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Thread: What Is Socialism?

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    What Is Socialism?

    A whole lot of discussion of socialism is a waste because so many simply do not understand what it is. So I thought I'd dig up a socialist professor to explain it.



    Here is what he says in the first 30 minutes.

    He is describing modern socialism. There are earlier variations but he is concerned with the socialism of today. Today's socialism in based on Marx's analysis of capitalism in Das Capital.

    Capitalism can be described as follows:

    EL + LL = TL

    EL is embodied labor. It's the inputs to production, resources, land, tools, etc. Capital. LL is living labor. It's the value workers put into production. TL is total labor, embodied plus living labor.

    TL is divided. A portion is returned to cover EL to keep the system working. The rest, the LL, is divided between the workers and the capitalist. The capitalist's portion of EL is not just profit but invested in more EL, invested in social services from religion to education to welfare, and so on, only some is profit.

    This is unfair. The workers do not get back the value of their labor.

    The purpose of socialism is then to democratize the distribution of LL to reinvestment, social investment, and worker compensation.

    Most implementations of socialism fail to democratize distribution of LL. Instead, the decisions of the capitalist are replaced by decisions of the state, by central planning. But that is not socialism.

    Socialism is the democratic distribution of the value of living labor.

    That's it.


    I will add only one small but important note: The socialist labor theory of value is something Marx borrowed from Adam Smith, a theory not really in accordance with what Smith wrote, a theory long refuted.
    Last edited by Chris; 02-10-2019 at 05:39 PM.
    Edmund Burke: "In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!"

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    Don't forget that the leftness has difficulty in comprehending what is coercion.
    Don't only Practice your Art, but force your way into its Secrets, For it and Knowledge can Raise men to the Divine!!!!! Ludwig Van Beethoven ~

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    Quote Originally Posted by MMC View Post
    Don't forget that the leftness has difficulty in comprehending what is coercion.
    True but coercion has nothing to do with socialism. Socialism is an economic analysis of production and how to change it. That Marx grew impatient with workers and turned authoritarian is political. Our own government is coercive.
    Edmund Burke: "In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!"

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    I consider myself to be a socialist. I define socialism as a general system of social ownership and management; a state of affairs in which the means of production are public property and managed be either their workers, their consumers, or some combination thereof, preferably within the context of small-scale, democratically-planned economies that are not based on no-growth economics.

    This view isn't agreed upon by all who call themselves socialists today by any means. Essentially Bernie Sanders has popularized the term among today's youth a considerable extent and when he calls himself a "socialist", he does NOT mean a general system of social ownership or management. He simply uses the term to describe, if you will, a kinder, gentler kind of capitalism that includes state guarantees against what he considers to be excessive poverty and excessive exploitation of workers and consumers. He opposes the idea of changing the ownership, or the general management structure, of the economy.

    As to the old Soviet system and others like it, today I regard those as police states that operated according to the principles of state capitalism, meaning that their economies were built on a framework of extracting surplus labor for the state (i.e. turning the non-democratic state a profit, if you will). Generally, their economies were managed by state-appointed individuals or small groups rather than by worker and/or consumers (i.e. democratically), and none allowed the public to decide itself on prices and wages. Generally, they didn't even tolerate strikes, in fact. The whole premise was turning profits for the state. As time went on in the Soviet Union, this became gradually more parasitic in nature: eventually, from the mid-1960s, individual state companies were allowed to retain half of their profits instead of turning them over to the central government, and by the late 1980s formal privatization was being introduced for the purpose of saving money.

    I regard the Soviet system as essentially similar in essence to old feudal systems. Feudalism being a state of affairs in which the state is private property (perhaps of an individual family or religious institution, for example), the Soviet system was one in which an individual political party essentially owned the state and used it to entrench itself and extract profits for its top bureaucrats.

    Anyway, that's my view.

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    Socialism is a tried and true murder machine.

    Sent from my evil cell phone.
    "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

    Ephesians 6:12

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    Quote Originally Posted by IMPress Polly View Post
    I consider myself to be a socialist. I define socialism as a general system of social ownership and management; a state of affairs in which the means of production are public property and managed be either their workers, their consumers, or some combination thereof, preferably within the context of small-scale, democratically-planned economies that are not based on no-growth economics.

    This view isn't agreed upon by all who call themselves socialists today by any means. Essentially Bernie Sanders has popularized the term among today's youth a considerable extent and when he calls himself a "socialist", he does NOT mean a general system of social ownership or management. He simply uses the term to describe, if you will, a kinder, gentler kind of capitalism that includes state guarantees against what he considers to be excessive poverty and excessive exploitation of workers and consumers. He opposes the idea of changing the ownership, or the general management structure, of the economy.

    As to the old Soviet system and others like it, today I regard those as police states that operated according to the principles of state capitalism, meaning that their economies were built on a framework of extracting surplus labor for the state (i.e. turning the non-democratic state a profit, if you will). Generally, their economies were managed by state-appointed individuals or small groups rather than by worker and/or consumers (i.e. democratically), and none allowed the public to decide itself on prices and wages. Generally, they didn't even tolerate strikes, in fact. The whole premise was turning profits for the state. As time went on in the Soviet Union, this became gradually more parasitic in nature: eventually, from the mid-1960s, individual state companies were allowed to retain half of their profits instead of turning them over to the central government, and by the late 1980s formal privatization was being introduced for the purpose of saving money.

    I regard the Soviet system as essentially similar in essence to old feudal systems. Feudalism being a state of affairs in which the state is private property (perhaps of an individual family or religious institution, for example), the Soviet system was one in which an individual political party essentially owned the state and used it to entrench itself and extract profits for its top bureaucrats.

    Anyway, that's my view.

    You could have saved a lot of typing and just said you agree with the video.
    Edmund Burke: "In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    True but coercion has nothing to do with socialism. Socialism is an economic analysis of production and how to change it. That Marx grew impatient with workers and turned authoritarian is political. Our own government is coercive.


    Socialism Means Coercion | Cato Institute

    https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/socialism-means-coercion
    Socialism Means Coercion. By Richard W. Rahn. ... Socialism is a system in which the government owns or controls the means of production, and allocates resources and rewards.
    Don't only Practice your Art, but force your way into its Secrets, For it and Knowledge can Raise men to the Divine!!!!! Ludwig Van Beethoven ~

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    True but coercion has nothing to do with socialism. Socialism is an economic analysis of production and how to change it. That Marx grew impatient with workers and turned authoritarian is political. Our own government is coercive.
    Nonsense. Socialism cannot be implemented without coercion, and never has throughout history. Socialism as a theory, and on paper, cannot, and HAS NOT ever worked.

    Progressivism, ideas so good, they have to be mandatory

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    Socialism: The Opiate of the Corrupt and Ignorant ...

    https://economics21.org/socialism-opiate-corrupt-and-ignorant...
    The difference between market-based and socialist economies is not the presence of redistributive policies per se. For over a century, around the world, market-based economies have taxed and redistributed wealth, and provided a host of services such as …


    Socialism/Socialists cannot avoid their reality.
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    Quote Originally Posted by countryboy View Post
    Nonsense. Socialism cannot be implemented without coercion, and never has throughout history. Socialism as a theory, and on paper, cannot, and HAS NOT ever worked.
    I agree that once you scale it up either chaos results or a totalitarian regime takes over.

    But in a capitalist system, for various reasons, the same thing seems to be happening as the government takes more and more authority over our lives.

    My point is coercion doesn't define the economics, only the politics.
    Edmund Burke: "In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!"

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