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Why is socialism seen as a 'nice' philosophy? Watch

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    (Original post by Jordan-James)
    I stopped watching that video when she said than in a capitalist society businesses make their workers work more for less pay in order to make more profit.
    So that's not true, in your opinion? Think about it. (I didn't watch the video, I'm just referring to your comment.) The capitalism most Western countries practice is not entirely free. Workers are protected by different laws, so that they receive minimum wages and so on. If that wasn't the case, do you really think every entrepreneur would pay all his/ her employees a fair salary/ wage? That is not what happened during the industrial revolution: People had to work up to 16 hours a day and were still living at the breadline. Many were forced to send little children to work as well. Despite working so much and creating so much value, as chefdave likes to put it, they were hungry and lived under terrible conditions. It was common to share a bed: One person would sleep in it during the day and leave for work in the evening, then someone else would come and use the bed at night.
    Of course, if you are high-qualified and there are more jobs available in your field, employers have to pay you well because you can always choose to leave and find something else. If you have no good education and there is high unemployment and no laws protecting you, then you have to work for whatever is offered, and of course: whoever owns the business will want to make as much profit as possible, since that is the basic principle of capitalism. Thus he/she will choose to pay his/her workers as little as possible. The concept of capitalism is based on the idea that greed will drive people to work hard, and that those who earn much money will also spend it, so that it is always moving and for the benefit of the whole economy. However, if there are no restrictions, it will backfire - capitalism means that those who have more capital are automatically more powerful. If they can do whatever they want, they will gather more wealth than they can or want to spend, so it stays with them, which is bad for the economy because less money is being spent. Meanwhile, since they are the ones owning land, factories and so on, there is no need for them or their children (who inherit that wealth) to work - they get others to do it, who are totally dependent on them to provide them with a job and a salary, even if it's really low. So if the worker creates, for example, 15 Euros/ Pounds/ Dollars (whatever) of value per hour, the entrepreneur can choose to pay him 10 and keep 5, or he can also pay just 2 and keep the rest (or something in between, of course). Which of the two is more likely in a completely free economy, if the entrepreneur does have that liberty without having to face any consequences and is greedy, as it is, as we have been repeatedly told here, human nature? And if he does only pay the worker such a small part of what value the worker has created, is that not theft? Don't you see that the entrepreneur is the lazy person who doesn't work and lives at the cost of those who are working?
    This is what society looked like in Marx' time. These huge injustices are what inspired his ideology. However, a compromise is often the best solution; that's why many countries have capitalism within certain limits and taxes to pay for a welfare state that is to the benefit of all.
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    (Original post by pixelfrag)
    I don't think you quite understand what socialism is. There's no "confiscation" of income.
    Yes there is - see USSR or North Korea
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    (Original post by Kibalchich)
    This is clearly fictional. In reality, the students would have complained about the lecturer and got him removed for being so stupid as to think that Obama was a socialist.

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    Relatively he is for US standards lol!
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    (Original post by Kibalchich)
    Ahhhh, yes, "freedom". The freedom to starve in the streets and die earlier while your country is looted by gangsters. Gotta love a bit of "freedom".
    The oppression the USSR or North Korea is much more ideal than the free media and human rights which we enjoy in this country (!)

    sarcasm btw
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    (Original post by TheHairyArmenian)
    Go talk to anyone living in 1980s Soviet Union, trust me your outlook would change.
    The same people who pulled down the Berlin wall- you're having a laugh
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    (Original post by a729)
    Yes there is - see USSR or North Korea
    Yes but OP says confiscation of income = income tax, which is not a concept unique to socialism.
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    (Original post by TheHairyArmenian)
    Germans pulled down the Berlin Wall, kid, not Russians. The GDR is not the USSR.
    The East germans were under russian control with their ideologies. A russian in Russia itself was probably massively indoctrinated into believing the west was less developed and they were living affluent lives. Look how North Korea presents the rest of the world to their people.

    East Germans could see the dominance of Capitalist society over the wall and ultimately is what brought it down.

    Russians werent allowed to talk bad of their government, the millions that went against the USSR all died miserably as a result. Russians today are still not allowed to talk bad of their government.

    Isolated Socialist/Communist states are based on lies, to keep their citizens in check.
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    (Original post by Jordan-James)
    Unemployment is largely created as a result of minimum wage, a socialist like policy.

    Tell me how socialism in practice will fix unemployment, you think im gonna work with no chance of becomin a millionaire? no lottery? no ambition?

    Show yourself the door.
    Firstly, in historical terms large-scale and widespread unemployment emerged as capitalism did. Secondly, it's also not right to suggest minimum-wage policies are socialist, at best they are left-liberal. Socialism worthy of the name seeks to provide for everyone according to their needs, not just tinker with capitalism (which is what minimum-wage amounts to). Don't feel too bad, plenty of people confuse left-liberalism with socialism.
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    'Sharing is caring'.
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    (Original post by Oswy)
    Firstly, in historical terms large-scale and widespread unemployment emerged as capitalism did. Secondly, it's also not right to suggest minimum-wage policies are socialist, at best they are left-liberal. Socialism worthy of the name seeks to provide for everyone according to their needs, not just tinker with capitalism (which is what minimum-wage amounts to). Don't feel too bad, plenty of people confuse left-liberalism with socialism.
    Left-Liberalism is the closest any socialist in this country will get to socialism. What i mean by this is that it's closer to a socialist policy rather than a right wing policy, and its effects are evident on the economy.

    The major fact in socialism is that it only works if everyone wants it, I stated in my previous post that i certainly dont want it. So why still argue the matter.

    If you think there will be a revolution, history tells us yet again that the way socialists have gone about attaining socialism kills millions of people.

    Im surprised Socialists arent hated upon in the same way as Fascists. As both from history ended in mass death. With considerably more dying as a result of forced Socialism and its more extreme forms.

    Old labour attempted their changes with all the nationalisation changes etc, but old labour is a dead party and clearly after Thatcher, Labour realised their views were clearly not in the interest of the public, and ulitmately ended in new labour forming.
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    (Original post by TheHairyArmenian)
    I agree completely, but what about the people NOW living in post-Soviet Russia. Trust me you'd learn a lot by talking to them.
    Are you asking of a russians view on currently living in Russia, where they've been making moves toward Capitalism gradually, however they are still an authoritarian country in many respects.

    Russia as it is, is a very nice country, my uncle owns a property in Moscow and he says its a wonderful city.
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    (Original post by TheHairyArmenian)
    Go talk to anyone living in 1980s Soviet Union, trust me your outlook would change.
    I'm a Russian American and I know loads of people who did just that, including my parents. Almost everyone was fed up with the regime, liberals staged the biggest demonstrations in Russian history in 1989-1990 with literally millions of people. That's not what they would tell you if you watch some Russian state tv though.
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    (Original post by Jordan-James)
    Are you asking of a russians view on currently living in Russia, where they've been making moves toward Capitalism gradually, however they are still an authoritarian country in many respects.

    Russia as it is, is a very nice country, my uncle owns a property in Moscow and he says its a wonderful city.
    Russians did not make any gradual moves towards capitalism, they were plunged into it in 1991, there was no smooth transition, most industries became privatised in a matter of months with a stakeholder society emerging rapidly. However, most of the workers who owned shares were convinced of the uselessness of these shares and willingly sold them off for a tiny fraction of their current price. Those who managed to retain them (very few) have now prospered.
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    (Original post by Jordan-James)
    The East germans were under russian control with their ideologies. A russian in Russia itself was probably massively indoctrinated into believing the west was less developed and they were living affluent lives. Look how North Korea presents the rest of the world to their people.

    East Germans could see the dominance of Capitalist society over the wall and ultimately is what brought it down.

    Russians werent allowed to talk bad of their government, the millions that went against the USSR all died miserably as a result. Russians today are still not allowed to talk bad of their government.

    Isolated Socialist/Communist states are based on lies, to keep their citizens in check.
    No, it wasn't. By the 80s most were convinced of the superiority of western capitalism, especially in the more progressive regions like Moscow and St Petersburg. Just consider the never-ending scramble for foreign-made goods which were immensely prestigious as they were clearly superior to SU's own produce.

    By the time of the introduction of glasnost, countless critics of the regime emerged and were no longer sidelined or oppressed, coupled with the devastating effect of the perestroika designed to produce an economic transition it contributed massively to the downfall of the SU.

    There are sectors of the media which are entirely hostile to Putin, although they feel pressure from the govt to curtail their activity they still manage to openly operate as they are insufficient to influence Putin's "base" of underprivileged and undereducated voters who are happy to blame the relatively prosperous middle class and western interference for the fault's of their own govt.
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    (Original post by chefdave)
    I agree with your worldview that we should be aiming to get the best stuff to as many people as possible, imo this is exactly what an economy is for (and far too many people overlook this basic point!). However socialism isn't the mechanism to achieve this end. Socialism to a large degree is anti-wealth because socialists believe the wealthy should be punished with a redistribution of their property. How is anyone supposed to prosper under such a regime? As soon as you make something of yourself the local communis party will be knocking on your door with their hands out demanding the lion's share of your efforts for 'the community'. A likely story! For me it's all about incentives. Under capitalism (a system with it's own flaws) the incentive is to produce because that is the way to prosperity, under socialism you simply expect to get rich off the back of somebody else's labour - end result? Nobody bothers to work any longer.
    well yes i totally agree that a profit-driven economy is the best thing at present to promote wealth growth and hence help reach the stage where we can provide everyone with the best stuff, because right now people are not enlightened enough to be motivated and incentivised simply by an altruistic cause, and their greed and self-interest must be exploited for the growth of wealth, hence a capitalist economy. but you can't just look at the here and now of the situation: because when you put it in a historical context altruism and socialism have always been the direction all societies develop in. Think about how far we have come, from the ancient times when a life could be taken or spared at the toss of a coin, to today when almost everyone believes in the fundamental rights such as freedom, equality and human dignity? So why can't there be a future where everyone truly believes in working for others and for the common good? Why does greed have to be something we are destined to carry? If greed and selfishness is truly in our nature - what made us come so far from our brutal and barbaric past?

    I want to raise an example - NHS. I know there are so many people who say NHS is crap and is crippling the country - but I am a medical student and I know for a fact the NHS is far from being the worst healthcare system in the world, whether it is in terms of public spending, efficiency or healthcare equality. Ok I take it that it is not the best healthcare system in the world either, but we are definitely one of the best and our population is in fact much better off as a whole when we have the NHS than not. And how do we define 'best' anyway? Is it the best only when you are able to provide the greatest quality of care on earth, even when it is only to the people at the top of the socio-economic pyramid (like in the States)? Or would you rather have the NHS, where let's be honest, you probably won't have 20 goes at IVF, but at least when you are dying of cancer, you can rest comfortably in the knowledge that you will get the same good standard and quality of care regardless of what your social or financial background is?

    And as I said, good socialism requires the society to have reached a certain high stage. The same enormous state institution like NHS would not have worked in places like Africa simply because it will result in great inefficiency at best or most likely widespread corruption. However, it works in the UK because, in a sense, the UK society is much more mature and people are generally more educated. You see there are checks and balances but at the end of the day it is largely down to whether the individuals in the system are intelligent enough to know what is good and what is bad. It is like driving on the roads - Why do you wait at the red light when realistically speaking, your chances of getting caught is slim? Why do you give way at a junction? You could have forced your way in or something. Answers like these may seem obvious to you because they are 'common sense' but if you go to places like for example China or Malaysia or even Singapore, you see that is far from the case. So in a sense, in this future society that we are talking about - things like self-interest or greed will be seen as stupid as jumping a red light.

    People complain that giving poor people benefits will make them lazy and breed this so-called 'benefit culture' - but if we sit down and think about the whole situation, is it really the case? Or are there in fact more people who, thanks to the help they were given, are now able to get out of their poor conditions to achieve and aspire for higher? Hardship and pressure will perhaps push people, but more for better or for worse? Perhaps giving people help will create room for abuse, but on the whole does it make more people lazy or does it enable more?

    Anyway I have to apologise because many of these thoughts are quite crude. As I said I am medical student so at the end of the day I am no expert on this. And that being the case - I do not support the communist party or any extreme leftist - I just think we will continue to be more and more altruistic, and we will grow more and more caring for others, and that a socialist society is where we will ultimately end up. At the same time, I believe history will take its course, and all we need to do is to wait and see - let democracy plays its game, let wealth be accumulated through whatever means, whilst at the same time, society will grow more and more equal and, more and more people be empowered. Maybe this is the solution? I don't know.

    P.S. Yes the London underground drivers protesting against the automated trains - haha well I guess what has to be done has to be done - but if you ask me, I simply cannot imagine 100 years from now there will still be people driving the trains (or whatever mode of transportation). For those old folks who have driven a tube train for their entire life - yes it is harsh and it is unfortunate because there was a time when driving a train was a specialised skill. But as society and technology progress, this is inevitable. And if they do get unemployed - well is it going to be such a big problem? i mean i presume they have earned enough to get an early retirement anyway. As for the young people, there is always time to learn new skills, go to school, do something else - and there are tons of support and help out there.

    Add: There is nothing really inherently 'western' in capitalism - it is simply a term describing a certain type of economic system which is adopted in most countries nowadays (not just 'Western' countries - though perhaps they were the first but it really doesn't mean anything in itself). However, what is really unique about the Western culture is the fact that in its centre is the freedom of mind and the quest for truth, and no other culture has tried so hard and so successfully to unite ideals(philosophies, ideologies, etc.) and reality (science, reason, materialistic facts). This is why the West has been THE leader in the advancement of humanity throughout the past. I firmly believe that the West will continue to lead in the future, provided that the Western world (governments and people alike) can step out of this 'eternal present' we seem to be stuck in, and once again think about the future of the entire humanity, in where we want to go and in what we want to achieve. And let no chains of traditions or differences bind us - because that is our strength - it is about truth and ideas, not anything else.
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    (Original post by dj1015)
    I watched most of this the other day. Honestly felt slightly ill afterwards.

    Haha, nice find. I want to marry her, and then drive her literally insane with my Conservative values! I particularly like her funky 'love music, hate racism' bright red jumper, I'd have to counter it with a jumper that had this embossed on the front:

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    (Original post by chefdave)
    Haha, nice find. I want to marry her, and then drive her literally insane with my Conservative values! I particularly like her funky 'love music, hate racism' bright red jumper, I'd have to counter it with a jumper that had this embossed on the front:

    Name:  here-comes-diversity1.jpg
Views: 52
Size:  43.7 KB

    Well, that's a bit racist.
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    (Original post by chefdave)
    I think you need to tell the professional leftists that, they seem to believe that welfarism is an integral part of their ideology.
    The idea of a social safety net in the form of universal health care and unemployment benefit is fundamentally a modern liberal idea (until Thatcher came along) linked to a limited form of positive freedom. It's not a socialist one. You could argue it's socialistic in principle, but it's not socialist.

    Also, comparing the social safety net of Conservative-led Britain, where the rich are being given tax cuts and the poor are having the benefits they need to survive slashed, to an authoritarian Marxist regime (as you have done in other posts), is so mad that it's not even worth me explaining why.

    The whole discourse of the neoliberal far right is disturbing in both its ignorance and its influence.
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    (Original post by Jordan-James)
    Left-Liberalism is the closest any socialist in this country will get to socialism. What i mean by this is that it's closer to a socialist policy rather than a right wing policy, and its effects are evident on the economy.

    The major fact in socialism is that it only works if everyone wants it, I stated in my previous post that i certainly dont want it. So why still argue the matter.

    If you think there will be a revolution, history tells us yet again that the way socialists have gone about attaining socialism kills millions of people.

    Im surprised Socialists arent hated upon in the same way as Fascists. As both from history ended in mass death. With considerably more dying as a result of forced Socialism and its more extreme forms.

    Old labour attempted their changes with all the nationalisation changes etc, but old labour is a dead party and clearly after Thatcher, Labour realised their views were clearly not in the interest of the public, and ulitmately ended in new labour forming.
    As I’ve said, left-liberalism isn’t socialism. It’s reasonable to suggest that left-liberalism is ‘closer’ in political philosophy to socialism than, say, outright capitalism or fascism are, but it’s important not to make the mistake of identifying left-liberalism as if it were socialism. It’s also as meaningless to suggest that socialism only ‘works’ if everyone wants it as it is to suggest that capitalism only works if everyone ‘wants’ it, plenty of people who live under capitalism don’t want it, despite its power to present itself normatively in the minds of many. I certainly don’t want to live under the injustices of capitalism but, as could be said for any political system as a generalisation, it ‘works’ well enough for some groups to be able to maintain itself. So, no it’s not a ‘fact’ let alone a ‘major’ one. I haven’t suggested there will be a revolutionary change towards socialism, but I don’t rule it out, as a Marxist I also recognise that there is a possible ‘organic’ path from capitalism to socialism which may come to pass under the latter’s transforming, and self-transforming, processes. Plenty of people have died through capitalist transformations; both world wars of the twentieth century were, to greater or lesser extent, the outgrowth of imperialist capitalism coming into crisis. I’d also caution you against assuming I’m a defender of the Soviet enterprise as I’m not – just because something self-identifies as ‘socialist’ or ‘communist’ doesn’t mean it lives up to the standards of Marxist political philosophy I defend. The ‘Old Labour’ party as you call it was only ever a weakly socialist party, it never sought to abolish private property or dismantle the capitalist markets, let alone implement any radically redistributive programme. The reason the Labour Party is today (at best) a left-liberal political party is that this is the high-tide era of capitalism and no seriously opposing party can make headway in the context of a liberal ‘democracy’. Yet even at the high-tide of capitalism we see how vulnerable it is to self-inflicted crises. This story isn’t over, not by a long shot.
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    (Original post by slothcity)
    The idea of a social safety net in the form of universal health care and unemployment benefit is fundamentally a modern liberal idea (until Thatcher came along) linked to a limited form of positive freedom. It's not a socialist one. You could argue it's socialistic in principle, but it's not socialist...
    It's true that welfare as we know it today has its roots in the pragmatism of liberal and conservative political philosophy as it was in the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (that's ironic I know). A modest engagement with the history would reveal two primary strands of anxiety. One being a concern about the extent to which large-scale poverty led to social unrest and crime against the propertied classes. The other being a concern about how far poor health and poor education among the masses might be affecting Britain's capacity to compete with emerging industrial economies like Germany and the US. There was also a third strand; sheer embarrassment of those benefitting from industrial capitalism in having to walk down streets and witness, first-hand, the poverty and destitution 'advancing' industrial capitalism was generating. Charitable endeavour was recognised, lamentably, as failing to make any major inroads. So, in short, welfare as we know it today, setting aside perhaps the NHS, had no socialist inspiration but was, in fact, an attempt to shore up the conditions of those who were getting rich under capitalism by placing a limit on how much poverty or destitution would be tolerated.
 
 
 
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