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MrNumbers


The magical psychic socialist

More Blog Posts252

  • 2 weeks
    Figments is a God

    So the more it was used, the more it turned out the new site was just kind of broken.

    The new new site is here. Since the URLs on the old site seem to be a bit broken anyway, I'll say that the new github hosted site is much easier to navigate and sort through, so finding your place again isn't an issue anymore.

    Read More

    3 comments · 293 views
  • 2 weeks
    Editing Commissions

    Hey!

    I've got some slots open for editing commissions right now, $8USD per 1,000 words at the moment. If that's a thing you want, PM me.

    I don't like being upfront about this, but please don't try to negotiate the price down if you can't afford that, I'm already starting at the lowest I can go for the time I put into the work. Thank you.

    0 comments · 99 views
  • 3 weeks
    Wholesome Rage: The Language of Lighting

    All predictions made in this video were done in real time! This isn't ad-hoc analysis.

    0 comments · 133 views
  • 3 weeks
    Imminent Recession

    So what does this chart mean?

    This is showing that return on investment for one-year bonds is officially higher than ten year bonds.

    This happening has predicted every recession of the last sixty years.

    Read More

    35 comments · 501 views
  • 5 weeks
    Christchurch

    Or read this angry rant here, instead.

    So a mass shooting in New Zealand occurs. 49 dead, 20 seriously wounded by right wing mass shooters specifically citing the 'great replacement' racial science theory. This becomes an Australian story, because the shooter was an Australian emigrant.

    Read More

    132 comments · 1,046 views
Aug
17th
2018

Sex Workers Seize the Means of Production · 6:51am Aug 17th, 2018

This is one of those things that was too short to write an article about, but too good not to write about.

So today this was posted in my server:

And while it's a fantastic joke, it makes me think how "seize the means of production" is just a meme to most people. It's semantic satiation: The words themselves don't mean anything except to identify the speaker as a joke-communist. The kind of person whose internal monologue is just the USSR anthem on loop.

It's also the win-screen music for anyone who's played enough Red Alert music as the FUN faction. Mm, victory.

But "seize the means of production" is kind of an important concept to understand.



If you're on board with the Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn or, in Australia, the entire Green party platform (hooray for viable third parties!), you're okay with wealth redistribution and equality. Those are definitely good things, and I'll keep writing about specific reasons for it, but in general it makes things better for as many people as possible. Income inequality is a vastly better predictor of violent crime than just poverty rate, as an example.

That's from a Greg Palast article, which continues with this:

I’ve just returned from the nation with the widest gun ownership in the world, Switzerland, which has vanishingly few homicides — although almost all men 18-35, due to ancient military tradition, must keep weapons in their home (many fully automatic).

The nation with the same population as Switzerland, Honduras, has the world’s highest homicide rate — yet Honduras outlaws personal gun ownership.

David Hemenway, of the Harvard School of Public Health notes, “Switzerland and Honduras are not even close to being the same in many aspects of their society that will influence the levels of violence and homicide.”

Exactly. Want to end gun violence? End violent inequality.

Here’s the roster of the world’s most violent nations measured by non-military homicides:

  • Honduras
  • El Salvador
  • Jamaica
  • Venezuela
  • Guatemala
  • Trinidad
  • Colombia
  • Belize
  • Brazil
  • South Africa

It’s also a listing of the world’s most economically unequal nations.

After the US, here is the list of highest per capita gun ownership: Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, France, Germany Austria, Iceland — all nations with tiny small homicide rates — and very low GINI scores. Iceland, where a huge one-third of households have guns, is the most economically equal society on the planet — with a homicide rate of ZERO.

The problem with wealth redistribution, though, is who it's redistributing from and to.

This is when you bump back into the graph with the scariest flat line in political science:


Those lines show the correlation between how much a group supports something, and how likely it is to become public policy. The fact that it's a flat line for 90% of the population means that the opinion of 90% of the population has literally0% influence on US public policy, positive or negative.

Under capitalism, wealth becomes a meaningful substitute for political influence, and "radically undermine the meritocratic values on which democratic societies are based", according to economicist Thomas Piketty.

Consider the Battle of Blair Mountain in West Virginia, where 10,000 miners went to war against strike breakers and lawmen to fight for better conditions. The armed forces intervened on behalf of the mine owners, on presidential orders. Of course it did.

Why? If the miners had better pay, they could pay more taxes. If the president had come down on their side, that would be 10,000 guaranteed votes. The conditions were bad enough for the miners that they were willing to die fighting for better ones, and these were coal miners, nineteen twenties coal miners, so they were hardly whingers. It was the morally right thing to do.

But the mine owners still had access to a far greater share of the wealth of the mines than the miners did, even collectively. Oh, sure, each miner might have been paid wages more than half the value of the coal he mined in a day, but he also had to pay cost of living. If each miner is 'taxed' even only 10% of his output, the mine owner still has the wages of 1,000 men to work with.

That's where the power lies. The taxes those miners would pay would be public capital, which is tied to the interests of the public good. Voters have a say in how that money goes, where it's directed. To redirect it to campaign spending would be a crime.

What the mine owner has is private capital. He has the wages of 1,000 men to spend on political campaigns, favourable press coverage, private investigators and blackmailers... all to serve his interests.

It would be convenient if the owning class were enemies, then, whose vast pools of private capital were in competition with each other. However, it often seems to be the case that their mutual interest is in the continued existence of an ultra-wealthy class. In the words of Charles Koch: I want my fair share: And that's all of it.

So what do the 10,000 coal workers got that the owner doesn't, if those numbers aren't in their favour? Well... they're the ones who do all the work, aren't they? Like, the owner might facilitate the mine, but they're the ones that have to pick up the tools and use them. Strikes are risky without total solidarity: The cost of living for all those employees can run them out long before the owner is forced to make any changes. So you'd need some sort of... I don't know... organized labour force of-

Unions. I'm talking about unions. Unions are great. And a lot (not all!) of the reason you hear unions aren't great are paid propaganda. Consider the Law and Order episode Bill Gates bought attacking teacher's unions.

Seizing the means of production is where labour is organized and collaborative enough that its power rivals that of organized capital, and it uses that collective bargaining and organization to drag capital back into the hands of labour.


Which is why, worldwide, the continued abolition, neutering and criminalization of union activities in neoliberal countries, like the UK, the US and oh my god Australia.

This video is two years old. After the commission found nothing, the government promised to crack down harder on unions and the shocking results of the banking commission it repeatedly refused to instigate found jackpots... have largely resulted in major publications begging people to take pity on the poor, criminal banks.

To seize the means of production is to say that the state -- as it exists -- largely exists to defend property rights, and those property rights are largely used to empower the owning class over the working class. There is a big problem -- and it is a problem -- in that workplaces that collectivize are usually brutally outcompeted under capitalism. The thing about ethical labour practices is that ethics are a luxury good, and luxury goods cost money. Purely capitalist-driven institutions are capable of being more efficient, and that's not a good thing. Money is only as good as the things it can buy, and a better quality of life for the most people should be a higher priority.

To use an obvious example; After the invention of the cotton gin, farms that used slaves heavily outcompeted farms that didn't. They could then use that capital to buy out the ethical farmer's land, purchase slaves to run it, and then you're outcompeting the next farmer twice as fast, and even the slave-holding farms that don't work their slaves quite so hard...

That story happens pretty much everywhere in some form, and it's why Ned Kelly independently invented communism in Australia. Super basic summary done by the team at Extra Credits is honestly a pretty good watch.

Also in Australia, though, you have the sex worker's union, one of the most powerful and politically active in the country. They honestly fight the good fight, marvellous people. Link out to the Scarlet Alliance here and read through some of their literature, they're honestly amazing.

How did Australian Communist Prostitutes come to be, though?

Well, brothels in Australia were legalized with one stipulation: They all had to work under licensed brothels, and all brothels had to run as worker co-ops. You know, like that really trendy anarchist cafe you saw? What if there were a law that all licensed eating establishments had to do that.

The reasoning is as brilliant as it is hilarious as it is stupid. This was done to try and drive sex work out of business. You see, co-ops have this tendency under capitalism to fail spectacularly for the reasons mentioned above. However, this was understood by the legislators to mean: "Co-ops are an inherently failing business structure". This did not turn out to be the case.

So as a result, what actually did happen was that they made an entire industry in Australia, the sex industry, Marxist. Because they caught on pretty fucking quick what happened there and what it meant.

What this also means, however, is that everyone could operate under this business model if the state chose to enforce it as heavily as it enforces current capitalist assumptions. Or, as anarchist-communists believe, if there wasn't a state maintaining private property rights* at all. Which would honestly be pretty cool with me, too.

*This is distinct from *personal* property rights. You're still allowed to own stuff, you're just not supposed to charge people for using it.

Here's a link out to Orwell's "Lion and the Unicorn" which is a fantastic piece on why socialism is great, written by the man who is most associated with anti-communist propaganda.

Comments ( 81 )

Very interesting article, thank you.

Only one point I would add. I don’t believe that ethics are luxury goods precisely. In general, ethical decisions tend to have good results in the long term. You can tell because it requires such an enormous infrastructure (most of society...) to create a situation that forces them to fail. They can also be more logistically difficult and require a higher initial investment, but that’s details.

What you shared about homicides, and how gun ownership isn’t predictive but economic inequality IS, was fascinating. I’d never heard that before, and it has important policy implications for how we address our problem with gun violence in the US.

4921105

Ethics are a luxury good. It's a luxury that developed democracies try to provide... largely by exporting the costs onto developing nations without them.

The United States is one of the few countries that has refused to sign an international convention for the abolition of child labor and forced labor.

4921114
That said, ILO conventions are meaningless pieces of paper. As I recall, Australia has signed the convention on forced labor, and both it and the United States allow firms to exploit the ever-living fuck out of prison labor. The major difference was that Australia was shamed by the Committee of Experts for it once; the practices remain nearly identical.

4921105

What you shared about homicides, and how gun ownership isn’t predictive but economic inequality IS, was fascinating. I’d never heard that before, and it has important policy implications for how we address our problem with gun violence in the US.

An unstated point: most of the countries on that list were also sites of popular revolutions or big egalitarian movements spurred by inequality, that were unsuccessful in "seizing the means of production." Some were put down by armed force (El Salvador, Guatemala), coups (Honduras, Brazil, attempted in Venezuela), or undermined after the fact by e.g. capital flight or international pressure or cronyism (South Africa, Venezuela).

OK, but what does it have to do with ownership of the means of production?
Neither unions nor wealth redistribution have a direct relationship to ownership of means of production.
Also, on the topic actually in the post, they tried Cooperative unions in USSR. In the end it was a compromise that wasnt as efficient as the for-profit capitalist enterprises (that's why they all died out in the 90s), and didn't work with the socialist model because you couldn't really integrate it into the planned economy (where, ostensibly, main advantage of communism would kick in)

4921154
Unions are the current non-violent means of working towards seizing the means of production - of putting as much of labour's power and product into the hands of the labour force. Non-violence is pretty ideal.

In the end it was a compromise that wasnt as efficient as the for-profit capitalist enterprises

From the blog:

Purely capitalist-driven institutions are capable of being more efficient, and that's not a good thing.

Thank you, comrade, for articulating these things far more elegantly than I ever would. Solidarity!

People doing the same work with the same results should earn the same. That is the only thing that makes sense to me. It makes me sick when people push socialism as a solution for inequality because people are not equal. A few work faster, better, harder than the majority so they have more potential to prosper. Under socialist policies, those who do more earn less for their efforts than anyone. That sounds tremendously unfair.

I would much rather the government concentrate on essential programs that promote growth rather than increase taxes and implement programs that always cost more and do less than projected. The government is notoriously inefficient when it comes to spending, so the best way to create wealth is to cut taxes and reduce government size.

Thank you for letting me know that a major force in Aussie politics are commie prostitutes.

4921176
People can still earn more for working more under socialism. The idea is to make sure that you get the value of the work you do, instead of the guy above you who just tells you what to do and then pockets 90% of the value of the work you did.

4921176

People doing the same work with the same results should earn the same. That is the only thing that makes sense to me. It makes me sick when people push socialism as a solution for inequality because people are not equal. A few work faster, better, harder than the majority so they have more potential to prosper.

Under this argument, what justifies the existence of landlords or inherited wealth? As well, this principle is known as "social mobility" and it is lower in countries that have adopted neoliberal policy than their socialist bretheren, to the point where parts of the US are no longer considered a developed nation.

Under socialist policies, those who do more earn less for their efforts than anyone.

Jeff Bezos is conservatively worth $150 billion dollars right now. That means he has the same net worth as the bottom thirty percent of the entire US population. Add Bill Gates and Warren Buffet to that, and they're worth more than fifty percent of the entire United States combined.

I find it very hard to argue that they work harder than half the entire rest of the country combined.

I would much rather the government concentrate on essential programs that promote growth rather than increase taxes and implement programs that always cost more and do less than projected.

America's greatest period of growth and economic stability was under a 94% income tax for the super-wealthy. Promoting income equality is promoting growth.

The government is notoriously inefficient when it comes to spending

1: This is partially propaganda.

2: The government is capable of being remarkable efficient when it comes to spending, if incentivized to do so, and what it's efficient in is more intrinsically tied to the needs of the people -- voters liking the thing -- than corporate interests -- profit above all else. However, government sometimes uses inefficiency with motivation: Intentionally sabotaging welfare to screw over the poor, cutting public broadcasting's budget in response to negative coverage and, in a few cases, just because their unions set a bad example.
Oh, shit, did all those things I mention happen in Australia exclusively under right wing, anti-government government parties heavily subsidized by private interests? Well, shit.

3: Nationalization is better than monopoly in all matters regarding infrastructure

First off, props for using Extra Credits. They are awesome.


Idealistically, and morally, I agree with you, so I'm not here to argue.

Suffice to say I'm a jaded Machiavellian, (believing that people will generally act in their own self-interest) who has played enough Civilization to know that if you aren't winning, you're losing. Sure, it makes great economic sense to NOT spend all that money on your military, and instead have a thriving economy and cultural society. Until those poor ruffians next door with the pointy sticks decide to have what they have not. Yes, communism works on paper, until someone decides to break the rules. And someone will always breaks the rules.

The degree of wealth inequality between the 1% and the rest is absolutely absurd. But some wealth inequality must exist to some degree or else what drive is there to succeed?
i.imgur.com/ymDd6Y5.jpg

It may be of some comfort to think that money can't buy happiness. But it can. I work to earn money to buy food and shelter. With the leftovers I indulge in leisure activities. That makes me happy. But money only buys happiness up to a point. After you start earning more than $75,000 a year, you start getting into "mo money, mo problems" territory. But the increase in general happiness from earning $20K to $75K is pretty well established. I am driven to succeed because there is a tangible reward for increasing my position along the wealth-inequality spectrum.

It is in the interest of the business class to have a healthy and content (if not happy) labor force. To quote Charlton Heston:

"A healthy slave builds many cities. A sick slave builds few. A dead slave builds none."

I am not rich. What keeps me from rising up and overthrowing the Bourgeoisie ala the French Revolution? I'm comfortable. I am just comfortable and distracted enough from strife to NOT revolt. And that's the ticket of a successful regime. Keep them just happy enough to be okay with being powerless. (And I don't necessarily mean a government regime.) Sure, I'd love to overthrow the rich fat cats at Comcast. But I like having internet. I'm not the impoverished, downtrodden people of a third world country living in literal squalor with nothing to lose. I have a lot to lose. And even if I was broke, and homeless, the majority of the population would have to be in a position of nothing to lose before it comes to revolution, or else the rest of the slightly-less-poor will side with the hand that's feeding them. (The fact that raising the minimum wage is controversial is evidence enough of that.) The impoverishment would need to affect the majority of the population.

The collapse of the dollar could do it. Then Scrooge McDuck could be sitting on his pile of gold, unable to buy the groceries that don't exist anymore. And all he'd have is a big pile of corrosion-resistant metal that he can't eat. Maybe that's why every generation has their secret hopes for the apocalypse. I'm sure there's a giant meteor out there on an eventual collision course with the Earth. The Yellowstone super-volcano is getting ripe. A gamma ray burst could happen at any moment. But to quote Nick Fury:

"Until such time as the world ends, we will act as though it intends to spin on."

Communism is one of those things that look great on paper (read: Manifesto), and it works as long as you rule out silly little details like human nature. But at the end of the day, capitalism works because it is a system unto itself, and it has no regard for humanity. That is not in any way to say that it is "good" in the moral sense. Morality is a human concept. It is simply good at doing what it does. The comparison to cancer is an apt one. But even after the apocalypse, capitalism will survive. Because I have a can a beans, and you want it. So you need to exchange something else of value with me for it. Or take it by force.

It is apropos that sex workers be the headline for this discussion. After all, it is the oldest profession. Cave man has this freshly killed animal. Cave woman has... her cave. An exchange of goods for services. Capitalism at it's core. One might say that it dis-empowers women of independence from men, but I disagree. It empowers them over men. Long before the concept of money existed, Sex is the original motivator. It makes men build big buildings and big businesses and big empires. To make them a more desirable commodity of a man among men, to women.

"First you get the money. Then you get the power. Then you get the women." - Tony Montana (Scarface)

So really, women rule the world. Very, very quietly.

"Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” - Oscar Wilde

4921176
How can you speak with that much boot in your mouth. How dare you complain about socialism causing inequality. Have you seen our current system? Seven men have more wealth than half the world!

4921198

So here we get to the concept of hegemony: The idea that your beliefs are dictated from living in the society you do.

Take, for instance, saying capitalism will exist after the apocalypse. To quote Fredric Jameson:

It is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism

It's not a unique mindset. On the lefty side of the fence you have Posadism, and you'll fucking love this.

Posadists were Trotskys who believed that, because communism was the only viable solution and the strongest possible one -- see Orwell in the Lion and the Unicorn essays -- the natural solution was to cause World War 3, turn the cold war hot, and then rebuild communism from the ashes.

They also thought dolphins were comrades, who would help rebuild the next glorious civilization, and took a bunch of LSD to commune with the alien overlords waiting for them to become worthy of ascension through communism.

Glorious bastards, the Fourth International Posadists.

Still though, it reflects the underlying belief that people don't comprehend future societies that are so radically different to their beliefs. What can we look at instead, that's a close simulation of the post-apocalypse? Let's go with an example from the Middle East, the frontlines of ISIS, probably the closest we have to IRL Mad Max since the Liberian civil war.

Blessed be the anarcho-communist Kurds, the YPG, and all their great work. EDIT: The same thing is happening in Mexico, as the cartels are fought back by the Free and Sovereign State of Chiapas.

As well, most tribes existed and continue to exist with communist methodology.

“Freuchen tells how one day, after coming home hungry from an unsuccessful walrus-hunting expedition, he found one of the successful hunters dropping off several hundred pounds of meat. He thanked him profusely. The man objected indignantly:

"Up in our country we are human!" said the hunter. "And since we are human we help each other. We don't like to hear anybody say thanks for that. What I get today you may get tomorrow. Up here we say that by gifts one makes slaves and by whips one makes dogs.

... The refusal to calculate credits and debits can be found throughout the anthropological literature on egalitarian hunting societies. Rather than seeing himself as human because he could make economic calculations, the hunter insisted that being truly human meant refusing to make such calculations, refusing to measure or remember who had given what to whom, for the precise reason that doing so would inevitably create a world where we began "comparing power with power, measuring, calculating" and reducing each other to slaves or dogs through debt. It's not that he, like untold millions of similar egalitarian spirits throughout history, was unaware that humans have a propensity to calculate. If he wasn't aware of it, he could not have said what he did. Of course we have a propensity to calculate. We have all sorts of propensities. In any real-life situation, we have propensities that drive us in several different contradictory directions simultaneously. No one is more real than any other. The real question is which we take as the foundation of our humanity, and therefore, make the basis of our civilization.”

David Graeber, Debt: The First 5000 years

Finally, I'm not going to throw Murray Bookchin at you, even though he has a fantastic name, but the truth is capitalism isn't working right now. Because capitalism insists only on profit above all else, besides the fact that we're fucking over every non-developed nation on Earth right now with the glorious 'free market'*, it also means there are no incentives to really pursue environmentalist policy. Environmentalist policy is expensive and thus optimized against.

But if we still want there to be a human race in a hundred years, we either better perfect space colonization in the next thirty years, or find a way to co-erce every government on Earth to start acting for the common people's interests rather than their own. Which... well. Isn't really the capitalist model.

*BORING EXPLANATION BY PIKETTY

In theory the fact that the rich countries own part of the capital of poor countries can have virtuous effects by promoting convergence... According to classical economic theory this mechanism based on the free flow of capital and equialization of marginal productivity of capital at the global level should lead to convergence of rich and poor countries and an eventual reduction of inequalities through market forces and competition.

This optimistic theory has two major defects. First from a strictly logical point of view the equalization mechanism does not guarantee global convergence of per capita income. At best it can give rise to convergence of per capita output, provided we assume perfect capital mobility and more important total equality of skill levels and human capital across countries-- no small assumption.

In any case the possible convergence of output per head does not imply convergence of income per head. After the wealthy countries have invested in their poorer neighbors they may continue to own them indefinitely and indeed their share of ownership may grow to massive proportions so that per capita national income of the wealthy countries remains permanently greater than that of poorer countries which must continue to pay to foreigners a substantial share of what their citizens produce (as African countries have done for decades.)

4921198
You speak of human nature as a stumbling block to socialism, yet humans evolved to be altruistic. Here’s just one of many articles on the subject: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/08/human-altruism-traces-back-origins-humanity

And here’s an article on Neanderthals displaying altruistic behavior in caring for the sick, elderly, and disabled: https://www.geek.com/science/sick-neanderthals-survived-because-of-altruistic-social-support-1720761/

4921228 4921220

Our beliefs are fringe, and appear most to be lunatical.

Assume everyone else is at least as intelligent as you, but working from a different set of information, information they're just as convinced of.

4921224
Again, I'm not here to argue. I'm not even saying that you're wrong, or that you don't make good points. (They're great points!) And I didn't come in here expecting to change your mind, or anyone's really. You said your bit. I said mine. Me simply saying how it is, and you saying how it could/should be. My point is simply that it's a rough road from A to B. One that I (jaded as I am) doubt we, as a species, can even traverse. But I don't doubt that it is worth trying. (Jaded, yes. But also cautiously optimistic.) Maybe we can't succeed. But if we don't at least try, we never will.

4921257
Mostly that was just an excuse to link a bunch of PissPigGranddad tweets at you and Posadism. I wasn't trying to argue, either, I just needed some throughthread of legitimate point to post that many memey things or I'd feel guilty about it.


4921258
pbs.twimg.com/media/DW4zCNXU8AArElO.jpg

4921176
And what about the disabled? Do we not deserve to exist in dignity? Because right now, I don’t.

I live in the U.S. and I’m on SSI. I have 2 major genetic disorders, one that had to be accommodated when I was able to work. A lovely car accident left me with a decent amount of brain damage (I’m still waiting on my cognitive therapist, and I’m supposed to have help, but...pretty much homeless). I receive less than $9k/year, and that’s all it will ever be. I will never have more than Medicaid for health insurance. They cut my SNAP (food stamps) because I got LHEAP last winter (electric & heating assistance), and I couldn’t even use the heating assistance part, as I had no central heat or running water in New England.

I’ve been looking for housing for over a year, and I’ve contacted my Congresspeople, *and* I have no family (which is what SSA suggests), so in your shiny world of rewarding the producers, where do I land? I didn’t choose to get run off the damn road.

4921189 That isn't how it works in reality. You're thinking only of labor as having value. Sure, the workers put in more time than the owners. The owners, though, are putting in the money. They buy the land, buy the factory, invest in research to develop equipment, build the equipment, have teams of professionals to comply with government regulations, etc.

Starting a big business from zero takes a long time, but a lot of the money has to be spent up-front. If the business isn't expected to turn a profit for 10 years, then the investors need to make enough profit from the business to pay back not only all their expenses, not only all the losses of the business for 10 years, but, more importantly, all the interest they could have earned by just keeping his money into some other, existing business.

If being an owner were such a great deal, we could all get rich today! Just buy shares in corporate stocks, and you'd be an owner, Just think--you'd be sitting back and doing nothing, while those workers slaved away making value for you!

Why doesn't this work? Because the share price of companies is computed as an estimation of their current value based on projected profits into the indefinite future. So the price of ownership--of buying into the company one way or another, whether by being its founder, investing in it early, or buying stock later--is only a tiny margin below the expected profits, if that.

It seems to me--though I haven't worked it out in detail--that socialist economics could provide some sort of advantage only if they abolished interest on loaned money. That means socialism can "work" only if there is no economic growth, because economic growth is defined as an increase in profits. And if there's no economic growth, that implies the technology level is staying the same level. In short, socialism, to provide any benefit, requires freezing the current society at its current level of development forever. If the society advances, that will produce profits, which will disrupt production, because socialist policies lead to loss rather than gain of capital over time in the presence of interest on money.

4921254
You’re a more professional man than I’ll ever be. This is why I mostly stick to sharing leftist memes on Facebook rather than actual evangelizing.

4921258
>Nazbol
>Go directly to gulag.

4921191
Tax the very rich and they'll just leave for greener pastures, taking their wealth with them. That’s more or less what California is going through right now.

Under this argument, what justifies the existence of landlords or inherited wealth?

Landlords incur all of the risks and responsibilities of owning and renting property. If you think it's such a good deal, go ahead and invest in rental properties. Your opinion may change after one bad tenant causes thousands of dollars of damage, refuses to leave and has to be evicted.

As for inherited wealth, I believe it's up to the one who worked to build that wealth to decide if they want to transfer it to their children. It might be better if they didn’t, considering how people who get money without working for it often end up as an empty shell of a human.

…I find it very hard to argue that they work harder than half the entire rest of the country combined.

I never stated that wealth was directly proportional to effort. Only that those who work harder have more opportunities to gain wealth.

The government is capable of being remarkable efficient when it comes to spending, if incentivized to do so, and what it's efficient in is more intrinsically tied to the needs of the people -- voters liking the thing -- than corporate interests -- profit above all else

Just how much of your tax dollar do you think makes it to the other end? Government employees need to be compensated, installations maintained, etc. If the government is going to take your money only to give it back in the form of some socialist program, you've lost a significant part of it in the process.

The larger the government, the less efficient it becomes. It also increases the chance that people will abuse the system for their own benefit, as is readily apparent already. Elected officials represent themselves first and foremost. They are usually more concerned with getting re-elected than doing what is needed for the benefit of those represent. Just because an idea is popular doesn't mean it's right or even safe.

I do agree that businesses should not be allowed to influence government. We would all be better off if lobbying were completely banned.

Nationalization is better than monopoly in all matters regarding infrastructure

I would urge you to look at Venezuela.

A healthy balance of supply and demand where multiple companies are competing and consumers have a choice is far better than both monopoly and nationalization. The only time I would want the government to manage something is where the rules of supply and demand can’t be applied. Things like road infrastructure or healthcare where don’t have the ability as a consumer to choose which road or facility you want to use and don’t have the ability to “walk away” from a bad deal. Can you picture interviewing doctors for their services while you’re barely coherent from an urgent health problem?

4921281
I never said that we shouldn’t help those who are experiencing difficulties. Having a disability does not mean you are unable to work. I'm sure give the opportunity to find gainful work in an environment that is suitable for your needs, you'd prefer to work and support yourself rather than depend on the government and it's corrupt systems. As it is, a large chunk of the money that should be going to those who truly need it end up in the hands of the lazy or dishonnest.

4921220
I find your insults to be ineffective in demonstrating your point. But please, do go on if that's what you're into.

4921189
I disagree. There's no incentive to build a business if there's no opportunity to gain from it because the government is going to pocket most of the money. That means less places to work, which leads to less tax money, which leads to more government programs to support unemployment, etc. The better option seems to be to make it easier for people to start businesses and compete on the open market.

4921300

You're thinking only of labor as having value.

That's because only labor can generate value.

The owners, though, are putting in the money.

Money is a representation of economic value. That money was generated by someones labor.

They buy the land,

Land only has value based on what you can do with it using... labor!

buy the factory,

That factory was built by labor and is only valuable based on the ways it can be used to turn labor into things.

invest in research to develop equipment,

That research is labor, being done by laborers.

build the equipment,

Done by laborers, and then operated by them.

have teams of professionals to comply with government regulations, etc.

All of that is stuff done... by labor.

If being an owner were such a great deal, we could all get rich today! Just buy shares in corporate stocks, and you'd be an owner, Just think--you'd be sitting back and doing nothing, while those workers slaved away making value for you!

Why doesn't this work?

... it does? For a lot of people? It can't work universally, but that's because they're only enough room for so many parasites.

It seems to me--though I haven't worked it out in detail--that socialist economics could provide some sort of advantage only if they abolished interest on loaned money.

Wait... what?

By this definition we're not getting any advantage at all from all the hugely socialized aspects of modern economies, which clearly isn't the case. The roads are socialized. Law enforcement is. National defense. Education. Social security. All of those things are applications of socialist economics that provide enormous advantages to society!

That means socialism can "work" only if there is no economic growth, because economic growth is defined as an increase in profits.

No, it's defined as an increase in value. That's how we calculate GDP, after all. But even if I concede the point... where are those profits accruing? That matters more than that they exist, after all.

4921198
Okay, so I have two questions about that Monopoly variant: 1) Has anyone actually played it, or is it just a thought experiment? 2) How is that any more miserable than regular Monopoly?

4921452
1. I don't know.
2. Why don't you try it and let us know?

4921404 "... it does? For a lot of people? It can't work universally, but that's because they're only enough room for so many parasites."

Oh, you were doing so well right up to that point. Investing money has something we call 'Risk' as anybody who invested in Solyndra or GM's preferred bonds can testify. One thing that people without money fail to realize when they look at wealthy people and want their money is that the wealthy person had to get that money somehow. They worked and saved, made decisions on how they were going to live their life, drove old cars instead of fancy new ones, lived below their means while *saving* that money and *investing* it in companies who hire other people who work and save money and invest....

Me at 20 was a completely different person than me at 55, and if I could go back in time to send 20-me a message (including "Don't buy those encyclopedias or the godawful expensive fire detectors") it would have been to get a better handle on my money early in my life and spend less on stupid stuff. You can't save unless you stop the hole in the bottom of the bucket, and that means you can't *have* money to invest unless you quit throwing it away.

My mother passed away with an estate just short of a million dollars. Mom and Dad worked hard all their lives, were frugal about spending and tried to pass that onto the kids. At retirement, they bought a *used* motorhome and toured the country on the proceeds of their work, and they did not accomplish that by 'seizing the means of production' Kinda hard to do on a dairy farm unless you're talking about a cow's udder, and that got seized twice a day, 365 days a year.

Go out and work. Don't spend money on stupid stuff. Save like a rabid chipmunk. Invest cautiously. Help your neighbors. And enjoy life. Whining about how somebody else has more than you do only makes you bitter.

Thanks for the article, I appreciate the political and geosocial perspective you often show in your posts on world issues. Cheers.

4921483

Investing money has something we call 'Risk' as anybody who invested in Solyndra or GM's preferred bonds can testify.

Specific investments can have risk. Parking a couple hundred mill in an index fund might THEORETICALLY have risks but in practice really doesn't.

One thing that people without money fail to realize when they look at wealthy people and want their money is that the wealthy person had to get that money somehow.

And often that process involved either dumb luck or grotesque immorality. Not always. But often. Mitt Romney is rich because his daddy gave him a huge pile of lucre, and he (and a whole BUNCH of his buddies) got RICHER by quite literally destroying peoples livelihoods and harvesting the remains for their scrap value. The foundation of Donald Trump's fortune lies in his poppas slum lordery. Jeff Bezos maintains and expands his fortune on the backs of brutalizing warehouse and shipping workers. The maintenance of Andrew Carnegie's fortune involved him hiring people to murder unionists. Erik Prince wasn't content to simply inherit a fortune; he decided he had to expand it by become a mercenary, one of the most vile "professions" on Earth.

Plenty of motherfuckers make their fortunes by trading in human misery and playing dice with human lives and livelihoods in ways that are almost guaranteed to never rebound on them personally. More to the point, we've built an economic and legal system that REWARDS that behavior rather than punishing it.

They worked and saved, made decisions on how they were going to live their life, drove old cars instead of fancy new ones, lived below their means while *saving* that money and *investing* it in companies who hire other people who work and save money and invest....

Or they got lucky and inherited it from their parents. Or ran vast financial frauds and scams. Or got constantly promoted at work by being the most sociopathic fucker in the company. Or discovered a new way to fuck people over and keep all the profits for themselves.

Go out and work.

I'm gonna state this baldly:

The social contract should be that anyone willing to "go out and work" is rewarded with a comfortable living and retirement. That should not be a risk. That should be as ironclad as we can make it. People should have either a guaranteed right to a job (a good job; a job in which they are treated with dignity and respect and have a modicum of control over their lives and livelihoods. Burger flipping could be a good job if we decided to enforce that it be one) or a guaranteed minimal income such that they can tell people offering them shitty jobs "no, fuck you, I'm out" with minimal downside.

Don't spend money on stupid stuff.

People should be able to afford to spend a few dollars on stupid things for no better reason than that it fulfills them. Small luxuries make a difficult world tolerable.

4921384
Actually, I am unable to work. Some disabilities do that. I’d love to see my previous neighbor in a job—he’s a quad who needs help with daily living activities. Guess what, so do I in some areas (brain damage!). That’s why I’m on SSI. It’s not *easy* to get on, and the benefits, as I stated before, are about half-way *below* the poverty limit in the U.S.

So no, I can’t work. Before the car accident, I worked with a genetic disorder that puts you in constant, untreatable by working standards pain (you don’t have receptors for opioids, anesthetic takes extra doses, etc., but a plant works—but you’re not getting a job on MMJ), and I did so. But I can’t anymore. Do I deserve to die? Does my quad neighbor? What job would you put him in? He can’t breathe without a machine!

4921503

And often that process involved either dumb luck or grotesque immorality. Not always. But often. Mitt Romney is rich because his daddy gave him a huge pile of lucre, and he (and a whole BUNCH of his buddies) got RICHER by quite literally destroying peoples livelihoods and harvesting the remains for their scrap value. The foundation of Donald Trump's fortune lies in his poppas slum lordery. Jeff Bezos maintains and expands his fortune on the backs of brutalizing warehouse and shipping workers. The maintenance of Andrew Carnegie's fortune involved him hiring people to murder unionists. Erik Prince wasn't content to simply inherit a fortune; he decided he had to expand it by become a mercenary, one of the most vile "professions" on Earth.

Plenty of motherfuckers make their fortunes by trading in human misery and playing dice with human lives and livelihoods in ways that are almost guaranteed to never rebound on them personally. More to the point, we've built an economic and legal system that REWARDS that behavior rather than punishing it.

People often remember the ‘good’ billionaires, the ones who invest in considerable philanthropic works, at the expense of those who don’t. I say, “billionaire” and “philanthropist” is practically assumed. It is much rarer to remember the many billionaires who don’t make such charitable donations, like the Koch Brothers, or Mark Zuckerberg (no, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is not a charitable foundation; it is an LLC for the making of investments and political donations), or to remember that even for those who do, what is in absolute terms an immense act of charity may be relatively inconsequential. Yes, Warren Buffet has vowed to give away 99% of his wealth, and that's admirable, but he can do that and still be be wealthier than almost anybody else on Earth, enough to live in comfortable luxury for the rest of his life.

It turns out that among the many, many benefits that come with obscene wealth, one of them is the ability to buy very good PR.

4921506
So that's it? You're just going to give up and keep thinking about what you can't do? If you want to say you can't work and have nothing of value to contribute, that's your choice. However from what I've seen you're able to write and think, why not try to your hand at literature? How about art? Work doesn't have to mean a 9 to 5 job, there are other ways to leave your mark. Don't ask me what you should be doing, you're the only one able to assess your situation with any degree of accuracy. I'm not in your position so it's unlikely I'd be able to come up with a solution that works for you.

4921537

First, it took me nearly half an hour to write that comment. You would not want to have seen the first draft. You’re also seeing 8 years of work re-learning how to use my brain. It still took nearly 30 minutes and a lot of help from predictive text.

(Start Timing)
How dare you presume that I do not want to work? This is a case of ability, not want. It tears me to pieces that I can’t work anymore, that I can’t single numbers in my head anymore, that I can’t be an underwriter. Or a cashier. Or anything that lifts more than 5lbs, because of my genetic condition. My shoulders pop out of their sockets, you see. Every bit of collagen is affected. Think about that for a minute. Let it really sink in. Then there’s the heart defect. They’re related. Collagen, you see. And why I’ve never known walking without falling. Running? What’s that? Fuck you. Add in a Moderate TBI that even took my *hearing*... and try learning a new language with Short Term Memory Disorder, and Cognitive Processing Disorder, and missing memories, and global aphasia, and brand new ADHD, and your autism moved from mild to moderate, and the *never ending tinnitus* on top of your old conditions that are worse from the injuries you sustained... Do you want to get into those?

So I spin, and knit, and crochet, and read. I’m so sorry I’m not a fucking productive member of society because NO ONE WILL HIRE ME.

*THAT’S* how you get on SSI. When the judge looks at you and says, “Yep, it wouldn’t be discriminatory to not hire you because you are just too disabled.”

4921404

That's because only labor can generate value.

Supposing that's true, I don't see why it's relevant.

Money is a representation of economic value. That money was generated by someones labor.

Probably by the person who currently owns it. That's the point of money. It lets the laborer keep the value generated even while giving the object to someone else who needs it.

Land only has value based on what you can do with it using... labor!

buy the factory,

That factory was built by labor and is only valuable based on the ways it can be used to turn labor into things.

invest in research to develop equipment,

That research is labor, being done by laborers.

build the equipment,

Done by laborers, and then operated by them.

Yes, and those laborers were paid by the investors. You say "the laborers did it", I can say "the investors paid for it".

Your points make sense to me as an argument only if you assume that labor done in the past is somehow morally inferior to labor done in the present. Money is value paid for labor; the laborer, in possession of that money, is by spending it using the fruits of his labor, as is his right. His money does not lose value for having been converted to money.

Here's a parable of Marxist economics:

Two men decide to open a bakery. The first man builds the oven. The second bakes bread in the oven and sells it. When the first man asks the second for his half of the money, the second says, "The money was for the bread, and I made the bread. You did no work at all."

So the first man points to the oven that the bread was baked in, and says, "So what do you call that?"
And the second man says, "Capital!"

No, it's defined as an increase in value. That's how we calculate GDP, after all. But even if I concede the point... where are those profits accruing? That matters more than that they exist, after all.

Yes. The distribution matters. But that has nothing to do with the argument I was responding to, which is the Marxist theory that $10 of labor is metaphysically superior to, and more virtuous than, $10 of capital.

If one group ends up with more money than another group, you can see by induction that this can only be because some economic transactions were for some reason unequal trades. Not because of some magic virtue inherent in present-day labor over prior labor.

There is unequal distribution of wealth. We can address this many ways, such as taxes. It has nothing to do with the Marxist theory of value, and bringing that value in to arguments about distribution of wealth is a shell game.

4921557

Probably by the person who currently owns it. That's the point of money. It lets the laborer keep the value generated even while giving the object to someone else who needs it.

Bluntly, no, not really. Capitalism is not a meritocratic system where people earn the true value of their labour. The system is too distorted by those interested in using their disproportionate wealth to buy the means, such as lobbying for tax cuts and legal loopholes, to hoard more wealth unto themselves.

4921546

How dare you presume that I do not want to work?

Sure, cause I didn't say exactly the opposite... Oh wait, I did!

I'm sure give the opportunity to find gainful work in an environment that is suitable for your needs, you'd prefer to work and support yourself rather than depend on the government and it's corrupt systems

Since you seem intent on getting offended at whatever I write, I'll just leave it at that and go do something more productive. Good luck with your situation.

4921588
Funny, how haven’t answered my question.

How do you propose, in the type of society you envision, do people like me and my old neighbor live? And now, why are you surprised when people get upset when it looks like your proposed society has no place for them?

4921581 You're using the word "Capitalism" as if it defined some particular social system. It doesn't. "Capitalism" means that people are allowed to trade their labor or the products of their labor for something else, if they get a good enough offer, and not to make that trade if they don't want to. It doesn't even require a monetary system; you could have a barter-based capitalist society if you really wanted to.

Being opposed to capitalism implies believing that people have no right to decide what work they want to do, or to refuse to work, or to trade or sell things that they make to whomever they want to. Because having those rights is all you need to construct a "capitalist" economy.

4921588
"I'm sorry you're offended" is not an acceptable tier of remark here.


4921605
All those things you've described aren't inherent to a capitalist system. Tons of democratic socialist theory revolves around optimising that. Capitalism is about private capital: Owning private property* and being able to charge for its usage.

As I've talked about previously, rent seeking is a dangerous means of profit in that it's completely untied to labour, which is what Murcoshio is emphasizing what we should value.

*Again, distinct from personal property

4921615
Rent seeking can't be untied to labor in your system, because Murcushio says that only labor generates value. Rent is money paid to use something valuable. That something therefore became valuable through someone's labor. Rent seeking reimburses that someone for their labor.

And, yes, capitalism means nothing other than free trade. Name me one economic system that (A) isn't capitalist, and (B) doesn't forbid people from choosing what work to do, or whether or not they will work, or to sell the products of their labor. "Capitalism" means that a person who makes little wood carving of ducks can sell those ducks to other people, and a person who makes shovels can sell them to others, and so on. "Capitalism" grants a set of freedoms; Marxism denies them.

If you want to raise points about the ethics of owning land, of unequal wealth, or of inheriting wealth, of corporations having personhood status, those are all things you could make a case against. But instead, you're saying that for me to own the things things that I produced, and can charge for their use, is wrong--that you have the right to deny me the benefits of my own labor--I find not just indefensible, but morally repugnant.

Here's another Marxist parable:

Joe made a shovel. Jim made a wheelbarrow. Joe loaned Jim his shovel, and Jim moved a load of manure. Then Jim loaned Joe his wheelbarrow, and Joe moved his load of manure.

Meanwhile, Jane made a shovel, and Julie made a wheelbarrow. Jane said, "Julie, I'll loan you my shovel if later you loan me your wheelbarrow." Jane was shot for being a rent-seeking capitalist pig.

Here are "all the things i've described", which you say are not inherent to capitalism:

people are allowed to trade their labor or the products of their labor for something else, if they get a good enough offer, and not to make that trade if they don't want to.

Now the precise thing that you just said you object to is if a person is allowed to rent the products of their labor for something else. That is technically a difference, but that's just an oversight on my part; I should have said, "Capitalism means people are allowed to trade or rent..."

The idea that renting is the source of all evil... shit, there are so many obvious bad economic practices to attack, and you have to keep going back to this weird 19th-century-German metaphysical obsession with the inherent virtue of different types of economic transactions. It seems utterly barking mad to me. I have no idea what you think your argument is.

4921537
Why do you place so much emphasis on everyone working? An ideal goal is for no one to have to work unless they want to.

4921627

Rent seeking can't be untied to labor in your system, because Murcushio says that only labor generates value. Rent is money paid to use something valuable. That something therefore became valuable through someone's labor. Rent seeking reimburses that someone for their labor.

This is only true when it's the person who made the thing who owns it. But there are tons of ways that doesn't happen under capitalism.

Consider Trump Towers. Donald Trump underpays or simply doesn't pay for workers or materials, then takes a huge tax credit for being a "job creator" and then owns the building. Then he goes on to be President. Labour has been entirely removed from its value created.

Wages aren't tied to the product of labour, they're valued relative to the job market. Since most people can't afford to not work, they can't choose not to take an exploitative job.

Finally, consider who's renting. Home owners are worth about 90 times what renters are. Renters are renting because they can't choose not to live somewhere, so they have to take the cheaper option.

The problem with this is that the person who owns the house that they're renting gets to keep the rent money, and the property. In twenty years they'll have the house and twenty years worth of rent, while the poorer renter will have paid twenty years of rent to live in a house he doesn't own.

It is a purely parasitic relationship.

And an article by my local Greens representative, it's a problem that caters to the "free market's" interests, not something it would resolve.

And, yes, capitalism means nothing other than free trade.

You are working from a false definition.

Name me one economic system that (A) isn't capitalist, and (B) doesn't forbid people from deciding what work to do, or whether or not they will work, or to sell the products of their labor.

(B) Happens all the time under modern capitalism, though. Class-gating university and making degrees a minimum barrier of entry into the professional job market is one such example we've discussed, but that doesn't happen under an entirely socialized education system. Denmark do pretty well for it.

As well: Communalism, anarcho-communism, mutualism, collectivist anarchism, democratic socialism. It's about creating equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. Capitalism isn't the only alternative to state-side planned economies.

Pretending that you can distinguish between personal property and capital is silly.

"Am I charging other people money for something I own". Done.

Pretending that owning things that you produced, and charging for their use, is wrong, is not just silly, but morally repugnant.

Doing that can absolutely fall under 'profit' which is distinct from 'rent-seeking', and not in contest. What you are describing is the value-added to something by labour, which has value to the final product. Capitalism isn't the secret sauce that makes it true.

The issue is when you can buy something someone else made, or an automated factory produced, and charge for its use. Not because you had a part in its creation, but because you owned it. Then you collect the money from it.

For most manufacturing people are a small cog in a large machine. They don't make shovels or small ducks: They make a handle, or paint the carving, and pass it on down the line. They are then paid a wage that is entirely unrelated to the value of their labour, but valued at what the lowest someone in that position is willing to work for to fill that position. And they can't use that wage to buy their own machinery to make shovels with, because wages will always be lower than whatever it is that the working class could use to save become part of the petty bourgeoisie.

I have no idea what you think your argument is.

In these discussions, you have a very bad habit of correcting me on what I "actually" meant, and then attacking the definition you corrected me to. This might contribute to the problem.

4921557

Supposing that's true, I don't see why it's relevant.

Well, it's relevant in the context of you saying to someone "You're thinking only of labor as having value." with the implication being that that's wrong. And it isn't wrong; it's correct. Labor is the only thing that can generate value. It is technically true that things other than labor can HAVE value, but that value derives from labor.

Your points make sense to me as an argument only if you assume that labor done in the past is somehow morally inferior to labor done in the present. Money is value paid for labor; the laborer, in possession of that money, is by spending it using the fruits of his labor, as is his right. His money does not lose value for having been converted to money.

It's bold of you to assume that someone in possession of money has earned it via laboring. Often people possess money, often a great deal of it, that they did not in any meaningful way earn.

Labor isn't fungible in the way money is. If I rip gold out of the ground and exchange it for a huge pile of money, that money can meaningfully be said to represent the fruits of my labor. If I give that huge pile of money to someone else (and I do mean GIVE, not "exchange"), that money no longer represents that. It's still a store of value but the person controlling that store of value can't really be said to have earned it.

Two men decide to open a bakery. The first man builds the oven. The second bakes bread in the oven and sells it. When the first man asks the second for his half of the money, the second says, "The money was for the bread, and I made the bread. You did no work at all."

So the first man points to the oven that the bread was baked in, and says, "So what do you call that?"
And the second man says, "Capital!"

My response to that is: the second man in that story is a jerk and a thief... right now.

At some point in the future? He will not be.

The first guy worked hard to build that oven and deserves recompense for his time and effort. However, once that oven is built, it is BUILT. The bread needs to be baked every day; the oven only needed to be built once.

I am comfortable asserting that the second guy shouldn't have a right to continue extracting value from the labor the first guy undertakes using that oven, possibly an enormous amount of value, indefinitely and in ever-increasing amounts, while never lifting a finger again. You say "two guys have decided to open a bakery." I'd say given the information presented, it is more accurate to say "ONE guy has decided to open a bakery, and is securing the equipment to do so from another guy with a promise of paying him money from future sales." Because the oven-builder is not meaningfully engaged in the running of said bakery.

I can't put a precise timeline on it. But at some point the baker can ethically and morally say to the oven-maker "no. You've had all the money from me you're going to get. The oven is mine now, paid for by the sweat and toil I've invested into it every single day while you have done nothing more than hold your hand for your cut. You've had your fair share. You've had more than enough. Get out."

Because I'm also comfortable asserting that the labor that baker puts into that oven every day IS superior to the capital that the oven-builder controls.

4921605 Fine; modern Western late-stage capitalism, then. You’re a smart man, Bad Horse, you should know better than to think being pedantic about terminology is the same as an argument. And to further illustrate the point, consider the recent example of Monsanto and their losing one of the thousands of ongoing court cases over their sale of weed killers and suppression, through bribery and propaganda, of information showing that those weed killers are toxic to human life. Yes, they lost one of the cases now - but only after getting away with it for literal decades, and acquiring billions by doing so. That is, instead of doing the work of making a valuable product, they leveraged their gains to buy legal loopholes and propaganda to hoard more wealth unto themselves.

4921404

>It seems to me--though I haven't worked it out in detail--that socialist economics could provide some sort of advantage only if they abolished interest on loaned money.

By this definition we're not getting any advantage at all from all the hugely socialized aspects of modern economies, which clearly isn't the case. The roads are socialized. Law enforcement is. National defense. Education. Social security. All of those things are applications of socialist economics that provide enormous advantages to society!

Sorry--I didn't state that clearly or precisely at all. I was thinking only of economic growth, and particularly of the microeconomics of one individual business. I meant that, in terms of maximizing social returns from investment, socialist economics would be able to address some cases that the free market can't only if it enforced having no interest on money.

This is because it is interest on money which leads to the founders of successful businesses extracting what looks to the workers like "too much" money. The market theoretically ensures that the average extraction by a founder is priced correctly, but most founders lose all their money, and the ones you read about in the news are lottery winners, not "typical capitalists".

On reflection, socialist economics would have to forbid any "rents" at all, because "rent" is supposed to be the general case of interest on money: a fee paid for temporary use of something. But allowing no rents at all would make having any economy above the level of technology found in tribal cultures impossible. The only way to produce anything would be to have one central dictator who told everybody what to do. Cooperation between two businesses ruled by different ultimate authorities would be impossible, because the individual transactions making up that cooperation would usually require one business to lend something to the other, and they wouldn't do that without some guarantee of some counterbalancing assistance--which is the same thing as rent.

The notion of "rent" is, like all the dichotomies Marxism is so fond of, incoherent. Most forms of physical (non-money) capital in the real world last only a finite time, not an infinite time, and using it typically depletes it of value by wear and tear. So "buying" a steam engine is the same as renting it for a very long time.

4921665

This is only true when it's the person who made the thing who owns it. But there are tons of ways that doesn't happen under capitalism.

You're switching back-and-forth between two entirely different definitions of "capitalism": one which is the free market (the one in your theoretical arguments), and one which is more like socialism (whenever you point out injustices, which turn out to be caused by socialist-style interventions in the free market).

For example:

Consider Trump Towers. Donald Trump underpays or simply doesn't pay for workers or materials, then takes a huge tax credit for being a "job creator" and then owns the building. Then he goes on to be President. Labour has been entirely removed from its value created.

This is a case of criminal violations of labor contracts, plus tax credits created by anti-free-market laws which try to incentivize particular behaviors as chosen by a central planning committee. The "job creator" tax credit Trump gets is socialist, not "capitalist".

Wages aren't tied to the product of labour, they're valued relative to the job market.

This old line is simply false. It doesn't become true just because you keep repeating it. I know people who run businesses. Wages are tied to the product of labor. You don't know what you're talking about.

Everybody who doesn't run a business thinks they're not being paid enough--but how much they can be paid is determined by the value of the product of labor--how much people are paid for it. This happens only in the free market. It's in socialism, not capitalism, that wages are untied from the value of the product of labor.

The problem with this is that the person who owns the house that they're renting gets to keep the rent money, and the property. In twenty years they'll have the house and twenty years worth of rent, while the poorer renter will have paid twenty years of rent to live in a house he doesn't own.

People who buy a house end up wealthier only because of the US income tax deductions on mortgage payments. This is a massive, socialist subsidy to home-buyers. If that deduction disappeared, the economics of buying and renting would be about equal. I know this because I've worked it out in my own case, because since I'm unemployed, I can't use a tax deduction.

4921801 Re. Monsanto, pointing out that bad things happened under "capitalism" (and there is nothing "late" about capitalism) is not an argument against capitalism. Far worse things happened under communism everywhere it has been tried. The free market, for all its flaws, still produces societies more just, and less corrupt, than centralized planning does.

Not necessarily more equitable. It depends entirely how you measure value and equity. But I believe it also produces societies in which the great mass of people are happier. Happiness depends more on having enough, or having what you want, or doing or being what you want, than on having an equal share of poverty.

4921822

Just to be efficient here, you realize your definition of socialism is a meme right?
i.imgur.com/PFoXimf.jpg

EDIT: To be more serious: When the government uses public capital to reimburse private capital -- in the case of the mortgage situation, negative gearing, etc. -- that's more similar to fascism than socialism.

And that's not me just calling everything I don't like fascism:

Both Mussolini and Hitler showed their gratitude to their big business patrons by privatizing many perfectly solvent state-owned steel mills, power plants, banks, and steamship companies. Both regimes dipped heavily into the public treasury to refloat or subsidize heavy industry. Agribusiness farming was expanded and heavily subsidized. Both states guaranteed a return on the capital invested by giant corporations while assuming most of the risks and losses on investments. As is often the case with reactionary regimes, public capital was raided by private capital.
Michael Parenti, Blackshirts and Reds

It's not just that public capital is used that makes something socialism, it's what it's used for.

EDIT PART 2:

This old line is simply false. It doesn't become true just because you keep repeating it. I know people who run businesses. Wages are tied to the product of labor. You don't know what you're talking about.

This is literally just ad hominem, anecdote, ad hominem.

Labour-as-a-commodity, especially unskilled labour, is... I mean... okay, I don't actually know where to begin with this one. No, like, I'm getting writers' cube I literally do not know where to begin. Okay, okay. Do you at least accept that labour, under capitalism, is treated as a commodity, and is sold in the context of the labour market?

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