Is Socialism really that bad?

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Fan of Science
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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by Fan of Science » July 12th, 2017, 2:09 pm

Oh, but the world has seen true socialism. That's why the Soviet eastern bloc crumbled -- these socialist nations could not survive precisely because socialism does not work. For one thing, the socialist nations in the Soviet bloc failed to innovate and were economies faced with perpetual shortages. Someone in Hungary wanted a phone? They couldn't go out and buy one, because none were available. Instead, they had to be put on a waiting list --- a two year waiting list. Now, if you were a phone producer in such a socialist nation, what incentive would you have to provide a better product or better service? None. After all, any crap you produce will be bought, since there is a two-year waiting list for phones. There is nothing in socialism that promotes innovation. Even when socialist countries came up with a scientific discovery before a capitalist nation did, the socialist countries could not bring the innovation to market before the capitalist nations in the western world. There is nothing in socialist theory that even addresses the problems socialism faces with its perpetual shortage economy. By producing perpetual shortages, socialist countries place the producers in a superior position to consumers, and innovation fails to occur as a result.

After India got rid of socialism, what happened? Its economy took off. After Red China adopted some capitalist reforms, what happened? Its economy took off. The major reason global poverty has declined by as much as it has is due to capitalism. Socialism leads to mass poverty, as well as mass murder.

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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by Burning ghost » July 12th, 2017, 2:17 pm

Zone -

I think you're confusing two different people here (an easy mistake to make. I've done it a few times!) Go and look back over my posts in this thread then tell me I am saying socialism is either "good" or "bad".
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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by ZoneOfNonBeing » July 12th, 2017, 2:24 pm

Your commentary focuses on shortages in production in socialism. But what we need to talk about is the fact that the US imposes trade embargoes on places like Cuba and Venezuela that slow production, and then they blame "socialism".

Under capitalism: there is an over-production of goods, but since workers do not earn a living wage, no one can buy the goods, and therefore enough money is not circulated back into the system, and a Depression occurs. In the E.U., there are 6 empty houses for every homeless person the street - because banks are more interested in profit than human needs.

It is disingenuous to claim that socialism leads to mass murder. At best, socialism reigned in a handful of nations for a few decades. Capitalism has reigned supreme for 400 years: and is responsible for killing off hundreds of millions of Africans, hundreds of millions of Natives, etc. Capitalism, with all of its consequences, has been and continues to be the leading cause of death.

And like I said, for every place you mention where capitalism is prospering, there are two places where people are being dispossessed. China is not a capitalist paradise - there are workers trapped in factories making iPhones for 10 cents an hour for 18 hours a day. And China is currently solidifying its grip on Africa via neocolonial methods.
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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by Burning ghost » July 12th, 2017, 2:46 pm

To ALL -

It would help a great deal if we all stated WHO we were replying to for the sake of clarity. I have been guilty of this in this thread too.
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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by ZoneOfNonBeing » July 12th, 2017, 2:53 pm

Burning Ghost: I do not need to scroll up. Look at your own comments. You said the major gist of your argument is that "socialism is bad".

And my recent reply obviously was not to you, as I was talking about things you did not mention (shortages in production). It is a fair assumption that we are responding to the person directly above us when we hit the "quick reply" button.

-- Updated July 12th, 2017, 2:58 pm to add the following --

Burning Ghost: it is absurd to imply your argument was neutral when you explicitly stated on a few occassions that socialism was counterproductive and bad. I would quote you, but it is so painfully evident that my effort here is not required. The point is: your argument is not anti-capitalist so it is, by definition, pro-capitalist ... because those who attempt to be neutral in the face of oppression have chosen the side of the oppressor.
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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by Fan of Science » July 12th, 2017, 3:14 pm

Sorry, but there is no such thing as a general over-production of goods in capitalism, nor is it true that this occurs because workers are not paid enough. The claim is far-fetched on its face. If people couldn't afford to buy things, then prices would fall, it wouldn't be the case that capitalists would simply go on and on producing expensive items no one could buy.

Moreover, we have seen numerous areas in capitalism where prices have fallen. Like in electronics. What's the price of a computer today compared to ten years ago? A cell phone compared to even five years ago? We see in many areas that capitalism produces better quality products for lower prices. This is what generally happens with competition --- competition that is abandoned under socialism, which is a major reason all socialist nations have proved to be failures.

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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by ZoneOfNonBeing » July 12th, 2017, 3:32 pm

FanOfScience - simply because it sounds ridiculous on its face does not make it false. There comes a time where we need to delve into empirical reality and stop operating from a sense of what we want to believe. This is a philosophy forum - philosophy means love of wisdom. If one is only concerned with pushing their narrative and not growing, and shooting down arguments because of what they seem like on their face, we are behaving in an anti intellectual manner.

Nonetheless, many studies from economists show that this is part of what caused the Great Depression: a crisis of overproduction. And you are right: capitalists would not go on producing things no one could buy. This is why the War happened: to open up foreign markets to dump those surplus goods while simultaneously opening up a war industry (making guns, trucks, etc) to put money into the pockets of workers to buy more goods. Capitalism requires war and profits off crises.

Your commentary focuses on the price of technological gizmos that people do not need to survive, so it is not relevant to discussion. If we are interested in having an honest conversation about prices, lets talk about the rising costs of living and the rising costs of healthcare. In the U.S., there is an affordable housing shortage and many people are paying exorbitant amounts for rent. Healthcare premiums are through the roof. But at the same time, there are more empty houses than homeless people, and the government cries poverty when it comes time to socialize healthcare, but they have no problem spending $400 billion on fighter jets.

Instead of a system of heartless competition, we need a system of cooperation.
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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by Burning ghost » July 12th, 2017, 3:54 pm

I find this guy endlessly entertaining:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQvD2JJBNCs

Zone -

It is pretty hard to defend myself if you cannot be bothered to quote where I said "socialism is bad" and "capitialism is good". I think they live together today and have stated so.

My reply to this thread has been along the line of 'No, socialism is not that bad and we use socialist ideas to this day.' I also said capitalism has obvious flaws and that I think something will be added to compliment it in the future.

If you are asking for my opinion rather than observation I would say capitalism is very destructive to human society. Practically speaking we are not going to shift it easily and may not be able to anytime soon. I am anarchic in my beliefs, although I am not really sure what flavor of anarchist to define myself as I can say I cannot help to oppose and challenge authority where I find it, even within myself and my own views on things.

Also, did you read where I suggested Marxism would be where we need to look to when capitalism falls? Is that a "pro-capitalist" statement? I think I see what you've done. You read my prediction for the future to be my wish and have found it hard to let go of this even though I told you it was what I see happening NOT what I want to happen.

I think it was in the post I lost where I mentioned things like creativity in production replacing labour? The effect of a changing workforce in the present and near future, the obvious shift into machines producing machines to produce machines and humans being left to take on a more creative role. This would perhaps seem like a blissful ideal produced by capitalism (something very much like a place we are moving into right now). Further down the line if we've not blown each other to smithereens we'll hit a threshold of "production" and "demand", we'll be dealing with items that are not physical quanitities, economics will collapse/reform, and from here the use of capitalism and socialism will be pretty much redundant.

I adhere to the state I see to be most naturally human, the state of being from which ideologies of socialism and capitalism have sprouted. That state very undeniably being a state of anarchy.

We will, and are, seeing attempts made to combat capitalism. Socialism will rise prior to both dissolving. That is how I see it, but I am talking far into the future (no idea how far because I am not a fortune-teller, just expressing my opinion. Practically speaking for now, no I don't see socialism or capitalism as very different, thehy are two polar ends of one particular system we live in, an economic one.

So what am I now? Am I still classed as pro-capitalist or pro-socialist? I am completely neither because I think they are both redundant. If I could choose one I would choose socialism, but in practical terms it has not been able to live up to its promise as well as capitialism, this could be due to numerous reasons, and as stated we only have history to tell us how things went and given our history of this subject is buried by the winning regimes we are very unlikely to ever know unless socialism gives it another serious go in the future.

If the state owns everything the state is all powerful. If the capitalists own everything then it is in their interest to keep the workers just about happy enough within certain safe limits. If they faulter then the whoel thing comes crashing down around them.

This is what I meant by capitalism being more dangerous because its fall is hidden. With state rule the public can at least overthrow the governing body. In this respect I would say when socialism fails it is a steady release of pressure and happens more often, but when capitialism fails we are talking about a build up over time and a huge snap under the strain. Prolonged stability creates strain. The obvious solution is to remove the source of strain completely (ie. reconstruct.destroy the very idea of economics).

-- Updated July 17th, 2017, 4:26 am to add the following --

In short it is not really socialism we should be addressing surely?

How about asking what is wrong with capitalism?
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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by Togo1 » July 21st, 2017, 6:47 am

Fan of Science wrote:Sorry, but there is no such thing as a general over-production of goods in capitalism, nor is it true that this occurs because workers are not paid enough. The claim is far-fetched on its face. If people couldn't afford to buy things, then prices would fall, it wouldn't be the case that capitalists would simply go on and on producing expensive items no one could buy.
I work for a business that does exactly that. If it can't make a profit on an item, it destroys it rather than selling below cost. It's price placement in the market, and the displacement effect of the unfavoured produxt is more important than the marginal return in selling a good at a lost.

It's not always desirable for prices to fall. People might get used to them. This is why supermarkets sometimes do limited discounts on products close to expiry, but never with the most expensive brands.
Fan of Science wrote:This is what generally happens with competition --- competition that is abandoned under socialism, which is a major reason all socialist nations have proved to be failures.
Competition can have a positive effect, but it's hardly a magic wand. In classic capitalism you might have three companies competing, one produces a sucessful good and creates value, one of which produces an unsucessful product and is forced to adapt, and one of which produces an expensive failure and goes bust. Capitalism is beneficial in that it speeds the collapse of that third company and redistributes the capital tied up in it elsewhere. However, if the cost of failure is sufficiently high, then the economy may lose value overall. If the risk of failure is too high, then investment may be restricted. And if the return can't be easily monetised in the market, then you can endup with developmental stagnation. This is why a modern capitalist society is rife with socialist constructs such as governement guarentees, top down infrastructure projects, insurance and risk spreading, rules-based markets, the rule of law, market regulation, worker's rights, welfare, supply chain management, and close cooperation between market competitors. Capitalism doesn't work without them.

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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by Rederic » July 23rd, 2017, 7:49 am

In a capitilistic society there will always be crime, & it will always grow.

When people are judged on how wealthy they are, then the urge to steal to gain wealth will always be there.
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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by Prothero » July 23rd, 2017, 11:47 am

I think with respect to economics, experience would indicate that free markets (regulated capitalism) outperforms planned economies (communism or socialism) by a wide margin, and thus generates wealth: that can with proper taxation and policy lift people from poverty. The great decline in poverty over the last few decades is largely due to market reform in China and India.
I think with respect to politics socialism (one party rule) has shown itself to be subject to a high degree of stagnation and corruption and thus free elections and representative governments perform better.

A more fundamental problem with socialism may be it tries to ignore the competitive and acquisitive nature of humans and the fact that some are more energetic, capable and ambitious than others and thus socialism destroys incentives to work, to innovate and to invent.

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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by Fan of Science » July 24th, 2017, 10:59 am

Showing your ignorance of basic economics are we? The supply for a good or service is not based on a single producer. It's nonsense that there is some sort of general overproduction. It's never been shown to be true, there is no empirical evidence supporting such a claim and there is no theoretical reason to believe in the claim. The labor theory of value has been debunked long ago, and this was the theory used to support an overproduction claim. Rather, what we see happen are inflated asset bubbles that cause a mal-investment, which eventually leads to a collapse. That, however, is not the economy as a whole, but a small sector, and one that is influenced by the government inflating the currency. This has been the pattern for more than a century, and it is completely inconsistent with a general overproduction claim. Pure nonsense.

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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by -1- » July 26th, 2017, 2:28 am

Fan of Science wrote:Sorry, but there is no such thing as a general over-production of goods in capitalism, nor is it true that this occurs because workers are not paid enough. The claim is far-fetched on its face. If people couldn't afford to buy things, then prices would fall, it wouldn't be the case that capitalists would simply go on and on producing expensive items no one could buy.
If prices fall, then they fall below the level of their production costs... what good is that for the manufacturer?

If capitalists stop producing things that people don't buy... or which people buy but at a price that guarantees a loss... and people have so much that they don't need to buy...the production does not shift to a different product, but production stops... which means joblessness, poverty, starvation, death.
Fan of Science wrote:This is what generally happens with competition --- competition that is abandoned under socialism, which is a major reason all socialist nations have proved to be failures.
This is actually something I fully agree with.

So they invented socialist capitalism in Northern Europe, actually in England first, with the introduction of state-wide and universal old age pensions.

In most industrial countries (with the USA being a huge exception) they have hybrid systems. They allow competition, which acts very much like survival of the fittest. Then they tax those enterprises that produce a profit, and use that money to feed, house, and clothe the poor. This is the system Canada, Sweden, Great Britain, Andorra, Alaichami, Belutchistan, Zimbabwe, Poland, Venezuella, Chile, etc. etc. etc.employs with more-or-less varying successes, but the success and the working model has been established.
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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by LuckyR » July 26th, 2017, 3:57 am

-1- wrote:
Fan of Science wrote:Sorry, but there is no such thing as a general over-production of goods in capitalism, nor is it true that this occurs because workers are not paid enough. The claim is far-fetched on its face. If people couldn't afford to buy things, then prices would fall, it wouldn't be the case that capitalists would simply go on and on producing expensive items no one could buy.
If prices fall, then they fall below the level of their production costs... what good is that for the manufacturer?

If capitalists stop producing things that people don't buy... or which people buy but at a price that guarantees a loss... and people have so much that they don't need to buy...the production does not shift to a different product, but production stops... which means joblessness, poverty, starvation, death.
Fan of Science wrote:This is what generally happens with competition --- competition that is abandoned under socialism, which is a major reason all socialist nations have proved to be failures.
This is actually something I fully agree with.

So they invented socialist capitalism in Northern Europe, actually in England first, with the introduction of state-wide and universal old age pensions.

In most industrial countries (with the USA being a huge exception) they have hybrid systems. They allow competition, which acts very much like survival of the fittest. Then they tax those enterprises that produce a profit, and use that money to feed, house, and clothe the poor. This is the system Canada, Sweden, Great Britain, Andorra, Alaichami, Belutchistan, Zimbabwe, Poland, Venezuella, Chile, etc. etc. etc.employs with more-or-less varying successes, but the success and the working model has been established.
Agreed. Socialism and capitalism together is better than either alone.
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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by Burning ghost » July 27th, 2017, 2:46 am

LuckyR -

Can either exist without the other? I really see them both as being explicit features of economics that will remain as long as economics remains. When a huge change comes (if ever) then we will perhaps have to put the whole idea of "economics" to sleep. I should add that kind of "thing" would replace such an obviously important social structure is completely beyond me though!?!?
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