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Comment count is 17
urbanelf - 2013-05-08

Ha! Another idiot who knows what the price of bread and labor should be.

kingarthur - 2013-05-08

Your view of Marxism is seemingly short sighted. It functions as a criticism of capitalism, hence: Kapital.

urbanelf - 2013-05-08

The man wants to redirect labor and capital without using profit as a method for signaling our values, yet proposes no way of doing so. Who's short-sighted?

kingarthur - 2013-05-08

You've touched on the absence of knowledge in American economic thought. Marx spent the majority of his life working out all the ways capitalism was bad and only gestured at alternative solutions. This doesn't mean they don't exist. It's just that, in America, they're largely lost from mainstream history. To find them, check out some socialist models of markets or cooperative enterprise.

urbanelf - 2013-05-08

I'm not touching on a lack of knowledge. I'm touching on a lack of a solution. Yes, there are lots of socialist models, but they all fail as solutions.

HarrietTubmanPI - 2013-05-08

Obviously an extreme of either end of the spectrum won't work. Capitalism has it's flaws. Marxism does too. No one system is perfect.

Instead of trying to adapt a society to some 'ideal' economic and political system, it is better to keep adapting economic and political systems to society.

Society changes, so any system that does not change will not work.

Capitalism has many problems in that gross inequities can easily occur along with monopolies, abuse of the working class and the poor, etc.

However, Marxism (where prices are fixed and there is no competition) cannot work since we are biological organisms, and our society and species as a whole improves through healthy competition and selective processes. People will always feel the need to be able to have their own private property, and you will never get rid of all inequity. You can only minimize it.

If you want to look at the societies that are doing the best today, they are in Scandinavia. They do have taxes that are higher than the US, but the taxes are fair and usually aren't higher than the Laffer Curve. Private property is encouraged, and private ownership of business happens. However, the government uses its income to improve its citizens, to regulate businesses, and to make sure those at the top don't get too rich, and those at the bottom have a level playing field for improving their life. Some of the biggest reasons why people are poor include a lack of education, and free public and free higher education eliminates the low opportunity for those who are poor to become educated. Take care of the health of the citizens and they are stronger and more productive, and cost less in terms of health care and disability.

Free markets have value, just as some socialism does. Nobody can dictate prices by fiat, and rampant speculation shouldn't define prices either.

Competition can breed success, just like with biological evolution. Any economic or political system should have competition, so that a society can become stronger over time. It should reward hard work, as humans are not selfless enough to work for free.

Sure, maybe in a world of free energy and replicators and if we eliminate poverty, and if we had enough people who would work hard and clean the sewers for free (or who would willingly do it), and maybe if a frog had wings he wouldn't bump his ass hopping.

Anytime anyone claims that an 'invisible hand of the market' or that the other extreme of communism will work doesn't have one clue about how the real world works and how human nature is.

HarrietTubmanPI - 2013-05-08


Don't confuse communism with socialism. Communism employs socialism, but there are many forms of socialism in whole or part that are not communism.

Social security, interstate highways, etc. are socialism. As is the Apollo missions. Any time any collective money by a government is used for the people, that's socialism.

It's required for a government to function.

SteamPoweredKleenex - 2013-05-09

And in theory, the U.S. has socialism. It's just very, very inefficient and rewards the wealthy over the working classes.

If I lose my income and wealth due to poor decisions, at best I'll get a 2-year stipend from my government that will barely cover keeping myself alive. If I lose my income and wealth (and not even a fraction of it, and technically not mine but "mine in that it's owned by a corporation I run") due to poor decisions and I'm rich, I'll get bailed out by the taxpayer.

The same is true for medical care, pretty much. You can get your chronic problem treated at an ER, and you can never pay it off (though this has bad results for your credit and other things), but society pays for it via higher costs and insurance bills.

Bort - 2013-05-09

"If you want to look at the societies that are doing the best today, they are in Scandinavia."

And they practice corporatism, of all things. Yes, corporatism is an actual economic/political model:



Sadly, people think "corporatist" means "supporter of plutocracy"; this makes for really stupid conversations over on DailyKos or wherever. "The United States is a corporatist nightmare, they should do what Sweden and Norway do!"

Old_Zircon - 2013-05-08

Party-line Socialists are great at identifying problems, mixed about presenting alternatives and pretty crap about defining a realistic path to those goals.

"Revolutionary fervor," indeed.

+1 for a top shelf beard.

Old_Zircon - 2013-05-08

The same is true of any ideological system, though, since by their very nature, ideologies require a person to limit their view of the world to those things that fit the ideology. Some of them are more consistent with reality than others, but they are ALL inherently wrong to one degree or another.

As far as I'm concerned, intelligent, well-informed socialism gets a strong B, possibly a B+.

kingarthur - 2013-05-08

Are you talking to yourself, Zircon?

That said, I think Richard Wolff earns an A minus, but just barely, mostly due to his actual engagement on the level of an economic theorist with a PhD. He has an insight into the actual works of a market system, socialist or otherwise, that Harvey just doesn't have outside of living in it. Wolff's ideas on market socialism are pretty well defined and robust.

EvilHomer - 2013-05-08

I don't know, OZ, "herd the reactionaries into a field and shoot 'em all" seems like a pretty realistic solution to me.

Old_Zircon - 2013-05-09

Revolution is reactionary.

Old_Zircon - 2013-05-09

I like what I've heard of Wolff a lot, but yeah, he definitely seems to be more gorunded in reality.

I was careful to specify "party-line Socialists" exactly because it is possible to have socialist or marxist views that are based on observation of reality rather than a system of thought.

kingarthur - 2013-05-09

I agree. I also like tubman's Lon analysis up there, though she's slightly confusing Marxism with communism or socialism. I agree Scandinavia is doing the best currently, however you want to define their system. I don't think it would fall too far outside the realm of market socialism, though there are clearly owners and laborer a and a heirarchy.

TheSupafly - 2013-05-08

Oh yeah, I remember that whiteboard RSA thing he was in that was posted here a year or so ago. Easy to understand guy.

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