- Capitalism and Alternatives -

This assumes socialist society produces everything I want or need.

Posted by: DonS ( USA ) on July 23, 1999 at 23:33:37:

In Reply to: Eh? posted by Red Deathy on July 23, 1999 at 18:27:49:

: : 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".

: You gain everything you might ever want or need for free from the community.

Don: This assumes socialist society produces everything I want or need. This is a large assumption . . . Also, what if what I want is to do no work whatsoever, or spend my time drinking beer and chasing girls?

: : 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).

: Or will it, it depends on what your contribnution is. But you can probably have more, oeverall, through co-operative effort, than you could on your own.

Don: I can not have more by contributing to the system; that's the point. My optimal path is to contribute to myself, my family, and my friends *without* contributing to the greater socialist system. And everyone else is in the same boat . . .

: : Working hard for global socialism simply means working hard . . .

: But working for your own pleasure and enjoytment, mostly, and self-satisfaction.

Don: I can do that without contributing to the system. I can do work that is fullfilling (like, say, making model trains for my own use) that doesn't contribute to the needs of society.

: : 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.

: Crises happened when England was on a Gold standard, and money can only regulate effective not actual demand.

Don: What crises happened when England was on a Gold standard?

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

: 80% of the British public support teh death penalty, it remains (thankfully) off teh statute books. Representatives only have to stay popular, they don't have to fulfill their manifestoes, nor obey teh will of their electors, control is tehre, but it is slight.

Don: Representatives can go against the will of the people on specific issues, but overall they have to toe the line. I like this, as I remain unconvinced popular opinion should decide each and every issue. Your delagates will at best be different only in kind, since they will have descretion to decide some issues.

: : 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.

: But production, because of the tech involved, is social, and working together produces much more goods than a similar number of people each working alone- you can mulitply your labour.

Don: But I produce what I want when I work for myself, not what society decides to provide. And I benifit from my work fully. I have to share my output with how many billion people when I work for the socialist system.

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

: Or whatever a factory would become.

: : Don: Congress is a different case, because we *want* them to feel threatened if they vote differently than their electors want.

: i.e. we want to hold them accountable for their votes.

Don: Yes, that is the reason for an open ballot.

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

: Why not? Reason, or prejudice?

Don: Don't remember my point, you clipped it and I'm too lazy to look it up . . .

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

: And people can easilly snatch it back again, and I doubt anyone would have an incentive to do so.

Don: People *always* have an incentive to grab power. People can also snatch it back again, but they don't always seem so inclined . . .

: : 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?

: The fact that the values of the culture would be different, we'd need a culture of freedom to have socialism.

Don: In my experience, there are lots of people who want to tell others how to live their lives: don't drive SUVs, don't smoke, don't have sex, don't drink, don't own a gun, don't hunt, don't do this and don't do that. We have a long way to go to achieve this "culture of freedom".

: : 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?

: Not on statute, and certainly no prisons to enforce them- however teh people who perpetrate such crimes would have to deal with teh stigma of their guilt, etc. Most crime woiuld disapear.

Don: I suspect that the survivors of the victims would make sure the murderers and rapists didn't have to live too long with their guilt.

: : Don: But there must be distribution. Are you planning uniform distribution of all goods?

: No, just big warehouses full of stuf to take.

Don: There still needs to be distribution. To the warehouses . . .

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

: They did make profits, which were expropriated by the 'Nomenklatura' and their lavish life styles of privellege.

Don: No, they did not make a profit. The lavish live styles of the few did not cost much in terms of the state, and USSR borrowed money from the US to buy US grain to feed the USSR . . . if their system worked at all they would have made a huge profit on this, but in fact they could never pay off their creditors (who didn't try to collect because the USSR had all those missles with nuclear warheads).

: : 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 . . .

: I think some where genuine about their attempt, but Lenin himself said 'Capitalism will be a step forwards for russia'.

Don: And socialism turned out to be a step backwards . . .

: : 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.

: I agree, surprisingly, with much of that thrust, I think fascism is creeping back into fashion.

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

: If people need them, then it will prvoide them, if people don't need them, then no power nor influence will acrrue.

Don: How does society determine what people need?

: : 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.

: But you can't make many widgits on your own, and to make them you'll need goods produced and supplied by others.

Don: But the widgits I make in the factory are dispersed among society, so I don't benifit from them. One widgit I keep is better than 1,000 going to society, from my individual point of view. And of course, my buddies and I might decide to make widgits in the factory and keep them or trade them for our own benifit.

Don: Also, I'll get my free share of goods and supplies even if I don't produce any widgits. Right?

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

: Or unless everyone decides to keep the system going.

Don: My point is that no one has incentive to do what needs to be done to keep the system going. And that this is true even if they like the system, and want it to continue. They nevertheless have a powerful reason to undercut the system as individuals.

: : 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.

: Except thee and thine are the socialist system.

Don: No, we aren't. And if everyone only works for their own, who will work for the system?

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

: Only if they needed it badly, in which case it would be made communally, if you try and charge for the AK's folks'ld probabluy decide to try and make them themselves as a wee project.

Don: Or they could make something else and trade for the AKs. People want things they don't need. And what is need, anyway? Who determines it?

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

: But a million you'sa owuld make a difference, and you know that.

Don: Yes, that is point #2. Point #1 is: as an individual I don't make a difference to the system, but I can make a big difference if I work for personal gain. Point #2 is that point #1 is true for everyone, so no one works for the system!

: : 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.

: No, you're better off if you do, because more is produced, overall, and means you can have more.

Don: No it doesn't! I have more if I work for myself!

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

: Because you are the system.

Don: At most I'm a small cog in the system.

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