- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Congress is a different case, because we *want* them to feel threatened

Posted by: DonS ( USA ) on July 23, 1999 at 12:27:13:

In Reply to: Coz it don't work. posted by Red Deathy on July 22, 1999 at 18:57:02:

: : I provit most if I take my share (or more!) from the system, while putting my efforts into personal gain. This is the optimal path for me to take (assuming some efficient NKVD types don't catch me!).

: No, because, like now, the interest of teh capitalist relies on their firm performing well, so too would your private interest depend upon the overall source of wealth doing well, you don't have a seperate economic interest to pursue, your interest lies with the communal good.

Don: But my contribution to the communal good would be infinitesimal. If I don't work for the communal good, no one will notice the difference. It doesn't really matter to the communal good if I work for it or not. My contribution would be 1 in how many million? In effect, I get the same back regardless of what I put in. On the other hand, if I work *outside* the system for the benifit of my family and myself, we will enjoy *all* of my "profits".

: :The point is, each individuals optimal path is *not* to put effort into supporting the system. Perhaps you are correct that collectively we are better off if we support the system; that is another debate. But as individuals, our best bet is to take advantage of the free stuff socialism provides while working for our individual improvement.

: No, because we get more as the system gets bigger or improves, our interest lies that way, just as shareholders have a collective interest in teh success of a business.

Don: But my small contribution to the system will only make it infinitesimally bigger. I can obtain a high return on work that I do for personal profit (say, keeping what I produce, or engaging in a black market).

Don: Investing in companies is a gamble, which in itself can be fun and which increases the potential profits of the investors. Further, each investor can have a larger or smaller share, and the total number of shares is relatively small. Investing in a company has the potential for high returns. Working hard for global socialism simply means working hard . . .

: : Don: I fail to see why a socialist nation cannot trade with capitalist nations.

: It would have no money, and if it did trade, it would be forced into market logic- I mean, a socialist state would give things away for free, strictly.

Don: I see what you mean. I think it will be forced into "market logic" anyway, and fail.

: : Don: Why abolish money? I do not see how this is required by socialism.

: Because the money form is at the root of economic crisis, and also is the root of class and class struggle now- socialism cannot work with money.

Don: If we were on a true gold standard, we would avoid major economic crises. It seems to me that money is in fact needed--prices provide feedback for demand, etc.

: : Don: More likely they would out compete you economically and in quality of life, and your citizens would choose to leave for capitalist nations.

: Or more exactly, out-performs us productively/costwise.

Don: Resulting in improved standards of living . . .

: : Don: What does "bound by the votes of their electors" mean?

: Representatives aren't bound, they are elected to lead, and have full discression to do so, they may vote as they ploease, delegates may only vote as their electors instruct them- Kinda like Ambassadors.

Don: Does this mean delegates must go back to the electors if something new comes up that wasn't voted on? Do they have to go to the electors for every detail, or only the major points?

Don: Representatives who want to be reelected need to consider the voters. Further, they can be impeached if they exceed their constitutional limits.

: : Don: Three hours a day or something? This assumes that the required output can be achieved with this low level of input.

: Yes, but remember, millions of people have been freed up from unproductive labour (banks, insurance firms, management), so there will be more people, and more general time available, people won't be held to posts doing nothing because they are p[aid to be there, etc.

Don: But I fail to see why any of these people would work for the good of world socialism. For the reason I pointed out prieviously: each individual's optimal solution is to work outside of socialism for his own benifit.

: : Factory work generally isn't fulfilling.

: It isn't now, but thats teh point- it can be made to be, it can become a means to empower creativity and skill.

Don: I think very few would choose to "empower creativity and skill" by working in a factory.

: :I don't want to work in a factory, even if it is a mansion.

: You wouldn't have to.

Don: That's nice.

: : Don: I don't see how voting in the open removes the fact that there may be someone/thing to fear. It just means that person/thing, if it exists, knows how you voted.

: Would you accept secret votes in congress? Surely in a society where there is no trheat of such a thing, the best way to keeep it at bay is to have open voting?

Don: Congress is a different case, because we *want* them to feel threatened if they vote differently than their electors want. I fail to see how voting in public removes this kind of threat. In fact, the opposite is true.

: : Don: And if I am real smart, I'll figure out how to vote many times. Who makes sure the elected counter counted right? How big will this government grow?

: There is no difference between government and people (you are right, there is now, but the aim is to remove that difference, a world where 6 billion people are the state, everything they do, including a shifty wank at night, is a Government/state act).

Don: I don't believe that this can be accomplished.

: : Don: Actually, the US state seems to pander to the soccer moms. It sure doesn't pander to Microsoft.

: Thats one instance of a business, but it is serving its general class interest by performing its functions.

Don: It makes a profit by selling things that people buy, and use extensively.

: : Don: And small groups who wield power often negotiate with each other, paly various dirty tricks to obtain and maintain power, and a "accountable" to the people. Look at LBJ.

: No, but there is no interest in maintaining power- no salary, no privellegses, and in fact power always remains at the bottom, unlike under a representative system, where the leader wields power.

Don: The potential for moving the power "up the latter" to the delagates exists. It is what I would expect to happen.

: : Don: And there are people who will decide no one should listen to load music, or drink beer, or smoke pot, or ride motorcycles, or whatever, because they are busybodies who want to control others.
: And they'll be told to fuck off, or comprimise would be reached- listening to loud music and inflicting it on them as don't like/don't want to hear it, is not good, and just as imposing.

Don: In the US, busybodies banned alcohol. It sounded like a good idea, and turned out to be a very bad one. Kind of like our current drug war. The point is, if you vote, what is to prevent a similar group from voting similar laws?

: :They may have to abide by the restrictions themselves, but they may not care about that. They just want to tell others they can't do this, or that.

: There owuld be no Laws under socialism.

Don: So everyone couldn't get together in a vote and create a law? Is there some law that says there can't be any laws? Even laws against murder? Rape?

: : Don: Why would I get involved in such work in the first place? Let's see: if I don' work with others, I can stop working and still recieve the fruits of socialism; but if I work with others I loose the fruits of socialism if I fail to follow through? Can you say "enticement not to work with others"?

: You don't lose any fruits, I don't see why you think that- in some cases the work you might want to do involves working with others, other times it might not, but when you do work together, its best to work democratically.

Don: When you work together, it is often best to have a boss who coordinates things. There also needs to be enticement to keep people working together, as such work can be stressful, and often requires doing unpleasant things. I fail to see how socialism could address these problems.

: : Don: This describes Congress.

: Representatives, not delegates- elected leaders.

Don: It seems to me that delegates will either take on power, or they will have to put everything to a vote, making them basically useless.

: : Don: Not everyone has the same power. Which is the point. But I do not agree that everyone's relationship to production and goods will be the same.

: Why? How, show me- even if my power is different, I cannot allocate more goods to myself, because there is no allocation system, only free access.

Don: But there must be distribution. Are you planning uniform distribution of all goods? If you have power, you can ensure distribution that favors you. Or otherwise use your power to obtain more things than others obtain. You can provide favors to people who help you. All the standard stuff we do today. Will socialism provide all of the items capitalism currently provides? If not, capitalism, in the form of a black market, will rise to the occasion.

: : Don: I wouldn't say they won't.

: You wouldn't?

Don: Don't know the original question.

: :You don't really know. Whether I can be trusted is in fact irrelevent. The probability on one vote counting is very small on a global scale--which is to say I have virtually no power to do good or bad by voting as an individual. But the point is, the majority *still* can have a motive to do bad things to minorities or individuals. Even in pure democracy.

: And they can do the same thing now, but if you trust yourself, and I trust me, and everyone on this board trusts themselves, lts trust each other?

Don: If we can trust everyone, why do we need socialism?

: : Don: State-capitalist is an oxymoron.

: No, its where the state owns all the firms, and runs them for profit, instead of collective ownership via shareolers.

Don: Since the Soviets did not make a profit, I submit they were not state-capitalist.

Don: I think the Soviets made a genuine effort towards socialism. I think they sould be considered a type of socialism, even if they had a different form than what you want . . .

: :Many different systems exist today. For the most part they do not "attack" each other, although they do compete. People natuarlly search out the best one, the one which most improves their lives.

: No, there is only capitalism today, and a few rump incidences of feudlaism or even tribalism.

Don: In fact, I think most societys are basically fascist. In fascism, the means of production is privitly owned and state regulated. True capitalism requires a true free market, and not many nations have this today.

: : Don: As an individual, I can gain by competition.

: How do you gain, you can't horde money, you can only take more than you need, which will eventually strike you as pointless, because you'll find you don't need to.

Don: I can obtain items the system doesn't provide. I can gain power. Influence.

: : I will not destroy the system by my actions along, so even if I benifit from socialism I can also benifit by spending my time and effort on personal gain.

: How can you gain personally?

Don: Instead of working at production for society, by working a producing for myself and my family. If I make a wigit and give it to the system, I don't benifit. If I make a wigit for my family and we keep it I do benifit.

: :follow this approach, socialism will fail. As individuals, they all have an enticement to follow this approach. The obvious reaction by socialist is the creation of some sort of seceret police to keep us all in line . . .

: Considering they as individuals are the socialists, the decision is clear, a return to capitalism.

Don: A return to capitalism will occur unless some sort of secert police evolve to keep everyone in line.

: : 1. Work is the only means to relieve boredom?

: Not the only, but its a good one, and a fulfilling one.

Don: But I can relieve boredom by doing work that I profit from. Making stuff for my family, not the system . . .

: : 2. Someone will have to be there with a gun to keep people from taking what they want.

: No, the whole point is people take what they want, shelves and shelves of the stuff just sitting there to be taken, no resitrictions, nothing, thats teh point- terhe is no benefit from hording.

Don: This assumes equal distribution of everything, and ignores that rape and murder will still occur.

: : 3. The lack of money does not prevent my means of making a living being taken away.

: How, if tehre are shelves and shelves of goods, utterly unrestricted, you can take what you want, how, short of locking you up, can I take it away from you- there is no system allocating goods.

Don: There is a system allocating goods to the shelves.

: : Don: By removing incentive, you are removing the main reason for production.

: No, production has incentive:
: 1:To make more for ebveryone to have.
: 2:Enjhoyment.
: 3:fulfillment.

Don: I find this insufficient. Since my individual contribution is infinitesimal, 1 above makes no sense except in the abstract. 2 and 3 can be met by activities that do not benifit the socialist system, but are a direct benifit to me and mine.

: : Don: The poor I see look healthy and they are dressed better than I, or at least as well.

: The poor die young- ocumented act, they are undereducated, etc.

Don: The poor often do this to themselves. For example, many innercity blacks view fellow blacks who do well in school as trying to be white.

: : Don: Because these things improve my standard of living?

: Casper teh friendly ghost glow in the dark stickjers? Advertising works.

Don: I'm sure some people like them. The fact that they can enjoy them suggest a healthy society. Casper was from a comic book I used to read. I suspect kids buy these things because they like the comic. What is wrong with that?

: : Don: How many are denied needed medical care?

: Can't figure that one, though 've heard of cases.

Don: Here in San Diego, my roommate didn't have medical insurance, but he got the care he needed using county assistance I believe. I had a close friend without insurance who had several hundreds of thousands of dollers of medical work done on his kids that he couldn't pay for. It was covered by some agency. I don't know of anyone who was denied medical aid. Illegal aliens often recieve free medical aid around here . . .

: : Don: We will vote and their will be officiers, so there will be a state. A seceret police will be needed to make sure people produce, etc. It may not be part of your plan, but it will result from your plan.

: No, because the people themselves are the state, the officers will not be paid, or salaried, and probably will be part time, terhe will be no police anyway, no prisons, and the last part needs substantaition beyond your poersonal prejudice/unshakable belief that socialism=secxret police.

Don: My personal believe is based on the fact that I can't think of any other way to keep this system together. What are we going to do with those who murder and rape? Not all crimes are economic.

: : Don: No, these people don't want to work. They don't even keep up their front yard, go out for exersise, or have any other activities not involving drugs, beer, or sleeping in until 2 pm.

: Yes, and just perhaps that is as a result of their unemployement, and their social condition- or were they just born lazy. I was unemployed for a time, and I began to become like that, desponadnacy sets in, life becomes meaningless, etc.

Don: And I'm afraid that is what to happen to many of us under socialism. By the way, I went to school with some of the people I referred to above.

: : Don: How do you know that it will only take 3 hours of work per day? You don't even know how many will turn out for work? It seems clear to me that some people--those with special skills--would have to work long hard hours. A truck drive can't work three hours to make up for time took off by a machinest.

: But no-one will be a truck driver unless they want to be, and enjoy that sort of job, etc.

: :Someone will have to tell some machinest to put in the extra time. Or else a sufficient quantity of a given product cannot be produced. I assume your system will evolve into having some seceret police type who will take care of that.

: Or people will have to use their own responsibility.

: : Don: A small local community, working more or less together to better itself. With little concearn for the large community.

: But intergrated into a larger community, even without consciously wanting to, will work for the greater good, consciously, they'll be working for their friends.

: : Don: Each and every one would understand that he and his would profite by takeing advantage of the system while working outside of it.

: How can they work outside of it, they are the system, everything is free and available to access, why where would they find extra benefit?

: : Don: Any proof it will work?

: Non yet, except that we can produce enough food to feed ebveryone on earth any times over, enough clothes and houses, allready.

Don: Using capitalism.

: : Don: So if none are being made, and others want them, there is a nich market. So I can make them, and in return I can get other things that the socialist system failes to provide.

: No, coz no-one would pay, and call you wanker for trying to charge.

Don: They would pay something if I provided something the system didn't.

: : Don: It does not fall apart if I take care of me, and damn the system. It only falls apart if a critical mass does the same thing. The point is, the system will fail or not, regardless of what I do.

: No, because if otehr people think that way, it will fail, its up to you to try and keep the system going, you are responsible.

Don: No! I won't make a difference one way or the other! That's the point!

: :So why shouldn't I follow the best path for me? Everyone follows the best path for themselves as individuals. The socialist system will fail because of this.

: But their best path is to make the system work.

Don: No, Because it doesn't make a difference if I work for the system or not. Except to me--I'm better off if I don't work for the system.

: : Don: OK. At least I won't have to deal with NKVD types. I can just look after my best interests.

: Yes.

: : Don: Your in England? What work skills do you have? Maybe you should leave England behind and come to the US.

: Oh, I would so love that.

: : Don: OK. I'm convinced it won't work. We can continue to argue this if you want.

: I just have. Do you think I've not heard all this before?

Don: I have to say, you still haven't answered why I should work for the system.

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