Marxism discussion thread

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

  1. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    So, why don't we keep capitalism as a means of allocating scarce resources, but take steps to ensure that all Americans have access to higher education, and try to keep making progress breaking down racial barriers to entry in this country (because, I don't want to marginalize how much work we still have left to do, but let's not forget how much we already HAVE done). Don't get me wrong, I'm here arguing in favor of capitalism and against Marxism, but I am absolutely on the left wing of American politics. I think the state should be concerned with making sure the individual maximization of utility remains aligned with the universal maximization of utility, but I think that can be done through regulation and taxation without moving away from capitalism to something more state-run.

    I actually hadn't spent much time thinking about it before this thread, but I also came to the conclusion a bit earlier up that a lot of Marxist concepts like economic servitude made a lot more sense in the 1830s than they do in the 2010s, and that arguably that's to capitalism's credit.

    Also, I haven't seen a convincing argument yet why someone who commits necessary labor to an enterprise should be rewarded for that, but someone who commits necessary capital to one should not. This seems to be the breaking point of any argument in favor of capitalism, for me, since both investment capital and human capital, in some combination, are necessary for any production enterprise.
     
  2. AngstRiddenDreams

    AngstRiddenDreams Filthy Casual

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    Capitalism is great! *
    Communism only works on paper!**


    *at perpetuating income inequality, poverty, and exploiting third world countries for profit
    **usually said by someone who hasn't read the manifesto or looked at the historical events of attempted communist states
     
  3. AngstRiddenDreams

    AngstRiddenDreams Filthy Casual

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    @tedtan are you seriously defending income inequality by saying poor people don't have to compete with the rich for labor jobs because the rich have the luxury to not do it? What the fuck?

    The only way you can spin that as preferable is because under capitalism the only option other than settling to be a wage slave as a laborer is starvation and homelessness.
     
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  4. AngstRiddenDreams

    AngstRiddenDreams Filthy Casual

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    Drew what you said about social protections is basically what I'd like to see happen.
    As far as the capital thing goes, if you're looking at the resources of the company as shared then the capital doesn't belong to any one individual. If that person is recognizing they need employees to realize the potential of the capital then it is as much theirs as far as the say goes.
     
  5. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I think the obvious statements are obvious:

    1. No political system is perfect.
    2. A world in which a variety of political systems exist in different places is ideal, as long as people are offered mobility to change from one system to the next.

    As a strong believer in the fundamental concept of personal liberty, I don't think Marxism is the system that reflects my political ideals best; however, I do think that Marxism has quite a few merits and is, overall, a well thought-out scenario.

    In a Marxist system, the impulses responsible for spawning innovative business ideas are not free, as they are in a capitalist system. In a capitalist system, merit is not achieved through personal accomplishments as much as it is inherited through associations with powerful people.

    If I work hard on something and it succeeds, I want to earn something from that success. I think that both Marxism and capitalism are compatible with making that come true, perhaps in different ways, but, honestly, it's far from guaranteed in either system.

    Of the two, I do think that capitalism is more congruent with the ideology of personal liberty, but the discussion of such is rich and nuanced, as neither model is perfect and neither model is fundamentally authoritarian.
     
  6. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    No. What I am suggesting is that the best examples of income inequality are found in countries like Sweden, which has a capitalist economy with socially oriented political policies, not in communist countries.

    Specifically regarding labor jobs, I was stating that
    • as our economies become increasingly services oriented, capital is less a factor in these businesses' success than it is for manufacturing firms; and
    • it's very possible to build a successful service business out of one's home using one's abilities and minimal capital (I've seen it happen several times); and
    • even "labor" jobs like landscaping can become good businesses that pay their owners upwards of $150K/year with minimal capital investment (I can see how you may not get this living in Seattle, but it would work in the southwest or south, probably in the midwest and north east, too).
    No defending income inequality there, though the fact that rich people would likely choose other services to start a business rather than labor oriented ones is a fact of the competitive environment.
     
  7. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    But that's the problem - the resources of the company are NOT shared. From each according to their ability, etc. People contribute labor in different ways, so even all human capital isn't contributed equally.

    The flip side of that argument, is that if laborers are recognizing they need capital to realize the potential of their labor, then it's as much the capital's as it is the labor's, you know? You can't discount the contributions of one form of capital over another just because you prefer the other.
     
  8. AngstRiddenDreams

    AngstRiddenDreams Filthy Casual

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    I think Marxism is the ultimate personal liberty. What's more liberating than not needing to work solely to survive, but to work for self actualization??
     
  9. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    ^ But is communism truly required for that?
     
  10. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Nothing is liberating about having to work to support other people, nor is being forced to share all of your resources with the government. :shrug:
     
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  11. Petar Bogdanov

    Petar Bogdanov SS.org Regular

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    Honest question*: Does Marxism offer any mechanisms that balance it against authoritarianism? Corruption is inevitable in any endeavor large enough, and is hard to fight, due to secrecy. It would be interesting to examine what the eastern european states and China supposedly missed.

    * - because that needs stated nowadays for some reason
     
  12. AngstRiddenDreams

    AngstRiddenDreams Filthy Casual

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    Marx states himself that a communist society has no government.
    So a society is not communist if there is a government.
     
  13. AngstRiddenDreams

    AngstRiddenDreams Filthy Casual

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    No, but Socialism is.
    Somewhat in line with what drew was talking about with social protection programs for citizens.
     
  14. AngstRiddenDreams

    AngstRiddenDreams Filthy Casual

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    So are you of the taxation is theft mindset?
     
  15. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Not necessarily is, but it can easily become such.
     
  16. AngstRiddenDreams

    AngstRiddenDreams Filthy Casual

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    Are you against social programs: welfare, health care, public education, public transportation?
     
  17. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    I assume you mean Marxist socialism rather than Eurosocialsim, correct?


    What I've been saying is along those lines as well, and that's Eurosocialism: a socially focused political position with a capitalist economy. The social programs and safety nets exist atop a capitalist economy that provides the means to fund them via taxes.
     
  18. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Everything in moderation.

    Welfare - the USA prides itself on provisions for public welfare. Maybe what you and I consider "public welfare" is quite a bit different, though.
    Health care - this is what I consider public welfare.
    Public Education - necessary. It should be an option for children to attend public schooling to be educated to the point where they become adults.
    Public transportation - gee, it sure is nice. I've never really lived anyplace in the USA that had functional public transportation, honestly. The buses in Detroit are all over the place, but never ever on schedule. The buses in Indy were better, but not much so, and VT has free buses that will take you to Montpelier, if that's where you need to go. On the other hand, Switzerland, Germany, and Russia all have phenomenal public transit.

    The current debates seem to be left vs. right:

    Welfare - should people receive free food and water etc., if they are unable to find jobs...indefinitely? No, I think that if you are physically able to do something, anything, really, that contributes, then you ought to be doing it. If you are able to do some sort of job, and can't find a job, I'm fine with giving some time to find a job, but I don't see why tax money should support someone who is unable to do one job, but perfectly capable to do others.
    Health care - Health care is super important, from a public standpoint. If the public is unhealthy, everyone if affected. I see no problem with widening public health care, but... I see the current problems with US health care as internal flaws that allow some people to get very very rich off of other people's suffering. If we get publicly funded health care, this absolutely has to be stopped aggressively.
    Public education - Free college sounds nice, but someone has to pay for everything - nothing is ever truly free. There are plenty of merit-based programs that allow students with the highest college aptitude to attend college for free. Allowing those who do not show such aptitude to go to college and having the public pay for it is not an effective strategy.
    Public transportation - I think we could have another thread dedicated to this, but the nation I live in is upside-down on their policies for public transportation, IMO.
     
  19. Petar Bogdanov

    Petar Bogdanov SS.org Regular

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    But there's supposed to be an interim phase, right? That's where all the communist countries got stuck, supposedly. Does that stage have any balances that were omitted?
     
  20. AngstRiddenDreams

    AngstRiddenDreams Filthy Casual

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    The idea is that the whole world joins in with it. It's globalism essentially.
    It's "workers of the world unite", not "workers of the USSR".
    The fact that they have been national movements in the past and not global steps away from Marx's idea from the very beginning.
    Because past movements have been national it requires a government to oversee interactions with the rest of the capitalist world. Which is not what Marx envisioned.
     

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