[Politics]How long until we eat the rich?

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Agema:

generals3:

And nobody is preventing employees to buy shares and be part of the democratic decision making process during shareholder's assemblies.

Actually, yes they kind of are: by depressing the wages of workers, who therefore have less spare money to invest in buying shares.

Although even then, in practice, employees are extremely limited in power because of the tiny number of shares they own. They tend to invest via managed funds... and of course it's the fund manager who gets the vote, not the employees signed up to the fund. Even were employee shareholders a substantial percentage of the shares (say, 50%), chances are a few major institutional investors would run the show anyway because of the difficulty getting all those minor shareholders to vote the same way (or even at all).

You're right low wages can prevent employees from making meaningful investments in the company they work for. However we wouldn't need to get rid of capitalism and go for a socialist/communist system to solve that.

And employees could invest together and appoint representatives during shareholders meetings instead of going through funds. I'll grant that when you look at the valuation of certain companies that will still unlikely give them a lot of power but some power is still better than nothing. And an old colleague of mine also said that owning stocks in the company you work for can hedge against risks of decreasing wages or restructuring which leads to your layoff due to the stock market's positive response to such moves. You lose in wage but gain in stock value/dividend.
But yes i'll agree that this does require a wage increase in order for employees to have some spare money to invest in company stock.

generals3:
And an old colleague of mine also said that owning stocks in the company you work for can hedge against risks of decreasing wages or restructuring which leads to your layoff due to the stock market's positive response to such moves. You lose in wage but gain in stock value/dividend.

I think this should come with the caveat that if the company goes under, you risk losing both your job and investment at the same time. Not a great place to be, as many former Enron employees will tell you. For most people, I would imagine that the relative safety of a diversified mutual fund (or owning a number of stocks spread across sectors) would outweigh the minimal influence that holding your own company's stock would provide.

JoJo:

I think this should come with the caveat that if the company goes under, you risk losing both your job and investment at the same time. Not a great place to be, as many former Enron employees will tell you. For most people, I would imagine that the relative safety of a diversified mutual fund (or owning a number of stocks spread across sectors) would outweigh the minimal influence that holding your own company's stock would provide.

Off course, at that point it's a double loss. It was meant in the context of this topic where the underlying assumption is that wealthy investors and executives make a lot of money at the expense of the employees. If you believe there is a real chance of your company going down you'd better avoid its stocks, and tbh also staying employed there.

(Also note there was certain amount of cynicism in that idea)

Satinavian:
SNIP

Are you honestly arguing for a system that has historically been proven to not work and never have worked any time it's been tried? How many time do we have to see communism and planned economies flounder and choke to death in their own blood before people will get the message through their thick skulls that it doesn't work? How can one argue that a system that destroyed the fourth largest lake in the world is somehow logical or rational?

altnameJag:

Bullshit. Anytime a big enough company loses out on a "risk", the holding company and shareholders get paid out and customers and labor gets shafted. And that's before the company calls in a favor and gets a government bailout. How the fuck do you think venture capitalism works? Long story short, the capitalists make a boat load of cash by transferring the debt of buying a company directly to the company they bought, then file for bankruptcy when, surprise, it's unsustainable. At no point is the capitalist risking losing money
https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/9/30/1702985/-How-Private-Equity-Destroyed-Toys-R-Us
https://abc7news.com/business/pg-e-bankruptcy-heres-how-itll-affect-customers-employees-shareholders/5076360/

Yeah sure, investors all hope a company goes bankrupt b/c some venture capitalists transferred all the debt and sold their stock before the company tanked. Makes total sense.

Most investors don't even make a lot of short-term revenue like eg the hedge funds do. That is also why I said shareholder culture is bad, b/c it speculates on immediate fluctuations. That is bad for both employees and sustainability. Why would a venture capitalist buy a company that is already far in the red figures? To sell parts that still make a profit and restructure the rest. Other than the hedge funds it are usually the shareholders who want to prevent this at all costs.

Also private equity didn't destroy Toys R Us, online shopping did. They were simply no longer competitive in a changing market.

Specter Von Baren:

Are you honestly arguing for a system that has historically been proven to not work and never have worked any time it's been tried? How many time do we have to see communism and planned economies flounder and choke to death in their own blood before people will get the message through their thick skulls that it doesn't work? How can one argue that a system that destroyed the fourth largest lake in the world is somehow logical or rational?

As opposed to Capitalism which is on its way to destroying the entire planet? We should not make the mistake of confounding Plan Economy with Communism. The latter has plenty of blood on its hands, but Plan Economies are somewhat sustainable if much more rigid then Free Market economies. The harsh truth is that we need to start rationing our necessities and cutting back on our luxuries if we want to have a chance in hell of preserving the current ecosystem on Earth. Capitalism simply can't do that, because it would, literally, destroy the very foundation upon which capitalism rests. Plan economies are, however, very suited for rationing and lean living, simply because the goal is not to make profit by constantly providing more product, but to make as much product as mandated.

Realistically, neither system is a good fit for the challenges facing mankind in the coming decades, but I'd rather take the system that won't race us to our doom over the one which is structurally incapable of slowing down production.

stroopwafel:

Yeah sure, investors all hope a company goes bankrupt b/c some venture capitalists transferred all the debt and sold their stock before the company tanked. Makes total sense.

This isn't a million miles from what some of these types do.

Some of my colleagues got specialist equipment from a small biotech firm that was stable and profitable (if not stellar). It was taken over by venture capitalists: they made a load of assurances to its customers, and then basically canned it to use it as a tax write-off for their other ventures. It might not have been as sexy as some boom investment vehicle that could get them bigger returns, but it was a perfectly viable company with plenty of dependent employees.

Gethsemani:

Specter Von Baren:

Are you honestly arguing for a system that has historically been proven to not work and never have worked any time it's been tried? How many time do we have to see communism and planned economies flounder and choke to death in their own blood before people will get the message through their thick skulls that it doesn't work? How can one argue that a system that destroyed the fourth largest lake in the world is somehow logical or rational?

As opposed to Capitalism which is on its way to destroying the entire planet? We should not make the mistake of confounding Plan Economy with Communism. The latter has plenty of blood on its hands, but Plan Economies are somewhat sustainable if much more rigid then Free Market economies. The harsh truth is that we need to start rationing our necessities and cutting back on our luxuries if we want to have a chance in hell of preserving the current ecosystem on Earth. Capitalism simply can't do that, because it would, literally, destroy the very foundation upon which capitalism rests. Plan economies are, however, very suited for rationing and lean living, simply because the goal is not to make profit by constantly providing more product, but to make as much product as mandated.

Realistically, neither system is a good fit for the challenges facing mankind in the coming decades, but I'd rather take the system that won't race us to our doom over the one which is structurally incapable of slowing down production.

The only way to mitigate climate change is to address overpopulation, and the only way to address overpopulation is the free market. The free market has proven the richer a country gets the less children it will conceive. You also have misplaced trust in governments to do something about climate change, as they have proven to be historically incompetent. Most of the initiatives for clean and sustainable energies come from the private sector. Governments can only spend, spend, spend and riddle a country with debt. They are very wasteful. If a company was as incompetent as government it would go bankrupt in 1 day. That is the difference between the free market and government, a government has no repercussions for failure. It just goes on and on and on. Without ever having any impulse to change cause hey, there is always more of the tax payer's money to waste.

Agema:

stroopwafel:

Yeah sure, investors all hope a company goes bankrupt b/c some venture capitalists transferred all the debt and sold their stock before the company tanked. Makes total sense.

This isn't a million miles from what some of these types do.

Some of my colleagues got specialist equipment from a small biotech firm that was stable and profitable (if not stellar). It was taken over by venture capitalists: they made a load of assurances to its customers, and then basically canned it to use it as a tax write-off for their other ventures. It might not have been as sexy as some boom investment vehicle that could get them bigger returns, but it was a perfectly viable company with plenty of dependent employees.

True, small companies are very vulnerable to those vultures. I definitely won't disagree that there should be laws to prevent these kind of takeovers.

stroopwafel:

The only way to mitigate climate change is to address overpopulation

[Citation Needed]

stroopwafel:
and the only way to address overpopulation is the free market.

[Citation Needed]

stroopwafel:
The free market has proven the richer a country gets the less children it will conceive.

No. Firstly, easy access to contraception is the biggest reason we are seeing rich countries have a lower birthrate. Second, the drop in birthrates in rich countries are tied to high standards of living, which isn't necessarily the same as the free market. For example, China is also seeing really low birthrates in their booming middle class and China is definitely not a free market.

stroopwafel:
You also have misplaced trust in governments to do something about climate change, as they have proven to be historically incompetent.

In the Trump thread you argue that he's not that bad because he's incompetent, not nefarious. This is a similar situation: Governments might be incompetent (though for each incompetent government in a functional first world nation, I can show you a functional one), but capitalistic corporations are by their very existence nefarious. If the choice is between someone who might hurt me because they don't know what they are doing and someone who will hurt me the moment it benefits them, I'm going with the incompetent guy every time.

stroopwafel:
Most of the initiatives for clean and sustainable energies come from the private sector. Governments can only spend, spend, spend and riddle a country with debt. They are very wasteful. If a company was as incompetent as government it would go bankrupt in 1 day. That is the difference between the free market and government, a government has no repercussions for failure. It just goes on and on and on. Without ever having any impulse to change cause hey, there is always more of the tax payer's money to waste.

Your problem here is that you are thinking in terms of capitalistic doctrine. If we got rid of the free market and replaced it with a government (or UN or whatever) controlled Plan Economy, how exactly will the government work up debt? Debt requires money lenders and money lenders are not useful in a system without money. The reason the USSR's plan economy tanked was because it focused too much on military production, something the US exploited to start an arm's race that crippled the USSR's economy. But before that it had been functional (if not always good) for over 50 years.

Besides, do I really need to point out that Trump was hemorrhaging money in the 80's and 90's, to the tune of billions of dollars in total over a decade, and somehow his companies didn't "go bankrupt in 1 day" despite being vastly more incompetent then any government ever to grace the western world. Free market capitalism doesn't promote companies that do good as much as it promotes savage companies that will do any underhanded thing to stay in business and fuck over its competition, see Agema's post at 112 for a stellar example.

stroopwafel:

The only way to mitigate climate change is to address overpopulation, and the only way to address overpopulation is the free market. The free market has proven the richer a country gets the less children it will conceive. You also have misplaced trust in governments to do something about climate change, as they have proven to be historically incompetent. Most of the initiatives for clean and sustainable energies come from the private sector. Governments can only spend, spend, spend and riddle a country with debt. They are very wasteful. If a company was as incompetent as government it would go bankrupt in 1 day. That is the difference between the free market and government, a government has no repercussions for failure. It just goes on and on and on. Without ever having any impulse to change cause hey, there is always more of the tax payer's money to waste.

While I totally agree a lot of socialists/greens should start addressing the elephant in the room which is the ever growing population. (Funny how many want to stop economic growth and thus reduce GDP/Capita but not reduce the population, also reducing output and pollution but at least giving the future generations a life worth living) But saying the Free market is the only way to do so is something I would have to disagree with. China managed to stop their population growth through regulation and heck one could say the famines caused by Stalin, Mao and the Kim's were great for the climate. A good start would be for developing countries to stop subsidizing childbirth in their nations (welfare based on amount of children) and abroad (by allowing large immigration). But that would result in the people who are the loudest about the climate to sponatenously combust because being loyal to the politically correct progressive agenda tends to be more important than the planet.

Gethsemani:

stroopwafel:

The only way to mitigate climate change is to address overpopulation

[Citation Needed]

stroopwafel:
and the only way to address overpopulation is the free market.

[Citation Needed]

Ehmmm..simple observation of the facts? Less people means less pollution for obvious reasons. And the more developed a country is, the less offspring it will produce.

No. Firstly, easy access to contraception is the biggest reason we are seeing rich countries have a lower birthrate. Second, the drop in birthrates in rich countries are tied to high standards of living, which isn't necessarily the same as the free market. For example, China is also seeing really low birthrates in their booming middle class and China is definitely not a free market.

How is China not a free market when western economies outsourced almost it's entire production to them? How is China not a free market when the global economy wouldn't even exist without the long supply lines with China? How is China not a free market when the U.S. sees one of the biggest cyber security threats in Huawei? How is China not a free market when millions of people have been lifted out of poverty? How is China not a free market when Chinese corporations own pretty much the entire fleet of ocean carriers the world economy depends on? I could go on and on but you get the idea. Maybe you think China could have accomplished all this with Mao still in control idk. You confuse free market with representative democracy which are not necessarily mutually inclusive. That the CP keeps a tight leash on government doesn't exclude the fact their economy is so competitive it threatens U.S. hegemony as the global superpower. Do you honestly believe they could accomplish this with a plan economy? Lol, no.

The reason for low birth figures isn't contraception, that is just a method, the reason is that women have rights in developed countries they don't have in poor countries. They can go to school, get a good job, not be dependent on a husband. All these things you value so much are only possible because of prosperity. Name me one country in the world that isn't a free market that holds any of those women's rights dear.

In the Trump thread you argue that he's not that bad because he's incompetent, not nefarious. This is a similar situation: Governments might be incompetent (though for each incompetent government in a functional first world nation, I can show you a functional one), but capitalistic corporations are by their very existence nefarious. If the choice is between someone who might hurt me because they don't know what they are doing and someone who will hurt me the moment it benefits them, I'm going with the incompetent guy every time.

Right. So who made the computer you are using now? The clothes you wear? The food you eat? The videogames you enjoy so much? The only nefarious thing about a corporation is the abuse of capital gain by stakeholders but the pursuit of profit stands in stark contrast to the ideological hubris of governments and their incompetent tax wasting policies the private sector(not just huge corporations) worked hard for. Just because governments are a necessary evil doesn't make them preferable and maybe 'incompetence' is the highest accomplishment given the historic alternatives.

Your problem here is that you are thinking in terms of capitalistic doctrine. If we got rid of the free market and replaced it with a government (or UN or whatever) controlled Plan Economy, how exactly will the government work up debt? Debt requires money lenders and money lenders are not useful in a system without money. The reason the USSR's plan economy tanked was because it focused too much on military production, something the US exploited to start an arm's race that crippled the USSR's economy. But before that it had been functional (if not always good) for over 50 years.

You can't possibly argue the Soviet plan economy was 'functional' for over 50 years. Unless ofcourse you think famine, forced collectivization, zero creativity and mass murders is a good time. When Germany was divided between east and west ofcourse everyone wanted to flea to the communist east right?

Besides, do I really need to point out that Trump was hemorrhaging money in the 80's and 90's, to the tune of billions of dollars in total over a decade, and somehow his companies didn't "go bankrupt in 1 day" despite being vastly more incompetent then any government ever to grace the western world. Free market capitalism doesn't promote companies that do good as much as it promotes savage companies that will do any underhanded thing to stay in business and fuck over its competition, see Agema's post at 112 for a stellar example.

No it doesn't. Did the taxpayer foot the bill for Trump's fuck ups? No. People only complain he didn't pay enough. Do the taxpayer foot the bill for the government's fuck ups? YES.

stroopwafel:

How is China not a free market when western economies outsourced almost it's entire production to them? How is China not a free market when the global economy wouldn't even exist without the long supply lines with China? How is China not a free market when the U.S. sees one of the biggest cyber security threats in Huawei? How is China not a free market when millions of people have been lifted out of poverty? How is China not a free market when Chinese corporations own pretty much the entire fleet of ocean carriers the world economy depends on? I could go on and on but you get the idea. Maybe you think China could have accomplished all this with Mao still in control idk. You confuse free market with representative democracy which are not necessarily mutually inclusive. That the CP keeps a tight leash on government doesn't exclude the fact their economy is so competitive it threatens U.S. hegemony as the global superpower. Do you honestly believe they could accomplish this with a plan economy? Lol, no.

TL DR: You don't know much about Chinese economic policy.

You use Huawei's probable spying for the Chinese government as a indication of free market, really? What you should take from that is that Huawei is only allowed to operate on a global market because the Chinese government allows it and it does so while under serious pressure to comply with anything the government demands, up to and including putting spyware and spy firmware into their products, because China has a law that mandates that all Chinese companies co-operate with Chinese intelligence gathering efforts.

China is a hybrid economy at best, but the massive restrictions and regulations of companies in China prevents it from being a free market. At its worst it is Huawei spying for the Chinese government, in more innocuous examples you can look at how companies like Valve, Netflix, Spotify etc. all have to seriously alter their products to be allowed into the interior market of China.

For comparison: For a long while in the 50's-80's the USSR was the biggest exporter of weapons and munitions and had the third largest merchant fleet in the world. That didn't make the USSR anything but a Plan Economy that operated on a global market.

stroopwafel:
The reason for low birth figures isn't contraception, that is just a method, the reason is that women have rights in developed countries they don't have in poor countries. They can go to school, get a good job, not be dependent on a husband. All these things you value so much are only possible because of prosperity. Name me one country in the world that isn't a free market that holds any of those women's rights dear.

China. Incidentally, China sees just the same effect of middle class families having less children as we see in the west. Also, you are now conflating free market for democracy, the same thing you accused me of doing in the same post. Pot. Kettle. Black.

You'll also notice I said easy access to contraception. It doesn't matter how well educated you are, how cushy your job is or how independent you are; if you can't get access to a condom, birth control pills or similar, every time you have sex with your partner is a potential risk of pregnancy. This is why the biggest decrease in birth rates occurs when contraception is legalized and easy to access, with a lesser effect occurring when prosperity reaches a certain level.

So if you really wanted to prevent overpopulation, a good place to start would be to oppose Republican's desire to outlaw abortion and curtail sex ed.

stroopwafel:
Right. So who made the computer you are using now? The clothes you wear? The food you eat? The videogames you enjoy so much? The only nefarious thing about a corporation is the abuse of capital gain by stakeholders but the pursuit of profit stands in stark contrast to the ideological hubris of governments and their incompetent tax wasting policies the private sector(not just huge corporations) worked hard for. Just because governments are a necessary evil doesn't make them preferable and maybe 'incompetence' is the highest accomplishment given the historic alternatives.

These have nothing in common. Who made clothes in the USSR? Who made music albums, popularized and exported Tetris and provided children with summer activities in the USSR? The state (well, technically, Tetris was invented by one man, but you get the idea). I am well aware that everything in my household (including the very apartment I am in) is a product of private companies operating on a market. That means nothing other then that I live in a capitalistic society. You keep making the mistake of not seeing that even though we live in a capitalistic society there can be other options.

But if I cut to the meat of your argument: The computer I am typing this on has, most likely, been made by underpaid workers in China or Taiwan who labor under poor working conditions and long hours. Its components are probably made up of rare materials primarily taken from Africa where the repeated human rights violations of mining companies in places like Congo to extract the materials needed to make electronics for the west is well documented. You can say whatever you want about it, but when several human rights violations happens just so that someone can make more of a profit from a GPU meant for gaming, that's pretty fucking nefarious.

And that's even without going into things like Lundin Oil trying to instigate civil war so that they could buy land for exploitation cheaper, to name some really sketchy shit. Or maybe Facebook selling private information to anyone without properly informing users about what information it would sell and to whom. Governments do bad shit to, no doubt about it, but corporations are not any better and are often worse as they actually lack any sort of moral base aside from "MOAR CASH NAO!"

stroopwafel:
You can't possibly argue the Soviet plan economy was 'functional' for over 50 years. Unless ofcourse you think famine, forced collectivization, zero creativity and mass murders is a good time. When Germany was divided between east and west ofcourse everyone wanted to flea to the communist east right?

Now you are conflating the economics of plan economy with the politics of communism. Please don't.

stroopwafel:
No it doesn't. Did the taxpayer foot the bill for Trump's fuck ups? No. People only complain he didn't pay enough. Do the taxpayer foot the bill for the government's fuck ups? YES.

As was stated amply in the other thread: Trump made sure the workers, contractors and other people associated with his business paid for his fuck-ups. No matter how you dice it, when people fuck up and looses tons of cash, someone pays for it. And for the workers who went without pay and the companies that went out of business because Trump refused to pay for services and goods rendered, I doubt it is a small comfort that it was them who took the fall and not the general tax payer.

Gethsemani:

TL DR: You don't know much about Chinese economic policy.

You use Huawei's probable spying for the Chinese government as a indication of free market, really? What you should take from that is that Huawei is only allowed to operate on a global market because the Chinese government allows it and it does so while under serious pressure to comply with anything the government demands, up to and including putting spyware and spy firmware into their products, because China has a law that mandates that all Chinese companies co-operate with Chinese intelligence gathering efforts.

Sure, and ofcourse there were no political motives from the U.S. when they arrested Huawei's CFO last december whatsoever. The PRISM mass surveillance company that collects information from U.S. internet companies is ofcourse also totally voluntary.

I used Huawei as an example as it's one of the most innovative and succesful Chinese companies that could only develop in a free market that is now as competitive(maybe even more so) as it's western contemporaries. Huawei is not to blame for misuse similarly as American ISPs are not responsible for PRISM or any kind of government mandated interception.

China is a hybrid economy at best, but the massive restrictions and regulations of companies in China prevents it from being a free market. At its worst it is Huawei spying for the Chinese government, in more innocuous examples you can look at how companies like Valve, Netflix, Spotify etc. all have to seriously alter their products to be allowed into the interior market of China.

Censorship is definitely a problem that is also why I said China isn't a representative democracy(in that way it differs from the west) but do you honestly believe Valve, Netflix etc would have access to China weren't it for a free market in the first place?

For comparison: For a long while in the 50's-80's the USSR was the biggest exporter of weapons and munitions and had the third largest merchant fleet in the world. That didn't make the USSR anything but a Plan Economy that operated on a global market.

The USSR was definitely very good at making a shitload of AK47's still used en masse by terrorists and warlords to this day. Whether that is something worthy of praise is a matter of conjecture. Please name a single contribution of the USSR to the global economy that was actually constructive.

China. Incidentally, China sees just the same effect of middle class families having less children as we see in the west. Also, you are now conflating free market for democracy, the same thing you accused me of doing in the same post. Pot. Kettle. Black.

No, I don't. I said a free market makes a country more prosperous, and when a country becomes more prosperous women will have less children. Case in point: China.

You'll also notice I said easy access to contraception. It doesn't matter how well educated you are, how cushy your job is or how independent you are; if you can't get access to a condom, birth control pills or similar, every time you have sex with your partner is a potential risk of pregnancy. This is why the biggest decrease in birth rates occurs when contraception is legalized and easy to access, with a lesser effect occurring when prosperity reaches a certain level.

Yeah, but what a coicidence it is right, that the countries where birth control pills and condoms are readily available all happen to be free markets?

So if you really wanted to prevent overpopulation, a good place to start would be to oppose Republican's desire to outlaw abortion and curtail sex ed.

No disagreement there. I have nothing with the irrational beliefs of religious nutters.

These have nothing in common. Who made clothes in the USSR? Who made music albums, popularized and exported Tetris and provided children with summer activities in the USSR? The state (well, technically, Tetris was invented by one man, but you get the idea). I am well aware that everything in my household (including the very apartment I am in) is a product of private companies operating on a market. That means nothing other then that I live in a capitalistic society. You keep making the mistake of not seeing that even though we live in a capitalistic society there can be other options.

You can't honestly believe a plan economy could operate on the same level of efficiency as a free market. The USSR tried it but became so horribly inefficient that it collapsed in on itself. Cuba tried it with people trying to literally swim to Miami in order to escape it. North Korea still tries it but that country is so brainwashed they honestly believe the famine and going blind from malnutrition is still better than the alternative the Dear Leader protects them from. Venezuela tried it but well, I don't think any further explanation is needed at this point.

You are propagating what is probaly the worst economic system ever devised by man and one of the worst tragedies of the 20th century. Anything wrong with capitalism stands in no comparison.

But if I cut to the meat of your argument: The computer I am typing this on has, most likely, been made by underpaid workers in China or Taiwan who labor under poor working conditions and long hours. Its components are probably made up of rare materials primarily taken from Africa where the repeated human rights violations of mining companies in places like Congo to extract the materials needed to make electronics for the west is well documented. You can say whatever you want about it, but when several human rights violations happens just so that someone can make more of a profit from a GPU meant for gaming, that's pretty fucking nefarious.

Again you will find no disagreement that we need to head for a more sustainable future, with clean energy, care for the environment and where people are paid decent wages. And if companies violate human rights they should be held accountable. But what you fail to acknowledge is the millions of lives corporations have improved with their products and services. The lives they saved with medical equipment and pharmaceuticals. Or the innovation they achieve with renewable energy and electric cars. All these things that only exist because of the free market.

And that's even without going into things like Lundin Oil trying to instigate civil war so that they could buy land for exploitation cheaper, to name some really sketchy shit. Or maybe Facebook selling private information to anyone without properly informing users about what information it would sell and to whom. Governments do bad shit to, no doubt about it, but corporations are not any better and are often worse as they actually lack any sort of moral base aside from "MOAR CASH NAO!"

See my previous comment there are definitely some evil companies and oil companies are at the top but don't forget they only exist to satiate a demand, a demand that would not be any different if a government was in charge of oil exploitation. Infact it are most often the governments that privileged oil companies in favor of alternative energies because of strategic interests, so it's not like the companies are entirely to blame. It's mostly government policy that have made fossile fuels so profitable by benefiting from a powerful corporate lobby. That is why I think there should be laws for cronie capitalism, as this isn't free market.

Now you are conflating the economics of plan economy with the politics of communism. Please don't.

I believe Lenin and Marx wrote their manifests in good intention, until Stalin executed it. That is when you see the flaws in the system. But like they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Not something you'll willfully want to repeat though.

stroopwafel:
No it doesn't. Did the taxpayer foot the bill for Trump's fuck ups? No. People only complain he didn't pay enough. Do the taxpayer foot the bill for the government's fuck ups? YES.

As was stated amply in the other thread: Trump made sure the workers, contractors and other people associated with his business paid for his fuck-ups. No matter how you dice it, when people fuck up and looses tons of cash, someone pays for it. And for the workers who went without pay and the companies that went out of business because Trump refused to pay for services and goods rendered, I doubt it is a small comfort that it was them who took the fall and not the general tax payer.

Then they made the mistake of not asking payment upfront, which is the most feasible thing to do when making large costs. If Trump really was such a con-man no one would want to work with or for him, yet the opposite is true. He has no problems finding employees, financers or contractors so I have yet to see any evidence this was anything but incidental, if not influenced by alterior motive.

Only if we can add doctors and politicians to that list.

generals3:

In this case the reward is indeed not for effort but rather risk and blocking of wealth you can no longer use for something else.

And that is wrong. It should not be his personal fortune that is at risk. And there should not be a reward proportional to the total investment for what is just an administrative decision.

People getting money for risking their health ? sure. People getting money for risking their wealth, treating "risking wealth" as some kind of service ? We should not have such a thing.

Is this meant to be ironic? I don't think North Korea is even remotely equal, while Kim Jong Un lives like a depraved billionaire millions are malnourished and there is a risk of famine. This idea communist societies were more equal is a myth caused by the destruction of the upper middle class. There was less wealth dispersion but there have always been rich elites and a vast majority of poor/lower middle class citizens. All that happened was the impoverishment of the higher middle class and the transfer of wealth from rich capitalists to rich party associates/leaders.

Well, no. In pretty much all the Warshaw pact the party officials had a pretty modest lifestyre. Sure, maybe they had access to a car or could go on a hunt or had a hollyday home, maybe other privileges like getting preferential treatment or not having to bother with shortages, but overall, living conditions were far more equal than everywhere in capitalism. And yes, we have statistics backing that up. And while Kim Jong Un indeed liveslike a billionaire that makes it still not more unequal than e.g. Dubai. And he is kind of an outlier. You won't find that in Cold-War Poland or Chechoslovakia or USSR or Cuba or Jugoslavia etc. Not even in Romania. The party elites had privileges everywhere but nothing that compaires even remotely to capitalis rich persons.

Specter Von Baren:

Are you honestly arguing for a system that has historically been proven to not work and never have worked any time it's been tried? How many time do we have to see communism and planned economies flounder and choke to death in their own blood before people will get the message through their thick skulls that it doesn't work? How can one argue that a system that destroyed the fourth largest lake in the world is somehow logical or rational?

I don't want it back. I was pretty clear about how it is inferior/less efficient in making investment desicions. I have lives through it and it was bad.

First we need the technology to replace the few good things of capitalism. Only then we should ditch it.

RaikuFA:
Only if we can add doctors and politicians to that list.

Doctors Without Borders? More like Doctors Within Burgers! Amirite, lads?

Overpopulation is an easy question to solve: Go ahead, but we won't open the border if you come knocking.

RaikuFA:
Only if we can add doctors and politicians to that list.

Of course because the people who put themselves in harms way every day to save other's lives are part of the problem right? It is strange how when people see soldiers they say "Thank you for your service", but when they see a doctor they tell them something that is wrong with themselves or complain about some bill some other person sent them. Doctors put themselves at risk exposing themselves to everything under the sun just so they can help prevent other's suffering, both in peacetime and on the battlefield. Many do not realize that Doctors frequently come down with the very things they are trying to save others from. Part of my lungs are permanently damaged with no cure and cause me constant pain and lifelong medication after contracting a superbug that I was combatting so that others could live. So many doctors will tell you the same thing, that does not deter them from rushing in to see the next person coming in that needs help. The many Physicians I work with have spent their entire lives saving lives, risking their own lives and have spent their own time and money to fund other's people's treatments and medications, have built hospitals and worked relentlessly to try and find cures so that other's don't have to suffer needlessly.

McElroy:

RaikuFA:
Only if we can add doctors and politicians to that list.

Doctors Without Borders? More like Doctors Within Burgers! Amirite, lads?

Overpopulation is an easy question to solve: Go ahead, but we won't open the border if you come knocking.

That is just it, Overpopulation is not even the biggest issue, in fact much larger populations are completely sustainable on earth with high standards of living. It is not a matter of there being too many people, it is a matter of too many people not putting back into the earth more than what they take. It is HOW they are choosing to live, their actions, the waste, the hoarding and unnecessary resource stripping. The reality is that the world has been under "bad management". Humans could choose to take care of the earth and can change their future for the better, they just have to act to do so and remove the "bad managers" from power and actually focus their efforts on doing so. People have to actually be mindful of their actions and make the necessary changes and be mindful of their actions. People have a choice, they can destroy the earth or they can build a paradise. They just need enough people want to do it badly enough to make it happen.

stroopwafel:

I used Huawei as an example as it's one of the most innovative and succesful Chinese companies that could only develop in a free market that is now as competitive(maybe even more so) as it's western contemporaries. Huawei is not to blame for misuse similarly as American ISPs are not responsible for PRISM or any kind of government mandated interception.

...but do you honestly believe Valve, Netflix etc would have access to China weren't it for a free market in the first place?

Huawei's early success was based on reverse engineering - probably in effect IP theft. It's also deeply unlikely that a company in 70s/80s China wasn't getting contracts through political connections every bit as much as quality. We can also bear in mind that China takes effectively no action over its companies stealing IP, and even extracts technological IP from Western companies that want to do business in China, some of which is inevitably passed on to Chinese companies. Also consider that a lot of Huawei's success was based on domestic business, and depended in large part on the discrimination against foreign companies that China imposes (the West can do this too, but to a much lower degree). Finally, that the Chinese government handsomely subsidises a lot of its corporations - it's been estimated Huawei has been able to undercut rivals by selling its mobile phones 20-30% cheaper because of subsidies.

So a lot less free market you think. China is a semi-managed economy, where successful companies often obtain vastly more state support than ones in the West.

Lil devils x:

That is just it, Overpopulation is not even the biggest issue, in fact much larger populations are completely sustainable on earth with high standards of living. It is not a matter of there being too many people, it is a matter of too many people not putting back into the earth more than what they take. It is HOW they are choosing to live, their actions, the waste, the hoarding and unnecessary resource stripping. The reality is that the world has been under "bad management". Humans could choose to take care of the earth and can change their future for the better, they just have to act to do so and remove the "bad managers" from power and actually focus their efforts on doing so. People have to actually be mindful of their actions and make the necessary changes and be mindful of their actions. People have a choice, they can destroy the earth or they can build a paradise. They just need enough people want to do it badly enough to make it happen.

We will fall short of the ideal. Globally we will fall super short.

RaikuFA:
Only if we can add doctors and politicians to that list.

Right... I'm at a loss here, what did doctors do?

Specter Von Baren:

Satinavian:
SNIP

Are you honestly arguing for a system that has historically been proven to not work and never have worked any time it's been tried? How many time do we have to see communism and planned economies flounder and choke to death in their own blood before people will get the message through their thick skulls that it doesn't work? How can one argue that a system that destroyed the fourth largest lake in the world is somehow logical or rational?

Last time I checked, Cuba still rules itself, with a better literacy rate, infant mortality rate, and per capita contribution to humanitarian causes than the States. All that success while being neighbour to the strongest nation in the world, which is constantly trying to sabotage it.

It really makes you think.

Lil devils x:

RaikuFA:
Only if we can add doctors and politicians to that list.

Of course because the people who put themselves in harms way every day to save other's lives are part of the problem right? It is strange how when people see soldiers they say "Thank you for your service", but when they see a doctor they tell them something that is wrong with themselves or complain about some bill some other person sent them. Doctors put themselves at risk exposing themselves to everything under the sun just so they can help prevent other's suffering, both in peacetime and on the battlefield. Many do not realize that Doctors frequently come down with the very things they are trying to save others from. Part of my lungs are permanently damaged with no cure and cause me constant pain and lifelong medication after contracting a superbug that I was combatting so that others could live. So many doctors will tell you the same thing, that does not deter them from rushing in to see the next person coming in that needs help. The many Physicians I work with have spent their entire lives saving lives, risking their own lives and have spent their own time and money to fund other's people's treatments and medications, have built hospitals and worked relentlessly to try and find cures so that other's don't have to suffer needlessly.

McElroy:

RaikuFA:
Only if we can add doctors and politicians to that list.

Doctors Without Borders? More like Doctors Within Burgers! Amirite, lads?

Overpopulation is an easy question to solve: Go ahead, but we won't open the border if you come knocking.

That is just it, Overpopulation is not even the biggest issue, in fact much larger populations are completely sustainable on earth with high standards of living. It is not a matter of there being too many people, it is a matter of too many people not putting back into the earth more than what they take. It is HOW they are choosing to live, their actions, the waste, the hoarding and unnecessary resource stripping. The reality is that the world has been under "bad management". Humans could choose to take care of the earth and can change their future for the better, they just have to act to do so and remove the "bad managers" from power and actually focus their efforts on doing so. People have to actually be mindful of their actions and make the necessary changes and be mindful of their actions. People have a choice, they can destroy the earth or they can build a paradise. They just need enough people want to do it badly enough to make it happen.

The same doctors will make you take medicine you don't need just to add another digit to their paycheck? The same ones that made my father take opioids for over 30 years even after he told them he cannot get the positive effects and they were destroying his body to the point that he tried to kill himself? The same con artists that think me vomiting and feeling my heartbeat throughout my whole body is "just allergies"? These people are just poison peddlers that need to be removed from the world and no amount of #notalldoctors will redeem them.

Also add teachers to that list. They're just glorified babysitters that abuse children.

Agema:

Tireseas:

I like to use the analogy of a garden to describe capitalism. Some gardens can do well with minimal oversight, but that tends to be under very narrow circumstances that are unique to the time and place (ex. Desert Gardens/Hong Kong). Most gardens require substantial maintenance and observation to insure that they are not overgrown or killing off themselves. Sometimes that's giving it the proper food and nutrients to insure some smaller ones grow, other times it's pruning the larger ones and pulling up weeds to make sure they don't choke out the rest of them and prevent other plants from growing, and occasionally removing dead or rotten plants so that something can grow in their place. The plants cannot do this themselves, so it is up to the gardener (i.e. the government) to do it themselves.

I think that's a pretty good description.

I feel that a lot of capitalism has b tyecome extremely ideological rather than pragmatic. There's this huge drive to free markets, deregulation and non-interference on the assumption it must be the best thing, without really identifying whether it truly is or not. In particular, I feel ideological capitalism seems to take the stance that the point of society is to enact capitalism, not that capitalism is to be enacted for the benefit of society. A lot of these pour over narrow and reductionist measures of economic success (e.g. GDP growth), and seem to be blind to forms of rot developing elsewhere.

Indeed.
One of the reasons why I was cured from "high school libertarianism", i suppose. Good chunk of those enamored with hard laissez-faire approach, like to sell themselves as pragmatists, yet talk about the "Invisible hand" like it's an actual entity, not merely an useful description.
This borderline zealotic approach, on top of being annoying, torpedoes even the discussion about necessary changes.

RaikuFA:

The same doctors will make you take medicine you don?t need just to add another digit to their paycheck? The same ones that made my father take opioids for over 30 years even after he told them he cannot get the positive effects and they were destroying his body to the point that he tried to kill himself? The same con artists that think me vomiting and feeling my heartbeat throughout my whole body is "just allergies"? These people are just poison peddlers that need to be removed from the world and no amount of #notalldoctors will redeem them.

Also add teachers to that list. They're just glorified babysitters that abuse children.

While my initial reply to you was in jest, I won't sympathize with you here.

However, it is wrong that you and your dad have had to suffer. There is little solace in claiming yours was an outlier or just a mistake or a compounded error, but I hope that despite your terrible experience most people that seek help actually get it. You've rightfully dug into a hostile pit, but I also hope you can climb out of it.

RaikuFA:

Lil devils x:

RaikuFA:
Only if we can add doctors and politicians to that list.

Of course because the people who put themselves in harms way every day to save other's lives are part of the problem right? It is strange how when people see soldiers they say "Thank you for your service", but when they see a doctor they tell them something that is wrong with themselves or complain about some bill some other person sent them. Doctors put themselves at risk exposing themselves to everything under the sun just so they can help prevent other's suffering, both in peacetime and on the battlefield. Many do not realize that Doctors frequently come down with the very things they are trying to save others from. Part of my lungs are permanently damaged with no cure and cause me constant pain and lifelong medication after contracting a superbug that I was combatting so that others could live. So many doctors will tell you the same thing, that does not deter them from rushing in to see the next person coming in that needs help. The many Physicians I work with have spent their entire lives saving lives, risking their own lives and have spent their own time and money to fund other's people's treatments and medications, have built hospitals and worked relentlessly to try and find cures so that other's don't have to suffer needlessly.

McElroy:
Doctors Without Borders? More like Doctors Within Burgers! Amirite, lads?

Overpopulation is an easy question to solve: Go ahead, but we won't open the border if you come knocking.

That is just it, Overpopulation is not even the biggest issue, in fact much larger populations are completely sustainable on earth with high standards of living. It is not a matter of there being too many people, it is a matter of too many people not putting back into the earth more than what they take. It is HOW they are choosing to live, their actions, the waste, the hoarding and unnecessary resource stripping. The reality is that the world has been under "bad management". Humans could choose to take care of the earth and can change their future for the better, they just have to act to do so and remove the "bad managers" from power and actually focus their efforts on doing so. People have to actually be mindful of their actions and make the necessary changes and be mindful of their actions. People have a choice, they can destroy the earth or they can build a paradise. They just need enough people want to do it badly enough to make it happen.

The same doctors will make you take medicine you don?t need just to add another digit to their paycheck? The same ones that made my father take opioids for over 30 years even after he told them he cannot get the positive effects and they were destroying his body to the point that he tried to kill himself? The same con artists that think me vomiting and feeling my heartbeat throughout my whole body is ?just allergies?? These people are just poison peddlers that need to be removed from the world and no amount of #notalldoctors will redeem them.

Also add teachers to that list. They?re just glorified babysitters that abuse children.

No, " not the same doctors", it sounds like you had a bad doctor. However, you do not blame all doctors for the actions of the few. There are good and bad people in all fields and careers known to humans, that does not mean you blame all fields an careers for the actions of the few. You have great doctors, great teachers, great scientists.. there are a lot more good people in these fields than there are bad. Yes you can have bad doctors and bad teaches, that does not mean that the majority of them are. Most doctors put their life on the line to save others. the actions of the few does not change that.

Lil devils x:

RaikuFA:

Lil devils x:

Of course because the people who put themselves in harms way every day to save other's lives are part of the problem right? It is strange how when people see soldiers they say "Thank you for your service", but when they see a doctor they tell them something that is wrong with themselves or complain about some bill some other person sent them. Doctors put themselves at risk exposing themselves to everything under the sun just so they can help prevent other's suffering, both in peacetime and on the battlefield. Many do not realize that Doctors frequently come down with the very things they are trying to save others from. Part of my lungs are permanently damaged with no cure and cause me constant pain and lifelong medication after contracting a superbug that I was combatting so that others could live. So many doctors will tell you the same thing, that does not deter them from rushing in to see the next person coming in that needs help. The many Physicians I work with have spent their entire lives saving lives, risking their own lives and have spent their own time and money to fund other's people's treatments and medications, have built hospitals and worked relentlessly to try and find cures so that other's don't have to suffer needlessly.

That is just it, Overpopulation is not even the biggest issue, in fact much larger populations are completely sustainable on earth with high standards of living. It is not a matter of there being too many people, it is a matter of too many people not putting back into the earth more than what they take. It is HOW they are choosing to live, their actions, the waste, the hoarding and unnecessary resource stripping. The reality is that the world has been under "bad management". Humans could choose to take care of the earth and can change their future for the better, they just have to act to do so and remove the "bad managers" from power and actually focus their efforts on doing so. People have to actually be mindful of their actions and make the necessary changes and be mindful of their actions. People have a choice, they can destroy the earth or they can build a paradise. They just need enough people want to do it badly enough to make it happen.

The same doctors will make you take medicine you don?t need just to add another digit to their paycheck? The same ones that made my father take opioids for over 30 years even after he told them he cannot get the positive effects and they were destroying his body to the point that he tried to kill himself? The same con artists that think me vomiting and feeling my heartbeat throughout my whole body is ?just allergies?? These people are just poison peddlers that need to be removed from the world and no amount of #notalldoctors will redeem them.

Also add teachers to that list. They?re just glorified babysitters that abuse children.

No, " not the same doctors", it sounds like you had a bad doctor. However, you do not blame all doctors for the actions of the few. There are good and bad people in all fields and careers known to humans, that does not mean you blame all fields an careers for the actions of the few. You have great doctors, great teachers, great scientists.. there are a lot more good people in these fields than there are bad. Yes you can have bad doctors and bad teaches, that does not mean that the majority of them are. Most doctors put their life on the line to save others. the actions of the few does not change that.

The thing is, that's just from this year. I can bring up the doctor that sued my mom over her having a heart attack, telling her they take her insurance then when the bill came all of a sudden they don't take her insurance. Or the one who botched my dads spinal surgery because he complained about having to wait hours past his appointment time. Or my child psychologist who I told about being molested shrugged it off saying "boys can't be molested". Or my child therapist telling me that it was my own fault for getting beat up by other kids because I was so different. I can keep going on. I've never met a doctor who didn't go by profit over patients.

McElroy:

RaikuFA:

The same doctors will make you take medicine you don?t need just to add another digit to their paycheck? The same ones that made my father take opioids for over 30 years even after he told them he cannot get the positive effects and they were destroying his body to the point that he tried to kill himself? The same con artists that think me vomiting and feeling my heartbeat throughout my whole body is "just allergies"? These people are just poison peddlers that need to be removed from the world and no amount of #notalldoctors will redeem them.

Also add teachers to that list. They're just glorified babysitters that abuse children.

While my initial reply to you was in jest, I won't sympathize with you here.
However, it is wrong that you and your dad have had to suffer. There is little solace in claiming yours was an outlier or just a mistake or a compounded error, but I hope that despite your terrible experience most people that seek help actually get it. You've rightfully dug into a hostile pit, but I also hope you can climb out of it.

That?s ok. I?ve long give up on people being good and kind. If there's anything to take from my experiences it's dont help others because they'd never do the same for others if the roles were reversed.

Satinavian:

People getting money for risking their health ? sure. People getting money for risking their wealth, treating "risking wealth" as some kind of service ? We should not have such a thing.

Why not? Wealth is health, holidays, housing, food, leasure,... Would you risk your savings in a risky investment if it were not rewarded?

Well, no. In pretty much all the Warshaw pact the party officials had a pretty modest lifestyre. Sure, maybe they had access to a car or could go on a hunt or had a hollyday home, maybe other privileges like getting preferential treatment or not having to bother with shortages, but overall, living conditions were far more equal than everywhere in capitalism. And yes, we have statistics backing that up. And while Kim Jong Un indeed liveslike a billionaire that makes it still not more unequal than e.g. Dubai. And he is kind of an outlier. You won't find that in Cold-War Poland or Chechoslovakia or USSR or Cuba or Jugoslavia etc. Not even in Romania. The party elites had privileges everywhere but nothing that compaires even remotely to capitalis rich persons.

On numeric metrics not taking into account the concept of decreasing utility of wealth, sure but that doesn't take into account the reality behind those numbers. To take North Korea as a prime example, let's say that the top 1% own "only 1000x" (on avg per person) more than the bottom 10% (pp) does that make it less unequal than a country like the US where it is likely a much higher factor? Knowing that in North Korea being part of the bottom 10% means being malnourished and at a risk of dying due to famine while in the US that might mean having access to social welfare, not allowed any luxury and watching every penny you spend but definitely not dying due to a lack of access to food, is the latter more "unequal"? Let's not forget that for poor people a dollar is worth a lot more than for a rich person. So when you increase the wealth of both by 1$ you actually drastically reduce true inequality, heck even if it's 1$ vs 10$.

And that was the general problem with the planned economies, due to a lack of wealth generation and high spending in the military lower social classes were worse off. But yes that also meant less to redistribute to the privileged political classes. But I'd rather have a middle class income in a country with wealthy people being as wealthy as Jef Bezos than poor in a country with the wealthy being on Trump level. Even if on a purely numeric scale the latter might be considered more unequal.

Now off course if you assume that a planned economy would now generate more economic output and the redistribution curve would remain similar to those in the ex USSR it might make sense. But why believe that? Why believe these regimes would have spent more than they needed on the lower classes than the minimum to keep them from revolting? Again, the humans leading and potentially perverting a planned economy belong to the same species as those who are "leading" and perverting the capitalist system. The only difference is that you'd be concentrating even more power into a couple of hands.

Gethsemani:

Specter Von Baren:

Are you honestly arguing for a system that has historically been proven to not work and never have worked any time it's been tried? How many time do we have to see communism and planned economies flounder and choke to death in their own blood before people will get the message through their thick skulls that it doesn't work? How can one argue that a system that destroyed the fourth largest lake in the world is somehow logical or rational?

As opposed to Capitalism which is on its way to destroying the entire planet? We should not make the mistake of confounding Plan Economy with Communism. The latter has plenty of blood on its hands, but Plan Economies are somewhat sustainable if much more rigid then Free Market economies. The harsh truth is that we need to start rationing our necessities and cutting back on our luxuries if we want to have a chance in hell of preserving the current ecosystem on Earth. Capitalism simply can't do that, because it would, literally, destroy the very foundation upon which capitalism rests. Plan economies are, however, very suited for rationing and lean living, simply because the goal is not to make profit by constantly providing more product, but to make as much product as mandated.

Realistically, neither system is a good fit for the challenges facing mankind in the coming decades, but I'd rather take the system that won't race us to our doom over the one which is structurally incapable of slowing down production.

This assumes that any government knows what needs to be done or that a government can even stop people from doing things. Prohibition was an attempt by the US government to prevent people from drinking and it failed miserably because so many people love drinking that all it did was make people do it in private and look the other way when they saw someone else do it. Even worse, it gave huge strength to crime because those criminals could provide something that the government was preventing people from doing lawfully.

The only way to enforce a planned economy is punishment that is harsh enough to get people to stop doing things which leads to the same kind of system that they got in Soviet Russia. I am not arguing that Capitalism doesn't have its problems but planned economies fail to do anything at all. The hoi polloi are ultimately what decide how things turn out, neither the left nor the right speak for them, both sides try to lead them along by appealing to the base desires of those masses, if a political machine can't get them to follow them willingly then the only way is to force them to and when a government starts having to force people to do things, even if for the right reasons and with the best of intentions, all it takes is for one person with an ulterior motive to make that system work only for their own desires.

Satinavian:

I don't want it back. I was pretty clear about how it is inferior/less efficient in making investment desicions. I have lives through it and it was bad.

First we need the technology to replace the few good things of capitalism. Only then we should ditch it.

Then we seem to be in accord.

generals3:

Why not? Wealth is health, holidays, housing, food, leasure,... Would you risk your savings in a risky investment if it were not rewarded?

I would gladly give up my ability to generate more wealth by using my savings if that meant no one could and people only got what they earned via labor and social programs. I am perfectly willing to actually work for my money and spend accordingly. And give a big chunk of what i earn to be sistributed to those that can't sustain themself.

There is nothing about being rewarded for investment that i would ever miss. Savings are savings. They don't need to grow. If i can get as much purchasing power out as i put in it is fine.

On numeric metrics not taking into account the concept of decreasing utility of wealth, sure but that doesn't take into account the reality behind those numbers. To take North Korea as a prime example, let's say that the top 1% own "only 1000x" (on avg per person) more than the bottom 10% (pp) does that make it less unequal than a country like the US where it is likely a much higher factor?

Yes, of course it makes it more unequal. Equality is how you fare in relation to other members of your society. It is absolutely not about average quality of life.

And that was the general problem with the planned economies, due to a lack of wealth generation and high spending in the military lower social classes were worse off. But yes that also meant less to redistribute to the privileged political classes.

Lack of wealth generation was a problem. That is why the average standard of living was lower. So much so that not even the far more equal distribution of wealth could fully counter it.

As for military spending, that has nothing to do with planned economies.

generals3:

On numeric metrics not taking into account the concept of decreasing utility of wealth, sure but that doesn't take into account the reality behind those numbers. To take North Korea as a prime example, let's say that the top 1% own "only 1000x" (on avg per person) more than the bottom 10% (pp) does that make it less unequal than a country like the US where it is likely a much higher factor? Knowing that in North Korea being part of the bottom 10% means being malnourished and at a risk of dying due to famine while in the US that might mean having access to social welfare, not allowed any luxury and watching every penny you spend but definitely not dying due to a lack of access to food, is the latter more "unequal"? Let's not forget that for poor people a dollar is worth a lot more than for a rich person. So when you increase the wealth of both by 1$ you actually drastically reduce true inequality, heck even if it's 1$ vs 10$.

And that was the general problem with the planned economies, due to a lack of wealth generation and high spending in the military lower social classes were worse off. But yes that also meant less to redistribute to the privileged political classes. But I'd rather have a middle class income in a country with wealthy people being as wealthy as Jef Bezos than poor in a country with the wealthy being on Trump level. Even if on a purely numeric scale the latter might be considered more unequal.

Now off course if you assume that a planned economy would now generate more economic output and the redistribution curve would remain similar to those in the ex USSR it might make sense. But why believe that? Why believe these regimes would have spent more than they needed on the lower classes than the minimum to keep them from revolting? Again, the humans leading and potentially perverting a planned economy belong to the same species as those who are "leading" and perverting the capitalist system. The only difference is that you'd be concentrating even more power into a couple of hands.

At peak, the USSR had a GDP/capita about about 50% of Western Europe ~1970 (although this declined as it stagnated in the 70s-80s). Contextually, we also might note that before the Bolshevik revolution, Russia had GDP/capita about 35% of the Western Europe: hence that to the 1970s, there really was a credible belief, even fear, that Communism was economically competitive. It's only towards the end of the 70s with stagnation it became clear the USSR was struggling.

Obviously, Soviets were still much poorer than Westerners throughout, but they were comparable to the likes of Spain, Portugal and Greece. Planning mostly worked up until the point the economy became too advanced and complex for the planners to cope ~1970. In absolute terms, Communism significantly improved its citizens' living standards for a long time. It still was improving living standards (albeit at a slow rate) post-1970: just poorly relative to the capitalist West, and had become particularly weak at meeting household desires (cars, white goods, etc.), leading to dissatisfaction. They met the basics pretty well, however: the Soviet system really was actually quite well focused in intent if not always practice at delivering for the masses rather than the elites. Soviet corruption was not gouging by the elites, but bureaucratic fiddling: failing to meet targets led to to falsification of data, which further compounded the difficulties of centralised planning. Soviet economic elites pretty much didn't exist: high ranking jobs came with job perks, but personal income and wealth was more around the senior professional / mid-upper management level.

Satinavian:
I would gladly give up my ability to generate more wealth by using my savings if that meant no one could and people only got what they earned via labor and social programs. I am perfectly willing to actually work for my money and spend accordingly. And give a big chunk of what i earn to be sistributed to those that can't sustain themself.

There is nothing about being rewarded for investment that i would ever miss. Savings are savings. They don't need to grow. If i can get as much purchasing power out as i put in it is fine.

And the last phrase is key, as investments are risky you do not necessarily get as much purchasing power out of it. In essence you're contradicting yourself, on one hand you deem it innatural for risk to be rewarded but deem it normal for your savings to be risk free.

Yes, of course it makes it more unequal. Equality is how you fare in relation to other members of your society. It is absolutely not about average quality of life.

Yes and how you fare doesn't depend on the nominal amount of $ you have but on the needs and desires you can accomodate with the wealth you have. Whether someone owns 1 or 2 billion $ usually doesn't impact his ability to meet his necessities or desires and the utility of each additional desire is tiny. 1000$ or 2000$ is a totally different story.

Lack of wealth generation was a problem. That is why the average standard of living was lower. So much so that not even the far more equal distribution of wealth could fully counter it.

As for military spending, that has nothing to do with planned economies.

The latter doesn't necessarily come hand in hand with planned economies but it does in part explain why the political elites had less wealth to distribute to themselves.

And again, why would anyone believe a group of people who are in charge of the legislative power AND the entire economy would end up abusing it less than people who merely partially owns means of production? All the scandals we have had here in Belgium with regards to the para-public sector and politicians filling their pockets with the taxpayer's money has shown they can't be trusted any more than "capitalists". Heck the absurdity is even bigger, because now they're supposed to change the laws and rules to regulate themselves... And as someone who doesn't just like to believe what they tell us and who looked deeper into the new rules I have noticed they have done nothing that will actually help solve this issue and it's mostly useless measures with minimal impact which they sell as "solid governance".

People like to complain about lobbies who influence politicians to take measures in their favor. Well now in a planned economy politicians and lobbyists have become one, great...

generals3:

And the last phrase is key, as investments are risky you do not necessarily get as much purchasing power out of it. In essence you're contradicting yourself, on one hand you deem it innatural for risk to be rewarded but deem it normal for your savings to be risk free.

There is nothing contradictory about wanting no risk and no reward for anyones savings.

And again, why would anyone believe a group of people who are in charge of the legislative power AND the entire economy would end up abusing it less than people who merely partially owns means of production?

Basically yes. There are a couple of differences :

- In capitalism the people owning the means of production thing they deserve income from it and the public approves, that they are justified to take a cut and the public is ok with that. In communism you get at best something like what would be a fond manager or an administrator in capitalism. There is no expectation of deserving a lot of money for that and people would not approve of taking more.

- In communism money is less relevant. It doesn't get you social status to be rich. That leads to people persuing wealth for wealths sake far less.

- Pretty much every way to enrich yourself significantly beyond a normal person would be illegal. Showing huge wealth would be like showing you have stolen public property and diverted funds because there would not have been an existing legal, socially accepted way to get there.

You will find lots of power abuse in communism. But most of that was not about enriching the elite. Which was pretty content to live a relatively modest life for the most part.

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