The Problem With Socialism

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Accountable
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The Problem With Socialism

Post by Accountable »

Bryn Mawr;1340206 wrote: When it is the one boss then no, it makes no difference but what I was talking about was the wage gap across the economy and there it makes all the difference.

If the top 5% of the population earn 10% of the income then prices are affordable to all. Where, the top 5% of the population earn 50% of the income then prices move beyond the reach of the bottom 20%.

So, if all directors take a 50% pay cut then prices become more affordable and if all directors have a pay rise of 50% then they become less affordable - it does not affect the level of your pay but it sure affects your buying power.That doesn't necessarily follow. A director can't unilaterally change his pay, and the board are not going to sacrifice their profitability so that he can buy another house. Reducing our buying power reduces their profits, which places their own pay in jeopardy.

yaaarrrgg;1340183 wrote: One-man-one-vote is a good concept, though the weakness is I can convert my 200 billion into votes, and have more than one. For example, I can buy up an entire media empire and run my propaganda 24/7. What happens then is the government essentially becomes a functioning arm of the people with the most money. Limiting the government does not stop that problem either, since the same thing happens at the business level. Money and power are two sides of the same coin.A socialist government doesn't necessarily stop it, either.

Money is one type of power, but not the only one.
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Post by koan »

It's going to take me awhile to catch up here. Lots of stuff to think about.
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Accountable;1340168 wrote: That's what I mean. Correlation is not causation. Where's the proof that whatever social dysfunction it is that you're talking about (because surely you don't mean all social dysfunction) is caused by this gap, which has existed since one hunter-gatherer proved himself more skilled than another.
So, you're saying it's just a coincidence that a broad array of quality-of-life stats decline as the gap in income distribution increases! If we were looking at some Third World nation, I doubt there would be many objections to this theory, since the hostility towards upper classes by the poor is quite upfront. And likewise, so is the contempt for the underclasses by the rich. The millionaires in Latin America and Africa, have to live behind gated communities where they are protected by armed bodyguards. When they go out, they travel with armed guards in expensive bullet-proof sedans. There are so many kidnappings of children from upper class and upper middle class families, that most send their children abroad to continue their educations from as young as 12 to 13 years old....and it's not just so their kids learn to speak English, and attend American and Canadian universities.

Since you brought up hunter/gatherer societies -- no they are not stratified or hierarchical, no matter how good one may excel at hunting - for example. They are cooperative societies where respected elders may have the confidence of others to lead the tribe when important decisions need to be made, such as when to break camp and move, and where to go next. Other than that, they have no hierarchies, and no real possessions to fight over anyway! Primitive societies did not act like Chimps! They did fight to become alpha male....in large part because they were already pair-bonding and not plagued with aggressive males trying to monopolize all of the females.....that doesn't start in human society until the Bronze Age begins!

I think that's the main reason libertarians are out to lunch when it comes to ideas on how to run society! Everything to libertarians is about competition. They see our societies as collections of individuals competing to advance their own interests. Cooperation is only used as a strategy to advance selfish individual interests. Our long history before agriculture and civilization began stressed cooperation over competition. Socialism is about how to apply cooperation to the large societal groups we have today. REmember, primitive hunter/gatherer bands almost certainly never exceeded about 200 people before they would have to separate. Those small groups took care of inefficiencies lost on free riders who didn't contribute to the group. It's not until we get to the large societies we have today, where people live anonymously, and it's more difficult to tell if someone is cheating the system.

So, maybe there is a limit to how much socialism a large, complex society should have. We can't equalize all outcomes; but the alternative advanced by the extreme right is to do nothing! To leave the poor to raise their children in decaying, crime ridden neighbourhoods, with no community services and inadequate schools. Point of fact is that the libertarian argument that everyone can have the same start in a free society is an outright fraud. A child growing up in a family with inherited wealth is already several steps ahead in the race from the children who are starting life being raised in poverty. The growing inequality in the U.S. is resulting in less upward mobility than many nations in Western Europe! This is the most dramatic refutation of libertarian ideology; since the mythos about America has been that it is the land of opportunity!
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recovering conservative;1340318 wrote: So, you're saying it's just a coincidence that a broad array of quality-of-life stats decline as the gap in income distribution increases!Y'know, if you'd restrict yourself to responding to what I actually post, rather than what you want me to post, I think we'd make faster progress.

recovering conservative wrote: If we were looking at some Third World nation, But we're not. To what social dysfunction did you refer, please?

recovering conservative wrote: Since you brought up hunter/gatherer societies -- no they are not stratified or hierarchical, no matter how good one may excel at hunting - for example. They are cooperative societies where respected elders may have the confidence of others to lead the tribe when important decisions need to be made, such as when to break camp and move, and where to go next. Other than that, they have no hierarchies, and no real possessions to fight over anyway! Primitive societies did not act like Chimps! They did fight to become alpha male....in large part because they were already pair-bonding and not plagued with aggressive males trying to monopolize all of the females.....that doesn't start in human society until the Bronze Age begins!Quite right, my exclamation point loving friend. You have blown my rhetorical clause out of the water. I mean, the Bronze Age was practically last week. ;)

recovering conservative wrote: I think that's the main reason libertarians are out to lunch when it comes to ideas on how to run society! Everything to libertarians is about competition. They see our societies as collections of individuals competing to advance their own interests.I don't, but maybe you don't consider me a libertarian. How wide is your label? I see our societies as a bunch of control freaks trying to heard all the other people in the way they think is best, regardless of the other people's wishes. The vast majority of those individuals are working, not competing, to advance their own interests. The vast majority are more concerned living their own lives to start pointing at others, enviously blaming the relative difference in stuff for their own discomfort. So within the large groups (societies) we have minorities:



Those that think they know best for everyone and try to use government to realize their visions.

Those who are obsessed with material stuff and succeed in gathering in as much as they can.

Those who are obsessed with material stuff but aren't so successful, who assume everyone is as obsessed as they are (or at least should be), and so blame their not having as much as they want on those who are in the category 2 and want those who are in category 1 to drag them back to their (category 3's) level, which they mistakenly think will fix all their personal issues.

Those who are truly unconcerned about any categories and hope that all these control freaks don't screw it up for them.

Those who see categories 1 and 3 as far more dangerous than category 2, but have a hard time convincing voters that the best kind of government official is the kind that doesn't think it's his job to fix every problem in life.


Sure, there is overlap and subgroups to the subgroups. That's the shortcoming of categorizing, labeling, and otherwise stereotyping people.

recovering conservative wrote: Socialism is about how to apply cooperation to the large societal groups we have today.So "apply" is the new euphemism for "force"?

recovering conservative wrote: So, maybe there is a limit to how much socialism a large, complex society should have. We can't equalize all outcomes; but the alternative advanced by the extreme right is to do nothing! To leave the poor to raise their children in decaying, crime ridden neighbourhoods, with no community services and inadequate schools. Point of fact is that the libertarian argument that everyone can have the same start in a free society is an outright fraud. A child growing up in a family with inherited wealth is already several steps ahead in the race from the children who are starting life being raised in poverty. The growing inequality in the U.S. is resulting in less upward mobility than many nations in Western Europe! This is the most dramatic refutation of libertarian ideology; since the mythos about America has been that it is the land of opportunity!I left some of your rhetoric to ask: do you personally define libertarian as extreme right?
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Accountable, are you aware that your way of thinking is Darwinian?
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities,”

Voltaire



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Post by yaaarrrgg »

Accountable;1340244 wrote: A socialist government doesn't necessarily stop it, either.

Money is one type of power, but not the only one.


I agree. I think we both probably prefer a decentralization of power. You put more weight on a decentralizing political power, whereas I see extreme political power and extreme wealth as equally dangerous (as far as abuse and corruption goes).

I tend to agree with Jefferson about banks and corporations being a primary threat to freedom. One group of people can own everything, and another group of people can do all the work. That's slavery.
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yaaarrrgg;1340425 wrote: I agree. I think we both probably prefer a decentralization of power. You put more weight on a decentralizing political power, whereas I see extreme political power and extreme wealth as equally dangerous (as far as abuse and corruption goes). Yes, I think decentralization is key to maintaining liberty. Extreme wealth is only dangerous when the wealthy person(s) use that wealth to purchase political power.

yaaarrrgg wrote: I tend to agree with Jefferson about banks and corporations being a primary threat to freedom. One group of people can own everything, and another group of people can do all the work. That's slavery.Definitely, but I draw a distinction between wealthy individuals and corporations. I don't understand the logic that corporations (including banks) should be honored with human status - given certain rights - when they are not citizens, are not human, and in fact are property of humans that already have rights on their own.

Yes, a person with outrageous amounts of money can wreak havoc, but the kind of individual that puts in the effort necessary to build such a monetary empire is not as likely to abuse his situation as an employee of a corporation might, because that employee is looking at some kind of additional short-term reward beyond the long-term impact of any influence his employer's money may buy. The kind of individual that puts in the effort necessary to build such a monetary empire probably sees his empire as an extension of himself.
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Post by koan »

Abuse of power started with the creation of surplus and the assignment of a person, at the time religious leader, to be in charge of the surplus. Government is what grew out of that abuse. Capitalism tried to give some of that power back to the people, Socialism keeps it under central control.
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Post by Ahso! »

koan;1340465 wrote: Abuse of power started with the creation of surplus and the assignment of a person, at the time religious leader, to be in charge of the surplus. Government is what grew out of that abuse. Capitalism tried to give some of that power back to the people, Socialism keeps it under central control.Capitalism or democracy?
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities,”

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Ahso!;1340413 wrote: Accountable, are you aware that your way of thinking is Darwinian?Oh goody! Another label. Sometimes I wish I had a steamer trunk.



I call for individual responsibility. That includes individuals taking care of individuals. The role of government in our lives must be kept to an absolute minimum so as to minimize tyranny. Apply whatever label to it that you wish.

Ahso!;1340488 wrote: Capitalism or democracy?Direct democracy is a tool of the oligarchy. It is too unwieldy to be used in a society where all are equal. That's why we are a republic.
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Post by Ahso! »

Accountable;1340495 wrote: Oh goody! Another label. Sometimes I wish I had a steamer trunk.

I call for individual responsibility. That includes individuals taking care of individuals. The role of government in our lives must be kept to an absolute minimum so as to minimize tyranny. Apply whatever label to it that you wish.Didn't mean to offend you, I just can't help noticing that no matter what the subject, its impossible for humans to not talk and think in terms of evolutionary perspective regardless of how hard we may try. That goes for religion and politics too. I realize I mentioned you only, but in fact everyone thinks and speaks from the same perspective. Its just so interesting how natural it is to us.

I'll back away since what I'm saying is probably being interpreted as derailing the thread.....Sorry.
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities,”

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Post by Accountable »

Ahso!;1340413 wrote: Accountable, are you aware that your way of thinking is Darwinian?


Ahso!;1340501 wrote: Didn't mean to offend you, I just can't help noticing that no matter what the subject, its impossible for humans to not talk and think in terms of evolutionary perspective regardless of how hard we may try. That goes for religion and politics too. I realize I mentioned you only, but in fact everyone thinks and speaks from the same perspective. Its just so interesting how natural it is to us.Oh okay. That clarifies it. I've heard many people refer to socialism, or at least social awareness, as a societal evolution.
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Accountable;1340383 wrote: Y'know, if you'd restrict yourself to responding to what I actually post, rather than what you want me to post, I think we'd make faster progress.
And we would make even faster progress if you would stand by your bold statements like "That's what I mean. Correlation is not causation." or explain exactly what you mean, since 'correlation does not prove causation' is a frequent claim to deny results are caused by factors they are frequently associated with. So, do you or do you not see increasing income disparity as a cause of increases in societal ills such as: homicide, obesity, drug use, mental illness, anxiety, teen pregnancy, high school dropout rates etc.?

But we're not. To what social dysfunction did you refer, please?


The social dysfunction in America, that's where! The social dysfunction in Third World nations is patently obvious, because of the lengths that the rich have to go through to protect themselves and their families.

Quite right, my exclamation point loving friend. You have blown my rhetorical clause out of the water. I mean, the Bronze Age was practically last week. ;)


I definitely blew your claim that the gap:" has existed since one hunter-gatherer proved himself more skilled than another." out of the water! So, you're trying to use sarcasm to shift attention from the fact that you claimed humans are by nature - hierarchical. And the fact is that throughout most of human history we have not had nested, entrenched hierarchies. The question now is: should we just allow market forces to maintain or increase economic stratification as libertarians advocate; or should we continue the social democratic strategy of maintaining progressive taxation, and continuing programs designed to elevate those at the bottom of the social hierarchy? The goal is not to 'level all outcomes' as the right claims; it is to reduce the gaps that will increase under do-nothing strategies, and increase faster under more recent, deliberate strategies that give the rich and powerful more advantages.

I don't, but maybe you don't consider me a libertarian. How wide is your label? I see our societies as a bunch of control freaks trying to heard all the other people in the way they think is best, regardless of the other people's wishes. The vast majority of those individuals are working, not competing, to advance their own interests. The vast majority are more concerned living their own lives to start pointing at others, enviously blaming the relative difference in stuff for their own discomfort. So within the large groups (societies) we have minorities:


Yes, this is libertarian propaganda, if that's what you're asking! Societies are more than collections of individuals...or collections of family units, as religious conservatives see it -- people divide into smaller sub-groups that social conservatives and libertarian conservatives refuse to recognize -- such as groups that feel at risk because of their race, religion, and sexual orientation. Efforts to reduce hate crimes and try to deal with employers who discriminate against certain groups, are usually considered to be meddling "control freaks" by the people who consider themselves as the majority. Any failure of these programs is used by economic and social conservatives to argue against ALL recognition of group discrimination or collective rights.



Those that think they know best for everyone and try to use government to realize their visions.

Those who are obsessed with material stuff and succeed in gathering in as much as they can.

Those who are obsessed with material stuff but aren't so successful, who assume everyone is as obsessed as they are (or at least should be), and so blame their not having as much as they want on those who are in the category 2 and want those who are in category 1 to drag them back to their (category 3's) level, which they mistakenly think will fix all their personal issues.

Those who are truly unconcerned about any categories and hope that all these control freaks don't screw it up for them.

Those who see categories 1 and 3 as far more dangerous than category 2, but have a hard time convincing voters that the best kind of government official is the kind that doesn't think it's his job to fix every problem in life.


Sure, there is overlap and subgroups to the subgroups. That's the shortcoming of categorizing, labeling, and otherwise stereotyping people.


Ever consider that category 1 might be right? Or is your default assumption that any and all social intervention is wrong?

Category 2 to me is the Koch Brothers, who are only concerned with building upon their inherited wealth, and are so greedy that they are the point men in the oil industry's reactionary war against efforts to deal with climate change. BP was another example that greed-motivate wealth-seekers who run major corporations are reckless and can't be trusted to even show proper concern for their own longterm needs. BP rolled the dice by running what they knew was an extremely risky engineering feat as cheaply and quickly as possible. These guys would choose destroying Planet Earth if it would maximize the next quarterly profits, and leave their own children and grandchildren facing impending doom.....and that's why we can't trust them with anything that presents a danger to others!

Category 3 are those who are living in misery and deprivation, and all the right wants to know is 'do they deserve their fate?' To me, that is inconsequential. If people living in poverty have children, those children have no choice about their parents' lack of "success." People in no.3 may be seen as materialistic, because they have little material wealth, and what's more important -- their economic circumstances means they have little ability to exercise the freedoms that wealthier rightwingers like to celebrate. Those category 3's are also bombarded by the same consumer culture that has used cutting edge psychology to increase desire and demand for products that they are able to build into status symbols -- so, no surprise that they may feel even more envious of those with nice cars, designer clothes, bling etc.....and yes, us category 1.'s are willing to make some sacrifices (especially shaking down the excess wealth of category 2.'s) to reduce the gap in living standards. Ideally, everyone would feel equal enough to feel part of the same society, rather than something separate from.

Category 4's can't see anything beyond their own personal nesteggs, and don't contemplate anything that they don't see personally affecting them.

Category 5.'s are either willfully blind by ideology (they made the mistake of reading those boring Ayn Rand novels when they were in college, and believing her propaganda) or they know there is inequality, poverty and misery, but just don't give a ****! Blaming the 1.'s and 3.'s is blame-shifting by the greedy no.2's. Every vested interest in society these days -- whether it's the rich, men, the white majority, or the Christian majority -- is claiming to be persecuted by some group seeking equal rights.

I left some of your rhetoric to ask: do you personally define libertarian as extreme right?
Yes.....at least on economic issues. And some political self-described libertarians, like Ron Paul and especially Rand Paul, have abandoned parts of classic libertarian social theory to fit their profiles to appeal to conservatives.
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Post by recovering conservative »

Accountable;1340495 wrote: Oh goody! Another label. Sometimes I wish I had a steamer trunk.



I call for individual responsibility. That includes individuals taking care of individuals. The role of government in our lives must be kept to an absolute minimum so as to minimize tyranny. Apply whatever label to it that you wish.
And if individuals don't care for individuals, that's when the collective....the government....has to step up to the plate!

Direct democracy is a tool of the oligarchy. It is too unwieldy to be used in a society where all are equal. That's why we are a republic.
This is not a classic libertarian position, but something that conservatives are repeating endlessly over the last ten years or so -- if you are going to the next level and are about to say 'we are not a democracy, but are instead, a representative republic.' Conservatives don't want that word 'democracy' to be used anywhere in social discourse.....and that's why there are more than a few people who feel that conservatives are fascists at heart....just waiting for the right conditions to spring into action, and solidify an autocracy where dictators rule on behalf of the aristocrats, and the corporate and religious elites. Part of that advance preparation is to mold the public thinking into forgetting all about principles of democracy that might threaten the control of the elites.
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Post by yaaarrrgg »

Socialism as I understand it just extends the principles of democracy into the economic realm. I prefer the idea of moving away from a republic altogether (where lobbyist make decisions on our behalf) to more of a direct democracy.

For example, rather than have 50 people decide controversial laws, put it to a direct vote by the entire public. I know the fear is that people aren't able to decide the laws themselves, but that's somewhat of a baseless fear. Since the public hired the lobbyists who (probably won't) make decisions on their behalf or even read the legislation they are considering. Either way, the public is in charge, but given less control in a republic.

IMO, as far as centralization of power goes, a capitalistic republic has a more centralized power structure than a socialized democracy.
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Post by CinnamonBear »

Wow, Accountable, you're a very articulate and eloquent writer. I don't think I've had the pleasure of reading your words before. Also, you're not flappable or quick to anger; you simply speak your opinion in a gentlemanly fashion and leave it at that. No foaming, spinning, teeth gnashing, etc. lol :D

My views most closely align with yours. Posts number 43, 54 and 60 are outstanding.

Speaking of post #54, I applaud this first sentence of yours:

Accountable;1340383 wrote: Y'know, if you'd restrict yourself to responding to what I actually post, rather than what you want me to post, I think we'd make faster progress.


Beautiful. For some reason, I'm beginning to see a pattern here with a handful of posters who either cannot or will not address what is actually said and have the need to redirect onto something that wasn't posted. It's a very interesting behavior to observe and not just here on FG. Funny too, those who tout buzz words like "diversity" and "tolerance" have no tolerance for diverse opinions. Go figure.

It's been a pleasure. g'afternoon!
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RC, I decided to break our conversation into pieces to make them more manageable. Maybe they'd be better in separate threads, I don't know.

recovering conservative;1340601 wrote: And we would make even faster progress if you would stand by your bold statements like "That's what I mean. Correlation is not causation." or explain exactly what you mean, since 'correlation does not prove causation' is a frequent claim to deny results are caused by factors they are frequently associated with.recovering conservative;1340144 wrote: Well then, let's see what you come up with! Because your argument which is heading in the direction of P.J. O'Rourke's "my money doesn't make you poor" argument, doesn't address the social dysfunction caused by increasing gap in wealth.
The correlation that you claim exists between all social dysfunction (apparently without exception) and some people having more money than others in no way proves any causation. Simply seeing some type of common theme between two situations does not prove that one caused the other. I'm not sure how I can explain it any clearer than that. Hey, maybe social dysfunction caused the income gap. How about that?

recovering conservative;1340601 wrote: So, do you or do you not see increasing income disparity as a cause of increases in societal ills such as: homicide, obesity, drug use, mental illness, anxiety, teen pregnancy, high school dropout rates etc.? You just got me in trouble with my beloved because I'm supposed to be catching up on work. :D

Do you have a study that suggests such things?? You do, don't you? Come on, don't leave us all in the dark. Let's have it. How many calories does the increasing income disparity have, that it would cause obesity?

recovering conservative wrote: [QUOTE=Accountable;1340383]To what social dysfunction did you refer, please? The social dysfunction in America, that's where! The social dysfunction in Third World nations is patently obvious, because of the lengths that the rich have to go through to protect themselves and their families. You mention the social dysfunction in America, then you support your response with a comment about Third World nations.
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recovering conservative;1340601 wrote: I definitely blew your claim that the gap:" has existed since one hunter-gatherer proved himself more skilled than another." out of the water! So, you're trying to use sarcasm to shift attention from the fact that you claimed humans are by nature - hierarchical. And the fact is that throughout most of human history we have not had nested, entrenched hierarchies.Actually I made the claim that the wealth gap - or income gap, if you prefer - has existed since one hunter-gatherer proved himself more skilled than another. You brought up hierarchies.

recovering conservative;1340601 wrote: The question now is: should we just allow market forces to maintain or increase economic stratification as libertarians advocate; or should we continue the social democratic strategy of maintaining progressive taxation, and continuing programs designed to elevate those at the bottom of the social hierarchy?But the social democratic strategy of maintaining progressive taxation and continuing programs designed to elevate those at the bottom of the social hierarchy don't elevate those at the bottom of the social hierarchy. In fact, they suppress and oppress those at the bottom of the social hierarchy, keeping them locked in at the poverty line, dependent on handouts from the benevolent bigots that run the government programs.

recovering conservative;1340601 wrote: The goal is not to 'level all outcomes' as the right claims; it is to reduce the gaps that will increase under do-nothing strategies, and increase faster under more recent, deliberate strategies that give the rich and powerful more advantages.There hasn't been a "do-nothing" strategy for decades. The two-headed controlling party has actively facilitated this gap you claim has caused all social dysfunction. Sure, both "sides" are perfectly happy letting you spread the manure that doing nothing has created the financial bubbles that are popping left right and center. Taking the blame for doing nothing is nowhere nearly as politically dangerous as admitting that Washington enacted legislation that protected their benefactors from competition by clogging the pipes with so much onerous red tape that start-ups have little hope of becoming viable threats, and that Washington then cleared the path for, and in some cases compelled unwise and dangerous risk, guaranteeing that any failures would be absorbed by the taxpayer.
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recovering conservative;1340601 wrote: Yes, this is libertarian propaganda, if that's what you're asking! Societies are more than collections of individuals...or collections of family units, as religious conservatives see it -- people divide into smaller sub-groups that social conservatives and libertarian conservatives refuse to recognize -- such as groups that feel at risk because of their race, religion, and sexual orientation. Efforts to reduce hate crimes and try to deal with employers who discriminate against certain groups, are usually considered to be meddling "control freaks" by the people who consider themselves as the majority. Any failure of these programs is used by economic and social conservatives to argue against ALL recognition of group discrimination or collective rights.Yes, I am against official government-sanctioned bigotry. I disagree that I have fellow citizens who are unable to succeed on their own. I see daily with my own eyes the damage this soft bigotry of lowered expectations causes. Perfectly healthy, intelligent people convinced that their efforts will come to naught, so they don't even try. And there are plenty at the ready with sympathetic nods and comforting euphemisms, telling them that their plight is hopeless, and aren't they lucky that the government is here to protect you against the cruel, cruel world.

It's sickening.
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recovering conservative;1340601 wrote: Ever consider that category 1 [QUOTE=Accountable;1340383]Those that think they know best for everyone and try to use government to realize their visions. might be right? It's irrelevant whether they are right or not. The USA is (or was) the Land of the Free. It is the land where people can make decisions for themselves, take risks on themselves, make mistakes themselves, succeed or fail for themselves. You want to make decisions for others? Adopt a kid.

recovering conservative wrote: Category 2 to me is the Koch Brothers, who are only concerned with building upon their inherited wealth, and are so greedy that they are the point men in the oil industry's reactionary war against efforts to deal with climate change. BP was another example that greed-motivate wealth-seekers who run major corporations are reckless and can't be trusted to even show proper concern for their own longterm needs. BP rolled the dice by running what they knew was an extremely risky engineering feat as cheaply and quickly as possible. These guys would choose destroying Planet Earth if it would maximize the next quarterly profits, and leave their own children and grandchildren facing impending doom.....and that's why we can't trust them with anything that presents a danger to others!And yet you would selectively bail them out.

recovering conservative wrote: Category 3 are those who are living in misery and deprivation, and all the right wants to know is 'do they deserve their fate?' To me, that is inconsequential. If people living in poverty have children, those children have no choice about their parents' lack of "success." People in no.3 may be seen as materialistic, because they have little material wealth, and what's more important -- their economic circumstances means they have little ability to exercise the freedoms that wealthier rightwingers like to celebrate. Those category 3's are also bombarded by the same consumer culture that has used cutting edge psychology to increase desire and demand for products that they are able to build into status symbols -- so, no surprise that they may feel even more envious of those with nice cars, designer clothes, bling etc.....and yes, us category 1.'s are willing to make some sacrifices (especially shaking down the excess wealth of category 2.'s) to reduce the gap in living standards. Ideally, everyone would feel equal enough to feel part of the same society, rather than something separate from.Actually I see you in this category. I was describing how I see you to be.

recovering conservative wrote: Category 4's can't see anything beyond their own personal nesteggs, and don't contemplate anything that they don't see personally affecting them.This is where most of your category 3 live.

recovering conservative wrote: Category 5.'s are either willfully blind by ideology (they made the mistake of reading those boring Ayn Rand novels when they were in college, and believing her propaganda) or they know there is inequality, poverty and misery, but just don't give a ****! Blaming the 1.'s and 3.'s is blame-shifting by the greedy no.2's. Every vested interest in society these days -- whether it's the rich, men, the white majority, or the Christian majority -- is claiming to be persecuted by some group seeking equal rights.Exactly the response I'd expect from a 3 that wants to be a 1.
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recovering conservative;1340601 wrote: [QUOTE=Accountable;1340383][D]o you personally define libertarian as extreme right? Yes.....at least on economic issues. And some political self-described libertarians, like Ron Paul and especially Rand Paul, have abandoned parts of classic libertarian social theory to fit their profiles to appeal to conservatives.[/QUOTE]So does that mean that anyone that doesn't ascribe to every part of the label you apply to them really does ascribe to it but is just being disingenuous?
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recovering conservative;1340618 wrote: And if individuals don't care for individuals, that's when the collective....the government....has to step up to the plate!Washington's the Borg now?

FDR created a self-fulfillng prophecy when he took over the roll of charity-in-chief. People saw their taxes going to the poor, so started giving less to charities themselves. They saw their taxes go to their neighbors in the form of welfare checks, so stopped helping as much as they once did. They saw their Social Security taxes going to old people and stopped taking care of their parents. **** your collective; it has done more damage to the American Spirit than a dozen financial bubbles.

recovering conservative wrote: This is not a classic libertarian position, but something that conservatives are repeating endlessly over the last ten years or so -- if you are going to the next level and are about to say 'we are not a democracy, but are instead, a representative republic.' Conservatives don't want that word 'democracy' to be used anywhere in social discourse.....and that's why there are more than a few people who feel that conservatives are fascists at heart....just waiting for the right conditions to spring into action, and solidify an autocracy where dictators rule on behalf of the aristocrats, and the corporate and religious elites. Part of that advance preparation is to mold the public thinking into forgetting all about principles of democracy that might threaten the control of the elites.We're not a representative republic?? :-2
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yaaarrrgg;1340624 wrote: Socialism as I understand it just extends the principles of democracy into the economic realm. I prefer the idea of moving away from a republic altogether (where lobbyist make decisions on our behalf) to more of a direct democracy.We kinda-sorta discuss this in class. A direct democracy with every adult representing themselves would definitely grind the wheels of governmental intrusion to a near-halt, which appeals to me. The questions such as who would write laws and how would everyone have input would be a logistical nightmare! Hmmmmmm I'm liking it more.

As far as socialism, though, government should only do what only government can do. Anything that can be done by private citizens should not be delegated to the government.

For example, rather than have 50 people decide controversial laws, put it to a direct vote by the entire public. I know the fear is that people aren't able to decide the laws themselves, but that's somewhat of a baseless fear. Since the public hired the lobbyists who (probably won't) make decisions on their behalf or even read the legislation they are considering. Either way, the public is in charge, but given less control in a republic.

IMO, as far as centralization of power goes, a capitalistic republic has a more centralized power structure than a socialized democracy.[/QUOTE]
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CinnamonBear;1340648 wrote: Wow, Accountable, you're a very articulate and eloquent writer. I don't think I've had the pleasure of reading your words before. Also, you're not flappable or quick to anger; you simply speak your opinion in a gentlemanly fashion and leave it at that. No foaming, spinning, teeth gnashing, etc. lol :D

My views most closely align with yours. Posts number 43, 54 and 60 are outstanding.

Speaking of post #54, I applaud this first sentence of yours:



Beautiful. For some reason, I'm beginning to see a pattern here with a handful of posters who either cannot or will not address what is actually said and have the need to redirect onto something that wasn't posted. It's a very interesting behavior to observe and not just here on FG. Funny too, those who tout buzz words like "diversity" and "tolerance" have no tolerance for diverse opinions. Go figure.

It's been a pleasure. g'afternoon!
Thank you very much. :-6 I learned my writing style here, and I'm not as consistent or controlled as you've seen. Ask some of the old-timers. :wah: But this is where I got my start.

There are other forums where it's more of a slugfest, and I frequent one of them, but here we are civil. Even big blowouts are civil relative to other forums (fori?). I hope you enjoy your time here.
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Post by yaaarrrgg »

Accountable;1340679 wrote: We kinda-sorta discuss this in class. A direct democracy with every adult representing themselves would definitely grind the wheels of governmental intrusion to a near-halt, which appeals to me. The questions such as who would write laws and how would everyone have input would be a logistical nightmare! Hmmmmmm I'm liking it more.

As far as socialism, though, government should only do what only government can do. Anything that can be done by private citizens should not be delegated to the government.




I think there might still need to be a functioning republics to handle basic tasks.. but wouldn't it be nice to be able to vote directly on controversial matters like TARP? As it is now, we really have no say in these matters. If something is as big and controversial as that, I think it should be put to popular vote. Even if we screwed something up, it would be a learning experience. Also, the larger benefit is that people would stop seeing the government as a thing outside of themselves.

As for logistics, that could be tricky. IMO the first step is to allow people to vote online, to make the software completely open source, and allow a paper trail for auditing. What's basically needed though is just a simple poll locked down to registered voters.
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Post by koan »

Ahso!;1340488 wrote: Capitalism or democracy?
Capitalism by trying to allow people to acquire personal wealth... keeping some of their own surplus.

Democracy tries to do that in a different way but not in relation to the power of allocation of the nation's surplus.
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Accountable;1340656 wrote:

Actually I see you in this category. I was describing how I see you to be.




re:#3 Those who are obsessed with material stuff but aren't so successful, who assume everyone is as obsessed as they are (or at least should be), and so blame their not having as much as they want on those who are in the category 2 and want those who are in category 1 to drag them back to their (category 3's) level, which they mistakenly think will fix all their personal issues.



Ofcourse you do, cause you're a greedy libertarian *******! I played your bullshit game of using your list of libertarian propaganda talking points, and the only thing you've got is to claim that I am motivated by greed for deciding that our slide down this rightwing rathole has gone to far, and I don't want my country going any further in following the American example.

Not that it's any of your business, but I made $73,000 last year, and we don't have to pay for private health care up here; so I'm doing a lot better financially than most right wingers who bitch about their tax dollar going to the poor, instead of fighting against tax breaks, and government bailouts going to the rich! End of discussion! I have no further interest in trying to debate with a propagandist.
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I'm almost caught up on what's been said. I think that there is 1) A huge flaw in some of the cause/effect relationships regarding the state our economy is currently in 2) not enough people saying what's good about socialism.

It's fine and dandy to say "I'm a socialist because I hate capitalism" but... ultimately doesn't do much to defend socialism.

I also think that there is a lot of angsty insistence that taking all the rich people's stuff and redistributing it will solve problems. I just don't think that's true. It would result in a lot of happy poor people and a lot of pissed off rich people... for a short time. Then things will change. Some people will continue to screw up and others won't. Differences will result and we're back to building the same playdough boy.
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Post by recovering conservative »

koan;1340717 wrote:

I also think that there is a lot of angsty insistence that taking all the rich people's stuff and redistributing it will solve problems. I just don't think that's true. It would result in a lot of happy poor people and a lot of pissed off rich people... for a short time. Then things will change. Some people will continue to screw up and others won't. Differences will result and we're back to building the same playdough boy.


Compare the present U.S. corporate and personal income tax rates now with what they were pre-Reagan, especially back during era of Kennedy or Eisenhower. The tax breaks that were due to expire would still put all tax brackets (especially the highest) well below what they were a few decades ago. So talk about taking all of the rich people's stuff is just being alarmist. The fact is that America's infrastructure is falling apart, Social Security and Medicare are inadequately funded, and there is an increase in social dysfunction because of an economic theory that promised reducing taxes on the rich would provide economic benefits throughout society. The results are in, and the top one or two percent are the only ones who have seen real income growth over the last 30 years.....so the U.S. has a long way to go before the rich have a legitimate complaint about having their wealth confiscated.



Forty years ago, maybe you would have a cause to complain about socialism and the threat of wealth redistribution. Back then, there were serious leftwing parties and movements advocating nationalizing banks and major industries -- when is the last time you heard someone who is called leftwing in American chattering classes talking about nationalization? I don't even hear if from the few who appear on MSM like Michael Moore. Even removing tax breaks for the wealthiest 2% of the population is too radical for the Obama Administration!
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Post by Ahso! »

I'd love to talk about socialism from a first hand political perspective but i can't because I've never experienced it and theoretical knowledge is too limited. My experience has been with whatever it is we're doing here in the U.S. so I'd naturally talk about the good and bad of that.
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Post by recovering conservative »

Ahso!;1340719 wrote: I'd love to talk about socialism from a first hand political perspective but i can't because I've never experienced it and theoretical knowledge is too limited. My experience has been with whatever it is we're doing here in the U.S. so I'd naturally talk about the good and bad of that.


Essentially, there really is no such thing as socialism any more! It's just a fake issue for rightwingers to demagogue and push their agenda.
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Post by koan »

Please explain to me how these petty little tax changes are going to fix the bigger problems with society. I just don't see it. You are picking a few small points to harp on about and pretending the socialist parties have never had a chance to screw the people. If I remember correctly, it was Bob Rae's NDP who proved in Ontario that you can't spend your way out of a recession. They seriously ****ed that province up. There is so much more to government policy than taxes.
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Post by Ahso! »

recovering conservative;1340720 wrote: Essentially, there really is no such thing as socialism any more! It's just a fake issue for rightwingers to demagogue and push their agenda.I'd agree with that as an American. I think yaaarrrgg has made some valid points as to what is possible citing the example of open source.
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Post by koan »

I think yaaarrrgg has made a few comments that neither socialism nor capitalism are nearly as important as democracy. It's a good point but still leaves it open as to what we're democratically voting on.

I particularly liked his point about private property here:

yaaarrrgg;1339508 wrote: In software development, you meet a lot of liberatarians and socialists that support open source software. In it's best form, both goals converge. You have the freedom to use the software anyway you want, and there's no private property (other than the software belongs to whoever uses it). I'm not sure the label is always a contradiction, but in some cases you are right it might be difficult to achieve both aims simultaneously.


I wanted to discuss private property more than has happened here as I think it's the key to the whole debate. Unfortunately, the idea of private property being abolished doesn't seem feasible to most people and it gets laughed off or called absurd.
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koan;1340721 wrote: Please explain to me how these petty little tax changes are going to fix the bigger problems with society. I just don't see it. You are picking a few small points to harp on about and pretending the socialist parties have never had a chance to screw the people. If I remember correctly, it was Bob Rae's NDP who proved in Ontario that you can't spend your way out of a recession. They seriously ****ed that province up. There is so much more to government policy than taxes.


I remember Bob Rae! And I voted for Mike Harris in 95. My point is that optimal tax rates are not at either extreme. But it wasn't Rae who jacked up income and sales taxes in Ontario! Most of the increases had been set in place by the Peterson Liberals (they made OHIP contributions a payroll tax also) and the Bill Davis - Tory governments over a 15 year period.

Rae's biggest problem was not policy; it was administrative -- he didn't have hardly anyone who had the qualifications to run a government dept.. Think about it....his finance minister - Floyd Laughren, had no experience in finance or even an accounting degree....his qualifications were that he ran a K-Mart up in Northern Ontario somewhere! Attorney General - Marion Boyd, had never been a judge, and was not even a lawyer when she was given the job. And as for Bob Rae himself -- I think the fact that he quit the NDP to join the Liberals, and try to take over the leadership, says alot about how committed he was to NDP policy of his time! He became Premier by a fluke, and did not expect or have any intention of having to move from Opposition Leader to try to run a government.

Now, if we go back to the history of that time, we had a string of deficit budgets from the Davis Tories, that culminated with David Peterson - promising a "modest surplus" which evaporated and turned into a 2.5 billion dollar deficit even before Rae took office. Peterson could not be completely blamed for the recession, since the new GST tax was brought in by Mulroney. Rae added to the deficit with the attempt at a stimulus spending program that increased the first year deficit to almost 10 billion. This stimulus plan was doomed to failure from the start, since it could not make up for the new taxes and jacked up interest rates brought in by Mulroney's federal conservative government. After a couple of years of high deficits, one of his austerity measures to reduce the provincial deficits was the "Social Contract," which pretty much abrogated all contracts of existing provincial and municipal government workers....so that killed off any support from the public service unions, and doomed the government to be a one term oddity.

When it comes to socialist policies, Rae backed down from his main campaign promise of nationalized auto insurance -- so even with Bob Rae, I have to question if his government matches any classic definition of 'socialist!' And we are still left with the obvious fact that the right has controlled the political agenda and pushed too hard on the low taxes and gutted government dept.s strategy.
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recovering conservative;1340712 wrote: re:#3 Those who are obsessed with material stuff but aren't so successful, who assume everyone is as obsessed as they are (or at least should be), and so blame their not having as much as they want on those who are in the category 2 and want those who are in category 1 to drag them back to their (category 3's) level, which they mistakenly think will fix all their personal issues.



Ofcourse you do, cause you're a greedy libertarian *******! I played your bullshit game of using your list of libertarian propaganda talking points, and the only thing you've got is to claim that I am motivated by greed for deciding that our slide down this rightwing rathole has gone to far, and I don't want my country going any further in following the American example. *counts asterisks* .... Hey!

First, I don't comment on Canada, as I said before. http://www.forumgarden.com/forums/philo ... ost1339857

And B, I don't claim you're motivated by greed, that inference is all your own. I claim you're motivated by jealousy. So long as someone else has more than you, you're not happy.

recovering conservative wrote: Not that it's any of your business, but I made $73,000 last year, and we don't have to pay for private health care up here; so I'm doing a lot better financially than most right wingers who bitch about their tax dollar going to the poor, instead of fighting against tax breaks, and government bailouts going to the rich! End of discussion! I have no further interest in trying to debate with a propagandist.Congratulations on your financial success. :yh_clap

Why do you seem to believe that others are not capable of doing what you've done? Are you a product of taxpayer largess?
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Post by Accountable »

koan;1340717 wrote: I'm almost caught up on what's been said. I think that there is 1) A huge flaw in some of the cause/effect relationships regarding the state our economy is currently in 2) not enough people saying what's good about socialism.

It's fine and dandy to say "I'm a socialist because I hate capitalism" but... ultimately doesn't do much to defend socialism.

I also think that there is a lot of angsty insistence that taking all the rich people's stuff and redistributing it will solve problems. I just don't think that's true. It would result in a lot of happy poor people and a lot of pissed off rich people... for a short time. Then things will change. Some people will continue to screw up and others won't. Differences will result and we're back to building the same playdough boy.Outstanding summary! :yh_worshp



koan;1340730 wrote: I wanted to discuss private property more than has happened here as I think it's the key to the whole debate. Unfortunately, the idea of private property being abolished doesn't seem feasible to most people and it gets laughed off or called absurd.
It's such a leap from where I am that I'm finding it hard to even fathom. Even China honors personal ownership. How far would this not-private-but-not-gov't-owned thing extend? For instance, I have a house with a yard. Would I be permitted to keep someone else from moving in? If someone decided to drill in my back yard, would they have to get my permission?
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Post by Ahso! »

Accountable;1340737 wrote: Why do you seem to believe that others are not capable of doing what you've done?Nobody can say everyone who does not achieve financial success (whatever that is) is incapable of it, thats you putting words into the mouths of other posters and I think its at least in large part inaccurate. I think it boils down to your assumption that everyone wants to achieve financial success. We do know many people don't achieve financial success. Some may be incapable; some may not be driven; some may not be allured by it; some may not be indoctrinated in capitalism well enough, but the bottom line is you assume all should. Perhaps the answer is to cap success somehow so we avoid tthe pitfall of a handful of people having most of the power?

The other question you need to answer is: Are there enough resources (money - land - food) available for everyone to achieve equal success if everyone was equally motivated, capable and schooled in capitalism? The answer to that question in my judgment is a resounding "NO!". So I come to the conclusion that equality in a capitalistic society is an illusion.

Is a more socialist system able to reward people exactly equal? Probably not, but at least it provides the essentials for survival, and thats all most of the people want.

I believe a more cooperative type of society would achieve greater participation by a larger number of individuals and be more peaceful than this system we Americans are presently living.
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Post by koan »

Accountable;1340738 wrote: Outstanding summary! :yh_worshp



It's such a leap from where I am that I'm finding it hard to even fathom. Even China honors personal ownership. How far would this not-private-but-not-gov't-owned thing extend? For instance, I have a house with a yard. Would I be permitted to keep someone else from moving in? If someone decided to drill in my back yard, would they have to get my permission?


There have been quite a few people who have named Private Property as the root of social evil and a quite a few different ideas of how to eliminate it, I'm more interested in Stateless solutions. It will take me a day or two to put together a broad spectrum to look at pluses and minuses to each idea. All of these philosophies would be challenged by the sheer amount of property that exists already. What the heck would happen to high rises if no one owned them?

Perhaps it's another thread topic unto itself but it ties into the poverty discussion. No point raising minimum wage when it means small business won't be able to hire employees and the wage raise still won't cover the cost of rent.

If we get back to analyzing socialism directly, perhaps a list of socialist ideals would be a good starting place. If we choose philosophical platforms it could keep us from getting dragged down into who's fault "fair trade" was (for example) as the current state of our economy was arrived at by group effort. One of the things political parties would say to explain failure is that their time in office is too short to accomplish goals or implement changes properly.
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Post by koan »

I'm going to throw these aspects into the ring:

1) Is socialism based on considering people essentially good and caring or is it structured to prevent people who are not good and caring from abusing others? Does it matter whether people are "good" or "evil" for it to work?

2) What kind of people want to be in charge of a country? Want the authority and power?

Personally, I'd not be pleased with the responsibility.
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Post by Ahso! »

I don't thinks owning a high-rise is the problem, its the land they're sitting on. If the land remained publicly owned then any use of it would be a lease with the public. This is the source of my anger at Bill Clinton and congress for the the Telecommunication Act of 1996. Had the airwaves which were public domain remained such, Cell Phone companies would have had to lease them, they in turn sell the cell service to the public and then they pay a portion of that for leasing the airwaves. That money generated for the public good could have gone to universal health care as well as other needed public services. But no, these corporate ass-kissing politicians auctioned off the airwaves to corporations who then in turn lease them to other companies who offer cell services. That maybe what also happened in Canada and the UK for all I know.
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities,”

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Post by yaaarrrgg »

Ahso!;1340763 wrote: I don't thinks owning a high-rise is the problem, its the land they're sitting on. If the land remained publicly owned then any use of it would be a lease with the public. This is the source of my anger at Bill Clinton and congress for the the Telecommunication Act of 1996. Had the airwaves which were public domain remained such, Cell Phone companies would have had to lease them, they in turn sell the cell service to the public and then they pay a portion of that for leasing the airwaves. That money generated for the public good could have gone to universal health care as well as other needed public services. But no, these corporate ass-kissing politicians auctioned off the airwaves to corporations who then in turn lease them to other companies who offer cell services. That maybe what also happened in Canada and the UK for all I know.


That's an interesting point... I like the idea of a public lease. I also wonder if they should also be required to pay for damages as well. Sometimes private companies will cause havok on the land then close up shop and the cost of cleanup falls to the public sector. Right now, our city is spending millions to get lead out of soil in areas where old smelting plants used to be. These are large areas where people now live.
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Post by Ahso! »

yaaarrrgg;1340770 wrote: That's an interesting point... I like the idea of a public lease. I also wonder if they should also be required to pay for damages as well. Sometimes private companies will cause havok on the land then close up shop and the cost of cleanup falls to the public sector. Right now, our city is spending millions to get lead out of soil in areas where old smelting plants used to be. These are large areas where people now live.A security deposit could be collected for damages and restoring the property to its original condition like building owners do now when they lease or rent an apartment, house or commercial space. Also, certain area's could be zoned for particular industries like it is now. Not much would have to change from the present other than figuring out how to transfer the land. Buying it would of course be the best way of doing that.
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities,”

Voltaire



I have only one thing to do and that's

Be the wave that I am and then

Sink back into the ocean

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Post by yaaarrrgg »

koan;1340762 wrote: I'm going to throw these aspects into the ring:

1) Is socialism based on considering people essentially good and caring or is it structured to prevent people who are not good and caring from abusing others? Does it matter whether people are "good" or "evil" for it to work?

2) What kind of people want to be in charge of a country? Want the authority and power?

Personally, I'd not be pleased with the responsibility.


I don't think people are inherently good or bad, they are just people. Overall though, I would hope we've been bred with instincts that tell us that working together for a common good is more productive than endless war and bloodshed. Though, we do seem hardwired to form groups between 30 to 60, and have trouble scaling up above that without increasing tensions and fracturing. That might be one of the key difficulties in implementing a socialist system on a larger scale.

Either way with capitalism and socialism, the allocation of resources is done by vote. Either by hand count (one-person-one-vote) or voting with our wallets (the wealthier you are, the more votes you get). In capitalism, you can "earn" votes by working, or if you are lucky enough, cheating people out of their votes, or being born with a lot of votes from the start.

Democracy is focused on decentralizing the power.

I prefer moving more in the one-person-one-vote direction, only because I think the consolidation of power has as much potential to corrupt the entire system as it has to present a legitmate reward for work. Since a flaw in extremely weighted voting systems is that people with a lot of votes can essentially allocate themselves *more* votes (for example, someone deciding they own the airwaves). That's a feedback loop that consolidates power even more.

Voting is the basis of either political or economic system, but the differences is whether or not the voting system will range between equal to weighted. Even in a political/economic dicatorship, all decisions are decided by vote: One-man-one-vote, meaning one man's vote weighs more than everyone else's combined. :)
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Post by yaaarrrgg »

Ahso!;1340773 wrote: A security deposit could be collected for damages and restoring the property to its original condition like building owners do now when they lease or rent an apartment, house or commercial space. Also, certain area's could be zoned for particular industries like it is now. Not much would have to change from the present other than figuring out how to transfer the land. Buying it would of course be the best way of doing that.


That's a great idea.
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Post by recovering conservative »

koan;1340762 wrote: I'm going to throw these aspects into the ring:

1) Is socialism based on considering people essentially good and caring or is it structured to prevent people who are not good and caring from abusing others? Does it matter whether people are "good" or "evil" for it to work?
That would depend on the political philosopher who's proposing theories of government! Most would likely see the majority of people as basically good, but ever since the time of Rousseau, it was noticed that cooperation and lack of hierarchy found among "savages" was absent in civilized societies. Rousseau blamed modernization and the things we have created, for causing our fall from paradise. In more recent times, the problems with socialism are believed to be caused by people being less altruistic to strangers and people they have no relationship with. Ethicist - Peter Singer, uses the example of what would the average person be willing to do to save a child they saw in danger -- most would risk ruining their clothes (wading into a shallow stream for example), and more than a few are willing to put themselves at risk. But, if a child is dying of starvation half way around the world, how much concern does the average person have? There are at present, about a billion people in the world who can't get enough to eat, and helping them is more cost-efficient than spending on poverty locally! Yet, the further away, the less people are willing to spend.

So, when it comes to government; a city with a million people has a lot of strangers who are not willing to provide more than modest amounts of aid to those who don't have as much. No surprise that a pure socialist system soon becomes rife with corruption as people try to game the system to their own advantage.

But, what is the point of even discussing pure socialism these days? Under our present globalized capitalist system, what is called the left, is tightly constrained by banking and international finance, plus trade rules that demand member nations allow cheap imports from outsourced industries to flood their markets. Even modest attempts to protect industries, save jobs, and advance the minimum wage - are constrained by the constant threat that the corporate elite will close their businesses and move the jobs somewhere with no unions, no environmental regulations, and dirt-poor wages!

So, when we are talking about kicking back the rightward drift that has ruined our quality of life over the last 30 years, we're not advocating measures that will depend on whether or not people are "basically good." Modest steps to reduce poverty and the growing gap in income, are about making the wealthier classes pay a greater share of the tax burden, and making sure we have our spending priorities straight! I was a little gladdened to read recently that a poll of our priorities where I live, showed that the majority of Hamilton residents oppose spending tax dollars on a new stadium (62.6 %), whereas 80.4 % favour increasing spending on reducing poverty. This may not be good news to libertarians! But, to me, the fact that an overwhelming majority are altruistic enough or aware enough, of local poverty - that they are willing to give it highest priority is very good news! Voters target city poverty, not stadium

No doubt, many are aware of recent studies that are showing shocking gaps in the quality of life caused by poverty. One of the most shocking stat shows us that there is a 21 year gap in life expectancy between Hamilton's wealthiest neighbourhood, and its poorest residents!

2) What kind of people want to be in charge of a country? Want the authority and power?

Personally, I'd not be pleased with the responsibility.
The same kind of people that want to hold political office now -- narcissists! Whether they are on the left or the right, nice people or bastards, people who are attracted to political office, generally have high needs for attention -- and that constant attention of having reporters and journalists wanting to talk to them and take their pictures, is intoxicating to some people.

Obviously many are going to be motivated by greed, and look for ways to increase their wealth (usually through IOU's after they are safely out of office). But, many longtime politicians start to feel a sense of entitlement; especially if they are lawyers or businessmen who have had to take a financial hit by working for a mere politician's salary. Some start to feel that they are entitled to a few kickbacks because of their sacrifices! And defend themselves with the contention that they could have taken a lot more if they were really corrupt!

The ones that I think are illogical are the right wing politicians who talk about how bad government is, and how it must be reduced to insignificance in people's lives. We first started hearing this mantra of Reagan about 'government doesn't solve the problem, government is the problem' or some tripe that I don't feel like searching for the exact quote at the moment. Well, if a politician subscribes to Neil Boortz's dictum that "government should be shrunk so small that it can be drowned in the bathtub" why are they in government in the first place? Although this could be Carly Fiorina's logic! She drove Hewlett-Packard into the ground....maybe now she wants to do the same thing to government!
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The Problem With Socialism

Post by Ahso! »

yaaarrrgg;1340783 wrote: That's a great idea.Thanks. It would allow us to reduce taxes for everyone if not eliminate them altogether and it would satisfy the competitive capitalist plus provide essential services to everyone. It would most likely effectively solve all these issues we're discussing, hence everyone wins.

And we could find people willing to serve honestly if we really wanted to.
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities,”

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The Problem With Socialism

Post by Bryn Mawr »

Accountable;1340244 wrote: That doesn't necessarily follow. A director can't unilaterally change his pay, and the board are not going to sacrifice their profitability so that he can buy another house. Reducing our buying power reduces their profits, which places their own pay in jeopardy.




The question is about disparity in pay, not about pay within a single company.

Where the "high earners" in a country have an earning power orders of magnitude above that of the "low earners" it leads to social injustice and disorder.
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The Problem With Socialism

Post by Bryn Mawr »

koan;1340465 wrote: Abuse of power started with the creation of surplus and the assignment of a person, at the time religious leader, to be in charge of the surplus. Government is what grew out of that abuse. Capitalism tried to give some of that power back to the people, Socialism keeps it under central control.


Totally disagree - the totalitarianism that some early attempts at socialism descended into maybe but it is not intrinsic to socialism which, in its basic form, tries to give each member of society an equal bite at the surplus.

PS, totally agree with the first two sentences.
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The Problem With Socialism

Post by Bryn Mawr »

Accountable;1340655 wrote: Yes, I am against official government-sanctioned bigotry. I disagree that I have fellow citizens who are unable to succeed on their own. I see daily with my own eyes the damage this soft bigotry of lowered expectations causes. Perfectly healthy, intelligent people convinced that their efforts will come to naught, so they don't even try. And there are plenty at the ready with sympathetic nods and comforting euphemisms, telling them that their plight is hopeless, and aren't they lucky that the government is here to protect you against the cruel, cruel world.

It's sickening.


So you do not see that the actions of govrnment can affect the ability of individuals to make a success of their lives?

Might I give you a couple of examples - forgive me if they are from this side of the pond but that's all I know.

In 1984 the Conservative Government had a set to with the leader of the Miners Union - he wished to use the political leverage of the membership to further his personal agenda, they wanted to break the power of the unions across the board.

The resultant strike was one of the most destructive in British history and led to the Government closing down the entire coal mining industry and offshoring production. Given that entire regions were dependant of mining for their survival the social costs were enormous.

Now, if you were a shopkeeper in a mining town and were thrown onto the dole because your customers could no longer buy your products because a political argument had cost them their jobs, would you feel that your expectations had been lowered and your ability to succeed on your own had been taken out of your control?

Going back a few years to when commercialism was rampant in this country. Large areas of the country were owned by large landowners but rented out to smallholders to farm. A change in the taxation system meant that it became more profitable to sell wool that to grow produce and the landowners promptly evicted their tenants in order to enclose the land to herd sheep.

As one of the tens of thousands of evicted tenants, would you feel that you would be able to succeed on your own or would you, without any more resources that the clothes on your back, feel that your plight was hopeless?

Given that you would not expect the government to protect you against the cruel, cruel, world could you suggest what your strategy would be to make good?

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