Marxism discussion thread

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by will_shred, Aug 15, 2017.

  1. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    1) I added an edit that you might want to go back and read, as it occured to me that providing capital for investment via taxation simply doesn't work for projects with a return of capital (pre tax) not well in advance of 100%.

    2) Oh shit, I totally didn't put the connection together. :lol: I need to, keep reminding me. It's been a pretty crazy couple weeks here and I've got a brutal cycling event this weekend that I've been training for and working on my bike in advance of (it's a 112 mile dirt road ride with 13,000 feet of total climbing, I'm gonna die :lol:) so I just haven't been home much. I've got to spend some time swapping tires to something wider than I normally run tonight, so I'll try to throw it on while I do that. :metal:
     
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  2. AngstRiddenDreams

    AngstRiddenDreams Filthy Casual

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    I edited and updated mine too
    :lol:
     
  3. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    :lol: Well, I question some of your economic beliefs, but your band fuckin' smokes, man. :lol: Let's pick this up later when you have some more time. :yesway:
     
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  4. AngstRiddenDreams

    AngstRiddenDreams Filthy Casual

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    I think a lot of the points you bring up are indicative of why Marx says that it needs to transition into a stateless and moneyless society.
    I'll have to read what you edited a few more times before I pretend to know what youre asking :lol:
    Thanks man!
     
  5. AngstRiddenDreams

    AngstRiddenDreams Filthy Casual

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    I understand what you're saying but I'm not certain what I said that suggested a certain amount of taxation on profit that is so large that you cannot reinvest in capital needs.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2017
  6. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    :lol: I'm barely keeping my head round this myself, but let me work through it here.

    Say an economy needs $100 million in capital to be invested. There's a chicken-and-egg problem here, as you need capital in the first place before you can start talking about reinvesting profits, but let's ignore that for now.

    To be able to generate this from taxation, you need taxation on invested capital to be in excess of $100 million. If for simplicity we assume that we no longer need a return on capital as a separate component because it's going back to the state, and that gains are split evenly between labor and the government, then to generate the required $100 million in capital, you'd need $200 million of profits.

    Now, this $200 million in profits, of course, is earned on a $100 million investment of capital. That's a 200% return on capital, required for taxation equal to half of profits to be self-sufficient for taxes alone to create the necessary capital to reinvest into the economy to meet required capital needs.

    Does that kind of make sense? Capital investment opportunities would have to be EXTREMELY profitable, for taxes on the profits to generate enough revenue to cover the capital investment.

    I suppose you could cover the temporal problem (how do you have tax revenue to invest in the economy to create profits, before the profits those taxes are paid on are realized?) through borrowing, which would slightly increase your breakeven return on capital threshold due to financing costs, and maybe you could embark on a gradual period of nationalization where tax revenue was gradually used to buy out and nationalize private industry... But, that involves getting a LOT of money into the hands of the state, and even as a liberal that makes me a little queasy. :lol:

    EDIT - there's also sort of an accounting mismatch here, whereas under current generally-accepted accounting practices, cost of labor is a tax-deductable expense, so accounting "profit" is only what's left over after workers have been paid, suppliers have been paid for input materials, overhead has been paid, and fixed assets have been depreciated for the portion of their useful lives falling in the accounting period. So, the profit that's taxed by the federal government, under current law, is a lot smaller than what we'd be talking about under a quasi-communist model like were discussing where the state provides all capital through taxes leveed on profits; this would make it even harder to generate the raw capital through taxation to cover an entire economy's capital needs.

    This is also before you start addressing questions like, how does the government decide WHERE to deploy capital? Central planning is kind of a logistical nightmare, and a lot of the famines in the Soviet Union are attributable to the fact that large governments aren't necessarily all that good at it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2017
  7. will_shred

    will_shred not that good.

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    I don't have the energy to type a weighty response. Worker owned enterprises are cool, wealth redistribution is cool, and I would be down for a "wealth cap" but there would have to be a way to distinguish between capital to be invested and used for personal reasons.

    The world is complicated.
     
  8. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    You haven't yet explained what happens where the dividing line. At some point, a worker decides to open a business, using his private property to do so. At what number of added outside employees do you advocate penalizing this worker with the seizure and redistribution of his private property and private capital?
    You're already advocating that the government steal a worker's initial investments in his own business once he hires other workers.
    And again, at what point does an employee get penalized for not giving according to his ability?

    And who does the penalization you advocate?

    That platitude is a deepity, sounding profound but not really workable.
    Has there ever been a stable Marxist government wherein the workers actually thrived, with high standards of living?
    I look forward to it. As it is, your current position is full of holes.
     
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  9. AngstRiddenDreams

    AngstRiddenDreams Filthy Casual

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    Sorry to keep you on the edge of your seat explorer but I'm too drunk to elaborate right now.
    All I can say is that I'm not approaching my position as something that's set in stone or absolute. I mean hell, a lot of the things you guys are asking me are nuances of other people's ideas that I don't know enough to argue back. (I don't believe this discredits their position)
    I'm open to change if I encounter fatal flaws but I can't examine it right now coherently enough to contribute.
    Basically don't assume I'm immune to admitting I'm wrong. I don't have a large knowledge base to debate all of these points via the lens of Marx or Wolff, so if you bring up points I can't contend it may be flaws in their proposals; but it's more likely a deficit in my own knowledge. Which again, doesn't discredit their ideas.
    If you're seeking to argue their ideas it's best to read all they have to say, not relying on someone who somewhat grasps their concept.
    I would imagine an intellectual like yourself would agree with this.
    So cheers.
    Edit: The only point I can touch on at the moment is that Socialism/Communism requires full participation globally. (E-gad globalism) so it's really not surprising that it fails when individual nations try enact it. Especially when capitalist nations enact sanctions on these countries that further the struggle. See: the beginning of the Soviet Union when the US wouldn't even accept their gold in exchange for the industrial processsing machinery of grain necessary for the goals of the leaders. Cuba is similar.

    TL;DR: I'm drunk, I don't know every nuance of all of these people's ideas but just because I can't defend it all it doesn't discredit them.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017
  10. AngstRiddenDreams

    AngstRiddenDreams Filthy Casual

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    Okay I'm going to try to respond to your points, it won't be the best. I'll do it in order of your quotes of my posts.
    1: An important point here is that I've said I only am an advocate of democratic workplaces. The thread is supposed to be about Marxism though and I will explain this as I understand it, separate from what I believe should take place.

    So,
    As far as Marx's definitions of things go: As soon as an individual allocates his property as a means of creating profit, it becomes different than "personal property". What I believe Marx is proposing is that once property is used for the production of capital, it becomes a different entity than just something you own as an individual. And in an egalitarian sense if it is necessary to have workers to profit from this property then they share equal ownership with the person who committed it as a means of production. That is the distinction as I understand it.
    A lot of this is semantic based and to clarify going forward I should say that Marx makes a clear distinction between the proletariat and bourgeousie.
    If you have property that you can appropriate for profit then you become bourgeousie. Even if you don't, highly specialized occupations are referred to as "petite bourgeousie". Think artisans.

    My point with this is that if you open a business, Marx is not looking at you with the same lens as laborers (proletariat). So by redistributing profit or the means of production you are not taking from what he considers to be "a worker".
    And again, penalizing is a term that isn't on par for the idea. Like I said, it's quite egalitarian. If you need the labor of others for your business, you distribute ownership of the means of production and profit to them.
    I'm not saying I know the ratios exactly, this is just what I interpret he means.

    2: I don't think I ever advocated that once a business requires workers that the government is entitled to an arbitrary share. If I said so explicit, I'll eat my words. If not I'll gladly expand on whatever statement I made that you interpreted as such.
    I think the problem here is I replied to Drew's question about government appropriating private property even though I don't believe I advocated it myself.

    3: I totally get your point about workers and ability. Again, the thing we are debating here is Marx's idea of a utopian society right? His ideas for this address that by the statement of each according to your ability.
    You do not need to work or labor merely to provide for your basic human needs (food,shelter) in this train of thought.
    However, unless you are completely disabled, you are required to contribute.
    Under the system of providing/laboring according to your ability there should not be issues with the labor you provide. If you are enacting the task you are most suited for, there can be no arguable deficiencies short of complete automation.
    I know the argument to this is that an individual completely refuses to contribute whatsoever and at the moment I don't have enough information to address that.
    4: As I said earlier. A component of Marxism is the abolishment of our concepts of nations. Under our current system we have resource competition across nations. This lends itself to socialist countries failing.
    5: I've elaborated to the best of my ability at this point. I look forward to the questions you have about this post.
     
  11. Andromalia

    Andromalia Pardon my french

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    Sorry for not taking this from the start, I waznted to answer this:

    Yes: being poor.
    Founding a business requires money, money that by definition the poor don't have. People who do have that money, for the most part, didn't earn it but inherited it: their personal merit is zero.
    They do not take any kind of risk either. Yes, they can lose maybe millions, but people who put 5 millions in a company usually have 20 other millions left elsewhere.

    Case in point: a famous businessman who in his career managed to get less return on investing his heirloom money than if he had left it in the bank... is still a millionnaire... and president of the USA.

    Now, I know, this is about the big companies. Small companies are different. But small companies don't matter: they're not the ones who successfully lobby for legislation. Legislation is tailored for the needs of the big dudes. A guy opening a restaurant usually isn't that different from his employees. A guy opening 20, yes. And HE gets to say his thing about legislation.
     
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  12. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    No shit. So maybe stop trying to simplify it so far as "investment is bad" because you've picked up a cursory summary level understanding of Communism.

    AngstRiddenDreams, busy day here but I'll try to reply in depth later. For now, I'm more concerned with fighting white supremacy than with arguing the finer points of fiscal policy. :lol:
     
  13. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Yes and no. Microsoft was launched out of a garage. Amazon was once a start-up book and CD retailer. And, I think the regulatory environment in recent years hasn't - and I say this as an Obama supporter - exactly been overly big-business friendly.

    I'd love to see more small-business loan programs for one, but even then that requires more than just someone with a great idea; writing a good business plan and doing a thorough enough risk assessment and mitigation to go through a loan approval process is a skillset your typical entrepreneur who knows a ton about the industry where he wants to invest, but may not have much financial planning experience, may not have.
     
  14. Andromalia

    Andromalia Pardon my french

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    Apple also started in a garage, but it doesn't matter: it was by people from a rich family background who had access to higher education and bank loans to fund their venture. And, in the USA case, they were white, too.

    The whole topic might warrant a long post but I'm afraid it won't be very useful as some rightwinger will come and oversimplify things in three lines afterwards.
    For now I'll just sum up my opinion: Marxism is a thign of the 19th century and being a leftwing person today requires having a modern view adapted to the current world and what happened since Marx wrote his book. He is still an influential read but you can't just use pure marxist recipes today: the world has changed and evolved. I aim for state-controlled capitalism. I'll develop later, I'm shamelessly posting from work. :D
     
  15. broj15

    broj15 SS.org Regular

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    Forgive me if someone has already mentioned it (I just found this thread and will be reading it off and on during my down time at work) but I feel like most leftists as well as libertarians would benefit from doing some googling on Democratic confederalism, it's originator Abdullah Ocalan, and the current state of affairs for the Kurdish people in northern Syria. As a reformed libertarian (lol) who has now a full fledged leftist after experiencing the plight of the proletariat it's probably the political system I identify with the most, as it's combines some of the better parts of socialism (means of production owned and operated by the workers), civil liberties/equality, and libertarianism (local autonomy).
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017
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  16. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    Sure, but this can be done today.


    What method(s) of wealth redistribution do you propose and/or support?


    Why is there a need to distinguish between the two? If you do, why would someone accept the penalty for investing under that scenario rather than keep the money for personal use? Or simply invest it in a different country without the penalty (and I understand you will say that its not a penalty, but in practice, it is because you are taking something from someone without giving them anything of equal value in return).
     
  17. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    a nice society to live in where people live around you happily and healthily above the poverty line = the thing of equal value you get in return

    why do capitalists wanna say that community well-being is totally absent of value to anyone but poor people?
     
  18. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    Today's first world economies are increasingly services oriented, and these service oriented businesses don't take anywhere near as much capital to start as a manufacturing business would. In fact, the investment of time (to learn and build the business) is more of a success factor than capital in many fields.

    Given that we all have 24 hours in a day (rich, poor or otherwise), those with money shouldn't have an advantage over the poor in many fields. In fact, I would think that those with money would probably avoid industries that require physical labor (landscaping, catering, maid service, construction, etc.), leaving the advantage to the poor in thee areas.
     
  19. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    Capitalism is a better system for achieving that than communism, though. Social policies such as those in European countries are not a replacement for a capitalistic economy, they are socio-political polices that sit atop a capitalist economy.

    Communism and anarchism are things that work well on paper, and can work on a small scale with only a few players, but don't scale up to real world sizes because you'll never get everyone on board. Even if it is mandated by government, you'll see the corrupt abuse the system for their own benefit as we did in the USSR, China, etc.

    Go ask people who lived through that how it really was; whether or not it acheived the goal of "a nice society to live in where people live around you happily and healthily above the poverty line". I suspect you'll find the reality was pretty different from the paradise it was claimed it would be.
     
  20. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    I just asked and they all said it was dope as shit so I guess you must be wrong
     
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