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#309260 - 11/07/18 03:59 PM Re: the economy [Re: jgw]
chunkstyle Offline
member

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 1076
Here's a perfect example of a news article that supports 'Labor Theory':

Your pay raise will cause the bust...

I notice how this author uses a 'single gun' theory to show how labor getting more of a share of value creation ultimately leads to the stock market going down. To me it's offering a rational for devaluation of labor with sketchy thinking of cause and effect.

I wont even go into the symbolism of the image for its intended viewership.


Edited by chunkstyle (11/07/18 04:00 PM)

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#309261 - 11/07/18 04:16 PM Re: the economy [Re: chunkstyle]
Greger Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 14366
Loc: Florida
Marx didn't have a solution, even socialism/communism wasn't a solution it was a prediction. In the cases of the Soviet Union and the other Eastern block attempts at communism, they were forced attempts, Marx's criteria for the success of socialism and ultimately communism had not been met. Hence they were doomed to fail from the start.

Oddly he was pretty ambivalent about mixed systems which most of us see as the solution to avoid end game capitalism.

But what of the even more distant future? Provided we aren't eliminated by an unlivable planet? Classic Marxism might provide the answer in that mixed systems would naturally evolve into socialism and ultimately a communism where machines do the heavy lifting and people have everything they want and need and generally do as they please.
A utopian pastoral society where war, hunger, and ill health are all things of the past. A society made up of artisans, poets, musicians, philosophers, farmers, fishermen, scholars and educators. A world where men and women can pursue whatever interests them without being forced to work for wages or for bourgeois overlords getting rich from their labor while they struggle to survive...
Some would likely have more than others, but it would be by choice as none would want for anything.
_________________________
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." Oscar Wilde

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#309264 - 11/07/18 05:12 PM Re: the economy [Re: chunkstyle]
NW Ponderer Offline
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 16303
Okies, chunk, I had no intention of being condescending, I just wasn't sure where the question was coming from. As to your larger question, "has it been tried and failed?" Boy does that open a can of worms!

There's a whole continuum of "socialist" philosophies that run the gamut from Social democracy through Democratic Socialism to outright Communism. There are "purists" in each school, and "adherents" who mix and match based upon their personal foibles that confuse definitions even among professionals. Like most political science junkies (it was my undergraduate major), I'm opinionated and use my own definitions and distinctions. The problem, in my view, is that is a field that mixes economic, social, and political theory (sometimes Willy-nilly) in not always clear (And often deliberately obscure) prose.

I'll set up my personal framework to try to make sure I'm not "one of those", as best I can. I started a thread to do exactly that, but deleted it in favor of this one, and in order to honestly answer your question. What makes the question difficult is "has it ever been tried" - and what we mean by "It" and "tried."

"Socialism" is used in so many different ways that its real meaning is debatable. In economics people generally use socialism to mean "public" (either government or social cooperatives) control of the means of production - i.e., who owns "the capital" - real estate, machinery, money, profits. In politics, people usually mean the goal of using "government" to help "The people", and, again, it runs the gamut from complete authoritarian (communist) control to left-leaning democratic market regulation or manipulation - the so-called "mixed economy". Around the world, virtually every economy is "mixed" in both an economic and political sense. Add in "social theory", and you end up with a bloody, rhetorical mess.

I generally describe myself as a "Social Democrat", or progressive, in that, I believe in democracy as the form of government and social as the goal of government programs, but accept that the economy is market-oriented and capitalistic in nature. So I support wage supports, social welfare programs, government regulation (and even bending) of markets. In some areas, I believe in public-private competition in the markets, e.g., "public option" health care, social security, public agency pension plans, and even public production of commodities/services.

So, when I quip that Marx wasn't a very good "Marxist", what I mean is that he developed a social theory of how the political-economic system worked, and how he expected it to naturally develop, then actively interfered with that development by fomenting revolution and seeking to impose a communist framework from the outside. It's like a scientist proposing a hypothetical then manipulating his experiments to "prove" it.

If by "It" you mean "social" control of the means of production, "It" had been tried in an authoritarian-communist form in several locations (China, USSR, Vietnam, Cuba). If you mean organically developed "socialism", only on a small scale (e.g., cooperatives, utopian villages, communes). On the larger scale, social programs have been tried in numerous locales instituting social welfare programs from socialized medicine, public welfare programs, public retirement programs to state control of national resources. "Success" is too often determined by the eye of the beholder.

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#309266 - 11/07/18 05:40 PM Re: the economy [Re: NW Ponderer]
Greger Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 14366
Loc: Florida
Practically every "attempt" at socialism in its varying forms has been at the whims of a charismatic leader(Stalin, Lenin, Castro, et al) who tried to emulate a fair socialist system by force.

I posit that it must be evolution not revolution to bring about a true egalitarian society.
_________________________
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." Oscar Wilde

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#309268 - 11/07/18 08:01 PM Re: the economy [Re: Greger]
NW Ponderer Offline
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 16303
In that, Greger, I wholly agree. BTW, I also agree with your previous post, which was apparently posted while I was developing mine. I think when I disagree with chunk and others, it is not in the goal, but in the execution.

I am more of a gradualist than an iconoclast. On the slightly other hand, I do believe that certain actions are urgent enough to require direct intrusion into "the market". As examples, health care is an urgent need of the nation (there is significant debate about medical bankruptcies (WaPo, Subscription)); climate change is becoming a direct danger to both the economy and the population, and the tax malpractice of the GOP urgently needs reversal before national bankruptcy - or another depression - results.

Trump's amateurish and destructive (and grossly ignorant) international policies are likely to create an almost instantaneous economic crisis, which is already brewing beneath the surface.

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#309271 - 11/07/18 10:17 PM Re: the economy [Re: NW Ponderer]
Greger Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 14366
Loc: Florida

Quote:
Trump's amateurish and destructive (and grossly ignorant) international policies are likely to create an almost instantaneous economic crisis, which is already brewing beneath the surface.


With capitalism there is always a crisis brewing beneath the surface.
In this case another charismatic leader is trying to tilt the playing field so all the money runs to him.
World leaders and world markets(our corporate overlords) are keeping things afloat in spite of Mr. Trumps many mistakes. The last time "we" elected an idiot they managed to hold it together almost until the end. Two wars, a debt crisis and an overheated housing market coupled with the insidious greed of Wall Street proved too much in the end though. Remember when W begged us to all go out shopping to help keep his failing economy afloat?

I think I've mentioned before that, along and along, this thing is gonna come off the tracks. Winning the house may soften or prevent the crash altogether.

And I agree with your earlier assessment that Marx wasn't a very good Marxist. But in 1848 he was barely thirty years old, he didn't have the complete works of Karl Marx to refer to. They weren't, in fact, even published in his lifetime, the last wasn't published until 1941.
In his elder years he probably became a much better Marxist, working more on theory than the application of his work.
_________________________
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." Oscar Wilde

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#309286 - 11/08/18 05:51 AM Re: the economy [Re: jgw]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 7997
Loc: North San Diego County
I think our mixed-economy of capitalism, socialism, and government regulation has a huge degree of homeostasis going for it. The "free" market is very useful for all the complexity that central planning could never handle. Government regulations and the rule of law keep the market honest. Social programs take the rough edges off capitalism, so it's reasonably humane.

The deterioration of the rule of law is the main reason my portfolio is all cash right now. I'm staying out of the market until normal order is restored, and I would not be surprised if a lot of other folks feel the same way. That may be why the stock market is so volatile now. The fall of Trump is one big Black Swan event waiting to happen.

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#309294 - 11/08/18 05:29 PM Re: the economy [Re: pondering_it_all]
Greger Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 14366
Loc: Florida
Quote:
our mixed-economy of capitalism, socialism, and government regulation

I consider government regulation simply to be a part of the social side of the mix. Our elected representatives and administrators are supposed to control the means of production through taxation, regulation, and legislation.
De-regulation, more often than not, comes from the capital side.

Quote:
The book Laissez Faire and the General-Welfare State states:

The physiocrats, reacting against the excessive mercantilist regulations of the France of their day, expressed a belief in a "natural order" or liberty under which individuals in following their selfish interests contributed to the general good. Since, in their view, this natural order functioned successfully without the aid of government, they advised the state to restrict itself to upholding the rights of private property and individual liberty, to removing all artificial barriers to trade, and to abolishing all useless laws.
WIKI

Sound familiar?
_________________________
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." Oscar Wilde

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#309295 - 11/08/18 05:42 PM Re: the economy [Re: pondering_it_all]
Greger Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 14366
Loc: Florida
Homeostasis might also imply status quo. but I'm willing to go with stability. While "stable", our economy has been trending towards the upper 1% for a long time. In time honored tradition, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. A crisis of some sort is on the horizon....the crisis will hurt the poor more than the rich but they will dig out of it, rebuild, work hard to regain what they once had and upon achieving it will realize that once again the rich are getting richer and...you don't need Karl Marx to see a pattern here.
_________________________
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." Oscar Wilde

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#309298 - 11/08/18 06:00 PM Re: the economy [Re: jgw]
chunkstyle Offline
member

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 1076
Zactly.
The beauty of neoliberalism is that it obliterates class consciousness and denies system failure, placing that on the shoulders of choice and personal responsibility. A wonderful way of bending reality.
I see the same repeat in the 'negative freedom' political philosophy that dominated after WW2. Every individual would persue their own self interest thru consumerism. That, in turn, would lead to full productivity, rising standard of living and inhibit the 'animal instincts of the masses from marching off to retake the Sudetenland.

The trap was in political and wealth capture by the increasingly wealthy minority leading to wars, tax and law evasion, and finally oligarchic tyranny. Not to mentioned it was myopic in thinking that a linear system could go on forever in a finite world of resources.

No wonder they won't allow the teaching of Marx or critical thinking in class rooms.

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