View Poll Results: Was Karl Marx Right About Capitalism?

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Thread: Was Karl Marx Right About Capitalism?

  1. #131
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    Re: Was Karl Marx Right About Capitalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo Rodeo View Post
    ...except for all those national defense contractors and the companies that supply them.

    We are so far intertwined with defense that shifting that spending will cause an equal offset, just in another sector. There will be money for construction, at the expense of a crap ton of engineering layoffs.

    We have been screwing this pooch so long that stopping suddenly would cause just as much harm.
    That is a good point. However, I have personally experienced that aerospace engineers are smart people whose skills can transfer to other sectors well. In addition to the infrastructure projects mentioned we also need better security. The government needs to invest more money in things like facial recognition technology and detection of contextual anomalies in crowd motion. Not only that but I think it's worth the money to develop advanced propulsion systems like plasma rockets so that in the future, space exploration will be more fruitful. Displaced aerospace engineers could find employment opportunities in such areas.

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    Re: Was Karl Marx Right About Capitalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dezaad View Post
    Whenever I have looked at the proportions of our budget, I have never noticed foreign aid as a large enough portion to make much difference in the kind of situation to which you are referring.

    As to the military thing: In many ways, the Military budget is like a big public works project. It already channels money into the hands of literally millions of workers. The problem is that our tax structure does not redistribute wealth to the extent that is needed for capitalism to be sustainable. To the extent that it already is like a big public works project, switching the money from the military to another project would void the prosperity benefit you propose to gain.

    We would almost be better off simply cutting taxes on the middle class and raising taxes on the wealthy. To be clear: I think that would be a far greater benefit to our nation's economic strength than cutting spending on the military and switching the funds to a new public works project. However, we could do that as an enhancement to the economic effort.

    You just can't avoid the necessity of redistributive policies in capitalism, because capitalism rewards the rich too richly and the middle class and poor to poorly to be sustainable. That was what Marx said, and he was right. We had redistributive (translate 'sustainable') policies during the era where our elite perceived a threat from communism. Now that that threat is removed, they apparently believe that unsustainable policies will be tolerated by the common folk. The people who control our politics are mistaken. The sooner we let them know they are mistaken, the better off we all will be, rich, middle class and poor. Conversely, the more we wait to reign them in, the greater will be the eventual upheaval and turmoil.
    I understand what you are saying and I have pretty much responded to this notion in my previous post. I don't think that a tax cut would be more productive than the infrastructure development and the other projects I proposed. For one thing, these things are needed and the resultant jobs and business opportunities will create new sources of tax revenue. In the long run we need these things anyway and cutting taxes isn't going to get us nearer to doing them.

  3. #133
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    Re: Was Karl Marx Right About Capitalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by MildSteel View Post
    That is a good point. However, I have personally experienced that aerospace engineers are smart people whose skills can transfer to other sectors well. In addition to the infrastructure projects mentioned we also need better security. The government needs to invest more money in things like facial recognition technology and detection of contextual anomalies in crowd motion. Not only that but I think it's worth the money to develop advanced propulsion systems like plasma rockets so that in the future, space exploration will be more fruitful. Displaced aerospace engineers could find employment opportunities in such areas.

  4. #134
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    Re: Was Karl Marx Right About Capitalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by MildSteel View Post
    That is a good point. However, I have personally experienced that aerospace engineers are smart people whose skills can transfer to other sectors well. In addition to the infrastructure projects mentioned we also need better security. The government needs to invest more money in things like facial recognition technology and detection of contextual anomalies in crowd motion. Not only that but I think it's worth the money to develop advanced propulsion systems like plasma rockets so that in the future, space exploration will be more fruitful. Displaced aerospace engineers could find employment opportunities in such areas.
    If you're talking about infrastructure investment, I don't see a near-term gain in forcing aerospace engineers into hypothetical propulsion (read: research for the sake of research). As it is right now, when they come up with a novel approach to increase aircraft fuel economy, noise reduction, electronic control, etc etc etc these things directly have a beneficial and immediate effect on our economy.

    Think of the internet - how the government wanted the ability to send data securely over long distances - and what kind of impact that had on the world.

    The good folks at DARPA, Lockheed, Chrysler, BAE, BASF (the list goes on) may be developing weapons and technology for war, but these often come with civilian uses that more than make up for their upfront research cost. These industries already employ millions of people, and already contribute to the totality of our technical expertise. It seems as though the suggestion is to defund these industries and agencies, and pump those research resources into things that we don't know how to capitalize or use right now.

    Not that I see your argument heading this way, but a common argument tactic for socialists to suggest is that "all factories dedicated to war can be turned to peaceful endeavors (if they are controlled by the people)." What this invariably ignores is the cost to retool and retrain. The capital invested in any particular enterprise (land, resources, human capital, the totality of training and knowledge) is a relatively static thing; it can change, but at enormous risk and cost. Without a clear goal of what to produce with these resources - pure research for the sake of research being a horribly inefficient way to conduct research - the suggestion you put forth seems to be to scrap what we've got in favor of something that we don't even know is possible. Your suggestion to adapt aerospace engineers "because they're smart" discounts what the aerospace engineers themselves may or may not want to do and treats them like owned resources instead of sovereign individuals.
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  5. #135
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    Re: Was Karl Marx Right About Capitalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by MildSteel View Post
    I understand what you are saying and I have pretty much responded to this notion in my previous post. I don't think that a tax cut would be more productive than the infrastructure development and the other projects I proposed. For one thing, these things are needed and the resultant jobs and business opportunities will create new sources of tax revenue. In the long run we need these things anyway and cutting taxes isn't going to get us nearer to doing them.
    I hope you don't think I am proposing a net tax cut. But, I am also afraid we are talking past each other a bit.

    It sounded like you believe that the simple act of creating a public works project will accomplish significant redistribution necessary for our capitalism to have improved viability. I am contending that it will not. While I agree with the need for these projects on their own merits, I disagree that switching funds from one government outlay to another will have any significant impact toward the stated goal of fixing the flaws of capitalism. I am further contending that the most efficient way to do that is to change the tax structure. The tax structure is a blunt instrument, but it is the best instrument for curing capitalism of its known ills.

    If you still disagree, can you explain to me how switching money from one government outlay (the military) to another government outlay (some public works project) will increase the proportion of the wealth in this country to the middle class and poor and away from the wealthy?
    Last edited by Dezaad; 05-14-14 at 09:29 PM.
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    Re: Was Karl Marx Right About Capitalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo Rodeo View Post
    If you're talking about infrastructure investment, I don't see a near-term gain in forcing aerospace engineers into hypothetical propulsion (read: research for the sake of research). As it is right now, when they come up with a novel approach to increase aircraft fuel economy, noise reduction, electronic control, etc etc etc these things directly have a beneficial and immediate effect on our economy.
    I'm trying to look to the future here and think about how humans can actually explore space when the time presents itself to do so. Plasma rockets could reduce interplanetary space travel times substantially. For example a trip to Jupiter could be cut from six years to 14 months. That's substantial, and that's the type of stuff I'm talking about. That's how space is going to be explored in the future. We don't need to be wasting money blowing up Muslims to take their oil. Neither are plasma rockets merely hypothetical. they have been implemented and were supposed to be tested on the International Space Station this year, although I don't know the current status


  7. #137
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    Re: Was Karl Marx Right About Capitalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo Rodeo View Post
    Think of the internet - how the government wanted the ability to send data securely over long distances - and what kind of impact that had on the world.

    The good folks at DARPA, Lockheed, Chrysler, BAE, BASF (the list goes on) may be developing weapons and technology for war, but these often come with civilian uses that more than make up for their upfront research cost. These industries already employ millions of people, and already contribute to the totality of our technical expertise. It seems as though the suggestion is to defund these industries and agencies, and pump those research resources into things that we don't know how to capitalize or use right now.
    I'm not suggesting getting rid of DARPA, neither am I suggesting totally eliminating defense expenditure. But what I am saying is we currently spend damn near one trillion dollars on defense, and that is simply too much. A good chunk of that money should be diverted to the type of programs that I mentioned.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo Rodeo View Post
    Not that I see your argument heading this way, but a common argument tactic for socialists to suggest is that "all factories dedicated to war can be turned to peaceful endeavors (if they are controlled by the people)." What this invariably ignores is the cost to retool and retrain. The capital invested in any particular enterprise (land, resources, human capital, the totality of training and knowledge) is a relatively static thing; it can change, but at enormous risk and cost. Without a clear goal of what to produce with these resources - pure research for the sake of research being a horribly inefficient way to conduct research - the suggestion you put forth seems to be to scrap what we've got in favor of something that we don't even know is possible. Your suggestion to adapt aerospace engineers "because they're smart" discounts what the aerospace engineers themselves may or may not want to do and treats them like owned resources instead of sovereign individuals.
    Well you are right, the argument is not headed that way. What I'm saying to you is that aerospace engineers usually are able to transfer to other fields without a whole lot of difficulty. I have seen it. As a matter of fact, I cut my teeth in aerospace engineering. The experience I got there allowed me to leave that industry and I now have a really good, well paying job. I know many people that were in the group that I was in that got really good jobs in other industries and companies such as Dell. My comment is based on that experience.

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    Re: Was Karl Marx Right About Capitalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dezaad View Post
    I hope you don't think I am proposing a net tax cut. But, I am also afraid we are talking past each other a bit.

    It sounded like you believe that the simple act of creating a public works project will accomplish significant redistribution necessary for our capitalism to have improved viability. I am contending that it will not. While I agree with the need for these projects on their own merits, I disagree that switching funds from one government outlay to another will have any significant impact toward the stated goal of fixing the flaws of capitalism. I am further contending that the most efficient way to do that is to change the tax structure. The tax structure is a blunt instrument, but it is the best instrument for curing capitalism of its known ills.

    If you still disagree, can you explain to me how switching money from one government outlay (the military) to another government outlay (some public works project) will increase the proportion of the wealth in this country to the middle class and poor and away from the wealthy?
    You are making a real good point, and honestly I am mostly talking off the top of my head. Although I never worked on weapon systems, I did work in the aerospace industry and I worked with quite a few people who had actually worked on such systems. What I have understood from conversations with them is that there is quite a bit of money involved in the development of such systems. Many times, they don't end up working at all. When that happens, that is waste. And even when they do, so much money is spent for materials, and years and years of trial and error and work go into creating such systems at tremendous costs. They are typically never on time or on budget. It's just a very inefficient way of creating jobs. On the other hand, doing something like requiring all federal government buildings to use solar panels and creating a jobs training program for people to learn solar panel installation, seems to me to be a less wasteful way of distributing funds to people who need work.
    Last edited by MildSteel; 05-14-14 at 10:21 PM.

  9. #139
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    Re: Was Karl Marx Right About Capitalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by MildSteel View Post
    You are making a real good point, and honestly I am mostly talking off the top of my head. Although I never worked on weapon systems, I did work in the aerospace industry and I worked with quite a few people who had actually worked on such systems. What I have understood from conversations with them is that there is quite a bit of money involved in the development of such systems. Many times, they don't end of working at all. When that happens, that is waste. And even when they do, so much money is spent for materials, and years and years of trial and error and work go into creating such systems at tremendous costs. They are typically never on time or on budget. It's just a very inefficient way of creating jobs. On the other hand, doing something like requiring all federal government buildings to use solar panels and creating a jobs training program for people to learn solar panel installation, seems to me to be a less wasteful way of distributing funds to people who need work.
    I think I see what you are saying. I think you are saying that there is so much waste in the military spending that too much of the money spent does not end up in the hands of workers, and that other projects would more efficiently put money in those hands. I can see that is plausible, but of course we'd have to hear it from an expert who had done an analysis. But, my intuition tells me it is likely true.

    However, I still think a shift of the tax burden is necessary at this time. The problem is very pronounced, and is a consequence of the shifting tax burden in the opposite direction, starting in the 70s.
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    Re: Was Karl Marx Right About Capitalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dezaad View Post
    I think I see what you are saying. I think you are saying that there is so much waste in the military spending that too much of the money spent does not end up in the hands of workers, and that other projects would more efficiently put money in those hands. I can see that is plausible, but of course we'd have to hear it from an expert who had done an analysis. But, my intuition tells me it is likely true.

    However, I still think a shift of the tax burden is necessary at this time. The problem is very pronounced, and is a consequence of the shifting tax burden in the opposite direction, starting in the 70s.
    That is what I am saying, and I agree that someone more knowledgeable that me should confirm that. I also think you are correct that shifting the tax burden more to the rich should be part of a solution, if that's what you are saying.

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