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  • Beermat
    1 Registered Rank Loser
    • Oct 2009
    • 3639

    #41
    ..or at least seem to do if you're a Conservative voter

    (Joke)
    Last edited by Beermat; 4th February 2016, 18:41.
    www.whirlwindfighterproject.org
    It's all good. Probably.

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    • Creaking Door
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Sep 2006
      • 9863

      #42
      Originally posted by Beermat View Post
      After all, isn't it the case that a private investor has the choice of putting his money into Vidget gmbh, while a UK govt wouldn't?
      Very true. But a private individual can always go on holiday to Spain, buy a German car, drink French wine or buy an iPhone made in China. What exactly do you control?

      A 'socialist' government could control all these activities in addition to 'collectively' investing in industry, after raising the money through taxation presumably, rather than indulging in 'capitalist' borrowing? But there are so many influences on this country that a socialist government, or any government, has no control over that I think it would be unwise to overestimate what can be achieved by just increasing 'control'.
      WA$.

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      • Beermat
        1 Registered Rank Loser
        • Oct 2009
        • 3639

        #43
        True - but you pre-suppose that control of the public (in this case their spending) is a feature of a socialist approach, and one desired by those in charge of it. ("A 'socialist' government could control all these activities in addition to 'collectively' investing in industry"

        It's Stalinist, totalitarian, all those things, yes. But my initial posting was about exactly this - how has the presupposition of state control over lives being a feature of socialism itself come to be common received wisdom even though its not based on anything?

        Why would a socialist government in particular want to do that? Or control guns? Or restrict low flying? (That one's for Tomahawk, should he emerge from his troll cave). None of this is about 'ownership of the means of production', the central precept of Socialism, and which sounds bizarre only because smoke and mirrors have hidden the importance of this bit.

        Maybe I am answering my own question about where the confusion has come from.. Stalin was big on limiting freedoms and calling it 'Socialism'.
        Last edited by Beermat; 5th February 2016, 12:40.
        www.whirlwindfighterproject.org
        It's all good. Probably.

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        • Creaking Door
          Rank 5 Registered User
          • Sep 2006
          • 9863

          #44
          I'm probably as guilty as anybody when it comes to understanding what others mean by 'socialism' and it is one of the reasons that I dislike these political pigeon-holes that everybody seems to want to perpetuate. Surely each element of government should be argued on its own merits?

          Well, if 'ownership of the means of production' is the central precept of Socialism doesn't that include the retail-sector too? I'm pretty sure that the retail-sector in the United Kingdom is bigger than the manufacturing sector. But does it matter what sector, or business, or financial service is used as a 'means of production'? How can the 'means of production' be in the control of the government if it concerns the retail of an Apple iPhone made in China?

          I suppose, overall, the reason I have a problem with 'socialism' is the reason why the government should have control of the 'means of production' and that reason must be to stop any individual gaining an 'unfair' proportion of wealth, or the wealth generated by the labour of others. So my perception of 'socialism' is that the government wants to prevent anybody attempting to improve their existence, at least beyond the point of their own labours, and how can anybody agree with that?
          Last edited by Creaking Door; 5th February 2016, 15:41.
          WA$.

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          • Beermat
            1 Registered Rank Loser
            • Oct 2009
            • 3639

            #45
            Is it not exactly that - increasing one's wealth beyond ones labours - that right wingers accuse socialists of promoting? Benefits etc? Or is it ok if you have money already, but morally wrong if you don't?

            You raise a good point about retail. I don't think it's even on the socialist radar, not being 'production'. But I don't know!
            www.whirlwindfighterproject.org
            It's all good. Probably.

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            • Creaking Door
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Sep 2006
              • 9863

              #46
              Plus it all seems so archaic; is 'socialism' simply following the teachings of Karl Marx (I don't know)...

              ...but Karl Marx died in 1883, died in 1883! Are his 'teachings' still relevant or has the world moved on?

              Would we still take as gospel the 'teachings' in the field of engineering from 1883? Aeronautics? Medicine?
              WA$.

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              • Creaking Door
                Rank 5 Registered User
                • Sep 2006
                • 9863

                #47
                Originally posted by Beermat View Post
                Is it not exactly that - increasing one's wealth beyond ones labours - that right wingers accuse socialists of promoting? Benefits etc? Or is it ok if you have money already, but morally wrong if you don't?
                I think it is the total lack of labours, and an expectation of benefits, that bothers the 'right wingers'!
                WA$.

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                • Beermat
                  1 Registered Rank Loser
                  • Oct 2009
                  • 3639

                  #48
                  But they were not 'teachings', Marx was trying to understand how it all worked, and attempting some theories about this of his own. Yes, it was how it all worked in the 19th century, but one can't have 'oh, it's human nature, and that never changes, so Socialism won't ever work' and 'oh, that was the 19th Century, things change so Socialism won't work' as consistent arguments.

                  A lot of insights into how things work remain valid, even when further developed later. Archimedes, Galileo, Newton.

                  Thinking that the work of Marx or other theorists was only relevant to mill workers paid by 'mean' owners in Top hats, just because a lot of wealth came from owning mills at the time and a lot of those people wore top hats, is like thinking the world became the centre if the universe again once we stopped wearing pantaloons and codpieces - or developed the radio telescope.

                  In point of fact many 19th century industrialists had a habit of redistributing wealth almost spontaneously. They wouldn't last five minutes in business today for that very reason. That HAS changed.

                  Point taken about the 'no labour' difference. Where do you stand on in-work benefits and pensions (the far greater portion of the benefits bill)?
                  Last edited by Beermat; 7th February 2016, 12:38.
                  www.whirlwindfighterproject.org
                  It's all good. Probably.

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                  • snafu
                    Senior Member
                    • Aug 2013
                    • 2825

                    #49
                    Originally posted by Creaking Door View Post
                    Plus it all seems so archaic; is 'socialism' simply following the teachings of Karl Marx (I don't know)...

                    ...but Karl Marx died in 1883, died in 1883! Are his 'teachings' still relevant or has the world moved on?

                    Would we still take as gospel the 'teachings' in the field of engineering from 1883? Aeronautics? Medicine?
                    Adam Smith, the father of modern economics, died in 1790. Have we discarded his teachings yet, because they are old and outdated?

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                    • Creaking Door
                      Rank 5 Registered User
                      • Sep 2006
                      • 9863

                      #50
                      And is it those teachings that have led to the current climate of economic progress and certainty then?
                      WA$.

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                      • MrBlueSky
                        Rank 5 Registered User
                        • Jan 2006
                        • 1154

                        #51
                        I can only hint at an answer. Perhaps one day, Man will acquire an altruism so complete as to make redundant the selfishly competitive forces that seem to underpin our existence.

                        It's already been done, Star Trek...

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                        • Creaking Door
                          Rank 5 Registered User
                          • Sep 2006
                          • 9863

                          #52
                          Originally posted by Beermat View Post
                          Where do you stand on pensions (the far greater portion of the benefits bill)?
                          Well, when workers are no longer capable of producing useful work...

                          ...they should be driven out of the factory premises.....to starve in the hedgerows!

                          Where do you think I stand on pensions? Just because I don't slavishly follow the ideas of Marx, that makes me an evil b'stard without an ounce of human compassion does it?

                          The truth is I don't slavishly follow any political ideas, philosophy or party; I will judge each political decision on its own merits but I also understand that there are complex, but undeniable, relationships between certain policies, particularly economic policies.

                          Are you comparing Marx to Archimedes, Galileo or Newton? These men dealt with specific measurable scientific principals; they defined laws that could be mathematically proven at the time, and which still cannot be disproven today. Is that true of the 'theories' of Marx?
                          WA$.

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                          • Beermat
                            1 Registered Rank Loser
                            • Oct 2009
                            • 3639

                            #53
                            Was comparing, yes. Not saying the workings of political 'science' are rigorous in the way those of real science are. Much more that some insights, if carefully worked through and intelligently explained, do not automatically lose validity with age.

                            They can get increasingly corrupted through deliberate misinterpretation, though. While it's less likely to happen in astrophysics, it's very likely in politics. For example, there's nothing remotely socialist about paying anyone capable of work not to. Extreme Liberal maybe, but Labour was called that for a reason.
                            www.whirlwindfighterproject.org
                            It's all good. Probably.

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                            • snafu
                              Senior Member
                              • Aug 2013
                              • 2825

                              #54
                              Originally posted by Creaking Door View Post
                              And is it those teachings that have led to the current climate of economic progress and certainty then?
                              Was that typed tongue in cheek, then?

                              My point was that an opposite to Marx died 97 years previous.

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                              • Creaking Door
                                Rank 5 Registered User
                                • Sep 2006
                                • 9863

                                #55
                                OK, so what does that prove? Was there a time then, during these last two hundred years of competing theories, that anybody, anywhere, recognised a political-economic theory that actually worked?

                                If it is just a question of recognising the 'correct' political-economic theory (theorem?) and applying it why hasn't that happened; where is this country, this government, anywhere in the world, at any point in the last two hundred years, where this political-economic theorem has been demonstrated to work?
                                WA$.

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                                • Beermat
                                  1 Registered Rank Loser
                                  • Oct 2009
                                  • 3639

                                  #56
                                  Let me put it this way. George Cayley did not build a successful powered aircraft - and maybe never would have been able to. But no one would argue that his work as a theorist was not relevant or insightful.
                                  Last edited by Beermat; 8th February 2016, 09:02.
                                  www.whirlwindfighterproject.org
                                  It's all good. Probably.

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                                  • Creaking Door
                                    Rank 5 Registered User
                                    • Sep 2006
                                    • 9863

                                    #57
                                    Yes, but again you're confusing scientifically provable principles with unprovable opinion.

                                    Socialism or capitalism, and everything in between, are opinions about what is best for society!

                                    Man has developed balloons, aircraft and helicopters and all can be proven to fly...

                                    ...but can you prove which is better?
                                    Last edited by Creaking Door; 8th February 2016, 09:22.
                                    WA$.

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                                    • Beermat
                                      1 Registered Rank Loser
                                      • Oct 2009
                                      • 3639

                                      #58
                                      No, I can't
                                      Last edited by Beermat; 8th February 2016, 09:23.
                                      www.whirlwindfighterproject.org
                                      It's all good. Probably.

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                                      • arquebus
                                        Rank 5 Registered User
                                        • Jun 2008
                                        • 277

                                        #59
                                        Beermat- As to your original question as to why people in the US accuse strong government bureaucracy to being "socialist" goes way back. Both Communism and much lesser so Socialism are bad words in the US and refer to anti-capitalism. In the 1950s we had McCarthyism where the government had free reign to ruin anyone who was found to be a communist sympathizer and was considered a subversive trying to break the capitalist system. In europe both the communist and socialist parties are very common and totally accepted in wealthy countries like Germany, France, Sweden, etc, whereas they could NEVER be tolerated in the US. Right now presidential candidate Bernie Sanders refers to himself as socialist, but this is more democratic socialist as exists in the aforementioned european countries where socialism merely guarantees public benefits and does not directly interfere with the capitalist economy. Another thing to keep in mind that in the in the beginning of the industrial revolution in the US there were huge monopolies formed in the railroad, banking and steel industries that held down true competition because only a few companies controlled the entire market and were able to control prices and hold down wages. So it wasn't till Teddy Rosevelt came a long and busted up all the trusts that were functioning more like government run (some would say socialist) entities. Western nations today are no longer industrial economies in that there is no longer any manufacturing as that all has been shipped over seas. So socialism is no longer tied to labor rights like it once was. Socialism now means having more government regulation over banking and creating more social services like health benefits.

                                        There should also be mention made of the US embracing Keynesian economics in the mid 90s which basically means a nations economy is driven by its power to lend money and that perpetual debt and inflation is a good thing. This goes against the Austrian school of economics that most people would consider to be more common sense that advocates that wealth is measured only by money earned and that borrowing money is detrimental personal wealth. Keynesian economics was full implemented by repealing Glass-Steagal regulations against banks ability to speculate on their customers holdings. For the most part Keynesian economics has worked very well and is credited to the very high economic wealth that the US and much of the world has enjoyed for the last 20 years. But this wealth has turned into a runaway train and now the Fed is committed to zero interest rates to keep this monetary flow moving through the banks. We have pulled out all the stops in banking regulations and putting them back now could cause disastrous and highly erratic behavior in the markets that are without precedent as no economy has ever gone this far into Keynesian economics. So we have created a beast and there seems no way to control it now.
                                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0nERTFo-Sk
                                        Last edited by arquebus; 6th March 2016, 06:59.

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                                        • Beermat
                                          1 Registered Rank Loser
                                          • Oct 2009
                                          • 3639

                                          #60
                                          Thanks Arquebus!

                                          Lewis Carol would love it - wealth depends of the absence of wealth. We are wealthy because we are in debt. Just please nobody ask who to.

                                          The beast is not only out of control, it is also quite mad.
                                          www.whirlwindfighterproject.org
                                          It's all good. Probably.

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