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Old December 15 2012, 08:15 AM   #31
Edit_XYZ
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

Davros wrote: View Post
gturner wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
So now socialism is what happens when capitalists deny other people their property rights?
Yes, for the people denied property rights it largely is. However, they don't require capitalists to deny themselves property rights, and the pre-revolutionary Russian serfs maintained a system very much like that, where each village would re-decide which families got to work which plots of land, based on how many children they had, etc, all in the name of fairness and efficiency. The result was the poorest class of people north of Africa, because nobody would make any improvements on the land (since someone else might get the same plots next year), and the plots weren't even contiguous. They could give you a dozen narrow strips that were far apart from each other, so you spent half your day moving from one to the other. But the land and resources were allocated fairly!
No, Socialism is government ownership of the means of production.
Actually, socialism is the state/ruling class' CONTROL of the means of production. And it's a very inclusive concept.
Gturner went on about these semantics at some length in his posts.

Also, Davros - gturner's example you quoted as not being socialism is MOST DEFINITELY socialism.
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Old December 15 2012, 10:26 PM   #32
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

Davros had it right: ownership is a key part of the concept. Mainly this is because varying levels of control exist even in capitalist economies, from absolute control over what is nominally a privately-owned company, to ordinary business regulation or restriction. Governments can and do -- and really, MUST -- control their economies to a smaller or greater extent in order to maintain stability. Even fascists and totalitarian regimes often permit private ownership of key industries as long as the owners continue to play ball.

Government OWNERSHIP of the industry is another matter altogether. State-owned companies and institutions need not be under the direct CONTROL of government ministers and could just as easily be delegated to local officials and run on a for-profit basis anyway; the fact that the government and NOT private investors own those resources is the difference between capitalism and socialism. In some ways there is a bit of an overlap between dictatorships and socialist regimes, but only insofar as socialism is a useful but hardly inevitable tool of dictatorships.

Broadly: Capitalism is an economy whose means of production are owned by private capital. Socialism is an economy whose means of production are owned by government institutions.
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Old December 15 2012, 10:47 PM   #33
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Davros had it right: ownership is a key part of the concept.
Still trying to change the definition of a concept, using this forced semantic interpretation to support your position, I see.

newtype_alpha, the term 'socialism', as used by today's economists (and I'm really not interested in whatever fringe opinions you may want to dig up via google), includes various means of 'control' of the means of production.
Deal with it.

And, of course, there's no such thing as a pure capitalist state (nor is it desirable); various aspects are socialist in any country. That would be the social democracy part - it works quite well for providing a minimal standard of living, equality of chances (more or less) as long as the money for it are provided from somewhere else.
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Old December 15 2012, 11:57 PM   #34
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Davros had it right: ownership is a key part of the concept.
Still trying to change the definition of a concept, using this forced semantic interpretation to support your position, I see.
Nope.

Wikipedia wrote:
Socialism is an economic system characterised by social ownership of the means of production and co-operative management of the economy,[1] and a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to cooperative enterprises, common ownership, state ownership, or citizen ownership of equity.[2] There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them.[3] They differ in the type of social ownership they advocate, the degree to which they rely on markets or planning, how management is to be organised within productive institutions, and the role of the state in constructing socialism.[4]
Merriam Webster's Dictionary wrote:
any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
The American Socialist Party wrote:
Central to the meaning of socialism is common ownership. This means the resources of the world being owned in common by the entire global population.
Nothing FORCED about that definition, that's what "socialism" actually is, and the key point of the definition is OWNERSHIP. That it is often used inaccurately by people who don't know what the hell they're talking about doesn't change this definition.

I'm really not interested in whatever fringe opinions you may want to dig up via google
Yeah, it doesn't get much more "Fringe" than the dictionary and Wikipedia.

I'm half tempted to dig up my college history textbooks on the subject which include a similar definition plus analysis plus historical examples and outlined differences with other theoretical/practicable systems -- e.g. fascism, communism, libertarianism, mercantilism, monarchism, etc -- but I doubt the twenty minutes it'll take to pull my books out of storage and transcribe all that would be worth the effort.

And, of course, there's no such thing as a pure capitalist state (nor is it desirable)
Which would be exactly what I meant when I said that capitalism always fails when it is implemented properly, which it almost never is (and is why it succeeds as often as it does).

FYI, there is no working definition -- OTHER than the lunatic fringe of the right wing -- where "socialism" is defined as "anything that limits capitalism."
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Old December 16 2012, 07:54 AM   #35
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

newtype_alpha

Here
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...s_in_Economics
Read their work and see just how the concept of 'socialism' is used in it.

As for the rest - as said, I'm really not interested in whatever fringe economists' opinions you find via google.
Of course, you didn't even bother looking for such opinions - you just took the simplified definition of the concept as it's found in a dictionary and assumed that's how the concept is used in economics.
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Old December 17 2012, 01:39 AM   #36
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha

Here
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...s_in_Economics
Read their work and see just how the concept of 'socialism' is used in it.
Actually, I HAVE read several books and articles written by these people (Paul Krugman, Lloyd Shapely and Elinor Ostrom are among the more prolific).

YOU, however, have not.

As for the rest - as said, I'm really not interested in whatever fringe economists' opinions you find via google.
Really? Because you just posted a list of those very same economists, and now you're not interested in what they have to say?

Of course, you didn't even bother looking for such opinions - you just took the simplified definition of the concept as it's found in a dictionary and assumed that's how the concept is used in economics.
We were discussing the basic fundamental definition of socialism, and the key to that definition is "government ownership of the means of production." How that concept is used in economics is both far more complicated and thoroughly irrelevant, since the deeper discussion -- dealing with the subtler implications of socialism and its effects on the market, on production, on political power balances and social forces, etc etc -- do not affect that central premise that socialism is government ownership of the means of production.

Now you just went ahead and cited a whole list of nobel Laureates in economics, presumably on the assumption that at least one of them wrote something that supports your claim that mere CONTROL of the economy in the absence of real ownership is enough to define "socialism." All you have to do is find me one article or one textbook written by any of these people that actually supports that contention. Are you prepared to do that?
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Old December 17 2012, 06:56 AM   #37
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

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.
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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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Old December 17 2012, 06:23 PM   #39
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

I think the difference is when you are told to build an outbuilding, and told what you will store in it. In the South, some slaves ran businesses for their masters, but they still didn't have ultimate control of what they built and ran. For the serfs, the land was communally allocated on a year-by-year basis under the aristocrats or under socialism, so to them both systems looked the same. Ownership is a problematic measure because under many systems, such as most of the third world, it can't even be accurately determined, with overlapping claims that depend more on exerting will or ignoring what the official paperwork says. In the developed West, ownership is usually clear and straightfoward. Elsewhere, not so much, and in many places everything is owned by whoever you are negotiating with if you are looking to buy, but always somebody else if you are trying to collect a debt.
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Old December 18 2012, 07:45 PM   #40
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

gturner wrote: View Post
I think the difference is when you are told to build an outbuilding, and told what you will store in it. In the South, some slaves ran businesses for their masters, but they still didn't have ultimate control of what they built and ran.
Two really good examples.

In the first place, the government tells various businessmen to build things for them -- space ships, for example -- and those companies go and build it to the government specifications, usually at an agreedupon price.

In the second place, even a business that is CONTROLLED by slaves is still OWNED by the slaves' masters whether he actually does anything or not.

A government may exert control of, say, the banking industry or the finance sector by imposing regulations or by sharply restricting activities it considers damaging to the economy. It may exercise control of oil companies by restricting where they can and cannot drill for new oil sources, or it can require them by force of law to pay to repair damage caused by their occasional mishaps.

This becomes socialism if and only if the government takes direct OWNERSHIP of the company away from its shareholders or other proprietors. It would still BE socialism even if the state-owned companies were run on a for-profit basis as if they were private companies, even if they were amazingly profitable, even if the government ministers who nominally supervised them made no attempt whatsoever to exercise control over the appointed CEOs.

I fully concede that there's sometimes a very thin line between social democracy and outright socialism. It must be said, however, that that thin line is the difference between private and government ownership of the means of production

Ownership is a problematic measure because under many systems, such as most of the third world, it can't even be accurately determined, with overlapping claims that depend more on exerting will or ignoring what the official paperwork says.
Do not confuse theft or corruption with an actual dispute of ownership. It is common practice in some Latin American countries to disenfranchise certain groups (certain ETHNIC groups, although Latinos on both sides are loathe to admit this) through legal and logistical tricks that may or may not even be legal. In some cases it's a bit like the Predatory Lending scandals in the U.S., but on a much larger scale because their governments are a lot less responsive to those kinds of problems.
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Old December 18 2012, 10:18 PM   #41
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

Again it seems the biggest problem with those that worry about Socialism in this country is that they have no clue as to what Socialism is.
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Old December 18 2012, 10:21 PM   #42
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

As usual, the old adage proves itself true: people hate and fear what they don't understand.
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Old December 18 2012, 10:34 PM   #43
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

Or we do understand it, having observed a hundred years of socialist experiments carried out by true believers and intense students of socialist thought and doctrine. The invariable result is mass graves, endemic poverty, and totalitarian police states.
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Old December 19 2012, 12:12 AM   #44
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

gturner wrote: View Post
Or we do understand it, having observed a hundred years of socialist experiments carried out by true believers and intense students of socialist thought and doctrine. The invariable result is mass graves, endemic poverty, and totalitarian police states.
So, socialism and Communism are exactly the same thing, are they?
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Old December 19 2012, 12:46 AM   #45
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

No, socialism is the end-stage of communism, which is just a transitionary period required for socialist-man to evolve. As one East Bloc joke went, "Mommy, will we still have money when we reach true socialism?" "No dear, we won't have any of that, either."

If you limit the definition of socialism to government ownership of the means of production, you've pretty much narrowed it down to communist implementations, since Germany's national socialists and Mussolini never completely got to that point in their planned economic development. You could argue that nationalizing industrial firms should count, but that's also common in right-wing juntas, monarchies, and other types of government, and it only encompasses a tiny part of the "means of production", usually the major revenue generators or critical infrastructure.
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