- Capitalism and Alternatives -

All desire...

Posted by: Red Deathy ( Socialist Party, UK ) on August 05, 1999 at 17:23:12:

In Reply to: world socialism requires people to adjust their desires way down posted by DonS on August 05, 1999 at 10:58:13:

: 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.

No, not down, but different- for example, a ferrari is only desriable as a signifier of wealth- its hugely impractical, and vaguely pointless- remove the hierarchy of wealth, and such things cease to be desireable- good food, quality clothes and a warm house is asperation enough...

: Don: What, exactly, is a wanker?

Erm, Jerk in Yankish.

: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?

Because they'd think you were wasting your life, because if everyone thought that way the system would grind to a halt, and because ervyone should do their best to help keep socoiety going.

: 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.

Fine, except those tools were socially produced. If you want to go off to an island, and work and provide only for thee and thine, fine, go do it, your loss.

: 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?

They wouldn't be, however, if you use the provided materials, it means you have a direct interest in ensuring their continued availability...

: 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.

1:No, but most production is, certainly, we produce more co-operatively.
2:Thats a definition of socialism. Friends and familly working for they're own benefit.
3:How nice.

: Don: First of all, I'm an individual. I'm NOT society. Society is an absraction.

Society is the sum of lots of individuals. you are society.

:Second, I might want a widget for myself, and another to give to a friend, and some to trade . . . why provide any for society?

By trading you are providing for society, and society is your friends.

: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?

Yes, but if you want to spend all day making wigets, you can grow food, bake pies, and sew clothes, you need others to do that, and thats what society does.

: Don: Power is its own reward.

I suspect not.

: 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?

If someone is making them, but I can't see why they would. But yes, it would be debated and voted on.

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

By how many were ordered, and if we make too many, we cut back of production, store them, without loss to ourselves, pretty much like now really.

: 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!

But Britain runs a pereniel debt as well, no 'national' economy is self sufficent.

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

Yes, it does, because they produced more wealth, things were sold on the market for a sum greater than the value paid out in materials and wages...profit.

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

Yes, both.

: 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 . . .

But no-one would by, and your buddies are society.

: Don: Yes?

the system would collapse.

: 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 . . .

No, your maximum output is directly relevent to teh well being of your friends, and yourself.

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

No, teh system is made up of lots and lots of conrete individual human beings, its not a state, its not something seperate from you, it is you, you personally, as an individual, whatever you do is what the system does. This is true now, you are part of a social system, and you actions are systemic actions.

: Don: Or if they WANT them, or if some minority wants them . . .

They can make them.

: Don: No, that isn't incentive because my share is 1/(all consumers).

But by your labour you could produce enough wuidgets for a million people, yes. Now if everyone is working thusly, we could have a social pie biug enough to satisfy all your needs,a nd give you more than you would alone- plus the advantages are to be found in more than just solid things- in beuaty, in freindship, in esteem...

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

Fine, you do that.

: Don: No! I'm an individual!

Correct, the system is a lot of individuals. Its not some abstraction out there, its your friends and familly. It is known and knowable people...

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