Socialists Question Time AKA 'Ask a Socialist' Watch

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Geraldine
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#4441
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#4441
(Original post by Lord Hysteria)
No, no, no.

Humanity exists precisely because of man's self-interest.

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity, but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages.

He intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention

Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations
Adam Smith said it so it must be scientifically accurate? Smith is discussing the capitalist mode here, not humanity, the two are not precisely the same. Perhaps explain the case of Shanidar Man (as an isolated example, I can show you an article which counts a good number more) which is the case of a prehistoric man who was severely injured and deformed from a young age, and yet lives several decades longer to an old age (in prehistoric terms)? He was deformed enough that he could perform no 'useful' function so there is no selfish reason (i.e., he can still do x and x) to keep him alive, and he couldn't sustain himself (we can tell the extent of damage from his skeleton) which means that a small group of people, struggling to survive in the wild at the dawn of humanity, sacrificed precious resources to keep somebody of no 'use' alive. Why? Simple compassion seems the obvious answer, the one that requires the least explanation (a little razor there).

You can find many such cases as these in academic journals which I can link you to if you want. The point is that cooperation was evolutionarily advantageous, we would not have survived in the wild individually so we had to sacrifice ourselves somewhat for the 'greater good' of the group. You see this in all animals, including humans. While on one respect this is still 'selfish' - it was still done to ensure the survival of yourself/your genes/loved ones - it means that humans have evolved to be naturally cooperative, which are the lines that almost every human society of all time has functioned on. The modern 'individual' outlook is only around five hundred years old, and until relatively recently isolated to western europe. Hardly indicative of human nature.


Hayek refers to Spontaneous Orders (underline for emphasis)

Although there was a time when men believed that even language and morals had been "invented" by some genius of the past, everybody recognizes now that they are the outcome of a process of evolution whose results nobody foresaw or designed.

If indignant reformers still complain of the chaos of economic affairs, insinuating a complete absence of order, this partly because they cannot conceive of an order which is not deliberately made

Further, Hayek explains the underpinning of this order:

such an order will utilize the separate knowledge of all its several members, without this knowledge ever being concentrated in a single mind, or being subject to those processes of deliberate coordination and adaptation which a mind performs.
Hayek had this right, although Milton said it three hundred years before him in Christian terms, and Kropotkin said it fifty years before Hayek in evolutionary-atheist terms.
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D.R.E
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#4442
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#4442
(Original post by Geraldine)
Adam Smith said it so it must be scientifically accurate? Smith is discussing the capitalist mode here, not humanity, the two are not precisely the same. Perhaps explain the case of Shanidar Man (as an isolated example, I can show you an article which counts a good number more) which is the case of a prehistoric man who was severely injured and deformed from a young age, and yet lives several decades longer to an old age (in prehistoric terms)? He was deformed enough that he could perform no 'useful' function so there is no selfish reason (i.e., he can still do x and x) to keep him alive...
Just as a point of order, I think it's very important to make the distinction between colloquial selfishness and economic self-interest. Self-interest is an indeterminate term, economically, since it is relevant to only the person or actor involved in whatever game you are playing. So in the case of your [very interesting] 'Shanodar Man' example, self-interest meant that they should keep him alive. Objectively, it might be that it was a bad idea, but value and self-interest are not objective, so they were free to make that choice based their point of view.

That being said though, I think people, when having these discussions, seem to show a very clear cognitive bias: those who support socialism seem to emphasise what they deem as positive aspects of human nature, whereas those further to the right, seem to emphasise some of the more... shall we say 'brutal' aspects. Both views are obviously coloured by value-judgements on the part of the person involved, which don't really help in what is supposedly a scientific discussion. Examples such as your Shanodar Man are actually very misleading and don't offer a full view of human behaviour, because as many examples of apparently positive behaviour you can cite, I'm sure your interlocutor has many examples that support his view, meaning you discussion goes nowhere fast.
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ByronicHero
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Hey I'm new to the HOC and have some questions.

If you had a competition to see who could eat the most boiled eggs in ten minutes who would win and with what number?

If Emma Stone was up for it, how many of your party members having gone before you would put you off still having a go?

If you had a leopluridon what would you call it?

What is your favourite Russian comedy?

If three umbrellas and a packet of crazy bones is the answer what is the question?

What do you call a dog with no legs?
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Jace Falco
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#4444
(Original post by paddy__power)
Hey I'm new to the HOC and have some questions.

If you had a competition to see who could eat the most boiled eggs in ten minutes who would win and with what number?

If Emma Stone was up for it, how many of your party members having gone before you would put you off still having a go?

If you had a leopluridon what would you call it?

What is your favourite Russian comedy?

If three umbrellas and a packet of crazy bones is the answer what is the question?

What do you call a dog with no legs?
Stricof, with twenty-seven.

I'd be off in another room with Scarlett Johansson

Algernon.

Carry On Stalinist Purges

"What are the ingredients for the dark summoning rite of Tak'la'met, Ancient Lord of Lost Keys?"

A bit of a drag.
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ByronicHero
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(Original post by Jace Falco)
Stricof, with twenty-seven.

I'd be off in another room with Scarlett Johansson

Algernon.

Carry On Stalinist Purges

"What are the ingredients for the dark summoning rite of Tak'la'met, Ancient Lord of Lost Keys?"

A bit of a drag.
Very good answers :lol:
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Ledzeppelin
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#4446
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#4446
''The continuation of the 50p tax as well as higher taxation on the largest corporations and investment banks.
We believe that it is unfair that those at the top of society are making huge profits whilst hundreds of thousands of people live in poverty.

We will oppose cuts in NHS expenditure and the closure/privatisation of parts of the NHS.
We believe it is unfair that quality of care suffers when hospitals and surgeries are treated like profit-driven businesses rather than public services.

We will fight for free and equal education for all.
The Socialists believe that a good education is a right, not a privilege to only be enjoyed by the rich. We will abolish university tuition fees as well as private schools and reintroduce EMA.

We will demand the introduction of a 'Living Wage'.
The Socialist Party believes that the current minimum wage is not sufficient to cover the living costs of individuals and families. We therefore propose that a living wage of at least £8 an hour be introduced.

We will end the UK's involvement in overseas conflicts.
The Socialist Party will end military operations in Afghanistan and Libya.''

Could not agree more! (Y), socialism plus socialism is by far the most fair system a society can have in my opinion!
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candidating
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#4447
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#4447
I don't know if this thread is still going in the direction it was in 2008, and I know I could google this but I enjoy threads (:

How are people punished in a socialist society? I wouldn't guess people would be punished in the same way.

edit- or how would people be, obviously..
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username202682
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#4448
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(Original post by candidating)
How are people punished in a socialist society?
Punished for what?
(Original post by Ledzeppelin)
Could not agree more! (Y), socialism plus socialism is by far the most fair system a society can have in my opinion!
Danke. :hat2:
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#4449
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#4449
The things people are punished for now? General crime, abuse, disorderly behaviour, theft, murder...

And people who don't pull their weight, is that punished? I know that it's raaaarely laziness when people are unemployed, but it happens doesn't it. Lazy people who don't want to contribute, is there punishment?

Sorry this question's so basic but I've got nothing more to me ha
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Bax-man
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(Original post by Ledzeppelin)
''The continuation of the 50p tax as well as higher taxation on the largest corporations and investment banks.
We believe that it is unfair that those at the top of society are making huge profits whilst hundreds of thousands of people live in poverty.

We will oppose cuts in NHS expenditure and the closure/privatisation of parts of the NHS.
We believe it is unfair that quality of care suffers when hospitals and surgeries are treated like profit-driven businesses rather than public services.

We will fight for free and equal education for all.
The Socialists believe that a good education is a right, not a privilege to only be enjoyed by the rich. We will abolish university tuition fees as well as private schools and reintroduce EMA.

We will demand the introduction of a 'Living Wage'.
The Socialist Party believes that the current minimum wage is not sufficient to cover the living costs of individuals and families. We therefore propose that a living wage of at least £8 an hour be introduced.

We will end the UK's involvement in overseas conflicts.
The Socialist Party will end military operations in Afghanistan and Libya.''
Could not agree more! (Y), socialism plus socialism is by far the most fair system a society can have in my opinion!
I hope you enjoy creating unemployment, encouraging inefficiency and hindering capital accumulation and economic growth.
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Ledzeppelin
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(Original post by Bax-man)
I hope you enjoy creating unemployment, encouraging inefficiency and hindering capital accumulation and economic growth.
Inefficiency???! giving a community the choice and power to control the production, distribution, and exchange is much more efficient than any other system i know (and much fairer)! Although strictly speaking its even better if its achieved through democracy, hence I'm more of a socialist democratic than a die hard socialist.
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Bax-man
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#4452
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(Original post by Ledzeppelin)
Inefficiency???! giving a community the choice and power to control the production, distribution, and exchange is much more efficient than any other system i know (and much fairer)! Although strictly speaking its even better if its achieved through democracy, hence I'm more of a socialist democratic than a die hard socialist.
In a system where the means of production are prevented from being exchange on the market, rational economic calculation is impossible.

On a more practical level - you reject without qualification any cuts in National Health Service expenditure. In rejecting any reduction in NHS budgets, you seem unable to appreciate that a state-funded bureaucracy is inefficient because it lacks a incentive to be efficient: it suffers no loss if it does badly, but more importantly makes no profit if it serves consumers and does well (put another way, if it uses resources efficiently to serve demands of consumers).

I find it telling that you object solely to my comment on inefficiency, ignoring entirely my other points.
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Ledzeppelin
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(Original post by Bax-man)
In a system where the means of production are prevented from being exchange on the market, rational economic calculation is impossible.

On a more practical level - you reject without qualification any cuts in National Health Service expenditure. In rejecting any reduction in NHS budgets, you seem unable to appreciate that a state-funded bureaucracy is inefficient because it lacks a incentive to be efficient: it suffers no loss if it does badly, but more importantly makes no profit if it serves consumers and does well (put another way, if it uses resources efficiently to serve demands of consumers).

I find it telling that you object solely to my comment on inefficiency, ignoring entirely my other points.
No i object to the ''unemployment,hindering capital accumulation and economic growth'' too, but its more the inefficiency that i seem to want to discuss really. You say in your example of the NHS that a state-funded bureaucracy is inefficient, and to an extent i would agree with you, compared to the private healthcare it does have some inefficiencies. It sometimes fails to meet demands of the consumers. But in general the private healthcare is focused on making a high amount of capital, they will not care if a person is dying - the only thing they will be concerned with is the fact whether or not they will get paid. With the NHS, it serves the proletariat, and not only the wealthy. In summary yes, a state-funded bureaucracy has its flaws, but it has more advantages.

The thing I love most about socialism is the elimination of the class collaboration, hence fading the boundaries between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.
Another thing that really spoke to me about the socialist system was one of the criterion of the economic system in socialism; production for use.

This entails that the production of the products, may it be anything e.g. services can be used to satisfy the economic demands and human needs and in addition to that the value of economic output by the labor produced by the people would be based on its usefulness instead of exchange-value. Hence serving to each individual, instead of a minority which are the wealthy.

And to be honest with you each has their own opinions, i just think too much money is never good, having said that i have never been rich, but seeing the effects of capitalism where the capital seems to be around a small minority, which eventually become the speakers or the dominating force in the country and hence control it. And that is something i'm strongly against :/
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Organ
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#4454
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(Original post by Bax-man)
I hope you enjoy creating unemployment, encouraging inefficiency and hindering capital accumulation and economic growth.
How's the current system working for creating employment and ensuring economic growth then?
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SciFiRory
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#4455
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(Original post by Bax-man)
I hope you enjoy creating unemployment, encouraging inefficiency and hindering capital accumulation and economic growth.
one of the primary goals of Socialist's is to either eradicate unemployment or to create a system in which being unemployed no longer carries astigma to it or means that you are forced in to poverty.

efficiency is created by the happiness of the workforce, I find it hard to imagine how one would be less happy under a system where you have a democratic say in how things are done in your workplace and where you are not exploited for absurd hours in order to have your pay stolen by a boss who probably does nothing like as much or as hard work as you.

what does capital accumulation acheive? if we all have what we need to have good lives, then why accumulate excess capital? all this does is prevent others from benefiting from the same capital, why not put all excess capital to use in a way that benefits all? there are many, many things that can be done when you remove the drive from accumulation of excess from our society...

economic growth would be irrelevant within a socialist society, everyone would have what they need anyway, growth within capitalism is just exploitation and inequality.
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SciFiRory
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while im here, be interested to know if other Socialists here share my views on how to taclke the shortage of homes in the UK http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...4#post34522924
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Bax-man
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(Original post by Ledzeppelin)
No i object to the ''unemployment,hindering capital accumulation and economic growth'' too, but its more the inefficiency that i seem to want to discuss really. You say in your example of the NHS that a state-funded bureaucracy is inefficient, and to an extent i would agree with you, compared to the private healthcare it does have some inefficiencies. It sometimes fails to meet demands of the consumers. But in general the private healthcare is focused on making a high amount of capital, they will not care if a person is dying - the only thing they will be concerned with is the fact whether or not they will get paid. With the NHS, it serves the proletariat, and not only the wealthy. In summary yes, a state-funded bureaucracy has its flaws, but it has more advantages.
It is inefficient in that it is one of the world's largest employers, yet fails to provide a minimum standard of healthcare. Only last week, the news was full of the fact that the NHS was failing elderly patients and such a story is hardly an isolated one. Of course, there is no incentive to provide good care: the NHS is funded regardless of how well it does through coercive taxation.

Your comment about private health provision is utterly absurd. Yes, a private provider makes a profit (that's not evil, it is a necessary function of the market ensuring resources are allocated where they are best used as well as being the reward paid to the entrepreneur for risking his capital and challenging uncertainty). Please find a private hospital where someone has been left to die - in the United States, where private hospitals are sadly being continually regulated, taxed and cajoled by the government, hospitals will always help those in dire need (this was the case before a law forcing them to do that came in, but that's another story). Indeed, many philanthropists run free hospitals to help those in need. It's almost amusing - I'm sure you would say that you don't just care about profits, and you would help the poor, yet you automatically assume that "all" private providers care about is pocketing their money and moving on. Why do you assume such a high moral standing for yourself, but reject that in all others?

It's also a complete myth that private care is only for the rich. Of course that is largely true in the United Kingdom, but it is worth remembering that the NHS crowds out small, cheap providers of care: everyone pays for the NHS whether they use it or not, so any poor person wanting to go private would have to pay twice - something they can't afford to do.


The thing I love most about socialism is the elimination of the class collaboration, hence fading the boundaries between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.
Another thing that really spoke to me about the socialist system was one of the criterion of the economic system in socialism; production for use.

This entails that the production of the products, may it be anything e.g. services can be used to satisfy the economic demands and human needs and in addition to that the value of economic output by the labor produced by the people would be based on its usefulness instead of exchange-value. Hence serving to each individual, instead of a minority which are the wealthy.

And to be honest with you each has their own opinions, i just think too much money is never good, having said that i have never been rich, but seeing the effects of capitalism where the capital seems to be around a small minority, which eventually become the speakers or the dominating force in the country and hence control it. And that is something i'm strongly against :/
You seem to have an unusual conception of value, and that production occurs only for the benefit of the rich. Well, values are subjective. They are all in the mind. Each person values different things differently. There is no objective value of "usefulness". The market serves all consumers (namely, everyone), engaging in voluntary exchange for mutual benefit.

Too much money having bad results? Capital accumulation by the wealthy allows investment in technology, in factories, in training and education. What are your examples of it being objectively bad?

(Original post by Organ)
How's the current system working for creating employment and ensuring economic growth then?
The current system? You mean the one that's hampered by government regulation, where the state takes and spends half of each person's income in taxes, where states bail out bad business, redistributing money from taxpayer to bondholder, where central banks print out an endless stream of money backed by nothing but coercive force? It's doing awfully. That's why I support capitalism, not corporatism.
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Bax-man
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#4458
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(Original post by SciFiBoy)
one of the primary goals of Socialist's is to either eradicate unemployment or to create a system in which being unemployed no longer carries astigma to it or means that you are forced in to poverty.

efficiency is created by the happiness of the workforce, I find it hard to imagine how one would be less happy under a system where you have a democratic say in how things are done in your workplace and where you are not exploited for absurd hours in order to have your pay stolen by a boss who probably does nothing like as much or as hard work as you.

what does capital accumulation acheive? if we all have what we need to have good lives, then why accumulate excess capital? all this does is prevent others from benefiting from the same capital, why not put all excess capital to use in a way that benefits all? there are many, many things that can be done when you remove the drive from accumulation of excess from our society...

economic growth would be irrelevant within a socialist society, everyone would have what they need anyway, growth within capitalism is just exploitation and inequality.
The idea that scarcity is some kind of artificial creation is utterly absurd. It's a fact of human existence.

(Also, you're contradicting yourself - if we have all we want to be happy, then people should be allowed to accumulate excess capital (even though this would be confiscated under socialism the moment you acquired it). Other people wouldn't benefit from that capital, if they had everything they wanted anyway.)
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SciFiRory
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#4459
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(Original post by Bax-man)
The idea that scarcity is some kind of artificial creation is utterly absurd. It's a fact of human existence.

(Also, you're contradicting yourself - if we have all we want to be happy, then people should be allowed to accumulate excess capital (even though this would be confiscated under socialism the moment you acquired it). Other people wouldn't benefit from that capital, if they had everything they wanted anyway.)
just as an FYI, if people deliberately misinterpret or misrepresent things I post, I refuse to debate them on principle, frankly if I want a stupid argument I will tell my 5 year old cousin her favourite colour is ugly, at least arguing her would make me laugh.
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User570431
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#4460
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#4460
How would you react to this....ie have arguments against this.

My friend is a hardcore anarchist and says socialism will not work.
I disagree saying it can be done but will require a change in mindsets.

I was sent this article

http://www.fundamentalfinance.com/bl...capitalism.php
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