amorri1010

Communism and Curiosity, History and Humility

38 posts in this topic

11 hours ago, Leo Gura said:

Look man, you can dance around the issue all you want, but markets are not going away.

Yeah, there are a lot of fools within socialism who believe all sorts of impractical and silly things. A centrally planned economy is not gonna happen.

The only kind of socialist that I can take seriously is at least one who can admit the importance of markets and why they exist.

 

I am so glad to hear you say this Leo, I can't take any socialist seriously who doesn't have a rebuttal to the Economic Calculation Problem that plagued 20th Century socialism. 


'One is always in the absolute state, knowingly or unknowingly for that is all there is.' Francis Lucille. 

'Peace and Happiness are inherent in Consciousness.' Rupert Spira 

“Your own Self-Realization is the greatest service you can render the world.” Ramana Maharshi

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Posted (edited)

I problem I see with attempting to apply Marxist economics to contemporary Societies, is that people are quick to lose sight of the Historical context that the work was created in.

At the time when Marx and Engels were developing thier Theory, the average worker in the most advanced Industrial Societies of the time were working 80 - 100 hour work weeks in truly horrific conditions; labor laws weren't a thing that existed, and workers were treated as little better than serfs.

While these conditions still exist in developing countries that the advanced economies 'export' thier exploitation of labor to, for people living within developed countries Social Democracy has solved many (though not all) of the problems of Capitalism.

For someone lucky enough to be living in a country with strong labor laws, who may be protected by a Union and has access to free college and vocational education, Marxist economic Theory doesn't really have a lot to offer that person. Sure you could argue that they're not getting the full value of their Labor, but for someone making a living wage with a social safety net to protect them, it's not really a matter of Survival like it was for the 19th century workers Marx and Engels were writing about.

Obviously this doesn't invalidate Marx's basic critique of Capitalism, so much as make it less relevant for the advanced economies some century and a half later. I wouldn't say that Marxist economic theory is wrong (it's not), so much as outdated.

That's not to say that Social Democracy is perfect or an 'endpoint' of Social Development, but I would argue it's more attuned to contemporary challenges than 19th Century economic Theory.

Not as if Marxist economies have proven any better for sustainable development than Capitalism, nor does it offer any solutions for how to address the most serious issue that humanity currently faces, which is Climate Change. Planned Economies might have arguably worse for protecting the environment than Market economies, which is really saying something.

Edited by DocWatts

"The mind is inherently embodied.
Thought is mostly unconscious.
Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical." - George Lakoff

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The economic calculation problem has always been a meme


لا إله إلا الله، وليو رسول الله

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Posted (edited)

A good video countering Social Democracy:

 

 

Edited by Husseinisdoingfine

لا إله إلا الله، وليو رسول الله

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1 hour ago, Husseinisdoingfine said:

A good video countering Social Democracy:

 

Just wasted 20 min.. 

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@Husseinisdoingfine Can I see your rebuttal of it then please? Or a country that actually thrived without Markets? 

Theory is great, but I would like to see an actual working solution of a Market-Less economy which we have not seen, despite plenty of attempts. 

 


'One is always in the absolute state, knowingly or unknowingly for that is all there is.' Francis Lucille. 

'Peace and Happiness are inherent in Consciousness.' Rupert Spira 

“Your own Self-Realization is the greatest service you can render the world.” Ramana Maharshi

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@LfcCharlie4 There has never been an attempt at a fully market-less economy, only a movement towards more public ownership and central planning. Even the most staunchly socialist states of the past recognized markets as a necessity in socialist transition out of capitalism. Any Marxist worth his salt will tell you that these sort of economic changes dont happen overnight, they are protracted historical processes just like the beginning of capitalism and market economies were.

The argument against the economic calculation problem isn't that a fully planned economy taking over immediately would be better, it's that there are alternatives to market driven economies when the value forms implemented in society are changed (which happens over a very extended period of time). The issue is that the economic calculation problem is an obscurantist attempt to disprove alternatives to market economies by being intentionally disingenuous and dishonest about economic factors and the project socialist are trying to advocate for.

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@amorri1010 If you give examples your explanations will go a lot further. 

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@Opo What examples are you looking for? Historical examples of previous socialist states implementing market tactics/allowing private ownership (Lenin's New Economic Policy in 1922, modern day China specifically the Special Economic Zones opened up by Deng Xiaoping in the late 70s)?

Examples of the birth pangs of capitalism from feudalism (basically the entire mercantilist era along with the Columbian exchange and early colonialism, also countless serf/peasant revolts across Europe in concurrence with the fall of monarchism as a political form and the instantiation of a dominant bourgeois class)? 

I will be fully honest with everyone here that I'm not the most familiar with the intricacies of the Economic Calculation Problem and am not qualified to put forward a definitive refutation of it on purely economic terms. My cursory knowledge of it however does indicate that there are some core misunderstandings and assumptions it makes about the socialist project and socialist economics which I refered to in my last post. 

Hope this is satisfactory.

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@amorri1010 Yeah, China has a free market, but it is controlled by the state. When something gets out of hand or if there is a monopoly or other negative impacts (like the recent crypto ban due to environmental cost), the state will implement laws to prevent those things, so capitalism is always under control. But other than that, the market is really free, and people can trade and do business freely for the most part. They are very capitalistic when it comes to the economy, but they still have control of the market to a degree to balance things.

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9 hours ago, amorri1010 said:

@Opo What examples are you looking for? 

Yea sry for not being specific. 

12 hours ago, amorri1010 said:

@LfcCharlie4  it's that there are alternatives to market driven economies when the value forms implemented in society are changed (which happens over a very extended period of time). 

I don't get this. 

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Posted (edited)

@amorri1010

Just about all Left leaning people agree that at least some necessities should be divorced from Market dynamics, it's just a matter of degree for what Industries should be de-commodified and made Public.

Things like Health Care, Education, Utilities (including Internet) seem like no brainers, in that these are clearly things humans need for a happy and productive life, where the Market has either failed or presents an obvious Moral Hazard.

Things like Housing and Transportation present more ambiguous cases, where a blend of public ownership and regulated Markets might make more sense.

That said, I fail to see the Wisdom in introducing alternative methods of distribution to areas where Markets are working reasonably well, such as Food or Consumer Goods (the latter of which Planned Economies were notoriously bad at providing).

Edited by DocWatts

"The mind is inherently embodied.
Thought is mostly unconscious.
Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical." - George Lakoff

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@DocWatts What about if it is shown that these industries function better privatised? 
 

For example, in the UK when we De-Nationalised a lot of our industries we saw much more prosperity than we did when they were nationalised. 
 

Surely, it’s simply all about testing & whatever proves to be the most effective at providing the most prosperity for the most amount of people is best? 
 

And, that’s not to say their isn’t short term pain, but isn’t that to be expected with any system? 
 

Also, we have to remember, any public industry is not simply “free” but funded by taxes and / or borrowing (unsustainable of course) therefore, you are taking away X purchasing power of these people, and potentially preventing other sectors growth if said industry becomes bloated & inefficient, which is seems like a looooot of nationalised industries do as no matter how they perform, they get funding & often more when they perform badly.  
 

@amorri1010 Hmm still not convinced these function better than markets at all. 
 

What value form replaces prices then? And, how do you know what a society want. 
 

Sometimes I think people forget, economics isn’t a hard science, it’s based on Human actions, and humans are strange creatures lmao, I mean spend enough time on any social media platform and you realise no government could have the knowledge or know how to satisfy the myriad of desires & wants humans have. 


'One is always in the absolute state, knowingly or unknowingly for that is all there is.' Francis Lucille. 

'Peace and Happiness are inherent in Consciousness.' Rupert Spira 

“Your own Self-Realization is the greatest service you can render the world.” Ramana Maharshi

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Two more videos about welfare capitalism


لا إله إلا الله، وليو رسول الله

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Posted (edited)

@LfcCharlie4 I try my best to be relatively non-ideological about what to leave in the public vs private sphere, and am all for means testing government programs to make sure they're fulfilling thier intended purpose.

That said, there are some human necessities where introducing a Profit motive creates a Moral Hazard. I'm assuming you probably wouldn't be okay with someone selling thier Organs to pay thier bills, or someone agreeing to become an Indentured Servant with no Legal Rights for ten years to pay off thier Student Loan Debts.

Likewise, introducing a profit motive in to things like Prisons or Healthcare creates perverse incentives where organizations directly benefit from Harming people. Hence, they become Predatory.

In addition, when people mention that government programs can become bloated and inefficient (sometimes true), they fail to see how the same can be true of Private Industry. Hell, Comcast is still around, and they're one of the worst companies in existence, providing truly terrible service for a premium cost. 

In addition, public programs have a huge advantage over privatized ones; Public programs can be run at Cost, and not have to skim a Profit from people using thier services. A government program would have to be very inefficient indeed to not be able to compete with a Privatized Service which must provide Investors with a quarterly return, and CEOs with millions of dollars in compensation.

Also, you'll notice that at no point did I mention that any public services were free: they're tax payer supported. What I will argue is that something supported by taxes will often be both more inexpensive and better than its privatized alternative.

Edited by DocWatts

"The mind is inherently embodied.
Thought is mostly unconscious.
Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical." - George Lakoff

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@DocWatts  I understand about the Moral Hazard, but to me that is more of an issue with Crony Capitalism, than true free markets, which sounds like a bit of a copout I know. If their was actual competition and not companies in bed with the government monopolizing industries I do feel the predatory aspect would lessen as consumers would go where they are treated best, for example, I'm happy to admit that I am looking into Private Healthcare over here as have been warned by relatives that the NHS is not going to be up to scratch over the next 5-10 years, he gave me this warning Pre-Covid so I can only imagine what it is like now. 

However, to give an example of public healthcare, I live in the UK and it isn't the paradise it is made out to be by many other countries. Of course it is much better than what is seen in the US but that is a topic for another day as you guys get fucked from both ends sadly from what I have seen lmao.

Every year, we are told it is 'Overwhelmed' and needs more funding, and I mean every year. You can pretty much predict the headlines before they are written. 

I am not saying the NHS is the devil either, they have been great to me and my family over the years, but in the UK its sort of an unwritten sin not to question it, almost a little Cult like, which doesn't sit right with me, because if you can't question things, you can't have discussions on how they can be improved.

Comcast- I agree, but in a fair private industry, one that isn't constantly bailed out, you have losses and businesses going out of business. Again, this is often prevented due to Short-Termism and X party not wanting to take the hit for destroying X industry, even though it is clear it needs to go. 

1 hour ago, DocWatts said:

 

In addition, public programs have a huge advantage over privatized ones; Public programs can be run at Cost, and not have to skim a Profit from people using thier services. A government program would have to be very inefficient indeed to not be able to compete with a Privatized Service which must provide Investors with a quarterly return, and CEOs with millions of dollars in compensation.

Also, you'll notice that at no point did I mention that any public services were free: they're tax payer supported. What I will argue is that something supported by taxes will often be both more inexpensive and better than its privatized alternative.

 

My rebuttal to this would be the same as any Socialist rebuttal- the 3 issues I mentioned before & an additional one. 

Also, if it was the case that running at Cost was more efficient, why would you simply limit this to X industries?

When its not your money, you don't give nowhere near as much of a fuck about it. 

Here's an example, at my old school, each department got a budget each year from the local Council / Gov, and if they didn't spend this, it would be reduced. Therefore, come the end of the Fiscal year they would buy pointless shit they didn't need just so this budget wouldn't get reduced. 

If this was there own money, and not taxpayers / borrowed this would NEVER happen. 

Also, if this was the case, why has throughout history privatization of industries led to a far superior product / service, more efficient industry and a better experience for the consumers. 

I was lucky enough not to experience the 1970s in the UK where what pretty much most Left Wing governments propose happened- Nationalization, Higher Taxation etc. However, it was by far the least prosperous decade for us since WW2. And, while she divided the nation due to destroying certain industries and the short term pain this caused, Thatcher did spearhead economic growth throughout the 80s. Not to mention the rise of Extremism such as the national front was occurring due to the pain of the 70s.

I know this is a very left leaning forum, but when looking at the data and real world examples of these proposals, not much really strikes me as actually being great in practice, even though it sounds great in theory. And, I'm also just playing devils advocate and trying to get as many opinions on each and every issue. I've also been reading a lot of Economics books (Including Karl Marx) and must say I have taken a liken to the Austrian School. But, I did vote Corbyn (UK sanders) in 2019, but defo would not do that now.

For example, We've just re-nationalized the Railways in the UK literally yesterday,  so I guess that will be a good example over the coming decade to see how that goes, although I wouldn't say it was ever truly Private, and it seems like more Gov intervention to fix the issues Gov intervention caused. 

 


'One is always in the absolute state, knowingly or unknowingly for that is all there is.' Francis Lucille. 

'Peace and Happiness are inherent in Consciousness.' Rupert Spira 

“Your own Self-Realization is the greatest service you can render the world.” Ramana Maharshi

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Posted (edited)

@LfcCharlie4 You bring up some Valid points. Even if the Crony Capitalism is often used as a cop out by more Libertarian leaning types when discussing structural problems at the Heart of Capitalism, they are absolutely right to point out that the government is often in bed with private industry in corrupt ways that distort the Market. So no disagreement there.

What I would argue though is that the incentive structure of Capitalism is such that Crony Capitalism is its inevitable outcome, unless safeguards are put in place to prevent that from happening. Which means things like regulation, transparency laws, publicly funded election campaigns, etc.

While Free Markets are great in theory, and sometimes in Practice as well, the problem is that certain Industries/Services are much more well suited to Market Dynamics than others, for a variety of structural reasons. 

Going back to the Comcast example, even if the government did nothing at all to prop up Comcast's monopolistic  businesses practices, it's not like a 'mom and pop' ISP has any chance at all to enter thr marketplace and compete with Comcast, due to the incredibly high barrier of entry for Internet Providers, as for most Utilities. 

And that's leaving aside the issue of Oligopolies, where companies form tacit agreements not to compete with one another, further limiting the amount of 'choice' a potential consumer has, which the ISP Industry is notorious for.

In other instances, consumers are constrained in how much of a choice they really have. In a country with privatized medicine like the US, someone who needs an ambulance because they're having a Heart Attack can't really Shop Around for different ambulance services that offer the best price. (Be glad you don't live over here if you happen to get sick at any point in your life, ambulance bills are thousands of dollars).

And yet another problem with Market Dynamics is when the incentive structure of Markets conflicts with people's being able to meet thier basic survival needs; the Housing Market being a prime example of this. Where you have something that's a basic necessity treated as an Investment by Market Incentives, with the result that a basic need (Housing) has become unobtainable for many people. Here in America you ha e this absurd situation where there's something like twenty unoccupied houses for each Homeless person who lives here.

My non-original take on the issue is that Markets are a tool, one which has the capacity to be helpful or harmful depending on where and how they are used.

 

Edited by DocWatts

"The mind is inherently embodied.
Thought is mostly unconscious.
Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical." - George Lakoff

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