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    (Original post by Classical Liberal)
    The state cannot have any interests. Only individuals have interests. I think you mean that the people who control the state serve their own interests using the instrument that is the state.

    Government has no intentions. Only people have intentions.

    Anybody who is a half intellectually honest 'socialist' will admit that the state is the only way to plan society in the vision of the annointed.
    Has it occured to you that, as the government is a set of relations between people, we don't need to believe in a metaphysical body politic to ascribe it intentions and interests? Strictly speaking, you're correct, but it's easier to say "the government believes" than "a majority of the individuals comprising the government believe". How you can deduce any grand truth about the desirability of individualism or the necessity of governmental malevolence from this linguistic quibble is beyond me.
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    (Original post by JacobW)
    Strictly speaking, you're correct, but it's easier to say "the government believes" than "a majority of the individuals comprising the government believe". How you can deduce any grand truth about the desirability of individualism or the necessity of governmental malevolence from this linguistic quibble is beyond me.
    'Linguistic quibbles' are very important. Because definitions are important. Otherwise discussing things becomes pointless when one person says A and another thinks he said B.

    My point about the government just being individuals shows how unjustified some of the arbitrary power the government has over people. It is just individuals controlling other individuals. Rather than, as some people like to believe, an institution that consciously serves the common good.
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    Can we stick to quotes from the link as opposed to arguing amongst each other. Thank you.
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    (Original post by Classical Liberal)
    'Linguistic quibbles' are very important. Because definitions are important. Otherwise discussing things becomes pointless when one person says A and another thinks he said B.

    My point about the government just being individuals shows how unjustified some of the arbitrary power the government has over people. It is just individuals controlling other individuals. Rather than, as some people like to believe, an institution that consciously serves the common good.
    Of course language is important, but you can't deduce anything about the nature of the world by defining the words used to describe it! It doesn't follow from the fact that the government is just a group of individuals that it doesn't consciously serve the common good. Defining 'consciously serving the common good' as 'acting to maximise total utility on the basis of an awareness of how to achieve it', we can see that the government doesn't require any collective mind to act on the basis of the awareness of the individuals comprising it: the action of the aggregate just has to be causally linked to the awareness of its constituent parts.

    (Original post by blueray)
    Can we stick to quotes from the link as opposed to arguing amongst each other. Thank you.
    This is the philosophy forum--argue amongst each other is what we do!
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    (Original post by JacobW)
    Of course language is important, but you can't deduce anything about the nature of the world by defining the words used to describe it! It doesn't follow from the fact that the government is just a group of individuals that it doesn't consciously serve the common good. Defining 'consciously serving the common good' as 'acting to maximise total utility on the basis of an awareness of how to achieve it', we can see that the government doesn't require any collective mind to act on the basis of the awareness of the individuals comprising it: the action of the aggregate just has to be causally linked to the awareness of its constituent parts.


    This is the philosophy forum--argue amongst each other is what we do!
    I thought that was the debate section of the forum
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    (Original post by blueray)
    I thought that was the debate section of the forum
    Top of your screen: Forums > Debate and Current Afairs > Philosophy
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    (Original post by Rhadamanthus)
    I already said that they were private in name only. As I said, it was the German government and not the nominal private owners that exercised all of the substantive powers of ownership: the government, not the nominal private owners, decided what was to be produced, in what quantity, by what methods, and to whom it was to be distributed, as well as what prices would be charged and what wages would be paid, and what dividends or other income the nominal private owners would be permitted to receive. This is not private property. As for decision-making over ownership, I'm not talking about the general distorting of prices that occurs due to the state. The prices in Germany were laid down by state edict. They were, from the perspective of market actors, completely random. If you think that this was anything even approaching capitalism then you're quite clearly deluded. The state took over production in Nazi Germany. This was socialism..
    This is simply ideological reductionism - the argument;

    1) Capitalism is fundamentally a free-exchange economy
    2) Nazism embodies abject statism not the unfettered system embodied in proposition 1)
    3) Thus Nazism is socialism

    I think nigh on anyone would ask for at least an intermediary eleboration between proposition 2) and the inference of 3). Indeed, socialism in any meaningful sense is fundamentally defined as common ownership of the means of production, not just the presence of state ownership - essentially, if a non-democratic state owns the means of production, its relation with the workforce is conceptually opposite to that presented within socialism - the exploiter / the hierarchical force at play is simply switched from a private actor to the (dictatorial) state - neither of which are responsive to the populous/workforce. I'd call it state-capitalism, a system which your strange absolutist dichotomised view doesn't believe exists.
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    (Original post by Randell Turbruss)
    This is simply ideological reductionism - the argument;

    1) Capitalism is fundamentally a free-exchange economy
    2) Nazism embodies abject statism not the unfettered system embodied in proposition 1)
    3) Thus Nazism is socialism

    I think nigh on anyone would ask for at least an intermediary eleboration between proposition 2) and the inference of 3). Indeed, socialism in any meaningful sense is fundamentally defined as common ownership of the means of production, not just the presence of state ownership - essentially, if a non-democratic state owns the means of production, its relation with the workforce is conceptually opposite to that presented within socialism - the exploiter / the hierarchical force at play is simply switched from a private actor to the (dictatorial) state - neither of which are responsive to the populous/workforce. I'd call it state-capitalism, a system which your strange absolutist dichotomised view doesn't believe exists.
    I'm starting to think that everyone on this form has no idea what they're talking about. What on earth is remotely capitalist about the state abolition of the capital market? Perhaps your belief that I'm ideologically committed to capitalism (a straw-man, by the way) is getting in the way of your ability to recognise a socialist economic system when you see one. I've said before here that the Reichswirtschaftministerium was a bureaucratic organisation set up to centrally plan Germany's economy. It told shop owners what prices to charge, it set interest rates, it produced edicts on how to produce goods, it instructed owners at what prices to buy goods, it dictated the wages to be paid, and it controlled to whom capitalists could entrust funds. This is not state capitalism, this is statism and bears all the hallmarks of socialism, and if it doesn't fit up to your internationalist beliefs in the utopian socialist system does not mean that it was not socialist. Contrary to your strange suggestion that I don't believe state capitalism can exist, I think it certainly can, such as in the UK today. Nazi Germany was state socialism. If you think that just because not everything was collectivised (despite the fact that the state did assume control over these things and that the state is, by its very function, not a private entity) then it wasn't socialism then you're wrong. The state took over production and this is socialism. De facto government ownership of the means of production, as Mises termed it, was logically implied by such fundamental collectivist principles embraced by the Nazis as that the common good comes before the private good and the individual exists as a means to the ends of the state. If the individual is a means to the ends of the state, so too, of course, is his property. Just as he is owned by the state, his property is also owned by the state. What on earth could you possibly see as capitalistic about this?
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    (Original post by Rhadamanthus)
    I'm starting to think that everyone on this form has no idea what they're talking about. What on earth is remotely capitalist about the state abolition of the capital market?
    If one maintains that the capitalist is the private owner of the means of production, subjecting the workforce to non-participation - and this role is switched from a private actor to the state, can you not see the potential transfer of the term capitalist, and how this is fitting prefixed with 'state'?

    (Original post by Rhadamanthus)
    Perhaps your belief that I'm ideologically committed to capitalism (a straw-man, by the way) is getting in the way of your ability to recognise a socialist economic system when you see one.
    I'd rather elevate the discussion above this level (though i never said you were ideologically committed to capitalism, saying i did is a straw-man, ironically).

    (Original post by Rhadamanthus)
    I've said before here that the Reichswirtschaftministerium was a bureaucratic organisation set up to centrally plan Germany's economy. It told shop owners what prices to charge, it set interest rates, it produced edicts on how to produce goods, it instructed owners at what prices to buy goods, it dictated the wages to be paid, and it controlled to whom capitalists could entrust funds. This is not state capitalism, this is statism and bears all the hallmarks of socialism, and if it doesn't fit up to your internationalist beliefs in the utopian socialist system does not mean that it was not socialist.
    I know what you said before. I've read your posts.

    Socialism, as i said, is fundamentally common ownership of the means of production - this clearly doesn't obtain if ownership of the means of the production is held by an abstract non-democratic state entity. It, for labour, is little different from capitalist conditions - it has simply another system of hierarchy.

    (Original post by Rhadamanthus)
    Contrary to your strange suggestion that I don't believe state capitalism can exist, I think it certainly can, such as in the UK today. Nazi Germany was state socialism. If you think that just because not everything was collectivised (despite the fact that the state did assume control over these things and that the state is, by its very function, not a private entity) then it wasn't socialism then you're wrong.
    I never said anything of the such, i simply maintain(ed) Nazi Germany doesn't meet the most elementary of pre-requisites to earning the title 'socialist'.

    (Original post by Rhadamanthus)
    The state took over production and this is socialism. De facto government ownership of the means of production, as Mises termed it, was logically implied by such fundamental collectivist principles embraced by the Nazis as that the common good comes before the private good and the individual exists as a means to the ends of the state. If the individual is a means to the ends of the state, so too, of course, is his property. Just as he is owned by the state, his property is also owned by the state. What on earth could you possibly see as capitalistic about this?
    Collectivism doesn't equate to socialism. And see above.
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    This thread. :facepalm:
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    (Original post by Randell Turbruss)
    If one maintains that the capitalist is the private owner of the means of production, subjecting the workforce to non-participation - and this role is switched from a private actor to the state, can you not see the potential transfer of the term capitalist, and how this is fitting prefixed with 'state'?
    I don't have the time to continue a discussion which clearly isn't going anywhere, especially considering you have a distinct inability to understand that when the ownership of the means of production is shifted from private ownership to state ownership, that the state is not a private entity and therefore cannot be considered the private owner of the means of production. The state is the complete opposite by its very nature and therefore, in Nazi Germany at least, collectively owned the means of production and this is socialism. I have quoted you below saying that "collectivism doesn't equate to socialism" which is total nonsense in the Nazi example, considering that the state collectively owned the means of production.

    Socialism, as i said, is fundamentally common ownership of the means of production - this clearly doesn't obtain if ownership of the means of the production is held by an abstract non-democratic state entity. It, for labour, is little different from capitalist conditions - it has simply another system of hierarchy. I never said anything of the such, i simply maintain(ed) Nazi Germany doesn't meet the most elementary of pre-requisites to earning the title 'socialist'. Collectivism doesn't equate to socialism. And see above.
    I have enough education in this field to know a socialist system without having to be linked to Wikipedia. I suppose you're going to tell me that the USSR wasn't socialist either because it wasn't democratic? Socialism does not entail democracy, it entails non-private ("common") ownership of the means of production and the abolition of most of the system of market exchange. This Reichswirtschaftsministerium meant that market exchange was merely a sham and that the government (a necessarily non-private entity) assumed control of peoples' property. I don't know what there is about price controls, the abolition of the capital market, quotas, government control of production and wage controls that "doesn't meet the most elementary of pre-requisites to earning the title 'socialist'" - maybe you should go back and read that Wikipedia article. Either you're going to have to come up with a new word for the economic system of Nazi Germany or just accept it was socialism, and if your new word even remotely relates to capitalism then I know that this discussion is a waste of time.
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    (Original post by Rhadamanthus)
    I don't have the time to continue a discussion which clearly isn't going anywhere, especially considering you have a distinct inability to understand that when the ownership of the means of production is shifted from private ownership to state ownership, that the state is not a private entity and therefore cannot be considered the private owner of the means of production.
    What an inordinate straw-man and act of condescension - i never stated i believed the state was a private owner of the means of production - indeed i explicitly stated the very opposite; maintaining the role of capitalist "is switched from a private actor to the state".

    (Original post by Rhadamanthus)
    The state is the complete opposite by its very nature and therefore
    As i said, not in relation to labour.

    (Original post by Rhadamanthus)
    in Nazi Germany at least, collectively owned the means of production and this is socialism. I have quoted you below saying that "collectivism doesn't equate to socialism" which is total nonsense in the Nazi example, considering that the state collectively owned the means of production.
    Could you clarify this? All i can derive from it is the strange (non)argument that;

    1) Collectivism not equating to socialism is nonsense
    2) The state in Nazi Germany collectively owned the means of production

    What is this supposed to show?

    (Original post by Rhadamanthus)
    I have enough education in this field to know a socialist system without having to be linked to Wikipedia.
    I'd contest that fact.

    (Original post by Rhadamanthus)
    I suppose you're going to tell me that the USSR wasn't socialist either because it wasn't democratic?
    I'd never ascribe the term socialist to the USSR, it's a gross misapplication of the term; nor is it not obvious that i'd maintain that belief, being the clearly extrapolation of what i've said.

    (Original post by Rhadamanthus)
    Socialism does not entail democracy, it entails non-private ("common") ownership of the means of production and the abolition of most of the system of market exchange.
    So you think the only qualification for socialism is the absence of capitalism? Is the State of Nature a socialist system then? Or hyper-anarcho-primitivism? Or some kleptocratic theocratic self-serving despot?

    You gave away the true definition by reference to 'common' ownership - common, commonly held. Clearly for common ownership to obtain in any meaningful sense democracy is a pre-requisite? How can something be commonly held when it's controlled by an abstract non-responsive state entity?

    The absolute dichomisation you maintain of private and common ownership is just plain wrong.

    (Original post by Rhadamanthus)
    This Reichswirtschaftsministerium meant that market exchange was merely a sham and that the government (a necessarily non-private entity) assumed control of peoples' property. I don't know what there is about price controls, the abolition of the capital market, quotas, government control of production and wage controls that "doesn't meet the most elementary of pre-requisites to earning the title 'socialist'"
    I don't know what you think repeating virtually verbatim the absence of a free exchange economy adds to the debate; clearly this isn't the point in which we diverge in opinion. And to the final sentence, as i've repeated, the requisite is the common ownership of the means of production.

    (Original post by Rhadamanthus)
    Either you're going to have to come up with a new word for the economic system of Nazi Germany or just accept it was socialism, and if your new word even remotely relates to capitalism then I know that this discussion is a waste of time.
    No new word is necessary - i'd regard is as state-capitalism, pretty sure that's not particularly controversial.
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    (Original post by Randell Turbruss)
    What an inordinate straw-man and act of condescension - i never stated i believed the state was a private owner of the means of production - indeed i explicitly stated the very opposite; maintaining the role of capitalist "is switched from a private actor to the state".
    No you didn't. "If one maintains that the capitalist is the private owner of the means of production, subjecting the workforce to non-participation - and this role is switched from a private actor to the state, can you not see the potential transfer of the term capitalist, and how this is fitting prefixed with 'state'?" What you essentially said here was that it was capitalism, just state capitalism. If you knew the very basics of what state capitalism is you'd know that ascribing this term to Nazi Germany is pathetically uneducated.

    As i said, not in relation to labour.
    So you regard labour as distinct from other factors in the means of production, such as capital goods? Why?

    Could you clarify this? All i can derive from it is the strange (non)argument that;

    1) Collectivism not equating to socialism is nonsense
    2) The state in Nazi Germany collectively owned the means of production
    Perhaps you should read it again. I did not say that collectivism equates to socialism, I said that the kind of collectivised ownership in Nazi Germany was a form of socialism.

    I'd never ascribe the term socialist to the USSR, it's a gross misapplication of the term; nor is it not obvious that i'd maintain that belief, being the clearly extrapolation of what i've said.
    Oh I see. Please, educate yourself in the cursory basics of economics before telling me that the USSR was not socialist. This is the most pathetic of all beliefs and it is used as an excuse to cover up the crimes of the Soviet Union and make it seem as if socialism is some sort of utopian ideal. As I said before, just because Nazism and Soviet Communism don't live up to your idealised notions of socialism does not mean that they are not socialism.

    So you think the only qualification for socialism is the absence of capitalism? Is the State of Nature a socialist system then? Or hyper-anarcho-primitivism? Or some kleptocratic theocratic self-serving despot?
    No, as I've said before socialism can be qualified by collectivised ownership of the means of production or property, and the restriction of free exchange. The level of socialism inherent in a country can vary from the limited to the extreme. A capitalist economy can be defined, in Misesian terms, as a system with a large degree of private property. I said before on this thread that I regard systems such as feudalism as a form of capitalism, just not a very efficient form.

    You gave away the true definition by reference to 'common' ownership - common, commonly held. Clearly for common ownership to obtain in any meaningful sense democracy is a pre-requisite? How can something be commonly held when it's controlled by an abstract non-responsive state entity?
    Seriously? All I can deduce from this is that state control is only socialist control if the state is democratic. This is a complete non-point.

    The absolute dichomisation you maintain of private and common ownership is just plain wrong.
    Straw-man, I've never argued for a dichotomisation of this at all.

    I don't know what you think repeating virtually verbatim the absence of a free exchange economy adds to the debate; clearly this isn't the point in which we diverge in opinion. And to the final sentence, as i've repeated, the requisite is the common ownership of the means of production.
    The point we disagree on is whether or not Nazi Germany was a socialist system, and the absence of free exchange and the state's collectivisation of the means of production clearly make it so.

    No new word is necessary - i'd regard is as state-capitalism, pretty sure that's not particularly controversial.
    Are you seriously arguing that the Nazi economic system was a form of capitalism? I've said before that if you even came away with such a ridiculous line that I know I'm wasting my time discussing this.
 
 
 
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