- Capitalism and Alternatives -

True capitalism requires a free market.

Posted by: DonS ( USA ) on July 29, 1999 at 13:11:32:

In Reply to: No they're not, they're capitalist nations posted by Samuel Day Fassbinder on July 28, 1999 at 12:31:27:

: : 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.

Don: Which applies to your claim that the USSR and PRC are "state-capitalist"!

: 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.

Don: "State capitalism" is an oxymoron. Jaikumar rejects the USSR, but embraces Cuba. His stated reason for rejecting the USSR is that it was not democratic. By comparison to Cuba, the USSR WAS democratic. As such, if he wishes to be consistant, he should reject Cuba.

Don: You reject the idea that the USSR and PRC are socialist, by defining terms to suit yourself. I am willing to agree that there can be different types of socialism, and that one type does not fully characterize the other.

Don: In common usage, socialism means state ownership of the means of production, or common ownership of the means of production. All large socialist nations have been the former. The latter has been restricted to village level societies.

Don: The idea that socialism must be democratic and must be moneyless, etc., amounts to intellectual cherry picking. It simply amounts to an attempt by advocites to reject failed socilist experiments.

: 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: Strawman. The argument I used above did not claim socialism "as a genocidal form of tyranny".

: : 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: No. True capitalism requires a free market. If the government controls industry but industry is privitly owned, it is a fascist system. If industry is state owned, it's socialism. Like the USSR,
and the PRC. The US today is closer to fascism than true capitalism.

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

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

Don: I have read his discussion. I don't know the facts, except what he provided. When I know more about this, I'll comment . . .

: : 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.

Don: It would be better described as fascist, from what I know.

: 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.

Don: Like I said, pure capitalism requires a free market. If the market is regulated by the government, the system is fascism. The ultimate level of regulation is government ownership, which is socialism.

: : 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."

Don: I realize that the US and other non-socialist nations produce enough food to feed the world. I also realize that attempts at feeding starving people in the Third World by the US have often failed, because of corrupt local governments. Because of war, and poor distribution systems.

: : 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."

Don: Nice strawman.

Don: I fully realize starvation occurs in other places as well. In the USSR and PRC, mass starvation was do directly to the actions of socialist governments. Which was the point.

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

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

Don: And if we go to World Socialism, sufficient food will not be produced.

Don: We provided FREE food for Ethiopia and elsewhere. We CAN do that and we HAVE done that. We did that in Somolia. It was not the fault of capitalist nations that people have starved in these places, yet we tried to help. We did not ask for money to buy our food.

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