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Socialists Question Time AKA 'Ask a Socialist' watch

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    Would the Socialist Party mind answering my question? Its on the previous page.
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    Quite a few pages back History-Boy described a utopia in which a minimalist government would preside over a world in which property has been abolished. This is from memory so please correct me if I'm wrong. All the proposed mechanisms for the abolition of individual property rights have involved "a committee" controlling the means of production. Does having a "minimalist state" just mean you stopped calling it a government and started calling it a committee or can anyone actually propose a feasible mechanism for the abolition of individual property within the context of a small government?
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    (Original post by iwilson03)
    Would the Socialist Party mind answering my question? Its on the previous page.
    same for me please
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    (Original post by History-Boy)
    Nice one, Adorno.

    If you want a really short and simple explanation:- Democratic Socialism = Old Labour and Social Democracy = New Labour-ish
    (Original post by Adorno)
    Not quite, no. Even Old Labour was a mixture of social democratic, democratic socialist, Trotskyist, and revisionist tendencies it just so happened that when Labour were elected in the 1960s and 1970s it was the left-wing social democrats who were in the ascendancy with a little help from the democratic socialists. When that alliance failed and the right-wing social democrats left to form the SDP it caused a bit of a problem for Labour.

    Democratic Socialism = Aneurin Bevan & Michael Foot certainly but social democrat = Hugh Dalton, Clement Attlee, Gaitskill, Callaghan, Jenkins, Healy etc. All part and parcel of 'Old Labour' after all.

    It doesn't do RL labour supporters any good to romanticise (and thereby homogenise) the Old Labour Party as some unified group. The truth is Labour has never been a single-minded party, even in 1945.
    Also, I wouldn't think of New Labour as too firmly Social Democrat, though it's probably a more accurate term than any other I can think of. The Third Way is significantly more centrist than traditional Social Democracy, and while many in New Labour were Social Democrats, the leadership was nearer the centre than I'd use Social Democrat to describe.
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    (Original post by Matthew_Lowson)
    Would the Socialists support a move to remove Employment Law in the UK
    I wouldn't insofar as employment law protects workers from unfair practices amongst employers. Where it doesn't then more effort should be made to ensure that it does.
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    (Original post by iwilson03)
    Would the Socialist Party mind answering my question? Its on the previous page.
    As Drogue put it in his reply: reducing rents is essentially shifting the problem. Personally I would favour renationalising housing associations and ensuring a more coherent and comprehensive policy of social housing combined with social amenities.

    Making things cheaper doesn't automatically make them better, after all.
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    (Original post by Adorno)
    I wouldn't insofar as employment law protects workers from unfair practices amongst employers. Where it doesn't then more effort should be made to ensure that it does.
    So would you support a motion amending the current state on dismissals from disciplinary to the case that an employee can only be dismissed on disciplinary grounds where proof of guilt can be found, and that dismissing employees for 'alleged' offences - should be made unlawful in the UK
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    (Original post by Matthew_Lowson)
    So would you support a motion amending the current state on dismissals from disciplinary to the case that an employee can only be dismissed on disciplinary grounds where proof of guilt can be found, and that dismissing employees for 'alleged' offences - should be made unlawful in the UK
    Well, I'd personally have to see the bill first before committing to anything but it sounds like an interesting position.
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    How do you rationally allocate goods without price?
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    (Original post by Seven_Three)
    How do you rationally allocate goods without price?
    How does price rationally allocate goods? By assuming those willing to pay the most want/deserve/need something the most. While this is a good guide, I'm sure there are people in the world who want, deserve and need the bowl of cereals I just ate more than I do, since I'm getting a little tubby in places. Now state allocation has a host of problems too - how to decide who needs or deserves what and not taking into account different preferences, for example - and personally I feel this is worse than the market, but no method is perfect.
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    (Original post by Drogue)
    How does price rationally allocate goods? By assuming those willing to pay the most want/deserve/need something the most. While this is a good guide, I'm sure there are people in the world who want, deserve and need the bowl of cereals I just ate more than I do, since I'm getting a little tubby in places. Now state allocation has a host of problems too - how to decide who needs or deserves what and not taking into account different preferences, for example - and personally I feel this is worse than the market, but no method is perfect.
    Ok how do you tell producers what to produce without price.
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    (Original post by Seven_Three)
    Ok how do you tell producers what to produce without price.
    By telling them. You walk up to a factory and say "you will produce this car", the same way the factory owner would in a capitalist society.
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    (Original post by Drogue)
    By telling them. You walk up to a factory and say "you will produce this car", the same way the factory owner would in a capitalist society.
    Well the factory owner in a capitalist system would look at the price of goods and use that to determine what to produce, you wouldn't actually tell them.
    How would he rationally decide what to produce if there was no price to tell him?
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    (Original post by Drogue)
    How does price rationally allocate goods? By assuming those willing to pay the most want/deserve/need something the most.
    I don't think you have to appeal to this sort of philosophical footing. Free exchange rationally allocates goods by ensuring that people only receive: a) what they produce and b) what other people judge to be of at least worth what they produced in exchange.

    Whether or not it is just can be debated, but there is certainly reason here.

    While this is a good guide, I'm sure there are people in the world who want, deserve and need the bowl of cereals I just ate more than I do, since I'm getting a little tubby in places. Now state allocation has a host of problems too - how to decide who needs or deserves what and not taking into account different preferences, for example - and personally I feel this is worse than the market, but no method is perfect.
    Is it not? Surely this assumes philosophical notions of 'desert' that are themselves disputed.
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    What does the TSR Socialist Party think of this latest from Ed Miliband? (Courtesy of BBC News).
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    (Original post by Seven_Three)
    Well the factory owner in a capitalist system would look at the price of goods and use that to determine what to produce, you wouldn't actually tell them.
    How would he rationally decide what to produce if there was no price to tell him?
    No, the factory owner tells his employees to produce, the same way as the state could tell their workers to produce. The factory owner is guided by the price, the state official isn't.
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    (Original post by Drogue)
    No, the factory owner tells his employees to produce, the same way as the state could tell their workers to produce. The factory owner is guided by the price, the state official isn't.
    Maybe the OP phrased his question poorly. The price mechanism is the method that free markets use to signal information about the relative subjective value of goods and services. Each consumer makes the choice: "I can have these two chocolate bars, or this newspaper, which do I prefer?" and each worker makes the choice: "I can work an extra hour and bring home a bottle of wine to my (wife|husband), or I can go home now and spend an extra hour with (him|her)" the price mechanism is the collective noun for all these individual decisions.

    What the OP was asking is that in a command economy, how do consumers signal their needs (and their relative importances) to the State in order for the state to communicate it to the workers? And indeed, for workers and consumers are not two separate classes -- how do the workers signal their needs with respect to working hours and conditions?
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    (Original post by Drogue)
    No, the factory owner tells his employees to produce, the same way as the state could tell their workers to produce. The factory owner is guided by the price, the state official isn't.
    A factory owner tells the employees what to make based on the price of an item. I want to know how the glorious socialist commisar would decide what to make without price.
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    (Original post by Adorno)
    You know that the history of Norway is fascinating in this regard. When it broke from Sweden in 1905, Norway was a poor nation and remained so until the massive transformations put in place by the Labour Party from its victory in 1935. Indeed, Norway (along with New Zealand which turned to the Labour Party in 1937) was a model of how to build a successful democratic socialist state. They went through all of this scaremongering about the rich and talented leaving the country decades ago and came through it to become the most content and happiest nation on the planet with the highest standard of living.
    Norway is an oil-rich country. Saudia Arabia was one of the richest countries for 30-40 years ago, but it was due to oil, not due to their economic system.

    New Zealand got devastated by socialism. In the 1980s they did several market reforms (e.g. cutting taxes from 66 to 33%) and have regained some lost ground. Still New Zealand is the country with the poorest performance after second world war.

    Actually Scandinavian model isn't anything special. You will see a similar model in France and Germany and several other European countries. If you want to pick out a model country I would pick Denmark. They have combined high taxation, welfare system with a flexible job market, which means that employers can fire people easily.
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    (Original post by Camlon)
    New Zealand got devastated by socialism. In the 1980s they did several market reforms (e.g. cutting taxes from 66 to 33%) and have regained some lost ground. Still New Zealand is the country with the poorest performance after second world war.
    Yes. NZ is only just on par with some of the better former soviet countries today, like the Czech Republic. It's pretty much the poorest country in the English speaking world.
 
 
 
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