- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Coz it does.

Posted by: Red Deathy ( Socialist Party, UK ) on August 02, 1999 at 12:01:23:

In Reply to: This assumes socialist society produces everything I want or need. posted by DonS on July 23, 1999 at 23:33:37:

: 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?

1:It is possible to produce for everyone's desire- don't forget, desire can change, and does change, so people can and will adjust their desires to what is available: 'Humans are unique in the infinite potential of their wants, and their capacity to 'irish themselves'.' K. Marx.
2:People would think you a wanker if you did.

: 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 . . .

No, because:
1:To work you need machinery, tools, etc,. which are produced socially.
2:You need to co-operate to get raw materials, land, etc.
3:Co-operative production produces more thabn an individual on their tod- you'd be freee to go off work a field somwhere if you wanted, but I doubt many would.

: 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.

But your playing with model toys is a social need.

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

About every 10 years during the 19th Century.

: 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.

The underlying constituitional structure would be different (i.e. most decisionms would be made locally, and bodies will make decisions in public, instead of appointing secretiuve executives). Plus teh recall increases control significantly.

: 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.

How many widgets can you personally use? How many m8illion could you make when working in co-operation. Unless you live on your tod on a desert island, you'll be part of a social-co-operative process. Don't forget, you are society, not some abstraction- you decide what is made.

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

Power would reqwuire rewards, a socialist system wouldn't offer this kind of reward.

: 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.

Perhaps, perhaps not, I think its possible that not.

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

Which is decided by the people that use the warehouse- by placing orders with producers, and talking and voting.

: 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

Most systems borrowed money, the US was once (and probably still is) the worlds number 1 debtor.

: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).

They're system didn't work, hence why it failed, but nonetheless, it was a profit-making enterprise.

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

They never reached socialism.

: Don: How does society determine what people need?

The people decide for themselves. they are society.

: 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.

How many widgits would you use yourself? Would you need a thousand? Can you eat widgets?

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

Correct, but if everyone did that....

: 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.

No, because their incentive is that if teh system produces more, they will have more, there is no incentive to undercut the system.

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

You are the system, tehre is no difference, no distinction, nada, it is you, if everyone works for thermsleves, then the system functions thusly, if those people work for themselves together, the system functions thusly, there is no difference between person and system.

: 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?

The people themselves, if they need AK's they'll make them.

: 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!

No, because working co-operatively produces more than working alone, your incentive is to work for yourself, and thine, by co-operatiing in social production.

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

More widgets, or more of what you produce, but tehre is no gain, no use in having a million widgits to yourself.

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

No, you are the system.

Follow Ups:

The Debating Room Post a Followup