- Capitalism and Alternatives -

world socialism requires people to adjust their desires way down

Posted by: DonS ( USA ) on August 05, 1999 at 10:58:13:

In Reply to: Coz it does. posted by Red Deathy on August 02, 1999 at 12:01:23:

: : 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.

Don: It kinda seems world socialism requires people to adjust their desires way down . . . I don't think I'd bet people are going to do this.

: 2:People would think you a wanker if you did.

Don: What, exactly, is a wanker? Why would people care if I didn't work (I can see they might not like it if I chased their wives and daughters . . .)? If I don't work I reduce production (first approximation) by 1/(world population of workers). Why would anyone care?

: : 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.

Don: I thought socialism would provide these things. Which I could then use as I saw fit. Besides, I don't need special equipment for every task. I can make things at home now, with the tools I have.

: 2:You need to co-operate to get raw materials, land, etc.

Don: One could work in their garage. Besides, I live in the American west. We have lots and lots of land. I thought raw materials would be provided by socialism. By what mechinism will raw materials be restricted to socialist factories?

: 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: 1) Not all work is best done in a group. 2) Why can't I work with friends and family for our benifit (not world socialism's). 3) I work in a field for personal benifit already, even though I have a job as an electrical engineer.

: : 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: It does not contribute to the things world socialism needs to roduce.

: : 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: First of all, I'm an individual. I'm NOT society. Society is an absraction. Second, I might want a widget for myself, and another to give to a friend, and some to trade . . . why provide any for society? And if I work in a factory, don't you think we will provide for our needs (and wants) as individuals before contributing to society?

: : 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: Power is its own 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: Around here, YES!

: : 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: So you place orders for whatever you want, and then get it for free? What if I place an order for an F-15E fighter-bomber?

Don: Talking and voting?

Don: Just how do we decide how many ball bearings need to be produced?

: : 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.

Don: I is also probably the number one creditor. The USSR couldn't feed itself and it couldn't buy food without borrowing from the west!

: :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: How did it make profit? Just because a few people at the top lived well does not mean a profit was made . . .

: : 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: How? By vote? By placing orders?

: : 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: I might want one, or a few, or many. My buddies and I might make some then stop, when we no longer benifit from making them. We might hoard them for trade . . .

: : 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: Yes?

: : 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: I disagree. Because my maximum output is insignificant to the system as a whole, so I might as well just work for my personal benifit . . .

: : 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: Sorry, but I simply disagree. I am an individual. The system is an abstraction. We are not the same . . .

: : 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: Or if they WANT them, or if some minority wants 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, that isn't incentive because my share is 1/(all consumers).

: : 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: Unless I can trade them. If I can't do that, I can make wigitA for myself then widgitB and so on . . .

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

: No, you are the system.

Don: No! I'm an individual!

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