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Socialism 
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Post Re: Socialism

Before I move on from governments and democracy, I’ll just add that I find it amazing that given the poor track record of governments as a way of managing/governing things; that no one has come up with a better way to do it.

It’s the same with democracy, which is little more than a farce played out in a 4-year election cycle in which a group of people that nobody (without a vested interest), really likes or actually wants, get to pretend they run the show. Just as with Marxism, we have democratic theory without economic and political implementations. Democracy today is little more than a slogan, and a weapon to beat countries with that don’t run a democratic political system.

Surely in this age of technology, smart phones and internet, there must be a way to canvass working class and middle class opinions on subjects to guide policy and make important decisions, like where the tax money should go?

For years the financial sector has lured our best young minds out of universities and into the commercial and investment world with loads of money. As a result we have computer systems in stock exchanges that can predict movement of prices by the second to successfully buy and sell stock for profit. Just imagine where we’d be if those minds had been put to use building society, or implementing democracy using technology, to make democracy actually mean something instead of being just a word.

I mean, honestly, the public can vote on the outcome of television reality shows and soap operas, cooking shows and dance contests, and yet there is no way of implementing democracy where the public have their say, and just as importantly are able to vote useless and corrupt politicians out during their term in power? I mean, really?

There must be a way to isolate politicians from the money of the rich to sever the ‘money equals power’ link, at least down the governmental decisions and lawmaking route.

There must be a way to sever the link between the rich and super rich controlling the selection of political candidates and ban the rich from standing for election. I can’t see why if someone wants to run for political office, that their bank account statements and their tax returns can’t be made available on line as a matter of course, so that the public can see any sources of dubious income and instances of dodgy payments and tax avoidance.

We are stuck on a version of democracy where the people get to choose their governing legislators, when we need a version where the people actually decide the legislation and make the big decisions. Democracy keeps getting hijacked by terms like ‘free democracy’, which brings another nebulous concept into the equation, 'freedom', as if democracy isn’t nebulous enough. Another phrase is ‘cornerstones of democracy’ which brings the civil rights cuckoo into the nest to muddy the waters. I mean; one humungous, unfathomable, impenetrable problem at a time please.

One problem for me with democracy (and I have a few), is who gets to vote. I get ‘majority rules’, but the majority is made up of all sorts of people, some of which are only alive because it is illegal to kill them. I’m minded of a doom rule; ‘People are the pits’.

- Some believe what comes out of a politician’s mouth.

- Some believe the spin and the lies they read and hear in the media.

- Some vote for the candidate with best charisma, widest smile, the most smartly dressed, or best spoken.

- Some vote for the one that makes them the least sick.

- Some vote with the group they identify with, not for a candidate.

- Some vote because they feel guilty not voting.

- Some vote for bad people because they are bad people.

- Some vote to virtue signal how good they are.

- Some vote for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with politics.

The problem with letting everyone vote is all of the above. The problem with not letting everyone vote is; it’s discriminatory, elitist, and if the wrong people get to decide who doesn’t get to vote, then the wrong people engineer it so that they will stay in power forever.

One aspect that is changing for the better I think is the by-passing and ignoring of mainstream and cable media, which has always been party political, but now it’s ridiculously so. It’s got to the point that they might as well put their particular party logo up in the background. In their place are Internet bloggers, who are fast becoming the new source of information. As in all things in life they come in good, bad and ugly forms; and you have to decide who to believe, and what to take to form your own opinion. Amazingly, the death-dealing YouTube platform provides a good cross section of bloggers; that is until they are discovered and closed down under some pretext. You quickly find the ones that use logic and evidence to back up their opinions. I’ve found a few excellent foreign affairs channels that have really put into context what’s going on in the world of geo-political pushing and shoving. But I digress.

The answer to bad government is not, no government. That is not a good solution, and plays into the hands of the hard capitalists who are using bad government to get people to think that way. The answer to bad government is good government; we just need some bright ideas to work out the implementation.

The answer to meaningless democracy is not, it’s the best of a bad bunch. The answer is to make democracy meaningful by putting the people in charge, in real-time, continually, not every 4 years in an election farce. That’s assuming the answer is democracy.

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Last edited by Beerman on Sun May 30, 2021 11:31 am, edited 1 time in total.



Thu May 27, 2021 12:54 pm
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Post Re: Socialism

Inflation

Inflation is an integral part of capitalist and socialist systems and is treated fundamentally differently by these systems at the political level.

First a definition: Inflation is the loss of purchasing power over time.

You’ll hear some describe inflation as price rises over time, but I would argue that price increases are one step removed. Of course prices rises lead to a loss of purchasing power; but so does a reduction in income.

I would argue the increase in inflation during the UK financial crises of 1992-93 was caused by a reduction in income caused by high interest rates which destroyed the housing market because the mortgage rate was, and still is, linked to the base rate, and people suddenly struggled to pay their mortgages. From 1989 to 1991 inflation against the Consumer Price Index only rose by 2.3% (from 5.2% to 7.5%), whilst house prices, which aren’t included in the CPI, collapsed. So in this case the inflation rate wasn’t a great indicator of prices change.

During the financial crises of 2008-11 inflation rose by just 2% (from around 2.5% to 4.5%), as a result of a credit crunch which dramatically reduced income. For many that found themselves overstretched and behind on their mortgage payments, bankers would move in and reposses their homes. For those made homeless, there were plenty of investors and developers ready to snap up a bargain for resale at a handsome profit after the recession.

Inflation increases the cost of living, and eats into disposable income and savings. For the wealthy, disposable income is so high, any impact of inflation on it is negligible; as for savings, there are ways the wealthy can protect them, basically by holding minimal cash or hedging the currency risk in offshore accounts. For the non wealthy high inflation can be at best a rough patch to be endured until it goes down again, at worse cause homelessness and destitution. In a capitalist system, inflation benefits the wealthy, the owners of means of production, and the employers of labour, and it makes the non-wealthy poorer.

Inflation in a capitalist system

Profit is a product of price and volume, so the higher the price and the larger the volume, the more the profit. For the employer and the investor, high price-related inflation is desirable and indicates economic growth, which in turn encourages the employer and the investor to expand production, maybe set up another site, to increase volume and make more profit. For the wealthy, inflation is a great performance indicator of how well they are doing and the higher the better, within reason; inflation is their friend. For the workers however, be they middle class or working class, their fixed-ish wages determined by their pay band, are independent of prices charged or volumes sold for the products they make. So an employer/ investor’s gain is a worker’s loss. Price increases eat into the worker’s disposable income if they have any, or forces them go without if they don’t.

But don’t higher prices erode the savings of the rich and the non-rich?

That’s a good question; yes it does, but not nearly to the same extent. The wealthy get around this through investment and asset speculation, where inflation actually serves to increase the value of investments and assets. There is also trading in stocks and shares, and the various scams they have going to extract money from society, i.e. the rest of us. Any rich person will tell you, holding cash is a mug’s game; not only does it expose you to risk, but it also carries a lost opportunity cost. If you need cash, sell an asset, cash in a bond, or sell some shares.

Obviously too much inflation, like too much of any good thing, it’s bad for you, and when the rate gets too high, the super rich that run the system, cut off the oxygen supply to the economy, normally by telling the central bank to raise interest rates, to pause the money harvesting, and let the economy cool down. This gives the upper class a chance to catch a bit of sun on their yacht in Monaco, the middle class to catch a cold, the working class to catch pneumonia, and the poor to experience hypothermia. Historically, economic breaks have been applied when inflation gets to 25%, but with the advent of Modern Money-Tree Policy of money printing and debt, I think most economists would agree the economy would collapse if inflation went anywhere near this. I’ve heard some economists say the maximum interest rates could be raised today to bring down inflation, is between 2 and 4% Any higher than that and it would destroy the workforce and with it the whole system. With such little scope to raise interest rates, inflation rising above 4% would be a serious matter, as it would be difficult to bring down. There are other ways to bring down inflation, like another credit crunch but that would be just as dangerous. Another way would be to impose a price freeze or compulsory price reduction, but I can’t see that happening.

Here’s a great little chart showing historical inflation rates for the UK. It’s amazing how continuous war from 1800 to 1850 impacted inflation. Prices up, to fund the war with inflation at 15% then, slashed afterwards to -15% I suppose you could do that in those days as the working class were hardly part of the economy, it was a gentleman’s club.

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Last edited by Beerman on Tue Jun 01, 2021 8:39 am, edited 3 times in total.



Sun May 30, 2021 11:29 am
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Post Re: Socialism

Inflation in a Hard Capitalist System

Hard capitalism is schizophrenic about inflation; at least it makes out it is. It complains when there is inflation and it complains when there isn’t. It complains when it’s low and it complains when it is high.

Hard capitalism wants high inflation as long as profit can be made from it. If it gets too high, and speculation and investments don’t protect their wealth, or accumulated asset values are wiped out as soon as they converted back into currency, then the rate has to be lowered.

Hard capitalism doesn’t want low inflation as this limits the profits made from selling stuff at higher prices, it limits growth, which impacts sales volume, which again limits profit, and it encourages workers that earn enough, and there are many that don’t, to be content with a stable standard of living, because prices aren’t going up. Hard capitalism wants workers, which it views as a cost, to be unsettled, worried about losing their job, scared of financial ruin that may follow unemployment. In doing so, employers can keep wages (costs) down, and productivity up, by getting their workforce to work harder for the same wage to keep their job

The inflation rate is also a propaganda tool used to moderate or nullify worker pay demands. You'll see it used in all its glory in newspapers and on the TV. The headline reads; ‘Employee Demands For Pay Rises Causing Crippling Inflation’, read all ‘bout it’. The TV sticks a virtual politician in your living room to tell you in his most sincere voice; ‘High inflation needs to be tackled! We must be prepared to forgo pay rises. We are all in this together!’ That’s the royal ‘We’ by the way. You’ll hear politicians and expert analysts join together to sing in grateful chorus; ‘We must keep inflation down”, whilst working to get it as high as they can get away with for their wealthy bosses. They will forecast the end of civilisation as we know it should inflation go negative. Can you imagine it! Increasing the purchasing power of the working and middle classes at the expense of lower profits for the upper class; oh horror!

For a decade following the 2008-11 crash, most public workers in the UK received minimal or no pay rises at all. The government called it ‘austerity’, I guess in an attempt to revive the war-time ‘make do and mend’ spirit. In the private sector many workers were asked to take a pay cut to keep their job, presumable because otherwise they’d get sacked and someone else would be brought in at the lower wage.

I’m still outraged that workers in the UK had to bail out the wealthy after speculator greed collapsed their own system. I’m not saying the banks shouldn’t have been bailed out, if they hadn’t, then it would have hurt everyone. I’m saying the banks should have been bailed out by the super rich that caused the crash in the first place. I can feel another rant and rabbit hole coming on, so I’ll leave the crash of 2008 here.

But before I do; I will just add that by my reckoning it cost UK workers £450 billion to prop UK hard capitalism up. I personally would have gone down the list of the UK’s biggest corporations, nationalised them without paying compensation to their shareholder owners, and put these money making machines to use paying off the debt their owners had created. Amazon UK would have been the first on my list. And I’d fine Bezos $200 billion and make him serve community service working in one of his own Amazon sweatshops on minimum wage until the $200 billion was paid off. I’m only joking; I love Jeff and the other 99 members of the Rat Pack; or the ‘World’s Top Richest 100’ as it’s sometimes called. Bill, Elon, Warren, god bless them, they’re like Frank, Dean and Sammy. But these guys just run the businesses; it’s the anonymous members of the ruling class with their anonymous wealth, that hide behind the scenes, that need to be brought onto the stage and made to pay this £450 billion back. Rant over, back to inflation.

For a hard capitalist, the ideal would be high inflation and low wages, and they play a game to try and make it that way. They keep inflation and wages low for as long as they can bear to, then raise inflation whilst resisting wage rises for as long as they can get away with, then when employers have resisted for as long as they can and strikes look like becoming a problem, they lower inflation again to take the wind out of pay rise demands, ending the threat of strikes and wage rises. This cycle of up and down inflation if repeated and done correctly, maximises profit and minimises wages. You can see the up and down cycle I'm talking about in the UK Historic Inflation chart in the previous post. The main difference between pre-1936 and post 1936 cycles is negative inflation hasn't been allowed to happen post 1936. You can also see the 25% inflation ceiling is still in place.

What seems to be annoying some hard capitalists at the moment, is this cycle has become stuck on low inflation for far too long, and profits are being lost. There were efforts to get prices back up before Covid struck, but they were resisted by savvy shoppers who refused to buy at the higher prices. Fortunately there were alternative suppliers around to enable them to do this. Now Covid is coming to an end, we are seeing the inflation cycle being kick started again by businesses putting up prices to cover lockdown losses.

Interestingly, the lack of inflation doesn’t appear to have annoyed the money printing capitalists as much. I suspect they regard making money by making products and selling them for a profit not to be that important anymore; not when there is big money to be made by simply printing it. Indeed, there may be a rift forming in hard capitalism between these two groups. If those economists that reckon 4% inflation will cause economic collapse are right (it seems a bit low to me, but what do I know), then they wouldn’t like that. They may be disinterested in the working and middle classes and think they don’t need them anymore, but they don’t want them storming their mansions; at least, not until they've got their armies in place.

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Mon May 31, 2021 1:37 pm
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Post Re: Socialism

Inflation in a Soft Capitalist System

There are 3 post-Industrial revolution economic systems.

- The 1st economic system came along around 1780. Adam Smith’s Classical Economic System replaced the merchant system that had been running since the Middle Ages, and with it he ushered in a brave new world where the merchants, who were once the subordinate to the aristocracy, would eventually replace them. Classical economics can be visualised by closing your eyes and imagining the working environments workers had to endure throughout the 19th century and up to the 2nd world war. Work your imagination to hear the industrial clatter, smell the poverty and feel the misery.

- The 2rd economic system came along in the 1930s. John Keynes came up with a new way of doing things; one less cruel, which has been known since as Keynesian economics, and it is what soft capitalism runs on.

- The 3rd economic system is of course Modern Monetarist Policy (MMP), which is what I’ve been banging on about for pages of posts, and it is what hard capitalism runs on. It hasn’t replaced Keynesian economics yet, but it’s looking like it might, as it seems to be spreading around the world like a coronavirus.

If hard capitalists say they want low inflation, but secretly want high inflation, then soft capitalists make no bones about it, they want high inflation, but not as high as the hard capitalists would want. They see the economy as a well toned Olympic athlete, fit as a butcher’s dog. The more you fuel the body, the faster it runs, like stoking the fire in a steam engine. If it gets too hot, then stop stoking it for a bit and have a cup of tea whilst it cools down. Keynesian economics was developed by analysing the causes of the Great Depression that spread around the world in the 30s, and how Franklin Roosevelt basically spent his way out of it by stimulating growth.

Soft capitalists think that hard capitalists think that, apart from putting up prices because demand says they can, inflation is caused when wages get too high, but they are mistaken. It’s true that hard capitalists want to minimise wages, but that doesn’t mean they are opposed to working families have disposable income, not if they spend it on the things they sell. If more disposable income means more spending, which means more inflation, then that means more profit. It’s just that they don’t want to pay for it through wages, because wages are costs, which means less profit.

The Monetarist solution is of course more credit. Print the money and get it into the system, not via wages, but by creating household debt. Key to all this is consumerism; it is the control mechanism that keeps the employee working to make wealth for the employer. It is the carrot to unemployment’s stick. I have touched on this before, but I think it’s worth touching on it again. If a worker gets a pay rise and buys more stuff with it, the price of stuff increases, which cancels out the pay rise. So what’s the point of getting the pay rise in the first place, if your purchasing power doesn’t increase? Consumerism makes the worker his own jailer.

Quote:
Inflation is a powerful subtle means for government’s appropriation of people’s resources, by creating in its very victims the blissful illusion of unparalleled prosperity. It’s painless, silent and it is the most voracious form of taxation.


Keynesian capitalists think inflation is caused by the owners of businesses diverting too much profit out of the business to add it to their personal wealth. A lack of reinvestment eventually impacts production as machines get old and workforces get demoralised with frozen or falling wages. Quality suffers as corners are cut, which means reduced sales. As the business is starved of cash and profits fall, prices are raised to compensate causing inflation. Raising prices for falling demand is contrary to the basic principle of supply and demand, and risks a downward spiral that could lead to the business going broke. The Keynesian solution to this is therefore to do the opposite, i.e. don’t take too much profit out of the business for your personal stash; and when inflation needs to be reduced, do it by reinvesting in the business. The same applies to spending your way out of a crises by improving infrastructure. Obviously it’s not as simple as that and there are many factors to be considered to make this strategy work; both economic and political, but it has proven itself to work on many occasions; and not on others.

With regards to inflation, from my observational layman’s perspective, I would summarise the difference between hard and soft capitalism as;

- Hard capitalists say they want 2% inflation whilst secretly working to achieve 10% to 15%. Soft capitalists say they want a steady 4% to 6% and mean it (I’ve pulled these figures out of a hat btw). Both hide the true rate of inflation by selectively choosing what goes into the shopping basket that makes up the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which generates the inflation rate; and what is left out, like housiing.

- Hard capitalists will bring down inflation ruthlessly to protect their wealth, without any regard to the hardships workers may experience in doing so. Soft capitalist put in place welfare measures and safety nets to at least try and avoid deaths and destitution.

- Hard capitalism is based on the Classical Economics of Adam Smith, but with digital printing presses working 24/7, and retains all the charm and empathy of the 19th century industrial complex. It operates in a regulation-free market. Soft capitalism is based on Keynesian economics with a welfare state. It operates a mixed market economy, where market interventions ensure vital products and services needed by all, are not solely profit driven.

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Wed Jun 02, 2021 8:46 am
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Post Re: Socialism

Back on page 2 of this thread I asked ‘Why hasn't all this money printing lead to hyper-inflation?’, and my answer was ‘Because it hasn't entered the economy in sufficient volume to cause it’.

I now appear to be saying that printed money is getting in via household debt, so you’d might think I’m contradicting myself, especially when you look at the debt clock, the link to which I also posted on page 2, which I’ll post again here.

https://usdebtclock.org/

The debt clock is showing US personal debt (what we call household debt in the UK), currently running at around $21.467 trillion. This is comparable with, and in addition to, the US National debt now at $28.365 trillion. US personal debt currently makes up a 25% of the total US debt of $86.766 trillion, which is not an insignificant percentage. However, when you break this figure down, a staggering amount of it is residential mortgages.

In 2020, UK household debt was about £1.7 trillion ($2.4 trillion), 90% of which comprised residential mortgages, with the bulk of the rest being credit card and personal loan debt. UK mortgage debt was £1.5 trillion ($2 trillion). The debt clock is showing US personal debt is running at $21.5 trillion, 70% of which comprises residential mortgages, or $15 trillion.

The UK is a fifth of the size of the US, so you might expect the US personal debt to be 5 times that of the UK, but it’s disproportionately way bigger. US personal debt ($21.5 trillion) is 10 times that of the UK ($2.4 trillion), and US mortgage debt ($15 trillion) is nearly 8 times that of the UK ($2 trillion); both are double or nearly double that of the UK x 5. Note that I’ve not calculated these figures based on percentage of US GDP, as US GDP is a work of fiction.

The conclusions I’ve come to looking at these figures are;

1. The mortgage debt is way out of proportion to the credit card and personal loan debt, suggesting the super rich are using mortgages to buy up property and land, treating top of the range residences as unoccupied assets and hedges against inflation.

2. A US mortgage debt of nearly double that of the UK x 5 suggests property asset speculation, inflated buying and selling prices, and property asset price manipulation.

3. The rich are getting into property speculation and rental markets, gradually out-buying and forcing out small property development businesses and individuals.

Time for a definition of rich; I mean someone who doesn’t have to work anymore, i.e. someone with a personal wealth of $60 million upwards ($10 million minimum to live on, $20 million stash, and a $30 million starter pack to speculate in property). I would guess there’s probably around 1 million rich individuals in the US capable of doing this. How many are actually doing it is unknown, but I suspect the number will grow and housing affordability will get worse as houses are bought and sold between them.

4. With the US holding $6.5 trillion of credit card and personal loan debt, the house ownership is increasing looking unaffordable and holding on to your house is looking increasing more difficult for the majority of Americans.

My guess is the majority of this mortgage debt will stay in the upper economy where the billionaires reside, increasing inflation of luxury goods, and of course property which will become a luxury to own. There is bound to be a knock-on inflationary effect with regards the materials needed to build and renovate properties, that are used in the manufacture of lower economy goods, so there is bound to be some bleed-through of inflation from the upper to the lower economies.

Overall though, I don’t think robbing the working and middle classes of their homes using printed free money to create credit for investors to buy houses with at ridiculously over-inflated prices using more free money, is going to let trillions of this free money into the lower economy, leading to hyper-inflation. The amount of real household debt, i.e. excluding mortgage debt is quite low. I may be wrong of course, in which case we are all screwed.

As people fall into debt and can no longer afford the house they live in, they can always downsize, assuming they can afford a smaller place. If they can’t, there’s always a tent. Who knows, one day, possibly sooner than you think, whole towns will be full of empty houses used as property assets to buy and sell for profit like commodities, and everyone who once lived in them will be living in the park.

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Fri Jun 04, 2021 10:26 am
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Post Re: Socialism

Inflation in a Socialist System

Price

In a socialist system, workers own the means of production, so the profit from price goes directly to them. More profit equals happy, motivated and incentivised workers. Unfortunately, the benefits of putting your prices up also applies to everyone else for the products they make in their factories; and your increase prices will eat into the disposable income of those that buy them, forcing them to put the prices up for the goods they make in their factories. If prices go up across the board, the purchasing power of the worker’s wage goes down.

I would suggest the answer is central government price management; tight on essential items, and relaxed on non-essential items. When a business wants to put their prices up, they invite down someone from the ministry to approve it. Essential items, especially those related to human rights, would be covered by the welfare state and would be available to all and priced not for profit. They would be funded through taxation, so it is vital that workers are given the opportunity to make enough profit that leaves them with a wage post tax that makes their work worthwhile. So the key is profit, and profit is also about sales volume and low costs, which are a far less inflationary ways to achieve profit.

Volume

I’m not talking about increasing production until the market is flooded, and then increase it some more. I’m talking about competing in a market on price which will keep inflation down. When volume maxes out, move to another market. This strategy focuses on reinvestment into the business to develop new product lines, new manufacturing capabilities, new marketing and sales capabilities etc., all of which is low inflationary. The Achilles Heel in a volume strategy are commodity prices, which would go up as more are consumed to produce the volume, so some degree of government price management would be needed. In theory commodity prices are set by the market along the principle of supply and demand. In practice the price is set by speculators, manipulated through buying and selling for profit, and this would have to end.

Price Manipulation

This is rife in capitalist systems. Manipulation of business valuations through stocks and shares, manipulation of commodity prices, selling prices, the housing market, and even gold. Speculators and investors avoid working for a living by getting their wealth do the work, supporting the saying that ‘money makes money’. They are gamblers playing in rigged casinos called stock exchanges with your money. I would at least prevent stock exchanges speculating in domestic markets, and there is a moral case for shutting them down completely.

Gold Standard

You can’t have stable prices if you don’t have a stable currency and fiat currency, i.e. currency that is not backed by something of value, is inherently unstable. Dropping the gold standard for currency has allowed modern monetarist economics to get a foothold along with its money printing, which looks like destroying the dollar, and any economy linked to it. Unfortunately gold has not been immune to price manipulation and has been treated like any other commodity.

The latest scandal comes from the banks that have been buying and selling non-allocated gold that doesn’t exist. They have been supporting unallocated gold liabilities with unallocated gold assets, inflating their balance sheets. This is such a fraudulent manipulation of gold supply and demand that it makes a mockery of it. What happens to demand once they declare there is no supply in the unallocated gold market? Does demand drop to zero or does it go through the roof? To make matters worse, there has been price suppression through short term buying and selling. Shorts, as they are known, are a bit like betting on black for one spin of a rigged roulette wheel; you know it’s rigged when you keep winning. I believe the scam works by initially selling large quantities of non- existent unallocated ‘paper’ gold to bring the price down, then quickly buying it and selling it again and again, before the price has a chance to go back up.

The Banking System

You can’t have a stable currency and hence stable prices, without a stable and honest banking system. Banks are basically money lenders. They force you to pay your wages in to them and they lend it out for profit. They have the power to control the economy and the political system, and we all know what power does; and absolute power does it absolutely. In a socialist system where the government lend or use worker’s money to build the means of production, additional privately owned money lenders are not necessary. With the arrival of digital currency, everyone will have their own account at a centralised government bank, and privately owned banks can finally be dispensed with.

Socialism is not just about profit

Inflation reflects profit and profit is important, especially if it goes to the worker who helped make it; but it also impacts society. Socialism is not just about the worker owning the means of production, and buying and selling for a profit; it’s also about maintaining a society that families want to live in. There are social aspects to inflation; not least how it impacts the poorest disproportionately, and that’s where the safety net of the welfare state comes in. Workers need to understand the social consequences of putting their prices up and the alternative ways to profit that are open to them that are less damaging to society; like selling in volume to bring prices down to open up new markets, tackle shortages and grow the economy.

Related to the pursuit of profit is how businesses compete and the win-lose consequences of competition. Successful business should not destroy unsuccessful businesses in the pursuit of profit, leaving their workers unemployed and in poverty. When businesses fail, they need to be improved not abandoned. Safety nets, new products, refinancing, retraining, maybe even a new business model; these are the alternatives to unemployment and poverty.

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Sat Jun 05, 2021 10:07 am
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Post Re: Socialism

Some may have noticed that my last post kind of threw a grenade in the room in that it listed some pretty radical approaches to stabilising inflation, currency, the banking system, investment and speculation; by proposing a socialist system might/would/could introduce price control, a gold standard, close down privately owned banks including central banks, close down stock exchanges, restrict investment to workers to reinvest in their businesses, restrict and in some cases end price speculation to manage supply and demand in the interest of society as a whole. Like an economic-political drive-by, the post then sped away leaving some that read the post somewhat bewildered, and those monetarists amongst us angry. Let me say in my defence that these are headings to think about and come to your own conclusions on. I may go through them one at a time and explain what I mean, but that really depends on if the pub, gig and theatre restrictions are lifted on 21 June, and if the fancy takes me. But let me pick out one as an example of what I mean.

The Gold Standard

A gold standard is when you adopt gold as your money and allocate so many currency bills to represent it. At least in theory, you could go into a bank and cash in your currency notes and coins in exchange for gold bars and coins, and vice versa.

I've often pondered the difference between money and currency and confess I'm still somewhat torn. Both have to be a medium of exchange and a unit of account, and the pound in your pocket has to be worth the same as the pound in mine. The economists would say money differs from currency in that money is also a long term store of value, whereas currency doesn't and isn't. Money has an intrinsic value which means it can be borrowed over long periods of time with the borrower knowing what returns will be generated from the loan, and the lender knowing the returns made by making the loan. The gold standard uses gold's intrinsic value to make it a store of wealth and hence money. Taking the extreme case; gold will never become worthless, unlike paper currency, which according to history, inevitable will.

The intrinsic value of gold

A problem with this concept is what defines the intrinsic value of gold? It can't be something of value because what defines the value of that? It' a bit like the 'who made the universe and all life in it?' question. If the answer is god, then who made god, then who made the entity that made the entity that made god? The alternative to this recursive answer is to say god is, and always has been, and always will be; which is a statement of faith as it makes no sense in terms of reason or logic at all. And it’s the same with gold. Gold has an intrinsic value because we have faith that it does. You could argue that this makes gold no different from a fiat currency, but the faith in gold is so strong, and goes back so far that confidence in gold is several orders of magnitude, rivalling that of faith in god, whereas faith in a fiat currency is based on faith in the government, which is transitory at best.

Determining the value of gold

Another problem I have with the intrinsic value of gold, or should I say with modern gold standard policy, is said policy allows for the price of gold to be determined by the market, which means speculators can manipulate it. The recent gold fraud I mentioned in my previous post would be really quite serious in a gold standard economy. It would knock confidence in money, and in the currency that is exchanged for it, potentially causing a gold rush run on the banks. The solution to this is to manage the price of gold, pegging it at a price that is right for the economy. Gold hasn't always been determined by the gold market. In the US from 1834 to 1932, the price of gold was fixed at $20 per ounce, and dollars and gold were interchangeable according to the fixed price; I think they got it right.

You'll hear some monetarists argue that a gold standard takes away the flexibility to devalue a currency, which makes exports cheaper and can be used to get a country out of a financial hole. Between 1933 and 1970 President Roosevelt devalued the dollar by 40% by raising the price of gold to $35 an ounce, which just about debunks that theory.

President Roosevelt also stopped ownership of gold by US citizens. I think he was right to do this with large investors, but it was a mistake to stop the general use of gold coins. One of the big advantages of gold in your pocket is it protects you from inflation. If a one ounce gold coin is worth a month's money and inflation halves the value of currency, you can cash in the coin in and get a month's money, i.e. double the currency in return. I think a policy that encouraged every worker to save 6 months, maybe a year's worth of one once gold coins would mitigate inflation risk.

President Nixon took the US off the gold standard in 1971 and he opened gold up to the market, in effect making it just another commodity. However in doing so he made it legal again for US citizens to hold gold again, so it wasn't all bad. Unfortunately he also exposed it to price speculation and hoarding by the super rich.

Gold Standard and Inflation

If you look at the chart I posted 5 posts above showing UK inflation between 1810 and 2008, and you bear in mind the section of this chart from 1810 to 1931 the UK was on the gold standard, it doesn’t appear to have done much to keep Britain’s inflation down. But that wouldn’t be taking the chaos and impact waging near constant war has on an economy. The British Empire was based on it and it made a lot of the upper class very wealthy.

Just to give you some idea of the wars Britain waged between 1810 and 1931, after which it all calmed down a bit (if you can call WW2 calming down a bit), we have the British fighting;

- The French Napoleonic War between from 1803 to 1814; whilst simultaneously fighting alongside Spain and Portugal in the Peninsular War also against France; whilst fitting in the odd navel battles with the US in 1807 and 1811; whilst starting a 2nd war with the US in 1812, and a 2nd war with Napoleonic France in 1815.

- A quick 23 year break and it’s back into it with a war against Afghanistan from 1838 to 1842, the 1st China war between 1838 and 1842, then the Crimean war with Russia between 1853 and 1856, then a 2nd war with China from 1856 to 1860, then a 2nd war with Afghanistan between 1878 and 1880, then straight into the Boer War from 1880 to 1881 against the Dutch South Africans.

- Another quick breather then it’s a 2nd Boer War between 1899 and 1902 whilst simultaneously fighting the 3rd war against China between 1899 and 1900 and a Somali war between 1899 and 1905, then a 2nd Somali war from 1908 to 1920.

- WW1 dragged on from 1914 and 1918, then in 1918 Britain supported the Imperial Russian Army against the Bolsheviks during the socialist revolution, then set about the Irish between 1919 and 1921, whilst simultaneously starting a quick 3rd war with Afghanistan also in 1919.

So, as you can appreciate, all this war might have had a slight impact on the inflation figures between 1810 and 1931, making the impact the gold standard on inflation a bit tricky to evaluate. If however we look at the gold prices over this period, and the best source for that is a gold bullion site, and here’s Chards; https://www.chards.co.uk/gold-price/gold-price-history you can see the price of gold stayed between £3 and £6 an ounce right up to 1933, and didn’t start its journey to today’s £1300 an ounce until the US abandoned the gold standard in the 70s. What I draw from this, and I could be wrong, is the stable and low price of gold over such a long period of time indicates a gold standard can keep inflation stable and low in the long-run; providing you don’t have continuous war.

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Post Re: Socialism

I feel like waxing lyrical about what the gold standard might bring; of cabbages and walruses, of carpenters and kings; of wealth and health and competition, and the nature of all sorts of things; so here goes.

The gold standard is a place where gold is money and money is gold. It forces us to face a reality about wealth, that the amount of gold in the world is pretty much fixed, therefore so is amount of money. It’s divided up between nations, and it’s held in government gold reserves on behalf of the nation, and in the hands of private citizens, which in capitalist countries, is mainly the super rich. You cannot create wealth; the economic-political system is about deciding how to distribute this gold-money at the political level, and the mechanics of distributing it at the economic level. Like energy, gold-money cannot be destroyed, it can only be transformed into something else and back again, or transferred from one place to another. A person can only get paid more gold-money if another person gets paid less. A business can only make more gold-money profit if another business makes less, a nation can only become wealthier in gold-money by taking it from another. Wealth can be best shared not by maximising profit, but by maximising profitable employment.

Fiat Currency

Fiat currency is not money because it’s not backed by anything valuable. It’s only worth more than the paper it’s printed on if people think it is, and only if it is accepted in exchange for goods, services and labour. It has no limit on its quantity; it can be printed at infinitum. If it has a purpose, then it’s to provide the super rich a means to acquire things that do have value; like gold, commodities, land, property, luxury yachts, and foreign currencies that are backed by gold. Its secondary purpose is to keep everyone else happy until it collapses.

For an example of fiat currency gone mad, let’s call up the trusty debt clock again https://usdebtclock.org/ and look at the wonderful world of fiat currency in action. The US government's proposed 2022 spending budget is for $6.01 trillion, with $4.17 trillion of tax revenue to pay for it, so they're planning to run up a $1.84 trillion deficit; all in fiat paper. A quick look at the debt clock reveals that so far this year, the US budget spending is at $6.7 trillion and counting, so maybe the 2022 budget of $6.01 trillion is not looking very realistic. The budget deficit is currently at $3.277 trillion and counting, so the predicted 2022 deficit of $1.84 trillion is maybe a little like wishful thinking as well.

The point is not that all this is fantasy, but why print the budget deficit currency at all? Why not print the whole spending budget and do away with taxes and the deficit? I think we know why, but it illustrates the absurdity of unregulated fiat money, and the Modern Money-Tree Policy that demands its deregulation.

The Gold Standard and Money Supply

Monetarists claim a gold standard would restrict money printing. Money supply needs to increase to allow an economy to grow, and reduce as the economy contracts. The Monetarists say; if you increase the money supply and keep the gold-currency exchange rate the same (which I shall henceforth refer to as the gold price); you put more money into the system than there is gold to support it. Should a crisis in confidence occur, everyone might run to the banks and demand their currency converted back into gold all at once, causing the currency to collapse. Let me answer this from the perspective of my sun lounger whilst watching my runner beans grow, bearing in mind I am not an expert in anything except beer, and I could be wrong about everything, except beer.

Increase currency supply and keeping the gold price the same = keeping the currency supply the same and increasing the gold price

Increasing either the currency supply or gold price has the same effect; to devalue the currency and increase prices. More currency is needed to buy an ounce of gold-money, or the same currency buys 1/2 ounce. If you want to buy a house that costs 12.5kg of gold-money, which equates to £566,000 in currency, and you double the price of gold, your £566,000 now buys 6.25kg of gold, so you pay double the price for the house, or you settle for a flat.

To address the gold standard concerns of monetarists, let me first talk about increasing currency supply beyond its gold backing. To do this without breaking gold-currency confidence would require what I’m going to call ‘currency deficit reserves’, because I don’t know if such things exist, and if they do, what their actual name would be. These reserves would hold domestic and export deficit currency, keeping it out of circulation until needed. Increased currency supply would be used domestically for short term emergencies, to invest in businesses and infrastructure, whilst restrictions would be placed on import growth. Increased currency supply would make exports cheaper, stimulate export trade, and bring in much needed foreign gold-money. Currency deficit reserves would be limited to holding currency not exceeding the gold-money disposable income of the nation, so that if there were a rush, the non-disposable income gold demands of the people could be met by the banks. If we assume say 40% non-disposable income + 30% disposable income + 30% taxes, the currency deficit reserves would be limited to 30% of all incomes.

A gold standard would prevent excessive money printing that masquerades as wealth and growth, but with currency deficit reserves, would not prevent planned, managed money printing needed to run the economy. Raising the gold price is what President Roosevelt did to get the US out of the Great Depression instead of printing money. He made it illegal for any US citizen to own gold, then once it was all safe and secure in the treasury, he nearly doubled its price. Then he spent his way out of the mess in what was to become the true Keynesian tradition.

Decrease currency supply and keeping the gold price the same = keeping the currency supply the same and decreasing the gold price

Decreasing currency supply, or decreasing the gold price, both increase the value the currency and reduce prices. Less currency is needed to buy an ounce of gold-money, or the same currency buys 2 ounces. If you want to buy a house that costs 12.5kg of gold-money, which equates to £566,000 in currency, and you halve the price of gold, your £566,000 now buys two 12.5kg bars of gold, so you get the house for half price, or you can buy two houses.

This would be used to cool the economy down if inflation rises, and in a capitalist system where profits go to the business owners and wages remain unaffected by the profits, it works. However, in a socialist system business profits go directly into workers wages, so instead of reducing inflation, decreasing currency supply or lower gold prices, would increase spending power and inflation. Although not nice, wages would have to be reduced along with prices. In a capitalist system workers would have to tighten their belts and watch the poverty gap grow. In a socialist system increase taxes would be introduced to reduce spending power. Workers would still have to tighten their belts, but the increased taxation would be used to reduce the poverty gap not grow it, improve services, or grow gold reserves for a rainy day.

Double Whammy

Increasing the gold price has the same effect as increasing the money supply, but achieves economic stimulus it in a far safer way. Decreasing the gold price has the same effect as decreasing the money supply but achieves economic cooling in a safer way. Used together they can balance gold price and money supply, keeping each to a minimum. Where significant devaluation is needed they can be used together to minimise the risk of recession.

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Post Re: Socialism

First some points of clarity;

- I’ll continue to make a distinction between money and currency just for this post, but after this, I’m going back to calling currency ‘money’. It what I was taught by my parents, by my school, by my employer, by every person I’ve met and done a transaction with, in fact by everyone except economists; so there.

- I may have come across as somewhat scathing with regards fiat currency. Fiat currency can work as 'confidence-money' if it’s not abused by quantitative easing or subject to other extremes of confidence-prodding by the likes of inflation; and market speculation, manipulation and exploitation; and protected from investment scams and malicious attacks. Or to put it another way; it’s well regulated. You have to note the sort of people that deregulation gives the keys to the sweet shop to. Free markets and fiat currency don’t mix well.

- I’ve been talking about why I’d adopt the gold standard in a socialist system, not in a capitalist system, although this is likely to prove just as hard to achieve for both.

Gold standard to-do list

The 1st item on your to-do list is to get some gold in your vaults, and there’s not a lot of it about. Fortunately the gold that is about is keenly traded rather than bought for reserves, at least for now.

The 2nd item on the to-do list is how to establish the gold price that will value your currency, and hence personal and national wealth.

- You could pick a gold price number out of the air, or use today’s gold price and fix it. I don’t think tracking the market price would work, but you could still have a gold market price, separate from the reserve price.

- You could, and most likely would, base your gold holdings on your reserves, but you could include privately held gold as well.

- You could take the value of currency in circulation and divide it by the kilos of gold you have in your reserves to get a price per Kilo.

- You could include the value of currency tied up in stocks, bonds, treasuries, savings, investments etc., all of which would devalue your currency as you increase the numerator whilst keeping the gold denominator the same.

- You could take the value of all the currency in the world, convert it Dollars or Yuan, and divide it by the total amount of gold in the world.

The valuation path you choose is important, as is the result it produces. It has to be seen to be a realistic valuation for it to stick as a gold standard. If for instance Germany, which holds a fair amount of gold for its size, and hasn’t yet printed trillions of currency notes, were to choose the market rate for gold and base its calculation in its gold reserves, then I think it would probably be recognised around the world as being on the gold standard. This would be more of an issue for the US as although it holds more gold that any other country, 8,133 tonnes, choosing dollars in domestic circulation, might be seen as underestimating the amount of currency they have created, and hence they may be seen as over-valuing the dollar and their economy.

The 3rd item on the list (which is where I’m going to stop), is validating the gold held in reserves is physically there, and validating the currency claimed is accurate, so that all can see and have confidence in the numbers.

Practicality of adopting a Gold Standard

All this may be beyond a socialist country starting from scratch, and brings into question the practicality of going on to a gold standard. If for instance the UK were to turn socialist at the next election and implement a socialist ideology-economic-political system run on a gold standard, the first thing the new government would notice was the UK only has 310 tonnes of gold. Yep, the cupboard is bare; it’s all been sold off, along with the family silver.

If we take UK currency in circulation, which is about £86 billion and divide it by 310,000 kilos of gold, that works out at £277,420 per kilo of gold, or £7,866 per ounce. The current spot price for gold is £43,021 per kilo, or £1,338 per ounce; so, we have a slight problem.

We could unilaterally decide to devalue gold so that the UK’s 310 tonnes supports the £86 billion it has in circulation, but then everyone else in the world also have to pay £7,866 for an ounce. In reality, the UK would have to reduce its currency in circulation down from £86 billion to around £13 billion for the current spot price to support the currency.

The UK has so little gold that the pound would only be worth around a sixth of its current value. Such a reduction in currency supply would reduce wages, prices, demand and supply, or to put it another way, cause another great depression. This also highlights why many believe they are better off under American capitalism; restricting the money supply to £13 billion means the £13 billion is worth £13 billion. It is the price paid to have currency that has value. Take away those restrictions and increase the money supply to £86 billion and it may seem you have more money, but you just have more paper. All is fine as long as everyone thinks it’s fine and keeps taking paper in exchange for their goods, services and labour. As soon as they don’t, the party’s over.

If you repeat the same exercise for the US and take dollars in domestic circulation as $2.2 trillion and assume they really do have 8,133 tonnes of physical gold in the vault, it comes out a little less than the UK at $7,669 an ounce, or £5,221 an ounce, but I doubt this would make the US great depression any less awful than the UKs’.

If you want a laugh, use the US debt as the currency in circulation figure of $28 trillion, which includes the MoneyTree printing scam, it comes out at $97,600 an ounce.

Most countries around the world would not have enough gold or too much currency in circulation to move to a gold standard. Here are the top 20 countries with the most tonnes of gold reserves. The US holds more than Germany and Italy in 2nd and 3rd spots, put together. China has only 1,948 tonnes. The UK holds less gold than Uzbekistan and little more than Lebanon. This is where the gold reserve validation comes in. How much of this gold is unallocated and is there enough gold to meet unallocated liabilities, and are declared reserves accurate; some put China’s true government reserves around 20,000 tonnes with another 12,000 tonnes held by private citizens.

United States 8133 tonnes
Germany 3361
Italy 2452
France 2436
Russia 2295
China 1948
Switzerland 1040
Japan 846
India 695
Netherlands 612
Turkey 513
Euro Area 505
Taiwan 424
Kazakhstan 396
Portugal 383
Uzbekistan 364
Saudi Arabia 323
United Kingdom 310
Lebanon 287
Spain 282
Austria 280

Here’s the full list with 112 countries on it if you are interested;

https://tradingeconomics.com/country-list/gold-reserves


Can a digital standard replace the gold standard

I think the gold standard is a great way to control currency, but accumulating sufficient gold to get on it is a real problem. I asked earlier about what gives gold its intrinsic value, and came to the conclusion that, just like fiat currency, it’s confidence. I also mentioned earlier that a digital currency run by a socialist banking system would get rid of the privately owned banks, including the central ones.

The new question I’m about to ask is; ‘Can a digital currency create a digital standard that uses digital-money, that is recognised as a global standard like gold, that everyone signs up to never question its intrinsic value like gold or god, that is universally accepted like gold, that has defined value and volume that cannot be changed without universal consent’?

I’m not suggesting the use of Bitcoin, which is a speculation game. Players buy and sell casino chips called Bitcoins. They buy them from a cashier’s desk for real currency. When they’ve done gambling, they cash them in for real currency and go get drunk on the winnings; or get drunk drowning their sorrows over the real currency they’ve lost. But the guy who wrote it had some good ideas about how to run a currency; it’s just that Store of Value wasn’t one of them; and neither was Unit of Exchange as very few businesses accept them as payment. Neither am I suggesting the use of Stablecoin which is a crypto-currency with a value that tracks that of a real currency like the dollar. It’s like a private, secure way of hiding dodgy deals and transactions between corporations and investors.

Clearly to make something like this happen, enough countries across the world, capitalist and socialist, have to come together and agree a digital standard to replace the gold standard. One country on its own couldn’t do it; the rest of the world wouldn’t recognise it. If the US, China and Russia agreed one however, they might.

So here goes, I’m going to ask Joe’s handlers, Xi, and Vladimir the question in the style of Dirty Harry pointing a 44 magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, at a young punk who’s not sure if he’s feeling lucky;

Can a digital currency create a digital standard that uses digital-money that is recognised as a global standard like gold? Well, can it punk?



Let’s see if they post a response.

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Wed Jun 09, 2021 10:11 am
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Post Re: Socialism

I’m very disappointed that Joe’s handlers, Xi, or Vladimir didn’t get back to me, but I’m not going to let that get me down.

To recap; there isn’t enough gold and there’s too much unbacked paper currency floating around the world for countries to go on the gold standard, so what is needed is a digital substitute, let’s call it e-gold, heavily guarded, regulated, limited in supply, that in the imagination looks like gold and acts like gold. Being digital, you can transfer between digital currency and e-gold if you want to take advantage of the e-gold stability, just as you can with gold-backed currency. The problem is; how do you allocate e-gold to countries around the world? If you did it based on current gold reserves, then you're back to square one as there wouldn't be enough e-gold to go round, and the currency in circulation would suffer horrendous devaluation. If you were to issue 10 times the e-gold to countries based on their gold reserves then, you’d maintain their gold based ranking in the world, have enough e-gold for everyone to go one the e-gold standard, but would have created a massive virtual increase in the gold supply and crash its price. This could be managed, but that doesn’t address the fact that some countries have become wealthy without substantial gold reserves, the UK being a prime example. To allocate e-gold in accordance with gold reserves would prevent countries like the UK from going on to the e-gold standard.

What is needed is a way to distribute e-gold that reflects the relative monetary wealth of countries. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the traditional way to count value a country generates and rank them on the world stage. Unfortunately GDP has been so manipulated for so long that most countries would challenge each other’s claims of GDP and therefore claims for e-gold. American capitalist countries in particular, where Monetarist free market economics are practiced, would have their GDP vigorously challenged, and they in return would draw red lines to defend it.

My biggest problem with GDP, apart from it being over-inflated to make it look like a country can afford its money-printed debt when it can’t; and apart from the way it is used to hide the scams being run by the super rich to extract wealth from a country; is it doesn’t take into account the wealth that is being extracted by the super rich. This wealth is removed from the country, it no longer serves it, it should not be counted as part of the country’s wealth, and should not be included in the country’s GDP. I would also exclude transactions that involved printed money, including transactions that used bank generated credit. Maybe a simple solution would be to take existing claims for GDP and remove the value that went to the top 1% of society as they don’t believe in society anyway. I suspect removing wealth extraction and printed money transactions would halve the GDPs of most free market economies around the world, and hence halve the amount of e-gold they’d be allocated. I don’t think they like that, especially Joe’s neocon handler, who I suspect would want the e-gold handed out in proportion to the size of a country’s military.

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Sat Jun 12, 2021 8:21 am
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Post Re: Socialism

What really gave me the hump about these world leaders muggin me off was I'd gone and arranged for Helen Marsh to do the translating. Now I've got a right moody boat. They're naughty; no, they're well naughty.


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Post Re: Socialism

Supply and Demand

Supply and demand is an economic principle that relates to pricing and therefore equally applies to capitalist and socialist political systems. However, it is used differently in a hard capitalist system as it would be in a soft capitalist or socialist system. Up untill now the split has been between capitalism and socialism, but as we peel away the wrapping around capitalism as we see the fundamental differences between hard and soft capitalism, we see that soft capitalism has more in common with socialism than it has with hard capitalism, or American capitalism. This similarity is displayed by the common ground soft capitalism and socialism have with respect to supply and demand; to what goods and services it is applied and the extent of intervention to politically manage supply and demand with respect to these goods and services.

The principle of supply and demand is very simple, and very general.

- If the supply goes up, then the price goes down. If the price didn’t go down, there would be goods left unsold to the detriment of the seller.

- If supply goes down, then the price goes up as buyers compete to buy the scarce goods.

There’s a couple of quite deep underlying assumptions going on here; sellers will only lower and raise prices out of self interest, and will exploit the demand supply situation to the detriment of others. Buyers will compete to buy something they need to the detriment of other buyers, and shop around for lower prices for things they want to the detriment of the seller.

- If the demand goes up, then the price goes up to the detriment of buyers, some of which may no longer afford what they want, and for some, can no longer afford what they need. Increased demand benefits the seller who gets to make more profit.

- If the demand goes down, then the price goes down, to the detriment of seller and the benefit of the buyers that still demand the goods.

The underlying assumptions on the demand side of the equation are just as dark as those on the supply side, namely the seller doesn’t care about buyers that cannot afford higher prices, even if they need the goods. From the buyer’s perspective, they don’t care if the seller goes out of business as long as they get what they need and what they want at the cheapest price.

Supply and demand Intervention in a hard capitalist system

This has been a theme running throughout this thread, set out in one context or another. I’m not going to dwell on it here as I’ve dwelled elsewhere, but if you go back through the posts you’ll see reference to;

- Cartel price fixing.

- Rigged Treasury bond auctions.

- Stock exchange and corporation manipulation of share and commodity prices.

- Manipulation of gold supply and price.

- Inflating demand through marketing.

- Increasing supply to take out competitors

- Sanctions on supply to punish or destroy other countries.

I’m sure there are loads more examples, but get the idea. None of these really break the supply and demand principle, but rather manipulate it to give the seller, or the government, their desired outcome, which isn’t always price-related.

The hard capitalist system doesn’t factor in the social factors that influence supply and demand, for instance, not raising prices because you have loyal or vulnerable customers, or because you want to sell your goods to a specific group that you have a connection with and want to support. If you suggested such things, the hard capitalist would look at you blankly before saying; it’s all about the profit stupid.

Going back to that Adam Smith, the father of industrial revolution era capitalism; and it doesn’t get much harder than that.

Quote:
“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”


Let’s take the butcher as an example of supply and demand influencing his pricing. Say the butcher operates in a middle income working class area and he wants to make more profit by increasing demand. He decides to raise the quality of his meat and improve his butchery practices; then he puts his prices up.

By middle income working class I refer to the hierarchy of status and income that exists within every class level. Within the working class there are unskilled, semi-skilled, skilled, and supervisory workers, with pay-bands and lifestyles that reflect their position in the hierarchy. The butcher must know the social-economic market he sells his meat to, especially if he intends to target buyers on different levels of the hierarchy.

If his old customers can’t afford his new prices, their choice is to go to a cheaper butcher selling lower quality meat, or cut back on something else and pay the new higher prices, or go without. The butcher may find that by increasing his quality and price, he has found a new market of wealthier working class, or even middle class customers that are prepared to travel to a working class area to buy from him. He may decide he doesn’t need his old working class customers anymore, and focus on his new found more affluent customer base, and in doing so, put his prices up again, because he can. In this model there is no thought given to his old customers who are priced out of his store, or what that means to them. It paints a picture of a society that is uncaring, selfish, and mercenary. If his old customer can no longer afford to eat meat, well, that’s tough, it’s nothing personal, it’s just business. This absolves the seller from the consequences of his business decisions on others.

If he finds that by putting his prices up he loses demand, he will have to lower them again because other butchers selling meat at his old prices will take his trade. It’s a ruthless competition, one that the butcher must win to put food on his table, take his family on holiday, buy this year’s new car, move to a middle class area, or open a 2nd shop; and every other butcher wants the same and wants to take what he has. Watching all this in the wings are the supermarkets, ready to lower their prices, sell at volume, splash the cash on marketing and drive small businesses into niche markets, or out of business altogether.

Supply and demand in a hard capitalist system is dog-eat-dog, with the bigger dog eating the smaller dog, who ate the even smaller dog earlier; and this is reflected in the society hard capitalism is meant to support, but in reality it consumes.

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Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:42 am
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Post Re: Socialism

Supply and Demand in a Socialist System

There are some things that are a human right, regardless of income, or anything else, and I don’t think many would disagree that a subsistence level of food is one of them. That may set the bar high for countries the size and population of India, Russia and China. When these countries were formed by socialist revolutions, they inherited huge numbers living in extreme poverty; nearly half the humans on earth, and they’ve done a pretty good job in getting these numbers down considering the queue of rich western countries trying to stop them. But setting the bar so low for developed countries is pretty pathetic. Just as the UK’s first socialist government in 1948 lead to the replacement of the dreaded subsistence level old age pension with the first quality of life pension; so the west should treat a basic quality of life level of food as a human right. What defines a basic quality of life level of food? I would say free access to the essential ranges of food products found across shops and supermarkets today.

If you let the free market set the price of essential food items, it will inevitable inflate them because demand for them is guaranteed. Those that rely on these products to feed their families with dignity, might be able to pay the inflated price through their welfare benefits, but then the seller can put up his prices unhindered, knowing the welfare benefits system will pay them. There are also many working poor for whom food is an issue and who do not qualify for welfare benefits. Rather than set up charity food banks as we currently do, a better way would be to tackle the issue at source and intervene in the market, by limiting price rises of food essentials, selling them at cost, or making them available for free with a government issued food token of some sort.

In a socialist system, the butcher still has his shop in a middle income working class area, and he still wants to make more profit by increasing demand. He is only allowed to raise the price of his more expensive products, and then only within certain limits, and he is not allowed to raise the prices of the essential food range that will be obliged to stock. With the price rise path limited, his alternatives are to look at volume of sales and he can achieve this by;

- Selling higher quality products to the social-economic class layer above him,

- Expanding his existing market by selling his current products at current prices to locations where demand is not fully met,

- Selling his current quality of product at a lower (affordable) price at high volume to the social-economic class below him.

This 3rd option uses a manipulation of supply and demand, where prices are cut by reducing costs, normally by buying wholesale in volume. ‘Stack them high and sell them cheap’ is a saying often used to describe this strategy. The prerequisite is to ensure the demand is there, in essence the price is right, otherwise you are going to end up with a lot of unsold stock, and that demand comes from the social-economic class below. All 3 options require the butcher to reinvest his profits back into the business, and with a business case put to the government, he can obtain a loan to grow his means of production, perhaps by opening a second shop in the social-economic area above or below him, or start up a delivery service. The emphasis in the socialist system I am describing, and this is only my vision, is one based on profit through volume, not through price rise, which inflation makes self-defeating.

But what of that supermarket that was watching in the wings, ready to take him out in a price war if he gets in their way? Well, the super market is still there, owned by the workers that work in it, that too want to put prices up, but are limited, that too want to expand and sell to the sub-class above and below them, that still have the potential to drive small businesses like the butcher out of business or into niche markets; and that’s just how it is, if you don’t clamp down and tell everyone exactly what to do. As I’ve said before, it a matter of moderation and degree. Instead of dog-eat-dog hard commercial practices which lead to a dog eat dog society, a cooperative approach between super market and butcher leads to an agreement as to who sells what where, so that both survive and flourish. This agreement could be as simple as defining the niche markets the supermarket is not interested in to allow the butcher to focus on them, or the butcher supplying the supermarket with certain products, or setting up a franchise in the supermarket, or agreeing product ranges that one will avoid to let he other exploit.

The aim in a socialist system is to coexist with your competition, not to destroy them. You are all part of the same society; if someone falls you help them up again. You’ve got to love thy neighbour. Should the butcher find he’s making a loss and his business is at risk of going bust, the government could provide financial support and business practice advice from experts in the field. Even the supermarket could help the butcher by peer reviewing his business; after all, the people who own the supermarket are workers just like the butcher.

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Sat Jun 19, 2021 9:28 am
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Post Re: Socialism

Class

Quote:
The hitherto history of society is the history of class struggle – Karl Marx


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I think this little Feudalism-Corporate Feudalism piccie sums up American capitalism quite nicely. The only thing I'd disagree with is placing central bankers above big bankers. Central bankers are just another banking cog in the money extraction machine that takes money out of workers pockets and out of society, and transfers it to the super rich who own the machine. Instead, at the top I'd put the richest of the super rich, the anonymous, invisible, ultra rich ruling class; the new the kings, queens and barons who own everything, that control everything, that now rule the world, or at least a big chunk of it. As I said in an earlier post, the aim of American capitalism is to return society to a '1984' Orwellian feudalism with the ultra rich as Big Brother.



Image

No Class


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Sun Jun 20, 2021 9:47 am
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Post Re: Socialism

Why does the US and the West still hate Russia?

Governments have a transitional element that sees a rotation of politicians with elections every 4 or so years, and a permanent element that makes all the decisions. This permanent element uses an army of civil servants that do all the work; writing policy, planning, organising and implementing implementation plans to make things happen the way the permanent element want them to; generally for the worse. Because this part of the iceberg sits below the water line and doesn’t change or go anywhere, it’s sometimes referred to as the establishment. Because, like an iceberg, 90% of it sits below the waterline out of sight, in cold murky depths, it sometimes referred to as the deep state. Governments that claim to be democratic are 90% unelected. The 10% you see, i.e. the politicians and the theatre of parliaments and congresses, offer little more than a facade to make an undemocratic system seem democratic, and for politicians to collect expenses.

The power of the ruling class is exercised through money. Money is power. With it you can ensure the senior people in charge of financial, military and political institutions have similar views as you, who will fight for you, and fight against anyone who opposes you. Some of these people may not even know they have been picked for the job to be a puppet, they may even think they have been chosen on merit. Others may have received incentives and know exactly why they are there, and the job they have to do. Once in post, they will promote subordinates who are in their image and dismiss those who are not, ensuring the influence of the super rich permeates down the hierarchy in the institution.

The government of a nation does not represent the people of the nation. To stop discontent and resistance spreading amongst the people, the media is used to get the people to think along tramlines laid in a direction the establishment want them to go, and a great way to unite a people, and distract them from what the deep state is doing to them, is to give them a common enemy, and for the US and its Western allies, that common enemy has been Russia.

During the cold war with the USSR, clearly there was a logic to oppose socialism as it threatened the power of the western ruling class. Socialism was demonised along with Russians that made up the bulk of the USSR in terms of land mass, resources and people. Without getting into the rights and wrongs of Leninist Bolshevism or Stalinist Collectivism here, which would definitely be a rabbit hole; all I’ll say is, to demonise socialism because of one country’s implementation of it, would be like demonising capitalism because one country’s implementation of capitalism. In the 1940-50s there were South American and European fascist regime’s using capitalism, not least Italy and Germany, which post WW2 the US continued to support, as it did with fascist rebel groups like the Contras in Nicaragua in the 1970-80s.

After the fall of the USSR, public opinion seemed to be manipulated towards a more positive view of Russia, that is until President Putin replaced the CIA asset Boris Yeltsin, then the Russophobia was ramped up again. It became pathological in the latter years of the Barak Obama presidency, when his rhetoric seemed to change like a cold front sweeping in, and that almost hatred of Russia became a big part of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign against Donald Trump. President Trump was accused of being a Russian asset and Putin’s pawn. Then there was the Russiagate scandal. It proved a scandal because it was proven to be a corrupt investigation involving collusion between the Democrat party, the media, and law enforcement and spying agencies. Such was the hatred for Russia being expressed by the Democrats at the time, that I wonder if it would have lead to WW3 and the end of us all had Hillary Clinton been elected instead of Donald Trump.

This pathological Russophobia has returned with the election of President Biden and spread to the US’ European allies, in particular, the UK, Poland, the Baltic States, and in the EU European Council who seem to hold views way more extreme and anti-Russian than their member states do when they are not sitting in the council. The question is why? Anti-socialists in the west often site Russia as a country that has rejected socialism, and as evidence that socialism doesn’t work. Whether Russia is socialist or capitalist is another rabbit hole, but the West can’t argue that it isn’t socialist and then attack it as if it were.

I think one of the reasons President Putin agreed to the US-Russia summit with President Biden this month in Geneva, was more to do with having that interview with NBC than anything else. By picking one of the most Russophobic US networks and agreeing to be interviewed by one of their more vehement anti-Russian journalists, I think President Putin wanted to see and hear first-hand the nature and depth of US hatred towards Russia. It would be a bit like former President Trump agreeing to an hour-long CNN interview with Jim Acosta or Don Lemon. I watched the whole interview and found it fascinating. Just to give you an idea of what was thrown at President Putin;

- Are you giving Iran satellite technology to target US troops in Iraq, or Israelis or Saudis?

- Biden says you are an autocratic leader determined to undermine democracy, is that true?

- Some say you are causing instability and unpredictability. Do you want stability and predictability?

- Biden says he looked into your eyes and saw no soul. Have you a soul?

- There’s a weight of evidence pointing to Russian state-sponsored cyber attacks on the US. Russia interfered in the 2016 and 2020 US elections, you hacked coivid-19 research, and 9 federal agencies. Are you waging a cyber war on the US?

- Why do you want to negotiate with the US on Cyber crime if you are e not running a cyber war against the US?

- If you come to an agreement with the US to drop hacking and US election interference will you call off the cyber war?

- If you were in the US what cyber attack would you fear next?

- Human Rights; why are all your political opponents being killed? Is dissent not tolerated in Russia anymore?

- Senator McCain called you a killer, President Trump didn’t deny it; President Biden said I do believe he’s a killer. Are you a killer?

- Did you have prior knowledge of the commercial airliner being forced to land in Belarus?

- Why did you amass 100,000 troops on the border with Ukraine?

- Why do you keep forcing US to hold exercises in response to yours?

- Why do you keep forcing NATO to become stronger and spend more on defence?

- Will you promise not to invade Ukraine?

- Are you holding US citizens in Russia jails as political prisoners?

- Would you consider a prisoner swap?

- Will you promise Alexi Navalny will leave prison alive?

- Why are you building a military strategic relationship with China when they could turn on you?

President Putin spent a lot of time laughing at some of this nonsense, and I think he found it genuinely entertaining, but I think the objective was to weigh the US up. I think President Putin got his answer from a journalist, employed by his editor because of his anti-russian views, who in-turn was employed by the owner of the news channel because of his anti-russian views, who in-turn was owned and controlled by the super rich, and by the deep state that is also owned by the super rich.

President Putin did push back on a few of the questions and pointed out the hypocrisy behind some of the US accusations, especially on human rights, to which he got the response “there you go again Mr President, ‘what about America’ trying to deflect the question". Which didn’t cut much mustard with President Putin, who not only answered every question, but then continued to ask the same question of the US.

So, why does the US hate Russia so much? I suspect they still regard Russia as a socialist threat, and the last question I think spilled the beans. Russia and China together may match US military supremacy in the next 5 years. I’m not sure how much safer the world is going to be as a result though. If the aim was to temp Russia away from China, they had a funny way of going about it.

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Last edited by Beerman on Thu Jul 01, 2021 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Jun 23, 2021 9:55 am
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Post Re: Socialism

And as if by magic and right on cue, the UK government have provided the perfect example of what I was talking about in my previous post; a British Type 42 destroyer deliberately sailed 2 miles into Russian waters, presumably to make a point that the UK government doesn't recognise Crimea as part of Russia.

I know politicians don't represent the people; and I know the establishment, or deep state if you prefer to call them, certainly doesn’t. But when people voted for Boris Johnson it was to get the UK out of the EU, that was all that was asked of him, and to not do anything stupid until the next election. No one voted for him to restrict nurses pays to 1% after they gave their all to fight Covid-19. No one voted for him to increase the defence budget instead (it wasn't even mentioned during the election), and no one voted for him to start WW3.

The deep state Neocons, both in the UK and the US, seem to be getting out of control under Boris and Joe, and I don’t know where it’s going. I know politicians can't change the establishment, but they could at least try and reign them in, or at least get their mates in the deep state who don’t want live in 5* underground bunkers for the rest of their lives to reign them in.

I don't know if the captain of the British warship was a radical Russophobe acting alone; I doubt it. It far more likely he was ordered to violate Russian waters by a radical Russophobic Admiral, but that admiral would have promoted to that rank because of his Russophobic beliefs by some Doctor Strangelove character in the deep state.

There is a news blackout on this today in the UK. The main storyline is Russia didn't fire warning shots to chase the warship away, which is kind of irrelevant and I suspect untrue. They were lucky the ship wasn’t detained and the crew arrested as was the case when 3 Ukrainian ships violated Russian waters a few years back. Detaining a Type 42 Destroyer without the cooperation of the captain would probably have lead to its destruction, and all this with a NATO fleet in the Black Sea.


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Fallout from the Biden-Putin summit

The fallout from the US-Russian summit this month in the US media has been quite extraordinary. I think the US is in shock that another country, especially Russia, would dare to criticise them. It seems to have shaken their confidence and their identity as being the world’s elite, judge of moral conduct, and above reproach.

Referring to the summit and the subsequent British warship incident, Bloomberg News said “The Crimea warship spectacle may have been more sabre-rattling than real threat, but it shows the limits of engaging with Russia’s president”. Or to put it another way, 'If you don’t do what I say, I’m going to scream and scream until I make myself sick'.

Fox news was hyperventilating, claiming “Putin was forced to take questions from a free press and used the opportunity to trash America with lies”. Of course Putin wasn’t forced to do anything; in fact he chose to take over 40 minutes of questions; all hostile from the western press.

One Fox presenter said, “Putin couldn’t answer why his political opponents keep winding up dead, or as with Alexi Navalny, poisoned and imprisoned; his movement outlawed. So he did the ‘what about-ism’. He portrayed the capital rioters as just some ordinary demonstrators, not the lawbreakers they are, who used brutal violence against police; and then the autocrat said...” blah, blah, etc. Anyone who watched the NBC interview with President Putin will know he did answer all the questions the reporter claimed he didn’t. This brings into question the credibility of the reporter, the news content being reported, and the motives behind false reporting.

When asked by NBC why Putin’s political opponents keep winding up dead, or as with Alexi Navalny, poisoned and imprisoned and his movement outlawed; President Putin’s response was “Many individuals perished at different points in time, for various reasons, at the hands of different individuals. Mikhail Lesin died in the US, so I ask you how did he die? If someone blames you for something we say ‘why don’t you look at yourself?’ We don’t assassinate anybody. Did you order the assignation of the woman who walked into congress who was shot and killed by a policeman? 450 individuals were arrested for political protest and are now facing 15-25 years jail time for demonstrating. We have found some of the criminals that committed these crimes and they are in prison”. Alexi Navalny was found guilty in a court of law of breaking the law and was sentenced by the court. If someone using political activities as a disguise, then they have to be held responsible. The NBC interviewer came back to these assassination allegations repeatedly and to sum up Putin’s response in my words he was saying, ‘where’s the evidence?’ It’s a bit like saying, if 10% of all the US citizens killed in the US over the past year were political activists, then half must have been assassinated by the democrats and half by the Republicans. Without evidence it’s just so much fake news and propaganda.

In response to the ‘what about-isms’, Putin’s said there is a Russian saying, don’t blame the mirror if you don’t like what you see. The NBC reporter was momentarily speechless, I don’t think anybody watching in the US establishment, or the interviewer was expecting such a direct and cutting attack on US elitism. I was thinking to myself, ‘what did he just say? Ha!

That rarest of things, a visible neocon, who masqueraded as Secretary of State under President Trump, Mike Pompeo, did the usual beating of war drums on Fox news saying ‘He made the US look weak’, ‘Putin had free rein to spew propaganda’, ‘he lives in a world where is trying to divide the West’, ‘the world will see them for what they are, propagandists who are authoritarian with no freedom and the West will work against the malign activates the Russians continue to be engaged in’. He didn’t go as far as to declare war on Russia, but you could see he wanted to. I suspect if Mike Pompeo had said this to President Putin face-to-face, he would have got the same answer the NBC reporter got when he said pretty much the same thing, which I would paraphrase as; ‘the US believes its way is the only way and everyone had better follow it or else. It’s not going to happen’. The cherry on the cake was when the Fox news interviewer criticised the Russian press as being biased state-owned propaganda, and President Biden had given ‘Putin’s Press’ an opportunity to make him shine’. This is after 4 years of Fox news calling out the US press as biased deep-state-owned Democrat propaganda, and the CNN, NBC, ABC, etc., networks saying the same about the Republican Fox News network. We in the UK have the BBC, so we know all about as biased state-owned propaganda news networks.

The lessons to take away from this US-Russian summit ‘worked example’ on disinformation and propaganda are;

- Everyone is innocent until evidence proves them guilty, and everything you hear is a lie until evidence proves it to be true.

- Listen to the accusations and ask, where’s the evidence?

- Know that evidence can be faked, and like murder, lies require motive. It is in the interest of those with wealth and power to trash socialism in order to hold on to their wealth and power, and they, and their agents, are motivated to lie and manufacture false evidence.

- Know that all press is state-owned, and the capitalist state is owned by the super rich. Don’t believe anything the press say without evidence, and knowing the sources of the evidence, in order to judge if it has been faked.

- Make your own mind up.


Never believe anything that comes out of a politician's mouth

..

and the same goes for the Ministry of Defence

Quote:
The Ministry of Defence has denied the claims in an official statement, on Twitter. The tweets read:

“No warning shots have been fired at HMS Defender. The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law. We believe the Russians were undertaking a gunnery exercise in the Black Sea and provided the maritime community with prior-warning of their activity. No shots were directed at HMS Defender and we do not recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path.” - MOD, 24 June 2021


UPDATE

Classified Ministry of Defence documents relating to UK warship deliberate provocation off the coast of Crimea found at bus stop

Quote:
Classified Ministry of Defence documents containing details about HMS Defender and the British military have been found at a bus stop in Kent.

One set of documents discusses the likely Russian reaction to the ship's passage through Ukrainian waters off the Crimea coast on Wednesday. Another details plans for a possible UK military presence in Afghanistan after the US-led NATO operation there ends.

The documents, almost 50 pages in all, were found in a soggy heap behind a bus stop in Kent early on Tuesday morning. A member of the public, who wishes to remain anonymous, contacted the BBC when he realised the sensitive nature of the contents.

The mission, dubbed "Op Ditroite", was the subject of high-level discussions as late as Monday, the documents show, with officials speculating about Russia's reaction if HMS Defender sailed close to Crimea.

A series of slides prepared at PJHQ shows two routeing options, one described as "a safe and professional direct transit from Odessa to Batumi", including a short stretch through a "Traffic Separation Scheme" (TSS) close to the south-west tip of Crimea. An alternative route was considered, which would have kept HMS Defender well away from contested waters.

Image

BBC, 27 June 2021


Here's a link to the BBC article, but it's all over the internet, which was probably the intent of the finder of the documents as he handed them to the media not the MOD, probably because he felt the world should know what these buffoons get up to behind closed doors.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-57624942?at_custom3=%40BBCBreaking&at_medium=custom7&at_custom4=CD3753FA-D715-11EB-9BC4-70C996E8478F&at_campaign=64&at_custom1=%5Bpost+type%5D&at_custom2=twitter

I suspect someone working there, fed up with having russophobes for bosses, that were unwilling to listen to reason and unable to comprehend the possible risk and consequences of a conflict with Russia, deliberately left them there.

The humour of the situation was not lost on the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman who said; “007 agents are no longer what they were. Why do we need ‘Russian hackers’ if there are British bus stops?”

In some ways, everyone laughing at Boris has kind of defused the situation. I suppose that's what clowns are for. I think it confirms what I said about politicians, the deep state, and the intelligence of the people at the top.

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Last edited by Beerman on Mon Jun 28, 2021 7:34 am, edited 6 times in total.



Fri Jun 25, 2021 12:25 pm
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Post Re: Socialism

I’m aware that I haven’t answered my own question; why does the US still hate Russia? Instead I think I’ve answered a different question; how does the US express its hatred towards Russia? The answer is through propaganda, aimed at rallying support for hatred domestically, and amongst the citizens of its allies. This works in parallel with propaganda aimed at Russian citizens, designed to cause envy, discontent and unrest, especially amongst the young.

Propaganda is a 4th pillar to be added to the 3 pillars of US force projection I’ve already talked about. The other 3 pillars are, economic sanctions, convert operations to organise uprisings, and overt military operations to destroy dissident countries if they can, or contain them if they can’t.

I’m also aware that this subject is one step removed from socialism, so it’s really a rabbit hole. After all, the US claim socialism has failed in Russia, but they still hate them anyway; and they hate non-socialist Iran as much as they hate Russia, so it’s no longer about socialism. But it’s also an important point to make that any country thinking about becoming socialist will have the US and its Allies to contend with.

Taking Belarus as an example of US covert force projection

The failed US-backed coup back in April 2021 was an attempt to repeat the successful coup executed in Ukraine back in 2014 just before the country was due to hold elections. You can’t prove the CIA was behind it because that’s the nature of secret military operations, but the pattern of organised demonstrations comprising a few thousand people, with shots fired, and a few dozen dead, has increasingly become the suspected signature of the CIA; allegedly. The German Finance Minister announced Germany had set aside €21 million to fund the Belarusian dissidents back in Feb 2021 before the coup, which seemed a rather large amount to support some protests; €21 million is more appropriated to fund a new regime.

Taking Belarus as an example of US economic force projection

The Ryan Air incident this month, where a Ukrainian-bound plane was diverted to Belarus after a bomb was reported on board, and the subsequent arrest of an anti-government activist who was on the plane, presented an opportunity for the US via the EU to initiate economic sanctions against Belarus. Perhaps a predictable move in itself, but the statement made by the EU as these sanctions were announced was outrageous. The EU said these sanctions were intended to collapse the Belarusian economy and force regime change. It was said without embarrassment or shame; the EU wanted to destroy another country’s economy, plunge the people in that country into poverty, and remove from power an elected leader of that country, because of the arrest of one dissident activist who was wanted by the Belarus authorities. You can’t prove the US was behind it, but again the pattern of sanctions to instigate regime change, to oust elected governments, is a pattern.

Taking Belarus as an example of US military force projection

US-led military invasion of Belarus isn’t an option as the country is under the protection of Russia. As for containment; well that’s already in place as part of the general NATO containment of Russia along its border.

But why does the US still hate Russia and why haven’t I still answered this?

Some say it’s because the US covets Russia’s resources. I’m sure the US wouldn’t have said no to Russia’s vast resources as a bonus for bringing the Soviet Union down, but we didn’t see an immediate break up of Russia into new countries aligned to the US, which I think would have happened had that been the US plan.

Some say it’s because of human rights violations, and that’s another rabbit hole, so all I’m going to say on that for now is that human rights are open to interpretation and their acceptable implementation is extremely vague, as is the line between human rights and civil rights. In effect human rights can be whatever you want them to be, and they can be used as an excuse by an aggressor country to bring down countries they claim to be violating them. Having overwhelming military and economic superiority also means charges of human rights violations cannot be made by weak countries against strong ones. I know the United Nations never intended human rights to be weaponised in this way when they introduced the Universal Declaration of Human Rights back in 1948, but sadly that is what has happened.

I think the US hates Russia because in order for the US to project its power globally, it needs overwhelming military superiority; both covert and overt, and that means funding a military industrial complex, and that needs an enemy for people to fear who will agree to let nearly $1 trillion a year (budget's only $715 billion, but it'll be overspent because it always is), to be siphoned out of their social spending to fund it.

I think the USSR was initially picked because it was a socialist threat to the US, then the hate transferred to Russia because of guilt by association, and then it became a habit. It was a lot easier for Russia to continue be the boogieman, than find another country to justify the US military complex spending. Now the US have realised that whilst they been so obsessed with keeping Russia down for 104 years, China has grown strong enough to resist the US and to become its true rival. They want to let go of Russia, but like a dog with a bone, after 104 years, they just can’t.

Anyway, to answer my question, the US still hates Russia because it can’t help itself. I shall now park this rabbit hole and return to the socialist matters at hand.

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Post Re: Socialism

Anyway, back to socialism.


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Post Re: Socialism

The State

In the first post of this thread I said;

Quote:
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.


It's time to talk about that 4th element, the culture. You could call it society, but that's what I've chosen to call the whole ideology-economic-political-cultural system. What do I mean by culture? I shall do a mind dump. By culture I mean; spiritual things like beliefs, values, morality. I include conceptual things like patriotism, nationalism, tribalism, ethnicity, belonging, social interaction, love, fairness, kindness, inclusiveness, competition, collaboration, real ale, the arts, morale, fun. A cultural system must include the physical things to realise the spiritual and the conceptual, like venues, pubs, community halls. I include the essentials of life that everyone has a human right to such as the physical infrastructure including transportation, power plants, housing, hospitals. Taken as a whole, culture is the thing that provides the essentials of life, the quality of life, and ultimately happiness (whatever that is).

This leads us to 'The State', which like everything else I've talked about has no universally accepted definition, so I shall define it for the purposes of this thread. Generically speaking, a state is a condition of being, which in a political context defines condition in which people live, in essence their culture. The government organises and controls the people to achieve the aims of the state. Those who control the government, control the state and get to decide what culture the state will deliver. The state has the sole right to exercise legitimate physical force over its people.

In capitalism, the ruling class control the government. A capitalist would argue a state is there to provide protection for life, liberty (within a capitalist context), private property, private wealth creation, social cohesion, varying degrees of welfare, and the pursuit of happiness (within a capitalist context).

In socialism the people control the government, so that the aims of the government become the aims of the people. A socialist would argue a state is there to provide protection for the principles of socialism, which I've interpreted as the workers control the means of production, money is a unit of a person’s time, money is not power, all people are equal, and all people have equal human rights. I would also add liberty (within a socialist context), and the pursuit of happiness (within a socialist context).

However, a state can be separated from the government such that the state becomes a thing in itself, self-contained politically, and the government becomes an administration carrying out the will of the state. This is the fascist system which can be summed up in 5 words; the glorification of the state. In a fascist system the state is all and everyone serves the state. A quick internet search on the definition of fascism and we get;

Quote:
“A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, a capitalist economy subject to stringent governmental controls, violent suppression of the opposition, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.”


Fascism is probably one of the oldest political systems in the world, and goes right back to ancient Rome, replacing barbarianism and tribalisim. I know the Roman system is typically referred to as imperialistic, but I view imperialism as a way to fund the state and grow its power (by nicking other countries wealth, resources, military and labour), rather than a political system in itself. You can see the transition from fascism to feudalism, or feudal facsism if you prefer, a system which is run along fascist lines, where the King owned the state, and the state was called 'The Crown'. The Crown owned all the wealth and the means of production, and the surfs, peasants and tradesmen receive payment for their labour, albeit not very much in the case of surfs; shelter and just enough food to survive on. The Crown was everything and the King decided what the crown needed from the people, and the people had to give it. The people received their culture including their beliefs and religion from the Crown. Feudalism gave way to modern capitalism; a system in its own right that had shaken off its fascist and feudalistic roots. Emperors and Kings were replaced by super rich ruling class merchants. The state was redefined, but still controlled by the ruling class.

Capitalism has always been a part of fascism and feudalism; one way of looking at it is capitalism funded these systems. When fascism re-emerged in the 20th Century, it took modern, post 2nd industrial revolution elements of capitalism, and incorporated them into it. Even the name of the dictator got a make-over, out with the titles Emperor, and King, and in with the Furher, Duce and Caudillo. National Socialism took fascism to a new level. Fascism is the opposite of socialism, in socialism the state serves the people, in fact the state is the people. Hitler could not have insulted socialism more than to include the word socialism in his murderous regime. I appear to have gone down another rabbit hole.

You can see from the definitions of capitalist and socialist states, that neither provide sufficient scope or depth to ensure the delivery of culture, which is why culture is at best achieved in bits and pieces, dribs and drabs, and the quality of life elements are the first to be cut when money is short. In a capitalist system, happiness of the people is a low priority because happiness is equated to wealth and the super rich have all the happiness they can print. The definition of the state is the missing link in Marxism in my opinion, but he’d probably argue that the definition of the state doesn’t belong in the ideology, so it wasn’t his job, and he’d probable be right. The state is an interface between the political and cultural layers, and that makes it an essential part of a social-economic-political-cultural system.

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Gloom and Doom is dead. Long live Gloom and Doom


Last edited by Beerman on Fri Jul 02, 2021 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Jun 29, 2021 10:09 am
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