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Old December 17 2012, 03:25 PM   #38
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

gturner wrote: View Post
Actually ownership is irrelevant if you have control, which is why many definitions of socialism say "government ownership or control." In the case of the Russian serfs, the land and tools were owned by the aristocrats who owned the serfs, yet allocation was left to the villagers. When the aristocrats were stipped of ownership, control of the land and tools was still exercised by the villages, which had always been the local body in charge of such allocations. Then under communism the situation was still unchanged, or worsened. Who owned the land and tools on paper was irrelevant to the serfs who never gained control of their own fates, and who couldn't tell any difference between medieval slavery and socialism based on their own experiences. They were told which plots to work, with which tools, in what organizational group, and then someone would come and claim most of the grain they grew.
Given how broad a term "control" is, there is no functional state on Earth that couldn't be described as "socialist" under that definition.

There are always controls on what you may or may not do with your capital. A really simple example is if you want to put up any kind of permanent structure on land you own, such as a workshop, you virtually always need to obtain a government permit, have it inspected, etc. etc.

Once you expand the definition of "socialism" to include this, it becomes a useless distinction, because every government thus becomes socialist, from China to the United States to Estonia.
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