RE: Explaining Socialism To A Republican
(16-04-2012 11:46 AM)nach_in Wrote:
(16-04-2012 11:32 AM)germanyt Wrote: The government's authority to levy taxes and fund social programs isn't indicative of a socialist economy. In capitalism companies and property are privately owned and production of goods is regulated by supply and demand in the interest of profit.
I don't think history proves a system to work better than another, those things depend on the society itself, Rome was a reublic way before monarchies fell.
Wiki explains it better than I do.
A socialist economic system would consist of an organisation of
production to directly satisfy economic demands and human needs, so that
goods and services would be produced directly for use instead of for private profit driven by the accumulation of capital, and accounting would be based on physical quantities, a common physical magnitude, or a direct measure of labour-time. Distribution of output would be based on the principle of individual contribution.
See also: Socialist economics and Production for use
The original conception of socialism was an economic system whereby
production was organised in a way to directly produce goods and services
for their use-value; the direct allocation of resources
according to satisfy economic demands without financial calculation and
the mobilisation of the economy based on physical units as opposed to
the economic laws of capitalism (see: Law of value), often entailing the end of capitalistic economic categories such as rent, interest, profit and money.
This is contrasted with capitalism, where production is carried out for profit, and thus based upon indirect allocation. In an ideal capitalism based on perfect competition,
competitive pressures compel business enterprises to respond to the
needs of consumers, so that the pursuit of profit approximates
production for use through an indirect process (competitive pressures on
refers to an array of different economic theories and systems that
utilise the market mechanism to organise production and to allocate
factor inputs among socially-owned enterprises, with the economic
surplus (profits) accruing to society as a social dividend as opposed to private capital owners. Variations of market socialism include Libertarian proposals such as mutualism, and neoclassical economic models such as the Lange Model.
The ownership of the means of production can be based on direct ownership by the users of the productive property through worker cooperative; or commonly owned by all of society with management and control delegated to those who operate/use the means of production; or public ownership by a state apparatus. Public ownership may refer to the creation of state-owned enterprises, nationalisation or municipalisation.
The fundamental feature of a socialist economy is that publicly owned,
worker-run institutions produce goods and services in at least the commanding heights of the economy.
Management and control over the activities of enterprises is based on self-management
and self-governance, with equal power-relations in the workplace to
maximise occupational autonomy. A socialist form of organisation would
eliminate controlling hierarchies so that only a hierarchy based on
technical knowledge in the workplace remains. Every member would have
decision-making power in the firm and would be able to participate in
establishing its overall policy objectives. The policies/goals would be
carried out by the technical specialists that form the coordinating
hierarchy of the firm, who would establish plans or directives for the
work community to accomplish these goals.
The role and use of money in a hypothetical socialist economy is a contested issue. Socialists including Karl Marx, Robert Owen and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon advocated various forms of labour vouchers
or labour-credits, which like money would be used to acquire articles
of consumption, but unlike money they would not be capable of becoming capital and would not be used to allocate resources within the production process. Bolshevik revolutionary Leon Trotsky
argued that, following a socialist revolution, money could not be
arbitrarily abolished. Money had to exhaust its "historic mission"
(continue to be used until it became redundant), and then later
transformed into bookkeeping receipts for statisticians, and in the more
distant future, might not be required for even that role.
Modern democratic socialism
is a broad political movement that seeks to propagate the ideals of
socialism within the context of a democratic system. Many democratic
socialists support social democracy
as a road to reform of the current system, but others support more
revolutionary tactics to establish socialist goals. Conversely, modern
social democracy emphasises a program of gradual legislative reform of
capitalism in order to make it more equitable and humane, while the
theoretical end goal of building a socialist society is either
completely forgotten or redefined in a pro-capitalist way. The two
movements are widely similar both in terminology and in ideology,
although there are a few key differences.
Democratic socialism generally refers to any political movement that seeks to establish an economy based on economic democracy by and for the working class. Democratic socialists oppose democratic centralism and the revolutionary vanguard party of Leninism.
Democratic socialism is difficult to define, and groups of scholars
have radically different definitions for the term. Some definitions
simply refer to all forms of socialism that follow an electoral, reformist or evolutionary path to socialism, rather than a revolutionary one
Socialism is growing harder and harder to define. So one could view a social program that, would it have been a private company, could have effected the economy as a example of a socialist economic program. In the US we have a social democracy where officials are elected and the government levies taxes to provide basic services to those in need.
Many social democratic parties, particularly after the Cold war, adopted neoliberal-based market policies that include privatisation, liberalisation, deregulation and financialisation; resulting in the abandonment of pursuing the development of moderate socialism in favour of market liberalism. Despite the name, these pro-capitalist policies are radically different from the many non-capitalist free-market socialist theories that have existed throughout history.
In 1959, the German Social Democratic Party adopted the Godesberg Program, rejecting class struggle and Marxism. In 1980, with the rise of conservative neoliberal politicians such as Ronald Reagan in the U.S., Margaret Thatcher in Britain, and Brian Mulroney in Canada, the Western welfare state was attacked from within. Monetarists and neoliberalism attacked social welfare systems as impediments to private entrepreneurship at public expense.
In the 1980s and 1990s, western European socialists were pressured to
reconcile their socialist economic programmes with a free-market-based
communal European economy. In the UK, the Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock made a passionate and public attack against the party's Militant Tendency at a Labour Party conference, and repudiated the demands of the defeated striking miners after the 1984–1985 strike against pit closures. In 1989, at Stockholm, the 18th Congress of the Socialist International adopted a new Declaration of Principles, saying:
In the 1990s, released from the Left's pressure, the British Labour Party, under Tony Blair,
posited policies based upon the free market economy to deliver public
services via private contractors. In 1995, the Labour Party re-defined
its stance on socialism by re-wording clause IV
of its constitution, effectively rejecting socialism by removing any
and all references to public, direct worker or municipal ownership of
the means of production. In 1995, the British Labour Party revised its
political aims: "The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It
believes that, by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more
than we achieve alone, so as to create, for each of us, the means to
realise our true potential, and, for all of us, a community in which
power, wealth, and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the
The objectives of the Party of European Socialists,
the European Parliament's socialist bloc, are now "to pursue
international aims in respect of the principles on which the European
Union is based, namely principles of freedom, equality, solidarity,
democracy, respect of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and respect
for the Rule of Law." As a result, today, the rallying cry of the
French Revolution – "Egalité, Liberté, Fraternité" – which overthrew
absolutism and ushered industrialisation into French society, are
promoted as essential socialist values.
I'm reading all this and don't feel like it explains it very well.
Why would anyone even entertain another system? Earth didn't move to capitalism because it sucks. Even the most socialist leaning governments still rely heavily on free market capitalism as a economic model. Perhaps, like Michael Moore, you are confusing capitalism with corporatism. Guy makes a documentary called Capitalism : A Love Story and spends the whole thing bitching about corporatism.
And yes, maybe I get some of my arguments against capitalism from corporatism (new word for me actually) but there are some basic principles about capitalism I don't like, i.e. individualism (?)... We talked about this before, lets not go all over that again
Yea. It's one of those topics that I never get tired of discussing. Michael Moore's documentary is actually a good one (by that I mean informative and well made) but he is actually attacking corporatism. Oddly enough, the capitalist system he lives in is what has allowed him to become a millionaire making movies about how much he hates capitalism. And the constitutional democracy he lives in and hates so much permits him to make anti government movies without being executed.
(16-04-2012 11:42 AM)Quidsane Wrote: From the Socialist Party link you provided was this paragraph which kind of makes me uneasy:
Ending competition and duplication
Private ownership of the means of production results in constant duplication. Companies fiercely compete to produce a certain product first and best. Socialism would eliminate this and thereby save a huge amount of resources.
There would also be no need for marketing, on which capitalism spends $1 trillion a year. This does not mean, as is commonly claimed, that socialism would result in a lack of choice or poor-quality goods: a society where everyone dresses in a grey uniform.
It would be possible to have far more choice of the things which people desire to have a variety of (such as clothes, music, holidays etc) than under capitalism. However, a socialist society might choose not to have 200 brands of washing powder!
It sort of sounds like this removes the spirit of innovation.
Or am I reading that wrong?
It should still produce a quality product but would suck for a person who's really into car audio for example. Guy studies it his whole life because he want's to build speakers for a living but gets told that he can because there is already a company doing that. That's a very extreme socialist POV though. I'd bet most members of even the socialist party don't agree with that part.
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.”