise aggregate demand, it just encourages the private sector to spend less at the expense of the public sector paying more.
How can a private entrepreneur invest as much as he'd like if a) he's losing a chunk of money to the government in taxes, b) he's competing with the government on borrowing money and making investments, and c) inflation is stealing the wealth of his money?
And, also, Keynsians have already admitted that the Stagflation of the 1970s crushed much of their theory. (i'm having trouble finding the quote, but when asked if inflation took place along side of massive unemployment, a keynesian answered "we'll have to resign").
This sort of "we made mistakes, but don't admit to them. And we also (rampantly) make fun of or completely ignore non-keynsian ideas" practice of modern Economic understanding really has me hesitant to even bother putting their ideas in my brain.
you told me i twist the facts. IF that doesn't mean lying, then perhaps definitions are arbitrary
thanks for accusing me of being a liar.
Here's my fact check:
"By the time this legislation passed, however, it was mostly a symbol, a classic case of Washington chasing a trend in order to take credit for it. Youth labor was expected in the 17th and 18th centuries — even welcome, since remunerative work opportunities were newly present. But as prosperity grew with the advance of commerce, more kids left the workforce. By 1930, only 6.4 percent of kids between the ages of 10 and 15 were actually employed, and 3 out of 4 of those were in agriculture."
For a more readable article:
My argument was not that "a socialist president didn't pass child labor laws" (which is what you , apparently, thought i was arguing), but that "capitalism made child labor unnecessary". Child labor laws were completely unnecessary, and help lead to childhood crimes and immoralities as child prostitution, street gangs, amongst others.
You are entitled to your extreme view. And I disagree. Child labor doesn't automatically disappear under capitalism, although as your source points out it did decline with economic progress and increased public education. Child labor laws were opposed, as I've already pointed out, by capitalists in this country as communism, socialism and leading to the destruction of our economic and political system.
child labor laws were most likely opposed by people because they realized that children do have to work in some instances, otherwise families starve.
Think about it - if i have children, then i have to feed, clothe, shelter, and (thanks to laws) educate them for 18 years of their life without them even once adding to the income of the family. Only capitalism can actually make this possible. The rising tide of capitalism floats all boats.
To be clear, calling someone a "socialist" isn't name calling, it's merely applying a label to their belief system in order to position their views on the political spectrum. I don't know why you socialists get so up set when we refer to your belief system.
As you know, "Socialist" is also a very popular term of slander that those on the right wing of the political spectrum enjoy calling their political opponents.
It doesn't matter if the people are actually ‘socialists', just that they appear more to the ‘left’ politically than they are.
The notion, for example, that Obama is a 'socialist' in the true historic meaning of the word would be laughable to any political economist, or to anyone who defines himself a socialist
I hardly think the notion of Obama being a socialist is laughable. There is a long line of evidence that suggests his socialist leanings, from his childhood through today, his parents, his grand parents, his pastors, his friends, his college acquaintances, his staff and advisers, his writings, his teachings and his policies, all point to a socialist view.
If he's a Socialist why is he (still) (apparently) kow-towing to Wall Street?
Hear Hear!! If he's a socialist, why is he nationalizing the auto-industry and health industry?! If he's a socialist, then why is he demanding that Toyota pay his government 16.4 million dollars?! If he's a socialist, then why is he still at war with two countries, neither who have attacked us directly?!
Damn those capitalists!!!
why do i feel the telescreen watching me?
Yes, it very well might be, but a correct label is a correct label. People here are demanding that we don't call socialists socialists because it has a bad image (read: over 90 million deaths to account for).
This is nothing short of George Orwell's NewSpeak.
But what about capitalism? Who created that word? and why was it created?
Answer: Karl Marx invented the word Capitalism in order to give it a label and then help to destroy it.
So everyone is guilty of such 'slander' on both sides.
I can understand it if you don't like his healthcare plan, or the notion of a similar healthcare plan...
but do you really think that Obama wants to nationalize all the means of production?
I believe that is the long term goal of the democrats, which are dominated and being used by progressives today. All of his regulations involve greater government control. Even health care, he campaigned for a single payer system and he talked about getting there eventually, so these are steps to an ultimate goal. He's taken over the car companies, and managed the bailouts of the financial system,and is looking to enact regulations that establish a permanent bailout fund while talking about limiting pay in not only that industry by in the health insurance industry as well. I'm not saying he's going to declare himself supreme leader tomorrow, but he is taking great strides in moving this nation to a different system of government, ignoring the constitution in implementing his "fundamental transformation" of America. What did you think he meant by that? What does he want to transform us to?
I'm surprised someone believes that the Democrats can formulate, let alone implement long term plans
Perhaps the more studied one is the less surprise appears in our lives. This is not about Democrats or Rebublicans, as is mostly noted, but rather about a calculated agenda, perhaps you missed that point. That said, do you promote the idea and practice of the socialistic cause, which is essentially a contradiction to the American Constitution? It is difficult to understands an arguement when you really don't know where that person is coming from or going to, but I have found, sadly so, that, that kind of arguement comes from a weak position. There have been times however when you have made some good points, but then destroyed in your next post.
When you say that it "is not about Democrats or Republicans, as is mostly noted, but rather about a calculated agenda", I was not writing about you in particular. Clearly you have your views a part from partisan politics. Many however, use terms like 'socialist' or 'liberal' for purely partisan reasons. They have no concern for the historic definition of these terms or what they mean.. they just want to score political points. I worry less about these disingenuous folks however, than those who believe that there is some kind of grand conspiracy towards moving the US towards some kind of Marxist state.
You ask if I "promote the idea and practice of the socialistic cause" and add that "It is difficult to understands an argument when you really don't know where that person is coming from or going to..... I have found, sadly so, that, that kind of argument comes from a weak position. There have been times however when you have made some good points, but then destroyed in your next post. “
These comments don't surprise me at all. My thinking does not allow for pigeon holing, and that confuses you and causes you to question where I am coming from. You, on the other hand, are coming from an extreme (n my opinion) position where you need to understand people as either being on your side or against it. As I believe you stated in a previous post, there is no middle ground for you. Those who disagree with you are promoting a slipper path towards a totalitarians socialist state, and are advocating positions that are "essentially a contradiction to the American Constitution". As I can't be easily categorized as agreeing or disagreeing with you totally, my points seem week, inconstant and contradictory to you.
You need to know if I am "promoting the idea and practice of the socialistic cause". I am not promoting any cause, let alone a socialist one by my definition of the term. Economically speaking, I believe that free enterprise has been the backbone of development and progress. Politically speaking, liberty, freedom and democracy are the only legitimate forms of government in my mind. I also believe however, that a people can, through the democratic process, pass laws that protect the least fortunate from the harsh aspects of an economic system. Such has been the case in the United States for years in many areas of life (I think some of them were listed in precious posts). Americans through their government, have passed laws against child labor, monopolies, minimum wage, etc. They have funded or subsidized programs in a wide range of areas, including entire sectors of the economy to help Americans compete.
Despite whether or not they are administrated properly, funded appropriately, or meet their goals , such policies and programs in nature, in my opinion (and that of the Supreme Court) do not violate the your Constitution.. a living document that was design to grow and evolve with the country. Such policies, do not contradict the ideas of liberty, and have not prevented the flourishing of the open market. In fact, as Roosevelt knew, such policies in time of economic trouble, if they do nothing else, at least act to mitigate anti-capitalist sentiment among the less fortunate.
Sorry I missed this thread. I did not mean to neglect you. When I started this forum I never thought there would be this kind of response. It is rather nice, but a little disheartening as well. It would seem that most people are interested in either insulting America or simply attempt to demean her. There is little or no reference to the initial request, which is not suprising. My comments to you still stands and your retort does nothing to change that. Your writing was of a flip flop nature without any real integrity. You may call that a refusal to be pigeon holed; I call it a lack of position and a failing of integrity.
I am one of those poeple who believe that America, the Western World, is being engineered into financial and social collapse and that the engineering plan is called the UN Charter, a treaty. I do not say this litely, nor without cause, nor without substantial evidence. Perhaps that should be another forum.
The Founding Principles of America are not perfect, nor have they ever represented a utopia; that is a realm better left to the mouths of socialists and theists. That said; America, in her founding principles are not perfect, but I believe it is the closest we have come. You say that the Constitution is a living document; that is true, as long, as the principles of individual freedom are adhered to and that is not the present situation.
I enjoyed reading your last post here. less flip flop and a great deal more substance.
We can agree to disagree then.
I hope one day that you can have the same peace of mind about America's future as I do... or at least come to the conclusion that of all the threats to liberty out there today, the U.N. should be the least of our worries.
Thanks for the discussion
...but, one could say the same thing about capitalism...that it has many definitions, as well.
the core of the problem that most are calling socialism, is the usurpation of the people by psychological means...the usurpation of an environment to produce soul degradation, where the soul has no need to strive to excel and evolve to a higher state of consciousness, because of controls, manipulations and twisted entitlements...which is an usurpation of freedoms/liberties through deceit, dumbing down, and various other subtle forms of mind and soul/psyche manipulations
capitalism = Private ownership of property
Socialism = Mutual/Governmental ownership of property.
These are both, like, THE definition of each.
I've shown earlier in the forum that the only beneficial socialist definition is capitalism.
Evan - definitions are arbitrary, and in this case many different people have many different definitions.
You may or may not realize that I am against centralized state control of the economy or anything else actually - in general. But I also think that the government (that is, the public) is better at administering certain things like roads and the military.
What you and I both share is a distrust of power. Am I right?
The difference is, you fear government power more than private power, while I fear private power more.
A good summation of difference; if I might chime in. Power is to be feared, whether it manifests itself in government or in private hands. I would think that both can be equally destructive. Constitutionally the federal government has a very narrow scope of power and it is the surpassing of those limits that are causing people to respond, as they do. Corporate power has also exceeded that which would be expected and too, the corruption in recent years. This, I think, is matched by government, at all levels.
The difference to society between the two powers is this little truism; when a corporation goes bad some may suffer, when a government goes bad every one suffers. What we are seeing is the marriage of government and the private sectors; a contridiction to the constitution and to capitalism. There lays the devil.
"you fear government power more than private power, while I fear private power more."
The question is: why on earth would one fear either one more than the other?
good point. Power is power, and can be abused from either side.
I suppose my problem with private power is that it is unaccountable to the public, whereas governmental power, in our democracy, should reflect the will of the people.
One is controlled, ostensibly, by 'we the people' while the other is only constrained by personal conscience.
You sensibly used the word "ostensibly". I suspect that government is far less acountable to the public than people think. Democracy is supposedly meant to act as a check on government abuse of power, because if Party A does something the people don't like, they can be voted out every 4 or 5 years so that Party B takes their place.
However, one problem is that - in my country at least - the two main political parties, Labour and Conservative, are virtually alike and there is a *lot* of consensus between them (I think there always has been more consensus than has been apparent on the surface, even in the days of Old Labour). One example is in the case of the Iraq war. When Tony Blair/Labour was beating the drums for war, did we have any adequate opposition from the Conservatives? Nope.
I think in the end you'll find that a lot of the decisions that are made in the corridors of power have very little to do with the "will of the people". And a lot of things that happen in the world don't actually have much to do with whichever politicians are in office in your or my country - they're a fall-out from systems/policies which were implemented ages ago (fractional reserve banking, for example - I read your hubs on the subject Evan, they're really good). Or they're down to international trade, things like the EU/NAFTA, or natural economic cycles.
I agree with what you say. But the point remains that government in a modern democracy is somewhat accountable to the people, while private power is only accountable to the people if the people give government the ability to police that power.
If it's more profitable for a company to pollute, who's going to stop them? Other companies that are out to make a profit? No.
The only way to protect things that are held in common, like the air and the water, is to give government the power to enforce regulations.
The answer to the problem of democratic institutions that act contrary to the interests of the people, is to reform those institution, not to destroy them as the conservatives want to do here in America.
For example - Bush would not have been president in 2000 if there had been such a thing as instant runoff voting, in which you rank your choices for office. So for example, you could vote Green first, Democratic second, and Republican third. If the Green candidate lost, your vote would then go to the Democrat.
There are lots of ways to democratize our democracies, we just have to put these things in place.
"If it's more profitable for a company to pollute, who's going to stop them? Other companies that are out to make a profit? No."
Well, if it were true capitalism, then pollution would be infringing on other people's property rights, and thus would be held accountable through a system of private courts.
it's amazing that the one possibly justifiable duty of government - to protect property rights - isn't even being done properly by government and yet people still think the government should continue doing it!! Imagine if a private company were responsible for this and failed! they'd be out of business so fast it would make me lose the rest of my hair!
The government is failing it's duty, and yet we still think the government is good. It's mind boggling.
private ownership IS accountable to the public.
If McDonald's uses Styrofoam for packaging (which it used to), and everyone is against styrofoam (which they were), then they'll stop buying McD's, or they'll call up angrily the managers (which they did). And then McD's doesn't want to look evil (which it didn't), so it started using paper (which it did).
This is just one of the trillions upon trillions of examples of private owners being held to the flames of the public. Every time you buy anything, you are holding private owners to the flames of the public wants , because you could just 'not' but the item.
I fear public power much more than private power
if the public sector wants my money, they just write down "We are allowed to have more of your money" then have a bunch of twits say "aye", and then send men with guns to make sure i pay.
In the private sector, if they want more money, they have to develop a good product and convince me that said product is more valuable than my money.
Sounds pretty easy to me!
A good product like the fraudulent subprime mortgages written by Countrywide Mortgages, Washington Mutual, and the toxic CDOs served up by Goldman Sachs, AIG, et al, not to mention Bernie Madoff's giant Ponzi scheme??
"A good product like the fraudulent subprime mortgages written by Countrywide Mortgages," NO, NO, NO!
Or, rather, yes, but not the way you probably think.
It wasn't the subprime loans that were bad. It wasn't even the mortgage-backed securities that they were rolled into that were bad. The badness came from the fact that those securites were given unrealistic ratings, which kept the demand for MBSecurities artificially high. If investors (all investors, from super-rich individuals to Joe Schmoe's pension fund) would have not bought them up as quickly as they did, banks would have no place to offload the bad debt they owned, and they'd have been incentivized not to keep writing loans to less and less qualified borrowers.
Mortgage-backed securities, assuming full transparency, are an awesome product: they let small investors take part in the very safe and lucrative mortgage market.
bernie madoff is a fraudster, i have no qualms with that.
But where were our precious infallible government regulators to save us all? the SEC was repeatedly warned by private entrepreneurs (read: the free market). IN fact, a private company (Aksia LLC) discovered that the SEC had already known about the problems and had already described the whole mess as a ponzi-scheme back in 2005.
And when the SEC failed its duties, the free market developed its own policing agencies - due-diligence firms (what? you mean the free-market can police itself without some guy in washington to steal their money?). One of these companies was Aksia LLC. which - being paid for by their private enterprise clients willingly (i.e. , not through taxes), they found numerous red flags in Madoff's scheme. (in fact, here's a non-crazy-mises-related-nonsense-garbage, non-ralph-deeds-hating, non-austrian-economics-butt-kissing source that talks about it: http://www.cnbc.com/id/28195326 )
But, what was the (unbelievable) solution that all of our Keynesian, neo classical economics learned from all of this? MORE REGULATION!!! - even though the private sector found all the problems out, and despite our regulators already knowing that there was a problem and not acting on it - we need more of what doesn't work!!! (Deeds hates austrian economists, so i'm trying to rub salt in the wounds)
But, anyway, how much did he make off with? tens of billions?
... this is at the same time we gave $787 billion + (more than ten times Madoff's amount) to private car and insurance companies?
Yeah, madoff might be evil, but not AS evil as another entity - the government.
Yeah, private enterprise might solve problems better and faster and more efficiently than public regulators but... ... ...
NO!! DEFINITIONS ARE NOT ARBITRARY!!!
If definitions were arbitrary, then the following sentence would make sense:
"THE cow is potato CHAIR!!! dog bite, if? LOG!! carpet the run is and package!"
(it might look like it's 4 sentences, but because definitions are arbitrary, it's actually only one sentence! glad i dodged that bullet!)
PS: This 'definition-arbitrary' sentence was a "your-momma" joke! You got burned!
... definitions are required by language!! quit forcing me to admit that 2+2=5!!! that was the whole point of Orwell's 'newspeak' -- Language is important!
I MUST admit, i simply don't know how to argue with the statement that "definitions are arbitrary". It makes my head spin! If you think that socialism is good, and capitalism is evil, but demand that their definitions are pointless... then.. how do i even begin to argue against you? or how do you even argue in the first place?!
I don't have a lot of time to answer all your arguments right now but I wanted to answer this.
Definitions are arbitrary. Different people have different ideas about what words mean. To some people, a terrorist is a freedom fighter. It all depends on which side of the conflict you are on.
My point is, you can't even have an argument about socialism until everyone agrees on what the actual definition is that you are arguing about. I could argue for nationalized healthcare, which some would call socialism, and you could argue against totalitarian government control of the economy. We'd be arguing about two different things but we might both think that we were arguing for or against socialism.
Another quick point: some here have argued that any socialism (which they seem to define as any state regulation of private property rights) leads inevitably to totalitarianism, Stalinism, complete and utter failure. But you've just said that the US has been 40% socialist in its history.
So we can put that theory to bed. Socialism, that is, state regulation of certain segments of the economy, does not lead to totalitarianism, as we've seen in the US.
"Definitions are arbitrary."
No, they aren't. Otherwise communication would be impossible.
This thread is full of arbitrary choices of definition, they all seem to be communicating, even the terminally confused guy who quotes his own hubs as 'evidence' of supposed facts. Except you of course, who by definition, are only trying to break up the conversation by dropping in spurious argument over irrelevant issues.
Definitions are arbitrary. Different people have different ideas about what words mean. To some people, a terrorist is a freedom fighter. It all depends on which side of the conflict you are on.
His meaning is quite clear.
" Except you of course, who by definition, are only trying to break up the conversation by dropping in spurious argument over irrelevant issues."
If I didn't know better, I might think you don't like me.
am i the guy who quotes his own hubs as facts?
I don't think i have ever done that - i simply point out that i've written more in depth about the subject at hand in my hubs than on the forums - and pointing people to the hubs would save much time on my behalf.
... people REALLY hate when you do that, eh?
In my hubs, i link to books through amazon - those books are pretty much my sources. So, go check em out.
OH NO!!! I TOLD PEOPLE TO LOOK AT MY HUBS!!! noooooooooooooooooooooooooo
"No, [definitions] aren't [arbitrary]. Otherwise communication would be impossible."
True. But connotations and denotations don't always agree.
For example, the word socialism. It literally means, as Evan correctly stated, group ownership of property, and no private property ownership.
But that's only its denotation. Its connotation, especially in American society, also includes oppression, totalitarianism, extrajudicial executions, racism, class warfare, anarchy, and kicking small puppies.
You can argue that all those things are logical extensions of socialism, I guess, but that's adding extra baggage to the meaning of the word. Socialism doesn't mean totalitarianism. It can lead to it, sure. So can Capitalism. But so far, in the US, neither one of them has done.
Jeff, I think that the confusion surrounding the word socialism is about more than the connotations. Some people think that government control of roads and fire departments equals socialism. Other people think that it means something like what Sweden and Denmark have, where there are very high taxes but also a high level of services provided by the government. Others hear socialism and think of Stalinist Russia.
We can't have a discussion about it until we all agree what the word means. The US has lots of government interference in the economy. Does that make the US a socialist state? And if the US is socialist state, then doesn't that kind of destroy the theory that socialism automatically equals totalitarianism? France is certainly more socialist than the US - but is France a totalitarian dictatorship? Would Marx call the US socialist? Would he call France socialist? Would he call the USSR socialist?
There was even a poster early on in this thread who posited the exact reverse of Marx's theory of late stage capitalism - she called the people pulling the strings "socialists" who were engineering the collapse of society in order to enslave the masses of "capitalists."
See what I mean? So many people each have their own personal definition of socialism. I'm not about to engage CJhunsinger about it because he obviously thinks that socialism equals Stalinism.
So, maybe we should all try to agree on a definition. How about: "socialism equals state control of economic resources." Is that a suitable definition?
If so, my next question is, are we talking about Marx's socialism, in which the socialist state is a transitional period leading up to pure communism in which the workers control everything?
The next question after that is, when we say "state control" are we talking about a totalitarian state like Soviet Russia or a democratic state? How much control over economic resources do "the workers" have and how much of this control is in the hands of a political class? Because by one definition, Soviet Russia was a socialist state - but in reality, the workers had no control over their economic future, which makes it a dictatorship.
What about fascist governments like Italy? I think there is a very real difference between Italian fascism and socialism, but many right wing Americans don't see it.
Let's just be clear about what we are arguing about before we go arguing.
"I think there is a very real difference between Italian fascism and socialism, but many right wing Americans don't see it." There is. But because both "fascist" and "socialist" connote bad things, the radical right use both words interchangeably.
Also, greened I sausage over qualityesque the inly go a.
While it's true that a public school system, or a public healthcare system are both socialized services, having them doesn't mean that the country has become socialist. It's not a binary switch. More like an analog dial, or a volume control knob.
America circa 1890 would be about 2 on the socialism knob, while now we'd be maybe a 4. Norway and Sweden might be about a 7, and Albainia circa 1970 would be an 11. ('Cos they could go one louder.)
this is the absolute last time i try to convince you of definitions not being arbitrary
"Some people think that government control of roads and fire departments equals socialism"
IT IS SOCIALISM. The government claims ownership of the industries of road production and regulation, and the industries of fire-extinguishing. Government ownership = socialism; Government owns roads; thus the road situation is socialist.
"Other people think that it means something like what Sweden and Denmark have,"
Do sweden and denmark own industries? if so, then they are socialist in those industries. Government ownership = socialism; Government owns X; thus the X situation is socialist.
"We can't have a discussion about it until we all agree what the word means. "
I've defined it numerous times in the forums using sources that are not my own, and sources that are backed by entire colleges (princeton). You refuse to accept what Socialism means. Government control of an industry = socialist.
"So, maybe we should all try to agree on a definition. How about: "socialism equals state control of economic resources." Is that a suitable definition?
If so, my next question is, are we talking about Marx's socialism, in which the socialist state is a transitional period leading up to pure communism in which the workers control everything? "
this is an unnecessary argument if we have a definition. If socialism were defined as "a transitional state of economics in between communism and capitalism" then we'd say that THAT is what it means.
But that's not it's definition - it's definition is Government owns the means of production.
I don't know how else to argue with someone who claims that dictionaries don't have a purpose.
I'm done. I give up. If this doesn't convince anyone on this forum, then forums are a complete waste of time.
how would one define the term 'mixed ecomomy"?
Ok then. Therefore: the USA has been socialist since day one. For more than 200 years we've had socialism in this country and we haven't seen a totalitarian dictatorship here. In fact, we've become the most powerful economy in the world.
Seems to me like socialism is a pretty good thing - and it's been tested in the real world, by the United States and all the other modern democracies.
End of argument.
I give up... this is so not worth my time. I actually give up time to hang out with my fiance to answer these questions.
The US government is not socialist in every single area. It is socialist in certain things - military, police, roads, money, banking (to some extent), it's moving in the direction of socialism for health care, and many other aspects of an economy.
The rest of the stuff is capitalism. This means that from day one we had a 90%ish capitalist government, and as time progressed it has come to be 60%ish capitalist.
I know that none of what i wrote made any sense to you - after all definitions are arbitrary. So here is one last attempt at making a definition-arbitrary argument about what socialism and capitalism are and how they work:
Socialism is when the government controls the means of production, and Capitalism is when you're free to choose. If the government claims the right to heavily regulate an industry it is, in a very strong sense, claiming the right to control that industry: sure it doesn't actually decide how many people need to work where and when, but it does decide things like "you can't throw out your trash on mondays" or "you can't create your own private roads" or any other of the infinite other things that could be happening without regulations.
I'm done. This was my last attempt. I just can't argue with people who, still after weeks of arguing, can't agree to the very definitions of what we're arguing over. Princeton and Miriam Webster agree, and publish books and have websites dedicated to definitions of these words, but i still can't seem to convince anyone that an English word has a definite meaning.
sab, isn't this amazing?! "Definitions are arbitrary"
how the hell do you argue with someone who claims the right to change the words' meanings?! this is nonsense on stilts!
You do it quite frequently by tossing the word socialism around to apply to important, well accepted government functions and programs.
socialism - government controls the means of production.
Government - those guys we pay taxes to and who decide what we can't do with laws.
Regulation - a form of control on something. government creates regulations by passing laws.
Laws - a rule or regulation passed by government that is enforced by police.
Police - guys who enforce laws. They carry guns and have the right to use them.
means of production - industries, companies, services, just about anything economic.
So, if we say that the "government" passes a "law" to "regulate" an economic "means of production", and it uses "police" to "enforce" these "laws" and "regulations", then we can say that "the government controls, to some degree, the means of production of a certain industry of the economy".
And if we can say this, then we can say that "government regulations are a form of socialism". and we can also agree that "privately enforce regulations are a form of capitalism". So - we can say that any time a police officer is used and paid by gov't, it's socialism, and anytime a police officer is used and paid by a private industry of defense, then it's capitalism.
I honestly don't see what's so hard about this.
Thanks to people like Wilson and Deeds, i will proceed to define every single word that i use in my arguments, instead of relying on them to do things like "look" "the words" "up" in a "dictionary".
As other people here have pointed out: if definitions were arbitrary, then communication would be impossible.
It would be more accurate to say that definitions are (largely) fixed, but what varies is the value judgements people make about the concepts that are being defined. So one person will think that socialism is a *good* thing, whereas someone else might not.
Nationalised healthcare is socialised healthcare (I'm not saying whether I think that's good or bad, just pointing out a fact). But as you've said yourself, you can have parts of the economy that are socialised (e.g. healthcare) without having total, full-on socialism.
No, but I think you can be fairly certain that full-on socialism (state ownership of *everything* and abolition of private property) *has* to go hand-in-hand with totalitarianism, because the majority of people wouldn't consent to giving up their private property.
Nobody is advocating a "full-on" socialist state. Even in Cuba free enterprise is creeping into the country.
I hope not. full-on socialism just plain won't work, just like full-on laissez-faire capitalism won't work. Both rely on people's better nature.
Socialism relies on people willingly giving up their own property for the benefit of society, and accepting that they will never be more (or less!) important than anybody else, no matter what they do.
Laissez-faire capitalism relies on people valuing honesty/truth/transparency/justice over personal gain.
There will always be some who do, and there will always be some who don't. As long as there's some who don't, neither Utopia is achievable.
Finally, someone who knows what words mean!
I honestly think that a Laissez-Faire capitalist system could easily provide for justice, truth and transparency. I posted earlier in this forum about the Bernie Madoff scandal and how it was private enterprise that finally discovered the scandal. (i looked it up and read some more after reading your article, thanks for pointing it out - good stuff).
If we choose to point out that Madoff was a private enterprise individual who went wrong, then we must also point out 2 things in addition to this.
1- private enterprise is what finally caught him and saved (at least some) investors from investing in his ponzi scheme. And it probably would have been discovered earlier if people weren't relying on the inept government SEC.
and 2- there are a much larger number of cases involving fraud and evil in government. this can be explained easily and briefly: Capitalism roots our evil because there are strong incentives to be good, whereas socialism does not root out these problems because, as you put it, "they will never be more (or less!) important than anybody else, no matter what they do." (well said).
ALso, i don't think i've once used the words "Stalinism" or "totalitarianism" or "authoritarianism" in any of my arguments.
But, hey, who cares - definitions are arbitrary, aren't they?
Some examples of what you think socialism leads to:
Yet you've agreed that the United States has been socialist since day one. And you must also agree that we have not experienced massive death, starvation, and economic failure because of this socialism (public ownership of roads, etc). In fact we have become the wealthiest nation on earth.
Now - about definitions: I refuse to argue with someone about something without the two of us agreeing what we are arguing about. As I've pointed out, definitions vary depending on who's using the word. You think that state control of the Interstates equals socialism. Lenin thought socialism was the intermediary stage between capitalism and communism wherein the state, controlled by the workers, controlled the means of production in order to lay the groundwork for a stateless, classless society.
Now, if I'm arguing according to Lenin's definition (we can call it a perception instead of definition if you prefer) and you're arguing according to your perception, the argument's not going to go very far is it?
"I refuse to argue with someone about something without the two of us agreeing what we are arguing about. "
Which is hard to do if you do not communicate in a common language.
Sorry Sab, I know I use big words sometimes.
isn't this amazing, sab? Not only have I defined socialism and linked the sources of my definitions, and not only that - I've copied and pasted the definition given by these sources, and then I've actually translated the definition into examples that are completely consistent with the definitions given...
... but all that i get as responses are "that's not socialism, you're using a weird definition".
...so very tired.
I've not agreed that the US has been socialist since day one. I've discussed this repeatedly. Some aspects of our economy are socialist, and some are capitalist. I'm not going to waste my time writing it out again. If an industry is operated through tax money, or if it is highly regulated (some argue if it's regulated at all) then it's socialist because, by the definitions that i've repeatedly openly discussed and cited, that is the non-arbitrary definition of socialism.
Definitions don't vary from person to person. SOcialism is when the government owns/operates an industry. That's the definition. I can't argue with this anymore. LOOK AT A DICTIONARY AND READ THE WORDS THAT ARE WRITTEN THERE - THEY SAY THE SAME THING. Heck, you don't even need a dictionary, i've previously linked some 15 or so dictionary entries that all say the same thing. I can not believe we're still talking about definitions.
we're not arguing lenin's definition, we're not arguing mufassa's definition, we're not arguing Darth Vader's definition... we're arguing about THE definition. I really am too amazed to bother writing it again. GO look at a dictionary and read the words that are written there. Definitions are not arbitrary.
And, anyway, EVEN IF we have two different definitions of what socialism is, I've defined my version of socialism enough that you can at least argue with what i've written instead of accusing me of not having defined the word.
And that's what I've done. You wrote in one place that 1. socialism leads to death and suffering, and in another place you say that 2. the United States is socialist.
If your second statement is true, then your first statement is false.
It seems, from looking at the history of the socialist United States, that some socialism (as you've defined it, public ownership of roads and such) is not a bad thing and is probably a good thing. After all, business would not function half as well without the Post Office to carry invoices through the mail and the Interstate highways to carry raw materials and manufactured goods. And the US is the richest nation in the history of the world, even after more than 200 years of socialist policies.
So I don't even have to defend socialism - you've done it quite nicely for me.
I'VE NEVER ONCE SAID THAT THE US IS SOCIALIST, YOU ARE CLAIMING THAT I AM SAYING THINGS THAT I AM NOT SAYING!!!
There are socialist aspects of the US and there are capitalist aspects of the US. The majority of our economy is capitalist - private ownership. For example... ford, IBM, Honda, whoever makes this picture frame i'm looking at...
And the socialist areas - that which is owned by government, aka the people - are those that are paid for through taxes, or regulated (how can someone regulate something they don't own?) - for example, the police, fire stations, roads, money, health care will soon be socialist.
I will no longer respond to you wilson - you have yet to understand a damn thing i've written. I'm not going to continue with you.
I'm trying to read back and gather up all the different threads of arguments. One thing struck me though.
Evan, when you said:
"if you confuse America's policies with laissez-faire capitalism, then you don't fully understand laissez-faire capitalism, which would explain why you misspelled it.
for the first 100 years or so, we had slavery - that's not laissez-faire.
since 1914 we've had the federal reserve - that's not laissez-faire.
And in between we've had massive regulation and wars and you name it - that's not laissez-faire."
how is that any different from me saying that Soviet Russia was not socialism?
For one thing, if we have never had laissez faire capitalism, how can you say that free market capitalism is the root of American success? Looks to me like a combination of what you would call "socialism", free market capitalism, and mercantilism have done amazing things and made America the richest and most powerful nation on earth.
And if you can use that logic, then I can use the same logic to point out, once again, that Soviet Russia was never a communist, or pure socialist, state. It was a totalitarian oligarchy. It was communist in the same way that the North Korean People's Democratic Republic is democratic.
You are convinced that socialism, or any governmental control of anything at all, leads inevitably to totalitarianism. But you haven't done so well on backing up that claim. Sweden and Denmark aren't exactly dictatorships.
"how is that any different from me saying that Soviet Russia was not socialism? "
Definition of Socialism - Government controls the means of production. (I've shown that your definition - workers control the means of their production - leads to state control). Now we ask if the USSR had control over the means of production. The answer is a resounding 'yes'. Thus, your argument that the USSR was not socialist is completely nonsensical and is nothing more than George Orwell's NewSpeak.
Definition of Capitalism (posted above and cited above numerous times)- Private ownership of capital. Now we have to ask if the slaves had ownership of their capital. The answer: no. So it was not capitalism. But, i suppose, if we ignore that people are NOT property for a moment, then we can argue that Slaves aren't people, and thus are part of the means of production. And in this case, we can argue that it was capitalism. But i think every individual (minus racists) would (correctly) reject this on moral grounds: humans are humans. Indeed, the only way to argue that slavery was capitalism was to agree that slaves were sub-human. I reject this, but i suppose you could take this argument up if you really want.
Moving on to the Federal Reserve issue - the central bank was granted monopolistic powers by the government. This can't be capitalism. Each time the Federal Reserve creates a new dollar, it steals wealth of every other dollar, thus infringing on the property rights of every other person using the money. Thus, it is not capitalism.
American Success - the reason we 'beat' everyone else is because we're much more capitalist than other countries. They were stifled by (say) 75% by their socialistic and governmental tendencies, while we were only stifled by (say) 35%. Thus the 40% difference led us to 'win' the 'race'. This completely conforms to my argument.
"I can use the same logic to point out, once again, that Soviet Russia was never a communist, or pure socialist, state."
I suppose you could argue that it wasn't 100% socialist, but indeed, it was in the 90-percentile! But to argue that it was NOT socialist (relatively) is to speak nonsense.
"It was a totalitarian oligarchy"
It very well might have been, but was the government in control of the means of production? Yes. Your argument relies on the NewSpeak of Big Brother! (i kid, but it is misleading).
"It was communist in the same way that the North Korean People's Democratic Republic is democratic. "
We can leave democracy out of this forum, I agree, but I would like to point out that Democracies are not the Golden God of Holy Freedom and Enlightenment that they have been made out to be. Hitler was elected, so were numerous tyrants. Democracy isn't necessarily good.
But to go along with your argument - if we call something X, it isn't necessarily X. I agree. We could make the comparison to some rich white kid in a suburb claiming he's 'gangsta'. --- but if we look at the actions and what is ACTUALLY happening, we'll see what's true. The USSR had extreme control over the economy - thus it was socialist by definition.
"You are convinced that socialism, or any governmental control of anything at all, leads inevitably to totalitarianism."
Perhaps I've been speaking very critically and passionately. let me make sure that I'm clear on what i think: Just about every action taken by government is evil simply because it has to acquire the wealth to take said action through theft.
To back this claim up, you can either read my Evan's Easy Economics hubs, or I can re-write the argument here. I've been told (by adsense, i believe) that asking people to read what i've written is evil... so i guess I"ll just have to re-write the argument here.
How does government make money? 3 ways - Taxes, Borrowing, Inflation. Let's analyze these.
taxes - if you don't pay, you get thrown in jail. if you resist arrest, you're likely to get shot. Thus it's theft.
Borrowing - the gov't has to repay the money borrowed through either taxes or inflation. Thus Borrowing = taxes or inflation
Inflation - for each monetary unit created, it steals the wealth of every other unit in the economy. Thus it's theft.
I'm against theft, thus I am against government. Socialism is when the government controls the means to production, thus i'm against Socialism. most of what government does IS socialist in nature - if it does anything, it is in control of that thing, thus is socialist. I.e. if it buys a toothbrush, it owns the toothbrush, and because 'it' is the government, the action of it buying a toothbrush is socialist.
I hope this clarifies my argument.
The idea of doctors and mcdonalds workers making the same amount of money doesn't really set well with me!
According to these charts from Ezra Klein in the Washington Post the "socialist" administration of Barack Obama isn't doing so bad!
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-k … lecti.html
nothing like forcing your banks to have a 0% interest rate for over 2 years to make it look like good things are happening in the economy! Also, it would seem that other countries are debasing their currencies to make the recent god-awful inflation by the fed seem less important - japanese yen have lost a large chunk of value in the past few months (i've been following it closely), many currencies are measuring gold at higher prices, and apparently the US is begging China to devalue it's currency some more.
I know you hate the Austrian school with every passionate cell in your body, but it is the only school to point out that things are going to hit the fan pretty hard soon.
I just had to point this out:
Those damned airlines!! They're trying to make sure that they don't go bankrupt!
Do these quacks in washington think they're doing us a favor? All that "preventing the airlines from charging the people who actually add dramatically to the weight of the aircraft" will do is raise the cost of tickets. If it costs X to let people have carry-on luggage, but they can't charge the people X directly, they're just going to charge the X into the ticket price.
everyone will claim "this isn't socialism! don't post it here", but it IS socialism: The government seems to think that it owns the airline industry!! (socialism: the government owns the means of production). The government might not directly own the company, but it sure as hell thinks that it does.
and, apparently, we think we own China's currency:
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTOE6 … sDollarRpt
good stuff! We've over inflated our currency (tripling the monetary base in under a decade) and now we're begging every other country to cover our arses! Love it. prepare for the bust!
"Those damned airlines!! They're trying to make sure that they don't go bankrupt!
Do these quacks in washington think they're doing us a favor? All that "preventing the airlines from charging the people who actually add dramatically to the weight of the aircraft" will do is raise the cost of tickets."
Absolutely. Perhaps the rule should be, if you are hit with a surprise baggage fee, you can say, fine, I'd rather not fly, and the airline would have to refund you the full price of the ticket. That way there's no coercion: before, the airline could say, no, you ticket's nonrefundable, so either you pay the extra fee, or leave your bag here for some stranger to pick up and take home with him, or forfeit the cost of your ticket. Next!
I fully think that any sort of infringement of implicit contracts is indeed fraud and should be punished.
If they tell you that you can fly to pluto for 50 bucks, but never tell you about any of their other fees, but then claim the right to non-refund your money... that sounds like fraud to me. it would be like me saying "i can cut your hair for $20!" and then, after i'm done inform you that i meant "each hair cost $20". and then prevent you from leaving if you don't pay.
Isn’t that the famous Warhol pic called “Irrational Fear of the United Nations”
No, it is titled: Photo of frustrated TeaBagger
Maybe another one you would like to "google"
Evan's definition of socialism is different from that found in any standard economics text book. Or more properly his application of the term socialism to fire departments, highway construction and the like is not correct. As you pointed out we have had public libraries, highways, schools, military, fire and police from the beginning as is the case for nearly all countries whether they be capitalistic, dictatorships, socialist, communist or whatever. As the term is ordinarily used socialism refers to the government ownership and operation or control of a country's basic industries--utilities, coal mining, oil production and refining, rail and air transportation, heavy manufacturing and even retail distribution and wage and price control as well.
Most countries are moving away from extensive government ownership of industry. In 1938 Mexico expropriated Standard Oil NJ's operations in the country and formed Pemex, a government owned and operated production, refining and retailing
oil company, which is noted for its corruption and inefficiency. However, most other industry in Mexico is private. Recent administrations in Mexico have floated proposals to re-open the petroleum industry to private investments by international oil companies and to sell shares of Pemex to the public.
How can i be mis-defining these words? let me link you to all the dictionary websites that agree with me: (ps, "community as a whole" means government. and even if it doesn't, these resources all agree with me anyway)
http://education.yahoo.com/reference/di … /socialism
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/diction … /socialism
http://dictionaries.cambridge.org/defin … amp;dict=A
Why... is... this... so... hard... to... communicate....?once again, we're still squabbling over definitions. This will be my last attempt at using a "dictionary" to prove that words mean what words mean. If you guys can't even open a dictionary, then i'm not bothering with this.
If a fire department is paid by government, it IS socialist because the "government" owns the "means of fire department production".
If a fire department is paid by private enterprise, it is capitalism because a "private entity" owns "the means of fire department production".
Thus government fire departments are socialist.
"Recent administrations in Mexico have floated proposals to re-open the petroleum industry to private investments by international oil companies and to sell shares of Pemex to the public"
Good! i'm glad that mexicans will have some private ownership and capitalism! yay!! Maybe now they won't have to wait in line for hours to get gas!!
Who would defend socialism? Albert Einstein:
And I thought this was very interesting in light of our discussion about what socialism is exactly:
Albert Einstein's been proven wrong before...
... guess we'll have to prove him wrong again.
Oh wait, it has already been 'proven' numerous times - 1989, North vs South korea, east/west gernmany, china's giving up on socialism... Yeah...
Wait...Evan, are you saying the reunified Germany is not a socialist state?
I think his head might have explozored. Too many logical contradictions all at once.
I'll ignore Wilson.
No, that's not what i was saying. I was saying that socialism obviously sucks compared to capitalism - when we had north and south korea split via capitalism and socialism (and, we still have this problem, although it is less about economic systems now - although dictators do tend to be socialist), capitalism proved to win the battle. Just compare the southern economy vs. the northern economy.
And when west and east germany were split, the east obviously sucked to live in - it was socialist.
I've already stated that economics is not a science, and I repeatedly agree with this statement because you can not run independently verifiable and controlled tests in macro economics. But despite this, i think that at the very least these examples of south and north korea and east/west germany ILLUSTRATE the great gap between the benefits of capitalism and the horrors of socialism.
That's all i was saying.
Now, to comment on germany's socialism or capitalist nature, I'm sure that it has numerous socialist systems in place (i'm sure the government owns the production of "military" and "money" and "roads" and "health care" amongst other industries), and i'm sure it has numerous capitalist aspects - volkswagon is probably capitalist, amongst other businesses.
and, to briefly comment on my "head explozored":
shut up, wilson. I'll listen to you when you can actually read a dictionary.
"Now, to comment on germany's socialism or capitalist nature, I'm sure that it has numerous socialist systems in place (i'm sure the government owns the production of "military" and "money" and "roads" and "health care" amongst other industries), and i'm sure it has numerous capitalist aspects - volkswagon is probably capitalist, amongst other businesses."
Yes, it does. It's probably a 6 or 6.5 on my proposed volume control. But none of my relatives in Germany have mentioned a burning desire to end the "horrors" of their socialist state, or a resentment for the "evils" their government perpetrates on them.
The critique of capitalism by Marxists in the Nineteenth Century was pretty accurate. Capitalism has evolved since that time into a much more complex animal (though, of course, conservatives have resisted every step forward).
Also Marxism proved a lousy alternative to capitalism when practiced in authoritarian societies and would probably be a lousy alternative in cultures with a democratic tradition.
The important thing is for the human race to survive long enough without ruining our eco systems to evolve an economy which supports the best of what human beings are instead of encouraging the worst.
If you like the environment, go with Capitalism. I would bother to defend my statement, but then people will tell me that i don't know what socialism means, even though I've defined it using over 20 different sources.
If it's cost-effective to dump chemicals, a business will dump chemicals. If it's more cost-effective to mount a PR campaign than to clean up its mess, a business will mount a PR campaign. If it's cost effective to file a bunch of SLAP suits (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) than to adopt environmentally responsible practices, the SLAP suits will win every time.
An individual can't bring the same resources to bear in a private property dispute that a corporation can. The individual needs some means of forcing a corporation (or a richer individual) to respect his rights. If there is no government to enforce the individual's property rights, how is the day-laborer going to defend his rights? By hiring another corporation? With what money?
"If it's cost-effective to dump chemicals, a business will dump chemicals."
This is true, but it would be very expensive to just dump chemicals. If we actually use the definition of Capitalism - that private owners own their own property. That means other people are not allowed to screw with other people's property, which means that a company that dumps chemicals will have to reimburse all property owners whose properties were damaged.
As far as a PR campaign goes... i think that every business' attempts at propaganda are dwarfed by governments'. But, yes, if a company can actually convince everyone who has been wronged, that it is in their best interests to let them be trampled on, then yes, this would likely happen. But I really don't think people are THAT dumb. But if they are that dumb (as might be suggested), why would we want to let them vote?
I'm not fully aware of what a SLAP lawsuite is, but it sure as heck sounds like government to me - using the courts to prevent liability for infringing on property rights sounds more socialist than capitalist... at least to me.
Your discussion about individuals not having the proper resources to compete in a court case against a major company, i think, shows us just how f-ed up the current government-run court system is. Why is it that our government-run court systems seem to favor the rich (if they even truly do). Would a private system of courts fix this? I would argue "yes", but can not even hope to justify it because it's pretty much illegal to open up a court system against the US's. But just remember - if, indeed, courts side with the group who has the most money, then this would be a failure of a GOVERNMENT RUN court system, and perhaps a private system COULD be better. This would be Strike 1 against governmental enforcement of property rights (i suppose)
How could a private system of contracts defend against property rights disputes? I honestly can't answer this question - my argument would just be of one guy who's trying to think up every single thing that an entire army of competing business men would think up and create over decades or centuries. IMAGINE IT - thousands of individuals, striving to make sure that their court system is the best one for delivering justice!! They would have such an immense incentive to make sure that they get the correct results each time! ... whereas, today, if a judge puts an innocent person in jail, and later is proven to be wrong, he does not lose money, nor reputation, nor lose his job. Indeed, there is little incentive for a judge to NOT accept a bribe in the current system (strike 2, i suppose), however, under a private system private ratings by insurance companies, credit companies and so many other industries would DEMAND that the correct decision be rendered, and if a bribe were to be taken that would lead to the wrong decision, that court's rating would be lowered and its business would falter.
And, under capitalism, things like illegal drugs wouldn't likely be illegal - the reason they are illegal today is simply because the government claims the right to make things illegal. But through a private system of contracts, there wouldn't be any overarching "this stuff IS illegal" authority (most likely. once again, I'm only able to imagine what this would be like). There would, indeed, be massive incentives to not use the drugs, just as there are today - insurance companies would likely not want to insure crack addicts, etc etc. But with the 'law' (most likely some sort of 'property rights violation insurance' or something) would be using resources, not on petty non-aggressive 'crimes', but would use its resources on fighting property-rights violations. Governments today, through idiotic legislation making certain substances illegal, waste treMENdous resources on such petty crimes (i suppose that would be strike 3), but this would likely not be the case under free-market industries of property rights protection (i.e., police and courts).
There's a few books out on this subject, i have yet to read them all (i got back from japan and now have like 20 books i have to hammer through). but a good place to start would be Robert Murhpy's "the Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism" - i have links to this book on many of my "Evan's easy Economics" hubs (i have read this one, it's good). And follow through with "The Voluntary City: Choice, Community, and Civil Society", edited by David T. Beito, Peter Gordon, and Alexander Tabarrok (i have yet to read this book). "Economics in One Lesson" by henry hazlitt is a must read (this book changed my view from "Government needs to fund 'x'!!!", to "god damn, government can't do a damn thing right").
Your german relatives might not hate what is being done to them, and that's fine. If they like it, then they can have it. I prefer to demand that the government doesn't steal my money. They like oranges, I like apples.
Unless they (a) bribed the judge, (b) declared bankruptcy and resurfaced weeks later trading under a different name, (c) skipped town/left the country, (d) hired the local mafiosi to "persuade" the property owners not to fight, or (e) hired better lawyers and threw money at them until the property owners gave up (all of which happen under today's not-entirely-capitalist system, I admit. But I don't see that your system would be any better).
Another thing is the issue of limited liability companies - would they be allowed to exist in your 100% capitalist system?
Yes, but the "correct" decision from the point of view of insurance companies, credit companies or other industries isn't necessarily the "right" decision.
I totally agree with you about legalising drugs. The so-called "war on drugs" is a con.
However, how would an insurance company know in the first instance whether someone was a crack addict?
How could a company declare bancruptcy if there is no law to allow it? Except maybe an idiotic contractual agreement.
Once again courts would have a larger incentive to NOT accept bribes under a market system. I wrote about this earlier, if you can find a flaw in my argument please address it.
Evan, how do you propose to hold companies liable for dumping, using courts, but you condemn slapp suits which also use courts to silence opposition? Either you use courts, which cost money and require a police force and a whole bureaucracy (aka government) or you don't. One is socialism (according to your definition) and one is not (according to your definition).
You are not logically consistent. Any time you have private property, you need courts to enforce property rights and police to enforce the laws. That's government - aka socialism.
Things like interstates and fire departments and public schooling actually benefit business in ways that should be pretty obvious. Imagine if every business had to pay for their own fire protection...
The examples you cite of failed socialist states are actually centrally planned economies with totalitarian governments. I can agree with you that these examples are failures. But it's ludicrous to argue that the interstate highway system or the post office is some kind of hindrance to capitalism and freedom.
Socialist economies are working just fine all around the world.
Oh wait, I just reread what you wrote.
You think that private courts can deliver better than public courts?
I guess the rich will have their own private armies too? Oh I mean, private police forces?
And I suppose there's no reason why I couldn't start my own private police force, eh?
And I could start my own court system. And since I own my police force and my court system, I could make sure that any decisions that the courts made were favorable to my and my friends.
Sounds great to me - sign me up!
"You think that private courts can deliver better than public courts?
Yes. Definitely. When a private court f's up, they'd get punished. when a public court f's up, they don't. Also, current courts are operated politically, not based on merit (as much).
I guess the rich will have their own private armies too? Oh I mean, private police forces?"
... they have that now... it's called private security. ... good job on that.
But, i'll play along. Why would a rich person invade a population that he's trying to make money off of? that would make no sense. "hey, let's attack our customers, that'd be smart!" ... yeah...
"And I suppose there's no reason why I couldn't start my own private police force, eh?"
No, why should there be? Any random jerk can become a cop, so why should we prevent them from starting up a "cop company"? Private security already exists... so once again... good job!
But, i'll play along again, any private police force would have to respect contracts, and private property. If not, a court system would likely solve the conflicts. See how that works? there would be a much larger system of checks and balances than there are today! Also, if your company sucked and infringed upon other property rights, you would likely go bankrupt repaying your debts to your victims. Also, these private security companies would likely work closely with insurance companies and health care systems to keep cost of mistakes down (both financially, and when measured in blood). Health insurance companies would refuse to deal with private companies that murdered people regularly ... or something...
Once again, i'm one man trying to think up every single possible awesomely brilliant innovation that a whole sector of competing entrepreneurs would develop over decades upon decades. So, I'm surprised at how easily i'm able to answer your questions when I actually have no vested interest in proving that a private economy would be superior. I'm sure that an entire industry of security would be better able to think up arguments.
"Evan, how do you propose to hold companies liable for dumping, using courts, but you condemn slapp suits which also use courts to silence opposition? Either you use courts, which cost money and require a police force and a whole bureaucracy (aka government) or you don't. One is socialism (according to your definition) and one is not (according to your definition). "
Like i've said before, if a company or industry infringes on property rights of another, then a private system of police (whose job it is to defend property rights) would likely make sure that a court would hear about the infringement, and would take the aggressors to court and jail.
"You are not logically consistent."
I am, actually. I think that i've repeatedly said that fraud is to be persecuted. the only thing i'm saying that is controversial is that courts and police should be done by a private force.
"you need courts to enforce property rights and police to enforce the laws."
I .. know this... that's why i've repeatedly said that a private system of courts would likely exist, due to consumer demand for such industries.
If you want something, it could and would be provided through a free market.
And, no, it's not socialism. You just have your head inside a box - think about it this way: imagine if a PRIVATE company did something. And then take it one step further - don't just say "it'd be complete anarchy and everyone would die", try saying "is there a way that it could work?" and if YOU can think up something, then undeniably someone trying to make a profit off the industry could think of something even better.
"The examples you cite of failed socialist states are actually centrally planned economies with totalitarian governments."
For the love of god, i'm NOT going to continue arguing about the definition of socialism. Look at a dictionary.
"Socialist economies are working just fine all around the world."
Because they aren't 100% socialist. There is still a strong capitalist infrastructure in their economy. I've made this argument 8 billion times against you, but you still don't seem to understand what i'm writing. I don't know why i'm bothering to say what i've said before to you, but here it goes.
If something is paid for by government (taxes) or heavily regulated, then that means that the government owns/controls said thing. If that thing happens to be an industry (health care, road systems, fire-extinguishing, property rights enforcing services, money) then, that means that said industry is owned/controlled by the government. And by EVERY SINGLE DEFINITION OF SOCIALISM THAT I'VE LOOKED UP AND POSTED ON THIS FORUM, AND LINKED... said industry would be socialist.
And because private industries are allowed to operate relatively free, they are not socialist.
"This is true, but it would be very expensive to just dump chemicals." Only if they get caught. And only if they get convicted. When has a company accused of contaminating a water supply, for example, ever said, "Whoops, you're right. Our bad. We owe you for environmental cleanup of your land, medical bills for your bone cancer, full compensation for the slow and agonizing death of your spouse, and compensation for your children's loss of mental acuity from drinking the water that we contaminated. What do we owe you?"
They hide the evidence that they dump at all. They try to play lawyerball and say, "Oh, we dumped on our own land. It's not our fault if nature took what we dumped to your land. We didn't put it there." And even if they can't get out of being responsible for dumping the chemicals, they'll argue that some other factor must have caused the death, the cancer, the brain damage, &c. (I'm not citing a particular case on this, btw, just commenting on an overarching pattern.)
Private industry is not the paragon of virtue you paint it to be.
And William makes a valid point: if a given court system is owned by a certain group, why would it ever not rule in favor of that group? And to counter the argument that litigants could take their case to a competing court, who will make the defendant appear? Who will enforce the court's decisions? Who will settle it when the Plaintiff says, "Well, I took the case to McCourt, and they ruled in my favor!" and the Defendant says, "But I took the case to CourtKing, and they ruled in my favor!"
Who is to say the competing courts will be even using the same contract law? Seems a bit chaotic.
Quite. Ever hear of a Canadian farmer called Percy Schmeiser?
Yup. I'd forgotten his name, but knew of the case.
It's always stuck in my mind for some reason. His story provides a far more compelling reason for being wary of GM technology than the "Frankenstein Foods" angle that's usually pursued by environmentalists.
What made you fall out of love with Objectivism? I enjoyed all the Ayn Rand novels that I read (especially We The Living, which is easily the equal of anything by George Orwell), but for some reason I never bought into the Objectivist philosophy.
The realization that under Objectivism, if someone richer, more powerful, and meaner than you are decides to screw you over, you're pretty well screwed.
Also, unless you have lots of money and/or lots of friends, if some misfortune befalls you (like you have an accident or an illness that stops you from working), you're screwed. If you get accused of a crime, and don't have enough money to pay someone to defend you, you're screwed.
Basically, the realization that if you have more money, you have more rights, and if you have no money, you have no rights.
""This is true, but it would be very expensive to just dump chemicals." Only if they get caught. And only if they get convicted."
First and foremost, this would be (is) true under a socialist court system as well as a private court system. Evil people will be evil in government AND in private enterprise. If we want to discuss which system is more evil than the other, I would strongly suggest that the ~100 million deaths in socialist countries supports the argument that capitalism would be better.
But remember, in a capitalist society of private enterprise police, private enterprise courts, private enterprise defense companies - each one of these industries would have a vested interest in properly persecuting criminals who break voluntary contracts and who violate property rights. Each one of these industries would be able to claim "we don't take bribes" or something like this. In our current socialist court system (remember - owned and operated by government = socialism by every single definition i've linked and have seen) the courts and police do NOT have a vested interest in capturing criminals... but they DO have a vested interest in taking bribes...
Unless someone shows me how a 'private sector court / police system' would have some sort of vested interest (beyond the current 'public sector court / police system') then I must contend that privatized courts and police would be a much better system.
"They hide the evidence that they dump at all. They try to play lawyerball and say, "Oh, we dumped on our own land. It's not our fault if nature took what we dumped to your land. We didn't put it there."
Once again, evil people are evil no matter what system they are in. Fraud is fraud. Violation of property rights can not be supported.
An interesting thing to note was that, in the early 1800s, before federal funds went to railroad companies (this started en masse under Lincoln), there were actually courts that upheld property rights. The trains would put tons of coal soot into the air, and it would dirty up nearby houses and their laundry. Courts would actually fine the railroads responsible. But how did they know? Well, there was a development of a forensic industry (which seemed to be created thanks to the uncapitalist and immoral acts of murder and rape) dedicated to proving which company spat out which chemicals.
for more info:
"if a given court system is owned by a certain group, why would it ever not rule in favor of that group?"
Has a government court ever upheld a lawsuit against another government entity? If so, then your argument is moot. (psst, the answer is yes, under many instances the government backed court system has ruled against other government backed systems).
But aside from this - why would a private courts system rule against an industry or something that it has a vested interest in? Well, it probably wouldn't!! But think about this: if there is a PRIVATE system of courts, then there would be COMPETITION of courts, which means that you would have OPTIONS on which courts to go to. Some courts would be completely neutral in the matter, and some courts would have a vested interest in the outcome. I would imagine that this would be taken into consideration before both sides of a contract would agree to the contract.
Also, courts would have a vested interest in being able to advertise their neutrality - after all, neutrality in court cases is a highly desired quality. Just as a sour cookie, a dead flower, and bland chili would be weeded out of the market, so too would biased courts.
If people are too stupid to write contracts that would take into consideration which court system to use, then ... well... I don't see why they should be given the right to vote. (i personally believe they wouldn't be so stupid, but implying that such actions wouldn't be taken is to assert that they are).
"Who is to say the competing courts will be even using the same contract law? Seems a bit chaotic."
What is this law, you speak of? If we had a private system of everything (a truly capitalist society) then we would not have an overarching system of laws. For, which group of thugs would be there to dominate and enforce such laws?
There might be such things as "implicit contracts" (i.e., if I buy a cup of coffee, and you charge me 8 trillion dollars after i drink it... I think that would be a breach of implicit contracts: it should be expected that prices be shown ahead of time, and it should be expected that coffee shouldn't cost more than 10 bucks or so). Such implicit contracts would be written into contracts - and, heck, maybe different areas of the private enterprise would use different implicit contracts, and perhaps other court systems would use a different set of implicit contracts... But it wouldn't matter because contracts could easily be written ahead of time specifying the courts that signers would go to in case of an accusation of a breach in contracts. Both parties would agree ahead of time which courts to use. And, in case of a strong disagreement with a courts' ruling, a system of "appealing" courts would also be decided ahead of time - such contracts would be easily written.
"But what if companies demand that we only use one sort of courts that always rules in favor of them?" ... then ... duh... use a different company. Or start your own - if people hate such a system, then start a new one. "but how will we compete?" well, if people don't want to be f'd over by a court system, then i suppose you wouldn't be able to compete. But if people WANT a fair trial, they would easily and willingly go to your company.
Is there anything like this in our socialist court system? No! If you disagree with a court's decision, you have to go to another court that is run by the same group of people, all the way until you get a group of unelected decision makers who can easily change the law by simply disagreeing with someone.
A private system, to me, sounds MUCH better.
I believe i've addressed all your arguments and provided sufficiently thorough and thought out answers. I would highly recommend just simply sitting back for 20 minutes and thinking through how a private system of "x" would work. Think about private-contracts, and how competition of products would easily provide what customers want. Be sure to remember that there would be no sort of overarching laws except implicit laws - pollution, violence, and aggression of any kind (theft included) would obviously follow under such implicit "laws".
"Be sure to remember that there would be no sort of overarching laws except implicit laws - pollution, violence, and aggression of any kind (theft included) would obviously follow under such implicit "laws"."
I'm not sure that 'pollution' is such an obvious implicit law (to everyone) as you make it out to be, but for the purposes of this discussion, I'll stipulate it.
"For, which group of thugs would be there to dominate and enforce such laws?" I expect the same competing groups of capitalist thugs that folks would hire to enforce the decisions of competing capitalist courts.
In theory, all of your ideas would be great, especially for contract law. But, as the comedian said, "Everything works in Theory. One of these days, I'm gonna move there."
In practice, however, all of these ideas depend on the premise that a wealthy and powerful individual of group will not use their wealth and power
to inconvenience, intimidate, or even kill those who stand up to them.
And this leads to the other side of law, criminal law. In a system with private courts, private police (or thugs, if you prefer), private everything, how will you guarantee the rights of someone accused of a crime? Who will enforce those rights? Who will ensure that an accused prisoner gets his phone call? Who will ensure that the phone call isn't tapped? Who will ensure that the accused gets counsel? Or even gets a speedy fair trial? Is the accused going to be responsible for his own defense? Will he have to hire his own lawyer? If so, all a wealthy and rapacious individual will have to do is repeatedly accuse, or sue, or both, any individuals who get in his way until they 'voluntarily' do what he wants them to. Of course, since there's no civil authority, he can hire thugs to clandestinely damage his enemies' property, and if his enemies can't afford to hire competing thugs to defend themselves, they're fairly well screwed. And this works the other way, as well.
A wealthy and irresponsible individual or firm can dump their chemicals pretty much wherever. They shouldn't, but they can. Now, when a private individual, who has no contract relationship with the firm in question, finds that the firm is dumping chemicals and those chemicals are affecting his property, who does he go to? Not the civil authorities; they don't exist. He'll have to find a group of thugs to hire (If he can afford them) to haul the firm to some court (which the firm has no pre-existing agreement to respect). The firm will no doubt exercise its own right to protect itself from the thugs that Joe Citizen has hired, and will probably be able to afford more, better equipped thugs. Etc, etc, etc.
Joe has a choice: he can decide that the property damage is worth fighting, fight his David-and-Goliath battle against the wealthier, more powerful firm, and even if he wins, he has no way of forcing the firm to comply with the ruling of McCourt. Or he can decide that even though the property damage is real, and causing him long term financial and/or physical harm, the expense and hassle of asserting his rights would take him away from the practice of his chosen profession and cost him enough income and effort in the short term that even if he won, he'd be bankrupt, and unable to pay enforcers to enforce the decision.
Again, seems pretty chaotic.
You keep asking me how things would work. I must admit that I don't have all the answers.
That's why I want to encourage you to think of how it would work.
As for ensuring rights- rights couldn't really be infringed unless they were given up by contracts. After all, who would take your rights away? - your milkman? You might sacrifice your right to build an electric fence in order to get health insurance, but who would infringe your right to free speech? (libel and slander laws are BS- you don't own your reputation, everyone else does).
Rights can easily be infringed without a contract. My "right to life" could be infringed by an axe-wielding psychopath whom I've never met before, never mind entered into a contract with.
your right to life could easily be infringed, but your right to own a gun and to blow an attacker away wouldn't be taken away. Governments tend to take rights away - that's why the second amendment was written.
I know you're not going to read this... but who wrote America's Second Amendment?
Could it by any chance have been members of her government?
Well, not really. The Constitutional Convention was not a governing body, but rather an elected group of representatives given the task of drafting a constitution. A lot of the delegates eventually did go on to hold government positions (including several presidents), and not all of them agreed on what the Constitution did and didn't allow.
(If Jefferson and Adams could disagree on it, I think we moderns have an excuse for not all interpreting it the same way.)
Hm. If the US is truly a government by and for the people, and if the Constitution/Bill of Rights was written by the people of the US, then couldn't we say that it was written by members of the government?
Yes, the second amendment was written by what could have been considered a government.
But WHY was the amendment necessary?
Bill Gates never asked me to give up a gun.... Rockefeller never asked the people to give up their guns.... Oh wait! I know!! Governments take away guns!! that's right,
...For a second there I almost forgot that the public sector is the area where rights are TAKEN away, and the private sector is where rights are voluntarily given up for mutual benefits! phew! that was close.
Aren't you excluding the middle here though? For example, Sweden or Norway, which would merit a 6 or 7 on Jeff's "socialist volume control", haven't AFAIK killed millions of people. I'm not denying that socialism as practised in Stalin's Russia was a very evil thing, but it's very much at the extreme end of the scale - that's what made it the perpetrator of atrocities.
How would people be able to check that a privatised court's "we don't take bribes" claim was actually true? You can never achieve total transparency, IMO. And where there is lack of transparency, there is also the possibility (no, the certainty) of fraud and mickey-taking.
I think the best you could say right now is that as nobody's ever tried it (just as pure capitalism in general has never been tried), you can't come to any conclusions about whether or not it would be better than a government-run system.
A private court would be less likely to accept a bribe because their company would be shamed and their reputation would be besmearched - trading the short term bribe for the long term would ruin them.
Anyone arguing about transparency in their economic system, who advocates FOR government, is really shooting themselves in the foot. "top secret" "confidential" etc etc.
I will agree that I can't make any CONCLUSIONS, but i can certainly make some massive assumptions and reasonable statements. Companies have to stay in business and receive money through good service and deliverance of what customers want. Governments get their money by taxing or inflating the currency.
I mean, c'mon, even after horrible police abuse the Public Police are still in business!! imagine if some private cop tazed some kid reading a book in a library - BOOM! fired, and the business would be bankrupt the next week.
"The war against working people should be understood to be a real war.... Specifically in the U.S., which happens to have a highly class-conscious business class.... And they have long seen themselves as fighting a bitter class war, except they don't want anybody else to know about it." -- Noam Chomsky
What this quasi-capitalist system (plenty of socialism for rich people) has produced:
"As a record amount of U.S. citizens are struggling to get by, many of the largest corporations are experiencing record-breaking profits, and CEOs are receiving record-breaking bonuses. How could this be happening, how did we get to this point?
The Economic Elite have escalated their attack on U.S. workers over the past few years; however, this attack began to build intensity in the 1970s. In 1970, CEOs made $25 for every $1 the average worker made. Due to technological advancements, production and profit levels exploded from 1970 - 2000. With the lion's share of increased profits going to the CEO's, this pay ratio dramatically rose to $90 for CEOs to $1 for the average worker.
As ridiculous as that seems, an in-depth study in 2004 on the explosion of CEO pay revealed that, including stock options and other benefits, CEO pay is more accurately $500 to $1.
Paul Buchheit, from DePaul University, revealed, "From 1980 to 2006 the richest 1% of America tripled their after-tax percentage of our nation's total income, while the bottom 90% have seen their share drop over 20%." Robert Freeman added, "Between 2002 and 2006, it was even worse: an astounding three-quarters of all the economy's growth was captured by the top 1%."
Due to this, the United States already had the highest inequality of wealth in the industrialized world prior to the financial crisis. Since the crisis, which has hit the average worker much harder than CEOs, the gap between the top one percent and the remaining 99% of the US population has grown to a record high. The economic top one percent of the population now owns over 70% of all financial assets, an all time record.
As mentioned before, just look at the first full year of the crisis when workers lost an average of 25 percent off their 401k. During the same time period, the wealth of the 400 richest Americans increased by $30 billion, bringing their total combined wealth to $1.57 trillion, which is more than the combined net worth of 50% of the US population. Just to make this point clear, 400 people have more wealth than 155 million people combined.
Meanwhile, 2009 was a record-breaking year for Wall Street bonuses, as firms issued $150 billion to their executives. 100% of these bonuses are a direct result of our tax dollars, so if we used this money to create jobs, instead of giving them to a handful of top executives, we could have paid an annual salary of $30,000 to 5 million people.
So while US workers are now working more hours and have become dramatically more productive and profitable, our pay is actually declining and all the dramatic increases in wealth are going straight into the pockets of the Economic Elite.
Buy the Book: The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America
If our income had kept pace with compensation distribution rates established in the early 1970s, we would all be making at least three times as much as we are currently making. How different would your life be if you were making $120,000 a year, instead of $40,000?
So it should come as no surprise to see that we now have the highest inequality of wealth in the industrialized world and the highest inequality of wealth in our nation's history. The backbone of America, a hard working middle class that has made our country a world leader, has been devastated."
Are you proud of that? That's SUM freedom huh? Shore is for SOME people!
THEY TOOK ALL THE MONEY THAT EXISTS.
THERE IS NO MORE.
By David DeGraw, Amped Status
Posted on February 15, 2010, Printed on February 17, 2010
One of the individuals in Michael Lewis's book, Steve Eisman, who made a bundle by betting that subprime mortgages would crater, concluded after working for a Wall Street bankster, that the big banks were in business to "f**k the poor." My own experience dealing with Chase Manhattan years ago and CitiGroup more recently is consistent with this conclusion. Not to mention the fraud case against Goldman Sachs filed a couple of days ago by the SEC. (Goldman was screwing other banks i.e. Royal Bank of Scotland and other European banks to whom it sold CDOs based on toxic,subprime mortgages hand picked because they were the ones most likely to fail.
are you serious?
There isn't a limited amount of wealth in the world - rich people get rich because they take a massive amount of risk with their own money. Sometimes it pays off (a lot) and some times it backfires (horribly).
wow this is a very touchy subject, im more worried about the health care industry,being a nurse. I wrote a lens on it check it out~
Reminds me of ole Babs Bush the Silver Fox...telling the Katrina victims they were lucky to be in the Superdome, cause they had it better there than at home. (insert foot)
Someone on these forums said once that it was more of a class war than a race war.
Capitalism vs. Socialism: Happiness Could Care Less
By Robin Lloyd, LiveScience Senior Editor
posted: 06 July 2009 08:20 am ET
Socialist or not, one might argue that being bailed out feels better than going under, personally, industrially and nationally. At least in the short run.
A new analysis of the happiness, or more specifically the "life satisfaction," of people living in parts of Europe in the 1990s as the Iron Curtain fell sheds more light on how our personal feelings of well-being respond to socialism, capitalism and big economic transitions.
Sponsored LinksSecret War On The DollarRead the Shocking Bulletin That Washington Does Not Want You To See UncommonWisdomDaily.com1 Trick of a tiny belly :Cut down a bit of your belly every day by using this 1 weird old tip. Thedietsolutionprogram.comOwe Over 15K to the IRS?Resolve Tax Problems Before Filing This Year. Our Lawyers can Help. TaxResolution.com/TaxLawyer The work, in short, suggests that our personal economic stability might be more important to life satisfaction (a measure of happiness or well-being) than the Gross Domestic Product, and the type of socioeconomic or political order in which we live. In other words, free market capitalism only works when it works. When it doesn't, some form of socialism (and its guarantees of employment, education and health care) can look attractive.
The research on former Communist-bloc nations was done by economist Richard Easterlin of the University of Southern California, a long-time scholar on "happiness economics." He is responsible for the "Easterlin Paradox," which concludes that more money makes us happier, but only up to a point. Once we are lifted out of poverty, more money does nothing to increase our happiness. A handful of economists disagree with this and say more money makes us more happy, though more slowly as our prosperity grows.
Anyhow, Easterlin's latest work focuses on life satisfaction (subjects were asked "All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days?").
He finds that life satisfaction correlated in a bad way with the initial collapse of GDP (gross domestic product) after socialism was abandoned in 13 Eastern, Central and Southern European nations in the 1990s (including Russia, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic). During the transitional years, GDP fell by 50 to 85 percent of 1989 levels within a few years in a downturn that affected 400 million people. Later in the decade, GDP recovered slowly but life satisfaction didn't keep up. The social response to the downturn was bad in Russia, for instance, according to a 2005 study by Brainerd and Cutler, cited by Easterlin — more divorce, suicides, domestic violence, alcoholism and drug use.
Income went up during the 1990s for many, but bigger disparities in income opened up. And those income increases were outweighed, in terms of life satisfaction, by losses in employment security, as well as health, senior and child care, that had previously been covered under socialism, Easterlin writes.
It was not until 2005, when GDP recovered to early 1990 levels or better, that life satisfaction started to catch up, he found. The results are forthcoming in the August 2009 issue of the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.
It reminds one of candidate Bill Clinton's campaign mantra in 1992: "It's the economy, stupid." Only with more nuance.
Easterlin found that the opportunity to enjoy the economic freedoms of capitalism was less critical to life satisfaction than one's personal economic stability, and that rising GDP is not enough, after a downturn, to restore happiness.
More critical to happiness are everyday socio-economic matters such as "do we all have jobs?" and "do we have health care, old age care and child care?" and "will our family manage to stick together through this?"
In American, we'll feel happier once the economy recovers, but don't draw any huge conclusions about socialism and capitalism from all this, Easterlin said.
"So far, we have very little scientific empirical study bearing on whether socialists are happier than capitalists," he said. "However, what my paper suggests is that there are elements of 'socialism' that appear to have more directly addressed important concerns of the 'average person' ... and that if we are interested in promoting well-being we might learn from the study of experience under 'socialist' regimes, as well as 'capitalist.'"
Do we all spend too much time obsessing about political matters, when really the focus should be securing everyday socio-economic matters?
Easterlin says: "As my paper notes, the ... evidence such as that for the transition countries does not seem to suggest an important effect on happiness of democratization, and indeed when people in countries throughout the world are asked about what makes them happy, they rarely mention political concerns. Yet, in my personal view, political and civil rights are important. So my answer is that we would do well to start paying attention to happiness, but we should not assume that it is in itself the last word on well-being."
Repost by Robin Lloyd
Did you just copy/paste an entire article? Should we be doing that?
Evan cites George Orwell and 1984 as a criticism of socialism. Not so:
Orwell wrote "My recent novel  is NOT intended as an attack on Socialism or on the British Labour Party (of which I am a supporter) but as a show-up of the perversions to which a centralized economy is liable and which have already been partly realized in communism and Fascism."
orwell was not anti-socialist but rather anti-totalitarian.
In The Lion and the Unicorn he wrote:
"What this war has demonstrated is that private capitalism – that is, an economic system in which land, factories, mines and transport are owned privately and operated solely for profit – does not work. It cannot deliver the goods. This fact had been known to millions of people for years past, but nothing ever came of it, because there was no real urge from below to alter the system, and those at the top had trained themselves to be impenetrably stupid on just this point. Argument and propaganda got one nowhere. The lords of property simply sat on their bottoms and proclaimed that all was for the best. Hitler's conquest of Europe, however, was a physical debunking of capitalism."
he wrote that statement so that they wouldn't lynch him - britain needed Soviet Help in WWII
I want to make a few observations.
First - socialism does not lead inevitably to totalitarianism:
1. All governments are to some extent socialist, if we use Evan's definition of socialism. In fact the US was socialist before there was even such a thing as socialism because the US government controlled national defense and roads.
2. Not all governments have slipped into totalitarianism.
3. The combination of socialism, capitalism, and democracy that we see in the US and Europe has led to the greatest wealth and best standard of living for the average citizen in the history of the world.
4. Therefore, some socialism is inevitable, not inherently destructive, and in fact good for a society.
All the examples of failed socialism that Evan and others have cited, (the USSR, North Korea, East Germany) were/are totalitarian states.
Since there are active, successful and wealthy states that employ democratic socialism, we can only conclude that socialism itself is not the reason for the failure of the USSR and others. It makes sense that because democratic socialist states have thrived while totalitarian ones have failed, that the cause of failure was totalitarianism, not socialism.
Evan is arguing against pure socialism, which has never actually been implemented, and arguing in favor of pure laissez faire capitalism, which has also never been implemented.
The cause of the failure was the fact that in implementing virtual 100% socialism (rather than the mixed socialism/capitalism that most of us posting here live under), it is always necessary to impose totalitarianism, because you're never going to get people to knuckle under voluntarily. Whereas most of us grumble about paying the taxes used to fund our "socialism lite", but we still pay them.
OK, this will be my last post on this forum - i've spent way too much of my life arguing ONLY on this one forum. I won't be back to read any responses, so be assured I won't read what you've written.
Just let me demand that each of you, whenever you hear something bad that happens relating to government - i.e., people dying on the public highways, the countless property damage after FEMA screwed up in New Orleans, all those wars, and the recent leaks (brought to you by the privately owned Wikileaks) of the recent soldiers who opened fire on a cameraman after lying about how they were under fire. just ask yourself how horrendous the reaction would be if the same act were done by a private entity.
If a private entity owned those levies and did all the construction down in 'nawlens', if a private entity were "defending" in Iraq (note: a private company wouldn't be invading other countries), and just think about just HOW fast that company would go bankrupt. And compare that with how the government does such heinous acts almost on a daily basis (read: 40,000 people die each year on public highways) without ANY repercussion. Sure, a soldier gets dishonorably discharged, but the US is still in Iraq bombing civilians. Sure some people got fired after the Katrina disaster - but the same owner is in charge of those levies (and the same crappy levies were put back up). Sure a police officer gets fired after he tazers a kid who's reading a book, but you'll just read about a similar even a week later (or see the video online thanks to the privately owned youtube or google.video).
Anyway - There's no way in hell i'll be able to convince anyone here (that has become blatantly clear). So I'll just leave by asking this of you - compare the screw-ups of private companies with the screw-ups of public companies.
G'day! It was fun!
"just ask yourself how horrendous the reaction would be if the same act were done by a private entity. "
http://www.passionateaboutfood.net/cgi- … 504,74043,
26 June, 2001 : Sara Lee Corp. pleaded guilty Friday to a federal criminal charge stemming from the 1998 contamination of hot dogs and deli meats produced at its Bil Mar Foods plant.
At least 15 people died and six women suffered miscarriages as a result of the listeriosis outbreak. At least 80 more people were seriously sickened.
And Sara Lee?
Seems to be still going string.
Lot of post and little Socialism support well i am here now as you can tell my my name i am a true socialist support and yea i Live in American i didn't read every post yet but i can feel the negative vibe of socialist haters on here. I must point out somethings and some people i think pointed these out already.
If you talking about the failure of Some of the Communist nations you must take into consideration that these nations truely didn't pratice socialism or even communism.
This is a hard debate to argue because everyone has opinons.I get that but i don't get people for just blaming everything on socialism we it has nothing to do with socialism if people would just read and understand socialism then you would understand why it is a good thing. Capitalism could be an ok thing but with many flaws and provity it has failed and must die it is unfixable because of human intetions and that is almost the same with socialism but socialism tries to fix the problems of society and give that very society the control over the community. This is not government it is citizen control or worker control it is very hard to describe my plan for socialism or my manifesto but the ideals are very close the samething. I am going to end here but i add more later on why socialism is a good thing.
Don't start with the "Soviets didn't really practice Communism, they screwed it up" nonsense. You have theory and then you have applied theory. Socialism of any flavor, whether it be national socialism or international socialism, sound good but when it comes to the real test of application of theory in the real world, it fails miserably.
We can discuss the why if you're really interested, but if you'd rather float about in the la-la land of theory I'd rather not waste my time.
FYI, I've read the Communist Manifesto, heck I've even read the 1937 Communist Constitution.
As for capitalism and it's "flaws" how about pointing some of them out, I'd dearly love to hear about them. Out of curiosity you do know that capitalism only refers to who hold the means of production in an economy, right? Capitalism simply means that private individuals hold land, labor and capital.
Did you know we've had a long discussion in this thread about the definition of socialism and capitalism le? What's your definition of socialism and capitalism?
It's not my definition of capitalism and socialism, it's the definition of capitalism and socialism. I've already defined capitalism, private ownership of land, labor and money. Socialism is an economic theory in which the state holds all land, labor and money and doles it out according to what the state feels is best.
I'm not really interested in what other people think capitalism and socialism are, most times the definitions are incorrect. The only way to have an interesting and illuminating discussion is to make sure we all know what it is we are talking about.
holy god - someone who actually took notice that Socialism is not only incompatible with reality, but also someone who defends capitalism.
And they reject the nonsense of "if we only had good leaders" amongst other retarded arguments.
If I weren't a man...
Sounds kind of like Christianity to me. I mean, great in theory, all that "love your brother as yourself" stuff, but in practice you get Crusades, witch hunts, child molesting priests, religious figures attempting to act as temporal powers, and a massive institution interested in nothing so much as holding back Europe from progress. I guess that totally invalidates Christianity as an ideology or value system since, by your view, any attempt to say that those involved "didn't really practice Christianity" is a priori invalid. I'm glad to know that this is applicable to any theory or value system, it should make arguments a lot easier.
"Flaws"? I'll give you a few: poverty, starvation, hideous (and seemingly ever growing) inequality of wealth, the elevation of greed to a virtue, the fetishization of money, the estrangement of labor, wage slavery, etc.
And of course:
"Don't start with the '[we] d[o]n't really practice [Capitalism], [we're] screw[ing] it up' nonsense. You have theory and then you have applied theory. [Capitalism] of any flavor, whether it be [laissez faire] or [government regulated], sound good but when it comes to the real test of application of theory in the real world, it fails miserably."
"Sounds kind of like Christianity to me. I mean, great in theory, all that "love your brother as yourself" stuff, but in practice "
Stop right there. That's the part you need to figure out.
Strophios, you're on the right track. But you're arguing with some hardcore libertarian cultist believers who are trying to apply 18th century economic theory to a 21st century world.
Right! The world is "different" now, people can't be trusted to do what's right for the planet. We need a central authority to control everything for the good of everyone. We need someone to tell us when and how many children to have, and of course this authority will have to raise them and educate them to behave properly in this new world. The governing authority will tell us what and how much to eat, where to live, what work to do that is best for all, how to travel and when, they will even tell us when to die so that we can give others a chance to live!
Yes the world is "different" now... because there are actually people in power that believe that nonsense!!!
What we have here is a failure of definitions. See, you're just defining socialism as all of those things, likely based on some sort of knowledge of Soviet Russia and/or Maoist China. Neither of those, however, are the definitive instance of socialism. They are, at best, specific implementations of socialism (at worst, they bear absolutely no resemblance).
If you take as your definition of socialism to be "collective ownership of the means of production" (a not unreasonable definition), then there is obviously a lot of room for different systems/implementation. Even taking Marx's writings and his program specifically, there still remains some latitude in implementation (not to mention the fact that, by Marxist standards, Russia and China were doing it wrong).
Given all of this, your talking points about centralized government control of EVERYTHING are unwarranted.
So how does one "implement" socialism? Socialism is a control of resources, who's going to control it and how? The only way to implement socialism is through force.
Or cooperation and organization. A democratic, community based socialism is not only possible, but desirable. Although if you mean, how does one begin it, to change from the current system to a socialist one, then you may be right that force is necessary, although not necessarily. The great hope of the working class in this regard was always the general strike, with violence and barricade fighting being another good, but less preferable option.
Force is necessary to bring it about and force is necessary to keep it, because the fact of the matter is, humans are competitive creatures, they will cooperate only as long as it suits their needs and desires. As I said I think socialism can work in a small group, like a family, but even then at some point someone is going to want to do something the group is opposed to or will want to leave the group. For this reason socialism is simply unsustainable, nor is it desirable. You might get a group together to pool their resources and buy potatoes at a discount, but you'll never get someone that doesn't like potatoes to join your group and you sure won't get them to grow potatoes if they hate to farm. Face it socialism is a great idea on paper but in reality is a ridiculous notion.
Force has been necessary to bring about other things as well, like say, the United States, and I'd imagine you have no qualms about that. Also, humans may be competitive, but they are also social.
The fact that a group is involved does not preclude individual choice. See again, the United States.
And you imagine that the average factory worker likes riveting the same joint in a car's superstructure over and over for eight hours a day? Or that workers in places like China or India enjoy their inhumane working conditions? Because if I had to hazard a guess I'd say they don't, and are only there because they have no other choice. Which not only sounds like coercion, but also sounds like a problem in need of a remedy.
You see, in America one has a choice, and one will always have a choice as long as the nation is free and prosperous, which is what it will be as long as it remains free. If I don't like riveting, I can quit and work somewhere else, but in a socialist nation, if the good of society is served by me being a riveter than I don't have a choice.
In America if a business has inhumane working conditions, people can band together and strike, or quit. I don't know about China, I think they frown on that sort of thing.
You are creating a choice where there isn't one. If there is no job for you to take besides the one you have, then there is no choice. To claim there is is equivalent to claiming that you can freely choose with a gun to your head.
You continue to make assumptions about the way socialism works which are not true (or certainly not necessarily true). The issue at the heart of socialism, for Marx, is the estrangement of labor. If you like, I can explain the whole concept to you, but what is relevant right now is the upshot: that Marx is actually extremely concerned with individual satisfaction.
Well, sometimes they can (see the example of the Massey mines).
Socialism is collective control of resources. Marx even specifies that the state must be representative of the workers in order for socialism to work. The problem with Soviet Russia was that the state did not represent the workers.
Collective, public control of resources is very different from centralized, totalitarian economics. I've listed a few examples of how this could work earlier in the thread - worker owned companies are an example of socialism in action.
LOL! I worked in a "worker owned" company that went out of business and guess who got screwed? Yup, the workers!
Sure that could work but it's not going to work unless it's profitable , so will everyone cut their pay to sell their goods cheaper and beat their competition, or will they start to make something else which might require them to make an investment in machines and education.
Look socialism can't work, it's never worked. Government should have only one purpose, to keep it's citizens free, because quite frankly, we don't need government to live.
Sorry to hear that the business failed. Businesses fail every day in the US whether they are worker owned or not. That point is irrelevant. Some worker owned companies succeed, others fail. Just like privately owned companies succeed and fail.
That's true, but even such "socialist" companies have to operate in a free market, and those forces, free choice, and free will, are what drives business.
Socialism works if you're in a commune, but you still have to deal with the marketplace of ideas, and desires, you have to be able to attract members with the right skills that are willing to stay, or you have to use force! Invariably it can only work on a small scale unless you use force.
"What we have here is a failure of definitions. See, you're just defining socialism as all of those things, likely based on some sort of knowledge of Soviet Russia and/or Maoist China. Neither of those, however, are the definitive instance of socialism. They are, at best, specific implementations of socialism (at worst, they bear absolutely no resemblance)."
And here we go again with the "oh no, that's the wrong definition!" or "they just never did it right!" nonsense...
You think "trusting people to do right" will solve energy and climate issues? Not likely. Nor is it likely they will solve the depredations of the NY banksters like Goldmine Sacks, either. Here's links to the views of a couple of knowledgeable economists on the subject.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/23/busin … f=business
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/23/opini … ef=opinion
No I think trusting people to act in their best interest is the right thing. I don't like the idea of someone telling me what's good for me, especially when it's government. Who do you think they are looking out for? You? Please stop being so naive!
As has been amply demonstrated by Goldmine Sacks,"trusting people to act in their best interests," sometimes conflicts with the common good. BTW, I'm not an advocate of socialism, but it's pretty clear, in my opinion, that our modern, industrialized, "flat earth" society requires regulations to make sure that markets deliver honestly on their promises in the public interest. I am not in favor of unnecessary or corrupt or ineffective regulations. The Europeans, I heard yesterday, are saying, in the aftermath of the Iceland volcano eruption, that better Europe-wide air flight control regulation is needed to supplant or coordinate or supplement the individual country regulations. Many people believe that more effective coal mine safety regulations are needed. In the absence of effective regulations, the profits are privatized and the negative "external" costs of pollution, etc., are socialized.
Positive and negative externalities--
I like to think some of them at least are looking out for the public interest which includes but goes beyond me. For example, I support school taxes despite the fact that my three children are grown and long past their public school days.
Ralph the issue is one of accountability. You've as admitted that government agencies often times fail in their appointed duties. Why? They keep getting money no matter their performance. That's the fatal flaw when you consider funding anything by taxation. That would never happen if these organizations were funded by private means. If a private company fails to satisfy their customers, those customers find someone who can succeed in their duties. Thus wrongdoing is punished and doing good is rewarded.
"Yes the world is "different" now... because there are actually people in power that believe that nonsense!!!"
And more than a few people here on hubpages who want to believe that nonsense.
Not just on hubpages. I saw a poll where 52% of democrats view socialism favorably, and therein lies the danger for America. It's the enemies within that we have to worry about which is why I think the Tea Party has come to rise.
The world is different now because of scientific and technical developments leading to industrialization, and innovations in communications, transport, international trade, terrorism and so forth which require a regulatory regime beyond that envisioned by our founding fathers when we were an agricultural society.
I don't believe we need a central authority to "control everything," just certain things like drug approvals, worker safety, air space coordination, etc.
Yeah those agencies that are supposed to "protect" us. Remember the tainted drugs, toys and food from china? Remember Mad cow disease? Have you ever seen how meat is produced in this country? Have you ever seen the military specifications for food, and what foreign substances are allowed in them? Do you realize how many lives are lost because we're waiting for the FDA to approve a drug that's being use all around the world?
How about the SEC? Didn't they do a great job protecting us from Madoff and preventing the economic crisis in between the downloading of porn of course.
I get what you're saying Ralph, and I'd like to think that the people working for those agencies are doing the best they can, it's just the management that is the problem, right? It's not the fact that they are basically a monopoly with guaranteed wages and benefits and union protection.
My impression is that many of the agencies have been co-opted by the industries they are supposed to be regulating. Lack of funding is also a problem in some instances. Lack of leadership who is truly interested in enforcing the regulations, as in the Bush administration, is also a big problem.
And how would that be, how could the companies they're regulating co-opt them? Sounds like corruption to me! Well no surprise there.
Lack of funding like in the department of education which has gone from 12 billion to 100 billion in funding and has produced the same result, yet some still say they lack funding. With government, no matter how much you give them, they will spend it and it will never be enough. Indeed, those that work in government measure their success by how much bigger they grow their budget!
Ralph it doesn't matter which party is running the show you still end up with the same result because there is simply no competition. No one has to worry about their jobs, or raises or benefits, all of which is higher than in private industry. There's no incentive to do an exceptional job.
We have to do the best we can to elect public officials who are honest and who care about the public interest in good schools, roads, safe drugs and coal mines, etc.
The fact is, none of them do! Oh they might be all idealistic when they first run for office but then they are corrupted by the power and the culture! No, what we have to do is eliminate government to the greatest degree possible, to limit their power and influence and to make OUR freedom their number one job. It's not a perfect system, but it's the least of all possible evils!
Well, I beg to differ. My impression is that the majority of our elected officials try to do a good job in the public interest, except for the expedient compromises on votes that affect interests peculiar to their own constituents. For example, John Dingle has been a reliable vote for the auto industry for years and for the NRA because of all the deer hunters in Michigan.
First of all candidates most important skill is an ability to raise money. You don't get nerdy types or sensible good management types, what you get are phonies, salesman that are good at separating money from money interests. The last thing those people care about is you and me, right or wrong, constitutional or not. Their primary focus is to get re-elected.
That's certainly a naive way to look at things. Why is it that just because a person is elected to an office like Congress, that makes them a saint, but if they're elected to an office like the CEO of a private firm that makes them a sinner?
Face it Ralph, you are inconsistent about things like that.
How so? Why don't we try to keep to the issues and avoid personalizing them?
You say we should elect good people to office. I don't necessarily disagree with that idea, but due to the nature of government, even if you elect a good person to office, they rarely stay that way.
How can I say this? Look at the 1994 election. Not only did the Republicans sweep the House and Senate, they did so with freshman members. Now when a person first goes to Washington they're young and idealist, they're going to change the world. The party doesn't matter, both Dems and Repubs feel that way.
By 2006, all that had changed. In a little over 12 years those same idealists had become corrupted by the system and were selling influence and votes, just like the people they kicked out of office over a decade before.
Lord Acton said: Power corrupts. That's as true today as when he first said it. The answer is to not expect human nature to change, but to change they system itself. Decentralize power so that abuses, when they happen, are limited in scope.
That's the difference between a Ponzi scheme like Bernie Madoff and a Ponzi scheme like Social Security. Madoff burned his investors but he didn't burn the whole country. When Social Security fails, it will burn everyone because everyone is compelled to contribute.
Don't think that I'm talking about ending Social Security immediately. That would not be ethical. Because of the lies of politicians of decades ago, we have an entire population that relies on that program just to live. We have a duty to see that people on a fixed income are taken care of, but we also have a duty to not pass on a crushing burden of debt to our children. Gen-X has to clean up the mess the Boomers made, but I for one am OK with that, so long as the mess gets cleaned up.
Good. We can agree that you won't take my Social Security away!
??? What makes you think your SS is safe? Or mine? Or anyone else's? It is now considered an entitlement.......and look for news policy that will dictate what 'qualifies' you to receive SS.
Very little is certain except death and taxes. However, Social Security has been a very successful and widely supported program by Democrats and Republicans. It needs only a few minor changes to put it on a solid footing for the foreseeable future.
You have an excellent control of English Punctuation - I wish to learn more about your thoughts.
This is sarcasm.
http://politics.gather.com/viewArticle. … 4978188158
She would defend socialism, another good friend of Barack Obama. What an odd coincidence that Obama has so many socialist friends!
It is a bad thing, for Americans. It's fine as a way to govern a family or perhaps even a tribe or maybe even a small poor third world country, but for the USA, it's bad, it's very bad!
And this is exactly why we have regular elections. Some people want one thing, others want another, and they have to convince the rest of us that their way is better.
And that's why we have a constitution, that limits government and protects us from people that would impose their will upon the rest of us, and that's why we need term limits, to prevent power hungry career politicians kept in office with corporate money from twisting the constitution into a tool of oppression.
Now, I don't want to misinterpret what you said, so correct me if I'm wrong, but it appears that you are linking "corporate money" with politicians, which is perfectly fair. However, the politicians we've so far been talking about are socialist (or at least you say they are, I doubt I agree). In any case, do you realize the sheer antithesis between socialism and "corporate money." The notion of the latter somehow supporting the former is ludicrous.
Well at least I know why all you socialist proponents like Obama, because he thinks like you. Just proves my point, Obama is a socialist.
Put it this way. In America we're free to do as we wish. If I want to establish a community with a socialist system there is nothing to stop me. If no one complains I'll never have a problem.
Given that, and assuming socialism is such a great system why hasn't it spread throughout the land? What happened to all the communes that were springing up in the 60s?
Free people, given the choice will not choose socialism, it's just that simple.
We've had that in the past. Onieda, Quakers, Shaker communities all come to mind. Interestingly enough most of them fail. That is a significant thing that most intellectuals seem to ignore. It must be hard to have reality intrude on a really good theory.
Old style socialism has no future but the right, which has had free rein for twenty years now, is delivering a capitalism which is ugly and shows no signs of delivering what anyone but the very rich want.
I live in a developing country which has had just enough capitalism to make it prosperous but not enough to damage its social fabric to the point that a huge underclass has been created or absurd fantasies that no one owes anything to anybody in this world have developed.
It is sad to see the beginnings of the breakdown of family here and equally sad to see the damage that gross inequality brings but being here has renewed my faith in the basic goodness of humanity.
Will the right is delivering national socialism as opposed to the left which is delivering international socialism. I'd also ask that you say free market when you talk about the economy and capitalism when you talk about ownership of goods. The two terms aren't really interchangeable.
Ralph, once again on the rhetoric wagon. Just because someone puts up pictures of an Oliver Twist and a Soviet propaganda poster, that doesn't mean it has anything to do with reality.
Reality is that any governmental agency has no accountability because they always get funding, most times they get more funding especially after a screw up. How does it makes sense to reward an organization for making mistakes? How do you penalize a government agency for bad behavior and reward it for good behavior?
When all is said, capitalism or a capitalist lacks a back-bone to stand on its own. He/She/It will always look for help. why? It is only based on speculation.
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