- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Can you define 'liberal' please, and explain why you think it's an insult?

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on January 19, 19100 at 10:53:48:

In Reply to: What an appalling post! posted by Stoller on January 19, 19100 at 00:34:48:

Barry, let's assume for a minute that you are correct, and that communism means 100% public ownership. Let's further assume that capitalism is synonymous with private ownership, which it is.

If i, by your own admission, advocate a system that's 80-90% communist and 10-20% capitalist, then BY WHAT LGIC can I be called a capitalist?

Shouldn't you be calling me a socialist 4 times for every 1 time you call me a capitalist?

I mean it. Seriously, why do you think that "impure" socialism is the same as capitalism? I would argue the opposite; that there are many, many transitional forms between pure socialism and pure capitalism, going by names such as 'liberal redistributive capitalism', 'social democracy', 'market socialism', 'Eurocommunism', 'worker self-management', etcetera.

I'll accept that I fall short of your definition of pure socialism, if you accept that I fall even shorter of being a capitalist supporter. I mean, seriously, if I was a cpaitlist, whythe hell would I call for forced labor? Why would I call for everyone to do a little unskilled work? Why would I call for 80% public means of production?

: NJ [saying nothing no supporter of private property hasn't said to the unpropertied worker before]: What about freedom of choice?

: Don't you get it?

: Private property is the BASIS of all the evils you claim to want to eradicate.

No, it isn't. Were there slums in the smallholder peasant economies of precolonial Nigeria? Is there massive inequality in Sweden today?

: You say you want wage-tyranny, inequality, injustice, and monopolization of the means of production to end---yet those things are predicates of private property.

Let's assume that your correct, which I don't think you are, but that's a different story. Like you, I recognize that there is a tradeoff between equality and autonoumous production (let's not use the word freedom, we all believe in freedom, just different kinds.) I want to move toiwards equality, but also keep a little bit of autonomy; I don't want to completely trade off one for the other. Hence the 80%-90% formulation.

: You wish to change society without changing it's basis.

: That's why I say you're a social democrat liberal.

Can you define 'liberal' please, and explain why you think it's an insult? I use it as an insult too, but more because of its connotations than because of anything else. If you start calling me a cxapitalist,however, I'm not going to believe it- especially after I just finished talking up a four-fifths nationalized economy.

: Stoller: Are you advocating the 'freedom' to retain subsistence production?

: : Of course I am! I'm advocating the freedom to live one's life as one CHOOSES, in EVERY sense, as long as it doesn't cause deleterious harm to society, e.g. drug dealers. If you want to live your life in a way I think less than optimal, that's your choice. You and I cannot decide what would be a good life for other people, only THEY can and should do that.

: Fine.

: The majority's desire to retain preindustrial individual production precludes modern socialism. That's OK by me.


: I have always maintained that socialism must be CHOOSEN by the overwhelming MAJORITY of the people.


: If peasants want to remain peasants, so be it.

And if they don't, more power to them; lets' bring in the mechanical equipment.

: But who will protect these individual property owners from capitalist property owners?

The laws passed by the socialist people's democratic state.

: Not the communists---they've been rejected by the peasants because the peasants want to keep their little plot of private property (however precarious it is).

If your faction has been kicked out of pwoer, I'm sorry; but I have no doubt that another socialist faction, though prbably more moderate, will take your place and go about saving the people from the capitalists. What capitalists, by the way? We would have gotten rid of capitalism in the revolution, remember?

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