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Socialism and Capitalism. Let us learn about each other.

Voice of Reason

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Greetings friends. Myself and my socialist counterpart Anomoly began a conversation regarding the opposing views of Capitalism and Socialism. Please fell free to post here only if you are open minded and willing to respect the idea that no one is completely right and that this is a thread dedicated to learning about two opposing viewpoints not to pit these two ideas against each other. As long as we keep open minds we welcome Wisdom.

I have however (for all of you who either harbor resentment for each other or who wish simply to have an all out bloody war over Socialist/Capitalist ideals) opened a thread in the Basement entitled Red Ain't Dead and SAM Ain't Fled: Socialism Vs. Capitalism where you can simply argue untill somebody wins . I will give it 7 days after which I will return to "tally up casualties" (points) according to each individual idea expressed. The war can go on untill one side gains a 12 point lead over the other, at which time I will declare the victory along with the casualties.

But this page is designed for the open minded few who wish to truly learn new ideas rather than just to debate their own.

The Voice
 

Voice of Reason

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Cont'd from our coversation at:

http://www.debatepolitics.com/showthread.php?t=1562

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voice of Reason
"And in America if you wish to be the employer you can be one."


It would be no different with socialism, except what the 'employer' as we think of it is would be radically different. For example, today we have mangers and CEOs, with socialism we'd have a democratically elected government and a completely planned economy in which the workers will locally plan their workplace's production. I'd love to discuss with you, sir, and elaborate more thoroughly, and if you feel the same way post in the economics forum
(Posted by Anomaly)
 
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Voice of Reason

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So lets say that I have great natural talents in computer programming and it is my dream to develop my own computer programming company under a Socialist Government, but I have been assigned as a machine operator down at the Ford plant, how do I follow my dreams?

I know that in America I can get online or walk down to the library, or get college loan to go study computer programming and once I have learned, I can either use a nest-egg saved up during school or I can get a grant or a loan to rent out my own building or equipment and I can start my own programming company called VoiceTech. Then depending on how I want to proceed can make it a partnership, a sole ownership or if I choose I can incorporate it into its own seperate entity. I can run it well or I can crash it, and regardless of my individual success or failure their will always be a hundred more computer programming companies to take my place, so my Capitalist nation will never be short of computer programmers, and because I have my own company I am motivated to push myself above and beyond what I see all the other programmers doing causing the field of Computer Programming to grow and become more advanced theirby bringing more business to my nations computer related economy.

Now Anomaly, explain how this same motivated individual born of a lower working class and without any relations of power or prestige be able to become his dream under your ideal Socialist nation. (and lets also not forget that America is not even the ideal capitalist nation, and yet all I explained above is still readily available)
 

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I think that socialism is the best system because it encompasses democracy in all aspects of life, political and economic. The term socialism has a lot of different definitions. Marxists will call it a proletarian dictatorship, anarchists will call it a classless, stateless society, and democratic socialists will call it economic democracy. I prefer the later definition. I imagine socialism being where the state owns the means of production and the workers manage them by means of direct democracy and democratic planning. The workers will democratically run their workplaces and will divide the overall profit up amongst themselves to ensure that all workers get what they produce. We must abolish the corporate division of labour and create balanced job complexes. With balanced job complexes, the workers will divide the profit up amongst themselves with each worker getting a near equal share of the wealth produced. This profit division will be democratically decided by the body of workers. Some profit will be given to the state in order to maintain the workplace, and the rest will be divided up amongst the workers. Keep in mind that the state will not assign you to work in a specific place, you will decide this yourself. Under socialism, the state is not a totalitarian machine. It is a directly democratic tool of the people, and as such it has no right to tell you where to work. All socialism does is institue democracy in the workplace.

The role of the state in society will be to take care of the people which it serves. There state must create desperately needed social programs such as universal health care, publicly funded elections, social security, universal education, welfare, etc. The state will be involved in social programs, law enforcement, protecting the rights of the people, and in establishing and maintaining political and economic democracy. As of now, we do not have a democracy. We have a constitutional representative republic. I feel that this is not good enough. We need direct political and economic democray where all citizens/workers vote on government decisions in proportion to the degree they are affected by them. We must also abolish the electoral college and institute a real majority vote system such as instant runoff voting. Direct democracy in a word.

So, socialism means democracy in politics and economics. The workers should control their own workplaces, and citizens should control their own govenment. This is in direct opposition to capitalism where the owner of the company has dictatorial power and where the workers are exempt from the decision making process. Socialism is the common sense system of democracy in all aspects of life.
 
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Voice of Reason

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Blackflagx said:
The role of the state in society will be to take care of the people which it serves. There state must create desperately needed social programs such as universal health care, publicly funded elections, social security, universal education, welfare, etc. The state will be involved in social programs, law enforcement, protecting the rights of the people, and in establishing and maintaining political and economic democracy. As of now, we do not have a democracy. We have a constitutional representative republic. I feel that this is not good enough. We need direct political and economic democray where all citizens/workers vote on government decisions in proportion to the degree they are affected by them. We must also abolish the electoral college and institute a real majority vote system such as instant runoff voting. Direct democracy in a word.
If this is the case then is it not true that America is more of a mix between the two than it is a strictly capitalist nation. We already have many many social and welfare programs and many other examples of what you listed above as well as the ability to freely choose our professions. Or maybe just maybe the ideal nation is a mixture of socialsm and capitalism. You see our Capitalism in America has nothing to do with our governmental election process.

What if we were to develop an election process in which every individual citizen had a direct vote count in every governmental election thereby making our system truly democratic while maintaining our privatized system of supply and demand. (Remember that even in our Capitalist nation, the government still regulates and moniters all businesses so American business is under a level of governmental control. What would be your fault with the system then. How would that not benefit all citizens?

(I am neither 100% Capitalist or 0% Socialist, I have developed my own idea of a better system in which the direct voting is a very large part. I believe that our Republic system was a failure too, but I also think it was a step in the right direction. But I feel that Capitalism itself was a booming success as can be seen in the U.S. and Japan and now more and more nations.)
 

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The problem with this is that you still dont have workplace democracy. If private enterprise exists, the owner has dictatorial power over the workers that work for him. They are not involved in the decision making process and are totally exempt from the running of their place of work. I will admit that America is not totally capitalist. However, capitalism still exists, hence democracy does not. The problem with a mixed economy again is that there is no democracy in the workplace. However, under socialism, since the government is a tool of the people, government ownership will make sure that all workers are involved in the decision making process. It would be illegal for the government to make workers exempt from the democratic economic process. Under capitalism, there is no such thing. The owner is a dictator. This is what we are trying to abolish. Socialism has all the good social programs, but also brings democracy to the workplace. A mixed economy is better than pure capitalism, no doubt, but there is still no democracy in the workplace, and that is why socialism is best.
 

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Blackflagx said:
The workers will democratically run their workplaces and will …...
Do you mean every employee will have a vote on all the business decisions a company makes, as though they were all on the board of directors, or are you talking about an election to decide who runs the company or is there another way you see this process playing out?

Fascinating stuff. I’ve always wanted to learn more about some of the finer details of socialism. Don’t get me wrong, I think socialists are utopian idealists and I’m not looking to get converted but I’m certainly open minded enough to give your ideas the consideration they warrant.

Blackflagx said:
This profit division will be democratically decided by the body of workers.
So in this system, if Company “A” manufactures a widget and has 1000 factory line personnel, 100 administrative personnel and 25 management personnel, the least educated and least skilled will earn the highest wages while the most educated and most skilled will earn the least due to sheer numbers. What incentive do I have to go through the rigors of getting an education if, in so doing, I have destined myself to earn less?

If I wanted to change jobs from Company “A” to Company “B” because all the people working for Company “B” are making double the profits of Company “A” wouldn’t all the employees of Company “A” eventually be poor due to the fact that Company “B” is hogging all the talented people?

Blackflagx said:
Keep in mind that the state will not assign you to work in a specific place, you will decide this yourself. Under socialism, the state is not a totalitarian machine.
Great, Company “B” just put all the people working for Company “A” in the poor house because Company “B” is dominating the market by paying top dollar for top talent.
 

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Blackflagx said:
If private enterprise exists, the owner has dictatorial power over the workers that work for him.
No, he has dictatorial power over the company’s business. There’s a big difference. I can’t force all the people who work for me to dye their hair purple or to have sex with me or to give me their first-born child.

Blackflagx said:
They are not involved in the decision making process and are totally exempt from the running of their place of work.
Not everyone is qualified to be involved in the decision making process. How do you envision those who can’t and those who barely can read, evaluating a 10 to 5000-page contract and voting on it? How will those that can read ever get any work done if they have to read, comprehend and vote on everything the company does? What about the finances? Will those who haven’t taken statistics or algebra have a vote on financial issues?

You keep trumping this “democracy at the workplace” thing up but you still haven’t explained how it will work.

If it’s better than what the USA is using, I'm all for it but I haven’t seen how anything you propose will actually work.
 
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Voice of Reason

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In your socialist economy, is the private citizen allowed to start his/her own business, or is their just one major "Corporation" for every individual industry need.

(Perhaps ,Blackflagx, you should get some of your other Socialist friends to join this thread in order to keep you from getting swamped by questions.)

I am also curious as to how you will answer Flex's questions.
 

Voice of Reason

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GPS_Flex said:
You keep trumping this “democracy at the workplace” thing up but you still haven’t explained how it will work.
I have always heard professors and historians say that Socialsim is a wonderful theory but that it is flawed in the sense that it fails under practical application. The mathematics coupled with human nature don't add up.
 

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Voice of Reason said:
In your socialist economy, is the private citizen allowed to start his/her own business, or is their just one major "Corporation" for every individual industry need.

(Perhaps ,Blackflagx, you should get some of your other Socialist friends to join this thread in order to keep you from getting swamped by questions.)

I am also curious as to how you will answer Flex's questions.
I suppose I shall jump into this. I'm not as radical or communist as Blackflag, so I don't quite agree with all his ideas, but I will answer what questions I can and give you my two cents (which will then be distributed evenly. :mrgreen: ). In a pure socialist economy, pure as in Marx's dream, the private citizen won't start the business he will work for a government owned one. However, I propose what Fidel Castro has done. In Cuba, you may own a private business, send a percentage of what you make to the government to be distributed and then keep the rest to sell for profit.

All this about a democratic workplace...this seems more anarchist then socialist.
 

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I have always heard professors and historians say that Socialsim is a wonderful theory but that it is flawed in the sense that it fails under practical application. The mathematics coupled with human nature don't add up.
It is. Marx is famous for saying "I'm not a Marxist". All governments that have tried to follow Marx's dream have failed. Socialism needs to be reformed.
 

Voice of Reason

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V.I. Lenin said:
All this about a democratic workplace...this seems more anarchist then socialist.
You spoke my thoughts. Its seems as though if you had a truly democratic workplace, you would in a sense step in to anarchy. Their must always be some semblance of authority, and those that choose that authority must be wise and educated in all of the different aspects which must be figured in to choosing the qualifications of that authority.

And when you calculate all of this together you start drifting "dangerously" towards capitalism. The simple fact is that some people simply can't think for themselves. Their will always be those who are lazy, uneducated, and some who are just plain evil who should have no place within the decision making process of a great thriving system.
 

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Do you mean every employee will have a vote on all the business decisions a company makes, as though they were all on the board of directors, or are you talking about an election to decide who runs the company or is there another way you see this process playing out?
I think that the workers should vote on decisions that affect them. There should be a variety of democratic processes for different situations. If you want to wear a red tie, that is your personal choice, no vote is required. If you want to increase production, that requires a vote of those who do the producing. Decision making in proportion to the degree you are affected. This democracy can take the form of majority rules, consensus, or something else depending on the situation. I also feel that all higher bodies of management should be elected and recallable.

So in this system, if Company “A” manufactures a widget and has 1000 factory line personnel, 100 administrative personnel and 25 management personnel, the least educated and least skilled will earn the highest wages while the most educated and most skilled will earn the least due to sheer numbers.
Remember that the corporate division of labour will be abolished. Balanced job complexes will exist to ensure that everyone participates to a near equal degree in the running tof the company.

In your socialist economy, is the private citizen allowed to start his/her own business, or is their just one major "Corporation" for every individual industry need.
Once again, private enterprise will be illegal so no, you cannot start your own business. All business will be government owned and directly democratic.

I suppose I shall jump into this. I'm not as radical or communist as Blackflag
I am neither a radical or a communist I am simply a democratic socialist. I do not advocate revolution, but instead peacefull reform. I was an anarchist when I signed up, but ive matured since then.

All this about a democratic workplace...this seems more anarchist then socialist.
Actually no. The system I advocate is the same system the SP-USA advocates. If you simply swap the role of the capitalists with the state, you will have state capitalism because the state is now doing the exploiting. Economic democracy is what seperates socialism from state capitalism.

I think that laziness is not a natural trait. I think that laziness happens when a person lacks the interest or skill to be productive. If you work a job you hate or that your not good at, you will be less productive. This is what laziness really is and I think socialism would lessen it.

uneducated
Now obviously not every single person could get into a given company. For example, if a high school drop out wants to be a brain surgeon, tough luck with that.
 
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Voice of Reason said:
The mathematics coupled with human nature don't add up.
As my father, a carpenter, used to say, “I think you hit the nail on the head” with that one.

I think socialism is utopian in that it relies too much upon the preconceived notions that human nature will have miraculously changed upon its implementation. The changes required in the mindset (human nature) of the masses, causing such a system work would supercede the imagined need for socialism due to the fact that the desired outcome would have been achieved before its implementation.

What socialists really want is a religious revival wherein people change their values and way of thinking. Implementing a socialist government before said changes occur within the populace will always net the same disaster we have witnessed in the past with socialism.
 

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V.I. Lenin said:
However, I propose what Fidel Castro has done. In Cuba, you may own a private business, send a percentage of what you make to the government to be distributed and then keep the rest to sell for profit.
We are starting to think in terms of solutions rather than disagreements. I agree with you. It seems as if we both agree that the democratic/capitalist system of America is flawed. We also agree that pure socialism as defined cannot truly exists due to mathematical miscalculations. Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in between the two.

I wish to live in a nation where I am free to do and act as I choose so long as I do not injure or invade upon the rights of others.

I wish to be able to choose which industry or profession I want to be a part of and I also want to be able to excersise creativity and advancement within my chosen field.

I want to represent a government that truly represents the people as best it possiblly can and I want the power to control my government by a majority vote. (this includes placing and removing people in power).

It must be a legal impossibility for my government to seize control. (in order to do this power must be divided not centralized. Or so it seems).

I want to live under a system of Civil liberty controlled only to the extent as to keep the peace.

These are some of the main elements of my ideal government/economic system.

Why can we not combine (in theory) a Socialist government operating a Capitalist economic system? It seems more mathematically possible and perhaps even more stable.
 

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Blackflagx said:
If you want to wear a red tie, that is your personal choice, no vote is required. If you want to increase production, that requires a vote of those who do the producing. Decision making in proportion to the degree you are affected. This democracy can take the form of majority rules, consensus, or something else depending on the situation. I also feel that all higher bodies of management should be elected and recallable.
My friend you are starting to lose me. While everything that you say is so great in theory, it seems you have failed to break it all down into a solvent system. Let me point out a few errors (or what I think to be errors now) and lets see your solutions.

Who chooses whether or not you can wear a red tie? Do you have to have an entire industry wide vote on every detail? This seems terribly time consuming. Time=money.

If you wish to increase production only those in production vote. What about the members of the Finance Department which have to deal with a production increase? Parts and Sales Departments will have to change for increased production? More space and more manpower are required for higher production, therefore Personnel Depts, and Contracting Depts are affected. All of these other affected individuals (many extending outside of the company itself) will be affected by a vote that did not include them. And again, if you widened a vote to all who are affected you must have thousands and thousands of different votes within thousands of different interlocking industries which would virtually halt all production because of the voting processes and the time it takes to promote and explain different voting options.

Can you work out these bugs?
 

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Blackflagx said:
If you want to increase production, that requires a vote of those who do the producing. Decision making in proportion to the degree you are affected.
So how would those who do the producing determine whether it’s in the companies/their own best interest to increase production if they aren’t all qualified to be bean counters? Do you really expect a company to be productive if it’s left to those doing the work to decide how hard they should work if they aren’t capable of understanding simple statistics? It seems to me they would all vote for Monday Night Football as a paid holiday and due to their overwhelming numbers, they would get what they want.

You are charging people who aren’t qualified to make such financial decisions with the responsibility for the future of the company. Even those who can do the math wouldn’t get any work done because all of their time would be spent reviewing paperwork rather than producing a product.

Blackflagx said:
Decision making in proportion to the degree you are affected.
That’s not socialism, that’s anarchy. Who decides who is affected and who gets to vote in your system?

Blackflagx said:
This democracy can take the form of majority rules, consensus, or something else depending on the situation.
It doesn’t sound like you really know how this thing will actually work. “Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought”. If you haven’t thought through the details, how can you be sure it will work?

Blackflagx said:
I was an anarchist when I signed up, but ive matured since then.
Hate to break the news to you but you aren’t advocating socialist ideals, you’re still advocating anarchist ideology.
 

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V.I. Lenin said:
However, I propose what Fidel Castro has done. In Cuba, you may own a private business, send a percentage of what you make to the government to be distributed and then keep the rest to sell for profit.
Alas, a little common sense. An economic system like this will work. I wouldn’t be anxious to be part of it but at least I have something reasonable to work with here.

I can see socialism working, to some degree, in a totalitarian state but I just think Blackflagx has gone off the deep end and doesn’t have a clue what his socialism would look like or how it would really work.

Would you say socialism inexorably leads to a totalitarian state if it’s going to be successful Lenin?
 

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GPS_Flex said:
Alas, a little common sense. An economic system like this will work. I wouldn’t be anxious to be part of it but at least I have something reasonable to work with here.

I can see socialism working, to some degree, in a totalitarian state but I just think Blackflagx has gone off the deep end and doesn’t have a clue what his socialism would look like or how it would really work.

Would you say socialism inexorably leads to a totalitarian state if it’s going to be successful Lenin?
Totalitarian? Well it doesn't have to be...it always goes that way though, this I'll admit. Socialism needs a strong centralized government. Does this government need to operate with gun-butts to the head and harsh laws? No, of course not. Sometimes people aren't educated enough to know what's right. Sad, but true. This doesn't mean the leader should kill someone because other people can't see his genius.
We need a republic with a socialist and capitalist mixed economy. People should be able to do what they wish and go to college to do what they wish and not have to worry about were to live and how to get tuition money. People shouldn't have to live in boxes while others drive luxury cars. The gap needs to shrink, but not disappear..it cannot disappear. That's utopian. Without at least a small gap the sides shall collide and the system shall crumble.
 

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You’ve earned my respect Lenin. You are indeed a realist with an optimistic outlook. It is a pleasure to have made your acquaintance.
 

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GPS_Flex said:
You’ve earned my respect Lenin. You are indeed a realist with an optimistic outlook. It is a pleasure to have made your acquaintance.
Well I'm humbled. I hope more people come to share this sentiment. My ideas sometimes leave me in the cold with my Orthodox-Marxist friends but this makes up for it.
 

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V.I. Lenin said:
We need a republic with a socialist and capitalist mixed economy. People should be able to do what they wish and go to college to do what they wish and not have to worry about were to live and how to get tuition money. People shouldn't have to live in boxes while others drive luxury cars. The gap needs to shrink, but not disappear..it cannot disappear. That's utopian. Without at least a small gap the sides shall collide and the system shall crumble.

I believe that this thread has served its purpose.

The Voice
 

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Voice of Reason said:
I believe that this thread has served its purpose.

The Voice
Well actually, I disagree. The left is the most unorganized and shattered part of the political spectrum. The definition of "communism" and "socialism" and such vary among many. People have come up with many good ideas, however bickering and fighting among fellow leftists have led to them being crushed.

Anamoly has not responded to this as of yet, and he is the veteran anti-captalist here.
 

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I hope no one took my proverbial handshake with Lenin the wrong way. He and I are certainly at odds on the socialism issue and I doubt we agree on much politically.

I doubt he will register as a Republican for the next election anymore than I’ll be registering as a Democrat or a Socialist.

It was a simple gesture of respect, similar to one warrior giving a sign of respect to an adversary warrior during a lull in the battle.
 
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