- Capitalism and Alternatives -

The government is you and me

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( PCC / EFZ, MA, USA ) on April 18, 1999 at 16:39:59:

In Reply to: Why Is The Government So Great? posted by R. Jenkins on April 17, 1999 at 10:12:50:

: : : OK, fine, let the factory workers and farmers run it.

: : 'OK fine'? Capitalist countries have fought against such ideas since their very inception.

: No, the land owners have. I don't own a farm, and BTW I was being sarcastic.

Capitalist countries have a tendency to take the side of big business and the landowners. Look at most of South America for an example.

: : : But don't come crying to the planners when you don't get any food or products.

: : 1) Eventually we will have no planners, that's what worker self-management means. Burkina Faso, Yugoslavia, Nicaragua, etc. provide some instructive examples.

: I don't know a lot about third world countries, so I can't argue there, except to say that these are third world countries, so I wouldn't be pointing at them as success stories.

The only real political and socioeconomic innovations since the World War have been in Third World countries. Many on the left and the right both agree with this. The right points to Chile and Taiwan, the left points to the countries I listed above. The countries I listed are still considered third world because their natural wealth is drained from them by an inequitable global market. In spite of that fact, some of these "Third Wporld" states have achieved near-First World levels of health and literacy for their people. Cuba is one example, Kerala is another. I wouldn't be pointing to the First World (except maybe Scandinavia) or to the Second World for models of great societal reform either. Look at progress and rates of change, not at absolute levels of social welfare, and you will see thatthe greatest progress is in socialist third world countries.

: : 2) there is no evidence that collectively run farms would be less efficient at producing food. India's food productivity went up in the decades following independence, in spite of (or perhaps because of?) land reform. Even the US has on occasion defended land reform, so I really wouldn't try and defend the estate / cash crop mode of production, it puts you in some very bad company. (Salvadoran death squads, Pakistani slaveholders, etc.)

: I wouldn't defend forcing collectivley owned farms, it puts you in some bad company(China, the USSR, etc.).

Also in teh company of Sandinista Nicaragua, possibly the most truely democratic country in the hemisphere. Collective ownership is the historiuc norm, individual ownership si an aberration.It is up to you to defend individual ownership. I merelky pointed out that there is no exam,ple in the world where people voluntarily choose the estate/cash crop mode of production, and that teh countries with this sytem have, by an large, an atrocious standard of living for their farmers.

:I'm not arguing about the actual production of food, I'm arguing about creating more wealth/seeds with that food. Without generating wealth from that food, you will only have enough for one growing season, then you'll be out of luck. People farming solely for themselves is kinda absurd, since we had that little industrial revolution, don't you agree?

India obviously produces enough seeds, since it's been a net exporter of food for about 40 years. Sustainable agricultue has mostly worked only in socialized systems.

: : :The people that own places worked very hard to get them,

: : Hahahahaha! so i suppose the workers who slave away in the hot sun aren';t working hard, while the landowners are breaking their backs in air-conditioned comfort. tell you what, why don't you try a stint as a grape picker in california and then tell me if it's an easy, jerk-off job. There is no justifianble reason why the bourgeois elite should jhave sole ownership of the emans of production, exacting a profit while contributing nothing to the production of the good.

: I'm not saying that the farmers don't work hard, but many a time the one of the farmers owns the farm.

try telling that to a grape picker, or to a campesino....

:There is no reason that we should create a lower class elite to screw up the process of farming etc.

Erm? Didn't get that reference...

: Even if the head guy doesn't actually produce the good, he doesn't pocket the profit. Revenues go to paying the workers etc, profit goes to improving a facility, buying new equiptment, giving the workers a raise, etc. Profit is not a bad thing.

profit is a bad thing, when it goes into buying Rolls-Royces and paid vacations for the boss. Why dowe need a boss at all? Why can't workers control their own destinies?

: : : and the government stealing it and dividing it up IS theft.

: : Loaded terms, i could just as well say that the capitalist stealling a portion of the workers' labor, in teh form of profit, is commiting an act of theft. In fact, I think i will. Property is tehft, but some forms of property ownership are mroe unjust and unfair than others, e.g. capitalism.

: Ahh, ol' whats his name, the commie anarchist(oxymoron?).

No, anarcho-communism is a viable position (though not mine). See Chomsky, etc.

: If property is theft, then the lower class which you so admire is also stealing from us upper and middle bastards.

I'm refering to productive property, not personnal property. By and large, the lower class doesn't own productive property. If they did, they wouldn't be lower class.

: The reason that the lower class doesn't want property to be legal is because they wan't what the upper and middle class have, without having to climb the ladder.

Evidence please, or is thsi simple mudslinging?

: Again, profit is not pocketed, it goes back into the business.

No, a lot of it goes to pad the profiteer's pockets. If it's publicly run hwoever, tehre is no boss, in which case all the "profit" will go towards investment.

: : : Why should banks be public property? Can't someone working for a profit give you a better interest rate for your savings than the government can?

: : Um, I don't follow this argiument. So I'll just elaborate my point. When banks were nationalized in india the reason was to make credit accessible to poor people who would never be granted loans by a profit-owning bank. these people were bad credit risks, they were so poor it would take them a long, long time to pay back a loan. So no banker interested in profit would bother ending to them. The government, on the other hand, is not interested in amking a profit, and can therefore be counted on to do the right thing. basically, teh government has altruistic motives, while a profit-seeking individual will ahve selfish motives, therefore it si very unlikely taht a profit-seeker will do the right thing.

: The government will always do the right thing...where have I heard that before...think about the USSR, N. Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, China and several other places where complete trust was placed in the government.

1) Most of teh killings in Viet nam were the fault of teh AMERICANS.
2) See my post above whgere I argue that China, Soviet Russia under Stalin, and Kampuchea were not party states but rather one-man autocracies.

: Think gulags, and the slaughter of millions of innocent people. In commie party states, the richest of the rich get into the party, allowing the sinfully rich to get richer and screwing everyone down the latter.

3) More millions have been slaughtered under anti-communist regimes tahn under communist states. If you want, we can get into a war of teh numbers, but why not just agree taht every killing of innocent people is wrong?

:I know that this isn't what you want, but party states are the only way that communist states have come into existence.

is this a joke? Communist states have come into power through democratic elections (Kerala or Nicaragua), broadly democratic revolutions (Burkina Faso), throuhgh broad popular support (Cuba, Vietnam), through coups (Seychelles, etc) through foreign imposition (Korea)....many communist-run or Marxist-run states including Kerala, West Bengal, San Marino, Burkina Faso, Nicaragua, Chile, Guyana, Seychelles, were all democratic states with either coalition governments or full multiparty systems. The equation of communist governments with partystates is absurd.


What if the government, which is supposedly not interested in anything but the people, runs out of money because they made stupid loans to people that can't pay off the loans for fifty years? No credit=chaos, as we have seen with the Japanese banking crisis. Also, what if the lovely lower class wants to open a savings acount to acumulate more money(this is a respectable move in any society) with the little that they have? If the banks give them lousy interest, they will have no incentive to do this.

As i have said before, the government is not selfless. All politicians in any society have personal reasons for being in the government, which is why we have so many scandals. The government is power hungry, and does not have to abide by any laws, making it all powerful, whereas an individual has to abide by laws and is not all powerful. Now, who do you trust?

I trust teh government, since i helped to elect it, since it is repsonsible to ME. CEO Jones, on the other hand, si responsible only to himself. Everuything the government owns, I own. Therefore, even out of self-interest, you should support socialism.
: : : And mines, the people that are mining it for profit will mine it well, as if they don't they will not survive.

: : Excuse me, do you havbe any idea what mineworkers' lives are like? the peopel who work in mines don't own a stake in teh mine and they never will, unless they can do so as part of a public collective. usually they face a live of poverty, illness, and dispersed family ties. Private mining interests have created such a hell on earth everywhere across the globe taht teh government must step in to make sure these absues never happen again.

: I was not talking about the actual miners incnetives, I was talking about the quality of mining that a company does vs. the quality of the job that the governmetn would do. If the miners lives are hell, they can leave the business.

No, tehy ahve nowhere to go, often not even the means to move elsewhere. See the new book "Disposable People", by- I don';t remember, I'll supply the author's name when I find it.

: : :However, when the government is mining, they don't depend on that mine, thus doing a poor job.

: : No, they still want to extract the quantity of cobalt, copper, etc. that the nation needs, but they are not going to step on teh workers' rights to do so, as a capitalist would.

: What the nation needs is much different than what it can use. If we only used the amount that we need, we woudl all be living in lean-tos right now.


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