- Capitalism and Alternatives -

No they're not, they're capitalist nations

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on July 28, 1999 at 12:31:27:

In Reply to: the USSR and the PRC are socialist nations posted by DonS on July 27, 1999 at 10:51:01:

: Don: Your purist claims to the contrary, the USSR and the PRC are socialist nations, which engineered two of the greatest mass starvations in history.

SDF: "Anything said three times is true." Joseph Goebbels, Nazi minister of propaganda.

RD has already detailed the extent to which the USSR and the PRC were state-capitalist dictatorships, not socialist places. Nikhil Jaikumar has already shown this, plus he's shown why it's ridiculous to use such regimes to characterize socialism in general.

Using logical methods you have displayed above, I think we could safely characterize capitalism as a genocidal form of tyranny, using this link and this link as examples of capitalist genocide...

: Don: But that doesn't make them capitalists! The USSR had considerable forign investment, but it wasn't capitalist either! Japan has considerable government intervention and control of the economy, and Russia still operates large numbers of state run indistries that make stuff no one wants. Forign investment does not a free market make.

SDF: I see, so here we have that old argumentative chestnut: the erection of a double standard. Any old tinhorn regime is "really socialist" as long as DonS wants to call it socialist (regardless of whether there is any socialism going on there), whereas if something is "really" capitalist, it has to meet DonS's exacting standards for purity. This despite the fact that we have one singular definition for capitalist activity. Look, if people are hiring other people for profit, it's capitalism. Period.

: Don: The fruits of socialism no one has seen . . .

SDF: Please read Nikhil Jaikumar's discussion of the state of Kerala in India.

: Don: Capitalism requires a free market. What I believe in is a free market--not the IMF.

SDF: The IMF is a capitalist organization, run by capitalists for the sake of making profit off of labor, and dedicated to enforcing "free market" economic policies upon every nation to whom it loans. Its policies spread misery everywhere.

The set of activities that use labor to make monetary profit that the world calls "capitalism" is of course not limited merely to things DonS believes in. Capitalism is an objectively definable activity in the real world -- it is not limited to any purist definition imposed upon it. When Nike makes enormous profits in Vietnam, its corporate executives do not concern themselves as to whether DonS has certified Vietnam to be "truly capitalist". And I'm clear as to the function this "not truly capitalist" alibi serves in the world of procapitalism, as well.

: People don't simply starve because they can't afford food.

SDF: Any serious analysis of global conditions will show this to be wrong. See for instance Guy Arnold's THE RESOURCES OF THE THIRD WORLD, p. 9: "Overall, the world produces sufficient food to feed its entire population; malnutrition and famine are not the result of absolute food shortages but of local or regional conditions such as wars, climatic variations and poverty, since millions of people are simply too poor to purchase adequate food even when this is available."

: People in the USSR and PRC didn't starve simply because they couldn't afford food.

SDF: Only in right-wing fantasy worlds is starvation limited to regimes which the right-wingers call "communist."

: If distribution systems fail to provide food, money can't buy it.

SDF: If people don't have money, they can't buy food.

Follow Ups:

The Debating Room Post a Followup