• Maw
    1.6k
    a bit insecure, hence his 'contemptuously dismissive' comments.... Nevertheless, he is incredibly well readritikew

    I'm not "contemptuously dismissive" because I'm "insecure". I'm contemptuously dismissive because I'm "incredibly well read" while being an "intelligent bloke" :smirk:

    I also haven't considered myself to be a libertarian socialist since around 2015, or since whenever I read Mariana Mazzucato's book, The Entrepreneurial State.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.4k
    but, not in the same manner as when Marx was describing the socio-economic's of Germany or England some 152 years ago.Wallows

    And what is it about the class situation that Marx observed that is so different today?

    1/3 of the population gets a college education. 1 out of 3. 2 out of 3 do not. Yes, if you are sufficiently poor, there is limited financial assistance available. But let's not kid ourselves: People are borrowing real money to pay for living expenses during college, tuition, books, fees, transportation, etc. But sure, education is available to far more people now than 150 years ago.

    In 2007, the top 20% wealthiest possessed 80% of all financial assets. In 2007 the richest 1% of the American population owned 35% of the country's total wealth, and the next 19% owned 51%. Thus, the top 20% of Americans owned 86% of the country's wealth and the bottom 80% of the population owned 14%.

    The poorest 10th of the population owe more than they own. 100 million Americans have less than $5000 saved for retirement. The average amount of savings for retirement is about $90,000. 90k is better than nothing, but if, after you retire, you don't own your house outright; if you have uncovered medical / dental expenses; if you have to buy a car; the $90K will disappear very quickly.

    A large share of Americans have a desperate to precarious financial future.

    I'll grant you: the grinding poverty and crude exploitation of the industrial revolution in the mid 19th century has been replaced by a kinder, gentler exploitation and redundancy than what Karl Marx or Charles Dickens observed. We eliminated child labor (in many parts of the world); plants are generally much safer now than they were then; the daily hours worked is far fewer now than in Marx's day (in the US and Europe). Living conditions are better for most people now than in the past.

    But be careful how you compare. Having indoor plumbing (today) is much better than using an outhouse. Having hot and cold running water, a flush toilet, and screens on the windows makes life much better now than it was in 1850. However, in 1850 hot and cold water on tap, flush toilets, screens on the windows, central heating (or adequate heating), were rare for EVERYBODY.

    People do not feel much gratification in being told that their lives are shitty compared to the people who rule over them, but their lives are really quite grand compared to people who lived 150 years ago.
  • Wallows
    9k
    And what is it about the class situation that Marx observed that is so different today?Bitter Crank

    Well, every manager understands that shit-paid jobs and unhappy workers don't contribute to productivity. Furthermore, the demand for labor has gone up significantly since Marxs' time. At the very least, these two factors contribute to better wages and economic growth. I'm not sure about this; but, Marx incorrectly assumed that wants and desires can be satisfied, which if you go the grocery store and see a multiplicity of superior and inferior goods, then that's all that needs proving in regards to the issue.

    People do not feel much gratification in being told that their lives are shitty compared to the people who rule over them, but their lives are really quite grand compared to people who lived 150 years ago.Bitter Crank

    So, when will things start appearing as rosy and good for your tastes? Just wondering what kind of standards for social mobility you have in mind here?
  • Wallows
    9k
    Just an addendum to the previous post. Many of the factors contributing to the designation of being a "proletarian" in Marx's days have all but disappeared. Worker alienation? Pretty much gone. etc..
  • ssu
    1.6k
    we have an example here of a country, within which there are free and fair elections, i.e. democratic contra authoritative, and the government owns the majority of the wealth and controls several key companies which are vital to the economy. This certainly seems to me like a step in the direction of a workable socialism.Maw

    So what you are basically arguing is that state capitalism is a step into socialism: countries investing their revenue into the stock market (of other countries) is socialism, which sounds very funny. But I guess you look at megacorporations like BP or Equinor (former Statoil) and see wonderful examples of steps towards socialism...

    Because that wealth that you are talking about, the Norwegian 1 trillion dollar wealth fund (Government Pension Fund Global), which was last year worth about $195,000 per every Norwegian citizen (which explains the stats you desperately cling on to as evidence of a step towards socialism), invests in the global stock market and hence just embraces the globalized capitalist system. The fund doesn't at all invest in Norwegian companies as the Norwegians understand the negative consequences such move could have (which truly would be genuinely a way to socialism...and also a path to inefficiency and possible corruption).

    The Nordic system, along with worker cooperatives, etc. etc. being a step in the right direction.Maw
    Basically a step to the right from traditional socialism, I'd say.

    What you are totally missing (and likely won't even bother think about) is that the system isn't at all "a step in the right" direction. Having government owned companies simply doesn't change the capitalist system. It's not a precursor to socialism. Especially when these arrangements have been done in unison with the right wing parties: for example Statoil was formed by a unanimous act passed by the Storting, the Norwegian parliament. What is crucial to notice that these kind of acts by the government don't attack capitalism and do not try to change the model to socialism.

    That Equinor (the state oil company of Norway) competes in other markets than just on Norwegian territory show the efficiency and the market driven mentality and the success of the company. The dismal performance for example of the Venezuelan PDVSA shows how socialism wrecks things (even if the company wasn't performing well either when the country was run by a right-wing administration). The whole narrative of "curse of oil" is actually about the perils of nationalization of a lucrative industry (which doesn't ask much if anything from the labour force in the country).

    And do you live in the Nordic countries? I do. Referring to your "workers" cooperatives, the most successful cooperatives here are simply consumer owned cooperatives that are managed totally like modern corporations. They have just the exception to other corporations that the "member card"-program is simply an "owner"-card program. In Finland we have cooperatives that simply dominate the retail market and have pushed out the "Mom and Pop "-stores out. Cooperatives that did fail here were those owned by Finnish Communist Party as they simply weren't well lead well, which just show how lousy true communists are at capitalism (or managing anything).
  • ritikew
    12
    is a specific tax policy sufficient for doing a socialism now?Maw

    wut? Can't even make any sense of that sentence.

    I didn't say that Norway was a socialist country.Maw

    The article doesn't hide the percentage of national wealth owned by the state when homeownership is factored in, which is nearly 60%. What's the problem?Maw

    What you attempt to insinuate is that the Norwegian government owns/controls 60% (or the majority) of the means of production in the country. Let's accept your flawed logic to that number of 60% for sake of argument. It includes Oil fund that is literally twice their entire economy and the vast majority of it is in foreign assets. Like I stated above, as you can see, the representative number is more around 38%, Norway is mostly privatised.
  • ritikew
    12
    As for the

    so far from what I have seen here, pretty much correct on Marx's work. — ritikew

    ...part, feel free to make the case. I'm certainly not here claiming to be any kind of expert on Marxist theory myself.

    I just don't find it persuasive when someone's entire argument is "Hey, I've read the book, so I know." Especially when it's a long and complex book, and it seems that there are plenty of other folks who've also read the book and "know" differently.
    Theologian

    Maw has gone down the path of revisionism. So he was quite sensitive to dismiss your deterministic interpretation of Marx, hence his autistic and insecure response. It is not a popular view that is being held among Marxists, so I would not sweat too much over his comments.

    Marx's teleological view of history is a more common interpretation and so your 'deterministic' remark is not as ignorant as Maw insinuates here, albeit perhaps not very accurate. Marx held the view that capitalism is fundamentally unstable that would collapse due to its internal contradictions.

    By the way, a tip, if you decide to read on Marx, note that he uses very specific and situated definitions that highly depend on their context for their meaning and purpose. It makes his work confusing and tough to read directly. A typical continental philosopher.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    He is an outspoken leftist (not Marxist though, as he leans more towards anarchism/left wing libertarianism), a bit insecure, hence his 'contemptuously dismissive' comments and a bit autistic when it comes to social interaction.ritikew

    I am actually autistic, and flippant uses of the term, as above, are not helpful. Understanding autism is hard enough without people saying (for example) "on the spectrum" when they really mean something else. Thanks. :smile:
  • Maw
    1.6k
    Because that wealth that you are talking about, the Norwegian 1 trillion dollar wealth fund (Government Pension Fund Global), which was last year worth about $195,000 per every Norwegian citizen (which explains the stats you desperately cling on to as evidence of a step towards socialism), invests in the global stock market and hence just embraces the globalized capitalist system. The fund doesn't at all invest in Norwegian companies as the Norwegians understand the negative consequences such move could have (which truly would be genuinely a way to socialism...and also a path to inefficiency and possible corruption).ssu

    No, the Sovereign Trust Fund is a component of the wealth that I am talking about. The other being the 70+ SOEs that comprise a majority of Norway's GDP, wealth stemming from land ownership, and nearly 30% ownership of stocks on Norway's domestic Oslo Stock Exchange. In fact, the Sovereign Trust Fund wasn't established until 1990, and didn't receive in-flow until six years later, at which point the Norwegian government nevertheless owned nearly 40% of the nation's wealth. This latter fund, the Government Pension Fund of Norway, was established 50 years ago and invests in many large Norwegian companies. Such a shame they couldn't have known of the "terrible consequences" and the "inefficiency" and "corruption" you are speaking about. My point is that these are workable solutions that step away from capitalism towards a "flavor", if you will, of socialism i.e. government managed wealth used to fund the welfare of a state within which there are free and fair elections so that even a right-wing party is able to win elections (although I'd wager that Norway's Conservative Party is still to the left of America's Democratic Party). To my mind, any sort of meaningful socialism necessarily (but not sufficiently) requires collective ownership of wealth. Is Norway a "socialist" country? No, but certainly such a system is more ideologically aligned with socialism than it is with capitalism
  • Maw
    1.6k
    What you attempt to insinuate is that the Norwegian government owns/controls 60% (or the majority) of the means of production in the country.ritikew

    Ownership of wealth doesn't mean ownership of the means of production. They own 70+ SOEs, but that doesn't constitute 60% ownership of the country's wealth.

    Who is this by the way, you are running around claiming I'm autistic and insecure several times, I think you should probably just say who you are.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.4k
    Well, every manager understands that shit-paid jobs and unhappy workers don't contribute to productivity. Furthermore, the demand for labor has gone up significantly since Marx's time. At the very least, these two factors contribute to better wages and economic growth.Wallows

    Comparing conditions many decades apart is always difficult. One can used 'chained consumer price indexing" only so far back before it becomes questionable. We can be reasonably certain that US $1 in 1913 is equivalent to $25 in 2018. Then we have to compare income figures and cost of living. That gets more difficult. A good share of what people bought in 1953 or 2013 wasn't available in 1913.

    It's much more difficult to work back to the 1850 UK £1 and compare it to 2018 £1. The demand for labor went up, did it not, because economies became larger? Certainly the demand for labor in mid 19th century was fairly high. Many hands were needed to tend the new machines.

    That the quality of life for many workers is better now than 160 years ago is certainly true. Were we to return all of the manufacturing to the United States that has been off-shored over the last 70 years, we might not say the same thing. A lot of the jobs that are being done now in China, Bangladesh, or Malaysia are manufacturing and assembly jobs that used to be done here. The workers in SE Asia are being paid shit wages. Were shoes, clothing, plastic products, and so on to be manufactured again in the US -- with prices staying as low as they are now -- it is likely that the wages and quality of work life in the US would take a nose dive.

    So, when will things start appearing as rosy and good for your tastes? Just wondering what kind of standards for social mobility you have in mind here?Wallows

    Many of the factors contributing to the designation of being a "proletarian" in Marx's days have all but disappeared. Worker alienation? Pretty much gone. etc.Wallows

    Not really. "Proletarian" just means "working-class person, worker, working person, plebeian, commoner, ordinary person, man/woman/person in the street". If you are paid a wage for doing work, whether that be repairing railroad tracks or working as an accountant for the railroad in an air conditioned office, you are still a worker -- a member of the proletarian class.

    "Alienation" as Marx defined it, is a technical term -- different than existential alienation. A worker is "alienated from the product of his labor" by the terms of employment. The employee comes to work, does a fine job and turns out a great product, but the company owns the product, sells it, and keeps the profit. The worker has no control over the stuff he makes. That's what "alienation" means for Marx.

    Marx would likely have understood the existentialists "alienation", had he been around to read Camus.

    I don't think alienation of either the Marxist variety or the existential variety has been even slightly diminished. I'd say it is worse than ever. A lot of the unhealthy, crazy behaviour we see in society is actually the heroic effort on the part of many people to dull their pain, their alienation.
  • Wallows
    9k
    Who is this by the way, you are running around claiming I'm autistic and insecure several times, I think you should probably just say who you are.Maw

    A troll that needs validation...
  • Wallows
    9k


    But, I mean... You do agree that the welfare of the proletariat is getting better? My analysis in the OP points towards a future, where having astronomical sums of money doesn't correlate with increased wellbeing. I'm thinking about how to put this another way. If the purchasing power of my money increases to the point of being able to afford the same goods as my bourgeoise counterpart, then that would seem to imply that instead of the rift between the two growing apart, they are actually converging.

    Please keep in mind, that even if the money bag has a lot of capital, then that still is irrelevant to the contrasting effect it has to the poor bloke given that the same goods can be attained at a lower cost to both parties. But, I do concede that the money bag will have an absolute advantage over the proletariat in terms of expanding his or her influence in terms of job creation or self-sufficiency through investing in the market.
  • Doug1943
    22
    Up until some point in the 1970s, the idea of a centralized planned economy -- with 'production for need, not for profit' -- appeared to many people to be the next step forward for the human race. The shortcomings of capitalism were obvious, and, for many years, the advantages of the planned economy appeared obvious. Even those who disapproved of the Communist countries lack of political freedoms aknowledged their apparent dramatic economic progress.

    If you studied economics in the 1960s, one of your textbooks on the Soviet economy would have, on its cover, a graph showing GNP growth of the US vs the USSR. The latter started far behind the US, but the gradient of its growth curve was far steeper than the American one: the Soviets seemed to be growing at about 7% a year, vs the Americans' 3%. The curves, if extrapolated, crossed some time near the end of the century.

    Then ... Well, the story is best told by a remarkable novel by Francis Spufford,Red Plenty. There, you can see the living human reality of what certain economists had much earlier determined as the central flaw of a non-market economy: the inability to set rational prices. (This is called 'the economic calculation problem', or 'the socialist calculation problem'.)

    The wise Chinese rapidly abandoned Central Planning, while retaining Party control. The Soviets followed fifteen years later. Now only Cuba and North Korea still retain this model. A visit to Cuba is an eye-opener in terms of the realities of the planned economy. Watching queues of people waiting patiently to receive their food rations should tell you all you need to know about socialism.

    Today no one argues that 'socialism is more efficient than capitalism' (which was a central premise of Marx, who himself praised capitalism for liberating the productive forces, the growth of which he rightly understood to be the key which would allow us to leave the kingdom of necessity and enter the kingdom of freedom).

    Instead, socialism is redefined to mean some form of social-democracy: a kinder, gentler capitalism, where someone else pays your college tuition. Or it's motivated in terms that ignore the economic question.

    A few brave souls have tried to rescue socialism by proposing some form of quasi-market for a socialist economy, or indeed 'market socialism', but since the main appeal of socialism is emotional and ethical, few take much interest in their ideas. In particular, the working class, even in countries in which it used to be socialist, has abandoned this ideology. It's now held -- or rather the word is used -- by privileged young college students, on their way to a cushy job with a global corporation.

    It's sort of like secular Christianity: lip-service is paid to it, but no one actually expects its Coming, or orders their own personal life according to its ideals.
  • ZhouBoTong
    507
    If the purchasing power of my money increases to the point of being able to afford the same goods as my bourgeoise counterpart, then that would seem to imply that instead of the rift between the two growing apart, they are actually converging.Wallows

    If the purchasing powers are close to equal, that sounds correct. But they have to be close to equal, at the same time. If I can suddenly buy a Ferrari and a mansion, but the bourgeoisie is now buying spaceships and planets, then I am still reaching for the pitchfork and torches. Will the majority of people ever be satisfied as the "under" class?
  • Wallows
    9k
    If the purchasing powers are close to equal, that sounds correct. But they have to be close to equal, at the same time. If I can suddenly buy a Ferrari and a mansion, but the bourgeoisie is now buying spaceships and planets, then I am still reaching for the pitchfork and torches. Will the majority of people ever be satisfied as the "under" class?ZhouBoTong

    Well, the standard of measure should be the human happiness index. If buying a Tesla Model 3 is within the means of the proletarian, then I can't imagine a better product a bourgeoisie could purchase that would increase satisfaction.
  • ZhouBoTong
    507
    If buying a Tesla Model 3 is within the means of the proletarian, then I can't imagine a better product a bourgeoisie could purchase that would increase satisfaction.Wallows

    I tend to agree. But that is why I used a more obvious example. And since 99%+ of the planet today cannot afford a Model 3, it suggests we have a long way to go.
  • iolo
    126
    The difficulty with all these discussions is one of definition. Most people now use 'communism' to mean despotic state capitalism and 'socialism', except in the 'States, to mean a vague and fairly meaningless Good Thing that, like the Second Coming, is showing no signs of coming about any time soon. What I - and many other people - mean by socialism is political control by the (vast majority) working class rather than the very small minority of capitalists, and by 'communism', as far as I give it much thought, I mean the stage at which we can do away totally with the state and all the rest of that archaic nonsense. I tend to feel that the heat has been taken out of this discussion by the extreme likelihood that humanity isn't going to last more than a century or so anyway, but it would be interesting to hear what other people thought.
  • Doug1943
    22
    You are right that the words 'socialism' and 'communism' have been pretty much drained of all content. There are various reasons for this: some people, especially in the US, use 'sociaiism' to mean anything that might result in some redistribution of their income, unless it's for funding the Military or Israel. And since the first successful seizure of power by explicit Marxists, in Russia over a century ago, resulted in societies that were pretty unpleasant, many socialists want to sever the use of the word 'socialism' from any reference to those societies, by insisting that some form of democracy is part of the central core definition of socialism.

    So what about this as a definition of 'genuine' socialism: the means of production are owned/controlled collectively, and the collective body that owns/controls them is subject to democratic control by the working class.

    That would rule out both capitalist welfare states, however pleasant, and the current and former Communist societies.

    I personally would add that the collective ownership/control of the means of production precludes competition among the collectively-owned enterprises: the workers in one steel plant don't try to win contracts away from another steel plant, and don't compete with them to produce a better product at a lower price. No one is made unemployed, no factory can go out of business, any difference in wages is directly due to differences in skills or responsibilities: so a skilled worker might make more than an unskilled one, but two equally-skilled workers in two different plants will have the same wage for the same work. Production is centrally planned, albeit by a body subject to democratic control. I believe this is how socialism has always been conceived of by most socialists.

    I say that "I personally" would include this in the description of genuine socialism, but I know there are thoughtful socialists who envision a socialist society where the market is still in play -- workers would compete against each other, and prices and production would be set by blind market forces rather than by conscious planning. This seems to contradict the spirit of socialism, however, which envisions production for human need -- as determined by the democratically-elected central planning body -- rather than for profit. But since some socialists claim that central planning is not necessary, I just add it as an appendix.
  • iolo
    126
    Doug - I don't find much to disagree with in that.
  • ssu
    1.6k
    No, the Sovereign Trust Fund is a component of the wealth that I am talking about.Maw
    The Norwegian Pension Fund system compromises of two wealth funds.

    Such a shame they couldn't have known of the "terrible consequences" and the "inefficiency" and "corruption" you are speaking about.Maw
    :roll:

    So just why then they decided NOT TO invest the larger funds money into the domestic market. I think they know a bit more about investing than you do. And also have avoided the so abundant pitfalls from the easy money that oil wealth brings that are so common in other countries.

    My point is that these are workable solutions that step away from capitalism towards a "flavor", if you will, of socialismMaw
    Sure, but that is something called reaching a consensus in politics. You have to remember that these kind of policies, especially the so-called socialist welfare programs, were here accepted and done together with right-wing parties. As I've always said, a right-wing conservative from a Nordic country would seem to an American as a left-leaning Democrat, if not a pinko liberal. Yet again the social democrats here are also different breed from genuine socialists. Again the power of consensus politics.

    To my mind, any sort of meaningful socialism necessarily (but not sufficiently) requires collective ownership of wealth.Maw
    But it should be also noted that collective ownership of wealth, just cooperatives, go perfectly at hand with capitalism: let's remember that Bismarck wasn't a socialist, but was trying to fight socialism with the government lead social security system, which is exactly that collective ownership of wealth.

    Bismarck was motivated to introduce social insurance in Germany both in order to promote the well-being of workers in order to keep the German economy operating at maximum efficiency, and to stave-off calls for more radical socialist alternatives. Despite his impeccable right-wing credentials, Bismarck would be called a socialist for introducing these programs, as would President Roosevelt 70 years later. In his own speech to the Reichstag during the 1881 debates, Bismarck would reply: "Call it socialism or whatever you like. It is the same to me."

    220px-Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-2005-0057%2C_Otto_von_Bismarck.jpg
  • Doug1943
    22

    I think the most interesting socialists are those who have tried to grapple with 'the Socialist Calculation Question' put by the 'Austrian' economists, and who have advanced models of socialism that supposedly deal with it.

    I would urge all serious socialists ( who would like to see socialism in the sense used above, ie. collective ownership of the means of production, under democratic control) to read Francis Spufford's Red Plenty and then to think about how the problems described there would be dealt with in a democratic regime.
  • Frotunes
    114
    When a society becomes truly socialist it would already have become communist.
  • Maw
    1.6k
    So just why then they decided NOT TO invest the larger funds money into the domestic market.ssu

    You said originally said that the internal fund "doesn't at all invest in Norwegian companies as the Norwegians understand the negative consequences such move could have", the obvious answer simply being 1) that it's a fund dedicated to international stocks, not domestic stocks, because 2) they have had sizable investments for 30+ years prior in their domestic stock. 1/3 ownership in their domestic is already a sizable percentage.

    Sure, but that is something called reaching a consensus in politics. You have to remember that these kind of policies, especially the so-called socialist welfare programs, were here accepted and done together with right-wing parties. As I've always said, a right-wing conservative from a Nordic country would seem to an American as a left-leaning Democrat, if not a pinko liberal. Yet again the social democrats here are also different breed from genuine socialists. Again the power of consensus politics.ssu

    It's at least nice that the Nordic countries can agree on a strong welfare state, strong worker's rights, and other common sense policies and programs that should be a foundation to a developed country. But the GOP has mostly turned away from consensus politics since the 90s and have only escalated their Machiavellianism since McConnell took the helm, while simultaneous turning farther to the right.
  • ssu
    1.6k
    It's at least nice that the Nordic countries can agree on a strong welfare state, strong worker's rights, and other common sense policies and programs that should be a foundation to a developed country.Maw
    But notice the other side of what it means to have political consensus: it means that the social democrats go just fine with the implementation of right wing policies too. Especially when the market mechanism does work. It can be quite easily argued that the Nordic countries like Sweden or Finland were far more socialist and centrally governed in the 1960's and 1970's than now. Hence these countries aren't on the path to more socialism, but are what is called mixed economies.

    I'll give you a good example. In the 1970's there was a structural overdemand of rental housing. Hence the government's idea at that time was regulate the market... which made things worse. Once when the new regulations came into law, the supply of rental houses simply vanished. My great aunt rented flats back then and she would get one hundred responses from one ad for a flat in the newspaper. So desperate were people that some even sent the first months rent in a letter to her. Even in the 90's there was still this huge demand for flats: for one opening she would have her phone ringing all the day and tens of people would come to see the flat, any flat. Then the government decided to end the regulation and have total freedom in making the tenancy agreement. This opened for even companies to be established that rent out flats. And finally the market was balanced. If you know rent a flat, only at the time when schools are starting are there any crowds. Nobody talks about problems in rental housing anymore as it simply isn't a problem anymore. And needless to say, since the 1990's we have had social democrats in power and they haven't changed the decisions. When the free market mechanism works, why bother?

    Political hacks never raise this issue of adapting things from the other side of the political aisle. The only acceptable narrative is to list the problems which the other side creates and things that don't work thanks to the other sides policies. Reminding people that Bismarck really wasn't a socialist, but founded with social security one of the bedrocks of the 'leftist' welfare state, isn't something that the ideologues on both sides want to admit.

    But the GOP has mostly turned away from consensus politics since the 90s and have only escalated their MachiavellianismMaw
    In the US winner takes it all. And when you have just two parties, no need for consensus.

    I genuinely fear that the type of political tribalism, the demonization of the other side and the refusal of any kind of political consensus is creeping into the Nordic countries too.

    It's starts with a refusal to engage with parties that are deemed 'populist'. The best thing to happen here was that then called "True Finns" party was after an election victory let in to the new administration. And then the mass migration event to Europe happened while they were in the administration. This lead the party to break up. Now they have regained the support after being in the opposition and I hope that the new central-leftist administration won't follow the example of Sweden and simply announce that they will never do anything with the party. Parliamentarism needs that the various parties do seek consensus and to have a dialogue.
  • Cabbage Farmer
    204
    Marx outlined two phases of progress that must be completed before communism can prevail. Essentially, he outlined the reason why we should move from capitalism to socialism, and finally from socialism to communism.

    However, I don't believe we will ever be able to make the leap from socialism to communism.
    Wallows
    What's the difference between socialism and communism according to you and Marx?

    Here's why... Socialism is the golden mean between the benefits of progress and prosperity that competition entails under capitalism,Wallows
    What, according to you, are "the benefits of progress and prosperity" entailed by capitalist competition?

    What are the drawbacks, or socioeconomic costs, associated with those "benefits", and with the capitalist economic system that, by your account, entails these benefits?

    whilst preserving the benefits of the proto-communist state through high taxation and redistributive policies.Wallows
    What are the "benefits" of the proto-communist state? Why proto- here, and not all the way?

    Is taxation essential? Can't they just do away with money entirely, and distribute labor and other resources according to whatever reasonable consensus may be achieved in good faith by the community of human beings?

    What are the constraints on this exercise in political imagination?

    However, given my understanding of the issue, when no more progress can be instilled through capitalism, such as machines replacing the labor force (which will happen soon), then there is a shift in the balance towards the appeal of communism.Wallows
    I suppose that's one way things could go.

    When does it happen that a capitalist socioeconomic organization loses the capacity "to make progress"?

    Perhaps you've heard the same sort of rumors I've heard along these lines: The capitalist system tends to generate socioeconomic crises by periodically misallocating resources. But why should we expect that some period of crises will put a definitive end to the sort of economic system we call capitalist? Doesn't it seem about as likely that capitalism will continue to adapt itself to historical circumstances? I see no reason to suppose we can predict the outcome, as if according to some Gothic teleology.
  • NOS4A2
    1.1k


    Socialists like Engels and Lenin postulated the withering away of the state, the idea that coercing people to socialism would at some point become unnecessary and the state apparatus would slowly disappear. This turned out to be false, and the state only became more powerful. The bridge from capitalism to communism—socialism—turned out to be false. Socialism is a bridge to totalitarianism.
  • Rolf
    23
    The great Social experiment has failed.
  • I like sushi
    1.3k
    No one is going to like to hear this ... but, the path to any kind of vaguely ‘classless’ society is through capitalism NOT socialism.

    Once everyone has access to whatever resources they wish - which has happened VERY quickly over the past few decades - then ‘wealth’,in term of ‘money’, will dissolve. I cannot imagine how the idea of ‘state’ is going to last another century if technological advances continue to break physical barriers.

    Neither do I see communism as a desired goal of any kind. The issue is economic, but the means of creating a ‘classless’ society, in terms of access to resources, means the whole economic system, trade is goods and such, will negate the need for any ‘economic system’.

    Human beings thrive on novelty, interaction and competition. This is not to say negotiations, ‘social contracts’ and cooperation are not also part and parcel of human life. My point is that I don’t really think humans are completely malleable - we generally a species of two contrary positions (overly cautious and quick to attach ourselves to what seems to best fit the immediate situation).

    The most useful thing I’ve heard from the direction of Marx is to regard the personal value of some ‘worker’. If I asked you to stack blank pieces of paper everyday for a large sum of money it would devalue our sense of self-worth. That is the biggest problem of labour today and in the future. People want to feel USEFUL.
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