Marxism discussion thread

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

  1. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Companies - which pay corporate income tax - left Detroit because of increases in personal income tax?

    Detroit's decline was due to suburban sprawl and the automobile-driven nature of the city's design encouraging workers who had the means to leave downtown and move out to the suburbs, gutting the tax base. This resulted in a decline in city personal income tax revenue, badly stressing city finances and further contributing to the population migration. The result was urban decay. Importantly, this had everything to do with personal income taxes, and nothing to do with business decisions; companies didn't care where an employee's taxable residency was, they simply cared that they could get to work on time.
     
  2. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Your history is correct. But my point was that once enough of the people making something function abandon it, it will either have to relocate to resolve the issue or go under, leaving room for a new one to open up shop where it makes more sense, geographically.

    Corporate taxes directly affect corporations, but personal taxes indirectly affect corporations. One certainly matters less than the other, but they do both matter.
     
  3. GuitarBizarre

    GuitarBizarre Listen to physics.

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    I really don't think it is. America is the MOST capitalist country on earth and inequality within it, the biggest problem. Scandinavia has a much higher average wage per person than the US does, and also much, much more wage equality.

    As a result, scandinavian countries, with their quasi-socialist model, top happiness indexes every year.
     
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  4. GuitarBizarre

    GuitarBizarre Listen to physics.

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    I really don't think it is. America is the MOST capitalist country on earth and inequality within it, the biggest problem. Scandinavia has a much higher average wage per person than the US does, and also much, much more wage equality.

    As a result, scandinavian countries, with their quasi-socialist model, top happiness indexes every year.
     
  5. GuitarBizarre

    GuitarBizarre Listen to physics.

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  6. Adam Of Angels

    Adam Of Angels The GAS Man

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    The population sizes aren't in any way comparable, and that makes a huge difference. Not to mention that there's no guarantee of longetivity in the Scandinavian model.
     
  7. GuitarBizarre

    GuitarBizarre Listen to physics.

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    There's no guarantee of longevity in any model. That's a fundamental truth of world politics.

    As for population sizes not being comparable, you're right, they aren't, but that fact on it's own does not an argument make. Would you like to articulate one, or are you expecting me to fill in the blanks for you?
     
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  8. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    The nation with the highest happiness index is Norway.
    Norway is a monarchy with an official state religion. The legislative branch is voted on democratically, but the executive branch is not. The socialist government in Norway lost it's majority in the legislature in 2013. It was never a "socialist nation" per se, it just happened to lean that direction for a while, but those days are over now.
    So...
    Okay, maybe that's cherry picking, since I arbitrarily chose the #1 ranked nation out of the metric you cited.

    Second on the list is Denmark, which is actually also a monarchy. The monarch has a little less power in Denmark, delegating most executive power to a cabinet team and appointing the Prime minister to lead the legislature. Prior to 2015, the Social Democrats controlled legislature, but since then the Liberal Party has managed it. I guess you could argue that since the nation has socialist programs, it's a socialist government, but it's more accurately a mixture of Monarchy and Social Democracy.

    Next on the list is Iceland - not a monarchy, but a Democratic Republic much like the USA. The Socialist party is the sixth or seventh most powerful party in the nation, trailing far behind the two most powerful parties, much like the USA. They elect a president, much like the USA...so why are they so much happier than the USA? Because they are not assholes.

    So yeah, the Nordic model of socialism takes its name from socialism and from the nordic region, but the model works well not just because of those two attributes. Having a monarch with absolute power to keep the legislature in check is not something that young adults arguing for socialism ever bring up. When China had pretty much the same kind of model, it didn't work, but it's not comparable - China's leadership in the 50's and 60's didn't have multiple generations of authoritarian power experience.

    As to the point of size - I mean, come on, China and the USSR are, by far, the two largest nations to try out socialism. Denmark and Norway are two of the smallest countries to lean so much that direction. It's a fair comparison.
     
  9. GuitarBizarre

    GuitarBizarre Listen to physics.

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    Bostjan - But exactly what point is being made when you compare sizes of countries here? Exactly what are you saying is the relevant thing that size brings to this debate?

    I'm not saying I have no idea, what I'm saying is that people like to cite "Well amurikuh's a bigger country!" in this discussion without ever expanding on why they're bringing that fact up, or how it relates to the specific situation.

    As for monarchy - I think our danish or norwegian posters could probably expand on how much power their monarchs actually have. Here in the UK we have a monarch too - in theory, one with absolute power to appoint or dismiss anyone within the government at her exclusive discretion. In practice, the parliamentary democracy operates with absolutely no sense of "oversight" save for it's own.
     
  10. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    The USA is more comparable in size to the USSR and China (poor examples of socialism) than it is to Denmark (being the oft-used example).

    How is that difficult to relate?
     
  11. GuitarBizarre

    GuitarBizarre Listen to physics.

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    OK, so you're making the argument that large countries will inherently implement socialism badly.

    Exactly what about a country being large causes this effect? Anything concrete, or are you just completely failing to account for the fact correlation is not causation?
     
  12. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    How in depth do you want to go with this one?

    The shortest version is that there are no good examples of nations of similar size to the USA functioning under a socialist form of government, yet there are bad examples of such, therefore empirical evidence suggests there is a low success rate for larger nations..

    ....

    The long-winded version is that, because socialism is concerned with providing a context where people within a society are responsible for the basic functions of society and social ownership of businesses. I will first say that the Nordic model completely throws away the second tenant of socialism, yet it's the main focus of some groups, like the "occupy" movements and is a popular model to support amongst millennials who are politically most vocal. But anyway, the best way to provide social welfare programs is often at the local level. When health care worked best in the USA was when it was covered by local employers. The strongest socially-operated businesses are the ones that service their own local areas. One source of grief in China and in the USSR was the disconnect between the urban government and the rural communities, because of the diversity between those social groups and the fact that one group of society ruled over the other. As an organization gets smaller, it is easier to homogenize representation to be fair to those groups. Nordic countries are far less diverse, so they have a much smaller list of problems at any given time. The USA has very different communities scattered throughout - the culture of New Orleans is very distinct from the culture of Minneapolis, and both of those are very distinct from the culture of rural Nebraska. You cannot convince me that there is the same amount of cultural diversity present in Denmark. China and the USSR are much more diverse than any particular Nordic country, yet, I believe, still less diverse than the USA.

    Looking at the USA anyway, we already have many social programs in place, and much of our social program infrastructure is already broken. Social Security works for many people and does not work for many others. Our first stab at socialized medicine ended up not being nearly as nifty as promised, and our interstate highways are falling apart in many places. While I'm not suggesting we get rid of those systems, I think cultural and economic diversity is much to blame for the shortcomings. The weather in New England treats the roads much more harshly than the weather in California. People living in Los Angeles have a totally different cost of living than people in Indianapolis. People who smoke, drink and eat TV dinner every day have more health problems than a person who can afford to shop at Whole Foods and pay for gym membership. What's more is that if you took half of yuppie-guy's money and gave it to the trailer guy, most likely, yuppie guy would have to cancel his gym membership and find new less expensive foods to eat, while trailer guy would, statistically, be likely to just buy more beer and cigarettes with his newfound wealth, and, ultimately, nothing would change for the better.

    One could argue that none of this has to do specifically with socialism, but I say it does. Socialism hinges on society. When you have a diverse society, you need a diversified solution to social problems. I don't think that just capitalism or just socialism offers that. Any hybrid system that incorporates doctrines from multiples sources of philosophy tends to offer a more textured and diverse approach to societal problems than does a pure ideological approach.

    If I made the USA a socialist government today, and snapped my fingers, hypothetically, and somehow, all of the US-owned businesses were government owned, honestly, what do you think would happen? It would be a total fucking disaster. The rich folks running those businesses would say, "Gee, I suddenly feel like I should take all of my cash and move to someplace that doesn't have this pesky socialism nonsense," and then the people left behind would have no idea how to operate those businesses with any continuity with the past. Not to mention that >80% of the nations wealth would potentially be gone. People work hard to get ahead in order to, and wow this is a stretch...get ahead. With the top few percent of wealthy americans gone, and 80%+ of the wealth gone, it'd be like stray dogs fighting over a chicken bone. This is essentially what happened in the USSR, and there is no reason to expect the USA to face an entirely different situation.

    You could go with the Nordic model instead of the Marxist model of socialism, but ...what was this thread about?

    There are a thousand reasons why socialism might be a great idea in the USA and ten thousand reasons why not. Having a factual answer addressing a question might have to suffice, rather than get into what could easily be a novel explaining the nuances behind the reasoning of that, which is why a discussion best works when one person makes a point and then the counterpoints volley back and forth, not just a general "Explain the concrete details of why empirical data can be used to link these two ideas in this extremely complex scenario."
     
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  13. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    how can the most capitalistic country be in which the largest corporations are essentially being propped up by government subsidies and legal protection.
     
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  14. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Capitalism is defined as "private ownership of the means of production for profit." In the USA, the federal government is a participant as both a consumer and an employer.
    The basic idea of it all is that I buy a factory (or farm) and supply the big machines, and then I hire people to come and operate those machines and that factory for me, then I make some money just for the fact that I took the burden of the risk of owning and overseeing all of the stuff there. Typically, I would hire overseers to behave as middle men in the employment aspect. If I insure my factory and my machines, then I'm essentially reduced to a middle-man between middle-men.

    As opposed to socialism, in which the factory (or farm) and the machines belong collectively to society, rather than to some rich dude.

    That's the bare core of each idea. So now, when you boil it down to what it is at it's hardened pit, the workers aren't guaranteed anything in either case. I think we attach all of these softer, more flexible and more ethereal ideas to those cores to get to the point where capitalism and socialism start looking like the caricatures we see of them in popular culture.

    Actually, if you want to take things to the philosophical level, socialism is simply capitalism in which whoever is deemed "the head of society" becomes a monopoly. That's what happened in the Stalinist USSR - Stalin was their version of Rockafeller, but even more powerful and far more ruthless. Either way, the manual laborers have just as little economic power, seeing as how they perform unskilled labour. It's the political engine that assigns people with equal amounts of social power or not.

    I think I mentioned before, many of the "Nordic Model" nations are actually constitutional monarchies or democratic monarchies. It's through the assignment of appropriate amounts of political power to the people who live there that the population can be happier and feel more involved, not through their economic model alone, although the economy is, of course, based heavily off of the political system's tendencies at the time.
     
  15. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    ... but I thought that is what defines Communism as separate from Socialism? At least, Karl Marx in the Communist Manifesto describes this system you're describing where the means of production are collectively owned by everyone.

    And then in Socialism you have privately owned means of production, just the same as in capitalism, only with a high level of government involvement in redistribution of wealth, social safety nets, etc, and they offer services that compete with private industry... so really, I was under the impression that this line between "capitalism" (which isn't truly capitalism) and socialism is basically arbitrary and dependent only on public perception.

    I mean, don't we call certain nations, famously Denmark, socialist? But the government doesn't own the means of production there. And USSR and China and North Korea are "Communist", since the government owned literally everything.

    Just curious since I don't know the answer: Who owned the means of production in Nazi Germany? Presumably they were privately owned, since Hitler had to contract Volkswagen to build his cars?
     
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  16. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Just going off the dictionary definition of socialism as "characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production." In my mind, anything that is "capitalism, but..." is a deviation from capitalism, and anything that is "socialism, but..." is a deviation from socialism. Communism is a more complex thing, starting with socialism, but then also removing the authority of the government and the valuation of things, such that all property (not just the means of farming and production) is not owned, but open to be used by anyone within the commune.

    Communism is was more cerebral than socialism. It breaks down very easily - all it takes is one uncooperative individual, and the whole system implodes. For example, if I join a communist society, where there is no government authority, no ownership of things, and no social hierarchy in place, then I simply take some of the public stuff and tuck it away for myself, then what happens? With no government authority in power, there is no executive means to restore order. It's helpless.

    I feel like I've addressed this Nordic Socialism thing a couple times now. Again, Denmark is a monarchy, not really a proper agar plate for a socialistic society. Denmark doesn't fit the definition of socialism in any way, actually, so how do we go calling it socialist? Communist and the government owning everything are different concepts.

    China is in an odd sort of place now. It operates as if it were a typical capitalist nation. Manufacturers there run factories, employ workers, market their stuff, etc., just like in the good ol' USA. The USSR was the same way, otherwise, you wouldn't have been able to buy Sovtek amps, only USSR amps. No country on earth has ever operated as a communist country for more than a few weeks. No country on Earth that has a GDP has operated without some capitalistic principles at some point. And just about every nation on earth has social programs that are publicly funded. It's a continuum or a spectrum, not a binary thing.
     
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  17. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    lol yeah sorry after I went back and re-read your post before I can see it actually covered a lot of what I asked better than I realized the first time

    and I'm glad that someone besides myself can see that the nomenclature here is practically besides the point. I got into a good-natured argument with my friend over the weekend (while we were drunk obviously) about how the way we usually apply these names has more to do with perception than actual practice. And that this perception mostly has to do with the manner in which tax money is spent--at least, that's my theory.
     
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  18. dreamchaser

    dreamchaser SS.org Regular

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    Max Stirner, one of the prominent critics of socialism and communism:
     
  19. wat

    wat SS.org Regular

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    Being alive, breathing and having human DNA doesn't make someone entitled to someone else's money.
     
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  20. Andrew Lloyd Webber

    Andrew Lloyd Webber Pussy Melter

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    Do they entitle anything?
     

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