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Calling the Greens socialists is an insult to socialists watch

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    (Original post by young_guns)
    Where the article refers to "If a depression were a reasonable price to pay for an improved environment", it's talking about the Greens policy to implement "negative growth" and contract the economy for environmental reasons

    Oh and this paragraph. What a daft woman Bennett is
    I can see how an old school socialist would be disgusted by this, and you seem to be one. But as I explained in the other thread, there is some logic here. If you want increased prosperity you want free markets. By hitching their wagon to environmentalism, the Greens 1. avoid the need to compete with markets in providing improvements in standard of living, by arguing that improvements in standard of living are bad and 2. provide a new hook for pervasive state intervention to fix a perceived problem.

    Environmentalism rescues socialism by presenting all its biggest flaws as advantages.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    I can see how an old school socialist would be disgusted by this, and you seem to be one.
    I'm most certainly not an old school socialist. My ex calls me a "Burkean socialist". I strongly believe in the utility of the trade union movement, employment protections and government intervention and even ownership in key sectors.

    On the other hand, I'm fond of the House of Lords and public schools, I think it's outrageous fox hunting and hare coursing have been banned and I view the English aristocracy as deserving of some kind of cultural rights akin to the Australian aborigines. I oppose a wealth tax. I favour increased defence spending and I'm strongly in favour of the US-UK special relationship and the Anglosphere Five Eyes arrangement. I think the City of London and finance industry is an important sector and worthy of our continued protection and support. I oppose fundamentalist Islam and support Israel.

    To be honest, I think almost every debate comes down to the aesthetic; are you a cavalier or are you a roundhead? I'm a cavalier. You, on the other hand, like all the free market radicals (and all radicals) are a roundhead.

    I despise the angry, small-minded, lower-middle Tories who have been pandered to for far too long. They're far too obsessed with their puerile ideological fetishes, obsessed with conflict. Bring back Super Mac and I'd vote for him any day; in with rationality, out with the ****wits like Peter Bone and all the other Thatcherite lunatics. Thankfully politics is taking us there anyway, given the Conservatives are so far outside the mainstream that they haven't won an election outright for over twenty years.

    If you want increased prosperity you want free markets.
    That's just meaningless, and completely detached from reality when you look at the performance of the UK compared to a country like Denmark

    By hitching their wagon to environmentalism, the Greens 1. avoid the need to compete with markets in providing improvements in standard of living, by arguing that improvements in standard of living are bad and 2. provide a new hook for pervasive state intervention to fix a perceived problem.

    Environmentalism rescues socialism by presenting all its biggest flaws as advantages.
    That's not a serious argument, it's just cant. Utterly fatuous. Tbh, it seems like I rarely encounter you making good faith arguments, you tend to go in for mindless point scoring at the expense of serious debate.

    Every argument right-wingers make against Fabian socialism could just as easily be made against Danish social democracy, except Danish social democracy even with its 70% tax rates and lowest rate of income inequality in the world also has a GDP per capita about $20,000 USD a year higher than us and have done so (in that proportion) for about the last 40 years.

    The reason any real socialist would find the Greens objectionable is precisely because their policies would hurt working people. The idea that socialists would adopt an ideology that goes against their fundamental raison d'etre simply because it saves them having to achieve those policy objectives is puerile, to say the least. Grow up
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    (Original post by young_guns)
    That's not a serious argument, it's just cant. Utterly fatuous. Tbh, it seems like I rarely encounter you making good faith arguments, you tend to go in for mindless point scoring at the expense of serious debate.

    Every argument right-wingers make against Fabian socialism could just as easily be made against Danish social democracy, except Danish social democracy even with its 70% tax rates and lowest rate of income inequality in the world also has a GDP per capita about $20,000 USD a year higher than us and have done so (in that proportion) for about the last 40 years.

    The reason any real socialist would find the Greens objectionable is precisely because their policies would hurt working people. The idea that socialists would adopt an ideology that goes against their fundamental raison d'etre simply because it saves them having to achieve those policy objectives is puerile, to say the least. Grow up
    But Denmark is regarded as well-governed even by mouth-frothing American right wingers. The Scandinavian countries in general aren't exactly what they're presented in the Anglosphere; they have high marginal tax rates but that's essentially the only place they differ much from the US or UK, and even then the tax takes have been reducing over the decades, now to only 5ppt or so more than here. Denmark for instance doesn't have a minimum wage and trade unions of the 1970s confrontational variety you idolise do not exist; the same was true in Germany until they introduced a minimum wage just this year. They don't have state ownership of businesses or disruptive regulation of business. Denmark is not what you get if you put extreme leftists in power, it's rather $generic_western_country just with a few different trade-offs and low levels of corruption. Let's look and see what happens to Greece in the next couple of years for a better idea of what real socialists will do to a country.

    Anyway, the Greens don't regard their ideas of suppressing living standards by state intervention as harmful to ordinary people. They think they will preserve ordinary people from greater environmental damage in the future. There's also a religious element whereby they are selling a certain lifestyle that appeals to them more than their view of how high consumption people live. I suspect that their idea of living a culturally upper middle class lifestyle on a McDonald's income seems more plausible and appealing to their permanent grad student voter base than to the general public. Nonetheless I think they think people would enjoy and benefit from it.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    Denmark for instance doesn't have a minimum wage and trade unions of the 1970s confrontational variety you idolise do not exist
    You are under quite a few misapprehensions, my friend.

    They don't have a state minimum wage because the minimum wage is directly set by negotiation between trade unions and industry, and the trade union penetration is at 72% of the workforce. Secondary strike action is legal, and management consultants regularly advise foreign businesses to recognise and negotiate with trade unions rather than risk industrial action.

    As to your comment about "doesn't have trade unions of the 1970s variety", the reason they don't have confrontation is because they don't have free market extremists trying to create industrial discord. Both the trade unions who represent the vast majority of employees, and industry, recognise it is in their mutual interest to have harmonious relations.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    Anyway, the Greens don't regard their ideas of suppressing living standards by state intervention as harmful to ordinary people. They think they will preserve ordinary people from greater environmental damage in the future. There's also a religious element whereby they are selling a certain lifestyle that appeals to them more than their view of how high consumption people live.
    I agree. I think there's also an element of faith in that they believe that if we don't immediately reduce consumption we will suffer some kind of catastrophic environmental disaster. Of course, the fact this is not supported by evidence means little to them; it's about a leap of faith.

    I suspect that their idea of living a culturally upper middle class lifestyle on a McDonald's income seems more plausible and appealing to their permanent grad student voter base than to the general public. Nonetheless I think they think people would enjoy and benefit from it.
    I suspect you have a range of people. You have gullible student types who are clueless about the Greens actual policies, you have former Lib Dem types who are using the Greens as a repository for their votes and as revenge against Labour, and you have the hardcore Green cadres who start frothing at the mouth and calling for a one-child policy, forced abortions and massive cuts in energy supply. That latter category are the ones who are particularly sinister, I believe the former two could be persuaded with information about the Greens' policies
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    (Original post by Observatory)
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    If you want to know more about Denmark's labour environment, it's well worth reading this

    https://www.pwc.dk/da/human-ressourc...ur-law-web.pdf
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    (Original post by young_guns)
    You are under quite a few misapprehensions, my friend.

    They don't have a state minimum wage because the minimum wage is directly set by negotiation between trade unions and industry, and the trade union penetration is at 78% of the workforce. Secondary strike action is legal, and management consultants regularly advise foreign businesses to recognise and negotiate with trade unions rather than risk industrial action.

    As to your comment about "doesn't have trade unions of the 1970s variety", the reason they don't have confrontation is because they don't have free market extremists trying to create industrial discord. Both the trade unions who represent the vast majority of employees, and industry, recognise it is in their mutual interest to have harmonious relations.
    I've been living in Central Europe for a little while and am - admittedly against my will - a member of a German trade union. In my experience their set-up has two key differences:

    1. Substituting minimum wage and other statutory interventions by unions means that there is a lot more inequality in conditions; in particular there is no price floor for the large minority of people who aren't in a unionised position. I know people who have been offered jobs paying less than one Euro per hour. If they had refused those jobs they would have lost their unemployment benefits. This is unimaginable in the UK. 78% of the workforce being in the union system is a lot of people but it is far from everyone; the top 78% best workers in the UK are probably not in any risk of long term unemployment and have some individual bargaining power anyway. The people who do best out of this system would not have been the losers in a non-union system either.

    Now, I don't mean to criticise this. I think it's a good thing. The fact that someone can be paid a few tens of cents per hour is surely why Germany is the only major economy in Europe that doesn't have substantially higher youth than adult unemployment, and it's very unlikely that that person will stay on such a wage, while gaining experience. But this is a change that in practice deregulates the labour markets, not regulate them further, in the sense that things that would not be possible in the UK or even US due to employment laws are possible here.

    2. Unions generally negotiate with and are involved in running companies rather than regarding the management as an enemy that should be brought to the point of death with any possible extortion. It's not that there are fewer "troublemakers". The union I am involved with has conducted some battles with the management that are almost unbelievably petty and (in my view) self-defeating. Yet the idea of a strike or even work to rule is totally unthinkable. Whether this is due to statutory restrictions or just the culture, I don't know. One major difference between the UK in the 1970s and 80s, and Denmark or Germany today, is that the nationalised industries were bottomless moneypits that could be and were subsidised by general taxation until they became an intolerable burden on the whole country. With private companies and contractors this is not the case.

    I suspect you have a range of people. You have gullible student types who are clueless about the Greens actual policies, you have former Lib Dem types who are using the Greens as a repository for their votes and as revenge against Labour, and you have the hardcore Green cadres who start frothing at the mouth and calling for a one-child policy, forced abortions and massive cuts in energy supply. That latter category are the ones who are particularly sinister, I believe the former two could be persuaded with information about the Greens' policies
    I suspect a lot of them live on low incomes but, because they're very intelligent and frugal, actually live quite well. This is an academic trope, and Brighton as base of support also seems to fit the bill, basically a town for people who are cool enough for London but not rich enough. One child policies &c. don't threaten this demographic much because having children is one place where their decision to live cheaply really bites, and multiple children aren't really possible anyway. Basically they don't view these policies as radical, in the sense that they would not change their supporters' own lifestyles, they'd just force everyone else into line. And indeed when everyone is as poor as them maybe cool places like London will open up again.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
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    Very interesting comparison to the German TU situation. Personally, I would prefer a more European approach to Labour relations. But the distinction is that in Germany they actually bring the trade unions in on the strategy of the company, make bargains for increased productivity in exchange for pay increases, and the like.

    By contrast, in the UK employers rarely involve trade unions setting the business strategy.

    You are right to point out that in Germany, some people do not enjoy particularly good conditions while others have excellent conditions (minijobs being an example). Though I have read that despite the lack of statutory intervention, the Danes do still have the highest minimum wage when averaged across industries. I'm not sure that the idea that paying people low wages allows them to get a foothold in the labour market. There are many people who stay in low wage jobs permanently as they lack the skills or intelligence to move into other positions. I don't think it's fair that, say, a woman who is not suited to white collar forms of employment should be expected to survive on such low remuneration for her entire life.

    In addition, the minimum wage for under 18s in the UK is 3.79 (and 2.73 for apprentices). It's 5.13 for 18-to-20s. So the government here does take into account age and the value of permitting employers to pay lower wages to younger people.

    I think Germany's superb system of technical education also has something to do with it. It is also fair to say that Germany has paid significant subsidies to its manufacturing industries, though by contrast they did often use those subsidies to pay for new technology and processes rather than allow it to be eaten up by ever higher wage demands.

    Basically they don't view these policies as radical, in the sense that they would not change their supporters' own lifestyles, they'd just force everyone else into line.
    True. In such a situation, I would fear in particular for the wellbeing of the elderly, given the direction in which electricity/heating and other costs would be going.

    I did write a silly little sketch about what it would be like to live under a Green government (energy shortages, mass layoffs, the Russians harassing British shipping and us not being able to do anything because the navy had been abolished). I was thinking of posting it on here
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    (Original post by young_guns)
    Very interesting comparison to the German TU situation. Personally, I would prefer a more European approach to Labour relations. But the distinction is that in Germany they actually bring the trade unions in on the strategy of the company, make bargains for increased productivity in exchange for pay increases, and the like.

    By contrast, in the UK employers rarely involve trade unions setting the business strategy.

    You are right to point out that in Germany, some people do not enjoy particularly good conditions while others have excellent conditions (minijobs being an example). Though I have read that despite the lack of statutory intervention, the Danes do still have the highest minimum wage when averaged across industries. I'm not sure that the idea that paying people low wages allows them to get a foothold in the labour market. There are many people who stay in low wage jobs permanently as they lack the skills or intelligence to move into other positions. I don't think it's fair that, say, a woman who is not suited to white collar forms of employment should be expected to survive on such low remuneration for her entire life.

    In addition, the minimum wage for under 18s in the UK is 3.79 (and 2.73 for apprentices). It's 5.13 for 18-to-20s. So the government here does take into account age and the value of permitting employers to pay lower wages to younger people.

    I think Germany's superb system of technical education also has something to do with it. It is also fair to say that Germany has paid significant subsidies to its manufacturing industries, though by contrast they did often use those subsidies to pay for new technology and processes rather than allow it to be eaten up by ever higher wage demands.
    Sure, but in a limited and bureaucratic fashion.

    Some apprentices will be worth £2.50, not £2.73.

    Some people will have been out of work for a long time, and need low paid starter jobs when they're 19, or 22, missing the arbitrary age ranges in which they're available.

    The UK system attempts in some ways to approach the freedom of the Danish or [former] German system but does not replicate it entirely. In contrast to this Anglo-American socialistic approach, in Denmark and until just now in Germany the labour market was red in tooth and claw, and apparently with some decent results.

    Now maybe those good results are due to other aspects of those economies rather than absence of a minimum wage, but at this point you're on much shakier ground than you were at first claiming that Denmark was some far left country that did better than the UK. Denmark, like the UK, operates a regulated market economy with a set of regulations which are different to but not clearly more socialistic than those of the UK.

    You, like many on the left in this country and in the US, seem to want to take only the most socialistic elements of all these countries' institutions - the education system of Germany (which includes the grammar school system and only gives grammar kids an automatic path to university - keep or chuck?) and the unions of Denmark - but keep the socialistic institutions we have that they don't, like a minimum wage which is already one of the highest in the EU, among the major economies second only to France. What would emerge from this process would not resemble Denmark or Germany or Sweden at all, it would be a Frankenstein's monster of its own type.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    The UK system attempts in some ways to approach the freedom of the Danish or [former] German system but does not replicate it entirely.
    What specific freedoms are you referring to?

    Now maybe those good results are due to other aspects of those economies rather than absence of a minimum wage
    You seem to have walked straight past the fact that your claim that they have no minimum wage is simply *******s. They don't have a state mandated minimum wage, instead it is provided through trade union negotiations which apply to specific sectors. And you keep conflating Denmark and Germany, your seeming belief that they are identical in their provision of minimum wage is a misapprehension

    As Denmark has no minimum wage law, the high wage floor has been attributed to the power of trade unions. For example, as the result of a collective bargaining agreement between the 3F trade union and the employers group Horesta, workers at McDonald's, Burger King and other fast food chains make the equivalent of $20 an hour

    but at this point you're on much shakier ground than you were at first claiming that Denmark was some far left country that did better than the UK.
    Sorry, where did I say "far left"? Now you're just making it up as you go along. I used the terms "social democratic" and "Fabian socialist".

    Now presumably you are not denying that Denmark has done far better than the UK. And it is clearly to the left of the UK in the status of trade unions, in public ownership of utilities, in the degree of redistribution of wealth and in the size of the public sector.

    Denmark has outperformed the UK consistently, and in respect of its political orientation it is consistently to the left of the UK. I think you're confusing your experience with Germany as some kind of expertise on Denmark, the latter is clearly substantially to the left of Germany. Again, public ownership of utilities and the miniscule role of private providers in the Danish healthcare system, are good examples
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    (Original post by young_guns)
    What specific freedoms are you referring to?



    You seem to have walked straight past the fact that your claim that they have no minimum wage is simply *******s. They don't have a state mandated minimum wage, instead it is provided through trade union negotiations. And you keep conflating Denmark and Germany, they are clearly quite different in many ways.
    I had thought we had well established that not everyone is in a union and being part of a union isn't mandatory. There is a large class of people - you suggest 1/5 of the workforce - who operate entirely outside of this system.

    Sorry, where did I say "far left"? Now you're just making it up as you go along. I used the terms "social democratic" and "Fabian socialist".

    Now presumably you are not denying that Denmark has done far better than the UK. And it is clearly to the left of the UK in the status of trade unions, in public ownership of utilities, in the degree of redistribution of wealth and in the size of the public sector.
    According to the OECD, the PPP GDP/capita stack up as follows:

    US - 45 665.4
    UK - 34 776.6
    Denmark - 32 976.5

    http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=PDB_LV

    So by this measure Denmark does a bit worse than the UK. I would grant that it is basically comparable and probably within the margin of error for these sorts of statistics.

    Is this surprising? In my view no, because I don't think Denmark is run drastically differently to the UK. It is more socialistic in some areas, but less in others.
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    (Original post by The_Mighty_Bush)

    Just look at the authors of the Spirit Level for an example of people who hold that if the poor in Britain get richer by 10% but the rich get richer by 15% that is worse than the poor getting poorer by 5% but the rich by 25%..
    I've not read this book but i'm curious to know why as this seems to be a feeling on the left that Thatcher exemplified in her final PMQ's.

    I'm with the former in that so long as my wage rises well above inflation, i don't care how much money Bill Gates has. Though of course that's not currently the case.

    (Original post by young_guns)
    There's little difference in the sense that under both policies, in considering net benefit billionaires would not really be receiving the money. It's only that, as you point out, under the Greens policy you would have the ridiculous situation where you see completely unnecessary churn of money as it bounces from the Exchequer's bank accounts to the citizen's and back again, with all the attendant administration costs
    I'd say the difference is in the principal behind it. The Greens believe in the concept of universality while those on the right tend not to. Though there are plenty of libertarians who are happy for people to choose not to work which a non-libertarian like me finds disgusting (so long as they are living off the state).
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    I had thought we had well established that not everyone is in a union
    You are confused. You don't need to be a union member in order to benefit from the collective agreements made by unions on behalf of workers in certain sectors.

    There is a large class of people - you suggest 1/5 of the workforce - who operate entirely outside of this system.
    So you agree that Denmark has one of the highest rates of unionisation in the developed world? And that it hasn't led to the sky falling as right-wingers are constantly shrieking?

    As to "a large class of people", where is your evidence for this statement? Where is the evidence that it is a class of people as opposed to individual opt-outs in certain industries where those individuals already enjoy the benefits of the collective agreements made for that sector?

    Perhaps more pertinent, the IMF estimates Denmark has the highest minimum wage in the world. Whether that minimum wage floor is generated through government or trade union action is irrelevant. What matters is that right-wingers claim high minimum wages indubitably lead to higher unemployment, when in fact the evidence shows the opposite in many cases; high minimum wage countries like Australia often have lower unemployment than countries with lower minimum wages.

    According to the OECD
    According to the OECD, Denmark has a GDP per capita of $58,894 compared to the UK's $39,336. That's a pretty astounding almost $20,000 difference. In blunt terms, the average Danish citizen is 50% more productive than the average UK citizen, despite their very high sectoral minimum wages ($20 / hour in fast food), high levels of redistribution, high levels of income equality and high levels of trade union membership. Basically, all the things right-wingers are constantly screeching will cause a country to be utterly ruined, to see unemployment skyrocket and investors flee

    Btw World Bank provides Denmark GDP per capita PPP as being $41,524 and the UK's as $35,013 though PPP

    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/unit...per-capita-ppp
    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/denm...per-capita-ppp

    It is more socialistic in some areas
    In what areas is it less socialistic? Specifically?
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    (Original post by young_guns)
    You are confused. You don't need to be a union member in order to benefit from the collective agreements made by unions on behalf of workers in certain sectors.
    As in Germany. Yet, again, not all sectors are covered by these agreements.

    The effect is that while some sectors that are poorly paid in the UK are well paid there (you cite McDonalds workers) there are also wide sectors subject to almost no labour controls at all. That's one reason you see so many Doener huts in Germany, and not all the people working there are Turks.

    So you agree that Denmark has one of the highest rates of unionisation in the developed world? And that it hasn't led to the sky falling as right-wingers are constantly shrieking?

    As to "a large class of people", where is your evidence for this statement? Where is the evidence that it is a class of people as opposed to individual opt-outs in certain industries where those individuals already enjoy the benefits of the collective agreements made for that sector?

    Perhaps more pertinent, the IMF estimates Denmark has the highest minimum wage in the world. Whether that minimum wage floor is generated through government or trade union action is irrelevant. What matters is that right-wingers claim high minimum wages indubitably lead to higher unemployment, when in fact the evidence shows the opposite in many cases; high minimum wage countries like Australia often have lower unemployment than countries with lower minimum wages.
    A minimum wage is a price floor. It doesn't make sense to calculate a price floor as a kind of average of what low-ish paid guys are getting paid. There are blue collar workers in this country making £50k+ - look at plumbers in London. That doesn't somehow raise the minimum wage. There is no price floor in Denmark, no minimum wage, and people who are not employable in the guild sectors are working in this market, which is even freer than that of the US. I suggest that the overwhelming majority of people covered by collective bargaining agreements in Denmark would not be paid the minimum wage in the UK anyway.

    According to the OECD, Denmark has a GDP per capita of $58,894 compared to the UK's $39,336. That's a pretty astounding almost $20,000 difference. In blunt terms, the average Danish citizen is 50% more productive than the average UK citizen, despite their very high sectoral minimum wages ($20 / hour in fast food), high levels of redistribution, high levels of income equality and high levels of trade union membership. Basically, all the things right-wingers are constantly screeching will cause a country to be utterly ruined, to see unemployment skyrocket and investors flee

    Btw World Bank provides Denmark GDP per capita PPP as being $41,524 and the UK's as $35,013 though PPP

    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/unit...per-capita-ppp
    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/denm...per-capita-ppp
    I'm assuming then, in absence of a citation, that the $20k lead is a statistic calculated without adjusting for the cost of living. I agree there's scatter, but these two countries land to either side of one another, not consistently one above or the other below. I don't think the data justifies a claim that Denmark is more successful than the UK by this measure.

    In what areas is it less socialistic? Specifically?
    As stated, the labour market is a good example. Prima facie, perhaps even naively, more what a socialist would want. In practice, closer to what a free marketeer might want.
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    (Original post by anarchism101)
    The Green Party is not a socialist party (though undoubtedly a lot of its members and supporters, including some of those right at the top, are socialists) because it doesn't explicitly advocate workers' control of the means of production. That's all there is to it. People calling the Greens socialists are just using the term for anything they consider left-wing. And considering that's all this article is doing as well, I don't take it as an insult at all.

    As for the article, mostly a massive strawman, just repeating the "any growth is always great for everyone at every time and outweighs any other cost" assumption that's part of the reason we're in a mess in the first place.
    Yes, the premise in the Spectator article is that if the entire country were paved over, covered in toxic waste and the ambient temperature of the planet was boiling point, that would all be fine, so long as there was 'economic growth'.

    Intelligent greens are trying to expose the fantasy that capitalism can relentlessly expand production based on the destruction of environmental resources, as if the latter were limitless. That clearly isn't the case, but many industries (and the governments that increasingly serve them as neoliberal ideology holds sway) continue to behave as if it is. That is unworkable for continued human existence in any meaningful sense of the word. What use is a high income if the general quality of life on the planet has slumped?

    It is also a myth that economic growth can only consist of traditional high resource input, high energy production. The immense growth (for example) in intellectual work has partially disproved that, although it is admittedly still reliant on things like fossil fuels to maintain the use of computers.

    We need to jump past traditional left/right theories and look square on at the finite nature of the planet.
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    (Original post by zippity.doodah)
    3) a citizens' income of £72 a week. sounds almost communist to me...
    You are joking right?
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    (Original post by young_guns)
    Considerations of class are common, in fact, fundamental to all forms of socialism. The distinction is that communists / Marxists believe in a dictatorship of the proletariat.
    It isn't just that. Marx didn't really say that much about what a socialist society would actually look like. His main body of work was on his theory of how captlsim worked and how it would inevitably transform into socialism with the now discredited labor theory of value. How do you define socialism? The standard definition of socialism if workers owning the means of production. How do Fabians sit with that? Unions bargaining with the capitalists to get a better deal isn't socialism by that definition. It is just capitalism where they have collective bargaining power. Is this just a stepping point? Do you have an end goal of socialism?
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    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    You are joking right?
    not really - I am very hesitant to use the term "communist" owards the green party because communism (or at least state communism, if that is a better term) is objectively as left as you can get, while the greens are not as left as you can get. but giving all citizens in the UK a £72 benefit/wage a week, equally, rich or poor, is reminiscent of all citizens getting the same wage - so it sounds like communism (as I had said before, using the term "sound", not is) but I'm not saying it is. it *is* very left wing, but not communistic
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    Yes, the premise in the Spectator article is that if the entire country were paved over, covered in toxic waste and the ambient temperature of the planet was boiling point, that would all be fine, so long as there was 'economic growth'.

    Intelligent greens are trying to expose the fantasy that capitalism can relentlessly expand production based on the destruction of environmental resources, as if the latter were limitless. That clearly isn't the case, but many industries (and the governments that increasingly serve them as neoliberal ideology holds sway) continue to behave as if it is. That is unworkable for continued human existence in any meaningful sense of the word. What use is a high income if the general quality of life on the planet has slumped?

    It is also a myth that economic growth can only consist of traditional high resource input, high energy production. The immense growth (for example) in intellectual work has partially disproved that, although it is admittedly still reliant on things like fossil fuels to maintain the use of computers.

    We need to jump past traditional left/right theories and look square on at the finite nature of the planet.
    It's not just the ecological impact (which can, admittedly, be a hard sell), but also the impact on work and leisure. It's always assumed that the best use of increased productivity is higher production, rather than reducing work time.

    Thing is, we're actually getting worse on this front. Working a 40 hour week used to guarantee you a secure job and a steadily rising real income. Now it generally gets you a stagnant income and an insecure job. Despite this, average growth is the same if not slightly lower than the Keynesian era.

    It's amazing that the idea that capitalism doesn't have to be as **** as it is now can now be considered "socialist".
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    (Original post by anarchism101)
    It's not just the ecological impact (which can, admittedly, be a hard sell), but also the impact on work and leisure. It's always assumed that the best use of increased productivity is higher production, rather than reducing work time.

    Thing is, we're actually getting worse on this front.
    Working time has steadily reduced for the last century. People have divided the gains between reduced working time and increased consumption.

    Working a 40 hour week used to guarantee you a secure job and a steadily rising real income. Now it generally gets you a stagnant income and an insecure job. Despite this, average growth is the same if not slightly lower than the Keynesian era.
    Why would number of working hours be related to salary growth or job security?

    It's amazing that the idea that capitalism doesn't have to be as **** as it is now can now be considered "socialist".
    It's interesting at least that even socialists themselves are starting to treat the label as a slur.

    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    It isn't just that. Marx didn't really say that much about what a socialist society would actually look like.
    He did, in the informatively named communist manifesto.

    (Original post by Karl Marx)
    Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionising the mode of production.

    These measures will, of course, be different in different countries.

    Nevertheless, in most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable.

    1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
    2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
    3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
    4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
    5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
    6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
    7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
    8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
    9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
    10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c, &c.

    When, in the course of development, class distinctions have disappeared, and all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power will lose its political character. Political power, properly so called, is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing another. If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organise itself as a class, if, by means of a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the old conditions of production, then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class.
    Contrary to his post-1990 apologists, Marx wasn't an anarchist and envisioned something indeed very much like the USSR or PRC.

    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    Yes, the premise in the Spectator article is that if the entire country were paved over, covered in toxic waste and the ambient temperature of the planet was boiling point, that would all be fine, so long as there was 'economic growth'.

    ...

    We need to jump past traditional left/right theories and look square on at the finite nature of the planet.
    I think both sides are talking past one another on this issue.

    No doubt the Spectator author would agree with you that a boiling country of paved toxic waste would be bad, but clearly bringing the country into that state would involve a large amount of economic damage, too. So the question is simply whether current institutions are taking account of that damage, so as to ensure that if that were the optimal way to go (and I think it probably wouldn't be) we would be sure that what we're getting in exchange is worth it.

    From where I am standing it seems that the tort system really doesn't take account of diffuse property damage from gas emissions very well, so the environmentalists have a point there but have made a mistake in hitching their wagon to the left and its misplaced belief in central planning. On the other hand, the existing market mechanism for paving and waste disposal works just fine, and is probably even over-regulated, imposing severe drag on quality of life with e.g. rocketing house prices and fewer jobs in the North.
 
 
 
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