• schopenhauer1
    3.3k
    So Marxism's big thing is the laboring class getting exploited by owners and managers. Okay, let's say the Marxist dream happens (would this ever really be fulfilled for hardcore Marxists, even under the best of circumstances, being in a constant revolutionary mindset?). Anyways, so this dream is finally here and workers live in collectives as well as work in collectives run by the workers themselves. The workers vote for policies (1 man 1 vote?) and output measures. The policies and output measures are enforced by other workers who are voted in.

    Okay, so the policies are still there which create working conditions, and the enforcers are still there making sure the policies are followed. What has changed, even under a completely Marxist society? Assuming everyone gets the same amount of money- even the policy-makers and enforcers. If they take their job seriously, and are motivated by principle of management or maybe power, they would probably create a hierarchy nonetheless that tries to get the most out of the workers at the workers' expense.

    Yeah, the workers may vote someone else in as manager or something like that, but at the end of the day, something needs to get done, and managers are going to be in charge of the amount of output being produced. That will simply create the default situation we have now where managers simply look at bottom lines at the expense of the workers. This might indicate that it is not power dynamics, class, or the like, but rather the nature of labor itself that is the problem. It is intractable.

    @Bitter Crank I presume you might have some interesting ideas on this.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.3k
    @Bitter Crank Not sure if you saw this one as you commented in the other one. This seems up your alley.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.2k
    Thank you for alerting me. No, I had not seen this before now.

    As I understand him, Marx envisioned a radically different economy and culture than the one that exists now. Which revolution will bring about the fruition of Marx's vision?

    There are a series of revolutionary events that will need to happen, like dispossessing the capitalists of their wealth, before any sort of marxist vision can be realized.

    The last, most difficult. and longest phase of the revolution will be the working class (which is, you know, most of the people in an industrialized country) learning how to be Socialist Citizens who can intelligently and competently manage their very large economy, regulate their own industrial activities for the common good, maintain a free, culturally rich society, attend promptly to the massive environmental problems which we have, and so forth. A lot of individual and group learning will have to take place in this revolution. The tricky part will be surviving this stage until we all get good at playing our respective roles.

    It's too late to say more -- got to go to bed. 3:30 a.m.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.3k
    The last, most difficult. and longest phase of the revolution will be the working class (which is, you know, most of the people in an industrialized country) learning how to be Socialist Citizens who can intelligently and competently manage their very large economy, regulate their own industrial activities for the common good, maintain a free, culturally rich society, attend promptly to the massive environmental problems which we have, and so forth. A lot of individual and group learning will have to take place in this revolution. The tricky part will be surviving this stage until we all get good at playing our respective roles.Bitter Crank

    Yes, and of course, this "learning how to be Socialist Citizens" and getting "good at playing our respective roles" have been the basis for much strife and human misery in the actual enactment of Marxism in a political state, hence the atrocities of first Leninism, then Stalinism, Maoism, and then all the rest that copied that model in the Soviet sphere of influence. A political party that is the "Vanguard" of the people concept, which created essentially a form of dictatorship on behalf of the "workers" by enforcing reeducation programs, purges, and forced collectivizations were pretty appalling. Of course, one can argue, by the time of Stalin/Mao, the Soviet experiment in Marxism atrophied into simply a grey hideous monster that stopped even pretending towards a trajectory of a worker-led communism end-state.

    But the main point of this thread is rather about the intractable problem of exploitation that Marx thinks can be resolved in his Manifesto and Das Kapital with a complete worker-led economy. I don't think that exploitation would end because it is inherent in any form of modern labor. Marx focuses a lot on profit of owners, so I get that part of the equation. This would be eliminated by eliminating profits. Hence, I said in the OP that everyone would be getting the same amount of money, let's say. You can change the initial conditions however you think the worker-led paradise would work..

    Maybe people don't even get paid, but some other method of getting goods and services. It doesn't matter in this scenario. Rather, I'm focused on power and outputs. So, in this worker-led economy, I presume worker collectives would be voting for the policies and outputs. They also have to vote for who will be in charge of enforcing these policies. That would be some form of "manager" in this case making sure the outputs are getting produced and policies are being carried out. This requires managers to default to looking at bottom lines, outcomes, at the expense of workers. Thus, the power dynamic of the bourgiouse and the laborers will now just become a micro-version of the managers and the laborers. All forms of management, will create some hierarchy which will then exploit the people on the bottom, no matter what the system. So the problem doesn't stem necessarily from class, but the nature of labor itself. It will always end up with people ensuring output is getting completed and that in itself will create ways to exploit workers by overlooking the workers themselves for the output they create, and will simply create more systems which alienate them, etc. etc.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k


    Not that I'm a Marxist, so I'm not trying to argue in support of Marxism, but just in terms of this logically, if the workers are all getting an equal say in things, the company is worker-run by all workers, etc., then I don't see how it makes sense to suppose that everything is going to stay the same re managers exploiting other workers to get the most out of them. That wouldn't be all of the workers getting an equal say in things, etc., would it?
  • schopenhauer1
    3.3k
    That wouldn't be all of the workers getting an equal say in things, etc., would it?Terrapin Station

    No it wouldn't.. So you are now getting to the heart of the argument. What would the workers do to ensure products/services are being carried out? I would imagine there would still be hierarchies formed at some point.. if not voted in, then perhaps simply by shear abilities, the less-able workers will rely on the lead from the better-able workers, but then that becomes its own hierarchy. Someone has to coordinate and make sure that the product is being created in a timely way... this will lead to some people telling other people what to do, leading to the alienation and exploitation, but at a micro-level. There is no need for class- you just need 100 people or so in a work environment over a course of time with varying levels of abilities, and the need to produce X product in X amount of time (at least that's how modern economies seem to work). Deadlines, measurable outcomes, improvement plans, reallocation of resources, efficiencies, and the like will become wedge issues to exploit workers- get more out of them in less time, make working conditions harder, etc. etc. Sure, new people can get voted in, but they will just do the same thing, perhaps less so at the beginning, but then the managerial dilemma will ensue.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k


    You're still going to need structural hierarchies in some situations to produce things, but one thing that could be done is to rotate people in and out of positions--to take turns driving, basically.

    But even if you don't do that, since workers are having equal say regularly, someone trying to negatively exploit others doesn't sustain a power relationship where the people being exploited can't do anything about it.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.3k
    You're still going to need structural hierarchies in some situations to produce things, but one thing that could be done is to rotate people in and out of positions--to take turns driving, basically.

    But even if you don't do that, since workers are having equal say regularly, someone trying to negatively exploit others doesn't sustain a power relationship where the people being exploited can't do anything about it.
    Terrapin Station

    I just don't think it would be that simple. There's also group think- tyranny of the majority. Let's say you're part of the guild of the widget programmers... The other programmers are not to your liking. You don't like their style. Where do you go? Other widget programmer organizations? Who decides who is in and who is out? There has to be a level of coordination and autonomy to make decisions which a collective cannot always do. I am willing to bet either hierarchies will naturally form, or some form of exploitation, individual or group-based will ensue. Instead of an individual, it may be a process that becomes exploitive but deemed necessary. Then perhaps the labor itself is simply exploitive of the worker as the demands of the labor are such that the worker will simply need to be used and alienated for this product to be created.

    My overall point is that exploitation and alienation from labor at least in some areas of the economy, are intractable to the problem of labor itself- at least as we know it in the modern form of economy.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k
    I just don't think it would be that simple. There's also group think- tyranny of the majority. Let's say you're part of the guild of the widget programmers... The other programmers are not to your liking. You don't like their style. Where do you go? Other widget programmer organizations? Who decides who is in and who is out? There has to be a level of coordination and autonomy to make decisions which a collective cannot always do. I am willing to bet either hierarchies will naturally form, or some form of exploitation, individual or group-based will ensue. Instead of an individual, it may be a process that becomes exploitive but deemed necessary. Then perhaps the labor itself is simply exploitive of the worker as the demands of the labor are such that the worker will simply need to be used and alienated for this product to be created.schopenhauer1

    I can't answer some of those questions under Marxism because I just don't know (or remember if I knew at some point) enough about Marxism to know the procedural details. I don't recall how people are chosen or allowed (or whatever) to do a particular sort of job, for example.

    What I'd do under my system is allow anyone to do any sort of job they'd like to try, where they'd receive training in the job as required, but you'd just not get a lot of benefits from it until you were able to get to a point where you're able to provide things that people want/need with that job. That would discourage people from arbitrarily deciding that they want to try to be cardiovascular surgeons, etc. But my own system would be very different from Marxism.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.2k
    I don't think Uncle Karl was proposing a 'flat organization of society"; he wasn't a radical an-archist, after all, bent on eliminating every trace of hierarchy. You seem to be supposing that the ideal socialist arrangement would be 'flat' -- no hierarchies sticking up above the plain of equality.

    Some of the problems impinging on equality among workers are the province of human psychology and group dynamics. These human factors--ambition, cliques, group solidarity, insiders/outsiders, individual manipulations of the group and other individuals--will abide for ages to come, with or without a workers paradise. So, a primary task of people living in this workers paradise will be to self-manage the features of human psychology that work against social harmony.

    Remember that phrase, "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs". Everyone will have the exactly the same level of responsibilities, nor will everyone receive the same rewards. Some workers (say a worker with 5 children) will need more pay than a young single. Similarly, some workers will present managerial talents rather than excellent eye/hand coordination. Managing involves more complicated tasks than parts assembly. That doesn't mean that the manager deserves to be living in a penthouse. Managing the flow of work is just another job at which some people are better than others. A much higher level of thinking will be expected of brain researchers than will be expected of enterprise managers. Brain research is a job. Just because it is highly specialized and technically demanding, doesn't mean the brain researchers should live in palaces overlooking the ocean.

    This idea isn't altogether unknown and untried. The abbot of a Benedictine monastery has power and responsibilities greater than the average monk, but he still lives in a room like the other monks live in and eats the same food.

    Marx didn't lay out a blue print for a socialist society. The first seizure of power, where the capitalist possessors are dispossessed isn't the heart of the revolution. A redistribution of land isn't the critical step either. There are several preliminary steps. The real revolution is when the workers (who are, again, almost everyone in a society) begin to devise the kind of socialist economy and way of life that is workable and acceptable.

    A revolution can't be sprung on people. It's absurd to think that way. The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, leading eventually to the formation of the USSR, happened TO the people. The Maoist revolution in China happened TO the people. So, HOW a revolution comes about is a critical thing. I prefer a revolution that is the outcome of extensive organizing, political work, and education. If the final step has to be violent, so be it, but in many cases the violent element can be minimized.

    The people have to be involved in thinking about what kind of society they want, really, before the revolution begins. Hence, organizing, political work, and education. The instantiated revolution has to come FROM the people, not happen TO the people.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.2k
    But the main point of this thread is rather about the intractable problem of exploitation that Marx thinks can be resolved in his Manifesto and Das Kapital with a complete worker-led economy.schopenhauer1

    Here's a practical example that illustrates your point. A group of grass root food coops were organized in Minneapolis back in the late 1960s-1970s. They were shoestring operations using volunteer labor. In exchange for working x number of hours, one received a discount on one's whole grains, nuts, roots, cheese, whatever. They were kind of ratty, but had great esprit d'corps. Over time, they found their niche and flourished. A number of the original coops are still around 50 years later, and have become successful financial operations.

    The simple "coop" of the early movement couldn't survive. As sales increased, and consumer expectations of the coop rose, the operations had to become more 'professionalized'. "The People" wanted higher cleanliness standards, a wider variety of organic foods, longer hours, better lighting, and so on. Volunteers were and are still used, but the larger more complex operations require paid staff who can work with complex warehousing, health standards, commercial refrigeration, and all the rest. All to the good.

    However, the once grass rooty coops are now Co-op Corporations. They are owned by the members who receive discounts and bonuses from their shares in the coop. There has been dissatisfaction among the paid staff which sounds pretty much like the dissatisfaction one would hear about at any for-profit business: pay too low, no benefits, work-expectations too high, etc.

    The critical difference between the old, ratty grass-root coops and the shiny, clean corporate co-op is the form of ownership. The share-owners of the Co-op are the governing group, not the volunteer committee that ran the old coop. The alienating principle of ownership came into play fairly quickly. The share owners were stingy and unsympathetic to their paid workers. The volunteers began to feel like chumps, and drifted away -- requiring more paid workers who became resentful, etc.

    That's clearly NOT how socialism should work.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.2k
    In an economy serving 300 million, 500 million, or a billion plus people, there pretty much has to be a hierarchy of coordination. Supply chains from raw material to finished retail are just too complex to be managed in a decentralized way. Just for example: if an economy wants cell phones, flat screens, tablets, et al it has to have access to a string of rare earth elements, extremely thin but strong glass, all sorts of different grades of computer chips, and so on. I can't imagine how a decentralized manufacturing system could coordinate all these elements coming together in one place as the finished product.

    Or berries. It doesn't make sense for a grocery in West Cupcake, Iowa to find a way of obtaining supplies of raspberries beyond whatever happens to be growing near by. It takes a lot of hierarchical organization to get even one blueberry from Chile to West Cupcake.

    Maybe The People will decide that it is immoral to fly blueberries from Chile to West Cupcake. That would simplify that part of the problem. But if The People insist on blueberries, other methods of producing them closer to West Cupcake will have to be found. This can be (has been) done, but again it takes complex arrangements to bring about, and that takes hierarchical organization.

    Commissar: "After the Revolution there will strawberries for all!"
    Worker: "But Commissar, I don't like strawberries."
    Commissar: (growling) "After the Revolution you will like strawberries."
  • Bitter Crank
    8.2k
    Marx lived in the most advanced capitalist country of his day (Great Britain, empire and all), and was aware of how complex its economy was. He expected industry and technology to continue developing, and along with that, the complexity and variety of social life that is based on the means of production.

    I don't believe Marx ever laid out a blueprint for a socialist society. Comrade Lenin, Trotsky, et al had no input into Karl Marx's thinking. The resolution of the conflict between the contending forces of labor and capital was too indefinite to predict what could/would happen. It seems to me that Marx said somewhere that if the conflict between labor and capital wasn't resolved, it would result in the destruction of both classes.

    Marx wasn't thinking of CO2, global warming, mass extinction, and so forth, but in a way his production could come true: The capitalist insistence on externalizing (dumping) the real costs of production onto the people in the form of pollution, nuclear waste, CO2, etc., is clearly against the interests of the vast majority of people. It looks like we will all go down together.
  • Valentinus
    504

    Your observation that the means of production has its own social requirements reminds me of Ivan Illich who said the use of tools can overpower us as the ones who use them. While that perspective obviously is at odds with the idea of markets as a process to find the best form of life, it becomes more ambiguous regarding what Marx thought was necessary.

    While Marx said that changes in the means of production allowed labor to become commodities to the degree that workers were in a position to understand that they could not purchase themselves or work for themselves beyond exchanging their value for other commodities, that did not mean that mass production was a benefit in itself. The easiest way to refer to that element is to note his emphasis that the fetishism of commodities created false demand. A more difficult way is to understand the development of the proletariat as filled with unknowns. In contrast to the rise of the Bourgeoisie, the supposed end to this particular arc of history cannot use what has been made before to make the future.
  • ZhouBoTong
    445
    That doesn't mean that the manager deserves to be living in a penthouse. Managing the flow of work is just another job at which some people are better than others. A much higher level of thinking will be expected of brain researchers than will be expected of enterprise managers. Brain research is a job. Just because it is highly specialized and technically demanding, doesn't mean the brain researchers should live in palaces overlooking the ocean.Bitter Crank

    I really like this part. But when I say stuff like that, I get the sense that everyone else in the room thinks I am crazy. I am fairly confident that you are an American who has lived through more than a couple decades...Have you found more or less acceptance for these ideas in your life? I get the sense that from Reagan until a couple years ago, American mindsets were generally headed in the opposite direction - something along the lines of, "of course the manager and the brain researcher deserve more money! what do you mean why?!?! Isn't it obvious?!?!"

    Does that sound familiar to you? Maybe I just need to hang out in better circles :chin:

    And I don't know how you have a perfect mini-example ready to support every idea you have, but great stuff.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.2k
    Does that sound familiar to you? Maybe I just need to hang out in better circles :chin:ZhouBoTong

    Oh yes, very familiar. Americans have been receiving a steady diet of anti-socialist/anti-marxist/anti-communist education since at least the end of WWII. The last decade when one could find a lot of socialists around was the 1930s and the Great Depression. (Or so I gather I wasn't alive in the 1930s.)

    In fairness, Marx's ideas are really very radical. I think they make sense, but they are still very radical. He is, as they used to say, "far out". Where we have people trying Marxism--the USSR and China, particularly--the results were terrible. (Marx wasn't a marxist. He didn't attempt to instantiate his revolutionary predictions.)

    What we have instead are a couple of centuries of free-enterprise propaganda that insists, over and over again, that there is nothing better, more humane, more productive, better for the whole universe than The American Way of capitalism.

    I'm not a hard core Marxist. When there was a local movement, I participated in a DeLeonist interpretation of Marx promoted by the Socialist Labor Party, and later the New Unionist Party. More or less it's industrial unionism. Marx, Engels, DeLeon, and a lot of leaders of the various forms of socialism are 19th century figures. I mention that only in the context that one has to update their thinking. Updating it isn't an invalidation. But a lot of socialists, communists, trotskyites, stalinists, maoists, and so forth are really slavish followers of their hero. The Socialist Labor Party were slavish follows of Daniel DeLeon. I've read his stuff and there's nothing wrong with it, but the reality he was working in isn't the reality that prevails 120 years later.

    And I don't know how you have a perfect mini-example ready to support every idea you have, but great stuff.ZhouBoTong

    Being 72 helps, having a good memory helps, and of course not responding to topics where there is no handy mini example available is especially helpful.
  • I like sushi
    1.3k
    That doesn't mean that the manager deserves to be living in a penthouse. Managing the flow of work is just another job at which some people are better than others. A much higher level of thinking will be expected of brain researchers than will be expected of enterprise managers. Brain research is a job. Just because it is highly specialized and technically demanding, doesn't mean the brain researchers should live in palaces overlooking the ocean. — BitterCrank

    Well, the thing is people you specialise are specialised. Given that having a company full of managers would be pretty dumb the weight of responsibility falls on a few individuals. Such individuals require special abilities not everyone possesses OR is willing to learn. In other areas a person commits themselves to one specific area of interest in order to reap the benefits ... but they may fail. The issue is about planning, organisation, dedication and risk assessment. People good at this, who’ve put themselves in such positions, are more capable. You could argue that the workers can be their own manager, but I don’t see how that is going to work at all in high-end businesses because it is a matter of quick decision making not a matter of adding several layers of voting by people who spend more time dedicated to their role in the business - which would still have its own special perspective to some degree.

    It isn’t ‘fair’ that not everyone is capable of managing a company. So what? Neither is it ‘fair’ for someone to work 70+ hours a week and suffer the burden of responsibility when those below lose their jobs, complain and strike. A certain degree of resolve is needed to manage, and a good manager will be one respected by the workers and who respects the workers.

    Note: none of that is to say the system isn’t abused on every level.

    People are generally paid more for a job because they have taken a gamble of some kind be it due to the level of responsibility they take on, the amount of studying ina special field - one where the chance of success is minimal - and/or simply because they have a natural ability. Whatever the situation is if someone is an expert and giving back to society more than the average person (be it aesthetically or through creation of jobs/knowledge) then it makes sense to create an environment for these people to flourish in so we ALL real the benefits.

    Note: this is not how things always pan out, but the underlying principle is solid enough. At the extreme ends questions need to be asked for sure.

    Response to BitterCrank ...

    I really like this part. But when I say stuff like that, I get the sense that everyone else in the room thinks I am crazy. I am fairly confident that you are an American who has lived through more than a couple decades...Have you found more or less acceptance for these ideas in your life? I get the sense that from Reagan until a couple years ago, American mindsets were generally headed in the opposite direction - something along the lines of, "of course the manager and the brain researcher deserve more money! what do you mean why?!?! Isn't it obvious?!?!"

    Does that sound familiar to you? Maybe I just need to hang out in better circles :chin:

    And I don't know how you have a perfect mini-example ready to support every idea you have, but great stuff.
    — ZhouBoTong

    No, not ‘better circles’. You may as well say I need to hang out in an echo chamber. See above as to why some people get paid more for their work than others. It is pretty bloody obvious as people say. So damn obvious that its saddening this needs to be pointed out.

    Of course you be in favour of no innovation and a return to the stone age? In which case your position makes some sense, but you’d likely end up as a serf or slave due to the brutal nature of nature. My advice is to lap up the privilege you’ve inherited now because we’re living in a time of plenty so don’t be complacent with the knowledge and understanding that abounds.

    Jealousy is not the best principle to live by. Go make something of yourself :) then you can give your excess money to your employees and live in squalor. Do that and see what happens I beg you. If you’re successful you may actually change attitudes and convictions - I’d certainly wish you all the best and cheerlead our efforts :)

    Good luck xx
  • ZhouBoTong
    445
    Well, the thing is people you specialise are specialised. Given that having a company full of managers would be pretty dumb the weight of responsibility falls on a few individuals. Such individuals require special abilities not everyone possesses OR is willing to learn. In other areas a person commits themselves to one specific area of interest in order to reap the benefits ... but they may fail. The issue is about planning, organisation, dedication and risk assessment. People good at this, who’ve put themselves in such positions, are more capable. You could argue that the workers can be their own manager, but I don’t see how that is going to work at all in high-end businesses because it is a matter of quick decision making not a matter of adding several layers of voting by people who spend more time dedicated to their role in the business - which would still have its own special perspective to some degree.

    It isn’t ‘fair’ that not everyone is capable of managing a company. So what? Neither is it ‘fair’ for someone to work 70+ hours a week and suffer the burden of responsibility when those below lose their jobs, complain and strike. A certain degree of resolve is needed to manage, and a good manager will be one respected by the workers and who respects the workers.
    I like sushi

    Of course you be in favour of no innovation and a return to the stone age? In which case your position makes some sense, but you’d likely end up as a serf or slave due to the brutal nature of nature. My advice is to lap up the privilege you’ve inherited now because we’re living in a time of plenty so don’t be complacent with the knowledge and understanding that abounds.

    Jealousy is not the best principle to live by. Go make something of yourself :) then you can give your excess money to your employees and live in squalor. Do that and see what happens I beg you. If you’re successful you may actually change attitudes and convictions - I’d certainly wish you all the best and cheerlead our efforts :)
    I like sushi

    Speaking of echo chamber. I have had this conversation before. I will come back to it and think about whether it can go anywhere that either of us has not been before (I am sure you have argued against plenty of communist-types and I have argued against plenty of libertarians - I am not saying you are libertarian, I certainly am not communist, but you probably get the idea)
  • I like sushi
    1.3k
    There are good aspects to bad ideas as always. Let us leave it that :) My little jibe was more or less about the benefits of listening to who most strongly disagrees with you ... but in reality we all draw the line somewhere.

    We’re certainly at a point in human history where economics are going to have to be rethought.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.3k
    can't imagine how a decentralized manufacturing system could coordinate all these elements coming together in one place as the finished product.Bitter Crank

    I look at it this way: The situation now is that larger business owners, corporations, non-profits, and governmental organizations need workers to make a profit and grow. Workers need money to exchange for goods/services now and into the future (i.e. savings and investments).

    The business owners/corporations/non-profits/governmental organizations are like the Barrons, Dukes, Princes, and Lords of the Middle Ages. That is to say, they own the means of production, and they are the gateway who confers if the workers are let in an get paid. The workers have to live for their working-time at the Lord's estate by the Lord's rules, policies, and sometimes his whims. If the worker doesn't like it, he can leave, but of course he will risk financial insecurity in the transition, and possibly reputation when trying to grovel to the next Lord to get the necessary resources to sustain a comfortable life.

    The Lords, by default, set the standards so that the peasantry have to move about from Lord to Lord looking for resources and protection (i.e. work) to survive. This situation "seems" fair, but really isn't. However, though the Marxist vision would solve this problem of moving from Lord to Lord and Fiefdom to Fiefdom, being at the behest of these petty-rulers, the Marxist schema wouldn't seem to avoid, the exploitation of the managers/government officials/planners/enforcers any more than now. I think the problem of coordinating work at industrial levels (barring super advanced robots/pipedream) simply cannot avoid this problem of being used by whoever is on top (be they a group of people or just one individual).
  • ZhouBoTong
    445
    My little jibe was more or less about the benefits of listening to who most strongly disagrees with youI like sushi

    I was in a strange mood and responded a bit defensively (I would apologize but I think you were the one who told me to stop doing that :grimace: ). Arguing is what we do here.

    I was actually joking when I said that line about "hanging in better circles". I get bored talking to people that just agree with me. Coming to this forum has been exciting because I have never had people that agree with me, also offer new ideas that I haven't entirely considered. So I was responding to Bitter Crank in that light, and was caught off guard by a libertarian argument (not that it was out of place).

    I need to remember though, that just as people who agree with me here are smarter than many in the real world, you people who disagree, also may have something to add that I have not heard before. I need to go back through and re-read but I will just ask one question in relation to what I was responding to B. Crank about:

    So, we were saying managers and other highly skilled people should not necessarily get the penthouse, etc. You seem to disagree (hehe). What I want to ask is, How much do the managers/owners deserve?

    How much more should they be paid compared to the lowest paid full-time employee?

    10%? 100%? 1000%? 10,000%?

    Even I would agree that 10% doesn't work. But I would say 100% is about right. However, today, there are many examples of 10,000% (that is 100 times more). If we count the stock market as a different type of earnings related to the business then the top dogs get even more (Bezos, Musk, Gates, etc earn one million percent more - simple math 50,000 to 5 billion). Should we just accept that as the cost of doing business? Maybe you think you can convince me that they DESERVE that much more? If you are thinking of trying to convince me, just know that I will take things to extremes and ask things like "why don't they deserve even more?"
  • I like sushi
    1.3k
    I don’t believe they shouldn’t get paid large sums. You should tag BC for a response.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.2k
    Your suggestion is my command.

    "why don't they deserve even more?"ZhouBoTong

    The amount of reward that anyone in a company receives -- wage earners, managers, or stock owners, has to be balanced against the needs of the company. If one pays out too much to any one group, the other two groups have to receive less. And the more one pays out, the less there is to retain for research and development to insure future growth.

    As a stockholder, one might object to management collecting too much money, thus reducing the size of their dividends. Workers who aren't getting pay raises object to management getting huge raises. Managers are in the game to get ahead, and they resent limits on their income. No body is entitled to specific share (unless it is workers, who from a socialist perspective, deserve it all).

    Society's interest also matters. If too much wealth is being diverted to too small a group of people (like top managers and the largest stock holders) the broad needs of society are likely to be shorted. The rich can not spend all of their money, really. If you earn 50 million a year, how can you actually go out and spend it? You can't. So you accumulate most of it, and it keeps getting bigger and bigger. Meanwhile, the larger needs of society are not getting met. It is worth noting that the prosperity of society at large is the critical base for building wealth.

    That's my theory and I'm sticking with it.
  • I like sushi
    1.3k
    Has anyone read “The Bottom Billion” ? Interesting book. Easy reading economics book where the author looks at the factors which play into a countries prosperity.

    He emphasizes about the geopolitical factors and basic infrastructure. Where trading goods is of huge importance to a country and the neighbouring countries current condition plays into this - this can be seen in war-torn Africa over the decades. Once a period of military stability occurs nations generally pull themselves our of poverty to some degree.

    That was just ONE of the things he talked about in the book.

    I don’t personally see how the so called “fat cats” at the top are going to go away anytime soon. I imagine that once more people are relatively ‘comfortable’ (financially stable enough) then the force of weight piled on by public option will shift focus toward them a little more. At the moment it appears such super rich persons are a necessary part, and partial burden, of global economic progression.

    Without “excess” there is more room for risk. I’m not saying this is a bad or good thing. They do say ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ so it could be that having “less” as much as having “excess” drives innovation? Who knows? Some figures in that area would be interesting to see if anyone can put any forward?
  • ZhouBoTong
    445
    No body is entitled to specific share (unless it is workers, who from a socialist perspective, deserve it all).Bitter Crank

    nicely done :rofl:

    That's my theory and I'm sticking with it.Bitter Crank

    Well, it works for me.

    Has anyone read “The Bottom Billion” ? Interesting book. Easy reading economics book where the author looks at the factors which play into a countries prosperity.I like sushi

    I have not, but I just read a summary. It seems accurate, but seems more concerned with the bottom 50% of countries (bottom based on economics, security, etc). Doesn't Marxist theory assume economies have reached a certain level (maybe we need @Bitter Crank to answer that one)?

    Based on the summary it almost seems to be addressing how countries get out of poverty - separate from their system of economics. The 4 traps seem to apply to any type of government or economic system. Also, when the traps are removed, improvements occur no matter which type of government/economy. Am I getting that right?

    I think I have heard a similar argument aimed at Russia - It doesn't matter what type of government or economy they have, the end result will be massive corruption.
  • thedeadidea
    98
    Does Marxism even have a proof positive, clearly elaborated game plan of governance... I thought they called Marx the economist of economists as an obscurantist apologia come Winston Churchill defense of democracy that he really has no economic theories at all.

    It would be hard to avoid exploitation wholesale unless one implements the secret plan the Marxist final solution making all white cisgendered anglophile males what Jews were to the German Nazis...

    You get a scapegoat you can do whatever you want.
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