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Socialism 
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Post Socialism

I’ve thought about Socialism for many years on my sun lounger, and as the pubs don’t open until May, I thought I’d share my views on it.

Let’s start with terminology, there are two. The original terminology talks of Capitalism, Socialism and Communism, 3 very different social-economic-political systems. However, today some call Socialism a soft form of Capitalism, and call Communism what Marx and Engels would have called Socialism. So to avoid confusion, I’m going to stick to the original definitions.

Back in the good old days of Marx and Engels when men were men and had beards you could lose a badger in...

Image

...life was hard for the working class; I mean really hard, as in staving, rough-as-hell, slavery hard. The ruling class were the aristocracy and they controlled the people with their wealth which they used to buy land, politicians, laws, police forces and armies. The industrial revolution was a key step in a process of replacing the aristocracy with the new owners of capital, the merchants, and they moved society away from rural agricultural life, to urban slums and sweatshop factories. The merchants of old are the ancestors of the super and ultra rich of today that own you and I.

Marx and Engels did a critique on the Capitalist system and came up with an alternative ideology that they called Socialism. It’s important to differentiate between ideology, economics and politics as they only did the ideology bit, and you can’t have a social-economic-political system without all 3; actually you need culture as well so there are 4 elements. It took Lenin to form the Socialist ideology of Marx into a social-economic-political-cultural system

The idea was; Socialism was a revolutionary process that would throw the predatory upper class out, put their wealth back into the country, and replace them with a political worker’s party made up of non-predators, who would police themselves by looking out for any predators that may have infiltrated the political system. Socialism’s first job is to eliminate the predators. Until they are gone, the fundamental principles of Socialism, which I think are;

- Workers control the means of production,

- Money is a unit of a person’s time/life and should be treated as such,

- Money does not equate to power,

- All people are equal,

- All people have equal human rights

cannot be implemented. If you don’t get rid of the predators, then energy and resources will have to be diverted to prevent counter-revolution and the re-establishment of the predatory ruling class. The problem was the majority of countries in the world were ruled by predators and Russia was seen as a threat and besieged, forcing it to spend its wealth on defence and not its people. Trotsky was a rival to Lenin who believed workers of the world should rise up to destroy predators everywhere and rid the world of them, like they did in the French revolution, but Lenin thought this an impossible task.

Back to Marx

Marx believed that once Socialism was achieved, society could move on to Communism, although the ideology of Communism was never really described in detail like Socialism was, and it came in many versions each portraying a sort of utopia from living in communes where there was no crime and no need for police, to the elimination of money. Although the world has never been a Communist country in this sense, the principle that once Socialism has been achieved, the predators destroyed, and their wealth redistributed, Socialism would move on to bigger and better things.

China could be viewed as an example of a once Socialist country that has move on to their version of a Communism by introducing a form of soft Capitalism. China could also be viewed as country that has fallen victim to counter-revolution, where predators have re-established themselves and taken back control, and are using the old Socialist authoritarian political system to grow their power base.

Russia could be viewed as a country that fell victim to counter-revolution in the 1980s, but recovered, not by re-introducing Socialism, but by introducing Soft Capitalism, perhaps ending up where China has today, but by a different route. Like China, Russia could also be viewed as a country where predators have re-established themselves, hiding behind soft capitalism waiting for the chance to move the country back into hard capitalism.

But the point I make is that Socialism isn’t the end game, it’s a mechanism to reset society and socially engineer it into a place where no-one has more than they need and no one starves; and it is something the current predatory ruling class absolutely fear.

One of the defining characteristics that seperate ideology from implementation is the size of your beard

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Last edited by Beerman on Sat Mar 06, 2021 9:25 am, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Mar 05, 2021 12:45 pm
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Post Re: Socialism

Socialism had been a nice fairytale, but it will always stay a fantasy (if not the human DNA mutates a lot). We are not made to live within a socialistic society. Those five rules you mentioned above do not work within the human race.

Many years ago in the biology lesson at school when ethology was taught the main points of human nature were mentioned in a text. A girl who was very punk-alternative-(whatever you consider as the only right opinion at the age of fifteen) got angry and outraged. That funny little episode shows a bit the nonsense of this ideology (and of all ideologies…).
What was useful back in the 19th century is not useful now. Time changes.

If socialism could really work at least one of the many huge experiments (Jugoslawia, DDR, Cuba, Northern Korea, China (think of the recent protests), Russia (also)…) should have turned out as the better way, but they all ended up with capitalism.
Without force people seem to want it this way.

When a small group of people who have never met before has to act together (plane crush, train accident, any workshop…) the structures characterizing capitalism do form immediately.
Not workers control the means of production but the leader of the pack, power over resources equates to power over people, all people are NOT equal and do NOT have equal human rights.

One of the most important issues about humans (maybe about all living beings) is their individuality and the wish to be different from others. A system that is based upon the neglection of these differences cannot work.

The socialism of Marx & Co surely was necessary back then, but it also was necessary that it never really had success.

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Fri Mar 05, 2021 4:04 pm
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Post Re: Socialism

Don't forget, the 5 rules I mentioned earlier, are really principles on which to implement socialism. Lenin interpreted them one way through Bolshevism, Mao Zedong created a different economic and political system to implement them the Chinese way.

After the Russian Revolution there were 3 socialist parties, each wanting to implement socialism in a different way. The Socialist Revolutionary Party despite its rather fierce name, believed in democratic socialism, devolving power to local authorities and beyond, down to workers in the factories and the fields. Then there were the Mensheviks. I'm not sure what they stood for, as they were made up of procrastinating intellectuals and political theorists, many of which had returned to Russia from exile in Europe. They were like the centre party in the UK today, blowing this way and that, supporting both government and opposition from issue to issue; Leon Trotsky was a Menshevik. Eventually they dissolved into the Bolshevik and Revolutionary parties. The path taken to implement socialism in Russia was of course Bolshevism, which was probably the right choice for the time, but it wouldn't be the right choice today, and that's kind of the point; there is more than one way to implement socialism; there is choice.

Let's look at the 1st principle ‘Workers control the means of production’, and implement it how the Bolsheviks did and how the Socialist Revolutionary Party may have.

In a capitalist system, a very small percentage of people form the ruling class and they own most of the wealth. They got it through exploiting the people they have ruled, stealing it from other countries through wars, and by using their stolen fortunes to make bigger fortunes. Having most of the money means that you have the capital to buy land to set up factories, buy land rich with coal to set up mining operations, and buy furtile land to set farming operations. This very small group of people own the means of production, forcing employees to work for them for a wage that is well below the wealth they have created through the use of their labour and time. Some of the profit created by the worker is kept by the owners who financed and set up the operation, and some is distributed to institutions to maintain the capitalist system that keeps them at the top.

In a socialist system, the profit goes to the worker. Some if it is kept by the worker and some of it goes to provide the capital needed to set up factories, mining and farming operations. The Bolshevik way of implementing ‘workers control the means of production’, was to micro-manage the process through central government. Had the Socialist Revolutionary Party taken power they would probably have devolved the investment decision down to the workers and let them decide how much and where the profit they give away should be spent, maybe within certain limits and guidelines. The profit that is given over to future investment and to build society is their tax.

In a capitalist system people have very little say as to how their tax is spent. Furthermore, the majority of the wealth held by the ruling class is tax the least, if at all, and much of the tax collected from the workers is spirited away from the things that need funding to things that don't, like tax breaks for multinationals and politician expense accounts.

In a socialist system tax is used to support the other guiding principles of socialism, in particular all people have equal human rights, that is the right to shelter, decent housing, warmth, clothing, food, clean water, a job, security, safety, access to quality healthcare, access to quality education etc. They should have the right not to be exploited, tortured, treated cruelly. All this costs money. The Bolshevik way of implementing the human rights ideology was to take so much tax from the worker that they were left poor. The aim was no one should stave or die of the cold and the tax would reflect that. The problem with that was it only worked for so long. If the country doesn't grow and generate wealth to improve the lot of the workers supporting starving and destitute, then they will have to clamp down on descent, which is basically what they had to do. The Socialist Revolutionary Party would probably have let the workers decide the taxation rate and society would have to live with some inequality, poverty and deaths.

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Last edited by Beerman on Mon Mar 08, 2021 9:12 am, edited 3 times in total.



Sat Mar 06, 2021 11:28 am
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Post Re: Socialism

I just wanted to mention that the basic theory of socialism cannot work within the human world because the human nature is completely different. Men are not ants and will never be. As said socialism was an idea but nothing more. A socialistic system runs a very short time before it becomes a capitalistic one because people are just how they are. And, furthermore, there is this world with other countries, and the global system more or less is not socialistic. To stand your ground in this global struggle a land has to keep and increase its wealth, and somehow this works best with capitalism.

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Sat Mar 06, 2021 3:31 pm
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Post Re: Socialism

You have raised some big issues here, not least the nature of man, and by man I mean mankind, so let' me give you my views on that first. It's a bold statement to say it is in the nature of man to oppose conformity and obedience to authority; that humans are genetically disposed to resist authoritarianism. My personal life experience and observations tell me this is not true, and this is backed up by history and our current social behaviour if you look around. I would go as far to say that mankind could be categorised into 3 groups, leaders, followers and individuals, and that by far the majority are followers. Indeed, our education system is designed to select the leaders our owners need at the level in the hierarchy they need them at, and ensure the rest learn obedience as followers, especially the leaders and individuals that do not fit in, or resist the hierarchical authoritarian pyramid.

You only have to look to the armed services to see that not only do leaders have to take orders from their superiors, but their subordinates have to take orders from them, normally without question. People who join military and military-like organisations like the police, prison service etc. do so because they seek order and certainty in their lives more than most, and need to be given direction.

I only hold up these professions as examples because they are such obvious examples, but look into the workplace, schools, or the home and you will see the same need for authority and willingness to comply with authority displayed by the majority. Disobedience of authority in the workplace is punishable by loss of promotion, loss of pay, disciplinary action, demotion or dismissal. Disobedience of authority in the educational system is punishable by loss of qualifications and expulsion. Disobedience of authority in the home results in dysfunctionality and broken relationships.

I suggest this need to conform, follow, and obey is cultural not genetic. It is a function of the environment where the home and school condition the child for a lifetime of service to the people who own the places of work you will be put into. The people who own the wealth that built the places of work would have you believe it is genetic, that they have the wealth and power because of their intelligence. They may even bring god into it and say they have divine right to run the show, or tell you of how they worked hard to become multi-billionaires or trillionaires, but then they would say that wouldn't they.

Where there is a culture of rebellion and distrust of authority, and the predominant behaviour is self-reliance and independence, then there is a cultural rejection of authoritarianism. The term 'freedom' is often used to articulate this rejection, even if the people that shout 'freedom' don’t realise what they are demanding is actually freedom from authoritarianism. The most obvious example of such a culture is in the Red States of America where even the slightest government control is regarded as authoritarian. The irony is control is exerted on them just as effectively through convert methods, afterall, the police are just a phone call away, as is the army if needed. To quote Emerson Lake and Palmer “You can rent your blues and photograph your soul, you can even dig some diamonds out of rock'n roll, you can change the world, but if you lose control, they will take away your T-shirt”.

Does socialism have to authoritarian? I suggest authoritarianism is a political implementation and independent of the economic system. Just because the USSR and China adopted authoritarianism as their political model, other political implementations might choose alternative paths, in fact I believe they would as the authoritarian systems the USSR and China used were appropriate for the time; starving desperate people don’t mind authoritarianism if it keeps them alive.

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Sun Mar 07, 2021 12:45 pm
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Post Re: Socialism

“It's a bold statement to say it is in the nature of man to oppose conformity and obedience to authority; that humans are genetically disposed to resist authoritarianism.”

Here is a clear difference to make: Men are social animals. This means that everyone is programmed for the urge to step as high as possible on the ladder of leadership, but also to accept that there can be someone above him. Even very simple animals behave this way because it would be nonsense to kill everyone above you.
This means NOT that men were genetically disposed to resist authoritarianism, indeed the opposite is the case. I was not talking about obedience towards people above you but about similarity towards people beside you.
Look at dogs: obedience towards others above you means that there is no further need to struggle, everything is clarified already, no energy has to be spent on that anymore. Similarity towards others beside you means that the situation is not clarified yet. There still is to struggle, there is still energy to be spend, and you have the strong urge to clarify that – it is like the urge of scratching when it itches. As it is hard to not scratch the itching it also is hard to suppress your urge of clarifying.

“People who join military and military-like organisations like the police, prison service etc. do so because they seek order and certainty in their lives more than most, and need to be given direction.” > Maybe most of them want to climb higher in this system. Most soldiers surely want to become colonels (or so) once, most sergeants want to become chief inspectors and so on. I do not think many of them are masochists forever. Therefor there are no real subgroups within mankind. There are only people with a stronger forming of the one or the other characteristic, but we all are born with the same amount of the will to power.

When you are talking about disobedience in school, home etc: Kick the ones beside you, be kind towards your above ones, and soon you will be next to them instead of below them. Choose your friends and your enemies very carefully – who can be useful? This is how every society works, no matter if a flock of sheep or a class in school. Everyone wants to be the cheerleader´s best friend, no one wants to be the loser, but always somebody is the one, and another one is the other. As this phenomenon can be seen everytime everywhere, it is obviously no result of education.

I do not really speak of politics because somehow I think all these ideologies claim to be the way mankind´s society runs, but in fact they all are just costumes for covering the deepest functions of the human soul. Some neglect very strongly the costumed body they cover, and this is the reason why they never really could be successful.

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Sun Mar 07, 2021 3:59 pm
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Post Re: Socialism

Ahhh! I thought you were saying socialist political systems had to be authoritarian and that the independent nature of man would find that impossible to live with; to which my response was, no it doesn't and no they wouldn't. You were talking about the competitive nature of man; sorry about that.

This is another big topic, and it doesn't stop with competitiveness verses collaborative. We have a hierarchy of things we value from self to family to sub-culture to tribal to ethnicity, and we instinctively discriminate between them by placing one above the other. Would you place the life of yourself above your child, would you place your child’s life above that of your mother, would you place your mother life above a friend’s child, would you place a friend’s child above that of a stranger’s child, what about a child from a a different tribe that was at war with your tribe? All this hierarchy is in direct conflict with inclusiveness. In fact this subject is so big that it's really for a different thread.

I personally believe these are social constructs; learnt behaviours from the group we are born into, although I do accept there is probably a genetic/instinctive component. I believe these are not either-or characteristics; there is a line between competitiveness and collaborative and we all sit at different points on that line. There is a triangle formed between individual, group and collectiveness and we all sit at different points within that triangle. I personally do not regard myself as ambitious, competitive, or cooperative.

I don't think my ramblings about authoritarianism were wasted as I would have talked about it anyway, and it did give me a chance to reiterate the importance of differentiating between the principles of the ideology, the goals of the economic system, and the implementation of the political system. Just as socialism doesn't have to be authoritarian, neither does it have to be solely cooperative or collaborative. None of this is specied in the ideology. Whatever achieves the principles, and can be funded by the economic system, achieves socialism. The political implementation has to take into account what is and what isn't acceptable to the people at the time or it will be rejected, which means it has to move with the times.

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Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:05 am
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Post Re: Socialism

Getting back to one of your earlier comments, you kind of said; if socialism worked, then there'd be at least one socialist country out there that would have been a success. Instead, they have all ended up adopting capitalism, which is what people want, and only force will prevent them embracing it.

There are 3 important questions that come out of this that need answering;

1. Has socialism failed?

2. What is capitalism, and have Russia and China become capitalist countries?

3. Is socialism doomed to return to capitalism without the use of force against the people to prevent it?

Doing the first question first;

Has socialism failed?

It depends on what you judge failure. The primary measure of success for western countries is Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but that’s not in the socialist list of principles. I’ve taken upon myself to put words into Marx’s mouth by saying ‘All people are equal’. He never actually said that, but if he had taken the related claims that ‘All men are created equal’ from the US declaration of independence, and the Orwellian quote from Animal Farm that ‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others’, I’m sure he would have come up with it.

What I’m getting at with this statement is to have equality means to not have inequality. The Thomas Jefferson quote should be taken as a warning as to what will happen if all people aren’t equal, because in saying they are born equal means it’s ok for them to end up not so. This is commonly expressed today as ‘equal opportunity’, although I would probably rephrase it as ‘dog-eat-dog’. Inequality creates a black hole of destitution and despair for those that fall into it, and it is only a matter of time before everyone does, with the exception of the ruling class and those needed to perpetuate the system that keeps the ruling class ruling. The George Orwell quote should be taken as a warning to what happens if you don’t get rid of the predators, in the case of Animal Farm, these were the pigs, which quite frankly gives pigs a bad name.

There is also the matter of why a country stagnates or collapses. If it is invaded, or starved into collapse, that’s hardly a reflection on their social-economic system. For countries like Cuba, success is measured in terms of survival against decades of economic blockade by the US.

Was USSR/Russian Socialism a Success?

If you measure success in terms of lifting people out of poverty and creating a society with far less inequality and wealth gap, then it’s fair to say that no other country had done more than the USSR to achieve this in the 20th century.

At the time of the Russian revolution, the life expectancy was 35, not far off the middle ages, and most babies never made it past 5 years of age. By 1950 life expectancy was 56 and today it is 73. It is true that in the west, life expectancy in many countries is around 80 years, but the USSR has been besieged by enemy Armies, Special Forces, and Secret Services, sanctioned, and isolated, and all this has had an impact.

In Russia today, 20 million people (14%) still live in poverty as measured by today’s standards. This compares with 14.5 million (22%) living in poverty in the UK. This is quite remarkable when you consider the size of Russia and how hard it must be to address poverty in remote areas. Plus, when the USSR collapsed, Russia descended into a pit of organised crime and wealth grab from predators that came out of the woodwork, and it has taken time to recover from this which has delayed progress in raising life expectancy and eliminating poverty.

If you measure success in terms of being able to mobilise millions of people into an army that would defeat National Socialism and Fascism, whilst numerous European countries remained neutral, meaning they could happily live with the concentration camps; all at the cost of 23 million Russian people, then USSR socialism was a success, in that it saved our arses.

Was/is Chinese Socialism a success?

Using the West’s own metrics, China is set to overtake the US in terms of GDP by 2028; some now say 2024 due to Covid-19. If the USSR raised more people out of poverty than any other country in the 20th century, then China holds the record for the 21st century. According to the World Bank, Chinese socialism has raised 800 million people out of poverty since 1990. Over the past 8 years China lifted 100 million people out of poverty at a cost of £160 Billion. Life expectancy at the time of the revolution in 1948 was 43, now it’s 77 and expected to reach the golden figure of 80 by 2040.

Success or Not?

I think they were, and still are successful. I’m not saying I’d like to live there, certainly not in the old days. For one thing, I’d make a crap Bolshevik; I can’t stand people telling me what to do, it must have been like being in the army. Plus, who wants to live in a poor country just to see it not be poor anymore. Plus the authoritarian political systems of the USSR and China focused so heavily on human rights that civil rights were pretty much regarded as a luxury, which in all honesty they probably were a 'nice to have' at the time, considering the human rights mountain they had to climb.

Does the fact that both Russia and China have now embraced capitalism mean socialism has failed? I don’t think so, socialism has done its job, realigned their societies towards socialist ideology, and they embrace capitalism in that context. I'll cover more of that when I have a go at question 2, ‘What is capitalism, and have Russia and China become capitalist countries?’

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Last edited by Beerman on Tue Mar 09, 2021 10:54 am, edited 2 times in total.



Mon Mar 08, 2021 12:20 pm
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Post Re: Socialism

First of all, no need for excuse - I did not make my point clear.

Concerning the worthiness of other´s lives: This is merely a philosophical question but one of politics, and it touches much the issues of human ethology, so it is a different theme (“Blood is thicker than water”…). Concerning learning behaviours: Whilst the predispositions for learning certain single behaviour parts are many, the amount of complete behaviours that are learnt is much smaller we think it to be.

It depends upon one´s view upon the world or, to be more exact, if you are philantrophic or not (I do NOT mean it as blackmetallic as it may sound). It is a sensitive theme because people often get angry if their behaviour gets compared to that of animals (And that is no matter of age, as I described above).

After all the question could be: “What is success?” Human rights, a long lifetime, money, or freedom? Maybe this question gets answered different by every person. For example, most people still are thinking, death is the ultimative worst thing ever, but this is not the case for everyone – for some people death would be no punishment but a grace. Different people do consider “good” and “bad” differently.

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Mon Mar 08, 2021 4:28 pm
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Post Re: Socialism

After posting my post on socialism’s measures of success, one of which being lifting people out of poverty, I did an internet search for some infographics to visually show the impact of China on world poverty and found these interactive charts: https://chinapower.csis.org/poverty/ Unfortunately the site won’t let me copy and paste them here, so you’ll have to go there.

The first chart shows extreme world poverty from 1990 to 2018, broken down into China (shown in red), India (shown in yellow), and the rest of the world (shown in purple).

China has about 18.5% of the world population (1.44 billion people), and India has about 18% of the world population (1.35 billion people).

In 1990, China had 752 million extreme poor and India had 428 million. Between them they had more extreme poor than the rest of the world put together. Fast forward 20 years to today and China has 4 million extreme poor and India has 117 million. Although millions of Indian’s are still extremely poor, they have still lifted 311 million people out of extreme poverty. This feat by India is made all the more impressive in that they did it in little under 10 years, from 2009 to 2018.

I suspect this was due to India turning to socialism more when they joined the BRICS alliance (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) in 2009. Since then they have developed closer ties with Russia and China and adopted some of their practices. Mind you, it could also have something to do with the revenue generated by India’s ever blooming scammer industry.

If you scroll down further you’ll come to some circular charts that show degrees of poverty (incomes of $1.90, $3.20 and $5.50 per day). They comprise 2 semi-circles, one for 1990 and one for 2018, with each semi-circle having 3 bands reflecting the 3 poverty levels. You can see how China has not only moved extreme poverty to lesser poverty, but has reduced the overall poverty dramatically.

Scroll down further and you’ll see similar graphs for Vietnam, India and other countries, and for the world overall. The chart for India shows that although their reduction in extreme poverty has dramatically decreased to 117 million, nearly all of these people have only moved to the $3.20 per day poverty band, so they either need to step up their socialism, or dramatically expand their world-wide scamming operations.

There are some other interesting charts on the site, but I think these are the ones that caught my eye.

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Tue Mar 09, 2021 10:40 am
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Post Re: Socialism

What is capitalism, and have Russia and China become capitalist countries?

Just before the first UK lockdown in early March 2020 I had come to the end of a lively pub crawl with some drinking associates, and the conversation turned to a rowdy and rather loud discussion on socialism. One of my final comments I made before being chucked out, not because I was drunk and disorderly, but because it was closing time, was there is “no difference between capitalism and socialism”. This earned me a group burst of laughter and chants of ‘troll, troll, troll’. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem as I would continue my argument the next time we all met, but of course Covid-19 intervened, and a year later I still haven’t had the chance to say ‘I was talking about the economic system’. So I shall explain myself here and now, if only to rehearse what I’m going to face when I meet them all again after 10 pints.

What I am going to say is going to upset any economist that reads it or hears about it 2nd hand. The last thing I want is to be beaten up by a group of delinquent economists wearing bowler hats and one eyelash, dressed in white overalls and boots in an underpass. I’ve had enough of that when I was beaten up by a group of particle physicists for saying black matter didn't matter.

A bit of background

Back in the day when men were men and telecommunication systems were designed as a big lump of software which was ‘welded ‘ onto big lumps of hardware and then the whole thing was integrated until it worked, debugging, correction and modification was a nightmare, and development and evolution of the system was next to impossible. The software programming had loops within loops, loops from different functions looping in and out of each other catching diseases. If you changed the code in one function it would have a knock-on effect in another function, like squeezing a balloon making it smaller in one area, only to make it bigger elsewhere. Not only was the design of functions difficult to follow and work on, but their relationships with other functions was not understood. So difficult was it to evolve a comms system, that it was cheaper and more reliable to throw it away when it could no longer cope with the demands placed on it, and design a next generation one.

Then someone came up with idea of modularisation; separate the design into functional layers. This would keep the functionality separate making it easy to define, understand, and modify, and define the interfaces between the layers. Modularisation also sorted programming out as the ‘goto’ command was banished to the dustbin of history by C++ and other such object orientated languages. Now, instead of a big lump of a design and code that resembled a ball of string, impossible to unpick, comms systems had clean, defined layers, with the information layer at the top defining what the system had to move about, below it the application layer, then the security layer, all the way down to the transport layer which enabled you to define the hardware. Now when you improved a layer, you knew exactly the impact it would have on the layers above and below and you could modify them accordingly. These layers were often drawn in a pyramid with the information layer at the top signifying its importance and its conciseness, and the transport layer at the bottom signifying it’s the last thing you do and the size of the beast in terms of capital outlay and items to buy, install and commission.

Layering the Social-Economic-Political system

The Social-Economic-Political system is where telecommunication systems use to be before layers came along, and treating it as a big lump attracts the same problems, especially in the economy layer. How can you improve the economic system if you laden it down with ideology and political baggage? So let’s separate this thing out using the same pyramid convention as used in telecommunications, with Ideology at the top, the economic system in the middle, and the political system at the bottom. With the economic system free of ideology and politics, I believe it becomes apparent that there is only one economic monetary-based system that is used by both capitalism and socialism.


A group of economists picking on poor Beerman because he insulted their market models.

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Wed Mar 10, 2021 11:47 am
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Post Re: Socialism

The monetary economic system makes the money you need to do the things you want to do. What you want to do, sits in the ideology layer, and how you do it sits in the political layer. It all happens at the bottom of the system where individual businesses sell goods and services for more money than it costs to create them. The rest is aggregation up to national level of various performance indicators like consumption, cost, employment, imports, exports, turnover, tax, profit, investment etc., to give economic indicators a number, to give some idea of how the country is performing, to give some idea of what you need to do to fix economic woes, or grow the economy.

If you were to model the economic system, it wouldn't care who owned the means of production, who makes the investments, or what you choose to do with the money the system makes. The economy is the engine under hood that enables you to drive to your destination. The economic model would indicate the speed of money around the system to indicate blockages that need to be freed, the amount of money in the system to indicate its value, the reserves of money held privately outside the system that could flow into it and devalue it, and the government printed money that will devalue it; in short, the money supply and currency risk.

'Economy' actually means 'household' in ancient Greek, and I think people who run happy households and successful businesses get that. If you want to go out and have fun, have financial security, and create a safe and nurturing environment for your family, or a secure environment for your workforce, then you need to manage your finances wisely. As a rule; you don't borrow more than you can afford to pay back, you don't take financial risks you can't afford to lose, you don't spend more than you earn without a low risk plan to pay it back.

So many countries have failed by not grasping this simple concept, especially during the financial crises of 2008. They grabbed the cheap credit on offer and blew the lot on wish lists that would normally take decades for a stable, growing economy to afford; Greece may never recover, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Iceland look like they probably will. It brings into question what is the point of creating all these performance and economic indicators, especially ones like credit and money supply if they are ignored, or the government does what it wants anyway.

Spain's downfall was its regions maxing out on cheap credit and pumping the cash into housing bubbles. Portugal used its credit to fund a standard of living that hadn't been earned; poor productivity, high imports, low savings, high debt, low investment. They failed to balance expenditure on non-profitable social services with the tradable sector, needed to pay for it. What was the point of monitoring the economy at national level if you then mismanage it? Greece was like that couple in the 60s that won £1 million pounds and spent the lot in a year; they made a film about them called 'Spend, spend, Spend!' On top of all the mistakes made by the others, they added corruption and fraudulent book keeping.

The whole of Europe fell into the credit honey trap; in the UK I reckon we spent £450 Billion to bail out the banks and financial institutions who had been money laundering the cash to the ruling class for years. It has taken 10 years of austerity to pay it back, and now they are printing the stuff again. Why has Greece suffered more than most? I would suggest it was made an example for anyone that challenged austerity.

The latest winner of the 'You never learn' award in economics goes to Venezuela. Notice how the US and the West uses Venezuela as an example to illustrate the failure of socialism, whilst conveniently forgetting about all the capitalist countries that have fallen into the trap of living beyond your means. Spending oil money that hasn’t been liquidised yet seems to be the next big poo trap.

Saying a socialist country that has failed as result of the mismanagement of their economy, is a bit like saying a socialist country has failed if it has its economy destroyed by other countries.

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Fri Mar 12, 2021 1:40 pm
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Post Re: Socialism

What is Capitalism?

Let’s start with a couple of dictionary definitions;

Quote:
“Capitalism is an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.”


Quote:
“Capitalism is an economic, political, and social system in which property, business, and industry are privately owned, directed towards making the greatest possible profits for successful organizations and people”


I can’t promise to be as concise as a dictionary definition, in fact I can promise I won’t be. Here’s my definition of capitalism, with things removed that are not unique to capitalism, things added that have been missed, and things expanded upon that are important. Most important being the separation of capitalist social system from the economic system, and the varying degrees of control placed on the economic system by political intervention which define the hardness or softness of capitalism.

My Definition of Capitalism

Capitalism is a social system whose aims are; to accumulate national and personal wealth, to achieve national and personal power and status through wealth, and to achieve happiness through wealth.

It is a system based on the ability and willingness of individuals, businesses and governments to invest, and consume the goods and services created by investment. Wealth feeds consumerism, which creates demand, which is satisfied by supply, enabled by investment.

The ability to invest is dependent upon accumulated wealth and disposable income. The size and risk of the investment determines the amount of money generated and accumulated by the investor. The extent of investment and manipulation of markets to maximise return on investments is dependent upon the political regulations in place to protect the social system. Investment can take the form of buying and selling goods, services, and financial products, or in owning the means of production that enables goods, services and financial products to be created, so that they can be bought and sold. Internal business investment is achieved by using cash assets, selling capital assets, or borrowing the money. External business investment is normally achieved through the issue of stocks and shares, attracting investment based on its market value.

Large numbers of small investors tend to invest in small capitalised businesses, with a few holding small investments in medium or large cap companies. Small numbers of large investors tend to invest in medium, large and mega large capitalised businesses along with larger businesses, institutions, and governments. Generally speaking, only super wealthy individuals are able to invest in businesses and financial institutions to a degree that they can influence their products and practices. Whereas, the workers that provide the labour needed to produce the goods and services, are the least able to invest.

The profit from investment is distributed in accordance with the hierarchical pyramid of class and sub-class, with the overwhelming share going to the super wealthy at the top, with the rest trickling down through the hierarchy to those that receive the least at the bottom.

Controlling the Economic System

The monetarist economic system is moderated by the capitalist social system in order to prevent excessive pricing and/or excessive manipulation that would risk economic collapse. Moderation is achieved through regulation, which ranges from no regulation in a completely free-for-all Free Market, to systems that have varying degrees of competitive demand and supply prices for some goods and services, and non-competitive price-setting for others that are important to society to fix.

Some call a fully de-regulated economy, free-market capitalism. Maybe free-fall or bandit capitalism would be more appropriate; let’s call it Hard Capitalism.

Some call the introduction of market planning and government intervention, mixed market capitalism; let’s call it Soft Capitalism because these measures protect society. An example of government investment would be the UK’s National Health Service. An example of government intervention might be the UK government bail-out of banks during the 2008 financial crisis, where intervention was judged necessary due to the negative impact on society of failed financial intuitions. As soft capitalism is a mixture of capitalism and socialism, you could equally call soft capitalism, soft socialism as long as the fruits of the economy are used to support the socialist ideology.

Some call a fully regulated, fully planned economy, a socialist market economy because it was used in the developing days of the USSR and China to force money towards social welfare. I think it’s incorrect to say planned economies are unique to socialism, so let’s call it planned market capitalism. Planned market capitalism produces a very different outcome than planned market socialism. Full capitalist state control of the economic system would generate wealth solely for the ruling class, as it did in the feudal system, and as it did in some extreme far-right authoritarian European countries in the 20th century.

So what would a planned market economy look like in a capitalist country today? It would have frozen wages, frozen standards of living, static social position, fixed prices, fixed supply and fixed demand, little fluctuation in full-time employment and unemployment, and limited economic growth. I’m actually describing today’s UK economy here, which has been performing like this since the 2008 crash, and it has done so without implementing a planned market economy; and it hasn’t really caused any real discomfort to most people. In the UK, wages are stagnant, but so are prices. There’s no interest on savings, but no inflation to devalue them. So who cares? I guess the answer is those who didn’t have enough money to make ends meet before the economy froze, and have no chance to rectify the situation until it unfreezes.

How has the UK managed to achieve the outcome of a planned economy whilst implementing a fairly hard mixed economy, I hear you ask. The answer is, wealth is being grown in the mixed economy in the same way, but it is being stolen by the super rich through central banks, stock exchanges, using partial reserve funding of banks, money printing and cheap credit, in much the same way that a king would use lords of the manors and sheriffs in middle ages to take the money generated by his surfs.

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Mon Mar 15, 2021 10:34 am
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Post Re: Socialism

I’ve removed 3 things from the dictionary definitions that are not unique to capitalism;

- The private and corporate ownership of property, business, Industry, capital goods, and investments, do not solely apply to capitalism. Private ownership and investment is not forbidden in the ideology of socialism; even if some political implementations do; some do not. The same is true for capitalism, government ownership of nationalised businesses is not forbidden.

- Both capitalism and socialism share the same economic goal of maximising profit and achieving success for their businesses. Because the worker owns the means of production in a socialist system, the more profit a worker makes, the more that worker can choose to keep, pass on to the business, and pass on to the government to build their society.

- Putting the two extreme economic management approaches aside, namely the Wild West free market, and the straight-jacketed fully planned economy, the principles of supply and demand and planned intervention are used by both capitalism and socialism.

I think the real difference between the capitalist and socialist systems lie in the ownership of the means of production, and who gets to keep the wealth the means of production produces. It’s either owned by the people who create the wealth and they get to decide what to do with it, or it’s owned by a ruling class of rich elite.

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Post Re: Socialism

Have Russia and China become capitalist countries?

I don’t know; it depends on what Russia and China do with the profit generated by their people. If it disappears out of the economy and into the pockets of a ruling class of super rich individuals, then the answer is they are capitalist. If the majority of it flows back into their society, then the answer is they are socialist; maybe (nothing is ever that simple). I’ll confess, I don’t know enough about the workings of Russia or China to say if they are capitalist or socialist, and I don’t feel inclined to research them at the moment. Plus, I don’t think we can lump Russia and China together. They may have started off in a similar manner, but they got here today down 2 very different paths.

Russia

The collapse of the USSR was overseen by Gorbachev through his perestroika policy. Some say he tried to naively reform the USSR into a modern-day soft socialist system, but which instead played directly into the hands of those that wanted to bring their socialist society down; others say he was a US asset.

The collapse of the USSR left a political vacuum filled by gangsters who quickly stripped the county of its wealth and basically stole anything that wasn’t nailed down. Civil unrest, created in part by envy of the West’s perceived wealth and the standard of living of its citizens; and their lack of it in the USSR, together with the usual CIA organisation of dissident groups, resulted in demonstrations, and the election of the CIA’s Yeltsin-the-drunk, who oversaw the introduction of bandit capitalism, wholesale privatisation, and the emergence of an oligarch ruling class which kept the country poor.

Bankrolled by the US and the oligarchs, corruption and a whole cartload of empty promises of jam tomorrow, Yeltsin stayed in power and oversaw the financial collapse of the country in 1998 when Russia defaulted on its debts. In 1999, under threat of being arrested for bribery he resigned and he power passed to Vladimir Putin who gave him life-long amnesty against prosecution in return. The US and the West were initially happy with Putin in charge, as being nominated by Yeltsin, was perceived to be their man in the Kremlin. But instead, he has slowly and steadily brought Russia back from ruin and softened the hard capitalism in to what I believe is a form of soft capitalism, but then again, many of the oligarch have left with their wealth to ruin other countries, and under President Putin, the state controlled share of total assets has risen to about 60% (IMF say 70%). Whether President Putin he has intentions to move to soft socialism I don’t know, especially as the line between soft capitalism and soft socialism is so blurred and undefined.

China

China on the other hand has not had a counter-revolution like Russia to deal with. It’s progression from hard socialism to soft socialism is on-going and has been slow, measured and uninterrupted. China has not had to fight a cold war with the west; diverting funds to defence to do so. It has been able to keep its authoritarian government stable, maintain civil discipline and compliance, and up until recently at least, prevent private wealth and civil rights unrest cause counter-revolution. It has kept its head down and quietly let the school bullies pick on the other kid until it has grown up and ibig enough to defend itself.

Unlike Russia, which I believe allows unrestricted investment in the stock market, which means the super rich can speculate with large investments to increase their wealth by taking from society. China has regulated private investment to some degree with large investments being made mainly by the government; but it is playing with fire. China currently has 300 billionaires, 2nd only to the US, although the wealthiest only has $40 billion, and all but the top 10 (ish) have less than $10 billion.

China has evolved to allow some private ownership of businesses, which means people can be self-employed, and employ others. Again, a dangerous path if not managed properly, but enormously beneficial to society if managed well.

Is China still socialist? I think it is. I think we are seeing the evolution of hard socialism into soft socialism. Afterall, we have seen the evolution of hard capitalism of the Industrial Revolution into soft capitalism which has been adopted widely throughout Europe and indeed the world.

I don’t see why soft capitalism and soft socialism can’t learn from each other and eventually come together. But to do that certain things have to be sort out, not least the regulation of investment, the banking system, private ownership of wealth and property, private ownership of the means of production, and managing the evolution of civil rights. If regulated well, these things in small doses will encourage society to develop, in the correct larger dose they can benefit society significantly, but in overdose, or if used as a weapon by an enemy, they can destroy a society.

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Post Re: Socialism

You often hear the statement that capitalism has lifted everybody out of the poverty of the middle ages, and that the standard of living we enjoy today bears no resemblance to the life of a peasant before capitalism. You’ll hear that even our most poor today have a standard of living akin to a servant to a lord 500 years. You’ll hear that from capitalism’s inception in the 1750s it has reduced global poverty from 90% to 17%

Sometimes you’ll hear this statement framed scientifically in articles with titles like ‘Capitalism as the undeniable rise in living standards’ containing tables of data and charts like this,

https://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/ ... jpg?x91208

or claims that it has reduced world poverty with charts like this

https://blog.bham.ac.uk/cityredi/wp-con ... raph-1.png

and sometimes they’ll frame poverty in different ways that pay to capitalism’s strengths, like GDP per person;

https://fee.org/media/28563/deirdre.png ... 5895953757

Sometimes you’ll hear this statement expressed as a question; ‘Surely you’ll agree that capitalism has raised your standard of living from that of your grandparents or your great grandparents? In response you’ll remember tales of their hard lives and you get tricked in agreeing with the loaded question.

All this is designed to write capitalism into your belief system. There are similar statements and questions designed to get people to fear socialism; either it will take away your freedom or leave you poor. It’s not hard to guess the motives of the multi-billionaire members of the ruling class doing this. They want to safeguard their wealth and position at the top, and if you were in their place, you’d probably do the same. So let’s look at this rather complex question objectively.

Does capitalism raise standards of living?

The 1st thing to sort out is when capitalism began. The obvious event to point to is the 1st industrial revolution around 1700; some say it started in 1650, others in 1750. But if you look at history in terms of the economic and social-political systems in place during the Renaissance (1500 to 1700), and even before that during the Middle Ages (1150-1500), you’ll see the same basic economic system we have today, albeit pared down. They had the same ruling class-working class structure and they bought and sold stuff for profit, even if the buyer market was somewhat limited as so few had all the money. There were some peasants that had some skills that would earn them a little extra than the peasant that had no skills. Some peasants prepared to do unpleasant work like working with human waste became relatively well off compared with other peasants. The merchants supplied the demand of the ruling class and in the process had to employ a hierarchy of servants from those presentable to the customer, to those that shovelled shit at the bottom of the pile.

The Renaissance period was really more of the same from an economic-political perspective. It was the era of mathematics, science, art and grand architecture, all of which benefited the ruling class and the scientists and artists they sponsored. But the advances made in the Renaissance further increased the demographic layers in society as now servants were required to be respectable to ruling class customers of art and architecture as well as goods and services. This new demographic make-up of society meant new customers and more opportunity to buy and sell, because the servants in the new layers earned more than those below them, they had more money to buy things. The Renaissance was the precursor to the industrial revolution. It put in place engineers and their staff, capable of designing and building the machines that would launch the 2nd industrial revolution that would create dark satanic Victorian mills and factories, that by 1900 had created such a restructuring of the demographics in society that it would be able to sustain an explosion in buying and selling.

By claiming capitalism stared in 1750, you write off the 600 of years of capitalist stagnation practiced during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, where the ruling class owned the means of production and capitalism did nothing to raise the standard of living of the vast majority of the population. Even taking the period from 1750 to 1900, the new agricultural machinery was used to drive peasants off the land and into city slums to become subsistence level paid workers in the land owner’s factories.


The Middle Ages may have been the birth of Capitalism, but was it also the birth of Socialism?


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Thu Apr 01, 2021 9:32 am
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Post Re: Socialism

Correlation does not imply Causation

So, what changed after 600 of years of political and economic stagnation that would lift working people out of poverty from 1900 to today? The rich claimed capitalism did this. If it were not for their money, invested in building factories and buying the raw materials for workers to add value to, the working class would have stayed on the land as serfs and peasants, working for them for subsistence wages; now they could live in city slums and work for them for subsistence wages. OK, I’m being flippant, but in reality this was the case for the early part of the 20th century. The alternative political system that Marx had proposed in 1857 with the publication of Capital Volume 1; that investment could come from a share of the profit the worker made and the rest go to the worker, was at first ignored, then demonised by the media, legal and political systems the rich controlled.

What the 2nd industrial revolution did was to revolutionise social structure, creating ever increasing layers of supervision, managers, technologists, and specialists needed by the technology as the business grew and new more technically complex businesses appeared.

Image

Businesses became money making machines, generating wealth for their owners and paying the wages of these layers of people according to their importance to the business and the scarcity of their skills. Business became like the machines they contained, and people like cogs in the machine, each performing a function without question. Conformity through fear was the oil that ensured the engine ran smoothly. Any friction, any dissent meant instant dismissal and near impossible reemployment as your name was put on an employer’s blacklist.

Image..Image

Each level of seniority within the company meant more wages, more disposable income, a better standard of living. Social pressure was encouraged to motivate supervisors and managers to seek promotion, not just for the extra money, but also for the social status and this brought about a redefinition of the class structure and the new middle class. To get promotion you would be expected to be more obedient and more ruthless to those below you that your competitors for the job.

All these higher wages and disposable income were good for the economy, as buying and selling for a profit is what it’s all about. But those at the bottom still had little or no disposable income and added little or nothing to the economy other than as cogs in the machine, working to produce wealth for those above them in the hierarchy and for the owners of the factories. This situation continued until the workers at the bottom realised that they now had power, for if they removed their labour, the profits all those above them relied upon, including the owners would stop. In the old days before the industrial revolution, if a labourer removed his labour, he and his family be evicted and left to starve, or simple be killed. Now they realised they outnumbered the strike breakers and ‘paid for’ police and weren’t so easy to push around. Strikes meant no money and landlords would evict on one missed rent payment, but slowly things got better because workers stuck together, and together they couldn’t be so easily picked off.

Image..Image

If a company made more profit one year, workers at higher levels in the organisation would receive pay increases depending on their skill scarcity and performance to retain them, and the rest of the profit would go to the owners of the factory. A worker at the bottom of the food chain would only get a pay rise if they forced the factory owners to give them one, on threat of withdrawing their labour. In the early days of trade unions they faced intimidation from supervisors, managers, hired strike breakers and the police; and of course from dismissal which would lead to destitution, death or the workhouse.

It was engineers that raised millions of people out of poverty through technology, by creating a hierarchy of higher paid workers in factories, and the workers at the bottom through class struggle, not capitalism; correlation does not imply causation.

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Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:06 am
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Post Re: Socialism

It was during the early 20th century that capitalism split into 2 very different political implementations. The capitalist system in the USA was to diverge from the European system and embrace the monetarist, free market, hard capitalism model, whereas Europe was to embrace the Keynesian, supply and demand economic approach with selective political interventions; a softer, more caring form of capitalism, but one that would have to be fought for with the hardship and sometimes blood of working class people, be resisted by the ruling class at every turn, and would take decades to put in place.

US monetarism was conceived in 1913 with the formation of the US central bank called the Federal Reserve. Although central banks had been around since the Middle Ages, they had always been like a branch of government distributing and collecting money between treasury and local government branches that served merchants, tax collectors, and the lords of the manor. The US Federal Reserve was different; it was conceived by the super rich of the day, in secretly, and was passed through congress with the help of a few pieces of silver, crossed in a few greasy palms. It was owned by them and had the authority to print money. It would be a few years before the super rich would build the huge corporations that would borrow money from the banks they owned, to create more money, that would be printed by the central bank that they also owned; and it would be a few year after that before the super rich who owned all the financial institutions that would issue credit by printing money to create the free market, unregulated, monetarist system that would drive the US economy today. When the corporations became established they were able to drive smaller businesses out of business through downward price manipulation, then control the supply to manipulate the price back up, then take over their supply chains to drive costs and working conditions down to maximise profits.

In the US, the cruel industrialists and business owners that ran dangerous and filthy factories like concentration camps and treated people like consumables were replaced by high-salaried managers and Chief Executive Officers in corporate mega-large businesses. They were still just as cruel, they were still predators, and they still treated their workers just as badly, but now they wore suits and expected their employees to dress smart, and they would lend them the money to do. This is hardly surprising as it was the same people that ran the black chimney belching factories that now ran the brick and glass tower and skyscraper corporations.

In Europe, the cruel industrialists and business owners that ran the satanic mills became the new managers, managing directors and owners of small, medium and large businesses, but the difference with the US was Europe would not go down this re-rolled central bank route, at least not for many years to come, and when it finally did, regulation would stop excessive money printing and laundering.

As the rich became richer they were able to withdraw from business operations altogether and become non-executive owners, leaving the running of their businesses to hired CEOs and Managing Directors and their management teams. As their businesses grew and divided, so the portfolio of businesses the owners owned grew, and soon it included businesses they partially owned, and so the super rich owners became the super rich investors and gained control over much of the means of production across society.

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Last edited by Beerman on Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:09 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Apr 10, 2021 2:21 pm
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Post Re: Socialism

There's definitely a rabbit hole to go down here that would turn this thread from one about socialism to one about the social and economic development of Europe and the US. It's a related topic, but a bit distractive, at least for now. All I'm going to say for now is that there were many events that improved the living standards of workers in the 20th Century that capitalism has falsely claimed credit for, and many negative outcomes that have resulted from the excesses of capitalism that are swept under the carpet, or denied as being capitalism's fault. I'm not saying capitalism is all bad, it has its strengths and weaknesses to be learnt from by socialism, and the living standard of some has been raised as a result of capitalism.

What is less mentioned is that the wealth generated by the economic system flows up the hierarchy leaving those at the bottom poorer, creating inequality and a wealth gap. As the owners of production get richer, they pay more to retain and motivate those key to keeping the money flowing upwards; this is sometimes called 'trickle down economics', which is a fancy was of saying the richer the master, the richer the overseers that keeps the workers working. Some of the events that propelled American capitalism to the fore and the US into superpower status were 2 world wars. To quote a Para from a website I came across:

Quote:
The Real Story of How America Became an Economic Superpower

In 1916, Britain bought more than a quarter of the engines for its new air fleet, more than half of its shell casings, more than two-thirds of its grain, and nearly all of its oil from foreign suppliers, with the United States heading the list. Britain and France paid for these purchases by floating larger and larger bond issues to American buyers; denominated in dollars, not pounds or francs.

“By the end of 1916, American investors had wagered two billion dollars on an Entente victory,” (relative to America’s estimated GDP of $50 billion in 1916, the equivalent of $560 billion in today’s money).

That staggering quantity of Allied purchases called forth something like a war mobilization in the United States. American factories switched from civilian to military production; American farmers planted food and fibre to feed and clothe the combatants of Europe. - Adam Tooze's study of the two world wars traces a new history of the 20th century - The Atlantic, December 2014


The result of supplying the articles of war for 2 world wars was to make the super rich US investors richer. WW1 transactions were made in dollars and gold, which meant that the dollar could be printed legitimatly because the US had amassed record levels of gold, and that gold was able to back the increase in dollar circulation. By repeating this for WW2, insisting on payment in either gold or dollars, the super rich investors were able to go into the money lending business, lending money to rebuild Europe after WW2. With loan repayments mandated in dollars and with many countries bankrupt and with empty gold vaults, they were forced to hold dollars which was linked to the gold standard because their own currency was no longer. All this lead to the dollar becoming the world's reserve currency. Some might say that as the dollar was first printed by the Federal Reserve in 1914, that this was always the plan for it. Having the world's reserve currency has supported the dollar from devaluation and supported the US economy to today, and yet the act of making it so was not an act of capitalism. Had a socialist country had the money and will to do the same, it too would have a world reserve currency.

An event of huge significance was mass immigration from 1900 to 1920, made possible in part by not providing the newly arrived with any welfare, healthcare or housing support. With little cost to the state, they provided industry access to around 20 million low paid semi and unskilled workers, effectively bolstering the existing working class, and enabling some of the existing working class to progress up the hierarchy to become supervisors and managers. The growth of the middle class meant prosperity and spending power for some and the US economic boom of the 1950s was born, raising GDP from $200 billion in 1945 to $500 billion in 1960. The 1950s in the US is sometimes referred to as 'The Golden Age of American Capitalism', but what is seldom mentioned are the factors that made it possible, and the economics used were still Keynesian, indeed the 1950s was the last time the US would spend serious money on its infrastructure. The buying and selling stoked the economy and generated a housing boom and the suburban consumerism lifestyle. The Golden Age of American Capitalism wasn't actually American Capitalism it was European. American Capitalism, i.e. the monetarist system we see today, was still work-in-progress, especially after the great depression of 1929 that followed the US stock market collapse, and it wasn't to take off until the 3rd Industrial Revolution in the 1980s, sometimes called 'The technological revolution'.

Another big event that fuelled economic supply was the cold war, immensely profitable for the US and extremely costly for the USSR. From the Cold War came the US Industrial military complex, one of the wealthiest industrial sectors in the US economy. Some might say that today it is so dominant that weapon supply is now the US main cash crop that is destroying its economy, as cash crops tend to do.

One of the events that is less mentioned when talking about the virtues of capitalism is the wealth gap and poverty it creates for those at the bottom of the food chain. This rich-poor situation leads to unrest and discontent and it ended the 1950s boom. The story of the 1960s and 1970s was hidden by the happy, heroic and glossy image portrayed on television and in Hollywood films which were broadcast around the world. It hid the civil rights movements where many of the immigrants that came to the US in search of a better were fed up with still being at the bottom, and the African Americans were fed up with segregation, 2nd class citizenship and discrimination. It hid the growth of slums, referred to as 'Ghettos', lead to increasing crime, violence and murders. When referring to the glory days of the 1950s, the decline of capitalism during the 1960s and 1970s is hardly mentioned, a decline that has increased exponentially from the 1980s onwards to today under American Capitalism.

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Last edited by Beerman on Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:11 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Apr 11, 2021 10:16 am
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Post Re: Socialism

I could describe living conditions in Britain after WW2, but it’s well documented on the internet, so I’ll let the internet do the talking for this bit. Here’s an article from the General-History.com website:

Post-War poverty in Socialist Britain (1945 – 51)

It was a surrealist time to be British. Six years of total war had left the people with their men and womenfolk dead, wounded and crippled as well as the medalled, heroic and stoic. Most people had lost their home (or homes) to the German bombing. France and Belgium, just over the narrow Channel, had been occupied throughout almost all the Second War, and were recovering much faster than the British. The latter, having listened avidly to the words of a fat old man with a fondness for brandy and cigars asking them to sacrifice everything to beat the German menace, and having followed his indefatigable leadership, showed their loyalty by throwing him and his party out in the 1945 elections. The new Prime Minister was Clement Attlee, an Old Harrovian, who had been Churchill’s Deputy PM during the war. He was one of those patricians who become members of the Labour Party, presumably to reward their parents for sacrificing everything to educate them privately. He was all for NATO, against private incomes and country life.

Most things seemed worse after the War than during it. Food was still severely rationed, even three years after the atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The food you could get hold of by hook or by crook was poorer in quality than during the War; housing was scarce, taxes heavier and heavier. The rich suffered with the poor; Lord Astor was supposed to collect £200,000 per year but after taxation he got one hundred and fifty. The Tollemache brewing family did not even receive sixpence from each pound. Lord Wellesley, descendent of the Duke of Wellington, was supposed to earn £40,000 a year from rents. He was lucky to hang on to four thousand of it.

A series of incredibly severe winters came and went, with hardly any fuel to burn and less electricity; the nation shivered in their coats if they had one. You could not escape for a week to warmer climates if you could afford it, because your cash allowance for the entire holiday was five pounds. The irony was supreme for during the fighting travel abroad was virtually compulsory, but now it was difficult even to go from Dover to Calais, but oddly enough many people did go on day outings from Dover and Folkestone or even to the Hook of Holland – to buy decent food and bring it back, a kind of smuggling frowned on by the authorities!

The victors of the War were sailing to ports in defeated, occupied countries in order to buy food! It was surreal all right.

The War had meant horror and destruction, but it had been a time of honour and even glory for Britain and her Commonwealth – but now she was bankrupt, with over the pond the Americans rubbing their hands in glee as they watched the British Empire disintegrate. Britain had won with their perfectly-timed help , and now could only look forward to a decline and the daily slog of a precarious peace.

A New Order had arrived with Labour’s election victory. Learned men in glasses enforced savings and economies and tightened belts and five inches of hot bathwater once a week. Things got better though; butter re-appeared after years of a lick of margarine mostly made from whale blubber. The ‘National Restaurants’ vanished to be replaced by Lions’ Corner Houses serving hot food with chips.

Labour said it offered Hope to Millions: it was not revolutionary as many had suspected or hoped; Labour represented the economic and cultural triumph of the masses over the privileged. The new watchword was ‘Austerity’. And austere life was until the masses suddenly saw through it and voted Conservative again in 1951. Unfortunately the grandson of a Duke was re-elected with it. All wrong, and just as surreal.

An ordinary French village grocery shop looked to my fifteen year old eyes in 1952 like Heaven itself. But France had been occupied by the Nazis for nearly six years! It was more than surreal; it was pure Marx Brothers.

Reference: https://general-history.com/post-war-po ... n-1945-51/

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Tue Apr 13, 2021 7:51 am
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