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Thread: Despite Government Threats California Votes For Sanity

  1. #21
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    Re: Despite Government Threats California Votes For Sanity

    That said, your identification of Nazism and related forms of fascism as "socialism" is similarly inaccurate because of the aforementioned conflicts between fascism and socialism, most critically, the manner in which the authoritarian elements of fascism undermine the participatory elements of socialism. That said, the collusion of state and corporate power inherent in fascism illustrates its decidedly non-socialist nature. For example, consider the perspective of researchers Buccheim and Scherner in The Role of Private Property in the Nazi Economy: The Case of Industry.

    Private property in the industry of the Third Reich is often considered a mere nominal provision without much substance. However, that is not correct, because firms, despite the rationing and licensing activities of the state, still had ample scope to devise their own production and investment profiles. Even regarding war-related projects, freedom of contract was generally respected; instead of using power, the state offered firms a number of contract options to choose from. There were several motives behind this attitude of the regime, among them the conviction that private property provided important incentives for increasing efficiency.
    This obviously illustrates a reality starkly different from the conception of Nazi Germany being "socialist" in nature. It's been remarked upon before (and deserves further mention), that rightists would not be quick to extend the same literal interpretation to the Soviet-controlled German "Democratic" Republic. There can be no basis for the inconsistency other than a cheap political point. Further elaboration on the nature of the collusion of state and corporate power under the Third Reich is provided by Ferguson and Voth in Betting on HitleróThe Value of Political Connections in Nazi Germany. Consider the abstract:

    This paper examines the value of connections between German industry and the Nazi movement in early 1933. Drawing on previously unused contemporary sources about management and supervisory board composition and stock returns, we find that one out of seven firms, and a large proportion of the biggest companies, had substantive links with the National Socialist German Workers' Party. Firms supporting the Nazi movement experienced unusually high returns, outperforming unconnected ones by 5% to 8% between January and March 1933. These results are not driven by sectoral composition and are robust to alternative estimators and definitions of affiliation.
    Establishment of the "socialist" label can be broadly described as a cheap means of capturing the benefits of raw worker militancy; however, the Nazi opposition to Marxism, anarchism, and forms of legitimate socialism is a well-established reality, and Ernst Rohm and the SA were of course the targets of the infamous Night of the Long Knives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Truth Detector View Post
    The reason Capitalism trumps all other of manís idealistic political endeavors and fantastical notions about what constitutes the ideal Government is the "human" factor.
    Nonsense! If anything, capitalism suffers from a brutal rhetorical deficiency in that its advocates routinely reduce the labor market to a mere collection of factors of production, not realizing that something so complex as human labor cannot be reduced to the status of a basic good to be exchanged. This results in a deficiency of understanding of labor economics and firm theory, which is why the terms dynamic monopsony, oligopsony, asymmetric information, and principal-agent problem probably mean nothing to you. Regardless, comprehension of these elements is necessary for an accurate understanding of capitalism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Truth Detector View Post
    On paper Communism looks terrific to some, it has NEVER appealed to me, but in actual practice the temptation to corrupt those ideals to elevate one's own economic conditions and power over his fellow man supersedes the desire to follow the ideology. In other words, human nature trumps the ideology; which is why Communism is such a failure.
    This is low-brow, tiresome nonsense based on the crude assumption that socialism involves some abandonment of self-interest for the "good of the collective." Much of this business about socialism allegedly being incompatible with human nature was of course addressed a century ago in Kropotkin's Mutual Aid (the veracity of which was affirmed by no less an authority than the evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould), but this is further complicated and perverted through your inaccurate references to state capitalism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Truth Detector View Post
    Only Capitalism understands the desire and greed of man. Capitalism doesn't care if you are black or white, if you are rich or poor, whether you are man or woman or where you came from; it only cares about bringing two parties together in an agreement to exchange goods or services.
    Pro-capitalist approaches to human nature are also typically characterized by excessive reliance on the absurdity of rational choice theory, and the lunacy of that approach is captured in Linda McQuaig's quotation of Amartya Sen: "'Can you direct me to the railway station?' asks the stranger. 'Certainly,' says the local, pointing, in the opposite direction, towards the post office, 'and would you post this letter for me on your way?' 'Certainly,' says the stranger, resolving to open it to see if it contains anything worth stealing." (McQuaig, 2001)

    Moreover, your apparent insinuation that "markets = capitalism" is just as inaccurate as your "government = socialism" misconception. Socialism is in fact able to facilitate more competitive market enterprise than capitalism through its elimination of wealth and market concentration.

    Quote Originally Posted by Truth Detector View Post
    The founders of the United States realized that if the proper Democratic principles and laws were designed to take advantage of such a Capitalist idea, it had a chance for successfully creating a great and free society.
    The more libertarian of the founders of the United States would have likely been open socialists had they been aware of the consequences that industrialization would have on equality of opportunity, and thus the ability of individuals to govern themselves through democracy. Since they existed in an agrarian setting characterized by relative equality of opportunity (for upper class white land-owning males over 21, that is), they were unable to predict the profoundly anti-democratic socioeconomic order that early capitalism would spawn.

    Quote Originally Posted by Truth Detector View Post
    The most ironic thing I see today are people who denigrate this ideal and treat it as if it is some kind of evil. I blame this on the systems of education we see in the Western hemisphere which is infested by teachers who carry the dark seed of Socialism within them and attempt to plant/indoctrinate it into their students through their teachings.
    There is no need to make any morality comment. The fact that capitalism's propensity towards market/wealth concentration undermines the establishment of more productive and efficient arrangements is reason enough to oppose it, though I've recently been attempting to emphasize its anti-libertarian nature in response to "libertarian" capitalists' attacks on socialism. This business about teachers carrying "the dark seed of socialism" is also apparently utter conspiracy theory; the public school system is an integral component of the capitalist mode of production, and it's been hypothesized by economists such as Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis that said system plays a role in instilling a subservience to hierarchy into youth in preparation for their entry into the capitalist workplace.

    Quote Originally Posted by Truth Detector View Post
    But REALITY trumps idealism and the best friend we have is the historic record. It is the ONLY thing we can look at and point to the abject failure of all other ideologies. The USA form of Democracy is a shining beacon to the world for those who wish to truly free their societies and provide them with the tools for peaceful coexistence and prosperity.
    Not really. For one thing, you'd have to confront the unfortunate nonexistence of free markets throughout history.

    For another thing, you'd have to confront the reality that "political" democracy cannot be legitimately separated from economic democracy, and the economic order dominant in the U.S. is decidedly anti-democratic. Were the state of affairs involving an elite few having control over the resources that affected the daily lives of the vast majority manifested through the vessel of a state, it would be rightly recognized and condemned as authoritarian in nature. Why then should there be a difference when such a state of affairs exists in the economic realm, merely because this is not recognized as a *real* establishment of authoritarianism?

  2. #22
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    Re: Despite Government Threats California Votes For Sanity

    Quote Originally Posted by Truth Detector View Post
    The ONLY thing that can destroy that which has developed into the most diverse, powerful and free nation in the world is our own ignorance of what it is that makes it so great; it wasn't political correctedness and it certainly wasn't creation of a Government that is the people's nanny.
    That's similarly untrue. The government is an integral agent in the capitalist economy, as a means of providing macroeconomic stabilization, promoting growth through strategic trade policy that involves the protection of infant industries and thus the maximization of dynamic comparative advantage, the utilization of welfare state policies to maintain the physical and psychological efficiency of the working class, etc. The empirical literature on this matter certainly affirms this reality; for example, we could refer to Yu's A new perspective on the role of the government in economic development, the abstract of which notes that "the government possesses certain unique features that allow it to restrict competition, and provide stable and reliable conditions under which firms organise, compete, cooperate and exchange. The coordinating perspective is employed to re-examine the arguments for industrial policies regarding private investment decisions, market competition, diffusion of technologies and tariff protection on infant industries. This paper concludes that dynamic private enterprises assisted by government coordination policies explains the rapid economic growths in post-war Japan and the Asian newly industrialising economies." Later elaboration is provided by this:

    [The government] possesses some unique features that distinguish it from the firm. Such features allows the government to regulate competition, reduce uncertainty and provide a relatively stable exchange environment. Specifically, in the area of industrial policy, the government can help private enterprises tackle uncertainty in the following ways: first, locating the focal point by initiating projects; providing assurance and guarantees to the large investment project; and facilitating the exchange of information; second, reducing excessive competition by granting exclusive rights; and third, facilitating learning and diffusion of technologies, and assisting infant industry firms to build up competence. The history of developmental success indicates that the market and the state are not opposed forms of social organisation, but interactively linked (Rodrik, 1997, p. 437). In the prospering and dynamic nations, public-private coordination tends to prevail. Dynamic private enterprises assisted by government coordination explain the successful economic performances in the post-war Japan and the Asian newly industrialising economies. It is their governments' consistent and coordinated attentiveness to the economic problems that differentiates the entrepreneurial states (Yu, 1997) from the predatory states (Boaz and Polak, 1997).
    Unfortunately, with the advent of the "government = socialism" myth (a brutal distortion of political economy, as it were), few anti-socialists sufficiently familiar with empirical research to comment intelligently exist.

    Quote Originally Posted by Truth Detector View Post
    I am always amazed how easily the gullible, uninformed, uneducated are willing to give up their freedoms to some political ideal that promises nothing more than to take away choice and reduce everyone to the same mediocre outcomes. Then allowing these political leaders, who are only interested in maintaining their political power, to turn them into slaves working for more than six or even eight months of the year to send their paltry wages to this vast Government bureaucracy in the FALSE belief that ONLY a huge and vast Government can provide for man's well being when all along it is us as individuals given the freedom and legal framework to decide for ourselves what it is WE think is in our own best interests that can do it.
    This is mere inanity. I advocate the abolition of the state; do I fall into your crude categorizations? What you don't seem to understand is that my anarchism enables me to oppose the state bureaucracy that robs the public of their right to self-governance far more strongly than you do, and by extension, capitalism, considering the aforementioned role of the state in the capitalist economy. Moreover, I'm also able to logically extend this principle to a realm which you ignorantly defend: the authoritarian and hierarchical internal structure of the firm that characterizes wage labor in the capitalist economy. As Bob Black notes:

    The liberals and conservatives and Libertarians who lament totalitarianism are phoneys and hypocrites. . . You find the same sort of hierarchy and discipline in an office or factory as you do in a prison or a monastery. . . A worker is a part-time slave. The boss says when to show up, when to leave, and what to do in the meantime. He tells you how much work to do and how fast. He is free to carry his control to humiliating extremes, regulating, if he feels like it, the clothes you wear or how often you go to the bathroom. With a few exceptions he can fire you for any reason, or no reason. He has you spied on by snitches and supervisors, he amasses a dossier on every employee. Talking back is called 'insubordination,' just as if a worker is a naughty child, and it not only gets you fired, it disqualifies you for unemployment compensation. . .The demeaning system of domination I've described rules over half the waking hours of a majority of women and the vast majority of men for decades, for most of their lifespans. For certain purposes it's not too misleading to call our system democracy or capitalism or -- better still -- industrialism, but its real names are factory fascism and office oligarchy. Anybody who says these people are 'free' is lying or stupid.
    What he speaks of is a reality. Noam Chomsky notes this reality similarly astutely when he remarks that "[c]apitalism is a system in which the central institutions of society are in principle under autocratic control. Thus, a corporation or an industry is, if we were to think of it in political terms, fascist; that is, it has tight control at the top and strict obedience has to be established at every level -- there's a little bargaining, a little give and take, but the line of authority is perfectly straightforward."

    Quote Originally Posted by Truth Detector View Post
    Right now thanks to a lack of education, but in many cases thanks TO a poor education, we are watching the United States become that which the founders feared the most; a Community Organizing States of America where the differences between the major political parties become blurred and where the citizens are actually gullible enough to want to believe that politicians can solve all their societal and economic needs. I rue the day that I should live long enough to see this occur. But at the pace we have recently seen, it might actually occur during my generation and not my childrenís.
    This is merely redundant; I've addressed your misrepresentation of both the education system and the founders above.

    Quote Originally Posted by Truth Detector View Post
    Unlike you I did not need to READ someone's ideas about what I believe in or cut and paste them here; these are my own thoughts based on my experience, knowledge of history and education which fortunately at the college level occurred when I was more mature and experienced so that I could put my lessons in context of REALITY.
    That's laughable. Your commentary is little more than the regurgitation of the standard rightist talking points easily found on the Heritage Foundation's website. Unfortunately, you have a very crude grasp of political theory and economy, and were thus unprepared to deal with libertarian socialism and the realities of its practical implementation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Truth Detector View Post
    Sorry for the treatise, but you asked for it. I close with this; show me ONE REAL instance where Communism has or is actually working better than the system we have in the United States. If we honestly look at Fascist regimes along side of Communist regimes in the historical sense, what we see is little difference in the real outcomes of both extremes.
    Certainly. I'd refer to the Spanish Revolution --- that is, the social revolution that occurred during the Spanish Civil War. As noted by Gaston Leval:

    In Spain, during almost three years, despite a civil war that took a million lives, despite the opposition of the political parties . . . this idea of libertarian communism was put into effect. Very quickly more than 60% of the land was very quickly collectively cultivated by the peasants themselves, without landlords, without bosses, and without instituting capitalist competition to spur production. In almost all the industries, factories, mills, workshops, transportation services, public services, and utilities, the rank and file workers, their revolutionary committees, and their syndicates reorganised and administered production, distribution, and public services without capitalists, high-salaried managers, or the authority of the state.
    It is estimated that eight to ten million people were directly or indirectly affected by the Spanish anarchist collectives. Leval has estimated 1,700 agrarian collectives, with 400 for Aragon, (although other estimates have been above 500), 900 for Levant, 300 for Castile , 30 for Estremadura, 40 for Catalonia, and an unknown number for Andalusia. He estimates that all industries and transportation were collectivized in the urban areas of Catalonia, (and indeed, 75% of all of Catalonia was estimated to have been collectivized in some way), 70% of all industries in Levant, and an unknown percentage in Castile.

    The victories and social and economic benefits promoted in the Spanish Revolution through the implementation of libertarian socialist ideals, such as the establishment of syndicalism, voluntary association, and workers self-management strongly suggests that anarchist and libertarian socialist theories and practices are of a practical nature.

    Other broadly successful examples of libertarian socialism include the Paris Commune, the Free Territory of Ukraine, the Zapatista municipalities of Chiapas, the Israeli kibbutzim (which I saw ignored earlier in this thread), etc. Successes of democratic socialism may be found in the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela, as well as through microeconomic analysis into the superior efficiency of worker-owned enterprises, since although they obviously do not and cannot constitute socialism by themselves, such data can be extrapolated to a prospective socialist economy.

    There are other examples that can be referred to, such as Cuba and Titoist Yugoslavia, though I'm personally not of the opinion that they exemplify the libertarian social values that ought to be a critical component of any socialist revolution and political and economic order.

    Regardless, it is undeniable that socialism has been been implemented successfully in the past, and empirical evidence has borne out the superior efficiency of participatory, collective management. Laissez-faire capitalism, on the other hand, has never been successfully implemented, and the shoddy forms of capitalism that exist cannot claim the same efficiency record as socialism, to say nothing of their deleterious social consequences.

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