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Shaggy
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"democracy works so well for government so it must work great for production!" - a retard

5/31/2011 9:09:42 PM

McDanger
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"I believe that production should be lorded over by an unplanned mass of authoritarian structures" -- A baby who bases his knowledge of economics on "World of Warcraft"

5/31/2011 9:11:11 PM

Shaggy
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well lets put all these idiots in charge of production. they dont know how any of it works, but surely if there're enough retards they'll figure it out.



[Edited on May 31, 2011 at 9:14 PM. Reason : aa]

5/31/2011 9:14:01 PM

Shaggy
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expert knowledge has value. unskilled labor doesnt.

the solution is to train the unskilled, not to over inflate their value.

5/31/2011 9:15:16 PM

Kris
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what are you talking about? You seem to be rambling half thought things without giving us the context.

5/31/2011 9:18:14 PM

Shaggy
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direct worker control can never create viable businesses on any large scale since large entities require far too much specialization for democratic processes to be effective. So even if you tried to create a worker owned business, through both neccesity and as a natural result of competetion between people, heirarchies will form and the least skilled will lose out on compensation and control over the business.

As a society we should be trying to elevate the abilities of every worker so that the gap between the heriarchies is as small as possible. We can do this through public education, but it requires more time, effort. and money than the government and the people are willing to put forward.

5/31/2011 9:34:52 PM

Kris
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Quote :
"direct worker control can never create viable businesses on any large scale since large entities require far too much specialization for democratic processes to be effective."


Democratic processes are used by every publicly traded company today.

Quote :
"As a society we should be trying to elevate the abilities of every worker so that the gap between the heriarchies is as small as possible."


How very insightful captain obvious, maybe we should try to get rid of all disease and achieve world peace too.

5/31/2011 9:40:17 PM

TerdFerguson
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^^ check out Mondragon -- an interesting example of a worker controlled Cooperative

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondragon_Corporation

[Edited on May 31, 2011 at 9:41 PM. Reason : arrows]

5/31/2011 9:41:01 PM

d357r0y3r
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Quote :
"So, under socialism, will someone stop me from hiring a worker on my farm? Seems like the state just becomes a "workers union." It's really no wonder that socialism always turns into state capitalism."


Quote :
"The people who work on the farm would own it, so to speak. Managing production of any sort would be a democratic process open to scrutiny by anyone."


Will someone stop me from engaging in a purely voluntary agreement, where a worker does some kind of labor for me in exchange for a particular good or service? Who is coming in and telling me and another consenting individual what the terms of our agreement can be?

All voluntary agreements (contracts) are inherently democratic, as all parties can join and leave as they wish.

5/31/2011 11:03:42 PM

McDanger
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Quote :
"well lets put all these idiots in charge of production. they dont know how any of it works, but surely if there're enough retards they'll figure it out."


When did I suggest that? The low quality people you're thinking of are products of capitalism and an eviscerated educational system/philosophy. Capitalists can't let labor get well-educated because they would not be properly governable.

Quote :
"expert knowledge has value. unskilled labor doesnt.

the solution is to train the unskilled, not to over inflate their value."


What am I supposed to make of this incoherent rambling? Of course expert knowledge has value. So does unskilled labor. Nobody's saying to elevate idiots into power; the point is to elevate workers to a higher level of education. Clearly there's value to skilled laborers; who suggests discarding them? It's in nobody's interest.

Quote :
"direct worker control can never create viable businesses on any large scale since large entities require far too much specialization for democratic processes to be effective. So even if you tried to create a worker owned business, through both neccesity and as a natural result of competetion between people, heirarchies will form and the least skilled will lose out on compensation and control over the business."


They might not have their will enacted for how the industry is run, but there's no capital accumulation and so nobody's really enriching themselves materially through this process.

Quote :
"As a society we should be trying to elevate the abilities of every worker so that the gap between the heriarchies is as small as possible. We can do this through public education, but it requires more time, effort. and money than the government and the people are willing to put forward."


Education brings us closer to a place where "the hierarchy" will become un-needed.

Quote :
"Will someone stop me from engaging in a purely voluntary agreement, where a worker does some kind of labor for me in exchange for a particular good or service? Who is coming in and telling me and another consenting individual what the terms of our agreement can be?"


I suppose you can trade personal items but you will have no capital to trade for services in the way you're imagining.

Quote :
"All voluntary agreements (contracts) are inherently democratic, as all parties can join and leave as they wish."


There's nothing free about political freedom in an economically authoritarian system. Political rights are nice and dandy, but words on page pale in comparison to control of the economy.

5/31/2011 11:34:53 PM

Kris
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Quote :
"All voluntary agreements (contracts) are inherently democratic, as all parties can join and leave as they wish."


That's not democratic, that's closer to anarchy. Democracy involves voting.

5/31/2011 11:57:09 PM

LoneSnark
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Quote :
"Democratic processes are used by every publicly traded company today."

And the first thing they do with this democratic process is hire a dictator with a cabinet to run the company. Corporations are a bad idea without competition. State socialism is just one large corporation without competitors.

Quote :
"What about the drastic reduction in the infant mortality rate, or the drastic increase in life expectancy, or the rise in household income. None of these are "successes"?"

No. They are failing not quite as much as they used to. Living standards are improving in Africa too, doesn't make them successful. Some regions of China are becoming successes, and maybe China's less successful regions will improve dramatically in the future, but until then the average Chinese citizen is laboring in abhorrent conditions on farms, in mines, and squalid sweat shops struggling to afford indoor plumbing. A history of communism made them dirt poor and they still have a long way to go.

Quote :
"So the power of unions as well as the large safety net somehow make it have a freer market than us? "

There are objective ways to compare policy between countries. In terms of socialism, few are as socialist as America where the government owns the post office, the FAA, airports, hospitals, the occasional power company, and most of primary education (a size-able chunk of the economy).

That said, what does a safety net (high tax rates) have to do with socialism? Private ownership of the means of production does not require the absence of taxation.

6/1/2011 12:07:23 AM

Kris
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Quote :
"Corporations are a bad idea without competition."


Yet that's what they all strive for.

Quote :
"Living standards are improving in Africa too, doesn't make them successful."


Not even close to a rate comparable to China. In fact I believe in many places in Africa things like life expectancy and such have gotten much worse to to the increase in aids.

Quote :
"Some regions of China are becoming successes, and maybe China's less successful regions will improve dramatically in the future, but until then the average Chinese citizen is laboring in abhorrent conditions on farms, in mines, and squalid sweat shops struggling to afford indoor plumbing."


Proof? This "some regions" thing sounds like baseless conjecture. Rural and urban areas in China have both experienced rapid growth.

Quote :
"A history of communism made them dirt poor and they still have a long way to go."


They are miles ahead of any of their neighbors who have not had billions of US dollars devoted to build infrastructure.

Quote :
"There are objective ways to compare policy between countries."


I wouldn't call them "objective" considering they tend to come from Heritage Foundation or the like. They tend to use it as the "work backwards" part of the "take credit for any successes" and "shift blame for any faults" part of the capitalist apologist's work.

Quote :
"That said, what does a safety net (high tax rates) have to do with socialism? Private ownership of the means of production does not require the absence of taxation."


You confuse tax rates with "safety nets". Welfare and social security could just as well be privatized, as could any function of the government that tax dollars go towards.
Compare them to India, which was free from

6/1/2011 1:19:54 AM

LoneSnark
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Quote :
"Yet that's what they all strive for."

Yes, all corporate managers want to be granted a monopoly. Your response to this fact is to pass a law giving them one? If America went socialist, it would be these same managers currently running competitive corporations that would be picked to run the state monopolies. Just check how many former Goldman Sachs employees are managing the Treasury Department.

Quote :
"Rural and urban areas in China have both experienced rapid growth."

Right, growth, from a dirt poor starting point. Per capita GDP (PPP) has the Chinese earning barely half that of a Mexican. if China is a success then Mexico must be heaven.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29_per_capita

Quote :
"They tend to use it as the "work backwards" part of the "take credit for any successes" and "shift blame for any faults" part of the capitalist apologist's work."

proof? I have read their economic freedom report from time to time and it sure seemed reasonable to me, especially after living in several of the countries and visiting dozens more countries rated by them and coming to about the same conclusion.

I guess you are quibbling with the idea that parts of Europe are even more economically free than America. Fine, on the arbitrary economic freedom scale you would have a strong case by arguing they are too close to call.

But this minor quibble is nothing compared to your ideological insanity of calling a country as poor as China a "success".

[Edited on June 1, 2011 at 8:44 AM. Reason : .,.]

6/1/2011 8:35:24 AM

Kris
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Quote :
"it would be these same managers currently running competitive corporations that would be picked to run the state monopolies. Just check how many former Goldman Sachs employees are managing the Treasury Department"


Or let's look at all the former Fed Ex employees that manage the USPS or the former food conglomerate managers that now manage the FDA, or maybe you can't make your example apply to all industries.

Quote :
"Right, growth, from a dirt poor starting point."


How is that relevant? Rapid growth is rapid growth.

Quote :
"Per capita GDP (PPP) has the Chinese earning barely half that of a Mexican. if China is a success then Mexico must be heaven."


GDP per capita is not really a fair comparison since we are talking about what the "average person" makes rather than what the average is. As you can see from this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_distribution_of_wealth, there is drastically more income inequality in Mexico than there is in China. But China is still a developing nation and while they are drastically growing at a blistering pace, Mexico has remained stagnant and dependent upon the US. Without any sort of doubt, China's growth should be noticed and applauded, and much credit is due to it's government.

Quote :
"I have read their economic freedom report from time to time and it sure seemed reasonable to me, especially after living in several of the countries and visiting dozens more countries rated by them and coming to about the same conclusion."


I read them and found that they used few objective standards, and the ones that they did use tended to vary from country to country. It seems to be exactly like I described it where they made the rankings first and then patched together whatever numbers they could get to justify that ranking.

Quote :
"But this minor quibble is nothing compared to your ideological insanity of calling a country as poor as China a "success"."


They are a success. Their rapid economic growth could not be considered anything but a success.

6/1/2011 12:55:34 PM

McDanger
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"Economic freedom"? For who? Capital?

6/1/2011 8:25:04 PM

The E Man
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Quote :
"All voluntary agreements (contracts) are inherently democratic, as all parties can join and leave as they wish."

Actually they can join or starve in most cases. Its just one step from slavery hence why we went to it after slavery without an enormous depression.

6/2/2011 1:41:17 AM

ghotiblue
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I have no problem with socialism, so long as it's completely voluntary for all involved. In fact I would love to live in a place where people are free to form socialist societies without interference from states.

The problem is I don't believe that a voluntary socialist society is sustainable. Just not enough incentive.

6/2/2011 9:58:04 AM

d357r0y3r
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"I suppose you can trade personal items but you will have no capital to trade for services in the way you're imagining."


Seems awfully arbitrary. If I make something for my own use, it's a "personal item," but as soon as I employ someone to use it, it becomes "capital"? And the person I employ to use it has just as much of a say as I do in how it's used? Why is that? I'm the one that labored to get that capital, up to that point. If I choose to hire a worker, he's there to perform a service for me; I expect him to use capital in the way that I see fit. If he doesn't like the way that I want the capital used, then he is free to provide labor to one of my many competitors. If I don't like the way that he uses my capital, then I'll fire him. Sometimes, employees suck at their jobs and have to go. It's best for both sides (the employer and the employee) to know that their relationship could end at any time - if it's mutually beneficial, then both sides have an incentive to work hard/provide fair wages and working conditions. If it's not, then one party will end it.

Socialism assumes that, in a free market (anarcho-capitalism), monopolies will form and there will only be one company in town, therefore workers must have collective ownership over the means of production as to avoid exploitation. In reality, especially in the context of today's highly specialized professions, monopolies are unable to form unless the state sanctions them by creating artificial barriers to entry or outright banning competition. This happens all the time, and as suggested before by Scumbag Steve, is blamed on "the unfettered free market."

Quote :
"There's nothing free about political freedom in an economically authoritarian system. Political rights are nice and dandy, but words on page pale in comparison to control of the economy."


It can't be "economically authoritarian" if there's no central authority. If people are free to come and go as they wish, it's impossible for any one entity to gain control over all resources. Even the most tyrannical governments have been unable to get that kind of control.

Quote :
"That's not democratic, that's closer to anarchy. Democracy involves voting."


It's exactly anarchy. It's democratic in the sense that any parties involved have a vote to stay or leave.

Quote :
"Actually they can join or starve in most cases. Its just one step from slavery hence why we went to it after slavery without an enormous depression."


Why would they starve? ...and this has absolutely nothing to do with slavery. Again, you seem to imagine a primitive human civilization where only a few products are made, and one or two companies own everything. The free market offers a bottom up approach, which means constant innovation and specialization, with businesses competing in every area.

6/2/2011 11:48:28 AM

The E Man
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No because the volume sellers make more profit and sell products too cheap driving the real businesses out of business. They also pay their workers significantly less. Since these volume sellers make up the majority of the market, they offer the majority of the jobs. The small, struggling businesses are lucky to even be open so to find one that is hiring more than close relatives would be a stretch. New workers really don't have much of a choice. Neither do consumers. Capitalism is great on a small scale. Big business capitalism fails.

I love how people who are pro-capitalism always use ideal situations when explaining how good capitalism is. You never hear them talk about Walmart.

6/2/2011 11:59:38 AM

McDanger
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Quote :
"Seems awfully arbitrary. If I make something for my own use, it's a "personal item," but as soon as I employ someone to use it, it becomes "capital"? And the person I employ to use it has just as much of a say as I do in how it's used? Why is that? I'm the one that labored to get that capital, up to that point. If I choose to hire a worker, he's there to perform a service for me; I expect him to use capital in the way that I see fit. If he doesn't like the way that I want the capital used, then he is free to provide labor to one of my many competitors. If I don't like the way that he uses my capital, then I'll fire him. Sometimes, employees suck at their jobs and have to go. It's best for both sides (the employer and the employee) to know that their relationship could end at any time - if it's mutually beneficial, then both sides have an incentive to work hard/provide fair wages and working conditions. If it's not, then one party will end it."


The central principle of socialism is pretty simple: ownership is determined by use. The reason why private property makes sense in the case of say, a hammer (that you own and use to build furniture), is because you're the one channeling your effort (exclusively) through the hammer to produce goods. If a tool requires the use of more than one person, then more than one person should "own" the tool. In fact, precisely as many people as work on it should own it. This is the non-perverse way of extending the intuitive notion of private-ownership over goods you use. The capitalist way of extending private property rights is the way you described above: you pay people to produce using what you own and take the difference between what you pay them and the value of what they produced (determined by market price or whatever).

You don't get to just own a piece of equipment like this in a socialist society. I couldn't own a factory and shut it down in such a system: my "property right" would not be enforced by any government and the people working in the factory, who actually animate it, would control it. I would be left out in the cold with a worthless set of papers.

Quote :
"Socialism assumes that, in a free market (anarcho-capitalism), monopolies will form and there will only be one company in town, therefore workers must have collective ownership over the means of production as to avoid exploitation."


When you say things like this, isn't it clear to you that you don't know what "socialism assumes"? I'm just curious how much you keep yourself in the dark here, because your statement is so off base but you've phrased it as if you're so familiar with the positions as to be casual with them.

The point of socialism, again, is that the people who do the work should make the decisions. The people who operate the tools own the tools. Exploitation doesn't mean "forced to live in terrible conditions"; exploitation is an economic relation. Think of a mine: you put a certain amount of effort into extracting minerals. The same with workers who are exploited: you pay them less than you get out of them. That's the whole point. That's what's meant by "exploitation of labor by capital". It doesn't matter how good the terms of that exploitation are.

Quote :
"In reality, especially in the context of today's highly specialized professions, monopolies are unable to form unless the state sanctions them by creating artificial barriers to entry or outright banning competition. This happens all the time, and as suggested before by Scumbag Steve, is blamed on "the unfettered free market.""


Capitalism is impossible without a strong State. This might surprise you, so I'll say it again: capitalism is impossible without a strong State. How else do you protect and enforce property rights? How else do you provide security and stability for markets and access to markets? Without a State capitalists have no way to exercise and defend their ownership rights -- they either need the defense of the State or the legitimization of the State for their own forces of violence (Pinkertons, etc ... just wait until Blackwater gets a piece of union and strike-busting!).

This is all beside the point of socialism though, as I don't believe there's a "standard" way of analyzing the various shortcomings of capitalist systems and market devices. But there are standard definitions for socialism and straight-forward entailments that spring from them. What you've managed to do in your last post was ignore clearly stated socialist doctrine and invent a "standard socialist story" about free-markets as if it's part of the theoretical apparatus. This is really lazy stuff.

[Edited on June 2, 2011 at 12:15 PM. Reason : .]

6/2/2011 12:13:42 PM

d357r0y3r
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Quote :
"No because the volume sellers make more profit and sell products too cheap driving the real businesses out of business. They also pay their workers significantly less. Since these volume sellers make up the majority of the market, they offer the majority of the jobs. The small, struggling businesses are lucky to even be open so to find one that is hiring more than close relatives would be a stretch. New workers really don't have much of a choice. Neither do consumers. Capitalism is great on a small scale. Big business capitalism fails."


That's the theory. Economies of scale alleges that big operations have a cost advantage, and in some very real ways, they do. However, large operations also have some major disadvantages which open up the market to smaller competitors.

Customer service is one of the first things to go in big companies, not necessarily because it's neglected, but because there are too many customers to reasonably accommodate. People do not always just want the cheapest product or service, they want value, and they want support for their products. People will often use a competitor that costs a little more if they feel that they're getting better service.

Within large organizations, as they grow, their production costs shrink (on a per unit basis), but their operation costs grow, and it's not a perfectly inverse relationship. The larger an organization becomes, the less efficient it is in certain areas; employees are less likely to feel like they're making a difference, policies become rigid and unchanging, and there's less accountability for some employees due to the size of the organization. All of those things represent increased costs, as they need to hire a larger number of employees to get the same productivity as a smaller business with more accountability/less overhead.

Quote :
"I love how people who are pro-capitalism always use ideal situations when explaining how good capitalism is. You never hear them talk about Walmart."


I find it absurd that Wal-Mart has been demonized as it has been. How dare they provide goods at a slightly lower price than competitors and provide wages/benefits for unskilled laborers? They drove everyone else out of the market...except for Target, CostCo, BJ's, and every other department store.

Quote :
"The central principle of socialism is pretty simple: ownership is determined by use."


This is a description of Rothbardian (anarcho-capitalist) property rights. For instance, you cannot actually own physical land, as it is not the product of labor, it is the product of nature.

Quote :
"If a tool requires the use of more than one person, then more than one person should "own" the tool. In fact, precisely as many people as work on it should own it. This is the non-perverse way of extending the intuitive notion of private-ownership over goods you use"


It isn't clear, to me, what it would mean to "own" the tool. If a hire a worker to come onto my farm, and we disagree on how the tool should be used, how do we settle that conflict? If a hire two workers, and they both agree that the best way to use my hammer is in some way that differs from my opinion, it sounds like they win out, since we all have equal parts ownership.

Collective ownership works great, until capital is no longer being used. At that point, human nature takes over, and someone wants to use the tool in the future. You need some framework to determine who that tool belongs to, and private ownership is the way to do it.

Quote :
"Exploitation doesn't mean "forced to live in terrible conditions"; exploitation is an economic relation. Think of a mine: you put a certain amount of effort into extracting minerals. The same with workers who are exploited: you pay them less than you get out of them. That's the whole point. That's what's meant by "exploitation of labor by capital"."


If there were no profit to be made, then why bother going through the effort of creating an organization that produces some good or service? The workers get paid less than I will end up making, but they didn't have the good sense to create the mine, or gather the capital necessary to extract the minerals, or anything else. All they did was show up and follow my directions. It makes no sense that they would get an equal cut of the profits.

Under your system, there's absolutely no reason to come up with good ideas or work hard. There's nothing in it for the individual. Have you ever worked at a job where you were the hardest worker, but you got paid the same as everyone else? If so, how'd that feel? I think your argument will be that with ample education, everyone will be a hard worker. I think that's ridiculous. People need incentives.

Quote :
"Capitalism is impossible without a strong State. This might surprise you, so I'll say it again: capitalism is impossible without a strong State. How else do you protect and enforce property rights? How else do you provide security and stability for markets and access to markets?"


Property rights can (and would) be defended by competing, private organizations. Every function of government that I see as legitimate could be performed by private agencies, and the fact that they would have to compete (unlike the government) would reduce costs and improve effectiveness. This is anarcho-capitalism, free market anarchism, individualist anarchism, or whatever you want to call it.

6/2/2011 1:07:27 PM

Kris
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Quote :
"It's exactly anarchy. It's democratic in the sense that any parties involved have a vote to stay or leave."


Democracy isn't "we'll vote and if I don't like it I won't honor the decision". It's "we'll vote and I have to honor the decision whether I like it or not".

Quote :
"Economies of scale alleges that big operations have a cost advantage, and in some very real ways, they do."


EOS is only one part of what he is talking about, the more important part is the issue of market power.

Quote :
"Customer service is one of the first things to go in big companies, not necessarily because it's neglected, but because there are too many customers to reasonably accommodate."


Someone doesn't understand capitalism . Customer service goes because customers demand lower prices more than they demand better customer service. If customers demanded customer service as you say, then a company would, without a doubt, provide it.

Quote :
"Within large organizations, as they grow, their production costs shrink (on a per unit basis), but their operation costs grow, and it's not a perfectly inverse relationship. The larger an organization becomes, the less efficient it is in certain areas; employees are less likely to feel like they're making a difference, policies become rigid and unchanging, and there's less accountability for some employees due to the size of the organization. All of those things represent increased costs, as they need to hire a larger number of employees to get the same productivity as a smaller business with more accountability/less overhead."


And yet this conflicts with the reality that we have seen of an economic landscape dominated by large corporations.

Quote :
"For instance, you cannot actually own physical land, as it is not the product of labor, it is the product of nature."


Nothing is the product of labor alone. Absolutely nothing. Even computer code requires power, which requires fuel, which existed naturally in nature. It requires the homestead principle, which seems unfair to most people being that you can claim exclusive ownership to anything simply be being the first one there.

Quote :
"Property rights can (and would) be defended by competing, private organizations."


Ok, you tell me which one has the most guns and I'll tell you which one would become your new government.

6/2/2011 2:38:44 PM

McDanger
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Quote :
"If a hire a worker to come onto my farm, and we disagree on how the tool should be used, how do we settle that conflict? If a hire two workers, and they both agree that the best way to use my hammer is in some way that differs from my opinion, it sounds like they win out, since we all have equal parts ownership."


Your hammer is yours. It's a tool that requires the use of one person. In a socialist system you're not going to "hire" anybody to do work for you in a productive setting. If they join your shop they are equal owners; they don't get paid whatever you feel it's worth to get them to do things with "your" tools. If a tool requires more than one person to use (a factory) then it can't be privately owned. Collective ownership.

Quote :
"Collective ownership works great, until capital is no longer being used. At that point, human nature takes over, and someone wants to use the tool in the future. You need some framework to determine who that tool belongs to, and private ownership is the way to do it.
"


The tool belongs to the group of people that use it. If it's a single-person tool then it makes sense for a single person to own it. Knitting equipment, for instance, makes sense for a single person to own as a single person operates and produces with it. A massive machine requiring a collective of workers, however, is owned by the collective that actually does the work. I don't "hire" anybody to work on a machine "I own" because I can't own it.

When industry is run democratically by the people who actually do the work, it sidesteps the issues you're concerned with. Furthermore, nobody's exploiting them; there's no capture of surplus-value.

Quote :
"If there were no profit to be made, then why bother going through the effort of creating an organization that produces some good or service? The workers get paid less than I will end up making, but they didn't have the good sense to create the mine, or gather the capital necessary to extract the minerals, or anything else. All they did was show up and follow my directions. It makes no sense that they would get an equal cut of the profits."


There are no profits anymore. There's also no need for "profit incentive" to work at all. In capitalism, yes -- if I don't have a profit-motive, I'm not going to work hard. Thus, gold-bricking. Labor in a capitalist system is a bothersome, horrid task. Capitalists are right to view labor as involving discomfort (mental and physical) that is to be avoided wherever possible, because labor becomes like this in a capitalist system where you are not your own master (and the value of your labor is skimmed from you). In this system, it doesn't happen. When you create value it goes where it's needed. The specifics of this must be determined at the time by the workers themselves; asking me for too many details now is like me asking you to calculate the price of a fictional invention in 30 years.

Quote :
"
Property rights can (and would) be defended by competing, private organizations. Every function of government that I see as legitimate could be performed by private agencies, and the fact that they would have to compete (unlike the government) would reduce costs and improve effectiveness. This is anarcho-capitalism, free market anarchism, individualist anarchism, or whatever you want to call it."


You have never qualified why your system wouldn't become feudalism in a heart-beat. You're suggesting making economic and money power even more influential, handing even more lordship of society to capital. Even though you acknowledge the problems we currently face are accomplished by capital manipulating the State; do you really imagine without the chains on the gorilla that the gorilla will behave?

Quote :
"Under your system, there's absolutely no reason to come up with good ideas or work hard. There's nothing in it for the individual."


It's obvious you don't build or create. Most people I know who are involved in ground-breaking research aren't doing it for profit-motive. The majority of creative individuals are wage-earners. They aren't even in on the profits; they depend on the current state of exploitation, the state of the labor market, etc.

I pour the majority of my life's energy and effort into my work, and I don't do it "for the money"; if I did, I wouldn't be in the Academy. I do it because I find it valuable. Everybody I know at university either feels this way or does it for personal glory. Of course tons of valuable research goes on in private industry as well, but mostly by wage-earners and not by the capitalist owners. You need to remember who is doing the work, here; those who do are typically exploited. The days of owners slaving alongside their workers are mostly gone except for some small businesses.

Quote :
"Have you ever worked at a job where you were the hardest worker, but you got paid the same as everyone else? If so, how'd that feel? I think your argument will be that with ample education, everyone will be a hard worker. I think that's ridiculous. People need incentives."


People have the most natural incentive there is: animals work to overcome their environment and survive. It's natural. Labor for humans is a naturally social activity with a social function: to produce the goods necessary for life. When hunger hits, you move and work. That's how nature works, that's how socialism works.

We live in a system that has created perverse incentives like profit-incentive (incentive for a capitalist to increase the amount of surplus-value he personally captures). Because people *in this system* are fueled by greed and require the satisfaction of their greed to strive for capitalist ownership (which is not "creating anything" like the skilled labor mentioned above) says nothing about humans in general. You have to imagine that humans under capitalism are "natural humans"; and if you think that, I have to imagine you are poorly acquainted with history.



[Edited on June 3, 2011 at 7:50 AM. Reason : .]

6/3/2011 7:36:17 AM

Chance
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Sorry, just skimming the thread because I don't care so much as to bother understanding failed systems....do we have any working examples of collective owned businesses currently existing? It doesn't seem like there are any real barriers to them forming. If this way is clearly superior then why aren't they springing up all over the place and naturally over time supplanting the current status quo business structure? Why do startup companies that are on the cusp of going big time start bringing in execs...why don't they form collectives to make the decisions?

[Edited on June 3, 2011 at 7:51 AM. Reason : .]

6/3/2011 7:50:22 AM

McDanger
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Quote :
"Sorry, just skimming the thread because I don't care so much as to bother understanding failed systems"


How does it feel being a typical American rube? Do you actually give a fuck about getting anything right?

Quote :
"do we have any working examples of collective owned businesses currently existing? It doesn't seem like there are any real barriers to them forming."


Have you not paid attention to US foreign policy for the entirety of your life, your parents' lives, and your grandparents' lives?

Look, I didn't mean to react so rudely here, but come on. You obviously don't know what socialism is or supposed to be, and you obviously don't have the historical knowledge to say to yourself "Was X socialist?" or "Was X an actual test of unmolested socialism?" You haven't even read this thread, and you've already demonstrated your deep ignorance. Why not start by reading the thread instead of literally allowing American companies to program your opinions?

I'm even being polite to destroyer in here. That's good enough proof that if you take it seriously, so will I. Until then fuck off.

[Edited on June 3, 2011 at 7:55 AM. Reason : .]

6/3/2011 7:52:02 AM

Chance
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So...no? I'm not trolling here. You reacted about as I expected. Right now, this moment while I'm taking a shit and waiting on an appraiser to arrive, I'm not interested in studying the theory of socialism. I asked a simple question. If there are ready examples of this stuff in action that proves to me that it is a legitimate system and I'll actually take the time to go study it some more. Feel free to give me those examples or at a minimum concoct a theory about why they don't exist (evil capitalist suppressing people, making them dumb so they don't see they light, etc).

And if I'm a rube, fan fucking tastic. I'll die a happier man than you for certain.

6/3/2011 8:30:47 AM

TerdFerguson
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^you should have skimmed more closely

Quote :
"^^ check out Mondragon -- an interesting example of a worker controlled Cooperative

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondragon_Corporation

"


I recommend this documentary, kinda long, but a good overview of its history and how it works

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7efaDeFmurQ


The Mondragon structure isn't necessarily the only possible way to form a cooperative, but they have to be one of the currently most successful, so they are always worth taking a close look at.

6/3/2011 8:53:54 AM

Chance
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Mondragon doesn't seem to be a true cooperative as defined in this thread.

6/3/2011 9:06:50 AM

TerdFerguson
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The workers own all means of production. All decisions are made (relatively) democratically. Its pretty damn close.

6/3/2011 9:10:37 AM

McDanger
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Quote :
"So...no? I'm not trolling here. You reacted about as I expected. Right now, this moment while I'm taking a shit and waiting on an appraiser to arrive, I'm not interested in studying the theory of socialism."


Then I'm not interested in engaging you on the topic. If you want a place to start reading I'm willing to give it to you, but you can't even be bothered to read a thread. There are plenty of examples of workers organizing industry during power-vacuums (Russia, before turning to State-capitalism, was like this when the Czar had become all but impotent). Greece had a huge labor movement in the 40's that resulted in the vacuum created by Nazi invasion and resistance. The UK and US crushed it explicitly with force and propaganda legitimizing that force.

At the moment you're viewing the organizational principles being presented here as "business models" when really they're industrial-societal models.

Socialism can only be brought about by workers seizing control of the economy. They already animate it; once they realize this gives them power to control it, they'll have the power to steer society themselves. Capitalism won't tolerate worker control of even a single business; it always seeks for new sources to exploit. It wouldn't even tolerate organized capitalism (see resistance to USSR, China).

[Edited on June 3, 2011 at 9:19 AM. Reason : .]

6/3/2011 9:16:47 AM

Kris
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Quote :
"If there are ready examples of this stuff in action that proves to me that it is a legitimate system and I'll actually take the time to go study it some more. Feel free to give me those examples or at a minimum concoct a theory about why they don't exist"


There are many of them around, less in america due to it's historical affinity towards capitalism:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worker_cooperative#By_country

Now you might wonder why they are all generally small. The reason for that is one of the drawbacks to worker owned cooperatives, they have difficulty acquiring the capital needed for growth when the market would encourage them to get it. They do not sell stock, the only way for them to increase the amount of owners they have is to hire more people, while growth requires more workers, it also requires cash, which is much tougher for them to obtain. Their only means to acquire cash while maintaining the employee owned structure is selling additional ownership to employees, which is far less efficient and effective than selling it out on the open market with a good deal more potential buyers, in addition having unequal ownership distributed to employees risks them falling into a more traditional sole proprietorship or corporation structure.

[Edited on June 3, 2011 at 9:58 AM. Reason : ]

6/3/2011 9:53:28 AM

S
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This thread has a high barrier of entry, and is controlled by the elite few, like McDanger.

I suggest intervention by the mods to make it more accessible to the common Internet user.

6/3/2011 11:50:09 PM

LoneSnark
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Worker run cooperatives are an excellent example of locally controlled voluntary socialism. It can only exist in a capitalist system, as it is only there that the property rights of the collective will be respected. Under a state-socialist system the local collective would lose its authority and be run from Washington just as many firms under capitalism are run from New York.

But as d357r0y3r said and no one addressed, every worker cooperative I know of did not start that way. They all were founded as traditional capitalist entities with owners and workers, became a functional concern, and then became a cooperative either by sale or will to the workers.

Someone I met once made a living this way. He would start a new company every two to five years, get it running and profitable, and then sell the whole business to his workers so he could use the money to go off and start another one. He claimed his motivation was it took him about that long to learn everything about that industry would move on before he got bored.

So, per d357r0y3r's question, in the socialism being described in this thread, how will society produce new from scratch worker run firms? Worker run firms don't last forever, a schism or loss of profitability eventually develops and the workers liquidate the firm. Also, as population grows and technology changes new types of firms will be needed. Well, if the workers own the firm from day one then it would make it difficult to start another firm from the proceeds of selling said firm to said workers. So tell me how you think the process will work without company founders.

[Edited on June 4, 2011 at 2:27 AM. Reason : .,.]

6/4/2011 2:22:21 AM

McDanger
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Quote :
"This thread has a high barrier of entry, and is controlled by the elite few, like McDanger.

I suggest intervention by the mods to make it more accessible to the common Internet user."


I've tried to boil it down as simply as possible, but if you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask (as I care about this topic, clearly). If you think that my views would be parodied by mod intervention you'd be wrong; if you really want to, take control of this thread yourself.

Quote :
"So, per d357r0y3r's question, in the socialism being described in this thread, how will society produce new from scratch worker run firms? Worker run firms don't last forever, a schism or loss of profitability eventually develops and the workers liquidate the firm. Also, as population grows and technology changes new types of firms will be needed. Well, if the workers own the firm from day one then it would make it difficult to start another firm from the proceeds of selling said firm to said workers. So tell me how you think the process will work without company founders. "


Social revolution; when workers decide to organize industry themselves, they'll have to use a form appropriate to their needs and resources at the time. When they're ready to do this, they can simply ignore capitalist ownership rights. It'll require a fight though, obviously, as the capitalist will bring the State to his defense (or private paramilitary force). It's hard to proscribe organization ahead of time; it'd be like asking you to figure out the price of fictional widgets in 30 years. That being said, internet and communications technologies have the ability to both proliferate education and to allow people to organize themselves more effectively into cooperative structures of various forms. How exactly to do this in a scalable way that'd allow for an entire region to be effectively self-managed is an interesting question, one I've been thinking about lately. Really would be interested in an exchange of ideas on this topic.

[Edited on June 4, 2011 at 8:53 AM. Reason : .]

6/4/2011 8:49:23 AM

LoneSnark
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Quote :
"When they're ready to do this, they can simply ignore capitalist ownership rights. It'll require a fight though, obviously, as the capitalist will bring the State to his defense (or private paramilitary force)."

No, like I said it is not that hard to turn a traditional firm into a worker owner firm. After-all, our largest corporations have an army of owners to go with their army of workers, it wouldn't be complicated for them to become the same people. The workers own a large chunk of GM right now, if the legislature chose the police could have made the workers own 100% of GM with no violence what-so-ever. The legislature and the system of law enforcement can work any-way you like, the only reason you are certain violence will result is because you realize a huge chunk of the citizenry, such as me and everyone I personally know, would be violently opposed to your "social revolution" even if you somehow managed to win an election.

Quote :
"It's hard to proscribe organization ahead of time; it'd be like asking you to figure out the price of fictional widgets in 30 years."

But it is not hard to proscribe that there will be a price and someone buying and selling them. Especially when such organization is perfectly possible today, so all you need to explain is how you would, today, organize a large capital intensive firm from scratch without owners or capital markets on a scale large enough to maintain our standard of living.

Today, small worker owned firms are started quite often. A family gets together enough money to buy and start running a food cart or use their savings to start a small restaurant. A group of friends organize a small internet company working from home. These are worker owned firms being started every day. They often need to use capital markets to do so, such as loans from banks or borrowing against private property, but they could continue starting firms without such property rights, they would merely do it less often, allowing for less competition and higher profits from their struggles, at a large loss to customers from both higher prices and lower production, but small firm compatible industries would continue into the future.

Not so with big firms. I have a great imagination, but without an institution of some kind for capital concentration there is a limit to how much capital a single worker can bring to a firm. An extreme example would be a modern oil refinery which contains perhaps a billion dollars worth of capital but only employs a hundred workers on a continuous basis. Such a firm is easy to start in a capitalist society, which allows for a million owners, so each one only had to bring a thousand dollars to start the company, making the low worker count irrelevant. But for such a firm to be restricted to only allowing ownership by its worker base of a hundred people, each worker would have needed to bring $10 million to the table to get the firm started. Such is just not credible.

Therefore, the society you have described where either social norms or an intrusive state restricts ownership to the immediate workers of a firm would become highly dysfunctional, unable to produce or deploy many of our most productive technologies (super-massive ships, chemical plants, oil refining, automated manufacturing, etc).

6/4/2011 9:50:28 AM

Kris
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Quote :
"Worker run cooperatives are an excellent example of locally controlled voluntary socialism. It can only exist in a capitalist system, as it is only there that the property rights of the collective will be respected. Under a state-socialist system the local collective would lose its authority and be run from Washington just as many firms under capitalism are run from New York."


I think you tend to think of people like me as too antagonizing towards capitalism. I don't hate capitalism, it's great at several things, there are just certain things that it doesn't do well and those are the ones people would like to see fixed. I really wouldn't mind the existence of property rights, or the existence of currency, or private ownership of the means of production, or any of that so long as problems like market power, the cost of competition, the difficulty of pricing externalities, etc. were all fixed.
People tend to like the idea of worker cooperatives, not because they are socialist, but that they attempt to solve the problem of market power by making the buyer of labor and the seller of labor the same person.

Quote :
"every worker cooperative I know of did not start that way"


I imagine most of those in France started that way during the Commune. I believe the government started many of those in the UK as well, and I know for sure that those in Venezuela were started that way.

6/4/2011 10:42:33 AM

McDanger
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Quote :
"No, like I said it is not that hard to turn a traditional firm into a worker owner firm. After-all, our largest corporations have an army of owners to go with their army of workers, it wouldn't be complicated for them to become the same people. The workers own a large chunk of GM right now, if the legislature chose the police could have made the workers own 100% of GM with no violence what-so-ever. The legislature and the system of law enforcement can work any-way you like, the only reason you are certain violence will result is because you realize a huge chunk of the citizenry, such as me and everyone I personally know, would be violently opposed to your "social revolution" even if you somehow managed to win an election. "


Nothing's going to change from the top, are you kidding? Sometimes I wonder if you and I view the same world at all. Political democracy has been captured wholesale by capital. You really think that if workers united and voted away capitalist ownership rights that the owners would simply be like "well gawrsh time to hand over everything". Take a look at literally everywhere, everytime US business holdings have been challenged by nationalization (or the threat thereof) overseas.

There'll be plenty of armed goons such as yourselves ready to flood the streets and beat workers back into their holes, I imagine. Has happened everywhere: capital loves to pay off wanna-be thugs such as yourself, and when it controls the state too it can simply legitimize that force. It'll have to boil down to whether or not you and the other house slaves are able to quell a united front of labor. Whenever it happens people will have to cast their lots, I guess; and while I'm not exactly a violent person I'll be crossing my fingers you end up in a ditch rather than some worker seeking freedom.

Quote :
"But it is not hard to proscribe that there will be a price and someone buying and selling them. Especially when such organization is perfectly possible today, so all you need to explain is how you would, today, organize a large capital intensive firm from scratch without owners or capital markets on a scale large enough to maintain our standard of living. "


I don't need to describe it from scratch, because the world isn't a blank slate. Industry already exists, labor already animates it. Now all that remains is for labor to own it. Directly, not through the state.

Quote :
"Therefore, the society you have described where either social norms or an intrusive state restricts ownership to the immediate workers of a firm would become highly dysfunctional, unable to produce or deploy many of our most productive technologies (super-massive ships, chemical plants, oil refining, automated manufacturing, etc)."


Because people can't feasibly bring enough CURRENCY to the table? LOL

I'm not talking about making socialism work alongside capitalism. Capitalist ownership must be abolished de facto by direct action of workers. When people stop honoring slips of paper that give people lordship over life and society, society's going to look A LOT different. Social revolution is practically the only way forward from here. It doesn't have to be violent, but not a single owner (who barely even knows where his holdings are in many cases) is going to sever himself from the privilege, authority, power, and comfort his position grants him.

[Edited on June 6, 2011 at 8:57 AM. Reason : .]

6/6/2011 8:56:06 AM

LoneSnark
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I am a practical person, so unless you can describe the possible inner workings of your future society then why do you think anyone should support you? Obama wants to reorganize the healthcare industry, is it really that ridiculous for us to ask how it is going to work when he is done? Well, you want to completely reorganize society, yet you have neither a roadmap for getting there (bottom-up violence I guess) nor what it might look like when you get there, just a bunch of talking points about how awesome workers are and how evil the capitalists are (ignoring that the vast majority of your fellow citizens are both workers and own capital and are usually voters as well).

Quote :
"Take a look at literally everywhere, everytime US business holdings have been challenged by nationalization (or the threat thereof) overseas."

They get nationalized. When your actions are strongly opposed by a large segment of the citizenry, violence is a predictable outcome. However, every nation that has tried to nationalize U.S. or other foreign assets while having the general support of their citizenry has done so without immediate foreign intervention and often without internal violence of any kind. But these governments had a plan for how the system was going to work after nationalization, such as traditional state run firms, and was able to convince their citizens the seizure would improve their lot in life. They always turned out to be wrong and in a few short years many of them tried to return the property to the prior owners, with little success. You have given me nothing beyond "A LOT different" as if the current system was so terrible anything that was different was automatically better. It is not an improvement for me to own by place of work if the result is paychecks that can't buy anything.

Quote :
"There'll be plenty of armed goons such as yourselves ready to flood the streets and beat workers back into their holes, I imagine."

I am a worker. I work for a living like the vast majority of the American population. I just believe theft to be morally wrong so I oppose such behavior on the part of others, be it you with a bunch of thugs eager to steal a factory or Congress eager to buy votes with said factory.

Quote :
"capital loves to pay off wanna-be thugs such as yourself, and when it controls the state too it can simply legitimize that force."

Right, as if Castro never used either violence or the state to nationalize Cuba's economy. I admit, Castro was not a worker revolution, merely a military takeover coupled with nationalization, but you have given no indication as to how your society will operate so I can't say it would be different.

I am reminded of the GM debacle. With an act of Congress the bond holders (capitalists) had their property taken without just compensation and given to the workers as a gift even though the laws controlling unsecured debts said they should receive nothing. There was no violence in the streets, no thugs beating heads, because we are a democracy and the citizenry viewed the transfer as legitimate and therefore the only remedy for those against the transfer was through the ballot box.

Quote :
"Whenever it happens people will have to cast their lots, I guess; and while I'm not exactly a violent person I'll be crossing my fingers you end up in a ditch rather than some worker seeking freedom."

Back to the issue of social organization. The revolution you seek will not come even in your children's lifetime. Even if you had a plan for how your society would operate, the fact is 90+% of Americans if polled would be against it. Not because they have been paid off by capital, not because they themselves own capital, but because they are ideologically opposed to theft. So, yes, the police will always use violence against workers attempting to seize their workplaces, because in a democracy the majority gets what they want, and the majority wrote the existing laws and wants them enforced. I'm sure some of the laws on the books don't enjoy majority approval, but something as basic and ancient as "Theft" is not one of them.

[Edited on June 6, 2011 at 11:44 AM. Reason : .,.]

6/6/2011 11:35:26 AM

McDanger
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Quote :
"I am a practical person, so unless you can describe the possible inner workings of your future society then why do you think anyone should support you? Obama wants to reorganize the healthcare industry, is it really that ridiculous for us to ask how it is going to work when he is done? Well, you want to completely reorganize society, yet you have neither a roadmap for getting there (bottom-up violence I guess) nor what it might look like when you get there, just a bunch of talking points about how awesome workers are and how evil the capitalists are (ignoring that the vast majority of your fellow citizens are both workers and own capital and are usually voters as well). "


No, not bottom-up violence. Bottom-up social revolution. This is going to involve simply seizing collective ownership over various capacities, but requires a lot of education in order to even get off of the ground, as Capitalism has left most people mis- or un-educated (otherwise it couldn't operate whatsoever).

I'm of the opinion we'll need some welfare capitalism until education gets better, but as your camp continues to fuck everything in the entire world faster and faster it makes me wonder whether or not change can await parliamentary reform. No, I can't describe to you how various workers will set up and organize their various industries, but if you're interested in the inner-workings of council socialism then I can only give you structural constraints or details.

Quote :
"They get nationalized. When your actions are strongly opposed by a large segment of the citizenry, violence is a predictable outcome. However, every nation that has tried to nationalize U.S. or other foreign assets while having the general support of their citizenry has done so without immediate foreign intervention and often without internal violence of any kind."


This is patently and demonstrably false. The US has overthrown and undermined foreign governments over charges of "communism" (even neutrality wasn't enough). For the past 70ish years if you were not in-line enough with American interests you'd go down. Greece, Italy, Guatemala, Cambodia, Indonesia, Korea -- just off the top of my head. The Cold-War era is rife with the US crushing popular movements and deposing of democratically elected officials.

Get your fucking facts straight, ignorance is no excuse.

Quote :
"But these governments had a plan for how the system was going to work after nationalization, such as traditional state run firms, and was able to convince their citizens the seizure would improve their lot in life. They always turned out to be wrong and in a few short years many of them tried to return the property to the prior owners, with little success. You have given me nothing beyond "A LOT different" as if the current system was so terrible anything that was different was automatically better. It is not an improvement for me to own by place of work if the result is paychecks that can't buy anything."


Gee I wonder why it never worked out: maybe the intense US intervention, including wholesale sabotage and terrorism had something to do with nationalization of US goods never working out. Do you honestly think US capital is going to tolerate nationalization so long as they all-but-directly control our military capacity?

Quote :
"I am a worker. I work for a living like the vast majority of the American population. I just believe theft to be morally wrong so I oppose such behavior on the part of others, be it you with a bunch of thugs eager to steal a factory or Congress eager to buy votes with said factory."


It's too bad you've allowed yourself to be so thoroughly mentally and spiritually dominated by your superiors and betters. What I'm suggesting isn't theft anymore than how capitalists came into power in many circumstances; if you disagree, then it's time you learned a bit of history and I'm happy to give you a few starting points to consider. If you'd rather remain an intellectual house slave then there's little I can do to help you.

Quote :
"Right, as if Castro never used either violence or the state to nationalize Cuba's economy. I admit, Castro was not a worker revolution, merely a military takeover coupled with nationalization, but you have given no indication as to how your society will operate so I can't say it would be different. "


Haha. You point out the irrelevance of your own comment within a sentence of making it. Workers councils are a completely different organizational concept than States; if you had read this thread you'd have an idea, but now you're asking me to resketch things already sketched.

Not to mention the fact that I'm staunchly opposed to vanguardism. But these are all just shades of "communisssss" to you, so I doubt you care about what amounts to real, tangible difference in systems you don't know the details of anyway.

Quote :
"I am reminded of the GM debacle. With an act of Congress the bond holders (capitalists) had their property taken without just compensation and given to the workers as a gift even though the laws controlling unsecured debts said they should receive nothing. There was no violence in the streets, no thugs beating heads, because we are a democracy and the citizenry viewed the transfer as legitimate and therefore the only remedy for those against the transfer was through the ballot box. "


I'll trade your anecdote for the entire history of capitalism, which you don't appear to know.

Quote :
"Back to the issue of social organization. The revolution you seek will not come even in your children's lifetime. Even if you had a plan for how your society would operate, the fact is 90+% of Americans if polled would be against it. Not because they have been paid off by capital, not because they themselves own capital, but because they are ideologically opposed to theft. So, yes, the police will always use violence against workers attempting to seize their workplaces, because in a democracy the majority gets what they want, and the majority wrote the existing laws and wants them enforced. I'm sure some of the laws on the books don't enjoy majority approval, but something as basic and ancient as "Theft" is not one of them."


Is this trolling?

[Edited on June 6, 2011 at 2:08 PM. Reason : .]

[Edited on June 6, 2011 at 2:12 PM. Reason : .]

6/6/2011 2:07:17 PM

LoneSnark
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That is the first post you have ever mentioned "Workers councils", something I can finally look up and see what you are talking about:

"On a larger scale, a group of delegates may in turn elect a higher delegate to pursue their mandate, and so on, until the top delegates are running the industrial system of a state. In such a system decision power raises bottom-up from the agendas of the workers themselves, and there is not a decision imposition from the top, as would happen in the case of a power seizure by a supposedly revolutionary party."
Quite interesting. Wikipedia is full of description of how such a system would actually operate, so I no longer need to rely entirely upon "A LOT different" as my sole point of discussion. Such a system would fall victim to the calculation problem, as attempting to organize a whole economy without prices to coordinate activity necessitates top-down coordination which will fall victim to information shortages, as lower worker councils would have a strong incentive to lie to their upper coordinators and being elected the upper coordinators would lack the will to enforce accountability on their lowers. The system described is very similar to the one I believe Brezhnev attempted to implement in Soviet Russia. While moving power out of the Politburo helped manage the information overload, it was at the cost of plan conformity and it became prohibitively difficult for firms to coordinate their activities with other firms. I highly recommend the book used in my "History of the 20th century" course here at NCState called The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Economy by Philip Hanson.

Quote :
"Greece, Italy, Guatemala, Cambodia, Indonesia, Korea -- just off the top of my head. The Cold-War era is rife with the US crushing popular movements and deposing of democratically elected officials."

The Cold-War era is also rife with the US not crushing popular movements and deposing officials. I agree the U.S. intervening even once is too many, but to pretend it intervened every-time a U.S. company was ever nationalized is absurd. Venezuela is currently in the process of nationalizing the assets of several U.S. companies with little more than insults to show for it. The puppet regimes often put in place by the U.S. almost never returned any of the nationalized property to U.S. companies. To put it another way, the U.S. invaded to suppress the imagined evil of communism, not socialism, as to suppress socialism would have required invading Mexico, France, Saudi Arabia, and Great Britain.

Quote :
"maybe the intense US intervention, including wholesale sabotage and terrorism had something to do with nationalization of US goods never working out. Do you honestly think US capital is going to tolerate nationalization so long as they all-but-directly control our military capacity?"

Facts not in evidence. Mexico in the 20th century went through three periods of nationalization of all U.S. assets, none of them were followed by invasion and at least one of them was followed by a financial bailout. The U.S. is a complex modern democracy with many groups competing for power. To pretend the country is run by wall-street is absurd. They have influence, just like many thousand other special interest groups, not authority.

Quote :
"I'll trade your anecdote for the entire history of capitalism, which you don't appear to know. "

Difference being one just happened two years ago and therefore matters while the entire history of capitalism occurred in the hands of people long dead which cannot matter for the future. If my long dead great-grandfather murdered your long dead great-grandfather, that does not justify you trying to murder me.

Quote :
"If you'd rather remain an intellectual house slave then there's little I can do to help you.
"

Right, because there is nothing you can attack about my position you must call me names. No wonder you find it so easy to believe the entire world is one big conspiracy to keep you down. It couldn't possibly be your corrosive ideology.

Well, I guess this has been fun, but since you have nothing to say beyond that I apparently know nothing, I guess the conversation is over. You won't tell me what I apparently need to know and I apparently don't know enough to tell you anything, so I guess this should end the conversation.

6/6/2011 4:36:10 PM

d357r0y3r
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Quote :
"No, not bottom-up violence. Bottom-up social revolution. This is going to involve simply seizing collective ownership over various capacities, but requires a lot of education in order to even get off of the ground, as Capitalism has left most people mis- or un-educated (otherwise it couldn't operate whatsoever)."


Right. Everyone needs to "get on your level" before socialism can occur. What's peculiar is that, by your own admission, you've never done any substantial work for a real business (probably because you refuse to be a "slave to capital"), and yet you claim to know how production should be carried out. Your beliefs are typical of someone that has been thoroughly "ivory towerized."

Socialism isn't just bad, it's impossible. It's missing a price mechanism, which means a central planner (whether they're part of a state or a "workers council") has to determine the value of their produced good. Socialism, then, can only devolve into a command economy.

[Edited on June 6, 2011 at 4:55 PM. Reason : ]

6/6/2011 4:54:22 PM

Kris
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Quote :
"It's missing a price mechanism"


That depends, different types of socialism use all or some aspects of the pricing system. For example, the type of socialism that has been discussed by McDanger is discussed uses decentralized planning and would use aspects of the pricing system to value goods.

6/6/2011 6:12:34 PM

McDanger
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"Quite interesting. Wikipedia is full of description of how such a system would actually operate, so I no longer need to rely entirely upon "A LOT different" as my sole point of discussion. Such a system would fall victim to the calculation problem, as attempting to organize a whole economy without prices to coordinate activity necessitates top-down coordination which will fall victim to information shortages, as lower worker councils would have a strong incentive to lie to their upper coordinators and being elected the upper coordinators would lack the will to enforce accountability on their lowers. The system described is very similar to the one I believe Brezhnev attempted to implement in Soviet Russia. While moving power out of the Politburo helped manage the information overload, it was at the cost of plan conformity and it became prohibitively difficult for firms to coordinate their activities with other firms. I highly recommend the book used in my "History of the 20th century" course here at NCState called The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Economy by Philip Hanson. "


It's essentially different as the Soviet system maintained State ownership over the factories. If you think this is a pedantic or small distinction then we don't understand each other. If you want the best illustration of workers councils that I'm aware of you should read A. Pannekoek "Workers' Councils". If you want a pdf, PM me with your contact info and I'll send it along. Great work, and if you actually care to know about what you criticize you should check it out. Of course many coordination and lack-of-information problems are addressable with modern technology, but we don't need to argue too many specifics I don't believe. It's also worth pointing out that the "calculation problem" is not much of an argument, nor is the only device that can calculate a price a market, nor are the prices the market sacrosanct except under wooden formalisms.

Quote :
"The Cold-War era is also rife with the US not crushing popular movements and deposing officials. I agree the U.S. intervening even once is too many, but to pretend it intervened every-time a U.S. company was ever nationalized is absurd. Venezuela is currently in the process of nationalizing the assets of several U.S. companies with little more than insults to show for it. The puppet regimes often put in place by the U.S. almost never returned any of the nationalized property to U.S. companies. To put it another way, the U.S. invaded to suppress the imagined evil of communism, not socialism, as to suppress socialism would have required invading Mexico, France, Saudi Arabia, and Great Britain. "


What you said "makes sense" but only if you don't know the history. The US was going after "communism" which included everybody from self-proclaimed "neutrals" all the way over to those who actually considered themselves communists. Socialist, communist, or otherwise didn't matter. Many non-communists were branded as communists just for being neutral and were deposed. You should look into Sukarno for a good example, although there are countless from the Cold-War era. Nationalist movements were cast as "Soviet intervention" devoid of any evidence (or with evidence planted directly by the CIA).

It's not that US intervened EVERY time, it's that it intervened damn near every time. Each time it could get away with it and it suited corporate interests.

Quote :
"Facts not in evidence. Mexico in the 20th century went through three periods of nationalization of all U.S. assets, none of them were followed by invasion and at least one of them was followed by a financial bailout. The U.S. is a complex modern democracy with many groups competing for power. To pretend the country is run by wall-street is absurd. They have influence, just like many thousand other special interest groups, not authority."


The country is run by money-power. Nobody's claiming outright invasion as a response to each incidence of nationalization. What I did was counter your baseless assertion that the US would sit back and let its assets get nationalized due to the strokes of a pen by pointed to the facts IN evidence (the countless CIA-led interventions all around the Third World, time and time and time again). You want to shift the discussion to the cases where the US didn't. At least be reasonable and concede your original statement which is false (and which you will, no doubt, repeat again at a later point when you believe your audience sufficiently ignorant).

Quote :
"Difference being one just happened two years ago and therefore matters while the entire history of capitalism occurred in the hands of people long dead which cannot matter for the future. If my long dead great-grandfather murdered your long dead great-grandfather, that does not justify you trying to murder me. "


Matters a great deal to your point which this entire thread of conversation spun from. If you want to change the point of the discussion now then we can discuss contemporary US economic imperialism instead.

Quote :
"Right, because there is nothing you can attack about my position you must call me names. No wonder you find it so easy to believe the entire world is one big conspiracy to keep you down. It couldn't possibly be your corrosive ideology. "


I have eviscerated your ignorant positions and now all you can do is point to my frustration with you. Either you're a dishonest weasel of a man who is trying to fool other people or you're ignorant and unwilling to learn the sheer, basic facts of the situation. The basic definitions and opinions of the people you claim to understand and criticize? Either you lie about them or you don't know, yet project certainty. The facts about US foreign policy and about the viability of socialism and its various attempts? Either you lie about US intervention and sabotage or you don't know and project certainty. Either way you're a tool of propaganda and I will react to snakes like the snakes they are.

Quote :
"Well, I guess this has been fun, but since you have nothing to say beyond that I apparently know nothing, I guess the conversation is over. You won't tell me what I apparently need to know and I apparently don't know enough to tell you anything, so I guess this should end the conversation."


How convenient. Maybe this is how you prevent information from making it in so you can serve the propaganda needs of your masters more simply. At least it suggests you have a shred of a conscience, even though you're committed to violating it like the man of few principles that you are.

Quote :
"Right. Everyone needs to "get on your level" before socialism can occur. What's peculiar is that, by your own admission, you've never done any substantial work for a real business (probably because you refuse to be a "slave to capital"), and yet you claim to know how production should be carried out. Your beliefs are typical of someone that has been thoroughly "ivory towerized.""


The only thing peculiar is that you claim I've "admitted" I've never done substantial work for a real business? I spent time in industry after my first stint in undergrad and "paid some dues" as I'm sure you'd put it. Because my beliefs about human nature contradict some businessman's (who has full incentive to believe what he does), I'm "ivory towerized" and I "claim to know how production should be carried out". This is patently false. I believe that educated work-forces would know how production should be carried out.

Quote :
"Socialism isn't just bad, it's impossible. It's missing a price mechanism, which means a central planner (whether they're part of a state or a "workers council") has to determine the value of their produced good. Socialism, then, can only devolve into a command economy."


What you just said means you don't understand what a workers council is. You claim to demonstrate that socialism slides into command economy with strong central authority with a few sentences of sloppy reasoning. Can I direct you to refutations of this viewpoint?

[Edited on June 7, 2011 at 3:46 PM. Reason : .]

6/7/2011 3:21:00 PM

LoneSnark
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"It's essentially different as the Soviet system maintained State ownership over the factories. If you think this is a pedantic or small distinction then we don't understand each other. If you want the best illustration of workers councils that I'm aware of you should read A. Pannekoek "Workers' Councils"."

And I think you should look into the Gorbachev Era of the Soviet Union. As the central government collapsed, the politburo became powerless, in essence ceding independence to the red directors, the lowest level of industrial organization. It was a disaster for several reasons, some were not their fault (loss of control over the monetary system, interference from regional authorities) some certainly were (abandonment of coordination between firms unable to incentive each other to trade).

You have stated there will not be currency, so how are you going to organize production between firms? You don't think a central state eager to impose a plan of production does a good job. But without it, then there is no one with an incentive to produce as the workers in the firms are not the consumers of its output and the regional council will try to keep their electors happy, namely workers, not consumers at large. As such, unless there is a mechanism to tie their consumption to their production, they won't work to produce. How will you deal with this glaring problem?

Quote :
"Of course many coordination and lack-of-information problems are addressable with modern technology, but we don't need to argue too many specifics I don't believe. It's also worth pointing out that the "calculation problem" is not much of an argument,"

I'd say "your system will leave us all starving in the cold" is a damning argument, you should argue with some "specifics" to counter it.

Quote :
"Nobody's claiming outright invasion as a response to each incidence of nationalization."

You did and keep doing so, hence is disagreement. "literally everywhere, everytime US business holdings have been challenged by nationalization (or the threat thereof) overseas." "The US was going after "communism" which included everybody" "it's that it intervened damn near every time"

State-Socialism was ascendant in the mid-20th century, every single country on this planet nationalized something, with the exception of maybe Hong Kong, most (say 60%) of them tried to nationalize all of what Lenin called the "commanding heights" of their economies. I suspect the U.S. intervened in well less than half of them (say 40%), invaded less than a tenth of them. Can we move on now?

Quote :
"Either you lie about US intervention and sabotage or you don't know and project certainty. Either way you're a tool of propaganda and I will react to snakes like the snakes they are."

Right, because it just isn't possible for reality to be some middle ground. I said the U.S. wrongly intervened in lots of countries, just not every damn time, but that wasn't good enough for you. To suggest the U.S. didn't invade everyone all the damn time is apparently spreading propaganda. Well, if admitting nationalization of U.S. assets was not sufficient cause for a U.S. invasion is being a snake, then so be it, LoneSnake I shall be.

6/7/2011 8:03:44 PM

McDanger
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Quote :
"You have stated there will not be currency, so how are you going to organize production between firms? You don't think a central state eager to impose a plan of production does a good job. But without it, then there is no one with an incentive to produce as the workers in the firms are not the consumers of its output and the regional council will try to keep their electors happy, namely workers, not consumers at large. As such, unless there is a mechanism to tie their consumption to their production, they won't work to produce. How will you deal with this glaring problem? "


Workers in the firms needn't be direct consumers of what they produce, what they produce must simply be valued according to the amount of effort required to produce it. Hours of labor could serve to do this. While you might think this introduces a perverse incentive to overproduce so that members of a particular industry can benefit thereof due to trade, this isn't at all necessary to the system. Distribution is handled quite differently than production and the mechanisms tying them together will be crafted, in the moment, to address the needs of the community in the moment. The point is that those doing the manufacturing will be calling the shots (including the skilled labor in the back offices doing analysis), and not some class of owners whose only aim is to stack surplus-value (this includes a class of public officials).

Quote :
"I'd say "your system will leave us all starving in the cold" is a damning argument, you should argue with some "specifics" to counter it."


It won't leave us all starving in the cold. Your superiors have convinced you this is the case, and you are firmly indoctrinated into the thought that mankind requires masters. An educated populace armed with technology to coordinate and communicate wouldn't need private ownership over industry and all of its glaring inefficiencies and inhumane effects on the labor supply.

Quote :
"You did and keep doing so, hence is disagreement. "literally everywhere, everytime US business holdings have been challenged by nationalization (or the threat thereof) overseas." "The US was going after "communism" which included everybody" "it's that it intervened damn near every time""


Dramatic overstatement on my part then. I guess you win the argument since the US hasn't been able to pull off a win in each and every case of overseas nationalization. I guess that means we should all whistle dixie and look the other way as our foreign policy continues to remove freedom and self-determination from people all around the world. You're a pretty disgusting human being.

Quote :
"State-Socialism was ascendant in the mid-20th century, every single country on this planet nationalized something, with the exception of maybe Hong Kong, most (say 60%) of them tried to nationalize all of what Lenin called the "commanding heights" of their economies. I suspect the U.S. intervened in well less than half of them (say 40%), invaded less than a tenth of them. Can we move on now? "


No we can't because these numbers are pulled out of your rotten ass. You are ignorant.

Quote :
"Right, because it just isn't possible for reality to be some middle ground. I said the U.S. wrongly intervened in lots of countries, just not every damn time, but that wasn't good enough for you. To suggest the U.S. didn't invade everyone all the damn time is apparently spreading propaganda. Well, if admitting nationalization of U.S. assets was not sufficient cause for a U.S. invasion is being a snake, then so be it, LoneSnake I shall be."


You hide behind your own ignorance (willful at that) in order to make bogus claims ("say 40%") supporting your moral coloring of the situation. If that's not a snake I don't know what is. You're dedicated to the machine and all of the misinformation, elitism, and privilege it requires. All because you think the moderate amount of comfort you've "scraped out for yourself" is dependent upon the mega-wealth of a few, and because this comfort is so dear to your heart that you're willing to crush the throats of foreigners to achieve it. Well, not yourself; but you're certainly willing to play chicken-hawk on your yellow, coward ass while we send mercenaries and country boys in your stead.

6/8/2011 12:11:01 PM

McDanger
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It's worth pointing out again that this is the quote that pushed me over the edge:

Quote :
"However, every nation that has tried to nationalize U.S. or other foreign assets while having the general support of their citizenry has done so without immediate foreign intervention and often without internal violence of any kind."


I don't really intend to get rude but this shit makes me hit a boil. A statement like this requires deep ignorance or intent to misinform. Either way you tripped over someone who knows better, and now you look foolish.

At any rate I expect you to attempt to drag this argument into any avenue you can pretend a victory in, just to save your withered ego and to be honest I haven't the time, energy, or desire to use a thread about socialism to instruct you on basic items of history that everybody should know. Back to the topic, please.

[Edited on June 8, 2011 at 12:50 PM. Reason : .]

6/8/2011 12:48:40 PM

LoneSnark
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"Workers in the firms needn't be direct consumers of what they produce, what they produce must simply be valued according to the amount of effort required to produce it. Hours of labor could serve to do this."

Ah yes, the labor theory of value, otherwise known as artificial price controls, guaranteed to over-produce over-valued items and under-produce under-valued items. How do you plan on enforcing such fixed pricing rules? Econ 101 teaches why price controls are a bad idea. Your response is to build your entire economic system around them?

Quote :
"Distribution is handled quite differently than production and the mechanisms tying them together will be crafted, in the moment, to address the needs of the community in the moment. The point is that those doing the manufacturing will be calling the shots (including the skilled labor in the back offices doing analysis), and not some class of owners whose only aim is to stack surplus-value"

Capitalist owners do not stack surplus-value at random. What production produces surplus-value is determined by consumers bidding up prices of needed goods and bidding down prices of unneeded goods, owners are at best intermediaries.

It is conceivable to have workers deciding for themselves what consumers want without any way of asking them, since prices are fixed, so consumers would have no way to incentivize producers as they do readily under free markets by varying prices over basic issues such as quality. The only mechanism you have given me are regional worker councils, but who has authority over who? If the regional council has enough power to force workers to produce what people want rather than what they feel like producing, then all you have done is swapped one set of masters (owners) for another set (regional councils) with one major difference: if you don't like your capitalist boss, you can quit and find another boss you like; if you don't like your regional council then your only option seems to be leaving the country.

Quote :
"You're dedicated to the machine and all of the misinformation, elitism, and privilege it requires. All because you think the moderate amount of comfort you've "scraped out for yourself" is dependent upon the mega-wealth of a few"

There is lots of shit I hate about the current system. People are insufficiently free in the current system. However, your dream system would be even less free than the current system. Price controls, planned distribution, inability to contract, end to self organization, and a loss of whatever property the bosses of the collective choose to claim.

[Edited on June 8, 2011 at 2:00 PM. Reason : .,.]

6/8/2011 1:52:53 PM

McDanger
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"Ah yes, the labor theory of value, otherwise known as artificial price controls, guaranteed to over-produce over-valued items and under-produce under-valued items. How do you plan on enforcing such fixed pricing rules? Econ 101 teaches why price controls are a bad idea. Your response is to build your entire economic system around them? "


"Guaranteed"? I assume you have some sort of actual reasoning or argumentation to back up that fact. Oh no wait you don't, and your game has barely stepped up from the von Mises level of foggy-headedness.

The labor theory of value here underpins an analysis of capitalism's profits and helps to distinguish exploitative systems such as ours and the Soviet's with non-exploitive systems owned by workers. Distribution is a separate issue and a needs-based distributive system is not going to be work-out-able by me in full detail anymore than you can predict a price far into the future (especially for a fictive good). What I'm suggesting doing is mentalizing our economic activities and injecting a bit of science into it; you're suggesting a system of unplanned anarchy, populated by totalitarian structures that people get forced into working for. You claim this system is "free" which is such a perversion of the word I can barely stomach repeating it.

Quote :
"Capitalist owners do not stack surplus-value at random."


Nor do they stack it in a way that tracks onto the needs and wants of society. Profit-motive doesn't line up with the need to produce goods essential to life.

Nor do they stack it in a way to even ensure that we have a well-taken-care-of supply of labor. Society doesn't benefit optimally from capitalism, only by way of improvements made arbitrarily by those in control.

Quote :
"What production produces surplus-value is determined by consumers bidding up prices of needed goods and bidding down prices of unneeded goods, owners are at best intermediaries."


This is certainly how you'd see it through a hopelessly wooden formalism designed and developed through class interests. This analysis of yours seems dedicated to ignoring reality, focusing on such an isolated aspect of its structure and claiming this aspect is independent of influence and acts purely upon the world. Owners aren't "at best intermediaries"; they participate in capturing the political system and in driving out competition using both economic and political means. When dealing with other countries, violence and other subversion is used. Ignoring literally everything about reality and pretending we're in a big Sim City game based on neo-classical assumptions yields your results, sure, but don't expect anybody who pays attention to planet Earth to be impressed. Human authority doesn't work so cleanly.

Quote :
"It is conceivable to have workers deciding for themselves what consumers want without any way of asking them, since prices are fixed, so consumers would have no way to incentivize producers as they do readily under free markets by varying prices over basic issues such as quality. The only mechanism you have given me are regional worker councils, but who has authority over who? If the regional council has enough power to force workers to produce what people want rather than what they feel like producing, then all you have done is swapped one set of masters (owners) for another set (regional councils) with one major difference: if you don't like your capitalist boss, you can quit and find another boss you like; if you don't like your regional council then your only option seems to be leaving the country. "


If a regional council system were adopted then it's still a democratic system; people are subject to the decisions of the group but this isn't a system of "masters" as a separate class. The masters are the workers themselves, as it should be. Who else can effectively plan and ethically enact production other than the people who are putting in the effort themselves?

Industries will organize based around the fulfillment of needs as a social activity, as I mentioned before. You keep trying to fit this into your understanding of economics which has been hopelessly contaminated with capitalist and middle class mentality. If you start from the assumption that all work is drudgery, a condition created by oppression like feudal and capitalist systems, then you end up with your conclusions. The difference between us other than your staggering ignorance of economic history is that you believe that humans need a separate class of dominant masters and I think the people that work can directly control themselves.

You might find this implausible but that means that you think "human nature" is properly illustrated by the human wrecks produced by capitalist exploitation and the arbitrariness of the owners that control economy/distribution of goods.

Quote :
"
There is lots of shit I hate about the current system. People are insufficiently free in the current system. However, your dream system would be even less free than the current system. Price controls, planned distribution, inability to contract, end to self organization, and a loss of whatever property the bosses of the collective choose to claim."


I'm so tired of this stupid bullshit from the likes of people like you. You're describing the least "free" system possible, unless by "free" you mean "freedom of the rich to run complete and utter train on anybody, anywhere". How do you imagine workers are free in a scenario where there's no demand whatsoever for their labor? How do you imagine people are free in a system with private ownership of the economy when those owners are able to lock people out of work for their own profit motive, regardless of whether or not it's long-term rational (even to their own interests)? When people are backed against the wall and either face violence or crushing poverty (or secondclass citizenship as in this country) for not working, employers hold all of the cards and wages become mere pittances. Freedom is NOT the freedom of employers to act as arbitrary autocratic entities, free of any public oversight whatsoever. Freedom is the ability of people to meet their needs and hopes. Capitalism is only a "free" system if you discount the vast majority of the population's concerns and focus on the owners and barons of industry instead.

Your use of "free" is basically the same as the CIA and the USSD throughout the entire Cold-War. You remember, I'm sure, the application of the word "free" to situations where we brutally oppressed an entire peoples' right to self-determination for US profits (passed directly to the owners, no doubt, and kept at large from our own suffering populations in rural and inner-city areas).

6/8/2011 2:37:25 PM

McDanger
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Again, you can simply tie value to average hours of labor per unit produced. There's no perverse incentive or even ability to blow that number out of proportion because first of all, the ledger of all industrial activities is now open to public scrutiny, and second of all, people aren't receiving things in exchange for what they produce. Needs are simply accounted for, and people labor toward common goals of survival and quality of life. The difference is that the process is mentalized from start to finish and treated scientifically; production is fully visible and results can be assessed by any and everyone. Expansion of productive capacities rather than being tools of private warfare and competition over profits becomes an expression of the peoples' need and will to survive.

The idea isn't to "enforce shitty inequality" on everybody; if such a system were the inevitable result of socialism (universal misery) then clearly we couldn't pursue that as an option.

[Edited on June 8, 2011 at 2:52 PM. Reason : .]

6/8/2011 2:51:52 PM

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