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The Capitalism Discussion Thread


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#21
BasilBerylium

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"The capitalism is a zionist invention"

 


This website has a magic that makes people draw back here like moths to light.


#22
Yuli Ban

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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#23
joe00uk

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It actually has, and it worked out well in most cases.



#24
wjfox

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Isn't capitalism great!

 

Yeah, so fucking wonderful...

 

 

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#25
As We Rise

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Isn't capitalism great!

 

Yeah, so fucking wonderful...

 

 

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I think we all already know this.



#26
Yuli Ban

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Isn't capitalism great!

 

Yeah, so fucking wonderful...

 

 

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Which begs the question: would more people like capitalism if we had what was on the far left (no pun intended), between 1949-1953?

And you know, there are always unions. But I know of one way to achieve this, hands down...


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#27
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#28
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#29
Jakob

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The modern capitalist system does have its flaws, namely cronyism, corruption and otherwise insufficiently free markets.

 

But without it, you would be living in a concrete block with next to no personal effects. You would be forced into backbreaking labor in some collective farm and never see the fruits of your efforts, because you could never buy the things you want--only the things the state decides you're allowed to buy, which is likely just old bread, water, and a uniform taken from a dead worker that happened to be about your size. You could never have a nice dinner, go see a movie, or get a new smartphone unless the state gave you permission. This is because you never get money for toiling sixty-eighty hours a week, only state-issued ration cards. You could never get your own computer from which to spew your hateful garbage--only government elites would have them--so you'd have to share a clanking 1980s-era box with a six-inch screen with your whole commune.

 

How do you explain that the most hideous atrocities in human history were committed in the name of communism, while the greatest wonders were built in the name of capitalism? You can't, can you? You want to talk about greedy capitalist psychopaths? Let's talk about the Khmer Rouge, who literally attempted to destroy their own people in the name of communism and very nearly succeeded--Cambodia is still greatly weakened by their atrocities forty years later.

 

But go on, keep complaining about capitalism from your computers built by greedy corporations that are connected to the web via for-profit ISPs, inside air-conditioned houses that were built to line the pockets of a wealthy property developer, wearing clothes and driving a car that were made to bring a profit to some schmoozing CEO, while eating a nice dinner that was brought to you in the name of greedy, evil capitalism.



#30
caltrek

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I think something like socialism has been tried in some of the more progressive countries of Western Europe.  Still, those countries always had vestiges of capitalism within their borders and functioned in an international order that was basically capitalist in its orientation.  The socialism of the Soviet Union and its satellites was not truly socialist in that the governments were not truly democratic.  At minimum, a distinction is needed between "socialist" and democratic socialist."    Of course, partisans of the Soviet Union and/or China will argue that democracy did function in one or more of those countries and that the form democracy took was simply different then what Western minds usually think of as democracy.

 

As to whether capitalism and democracy are compatible.  I think not.  At least capitalism in a pure and unfettered form.  Regulated capitalism and democracy are compatible in theory.  In actual fact, concentrations of wealth and power tend to corrupt functioning democracies and so make them undemocratic.  So Mulga Mumblebrain is definitely on to something.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#31
Jakob

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#32
caltrek

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he modern capitalist system does have its flaws, namely cronyism, corruption and otherwise insufficiently free markets.

 

But without it, you would be living in a concrete block with next to no personal effects. You would be forced into backbreaking labor in some collective farm and never see the fruits of your efforts, because you could never buy the things you want--only the things the state decides you're allowed to buy, which is likely just old bread, water, and a uniform taken from a dead worker that happened to be about your size

 

 

This conflates socialism with the control of the means of production by the state.  Under democratic socialism, the workers own the means of production.  The state is merely a planning tool, as is the free market.  Both are subservient to the workers.  Socialism is thus conceivable in theory, but very hard to achieve in practice.  

 

 

 

 

How do you explain that the most hideous atrocities in human history were committed in the name of communism, while the greatest wonders were built in the name of capitalism? You can't, can you? You want to talk about greedy capitalist psychopaths? Let's talk about the Khmer Rouge, who literally attempted to destroy their own people in the name of communism and very nearly succeeded--Cambodia is still greatly weakened by their atrocities forty years later.

 

 

One could easily flip that around.  Look at the devastation brought to Vietnam, North and South, in the sixties and early seventies.  The overthrow of Allende in Chile.  Civil wars throughput most of Latin America which can be seen as efforts by capitalist dominated governments to suppress natural inclinations toward socialism.  The list could easily go on and on. The negative effects of global warming, for example.

 

 

But go on, keep complaining about capitalism from your computers built by greedy corporations that are connected to the web via for-profit ISPs, inside air-conditioned houses that were built to line the pockets of a wealthy property developer, wearing clothes and driving a car that were made to bring a profit to some schmoozing CEO, while eating a nice dinner that was brought to you in the name of greedy, evil capitalism.

 

 

 

Computers., homes, clothes, cars and dinners of which were provided in a social system that was of a decidedly mixed character.  One in which regulated capitalism was the prevailing form.  Also, your appeal is addressed to the haves of the world, ignoring the exploitation that exists in a system where extreme inequality of wealth is tolerated.  


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#33
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Capitalism is good for helping a nation climb out of poverty.

When it's managed to do so, the switch to socialism helps it sustain and prosper further on innovation and creativity.

 

The "look at these examples to see capitalism/socialism does/doesn't work" debate is therefore kind of pointless. I really don't understand why so far I can't find anyone else out there who is also convinced that it's a matter of timing and adaptation rather than an absolute one is good and the other one isn't principle.

 

I'm also seeing a lot of disagreeing economists also take an absolutist stance, and it frustrates me how so far I haven't been able to find anyone share my perspective on this, let alone an expert.



#34
Yuli Ban

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I've already accepted that free market capitalist absolutism is about as composed of raw idealism-without-rationalism as statist and communist absolutism. Ever since I grew up, I grew out of believing anything like that. The thing people seem to be losing these days it the idea of nuance. That some things are better one way but not everything. 

Pepper tastes great on tons of things, but fuck me raw if you try to put it on ice cream. Likewise, ice cream tastes great with a lot of things but I'll never understand why people want to mix ice cream and tomatoes.

 

Ancaps, minarchists, and libertarians sound suspiciously similar to ancoms, Marxists, and socialists when they believe they have a right to impose their beliefs on the masses because of some ideological "truth"— the non-aggression principle vs. labor theory of value, for example. Both claim that someone is infringing on the rights of someone else and that the other side enables this exploitation, but if I kept things slightly vague, you probably wouldn't be able to tell which one was supposed to be pro-capitalist and which one was supposed to be pro-socialist. 

 

The only reason why I keep on with Vyrdism is because I don't like the sound of basic income. It sounds too centralized and I figured that there was an alternative to relying solely on the government as a middleman. I also created technism because I noticed that there were a bunch of ideas that basically came back to the a central concept of automation upending economics and social order and I figured we needed a proper catch-all. That said, I no longer believe that society can only be Vyrdist. It's the same thing involving capitalism and socialism.

It's only the ideologues who can't see how their systems can fail.

 

I've talked about State Capitalism, haven't I? How China, which is supposed to be a communist country, has essentially perfected capitalism by turning the entire country into a giant business. Except it's not capitalism, really. China's probably the most ideologically socialist country on Earth because they actually remembered what Marx talked about— there are stages you have to progress through from capitalism to communism, and after Mao died, they screwed their heads on and realized that they were essentially still in "Stage Zero", which is to say, pre-capitalist agriculturalism. So they engaged in a decades-long NEP and entered the first stage, according to Marxist-Leninist beliefs. Using this mindframe, you can understand why they're doing what they're doing and why they tolerate such inequality. It makes sense to build megacity after megacity when only a village's worth of people move in when you're planning on filling up that city ten or twenty years down the line when you transition into economic socialism.

And interestingly, communists disown China. Why? Because they're not FULLCOMMUNIST now. They're "too bourgeois", just calling themselves red but not walking the walk. Which, apparently, means that they should look like Cuba. They shouldn't have any billionaires (or even millionaires) at all!

 

But what do you think would happen in a libertarian utopia where the government had minimal-to-no power and corporations were allowed to grow as they please? In order to enforce the NAP, you need some way to prevent violence. Privatize everything, and then you can get a corporation that has its own private police force that creates its own laws (most likely not different from typical laws of any municipality), as well as private healthcare and private emergency services. But to apply, you have to actually give your money to them at least a certain percentage of time or feign loyalty and pay your dues to the company. They pay you, but you also have to pay them a certain amount to live in these places and use their utilities, since these things aren't free. But don't call it a government, because that would be socialism.

 

If there's any country like that, it would have to be South Korea or Singapore. Two highly successful countries that I've seen few libertarians even mention because of this sense that they still have a lot of statism going on. Except that's not what's going on— if anything, they've perfected capitalism and brought it out into its maximum potential, creating nations that transitioned from third world to first world in the course of a single generation. But because they don't look like '70s Chile, throwing leftists out of helicopters and having their economic policies be dictated by Milton Friedman, then they must not actually be as capitalist as we think.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#35
caltrek

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I kind of agree with the stages of development it-is-all-in-the-timing approach.  Part of the problem with the Soviet Union (and even China under Mao) was that they tried to leapfrog over the next logical stage.  Basically, socialism is possible when there is basic wealth to share. Sharing poverty kind of sucks, unless you are a rebel against materialism, otherwise know as "being Christian."   UBI makes sense, but then so does Yuli's point concerning too heavy a reliance on centralized government.  So, I don't think it should be an either/or approach.  Rather, UBI should be adopted in order to encourage Vrydism, an Vrydism is needed in order to avoid excessive reliance on a central government.  Technism is good in that a technocratic elite (augmented by AI) can help generate the wealth that a socialist system can then help to share in a just manner.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#36
joe00uk

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Except China socialised production in the 1950's, 60's and early 70's, and it worked out fine, some of the most rapid economic and industrial growth in all of history, second only to the USSR in the 1930's (which also socialised production although it was less developed than China is today). And unlike now, the Chinese people collectively benefited from the fruits of that growth and development. The Dengists then reversed socialisation of production and restored private property and capitalist relations of production. China today is probably about as developed as the USSR was in the 1970's, and yet it allows a gigantic private sector that has swamped what little remains of the state-owned economy, creating an enormous private concentration of wealth, where private property, private production, private exploitation of labour and private trading predominate, fostering a class of people whose material interests lie not with socialism but with capitalism. And somehow we're supposed to just assume that these people will willingly go along with the eventual reversal of this supposedly temporary NEP policy at some point in the future, when their wealth and power has ballooned even more. Right.

 

This BS about China not being developed enough has nothing in common with Leninism; it's Bukharinite right-opportunism. This is nothing like the NEP either. The Bolsheviks didn't pretend the NEP was socialism; they called it state capitalism, and it was a temporary emergency measure, not something meant to go on for decades. The Bolsheviks were clear about the fact that the NEP endangered the revolution and would lead to the full restoration of capitalism if it got out of control. It lasted less than a decade before it was reversed, and even then, a near-civil war was required to put down the kulaks that it had allowed to thrive. By contrast, China has been doing this for 40 years now and has a capitalist class immensely more rich and powerful than the kulaks could even have imagined. Even if the CPC wants to reverse this, which there's no evidence that it does (and a fair bit of evidence that it doesn't, including Xi Jinping's underreported declaration in February this year that the "reform and openness" policy will never end), it likely won't be able to do so.

 

The Soviet Union was far poorer and less-developed than present-day China in the 1920's, 30's and 40's, and yet the USSR socialised production and led a world revolutionary movement against capitalism. China briefly did the same under Mao, but then when the Dengists seized power in a coup against Mao's comrades, they privatised production and withdrew from the world revolutionary movement, and have done nothing to support communism in the decades since (some naïve people claim that China's trade relations with Cuba and Venezuela amount to "supporting socialism", ignoring that China has the same trade relations with the entire capitalist world; they just don't care what system a country has as long as they can make money dealing with it. They don't make much money with the DPRK, though, and they're now helping the US to blockade the DPRK's economy, while their trade with the ROK dwarfs that with the DPRK... some "support of socialism" that is). If China wanted to, they could make the world hell for imperialism and the bourgeoisie today. But they don't want to. There is simply nothing socialist or revolutionary in any way about present-day China. The Dengist leadership of the CPC are anti-communist counterrevolutionaries who have sold out the working class and the world revolutionary movement.



#37
caltrek

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To Joe, I would recommend The Unknown Story - Mao by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday.  While definitely relatively conservative in its bias, the authors do seem to have made a real effort to carefully document their conclusions.  Moreover, it feels that they are more right than wrong about the basic cynicism that was Mao's nature.  Once one understand that basic cynicism, then the rise of Deng becomes much more understandable.  That is not to say that some over-correction may have been the result. Still, a subsequent revolution, or counter-revolution if you prefer, is always a possibility - something that serves to keep the present leadership on its toes.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#38
joe00uk

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Chang and Halliday's "Mao: The Unknown Story" has been criticised even by fellow anti-communist propagandists for the sheer level of dishonesty it resorts to in its fanatical crusade of trying to portray Mao and the Chinese revolution in the blackest possible light.



#39
caltrek

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Chang and Halliday's "Mao: The Unknown Story" has been criticised even by fellow anti-communist propagandists for the sheer level of dishonesty it resorts to in its fanatical crusade of trying to portray Mao and the Chinese revolution in the blackest possible light.

 

You could just as easily say "Critics of Donald Trump have been criticized even by fellow anti-Trump propagandists for the sheer level of dishonesty it resorts to in its fanatical crusade of trying to portray Donald Trump and his election in the blackest possible light."

 

Mao was a dark personality.  According to Halliday and Chang, tactical military decisions regarding deployment often involved more of an eye toward eliminating potential rivals within the Communist Party than they did striking out at real enemies.  It is no accident that Chiang and Mao emerged form the rubble of post-war China as the leaders of their respective camps.  Both were careful not to spend too much of their resources on defeating Japan.   Yet, both eagerly tried to claim credit for that defeat.  Halliday and Chang go easy on Chiang, but are clearly determined to communicate what Mao was all about 

 

What is almost beyond doubt, and extends much further than Halliday and Chang, is the absolute disaster that the so-called cultural revolution involved.  Even one-time ardent Maoist Mitch Meisner was solidly in the Deng Camp before he died.  Mitch, as you may recall, is the Maoist who taught me about China.  


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#40
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