Timeline/Stages for Collapse of our Way of Life

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  • Thu, May 10, 2012 - 09:08pm

    #1722

    goes211

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    Being a progressive means never having to say your sorry…

xraymike79 wrote:

Ao,

     I’m curious how you define Socialism because none of the above bad actors were socialists:

Now that is the funny thing.  On this thread and others XRM and DK argue that all the evils of a “crony” capitalist system are inherent and inseperable.  Every capitalist/free market/limited government supporter is somehow responsible for every flaw that ever happens in our current system.  When someone points out that in a truly free market there would be no bailouts, central banks, forced fiat money (via legal tender laws), or much of the current corruption we have today, they laugh at our naivety.  In their world, ALL these things are merely the deterministic outcomes of ALL capitalistic systems.

Now on the other hand, progressive supporters feel no responsibility over the failled collectivist societies of the past century.  Even those that started out as communist or socialist and ended badly (purges, wars, millions dead, …) by their definition were never communist/socialist.  Why is that?  Because if they were, they would not have ended they way that they did.  It is especially funny that in each of the above examples you seem to blame them on a capitalist ruling class.  It is this unfair framing of the debate that makes this whole conversation pointless.

I think the problems with both cases has little to do with whatever we call the economic systems.  The real problem is concentrated power.  If power is concentrated, whether that society is “capitalist” or “socialist”, there will be the same problems.  Why that is, is really quite simple? 

Because power corrupts.

  • Thu, May 10, 2012 - 09:41pm

    #1723
    xraymike79

    xraymike79

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    A true “free market” + responsible limited government: Dream ON

 

goes211 wrote:

I think the problems with both cases has little to do with whatever we call the economic systems.  The real problem is concentrated power.  If power is concentrated, whether that society is “capitalist” or “socialist”, there will be the same problems.  Why that is, is really quite simple? 

Because power corrupts.

Agree with that truism, although none of the above dictators, as shown, were socialists or “free market” capitalists, but were actually corporate capitalists using the State as a vehicle to serve their ends. I don’t think anyone here has advocated for an expansive, bureaucratic government, but one that serves the electorate and not an elite capitalist class. A true “free market” and a responsible limited government may both be impossible fantasies. The accumulation of wealth, i.e. capitalism, will always lead to the corruption of government power. Money=Power. And this is certainly true as history is replete with examples:

State intervention increasingly brings in the military as a factor determining commercial success. Imperialism is nothing more than competition between large capitalist blocs backed up by their states. Regional and world wars result.

With all my posts on the ever-growing Security and Surveillance State, do you think I’m an advocate for Big Government…. No, just a government that serves the people and is not a slave to special interests.

 

  • Thu, May 10, 2012 - 10:13pm

    #1724

    goes211

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    Seriously, Stalin and Mao where Corporate Capitalists?

xraymike79 wrote:

Agree with that truism, although none of the above dictators, as shown, were socialists or “free market” capitalists, but were actually corporate capitalists using the State as a vehicle to serve their ends. I don’t think anyone here has advocated for an expansive, bureaucratic government, but one that serves the electorate and not an elite capitalist class. A true “free market” and a responsible limited government may both be impossible fantasies. The accumulation of wealth, i.e. capitalism, will always lead to the corruption of government power. Money=Power. And this is certainly true as history is replete with examples

You lose a lot of credibility calling Mao and Stalin “corporate capitalist”. Now you can argue whether or not either was a communist or socialist but really, corporate capitalist? That goes a bit too far.

You complain about the uneducated right wingers that throw around and twisting meaning of the words communist and socialist and yet you don’t see that you are guilty of the exact same thing with your use of the word capitalist.

It is easy to say you are for a government that serves the people. What is difficult is giving a government enough power to serve without giving it enough to corrupt. Once you figure that one out, you let me know because I would be interested.

Until then I will support smaller concentrations of power that are not backed by the force of government. Not because I don’t think these concentrations of power will cause corruption, but because if there is going to be corruption, I would prefer it not to be backed by the legitimacy of the state.

  • Thu, May 10, 2012 - 10:24pm

    #1725
    xraymike79

    xraymike79

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    State Capitalism in its many forms…

goes211 wrote:
xraymike79 wrote:

Agree with that truism, although none of the above dictators, as shown, were socialists or “free market” capitalists, but were actually corporate capitalists using the State as a vehicle to serve their ends. I don’t think anyone here has advocated for an expansive, bureaucratic government, but one that serves the electorate and not an elite capitalist class. A true “free market” and a responsible limited government may both be impossible fantasies. The accumulation of wealth, i.e. capitalism, will always lead to the corruption of government power. Money=Power. And this is certainly true as history is replete with examples

You lose a lot of credibility calling Mao and Stalin “corporate capitalist”. Now you can argue whether or not either was a communist or socialist but really, corporate capitalist? That goes a bit too far.

Yes, that’s what corporations do… they use the State to marshal assets and monopolize resources and markets, many time through war, just as Mao and Stalin used the State to do the same thing. That was the inference. You get it?

  • Thu, May 10, 2012 - 11:31pm

    #1726

    Damnthematrix

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    Who the hell’s this guy?

 

  • Thu, May 10, 2012 - 11:42pm

    #1727

    Travlin

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    Charles Manson

Damnthematrix wrote:

 

DTM

It’s Charles Manson.  Scroll down for a matching photo.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_manson

Travlin

  • Fri, May 11, 2012 - 12:09am

    #1728

    darbikrash

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    It takes a pillage….

goes211 wrote:

 

It is easy to say you are for a government that serves the people. What is difficult is giving a government enough power to serve without giving it enough to corrupt. Once you figure that one out, you let me know because I would be interested.

Until then I will support smaller concentrations of power that are not backed by the force of government. Not because I don’t think these concentrations of power will cause corruption, but because if there is going to be corruption, I would prefer it not to be backed by the legitimacy of the state.

As you know via the Yale course from Prof. Shapiro, people have been struggling with this question for nearly 400 years since the Enlightenment- it’s not likely to be resolved in a few posts. But we can learn from history and hopefully, evolve from these learnings.

And you’re right about many of your posts, especially your comments about power, this is the point I was trying to make on the other thread, which is that the dominant failure mode is not necessarily the political economy, but practically, the coincident rise to power by a tyrant. Perhaps a better way to think of it is as sort of a Chinese menu (pardon the pun) where you pick and match different components. What the 20th century taught us is that free markets, totalitarian governments, socialism, labor theory of value, class structure, et al. are all moving parts that have no preordained connection with one another, they can (and most certainly are) mixed and matched.

Conflating dictators with any type of political economy is ‘50’s McCarthyism.

 To wit, China is an totalitarian/authoritarian government with a deeply capitalist economy, unheard of during the dark ages of ‘50’s McCarthyism. In those days it was either/or, and pitched as a mortal battle between radically disparate ideologies. Today we know better. A better descriptor for this is State Capitalism, and not Communism or Socialism.

This (mixing of divergent ideologies) in China is a contemporary example which can be readily seen. Thinking back 2 or 3 decades ago, if you told many of the staunch conservatives that they would be buying 2/3 of all the goods they use daily from  a Communist country, with a nearly dominant World economy, you would have been laughed out of the room, as it would have been inconceivable. Yet here we are. Described as a manifestation of State Capitalism, this makes much more sense- and is much more accurate.

Another comment, which I am reluctant to add since this inevitably comes across as a tacit endorsement –which I am not making- but unknown to most small government proponents, the goals of these “Communist” states was (and is) similar to Libertarian thinking in the sense that they both want to abolish government- not create some authoritarian state. Much of the 19th century literature on the subject was about how citizens could displace government and take control of the economy, and not be controlled by the economy. It was considered to be the height of foolishness to make statements that effectively capitulated control of such important matters to the vagaries of chance, and the primary attack was that such a lassiez faire approach had (and still has) deeply flawed principles.

The Marxist notion was not that wealth should be distributed evenly, not at all, but rather that any universally accepted social contract should not be based on exploitation. Which from the point view of common sense seems pretty hard to argue with, but again, here we are.

  • Fri, May 11, 2012 - 01:09am

    #1729

    goes211

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    I am sorry but words do have meaning.

xraymike79 wrote:
goes211 wrote:

You lose a lot of credibility calling Mao and Stalin “corporate capitalist”. Now you can argue whether or not either was a communist or socialist but really, corporate capitalist? That goes a bit too far.

Yes, that’s what corporations do… they use the State to marshal assets and monopolize resources and markets, many time through war, just as Mao and Stalin used the State to do the same thing. That was the inference. You get it?

You are preverting these words to the point that they become meaningless.  Websters dictionary defines capitalism as:

an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

I fail to see anyway a reasonable / non-biased person can state that Mao and Stalin were “corporate capitalists” without torturing the meanings of both the words “corporate” and “capitalist”.

darbikrash wrote:

What the 20th century taught us is that free markets, totalitarian governments, socialism, labor theory of value, class structure, et al. are all moving parts that have no preordained connection with one another, they can (and most certainly are) mixed and matched.

Conflating dictators with any type of political economy is ‘50’s McCarthyism.

Once again you are trying to frame what is allowable in this discussion.  If ALL capitalism must lead to our current corrupt crony capitalistic system is it not also possible that ALL socialism/communism eventually leads to purges/death/war that we have seen from the past centurys attempts at those systems?

darbikrash wrote:

 To wit, China is an totalitarian/authoritarian government with a deeply capitalist economy, unheard of during the dark ages of ‘50’s McCarthyism. In those days it was either/or, and pitched as a mortal battle between radically disparate ideologies. Today we know better. A better descriptor for this is State Capitalism, and not Communism or Socialism.

This (mixing of divergent ideologies) in China is a contemporary example which can be readily seen. Thinking back 2 or 3 decades ago, if you told many of the staunch conservatives that they would be buying 2/3 of all the goods they use daily from  a Communist country, with a nearly dominant World economy, you would have been laughed out of the room, as it would have been inconceivable. Yet here we are. Described as a manifestation of State Capitalism, this makes much more sense- and is much more accurate.

Another comment, which I am reluctant to add since this inevitably comes across as a tacit endorsement –which I am not making- but unknown to most small government proponents, the goals of these “Communist” states was (and is) similar to Libertarian thinking in the sense that they both want to abolish government- not create some authoritarian state. Much of the 19th century literature on the subject was about how citizens could displace government and take control of the economy, and not be controlled by the economy. It was considered to be the height of foolishness to make statements that effectively capitulated control of such important matters to the vagaries of chance, and the primary attack was that such a lassiez faire approach had (and still has) deeply flawed principles.

The Marxist notion was not that wealth should be distributed evenly, not at all, but rather that any universally accepted social contract should not be based on exploitation. Which from the point view of common sense seems pretty hard to argue with, but again, here we are.

I agree that at this point the current Chinese system is some sort of authoritarian capitalism mix.  How about 50 years ago?  Do you find it strange that by adopting a pseudo-capitalist system they can move their country from an economic backwater to a nearing 1st world power in 40 years?  Whould the average Chinese person be better off if they did not change?

As for Marxism and exploitation, who gets to decide what is exploitation?  As Jim said in your other thread, he does not feel like he is being exploited.  So are some intellectuals, such as yourself, going to be put in charge of deciding what is exploitation?  It is not hard to imagine how that is going to turn out.

  • Fri, May 11, 2012 - 01:31am

    #1730
    Carl Veritas

    Carl Veritas

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    “Communist” states want to

“Communist” states want to abolish government?    In China’s case,   it’s more about preserving the party and the privilege that comes with it. Introducing capitalism was merely the means to that end.

  • Fri, May 11, 2012 - 01:55am

    #1731
    xraymike79

    xraymike79

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    Look at the words

goes211 wrote:
xraymike79 wrote:
goes211 wrote:

You lose a lot of credibility calling Mao and Stalin “corporate capitalist”. Now you can argue whether or not either was a communist or socialist but really, corporate capitalist? That goes a bit too far.

Yes, that’s what corporations do… they use the State to marshal assets and monopolize resources and markets, many time through war, just as Mao and Stalin used the State to do the same thing. That was the inference. You get it?

You are preverting these words to the point that they become meaningless.  Websters dictionary defines capitalism as:

an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

I fail to see anyway a reasonable / non-biased person can state that Mao and Stalin were “corporate capitalists” without torturing the meanings of both the words “corporate” and “capitalist”.

You gave the standard definition of capitalism, not ‘corporate capitalismwhich is what I said:

Corporate capitalism is a term used in social science and economics to describe a capitalist marketplace characterized by the dominance of hierarchicalbureaucratic corporations, which are legally required to pursue profit.

Corporate capitalism has been criticized for the amount of power and influence corporations and large business interest groups have over government policy, including the policies of regulatory agencies and influencing political campaigns. Many social scientists have criticized corporations for failing to act in the interests of the people, and their existence seems to circumvent the principles of democracy, which assumes equal power relations between individuals in a society.[2]

Dwight D. Eisenhower criticized the notion of the confluence of corporate power and de facto fascism,[7] but nevertheless brought attention to the “conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry”[8] in his 1961 Farewell Address to the Nation, and stressed “the need to maintain balance in and among national programs — balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage.”[8]

link

Corporate Capitalism is associated with State Capitalism:

State capitalism is usually characterized by the dominance or existence of a significant number of state-owned business enterprises. Examples of state capitalism include Corporatized government agencies (agencies organized along corporate and business management practices) and states that own controlling shares of publicly-listed corporations, effectively acting as a large capitalist and shareholder itself.

State capitalism has also come to refer to an economic system where the means of production are owned privately but the state has considerable control over the allocation of credit and investment, as in the case of France during the period of dirigisme. Alternatively, state capitalism may be used (sometimes interchangeably with state monopoly capitalism) to describe a system where the state intervenes in the economy to protect and advance the interests of large-scale businesses. This practice is often claimed to be in contrast with the ideals of both socialism and laissez-faire capitalism.[2]

link

and a note on Stalin:

Use by Mensheviks & ‘Orthodox’ Marxists

Immediately after the Russian Revolution many western Marxists questioned whether socialism was possible in Russia. Specifically,Karl Kautsky:

It is only the old feudal large landed property which exists no longer. Conditions in Russia were ripe for its abolition but they were not ripe for the abolition of capitalism. Capitalism is now once again celebrating a resurrection, but in forms that are more oppressive and harrowing for the proletariat than of old. Instead of assuming higher industrialised forms, private capitalism has assumed the most wretched and shabbyforms of black marketeering and money speculation. Industrial capitalism has developed to become state capitalism. Formerly state officials and officials from private capital were critical, often very hostile towards each other. Consequently the working man found that his advantage lay with one or the other in turn. Today the state bureaucracy and capitalist bureaucracy are merged into one—that is the upshot of the great socialist revolution brought about by the Bolsheviks. It constitutes the most oppressive of all despotisms that Russia has ever had to suffer.[19]

After 1929, exiled Mensheviks such as Fyodor Dan began to argue that Stalin’s Russia constituted a state capitalist society.[20] In the United Kingdom, the orthodox Marxist group the Socialist Party of Great Britain independently developed a similar doctrine. Although initially beginning with the idea that Soviet capitalism differed little from western capitalism, they later began to argue that the bureaucracy held its property in common, much like the Catholic Church‘s.[21] As John O’Neill notes:

Whatever other merits or problems their theories had, in arguing that the Russian revolution was from the outset a capitalist revolution they avoided the ad hoc and post hoc nature of more recent Maoist- and Trotskyist-inspired accounts of state capitalism, which start from the assumption that the Bolshevik revolution inaugurated a socialist economy that at some later stage degenerated into capitalism.[22]
– link
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