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Socialism has never worked in any country and at any time in history Watch

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    Also, is there any evidence that wages are higher in Socialist countries...?
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    (Original post by Bagration)
    Ok, private currencies have to be commodity backed otherwise the public will not use them. Why would you use a currency that isn't backed by anything? You want your currency to be backed by gold, or another commodity currency, or whatever. Even now, tons of people (even one of my history teachers) still believe the Pound is exchangeable for a quantity of Gold.
    I knew this much: but that didn't really change my opinion because a government monetary system can be backed by gold as well.

    I don't understand how you can be a Libertarian but think that a private company would do something on purpose that directly harms their own interests.
    True, I get frustrated when people think that private greed led to giving loans to low income families, as if greed makes you want to bust your business.

    Lastly, a commodity currency cannot be inflated by its proprietor because the quantity of currency in circulation is tied to the market price of the item. For example, when we went back onto the Gold Standard in 1928, 1 Pound Sterling was worth $4.86 of gold (This number was actually too high but that's not the point of this demonstration.) This means that the quantity of gold you could receive in terms of weight was fixed in terms of price. If $4.86 was one day worth 10 grams of Gold and the next, 5 grams of Gold, then yes there has been inflation. But this is market inflation ( and also deflation ) because it's driven by the price of the commodity, and the quantity of the commodity produced, not just the arbitrary will of bureaucrats in a central bank.
    Makes sense. :yep:

    Furthermore, existing private commodity currencies like the Liberty Dollar have a high enough value to exist in physical coins. The Liberty Dollar circulates actual silver coins, which means that it can't be inflated like a paper currency can. Why is paper currency (in the West) a modern invention? Because previously, we used actual physical rare metals as currency and their value was high enough that they could be carried around and not be too heavy.
    Surely the actual process of mining makes using commodity currency difficult compared to its paper counterpart. Would you want a return to the gold standard?
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    (Original post by CandyFlipper)
    I knew this much: but that didn't really change my opinion because a government monetary system can be backed by gold as well.
    Yea, but it isn't centrally planned in so far as the actual amount of gold per pound is determined by the market as much as it is the Govt.

    (Original post by CandyFlipper)
    Surely the actual process of mining makes using commodity currency difficult compared to its paper counterpart. Would you want a return to the gold standard?
    Yea, it would be expensive. But gold can also be backed by paper money as long as there is sufficient fraud insurance and full reserve banking.

    I advocate a return to the Gold standard, first set by the Government then privatised to individual proprietors.
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    (Original post by Andy the Anarchist)
    I believe anti-state socialism is both desirable and practical. What I support is a gradual limiting of state power and of its ability to grant favours to businesses, for illegitimately acquired wealth based on land to be removed from business control, and for people to operate on a decentralised, communal basis, with renumeration on a basis of need.
    Do you prefer capitalist libertarianism to statist socialism?

    And do you think your vision of socialism without the state being involved would need support from 100% of the population, or if not, whats the smallest number of support that would justify the changes you propose?

    Would private business be allowed, if thats what people wanted to do and felt it was their right to do?
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    (Original post by Bagration)
    Also, is there any evidence that wages are higher in Socialist countries...?
    no, because they aren't. they are almost always generally lower.


    and some people here argue that failed socialist states didn't actually advocate proper socialism. that's sort of like saying there's never been a true capitalist state, but that doesn't stop socialists from bashing capitalism, does it?
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    (Original post by cucumber sandwich)
    no, because they aren't. they are almost always generally lower.
    Well, I know. But it seems some people here are contending that...

    (Original post by cucumber sandwich)
    and some people here argue that failed socialist states didn't actually advocate proper socialism. that's sort of like saying there's never been a true capitalist state, but that doesn't stop socialists from bashing capitalism, does it?
    I've been saying that for months and nobody's paid attention, so I wouldn't bother.
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    (Original post by CandyFlipper)
    Do you prefer capitalist libertarianism to statist socialism?

    And do you think your vision of socialism without the state being involved would need support from 100% of the population, or if not, whats the smallest number of support that would justify the changes you propose?

    Would private business be allowed, if thats what people wanted to do and felt it was their right to do?
    In my reading of various works of political philosophy I've never encountered a decent justification for unlimited private property rights. Locke has the first one, based upon "mixing one's labour with something" conferring ownership. Nozick blows this apart with the notion that mixing one substance with another doesn't automatically confer that you own the result of the two substances (the example Nozick gives being mixing tomato juice with the ocean. Nozick tries to justify acquisition on the basis that it must make no-one else worse off. Personally, in a world of finite resources and an ever expanding population, I don't see how you can acquire unlimited resources (or even large amounts of resources) without making someone else worse off by depriving them of the potential to use those resouurces. It might be possible in a world of infinite resources, and in this regard libertarian capitalism was very apt in the US in the 19th century, when the amount of land greatly outstripped the population's capacity to inhabit it, in the present however, with finite resources and an ever growing strain on the planet, I don't believe large amounts of private accumulation are justifiable.

    So in answer to your question, no I don't believe private businesses should be allowed, because I don't believe there is any way to acquire private property (with the exception of the basics such as food, clothing and shelter necessary for survival) without impinging upon another's freedom.

    Would non-state socialism require a large amount of support? Undoubtedly yes, but it has occurred in the past (pre-capitalist forms of communal living) and had millions of adherents in Spain during the 1930s, so I think such an amount of support is possible, though obviously we are looking in the long term. Sudden shocks to people's way of life and economic systems almost always have undesirable results, hence it will need to be incremental.

    As to whether I prefer libertarian capitalism or state socialism, it really depends on the circumstances. Certain examples of each are negative, I believe the state to be essentially unjustifiable, though it has a capacity to act for good. I consider private property unjustifable also, but it is possible that a libertarian government would permit small groups to engage in communal forms of libertarian socialism.
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    (Original post by Andy the Anarchist)
    what I support is a gradual limiting of state power and of its ability to grant favours to businesses, for illegitimately acquired wealth based on land to be removed from business control, and for people to operate on a decentralised, communal basis, with renumeration on a basis of need.
    This sounds very nice, but do you think it's ever going to happen in reality? People are far too self-interested, I think.

    Let me put a question to you: if you won £50 million on the lottery tomorrow, would you be happy to give it up in the name of the anarcho-syndicalist commune? It's not hard to see why rich people do everything in their power to keep their wealth. Frankly, I don't blame them. In a world where people don't seem to give a flying f*ck about each other, I guess it's easy to slip into the 'I'm alright Jack' attitude.
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    (Original post by Andy the Anarchist)
    In my reading of various works of political philosophy I've never encountered a decent justification for unlimited private property rights. Locke has the first one, based upon "mixing one's labour with something" conferring ownership. Nozick blows this apart with the notion that mixing one substance with another doesn't automatically confer that you own the result of the two substances (the example Nozick gives being mixing tomato juice with the ocean. Nozick tries to justify acquisition on the basis that it must make no-one else worse off. Personally, in a world of finite resources and an ever expanding population, I don't see how you can acquire unlimited resources (or even large amounts of resources) without making someone else worse off by depriving them of the potential to use those resouurces. It might be possible in a world of infinite resources, and in this regard libertarian capitalism was very apt in the US in the 19th century, when the amount of land greatly outstripped the population's capacity to inhabit it, in the present however, with finite resources and an ever growing strain on the planet, I don't believe large amounts of private accumulation are justifiable.

    So in answer to your question, no I don't believe private businesses should be allowed, because I don't believe there is any way to acquire private property (with the exception of the basics such as food, clothing and shelter necessary for survival) without impinging upon another's freedom.

    Would non-state socialism require a large amount of support? Undoubtedly yes, but it has occurred in the past (pre-capitalist forms of communal living) and had millions of adherents in Spain during the 1930s, so I think such an amount of support is possible, though obviously we are looking in the long term. Sudden shocks to people's way of life and economic systems almost always have undesirable results, hence it will need to be incremental.

    As to whether I prefer libertarian capitalism or state socialism, it really depends on the circumstances. Certain examples of each are negative, I believe the state to be essentially unjustifiable, though it has a capacity to act for good. I consider private property unjustifable also, but it is possible that a libertarian government would permit small groups to engage in communal forms of libertarian socialism.
    Oh, and another thing. When discussing the evils of capitalism, it is common to imagine Mr Gradgrind, the factory owner. But what about other people who have acquired huge sums of money and property? Take, say, Stephen King as an example. He has made all of his money by writing stories that people all over the world enjoy and are prepared to pay money for. He has hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of voluntary payments on the part of millions of satisfied readers. As a consequence, he is able to buy far more food and resources than most other people (we'll even leave private property in land out of it, if you like). There is no doubt, surely, that he is technically depriving many people of those goods. And yet can you come up with an argument which denies him the right to those extra resources?

    What I'm basically saying is that the idea of surplus value and exploitation is quite easy to see in a factory or ordinary work setting, but not in the case of other wealthy people such as celebrities.

    Would Stephen King still be vastly wealthy in your libertarian-socialist world?
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    Socialism hasn't worked in corrupt and immoral places therefore it can never work!

    World peace hasn't happened yet so we should stop trying to get it!

    I haven't read this thread, but I can tell it's going to be full of:


    Also: >UK Politics
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    Yeah, because the social democratic Nordic countries are doing so miserable. Poor people, I feel sorry for anyone living in a Nordic country because their system just doesn't work. It doesn't oppress them enough and it doesn't promote unequality.
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    (Original post by HappinessHappening)
    Oh, and another thing. When discussing the evils of capitalism, it is common to imagine Mr Gradgrind, the factory owner. But what about other people who have acquired huge sums of money and property? Take, say, Stephen King as an example. He has made all of his money by writing stories that people all over the world enjoy and are prepared to pay money for. He has hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of voluntary payments on the part of millions of satisfied readers. As a consequence, he is able to buy far more food and resources than most other people (we'll even leave private property in land out of it, if you like). There is no doubt, surely, that he is technically depriving many people of those goods. And yet can you come up with an argument which denies him the right to those extra resources?

    What I'm basically saying is that the idea of surplus value and exploitation is quite easy to see in a factory or ordinary work setting, but not in the case of other wealthy people such as celebrities.

    Would Stephen King still be vastly wealthy in your libertarian-socialist world?
    I'm not a Marxist, and I have never used the theory of surplus value in supporting my opposition to private property rights. I did however, point out that the onus is on people who do support private property to demonstrate why it is legitimate. I cited Nozick's argument that acquisition is legitimate provided that it makes no-one worse off and pointed out that pretty much all acquisitions of previously unowned property make someone worse off in a world of finite resources, because they reduce access to these resources, hence private property actually impedes personal freedom.

    Stephen King has become wealthy as a result of transfers of money from other consenting individuals. I'm arguing that this is irrelevent because the initial acquisitions that these people made, or any gains that they made from transfers resulting from initial acquisitions, are illegitimate because there is no adequate defence of the acquisition of previously unowned resources, due to its impingement on the freedom of others.

    I'm not arguing against justice in transfer, assuming private property can be acquired legitimately I think that's fine. I don't believe there is such a thing as legitimate justice in acquisition, and thus the acquisition, and any transfers resulting from that acquisition, are illegitimate.
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    (Original post by Andy the Anarchist)

    Stephen King has become wealthy as a result of transfers of money from other consenting individuals. I'm arguing that this is irrelevent because the initial acquisitions that these people made, or any gains that they made from transfers resulting from initial acquisitions, are illegitimate because there is no adequate defence of the acquisition of previously unowned resources, due to its impingement on the freedom of others.
    This doesn't really make sense to me. You're saying that all acquisitions of previously unowned resources are illegitimate? How can society function if people don't have property rights over their own homes and food, for example? If I use some land to grow food for myself and my family, I am obviously restricting others from using that land; I'm infringing on their freedom, in your view. But how can this dilemma ever be resolved? The very fact that I occupy a space on the planet is an infringement on other's rights to occupy the same space. What can actually be done about that, though?

    And if you think essentials like food are one of the few things that can be called property, then we can return to our previous example. Let's say everyone wants to read one of Stephen King's novels and decides to give him a loaf of bread each for the priviledge. He ends up with millions of loaves while others only have a few. Is that justified? How could it not be? What if, in the following year, there is a really bad harvest and many people are left without a single crumb while he still has more than he could ever eat (we'll assume that King has a freezer in which to preserve his supply for many months)? What then?
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    (Original post by HappinessHappening)
    This doesn't really make sense to me. You're saying that all acquisitions of previously unowned resources are illegitimate? How can society function if people don't have property rights over their own homes and food, for example? If I use some land to grow food for myself and my family, I am obviously restricting others from using that land; I'm infringing on their freedom, in your view. But how can this dilemma ever be resolved? The very fact that I occupy a space on the planet is an infringement on other's rights to occupy the same space. What can actually be done about that, though?

    And if you think essentials like food are one of the few things that can be called property, then we can return to our previous example. Let's say everyone wants to read one of Stephen King's novels and decides to give him a loaf of bread each for the priviledge. He ends up with millions of loaves while others only have a few. Is that justified? How could it not be? What if, in the following year, there is a really bad harvest and many people are left without a single crumb while he still has more than he could ever eat (we'll assume that King has a freezer in which to preserve his supply for many months)? What then?
    Yeah, any forms of private ownership in a world of finite resources is an infringement of liberty. What you then get is a question of whether this infringement of liberty is justifiable on pragmatic grounds. The ownership of houses, clothes and food can be justifiable violations of liberty on pragmatic grounds. Allowing an individual the right to accumulate more than is necessary on pragmatic grounds constitutes an unjustifiable violation of liberty.

    Regarding the transfer, assuming every individual chose to exchange the food that they had for the book voluntarily, then this would not be a problem, assuming abundance of food. The problem arises when accumulation of finite resources can no longer be justified and when they go beyond basic social necessities. Thus whilst taking back King's loaves of bread might be a violation of his liberty, this has to be contrasted with those who are unable to access food. What I'm saying is that whilst there is no ultimate philosophical justification for unlimited property rights, limited property rights could be justified on pragmatic terms provided they were socially necessary. Allowing someone to possess all the food in an area in a time of famine appears to exceed the remit of these grounds.
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    The philosophy is all fine, but socialism is never going to work unless everyone agrees with it. In moderate forms where small countries have relatively homogeneous populations (eg. Nordic countries), socialist-leaning government can be effective, but on more ambitious scales it is doomed to failure. The inevitable results of communal ownership of property are inefficiency, corruption, stagnation of innovation and opression. In theory a socialist utopia would be wonderful but an authoritarian state full of reluctant citizens with little incentive to work is hardly a happy place. Unless you plan to create some sort of master race of altruistic clones, in which case I'm getting out!
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    (Original post by Andy the Anarchist)
    Yeah, any forms of private ownership in a world of finite resources is an infringement of liberty. What you then get is a question of whether this infringement of liberty is justifiable on pragmatic grounds. The ownership of houses, clothes and food can be justifiable violations of liberty on pragmatic grounds. Allowing an individual the right to accumulate more than is necessary on pragmatic grounds constitutes an unjustifiable violation of liberty.
    Is it just private ownership which is an infringement of people's liberty? Why can't common ownership be an infringement too? (if the workers of some factory own it, my actions towards that factory are restricted in exactly the same way they would be if that factory was privately owned or owned by a corporation). If all private ownership is an infringement of liberty, is self-ownership an infringement of liberty too? If so, have you considered that being an infringement of liberty (on your conception of liberty) is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for being immoral/undesirable?

    I guess my problem with the line of argument you are going down is that it proves too much; if the considerations you raise are damning to the institution of private property, they are damning to the institution of collective or joint property too, as far as I can tell. So we are left in a situation where no-one is morally permitted to interact in any with the outside world if their action would have any impact whatsoever on anyone else. Now in the scheme of things, this may be right (I don't think it is) but surely you'll agree that even if it is, it doesn't help us solve the actual problems that we are faced with, the problems which a theory of property is supposed to help us face.

    Regarding the transfer, assuming every individual chose to exchange the food that they had for the book voluntarily, then this would not be a problem, assuming abundance of food. The problem arises when accumulation of finite resources can no longer be justified and when they go beyond basic social necessities. Thus whilst taking back King's loaves of bread might be a violation of his liberty, this has to be contrasted with those who are unable to access food. What I'm saying is that whilst there is no ultimate philosophical justification for unlimited property rights, limited property rights could be justified on pragmatic terms provided they were socially necessary. Allowing someone to possess all the food in an area in a time of famine appears to exceed the remit of these grounds.
    By bringing in what is 'socially necessary' I think you've just replaced one notion which you don't have a good grasp on with another; how is what is 'socially necessary' to be ascertained? Who decides? These are the kind of problems that a theory of property should be able to grapple with, and there are bonus points if they don't leave you in a situation where one person or group is left with unlimited power - as I'm afraid would be the case if 'social necessity' was the sole criterion of whether or not an acquisition was legitimate.

    I would also like to hear your thoughts on property in general, you know, like what forms of property are acceptable (private, collective, joint, whatever), how it can be legitimately acquired, how it can be legitimately transferred, stuff like that. I think at the end of the day your theory is going to face many of the same issues, because any theory which attempts to justify the exclusion of some people from some natural resources is bound to (and any theory which says that this is illegitimate across the board is pretty much a non-starter.)
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    (Original post by Olivia_Lightbulb)
    The OP's debates on socialism are always so profound :lolwut:
    Getting a reputation then am I?
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    (Original post by usainlightning)
    Getting a reputation then am I?
    Not one you would like. :wtf:
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    (Original post by DrunkHamster)
    Is it just private ownership which is an infringement of people's liberty? Why can't common ownership be an infringement too? (if the workers of some factory own it, my actions towards that factory are restricted in exactly the same way they would be if that factory was privately owned or owned by a corporation).
    Anarchists don't generally believe in ownership per se (and certainly not "identical to capitalism only with more people signing the land deed", which sounds like what you think we're proposing). It's more that no one (or everyone) owns anything (or everything), and certain groups can put a claim to use, not own, something. Since the people who operate a factory are probably going to be the ones who are most dependent on it and know how to run it best, they're the ones who're most likely to operate it, but it's only with the consent of other people affected by the decision, and they can intervene (say, if the factory produces alot of pollution or has some other adverse side effect).

    If all private ownership is an infringement of liberty, is self-ownership an infringement of liberty too?
    No. You don't lose anything by me owning myself and vice versa.

    If so, have you considered that being an infringement of liberty (on your conception of liberty) is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for being immoral/undesirable?
    Don't you believe that infringement of liberty (on your conception of liberty) is a sufficient condition for something being immoral.

    I guess my problem with the line of argument you are going down is that it proves too much; if the considerations you raise are damning to the institution of private property, they are damning to the institution of collective or joint property too, as far as I can tell. So we are left in a situation where no-one is morally permitted to interact in any with the outside world if their action would have any impact whatsoever on anyone else. Now in the scheme of things, this may be right (I don't think it is) but surely you'll agree that even if it is, it doesn't help us solve the actual problems that we are faced with, the problems which a theory of property is supposed to help us face.
    Well, IMO it points us towards a system of social ownership of land and the means of production under the collective management of communes and workers councils and some kind of democratic planning system.
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    (Original post by Gremlins)
    Since the people who operate a factory are probably going to be the ones who are most dependent on it and know how to run it best, they're the ones who're most likely to operate it, but it's only with the consent of other people affected by the decision, and they can intervene (say, if the factory produces alot of pollution or has some other adverse side effect)
    Doesn't this raise all kinds of practical problems?

    - What if somebody complains about the use of land on every single occasion ever that land is used? Nothing would ever be owned or produced?

    - What if people decide they want in on the profits and thats what motivates them to intervene, would they be allowed to?

    I'm sure DrunkHamster can do a much better job of discussing this with you, he's more of your match. But from seeing the interpretations of his, andys and yours, I have to say his makes the most sense. (But I guess I would say that!)
 
 
 
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